He helped her to her feet, then sat down in the first officer’s chair again.

"Evasive maneuvers!" she shouted, sitting down in the chair. She was shaken, but she was OK. "Damage report!"

"I’ve got micro-fractures all along the hull!" Vendar reported quickly. "There’s also some depolarization along the starboard nacelle. We won’t be going to warp any time soon, not without ripping that nacelle right off its strut!"

"We won’t need it if we can just get out of this battle!" Sarah stated. "Helm, get us to the opening as quickly as you can, but get us there in one piece!"

"Easier said than done, Captain!" James stated. "We’ve got one on our tail!"

"Ada, keep it busy!" Sarah ordered. "James, try to lose it in the battle!"

"Aye, altering course," James stated.

Though the Dragon had already been approaching the end of the moving battle zone, the ship now turned and headed straight for the thick of it. Sarah could feel the ship maneuvering quickly, the inertial dampers unable to compensate…and it made her feel a bit queasy.

The ship slightly lurched to one side. "That one barely missed us," Ada stated, "but it took our shields down two more percent."

"Bridge to engineering, we need those shields back up!" Sarah said over the comm system.

"I’m doing the best I can, you’ll just have to rely on James for now," Kalia replied.

"In that case, James," she commented, "I hope you’re as good a pilot as is rumored."

Then she noticed exactly what he was doing. There was an area of the fleet where very large ships, larger than the Dragon, were hitting each other hard with weapons, too large to maneuver but powerful enough to withstand the onslaught…for now.

He started to do crazy maneuvers all around the ships, twisting and turning, banking and yawing, all the while not getting hit once by an energy beam. Once an energy beam seemed to ‘appear’ directly in front of the ship on the view screen, scaring Sarah to death. Luckily, the beam had cut out just before the Dragon hit it.

"Damn, this ship’s on me tight!" James commented with a tense voice. "The little bugger’s still on our tail!"

"Ada, make their job tougher," Sarah ordered. "Full after spread of phasers, keep them going."

"I’ll try to get him off you, James," Ada replied. "Don’t worry."

Sarah waited anxiously, watching the view screen intently. While James continued his wild set of maneuvers, she saw that the moon itself was finally starting to receive weapons fire from the fleet. Explosions ravaged the surface, all of them blue due to lack of oxygen. Apparently not only did the Rukarians not breathe oxygen, but nothing of theirs seemed to have oxygen in it!

Barely visible on the view screen, one of the very large Retaln cruisers suddenly exploded out in a cascade of energy and flame. It was close enough to its attacking ship that the explosions severely damaged it, but the cruiser itself was gone. Sarah felt a lump form in her chest at the sight, knowing very well that there was probably over five thousand people on that ship…or rather, was on that ship…

As the energy and flame cleared from the ship, a fairly large hole could be seen. Sarah judged that it was almost the size of the Dragon, and stared in awe at it. These ships, indeed, were very powerful.

The Dragon suddenly changed course, no longer keeping the destroyed vessel in the view screen’s corner. Instead, the vessel was dead ahead!

When realization hit Sarah, she stood up in alarm. "James, you can’t be thinking of actually trying that!"

"It’s the only way to get this ship off of us!" he replied.

As Sarah dreaded, things became even tougher: the Rukarian vessel that had taken it out began to display a series of explosions all along the hull. Huge pieces of its hull began flying out every where, but James was un-phased. He simply starting the Dragon in a series of maneuvers to avoid the debris, but new debris was constantly being added.

Taking a big swallow and slowly sitting down, Sarah felt helpless, afraid the Dragon was about to be destroyed. She didn’t know how to get them out of this… "James, that vessel’s spinning on all three axis!" Sarah stated. "Are you sure you can get us through it?"

"Not a problem at all, Captain!" he said, somehow overly confident.

Chris suddenly shot up out of his seat and turned around. "Ada, prepare a full spread of aft torpedoes," he ordered. "Target the inside of that wreck. After we pass through, and right before that tailing ship enters the gap, fire them."

"Aye, sir!" she replied, making the necessary preparations on her console.

He looked down at Sarah and smiled. "That should get rid of that ship."

Sarah wanted to hit herself for missing that tactic. It was rather quite obvious! The resulting explosions and debris from the torpedoes should be enough to at least severely damage the ship!

She looked back up at the view screen to find that the wrecked vessel was no where to be seen. She was about to question James, when suddenly the Dragon banked hard, and there it was, larger than life!

As she had stated, it was slowly spinning on all three axis. However, James seemed to be compensating for that quite easily. In a moment, they entered, and the next moment they were out.

The view screen changed to show an aft view of the wreck…just in time to see photon and quantum torpedoes streak towards it. Just before the tailing ship entered, the torpedoes began hitting. Explosions began ripping through the already heavily damaged wreck, but a moment later, the Rukarian vessel blew through…and it did not look good at all.

"We did it!" Ada shouted with glee. "The enemy vessel has been disabled, she’s spinning out of control!"

Jumping out of her seat again with excitement and relief, Sarah ordered, "Then get us the hell out of here before one of its friends decides to finish us off!"

"Already on it," James replied, noticeably relaxing in his seat.

Sarah heaved a big sigh of relief, her pulse finally beginning to slow down. Somehow, she knew that the worst of it was over.

She felt a hand touch her shoulder, and she turned to face Chris, who was grinning. She smiled back at him, her love for him once again giving her the feeling that she was a teenager again.

"So you want to relief me of command before I almost get us killed again?" she asked.

Chris sighed and shook his head. "You know, there will be plenty of time for that later. Right now, I just want to be with you."

She smiled harder, then, unable to wait any longer, she embraced him in a hard hug…only this time, they didn’t part…



Captain’s log, Captain Chris Harriman speaking

Thanks to the courageous acts of bravery from my crew, I have been saved, and am now once again in command of the Dragon. I can not thank my crew enough for saving me. They risked everything for me…

The battle was a complete success. Almost every single prisoner that every species had lost has been rescued, and the Rukarians have fled their space. Their subspace disruption field has been taken down, and their slave planet has been completely cleaned out. Their home planet is now barren…it looks like they didn’t want anyone to have their planet after they left, so they decimated it, killing everything…

With the Dragon repaired and the crew and I reacquainted, we’re preparing to leave this new alliance that Sarah helped create. Today we leave them with new hope and a new unity they might never have otherwise had…



He looked at Lall, still questioning her decision. "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked. "It’s not going to be easy."

She smiled at him, already becoming acquainted well with human facial gestures. "You may be human, Chris, but I like you," she replied. "Besides which, I’ve got nothing here. I’ve been away for fifteen years, I don’t even remember any of my family."

Chris smiled back and nodded. "Very well." He stood up from the command chair and walked forward some. "I say that we leave this house of horrors and get on our way. What do you say, Captain Caft?"

She smiled back at him and nodded. "Why not?"

He had decided to keep her field rank of Captain. Why not? She had earned the rank, in his opinion. She had done what he wasn’t sure he could have even done, even with his experience… Starfleet might not think so when they get back, but they’ll deal with it then.

"Helm," he said slowly, looking longingly at the view screen. "Take us out, warp seventeen. Take us in closer to the core."

"Aye, sir," James replied. "Course laid in."

Chris moved back to his seat and sat down. He looked to his left at Lall and said, "Last chance."

"Don’t need it," she said confidently. "I’m staying with your ship."

Chris nodded, then looked back to Sarah. "Captain Caft, the honor is yours."

She smiled at him yet again, then adjusted her posture. "James…engage."

Star Trek Dragon graphics and written material copyright Jon Wasik. Star Trek is a registered trademark
of Paramount Pictures, a Viacom company. No copyright infringement intended