"Lock established…torpedo away!"

James tried to watch the torpedo on sensors, but the sensor feed to his console was completely inoperable. That meant someone else was going to have to make sure there was nothing in the Dragon’s path.

"Got it!" Ada suddenly shouted in glee.

James jumped out of his seat, bruising his right leg as he did so, and shouted in glee, throwing his fist in the air. The entire bridge erupted in cheer, but his was the loudest of all. His was always the loudest, and he made sure everyone was reminded of that today.

He felt a hand clamp on his shoulder, and he was spun around to face Chris. A huge grin on his face, Chris threw out his hand in offering. James hesitated, then smiled, taking Chris’s hand and giving it two good pumps.

"Good job, James," he said above the cheering and ruptured conduit. "Not bad piloting at all."

"Was nothing at all," James said, realizing a moment later that he had just been humble for the first time in his piloting life. Someone might have thought that it was still an arrogant statement, but that someone definitely didn’t know James.

Chris gave one last pump, then he began to walk up to Ada to congratulate her. In a sense, they had both just saved the ship from disaster. The immoral part of that fact was that they really didn’t work together, they simply did their independent jobs.

He nodded approvingly to her, got a reply nod, then he sat down in his chair. As he did so, he noticed a medic beam away with Vendar, no doubt to sick bay.

In a battle as quick as a battle usually was against the Vorkalai, the Dragon had pulled through again. Heavily damaged, albeit, but it came through in one piece none-the-less.

James grinned as he made sure the warp field was stable, then he sat back in his chair. Finally, he could relax again. The adrenaline that had pumped through his body began to finally settle, causing his hands to slightly tremble. His grin quickly changed to a calm smile as he realized that this was just another day on the job for him.

He thought about that for a moment as his mind began to slow down again. From the start of his life aboard the Dragon, all they had ever encountered was action. Rarely did they have times of peace, save the six months of shore leave.

He shook his head, wondering how his life might have been different if he had not come aboard the Dragon. Then, he decided he’d leave that thought for another time. Right now, he was going to relax…

Then he realized something. He almost jumped out of his seat as he knew just what was coming. They were, after all, Starfleet officers. They had a duty to protect the innocent. That meant…

"Assemble the senior staff in the briefing room," Chris said from behind James. "We’ve got to talk…"



Here it comes, Commander Kara Trieal thought to herself, settling down into her usual chair in the briefing room. We’re Starfleet officers, and it’s time to do our duty.

As Chris walked into the briefing room, he commented, "A Vorkalai support craft, or rather a standard warship, just launched from that massive battle ship." He swiveled his chair to sit down in it, then faced the crew. "I’ve ordered the ship to stay with it."

He sighed, visibly hesitating. "As much as I hate saying it, we can’t just leave the area and say ‘that was another close call.’" He looked up from the table, a grim face hitting Kara hard. "We can’t let this ship exist. I know the Federation is against genocide, but the Vorkalai are not known for negotiating. We have no choice but to take them out."

"No doubt, you have some magnificent plan for doing this," James stated sarcastically.

"Magnificent, perhaps," Chris said, nodding. "Crazy?" He took in a deep, hesitant breath, and said, "Definitely."

"Then let’s hear it," Kara said, trying to show him that they all supported him. He had never failed them before, she knew he wasn’t about to do so now.

He smiled warmly at her, then nodded. "All right, rather simple. Who here has bothered to fully read the schematics of the Captain’s Yacht?" Sarah was the only one to raise her hand. Chris closed his eyes and shook his head, a slight grin on his face. "Aww, come on people." He opened them again and tapped in a command on his console.

With that, a full schematic displayed on the wall on both ends of the briefing room, the Captain’s Yacht the center of attention.

"As you can see, this is no ordinary ship, not with the warp nacelles it has," Chris commented, looking at the wall schematic himself. "What you might not all know about is the infiltration sleeve that she’s been fitted with."

The display changed to show just the sleeve mechanism itself. "A hatch underneath the ship can open to extend a sleeve that attaches itself to the hull of a ship or something, and it’ll match our ship to the hull ionization of that ship. In other words, on any given sensor, we appear to be part of that ship’s hull. The ship then accesses the structural integrity field of that ship or station, matches it, and then cuts a hole into the ship using micro-phaser beams to do the trick."

The entire time he was talking about the Yacht’s ability, the screen displayed everything. The sleeve extending and attaching, the laser cutting a hole into some hull, everything. "Finally, the hatch in the Yacht itself opens up, and gravity is deactivated on the Yacht so that it’s easier to get in and out of the ship it’s infiltrating."

Out of the corner of her eye, Kara saw Ada nod her had approvingly. "Yeah, we used something like this once or twice before I left the security force and came aboard the Dragon. Very effective."

"Then we know that it’ll work," Chris said, closing the file and deactivating the screens. "What we’ll do is cloak the Yacht and follow, very closely, the Vorkalai warship that’s scouting for us now. With its weak sensors and the ion trail it leaves, we’ll be able to sneak right in under the shields of the battle ship. We can then get as close to their main reactor as we can, then use the sleeve."

"Right, then we make our way to the reactor, set charges, then get out and blow the thing to hell!" Ada said enthusiastically.

"Exactly!" Chris replied with equal enthusiasm.

Kara felt excitement at the plan building up with in her. It could very well work, especially if the ship was sparsely populated. She speculated that it was, as most Vorkalai were dead, and a ship of that size probably had to be running on a skeleton crew of Vorkalai!

"Ada," Chris began, suddenly take on a tone of command, "I want you to assemble a small task force. You’ll be going along, along with Kalia, Kara, Sarah…and myself."

Kara’s heart just leapt to her throat at that last word. Startled, almost missing it, Sarah suddenly jumped in her seat. "Uh…Chris, no offense, but I can handle this."

"I have no doubt of that," he said confidently. "However, I’m not going to have you lead a team that commits genocide. That sort of responsibility could only fall on the Captain’s shoulders."

Half-laughing in an attempt to lighten the mood, Sarah said, "but, I am a Captain."

Chris sighed in slight annoyance, yet slight amusement before he replied, "You know what I mean."

"As security officer, I can’t allow you to endanger your life needlessly," Ada stated firmly, not leaving the subject up for debate.

However, Chris was better at doing that than she was. "Your objection is noted, Ada. I’m going."

Silence engulfed the briefing room with that last statement. However, everyone, including Kara, knew that there would be no arguing. No one ever could argue with him.

He looked to Sarah and nodded. "Sarah, please make sure all furniture is taken out of the Yacht so that we can fit the most people," he said in a commanding tone, seeming to forget the fact that he was married to Sarah. "Be ready to leave as soon as possible."

Kara wondered why he had just acted so cold to his own wife. It wasn’t something he ever did, he always seemed to ask her to do something. He didn’t take into special consideration the fact that she was his wife, he still ‘ordered’ her to do things, but he did so in a…’nice’ way. Not this time, however…and she couldn’t figure out why he was acting like he was.

She was one of the few people he hadn’t gotten to know as well as most of the senior staff, but that’s because work never permitted them to converse off duty. However, judging by his past behavior, she guessed that he really didn’t like the idea of genocide…which she completely agreed with. He did get rather strict when things got personal in past missions…

Being thrown out of her contemplation, she realized that Chris had asked her a question.

Thinking back to what it was, she answered, with a rather angered tone of voice, "No, I don’t like it. However, I realize that there is no real way around this, not this time…I thought I’d never hear myself say that…" She hesitated, then reluctantly finished, "but we have no choice."

Chris nodded, "Agreed. Then you’re all dismissed. We don’t have much time, so let’s move!"



As everyone piled out of the briefing room, Chris simply stood up and moved to the huge row of windows. Staring at nothing in particular, his mind was in turmoil. He agreed wholly with Kara…he didn’t like this one bit. He didn’t like it when they thought they had done it the first time, and doing so a second time wasn’t any easier. In fact, it seemed harder…

There was no war right now. No one was at war with the Vorkalai now, the Dragon had not been in battle with the Vorkalai for a year! However, they had just killed several of the Dragon’s crewmembers…and Chris couldn’t allow that.

He suddenly noticed movement in the reflection off of the windows, so he spun around to find James standing behind him. Recovering, Chris simply nodded and acknowledged him with, "James."

As James nodded back to him, Chris moved back to his chair at the head of the table and sat down. He noticed, with some annoyance, that James did not sit, he simply remained standing, staring at Chris.

"What’s on your mind, Lieutenant," Chris asked questioningly, though he already knew.

"You’re going to need the best pilot on this ship with you, sir," James said without emotion.

Chris shrugged and replied, "Hence another good reason for me to go along." Normally, Chris would have been joking about the subject, and would have said that in a humorous tone of voice. Not this time, though…he was dead serious.

"Two are better than one," James replied to the comment. "What if you were to be injured? The chances of our people getting home would be less then phenomenal."

"What if we both were injured?" Chris asked simply.

"Hence why I’d stay on the Yacht, so as to guard it from anyone destroying it!" James said loudly, moving to a chair next to Chris’s to lean against it. "Sir, you need me along with you!"

Chris hesitated a moment, his mind still in its turmoil. However, he did eventually reach the conclusion that James was right. The more security officers with Chris and the away team, the better chance they’d have. With James staying behind to guard the Yacht, that’s one more officer they could have along with them.

Finally, he nodded in compliance. "Very well, you’re on the team," he said quietly. "Prep the Yacht for launch."

Smiling in victory, James nodded. As he moved towards the exit, he said jovially, "Yes, sir!"

Chris smiled at James’s enthusiasm, then let the smile fade once the doors had closed. It wasn’t just the fact that they were committing genocide that had his mind in turmoil. No, not at all…instead, it was his instincts.

He didn’t know why, but his sense of instinct seemed to be evolving, improving! He had first noticed it when the Rukarians held him captive. He had known something was about to happen, and for all he knew, that could have, somehow, saved his life. He didn’t know how, but his instincts had forced him to stop working before Ada had come.

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