Now, they were telling him something bad was about to happen. Something worse than anything he had ever experienced before. He didn’t know what…all he knew was that something was going to happen on this away mission. And that was the primary reason he was going.

He couldn’t let his instincts stop him from doing this mission, though. They needed to do this, or the Vorkalai could rise up again and destroy the fragile New UFP, among other cultures. They had a duty to defend the innocent, no matter the risk to themselves.

He shook his head, then stood up and slowly entered the bridge. Everyone who was on the away mission was already down by the Yacht, so the bridge seemed…empty…

He looked to Tom morbidly, who was sitting in the command chair. "Commander Halkrat, I hear-by relinquish command of the Dragon to you until our return," he said in a commanding tone. "Should anything happen to us, I expect you to get this crew home safely. Understood?"

Tom looked at Chris with the same morbid face as his own, knowing very well how grim the mission looked. Finally, he nodded, and replied, "Aye, sir. You can bet that I will."

Satisfied, Chris headed for the nearest turbolift. As the doors opened and waited for him, he took one last, longing look around the bridge. For all he knew…his instincts were telling him that he was going to be lost on this mission. If that were true…this would be the last time he would ever see this bridge, and its crew…again…

After probably a minute of holding up the turbolift, he entered, and watched quietly as his view to the bridge was closed. The turbolift simply sat there, waiting for his command, but he couldn’t give it. He was about to send people in to most likely die…and it definitely made him pause in thought.

Finally, he ordered, "Captain’s Yacht." With that, the turbolift began moving towards his destiny…



"There it is!" Sarah jumped, pointing to the little green section becoming visible around the Vorkalai warship. Chris nodded, making sure they had come out of warp with the warship properly. When he was satisfied that they had not been detected, he began to prepare to turn the yacht hard.

The huge, looming, dark green ship quickly was becoming visible. Chris noted with awe that they had already repaired their nacelle, which he had seen as completely obliterated before the Dragon had warped out.

"No wonder the warship started heading in so early," Chris commented. "The battleship is probably going to go out itself and look for the Dragon."

"Yeah, but they’ll have a hard time doing so," Ada commented from behind him.

Indeed, they would, for the Dragon had set course for a very dense nebula after the Yacht had departed. Chris just hoped there wasn’t an asteroid or something that the Dragon would hit, because judging by what Tom had told him over communications, they wouldn’t be able to scan more than fifty meters in front of the ship.

As the ship ahead of them slowed, he also began to slow, knowing he would soon have to make a sharp turn. They couldn’t very well enter the small starship bay the ship had, because they no doubt had very concentrated sensor scans running all the time in there. Plus, once their mission was accomplished, if they were trapped inside of the bay, they’d have to sacrifice themselves.

The edge of the already open bay quickly came into view, which was Chris’s cue. He opened a channel to the back cabin and stated, "All right, everyone, hold on!"

At the last possible second, he turned the Yacht hard to port, throwing everyone to their right. He held on tight to his seat, even though the restraints could hold him in, and let the auto navigation make the turn for him.

A moment later, the Yacht was slowly moving across the top of the hull, no damage, and no problems.

"Their shields are up," Sarah reported. "Looks like we’ve got plenty of room to maneuver."

"Good," Chris said quietly. "Makes our job just that much easier." He hesitated a moment, then ordered, "Computer, paint the hull."

That was a command that had been preprogrammed into the computer for infiltration missions. Once an infiltration point had been set and entered into the computer, it automatically filed the locations and pointed it out on the ‘windows’ of the Yacht. Further more, the location came up on a topographical sensor representation of the target in the navigational sensor scans.

The point was definitely far away, and took them a while to reach because they didn’t want to alert any close sensor scans. The slightest engine ionization could give their position away in an instant…

Finally, several minutes later of intense anxiety, they reached their destination. Chris began to extend the sleeve, but did so only partially, so as not to extend it beyond the Yacht’s cloaking field. When they were right on top of the spot, he deactivated the cloak and attached it to the ship’s hull.

Not even a full second after he did that, the computer confirmed that the Yacht’s hull had conformed to the Vorkalai ship’s hull ionization. He tapped his comm badge and said, "Harriman to Tarkent, begin infiltration sequence."

Not even hesitating, her reply came back crisp. "Aye, sir, program initiated." Chris couldn’t hear the sound of the laser beam cutting, but his sensors told him it was slowly working, cutting through the outer hull, and finally into the inner hull of the Vorkalai battle ship.

As the beam began cutting the hole into the ship, Chris nodded approvingly as his sensor readings showed that the battleship’s structural integrity field, and all looked normal.

A moment later, a tractor beam grabbed onto the piece of hull from the battle ship and pulled it up. Not a meter from doing so, the hull disappeared, stored in the ship’s transporter buffer as a simple signal, easy to recover.

Chris stood up, taking a pulse rifle from where he had stored it, and headed to the middle compartment, or the ‘living quarters’ of the Yacht. Stripped of all forms of comfort, it was crowded with several Federation and Britar officers…though mostly Britar.

As he heard that everyone else had followed him into the crowded place, he stated calmly, "All right, everyone…let’s do this."

He saw a few people nod in agreement as he headed for the hatch in the middle of the deck. There, Kalia was monitoring a panel that was otherwise hidden by a deck panel.

He kneeled down next to her and asked, his voice not changing from what it had been, "How’s it look?"

"Good," she said approvingly, nodding her head.

Chris nodded himself, then looked up, as if he were about to speak to some God in the heavens. "Computer," he said, raising his voice, "deactivate gravity."

With that one order, he suddenly felt a queasy feeling in his stomach. He always felt queasy in zero-g conditions…but usually that feeling ended as he started to have fun. This time, however, his queasiness was amplified by the odd feeling he’d felt since the start of this ordeal.

He looked to Ada, and nodded. She pushed off of a wall to reach the hatch, then shot down. A moment later, Chris heard the sound of her feet landing on gravity-regulated deck plating. Not a moment later, she flashed her pulse rifle’s flashlight up to signal an all clear.

Sarah was about to go, but Chris waved her off, and then slowly pulled himself into the hatch. He paused a moment, knowing this would be an awkward feeling… Finally, he shoved himself down the sleeve. As the sleeve’s interior left his vision, he became queasy again as gravity overtook him. He landed hard on the dark-colored deck, then quickly moved away as Sarah quickly followed him.

Immediately, he could feel the difference in gravity and atmospheric pressure. Pressure was definitely higher, as was gravity. He figured as much, considering the Vorkalai home world had been rather large.

One by one, each security officer and senior officer made their way down, filling up the empty corridor. As people did so, he threw his rifle around his shoulder, the strap keeping it in place, and took out a throwing knife.

He looked back and quietly ordered the closest person, "Stow all energy weapons, use hand-to-hand weapons only!"

The Federation officer nodded to him, threw her rifle around her back, and then passed the order on. A single weapon’s fire would cause any number of alarms to go off, destroying the only thing they had going for them: the element of surprise.

Finally, when everyone was down, Ada came up to Chris and simply nodded. He nodded back, and she gave the hand signal to move out. Slowly, in a forward covering formation, they began to make their way.

This particular formation was a common one. Two or three people would move ahead of the group, each covering the other as they went. One person would move forward, covered by the group, then a second one would move ahead of the first, followed by the third. It was slow, but it made sure no one would be killed.

As the most elite security force on the Dragon, these people knew exactly how to deal with everything they came upon. Once, the group had happened onto a small group of Vorkalai conversing in a corridor junction. Almost no sound was made as all five were taken out, with nothing but knives...which gave Chris an uneasy feeling. If they could do this sort of work…what would happen to the Dragon if they decided to mutiny?

He forced the idea out of his head, knowing that was unlikely. The crew was a family…and they would never betray their own family.

Each and every Vorkalai the group took out, which was a surprisingly low amount, was tagged with an isolinear tag. Once that was done, the Yacht would transport them into the pattern buffer, then destroy them. It sounded barbaric, but it was effective, and the Federation had condoned it…otherwise the tactic would never have been created.

About forty-five minutes after having left the Yacht’s position, the large force finally made it to the main reactor. Ada signaled for the force to disperse evenly around the large room, and had them use their tricorder to signal when ready.

Chris kneeled next to the door his group of two Britar officers were waiting at. His tricorder open, he anxiously waited for everyone to send their ready signal. He was definitely on edge. Every little sound he heard made him jump, even the quiet activation of the vents.

He tried to shrug his tension away, but couldn’t. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen soon…something very bad.

Suddenly, his tricorder gave off a soft beep, confirming the last group was ready. He sighed as he slowly stood up. He turned to the two Britar officers, who gave him a reassuring nod. He nodded back, then turned back to the door.

"Stand back," he said, moving away from the door, and the small charge fitted on it.

He gave the signal, waited three seconds…then hit the detonation key. The sound of explosions suddenly roared through the corridor, not just of his own, but of several others. The huge battleship shuddered, but Chris didn’t give anyone a chance to recover.

The Britar hot on his heels, he quickly moved into the reactor room. The first Vorkalai he saw, he shot, effectively disintegrating it. Several pulse rifle shots began flowing through the large room, all seemingly to hit nothing but Vorkalai. Not a single shot seemed to miss, even when the Vorkalai tried to move out of the way.

Not even a minute passed by, and it was all over. Chris never had fired off more than one shot, but as the sounds of weapons fire finally died down, he could easily hear the alarm sounding off.

"Get those spatial charges placed!" Ada shouted above the annoying alarm.

Chris ran halfway across the room to meet up with Sarah as everyone around him began to move in seemingly perfect unison.

"Sarah!" he said, stopping mid-step. "Try to set up an uplink to the Yacht from their computer. Let’s try to get as much information about this ship as we can."

She simply nodded, then moved to a computer access terminal. She placed an infiltration device on it, then set to work at setting up the link.

The double-beep of spatial charges sounded all over as every single one was placed quickly. A moment later, Sarah stood up and nodded. She looked at Chris and said, "That’s it…surprisingly easy."

Chris smiled and replied in an amused tone of voice, "But of course. Who could ever infiltrate such a well-defended ship?"

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