"And I’m sure we have a lot to catch up on," she said, surprisingly quiet and calm, considering the fact that she had been excited a moment before.

Now I’ve known her for a while, he thought to himself. It isn’t calm…it’s nervousness…

He stopped folding clothes for a moment, but she just continued to look down at her clothes, folding non-stop.

He observed her for a moment, and noted that she couldn’t meet his gaze. The last time that happened, it was because she was nervous and anxious.

He placed a hand on her shoulder, finally getting her to look at him. Sympathetically, he asked, "Hey, you OK?"

She stared at him for a moment, causing memories of their Academy days to enter Chris’s mind. He remembered all of those times he had been with her…all of those times he had wanted to tell her just how he felt. He’d spend hours and hours trying to convince himself. When he finally saw her that day, he suddenly lost the courage.

She turned away from him and moved to a window near the head of her bed. She stared out at the streaking stars, and Chris knew something was up…

He moved to her side and put his hand on her shoulder again. "Hey…I’m here for you, you know."

Sarah looked at him, redness beginning to appear around her eyes, like she was trying to hide tears.

In a voice that sounded ready to burst into the sounds of tears, she said, "I know that…and I’ve always known that." She quickly placed her hand on his shoulder as well, and added, "And I’m here for you, too."

They both smiled at each other, then embraced in a hug.

After holding each other for a long time in silence, Chris felt like his heart was about to burst out of his chest. Feelings he had never felt for anyone welled up within him. They were stronger than ever, and that’s when he knew…

"I’m not here for you just because we have been close friends, either," Sarah said, suddenly catching Chris off guard. They slowly pulled away from each other, staring into each other’s eyes. "I care about you like I do because…I…I consider you more than just a friend…even a close friend."

Chris felt a small smile creep across his face, realizing precisely what she meant… In a quiet, almost romantic tone, he replied, "I know this doesn’t sound very romantic…but the feeling…is mutual."

Sarah smiled, letting out a quiet laugh. Amused, she said, "I don’t care if you’re romantic…I only care that you are…you."

Chris smiled even deeper, then once again embraced her in a hug. He didn’t want to let go, afraid the moment would suddenly vanish. It was like a dream, and he was genuinely afraid that he was about to wake up. Relief flooded through him, as well as a sense of irony about the whole situation.

So many years that she probably shared my feelings…and neither of us knew the other shared those feelings…

If he could have smiled any more, he would have. No doubt, someday soon, we’ll feel comfortable enough with our feelings that we’ll go beyond hugging…and into something much more intimate. With even more amusement entering his thoughts, he added to himself, and that’s when I’ll screw up. I never have been the most intimate person…



Chris shook his head slowly, the memories somehow managing to bring tears into his eyes again. In fact, it turns out he wasn’t dried out after all.

She’s gone now…he had no one to care for, and no one to care about him. He was alone, truly alone. No one in this galaxy or the next could ever replace her…nor her place in his heart. No one could even surpass her in any way. She had been his one true love…and he let her die.

He buried his face in his hands, his tears turning into loud sobs. She was gone…and there was nothing he could do…



Meylar slowly entered sickbay, unsure as to what he would find. He knew Kalia was greatly ill, but he didn’t know if it physically effected her or not…and he didn’t have exactly the strongest stomach of them all.

He almost let out a sigh of relief as he saw her lying on a bio bed in the middle of sickbay, surgical tools already lain out on a tray next to her.

When she looked up at him, he expected a blank stare, one that didn’t know him. Instead, to his surprise, she smiled at him. "Hello, Meylar."

As he stopped next to her bio bed, he let a frown show on his face. Confused, he asked, "I thought you were losing your memories?"

She regretfully nodded her head. "I am. Kara was able to restore my memories, but it’s only temporary. She has to do surgery on my spine to find and eliminate or repair the cause of my relapse."

Finally understanding, Meylar nodded. "I see. So you’ll be able to give me any last orders."

Kalia tried to sit up even more, but the black half-circle bio scanner around the bio bed restricted her from getting too far. She motioned for him to move closer to her.

When he did, she grabbed his hand. "One order, and one order alone," she said quietly, as if it were top secret. With ice-cold, determined eyes, she stated, "Get this ship home!"

A lump quickly formed in his throat, realizing the burden that was being laid upon his shoulders. If she didn’t make it through this operation…he would be chief engineer. That meant the well being of the entire starship, all three warp cores and all, would be on his lap. It was a burden he wasn’t sure he was ready for yet…

However, he wasn’t about to let her feel like he would do so. She wanted him to do so, and if she did die…it would be her last request, something he must honor. With confidence, he finally replied, "I will…I promise."

Satisfied, Kalia smiled, resting back down on the bio bed. She looked at him one last time, then closed her eyes…ready for the procedure.

Knowing she wanted to be alone, Meylar moved to the turbolift and entered. He simply stood there for a long time, not bothering to give a command. He had a lot of work to do now…a lot of work…



"Are the nanites ready?" Kara asked her nurse, Lisa Ogowa.

Lisa, who was on the other side of the bio bed, nodded. "Yes, doctor. One thousand nanites."

As Lisa handed the hypospray over to Kara, she wondered if this would really work. Though nanites were now used in medical practice all the time, they had never been used to find dying or dead nerve tissue.

Nanites, which were microscopic life forms capable of entering living cells…had never entered nerve cells. If just one had a slight malfunction during this procedure…the entire operation was over. However, nanites were the only things capable of finding damage as small as this. They had to find it now, while it was still small, or lose all hope of helping Kalia.

Kara hesitated when she pressed the hypospray to Kalia’s neck, hoping upon hope that they would work properly. After a few moments of hesitation, she finally pressed the button. After a short hiss that confirmed the activation of the hypospray, she immediately set it down and moved to the readouts that the nanites were sending back.

Thanks to programming done by Vendar, the readings that the nanites sent back were collective. As a result, the information Kara was seeing looked like one reading from a very, very intensive-scanning medical tricorder.

A clear path of sensor information led from the back of Kalia’s neck to her spinal cord, where the nanites then dispersed all along the nerve cord. When they finally entered nerve cells, Kara looked over to Kalia. To her relief, there was no reaction, not even a twitch, from Kalia. That meant that, so far…the nanites were working.

When she looked back to the computer, she saw that, already, point-zero-one percent of Kalia’s upper spinal tissue had been scanned. So far so good…

"All nanites are working properly," Lisa reported from beside Kara. "No anomalies found yet."

"Then it is localized," Kara commented quietly. "We were right."

Lisa nodded in agreement. "Looks that way."

Both fell silent as the scan continued, anxious to find and repair the spot.

About a half an hour later, sixty percent of the spinal tissue had been scanned…and no anomalies. Kara’s legs began to hurt, but not from standing…they hurt because they were very, very tense.

The minutes ticked by slowly, as did the percent. Both Kara and Lisa had an iron grip on the edge of the console, knowing that each and every second was integral as the nanoscopic robots worked away, scanning for any anomalies.

That’s when Kara noticed it for the first time. Something she should have noticed before, something that now stood out like a candle flame in the middle of a dark room.

She loosed her iron grip on the console and pointed to something. "Look at the electrical flow in the nervous tissue," she commented quietly. Making sure Lisa also saw it, she traced the activity down Kalia’s spinal cord, past her arms, and to the mid-section, where the nanites weren’t scanning.

"I see it!" Lisa suddenly stated, astonished. "Did we do that?!"

Kara quickly shook her head. When they had made Kalia fall asleep, the agent they used wasn’t supposed to effect neurological activity at all. So she was very surprised to see that all activity…was not going anywhere but her spinal cord. It wasn’t going into the branches, into the arms, or any thing else…it simply traveled down the spinal cord.

Kalia brought up a command control panel on the LCARS screen for the Nanites and became redirecting half of then to follow the energy, and left the other half to continue scanning.

"Let’s see if there’s anything down there," Kara said quietly, curious as to how this was even possible…

After a few moments of progressive scanning, she started to wonder just where all of the neurological activity was going. It wasn’t until the nanites reached the bottom of Kalia’s spinal cord that something finally showed up.

Both looked at each other, surprise on both of their faces. "What the hell is that?!" Kara asked.

Lisa immediately looked back at the console and began punching in commands. "I’m running a bio-spectral analysis…"

Kara watched intently as Lisa worked away, very pleased that she was doing the analysis so well. However, her pleased expression quickly turned to that of horror. Her heart leapt into her throat as she realized just what was going on.

"Analysis complete," Lisa stated, fear putting an edge to her voice. "It…appears to be a new form of the Devil’s Virus…"

Suddenly, Kalia arched her back up, hitting her abdomen on the bio scanner that covered most of her body. A sharp intake of breath was followed by a blood-curdling scream. Everyone in sickbay, which was only a few nurses, looked at her, wondering what was going on.

"Doctor!" Lisa said in an alarmed voice. Kara looked back down at the readings…only to find that the virus was gone. It had moved, and it caused a lot of damage to Kalia’s nerve tissue along the way.

Not having to even think about it, Kara said in an urgent tone, "Computer, begin full bio-hazard lock down of sick bay immediately!"

After a few moments, the computer replied "Lock down confirmed."

Kara immediately moved to another medical console, tapping her comm badge as she went. "Sickbay to bridge, urgent!"

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