As she started scans for the Devil’s Virus bio signature in sick bay, Tom’s voice replied, "Go ahead."

"We have a serious problem on our hands," Kara stated. "It turns out that an evolved form of the Devil’s Virus was the cause of Kalia’s memory loss, and it’s left her body!"

She never heard a reply, and never had time to. Power began to fluctuate in sick bay, the lights and panels flickered off and on.

"Forcefields are down!" someone shouted from somewhere in sickbay.

The alert klaxon suddenly sounded as some of the bulkheads darkened and turn red, indicating a red alert had been called.

Suddenly, all lights and panels went completely dark, followed by a violent explosion on one side of sickbay. A bulkhead flew out from the wall in slammed a nurse hard on his back, sending him flying with the bulkhead.

As Kara ran to help others get the bulkhead off of the nurse, she shouted, "Bridge, the virus is probably mutating and has moved out of sickbay!"



"A power conduit just overloaded in that section!" Vendar reported, raising her voice above all of the commotion on the bridge.

Tom stood up from the command chair, fear gripping his heart. "Kara, just how evolved is this form of the virus?"

After a few moments, a garbled reply came back. "Very evolved. It looks like it is most likely immune to all of our previous counter measures. It doesn’t even need oxygen any more, it just needs energy."

"Power’s fluctuating on deck twenty, section twenty-nine-k," Vendar reported. "It must be finding other power receptacles."

Tom looked back to Ada, who simply nodded to him and entered a turbolift. Tom turned back around to look at Vendar and ordered, "Keep Ada apprised of the virus’s movements."

"Aye, sir," Vendar replied, opening a channel. "Ada, a conduit in that section just overloaded…it’s probably moving again."

"Understood," Ada replied.

Tom moved back to the command chair and opened a ship-wide channel. "All hands, this is the first officer. If you don’t know it yet, a mutated form of the Devil’s Virus has appeared on the ship. I want everyone to arm themselves, and then to evacuate the saucer section. We’re going to separate the ship and keep the virus contained. Security, report for duty on the saucer section, fully armed. Set all of your weapons on maximum, for this isn’t a person that has mutated we’re dealing with here…it’s the pure form of the virus."

Tom closed the channel and slowly looked around the bridge. "None of you have to stay here," he said. "But I do need a crew to command the saucer module and the stardrive module. I’ll be remaining here." He looked to the ship’s science officer. "Suran, I want you to take command of the Stardrive section."

Tom moved to the center of the bridge and looked around again. He looked at Vendar, who simply nodded and remained at her post. "Everyone else, what you do from here is up to you."

Realizing he was done speaking, everyone began talking to each other, deciding who would stay and who would go. It was like a well-greased clock, the cogs interacting perfectly. He didn’t have to decide who would do what…everyone was very capable of doing that on their own. It was a working starship crew…

After several minutes of loud commotion, almost half of the crew followed the Vulcan science officer off of the bridge.

When Tom sat in the command chair, Vendar spun her chair around. "Sir, the virus appears to be heading directly for engineering."

Tom nodded his head knowingly. "As was expected." He tapped his comm badge and said, "Bridge to engineering alpha. I know none of you have left, and none of you will. Therefore, your orders are to completely shut down not only the warp core on the saucer section…but also to shut down all power systems except two fusion reactors, on either side of the ship."

"Understood, sir," Meylar replied. "Does that mean you don’t want emergency reactors online either?"

"That’s correct," Tom stated. "We need to attract this beast away from engineering. Don’t shut down anything, however, until the saucer has separated." He opened another channel to Ada and ordered, "Ada, we’re shutting down all but two fusion reactors. Coordinate with engineering and find out which ones…and let’s not hope this virus is intelligent enough to get to engineering and reactivate the warp core."

"Understood. Keep me informed, please."

"Sir, everyone has been evacuated…except one life form," Vendar stated. She spun her chair around again, a sad look on her face. "It’s Captain Harriman. He’s still in his quarters."

Tom was going to open a channel, but decided against he. He knew the Captain was monitoring the situation, and so he was risking himself on his own account. There wasn’t anything he could do.

"Hopefully the virus will leave him alone," Tom commented. "Begin separation sequence immediately."

"Separation sequence initiated," Vendar immediately reported. "Outer magnetic constrictor released…magnetic clamps are extending."

"Prepare to disengage the saucer," Tom ordered calmly. "Let’s do this by the book."

Vendar simply nodded her reply. "Clamps fully extended. Saucer and Stardrive are both at a full stop."

Tom nodded unconsciously. "Disengage."

An odd thump reverberated throughout the bridge, and no doubt the rest of the ship, as the saucer immediately began moving away from the stardrive section.

"Separation complete," Vendar confirmed.

"Helm, bring us a thousand kilometers away from the saucer section," Tom stated. "Bridge to Alpha engineering, prepare to shut everything down."

"Acknowledged, sir," Meylar replied.

"Marquet to bridge, we’re in position," Ada seemed to add.

Right on cue, James added, "Answering all stop."

"Engineering…" Tom started, but hesitated. He looked around, realizing he had forgotten to order that weapons were to be distributed among the entire crew…but as he looked around, someone handed him a pulse rifle. He smiled once again at the crew’s proficiency. "Do it."



Needless to say, Meylar was very nervous. Only once, on a holodeck simulation, had he performed a warp core shut down…let alone one that would later require a cold restart. Shutting down the warp core was meant to be easy, for emergency purposes…but it really wasn’t. Everyone had to be precise…

He began the countdown. "Three…two…one…"

And with that, he keyed in his command and tapped the confirmation key. Immediately, the slow, deep thrum of the warp core ceased as all color vanished from it. A moment later, the rest of the power in the ship shut down, resulting in all lights and panels shutting down. Throughout engineering, engineers turned on glow lamps, giving a dark illumination to the large area.

Meylar moved to the only online panel in engineering, confirming that two fusion reactors were still on.

"Looks like it worked," he said more to himself than to anyone else.

However…before anyone could congratulate one another…an ear-piercing roar rumbled through engineering. Meylar recognized the roar all too well…

He looked at the source of the roar, but didn’t see the creature yet, only a wide-open corridor. "Dammit!" he cussed.

Not taking the time to explain what the roar meant to the Britar officers, Meylar quickly ran to the mouth of the corridor and opened an emergency hatch. With main power and the two computer cores on the saucer shut down, their only hope was the manual override.

He tapped in a command on the battery-operated console, then grabbed the handle in the hatch. Another roar, very close this time, once again rumbled through engineering. Not giving the situation a second thought, he pulled on the handle with all of his might. A moment later, the emergency bulkhead crashed down with a deafening thud, blocking the creature off from engineering.

"What’s going on?!" Lukail, one of the Britar engineers, asked, no hint of fear present in her voice.

Meylar didn’t even bother to look at her as he walked to the center of engineering. "The virus has mutated into a monster," he stated harshly, as if she should have known the answer. "It won’t take it more than a few minutes to get through that bulkhead."

He went right up to the warp core, then turned to look at the engineering crew. "Listen, everyone. I doubt the creature can access the warp core, but even if it could, we don’t have time to eject the core. The best we can do now is get out of engineering. Head to the aft Jeffry's tubes of engineering, set your weapons on maximum, and watch out for tentacles!"

Not having to be told twice, everyone moved in a single flurry towards the aft. Engineering became a dizzying blur of light as everyone’s flashlights were moving all over the place. If there had been yelling and screaming, Meylar would have sworn everyone was panicking!

A moment later, things did turn into a panic as a deafening boom echoed into engineering. Meylar flashed his pulse rifle’s flashlight on the bulkhead, only to find a dent already present.

"Move it!" he shouted, knowing their time was up. Panicking himself, he began pushing everyone into the Jeffry's tubes, not wanting anyone to be left behind…including himself.

When everyone was in except himself, heard the bulkhead finally detach and fly across engineering, impacting on a console that, would it have had power, would have exploded in a shower of sparks.

Meylar spun around to see tentacles already moving towards him. He quickly fired off one shot, which seemed to simply be absorbed by it, then closed the hatch behind him. The entire time of his craze to get far away from engineering, he never looked back to see if a tentacle was following him…



"Palzen to bridge!" a very frightened voice suddenly stated. "The creature just entered engineering any way, and its absorbing weapon’s fire!"

Panic suddenly taking hold of Tom, he slowly stood up from the command chair. Fear giving his voice a cold edge, he asked, "Then how are we going to fight it?"

A long pause proceeded, one where sweat began to bead Tom’s forehead. He knew it wasn’t good for the crew to see their CO panicking…but he couldn’t help it.

"We give it what it wants," Meylar suddenly stated. "Maybe…I need to talk to Commander Trieal before that can be certain. I’ll let you know!"

Before Tom could further inquire anything, the channel was closed. He had never really gotten to know Meylar…so he didn’t know whether or not he could trust him to come up with something. However, right now…he didn’t have any choice in the matter.

As things often did, more problems raised. "Battle Bridge to main bridge," Suran’s calm voice immediately followed. "We’re receiving a rather angry hail from an alien species."

"Wonderful," Tom muttered under his breath, wondering what else could go wrong. "Suran, lock onto my communicator and beam me directly to the Battle Bridge."

"Stand by…"

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