"Aye, sir," both replied unanimously.

"I remember that tactic," R’Sharn stated. "Didn’t the Khitomer use it?

He looked at her and smiled. "Yes, I remember, R’Sharn."

She smiled, then moved to an auxiliary console and began working on it.

"Drop us out of warp as close to the field as you can and get us into it fast!" he ordered. "I trust you can handle taking us into this field at full impulse, James?"

He simply shrugged and replied, without looking back, "With help from the ladies, I shouldn’t have a problem at all."

"Good…because we’re going to head right into the center of that field."

He then looked back at Chris in surprise, realizing just how dense the center of an asteroid field like this would be. After a moment of eye-to-eye contact, he submitted and nodded, looking back to the helm.

"Five minutes until we reach the asteroid field," he reported, fear obviously in his voice…as well as determination.

"Let’s see if we can’t give ourselves some extra time," Chris said quietly. "Vendar, open a channel."

"Channel open."

He stood up from his seat, not quite sure how to start. After a moment of hesitation, he said, "Kiklar vessel, this is Captain Chris Harriman of the Federation starship Dragon."

He waited impatiently, hoping they would at least respond…

He decided to take another look at the sensor readings of the vessel. Through visual scanners, he was getting a clear picture of the ship as it began to gain on the Dragon. At first, he had simply looked and assumed it was a large vessel. Now, however, he noticed that the ship was just under half the size of the Dragon. The first Kiklar vessel they had encountered was roughly ninety percent of the Dragon’s size…however, despite this one’s size, Chris knew all too well that they were no match for it.

As sensor records had shown with the last vessel…some sort of blue crystals were sticking out at different points on the vessel…and there was one very large one in the exact center. In fact, the entire design seemed to be based to fit around the crystal. Weapons?

Suddenly, the view screen changed, grabbing his attention. He had hoped to see the face of the Kiklar…however, was disappointed when all he saw was a black screen. The familiar scratchy voice that was eternally etched into Chris’s memory sounded out with, "We are the Kiklar. You have entered our space…and you are humans. The plague of the humans and all like them must be wiped from the universe!"

Chris thought about the Kiklar’s statement for a moment, considering how to deal with someone who viewed humanoids as a plague. "We have learned since our first encounter with your species that you despise all humanoids…specifically humans. I’m curious as to whether or not you would be willing to tell us why."

He heard a few clicking noises in the background noise, which caught his attention. Was that some form of communication between the species…or something else entirely…??

"Millennia ago, this galaxy was ruled by humans," the Kiklar finally responded. "Now there are but a few remnants. You and your Federation are a new breed of humans that we must now destroy."

"But we are not the humans you hate!" Chris stated, using an argument he had once used before to win his life back. "There is no way we can be blamed for what they did!"

After another moment of hesitation, the Kiklar stated, "Have you encountered any humans in this galaxy yet?"

That question caught Chris off guard…but he quickly recovered and replied, "Yes…"

"And did you use your technology to scan them?"

Chris immediately saw the point the Kiklar was making. "…yes…"

"Then you know that your DNA is identical. You are the same species. Therefore, the plague must be removed!"

With that statement, a form emerged from the darkness into a light Chris hadn’t even known was there. The light was dim, but he could clearly make out the form of the Kiklar…insect-like, black…and very deadly looking.

"All humans must be wiped from the universe…only then will we have purified it."

With that, the image cut out, displaying the streaking starfield ahead. However, before Chris could even worry about what had just been stated, Kyle called out his name and moved quickly to the Command Chair. "Captain, I recognize their species!"

His eyes went wide when he heard Kyle say that. "You do?!" he asked, hope entering his voice. If they could get information about the Kiklar…then just maybe they could fight them, if not on the battlefield, then on the diplomatic field.

"Yes, they are…were called the Vratix in our time," he stated, the first hint of fear Chris had ever heard edging into his voice. "They struck a deal with the New Republic during the Bacta War, and helped us take over Thyferra, the only planet capable of making Bacta." Chris thought back to some of the things he had learned two months ago, and realized what Bacta was. It was a chemical of some form that…somehow could heal almost anything. One could call it a miracle cure.

"Were they technologically advanced during your time?" he asked.

Kyle shook his head as the stars on the view screen stopped streaking by. "No, but they were well versed in chemistry…or at least the chemistry of making very effective Bacta. That, of course, was millennia ago…" The fear returned in his voice for a split second when he added, "Before I joined Luke’s academy, I saw one in combat once…and let’s just say that initiating hand-to-hand combat with these guys is like saying you want to die."

Asteroids…fairly large asteroids, began tumbling by the Dragon as she plowed at full impulse into the asteroid field. James immediately had to begin a wild set of maneuvers…and not a moment too soon. The moment he banked to port, a very deadly looking, blue-colored energy beam shot past the Dragon, barely missing it. It did, however, impact hard on an asteroid. Chris took a quick sensor scan of the asteroid when he saw that, and saw that the blast almost reached the center of the very dense asteroid before it caused some sort of cascade effect, causing a huge explosion to rip across space.

"Vendar, start putting asteroids between us and the Kiklar!" Chris ordered in a raised tone. "The higher their density, the better!"

"Aye, sir!" she replied quickly, her hands beginning to fly across her panel. A couple tractor beams began snatching asteroids out of the way and moving them behind the Dragon, all the while James kept up his wild maneuvers. The Kiklar’s calculations were amazing. Every four seconds, another energy beam lanced out at the Dragon…each time getting closer and closer…and, as visual scanners showed, they had to refract the energy beams on the edge of the crystal for targeting purposes. The mere fact that it only took them four seconds to aim and fire so accurately… What is it that we’ve gotten our selves into?

However, he noticed a sudden break in the Kiklar’s firing pattern. After a moment of wonder, he realized it was most likely due to Vendar’s efforts.

Despite the huge size of the field, the Dragon was quickly making its way towards the center. James had kept the ship at full impulse thus far, which allowed for quick progress.

Suddenly, Ada stated, "I got a phaser shot off them…it went right through their shields!"

Chris craned his neck around to stare in awe at Ada. "Damage?!"

She frowned questioningly at her console as she seemed to run scans…then she looked at him in horror. "As far as I can tell from visual scans…no damage at all was done to their hull…"

Despair hit Chris for a moment, but then he quickly realized that this could work to their advantage. "If their shields aren’t for defense, they are meant to block all signals entering the shield radius. However, we’ve already seen that they don’t block signals going out…"

He stood up and quickly moved around to the tactical station. "Ada, do we have any spare nanites?"

She thought about his question for a moment, then tapped in an inquiry on her console. "Yes, five thousand of them."

"Could you program them to destabilize the hull of that ship?"

She frowned at him and shook her head. "No, the only way they can effect something is by entering cells. Unless I’m mistaken, that ship’s hull has no cells to enter."

Chris pounded the console lightly, trying to contain his frustration. They couldn’t keep away from the Kiklar forever…

Then another thought hit him. His eyes went wide as he considered the thought for a moment, then he looked at Ada. "Can you program them to send sensor data out to the Dragon? In other words, can you have them scan the composition and other properties of the Kiklar’s hull?"

Ada considered the question for a moment, then began tapping commands into her console. "I think so…yes…"

"And how long would it take you to modify a torpedo to deliver these nanites?"

"Not long!" she stated, moving away from her console and heading for the turbolift. "But I’ve got to make the modifications in the aft torpedo bay." When the turbolift opened, she pointed to R’Sharn and said, "R’Sharn, I need your help!"

The Andorian quickly moved away from her console and joined Ada in the turbolift. A moment later, they were gone.

Chris decided to take over the tactical station himself and began firing a series of phaser blasts at the Kiklar, trying to find any weakness that he could…

As he did so, he began going through any plans that he could in his mind. There was no way to outrun them…no way, at least not yet, to beat them…no way to even beat them in diplomatic channels…probably no way to even hide from them!

Wait a minute…hide… He thought about that for a moment. He took his mind away from the tactical station for a moment and brought up a map of the system. Five planets, the asteroid field, a class seven comet…and binary neutron stars…

He left the tactical station, immediately being replaced by the junior tactical officer. "Vendar, is our probe still in position?"

She paused in her commands for a moment, then began working again. "Aye, sir…it’s on stand-by."

"Good," he said as he sat back down in the command chair. He used his console to activate the probe they had left in the system again. He immediately started a new scan, a gravimetric scan. Immediately, he found what he had hoped for. This set of binary stars was perfect, unlike most stars. Both were of the same size and density…a phenomena that had never been encountered before. This, in turn…left a ‘quiet’ zone in the exact center between the stars.

The only problem is getting to that center while intact…

"Helm!" he started. "Set a course for the exact center between those two stars, best possible speed! Reroute all available power to the shields and structural integrity…and I mean all power. Every megahertz counts!"

Tom looked at him in horror, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging down. "Sir, you can’t be thinking…"

"I am!" Chris replied quickly. "Harriman to Tarkent, I need you to convert our shield matrix to metaphasic. Try to make them as resistant to radiation as you can."


"You heard me, metaphasic!"

"Aye, sir…"

"Sickbay, if you have anything that will help with radiation sickness, administer it now."

He didn’t even wait for a reply as he closed the channel. This was going to be a rough ride. Getting there would be a difficult task for everyone… Not to mention that the area of stability was very small. Stopping in time would be very, very difficult.

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