"Marquet to bridge, estimate two minutes until the torpedo is loaded and ready," Ada’s voice stated over a comm channel.

Chris looked at a sensor readout, then felt his eyes go wide. "We don’t have two minutes, Ada…we’re about to emerge from the field. We need that torpedo now."

She didn’t reply, as he expected. Instead, he hoped she simply started working faster. Visual scanners showed that no discernible damage had been done to the Kiklar vessel…despite the fact that it had already been pelted several times with torpedoes and phaser fire. They needed that torpedo before they entered their ‘hiding’ place…and they would have to develop defenses fast…or they might never make it out alive.

Assuming we actually make it in alive, he thought morbidly to himself. Don’t let fear stop you from bringing this crew out of this, Chris…you’ve been through things just as bad…we will survive…

"We’re about to emerge," James stated.

"Prepare to engage the engines at maximum propulsion," Chris ordered. "Bring us out of warp a safe distance from the sun and engage at full impulse and emergency thrusters…let us glide in at high speed from warp."

"Laying in speed pattern…"

The asteroids were quickly becoming sparse. Leaving the asteroid at this angle was quick and easy, as the field seemed to rotate on an axis, giving it a thick disc shape. Directly ahead, almost completely unobstructed now, were the twin stars.

The moments flew by in anxiety for him…he didn’t know if they would survive this or not… But they had to, and that’s all that mattered to him.

"Bridge, torpedo is loaded and ready!"


"Engaging warp drive!"

"Torpedo away!"

All happened so quickly that Chris was almost confused. The stars began streaking by very quickly, a sign of Transwarp velocity. A moment later, they slowed dramatically, and on either side of the view screen were the blinding stars. The view screen immediately filtered out the brightness…but it still seemed to hurt his eyes.

"Receiving data from the nanites," Vendar reported as things on the bridge slowed down for a moment. Everyone knew just what was about to happen. Who knew where the structural integrity field might fail, if the entire ship’s field doesn’t fail!

"Warp one and decelerating," James said. "We’ll reach the approximate center in less than a minute."

"Gravitational stress is dramatically increasing!" Vender shouted, fear entering her voice. "Structural integrity is beginning to lose power!"

"Keep the field up at all costs," Tom ordered. "And the shields." Fear was also entering his voice.

"Sir…the Kiklar vessel has stopped outside of the gravitational fields," Ada reported in shock.

Chris was surprised…but pleased. They could hide here after all…

However…his moment of pleasure was soon squashed as the ship began to shudder violently. His chair began to rattle…and he noted with annoyance that it often did that when something bad was about to happen. It seemed like it was always a warning to him...

"The gravitational field around the Dragon is fluctuating rapidly," Vendar stated with increasing fear. "Some parts will spike, then the field will vanish in the part. It’s going to be difficult to maintain a stable field."

"You can do it, Vendar," Chris commented quietly, just loud enough for her to hear. Her hands were working across the console furiously, trying to keep the field from collapsing all together.

"Thirty seconds until we reach the calm!"

"Keep it steady, James…"

Chris brought up a countdown on his console, waiting to give the order. He knew the maneuvering capabilities of the Dragon…he knew just how fast it could stop. James probably did too…but it would help to have someone give him an order to stop. He’d not panic and do it too soon or too late.

"On my mark…"

Twenty seconds to go. Structural integrity was beginning to fail in some sections by now…if they weren’t, Chris was extremely impressed with Vendar and Kalia.

Suddenly, as the clock reached ten seconds, the ship lurched hard to one side…the familiar feel of a hull breach. However, because of the surrounding gravitational field, the feel that made him sure was gone in an instant as the ship was thrown around inside the field for a moment.

However, that wasn’t the end of it. The sound of hull plating being ripped off of the hull was clanging through the bulkheads of the ship. As other sections of the ship began to decompress, the ship continued to lurch…but somehow, James kept them on a rough course for the center.






"Now!! Full reverse, all stop!!"

The command had already been programmed in…James simply hid the activation key, and in that second, Chris’s life flashed before his eyes. His first day in grammar school…that bully Bolian who beat him up…and who he later did the same to…Meeting Sarah for the first time…

Sarah…I promised I’d go on living…and so I shall…

That last thought had come out when all of the shuddering and shaking ceased. Everything became quiet…peaceful…serene. Everyone stared at the view screen, even though sensors had been slightly overloaded, causing a large amount of static to play across it.

It was very nice to hear the quiet after the storm…

…Then Chris moved. His chair broke the silence with an annoying screech, startling everyone.

They all jumped and looked at him, but he simply ignored them. "Report…"

"We made it," James stated the obvious. "Dead center…"

Tom sighed and shook his head. "Must you use the term ‘dead’ after our little brush against it?"

Talk about an old school joke, Tom…and I thought I was bad!

"Deck’s twenty through twenty-four have several hull breaches," Vendar added to the report, her voice shaken. "One rather large section on deck twenty two. At least twenty-two people missing…presumed dead. Injuries are still being reported."

Twenty two dead…and who knows how many more will die…all because of one ship, one enemy…

"I want everyone to concentrate on repairs and finding a weakness!" he stated, standing up and moving towards his ready room. As he approached the door, he realized something. There aren’t any filters in my ready room…it’s probably rather bright in there…

"Submit all that you find to Tom," he added has he changed course and entered the turbolift. "You have the bridge, Commander."



"Ten cc’s now!" Commander Kara Trieal ordered Lieutenant Lisa Ogowa. "We can’t dwell on him…sorry Collin."

His hand holding a rather bruised forehead, Crewman Collin nodded his head, his Bajoran earring moving to the force of the gravity plates. "I understand…it’s just a minor concussion, don’t worry."

She didn’t even smile at him…she didn’t have time. She moved to the next bio bed, bumping into a few nurses as she did so. Sickbay was in absolute chaos. Two sickbays had already been opened on holodecks…and more may very well be needed.

Lieutenant Vicki Allison was her next patient…and her injures were much more severe. She had just been transported from engineering…and the piece of glass stuck in her right shoulder told Kara that she had her work cut out for her…

She immediately passed her tricorder ‘wand’ over the wound, and noted, as she expected, that the glass had punctured much of her shoulder bones…and it was at such an angle that it sliced into one of her major arteries. In fact, the glass was the only thing stopping her from bleeding to death.

She stopped the LMH as it passed by and pointed to Vicki. "I need you to replicate ten thousand nanites and program them to dissolve the metal while reconstructing her artery," she told the hologram.

"I have other patients that can be attended to more immediately," it said in its British accent.

Not wanting to lose Vicki, one of her…acquaintances, Kara glared at the LMH. "Doctor, you’re the only one around here who can do the job at least twice as fast as any other. So just do it!"

He looked at her for a moment, then nodded his head and headed for the medical replicator. She shook her head and moved on to the next patient. Meylar Palzen. Great…Kalia’s down in engineering without her two best engineers…

She sighed and shook her head as she began waving her tricorder wand over him, locating the problem in his spleen immediately…

"Sub-dermal regenerator," she ordered, putting out a waiting hand. "This is going to be one of those days…"



"Come!" Chris commanded in response to the door chime. He turned around in his couch as the doors opened. As he had requested and expected, it was Kyle. "Please, come in, Kyle."

He nodded, his pure-black uniform making him almost blend in. Chris liked to keep his quarters dark when he was reviewing tactical data…it somehow set his mind in the right mood. Kyle’s communicator and Lightsaber were the only two pieces of decoration on him…showing that he was, indeed, a Jedi, as Chris had learned.

He came in and, before Chris could ask him to, sat down. That’s the disturbing thing about you Jedi…you’re just like Betazoids, you read our minds.

"Don’t worry," Kyle replied. "I sense you’re worried, but we can’t read your minds, only your emotions, intentions, and the like."

Wryly, Chris said, "Well that’s comforting."

Changing the subject immediately, Kyle asked, "You wished to see me, Captain?"

"I did, indeed," Chris replied, setting down his data PADD and sitting up. "I need to know more about the Kiklar…or the Vratix, as you call them."

Kyle first frowned, then raised his eyebrows and shrugged. "There’s not much more to tell you, I know very little about them." He then frowned. "There is one peculiar thing I don’t get…why they would suddenly turn violent like this. The Vratix avoided violence and technology. Why they would now be the way they are…I don’t know. But I do know that several Millennia often is time enough for drastic changes."

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