Chris nodded his head in agreement, knowing that fact all too well. "Well…I just hope what you have told me is enough…" He then looked at Kyle and nodded again. "Thank you."

He nodded, and looked like he knew it was his cue to leave…but he didn’t move. "Is there something else?"

He didn’t even hesitate. He simply nodded and said, "Yes. It’s about Lieutenant Commander Perkins."

Chris frowned, then said, "Go on."

At this point, Kyle did hesitate…for a split second. "She has great potential…and if my dreams are correct, I am, right now, the only Jedi left in existence in the entire universe. Assuming she agrees to my request…I would like to begin training her as soon as possible."

Chris’s eyes went wide when he heard this…but he had known for two months that the time would come. The moment they found out she was gifted…

"How will this interfere with her duties on the ship?" he asked.

Kyle shook his head. "It shouldn’t…or at least, not much at all. In fact, it should help improve her performance."

Chris closed his eyes, heavily considering this. Would it limit her duties, or expand them? You learned from Luke Skywalker to trust the Force and the Jedi…so do so!

He sighed and nodded his head. "Very well…but do not force it onto her."

Kyle gave a simple nod. "Of course. There is no other way. The decision was and always will be hers to make."

"Good," Chris replied, worried about her decision. He hoped that, whatever choice she made…it would be the right one. "Dismissed."

Kyle nodded yet again, then stood up and left Chris alone in his dark quarters. He stared out at the starfield…or at least, where it would have been. Good thing Sarah had put up drapes before…

He didn’t finish the thought, and instead picked up the PADD and began reviewing the nanites’ sensor data again…



"Cortical stimulator!" Kara ordered sharply, moving to the console next to the patient’s bio bed. Lisa quickly grabbed one from a tray and placed it on the patient’s neck. The Bolian’s brain activity was dropping slowly now…but it was almost zero, enough to be considered brain dead. They needed to revive him, and quickly.

Once the stimulator was in place, she set the energy level and activated it. Brain activity on the sensor display spiked for a moment…but then dropped back to its previous level…and was dropping faster!

"Dammit!" She increased the energy level to almost double and activated it yet again. This time, brain activity shot back up to normal levels and seemed to stabilize. She began to sigh in relief...then noted with horror as activity dropped to absolute zero. That shouldn’t have happened…

She activated it again…but the only activity the readout displayed was the current traveling through his system. The blue seemed to drain from the Bolian’s skin as all of his vital functions stopped at once. A long, high-pitched…seemingly sad tone filled everyone’s ears.

She closed her eyes and let her head sink, gripping the console in a death grip of frustration. She then immediately looked up and looked around…only to find no other patients left to be treated. That had been her last patient…and she had let him die…

"Log the time," she ordered, moving next to the bed and covering the Bolian’s face. "Ensign Marnis…eighteen hundred forty seven hours."

She stared at the covered face a moment, realizing that she had let yet another life slip through her fingers…another soul. She had lost too many…

She sighed and clenched her fists, the frustration building. After a few moments, she moved away, heading for her office for peace and quiet. After a day like today…she needed to relax…and as expected, Lisa was following her, a faithful nurse and a faithful friend.

As usual, Kara replicated a cup of coffee for herself and nothing for Lisa…for she never seemed to drink anything. Propping her legs up after she sat down, Kara literally let herself melt into her chair…

"Sometimes being a medical officer can be the worst thing in the universe," she commented bitterly.

A morbid look on her face, Lisa nodded in agreement. "Sometimes…having to watch so many people die makes me want to quit being a medical officer."

"Feelings mutual…"

They both stared at the desk for several minutes after that was said. Kara knew that Lisa was no doubt thinking something around the lines that she was. Remembering all who had been lost…

So many lives…well over six hundred have died in the past three years…most of them in the Vorkalai war, but many also in the past year and a half… She closed her eyes in pain, realizing how much she missed home.

When that thought hit her, she found herself surprised. It had been so long since she had thought about home. She had come to think of the Dragon itself as her home…but she wanted her real home…she wanted her real family. The sense of family Chris had provided for the entire crew had helped them through difficult times…the past three years, specifically…but that wasn’t enough any more. Surviving from day to day, red alert called in spurts…it wasn’t really what she wanted any more. She missed everything from the Milky Way…

Most importantly, she missed her husband and daughter. She realized that, if they didn’t travel through time when they first arrived in this galaxy…her daughter would be in middle school by now.

"Lisa…have you thought much about home recently?" she asked, curious.

Lisa frowned and nodded. "Yes…as a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately."

Kara smiled and shook her head as she guessed why people were starting to think about home. Up until today…things had been very quiet. Their minds had nothing to occupy them. It was no wonder that everyone started to think of home.

"I miss Rick the most," Kara commented quietly. Her smile widened as she added, "When we first met, he swept me right off of my feet…and he never set me back down…"

She looked at Lisa as she realized something. "I never asked you, but are you married?"

Lisa shook her head in reply. "No…though I think the man I was with was hoping to become my husband."

Curious, she asked, "Who was he?"

"Rhojean…Rhojean Tolin," she said, saying his name with a lot of affection. "He’s a Betazoid painter who lives on the Federation colony at Vorin Three."

Kara raised her eyes and asked in surprise, "A painter? I’ve never known a painter."

She shrugged in reply. "I’ve known him since I joined Starfleet Academy. Well actually just before. The transport that was taking me to Earth stopped there for two days, where he and I met and became fast friends. Then, over the four-year period I spent at the Academy, and the subsequent two years I spent at the medical Academy…he and I fell in love…mostly over subspace communication, too. We met at least once a year, though…"

Kara smiled at Lisa’s story of her love life. It was amazing…two people who were on almost opposite parts of Federation space…yet they both managed to fall in love…

"I remember when Val and I first met," Kara said. "It was my first day at Zephram Cochrane high school, in England. He was a junior at the school, and the first thing he did was introduce himself to me…and then he showed me around the school…" She let out a small laugh. "I only went to two of my classes that day because of him…and my teachers were absolutely furious. But I didn’t care…I thought it was worth it. He…swept me off my feet that day…"

"Sounds like he was a real lady’s man during high school," Lisa commented jokingly.

Kara nodded in fierce agreement. "Oh yeah, you better believe he was…until I showed up." She frowned when she thought of that. "I don’t know why he immediately chose me…but he stopped hitting on all of the women the moment he and I met…"

Indeed, that was the truth. Her second day at the school, many people kept telling her that he was a lady’s man, and that she was only a current interest that wouldn’t last long. So Kara simply decided to wait to see if it was true or not…and here she was now, thirty six years old…and she didn’t even wait any more, knowing he would never do what they warned that he would do…

"Senior officers report to the briefing room," Chris’s voice suddenly interrupted her thoughts.

She sighed and shook her head in response. She didn’t want to get up…

She looked at Lisa and smiled warmly. "Thanks for talking."

Lisa shrugged the thank you off. "That’s what I’m here for, Doctor."

Kara stood up and headed for the door. As she left, she ordered, "Get some rest…we’ll probably all need it."



As the last of the senior officers settled in, Vendar decided to take a few minutes think about Kyle’s offer. She hadn’t had much of a chance to consider it yet…

Obviously, the most tantalizing part of his offer to train her was the fact that she could regain control…regain control of herself and her life. Furthermore, she would gain the ability to use the seemingly infinite powers of the Force. That itself would allow her to help the crew immensely during difficult situations.

The downside, however…was that training would take a long time…and a lot of effort. Would it really not affect her performance on the bridge, or would her mind become distracted after each lesson?

Not to mention the fact that Kyle once mentioned how much he, himself changed when he became a student. He gained more control…but he also lost some of the traits he had before, traits he claims he’s glad to have lost. The fact of the matter is…losing those traits completely redefined who he was. Vendar wasn’t looking to be redefined…she liked who she was, and that’s what she wanted to regain.

There were many pros…many cons…she had to decide if the pros out-weighed the cons. Then again…for the past two years she’s had to deal with the effects of the Devil’s Virus. She had a choice now: continue dealing with the after effects…or learn to control, suppress…maybe even destroy those after effects.

"Kalia, how are the shield modifications coming along?" Chris asked, interrupting her thoughts and unofficially starting the briefing.

Kalia thought about the question for a moment, then replied, "The modifications need another half an hour…at least."

Chris then looked to Kara. "Can we hold out that long?"

Kara nodded her head. "With the shields and some of the compounds I’ve slipped into the air…we should be able to last another two hours. Five if I distribute a few hyposprays."

"We better not stay too long," Ada suddenly pitched in. "We didn’t even scratch the hull on that ship out there. They are most likely calling for reinforcements right now."

Chris nodded his head. "I agree. However, getting out of here with a hull breach the size of four runabouts isn’t going to be easy. Suggestions on maintaining hull integrity?"

Vendar had had plenty of time to think about this question. "We might try converting forcefield generators to metaphasic and applying them to both sides of the damaged hull," she suggested. "Assuming we can convert forcefields to metaphasic, gravitational stresses on the damaged hull would be reduced to at least a hundredth of their intensity…making the hull impervious to the gravity flux between our hideout and space."

"Can it be done, Kalia?" Chris asked, hopeful.

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