She narrowed her eyes, then nodded slowly. "I believe so…and if I’m right, it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes to make the modifications."

"Very good," he said, nodding in approval.

"Now that we know how to get out," Tom said, "what do we do once we are out?"

"The shield modifications Kalia is making should be enough to deflect a few blows from the Kiklar vessel," Chris replied. "However, because of the sheer power that’s in those energy beams, our shields could only withstand a few of those blows. Now the nanites we put on their hull has told us some…interesting facts. Hitting their hull with outside pressure won’t help us at all. They could sit in the precise center of a neutron star and, assuming gravitational stresses never pull on their hull, they would be impervious."

"In other words, we have to find something that will pull their hull out," Ada stated.

"Yes," Chris replied. "Obviously, a tractor beam would be ideal…however, getting close enough to actually use the tractor beam, without having a few hundred holes punched through us…yeah…"

"So what we have to do is modify our weapons to somehow pull their hull," Vendar stated the obvious.

"Can we reverse the polarity on our phasers?" Chris asked.

Ada’s eyes went wide as she shook her head furiously. "Hell no. We do that, we’d cause a power feedback in every fusion generator, destroying all of them…as well as half the ship."

The room went silent after that…but Vendar’s mind didn’t. She had an idea…

"What if we tuned our phasers to the opposite frequency of their structural integrity field?" she suggested.

Ada frowned for a moment, then nodded her head. "That could work…the nanites didn’t report any fluctuation in their field. Since we know this ship’s frequency…it could very well work."

"Tune all weapons to the proper frequency," Chris ordered, standing up. "You all know what you have to do…let’s get to work. Dismissed."



Chris sat down in the Command Chair, eager to get things started…yet fearful. Now was the time, however…

"Saturation of the warp nacelles is complete," Kalia reported from engineering.

"Prepare to engage a burst of warp power," Chris ordered. "As soon as that’s done, engage impulse engines at full."

"Metaphasic forcefields are holding," Vendar reported from Ops. "Hull integrity…except for that section, is at one hundred percent."

"Divert all available power to structural integrity and shields…" He hesitated for a moment. This next order could kill them…but staying here would do the same. Better to face the Devil in the eye than to die in fear. "…And engage!"

With that, the ever-blinding light of the twin stars was behind them, and they were quickly moving away from their safe spot. They were off to face the Devil himself…

"Warp three and decelerating fast," James reported calmly. The bridge was like the calm before the storm…everyone was quiet, anxious, awaiting to see if their choice would destroy them or not.

A thought passed through Chris’s mind. He noticed that if they had stayed behind, they would have lost their entire crew. Chances are, leaving their temporary safe spot would mean losing a few crewmembers. Chris hated to admit it, but he knew that more were going to be lost in the battle ahead…

The fact that stood out the most was how much this very situation was one captains of Greek ships faced in Greek mythology. Scylla and Charybdis…that was their names. Two monsters who lived in the sea, on either side of a passage through the water. If a ship strayed too close to Scylla, it would lose part of its crew. However…if the ship strayed too close to Charybdis…the entire ship would be destroyed.

This very same myth appeared to Chris. Although it wasn’t precisely a matter of choosing between two course headings…it was a matter of choosing to meet Charybdis, the twin neutron stars…or Scylla, the Kiklar vessel.

That analogy, of course, is tentative, he thought to himself. It will only hold true of we survive the battle ahead…

Breaking the silence was a rather large sigh from James. "We made it out of the dangerous area," he stated in relief.

"And now the beast…"

Right on cue, a sensor alarm sounded on Vendar’s console. "The Kiklar vessel has just dropped out of…something to our starboard bow!"

"Evasive maneuvers!" Tom ordered quickly.

"Target their weapons and fire!" Chris added.

Vendar quickly turned around and stated, "No! Their weapons are crystalline-based. There’s no telling how energy weapons, or even our torpedoes, will react. If their crystals can transmit energy…"

"Point taken," Chris conceded, nodding to her in thanks. "That being the case, fire just below the base of their weapons…and let’s see if we can knock out their weapons’ power sources."

"Re-targeting," Ada confirmed.

The familiar energy beams from the ship began lancing out at the Dragon…again, only from its primary, large crystal-based weapon. None of the little crystals ever fired. They must think we will still be no match for them…and that arrogance is our advantage…

After a few maneuvers on James’s part, and the resulting missed shot of the Kiklar, Chris ordered, "Fire!"

With that order, crimson beams and both Photon and Quantum torpedoes streaked away from the Dragon, all impacting on various parts of the Kiklar vessel…and causing visible damage!

The bridge crew let out a loud cheer when they saw this, but then immediately went silent as they went to work to keep the ship in one piece long enough to win the battle.

"Captain, their sensor shields just dropped!" Ada stated. "I’m getting clear readings from their ship!"

"Log as much data as you can in our computer!" Chris ordered. "Continue firing, disable those weapons as fast as you can!"

Suddenly, without warning…James’s maneuvers failed to successfully evade the Kiklar. One of their secondary energy weapons fired and hit the Dragon’s shields with room to spare. The ship lurched to starboard, throwing everyone to the side and to the ground.

He tried to get up, but the wind had been knocked out of him, so he stayed there for a few moments, trying to breathe. A pair of hands pulled him up and stood him to the Command Chair.

Tom sat down next to him and began working on his console again. "Shields down to fifty two percent," Ada stated. "But their attack has just ended. Their weapons have been disabled."

Chris was quiet for a moment longer, trying to catch his breath. Finally, he ordered, in what he hoped was a confident tone, "James, move us in closer. Vendar, use bursts from our tractor beam to disable all of their propulsion."

The Kiklar ship didn’t have a chance to escape. The Dragon quickly swooped in, then slowed as it came very close to it. A blue-colored tractor beam shot out for a moment and impacted on the brightly glowing starboard sub-light engine. It exploded instantly, causing the Dragon to rock slightly. Another one quickly shot out and did the same to the other.

The Dragon maneuvered up and above the Kiklar vessel some, allowing Vendar an easy target with the field propulsion emitters. The bright blue ‘texture’ of the field emitters was moving very slowly, a sign of inactivity. The starboard one was immediately engulfed in a blue tractor beam, causing it to explode…only this explosion was much bigger than the last, hitting the Dragon hard and nearly throwing Chris out of his seat again.

"Shields are down!" Ada reported. "I’m reading power build-ups in what I think are their primary reactors."

"Sir, their primary power is about to breach!" Vendar concluded.

"Helm, set a course out of Kiklar space, maximum warp!"

The controls were no doubt sluggish, causing the Dragon to slowly turn only a few degrees to port. Finally, the stars exploded into streaks of rainbow-colored light. A moment later, the Kiklar vessel exploded in a huge cascade of released energy. The particles that weren’t vaporized shot out as streaks themselves, molten material glowing orange in the cold of space…

Chris slumped back into his chair and let out a huge sigh of relief. "We did it…" he commented quietly.

He noted something very unusual. Usually, the crew would shout in glee when they defeated a difficult enemy. However, they remained silent as the bulkheads turned from red to yellow, signifying that there was no immediate danger of battle.

They all knew precisely what he knew. It wasn’t over yet. They had destroyed a Kiklar vessel…the Kiklar would want revenge. Before, they ignored the Dragon…they never bothered to search it out. Now, however…they would be searching for the Dragon.

It was going to be a rough ride…and the part that made it most frightening was the fact that there was no one who could help them now…

…They were alone…



Kyle slowly opened his eyes in response to the door chime. He didn’t even have to use his senses to know that it was Vendar…

"Come in, please," he said quietly.

The doors to his quarters slid open with a hiss to reveal that he had been correct. She slowly moved in when she saw that he was in a meditation position. "I’m sorry, am I interrupting?" she asked.

He smiled and shook his head. "No, not at all. I was just about to start…would you like to join me?"

She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at him. "If we’re really going to be working together now…you need to stop reading my mind."

He smiled and shrugged. "It isn’t necessarily reading your intentions…it’s the will of the Force."

"I see…"

"Please, sit down," he said, motioning to the floor in front of him. She hesitated for a moment, then moved in front of him and sat down cross-legged, just as he was.

"Close your eyes," he said. When she complied, he started. "The first thing we must do is make you aware of the Force. You must learn to feel and see things through it. Don’t trust your physical senses…they can deceive you. Try to use your senses to ‘see’ through your eyelids…"

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