"So they did just that, on a remote, abandoned planet on the outskirts of the Galaxy. They formed together, asked many other species to help them. In the end…they had formed a force just as powerful as the Kiklar."

Sighing as he recalled a story he had probably heard and recalled often, he continued. "So both our cultures continued to evolve over the millennium, neither becoming better than the other…which kept the Kiklar at bay for the most part. Not too long ago…but before my great grand parents were even born, they somehow came up with a great advantage over us, and humiliated us. They took over the galaxy again, but didn’t have the resources to destroy everything…so they ruled through fear, not allowing any species to evolve and gain technology that might one day hurt them.

"Eventually, we recovered and found out how to counter-act their technology…but we were too late. Now, all that is left is this station and about fifty vessels…"

It was disturbing, to say the least…but Chris had somehow imagined their story would have been something around these lines. Since he did expect it…it wasn’t nearly as devastating to him as it should have been.

"I’m curious," Chris said after a few moments of silence. "Why were you so ecstatic to see the Dragon and my crew?"

Ruland smiled at this question. "A couple of reasons," he said in a near-giddy tone of voice. "First and foremost, I’m meeting someone who is a legend over a millennium old. Basically…a living legend…legends, for that matter," he exclaimed, looking at Tom, Vendar…and then finally at Kyle. "And most importantly, history recalls that a single Jedi accompanied the Dragon crew back to the future."

Chris frowned questioningly as curiosity shot up in him. "I know the Jedi are special…but why is this lone Jedi so important to you?"

"Well, that entitles another short story," Ruland replied. "You see…our new shield technology which we developed a while back makes our ships impervious to Kiklar weaponry." Chris’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. "However, they still can somehow transport through our shields. In essence…every time we encounter them, we are forced to engage them in hand-to-hand combat."

Realization quickly dawned on Chris when he heard that. "As I’m sure you know, through one method or another, that engaging the Kiklar in hand-to-hand…"

"…Is basically suicide," Chris finished for him. "Yes, Kyle here has told us this…"

"Right," Ruland said. "We’ve been barely holding our own since then… It wouldn’t be so bad, but…you see, centuries ago…well, a long time ago, the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy…died…"

And realization yet again hit Chris. "And when you found out that the Dragon, with its single Jedi was here…your only hope for salvation appeared."

He smiled and nodded approvingly.

Out of the corner of his eye, Chris could see realization also dawn on Kyle. "And that’s why the Force compelled me to join the Dragon crew…it knew this would happen, and knew I was its only salvation…"

Everyone was silent when he said that. Chris laughed in his mind about the whole situation, realizing that this is yet more proof that this…mystical Force, in one form or another, exists. Religious fanatics from the past would be furious to learn of this fact, he thought, amused at the prospect.

"I know it is probably asking a lot of you all…but I would ask that Kyle remain here," Ruland said slowly, realizing from Vendar’s face that at least a few people had grown attached to Kyle.

Kyle hesitated for a moment, taking a big swallow. Not only had people grown close to him…he had grown close to them… Then…as Chris expected, he said, "It is the will of the Force that I do so…therefore, I shall stay."

Everyone was looking at him now…but he simply stared at Ruland. He no doubt knew what everyone was feeling about this now…

Even Chris, who barely had the chance to get to know him, would greatly miss him. Sure, he hadn’t actively done much for the crew, except for Vendar…but his presence was always a comfort…

"I know that any Jedi of the past might say that, as it is the will of the Force, no compensation should be required," Ruland said, now speaking to Chris. "But I think we can help you in return…we would have helped you any way!"

Chris immediately became intrigued. He had a feeling it was going to be something that dealt with the Kiklar…after all, that was the current situation that the crew had to face now…and had faced for the past two months.

"The New Republic managed to sneak away with information about how you arrived in this galaxy," Ruland started, catching Chris off guard. "Ever since then, they began studying and experimenting with subspace…and a long time ago…we figured out how to get your ship back to your galaxy."

The statement was blunt, to say the least…which meant it took a while for it to actually register with Chris. When it did, hope suddenly shot up in him. "You…you did?!"

Ruland smiled at his reaction. "Yes, we did…and it is still stored in our memory banks, right along side the record of the short battle against the Borg."

His lips stretched into a smile so wide he thought that the edges of his lips were touching his ears. Home?! The very prospect was something he had stopped considering for…well, a while now. He kept the public face to his crew that, one day, they would indeed make it home…but he had long ago accepted that they probably never would…not in his life time…

But here was this man, who was supposedly the leader of the remaining humans in the Kalium galaxy, but looked like a…a grease monkey…here he was offering them a ticket home. A genuine ticket, with only one price to pay…a price they would have to pay whether they wanted to take him up on the offer or not…

He and Tom looked at each other at the same time, a huge smile plastered across their faces. They both knew it was time…time to leave this galaxy behind…time to go home…



The expressions on everyone’s face shot up in surprise the moment Chris told them. They all looked at each other, then back at him. "You mean…we’re going home?!" Kara asked in a very hopeful voice.

Chris smiled and nodded. "Yes…they have discovered a way of precisely reproducing the circumstances under which our warp field was created. All we have to do is travel to the exact coordinates we arrived at, compensate for galactic drift, reverse our course precisely…and engage the device they are about to hand over to us."

He looked into everyone’s eyes as they stared back at him in awe. It was shocking news, to say the least. Everyone was so accustomed to living with the idea of never seeing home again. Now, he was telling them they would see home…and very soon at that.

"James, how long would it take us to get to our original entry coordinates at maximum velocity?" Chris asked, trying to give a time frame to his crew.

James immediately activated his panel, brought up a navigation chart, and plotted the course. "At a sustained velocity of warp nineteen point nine…it would take us roughly a day to get there."

Chris nodded his head… "Then within the next forty eight hours, we should be home…"

Lieutenant Terry Latrael, in all his wisdom and insight, frowned at Chris. "There’s some other matter you wish to bring up," he said…and it wasn’t a question.

Chris smiled at him and nodded. "Indeed, there is. You see, we’re about to leave this galaxy…and who knows when, even if, we’ll come back. I would ask the permission of the crew…to first set course for Neo Risa."

He didn’t even have to explain himself. Everyone showed immediate recognition of the planet…not for their adventure on it a year and a half ago…but because that was where Sarah’s grave was.

Vendar immediately spoke up. "Sir, I know I speak for everyone when I say that we have no problem with that what so ever." Everyone nodded in agreement, bringing a smile across his face.

"It’s been a long, eventful…and sad three years," he said slowly, quietly. "We’ve all endured so much…but all of that has brought us together. And together…we will make it home. Three years ago I promised this crew we would make it…and here we are…ready to make the leap…

"Now…let’s go home."

With that, everyone nodded and stood up. Everyone but Chris. He simply sat there, staring at the black tabletop. Once everyone was gone, he stood up and walked over to the large windows. He stared out into the blackness of space…and then he looked at the large station they were in. They were actually encompassed by the station’s cloaking field…which gave them a nearly unobstructed view of the station itself.

His thoughts wandered back to Sarah… He was actually leaving her. Somehow, he had expected that, someday…he would get her back. Now, he was seemingly abandoning all hope of ever getting her back.

He was now forced to walk the road home…alone. At this thought, an old song came to mind. He smiled as the words to Lonesome Road rang through his mind…it was a favorite of his and Sarah’s during their days at the Academy, one they would often sing in the Academy choir.

That was precisely what Chris needed to do now. He must walk down that Lonesome Road…all by his self…

He shook his head, then turned around…only to find Vendar standing there. They smiled at each other, then she simply turned around and left. He shook his head, realizing she probably was in here…thinking the same thing he was…



They stood in the transporter room alone, with no one else around. Vendar smiled at Kyle as they parted from their hug. "I’m going to miss you, Kyle."

He nodded. "I wish I could have completed your training…but above all, I wish we could have stayed together. Destiny has shown us another path."

She shook her head, still a little angry. "If I had known that the Force was so all-governing…if I had known it would do this…I would have never…"

He shook his head in turn and put his hand on her shoulder. It felt heavy…but she didn’t want him to let go. She wanted that hand to stay there forever. "You would have done so any way…and you know it."

She showed him how annoyed she was with a simple facial expression. "You’re probably right."

He used his other hand to tilt her head up so that he could look into her eyes. "You’ve been a wonderful apprentice…you’ve learned faster than I ever could…

"…And you’ve been a wonderful friend."

"As have you," she choked out. Tears were streaming down her eyes. In the past two months…he had been the best friend she ever had. It was something she had never encountered before. She’d never formed a friendship as fast as the one between the two of them had formed…at least, not one as close as this one had been.

And now…she was losing that friend…possibly forever…

He embraced her in another long hug…one that seemed to last only a few short seconds…despite the fact that she knew it lasted longer than that. She wanted it to last forever…she never wanted to let go…

"I’ll see you around," he whispered…both knowing that was not true…

They pulled away slowly, holding onto their shoulders…then arms…then hands…

…And then they finally broke contact. Kyle immediately turned around and stepped up onto the transporter pad. Vendar also looked away and moved up to the console.

They looked at each other one last time…

…Before she engaged the transporter. He dissolved into nothing but thin air…but Vendar still stared after him.

Good bye…and good luck…

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