written by Travis Cannon

Captain's log: After our stop to help the Vincent, we have finally arrived at Tulop, to pick up Ambassador Mul La to transport him to Andres Rae for a conference between all of the representatives of the United Federation of Planets.

“Computer, end log.”

There was a beep and the log closed.

Kelsoe turned around in his chair to face the window in his ready room. He looked out and saw the planet of Tulop. The planet had a gas covered atmosphere and looked more like a gas planet. This was caused because there was a build up of an unknown gaseous element that was neither poisonous or helpfulness to the inhabitants of Tulop. Kelsoe found this amazing. The fact that people could live under a layer of gas that hardly aloud any sunlight in it at all.

Right now, Kelsoe was waiting for the shuttle to return with Ambassador. Burt, Commander Tuff and Ensign Tracy Carson were sent down to pick up the Ambassador, and welcome him on behalf of the entire ship. This was the biggest assignment that the Pioneer had ever been given, because there was a catch; the So'ja Rebellion may try and prevent the Ambassador from getting to Andres Rae.

The intercom beeped.

“Captain to the bridge,” came Craig's voice.

Kelsoe tapped his communicator.

“Acknowledged,” Kelsoe said.

He stood up and walked out of his ready room into the bridge. The atmosphere in the bridge was stressful, at least with everyone except Braxis, who was calm as a clam. Kelsoe walked down into the center of the bridge.

“What is it, Lieutenant Craig?” Kelsoe asked.

“The shuttle's returning to the surface,” Craig said, standing behind his station.

Kelsoe turned to Braxis.

“Have you had enough time to analyze the gaseous layer?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I have taken enough readers of the layer of gas to extract data, yes,” Braxis said.

“Very well,” Kelsoe said sitting down in his chair. “Open a channel with the shuttle.”

“Yes, Captain,” Craig said. “Channel opened.”

“This is Captain Kelsoe to the shuttle craft, do you read?” Kelsoe said.

The view screen flashed to Burt and Tuff at the helm of a darkened shuttle craft.

“Yes, Captain,” Burt said.

“Has your power malfunctioned?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Uh, no, Captain,” Burt said. “Look, I think there was something that Starfleet forgot to tell us.”

“What's that, Connor?” Kelsoe asked.

“We've got to dim all the ship's light, Captain,” Tuff said. “The Tulop hate light.”

“Hate light?” Craig said.

“Yeah,” Burt said. “Even worse than the Velosians.”

“Okay,” Kelsoe said. “Much needed information received. Pioneer out.”

The screen switched back to showing the planet of Tulop. Kelsoe turned to Craig.

“Ship wide announcement, Lieutenant Craig,” Kelsoe said.

“Aye, Captain,” Craig said, there were a few beeps from Craig's station, then he looked up and nodded. “You're on.”

“This Captain Kelsoe,” Kelsoe said. “We've just gotten news for our shuttle craft. It seems that the Federation did not tell us everything about our visitor. The Tulop do not like light, therefore we must dim all lights on the ship. This might be hard to deal with, we will all have to work, eat and sleep in dim lighting. If you require any assistance, please feel free to go to sickbay. Kelsoe out.”

The internal speakers went down with a beep. Kelsoe turned to Craig.

“Make it so, Lieutenant,” Kelsoe said.

“Yes, sir,” Craig said and pressed two buttons.

Immediately all the lights, all over the ship lowered their intensity to twilight light.

“Eternal darkness for five days,” Kelsoe said. “Well at least well be conserving energy.”

The ship was almost pitched black. Kelsoe stood outside the entrance to shuttle bay three. Braxis stood right next to Kelsoe. He felt really tense for some reason that he could not understand. Both Kelsoe and Braxis were dressed in the Federation formal dress wear. Burt, Tuff and Carson had already had to dress up, because they were the ones going down to met with Ambassador Mul La.

“It seems silly to be in these in such darkness,” Kelsoe said to Braxis.

“It is standard Starfleet procure to wear the formal dress uniform when greeting an Ambassador from a planet that is joining the Federation,” Braxis said.

“Where's the greeting troop?” Kelsoe inquired.

Suddenly Lt. Commander Joanna Withrome, Lt. Craig and the rest of the greeting troop arrived, all wearing their formal dress uniforms. They lined up so that they created a passage to the rear of the entrance hall. Kelsoe walked down the line towards the end of the hall. Braxis followed closely behind him.

“Now I know that Ambassador Mul La going to look really strange, because his skin is pitch black,” Kelsoe said. “But I would very much like it if all do not act shocked when you see him. Please, do not stare! The Tulop regard staring as a personal insult. If he makes eye contact with, do not break the eye contact first, allow him to. Do you all understand?”

“Yes, Captain,” the greeting troop said.

“Good,” Kelsoe said as he took his position at the end of the hall.

“Captain,” Craig said. “They're here.”

“Very well,” Kelsoe said, straightening his formal uniform one more time. “Open the door.”

The double doors of the shuttle bay and one of the crewmen blew the salute whistle. The greeting troop straighten their backs. Out from the depths of the shadows came a large intimidating figure entered the room. Kelsoe shook his head. He seemed to be seeing everything in a blur. Perched on top of the dark figure appeared to be arching wings, but these wings seemed to be bone and skin, kind of bat like. The figure seemed to arch back and forth as it walked out towards Kelsoe. And then Kelsoe saw the eyes. Pure white, staring straight into his. He must not break the eyes contact, if so, he would deeply offend Ambassador Mul La. Mul La reached Kelsoe in a matter of strides. Burt, Tuff and Tracy emerged from behind the Ambassador from the doorway, their eyes were wide with terror. The Tulop is certainly one of the most fierce looking aliens ever to enter the Federation.

Mul La seemed almost eight or nine feet tall. Mul La bent his head and looked down at Kelsoe. He still had not broken eye contact with Kelsoe. Kelsoe started to shake. He had to blink soon, but he could not. Mul La opened his mouth. It was wide and filled with pear white razor teeth.

“You need not worry about our silly customs,” Mul La said in a deep booming voice. “Except the light, please.” Mul La chuckled deeply.

Kelsoe blinked.

“My thanks,” Kelsoe said.

Mul La's tremendous arm swooped over Kelsoe's shoulder. It nearly engulfed Kelsoe's entire top body.

“I have been told of human food,” Mul La said. “I've been waiting a long time to try it.”

“Oh,” Kelsoe said. “Well, if you'll follow me, we have prepared a feast in your honor.”

“I shall enjoy that,” Mul La said and they walked down the dark hall to the formal dining hall.

Burt, Joanna and Tuff sat near the end of the table. They looked up and across the table and Ambassador Mul La, who was seated next to Kelsoe, at the head of the table. Mul La was laughing at the moment. It was a very deep. Burt turned to Joanna.

“He's really scary looking,” Burt said.

“Yeah,” Joanna said. “He looks like a bat.”

“It's the wing things,” Tuff said. “I wonder how he is able to sit down.”

“It's really not that bad, Commander Tuff,” came Mul La's voice.

They all turned and looked up at the head of the table, frightened.

“Yes, I heard everything,” Mul La said. “Oh, but, please don't worry, I am not offended.”

“Then,” Dr. McRoye said. “I'm curious, why do you have those wings?”

“Well, Doctor,” Mul La said. “We used to fly through the air in the darkness and used mental sonar to maneuver through the air.”

“Like a bat?” Burt said.

“Bat?” Mul La inquired.

“It's an animal on our planet that does a similar thing,” Kelsoe said.

“Oh, then, to answer your question Commander Burt, yes,” Mul La said.

“No offense, but why is your eyes white, while your skin is pure black?” Craig inquired.

“We really do not have any sight,” Mul La said. “We see mentally. We still use our mental sonar, if you will. Yet we have evolved to such a high state of mental ability that we are able to generate the images of our mental sonar.”

“It is odd that your people hadn't obtained space travel until now,” Kelsoe said.

Mul La turned and stared blankly at Kelsoe.

“We had neglected space travel,” Mul La explain. “You see, for centuries we believed that we were the supreme beings in the universe. That we had no need to travel in space. We actually thought that Tulop was the center of the universe. There was a time in which we only yearned for philosophy. We would debate for decades about if there was a higher power or not. We even debated about other life in the universe. Then three years ago we met the So'ja. They landed on our planet, claiming that they owned it. We fought back. Resisted their presence and took back the planet. Tulop would be a planet of us. And only for us. So then we knew that we had to obtain space travel, and that we did.”

“You did what took us a two hundred years to do,” Burt said.

“As I said,” Mul La said. “We have a high state of mental ability.”

“Pardon me, but you almost sound like a Vulcan,” Burt said. “But you show emotion.”

Mul La turned and looked at Braxis.

“Your species has achieved a high state of mental ability?” Mul La inquired.

“Yes,” Braxis said. “We have learned that the most logical way to live is with a void of emotion.”

“No emotion?” Mul La said. “How did you ever get the curiosity to explore.”

“We are natural observers,” Braxis said. “Scientists, if you will.”

“I'm sure that their must be some of your kind that so emotion,” Mul La said leaning towards Braxis.

“Sadly we do,” Braxis said. “They have chosen an illogical way of life.  Our two species separated a long time ago. And have become a very violent and emotional charged species.”

“The Romulans,” Kelsoe said. “They are not  friendly with the Federation as their cousins, the Vulcans, are.”

“That is a pity,” Mul La said.

Then suddenly Mul La turned sharply to Tracy.

“I know what you're thinking, Ensign Carson,” Mul La said. “You are wondering why I have chosen to travel to the conference on a Federation ship, alone, instead of using one of my own vessels.”

Everyone looked at Tracy. She nodded.

“That's exactly what I was thinking,” Tracy said, hesitantly. “How'd you know?”

“High mental abilities,” Mul La said. “And to answer you pondering; We are joining the Federation. I was very much interested in finding out what type of crews that Starfleet has. And see what type of technology we would be receiving. I would like the report that I am pleased with what I see. Tulop will join the Federation.”

“That is a wise course of action,” Braxis said in a flat voice.

“The Federation will be glade to welcome you into our organization of united planets,” Kelsoe said. “And I am sure that your species will be able to improve the Federation technology.”

“Excuse me, Ambassador,” Joanna said. “I was just wondering, how fast can your ships go?”

“We have reached...,” Mul La paused, calculating it into warp factors, “Warp nineteen, but we are very close to breaking the warp twenty mark.”

“As I said,” Kelsoe said. “Both parties will be benefiting from our union.”

Craig stood behind his station, scanning for any So'ja Rebellion ships. Commander Tuff sat in the center of the bridge. The rest of the night shift crew stood at their stations. Tuff picked up his cup of coffee and sipped it. This was the longest hours of a Starfleet officer's duty. Personally Tuff enjoyed his time on the night shift. There was hardly anything stressful to deal with. But thing seemed a little bet out of place. For one thing, the lights on the bridge were lower than usual. Tuff heard the hiss of the double doors of the turbo-lift open, and he turned around the see who it was. From the darkness Tuff saw the black blur of two high arching wings attached to the large figure of Ambassador Mul La.

Tuff stood up.

“Ambassador, welcome to the bridge,” Tuff said.

“Thank you, Commander Tuff,” Mul La said.

Mul La glanced around the bridge as he made his way to the center. Presently he stood next to Tuff. Mul La dwarfed the already large man. However Tuff did not feel intimidated.

“Is something wrong with your quarters?” Tuff inquired.

“No,” Mul La said. “Everything is perfect, I just couldn't sleep. I am too excited. I needed someone to talk with.”

“I'd be pleased to talk with you,” Tuff said, gesturing towards the chairs. “Please sit down.”

“Thank you,” Mul La said as he took a seat next to the Captain's chair, where Tuff sat down.

“I'm curious,” Tuff said. “You have been selected as the Ambassador by the Federation counsel, but do you have any position in your government?”

“Yes I do,” Mul La said. “I am the Grace.”

“The Grace?” Tuff questioned.

“Let me think of a human translation,” Mul La said. “English has been so fun learning. Easy, but fun.”

Mul La pondered a while, and soon came up with an English translation.

“The closest I can come up with is Prime Minister,” Mul La said.

Tuff was taken aback. He dropped his mouth.

“That means that you are the leader of your people,” Tuff said, shocked.

“Yes,” Mul La said.

“Why didn't you correct us then?” Tuff said. “I mean, when we called you Ambassador. You really title should be Grace Mul La, if I'm understanding this correctly.”

“It's no matter to me,” Mul La said.

“Ah, come know,” Tuff said, “you've got to care about something?”

“Well, I do,” Mul La said. “Joining the Federation. My people need this so much. We need to understand that there is more in the universe than just us and the So'ja. I found out about the Federation through the So'ja. So I contacted the Federation, and sent in a formal entry request form. Very official, if you ask me.”

“I didn't know how official it all is,” Tuff admitted.

Suddenly the intercom beeped and Lieutenant Harrison Gregg's voice came out of the speakers.

“Engineering to the bridge,” Gregg said.

“Commander Tuff here,” Tuff said. “What is it lieutenant?”

“Sir,” Gregg said. “The Warp Core's malfunctioning, we've got to stop and repair it.”

Tuff turned around to Craig to conform what Gregg said.

“It's true, Commander,” Craig said. “We're starting to lose main power.”

“Drop out of Warp!” Tuff yelled to the pilot.

“Ah, sir,” the pilot and and punched the console.

The Pioneer had been out of Warp for about a hour and fifteen minutes with the Warp Core out of order. It was about forty five minutes until the morning shift and the majority of the senior staff was up and about. Burt stood on the bridge, next to the massive figure of Grace Mul La. After talking with Tuff, Captain Kelsoe had decided that the crew would call Mul La by his rightful title. Lieutenant Commander Joanna Withrome has been working hard ever since Lieutenant Gregg reported the malfunction in the Warp Core.

Burt looked over at Kelsoe.

“Are we going to hail Starfleet?” Burt asked. “Inform them about our condition.”

“You know that they'll send another ship,” Kelsoe said. “They'll say that we're not ready for an assignment this big.”

“Captain,” Tracy said.

“Yes, Ensign Carson?” Kelsoe said turning to Tracy.

“We're receiving a message from Starfleet,” Tracy said.

Kelsoe turned towards the screen.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said.

The screen blinked to a Starfleet admiral.

“This is Admiral Anton,” the admiral said.

“Admiral,” Kelsoe nodded. “What can I do for you?”

“The Revolution's in your sector and have noticed the you have stopped,” Admiral Anton said. “What is the matter?”

“We've had some problems with our Warp Core,” Kelsoe said. “But we're working on it.”

“You have Ambassador Mul La on board?” Admiral Anton inquired.

“Yes,” Kelsoe said gesturing over to the figure of Mul La.

Admiral Anton's eyes followed Kelsoe's gesture, and Kelsoe saw the admiral's reaction. Admiral Anton quickly returned is gaze to Kelsoe.

“I'm sending the Revolution over to pick up Ambassador Mul La,” Admiral Anton said. “And take him to Andres Rae.”

“With all do respect Admiral,” Kelsoe said. “I feel that you're being a little to hasty here. We can repair our Warp Core in time. We will get Grace Mul La to Andres Rae on time!”

“You have you're orders Captain,” Admiral Anton said. “Anton out.”

The screen blinked back to the stars. Kelsoe shook his head and turned to Mul La.

“The Revolution will be here in twenty minutes to take you the rest of the way, Grace,” Kelsoe said.

“This is such a shame,” Mul La said. “I would have enjoyed staying in the Pioneer's company.”

“I would have liked that, too,” Kelsoe said.

“Captain!” Craig cried. “Picking up a So'ja Destroyer off our port side!”

“What! On screen!” Kelsoe said.

The screen flashed to a massive So'ja battleship.

“Yikes!” Burt said. “That's a big ship.”

“Interesting,” Braxis said. “This ship does not match any So'ja ship in the database.”

“Captain, we're being hailed,” Tracy said.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said.

The face of an young So'ja captain appeared. He sneered at them.

“I am Captain Raf'at of the destroyer Isen'bul,” Raf'at said. “Surrender the Grace!”

“We are not handing over the Grace,” Kelsoe said. “The Federation has placed him under our protection, and we will not hand him over.”

“That is a bad attitude to have, Captain,” Raf'at said.

“Your ship does not match any ship in our database,” Kelsoe said.

“We're a Rebellion ship,” Raf'at snarled. “Soon the Republic will fall to us, and all silly Federation hopes of making the So'ja people part of your so called United Federation will vanish.”

“Not all of your people fell that way,” Kelsoe said. “I believe President Ba'l disagrees with you.”

Raf'at laughed.

“Ba'l is a Federation puppet,” Raf'at said. “He speak not for the people, but for you Starfleet captain. I give you one last chance, hand over the Grace, or die.”

“No,” Kelsoe said. “That is not a option here.”

Raf'at's face contorted.

“Then you have just signed your death sentence,” Raf'at said.

Raf'at closed the channel and Kelsoe turn to Tracy.

“Contact Starfleet,” Kelsoe said. “Notify them. And try and get a hold of the Revolution. Tell them to hurry.”

Kelsoe then turned to Mul La.

“Grace Mul La,” Kelsoe said. “It might be safer for you in your quarters.”

“Then I'll make my leave,” Mul La said and head for the turbo-lift.

“Commander Tuff,” Kelsoe said to Tuff, “Can you make sure that the Grace gets everything he requires.” Kelsoe then leaned closer to Tuff. “Rob, I'm sending you with him just incase the So'ja try to beam onboard.”

“Aye, Captain,” Tuff said and quickly followed Mul La.

Burt walked closer to the center of the bridge.

“Red Alert,” Burt said. “Raise shields.”

The listens on the bridge switched colors and they were engulfed in red. Kelsoe sat down in his chair, followed soon after by Burt.

“What do you think, Connor?” Kelsoe inquired.

“They might be bluffing,” Burt said. “If that's a new ship, it might not be fully operational.”

“Captain,” Craig said, “picking up two more So'ja battleships.”

“Ensign Carson?” Kelsoe said. “Anything?”

“Starfleet launched reinforcements and the Revolution's increase its speed,” Tracy said.

“Captain?” Braxis said.

Kelsoe turned to Braxis.

“Yes, what is it Commander Braxis?” Kelsoe said. His voice told how tense he was.

“The Isen'bul cannot make good on its threat,” Braxis said. “Sensors are not picking up any weapons.”

“They're just sitting there,” Burt said. “We should fire.”

“No!” Kelsoe said. “I'm not going to start anything.”

Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

“Lt. Commander,” Kelsoe said. “How's the Warp Core coming along?”

“Nearly finished, Captain,” Joanna said. “Within ten minutes I'll have main power restored.”

“Let's hope that the two other So'ja battleships don't arrive before the Revolution,” Kelsoe said

“Amen to that, Captain,” Burt said.

“A So'ja battleship dropping out of warp, straight in front of us,” Craig said.

“On screen!” Kelsoe ordered standing up.

Yes, there is was. A fully armed and operational battleship.

“Braxis?” Kelsoe said.

“A So'ja Battleship Class Twelve,” Braxis said. “It is the Da'gi. According to the So'ja database this ship is commanded by Ru'mal, a renegade admiral.”

“The So'ja Rebellion has some big names,” Burt said.

“Huh?” Kelsoe said turning to look at Burt.

“I met Ru'mal at Starfleet's first meeting with the So'ja,” Burt said. “Before Pioneer was commissioned. He's one of the most elite field admirals in the So'ja space force.”

“I take it that this isn't good,” Kelsoe said, sitting back down in his chair. “Do you know much about him?”

“Not much, Captain,” Burt said. “But luckily he shared some of his battle strategies with me.”

“We're being hailed by the Da'gi,” Tracy said.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said.

The screen flicked over to a much older So'ja. He wore a brilliant military uniform. His yellow eyes glanced around the bridge and landed on Burt.

“Commander Burt,” Ru'mal said in surprise.

“Admiral Ru'mal,” Burt nodded.

“I did not know that you were the first officer aboard this ship,” Ru'mal said.

“Well, I am,” Burt said.

Ru'mal looked at Burt for a while and then turned to Kelsoe.

“Captain,” Ru'mal said. “You have not don't become aware that the Isen'bul has no weapons, and my ship does. Now I would hate to fire upon your ship to get what we want. It is not that complicated, Captain. You give us the Grace and I'll spare your ship.”

“It is complicated, Admiral,” Kelsoe said. “Grace Mul La is expected at Andres Rae for a conference between the representative of the United Federation of Planets. Is attendance with be sorely missed.”

Ru'mal laughed.

“We do not want the Tulop to join the Federation, Captain,” Ru'mal said. “The planet of Tulop lies in our space. Thus it is ours.”

“But the Tulop are the natural inhabitants of the planet,” Kelsoe said. “Surely you know that they are the true owners.”

“I do not thrust myself into the political reasons over such 'ownership',” Ru'mal said. “All I need to know is that Tulop lies in our realm of control set down by the Federation itself. It is not in the Neutral Zone.”

The Neutral Zone. Kelsoe feared he would hear those words from a So'ja. I had been so with the Klingons and now the Romulans. The Federation had not labeled the border between Federation space and So'ja space the Neutral Zone, but it appears that the So'ja Rebellion had.

“Ru,” Burt said standing up. “You can't do this.”

“I'm sorry Commander Burt,” Ru'mal said. “And you will call me Admiral Ru'mal.” He paused for a beat. “I made my choice, old friend. I've picked sides. I'm sorry, but the Federation is not what the So'ja people need. They need their kingdom back. We need a King!” Ru'mal turned back to Kelsoe. “If you do not release the Grace within ten minutes, I will fire upon your ship. Ru'mal out.”

The channel was closed.

Kelsoe looked over at Burt, who was standing there with his jaw dropped open. Burt slowly closed his mouth and sat down. While they had been talking with Ru'mal the second So'ja battleship had arrived. It was another Class twelve battleship. Both So'ja battleships, along with the destroyer floated there, only two of them with operational weapons.

Kelsoe remained has calm as he could. He taped is commbadge.

“Kelsoe to engineering,” Kelsoe said.

“Lt. Commander Withrome here,” Joanna said.

“How are you guys doing down there?” Kelsoe asked.

“Almost down, give me five minutes,” Joanna said.

“That's more that enough, Captain,” Burt said. “Once the Warp Core's operational, we should get the hell out of here. Let the fleet deal with the So'ja.”

“Captain,” Tracy said. “We're being hailed.”

“By whom?” Kelsoe inquired.

“The Revolution,” Tracy said.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said.

Captain Martin Dickens appeared on the screen. Dickens smiles when he sees Kelsoe.

“I'm sorry to be doing this to you, Ben,” Dickens said.

“Mart!” Kelsoe stammered. “Their are three So'ja ships here and they're trying to get the Grace.”

“The So'ja!” Dickens said. “But their government has already said that they would allow the Tulop into the Federation.”

“No,” Kelsoe explained. “The So'ja Rebellion. They've got one of their best ships here. Have you heard of the Da'gi?”

“Yes,” Dickens said. “That's the So'ja Rebellion's flag ship.”

“Well, that's the one that is here,” Kelsoe said.

Burt stood up.

“And it's commanded by Admiral Ru'mal,” Burt said.

“Ru'mal!” Dickens cried. “No! Not the Ru'mal!?”

“Yes, the Ru'mal,” Kelsoe said.

“My god,” Dickens said. “I'm going to increase our speed. Will try and get there sooner.”

“Good luck,” Kelsoe said.

“Thanks, you too,” Dickens said. “Dickens out.”

The screen went back to showing the Da'gi. Kelsoe turned around and sat down in his chair.

“Joanna, how's the warp core coming along?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I'm going to have to relay some power to give us warp control,” Joanna said over the intercom. “We'll have to cut down on some unimportant systems.”

“Captain,” Braxis said, “may I recommend that we reroute power from the Holodeck and Food replicators.”

“Good thinking,” Kelsoe said. “Did you hear that, Joanna?”

“Yes, Captain,” Joanna acknowledged.

“Holodeck and replicator power has been rerouted to main engineering,” Craig announced.

“Good,” Kelsoe said.

“Captain,” Burt said. “We've got to do something. It's not like Ru'mal to just sit there and wait.”

“Captain?” Tracy said.

“Yes, Ensign?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I'm picking up a transmission from an unknown ship,” Tracy said.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said turning towards the view screen.

The screen showed a dark background with a red light that allowed Kelsoe to see the silhouette of a massive creature with high arch wings. A Tulop.

“This is Captain Benjamin Kelsoe of the Federation starship Pioneer,” Kelsoe said. “How can I help you.”

“I am Captain Jul of the Tulop starship Das,” said the Tulop in a deep voice. “We are currently located in the middle of the So'ja ships.”

“We can't see you,” Kelsoe said. “Braxis?”

“Sensors are not picking up a ship of Tulop design,” Braxis reported.

Kelsoe turned back to Captain Jul.

“Please, explain,” Kelsoe said.

“We are cloaked,” Jul said.

“Braxis?” Kelsoe said.

“I am picking up an ion trail that does not match that of the So'ja vessels,” Braxis said.

Jul took a deep breath and said, “We have been following the Pioneer closely, to ensure the safety of the Grace.”

“Is there anyway that you can help us?” Burt inquired.

“We are able to fire while cloaked,” Jul said.

“Can you cause a distraction?” Kelsoe inquired.

“If needed, yes,” Jul said.

“Craig!?” Kelsoe said. “How long until the Revolution arrives?”

“In two minutes,” Craig said. “The warp core will be back on line in four minutes.”

“Captain,” Kelsoe said to Jul. “Can you fire at the So'ja Destroyer?”

Braxis turned.

“Captain,” Braxis said. “We we're warned not to damage that ship.”

“We have to,” Kelsoe said.

“That ship is large than the Federation's flag ship, Braxis!” Burt said. “The Captain's right, we have to.”

“We can do it,” Jul said. “Das out.”

Kelsoe stood and walked up to Braxis' station.

“Can you follow them,” Kelsoe inquired.

“Sensors can pick up the ion trail that their ship is leaving behind,” Braxis said. “Their maneuvering away from the Da'gi, and are position themselves behind the Isen'bul.”

Kelsoe turned to Craig.

“Craig, lock phasers onto the Da'gi's weapons,” Kelsoe ordered. “And prepare to fire.”

“Aye, Captain,” Craig said and punched in console.

Kelsoe stepped down into the center of the bridge.

“The Tulop are powering up their weapons,” Braxis said.

Suddenly a bright yellow light flashed across the screen and the So'ja ship, Isen'bul, was gone. A shock wave ripped across the other ships remaining. The Da'gi was knocked away from the Pioneer.

“Shields up!” Burt commanded. “Brace for impact!”

Kelsoe jumped down into his chair as the shock wave hit the Pioneer.

“Keep us steady, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “Turn us into the wave!”

“Yes!” Zimmer said, holding onto the helm console for dear life.

“Shock wave dissipating,” Braxis informed Kelsoe.

“Damage report?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Minor damage on decks eight through eleven,” Craig said. “Some injures on deck ten.”

“Kelsoe to sickbay,” Kelsoe said, tapping his comm badge.

“McRoye, here,” Dr. McRoye said.

“Walt,” Kelsoe said. “There are some injuries on deck ten.”

“Acknowledged,” McRoye said. “On route.”

“The Da'gi is coming about,” Craig said.

“The weapons are raising,” Braxis said.

“Lock phasers, Mr. Craig, and fire!” Kelsoe said.

“Firing,” Craig said.

Kelsoe saw the Pioneer's red phasers hit the So'ja ship.

“Direct hit,” Craig said, smiling.

“They are retreating,” Braxis said.

On the view screen, the Da'gi and the other So'ja ships turned around and jumped into warp. In front of them the Tulop ship de-cloaked. It was shaped liked a bat.

“That's a fitting shape,” Burt said standing up to look at it.

Then right along side the Tulop ship the Revolution came out of warp.

Captain's log: After a intense encounter with the So'ja Rebellion, and a few minor repair, with the help the that engineering team from the Revolution, we were able to finish our transport of Grace Mul La to the Federation conference on Andres Rae. Personally I am happy that the Tulop are being accepted as a Federation member. On a lighter note, full lighting as been restored and the crew is glade to have bright light back.”

Kelsoe walked into the mess hall to see Joanna, Tuff and Burt sitting at a table. He walked over and joined them. With his coffee in hand, he sat down.

“What's are next mission?” Burt inquired.

“Admiral Anton wants to make an inspection of the ship before we get under way,” Kelsoe said.

“I don't think he'll find anything wrong,” Joanna said. “Well, at least in engineering.”

They all laughed. Kelsoe smiled and looked across the mess hall to see Ensign Tracy Carson and Lieutenant Norman Craig sitting together at a table hidden in the corner of the room.