EPISODE 2.19 - “DEFECTOR” - Part Three

written by Travis Cannon

The room was dark, humid and very uncomfortable. The only light in the room gave of a very dim yellowish color that did not really help with seeing anything. From what could be made out, with the light that was provided, was that the room was small, and cell like. Pipes and warm plasma bars were crawling over every square each of the walls, except for where the door was. Two figures were sprawled out on the floor, both were unconscious. And both had know idea where they were, or why they were there. One was wearing a military uniform and the other was dressed in civilian clothing. They were of different species, and both had been stripped of their commbadges.

These two figures laying unconscious in the middle of this small, dark, warm, wet room were Captain Benjamin Kelsoe and Major Kroge of the Federation starship Pioneer.

Commander Connor Burt sat on the bridge of the Pioneer with his right hand rubbing his forehead. He was lost in what to do. Captain Kelsoe had always been their for him. Burt thought back to when Captain Kelsoe and Ensign Eric Zimmer had been held by the Velos. There Burt knew what to do. For one thing he knew where they were. This was entirely different. The So’ja’s Da’gi could do more than just merely cloaking, it could even hide itself from the sensors of ships. Commander Tuff sat in the first officers chair. Burt turned to Tracy.

“Contact Starfleet Command, and patch it through to the Captain’s ready room,” Burt said. “I need to talk to the Admiral.”

“Aye, sir,” Tracy said.

Burt walked into Captain Kelsoe’s ready room and looked around the room. It seemed kind of empty without Kelsoe there. Burt walked around the ready room, and up to the desk. He slowly rubbed his fingers along the edge of the desk. Suddenly a beep went off and Burt jumped. He looked up and saw that the view screen behind Kelsoe desk was flashing. Burt stepped over and tapped the receive button. The view screen lit up with the face of Admiral Anton. Anton looked at Burt.

“Commander Burt,” Anton said. “I’ve just been informed by Starfleet Command about what has happened.”

“Yes, Admiral,” Burt said. “What should I do, sir?”

“Off the record,” Anton said, leaning closer. “I’d order you to go and find Ben and Kroge and use any means necessary to get them back.”

“And I would,” Burt said.

“However I cannot do that,” Anton said. “Starfleet Command has ordered that you be promoted to Captain of the Pioneer.”

“Captain?” Burt said. “So they’re giving up on Captain Kelsoe?”

“This will start a war between the Coalition and the Federation,” Anton said. “Starfleet Command and the President of the United Federation of Planets do not want a war. So you will become the Captain of the Pioneer and continue your mission to Za’da Gol.” Anton lowered his head and looked back up. “I’m sorry, Burt. Anton out.”

Burt was about to protest when the end of transmission image appeared. Burt shook his head. He did not like this one bit. He shook his head, again, then stepped towards the door. He’ll have to pick a first officer. And he’ll have to announce to the crew what Starfleet Commands decision was. Burt took a deep breath and stepped out into the bridge.

All the bridge crew turned to look at Burt. Burt looked at them all, and could see that his expression gave away what was said.

“So we’re not going after them?” Craig asked.

“That’s Starfleet Command’s order,” Burt said and walked over to the captain’s chair and sat down.

“What else?” Zimmer inquired, looking up at Burt.

“Captain Kelsoe is no longer the captain of the Pioneer,” Burt said.

Braxis turned from his station.

“May I inquire, who is?” Braxis asked.

“I have been promoted to the rank of Captain,” Burt said. “We have been ordered to resume our course to the Za’da Gol colony.”

“But, sir!” Craig said. “We can’t just leave them!”

“I’m sorry, Lt. Craig, but we have our orders,” Burt said.

“It is wise to follow Starfleet’s orders,” Braxis said.

“Yes,” Burt said. “Mr. Zimmer, set course for Za’da Gol. Meanwhile I’m be in my...” Burt hesitated, he did not feel right saying this, “ready room selecting a first officer.”

As Ensign Zimmer set the course for Za’da Gol, Burt stood up and went into the captain’s ready room.

Kelsoe’s head hurt. That was the first thing he knew. Where he was? he did not know. He was laying on the floor in a dark room. He looked over and saw Kroge, laying unconscious on the floor next to him. Kelsoe shook Kroge gently until Kroge’s eyes opened. Kroge slowly sat up and rubbed his head.

“You’re head hurts, too?” Kelsoe inquired in a horsed voice.

“Yes,” Kroge replied. “Must be the drug they used on us to render us unconscious.”

Kelsoe nodded. There was a long buzz, that sounded like an hold Earth school bell and the lights became bright. They squinted, trying to adjust to the quick change in lighting. There was a hiss and white steam came bellowing out of the edges of the only door in the room. They watched as the door slowly opened up. The stream was like fog and slowly from the foggy steam emerged Maj Ru’mal. He was wearing the So’ja Coalition orange military uniform with the silver star with the green circle insignia pined in the area of his left breast plate. Ru’mal looked down at them and grinned.

“Stand up, please,” he said.

Kroge turned to Kelsoe, who nodded, and stood up. Kelsoe had a little bit more difficulty, considering So’ja were physically stronger and could handle the drug better than humans. Kroge grabbed Kelsoe’s arm and helped him stand up straight. Ru’mal watched this, and slowly nodded to himself, making note of it.

“Welcome aboard the Da’gi, Captain,” Ru’mal said.

“I would have preferred to be aboard under better circumstances,” Kelsoe said.

“Ah, so would I,” Ru’mal said, but Kelsoe thought otherwise. Ru’mal turned and looked at Kroge. A disgusted looked appeared in his eyes. “First you betray the Coalition, and then your son seduces my only daughter, hump!, I should have killed you when I had the chance.”

“But you didn’t, Ru’mal,” Kroge said. “You know that I’m right.”

“I know,” Ru’mal said, softly. “Political, right, but militarily, wrong.”

Kelsoe stared blankly at Ru’mal.

“Shocked, Captain?” Ru’mal said. “I would be, too. Who would have thought that a So’ja, such as myself, that is solely dedicated to the welfare of the So’ja Coalition that I would accepted to be de-promoted from Admiral to Maj, ever would have been on the side that Major Kroge is on.”

“Yes,” Kelsoe said. “That’s exactly what I’m thinking.”

“It was right when the rebellion started,” Ru’mal said. “I grow up in a strong military family that believed in the values and beliefs of the So’ja Republic. I was one of the Republic’s strongest advocates for unity with the Federation.”

“Then what happened?” Kelsoe inquired.

“A rebellion raid on Fanu showed me the fool extent of their power,” Ru’mal said. “My wife, and infant son - only four months - where slaughtered by the So’ja Rebellion forces.”

“Why join them, then?” Kelsoe asked.

“You don’t understand our logic,” Ru’mal said. “To So’ja power is the key to life. If you do not have power, or are not in the good faith of power, you will die. To avenge my wife and son’s death I joined with the power that was stronger to help make the So’ja people better.”

“You’re right,” Kelsoe said. “I do not understand you’re logic.”

“Power is not life,” Kroge said. “That was one of my main points.”

“I know, Kroge,” Ru’mal said. “But that was not enough. I like power. I like to have it. It as always been a tradition in my family for the males to join the military. My son was my hope, now my daughter is my only hope. If she produces a son, he must join the So’ja military!”

“I think I’m starting to see,” Kelsoe said. “You do not want your grandchildren to grow up under Federation ideals.”

“Correct,” Ru’mal said. “I want them to grow up as So’ja. So’ja and nothing more. That is why I was an advocate for So’ja and Federation unity in the beginning. The Federation was going to allow us to keep our own military and culture.”

“This all seems very confusing,” Kelsoe said.

“The depth of it, yes,” Ru’mal said. “If you were to know the whole reasons behind it, you would understand.”

“Then tell me,” Kelsoe pleaded.

“Impossible, no human could possible understand,” Ru’mal said.

Kelsoe turned to Kroge, who nodded.

“That is true,” Kroge said. “To understand you would have to completely study all aspects of So’ja history, culture and politics. It would take years for a non-So’ja to learn it all.”

“Perhaps you are right,” Kelsoe said.

“We are,” Ru’mal said, placing a hand on Kelsoe’s shoulder.

Kelsoe looked from Ru’mal’s hand up to his face, and was totally confused.

“I thought you were going to kill us,” Kelsoe said.

Ru’mal laughed.

“Oh, no, Captain,” Ru’mal said. “I’m taking you to Ka’al for a trail.”

Ru’mal stepped away and back towards the steam.

“Treason’s a high crime,” Ru’mal said with a wicked grin and disappeared in the steam.

The was a hiss and the door closed. The steam slowly diminished, and the lights became dim again. Kelsoe looked over at Kroge in the dim light. Kroge stared back at him.

“They’re taking us to Ka’al,” Kroge said.

Captain Connor Burt sat in the captain’s spot in the conference room that adjoins the bridge. Burt still felt strange being the captain. But he was, and he would have to start acting like it. He had just called his first senior staff meeting to let the them know who he had picked as first officer, and also tell them what Admiral Anton’s latest transmission was about. Burt did not know how to tell them it, but he had to. The door from the bridge opened and the senior staff came in and sat down in their seats around the table.

Burt turned and looked at the staff. He lowered his head, he did not like what he had to say.

“First let me say that I don’t agree with what I’m about to say,” Burt said, “but Starfleet Command as stated that Captain Kelsoe and Major Kroge are going to be considered casualties of war.”

“That cannot be!?” Craig said.

“I’m sorry, Lieutenant, but it is,” Burt said. “Admiral Hayes made it very clear that that is the Federation’s official position. We must follow our orders, Lieutenant, even if we don’t believe they are the best course of action.”

“That is true,” Braxis said to Craig.

“I have selected my first officer,” Burt said. “It wasn’t hard to pick him, mainly because he has been a first officer before. Commander Tuff will be the first officer as of now. Commander, I want you to pick the best person in your department to fill in as Chief of Security.”

“Yes, Captain,” Tuff said.

“Good,” Burt said. “And if there is nothing else, then dismissed. Mr. Zimmer, continue our course to Za’da Gol.”

“Aye, Captain,” Zimmer said.

All, except Tuff left the conference room. Burt looked over at Tuff.

“Well?” Burt said. “Desperate times.”

“Yes, they are,” Tuff agreed. “The crew would like to have some sort of moral service.”

“And that we shall have,” Burt said. “I expect that the moral is low.”

“That it is,” Tuff nodded.

“We should try and arrange some activities to boast the moral,” Burt said.

“Somehow I don’t think that will work, Captain,” Tuff said.

“Neither did I, Rob,” Burt said. “This is just the worse thing that could have happened. The closest thing I can look to was when Picard was assimilated by the Borg. And what did his crew do? They went after Picard, against orders. But somehow this is different. The Borg were already an aggressive race, the So’ja Coalition as not declared war on the Federation and do not appear to be doing so soon. I need you honest advice Rob, as my friend, and first officer.”

“Well, as your first officer,” Tuff said. “I’d say follow Starfleet Command’s orders, but as your friend - I’d say, to hell with our orders. Captain Kelsoe and Major Kroge do not deserve to be in the hands of the So’ja Coalition.”

“Well,” Burt said. “If we do what Riker did, we might have an advantage.”


“Maj Ru’mal’s daughter,” Burt said.

“Yes,” Tuff said. “She can be used as leverage.”

“Somehow I don’t like the sound of that though,” Burt said. “This will be my first major decision as the Pioneer’s captain, and I don’t want it to be foolish. We are absolutely no match for the Da’gi.”

“That is most certainly true,” Tuff said.

“I don’t know,” Burt said. “I’ll have to think this over. Meanwhile continue on course for Za’da Gol.”

“Aye, Captain,” Tuff said, nodding and getting up.

Tuff nodded one more time and then left the room. Burt sided and spun the chair around the look out the window at the star speeding pass. He had to make a decision and it had to be the right one. However there was one thing for sure, he would not leave Kelsoe behind.

The room remained dark, with a solitary dim light giving the room light, even it was very, very soft light. Kelsoe was slumped against one of the walls in the shadows, as was Kroge. The room remained very humid and moist. Kelsoe thought back to his crew. He wondered what was going on, and what they were going to do. Then, suddenly, Kroge broke the silence and spoke.

“What do you suppose that the Pioneer is doing right now?” Kroge inquired.

“Nothing much,” Kelsoe responded. “If I know Admiral Hayes as well as I think I do, I’d probably already ordered that the Pioneer consider us lost. Burt is probably captain now. And they’d be heading toward Za’da Gol to continue our pervious mission.”

“You crew must be loyal to you?” Kroge said, it was more of a statement than a question.

“They are,” Kelsoe said. “Very loyal. But our first duty is to the Federation and the well being of its citizens.”

“Very noble words,” said a voice from the darkness.

Kelsoe had trouble pin pointing wear it was coming from, but eventually gave it the location of the door. He was able to match the voice with Ru’mal’s face. He must had slipped in sometime when Kroge and Kelsoe were unconscious.

“What do you want, Ru’mal?” Kelsoe asked.

“To tell you this,” Ru’mal said, keeping himself hidden. “Time is running short for your lives. Your crew does not appear to be following us.”

“I did not expect them to be,” Kelsoe said.

Ru’mal stepped out of the shadows. His green scaled face looked somewhat chilling in the dim light. His eyes were covered by shadows, giving his face a skeleton look.

“Explain?” Ru’mal demanded.

“The Federation would, at all costs, avoiding going to war,” Kelsoe said. “The So’ja Coalition tried to provoke them by having you kidnap us, but it as failed.”

Ru’mal stared at Kelsoe and then opened his mouth. Laughter came out.

“I,” Ru’mal said through his chuckles. “Captured you for the Coalition. Sorry, my dear Captain, I did not. I am not acting under orders from the So’ja High Command. What I do, I do for myself. For my daughter! For vengeance!”

“Vengeance?” Kelsoe said, emerging from the shadow himself. “Why choose to fixate you reasoning on such a primitive emotion.”

“It is our nature,” Ru’mal said. “Humans have it, too. I need to fill a gapping hole in one’s life. It does not always happen the way we planned it, but it still happens.”

“I understand that, Ru’mal,” Kelsoe said. “But there must be other ways of dealing with it rather than taking out your vengeance on us. What I think you really should be doing is discussing this with your daughter. It is obvious that she feels the same way that you do about the Federation.”

“Foolish values a bestowed onto her when the So’ja-Federation relationship was still young,” Ru’mal said.

“Then have you lost all hope that hope still exists?” Kelsoe asked.

“I’m sorry, Captain,” Ru’mal said. “But as of now I see no way that I can change my views. My daughter has been influenced by a foolish boy, who wishes to follow in his father’s footsteps.”

“Janseen is not a foolish boy!” Kroge said. “He is educated better than some other So’ja children. He learned the true nature of what was happening, not some propagandistic view.”

“Our school my teach propaganda,” Ru’mal said, turning to Kroge. “But at least it is So’ja propaganda, not Federation.”

“You sympathized with the Federation once, what happened, Ru’mal?” Kroge inquired.

“I woke up one day and looked at the facts,” Ru’mal said. “As I said earlier, power was a big factor. And the well being of the So’ja people. At this time in our history, the Coalition is right for our people.”

“I regret that you were not as strong as we had hoped,” Kroge said.

“We?” Ru’mal inquired, taking a step forward.

“Ba’l and the rest,” Kroge said. “We had thought that you would be the only one left of the Republic, but it looks like we were wrong. You were weak.”

Ru’mal’s green face appeared to become red.

“We shall see who is weak,” Ru’mal puffed and stormed out of the room.

Kroge turned and looked at Kelsoe. Kelsoe rose his eyebrows.

“So there is more life in him than he’ll admit,” Kelsoe said.

Captain Connor Burt, he was now wearing the extra pin on his collar, sat behind, well, his desk. He was still not comfortable with referring to this as his ready room. He was not used to being captain. On the desk still lay Captain Kelsoe’s belongings. That was sign enough for Tuff, when he entered the room, on Burt’s decision. Tuff smiled.

“To Hell with Starfleet Command,” Burt said. “We’re going to get them back!”

Tuff and Burt stepped out onto the bridge. Ensign Jeri Manon was in Tuff’s spot as Chief of Security. Burt turned to the helm, as he stepped down into the center of the bridge.

“Mr. Zimmer, prepare to alter course,” Burt said.

Zimmer placed his hands on the helm controls and dropped the ship out of warp. Burt spun around to Craig.

“Craig,” Burt said. “Do you have any idea where the Da’gi might be?”

“My best guess in the Venka Nebula,” Craig said.

“Captain?” came Braxis’ voice.

Burt turned to face Braxis.

“May I remind the Captain that this is a direct breech of our orders,” Braxis said.

“I am well aware of that, Commander,” Burt said. “We just can leave them for dead.”

The bridge crew seemed to be more alive now, and this pleased Burt.

“All right,” Burt said. “Mr. Zimmer, set course for the Venka Nebula. Maximum Warp!”

The Pioneer came about, and slowed down as the engines prepared to go into warp. And then like a flash the Pioneer went into warp.

The murky orange clouds of the Venka Nebula were motionless, only with the occasionally solar breeze blowing the small parcels of dust about. Suddenly from the dense cloud of dust parcels the Pioneer quickly emerged from the cloud and immediately slowed down. The warp nacelles of the Pioneer dimmed slightly, but soon took back on full strength.

Burt sat on the bridge, observing the bridge crew. Commander Tuff sat in the X-O chair, punching at a small console position in-between their two seats. The lights dimmed for a second and came back on. Burt turned to Craig.

“Report?” Burt demanded.

“The nebula modifications to the ship’s shields were just kicking in,” Craig said. “Sight will still be difficult. Sensor are not functioning.”

“Confirmed,” Zimmer said. “Helm sensors are off-line. We’ll be flying blind, so to speak.”

“We’re in capable piloting hands,” Burt responded.

With that Zimmer smiled.

“Thank you, sir,” Zimmer said.

The lights dimmed and did not regain their original level.

“Shield modifications?” Burt inquired.

“Negative, sir,” Craig said. “There’s something wrong with the warp core.”

Burt taped his commbadge.

“Burt to Joanna,” Burt said.

“Yes, Captain,” came Joanna’s voice.

“What’s going on down there?” Burt inquired.

Lt. Commander Joanna Withrome was standing over a glowing console in Engineering, Ensign Kavoc stood right beside her.

“I really don’t know what’s the matter, Captain,” Joanna said. “Something appears to be weakening the warp core.”

“Any ideas on what it might be?” Burt said.

“No, not a clue,” Joanna said.

“Lt. Commander?” Kavoc inquired, gesturing towards the console. “If I may?”

“Uh? Sure go ahead, Ensign,” Joanna said.

“Let’s see,” Kavoc said, narrowing his eyes as he looked at the console. He began typing rapidly. “It appears an off ships source is generating a field dampener.”

“Did you get that?” Joanna asked.

“Loud and clear,” Burt said. “Try and by-pass the dampener.”

Burt turned to Braxis.

“Can you confirm that?” Burt asked.

Braxis turned to his station and typed in a command. He looked at a monitor near by. He looked back down at the console.

“Yes, Captain,” Braxis said. “There appears to be a field dampener being generated. I believe it could be the Da’gi.”

“Can you pin point the Da’gi’s location?” Burt said.

“Negative,” Braxis said. “As Mr. Craig said earlier, the sensors are inoperative.”

Burt turned around to Ensign Jeri Manon, at the Security/Tactical station.

“How are the tactical sensors?” Burt asked.

Manon looked down at her station and worked on the console.

“I’m picking up the carry wave of the field dampener,” she said. “Attempting to locate the source... I believe I’ve found it. I think it’s the Da’gi.”

“Go to Red Alert,” Burt ordered. “Send the coordinates to Craig’s station.”

The lights on the bridge dimmed and the red lights began to flash.

“Transferring,” Manon said.

“I’ve got it,” Craig said. “Targeting. I’ve got a lock.”

Burt looked at Tuff. Tuff nodded.

“Fire,” Burt ordered.

“Aye, sir,” Craig said. “Firing.”

Craig pressed the appropriate button. From out of the Pioneer shot a phaser beam. It struck a cloaked object a couple of yards away in the nebula. The minute the phaser beam struck cloaked object the cloaking device became inoperative and the Da’gi was in full view.

“Sir,” Craig said. “They’re powering their weapons.”

“Can the new shields handle it?” Burt inquired.

“The computer is not responding, Captain,” Braxis said.

“Give me you’re best logical guest,” Burt said.

“Then I would have to say no,” Braxis said.

The Da’gi came about and flew along side the Pioneer. They let loose their wrath upon the Pioneer.

“Evasive action, Mr. Zimmer,” Burt ordered.

As the disruptor beams were shot at the Pioneer, the Pioneer swung around and was only hit by one disruptor, which the shields were able to withstand.

“Shields down to seven-five percent,” Manon said from her station.

“They’re hailing us,” Tracy said.

“On screen,” Burt said.

The screen flashed to Maj Ru’mal on the bridge of the Da’gi. Ru’mal stared at Burt.

“Ah, Connor Burt, you are captain now,” Ru’mal said. “Well, I’m sorry to say that the old captain will not be rejoining you.”

“Don’t think so, Ru’mal,” Burt said. “I will not give up.”

“That is one of your biggest flaw, Captain Burt,” Ru’mal said. “A flaw I noticed in you the first time we met. However I regret that this shall be our last encounter. Bye-bye, Captain.”

Ru’mal terminated the transmission.

“Sir, their weapons raising,” Craig said.

“Mr. Zimmer, prepare to get us out of here,” Burt said. “On my mark.”

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said.

The Da’gi fired an array of disruptor blasts which hit the Pioneer in its center. There was a blast of sparks from behind Manon’s and Craig’s consoles. A white steam started to vent out of the ceiling panels. Burt grabbed on to his chair’s arms as the bridge shook under the blasts of the disruptors.

“Return fire!” Burt shouted over the blasts.

Craig brought his hand down on his console. The phasers shot out and hit the Da’gi. Craig looked up from his console.

“No effect,” he reported.

Braxis spun around in his chair.

“Sir,” Braxis said. “I believe I can reverse the dampening field back onto the Da’gi by used the deflector dish.”

“Get working on it,” Burt nodded.

“Mr. Zimmer, attack pattern delta,” Tuff said, while looking down at the command console.

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said.

The Pioneer shifted its course and the Da’gi was came about slowly. On the front nose of the ship a blue light began to grow.

“Sir,” Manon said. “Their charging their main weapon.”

“Braxis?” Burt said.

“We need to be facing the Da’gi for this to work, Captain,” Braxis said.

“Very well,” Burt said and turned back to the helm. “Mr. Zimmer, bring us about. Two mark three.”

“Two mark three, aye, sir,” Zimmer said, changing the course.

The Pioneer spun around to face the Da’gi. Their main weapon was still charging. Burt looked towards Braxis. The view screen had several static lines across it.

“We’re beginning to lose picture,” Craig announced.

“Braxis, we need it now!” Burt said.

“Calm yourself, Captain,” Braxis said. “Almost completed.”

Braxis typed rapidly on his console. He turned back to Burt. The Da’gi fired disruptors that hit the Pioneer head on. The bridge shook violently. Braxis was thrown out of his seat. Tuff got out of his chair and assist Braxis back to his station.

“We’re heading straight for them!” Zimmer said.

“Keep here steady, Mr. Zimmer,” Burt ordered. “Braxis, are you ready?”

“Just about, sir,” Braxis said, working with Tuff looking over his shoulder.

The Da’gi fired disruptors again. Two disruptor blasts hit the Pioneer - one on the front of the dish and one on the right warp nacelle.

“Sir, we’re losing acceleration,” Zimmer reported.

“Damage report!” Burt barked.

“Lower decks reporting minor injuries,” Manon said.

“The haul on deck five has been compromised, however emergence force fields are holding,” Craig said. “Engineering is report heavy injuries.”

“Send Dr. Braga and a medical team to Engineering,” Burt said. He turned to Braxis. “Commander, is the deflector ready?”

“I believe so, Captain,” Braxis said.

“Active the deflector,” Burt ordered.

Braxis pressed the button and the Pioneer’s deflector dish lit up. The Da’gi’s speed slowed and stopped. Their main weapon’s brightness slowly became black. The view screen started clear up. Craig looked down at his station.

“We’re getting main full power back,” Craig said. “All sensors are operative.”

Burt turned to Tracy.

“Ensign Carson,” he said. “Open a channel with Captain Kelsoe.”

Tracy tried to.

“I can’t,” she said.

Burt looked over a Tuff. Tuff returned his worried look.

“We must call for reinforcements, Captain,” Tuff said.

“Starfleet Command will not send reinforcements,” Burt said. “We must act now! Mr. Zimmer, alpha pattern five.”

The lights in the room were off. Kelsoe could not see. He slowly stood up from the corner of the room.

“Kroge?” Kelsoe said.

“I’m here, sir,” Kroge said. “I believe that the power core has been compromised. We should be able to get out of here.”

“Can you see?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Barely, sir,” Kroge said.

Kelsoe heard footsteps, which were followed by a hiss and a moist breeze touching his face.

“The door is opened, Captain,” Kroge said.

“Help me, Kroge, I can’t see,” Kelsoe said, extending his arms.

Kroge came over and grabbed a hold of Kelsoe’s right arm.

“I’ll lead you through the ship,” Kroge said.

The Da’gi began to shake violently. An alarm went off and yellow light illuminated what turned out to be a hallway. Kelsoe looked up at Kroge. He could see the So’ja barely in the yellow light. Suddenly a voice came on the speaks and said something in So’jan. Kroge looked down at Kelsoe and saw his confusion.

“The Pioneer has damaged the power core beyond repair,” Kroge said. “At it is beginning a total melt down.”

Suddenly dim white lights came on. Kelsoe looked at Kroge.

“Emergence power?” Kelsoe said.

Kelsoe stepped away from Kroge when they heard footsteps approaching. Two So’ja soldiers stepped into view and stopped when they saw Kroge and Kelsoe.

“Get their disruptors!” Kelsoe said.

Kelsoe and Kroge charged the unsuspecting soldiers. Kelsoe punched the soldier in the gut. He fell to his knees, dropping his disruptor. Kelsoe picked it up and hit the So’ja over the head with the butt of the gun. Kroge had done the same.

“Where would they have our commbadges?” Kelsoe inquired.

“On the bridge, with Maj Ru’mal,” Kroge said.

“Let’s go then,” Kelsoe said.

They made their way through the labyrinth of hallways on the Da’gi to the bridge. While in route a different alarm went off and the voice returned on the loud speakers. Kelsoe looked towards Kroge for a translation.

“Maj Ru’mal as ordered the ship to be evacuated,” Kroge said.

“Do you know where any escape pods are?” Kelsoe asked.

“There should be a couple just around this corner,” Kroge said.

And sure there was. As they turned the corner, they saw So’ja rushing into hatchways. One of the hatchways had a silver star placed above it. It was the only one that was not being boarded. Kelsoe and Kroge went towards it and were not noticed by the fleeing So’ja. They entered the escape pod and Kroge immediately began to power up the escape pod.

“Power core on line,” Kroge said.

“What was the silver star?” Kelsoe asked.

“I don’t know,” Kroge said. “I’ve only been able to study schematics of the Da’gi but was never able to be aboard it then now.”

“I can answer that?” can a voice.

They turned and saw Maj Ru’mal standing in the hatchway. Ru’mal glared at them.

“That star means that this escape pod is mine,” Ru’mal said. “And I’m not going to let you take my escape pod.”

“How can you stop us?” Kelsoe inquired.

Ru’mal held up two badges. The badges where Kelsoe and Kroge’s commbadges. Ru’mal grinned wickedly.

“See,” Ru’mal said. “I have a much easier why for you to escape.”

Kelsoe extend his hand.

“Hand them over,” Kelsoe demanded.

“Ah, I don’t think so, Captain,” Ru’mal said. “Not yet.”

Ru’mal placed the commbadges back into his pocket. Ru’mal then removed a ceremonial dagger from his belt and held it up in front of his face, parallel to his nose.

“Kroge, son of Tar’nar,” Ru’mal said. “A invoke the Erat.”

“The Erat?” Kelsoe said confused.

“Its a ritual battle to resolve differences,” Kroge said. “Once it has been invoked, it must be completed.”

“Why?” Kelsoe said, turning to Ru’mal.

“My daughter,” Ru’mal said. “My honor.”

“Your pride,” Kelsoe said.

“My pride, yes,” Ru’mal said. “You need not get involved. This is between Kroge and me.”

Ru’mal took out another ceremonial dagger and handed it to Kroge. Kroge held the dagger and placed it parallel to nose.

“Erat der Ta,” Kroge said.

“Der ta Erat,” Ru’mal said. “The ritual has begun.”

Kroge and Ru’mal began to circle the room of the escape pod. Ru’mal lunged at Kroge with the dagger, but Kroge dodged Ru’mal, who hit the wall. The impact of hitting the wall made the commbadges drop out of hit pocket. Ru’mal growled and turned around. He lashed out at Kroge, however Kroge block Ru’mal’s blows with his dagger. They fought with the daggers as if they were swords. Kelsoe walked over to the commbadges and picked them up. As they turned around in the room, watching each other, Ru’mal glanced down and saw Kelsoe.

“No!” Ru’mal said.

Ru’mal lunged forward to attack Kelsoe. Kelsoe looked up just as Ru’mal was coming closer. Kroge jumped in front of Kelsoe and caught Ru’mal’s dagger in his gut. Kroge dropped to the floor with Ru’mal’s dagger in his belly. Kelsoe stood up with a commbadge in one hand and the disruptor in the other. Ru’mal glared at him.

“You may have won the day,” Ru’mal said. “But you have not won war.”

Ru’mal tapped the star shaped badge on his chest.

“Transport,” he said.

The room was illuminated with yellow light, as Ru’mal was transported off the Da’gi. Kelsoe bent down to the bleeding Kroge.

“Why?” Kelsoe said. “Why did you defend me?”

“I defended my beliefs,” Kroge said slowly. “For my son to have a better life, you must still live to help him, from time to time. Keep the Federation’s hopes up that a time of peace between So’ja and the Federation can still exist. It might just take some time. I did it, because it was my duty to defend my captain.”

And with that Kroge’s body with limp. Kelsoe lowered his head. However there was no time to morn for Kroge’s lost, for the Da’gi began to shake more violently. Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

Pioneer do you read me?” Kelsoe asked.

“Captain?” Burt said. “It’s good to hear your voice.”

“Two to beam over,” Kelsoe said.

“Yes, sir,” Burt said.

The room was illuminated with the blue light of the transporter and they were gone. The Da’gi began to buckle and come apart as the power core went through a melt down. As the Pioneer exited the nebula and went to warp, it exploded.

Captain’s Log - Supplemental:

Connor was very adamant with Starfleet to be de-promoted back to Commander and be reinstated as the first officer of the Pioneer. Commander Tuff as resumed his post as Chief of Security and Lt. Commander Withrome as prepared the lingering effects of the battle with the Da’gi. Major Kroge sacrificed himself to save me for the good of the whole. I regret that Dr. Braga was unable to revive him. I do not understand the So’ja culture and am still curious on Maj Ru’mal’s true position on the relations between our two people. I cannot help but feel like we’ve lost more than just a defector, we’ve lost a truly loyal comrade in arms. Major Kroge is a supreme example of what we believe in, and I shall never forget his sacrifice.