written by Travis Cannon

Captain’s Log:

We are currently on our way to the colony on Za’da Gol for its first regular checkup.  The ship has been repaired at remarkable speed and we are fully ready for our next mission. All ship functions are operating at full power and the warp core is operating at top efficiency. Commander Tuff is working with Commander Braxis on the away teams’ schedule. So far everything is going on without a single problem. Currently Dr. Braga is getting prepared for our little trip.

Dr. Chase Braga stood next to one of the bio-bed’s monitoring stations collecting medical equipment and placing it into a medical kit case. Braga stepped away and turned towards his office. He stepped over to his desk and bent down to look over the surface to make sure he was not leaving anything behind. From behind him a medical assistant, already dressed in a away team uniform, walked up behind Braga.

“Dr. Braga?” she said, her russian accent was not hidden at all.

Braga looked over his shoulder.

“Ah, Nadia,” Braga said, smiling.

He straightened his back and turned around smiling. Ensign Nadia Otterman stood in front of him, with her hands behind her back. Her hair was as red as fire and her eyes were emerald green. Braga smiled, again.

“Yes, what is it?” Braga inquired.

“We’ve assembled all of the equipment on your list,” Nadia said, holding up a data pad.

“Good,” Braga said, taking the data pad from her and looking down at it. He looked up again. “Anything else?”

“Yes,” Nadia said. “I was wondering why you have chosen me to be the medical team’s second in command.”

Braga gave a short chuckle as a response, then said, “You were the best for the job.”

“Begging your pardon, Doctor, but Ensign Gomez is more suited than I,” Nadia said.

“Nadia,” Braga said. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a nervous.”

“Sir?” Nadia inquired.

Braga looked at Nadia. She was standing in upright, position, with her arms along her side, in military fashion. Braga gave himself a soft sigh.

“Relax,” Braga said.

Nadia loosened up her legs and placed her hands behind her back.

“Nadia,” Braga said softly. “It is normal for some one to feel nervous before their first mission in a commanding position.”

“I understand, sir,” Nadia said. “I just feel... It is hard to example.”

“It’s okay,” Braga said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

Her head rotated down and looked at his hand. Braga noticed her expression and slowly brought his hand way.

“Uh, sorry,” Braga said. “I was just trying to reassure you.”

“Understood, Doctor,” Nadia said. “I will leave now. I will report to you before we disembark. Good day, Doctor.”

“Same to you, Nadia,” Braga said, as he watched her exit the sickbay.

Braga turned back his desk and shook his head. Suddenly Braga’s commbadge chirped. Braga tapped it.

“Braga here,” he said.

“Chase,” came Kelsoe’s voice. “We’ve reach Za’da Gol, please report to transporter room one for transport.”

“Acknowledged, Captain,” Braga said.

Braga quickly finished packing the medical kit and then, with kit in hand, left the sickbay.

The Pioneer floated in orbit above the exotic world of Za’da Gol. This luscious green and blue world looked very similar to Earth from a far. However on closer inspection of the planet’s continents it is nothing like the Earth. The shapes are roundness, and almost appear unnatural from above. The continents met the oceans with huge ridged cliffs, that do indeed look artificially made by the former inhabitants of this wonderfully vegetated world. The vegetation of Za’da Gol was amazing for any planet. It was nothing short of paradise. But then enters the deserts, with their deadly animals and unforgiving sand storms. When the Federation had stumbled upon Za’da Gol it was thought of as a world that should be left alone. However as months past colonist decided otherwise and began to colonize the planet in the areas between desert and jungle.

There was a clearing not far from the colony where the grass was waist high. It blow in the wind softly like the hair on your head. In a moment uniform crew members of the Pioneer were wading through the grass. In the lead was Commander Robert Tuff, followed by Commander Braxis. Ensign Tracy Carson followed, alongside Dr. Chase Braga and Ensign Nadia Otterman. Four other crewmen of the medical staff aboard the ship followed soon after.

Braga made is way up the line until he was alongside Commander Tuff.

“Uh, Commander?” Braga inquired. “Why did we not beam directly into the colony?”

“The colonist did not wish it,” Tuff said.

From behind them, Braxis spoke up.

“Governor Ballen made it clear that transporting directly into the colony would disrupt there reactor core,” Braxis said. “It was most logical of the Captain to agree with the Governor on the matter.”

Tracy was walking alongside with Nadia, who was watching Braga make conversation with Braxis and Tuff. Nadia turned to Tracy.

“What time of people will be at this colony?” Nadia inquired.

“Well, from what I’ve gathered at the senior staff meetings,” Tracy said. “The vary from homesteaders to scientist.”

“Interesting, yes?” Nadia said.

“Yeah,” Tracy nodded. “From what Commander Braxis has told me, this world can be pretty harsh.”

They continued through the waist high grass for a while in silence. Soon Nadia spoke up again.

“Is it hard to keep up a relationship with Lieutenant Craig?” Nadia asked.

Tracy was taken aback by the question for a moment, but soon recovered.

“It has been difficult at times, but it has mostly been fine,” Tracy said. “Why?”

“Just curious,” Nadia assured. “Just wondering, that’s all.”

Tracy smiled.

“Oh, okay,” she said.

“I have feelings for Dr. Braga,” Nadia said softly. “I don’t know whether to tell him or not. He is my superior officer, after all.”

Tracy was a little bit shocked with what Nadia had said.

“Well,” Tracy said, “I don’t know. Maybe in time, yes.”

After several minutes they finally reached the outskirts of the colony. Commander Tuff stopped dead in his tracks. He immediately took out his phaser. Braga looked up from a data pad and his jaw simply dropped.

“What the hell happened!?” Tuff said softly.

“It appears the we are too late to give the colony a checkup,” Braxis said.

Tuff and Braga turned and looked at Braxis.

“It is what has happened,” Braxis said.

Before them lay the wasted burning building of what was the colony. Most of the buildings were a burning pile of rumble.

“Be prepared for anything,” Tuff said. “Set phasers are stun.”

With Tuff in the lead they entered the entrance of the colony. The smoky flames crackling in the crisp cool air. Braga took out his medical tricorder and scanned the building. Along side him, Braxis was scanning the colony with his tricorder, too. Within minutes the reach the colonies center square. From the look of it, nothing had been left alive. Braga turned around, observing the beeps on his tricorder. Nadia came up behind him.

“What is it, Dr. Braga?” she inquired.

“I’m picking up two life forms,” Braga said.

Tuff stepped up, holding his phaser up in the air.

“It might be whoever did this,” Tuff said.

“Then again, Commander, it may be one of the colonist,” Braxis said from the other side of the square.

Tuff turned back to Braga.

“Let’s go see what it is,” Tuff said.

Tuff, Tracy and Nadia followed Braga as he followed the signal on his tricorder. Soon they were standing in front of one of the building that had been left standing, however it was not a pleasant sight. Half the roof had caved in and most of the surface was gray with black burnt spots near the base. The ground around the doorway and base appeared to be moist. Braga turned towards Tuff.

“Someone must be here,” he said. “They put out the fire.”

Tuff nodded.

“Where are they?” Tuff demanded, very calmly.

Braga looked down at his tricorder, and looked up again. He pointed at the building in front of them.

“I believe their in this building,” Braga said.

“All right,” Tuff said, raising his weapon.

Braga raised his hand.

“Maybe they can be reasoned with,” Braga said. “Let me try.”

Tuff hesitated, looking at Tracy and Nadia, and then back at Braga. He lowered his phaser.

“All right,” Tuff said, “but don’t be afraid of defending yourself.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” Braga said.

With tricorder in hand, Braga took two steps towards the entrance. He looked back at them, seeing Nadia’s worried expression. He gave her a quick smile and then stepped into the building.

Inside it was dark and moist. Also with the damp smell, came a somewhat human smell to the place. The tricorder gave up an eerie yellow, green, red light that made Braga’s hairs stand up on end. He slowly stepped deeper into the building. He glanced around and he could make out the room. It seemed as if he was in some sort of laboratory. Braga looked down at his tricorder and saw that the life forms were in the room with him. He straightened his back and squinted into the shadows.

“Hello?” Braga said. “Anyone there? I’m Dr. Chase Braga of the Federation starship Pioneer.”

Pioneer?” came a voice.

“Yes,” Braga said. “Who are you? How can I assist?”

From out of the shadows emerged an elderly man. Braga could hardly make out the man’s face. Braga scanned the man with his tricorder. The man was seventy years old. That did not makes sense. The colony was only founded ten years ago and the majority of the colonists were in their late twenties. As Braga’s eyes became accustomed to the darkness, he could slowly make out the elderly man’s features. Behind the man, hunched an elderly woman, also in seventy years of age.

“You are from Pioneer?” grasped the elderly man.

“Yes,” Braga said.

“You have to save us,” the elderly man said rushing Braga and grabbing him by the arms.

Braga forced the man off.

“Who are you?” Braga inquired.

“Oh,” the old man said, starring blankly at Braga. “I apologized - I was just so overwhelmed with seeing you. I am Governor Richard Ballen, and this is my wife,” he gestured to the hunched elderly woman, “Emilia. You must help us. We are not seventy like your tricorder says. We are thirty-three.”

Braga almost dropped his tricorder in shock.

Braga had emerged from the building with two old humans, who claimed to be Governor Richard and Emilia Ballen. Commander Braxis and the other are called over. Braxis examined the old man and comes to the conclusion that he is who he says he is.

“We must beam them aboard for medical treatment,” Braga said.

“I concur,” Braxis said.

Tuff nodded and tapped his commbadge.

“Tuff to Pioneer.”

“Kelsoe, here, go ahead Commander,” Kelsoe said sitting in his chair.

“Captain, we’ve found Governor Ballen and his wife,” Tuff said. “We need to beam them directly to sickbay.”

“Okay,” Kelsoe said. He turned around and looked up at Craig.

“Make it so, Norman,” Kelsoe said with a smile.

“Aye, Captain,” Craig said.

Craig typed on his console.

“Sir, I cannot get a clear lock, something is interfering with our transporters,” Craig reported.

“Okay,” Kelsoe said. “Rob?”

“Yes, Captain?” Tuff said.

“We’re experiencing some problems with our transporters, I’ll send a shuttle craft down,” Kelsoe said. “Mr. Zimmer, would you please.”

“With pleasure,” Zimmer said, getting up and heading for the turbo-lift.

“Hold tight, Rob,” Kelsoe said. “Kelsoe out.”

Kelsoe stood up and looked at Burt.

“Get Joanna working on the transporters,” Kelsoe said. “I want to know what’s wrong with them, everything was supposed to be repaired.”

“I’ll see to it personally, Captain,” Burt said, standing up and jogging to catch the turbo-lift.

Kelsoe turned and looked at Za’da Gol, which was being shown on the view screen. Kelsoe began to slowly rubbed his chin.

“What’s going on?” he said to himself.

Back on the surface Tuff stood in front of Braga. Tuff looked over at the two old people. Tuff shook his head.

“Something doesn’t seem right, here,” Tuff said.

He turned to Nadia.

“Ensign Otterman, I want you and the four other medical crewmen to begin a search for the other colonist,” Tuff said, “while we go back to the ship to find out what happen from,” he nodded towards Ballen, “them,”

“Aye, sir,” Nadia said, giving Braga a quick glance before taking out her tricorder.

“Come,” Tuff said to the rest. “We need to go rendezvous with the shuttle.”

Tracy walked up to the elderly lady.

“Here,” she said, extending I hand, “let me help you.”

The old woman looked up at Tracy and smiled weakly, but took her hand with a strong grip. Braxis and Tuff began to march back to the center square. Braga stepped over to Ballen, and placed his hand on Ballen’s arm.

“Come, Governor Ballen,” Braga said.

“Oh, yes,” Ballen said. “Lead on, Doctor.”

Braga lead Ballen back to the center square.

Kelsoe stepped into Engineering to meet with Lt. Commander Joanna Withrome. He saw her standing in front of a station next to the warp core. Kelsoe walked up to her.

“Anything on the transporters?” Kelsoe inquired.

Joanna turned around.

“Not a damn thing,” she said with a small chuckle. She placed her hands on her hips. “I don’t know what the hell is the matter with them. I’ve check them once, twice, nothing appears to be wrong with them. From what I can tell there isn’t anything wrong with them.”

“Okay,” Kelsoe said. “Keep trying. As soon as you have them working, let me know.”

“Sure thing,” Joanna said.

Kelsoe turned and walked passed the multiple Engineering stations and out through the door. After leaving Engineering, Kelsoe made his way for sickbay.

Governor Ballen and his wife, Emilia, were now laying in the bio-beds in the sickbay, under the watchful eye of Dr. Braga. The doors to the sickbay hissed open and Captain Kelsoe stepped in. He walked over to Braga.

“How’s everything going, Chase?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Oh, fine,” Braga said. “I’ve run every test I can, but I cannot determine why they have aged so quickly.

From the bio-bed on the left, Ballen’s head moved up.

“Captain?” Ballen said in a weak voice.

Kelsoe looked over towards Ballen and walked over. He stood beside the bio-bed and looked down at Governor Ballen.

“Governor Ballen,” Kelsoe said. “What happen?”

Ballen looked up at Kelsoe with a pale face.

“Captain,” Ballen said with a weak smile. “I must tell you what we have discovered.” As he talked, Ballen was interrupted by coughs. “Soon after my colleges, fellow colonist and I settled into our colony, we discovered why Za’da Gol had been abandoned by its earlier inhabitants. It seems that the planet emits some sort of radiation that increases the body’s aging process. I appear seventy now, but I am only thirty years of age. The rapid aging process had some unexpected side effects on the mind. Soon I began to see some of the top minds of my generation go wild. With in days we had been divided into two tribes. They destroyed our only shuttle craft. It...”

“When I spoke with you a couple of months ago, you looked yourself,,” Kelsoe said. “I mean, you looked your true age. When did this start?”

“It had already begun by the time of our communication,” Ballen said. “We just had not notice it. The aging process has increase now. Your crewmen on the surface are as good as dead.”

Braga looked up, eyes wide open.

“Nadia,” he said quietly to himself.

“My colleges, who stayed with us, helped me create a special serum to counter the radiation's effects on the brian. I’ve left he serum in the laboratory. You must go a retrieve it.”

“We will,” Kelsoe said. “Can you tell me why our transporters are not working?”

“When you are on the surface of Za’da Gol, your body’s macular structure is continually changing, become older and older,” Ballen said. “It is impossible to get a clear lock through all those particles floating around.”

Suddenly Emilia’s bio-bed began to beep. Braga dashed over and ran his tricorder over Emilia’s head.

“What is it?” Kelsoe inquired.

“She’s dying,” Braga said. “And from what it looks like, its a natural death of old age.”

The beeping on her bio-bed stopped. Ballen clenched his eyelids down. Tear came from them and floated down his cheek onto the bio-bed. Kelsoe looked down and Ballen. Ballen looked back at Kelsoe.

“I will soon rejoin my wife, Captain,” Ballen said slowly. “I must warn you again. Get the serum and get your crew off the plane...”

Ballen was unable to finish the sentence. Kelsoe looked up at Braga. Braga stepped over and took out his tricorder. He ran it over Ballen. He looked up at Kelsoe.

“He’s gone, sir,” Braga said.

“Chase,” Kelsoe said. “Get down to the planet with Lieutenant Craig and get our people out of there. Find that serum.”

“Yes, sir,” Braga said.

The shuttle craft floated down out of the gray clouds. It slowly turned around, until it could appropriately fit into the center square of the colony. As the shuttle craft touched down, dirt blew up from the surface making a cloud of dust. When the shuttle craft was safely down on the surface of Za’da Gol, the light made by the warp nacelles faded as power went through shut down phase. The side hatchway opened up and two small steps appeared. First to appear from the opened hatchway was Lieutenant Norman Craig, dressed in the appropriate attire. Following, soon after Craig, was Dr. Chase Braga.

When they were both out of the shuttle, Craig took out his tricorder and scanned for the away team. Craig looked up and over at Braga. He pointed towards the edge of the forest.

“Their over in this direction,” Craig said.

Braga nodded, and gestured towards the trees.

“Lead on, Norman,” Braga said.

Craig and Braga walked through the abandon colony until they reached the edge of the town. The continued for a short while until they reached the edge of the forest. There was a gray stone with a silvery surface about the size of the shuttle craft right in front of what seemed like a path through the forest.

“Where are they?” Braga inquired.

“That’s odd?” Craig said. “I was picking up their bio-signatures just a couple of minutes ago.”

“He let me see,” Braga said stepping over.

Craig handed the tricorder over to him. Braga looked down at it. The red lights on the tricorder we blinking in prefect series with the blue and yellow lights. He looked closely at the tricorders small monitors, which should the read out of what it was reading. His eyes grew wide. He was seeing something that he did not expect to see and it was terrifying. Someone was hiding their bio-signatures.

Suddenly a phaser beam shot out from behind the rock. It nearly missed Craig’s head. Suddenly phaser beams shot out from all around the rock. Braga turned around quickly in time to see Craig get it in the leg by a phaser beam. Craig let out a yelp and immediately grabbed his leg.

“There set to kill,” Craig grunted through clenched teeth.

Braga dash over and Craig.

“Come on, let’s get out of he,” Braga said.

“Stop them!” came a voice.

It was a female voice, that obviously had a russian accent to it. Braga’s jaw dropped when he heard it. It was Nadia. She and the other four had already been effected by the radiation of Za’da Gol. As Braga helped Craig across the small clearing towards the colony structures phaser beams kept shooting by. He dare not look back and see what Nadia and the rest had turned into. Suddenly Braga felt a sharp pain in his back shoulder and he fell in pain. Craig was still able to stand. Braga looked up at Craig and saw his worried face.

“Leave!” Braga moaned.

“I’m not leaving you, Chase!” Craig said bending down to help Braga up.

Braga pushed him away with all his might.

“Go!” Braga said. “Get help!”

Craig nodded.

“I’ll be back,” Craig said, and he limped back towards the shuttle.

Immediately after Craig had gotten out of eye sight, Nadia and her four follows came around the corner. Braga looked up and saw to his fright that Governor Ballen was correct. All of the away team had aged ten years. Nadia, herself, had a streak of gray hair. The rushed in around Braga. Nadia looked around, savage like.

“Where’s the other one?” she barked.

One of the other, a male, turned.

“Look, the shuttle craft,” he said, pointing up into the sky.

Braga turned up and saw the shuttle moving up into the sky, through the clouds and was gone. Braga smiled, and then he remembered his shoulder. He let out a groan of pain and Nadia snapped.

“He’s injured!” she shouted. “I had said not to injure him!”

The male turned to her with big puppy dog eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “He got in the way.”

“Got in the way!” snapped Nadia. “How dare you say that!”

Nadia brought her phaser up and shot at the man. A yellow beam came out and hit him directly in the chest. And with a blast of yellow light he was vaporized. Braga looked up at Nadia and looked into her eyes. They were wild with madness. Nadia looked down at Braga with her wild eyes and saw his expression of disbelief.

“Nadia?” Braga said softly. “What happened to you?”

“What?” Nadia replied, in even a softer voice than Braga had used.

“Why? Why are you doing this?” Braga inquired.

“Why?” Nadia replied, a little louder now. “You want know why?” She paused. “Is it not obvious? I love you.”

Braga’s eyes opened wide.

“You? Love... me?” Braga said.

“Yes, Chase,” Nadia said. “I love you.”

Nadia got down on her knees, alongside Braga. Braga’s eyes moved around, as if he was looking for something. He was very confused, and was felt weak. Nadia took out a medical device and began to heal his wound.

“I have always loved you, my dear, dear, Dr. Chase Braga,” Nadia said. “From the moment we first met, I felt it. Deep inside, and it grew until I was overwhelmed with my love.”

Braga nodded.

“Yes, yes,” he said, not really knowing what to say.

The three others stood there, behind Nadia, forming a triangle. They stood in the shadows, like an elite force of guards assigned to keep her safe while she was focusing on him. Nadia kept talking.

“That is why you must stay,” Nadia said. “And we can grow old together - There all done!”

Nadia stood up and helped Braga to his feet. He looked over head and could feel the storm brewing. He looked at Nadia, the solitary figure with the three hovering angels watching over her. He noticed for the first time our white her skin was. It was as white as snow.

“Nadia,” Braga said, slowly. “There is something I must tell you.”

“Yes, my darling,” Nadia said, staring into his eyes. She appeared to be lost in his eyes, also entranced by them.

“There is something wrong with this planet, with Za’da Gol,” Braga said. “It emanates some sort of radiation that makes use grow old quicker.” Just as he said that, his vision went blur for just a second, but soon it was clear again. “It the radiation as other side effects besides rapid aging. It makes the mind mad.”

“Shh,” Nadia said, pressing her figure against her moist red lips. “Enough talk of things that are of the world around us. Tell me, Chase - my darling - do you love me?”

“Do I love you?” Braga rephrased the question.

“Yes,” Nadia said. “Do you, my dear Doctor?”

“To be frank, Nadia,” Braga said. “I have always respected you, and held you in the greatest of pride.”

“Pride?” Nadia said softly, a little bit confused.

“You have been one of my greatest pupils,” Braga said. “You have tried so hard to make it to wear you are, it makes me tingle with an immense sense of pride and joy.”

“Pupil? Me, your greatest pupil?!” Nadia grunted, becoming more aggressive. “I am more than that, Doctor! Much more! I am you soul mate! You must except that, my dear Doctor!”

She was breath hard now. In the cold air her breath appear as mist. She glared at Braga, never budging. And with the cold stare of hatred, she gave her orders.

“We’re leaving,” Nadia said, through clenched teeth. “Bring him with us.”

And with that she turned and headed for the forest. Two of the remaining grabbed Braga and pushed him along behind her.

And they walked. On and on. Through the forest of Za’da Gol heading toward the unknown. They walked, with Nadia in the lead, followed by Braga and the two pushing him along, the final one bring up the rear. It was like a prisoner transfer from point A to point B, Braga being the prisoner of Ensign Nadia Otterman’s unrequited love for him. Slowly the mist started to crawl across the moist ground, and Braga began to feel rain drops on his head. Soon they were becoming soaked in rain water. The crackling of the thunder and lighting could be heard from all around.

Suddenly a booming sound, that was not thunder, could be heard from above. They all looked up. Braga smiled at what he saw. Several shuttle craft were flying over head. With in moments, he heard them land. Nadia became very disturb by this. With a chirp, a channel was forced opened on Braga’s commbadge.

“This is Captain Kelsoe,” Kelsoe said. “Release Dr. Braga, Ensign Otterman.”

Nadia turned and looked at Braga’s commbadge. She took to steps towards Braga and was almost right up against him. She snatched the commbadge off his uniform and held under her nose. She tapped it.

“If you want him, Captain, you’ll have to get him!” Nadia said, and then threw the commbadge into the surrounding foliage. She grabbed Braga by the arm, and pulled out her phaser. “Keep them off me for a few seconds!”

“Yes, ma’am,” the three followers, who’s hair was now all grayish white, nodded.

They withdrew their phasers and took positions behind nearby trees. From over the clearing, from where they had just came, Braga saw Commander Tuff and Lieutenant Craig appear through the mist with some of Tuff’s security teams. As Nadia pulled Braga away into the mist, a phaser battle brew up between the followers and the Pioneer security teams. One follower was hit and fell over unconscious. Captain Kelsoe had ordered them only to stun them.

Nadia continued on with Braga into the mist. Braga looked up at her, and noticed that her smooth skin had become wrinkly. Soon they stopped, the phaser shots could be heard in the distance. Below them Braga could hear the surf raging. They had come upon one of the cliff built by the planet’s previous inhabitants. Nadia released him, but held her phaser up against his left breast plate, right over his heart.

“Kneel,” Nadia commanded.

Hesitantly, Braga obeyed. Nadia press the phaser point against his head. He looked up at her with big eyes.

“What are you doing, Nadia?” Braga pleaded.

“If I can’t have you, Chase,” Nadia said, in a moment of emotion. “Then no one can.”

She composed herself and was ready to fire when suddenly Craig emerged.

“Chase, duck!” Craig shouted.

Braga ducked as quickly as possible. Craig raised his phaser to aim. Nadia, shocked by Craig’s suddenly arrival, turned. Upon turn she became unbalanced and loose her footing. She tumbled backward, tripping over Braga - who was ducking. In a brief moment there was a loud cry of terror, the sliding of shoes on top of mud, and then there was silence. Nadia had gone over the side of the cliff. Her screams faded as she tumbled towards the raging surf, in moments she was gone from any up of salvation. Lighting flashed several times and was followed by sound of thunder.

Braga looked up at Craig with a gloom expression masked over his face. Craig stepped forward and extended and hand. He heaved Braga off of the muddy ground and up onto his own two feet. Braga looked back towards the cliff, but turned away as Craig lead him back through the forest.

Chief Medical Officer’s Personal Log:

This entire experience has been really hard for me to deal with. I lost a good friend - we lost a good doctor. This was my first major away mission while serving aboard the Pioneer and I feel it appropriate to note that it ended in the tragic death of Ensign Nadia Otterman. I do not look forward to sending the transmission back to Earth to inform her parents of her untimely death. Though I do plan on leaving out a few details.

Braga in the sickbay, next to one of the bio-stations, where he had spoken with Nadia earlier that very same day. Sure in the end they were able to save the crew from the radiation on Za’da Gol, but somehow that did not make Braga feel any better. While he had been pulled through the forest, Craig had went through extraordinary measure to complete the mission. He was able to get the serum and bring it back to Pioneer for the remaining medical staff to duplicate it and inject  rescue party. Braga shook his head in disbelief as the past event unraveled in his head over and over, again.

He was so deep in thought that he did not hear Captain Kelsoe and Commander Burt enter the sickbay. He was only awakened back to reality when Burt cleared his throat.

“Ahem,” Burt said.

Braga looked up quickly.

“Ah, Captain? Commander?” Braga said. “How can I help you?”

“We’ve come to help you, Chase,” Kelsoe said. “I understand what you’re feeling.”

“I know, sir,” Braga said. “I made it a priority to read you past history before I accepted the post a year ago. However I did not except this much heartache.” Braga shifted his weight and then stood up straight, in salute formation. “Sir, I request reassignment to a different ship.”

“No, no,” Burt said shaking his finger.

“I’m not going to let you quit just because of one,” Kelsoe said. “Think of this as I lesson of the difficulty that comes along with being aboard a spaceship.”

“Yes, sir,” Braga said. “Sorry, sir.”

“Don’t be sorry,” Kelsoe said. “It is only natural to have the emotions you are experiencing. Embrace your emotions. And remember, whenever you need someone to talk to, my door is always open.”

Kelsoe patted Braga on the shoulder.

“Nice hair,” Burt said, as Kelsoe left.

“What?” Braga inquired, with a confused.

He turned towards the bio-station, and picked up a mirror. He looked into the mirror at his reflection. All his hair had become peppery gray. He looked up at Burt, who was smiling.

“I think that gray looks nice on you,” Burt said. “Makes you look distinguished.”

Burt, too, patted Braga on the shoulder and left. Braga watched as Burt left and then turned around back towards the bio-station. He picked up the mirror and looked at his reflection, especially how his hair made the rest of him look.