story by Austin Wagner-Cannon

written by Travis Cannon

Captain Benjamin Kelsoe sat in his chair on the bridge of the Pioneer, looking over a data pad that a crewman had given to him earlier from engineering. The warp nacelles needed purging. Kelsoe looked down at the report from Lt. Commander Joanna Withrome. From what he could see everything would work out perfectly fine. Kelsoe punched a few buttons on the data pad and looked up at the Ensign Kavoc.

“Here, Ensign,” Kelsoe said. “You can take this back to Lt. Commander Withrome.”

“Yes, sir,” Kavoc said.

Kavoc took the data pad from Kelsoe’s hand and left the bridge. Kelsoe turned to Ensign Eric Zimmer.

“Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “We need to drop out of warp so that warp nacelles can be purged.”

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said.

And with a few quick movements on the helm control station, the Pioneer dropped out of warp. The stars on the view screen slowed down. The Pioneer was now only moving at impulse. Kelsoe cocked his head.

“Selected a nice place to...,” Kelsoe stopped. “What the hell is that?!”

On the view screen a strange oval shaped thing was siting right in their path.

“Bring us to complete stop!” Kelsoe ordered.

Zimmer complied quickly, within seconds the Pioneer was not moving at all. Kelsoe turned to Lieutenant Norman Craig.

“Anything?” Kelsoe demanded.

Craig typed at his station’s console and then looked up.

“The ship appears to be made completely biologically,” Craig said. “I cannot read weapons. Well, to be more realistic, I don’t know what it is I’m looking at. This is like no other ship we’ve encounter thus far out here.”

“Braxis?” Kelsoe said turning to face Braxis.

“I am reading faint life signs,” Braxis said. “I must repeat that they are very faint life signs. I cannot even tell if they are normal life signs, as we no them.”

“Is the atmosphere compatible with us?” Kelsoe inquired.

“What are you think?” Burt inquired.

“Something happened,” Kelsoe said. “And I want to know what. If there is something alive over there, well, maybe it can then tell us what happened.”

“That sounds like a plan,” Burt said.

“Well, think of it this way, Connor,” Kelsoe said. “We now have something to do while Joanna purges the warp nacelles.”

“That is a positive thing,” Burt said. “When I was a cadet, our captain didn’t even let us use the holodeck while engineering purged the warp nacelles. The only people who have anything to do are the engineering teams.”

“That’s more like it, Connor,” Kelsoe smiled.

“Commander Tuff, Lieutenant Craig, your with me - Connor, you have the conn,” Kelsoe said as he got up and walked to the turbo-lift. “Oh and have Ensign Kavoc met us in transporter room one.”

“Yes, Captain,” Burt said.

Blue light filled the dark room of the damp alien vessel as the away team transported over. Captain Kelsoe and Commander Tuff materialized in front of Lieutenant Craig and Ensign Kavoc. Immediately after transport was complete they all took out their tricorders and began scanning.

“Any signs of weapons?” Kelsoe asked Tuff.

“Negative, sir,” Tuff said, holding his tricorder along the side of the organic wall.

“Anything on the power systems?” Kelsoe questioned aloud.

“No power systems of any kind,” Kavoc chimed in. “I’m not reading any reactor that we a familiar with.”

Craig stepped forward, holding his tricorder close to the floor. He was following some sort of slime like substance on the ground.

“Captain?” Craig said.

Kelsoe came up behind Craig and looked down.

“What is that?” Kelsoe said, crouching down.

“According to my readings it is some sort of excrete of some kind,” Craig said.

“The alien’s blood?” Kelsoe suggest.

“Possibly,” Craig said. “Its hard to tell.”

Kavoc stepped up, alongside Commander Tuff.

“Sir?” Kavoc said. “I believe I have located the ship’s log.”

Kelsoe stood up and turned to Kavoc.

“Have you been able to be able to read any of it yet?”

“No, sir,” Kavoc said, leading the way down a narrow hallway. “The language is more complicated than enough I’ve ever seen.”

“Really?” Kelsoe said.

“Yes,” Kavoc said. “I recommend that we download the ship’s log into one of our tricorders so that Ensign Carson can examine it later.”

“Good idea,” Tuff said sarcastically. “We would never have thought of that.”

“Thank you, sir,” Kavoc said. “Here it is.”

He adjusted himself out of their view so that they could see the glowing green console. Kelsoe stepped up and looked at it.

“It doesn’t looked electronic,” Kelsoe said.

“It is not,” Kavoc said. “According to my earlier readings, as with most of the ship, this console is mainly made up of organic material.”

“This is strange,” Kelsoe said quietly as he ran his fingers along the side of the console. On the right hand side of the console there was a spinning white dot. Kelsoe slowly moved his hand over and touch it. With a sharp buzz all the lights in the ship were raised several levels. The room was no longer dark. Kelsoe looked over at Tuff and Kavoc. Tuff’s jaw had dropped down.

“What is it?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Uh, Captain,” Kavoc said. “The screen.”

Kelsoe turned and looked at the console’s screen.

“The words have changed to English,” Kavoc said.

Indeed they had. All the words on the console’s screen were now stated in glowing white English words. At the top of the screen, in bold letters, was printed: Main Screen. Kelsoe gave a soft chuckle. All the words, including the log had been changed to their language. From behind them, they heard the footsteps of Craig approaching. Kavoc and Tuff moved over to allow Craig to step into the small room. Kelsoe turned and looked at Craig. Craig’s face was white and pale. He looked as if he had seen a ghost.

“Captain,” he said. “There’s something you’ve got to see.”

“All right,” Kelsoe said. “Ensign Kavoc find out what happened. And if you can, find out why the words switched from their language to ours.”

“Yes, sir,” Kavoc said, and took his tricorder out. “Should I still download the ship’s log.”

“Yes,” Kelsoe said as if followed Craig back down the narrow hallway.

He and Craig walked down the narrow hallway, in which Kelsoe had followed Kavoc down just a couple of minutes earlier, except now it was lit in light that was bright enough for them. Soon they reach the room in which they had transported into.

“This,” Craig said. “It kind of like a central nexus for the entire ship. You see,” he pointed at all the narrow hallways. Each went in a different direction. “I followed that slime substance down one of the hallways,” he continued. “What I discovered was, for a lack of a better world, horrific.”

“Let’s see it then,” Kelsoe said, gesturing towards the entrance of the hallway that the slime lead to.

Craig nodded and took out in phaser. Kelsoe noted this. It seemed very odd to him. They had detected faint life signs, but now from the look of it, the life signs that they had detected were, in fact, the ship. Unlike the previous hallway, this one was longer and badly lit. Kelsoe looked up and saw that something had damage the above tissue of the halls ceiling. For a moment Kelsoe thought it weird thinking of a ship as an organic thing, but there had been instance before in which Starfleet crews had encounters creatures that had organic ships, Species 8472 - the one true nemesis of the Borg that the Voyager crew met.

Soon the hallway stopped at the entered a room much bigger than even the central nexus. Kelsoe heard a low humming.

“I think this the ship’s, uh, power core,” Craig said. “It’s the only room that I searched that had a hum that sounded similar to our warp core.”

Kelsoe nodded, it did indeed sound similar to their warp core.

“What is it that you want to so me,” Kelsoe said.

Craig took a step towards one of the corners of the room, and then ducked out of the way, so that Kelsoe could see. Kelsoe took a step forward and looked down at the horrific sight in front of him. He’s eyes widen.

“The Borg!” he exclaimed.

“Yes,” Craig said. “But look! It’s head has been completely removed from its body. It’s deep, I think.”

“What could do this to the Borg?” Kelsoe said.

He immediately thought back to his earlier thoughts on Voyager and Species 8472. He looked up at Craig and could tell that he had more to say. Kelsoe nodded.

“And here,” Craig said, ducking aside again.

This time Kelsoe was not sure what he was look at. He looked up a Craig for an explanation.

“This is species 8472,” Craig said. “However this one has been decapitated.”

“Also killed?” Kelsoe said. “And there’s more.”

Kelsoe patted Craig on the shoulder and Craig stepped back to a space behind Kelsoe. Kelsoe’s eyes gazed across the floor and  wall, seeing heads of species that he had never seen before. Then he came across a head of a Tealuian, Velosian, So’ja, even a Klingon, and then his eyes fell upon the face of a human. Kelsoe’s jaw dropped.

“This is a trophy room,” Kelsoe said. “Hirogen?”

“Uh, I’m afraid not,” Craig said, point at a bloody Hirogen head.”

“We’re obviously dealing with much more dangerous than any species we have ever encountered,” Kelsoe said. “And I want to know what it is.” He turned and looked at the Borg drone. “See if you can access that drone’s memory chip. Perhaps the Borg have a designation for the species that did this.”

“Yes, sir,” Craig said with a quick nod.

All of the Pioneer’s senior staff now sat around the conference table in the briefing room. Kelsoe was standing at the head, looking across all their faces.

“Whatever is over there,” Kelsoe said. “I hate to admit this, but its stronger than anything any Federation ship has ever encounter.”

“Whatever killed both the Borg and Species 8472 is a formidable enemy,” Braxis said with a twitch of his neck towards the small viewing console on the side. With a remote control, Braxis activated the console. It hummed to life and showed the an computer generated wire frame of the alien vessel. “This is the alien vessel. When a complete bio-scan is performed we found two hundred different species aboard. All corpses.”

“Commander Tuff and I have analyzed the Borg memory chip to the best that we could,” Craig said. “From what is seems like, the Borg had designated the alien vessel to belong to Species 6731.”

“Do the Borg have any other knowledge of them?” Kelsoe inquired, now sitting down.

“Negative,” Tuff said in a firm voice. “To learn anything about a certain species, the Borg have to be able to assimilate them, and from our knowledge the Borg have been unsuccessful at assimilating any of these aliens.”

“Have anything been learned from the alien database?” Kelsoe inquired.

“It’s taking sometime,” Joanna Withrome said. “These aliens have placed high security points throughout their main computer. One thing, for sure, is that they have a highly advance artificial intelligence system.”

“Artificial intelligence?” Kelsoe said.

“Its the reason why all of the words on all the alien’s consoles turned to English,” Joanna said. “And why the lighting was raised. The ship seems to be able to adapt to any, well, crew if you will.”

“Interesting,” Kelsoe said rubbing his chin. He looked over at Burt, who nodded. “All right - we need to inform Starfleet about this. Ensign Carson, I want you to send an encoded transmission to Starfleet.”

“Uh, Captain,” Tracy said. “That’s what I wanted to tell you about.”

“Yes?” Kelsoe said.

“The communication systems are not working,” Tracy said.

Kelsoe gave a sigh.

“All right,” he said after a while. “Well back off from the alien ship to transmit our encoded transmission. Dismissed!”

They all stood up and left the room, except Kelsoe and Burt, who stood there for a while. Burt looked at Kelsoe.

“What are you thinking?” Burt asked.

“That this is the defining moment of my career,” Kelsoe said. “I just hope to God that whatever built that thing is not alive.”

“All right, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said, now on the bridge. He stood behind Ensign Eric Zimmer looking up at the view screen, which should the ominous alien vessel. “Let’s back up.”

“Aye, aye,” Zimmer said, punching the helm controls.

The ship slowly started to back away from the alien vessel. Kelsoe suddenly felt a chill and turned towards Craig.

“Is it getting cold in here?” Kelsoe asked.

Craig looked down at his console. And with in a matter of seconds looked back up.

“Your correct, sir,” Craig said. “In fact, I’m reading a decrease in power to all ship systems.”

“All?” Kelsoe said.

Suddenly the helm console beeped. Kelsoe spun around as the ship rocked violently. Kelsoe heard Burt shout “Red Alert!” as the ship rocked. The red lights immediately began to blink. Kelsoe was knocked down, but soon got his bearings and slumped into his chair.


“The alien vessel has looked on to us with some sort of tractor beam,” Braxis reported.

“Can we break free?” Kelsoe demanded.

“Negative, sir,” Zimmer said. “I’m giving the engines all that... sir! I’ve lost helm control.”

Kelsoe stood up.

“What?!” Kelsoe yelled.

“We’ve lost main promotion and the warp core is failing,” Craig said.

Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

“Joanna?” Kelsoe said. “What the hell is going on?”

“The Warp Core is destabilizing,” Joanna said. “If we don’t eject the core now the ship well be destroyed.”

“Very well,” Kelsoe said. “We’ll dump the core.”

“Aye, aye,” Joanna said.

Kelsoe turned to Tuff.

“I need all available energy transferred to shields,” Kelsoe ordered. “Take it from life support if you have too! I want to survive the core’s explosion.”

“Aye, Captain,” Tuff said. “I’m diverting all available energy to the shields. There! Done!”

Kelsoe turned back to the main view screen and looked at the alien vessel and the green tractor beam which was keeping them at bay. He hesitated before tapping his commbadge.

“Dump the core,” Kelsoe said.

“I’ve already done it,” Joanna said.

Kelsoe gave a slight chuckle. Joanna was the perfect Chief Engineer for him. Kelsoe looked over at Zimmer.

“Any control?” he asked.

“None,” Zimmer replied.

“The Warp Core will detonate in approximately two minutes,” Braxis said, from his station.

“Ensign,” Burt said to Zimmer. “Try and get us as far as possible.”

“I’ll do my best,” Zimmer said, then he returned with a little joy. “I’ve got impulse back.”

“Fight the tractor beam, as best you can without damaging the ship,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Aye, Capt...,” Zimmer was cut off.

Everyone on the bridge looked up at the view screen, as the alien vessel began to move. It started off slowly and was rapidly gaining speed. Kelsoe looked up at Craig.

“It’s taking us away from the Warp Core,” Craig said.

Suddenly there was a green flash and the ship had stopped. The tractor beam was no longer activated.

“What just happened?” Kelsoe inquired.

“We were pulled along with the alien vessel into some sort of trans-warp field,” Braxis said.

Kelsoe stood up.

“Where the hell are we!?” he demanded.

“Here, sir,” Braxis said, almost sounding confused.

“What?” Burt said, who was now also standing.

“We have not left the space we were where,” Braxis said. “I am picking up a Federation warp signature on sensors and believe that it is ours.”

Kelsoe looked up at Craig.

“Can you confirm that?” Kelsoe inquired.

“He’s right, sir,” Craig said. “The warp signature is definitely the Pioneer’s. Judging from the rate of decay I’d say we’ve traveled fifty years into the future.”

“That is correct,” Braxis said. “Well done, Lieutenant.”

“Do I detect pride in your voice, Braxis?” Burt said with a smile.

“I ceases to amaze me at how many insults you are able to come up with, Commander Burt,” Braxis said.

“Captain,” Tuff said, looking up. “I’m reading a decrease in back up power.”

“Confirmed!” Craig said.

Burt sat down and looked at the commander console in-between the commanding seats.

“I’m getting reports of the lower decks of environmental system failures,” Burt said.

Suddenly the lights on the bridge flickered and dimmed.

“Warning,” the computer said. “Environmental system failure on Bridge.”

“All right!” Kelsoe said. “Evacuate the bridge!” The bridge crew began heading for the turbo-lift. “Connor, transfer all ship functions to Engineering. We’re moving the bridge down there.”

“Aye, sir,” Burt said, and began typing as fast as he could.

Kelsoe rushed over to the helm controls.

“Transferring helm controls to Engineering,” Kelsoe said.

He turned around and dashed for the turbo-lift.

“We need to leave now, Connor!” Kelsoe said.

“Almost done,” Burt said.

“Environmental system failure on bridge,” the computer said, in its calm voice. “The bridge is being sealed off.”

A blue force field was activated around the turbo-lift entrance.

“Connor!” Kelsoe screamed.

Burt kept his head down, working as face as he could. Suddenly he looked up and realized what had happened, he turned around to run up to the turbo-lift and saw the blue force field buzzing there. Burt looked through the force field at Kelsoe. Kelsoe’s face was all contorted in emotion.

“Connor!” Kelsoe screamed.

Burt suddenly became extremely cold. He hugged himself, rubbing his hands up and down his arms. Trying desperately trying to get warm. Kelsoe looked at Burt with eyes that told of a huge loss. The turbo-lift doors hissed white steam as they closed.

When they entered Engineering, Kelsoe turned to Joanna.

“Emergence transport?!” Kelsoe demanded.

“Transporters are off line,” Joanna reported, from her station next to the blank space where the warp core used to be. She looked up from the console. Her hair had become messy and some strains were in her eyes. Kelsoe stopped for a moment and looked at her. He had really never noticed how similar Joanna looked like Mary, his deceased wife.

Braxis turned to Kelsoe, and placed his hand on Kelsoe’s shoulder.

“I regret to inform you, Captain,” Braxis said, in a rather monotone voice, “We have lost Commander Burt.”

“Make a note that Commander Burt in the service of saving this ship,” Kelsoe said slowly - almost painfully. “I don’t want his death and any other deaths that may occur because of this thing to become in vain.”

“Aye, aye, Captain,” Tuff said, nodding.

Joanna’s attention was focused on the console in front of her. Kelsoe kept her eyes on her for a while and then looked back up at Tuff.

“Commander,” Kelsoe said. “You are now the acting first officer.”

“Yes, sir,” Tuff said.

“Set up one of the cargo holds as an emergence sickbay,” Kelsoe said. “This thing might not be done with the destruction it plans to unleash.”

Joanna was now listening in on the conversation.

“That may be a good idea, Captain,” Joanna said. “According to my readings, that thing is somehow taking our power away from us. In a couple of hours several deck will not be able to support life.”

“Damn!” Kelsoe said under clenched teeth.

Braxis was now stepping over. He calm face gave most of them a chill. After what had happened they were all having trouble keeping themselves emotionally stable.

“It will be wise to find out why this has happened, Captain,” Braxis said - in his hand was a data pad.

Kelsoe extend his hand. Braxis raised his arm and gave the data pad to Kelsoe. Kelsoe took the pad slowly and raised it to eye level. He gave the material on it a cursory glance and looked up at Braxis.

“I have analyzed the vessel’s database,” Braxis said, calmly. “I believe I know why all the vessel’s systems suddenly changed to fit us.”

“Explain?” Kelsoe said.

“Upon touching the alien console at that exactly spot activated some sort of scanning device that scanned your mind and body, Captain,” Braxis said. “Thus, after the scan was complete, all ship functions were made understandable to us.”

“Why would it do that?” Kelsoe said.

“From what I’ve determined, this ship - well,” Braxis paused, his eyebrow rose slightly. “It is an astonishing find.”

“Please, explain, Braxis,” Kelsoe said.

“This ship is no mere ship,” Braxis said. “It is a living being. The aliens who had been aboard it we’re not it’s creatures, but some one, who like us find it.”

“Then why is it draining our power?” Joanna butted in.

“It, Lt. Commander,” Braxis said. “Is not draining our power, but feeding off of heat.”

“Ah!” Joanna said, slightly smiling along with the euphony she had just had. “That explains why the ship’s heat is decreasing along with the power.”

“Precisely, Lt. Commander,” Braxis said, nodding. “However, I can not explain for the lose in power.”

“This is very interesting,” Kelsoe said. “Do you think we can communicate with the ship? Try and explain that we mean it no harm?”

“I believe it is possible,” Braxis said. “I would have to study the vessel’s systems more, but I think I can do it.”

“Good, get to work,” Kelsoe said. “If you need any assistance, ask Tracy.”

“I will, sir,” Braxis said, and he walked over to a console.

Kelsoe turned back to Commander Tuff.

“Get working on the cargo bay,” Kelsoe said.

Tuff nodded and stepped away. Joanna was the lone senior officer left standing with Kelsoe. Kelsoe looked up at her and could almost swear he was looking at Mary. He kept wondering why he had never noticed the similarity before. Kelsoe tried to smile, but failed.

“I’ll be in my quarters,” Kelsoe said. “Contact me when Braxis is ready to communicate with the ship.”

“Yes, Captain,” Joanna said with a nod.

Kelsoe had gone back to his quarters and attempted to get some rest, but he found it impossible. Every time he would close his eyes he would see Commander Connor Burt in his mind. He could not stop thinking about Burt. Burt had been a long time friend and Kelsoe did not know how he could possible carry on with out him. After an hour or two, Kelsoe really was not paying attention to time, Joanna called saying that Braxis believed that he had found a way to communicate with the ship.

Now Kelsoe was in Engineering, the ship had become cold enough that he could see his breath flowing out of his mouth like mist. Kelsoe rubbed his hands together to get some warmth. Tracy and Craig were cuddling in the corner of the room, near a glowing console. Kelsoe looked up at Braxis.

“I believe I have found a way to communicate with the ship,” Braxis said. “However I cannot guarantee success.”

“I doesn’t matter,” Kelsoe said. “We’ve got to try.”

“I will require Commander Tuff’s assistance,” Braxis said.

Kelsoe nodded. He turned to Joanna.

“Do we have enough power to beam them over?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Barely,” Joanna said. “But I think the transporter buffers can handle it.”

“Very well,” Kelsoe said, “Do it.”

Joanna walked over to a console and looked up at Braxis and Tuff.

“Ready?” she asked.


“Here goes nothing,” Joanna said softly as she punched the console.

Braxis and Tuff dematerialized. Kelsoe stepped over to Joanna.

“Did they make it over?” he asked.

“Yes,” Joanna nodded. “But we don’t have enough power to get them back.”

Braxis tapped his commbadge.

“We have successfully transported aboard the alien vessel,” Braxis said, removing his tricorder from his belt. “I am being scans for a communicate console.”

“Good,” came Kelsoe’s voice. “I want you maintain an open comm. frequency.”

“A wise precaution, Captain,” Braxis said.

Tuff had his phaser out.

“No, Commander,” Braxis said. “It would be wise to leave our weapons in their holsters.”

“You think that’s wise?” Tuff said. “I don’t.”

“All the same, Commander,” Braxis said. “I believe we’ll profit more with our weapons remaining holstered.”

“Very well,” Tuff said, placing his phaser back into its holster.

They began walking forward, following the tricorder’s scans. The tricorder directed them down one of the hallways that lead out of the central nexus and into a room that had several computer displays. Braxis raised his tricorder and scanned each console.

“We must be certain on which console we pick,” Braxis said.

Tuff was walking around the computer displays, which were blocking some.

“Braxis!” Tuff said, after he was fully around the computer displays.

Braxis stepped over.

“What is it?” Kelsoe said, back on the Pioneer.

“A dead alien, I think?” Tuff said.

Braxis raised his tricorder over the figure in front of the final console in the room.

“This is, indeed, a life form of some kind,” Braxis said. “It appears to bee humanoid.”

“He looks like he’s been burned,” Tuff said.

“Indeed, he has,” Braxis said, looking down at his tricorder. “It appears he was trying to access this console. I believe this is the alien that the Borg designated as Species 6731.”

Braxis stepped towards the console and raised the tricorder over it.

“Curious,” Braxis said.

“What?” came Kelsoe’s voice.

“It appears that this alien was attempting to access the very console that we, too, will be attempting to access,” Braxis said.

Braxis reached up and touched the console. Immediately Braxis gave a sudden jump.

“What’s the matter?” Tuff asked.

“The ship has initiated a telepathic connection with me,” Braxis said. “I believe I’ve discovered what happened to the previous crew.”

“What?” came a very curious Kelsoe.

“It appears that the ship killed it’s previous pilot and crew, who, if I understood correctly,” Braxis said. “Used this ship to hunt aliens. This species appears to be very much similar to the Hirogen discovered by the Voyager crew in the delta quadrant. However the species that used this vessel were much more powerful than the Hirogen. The ship was angered by our they treated it, so it took away life support. This dead alien before us was attempting to make a last plead for forgiveness - which was, needless to say, denied.”

“Tell the ship that we mean it now harm,” Kelsoe said. “And will it release us?”

“I am attempting to do so as we speak,” Braxis said.

Tuff stood along side Braxis, watching Braxis contort in all sort’s of expressions of pain.

“The ship does not believe me,” Braxis said. “It is becoming angered. It is threatening to...”

“What happened!?” Kelsoe said standing next to Joanna.

Joanna looked down at the console in front of her.

“It looks like the ship’s killed them, sir,” Joanna said.

“It appears this ship’s out for vengeance,” Kelsoe said. “And we’re going to take the main brute of it.”

Suddenly it seemed to become too cold. Kelsoe looked at Joanna for answer. As she looked down at the console, Kelsoe was stunned to see ice sickles appearing before his eyes on the tubes and pipes in Engineering.

“The ship has increased its feeding,” Joanna said. “At this rate we’ll be dead in less than an hour.”

Kelsoe turned to Craig, who was still huddled up with Tracy in the corner.

“Are the escape pods functioning?” Kelsoe inquired.

Craig, broke his hug with Tracy long enough to check.

“Negative, sir,” Craig said and resumed his hug with Tracy.

“Any helm control?”

“Sorry, none,” Zimmer said.

Kelsoe turned back to Joanna. Joanna gave a small display of frustration and was forced to admit that she could do nothing. Kelsoe looked into her eyes, and for the last time, he thought he found Mary. Dr. Braga stepped over and offered and sedative to make the passing smoother. Both Kelsoe and Joanna passed the offer. Soon Kelsoe and Joanna were cuddled up to keep warm. It would now be a few minutes until they would be dead. Kelsoe closed his eyes, waiting to be reunited with Mary at long last.

He opened his eyes and he found himself on the bridge. He looked over a say Commander Burt setting in his chair, next to Kelsoe’s. His mouth opened but no sound came out. He simply mouthed, Connor. Burt looked up at Kelsoe with his eyes wide.

“What the hell just happened?” Burt asked.

Kelsoe looked up, to see the everyone else had the same reaction as he and Burt had. Kelsoe looked over at Braxis.

“What happened?” Kelsoe inquired. “We we’re all dead.”

“It appears that the ship’s energy matrix malfunctioned,” Braxis said.

“How?” Kelsoe said.

“When we were cut off with Pioneer, Captain, the life support systems on the ship were cut off,” Braxis said. “Commander Tuff and I began to feel the effects. The Commander succumbed quickly to the lack of oxygen, however I was able to make one last communication with the ship. I gave it all the knowledge about the Federation and our goals. I believe the ship saw that it had misjudged us.”

“Thank God it had good moral beliefs,” Burt said. “Otherwise I would have been dead.”

“Indeed, Commander,” Braxis said. “Luckily for you, the vessel had temporal control powers.”

Kelsoe gave a slight chuckle, and then tapped his commbadge.

“Lt. Commander Withrome?” Kelsoe said. “How are you guys down in Engineering?”

“Fine,” Joanna said. “But the warp nacelles still need purging.”

Kelsoe gave a slight chuckle.

“Well, as a great Captain once said,” Kelsoe said with a pause. “‘Make it so’.”

Kelsoe and Burt broke out in laughter.