written by Travis Cannon

Ensign Tracy Carson sat at a table in the holodeck, dressed up in some ancient Earth clothing, that was considered quite beautiful. The table center was dominated by two candles, burning brightly, in a holder. On either side of the table was a glass of wine - well, all right, holographic wine, it has no toxic effect. The room was dimly lit, but only a Vulcan would say that, to a human - romantically lit would be a better way to describe it.

At precisely nineteen hundred hours Lieutenant Norman Craig came rushing through the holodeck doors, which then disappeared and a brilliant fire place. Craig was wearing a tuxedo, but somehow it did not look quite right. As he sat down he noticed Tracy’s expression.

“What?” Craig said. “Is something wrong?”

“You’re thirty minutes late,” Tracy said.

“Sorry,” Craig said, placing the napkin in his lap. “I had trouble with this suit. Just to think that our ancestors wore such complicated clothing is incomprehensible.”

“You think you’re wearing something complex?” Tracy said. “It took me a good hour to find out just how to start put it on. I very much prefer the clothing of the Bajorans better.”

“Hey,” Craig said with a smile. “If there easier to get on than this... tucsido, then I’m for them.”

Tracy and Craig laughed and clinked their glasses together. A waiter stepped over to take their orders, which they provided rather quickly. Craig reached across the table and held Tracy’s hand. He started across her, and merely smiled with joy. Her skin seemed to glow in the flickering light of the holographic candle.

“You know,” Craig said. “I’d like to spend more time with you.”

“So would I, Norman,” Tracy said.

“Maybe...,” Craig hesitated.

“Yes?” Tracy encouraged.

But, and must suddenly, Captain Kelsoe’s voice came up on the intercom.

“All senior staff to the bridge,” Kelsoe said. “Immediately!”

“Damn, there goes our romantic evening,” Craig said, throwing the napkin on the plate in front of him.

“So it does,” Tracy said standing up. “Computer, remove holographic clothing.”

Tracy dress disappeared and she was in her uniform.

“What?!” Craig said, standing up surprised. “You said it took you a hour to find out how to start getting dressed in it.”

“It did,” Tracy said. “And my solution was having the computer put me in a holographic dress. See you on the bridge.” She kissed his cheek and walked out of the holodeck.

Craig and Tracy came out of the turbo-lift and went immediately to their stations. Captain Benjamin Kelsoe was standing in the center of the bridge with Commander Connor Burt right behind him.

“All systems reading functional,” Tuff said from his station.

“Braxis,” Kelsoe said. “Prepare sensors. I want to collect all data possible.”

“Aye, sir,” Braxis said.

The ship suddenly shook. The computer automatically brought the ship into red alert. The lights on the bridge became dominantly red. Kelsoe turned to Craig.

“What the hell was that?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Reading a high intensity matter burst,” Craig said.

“Matter?!” Kelsoe said.

“The star as just gone supernova,” Braxis said from his station. “Data is being collected by the sensors.” Braxis paused for a beat. “I am reading a shock wave, emanating from the supernova.”

“Aye, Captain,” Craig said. “The shock wave is on a direct intercept course.”

“Try to avoid it,” Kelsoe said.

“I’ll try, sir,” Zimmer said.

“I don’t want to be driven off course,” Kelsoe said.

“As would I, Captain,” Braxis said.

Burt looked at Braxis.

“I doubt it,” Burt said. “You guys don’t feel the emotion of want.”

“On the contrary, Commander, we do,” Braxis said. “We just choose to suppress it.”

“Shock wave on approach,” Zimmer said.

“Raise shields to maximum power,” Kelsoe said. “Draw power from all nonessential systems.”

“Yes, sir,” Tuff said. “Transferring power from nonessential systems to shields.”

“Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said, sitting down. “Prepare for evasive maneuvers.”

“Aye, sir!” Zimmer said. “Plotting in evasive maneuvers.”

Burt quickly sat down.

“All hands, prepare for impact!” Burt said over the speakers.

“Shock wave in visual range,” Craig announced.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said.

The screen flashed and showed the shock wave. It was advancing at an amazing speed. Kelsoe gripped the arms of his chair. Soon the shock wave dominated the view screen.

“Impact in twenty seconds,” Tuff said.

“Fifteen seconds.”

“Ten seconds. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.”

The Pioneer shook violently. The Pioneer was push upwards and sparks flew all across the bridge.

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

“Turning into the wave,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer held himself to the console as he typed in the command. It took about a couple seconds for the Pioneer to shift and turn directly into the wave. That made the shaking not as violent, but it was still pretty intense. Within a minute the shock wave had passed.

Kelsoe leaned back and sighed.

“Damage report?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Minor damage reported on decks six and seven,” Tuff said. “A haul breach on deck three in shuttle bay one.”

“Send repair teams,” Burt ordered.

“Repair teams on their way,” Tracy said. “Minor injuries being reported, medical teams are on their way. Sir? Dr. Braga is inquiring what just happened.”

“Inform him of our situation,” Kelsoe said, and then stood up. “Mr. Zimmer, how far are we from our previous location? Just a five hundred meters, sir.”

Kelsoe exhaled and turned to Braxis. “I want to find out why the hell that star went supernova before it was supposed to,” Kelsoe said.

“As would I, sir,” Braxis said. “It is most curious.”

“Craig,” Kelsoe said, turning to face Craig. “I want you go down to shuttle bay one and assist with the repairs.”

“Aye, sir,” Craig said and left his station.

“I’ll go with you,” Burt said getting up to walk along side Craig.

“Connor?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Sir,” Burt said. “Something doesn’t seem right and I want to find out.”

Kelsoe nodded, “Carry on.”

Burt and Craig left the bridge. Kelsoe stepped over behind Braxis. He looked down at the station. On a monitor, he saw a computer representation of the supernova’s explosion, and the path of the shock wave. Braxis’ eyes narrowed.

“Most intriguing,” Braxis said. “The star appears to have gone supernova prematurely by several minutes.”

Kelsoe’s eyebrows lowered.

“Impossible,” Kelsoe said.

“Impossible, yes,” Braxis said. “But not improbably. The probability that such a thing would occur is purely unpredictable. Since supernova’s a still an unpredictable and unstable event.”

Kelsoe nodded. “I’ve heard enough.” He turned to face the helm.

“Mr. Zimmer, set course for the supernova,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Aye, aye,” Zimmer said. “Course laid in.”

“Engage at warp five,” Kelsoe said.

Zimmer nodded.

“Engaging warp five,” Zimmer said. “At this speed will reach the location two hours.”

“Good,” Kelsoe said.

Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

“Kelsoe to Joanna,” Kelsoe said.

“Yes, sir,” Joanna said.

“Report to my ready room,” Kelsoe said.

“Aye, sir,” Joanna said. “On my way.”

“Commander Tuff, you have the conn,” Kelsoe said as he walked over into his ready room.

Commander Connor Burt and Lieutenant Norman Craig stepped through the big doubles doors to enter shuttle bay one on deck three. Craig immediately took his tricorder out and raised it to the face the huge torn off section of the bay door. Burt stepped around their shuttle crafts and noticed that Shuttle Craft One was damage. Burt looked around for the repair team. He saw the majority of the repair team over near the bay doors. Burt saw Kavoc and waved him over.

Kavoc walked over in a quick brisk walk.

“What seems to be the problem, sir?” Kavoc inquired when he had reached Burt.

“Take a look at the shuttle,” Burt said.

Kavoc squinted at it, and took his tricorder out. He ran the tricorder along the axis of the smashed shuttle.

“Curious,” Kavoc said, raising an eyebrow.

“What?” Burt inquired.

“A shock wave would not have caused this,” Kavoc said.

“So something else most have!” Burt said.

“Obvious,” Kavoc said. “I shall begin a full scan of the area surrounding the shuttle.”

“Good,” Burt said. “Report to me when you have your findings.”

“Yes, sir,” Kavoc said and began his scans.

Burt stepped back and quickly stepped over to Craig.

“Find anything unusual?” Burt inquired.

“No,” Craig said. “Nothing very unusual about the hole.”

Burt looked up at the hole in the bay doors. His eyes narrowed as he looked at it.

“Jesus! It looks like a small comet or meteor smashed through,” Burt said.

“That is does,” Craig said, holding his tricorder up to the hole as the repair teams went about their work. “But it is unlike anything I have ever seen with a meteor. But it does look like something penetrated the bay doors, either by colliding with it, or a perfect phaser shot.”

“What about a disruptor blast?” Burt inquired. “Could a cloaked vessel fire upon the bay doors while the shock wave hit?”

“It is possible, but I don’t see how it could be down,” Craig said. “A vessel would have to be pretty quick and maneuverable.”

“Like a shuttle craft?” Burt inquired.

“Yes,” Craig nodded. “It would have to be like a shuttle craft, except a lot more resistant to high space pressures.”

Burt nodded.

“You think you have a theory?” Craig inquired.

“It’s just a theory right now,” Burt said. “A working theory.”

Captain Kelsoe sat in his chair looking out the window at the stars, sipping  some coffee he had replicated. The door chimed and Kelsoe looked up.

“Come in,” he said putting the coffee cup down.

The doors opened and Joanna walked in. Kelsoe stood up.

“You wanted to see me, sir?” Joanna inquired.

“You can cut the act,” Kelsoe said, walking around his desk.

Kelsoe and Joanna suddenly embraced. After their embrace, which was more like two people dating then madly in love, they leaned their heads together on their foreheads.

“This is wrong,” Joanna said.

“It’s been a week,” Kelsoe said. “No one’s noticed.”

Joanna stepped back.

“I know, Ben,” Joanna said with a chuckle. “But somehow it doesn’t feel like us.”

Kelsoe nodded and leaned against the edge of his desk.

“I know what you mean,” Kelsoe said. “It almost seems that whenever we’re in the same room that our feelings are controlled by a higher power.”

Joanna laughed.

“A higher power?” Joanna said.

“Yeah,” Kelsoe said. “It has gotten to the point where I can’t think of anything but you. Something has to be down.”

Joanna shifted her feet, looking nervously about the room.

“You’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?” Joanna inquired.

“I don’t know?” Kelsoe retorted playfully. “What do you think I’m suggesting.”

“Well,” Joanna hesitated. “That we... well, you know... take our relationship to the next level.”

Kelsoe sat there, leaning against his desk, in utter shocked. He reached his hand around his back and picked up his coffee cup. He sipped it. And shook his head.

“What!?” Kelsoe said, coughing as he swallowed the coffee.

Joanna stepped forward slowly and reached her hand out for Kelsoe’s. He slowly lowered his hand holding the coffee cup and placed the cup back on the desk. With he pointer finger she rubbed Kelsoe’s lips. With a sensuality that Kelsoe had never seen in her, she slowly moved her finger down his chin and next to his chest. She then went into soft, seductive circles with her finger around his chest.

“You know what I mean,” Joanna said, moving her lips closer to Kelsoe’s. “The next level.”

Kelsoe gulped. Whatever power had taken control of him was gone. He no longer felt that feelings for Joanna he just had a couple of second ago. Suddenly pictures of Ann flashed in his head. He closed his eyes. What was he doing! He has captain should never be getting involved with a crew member, especially one from his senior staff. Kelsoe opened his eyes and saw Joanna leaning in for the kiss. Kelsoe gently pushed Joanna away.

“What?” Joanna inquired softly.

“This isn’t right,” Kelsoe said.

“Now you say that,” Joanna said, still speaking softly. “You should have said that a week ago.”

“I know,” Kelsoe said. “I’m sorry, it felt like something was controlling me. Sorry. Please try to understand.”

“Well, Christ Ben...!” Joanna was interrupted by pain from her forehead. “Ah!”

She dropped to her knees.

“Ben!” Joanna coughed.

Kelsoe’s eyes opened wide with terror.

“What’s the matter?!” Kelsoe asked.

“My head! Oh God!” Joanna said, her right hand on her forehead. “Oh God, it hurts so...!”

“Here,” Kelsoe said, helping her up. “We’ll get you to sickbay.”

Joanna lay on the bio-bed as Dr. Chase Braga ran a medical tricorder up and down the top of her head, around her forehead. Kelsoe looked on with a worried look in his eyes. Kelsoe watched as Braga’s face contorted into different expression of puzzlement and confusion.

“What’s the matter, Chase?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I have no idea,” Braga said. “This is absolutely confusing. It appears that Joanna has a brian tumor.”

“A tumor?!” Kelsoe exclaimed.

“Yes,” Braga said. “And according to my scans...” he stepped over to a medical station nearby and punched the image up on the monitor, “the tissue growth is... well, unheard of.”

“Was there any signs of this tumor in her early checkups?” Kelsoe inquired.

“That’s what puzzles me,” Braga said. “You see how the tumor covers the majority of the frontal lobe?” Braga was pointing at the monitor display. Kelsoe nodded. “What puzzles me is that this tumor appears to be a year old and the last time I gave Miss Withrome, here, a medical examine was a week and a half ago.”

“Could this be an alien virus of some kind?” Kelsoe inquired.

Braga shook his head.

“I don’t think so,” Braga said.

Suddenly an alarm started beeping on the console. Braga looked down at the console.

“Oh no, she’s going into a comatose state,” Braga said, stepping over to the bio-bed and looking down at a small console attached to the bed. He quickly pressed in a command and the bio-scanner arch erected itself. “I’m being standard procedure for comatose patients.”

“How long will she be under?” Kelsoe inquired stepping forward to look down at Joanna’s face.

“It’s hard to say,” Braga said. “With all this medical technology comas are still in the undiscovered county.”

Kelsoe’s face showed that of concern and also regret. The speakers came on and Ensign Eric Zimmer’s voice was heard.

“Captain to the bridge.”

Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

“On my way, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. Then he slowly looked up at Braga.

“Keep good care of her,” Kelsoe said.

“I intend to, sir,” Braga said.

Kelsoe stood in the center of the bridge. Commander Burt was at his side, and Craig, too, was also back at his station. Kelsoe looked over at Burt.

“Report?” Kelsoe said.

“Repair is underway,” Burt said. “But that puncture looked didn’t look natural to me. I also found shuttle craft one pretty badly beaten up.”

“Analysis?” Kelsoe inquired.

“From what Kavoc could make out, it happened after the shock wave hit,” Burt said, he then paused for about a beat. “How’s Joanna?”

“Fine,” Kelsoe said. “Braga’s got his eye on her.”

“We’re in visual range,” Zimmer reported.

“Good,” Kelsoe said. “On screen.”

The screen flashed and showed what they all expected to be nothing, except they saw a small silver blue spherical object. Kelsoe turned to Braxis, shocked.

“Analysis, Mr. Braxis?” Kelsoe said.

Braxis looked down at his console, waited for the scans to complete and then looked back up.

“It’s life, Captain,” Braxis said. “But not as we know it.”

“Life!” Kelsoe said.

Burt turned to Tracy.

“Try hailing it,” Burt said.

“Opening hailing frequencies,” Tracy said, and then after a minute or so looked back up. “No response.”

Kelsoe stomped his foot.

“This is damn peculiar,” Kelsoe said, siting down. “Rob, I want you to scan that thing for any tactical information that might be useful.”

“Aye, sir,” Tuff said.

Craig stood at his station, typing. Braxis stood up and stared at the viewer. Both Burt and Kelsoe turned and looked at him at the same.

“Braxis?” Burt inquired.

“I’m sensing someone,” Braxis said. “They have detected us.”

“Then why don’t they respond?” Burt inquired.

“Responding would be futile,” Braxis said. “It would be an illogical risk.”

“Is that what you think, or it?” Burt asked.

“It, as you call the creature, does think that,” Braxis said. “I can sense that.”

Tracy stands, too. For some reason, she thinks she can sense the same thing as Braxis, except she can actually her voices talking. Voices that sound strangely familiar. The voice become more and longer. Tracy is overwhelmed by the strength and magnitude of the voices and faints. Everyone on the bridge turns as she hits the floor. Craig rushes out from behind his station and holds her up off the floor.

“Take her to sickbay,” Kelsoe ordered.

Craig had already lifted Tracy off the ground and was heading towards the turbo-lift before Kelsoe had given the order. Kelsoe turned his attention back to the spherical object.

“Commander Tuff, report,” Kelsoe requested.

“Spherical object of unknown origin,” Tuff said. “According my readings, it was here before the supernova.”

“Here before?” Burt said to himself softly.

“Profoundly true,” Braxis said, looking up from his station. “From what our sensor’s have gathered so far, it appears that this object is capable of producing a shock wave of the same magnitude that we collided with before.”

“Impossible,” Zimmer said from the helm.

“That would require the energy of at least twelve starships,” Tuff said from his station.

“And that it does,” Braxis retorted. “This object does indeed generate that much power.”

“All right,” Kelsoe said. “Mr. Zimmer, keep us at a safe distance. Braxis, I’d like you and Commander Tuff to continue scans of this... thing.” Kelsoe stepped up to Tuff’s station. “Find out whatever you can about it that can be at the least bit helpful to why it is here and why it created that shock wave.”

“Yes, sir,” Tuff said with a nod.

Suddenly there is something that sounds like zap. Kelsoe turns around and sees Burt, but Burt looks different.

“Burt?” Kelsoe said.

“Yes, Captain?” Burt said. “Could you speak up, I can’t hear you.”

“We’d better get you to sickbay,” Kelsoe said. “Come with me, here.”

Kelsoe extend his hand and gentle grabbed hold of Burt’s arm. Kelsoe lead Burt up the bridge and to the turbo-lift.

Captain’s Log:

Ever since we hit the shock wave, which we believe originated from the spherical object we found, strange things have been happening to the crew. Lieutenant Commander Joanna Withrome has gone into a coma and Commander Connor Burt become to age quicker. While transporting Ensign Tracy Carson to sickbay Lieutenant Norman Craig suddenly lost all motion in his legs. I am become very worried about the crew. I believe that more crew members will be effected. I also believe that this might have started a week ago, except I believe someone, or something was tampering with emotions.

Ensign Carson has recovered and is on her way to the bridge. Dr. Braga has told me that he thinks he has an answer to what is happening. I am on my way to find out what Dr. Braga thinks is going on.

Commander Braxis sat at his station, on a very quite bridge. Commander Tuff had suddenly become transfused with the D.N.A. of a Klingon. He had become extremely dangerous to himself and others around him. Braxis was basically the last person left on the bridge who wasn’t effected by whatever it was that was effecting the crew. The only one left was Ensign Eric Zimmer, who was sitting at the helm console.

The turbo-lift doors opened and Ensign Tracy Carson stepped through the doors. Her blond hair was brushed back, but was a little messy, and her eyes were wide with a sense of terror.

Tracy paused as she stepped out of the turbo-lift and closed her eyes.

What should we do to this one?

Let’s ask the leader.

Tracy opened her eyes and looked around. No one was there except for Braxis and Zimmer, yet she knew that those voices were not theirs. As she stood there, he fears seemed to form into truth. She could defiantly identify these voices, but it would take some time. She had to tell someone. Someone who would hear her out. Some one who had telepathic powers and would understand. Braxis!

Tracy stepped over to Braxis’ station.

“Commander Braxis?” Tracy said, clearing her throat.

Braxis spun around in his chair.

“Yes, what is it Ensign Carson?” Braxis inquired.

“Well, sir,” Tracy said. “Well, your telepathic, right?”

“Yes,” Braxis nodded. “Vulcans are telepathic.”

Well, I am too, Tracy said using her mind.

Amazing, Braxis said back. Your species is not known to be telepathic.

Some humans are, Tracy said. This must be from my father’s genes.

Braxis broke the telepathic link and spoke normally.

“When was this ability first made apparent to you?” Braxis inquired.

“My first experience was in the caverns on Tealu,” Tracy said.

“Fascinating,” Braxis said, raising an eyebrow. “The Tealuian are telepathic as well?”

“Yes,” Tracy said. “One of them spoke to me... Xojo. I can still see his face in my mind, pleading me to stay.”

“He did consider you a unique specimen,” Braxis said. “I believe I can see why.”

“Why?” Tracy inquired, lowering her eyebrows.

“He must have considered it incredible that a species other than the Tealuian could speak telepathically,” Braxis said.

Tracy nodded.

“Well, the reason I bring it up, is because I’m hearing voices,” Tracy said. “And these are not like the voices crazy people hear.”

“I would never believe you to be crazy,” Braxis said. “Hearing voices is a common thing for telepathists.” Braxis paused for a beat. “However, it is quite difficult to learn how to make the voices subside. To a Vulcan it comes naturally. But to the untrained mind, it could cause serious emotional damage.”

Tracy hesitated, unsure whether to respond.

“What?” Braxis inquired.

“I just never thought of hearing a Vulcan speak of emotion damage,” Tracy said.

“Emotions can be quite damaging to the psyche,” Braxis said.

“Well,” Tracy hesitated. “Well, I think that the Tealuians are here...”

Captain Kelsoe sat on the edge of Dr. Braga’s desk. Braga stepped into his office through the door and rubbed his hand down his face. He was obviously frustrated.

“Norman is under control, he’s unconscious right now,” Braga said. “I’ve given Commander Tuff a sedative. Commander Burt is fine, but extremely agitated. Still now change in Joanna’s coma.” He sighed. “This is not a good day.”

Kelsoe nodded. He kept he firm face.

“How many crew members have been effected?” Kelsoe inquired.

“More than half the ship,” Braga said. “My medical team is not big enough to deal with something like this. Sickbay is certainly too small for something like this. We’re using cargo bay one as a second sickbay right now.”

“Good,” Kelsoe nodded. “Any thoughts on what is causing this?”

Braga shook his head.

“It does make any sense,” Braga said. “Joanna in a coma, Commander Burt’s suddenly an old man, Tuff’s being taken over by Klingon D.N.A., Norman’s lost all motion... all these things seem to be unrelated, but somehow they must be.”

“What’s you theory then?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Experimentation,” Braga said.

“Excuse me!?” Kelsoe said, standing straight up.

“All of these changes are too random to be natural,” Braga explained, trying to calm Kelsoe down. “The only thing I can come up with is some one has been performing experiments on the crew.”

“How long do you think this has been going on?” Kelsoe inquired.

“From most of my readings, it appears this started a week ago,” Braga said.

Kelsoe thought back in his mind. A week ago, that’s when Joanna and I started...

“Chase, scan my brian,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Yes, sir,” Braga said.

Braga picked up his medical tricorder and ran it up and down Kelsoe head. His face showed expressions of shock and amazement.

“Have they messed with me, too?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I believe so,” Braga said. “According to these readings it seems like you’ve been programed to feel...”

“Go on,” Kelsoe said softly.

“Love for some one,” Braga continue. “For who I cannot tell.”

“And you don’t need to know,” Kelsoe said. Everything he thought he had with Joanna was a lie. Kelsoe straightened his back and adjusted his uniform.

“I don’t like this, not one damn bit,” Kelsoe said.

“Neither do I, sir,” Braga said.

Kelsoe looked at Braga.

“Have you been effect?” Kelsoe inquired.

Braga nodded and pulled up the right leg of his pants. There was an ugly painful looking green rash covering the majority of his leg.

“What type of rash is that?” Kelsoe inquired.

“It’s a Cardassian skin rash that does not effect humans,” Braga said.

“Than how did it get on you?” Kelsoe said.

“As I said earlier, experimentation.”

“This is curious,” Braxis said.

Braxis and Tracy were siting in the mess hall, they had left Ensign Zimmer in command of the bridge. Tracy was sitting across from Braxis.

“Close your eyes,” Braxis instructed.

Tracy nodded, slowly and closed her eyes. She was prepared to open her mind to the strange new world of telepathy.

“Take deep breath, clear your mind of all other things,” Braxis instructed slowly. “Focus on the alien voices. Speak to me what they speak.”

Tracy took several deep breaths and exhaled slowly. She relaxed her body and opened her mind’s hears to the voices of the intruders. She could hear them very distinctly.

“Yes,” Tracy said. “I have them. Defiantly Tealuians.”

“How many are in this room?”

“Two, I think.”

“Can you make out their conversation?”

“Yes... ‘ ... one is trouble. I know. We must begin, as the leader instructed. Yes, we shall.’”

“Ensign,” Braxis said. “I require you assistance.”

Tracy opened her eyes.

“What’s the matter?” Tracy inquired.

“It appears that I have become blind,” Braxis said. “From what I heard from you, I appears they considered me a threat. You must escort me to sickbay, where we shall tell the doctor, and hopefully if the Captain is there too, him as well.”

“Yes, sir,” Tracy said, as she stood up. “Here.” Tracy extend her arm and Braxis grabbed on to it. She began leading him towards the door.

“And would you please warn me about corners,” Braxis said. “If I was with Commander Burt right now, instead of you, he would make this journey much more difficult.”

Tracy and Braxis easily existed the mess hall and made their way down the hall to the turbo-lift. However, on the way she heard many Tealuians pass them, some of which stopped and chuckled. They had some trouble getting into the turbo-lift, but then it was fine.

“Deck four, sickbay,” Tracy commanded of the turbo-lift.

The turbo-lift began the journey and within moments was there. The doors opened and Tracy lead Braxis out of the turbo-lift. By now Tracy could feel a distinct presence that she recognized from Tealu. He had been following her since she left sickbay earlier. Then, with a little more difficulty than she expected, was able to get Braxis to sickbay.

Kelsoe and Braga looked up as Tracy and Braxis entered. Kelsoe looked at Braxis and quickly looked at Tracy.

“He’s blind,” Tracy said.

Kelsoe glanced over at Braga and nodded. Braga stepped forward and helped Tracy to lead Braxis to a chair, where he sat down. Braga picked up his medical tricorder and scanned Braxis.

“It appears that his optical connections have been severed,” Braga said. “This confirms my theory about these being experiments.”

“A logical conclusion, Doctor,” Braxis said. “Ensign Carson and I have been working with her telepathic abilities to learn more of our intruders.”

“Tracy’s telepathic?!” both Kelsoe and Braga said at the same time.

“Yes,” Braxis nodded. “Her abilities are stronger than any non-Vulcan who possess this ability. She has heard the voices of our intruders.”

Kelsoe looked up at Tracy.

“Is this true?” Kelsoe demanded.

“Yes, sir,” Tracy said. “I first noticed their voices when we reached the spherical object.”

“What are they doing here... to us!?” Kelsoe inquired.

“As the doctor said,” Tracy said, as calm as she could. “They are performing experiments.”

“Indeed,” Braxis said. “Experiments that I believe can become more fatal as time progresses.”

“Any ideas, people?” Kelsoe requested calmly.

“Captain,” Braxis said. “I believe that it may be possible for me the mind meld with Ensign Carson and help her to find out our we can counter the invisibility of our intruders.”

“Do it, then,” Kelsoe said.

Braga pulled up a chair for Tracy. She slowly sat down in it.

“Well this hurt?” Tracy asked Braxis.

“If it works successfully, no,” Braxis said. “Please, assist me, Ensign.”

Tracy helped guide Braxis’ hands to her face. When Braxis found his footing, he placed his fingers in the correct locations along Tracy’s face to initiate the mind meld.

“My thoughts to your thoughts, you thoughts to my thoughts,” Braxis said softly. “All else is irrelevant. Focus on my voice. Our minds shall become one.”

Tracy felt a sensation she had never felt before.

We have successfully mind melded, Braxis said to her though they telepathic link. We shall now begin to seek for the fault in our intruders mission.

Kelsoe and Braga watched as both Braxis and Tracy’s faces contorted into a bunch of different expressions, but the most common seemed to be frustration. Within twenty minutes Braxis had released Tracy from the mind meld grip and slumped back exhausted. Tracy was also exhausted, and they both took a minute or so to catch their breaths. Finally Braxis spoke, looking in no particular direction.

“Their fault is their concealment,” Braxis said. “I believe that if we send an electronic pulse, set at the appropriate frequency, through the ship we can disrupt the intruders’ cloak.”

“Who are these intruders?” Braga inquired.

“That is irrelevant next to the fact that we need to disrupt their cloak,” Braxis said.

“Sure, but I’d like to know,” Braga said.

“The Tealuians,” Tracy said. “I’ve recognized a presence amongst them that I remember from Tealu.”

“These Tealuians need to learn decent manners,” Kelsoe said. “What’s the frequency, Braxis?”

“Set to seven point thirty-five,” Braxis said and then became unconscious.

Braga scanned him and looked back up at Kelsoe.

“No need to worry,” Braga said. “He was just a little warn out from the mind meld.”

“What about Tracy?” Kelsoe inquired.

Braga scanned her.

“No,” Braga said. “She appears to be fine.”

“Can the pulse effect the crew?” Kelsoe inquired.

“I don’t think so,” Braga said. “Everyone should be fine.”

Tracy stood up. “I’d like to help, Captain,” Tracy said.

“Right,” Kelsoe said, gesturing towards the door. “To the bridge, then.”

“Check us at pointing away from that object,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Yes, sir,” Zimmer said, plotting in a course change to point the head of the Pioneer away from the silver spherical object.

Kelsoe and Tracy were at the operations station and were working together to prepare the ship for an electronic pulse. Kelsoe turned to Tracy.

“Ready?” Kelsoe inquired.

Tracy nodded. “Yes, Captain.”

“All right,” Kelsoe said. “Begin the electronic pulse.”

“Setting frequency to seven point thirty-five,” Tracy said. “Initiating pulse.”

There was a soft ping noise and suddenly five Tealuians appeared on the bridge. The computer alarms went off.

“Intruder alert, intruder alert,” the computer said.

Force field were automatically placed around the intruders. All the Tealuians, who were holding strange devices, some of which could be the Tealuian version of a tricorder. Tracy looked around and saw a familiar face in the clouds of Tealuians.

“Xojo?!” Tracy snapped.

The tall, gracefully Tealuian bowed.

“Tracy Carson,” he said in his wonderful voice. “It has been too long.”

Kelsoe stepped forward.

“Look! I want to know what the hell you’re doing to my crew!?” Kelsoe interjected.

Xojo turned and looked at Kelsoe with his milky black eyes.

“We are doing as you do,” Xojo said. “Exploring.”

“The hell you are!” Kelsoe said.

“Ah!” Xojo said raising a finger in the air. “I thought you were suppose to respect other cultures.”

“This is not about cultural differences,” Kelsoe said. “This is about the violation of my crew.”

“What you call a violation, we call learning,” Xojo said. “Since your species will not allow us to raise in captivity some of your kind, we must find other ways of learning about your race.” Xojo turned and looked at Tracy. “I most amazing race you are too.”

“Spare me the scientific mumbo-jumbo and cut the chase, how long have you been learning from my crew?” Kelsoe inquired.

“A week or more,” Xojo said.

“And the shock wave, the fictional supernova?” Kelsoe inquired.

“A experiment,” Xojo said. “To see how your species would react to such events and circumstances. And I must add, they did most admirably.”

“And the shuttle bay?” Kelsoe asked.

“An unfortunate accident,” Xojo said, looking over at one of the other Tealuians. “One that will not be forgotten, I can assure you.”

“What kinds of assurances can I get from you to reverse the damage you’ve done to my crew?” Kelsoe said.

“None,” Xojo admitted. “I give no assurance.”

“Right,” Kelsoe nodded. “Mr. Zimmer target that damn sphere.”

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said. “Targeted.”

“Arm photon torpedoes,” Kelsoe ordered.

“Torpedoes armed, Captain,” Zimmer said.

Xojo looked from Zimmer to Kelsoe.

“You wouldn’t?” Xojo said, and then looked at Tracy. “Would he, Tracy Carson?”

“Yes, he would Xojo,” Tracy said.

Xojo lowered his head.

“So sad,” Xojo said, he then looked back up at Tracy. “Tracy Carson, can I not persuade you to reconsider my earlier request to stay with us.”

“I can’t Xojo, and will not,” Tracy said.

“What about that mate of yours?” Xojo said, referring to Craig. “We will bring him too.”

“I don’t think he would enjoy it much, either,” Tracy said.

Xojo’s eyes blinked. “I can see it is futile to try and persuade you, Tracy Carson.”

Tracy nodded.

“Captain Benjamin Kelsoe,” Xojo said, turning his attention back to Kelsoe. “We will release your crew and when we are gone it will appear that nothing has happened.”

“Good,” Kelsoe said. “But you are lying, that thing is gone.”

Xojo raised his hand to silence Kelsoe. “Well understood, Captain Benjamin Kelsoe.”

Xojo looked over at Tracy, with a longing in his eyes that Tracy could connect with. Xojo raised what could be called a communicator to his mouth.

“Tumola Da chuis,” Xojo said, with his big watery eyes focused on Tracy.

Kelsoe watched as the Tealuians appeared to beam off the bridge. He turned to look at Tracy and saw that she was being transported as well. Kelsoe turned to Zimmer.

“Stop the transport!” Kelsoe ordered.

Zimmer typed at his console.

“Sorry, sir, something is jamming our signal,” Zimmer said.

Kelsoe quickly stepped over and sat down in his chair.

“Mr. Zimmer, bring us about,” Kelsoe said.

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said. “Bring us about.”

Kelsoe looked around. The bridge was completely empty except for Zimmer and himself. He then looked back at the view screen. Slowly the spherical object came back into view and became centered on the screen.

“Sir, we’re being hailed by the sphere,” Zimmer said.

“On screen,” Kelsoe said.

The screen flashed to the interior of the sphere and Kelsoe saw Xojo.

“I am sorry, Captain Benjamin Kelsoe,” Xojo said. “But I was forced to take Tracy Carson. She is an extraordinary specimen.”

“Well, your specimen happens to be a member of my crew,” Kelsoe said.

Kelsoe could make out Tracy standing behind Xojo. He then focused back on Xojo.

“Either, release her, or I’ll destroy the sphere,” Kelsoe said.

Xojo hesitated and then laughed.

“I do not think so, Captain Benjamin Kelsoe,” Xojo said. “You will not kill one of your own crew members.”

“Tracy would rather die then live the rest of her life as your trophy,” Kelsoe said.

“This is not true,” Xojo said, questioning his on belief.

“If you doubt me, ask her,” Kelsoe said.

Kelsoe watched as Xojo turned around and looked at Tracy.

“Would you rather die, Tracy Carson?” Xojo said.

Tracy bit her lip. She new what Captain Kelsoe was doing, playing on the emotions of Xojo.

So she nodded and said, “Yes, Xojo. I would rather die.”

Xojo became almost teary eyed.

“I am very sad to hear that, Tracy Carson,” Xojo said. “But I cannot deny you the life you want. I will transport her back over, Captain Benjamin Kelsoe. Xojo out.”

The screen flashed back to the sphere floating in space. Within moments Tracy materialized back on the bridge in exactly the same spot she was when she was transported off with the Tealuians. Kelsoe looked up at her to make sure that she was okay and then returned his attention to the view screen.

“Mr. Zimmer, prepare to launch photon torpedoes,” Kelsoe said.

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said quickly.

“No, Captain,” Tracy interrupted. “I know they deserve that, but we would be violating all our beliefs if we fired upon them. They have promised to return the crew back to the way they were.”

Kelsoe thought for a while.

“Very well,” Kelsoe said. “Delay that order, Mr. Zimmer.”

“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said.

Kelsoe watched as the sphere moved away and entered warp. Kelsoe tapped his commbadge.

“Kelsoe to sickbay,” Kelsoe said.

“Dr. Braga here,” Braga said.

“How is everyone?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Whatever you did, Captain,” Braga said. “It looks like nothing happened at all. Everyone is as they were. They just suddenly changed in the blink of an eye.”

“Good,” Kelsoe said. “Have them report back to their stations when you’ve check them out of sickbay. Kelsoe out.”

Kelsoe looked over at Tracy, and then glanced back towards the helm.

“Mr. Zimmer, get us the hell out of here,” Kelsoe said.

Zimmer nodded and gave a little smirk.

“With pleasure, sir.”