written by Travis Cannon

Smoke bellowed out from the conference room. Commander Robert Tuff squinted and saw the gleamer of flames. Debris fell from above and Tuff stepped back. The screams and cries for help could still be heard from inside the room. Behind him Tuff heard the shouts of the security personnel as they rushed across the nexus. The alarm had been sounded and it blasted on the station’s intercom. Tuff turned around from the grizzle scene and tapped in commbadge.

“Tuff to Pioneer,” he said. “We need medical personnel on the station immediately, section three...” he paused for a beat. “The conference room.”

Tuff stood beside the door and watched as the medical teams, and security personnel walked through the debris in the conference room looking for survivors. Dr. Chase Braga walked up from behind him and looked at him. Tuff noticed the concern in Braga’s face.

“Captain Kelsoe was in the room?” Braga asked.

Tuff could only nod. Braga turned and looked back. A medical team had placed Buerk on a stretcher and were moving him to the station sickbay. Tuff noticed and watched as they disappeared around through a door.

“How’s the Lieutenant?” Tuff inquired.

Braga turned and looked at Tuff. He squinted his eyes.

“I don’t know,” Braga said. “Dr. Rhell’s in the station sickbay, he’ll be able to handle it. Right now, I need to get in there and help anyone who survived that explosion.”

Tuff nodded.

“Carry on.”

As Braga walked away Tuff turned to see Admiral Jonathan Dutton enter the nexus of the station. Dutton quickly walked over to Tuff and surveyed the aftermath.

“Report,” Dutton said.

“Right now, sir,” Tuff said. “We don’t know anything. The only thing that we know for sure is that Tyson Calok had something to due with the bombing.”

“What about the Tealuians?” Dutton inquired. “They did seem to be in an awful hurry to leave the station before today's meetings.”

Tuff shook his head. “I don’t think so, sir,” he said. “This does not seem like the Tealuians. Sure they may spy and kidnap people, but I doubt that they go this far. This was a terrorist attack by Calok. He is known for doing such things, sir.”

“I know about Calok, Commander!” Dutton snapped.

Dutton clenched his fist at his side. “Report to me when you have further information.”

Tuff nodded.

Dutton then left, and in a hurry. Tuff knew that the Admiral probably had to inform Starfleet Command about the incident. Tuff turned and looked back into the conference room. He took a deep breath. He should probably assist in the survivor search.

Tuff stepped forward and entered the debris filled room. Engineering teams were putting out the last remain fires that were scattered throughout the room. Tuff stood were the podium had been and looked around at the black burnt remains of some of the delegates who had been attending the conference. Talnoc Lore probably was dead, and with him the hope for peace. Dr. Braga crossed through Tuff’s field of vision and Tuff followed Braga with his eyes. The doctor had his tricorder out and was scanning the room for life signs. Tuff decided to do the same. He removed his tricorder from his belt and flipped it open. He held in front of him and scanned the area around the podium. The tricorder beeped and he knew that it was picking up a life sign in front of him.

He walked forward and it got louder. It did not take long for him to realize who the tricorder and found.

“Doctor!” Tuff said, as he placed his tricorder back on his belt.

Braga came running over, his medical kit ready for use.

“Help me with this debris,” Tuff said, as he attempted to move the now burnt podium out of the way.

With Braga’s assistance, Tuff was able to left the podium up and moved it to the side. Braga bent down and took out his medical tricorder. Tuff watched as Braga scanned the figure below him. Braga looked up at Tuff with a grim expression.

“It’s the captain,” Braga said. “His life signs are weak though, we need to get him to the sickbay, immediately.”

Tuff nodded. He tapped his commbadge.

“Tuff to Pioneer,” he said. “Beam Dr. Braga and Captain Kelsoe immediately to sickbay.”

“Affirmative, sir.”

Tuff stepped back and watched as Braga and Kelsoe dematerialized in an aura of blue light. Security and Medical personnel walked all around him and he looked around, following them as they searched for survivors. Tuff paced back and forth around the room. The Engineering teams had been able to put out the fires, and the had begun clearing away the debris. The medical teams had cleared away most of the bodies, but there was still enough debris left to cover any victims who were close to the center of the explosion.


Tuff looked up and saw Ensign Tom Dunn gesturing to him. Tuff quickly made his way over to Dunn. Dunn was with two medical personnel. They were helping a gray debris covered figure. Tuff squinted.

“Admiral Anton?” Tuff said.

The figure coughed and nodded.

“Sir!” Tuff said. “Are you all right?”

Anton coughed again, and whipped the ash from his face. “Yes,” he coughed. “Who...?” Anton went into a long series of rough coughs.

Tuff placed a hand on the Admiral’s shoulder.

“You should go to sickbay, sir,” Tuff said. “Get some rest. We’ll take care of everything.”

“Kelsoe?!” Anton inquired.

“Dr. Braga found him,” Tuff said. He paused. “It doesn’t look good, but... I have faith in Braga’s medical abilities.”

Anton nodded. Tuff turned to Dunn and the medical personnel.

“Escort the Admiral to sickbay,” Tuff said. And to Dunn. “Inform Admiral Dutton that Admiral Anton’s alive.”

Dunn nodded, and then assisted Admiral Anton to the station’s sickbay. Tuff turned back and looked at the dismal sight before him. Crewman Stackhouse was pacing around the flash point of the explosion with his tricorder held firmly in front of him. Tuff watched. The tricorder beeped, and Stackhouse looked up. Tuff immediately made his way over to Stackhouse.

“Crewman?” Tuff asked.

“Sir?” Stackhouse said in a puzzled voice. “I’m picking up faint life signs here.”

Tuff looked down at the debris. A large metal plate and a bunch of small bits of metal was located just in front of them.

“Help me with this,” Tuff said, bending down to pull the metal plate away.

With Stackhouse’s help Commander Tuff was able to move the metal plate. And they saw the producer of the life signs. Tuff shook his head. He could not believe his eyes. It was Talnoc Lore.

Commander Connor Burt stood in the sickbay, watching Dr. Braga and Dr. Rhell look over Captain Kelsoe. Burt looked around and saw the entire medical staff of the station and of the Pioneer hard at work. Burt stepped forward and stood beside the bio-bed that Kelsoe was on. A medical assistance handed Braga a hypospray and Braga injected Kelsoe with its contents.

“That should stabilize him,” Braga said, looking up at Burt. “I’ll have to keep him under for a while, sir.”

Burt nodded. He turned and saw Commander Tuff standing beside Dr. Rhell, who was working on Lieutenant Albert Buerk, the Chief of Station Security. Buerk had been hit in the chest by a blaster fired by Tyson Calok. The terrorist had gotten away, and Burt knew that there would be hell to pay for tragedy that had just happened three hours ago. Talnoc Lore was dead... but for some unknown reason his body was transmitting life signs. Dr. Braga had down a full analyst of the Ambassador’s body and said that by Federation medical standard Lore was dead. Admiral Anton, who had been released half an hour ago had made the official announcement to all of the respective governments. The Cresentians were sending one of their officials to bring the body back to Cresia One.

Burt turned and saw Admiral Anton and Admiral Dutton standing in the doorway. He looked up at Braga and nodded. Burt then turned and strode over to the Admirals.

“Sirs?” Burt said, nodding.

“Admiral Dutton has a theory,” Anton said. “I’d like you to hear it.”

Burt could only nod in response.

“I believe that the Tealuians are responsible for the financing of this attack,” Dutton said.

“How do you support that... sir?” Burt asked, quickly adding in “sir at the last minute.

Dutton narrowed his eyes, and ignored Burt’s hesitation. “The Tealuian delegation showed no enthusiasm during the peace talks. They left before the charter was signed. Ambassador Shitick had no intention of signing that charter, and I believe that it is clear why.”

Burt looked at the Admiral for a while, and thought.

“I don’t know,” Burt said. “We’ve tangled with the Tealuians a couple times and they have done some pretty bad things, but I would not call them terrorist.”

“It might not have been the government,” Dutton said. “A dissident faction could be responsible. The fact remains that the Tealuians most likely knew that something was going to happen and did not warn anyone. I still say that their behavior is damn suspicious.”

Burt stood there and thought. He did not agree with Admiral Dutton, but he really could not say anything, at least in front of Admiral Dutton. Burt noted that to himself and decided he would talk with Admiral Anton later.

“I’ll inform Starfleet Command,” Dutton said and walked out.

Anton stepped closer to Burt and shook his head.

“I don’t know,” Anton said, glancing at the departing Dutton. “It doesn’t make sense for the Tealuians to finance such a bombing.”

Burt nodded. Burt looked over at Commander Tuff and waved him over. Tuff came over and nodded.

“Rob, what do you think?” Burt inquired.

Tuff looked from Commander Burt and Admiral Anton.


“Go ahead, Commander,” Anton said. “I’d like to hear what you have to say.”

Tuff nodded. “We know that Tyson Calok must have had something to do with the bombing. Calok has serious grievances against the Dinokians, and the Federation. My best guess at the moment is that it was Calok. And with that said, there’s nothing else to say, really.”

Anton nodded.

“Yes I can see how you can say that,” Anton said. “Calok does has grievances against the Federation that would make him plan this bombing. What do you recommend then, Commander?”

“First, sir, I would ask the administrators at the penal colony on Rizac V why was he let out,” Tuff said. “This troubles me, sir. Calok should never have been released in the first place.”

Anton nodded.

“And, sir,” Tuff said. “If Calok still has the powers that he had when he was on the Pioneer then he is more dangerous than he otherwise would be.”

Anton nodded. “Yes, yes,” Anton said. “I concur.” He paused to think. “I’m going to send the Independence out to look for any traces of movement along the Federation Tealuian border. If the Tealuians are planning anything, then we’ll know. And for Mr. Tyson Calok...,” Anton looked at Tuff. “I leave that in your capable hands.”

Captain Benjamin Kelsoe sat, laid back, in a chair in his quarters aboard the U.S.S. Pioneer. His head hurt, but then again almost every part of his body ached. According to Dr. Braga, the blast had been so powerful that it had thrown Kelsoe into the air and against the wall. Kelsoe closed his eyes and thought back to the initial explosion. He remember becoming extreme suspicious when a familiar figure left the conference room. Then he was running toward Talnoc Lore, trying to save him. Kelsoe shook his head. Everything was a blur. A quickly violent bright blur. 

He sat up and rubbed the back of his neck. It ached there, too. He arched his back and stretched his arms out wide. He heard his bones crack and creak. Kelsoe stood up, rubbing his left arm. It ached, too. He slowly made his was over to the replicator and stopped when he reached it.

“Computer... Brandy, cooled,” Kelsoe said.

The computer chirped in response and within seconds a glass of brandy appeared. Kelsoe picked it up and turned back to his chair. He sat back down and sipped the brandy. He inhaled and then exhaled slowly. The door chime sounded. Kelsoe looked up.

“Come in,” he said, lowering the glass from his lips.

The door opened and Commander Braxis stepped into the door frame.

“Captain,” Braxis said, nodding.

Kelsoe sat up.

“Braxis, come on in,” Kelsoe said, gesturing with his free hand.

Braxis stepped through the door frame and the door closed behind him with a hiss.

“What can I do for you, Commander?” Kelsoe asked.

Braxis raised an eyebrow.

“Dr. Braga asked him if I would scan you for any remaining traces of the weapon signature of the bomb, sir,” Braxis said. “If we are able to determine the exact signature and frequency to the components used in the bomb, we may be able to track down Mr. Calok.” Braxis paused while he took out a medical tricorder. “May I proceed, Captain?”

“By all means, Mr. Braxis,” Kelsoe said, putting down the brandy glass on a table next to the chair.

Braxis nodded. He stepped forward and brought the scanner up to Kelsoe. He began the scan. Within a minute he was done.

“Well?” Kelsoe inquired

Braxis cocked his head and raised his eyebrow. “I was unable to ascertain any information regard the signature of the bomb, Captain. However, I believe a more thorough scan would yield better results. For that I would require the sickbay scanners.”

“And I bio-bed,” Kelsoe said.

“Precisely, sir,” Braxis said.

“Well, I feel up to it,” Kelsoe said, standing up. “Besides, I want to find out what happened to Talnoc Lore.”

Braxis nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Dr. Braga ran the medical scanner up and down the body of Talnoc Lore.

“We’re losing him,” Braga said. “10ccs of cordrazine!”

A nurse came running over from another bio-bed and handed Braga a hypospray. Braga injected the contents into Talnoc Lore by pressing the head against Lore’s neck.

“No effect,” Braga said, slamming his hands against the side console on the bio-bed. He handed the hypospray to the nurse standing beside him and she put it down on a tray.

“25ccs of cordrazine!” Braga ordered. “Now!”

The nurse handed him the hypospray. Braga placed the head of the hypospray on Talnoc Lore’s neck and injected the dosage. Braga handed the hypospray back to the nurse and she provided him with a medical tricorder. He took out the scanner and ran it up and down Talnoc Lore’s body. He lowered the scanner and looked up. He inhaled.

“No effect,” he said softly. He paused, and swallowed. “Time of death: thirteen hundred hours.”

The sickbay doors opened and Captain Kelsoe came in with Braxis by his side.

“Doctor?” Kelsoe exclaimed rushing forward.

Dr. Braga looked up.

“He’s dead, sir,” Braga said. “There was nothing I could have done. His heart just gave out.”

Kelsoe stepped forward and looked down at the bio-bed and at the body of Talnoc Lore.

“If he dies, then peace dies with him,” Kelsoe said.

“Then peace dies, Captain,” came a voice from behind Kelsoe.

They all turned to see Admiral Dutton standing in the doorway. He stepped in and the doors hissed closed behind him. Beside Dutton was a red uniform ensign, his aide. Dutton stepped forward and looked down at Talnoc Lore.

“When was the time of death, doctor?” Dutton inquired.

“Thirteen hundred, sir,” Braga said.

Dutton nodded, “Yes, a grave loss, but things like this happen.”

“Things like this?” Kelsoe exclaimed. “With all do respect, sir, Talnoc Lore died in a terrorist attack at a peace conference...”

“I know,” Dutton said. “How ironic. The very thing that he loved most of all got him killed.”

“How is that, Admiral?” Kelsoe demanded.

“He came here the create the Oralian Peace Charter,” Dutton explained. “And died in the process.” Dutton paused, watching Kelsoe for a reaction. When none came, he cocked his head. “Ensign.”

The red uniform ensign stepped forward.

“Yes, Admiral?” the Ensign said, while he raised a data pad.

“Take a note: Dear Mr. Talnoc Lore, My sincere regrets and apologies on your late husband’s death. Our thoughts and prays are with you. Yours, Admiral Jonathan Alexander Dutton.” Dutton glanced up at Kelsoe. “Transmit.”

“Yes, sir.”

The ensign bowed slightly as he backed away before leaving the sickbay. Dutton eyed Kelsoe.

“Do you have a problem, Captain!?” Dutton asked.

“No, Admiral,” Kelsoe said after a hesitation. “No problem at all.”

“Right then,” Dutton said, nodding. “Very well.”

He turned and left. The negative aura in the air left with him. Kelsoe and Braga exhaled. And Braxis merely raised an eyebrow.

“Intriguing,” he said.

Kelsoe turned to Braxis.

“What?” Kelsoe inquired. “What is it that you find so intriguing?”

“The Admiral appears to believe that Talnoc Lore is dead,” Braxis said.

“Dead?” Braga said. “He is, Braxis. I called his time of death myself.”

Braxis nodded. “You may have, doctor,” Braxis said. “But I may point out that you do not know enough about Cresentian autonomy to make such a statement.”

Kelsoe stepped forward and looked down at Talnoc Lore.

“Explain?” Kelsoe asked.

“Cresentian’s are not a humanoid species, sir,” Braxis said. “If the good doctor would have bothered to check the medical records sent by the Cresentian government, he would know this.”

“Then what is he, Braxis?” Braga asked. “His body is humanoid enough.”

“That is not his body, doctor,” Braxis said. “The Cresentian body resembles that of a worm. The actual size is only .4572 meters in length.”

“Is that so?” Braga said.

“Yes,” Braxis said. “This type of life form is not unheard of. The Trill, for example.”

“But the Trill are symbiontic,” Braga said, “not some sort of mechanism to carry the symbiont.”

“That may be,” Braxis said. “But there is no denying the information contained in the Cresentian medical record.”

“I’d like to have a look at this medical record,” Braga said.

“By all means, doctor,” Braxis said.

Braga looked at Kelsoe and then back at Braxis.

“Alright,” Braga said. “I’ll be in the library.”

Braga left. Dr. Rhell came over and continued Braga’s work. Kelsoe looked at Braxis and then at Rhell.

“Dr. Rhell,” Kelsoe said. “How much do you know about Cresentian autonomy?”

Rhell looked up and shook his head. “Not enough, sir.”

Kelsoe nodded and turned to Braxis.

“So you believe that Talnoc Lore is still alive?” Kelsoe asked.

“Precisely, sir,” Braxis said. “The body we see before us is just a mechanism to hold the actual person.”

Kelsoe nodded and turned around. He tapped his commbadge.

“Kelsoe to Ensign Carson,” Kelsoe said.

“Ensign Carson, here.”

“Tracy, contact the Cresentian authorities,” Kelsoe said. “Inform them of what has happen and request that they send a medical expert. Kelsoe out.”

Commander Robert Tuff stood in a room on Deep Space Five filled with security personal. Tuff had been given temporary command of station security while Lieutenant Albert Buerk recovers. The room had been filling up slowly and Tuff was happy to see that members of his staff were there as well. He did not really know Buerk’s security staff that well, and he would fell better if he had people around him that he knew and trusted. Admiral Anton had spoken with him earlier, saying that he would be in charge of both the Pioneer and station security teams until Lieutenant Buerk fully recovers.

Tuff looked around at the people in the room and cleared his throat. Everything became quiet and Tuff looked over at Lieutenant Norman Craig and then walked up to the small podium in the front of the room. Behind the podium was a big view screen. Craig stood beside him, ready to work the computer console and call up the required images from the computer. Tuff looked out across the faces. He saw Humans, Vulcans, Trill and even some Bolians. The Andorian aide, named Tolorev stood next to him.

Tolorev had been recently assigned to the Pioneer as an aide to Tuff. Tolorev would provide Tuff with reports from Starfleet Intelligence. The position he was filling had just recently been created by Starfleet Command. In fact, Admiral Anton had just created it after the terrorist attack. Ensign Tolorev position was official called Starfleet Intelligence Representative. He actual roll was really that of an aide, almost a secretary. But Tolorev seemed up to the task.

Tuff focused his attention back on the group of security personnel awaiting his briefing. Tuff turned and nodded to Craig. Craig punched the LCAR display on the small computer console and the view screen lit up, showing an image of the Oralian sector. Tuff turned and looked back at the screen, and stared at the map and then nodded. He turned back and pointed at the screen.

“This is the Oralian Sector,” he said, thinking how obvious his statement was. “The sector is unstable right now. Aggressive species like the So’ja, Di’gan and Tealuians are a threat to the people of the Federation. Yesterday an attack occurred on this station that halted the current peace process. Obviously, someone does not peace.” He turned and nodded to Craig. A new image appeared. This time it was a face. “This is Tyson Calok.”

Tuff looked back at the image, himself. Calok looked different from the last time he had seen him on the Pioneer. He had let his gray hair to grow out, and he was unshaven. In some ways he almost looked more dangerous, which was good.

“Calok is one of the most dangerous men in the universe,” Tuff said. “Calok lost his family in the Demilitarized Zone between the Cardassian Union and the Federation. Strange as it sounds, Calok worked for the Cardassians. Unlike most colonist, who blamed the Cardassians, Tyson Calok blamed the Maquis. So he worked for the Cardassians to eliminate the Maquis. With the help of Gul Dukat, Calok was able to escape into the Oralian Sector. While here he allegedly attended a school on the semi-mythical planet of Joc-Duloc. Whatever happened to him, he changed. His eyes now red, Calok stumbled onto the Dinokians and that is where he made trouble. A mass murder and killer, he was captured by the late Chief Chino Jale and eventually transported by the U.S.S. Pioneer to the Rizac V penal colony. On stardate 58163.29, he was released from Rizac V and is now our prime suspect for the bombing during the peace conference.” Tuff paused. “We need to increase security on this station for the upcoming arrival of the Cresentian officials. I don’t want anything like what has just happened to happen again. Understood?”

“Yes, sir!” came the security detail before him.

“Alright,” Tuff said nodding. “Then let’s get to work.”

Captain Kelsoe, Admiral Anton and Commander Burt stood outside the airlock door awaiting the arrival of Third Minister Barnoc Cuno of Cresia One. Commander Burt shifted his dress uniform and looked over at Kelsoe.

“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking,” Burt said. “Is it really necessary for us to wear our dress uniforms?”

“Yes,” Anton answered before Kelsoe could speak.

“Well,” Kelsoe said, smiling. “You heard the Admiral.”

“Yes, sir,” Burt said nodding.

There was hiss and the airlock door began opening. Two security officers stepped forward and stood by the door. The airlock door fully opened and they were saw Third Minister Barnoc Cuno stepped out with several aides behind him.

“Welcome to Deep Space Five,” Admiral Anton said, extending a hand. “I am Admiral Harold Anton.”

“Yes, I know who you are,” grunted Barnoc Cuno. “I am Third Minister Barnoc Cuno of Han Furnac Anor. I have brought the Najh Keepers with me. If you don’t mind I would like to be taken to Talnoc Lore immediately.”

“Commander Burt will show you the way,” Anton said, gesturing to Commander Burt.

Burt nodded. “If you will follow me, Third Minister.”

Barnoc Cuno nodded, and his party followed Commander Burt down the corridor. Admiral Anton looked over to Kelsoe.

“So that’s such a mechanism?” Anton questioned.

“Apparently so,” Kelsoe said in response.

“Excuse me, but what are you doing!?” Dr. Braga demanded of the visitors to his sickbay. “This is my sickbay!”

“Calm yourself, doctor,” Braxis said.

Braga looked at Braxis and glared at him. “I will, as long as I know what they are doing?!”

Braxis looked over at Barnoc Cuno and the Najh Keepers. He raised an eyebrow.

“I believe Third Minister Barnoc Cuno and these Najh Keepers are separating Talnoc Lore from the mechanism in which he as been placed,” Braxis said. “Quite fascinating if you ask me, doctor.”

The sickbay doors opened and Captain Kelsoe came in with Commander Burt and Commander Tuff.

“Report,” Kelsoe said.

Braxis turned to respond, but Braga beat him to the punch, so to speak.

“The Cresentian physicians, if you can call them that, are separating Talnoc Lore from the mechanism, sir,” Braga said.

“The Doctor is most agitated by this,” Braxis added.

Braga looked at Braxis and then to Kelsoe.

“Really?” Kelsoe said with a smile. “Inform me when they are done.”

Kelsoe turned and left, Commander Burt went with him. Commander Tuff turned to Braga.

“Doctor?” Tuff asked. “How is Lieutenant Buerk doing?”

Braga turned and looked back at the bio-bed in which Buerk was resting.

“Fine,” Braga said. “He should be on his feet in a couple of hours.”

Tuff nodded. “Can you tell me when you release him?”

Braga looked into Tuff eyes and nodded. “Will do, Commander.”

“Thank you,” Tuff said with a slight nod and then left.

Dr. Braga returned his attention to the surgical bed with all the Cresentians around it. Barnoc Cuno and stepped back and had turned to one his aides. The aide nodded and turned around, opening a metallic box that they had brought onto the station. The aide removed a smaller box from the metallic box, one that was see through. Braga could see that the smaller box contained a brownish orange brown liquid. The aide handed the box to Barnoc Cuno, who took the box and handed it to one of the Najh Keepers. Dr. Braga’s vision was obstructed when Barnoc Cuno stepped in the way. Within seconds he heard a splashing sound and a Najh Keeper turned around holding the box in his hands. Braga saw a worm like creature swimming around in the brownish orange brown liquid.

“That is Talnoc Lore?” he said aloud.

Barnoc Cuno looked up and nodded.

“Yes,” Barnoc Cuno said. “We all look like this. These bipedal forms provide us with a way to communicate with other species. On the home world we have evolved beyond the need for a form such as this...,” Barnoc Cuno stretched his arms wide. “We are satisfied to live in our natural state.”

“What about the Najh Keepers?” Braga inquired.

“The Najh Keepers looked after the Najh,” Barnoc Cuno said and then realizing that Braga was still confused continued. “The Najh is what we call our natural form. Our government is the Second Najh, the second body. The Najh Keepers are Cresentians who have sacrificed their existence in the true form to look after the body.”

“Indeed,” Braxis said raising an eyebrow.

“Now we shall take Talnoc Lore back to Cresia One,” Barnoc Cuno said. “Don’t worry, Lore will return.”

The Najh Keepers placed the box with Talnoc Lore into the metallic box and sealed it. One of the Keepers picked up the box and waited for Barnoc Cuno’s orders.

“Good back to this ship,” Barnoc Cuno said. “I shall be there shortly. Tell Lore that he will be provided for and that Han Anor is eager to welcome him home.”

The Najh Keepers nodded and left with the box containing Talnoc Lore. Barnoc Cuno watched the Keepers leave and then he returned his attention to Braga and Braxis.

“I must apologize for not sending the appropriate information regarding our... well our existence to you in the first place,” Barnoc Cuno said. “It was an error on my part and I regret it. May the peace between our two people continue till the end of all things.” Barnoc Cuno bowed his head and then left.

“Fascinating people,” Braxis said. “Wouldn’t you say so, doctor?”

“Yes,” Braga said nodding.

Lieutenant Albert Buerk walked into the officer’s lounge with a smile on his face. Commander Tuff saw him and stood up, gesturing for him to come over. Buerk walked over and sat down across from Commander Tuff. Tuff inhaled and exhaled.

“I’m glade to see you up and about,” Tuff said. “You had me worried there for a moment.”

“I had myself worried, too,” Buerk said. “So... is it true. Was it really Tyson Calok who shot me?”

“Yes,” Tuff said nodding.


“More than whoa, kid,” Tuff said smiling. “You should consider yourself lucky. Tyson Calok usually kills.”

Buerk nodded. “I will...,” Buerk said. “And I’d like to thank you, sir. For all that you’ve done for me.”

“Me?” Tuff said. “What have I done?”

“The past few weeks have been very educational for me,” Buerk said. “I learned more about security,” Buerk said. “And... well... more about what it means to be a Starfleet officer. For that I thank you.”

“Well, I don’t know what I did to help, but I’ll glade that I did,” Tuff said smiling. “Now what can I get you.....?”

Suddenly every view screen in the room, in fact on the station went white. A dark figure stepped in front of the light and two red eyes could be seen. Soon the face of Tyson Calok could be seen. He smirked.

“Hello out there in wonderland,” Calok said. “I hope you are enjoying yourselves... enjoying that last bit of peace you have left.” He paused and laughed. “You have know idea what awaits you. Alice has fallen into a rabbit whole and can’t find her way out.” He laughed against. “The universe will never be the same. As long as I live there will never be peace.”

And with that the transmission was terminated. Tuff stared at the view screen with his jaw dropped. He turned and looked at Buerk.

“That didn’t sound good,” Buerk said.

Tuff nodded. “You beat it didn’t.”

The communication system chimed and Admiral Dutton’s voice came on the intercom: “All senior officers report to the conference room at once, Dutton out.”

Admiral Anton spaced back and forth in his office aboard the U.S.S. Farragut-C. The door’s chimed and Anton looked up sharply.

“Come in,” he barked.

The doors opened and Captain Benjamin Kelsoe stepped in. He stopped midway through the office and stared at the Admiral.

“Admiral?” Kelsoe inquired.

“Damn that Tyson Calok!” Anton shouted. “He’s going to causes us a lot of trouble in the following months.”

“I know, sir,” Kelsoe said. “That’s why I asked to see you.”

“What is it?” Anton said, seating down behind his desk and beginning to go through a pile of data padds.

“I formally request that you rethink your earlier orders, sir,” Kelsoe said. “You need the Pioneer, now more than ever.”

“Sorry, Ben,” Anton said. “But my decision stands, and the rest of the senior staff agrees with me. The crew of the U.S.S. Pioneer need some R and R, and that’s an order.”

“But, sir!” Kelsoe said.

“No buts, Ben,” Anton said. “I’m sorry, but the order stands.”

Kelsoe nodded. “Yes, sir.” He turned to leave.

“Oh Captain,” Anton said.

Kelsoe turned around. “Admiral?”

“Your ships a good one,” Anton said. “I’ll make sure that the upgrades keep her true to you.”

Kelsoe smiled. “Yes, sir... thank you, sir.”

“Then I’ll see you in a month, Captain,” Anton said. “Now get some rest, that’s an order.”