Star Trek : The Five Enterprises

This story is by Kenneth Lowenberg, whose e-mail address was not included
with the story as I received it. This story comes from the AOL archives.
Because Kenneth posted it to the AOL archives, and because there’s no
e-mail address on this so I can’t ask him, I must assume he doesn’t mind
having it posted to the Internet– it’s not like AOL is any safer than
the Net. If anyone knows Kenneth’s e-mail address, please notify me.

Kenneth’s E-mail address is kennethl@mail.erols.com

STAR TREK: THE FIVE ENTERPRISES
by KENNETH A. LOWENBERG .1995
PROLOGUE
Q was shocked by the surprise he felt. After all, he
and his fellow continuum-mates were all-knowing and all-
seeing … until now.
The force of the energy invading — yes INVADING — the
Q-Continuum caught all Q by surprise.
The energy force probed their consciousness leaving
other Q helpless in its wake.
Qs … helpless?!
This Q, the most important in his own mind, found some
satisfaction at first in finding his companions caught off
guard. They, after all, had the audacity to once take away
his powers, after he played some minor pranks on Picard and
his lackeys.
He had presently returned to the continuum after
jostling with Vash, the interesting human female who had
miraculously found her way back from the Gamma Quadrant,
where Q tossed her, thanks to another group of Starfleet
minions on the flatly named space station Deep Space Nine.
At his arrival in the continuum, Q was overwhelmed by
this energy. No longer amused, he realized its predatory
powers presented a threat to him.
It was probing consciousness looking for weakness, it
had locked onto Q’s mind, on his thoughts of moments ago, of
humans.
Q struggled, focusing his powers against the invader’s.
To no avail…except for an image.
An image of intent.
Conquer …everything.
Then he felt something else, something familiar,
something which gave him hope and confidence.
It was the Q, his brothers and sisters!
The ones who had been subdued found a way to channel
their powers to him, the returnee. All the power of the Q
now resided in him.
The invaders hesitated a moment, caught off guard by
this new defense.
Then Q grappled with the creatures, probed them back,
looking for weakness… and found none, except…
…It was there and suddenly gone.
The creature fought back, focusing on what it had
learned from Q. What it apparently perceived as a
weakness… humans.
Humans and their homeworld, Earth.
This meant something to Q, strike at it and the Q
itself would be easy to stop.
‘Ridiculous,’ Q thought to the attacker. ‘Humans mean
nothing…’
But it was too late. The attacker had found Earth, Q
saw the image of the small blue world, not just now but in
all moments. The planet Earth throughout time.
Suddenly Q knew the creatures’ intentions, and in the
mili-second the creature was occupied, Q focused all his
new-found power, all the power of the Q on one word, one
image, one starship. “Enterprise.”
In the next millisecond, the creature erased the planet
Earth from all of time.

CHAPTER ONE
“Checkmate.”
Worf looked at the tri-chess board, and then at
Counselor Troi, seated across the table from him. Behind
her, the window showed the colorful star streaks of the
Enterprise traversing space at warp speed. He scowled, “I
concede the game to you, Deanna.”
The Betazoid smiled and reached for the game pieces,
beginning to reset the board. “Let’s see. That’s three.
Shall we try again?”
Worf stood. “Perhaps another time, Counselor. I
obviously am not having a good day.”
Deanna stood up, too. “Don’t fret, Worf. I was the All-
District chess champion at my high school.”
“So you’ve mentioned … many times.”
She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. “Funny, I
don’t recall. Let’s get a bite to eat, I’m starved.” They
walked out of the rec room together. Deanna was glad to have
this time to spend with Worf, ever since their duty
schedules matched up so they were off-duty together. Worf
had been through some emotional hardships lately concerning
his late father. He had been quite reserved. Geordi and Data
asked her to look after their friend. She didn’t need to be
asked.
They arrived at Ten Forward to find a small group of
officers and civilians huddled near the bar. At the center
of the huddle was Dr. Beverly Crusher helping Guinan to her
feet. Worf and Troi rushed over, pushing their way through
the crowd.
“Step back,” Worf barked as people automatically
stepped away.
“Beverly,” Troi said. “My God, what happened?”
“I just got a little… woozy,” Guinan said as Crusher
helped her onto a bar stool.
“Guinan fainted dead away,” Beverly clarified. “One of
her assistants called sickbay and she was still out when I
got here. Frankly, Guinan. I’m concerned. We should get you
to sickbay.”
“Nonsense,” the barkeep said. “I’m fine now.”
The Doctor waved a medical sensor up and down the
length of Guinan’s body. “No unusual readings. Well, I can’t
force you to come with me. Just take it easy.”
“Certainly.” Guinan said. “Maybe I’ll end my shift a
little early.”
The crowd had backed away and the others had given her
breathing room. Guinan got up and stepped into the sanctuary
of her office behind the bar.
Once inside, she fell onto the oversized couch facing
the large viewport. Her brow wrinkled as she tried to
decipher the images and feelings which temporarily robbed
her of consciousness.

“Q, here! I guess I was stupid to think we would ever
escape from that clown’s grip,” Miles O’Brien sank his teeth
into a mutton shank.
“He’s gone now.” Keiko sat across from him in the
dinning area of their quarters on the Bajoran space station
Deep Space Nine. “Well, how is it?”
Miles took the napkin from his lap and swapped at his
face. “It’s absolutely delicious. How did you get those
bloody Cardassian replicators to do it?”
“I didn’t. I bought the meat from Quark.”
“What?!”
“He told me he knew a supplier of Earth delicacies and
he would sell it to us at a discount. Said something about
owing you a favor for help at his bar.”
Miles shook his head. “Honey, you should know Quark is
not to be trusted.”
“Not usually, I guess. But when I discovered I had the
chance to fix your favorite meal, I couldn’t say no.”
“Ahh, that’s nice sweetheart.” He took another bite of
his dinner. “And since Quark needs me to help keep his
computers up, he probably wouldn’t poison me.”
Miles laughed at the look of shock that crossed his
wife’s face.

The perimeter alarms rang through Ops. Major Kira
Nerys, the officer on duty, called for sensors. “Is a ship
coming through the wormhole?”
“Negative,” said the Starfleet man sitting at Dax’s
usual station. “Neutrino readings are normal.”
“Then what?,” Kira said frustratingly. The perimeter
alert alarms meant something was approaching the station.
“Unknown,” the man said.
“Raise shields! Scan for cloaking device signatures and
get me Commander Sisko,” Kira took a step toward the
overhead viewer which was normally focused on the wormhole.
All appeared quiet, but the damn alarms were still blaring
in her ears.
The familiar hydraulic sounds of the turbolift cut
through the alarms and Kira spun to see Sisko, Dax and
O’Brien disembarking onto the deck.
“Report, Major,” Sisko’s deep voice demanded. Even
though the tone was harsh it had a surprising calming effect
on Kira.
“I can’t explain it, Sir. The sensors obviously think
something’s there but they won’t tell us what it is.”
Sisko walked up behind Dax, who had taken her spot at
the science station. “What can you tell me, Lieutenant?”
Dax shook her head slightly, “Kira’s right. The sensors
are confused. But I can tell you it is more than one thing
approaching us.”
“Approaching us from where?,” Sisko said.
Then the viewscreen changed and five Federation
starships suddenly orbited Deep Space Nine.

CHAPTER TWO

Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise
picked himself off the command deck and surveyed the bridge.
Everyone was doing the same, no one having been able to keep
their footing during the severe buffeting.
“Report,” William Riker, his Number One, said from next
to him.
“All systems are coming back on line,” said Ensign Ro
Laren from the Ops station.
“Data,” Picard said coming up behind his android
science officer at the helm station, “What was that?”
“Unknown, Sir.”
The darkened main viewscreen encompassing the entire
front wall of the bridge sprung to life, flickering into a
multi-colored test pattern.
“Where are we?” Riker asked.
“Sensors will be operational momentarily,” Data said.
The turbolift doors opened slowly behind the command
center of the bridge. Troi and Worf emerged.
“Mr. Worf,” Picard said. “As soon as the internal
sensors are on-line, I need a status report.”
“Yes, Sir.”
The viewscreen blinked again and a very blurry image
materialized and slowly coalesced into a familiar image.
“Deep Space Nine,” Picard said.

Sisko and his crew stared dumbfounded at the main Ops
viewscreen.
“I don’t believe this,” Sisko said.
“It does seem impossible,” Dax concurred from behind
him.
On the screen were five starships — all named
Enterprise. All from different time periods.
“Commander,” O’Brien called out. “We are getting a hail
from the Enterprise, ah, 1701-D, Sir.”
“On the screen.”
The screen changed from the historic image to one of
familiarity, a Galaxy-Class starship’s main bridge. In the
center was Jean-Luc Picard, a man Sisko once despised, for
as Locutus of Borg, Picard destroyed the Starfleet at Wolf
359, in the process killing his wife Jennifer.
Sisko’s violent emotions had ebbed since he met Picard
— not Locutus — when the Enterprise arrived to assist in
the establishment of a Federation presence on DS9 earlier
this year.
But the viewer’s image brought back strong emotions of
Jennifer, nearly overwhelming Sisko for a moment.
“Captain Picard,” he said with too much emotion.
“Commander Sisko,” Picard said. “I am at a lack to
understand how we got here, all of us. I was wondering if
you could explain further.”
“I’m afraid we are as much in the dark as you.” Sisko
said.
“However, it looks as if we are about to be a part of
history.”

CHAPTER THREE
“Captain, the communications between the starship and
the space station are on recognizable, albeit advanced,
Federation hails.”

“The code signatures from the vessels and the station
fall within Starfleet parameters. There is a 92 percent
probability they are Federation crafts.”
The Captain spun in his chair to look at the center
viewscreen. “But of a much advanced design.” He got up and
walked over to his science officer. The Starship Enterprise
was just returning from the Khitomer Conference en route to
decommissioning when the ship began to shake apart.
“So, Spock,” Captain James T. Kirk said to his Vulcan
First Officer, “Could the buffeting we just experienced have
been a time warp?”
Spock raised an eyebrow. “All evidence supports the
conclusion.”
“And,” Kirk said, rubbing his hands together, “From
what we’ve just heard, it seems Captain Picard of Enterprise
…D, knows Commander Sisko of DS9.”
“It would seem so.”
“So perhaps we are in their time period. Uhura,” Kirk
said to his communications officer. “Get me Captain Picard
… of the Starship Enterprise.”
“Yes, Sir.”

“Who?” Picard asked incredulously.
“Captain James T. Kirk,” Worf repeated.
“I guess I should have expected this,” Picard
commented.
He stood up, as did Riker and Troi.
Picard glanced toward his Number One.
“Well, Sir. It’s not every day you get to address a
legend,” Riker said.
Picard put his hands up in front of him, as if he were
pushing something away. “Now, everyone. I know how important
James Kirk and his crew were to Federation history, but we
must remember they are apparently here from the past. We can
not let them know more about their future than is absolutely
necessary. Or else we risk altering our history.”
“I’m afraid it’s much too late for that, Jean-Luc,”
said a familiar voice from behind him.
Picard spun on his heel to face… “Q!”

“Of course,” Picard fumed as he took two steps toward
the entity. “This little affair has your trademark of chaos
all over it.”
Q took two steps back. “Normally, I’d agree with you,
Picard. But this time its something far worse than a common
prank.”
“Q!”
“Picard, this is serious, not only to you but to me.”
“Oh come now, Q. What could possibly harm an omnipotent
entity?,” the Captain said rolling his eyes. “Now deliver
those starships back to…”
“That’s just it Picard. Unbelievably, something has
affected me and all Q. We’re immobilized.”
Data stood up, “Immobilized? As I understood it, the Q
Continuum was omnipotent and, to the extent of the known
physical universe, all-powerful.”
“A nice thought,” Q said. “But, alas, no longer true.
There’s a new bully in the neighborhood.”
Picard brow furrowed. “Indeed, and just what is this
bully’s intentions.”
Q plopped down onto the nearest chair. “To conquer …
everything. And they’ve started by neutralizing the
continuum and eliminating… something else.”
“And what is that?,” Worf asked.
“Believe me, Microbrain, you don’t want to know.”
“Q,” Picard yelled. “Stop this evasiveness and…”
“Earth, Picard. They eliminated the Planet Earth. It
never existed.”
No one said anything. There was no movement on the
bridge.
“Speechless,” Q said. “I would never had believed it. I
guess these new guys are more powerful.”
“Come …now…, Q.” Picard said slowly. “If what you
say were true than how could any of us be here.”
“At the last moment before your beloved home was
vanquished, I used all the remaining power of the Q to …
save you.”
“Why?” Data asked.
“Because, my dear Data, you and your crew were all that
I could think of… off the top of my head… that could
help me banish these bullies.”
“Really?” Picard said. “And… the other Enterprises.”
“An aftereffect, I suppose, Jean-Luc. I only had a
mali-second to act, and my powers were unfocused due to the
invaders. So when I thought Starship Enterprise, we got more
than we bargained for.”
“…And DS9?”
“Simply the last place I visited in your universe
before the invasion.”
“Wonderful.” Picard said.
Riker stepped up next to his Captain. “It looks as if
we have a problem, Sir.”
“Always the master of understatement, Riker,” Q said.
“Well, at least you’ve got me along to help for the
duration.”
“Marvelous,” Worf said.

“No response, Sir,” Uhura said.
“Hmmm. Are our hailing frequencies compatible with
theirs?”
Uhura shrugged, “Assuming they are from our future they
should be able to read us. After all, I can read old-style
radio waves.”
“Good point,” Kirk said. “Well…”
He was interrupted by a beeping from Uhura’s station.

“Is it Picard?” Kirk asked.
“No, Sir. It’s from the previous Enterprise. NCC-1701.”
Kirk looked at Spock then turned slowly to the
viewscreen. “Visual.”
The screen wavered and a familiar visage filled it, a
ruggedly handsome man, who Kirk noted with sadness, was
doomed to spend his older years crippled by Delta Ray
exposure. “This is Captain Christopher Pike of the Starship
Enterprise. Come in, please.”
Kirk swallowed. “This is Captain James T. Kirk … of a
future Starship Enterprise.”
Pike nodded, “Our sensors confirm all the starships
orbiting the station are future versions of my ship.”
“Yes,” Kirk said. “We have come to the same
conclusion.”
“Mr. Spock, my science officer,” Pike said, “has
suggested we have as little exposure as possible so as not
to further disrupt the course of future events. I just
needed to confirm our findings.”
“I … understand,” Kirk replied. “For now, we should
limit communications to emergencies.”
“Agreed, Pike out.”
The viewscreen wavered and resumed the image of the
Enterprises orbiting Deep Space Nine.
Kirk turned to Spock, “Do you remember ever giving that
suggestion to Captain Pike.”
“Negative, Captain. I have no recollection of these
events ever occurring on the other Enterprise. I will scan
the library computer records.”
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Kirk said as he sat in his
chair.

“You saved us?,” Riker shook his head in bewilderment.
Q shrugged, “I admit to a touch of temporary insanity.”
Picard walked to the main viewscreen. Four Starship
Enterprises — a legacy spanning the history of the United
Federation of Planets. From Captain April to Captain
Garrett, NCC-1701 has defined the eras of their service.
Now, if Q could be believed — and Picard admitted he had no
reason not to believe — Earth had been eliminated, had
never existed.
And through a fluke of undefinable cosmic powers, these
historic ships and crews have come together to face their
greatest challenge: To restore humanity.
And to defeat a force more powerful than the most
powerful entity Picard had ever encountered.
“Mind-boggling, eh, Mon Capitan,” Q said, coming up
behind him.
Picard turned and marched past him up the ramp to
Worf’s security station. He turned and faced the entity, who
still stood front and center. “Let’s say your right, Q, and
Earth is gone.”
“I AM right, Picard. I checked. It’s not just gone, it
was never there. Eight planets, not nine. Mercury, Venus,
Mars. Earth is an asteroid belt.”
“Which leaves me two immediate questions.” Picard said
gripping the security station. “One: why did these
aggressors spare you? And two: what has this done to
galactic history?”
Q shook his head and walked toward the command chair.
“Good questions. One: to taunt me, I suppose. The great
taunter of the Universe, being taunted himself. They
probably are having a laugh riot — biding their time before
they play out their game.
“And two: I said before humans were not important.
However, you have had a large impact on this sector of space
— in another reality. Now it’s open season.”
“Who controls this space?,” Worf asked.
“I’m not sure really,” Q responded. “But, I’ll bet we
find out soon enough.”
Data turned in his chair, “If I may, one can
extrapolate, using known history as a referent, that this
sector of space is probably controlled by the Cardassian
Alliance. Assuming there was no Federation to help excise
them from Bajoran Space.”
“Assuming the Klingon Empire has not staked claim to
this space long ago,” Worf said with a bit of pride.
Picard looked at him with surprise. “Mr. Worf?”
“The Klingons had a strong military presence in this
sector long before the Cardassians were a power. If there
was no Federation…”
“You would have all died after Praxis or been conquered
by the Romulans at Khitomer. Power, indeed.” Q said.
Worf growled.
Q laughed.
Picard clapped his hands, “Gentlemen, this speculation
is foolhardy and useless. Mr. Data. Mr. Worf. Start long
range sensor sweeps. See if we can get some answers.”
“Deep Space Nine may be of some assistance, Sir,” Data
added.
“Indeed,” Picard agreed. “Get me Commander Sisko. And
send a general hail to the other Enterprises telling them to
stand by for more information.”

“Can we confirm these are friendly vessels?,” Odo asked
seconds after arriving at Ops.
Sisko shrugged, “It is the Enterprise out there –our
Enterprise from our time period, Constable. I have no reason
to believe the others are anything but what they seem.”
“Never-the-less,” Odo countered, “It might be wise if
we take more defensive measures.”
O’Brien stood from behind his station, slightly
annoyed.
“Odo, the Enterprise would never take any action
against this station.”
“Just the same, Chief, caution is warranted. This is a
highly unusual situation…”
The security chief was interrupted by a signal from
O’Brien’s station. “Its Captain Picard, Sir.”
Sisko moved to center of Ops and then thought twice,
“In my office, please, Chief.”

Sisko sat behind his desk turning his baseball over and
over in his hand, tossing it between the two. He was trying
to absorb the information Picard just gave him.
No Earth. Never an Earth.
Blast Q. Sisko could not believe Q wasn’t behind this,
and was frankly surprised at how easily Picard seems to have
excepted his word. As far as Sisko could tell, Q couldn’t be
trusted as far as an infant could toss his baseball.
However, if there were entities more powerful than Q
out to conquer the Universe, than what the hell could Sisko,
could any of them do, to stand in its way?
Picard had suggested a meeting of all the captains on
DS9. Sisko agreed and left the Enterprise Captain to deal
with his counterparts. He had to deal with getting the
station ready for the historic event and ready to deal with
whatever came next.
He would need to call a meeting of his senior staff. If
Picard was right and history had reset itself sans an Earth
and human race, then they would inevitably encounter the
political forces of the sector very soon.

Rom had rarely heard his brother laugh so excitedly.
Quark came up from behind and slapped him on the back
so hard it almost knocked him over. “Don’t be some glum,
Rom. This is the profit-making event of the month… at
least. All the Captains of the Enterprises. We’ll have them
all here, at Quark’s Place. Who in their right mind would
pass up the opportunity to meet so many heroes at one time?
Everyone on the station …on the ships … on Bajor… will
be here. Buying, gambling, drinking …loosing their
money… to us.”
Rom coughed. “But brother, what if the rumor is true,
that Earth has been erased from existence, and that the
Federation doesn’t exist either?”
Quark laughed louder, “Then, finally, Sisko has no
authority to check my books.” And the Ferengi howled with
pleasure all the way to the holo-suites.

CHAPTER FOUR
Spock looked up from his sensor station. The red alert
klaxons were blaring. “The ship matches no correlations in
our library banks. It is from a race we have not yet
encountered.”
“Ok, everyone,” Kirk called out to his bridge staff.
“Our priority in a combat situation will be to shield NCC-
1701, Captain Pike’s ship, from attack. At this point, we
can only worry about the direct links to our past and let
the future take care of itself. Clear?”
“Aye, Sir,” Chekov and the helmsman, McGarity, chimed
together.
Uhura spoke up, “Captain Picard coming on all-hail,
Sir.”
“On screen,” Kirk said, very frustrated by this turn of
events. His shields were up and his weapons primed but Kirk
knew he was facing a technology out-matching his… however,
that wouldn’t stop him from engaging the enemy, and
defeating him.
The French-accented voice of the Captain of Enterprise-
D filled Kirk’s bridge, “The vessel approaching is a
Cardassian Galor-Class Warship. I respectfully suggest all
ships remain in orbit, while 1701-D dispatches her.”
The signal broke and Kirk turned to his crew.
“Opinions.”
“As you said, Captain,” Spock began. “We must let the
future take care of itself. Also, if the Cardassian craft is
of Picard’s time period, his ship is the best equipped to
deal with it.”
Kirk nodded, “I agree. I just hate to sit this out.”
“Captain,” Chekov called out. “Enterprise-B is breaking
orbit! She is pursuing Captain Picard’s ship.”
“What? On visual.”
The screen blipped away from Deep Space Nine to show
1701-B pursuing 1701-D toward the Cardassians.
Kirk stood up and stepped toward the viewer. “An
Excelsior-Class ship. We should be able to stop her.”
“Perhaps, Captain,” Spock said. “Assuming the
Enterprise-B is indeed a Excelsior Class as we are aware of
them. She may be significantly more advanced. Also, we are
not certain her actions are hostile.”
“Status of 1701 and 1701-C?”
“Still in orbit,” McGarity said.
“Stand by to break orbit on my signal,” Kirk ordered.
“Aye, Sir,” Chekov replied.

“Raise Enterprise-B!”
“No response, Sir,” Worf said. “The Cardassian is
somehow interfering with communications.”
“It is possible in this altered reality,” Data said,
“The Cardassian technology is quite different.”
Picard paced in front of the command chairs, glancing
once at Q who sat quietly, for once, next to Troi.
“Counselor, can you sense anything from the ships?”
She concentrated for a few moments, “I sense hostility
and a bit of confusion from the warship. From the
Enterprise, I sense confusion and helplessness.”
“They’ve never seen the likes of us before,” Riker
intoned. “Captain, the Federation doesn’t exist so the
Cardassians have no idea what they’re facing.”
“All they know is we are invaders,” Worf added. “And
apparently that is enough.”
“Get us directly between the Warship and Enterprise-B,”
Picard ordered.
Just then, the Galor-Class Warship opened fire,
striking 1701-B with a full weapons spread. Picard and crew
watched as the energy pulses danced across the other
starship’s weakening defense screens.

“Break orbit,” Kirk ordered. “Lock phasers and photon
torpedoes on the warship.”
“Aye, Sir,” Chekov said.
“Sir,” Uhura called out, “The other ships are breaking
orbit as well. Moving in to assist.”

“Benjamin, if the Enterprises are destroyed, our
history will be irrevocably altered, even if we find a way
to restore Earth,” Dax said.
Sisko made the decision he contemplated when 1701-B
broke orbit. “Chief O’Brien divert all power to the tractor
beams. Hold those three starships in place.”
O’Brien fingers flew frantically over his engineering
board. “The power systems will be strained, Sir, especially
if they attempt warp speed.”
“Engage the beams,” Sisko ordered.
He watched as three energy lances emanated from the
outer ring of Deep Space Nine, catching the Enterprises as
they began to break orbit. The lights in Ops dimmed
momentarily and slowly brightened to normal.
“Got’um, Sir,” O’Brien said.
Then the comm board started screaming at him.

“DS9 has them in tractors,” Riker said.
“That Sisko is such a bully,” Q commented.
“Status of Enterprise-B,” Picard barked.
“The ship is experiences intermittent power overloads
due to the Cardassian attack,” Data reported. “It is
unlikely they will withstand another assault.”
“If we can tell that, so can they,” Riker responded.
“Mr. Worf, fire phasers at the warship.”
“Yes, Sir.”
Daggers of power lanced forth from Enterprise-D. The
bridge crew watched as the phasers struck the Cardassians,
flaring on the ship’s forward shields and dissipating
rapidly.
“Damage report,” Picard inquired.
Worf scowled and looked at his security readouts,
“Minor damage to their forward deflectors. It appears the
Cardassians have advanced shield technology in this
reality.”
Picard nodded, “Arm the phot–”
“Sir,” Worf called out. “Enterprise-B has fired photon
torpedoes.”
On the screen, the weapons struck the Cardassians in
the same spot as the phasers moments ago. This time,
however, the stronger plasma blasts broke through, causing
minor explosions to dance along the ship’s hull.
“Helm,” Picard ordered. “Get us back in between –”
It was too late. The Cardassian ship fired a full
barrage of phasers, torpedoes, and something else,
unidentifiable by Worf’s computers.
The massive power struck the Enterprise-B dead-on.

“Damn it.” Kirk yelled, “Uhura, get me Commander Sisko,
now.”
“They are refusing our hails, Sir, as well as the hails
from the other Enterprises.”
“Mr. Chekov, target the source of that tractor beam and
lock phasers.”
“Yes, Sir,” Chekov said as his hands flew across his
board.
“Fire!” Kirk said, launching an attack on Deep Space
Nine.

“The Enterprise-B has suffered severe casualties,” Worf
reported. “They are near a power shutdown.”
“What about their warp core?” Riker asked.
“Scanning…”
Picard glared at the Warship, contemplating the next
move. Obviously, the Cardassian was more advanced then what
he was used to, but why had Enterprise-B acted in such an
irrational manner, risking so much?
“Sir,” Worf said. “The other Enterprise is going to
warp speed! They are on a collision course with…”
“Mr. Data, warp speed!” Riker called. “Get us out of
here.”
“Worf, raise the Enterprise, now!” Picard called out.

Then the explosion blanketed the viewscreen,
overloading the visual circuits momentarily, as the two star
crafts collided.

“Evasive,” Kirk ordered, as his Enterprise, primed for
battle, found itself instead riding the waves of a warp
drive explosion, pushing her back toward the space station.

“The shields will be overloaded,” O’Brien cried over
the alert klaxons in Ops. “Impossible to tell if they will
hold.”
“Brace yourselves,” Sisko said, as the waves slammed
DS9 throwing everyone mercilessly to the deck.

Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott saw the station
approaching quickly on the main viewer in the engine room.
His Enterprise would be smashed like an old wooden ocean-
going craft slamming into a rocky shoreline. ‘Not this
ship,’ he thought as he made some rapid calculations on his
master controls, altering the ship’s course and warp speed
output just enough to push his ship above and away from Deep
Space Nine.
“Never again will I loose ya,” he uttered to no one as
he petted his control panel. “Never.”

“All systems coming back on,” O’Brien said, then added
with a surprise. “The Cardassian tractors held, too. The
Enterprises still in the beam survived and were held away
from the station.”
“Enterprise-A barely missed us, Sir,” Kira said.
Sisko nodded his head, “And Picard’s ship.”
“They went to warp speed seconds before the explosion.
Sensors cannot penetrate the incident horizon,” Dax said.
“In other words, you don’t know,” Sisko clarified.
“Correct,” Dax replied.

“Status report, Number One.”
The dark-haired woman turned from the helm console to
look at her Captain. “All systems are coming back on line,
Sir. The shields were strained by repelling the explosion.
They will need some repairs. The station’s tractor beam kept
us from being propelled into her hull. Dr. Boyce reports no
casualties.”
Christopher Pike nodded. His ship was saved by the beam
trapping them from assisting the Enterprise-B and D with the
alien ship. Now, Enterprise-B was destroyed, altering the
future, unless that Enterprise was originally destined to be
annihilated at this point. Unlikely.
Pike turned to his science officer, who was under his
station examining the circuitry behind an open vent. “Mr.
Spock?”
The young officer perked up, bumping his head on the
vent. Pike smiled slightly, noting the brief grimace of
embarrassment before the Vulcan got a hold of himself.
“Yes, Captain?”
“I am assigning you to be our liaison to the other
ships and Deep Space Nine.”
“But, Sir, there are higher-ranked…”
“Belay that, Mister. You got the job. Number One will
assist you, but you’re our man.”
Number One raised an eyebrow. “Captain…”
Pike turned. “You should work with Enterprise-A, first.
I recognize her captain, James Kirk. He is currently a
promising Lieutenant under Captain Garrovick on the
Farrugut. Currently, meaning our time, of course. In fact,
we’ve met. I believe his future self is our best bet for
gathering information.”
“Logical,” Number One said.
“Indeed,” Spock agreed.
“Get to it then.”
“Aye, Sir,” they said in unison as they departed the
bridge.

“Well, how about those pyrotechnics?” Q said as he
stood and stretched.
Picard clapped his hands together, “That is all you
have to say? Hundreds of people just lost their lives.”
Q shrugged, “Hey, what can we do? Grieve and move on,
Captain. But of course you are again missing the big
picture. How about you, Riker? Can you figure it out?”
Riker took a step toward the entity, “All I can figure
out is I’ve had enough of your shenanigans, Q.”
“The brilliance in this room!” Q said as he stepped
toward the helm. “Data, save me from human stupidity.”
The android stared at Q for a moment and then turned to
look at Picard, “Perhaps Q is referring to the fate of NCC-
1701-B. In our timeline the ship was not destroyed in combat
with Cardassians.”
Q clapped. “Very good. You get the gold star, Data.”
“Obviously, Q,” Picard said loudly. “The Federation and
Cardassians hadn’t encountered each other during that time
period.”
“And now…?” Q said encouraging Picard to think more.
When he didn’t say anything, Q collapsed in a chair. “Why we
ever got interested in you…? History is not locked in
place anymore. Those bullies have released the flood gates.”
“I’d say that was an obvious conclusion when they
eliminated Earth,” Riker said.
“But,” Q said, “You see, you can’t realign only a part
of history. That’s why tampering with the space-time
continuum isn’t done more often. Because you leave yourself
open for annihilation.”
“Q, I’m afraid we don’t see the same cosmic picture,”
Picard said.
“Picard, listen. They erased humanity — most of it.
Now nothing’s locked in place anymore. We can go back and
erase them. The timestream can now be rewritten any number
of times.”
“This sounds like an extraordinarily dangerous option,”
Data commented.
“With Earth eliminated and the Q paralyzed, what do any
of us have to loose? Nothing! And we’ve got everything to
gain. How about it Picard, we can finally be a team.” Q
reached his hand toward the Captain.
Picard unconsciously grasped it and Q pulled him into a
big hug, to everyone’s surprise, especially the Captain’s.
“Now,” Q said, releasing Picard. “Helm, take us back to
Deep Space Nine.” Then he moved his right hand in a familiar
gesture. “Engage!” Nothing happened as Q looked at an angry
Captain. “Just kidding. Sense of humor, Jean-Luc, is a
useful character trait. Look into it.”

CHAPTER FIVE
“Odo, you look flustered, which I must admit is quite
gratifying,” Quark said as he approached the security chief
in the Promenade.
“I am not flustered,” Odo snapped. “Just preoccupied.”
“With the Captains’ meeting?”
“What captains’ meeting?”
“Come on, Odo, give me a little credit. The meeting
Sisko is calling for the Enterprise captains.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Alright,” Quark smiled as he walked away. “But I’m
inviting all of them to my bar for a celebration as soon as
the meeting is over.” He turned and looked behind him. “And
believe it or not, you’re invited.”
Odo stopped his gait, shook his head and decided to
walk in another direction.

“It is agreed then. The meeting will adjourn on Deep
Space Nine at 1350 hours.”
“Fine. I’m looking forward to it,” Kirk said.

“Enterprise out,” Picard’s image vanished from the
Enterprise-A’s viewscreen.
“The Enterprise-D has resumed orbit,” Chekov reported.
Kirk nodded and turned back to Uhura. “Have Doctor
McCoy meet me in my quarters. Mr. Chekov you have the conn.
Spock with me.”
When they entered the turbolift, Kirk turned to first
officer. “Well, what do you think?”
Spock raised an eyebrow. “If we are to learn anything
more about our situation, it will be necessary to meet with
the others as Captain Picard suggests. In addition, as we
have witnessed, we may have to rely on the newer class
starships for future conflict.”
“What about the time flow conflicts?”
“History has apparently already been seriously
compromised, considering I have no personal recollection and
Starfleet records show no indication of NCC-1701 ever
undergoing our current situation.”
Kirk nodded as the turbolift opened. Spock was right,
but he didn’t enjoy the idea of having to reset history. It
reminded him of Edith, and threatened to unleash the
emotional turmoil tied to her memory.
When they arrived at his quarters, Dr. Leonard McCoy
was waiting.
“Well, it about time you decided to clue me in,” he
said.
“Let’s go inside,” Kirk responded waving his best
friends through the doorway. “Would anyone like a drink?”
Spock shook his head.
“For God’s sake, Jim, dispense with the pleasantries
and start talking. I hate to be in the dark.”
“Sorry, Bones.” He sat on his bed. “Well, it seems that
we are here due to an imbalance in the powers of an entity
named Q.”
Bones shook his head, “Don’t tell me. All-knowing, all-
seeing, self-righteous…”
Kirk nodded. “Yes, Doctor, One of those.”
McCoy plopped down on a chair, “Wonderful.”
“It seems this Q entity was attacked,” Kirk continued,
“by an even more powerful being. This second entity has
immobilized the Q and has erased Earth.”
McCoy did a double-take, “Come again.”
“Doctor,” Spock began, “Earth has apparently been
deleted from the time stream.”
McCoy stared blankly for a moment, “Well then how the
hell are we here?”
Kirk shrugged, “According to Captain Picard, the Q
entity currently on Enterprise-D’s bridge has had previous
encounters with her crew. Q felt Enterprise could help in
banishing the other entity. The rest of us are here because
Q’s powers were unfocused and dragged every Federation
Starship Enterprise along for the ride.”
McCoy stood, “And you’re going over to the station to
meet with the other captains.”
“Yes. Captain Pike, Captain Picard and Captain Rachel
Garrett… along with station Commander Benjamin Sisko and
this Q. And you and Spock, of course.”
“And we are all are gonna talk about …what? Finding
another home?”
Spock folded his hands together. “It would be logical
to assume the topic will be rescuing Earth.”
Bones stood up, “Oh sure. Maybe if we say to this
super-entity ‘pretty please’ it will change its mind and
give us our planet back. Damn it, how are we going to combat
an entity that can alter history at will?”
Kirk joined them in standing, “How did we combat
Apollo, or Trelane, the Kelvans… or Charlie Evans … or
Gary? We did it because we are the best crew in Starfleet.
We did it because we never lost confidence in ourselves or
each other.”
McCoy shook his head, “Maybe we are the luckiest group
of people in space. Maybe our luck is running out.”
Kirk walked up and clapped his hands on the doctor’s
shoulders. “You don’t believe that, Bones. Now we’ve got a
job to do, and I’ll need you both. Let’s show these next
generation Enterprises why our crew is in the history
books.”
“Agreed,” Spock said.
“Nice pep talk, Jim,” Bones said.
“Thanks,” Kirk grinned as they left his quarters.

Benjamin Sisko was getting ready in his quarters.
Sisko hated the dress uniform, but felt compelled to
wear it. After all, he was about to meet some of the
greatest heros of the U.F.P. The dress uniform was the least
he could do to honor them. He had read about the missions of
the Starships Enterprise at the academy, some were assigned
readings.
However, Cadet Sisko made Enterprise his unofficial
hobby, soaking up library disc after library disc full of
log reports and summaries. These stories of adventure and
exploration drove him to space. However, in all his readings
he never came across the logs describing this situation.
Surely, it would have been recorded by Captain Pike and
Captain Kirk, for they kept extremely detailed log entries.
But it wasn’t. Sisko double checked the records hours ago,
no mention. He planned to make this a point at the meeting.
“Excited, Dad?”
Benjamin turned to see his son smiling in the doorway
to his bedroom. He smiled, “Absolutely, Jake. The people
coming on the station are the reason your old man joined
Starfleet.”
Jake looked down and frowned, “I see. That is exciting,
I guess. Well, Major Kira is in the living room waiting.”
Now, what was that look all about? Sisko put his hand
on his son’s shoulder. “Jake?”
The boy looked up and smiled. “It’s nothing, dad. I
just …get into moods sometimes.”
So that was it. Mentioning his entrance to Starfleet
reminded Jake of his mom and her death aboard a starship.
Sisko reprimanded himself, he had to be careful about what
he said, the boy still hurt as much as he did, perhaps more
in some ways. “Hang in there, Jake. We can talk when I get
back.”
Jake shrugged, “It’s no big deal, Dad. Don’t worry.”
“That’s a dad’s job, Jake. I’ll be back soon.”
Benjamin walked out into the living room to meet his
first officer.
“Snazzy, Commander,” Major Kira Nerys said, looking at
his attire.
“Shall we go.”
“Of course, the members of the Enterprise are aboard.
Dax and Odo have escorted them to Mrs. O’Brien’s classroom.”
“Excellent,” Sisko said. His staff had decided the
school was the least conspicuous and most secure area to
hold the meeting. Odo, in fact, had already began the
security planning before the others had finalized their
decision. And Sisko trusted the Constable’s instincts, so
the classroom became the site.

James Kirk shook Christopher Pike’s hand. “It’s a
pleasure to see you again, Captain,” Kirk said.
“Indeed, Captain. It’s good to see the promising young
man from the Farragut has done so well.”
“Thank you, Sir. What do you think of all this?”
“I think this is an extraordinarily unusual and
dangerous situation. Any wrong move on our part — however
that may be defined — can have disastrous repercussions.”
“The fate of Enterprise-B may have already caused
irreparable repercussions.”
“True, but we must deal with our immediate futures,
Captain Kirk. As long as there is an Enterprise-A there will
be a B. The Federation can be restored.”
“I agree, Sir.”
Spock of Enterprise-A came into the promenade and
approached the two men with whom he held the most loyalty.
“The meeting is ready to begin, Captains.”

The chairs will set up in a circle. At the top sat
Jean-Luc Picard. Then around clockwise were Q, Riker, Pike,
Number One, Spock, Kirk, McCoy, Sisko, Kira, Garrett and her
first officer Alexander Okuda. Outside the room, Odo and
Worf led the security team.
Sisko stood first, “As commander of this station, I
would like to welcome you all to Deep Space Nine. This is an
unprecedented meeting of some of the most important citizens
ever to represent Starfleet and the United Federation of
Planets. We are honored by your presence and know that with
all of us working together, we can return the time stream
and the universe to its proper alignment. Thank you.” He
sat.
Q leaned over to Picard, “Not an elegant speech maker,
huh, Jean-Luc?”
Picard brow creased, “Q, please…”
“Excuse me,” James Kirk said, standing. “These
pleasantries are time consuming and pointless. No offense,
Commander Sisko, but if you hadn’t been so arrogant as to
lock a tractor beam on my ship and the others, 500 important
Federation citizens wouldn’t be space dust now. Now, I think
we should cut to the chase and stop treating this like a
mutual admiration society. We’ve got a universe to set
right.”
“Bravo,” Q said clapping, “I like this one, Picard.”
Kirk took two steps toward the entity, “You must be Q.”
“Greetings and felicitations, Kirk,” Q smiled.
“I have no use for super-powered egotistical know-it-
alls, Q,” Kirk said. “Now do you have something useful to
offer or are you just here for comic relief?”
Q smiled and nodded, standing and clapping Kirk on the
shoulder. He laughed as Kirk recoiled. “I have more to offer
than your puny mind can comprehend, Kirk. The question is
when do I feel like offering it.”
Kirk took another step toward Q. Picard jumped up and
put himself between the two. “Q, Captain Kirk,” Picard said.
“It would be unfortunate if this cordial meeting
degenerated.”
“If I find you are withholding important information,
Q…” Kirk said staring the entity in the eyes. They locked
gazes for a long moment, then they went back to their mutual
seats.
“Good combative spirit, Kirk.” Q called out as he was
facing away from the Captain. “Definitely old school.”
“I hope you don’t mind if I interrupt,” Christopher
Pike called over Q’s remarks. “There are obviously going to
be some personality clashes. However, Starfleet Academy, in
my day, emphasized accomplishment of goals over
dispositions. I hope that still stands with today’s
graduates.”
“Of course, Captain,” Picard said. “We are in a unique
scenario obviously, and I feel Q is most qualified to
introduce the situation.”
“Ah, correct, Jean-Luc, ” Q said standing and
straightening his tunic, “I’ll try to make this as easy to
understand as possible.” He turned and smiled at Kirk. “You
see, the Q, an omnipotent race of which I am very highly
ranked, have been invaded, caught off guard, actually, by a
very powerful — and bullying — entity or entities. I was
the only Q to escape their grasp–”
“And the others?” Pike’s Number One asked.
“They, my lady, are immobilized back in the continuum.”
“Not so omnipotent after all, eh,” McCoy said.
“Watch your tongue, little man,” Q blurted.
Kirk jumped out of his chair, “The doctor’s right. And
if this entity was able to take the rest of the Q out, I
don’t see how you can help us.”
Q’s face grimaced, “As if you understand anything about
the nature of the universe, Kirk.”
“That’s how he’s gonna help us, Jim,” McCoy chortled.
“By hurtling insults.”
“The degree of our understanding the nature of the
universe,” Spock said, “seems to have little to do with our
current scenario.”
Q laughed, pointing toward Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. “You
boys have a few puny success stories over a quarter century
–less than infinitesimal in universal measure– and you
think everyone should bow. The great exploits of the
Starship Enterprise.” He laughed louder.
“That’s enough!” Christopher Pike yelled. “Mr. Q, if
you have something worthwhile to tell us, fine. Do so,
without interruption and insult, or else turn the meeting
over to someone else.”
Q’s eyed widened. “Fine, see if you insignifigants can
solve this without me. After all, you’d all be less than
spacedust without my help. So, go ahead. I’ve done my share
already, anyhow.” He crossed his arm and closed his eyes.
Picard turned to him, “Q, this is childish.”
He nodded and whispered, “Tell them when they stop
acting like children, maybe I’ll be willing to help.”
Seconds later he was quietly snoring.
“According to Q,” Pike was saying, “This new force is
very powerful — it would have to be to annihilate Earth and
alter history. So, we need to find allies who can help us.”
“Q … on a good day,” Riker intoned.
After a moment of silence Kirk whispered, “All is as it
was before.”
McCoy looked at his captain and a flash of recognition
crossed his face. “Many such journeys are possible. Let me
be your gateway.”
“Gentlemen…,” Spock started but McCoy jumped in.
“The Guardian of Forever. Great idea, Jim.” He let his
head fall into his palm. “Ohh, but just thinking of that
portal gives me a headache.”
Q perked up, “The doughnut? You guys know about the
doughnut?”
Kirk gave Q a hard stare.
“Hmmm. An elementary school science project gone awry,”
Q said smirking.
“Elementary school science project, in a pig’s eye,”
Bones McCoy snorted. “This Q is either a super being or
certifiable.”
“Probably close to both,” Kirk replied. He, Bones, and
Spock were walking through the promenade of Deep Space Nine.
“Spock, what’s your opinion about the meeting?”
The Vulcan raised his right eyebrow. “Captains Picard
and Garrett and Commander Sisko seem to be competent
Starfleet officers. However, to solve this situation will
require a substantial leap beyond competency. I cannot say
from our meeting whether or not these officers are up to the
task at hand.”
“And we, of course, are,” McCoy said dryly.

Kirk shrugged and was about to reply when a voice
called from behind them.
“Admiral Kirk! Admiral Kirk! We meet at last…”
Kirk turned around to see a little man with a large
head and very exaggerated ears. He was from a race Kirk
didn’t recognize. The little man jogging toward him was
holding a drink. He offered it to the ‘admiral.’ “Saurian
Brandy?,” the man said.
Kirk didn’t take the proffered beverage. “And you are?”
“Me? I am Quark, owner of the entertainment capital for
this section of the galaxy, Quark’s.”
Kirk exchanged glances with his officers. “A bar?”
“Not simply a bar, Admiral. An oasis,” he grabbed
Kirk’s sleeve. “Allow me to show you and your men.”
Kirk stood his ground and yanked his arm back. “It’s
Captain Kirk, Mr. Quark, and I’d thank you to not manhandle
me.”
“Quark!”
Kirk recognized the new voice belonged to Deep Space
Nine’s Security Chief.
The shapeshifter marched up to the group and grabbed
Quark’s arm, lifting him half-way off his feet. “I am sorry
if this Ferengi pest was annoying you, Captain Kirk.”
‘Ferengi?’, Kirk thought. ‘Another new race for
another century, amazing!’ He glanced from Quark to Odo and
shook his head. “No problem, Odo. We’ll just be on our way.”
“Stop by any time,” Quark called out as Odo dragged him
off.

“Your opinion, Commander?”
Sisko looked into the penetrating eyes of Jean-Luc
Picard. “My opinion, Sir, is we have no choice but to try to
restore the Federation and the universe the way it was
before.”
Picard nodded. “I concur. I sincerely hope we have the
means necessary.” The two officers arrived at Sisko’s
quarters, when they heard laughter. They turned to see Q
leaning against a bulkhead.
Picard scowled, “I thought you said your powers were
nullified.”
“They are, Mon Capitan. However, my powers of stealth
are fully operational. You boys are doubting if you have the
proper muster? You are wise to question. This is larger than
all of us.”
“Q…”
“Hold on, Picard. I always let you have your speeches,
now return the courtesy.” Q stood tall and straightened his
tunic in a blatant parody of the Enterprise-D captain. “You
know, we talk about resetting the universe to its … proper
… flow. Maybe this is the proper flow. Who’s to say? Maybe
we’ve stumbled upon reality here. No Earth, no Federation,
no Q continuum. Sobering thinking, wouldn’t you say? Maybe
there never was any where to boldly go.” Q smiled at his
listeners.
Sisko grimaced and turned to Picard, “You do have
quarters arranged for him on the Enterprise.”
Picard nodded.
“Thank goodness.”

“Christopher, is it?”
“Yes, Captain.”
“Oh, please. Rachel.”
“Very well. Rachel.”
Rachel Garrett reached out and shook hands with a
legend, Captain Christopher Pike. But, she’d be damned if
she’d act like a star-struck girl. She was a Captain of the
Enterprise as well and would act with proper decorum. “Can
we talk for a moment before returning to our ships?”
“Of course.”
“Christopher…”
He smiled, “Chris.”
“Chris,” She smiled back. “I have to say that I’ve
studied the history of my ship. Of the Enterprises past.
They have got into their shares of crises. Your crew, Robert
April’s crew before you and Captain Kirk’s…”
“What’s on your mind, Rachel?”
“Well, I took over the reigns of Enterprise-C on
Stardate… well I guess that doesn’t … five months ago.
My crew is a bit untried. Certainly not as seasoned as the
other Enterprises orbiting Deep Space Nine.”
“You’re nervous.”
She gulped unconsciously and then cursed herself, “A
bit.”
“So am I.”
“Sir?”
They strolled through the promenade and sat down at a
table near the entrance of Quark’s. A strange little man
with ears came up to them. Obviously the bartender. Pike
waved him off, and the man left with a look of disgust on
his face.
“Rachel,” He continued. “Being a starship captain
doesn’t mean you check your feelings at the dock. However,
you must learn to use those feelings advantageously.”
She nodded. “I had served as a starship captain for
eight years before getting the Enterprise. But, he’s not
just any ship.”
‘He? A female captain and a male ship,’ Pike thought.
‘Number One would appreciate this woman.’ “From what I can
see, the Enterprise of any era is a force to be reckoned
with. Rachel, I recently dealt with a personal struggle. My
CMO told me to face it head on and lick it, or turn my back
and whither away. Just transfer your strength to your crew.
Show them that this is the Enterprise. That they are the
Enterprise. A proud legacy. They’ll follow you.”
She nodded and smiled. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Uh-uh. Chris.”
Her smile broadened. “Chris.”
“Now, I think its time we get back to our ships.”

CHAPTER SIX
“Captain Picard on hailing frequencies.”
“Thank you, Commander. On screen.” Kirk stood and
glanced at his command crew: Spock, Scotty, Chekov and
Uhura; his friends. He was about to rely on them to help
save civilization once again. But not Sulu, he and the crew
of the U.S.S. Excelsior were victims of the time distortion
along with everyone else they knew, the other friends and
family that filled his crews’ lives. All wiped away, waiting
in entropy for the Starships Enterprise to act — if they
can.
The screen flickered and a now familiar face filled it.
“Captain Picard. The Enterprise-A stands ready.”
“Captain Kirk, 1701-D standing by. The probes from DS9
reconfirm our findings that Cardassian forces are at least
three days away. We have that long.”
Kirk nodded, “Captain Pike and Captain Garrett report
their ships are fully prepared for battle.”
“Commander Sisko also confirms his station’s battle
readiness.”
“Then that leaves us with our job. You have the
coordinates.”
“Indeed, Captain Kirk.”
“Then, follow our lead, Captain Picard. Kirk out.” The
screen flicked back to the space scape.
“Voice only signals from Captains Pike and Garrett and
the station,” Uhura said. “They wish good luck.”
“Acknowledge them, please, Commander. Mr. McGarity, set
course for Forever World. Mr. Chekov, ahead warp factor
seven. Spock, keep those sensors peeled for any party
crashers. As of now, the ship is on a standing yellow
alert.”
A chorus of ‘aye, sirs’ met Kirk as he sat back in the
chair, mentally wished good luck to all.

“This is interesting,” Q said as he paced the bridge of
Enterprise-D.
“Sit down,” Riker intoned. “Stop marching like a toy
soldier.”
Q shrugged and sat down Indian-style in the center of
the bridge.
Troi couldn’t help but smirk.
“I hesitate to ask this,” Picard said, “but what is
interesting, Q?”
“Going to the doughnut. It is feasible it survived the
alterations. It may even be useful. Q would be besides
himself.”
“Q?,” Data queried from his seat at comm.
“Q, Mr. Data. An irascible student in his day, worse
than me. I idolized him for a bit, until I got tired of his
immature pranks. Anyway, Q would be besides himself to know
that his little pet school project may actually help save
the whole continuum … the whole universe. Of course, if it
does, I’m not going to tell him. He would be more impossible
to be around.”
“The Q,” Riker said, “sound as if they all come from
the same spoiled crib.”
“Watch yourself, Riker. That crib is the essence of the
universe, the previous universe … before this one.”
“Q,” Picard said. “If your friend built the Guardian,
then perhaps your knowledge…”
“Forget it, Jean-Luc,” Q frowned, “My friend, as you
call him, was very tight-lipped. You always had to ask him
direct questions if you wanted answers. And after our
falling out, I never wanted to get that personal. Nope, I’m
afraid I’ll have to figure it out with the rest of you
people … and Worf.”
Worf snarled from the above security station.
Q laughed, “I love pissing him off.”

“Bajor.”
“What about it, Major?” Sisko and Kira were standing in
Sisko’s office overlooking Ops.
“The planet is right where it was before this mess,
Commander. We might find some of the answers we seek down
there.”
Sisko nodded and pitched his baseball between his
hands. “Perhaps. But that isn’t the real reason for your
request.”
Kira sat down on the couch. “I have to know how the
planet’s survived in this timeframe.”
“We sent probes…”
“Which show the cities decimated, I know. But, they
also indicated life around the sanctuary outside the
capital.”
“Bajoran life forms.”
Kira leaped up again. “Yes! Maybe survivors of the
Vedek Assembly or the Kai herself…”
Sisko shrugged. “Or maybe not.”
“Commander…”
“Major.” Sisko put the baseball back in its holder on
the desk and paused for a few moments. He then turned to his
first officer. “I agree with your plan. There may be clues
down there to Cardassian strength and I am curious also to
what Bajor is like in this timeframe. If Picard and Kirk
fail, we may be here for a long time. We will need allies
and supplies. Let me discuss it with Pike and Garrett. Get
their recommendations. In the meantime, have O’Brien prep
the Rio Grande.”
Kira smiled, “Thank you, Sir.”

“All scanners show clear,” Number One said.
Pike squinted at the viewscreen, as if trying to
increase the magnification mentally of his fully-magnified
main viewer. Space. But, nothing like he had experienced.
Perhaps, out there nothing was familiar. The Cardassians
were powerful, they after all helped take out a ship two
generations beyond his own. But, he was sure that between
himself, Enterprise-C and the station they would put up a
fight if necessary, enough to hold off these Cardassians
until reinforcements arrived, if they ever did.
“Report at the slightest peep, Number One.”
“Aye, Sir.”
“Incoming signal from the station, Captain,” Spock
exclaimed.
“Okay, Mr. Spock. Let’s have it.”
The screen wavered into the image of Commander Sisko.
“Captain Pike.”
“Commander.”
“Sir, as you know, the Planet Bajor is in this sector.
we have had extensive dealings with this planet in the real
time line.”
“Your first officer is Bajoran.”
“Yes. Our probes indicate life on the planet near a
major religious enclave. Major Kira believes that members of
the religious community may be alive and in need of
assistance. I suggest authorizing am away mission led by her
to the planet’s surface.”
“If the others don’t succeed we will need more than we
currently have to survive.”
“My thoughts exactly, Captain.”
Pike nodded and crossed his arms. “So, what do you need
from me?”
“It was my feeling that this should be a joint
operation between staffs. I will provide the runabout and
assign Major Kira and my science officer, Lieutenant Dax.”
Pike frowned. Bajor was on the fringes of Federation
space in the 24th Century. During his time, it was years
away from being even charted. Therefore, theoretically, his
crew should have no contact at all with Bajor or this
sector. But, they were here and they weren’t going to get
the Federation back by playing it safe. “Very well, Captain.
Lieutenant Spock and my Number One will join your team. They
will transport over to the station shortly.”
“We will be ready.” The screen wavered back into an
image of the final frontier.

Garrett looked at Lieutenants Harcourt Long and Melanie
Jacoby. They were two of her finest security personnel and
they volunteered to join the officers on the away mission to
Bajor.
“I have the utmost confidence in you two,” She said smiling.
“And I want a complete report when you return.”
“Yes, Sir,” Jacoby snapped. Garrett went to the academy
with her father, Captain Jeremy Jacoby of the U.S.S.
Republic. The Captain of the Enterprise-C marveled again at
the strength of will of her new crew, knowing that parents
and friends like Jacoby had ceased to exist. And yet, the
crew of her ship stood tall and were ready to serve. A
phrase ran through Garrett’s head suddenly, ‘This isn’t a
mission, it’s personal.’
Long nodded to his Captain, “You’ll have it, Sir.”
“Very good.” She turned to the ensign behind the
console. “Energize.”

“ETA, Data.”
The android looked up at the main viewscreen and turned
to Commander Riker. “18 hours, present speed.”
‘IMZADI!’
The force of the thought made Riker cringe. He turned
to look at Deanna at the chair next to his. She was
perfectly composed, looking straight ahead. Riker’s brow
creased in confusion “De…”
‘IMZADI, MY MOTHER. I CAN’T FEEL HER PRESENCE ANYMORE.
I THOUGHT I DID BUT IT WAS JUST AN ECHO FROM THE PAST. SHE’S
NOT THERE, WILL. NOT ON BETAZED, NOWHERE.’
Riker thought back, ‘I KNOW, IMZADI. NEITHER IS MY
FATHER.’
‘OH, I’M BEING SELFISH. I’M SORRY.’
‘NOT AT ALL. IT’S CERTAINLY OVERWHELMING IF YOU THINK
ABOUT IT. ESPECIALLY IF YOU THINK THAT WE’RE HERE BY Q’S
GOOD GRACES …OR SCREWUPS.’
‘WE HAVE TO SUCCEED, WILL. WE MUST SUCCEED.’
‘I KNOW.’

“Kirk to Enterprise.”
“Enterprise, Picard here.” Jean-Luc sat behind his
ready room desk with Kirk’s image on the screen. Q lounged
on the couch across the room.
“Your status, Captain?”
“All is well, so far. Our sensors show clear.”
“As do ours. We should start making plans for the
landing party. Obviously, myself and Captain Spock should
beam down since we have experience with the Guardian.”
“Agreed. I will join you, as will my science officer,
Commander Data and Worf, head of Security…”
A loud sneeze came from the couch.
Kirk started, “I’m sorry, Captain. I didn’t get that.”
“He said ‘And Q,’ Captain Kirk,” exclaimed Q who walked
up to the desk and span the viewer to face him.
“I most certainly did not,” said Picard, spinning the
viewer back.
“Gentlemen, Gentlemen,” Kirk cried out, “Please, I’m
getting dizzy.”
“You have to admit, Jean-Luc,” Q declared, “I am an
essential on this away team. More so than you, in fact. I
can’t wait to see Riker’s reaction when you announce you’re
beaming down.”
“Enough, Q. Captain Kirk, Q says a friend…”
“…acquaintance…”
“…of his constructed the Guardian. If this is so,
then perhaps he may be of some use on the away team.”
Kirk nodded, “Very well. Your discretion, of course,
Captain. Kirk out.” The screen blinked off.
“I was afraid he was going to say that.” Jean-Luc
looked up at Q’s smiling face.

“She’s ready, Sir,” O’Brien said from his station at
Ops.
“Sisko to Rio Grande.”
“Kira here. We’re all checked in and eager to go,
Commander.”
“Very well, Major. Good luck.”
“Thank you. Kira out.”

“Everyone strapped in?,” Kira called back to her crew.
Dax sat next to her at the Conn. Number One manned the
science station, Spock manned the sensors. Lieutenants
Jacoby and Long sat in the aft compartment going over the
readiness of the 24th Century phasers.
They all signaled they were ready.
“Rio Grande to O’Brien. We’re out of here.”
“Good luck, Major.”
A surge of power and Deep Space Nine fell out from
under the Runabout.
“Next stop,” Dax announced. “Bajor.”

CHAPTER SEVEN

“Entering Forever World’s system.”
“Thank you, Mr. Chekov. Uhura, raise the Enterprise.”
“Yes, Sir. Captain Picard on screen.”
The captain of the future appeared. “Yes, Captain
Kirk.”
“We’re almost there. Are your people ready?”
“Indeed so, Captain. We’ve had to go through some
computer security protocol to get to your reports concerning
the Guardian. The Federation has them classified at the
highest level even in our time.”
Kirk nodded. “I’m not surprised. The dangers involved
with using the Guardian are cataclysmic. But, in our present
situation
I don’t see what we have to lose.”
“Standard orbital approach, Sir?” said Chekov and, on
the screen, Ro at the same time, both gazing quickly at the
other and then turning to their respective commanders.
“Affirmative,” Kirk said.
“Make it so,” responded Picard.
Then they both said, “Good luck, Captain.”
“See you below,” Kirk added before the communication
ceased.

The young lieutenant tossed and turned in his bed, on
the verge of sleep. Days after being assigned to the
Enterprise, hand picked by the captain, the ship and crew
were flung into a situation in which he felt helpless.
‘Damn,’ he thought in a half-conscious haze. ‘I can’t let
this ship or this captain down, not like when…’ Sleep
captured him finally, cutting off all conscious thought.
The familiar beeping broke through his dreams. The
lieutenant sat up quickly, drenched in sweat, unaware of how
long he had been resting. The beep recurred. Someone was at
the door to his quarters. A glance at his chrono indicated
his shift was still ninety minutes away, but in their
present situation… “Hold on a moment.”
He jumped out of bed and wrapped a robe around himself.
Stepping forward, the sensor automatically detected his
presence and opened the door to reveal … the captain.
“Sir?,” he said fumbling at his half-open robe.
“At ease, Castillo.” She said glancing at the blushing
officer. “May I come in?”
“Of course,” Richard Castillo replied, regaining his
composure.
Captain Garrett walked past him and sat down on the
nearest chair.
“Can I get you anything, Sir? Coffee, maybe or…”
“No time, Lieutenant.”
Castillo blinked in surprise. “Of course, Sir.”
“I realize you have logged very little time on a
starship, but as you know, I chose you for your excellent
academy credentials. You had more than your fair share of
crises as a cadet. You know our current situation?”
“Yes.”
“Then you are aware we are preparing to re-engage the
Cardassians. You also know we have no backup support save a
rickety space station and a starship that belongs in a
museum. There is no guarantee that the other Enterprises
will succeed in their mission. I need my best people in
positions where they will be of the best use. Therefore, I
am promoting you to the bridge as helmsman.”
“Sir?,” Castillo was genuinely taken aback. Garrett was
leapfrogging him over a dozen officers.
“You would have made it there eventually, but I don’t
have time to put people through the ranks. The Cardassians
and our other enemies aren’t giving us such luxury. I’m just
sorry your new duties will have to be performed in a
situation such as this one. Your shift starts in thirty
minutes, helmsman. See you on the bridge.”
And she was gone, leaving a flabbergasted man in her
wake.

“We should land near the arboretums adjacent to the
Vedek Assembly,” Kira said.
“If they exist,” Dax countered.
Kira shot her a vexing glance.
Number One, from the original Enterprise, stood and
walked toward the front of the runabout where the two DS9
officers were seated. “It is logical to assume the
conditions of the planet in which you are familiar will vary
with those on the planet below, Major Kira.”
“I understand, Sir,” Kira responded in a fluster. “But
we have no choice but to assume we can accomplish our
mission.”
“I agree,” Number One concurred.
Spock monitored the science console. “Sensors indicate
Bajoran life forms in the area designated by the Major.”
“Bingo,” Kira cried out, clenching her fist. “Everyone
prepare for descent.”

The sounds brought back the agony. Kirk watched as the
landscape that is forever burned in his memory materialized
around him. Kirk turned to see Spock standing next to him.
Moments later, a nearly familiar sound filled Kirk’s ears as
the Enterprise-D’s transporter deposited Picard, Riker, the
android Data, the Klingon security officer Worf (Kirk caught
himself tense and quickly regained composure), and Q on the
planet’s surface.
“Well, well. Could use a good cleaning service,” Q said
as he bounded toward the Guardian. “Come along everyone.”
Worf grabbed his arm and pulled him back.
“Caution is warranted, Q,” Picard said.
“Get your Neanderthal off me, Jean-Luc.”

“Worf is mainly here to keep you in check, Q. I commend
him for his quickness.”
Kirk and Spock stepped toward the away team. “Captain,”
Kirk said, “I know this is cliché, but time is of the
essence.”
Q groaned.
“Right then, Captain,” Picard said. “Shall we?” he
gestured toward the Guardian.
“That’s where I was going,” Q gasped. “I see. One of
the headliners has to move the plot along. Well, let me just
say… Owww, Microbrain, that hurts. Stop squeezing so
hard.”

Until now, the Entity monitored the last vestiges of
the two species with curiosity and humor. It enjoyed
watching them flop around the galaxy like fish out of water.
But, it started feeling something more, restlessness and
annoyance. It was almost time to move on, which meant
squashing the last of the bugs…

CHAPTER EIGHT
“Ask it the right question, or else. I didn’t nick-name
it the Blabberer of Forever for nothing,” Q smiled, and shot
Worf, who still held him, a menacing glance, “I hope you’re
enjoying that arm while you can, Klingon.”
Looming before the six men was one of the most ominous
encounters in Federation history, the Guardian of Forever.
Kirk swallowed unconsciously. “Let’s get on with it.”
Spock nodded, “Guardian, this is Spock from the
Federation Starship Enterprise. Do you remember us?”
“I RECOGNIZE THREE WHO STAND BEFORE ME. TWO FROM TRAVEL
AND ONE FROM THE BEGINNING.” The voice seemed to emanate
from everywhere at once.
The officers turned and looked at Q.
Q smiled and pulled himself free from Worf. “See, see.
didn’t believe me, did you? Well, from now on I certainly
expect…”
“Guardian,” Kirk said cutting Q off. “Can you show us
the history of my home planet?”
“BEHOLD”
The center of the vortex filled with mist and phantom
images appeared. Images of a molten world, suddenly cooling.
Reds gave way to blues. The smallest of creatures became the
largest.
Q yawned, “Seen it, been there.”
“Quiet, Q.” Picard said, his eyes however remained
transfixed to the center of the time vortex.
“Analysis, Data,” Riker said in a whisper.
“We are seeing the birth of Earth. Moving through the
ages of history. Jurassic, Cretaceous, Triassic ages.”
“Dinosaurs,” Riker said.
“Correct, Sir. We are now moving beyond into the
Paleolithic era. Old Earth calendar, approximately 500,000
B.C.”
“Amazing,” Picard said.
“Spock,” Kirk said looking at his science officer,
concentrating on his tricorder. “Does this jive with your
original Guardian recordings?”
“Yes, Sir.”
Picard turned to his science officer, “Data, does the
Guardian’s images match actual Earth history.”
“Yes, Sir.”
Kirk and Picard glanced at each other and then returned
their gazes to the Guardian. Images of cave drawings and
early humanity.
“Neolithic Age,” Data said. “7,000 B.C.”
Suddenly a flash appeared and filled the center of the
vortex, forcing everyone except Data and Q to shield their
eyes. When they were able to look again, the Guardian was
inactive.
“THE HISTORY OF YOUR WORLD HAS PLAYED ITS COURSE.”
“What?,” Riker and Kirk said together.
“Guardian,” Spock said taking a step forward. “This is
not correct. You say you remember us from traveling before.
We traveled in an era much later than the one just
concluded.”
“HISTORY HAS BEEN RESTORED. THE PLANET EARTH’S HISTORY
IS AS IT WAS BEFORE.”
Kirk smiled for a moment until he realized that the
situation was not good. The Guardian actually thought that
Earth history was supposed to end with the Neolithic Age.
Somehow, the entity that had destroyed humanity had also
affected the Guardian. “Suggestions,” he said turning to the
others.
“We must try to restore history,” Picard replied. “And
this seems to be our best option.”
“The Guardian appears to have been altered along with
the universe around us,” Spock said. “It doesn’t seem to
have a recollection of the previous history. However,
whatever occurred apparently did so in Earth’s Neolithic
Period.”
“We have to stop it,” Riker said.
“Oh, right,” Q replied. “Let’s just go get our phasers,
tricorders, and universal translators and get the entity
that took out the continuum and destroyed humanity. Good
idea, Riker.”
“I don’t see another choice,” Picard said.

“Neither do I,” Kirk said.
“There is the question of where to travel,” Data said.
“Assuming the entity was on Earth during the Neolithic
Period, how do we get close enough to encounter it?”
Spock nodded. “We have to assume that even in its
altered state, time still retains the equivalency of a
river, with eddies and backwash. The same flow that pulled
the entity from our time to Neolithic Earth will bring us
there as well.”
“Everyone ready,” Kirk asked.
“No,” Q said. Worf squeezed his shoulder. “Uhh …
Yes.”
“Stand by.” Kirk turned back to the vortex. “Guardian,
Can you show us Earth’s history again?”
“BEHOLD.”

“They’re definitely coming.”
“Very well, Mr. O’Brien,” Sisko said from behind his
desk in the office above Ops. “How long do we have?”
“Twenty hours until the Cardies bring their weapons to
bear.”
“Send a signal recalling the Rio Grande, and get me
Captains Pike and Garrett.”
“Yes, Sir.”
O’Brien left the office. And suddenly an image filled
Sisko’s mind: Jennifer’s lifeless body beneath the rubble of
their quarters on the U.S.S. Saratoga, minutes before the
Borg destroyed her and the majority of Starfleet at Wolf
359. A hopeless battle.

Captain Pike sat in his command chair looking at the
split screen images of Benjamin Sisko and Rachel Garrett. “I
disagree with recalling the runabout. We have twenty hours.
Let’s use them.”
“I will not have my crew returning in the middle of a
firefight with the Cardassians,” Sisko said.
“Our crews, Commander. I have my Number One and science
officer down there as well. They just landed on Bajor. We
need to give them time to accomplish something.”
Garrett was nodding. “If they can do any good we need
to give them the chance.”
Sisko’s face hardened. “Very well, but I want them back
in our protection before the attack force arrives.”
Pike smirked, “I don’t think anyone would disagree with
that.” ‘Even though a twenty-fourth century runabout may be
nearly as well equipped as my Enterprise in this battle,’ he
thought.

“The Vedek Assembly complex is due north, 1000 meters.”
Kira said glancing at her tricorder.
The crew disembarked from the Rio Grande onto the lush
ground. Number One analyzed her tricorder readings, “Major,
didn’t you say the assembly consisted of 112 members?”
“Yes.”
“The tricorder’s life indicators show…”
“Yes, I know, I know!” Kira called out.
“…considerably less,” she finished.
Dax frowned and looked at her friend, then called back
to the group. “Red alert everyone. Let’s stay on our toes.”
Spock raised an eyebrow and fell into step behind his
commanding officer. Everyone had their phasers drawn. The
procession headed north into the unknown.

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends…,” Kirk said
as the team leaped through the Guardian.
The winds changed, the ground changed, the sound
changed.
Out of nowhere, “Henry V. Act Three, Scene One,” an
android and a Vulcan said in unison on Earth in 7,000 B.C.
“Is everyone okay?,” Picard asked.
“Please, Daddy? Can we do it again?,” Q replied.
“Tricorder,” Kirk said.
Data and Spock didn’t need to be told. They were busy
with their devices.
“At least we skipped that period where everything
smells like sulfur, Whew.” Q said, crinkling his nose.
Spock and Data conferred momentarily and then Spock
turned to the group. “All readings seem to indicate we are
in the Neolithic Era of Earth History.”
“Something’s coming,” Q said a bit nervously. “Phasers
ready.”
Picard shot a look at him. Then glanced at the science
officers. “Anything?”
Data looked at his tricorder. “An animal lifeform, I
believe it’s…”
“A dog,” Kirk said as a large dog, very similar to a
gray wolf, came into view, tail wagging As it approached the
party it lowered its head. “Seems friendly enough.”
“At this time in history,” Data said. “Humans began
domesticating animals, including canines.”
Picard moved toward it when it suddenly barked and
turned back the way it came, turning its head toward the
group and then started walking quickly away from them.
“Come on,” Picard said and followed after the animal,
with the others close behind.
Q started to complain, but shut up when Worf growled at
him.
“Too bad they never learned how to domesticate on the
Klingon Homeworld.”

The once-beautiful Vedek Gardens were overgrown with
weeds. It pained Kira to see it like this. She was nearly
tempted to get down on her hands and knees and begin to
clean the place up. But, there was more important things to
accomplish.
“Life forms are emanating from the building beyond,”
Spock said pointing to the monastery beyond the growth.
Kira swallowed. “Let’s go.” She moved forward
accompanied by the security officers and Spock.
Number One touched Dax’s arm. “Lieutenant, a word
please.”
“Of course.”
“Major Kira obviously has close personal feelings
toward this place. Do you think she can handle herself if
events continue to take a bad turn?”
“Commander,” Dax replied. “Kira Nerys has been fighting
for her life and the lives of her fellow Bajorans since she
was 12 years old. Granted she is devoutly religious and
therefore has strong ties to the Vedek Assembly and what
they stand for, but have no doubts. She will do her job to
restore Bajor, the Federation, and the universe, if
possible.”
“If she incurs such loyalty in one who has lived as
long and seen as much as you have, Dax, I will trust her,
too.” Number One pointed toward the building. “Shall we go?”

The monastery was in shambles. Stained glass windows
were smashed. Rubble was strewn everywhere. Kira trudged
through it, face steeled ahead, all business. “Life forms?”
“The next room,” Spock replied.
Just then, a painful groan emerged from the indicated
doorway. Kira’s heart clenched and she ran into the room.
A man knelt on the floor, head down, facing a charred
painting of one of the Tears of the Prophets. He mumbled to
himself.
Kira walked up next to him, unwilling to interfere with
his prayers. Then, the man looked up at her. Kira’s heart
fell further. “Vedek … Vedek Bareil?”
A shadow of confusion crossed the man’s face. His voice
was weak and cracked, “Do I know you, child?”
‘May the Prophets help me,’ she thought. “My name is
Kira Nerys. I am … a freedom fighter. These people are my
associates.”
The man who she respected, who meant so much to her
religiously and otherwise looked up at her hauntingly. Fear
touched his eyes, “Run, Kira. All of you. Save yourselves
before he returns. Hurry.”

The dog lead the team to a young woman, trapped beneath
a fallen tree. The animal went to her, licking her hand. She
stirred and reached weakly for the dog’s snout. Then, she
caught glimpse of the six strangers and snarled, terror in
her eyes.
“We must get that tree off her,” Riker said.
Data and Spock were there immediately, lifting the
broken trunk off the frightened primitive, ignoring the
crying and snarling.
“You really couldn’t communicate too well at this point
in history,” Q said to no one in particular. “Thank goodness
you had the animals to help.”
The women, once freed struggled to her feet and started
limping away as quickly as possible, looking back a few
times with fear and horror in her eyes. The dog followed.
“What could have frightened her so much?,” Riker said.
“Ever look at Worf?,” Q asked.
Riker nodded.
Picard smirked, “Yes, of course. How soon we forget?”
Q turned suddenly, a look crossed his face like none
Picard had seen before, “Or maybe not…”

Kira reached down and took Bareil by the arm. “You are
coming with us.”
The Vedek struggled against her grasp, “No, please,
child. I am sworn to protect the Monastery.”
Confusion crossed the Major’s face, “Who did this?”
Suddenly her communicator beeped, “Kira here.”
“Major, this is Lieutenant Long. I think you and the
others better get out…” Static and silence.
“Too late,” Bareil cried.
Kira, Dax, Spock and Number One ran to the security
officers’ location.
They were greeted by a bearded, gray-haired, elderly
humanoid in flowing, black robes. His black eyes were wild
with mania.
They were greeted by hideous laughter.

Q’s voice shook. “Who are you?”
The others turned to see a bearded, gray-haired,
elderly humanoid in flowing, black robes. His black eyes
were wild with mania.
The others heard his hideous laughter.
Kirk and Spock stepped forward.
The Captain’s mouth went dry. “Ayelborne.”

CHAPTER NINE
“YOU KNOW ME, PUNY ONE. HOW INTERESTING. THE
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE GOES UP.”
The voice was deafening. Kirk took two steps closer to
the entity. “Ayelborne, what have you done?”
“EVERYTHING I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO. EVERYTHING I
COULD NEVER DO UNTIL NOW.” The entity smiled widely. “YOU
SURPRISED ME. THAT GRANTS YOU AND THE OTHERS A REPRIEVE,
JAMES T. KIRK. USE IT WISELY.”
Suddenly everything changed, and Kirk and the others
stood before the Guardian.

Kira and crew were aboard the Rio Grande in deep space.
“What happened?”
“Unknown,” Number One and Dax said in unison.
Everyone was aboard including the security team,
although the two men had no memory of the strange humanoid.
“What is our course?,” Spock asked.
Dax studied her instruments, “Headed back to the
station. Fascinating.”
Kira jumped out of her seat. “We’ve got to reverse
course and save the Vedek Assembly from that madman.”
“Incoming signal from Deep Space Nine,” Spock said
suddenly. Moments later he looked gravely at the others.
“Five Cardassian Warships have entered the system.”

Data regained his composure first. “Guardian of
Forever, can you show us the Planet Earth’s history?”
“BEHOLD”
Once again the early eras of Earth played before the
command crews of two Starships Enterprise and Q. The images
reached the Neolithic age, the flash. Darkness.
“Nothing has changed,” Picard said.
“Damn,” Kirk muttered.
“Who is Ayelborne?,” Riker asked.
Kirk nodded to Spock, who spoke up, “He is the leader
of the Council of Elders on the Planet Organia.”
“Organia?,” Worf asked. “As in The Organian Peace
Treaty?”
“Correct,” Kirk said. “Ayelborne is not humanoid at
all, obviously. The Organians are extremely powerful non-
corporal entities.”
“Sworn to the ethics of non-violence, I thought,”
Picard said.
“So did I,” Kirk replied. “Something is very wrong.”
“Imagine the audacity,” Q said. “Immobilizing the
continuum … for entertainment.”
Riker rolled his eyes, “Yeah, imagine anyone as
horrible as that.”
“Well, we seem to have a reprieve of some sort,” Picard
said.
“I suggest returning to Organia.” Spock said. “If
Ayelborne has gone mad, we must enlist the other members of
the council to assist us in containing him.”
“Agreed, Spock,” Kirk answered. “We’ll head there.
Captain Picard…”
“There is the matter of the Cardassians returning to
attack Deep Space Nine and the other Enterprises.” Picard
said. “We need to dispatch assistance.”
Data stepped forward. “If the mission to Organia is not
successful, it will be only a matter of time before the
Cardassians overwhelm us. However, Ayelborne would expect an
attempt to travel to Organia. If his fellows are a threat to
him, he will try to stop us from gaining their assistance.”
Spock looked at him, “So, logically, the more powerful
starship should head to Organia.”
Kirk shook his head, “I don’t think so, Spock. We need
to take care of Organia personally. Captain Picard is more
experienced with combating the Cardassians.”
“Switch ships.”
They all turned to Q.
“Well, isn’t it obvious, people? La Forge could spruce
up Kirk’s Enterprise, hand it to Jean-Luc, and off they go
to fight side by side with Sisko and clowns. Meanwhile, Kirk
and Spock could have a reunion with their superbuddies on
the supership, such as it is. But one thing is certain. I am
going to Organia to take on this Ayelborne. I’ve got a
vendetta to carry out.”
Everyone stood silent for a moment.
“Logical,” Spock said.
“Indeed,” Data replied.

“I dinna know if I can approve, Sir.”
James Kirk, back aboard the Enterprise, 1701-A, was in
the briefing room with his staff: Spock, McCoy, Uhura,
Chekov and Scott. The Captain looked at his trusted Chief
Engineer. He knew Scotty would not be keen to the idea of a
new commander handling what Kirk knew the Scotsman
considered as his ship.
“Don’t worry, Scotty. You’ll be staying aboard to
insure she’s treated right.”
Scott frowned, “It’s just as well, Sir. But I canna
approve of this La Forge poking around m’ engine room,
either.”
Kirk nodded, “I understand your concerns and I’d be
lying if I said I didn’t share some of them. However, the
Cardassian ships are from an advanced time. We need to give
the Enterprise a fighting chance against them.”
Scott nodded.
Kirk looked around the table. “I know all of us share
concerns about the mission. But be aware that Jean-Luc
Picard and William Riker are extremely experienced Starfleet
officers. I expect all of you to follow their commands to
the letter, just as you would if I were giving them. I know
you will. Any comments?”
McCoy snorted, “Yeah, why not switch doctors, too?”
“Bones, you are the most familiar with sickbay and with
the medical records of this crew. You are essential for this
ship, just as Beverly Crusher needs to remain with the other
Enterprise.”
“I don’t like sending you off like this.”
The others agreed.
Kirk stood, “I am appreciative of your concern. I know
we’ve been through a great deal together over the years, but
we must put our personal concerns behind us. It is paramount
that we restore history and this course is the best to
accomplish that goal … besides I will be more comfortable
knowing my trusted officers and friends will remain onboard
to look after my ship.”
Silence fell.
Then Uhura stood and stepped toward Kirk, “Good luck,
Captain, Mr. Spock.”
Kirk smiled, “To all of us.”

“I cannot sanction this course, Captain.”
“Mr. Worf, I know you are doing your duty in voicing
your concerns, however, we must carry forth.” Picard looked
over his crew in the observation lounge behind the bridge.
“We cannot be sure if the other members of the Organian
High Council have been affected like Ayelborne,” Data said.
“You must ascertain that, Data,” Riker said.
“All of you,” Picard said. “I know all of you are
somewhat familiar with the service records of James T. Kirk
and Spock. You, therefore, know that the Enterprise will be
in the best hands.”
“Almost,” Crusher uttered.
“Good luck, Captain, Commander,” Troi said.
Picard was about to respond but was cut off by loud
snoring from Q in the corner of the room.
“Let’s get this over with,” Riker said.

“The updated phase inducers will give you a burst of
speed when you need it.”
Scotty poured through the spec sheets La Forge gave him
an hour ago. “Aye, if it doesn’t sheer the ship in half.”
La Forge looked at the older man, “These Enterprise-
Class ships were able to take a lot more than the designers
originally intended.”
“Ach, designers. They never logged a single star hour
and they think they know what needs to go into a starship.”
La Forge smiled, he had run into a few designers in his
day and couldn’t agree with Scott more. “The new refitted
parts from my Enterprise will give your weapons an added
kick and firm up the shields.”
Scotty looked at the blind man intensely, “Will it be
enough?”
La Forge shrugged, “It’s the best we can do. It would
help the odds against the Cardassians I’m familiar with, but
the ones we just faced showed abilities beyond what I’m used
to.”
Scotty sighed, “It pains me to say this, but it will
take more than the machinery. I’d feel more comfortable if
James Kirk wouldna leave the center seat. No offense.”
La Forge felt a flush of anger but quickly pushed it
aside. After all, this man had served with Kirk for years,
was used to his style of command, just as La Forge was used
to Jean-Luc Picard. “I’m sure we’ll all be okay.”
Scotty smiled, “We’ve got good people around us. The
universe canna be in better hands.”
“Amen.”

James Kirk entered his ready room. The room was nearly
as large as his quarters on the original ship, the one now
orbiting Deep Space Nine. Kirk looked at the book encased on
the desk near the entrance. Shakespeare. Henry V.
Appropriate in any era.
Then, the captain walked over to Livingston, swimming
carefree in his aquarium. Carefree, Kirk couldn’t remember
when he felt that way, did he ever feel that way?
A twinkling chorus of bells filled the air. After a
moment, Kirk recognized the 24th Century door chime. “Come.”
The door swhoosed open, “I am used to free access here
you understand, Kirk,” Q said as he marched in and flopped
onto the couch.
“Get used to disappointment.”
“Now, now. If we’re going to work together you should
be more cordial.”
“Cordial.” Kirk walked toward the entity, stopped and
placed his hands on his hips in annoyance. “I didn’t know
that word was in your vocabulary.”
“I have a large vocabulary, Kirk. Many things about me
are large, and you’re going to need all of them to take out
this Ayelborne fellow.”
“Q, I have managed quite well through the years without
the help of entities like you. In fact, I’ve found the ones
I’ve encountered to be pains in the neck.”
“Picard used to think the way you do, but now you see
that we’re fast friends.”
Kirk raised his eyebrows and was about to say something
when Spock’s voice filled the room, “Captain Kirk, report to
the bridge, please.”
“On my way. Q stay here.”
“Why?”
“Because I said so.”
Q laughed and got up to leave, when suddenly Kirk
pushed him back down, “Let’s get this straight here and now,
you may have charmed Jean-Luc Picard, but on this ship —
now my ship — I expect my orders followed. And I will not
have you in my way. Am I clear?”
Q’s eyes darkened. “You are tempting fate, James T. Ki-
-”
“Save it, Q. I’ve got work to do.” And he was gone,
leaving Q to stew.

“Mr. Chekov, ship’s status?” Picard sat in the center
seat, and immediately noticed how uncomfortable it was. He
glanced at Riker, who was standing and fidgeting. There was
no place for a first officer to recline on this ship. Picard
repressed a grin.
“All systems on line,” the navigator said.
“Very good,” Picard responded. “Mr. Uhura, please
signal Captain Kirk.”
“Enterprise-D on the screen,” she said.
Riker starred at the cavernous bridge of his
Enterprise, noting with envy how much space and elegance the
command center on the screen had. He felt he could reach
every point on the bridge of Enterprise-A if he stretched
out far enough. This somehow annoyed him.
“We are ready to depart for the station, Captain Kirk,”
Picard said.
“And we for Organia, Captain Picard. Good luck.”
“And to you,” The screen filled with stars. “Mr.
Chekov, engage.”
“Aye, sir.”
On the massive screen in front of the bridge, Kirk
watched Enterprise-A entered warp space. He stood for a few
moments, as Spock walked up to him, “Captain?”
“I just have this feeling, Spock…”
The Vulcan lifted his left eyebrow, “Feeling?”
Kirk nodded toward the empty starfield, “Like I’m never
going to see her again.” Kirk turned and stepped back toward
the command center. “Let’s get the hell out of here. Mr.
Data, take us to Organia. Warp factor 5.”
The android tapped his console and the Enterprise-D
jumped into action.

CHAPTER TEN
“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be,” O’Brien reported to
his commander.
Sisko nodded, “Time?”
“Twenty minutes till they bring their weapons to bear.”
“The Rio Grande?”
The Chief Engineer checked his console. “Docking now.”
Sisko nodded, relieved, “Have Major Kira and Lt. Dax
report to Ops immediately. And have the others transported
to their respective Enterprises. They are going to be needed
there.”
Moments later, Sisko’s First Officer and Science
Officer arrived. Their commander looked up at them intently.
“What was it Major? What was down there?”
Kira looked flabbergasted, “A wildman, Sir. His eyes
were intense. I haven’t seen anything like that since the
Cardassians occupied Bajor and saw their marksmen shooting
our children in cold blood…”
Sisko’s brow ruffled in concern, “Dax, your report?”
The Trill shrugged, “Definitely humanoid in appearance,
but my tricorder registered nothing.”
O’Brien’s eyed brightened. “A Q?”
Dax shrugged again, “The possibility exists.”
Sisko shook his head, “It doesn’t match his style. I
think we’re dealing with a creature who will do anything it
pleases including annihilating whole cultures. That isn’t
Q.”
Odo spoke up, “Might I remind everyone that why we’re
speculating so freely, the Cardassians are getting closer.”

Jean-Luc Picard span his chair around 360 degrees.
These people on this bridge defined Starfleet in their time.
Their missions, their exploits were legendary. Through his
readings and studying, Picard came to know these people and
their accomplishments from a perspective even they would
never understand. ‘I know you better then you know
yourselves,’ he found himself thinking.
So why did Jean-Luc feel so uncomfortable around them.
Was it because he suddenly felt as if he was flying into
battle with a boatload of children? Ridiculous, but the
Captain of the Enterprise couldn’t shake the irrationality.
‘I’m the fish out of water here,’ he thought.
“Deep Space Nine rendezvous in six minutes,” Lt.
McGarity reported from the helm.
Picard nodded.
“Sensor report,” Riker called.
Chekov hovered over the rear science console. “Sensors
indicate five Cardassion warships bearing down on the
station and the Enterprises. Their weapons are discharging.”
“Red alert,” Riker intoned.
“Full power to the shields and weapons,” Picard
ordered. He met Riker’s eyes briefly. They were about to
take the most renowned ship and crew in Starfleet into an
impossible battle.
Even if they were victorious, they had no home.

“Time till Organia,” Kirk asked.
“Thirty minutes,” Data and Spock replied
simultaneously.
“Keep your eyes peeled,” Kirk said.
Suddenly, an incoming communication announced itself on
Mr. Worf’s rear panel. “Captain Kirk,” the Klingon said as
he tapped some buttons on his board. He growled, “It is our
opponent.”
Kirk slowly stood. “On screen.”
Q bounded out of the ready room as a transparent figure
coalesced against the starfield on the main viewer.
Kirk’s memory swam with images of Apollo and ‘Abraham
Lincoln.’ Ayelborne’s presentation was similar to theirs
many years ago.
“This is Kirk.”
“DO NOT PROCEED, CAPTAIN.”
Q bounded toward the screen. “Getting scared, Organian?
Are we touching nerves?”
“Q!!” Kirk grabbed the entity’s arm. “Worf, restrain
him.”
“Aye, Sir,” Worf replied with a gleam of satisfaction
in his eyes.
“Don’t you dare, Kirk, Klingon,” Q barked. “This is
personal.” Then Q spun back toward the screen, venomously
thundering at the screen. “Frightened of humans and
machines. Why not finish your cowardly act, Ayelborne? Wipe
us out of existence, too.”
Kirk stepped forward, leaving Q be. “Or raise the
entertainment factor more, Ayelborne. If it’s a game you
want, a challenge, a battle, we’ll give you one. But you
have to play more fairly…”
“…To get the full value, to relish in the conquest,”
Q continued.
Kirk stepped past Q, almost nose to the viewer. “Up
till now it’s been so easy, Ayelborne, wave a magic wand and
wipe away the challenge before it’s begun. No guts, no
glory, no victory, Ayelborne. Championship. You have no idea
what it is, because you’ve raided the game. But you have a
reprieve. A fair fight and all the rewards are yours, but
you have to let us get our sword, before we enter the arena.
And then its a fight you will never forget. I promise.”
The visage on the screen hardened and then exploded in
a phantasm of lights and sounds, buffeting the Enterprise
and throwing Kirk back…
… Into Q’s arms. He smiled as the captain
straightened. “The ultimate battle is about to begin, my
ally. And the only thing we have to loose … is everything,
everywhere.”
Kirk glared at Q and then turned toward Spock and
Picard’s crew. “At least we get a chance to fight. Continue
on course for Organia, best possible speed, Mr. Data.”
Q stepped toward the screen as the ship jumped into
warp, “To boldly go where all men have died before…”

“Captain’s Personal Log. No Stardate. On final approach to
Organia, with a starship and crew a generation beyond me.
Never-the-less, Spock and I have been here before. The
Organians insisted on a society without violence and war.
Their peace treaty forged the way for what I now know to be
an alliance between the Klingons and the Federation. In
fact, it was Ayelborne of Organia who told Captain Kor and
me that such a forging of powers was inevitable. Now, it
seems Ayelborne has destroyed humanity. How can such a
difference of personality occur? And if he is such an
unstable entity, how am I going to restore humanity, next
generation allies or not?

“It is simply not there,” Data said from the conn.
“Recalibrate the sensors,” Kirk ordered as he looked
over the android’s shoulder. “Spock, are these the correct
coordinates?”
Captain Spock, at Science station one at the rear of
the bridge, keyed the padd. The screens in front of him
looked like a kaleidoscope. “Affirmative, Sir. Sensors
indicate we are where we’re supposed to be.”
Kirk grimaced. “Explanations,” he said to no one in
particular.
Worf scowled, “The planet could have been destroyed,
like Earth.”
“Unlikely,” Data replied.
“Indeed,” Spock concurred. “A planet’s destruction
would leave some residual indications, even if it occurred
millennia ago. There is no such evidence.”
‘That’s a relief,’ Kirk thought. If the Organian’s were
destroyed…
“There is another explanation,” Q said, from his
position next to Spock. He walked toward Kirk, “The bad guy
could have stuffed it.”
Kirk turned, annoyed, “Come again?”
Q laughed, “You humans. Stuffed it away. It’s cut off
from the rest of the universe, while the inhabitants don’t
know anything’s wrong. It’s like putting the whole planet
inside one of those holodecks.”
Everyone on the bridge stared at the entity.
Q spun around slowly so he could see everyone as he
spoke, “The Q would do it all the time. If there was some
cosmic event – actual or helped along- and we didn’t want
primitives to know about it, we would stuff them for a while
until we were finished. They would have no clue there were
fireworks going on in their galactic back yard because
everything looked normal from the planet’s surface, or
orbit, or star system, whatever was necessary. We even
practiced on starships at times.” His smile grew very broad
on that last remark.
“Fascinating,” Spock said.
“Annoying is more like it,” Kirk replied.
“How often would you practice this stuffing, Q?,” Troi
asked.
He shrugged, “Me? Hardly ever. If I take the time to
set off fireworks, Counselor, I want everyone to enjoy the
show.”
Kirk returned his gaze to the viewscreen, stepping
forward, “Is there any way to tell if Ayelborne has …
stuffed … Organia?”
Q put his palms up in front of him, “Not in my
condition, and certainly not with this equipment.”
Kirk spun and faced the entity, “That’s not the right
answer, Q. I want you, Spock, and Data working on a way,
immediately.”
Spock and Data were about to respond when Q put up his
hand. “If it’s that important — which I guess it is — I
can give you a solution, but you’re not gonna like it.”
Kirk put his hands on his sides, “And that is?”
“Plow right into the center of the planet. If it’s
there, if it’s not there, we’ll know pretty quick.”
“We’ll break into the pocket?”
Q laughed, “Oh, yes.”
Worf’s scowl deepened, “… and crash into the planet.”
“A side effect,” Q snipped.
Kirk turned toward the front again. “We don’t have a
lot of time to second guess. We need to know now. Mr. Data,
set a course for coordinates: planet center. One quarter
impulse power.”
“Faster,” Q said.
“Faster?,” Troi gasped.
“If we don’t want to bounce off the pocket,” Q replied.
Kirk stared hard for a moment, “Full impulse power.” He
ordered, glancing at Q.
Q nodded, “That ought to do it.”
And Enterprise-D leapt toward it’s destiny.

CHAPTER ELEVEN
“Hit, port nacelle. Shields holding, but weakening,”
Ckekov reported.
“Shield strength?,” Riker asked.
“Seventy-six percent of normal.”
Picard grimaced. They had arrived at Deep Space Nine
almost simultaneously to the Cardassian attack force. Picard
had no time to confer with the other Enterprise Captains or
Sisko before the enemy engaged his ship in battle.
Garrett had engaged two warships and was taking a
beating. However, she was dishing it out as well. Both
Cardassian vessels had substantial damage. The battle
continued.
Two warships were engaging the station. Pike was
keeping within range of DS9, apparently trying to make use
of the station’s mass and shield formation to enhance his
own defenses. The original Enterprise had a nasty disrupter
scar blazed across her main hull. The image shook Picard,
for some reason. Like a classic woman who had been raped.
As for his Enterprise-A, a fifth Cardassian ship had
broken away from the station to engage them on arrival. The
warship had just taken the first shot.
Picard stood and walked toward the conn. “Lock all
weapons on target. Full spread on my mark.”
The Cardassian was coming around, bringing her forward
disrupters to bear.
“Fire.”
Chekov’s fingers flew across his board. Streams and
balls of energy leapt from the Enterprise’s weapon emitters,
striking the warship. Picard’s jaw dropped when the ship
imploded.
“We got him, Sir.” Chekov exclaimed, fists clenched in
victory.
Picard walked backwards to his chair, eyes never
leaving the collapsing remnants of the Cardassian.
Riker grabbed him on the shoulder, a look of shock on
his face as well, “I guess the old folktale about Kirk and
his Enterprise are true.”
Picard nodded, “Fortunately for us, Number One.
Commander Uhura, raise Captains Pike and Garret and
Commander Sisko. Inform them of our arrival. Commander
Chekov, let’s give Enterprise-C a hand, shall we.”
“Setting a course, Sir.”

“Time to impact.”
Worf didn’t hesitate, “Fifteen seconds.”
Kirk gripped his seat arms. “Mr. Data, prepare to swing
us into orbit as soon as we get the first glimmer of
Organia’s bearings.”
“Aye, Sir.”
Kirk smiled, his experience with androids had not been
pleasant, but he was glad to have one at the helm today.
With his computer speed, Data was their best bet for not
impacting on the surface.
Suddenly the ship buffeted hard, “Report,” Kirk called.
“The pocket’s outer sleeve, as it were,” Q said.
“Status.”
Spock scanned, now thoroughly familiar with Enterprise-
D’s
science stations. “Still no sign … Organia, we have just
entered the outer atmosphere.”
The buffeting drastically increased. The automatic red
alert activated.
“Mr. Data,” Kirk yelled over the noise.
“Orbital heading laid in, Sir. Adjusting course now. I
have activated reverse thrusters and impulse engines to slow
our decent.”
“Outer hull temperature up 39 degrees,” La Forge
reported from engineering.
“Structural integrity field weakening,” Spock said.
“Our course is leveling,” Data said. The shaking
lessened, “We are in atmospheric orbit, upper stratosphere.”
“Spock,” Kirk turned to his first officer.
The Vulcan was consulting his computers, “We can
maintain this orbit for approximately five hours before the
strain on the shields and SIF will pose a threat to the
ship.”
“Can we get any higher?”
“Not without risking entering the pocket.”
Kirk shrugged, “Very well, we’ve got a job to do and
very little time to accomplish it. Spock, do you have the
coordinates to the Organian Council Rooms.”
“Affirmative.”
“Mr. Spock, contact Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi.
Have them meet us in the transporter room. You, Mr. Worf,
and Q with me. Mr. Data, you have the conn.”
“Aye, Sir,” Data said.
Q sidled up to Kirk, “Good choice, Mon new capitan.”
Kirk shot Q a dagger-like glance, “Don’t make me regret
it.”
Q shot Kirk a ‘What, little old me?’ look and they all
entered the turbolift, to Organia.

“We’re ….ing ….ood …fight,” The crackle from the
ship-to-ship pierced Enterprise-A’s bridge. Garrett was an
excellent tactician, it seemed. Of the two warships engaging
her, one was apparently crippled, while the other continued
to blast away at the near-crippled Enterprise-C.
Picard paced the bridge, “Lock phasers on the active
Cardassian. Commander Uhura, signal Captain Garrett. Tell
her she’s got pleasant company now.”
Uhura smiled and turned to her station.
Riker looked over Chekov’s shoulder, “Cardassian in
range… now.”
“Confirmed,” Chekov responded, “Phasers locked.”
“Fire,” Picard ordered.
Again, beams of death leapt from the starship, chopping
into the Cardassian.

The Castle rose from the mist, just as Kirk remembered.
The coordinates were the same as years ago. Before, people
wearing robes and sandals walking the dirt street they
materialized on, oblivious to the technology witnessed. The
elderly man approached the party, “Welcome…” Now.
Kirk stared at the old man.
“You!,” Q barked as he lunged.

The heat of explosion burned the back of Picard’s neck.
The Cardassian had successfully returned fire. The
lieutenant at the burning science station was down. Riker
leapt to assist. “Medical emergency, to the bridge,” Number
One declared.
“On my way,” McCoy replied.
“Status,” Picard asked.
Chekov’s hands flew. “Shields penetrated, main
connection struts. Latching integrity system damaged.”
Picard thought back to his academy days. Enterprise-A
had the ability for saucer separation, although he couldn’t
remember when — if — it was ever used. But, at least it
presented another option. “Engineering, firm up the shields.
Priority one.”
“I’m doin’ all I c’n for ya’. She’s packin’ quite a
wallop,” Scott responded over the intercom.
“Shields firming,” Chekov reported as McCoy entered the
bridge
“It’s time to hit back,” Riker said as he stepped down
to give the doctor space to work.
“I concur,” Picard replied as he stepped toward the
main viewer again. The Cardassian swung back into their
crosshairs. “Fire!”

Worf had Q by the throat. “Do not struggle!,” The
Klingon growled, “If you know what’s good for you.”
Ayelborne ignored this, turning to face Kirk and Spock.
“Your presence is a surprise, Captain. I thought we had
asked to be left alone at our last encounter.”
Kirk winced, “Circumstances warranted our return.”
“Indeed,” Ayelborne replied. “Curious. Perhaps, then,
we should adjourn to the council room.” He swung his arm
toward the castle.
“It’s a trap!,” Q gurgled through Worf’s clenched
grasp. “Damn you, Klingon.” Q jabbed Worf in the ribs …
hard. The Klingon surprisingly stumbled back, releasing the
entity.
Crusher turned to tend Worf, who clutched his chest.
Troi grabbed Q’s wrist, “I sense no deception, Q.”
Q smiled, “You are way out of your league, Counselor.”
Crusher turned to Q, “Two of Worf’s ribs are cracked.”
“Serves him right,” the entity replied.
“Enough!,” Kirk called out. “Doctor, tend to him. Q,
explain yourself.”
“He was being a brute…”
“No,” Kirk stepped menacingly toward Q. “About the
‘trap’.”
Ayelborne stood by, face unwavering, as Q began, “He is
Ayelborne. He tried to stop us too many times, now we are
standing here defenseless. Isn’t it obvious, Kirk? he has us
right where he wants us.”
“I disagree,” Spock finally spoke.
“Oh, really.”
“Yes, Q. As you said, this planet is locked in a
temporal pocket…”
Ayelborne gasped suddenly, “Temporal pocket, you know
of such things?”
Kirk stepped forward, “Organia is locked within one
right now.”
“Impossible. We would know… Come, to the council. I
must speak with Trefayne.” And he turned and started
walking.
Q grabbed Kirk’s arm, “You’re making a big mistake,
Kirk. Strike him down, now.”
“Assuming I could, which I won’t, where’d that leave
us, Q? Still no Earth, still no continuum. Besides, I
believe you’re wrong.”
Kirk and the party started following the Organian.
“Isn’t this fun…,” Q said as he followed Kirk, with
Worf behind him. “Can’t take a little ribbing,
Microbrain…?”

CHAPTER TWELVE
Quark looked at the blood on his hands.
“Just keep at it, Quark,” Dr. Julian Bashir cried out
from across the Promenade. Quark glanced at him. The young
doctor was covered with the blood of the wounded personnel
and civilians splayed across the deck. “Apply pressure. Stop
the bleeding. I need your help while everyone else is in
ops.”
“It’s not that,” Quark looked down, through misting
eyes, and placed his hand back on his patient’s bleeding
chest. “Just hold on. You will be okay.”
“Thanks, Quark,” Jake Sisko said weakly as he lost
consciousness.

Benjamin Sisko watched the disrupter blast tear into
Christopher Pike’s Enterprise. “Maintain shield integrity
around 1701!”
“We can’t expend the energy,” O’Brien called out.
“We’re barely shielding the station,” Kira said.
“Damn,” Sisko muttered under his breath as his
peripheral vision registered another blast strike DS9. He
braced himself for the buffeting. He knew the battle
wouldn’t last much longer. Not much at all. Images of
Jennifer and Jake flooded his mind as he gave the order to
fire one of the last of DS9’s photon torpedoes.

“Station Deep Space Nine can no longer protect us,”
Spock raised his voice above the sounds of crashing
circuitry and exploding consoles.
Christopher Pike assessed the situation and thought
about the actions of Enterprise-B. “Number One, theoretical
analysis. What would be the results of a space warp-powered
collision with one of our Cardassian friends out there?”
Number One turned to her Captain, “Just what you would
expect, Sir. However, I do not recommend such actions.”
Pike shrugged, “I don’t know, Number One. I once read
somewhere about the needs of the many outweighing the needs
of the few.”
“Charles Dickens,” Spock said.
“Yes, Mr. Spock. A prolific man,” Pike nodded. “Prepare
parameters for a space warp drive collision sequence, Number
One. I want all options open.”
She turned to her board, “Yes, Sir.” So much for
commanding a starship, she thought. Then chastised herself,
she wasn’t — they weren’t — dead yet.

Castillo held on for dear life. Bridge duty was more
challenging than he imagined. Suddenly, the Conn panel
erupted into flame. Ensign Johannson was flung to the deck.
Castillo turned to her.
“Maintain your post,” Garrett ordered above the din.
“Engineering, emergency bypass: Conn control to aft bridge
stations. Medical: Dr. Cochrane to the bridge. Hold on
people. Phasers…”
“Emergency full, on your order, Captain.” Castillo
reported, ignoring the unmoving body of Johannson.
“I’m sending a nurse up, I can’t leave with all the
casualties, Captain.” Cochrane’s message registered in the
Captain’s mind as she concentrated on the flickering
viewscreen.
There they were …point-blank.
“Fire, Castillo!”
The starship let loose. The Cardassian took the full
force of the third generation’s phasers. And exploded.
— Engulfing Enterprise -C in a plasma explosion.

The ancient doors mysteriously swung open to reveal the
chamber of the Organian Council of Elders. Sitting behind
the table were a group of ancient men, all with far away
looks on their faces. Ayelborne took his place seated at the
center, facing Kirk and the away team.
Q took a step forward, “What! These … sheepish old
men, with their corny smiles, are going to help us?”
Kirk stepped past him, “Others once made the mistake
you are making now, Q.”
Worf nodded, “Indeed. My people’s history tells us they
are not to be underestimated.”
Ayelborne spoke: “You, Kirk, and a Klingon working
together.”
Kirk nodded, “It seems you were correct all those years
ago. But we have more pressing matters.”
Another council member spoke, “It has been 90 cycles,
yet the visitor looks so young. I did not think humans were
so long-lived. How are we mistaken?”
Ayelborne reached and touched the man’s arm. “Not to
worry, Trefayne. Captain Kirk indicates Organia is enveloped
in a temporal pocket. Indeed, his youthfulness tells us
something is very wrong.”
Trefayne looked puzzled, “A pocket, impossible.”
“The evidence indicates he is correct, my friend,”
Ayelborne said. “What can you sense?”
The older-looking man concentrated.
Dr. Crusher touched Troi’s shoulder, “Deanna, can you
sense anything?”
Troi shrugged, “I know this sounds a bit cliché, but I
sense power beyond anything I’ve ever encountered.”
“Ohhhh…” Trefayne moaned and slumped over. Crusher
jogged around the table, Med-kit in hand.
Q laughed, “Give it up, Doctor. Your inept
ministrations can barely help humans, let alone entities.”
Kirk shot him a glance.
“What?!,” Q said.
Ayelborne put his hand on Trefayne’s temple, reminding
Kirk of a Vulcan mind meld. Trefayne stirred and sat up.
“Incredible,” he said.
“Please explain, my friend,” Ayelborne prompted.
“The universe seems correct, then I peered beyond and
saw nothing is as it should be. Most distressing,” Trefayne
shook his head sadly.
Ayelborne and the elders sat up in astonishment.
Q laughed, “You boys have been duped. Tell me, how does
it feel to join our club?”
Spock stepped past him, “Gentlemen, what can we do now
to correct this problem? It seems someone or something is
impersonating Ayelborne and is responsible for annihilating
Earth and paralyzing the Q Continuum, altering the dynamics
of the universe.”
The leader of the Elders nodded. “It is obvious now
what you say is true. We must take action.”
Trefayne shook his head, “If we act too rashly he will
know. We will give up our advantage.”
“Surely,” another Elder spoke, “The fact the humans
have penetrated the pocket has alerted Ayelborne.”
Kirk’s brow furrowed, “Ayelborne?”
The leader stood up and pointed at Q, “You penetrated
the pocket with the starship. You are not human.”
“Thank goodness,” Q said.
Ayelborne stepped around the table, toward Q, “You are
an energy being, like ourselves. We can merge with you. Then
Ayelborne will be caught off guard, thinking we did not
leave the pocket.”
“You know that will not be enough,” Trefayne said.
“It is a start.”
“If he can create a pocket, then so can we,” Trefayne
said.
Kirk nodded, annoyed that he was not more involved in
the decisions occurring around him, “A cloak.”
Spock raised an eyebrow, “Indeed, if we can find a way
to cloak the Enterprise, it would perhaps give us an
advantage.”
Q coughed, “You have got to be kidding. A cloaking
device will be useless against someone of such abilities.
After all, I can see right through them.”
“Q is correct. A standard mechanical device would be
useless. However a temporal cloak would fool Ayelborne the
same way it has fooled us,” Ayelborne said.
“Excuse me,” Dr. Crusher interrupted. “Aren’t you
Ayelborne? To whom are you referring?”
“Perhaps an explanation is in order. I am Ayelborne.
One time, many cycles ago, we were like you. However, as we
evolved, we were able to separate the violent part of
ourselves, just as you are able to repress your own violent
tendencies.”
“And this Ayelborne is your violent self?,” Troi asked.
Trefayne sighed, “We were able to separate and
extinguish the worst part of ourselves. My friend,
Ayelborne, however, was hesitant.”
Ayelborne nodded, “I concluded that extinguishing a
part of myself was in itself a violent act. So I refused.
Instead I, for lack of a better term, locked it away.”
“Locked?,” Kirk asked. “Where?”
“First, inside my self. However, as we evolved and
became more powerful, I thought about banishing it. It was
becoming too dangerous. So, I did, making sure it would be
powerless, but free.”
“Something went wrong,” Q said.
Ayelborne nodded, “Apparently my violent half was able
to rebuild it’s powers after all these millennia.”
“So, because you were weak we are all now paying the
price,” Q said.
“Enough, Q,” Kirk scolded. “Ayelborne, your violent
half is only as powerful as one Organian, correct.”
“However, he has altered the universe into his image,
which gives him an advantage.”
“How much of an advantage?,” Worf asked.
Ayelborne shrugged, “We should be able to equalize
things by using Q’s body.”
Q stepped back, “Now wait one moment, I don’t know if I
can approve of this.”
Dr. Crusher put her hand on Q’s shoulder, “Frightened,
Q?”
The entity frowned, “I thought the Betazoid was the
shrink, Bev.”
Troi nodded, “I would say terrified … Bev.”
“I had him marked as a coward since Farpoint,” Worf
snarled.
“And we didn’t know him before that,” Crusher said.
“Once a coward…,” Worf began.
“Okay!,” Q bellowed, turning to the Organians, “Do what
you must …” Then he spun menacingly toward the Enterprise-
D crew, “As for you, I will someday have my powers back…”
Suddenly, the chamber was filled with bright light and
a chilling noise. The Starfleet officers covered their ears
and squinted.
Then, Q collapsed into a fetal position … eyes glazed
over, face frozen in shock.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
The away team materialized. Every one stepped down
immediately except Q who gazed wide-eyed, turning his head
slowly to take in his surroundings.
The captain glanced up. “Kirk to bridge.”
“Data here,” the android’s disembodied voice responded.
“Status?,” Kirk asked as the team left the transporter
room, marching toward the turbolift. Q lagged slightly
behind.
“We have 20 minutes before the Structural Integrity
Field goes critical.”
“Acknowledged. On my way.” he said as he entered the
lift. As the lift began moving upward, Kirk turned to Q.
“And now…?”
Q looked gazes with him. The entity’s eyes were intense
and unblinking. “It will take a few of your minutes to
create the pocket. Then we can proceed to the station.” Q’s
voice echoed, as if emanating from more than one set of
vocal chords. The sound created streams of memories for
Kirk: memories of Gary Mitchell and Apollo — entities that
started out as peaceable and then grew into very dangerous
adversaries.
“Please go ahead,” Kirk said.
“Aye, aye Mon Capitan,” Q said smiling.
The turbolift doors opened, revealing the bridge. Worf
went to his station immediately. Q took two steps out of the
lift and stopped. Spock, Troi, and Crusher followed Kirk to
the command level. “Engineering, I want full warp power on
my command.”
LaForge’s voice piped in from the lower decks, “For how
long, Sir?”
“As long as it takes, Commander. Mr. Data, set course
for Deep Space Nine.”
“Aye, Sir,” the android said unfazed.
“Spock, passive scanners only, but keep your eyes and
ears open,” Kirk ordered.
The Vulcan simply nodded and stepped back toward
Science I.
“Now, Kirk.” Q said finally. “The Enterprise has been
enclosed in a temporal pocket similar to Organia. Ayelborne
will look right past us … hopefully.”
Kirk shrugged, “I’ve said it before, risk is our
business. And the stakes are very high. In other words, Mr.
Data, take us out and give us all she’s got.”

The explosion temporarily blinded the captain. The
automatic viewscreen filters were not a necessity and its
power was diverted to the phaser blast just emitted from
Enterprise.
The Captain’s vision began to clear.
“That’s all of them, Sir.”
The Captain smiled.

Jean-Luc Picard sat slowly into the command chair,
“Hailing frequencies, please, Commander.”
Uhura sighed, glancing quickly at the bridge of the
Starship Enterprise with pride. “Aye, Aye, Sir.”

On his bridge, Christopher Pike glanced at the burn
marks on his hands, the panel on his chair erupted in flame
from the last impact.
Dr. Boyce was spraying ointment on the injuries. He
clapped a hand on the Captain’s shoulders. The older man
whispered in his ear, “Good work, Chris. More exciting than
a horse farm, too.”
Pike smirked, “Thank you, Phil. Please start tending to
the others.”
Boyce nodded, “Right away, Captain.”
“Incoming message from Captain Picard on 1701-A.”
Pike nodded, “Main screen, if you would, Spock.”

Castillo’s vision blurred, his mind fogged. Suddenly,
there was a shape over him. “Hold on, Lieutenant…”
“Captai—”
“Don’t try to talk. Dr. T’Ress is on her way up. You’ll
be fine. And, Castillo, you are one hell of a helmsman.”
The young man smiled faintly and passed out.
Garrett lowered his head gently to the deck just as the
turbolift opened letting the medical team on to the bridge.
Dr. T’Ress rushed to Castillo’s aide. “Bring the gurney down
here,” the Vulcan said, checking the unconscious man with a
tricorder. “He will be fine, Captain.”
Garrett nodded, returning to her seat. Her crew had
many casualties including Dr. Jeremy Cochrane who had signed
aboard Enterprise at Garrett’s request. ‘Can’t think about
this now.’
“Captain,” her Comm officer called.
“Yes, Lt. Varrington?”
“Captain Picard on all hail, Sir.”
Garrett sighed deeply, “On visual, please.”

“I’d say we’re in pretty good shape, considering.”
O’Brien said to no one in particular.
Dax and Kira were running through station diagnostics
and both concurred with the operations manager.
“Any word from sickbay?” Dax asked.
“Nothing.” Kira looked up at her friends. “I’m sure
Jake is okay.”
A beeping emanated from O’Brien’s board. “It’s the
Captain… Captain Picard, signaling for Commander Sisko.”
“I’ll take it,” Kira said. “Let’s leave the Commander
be with his son for now. On main screen, Chief.”

Picard watched the rear screens on the Enterprise-A
bridge as each became one of the Captains of another
Enterprise, except Major Kira of Deep Space Nine. “It is
most gratifying to see you all. Congratulations on beating
the odds.”
“For now,” Kira said. “If there is one constant in any
universe, it is the Cardassians are persistent. They won’t
be gone long.”
Pike nodded, “I agree with the Major. We probably don’t
have much of a reprieve.”
Garrett nodded, “I don’t know about you, but I’m not in
any position to put up much of a fight without some repair
time.”
“I think we can all agree to that,” Picard said. “Major
Kira are the station’s docking rings in decent shape.”
“Decent enough,” the Bajoran said. “Just don’t expect
any R and R, we’re picking up the pieces here, too.”
“Acknowledged,” Picard said. “I believe we should all
dock at the station and pool our resources.”
The others agreed and signed off. The Starships
Enterprise, safe for the moment, began limping toward the
docking rings of Deep Space Nine.
As Picard’s borrowed starship moved into position,
Jean-Luc couldn’t help thinking that the most challenging
part of their ‘mission’ was still on the horizon.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
Rachel Garrett stared at the brutal, burning scars all
over his body. The air left her throat momentarily. How
could she have done this to him, after he entrusted so much
to her.
“Captain?”
She slowly turned away from the viewport and looked at
Christopher Pike.
Pike saw the haunted look and recognized it from the
mirror. “It is hard. They mean so much …”
She shook her head, “I can’t understand it, I’ve been
on other ships, even as captain. I’ve been in combat, but
…”
They both turned and gazed at the scared and pitted
visage of the Starship Enterprise-C.
“It’s the name, isn’t it?,” Garrett said.
“To me?,” Pike commented. “My Enterprise is nearly at
the beginning of what I can see will be an elaborate
historical tapestry.” He shook his head slowly, “No, not the
name, not the history. It’s the imagination, the human
potential. That’s what she represents to me. That’s what
kept me aboard her. That’s why Enterprise is special. My
Enterprise.”
Garrett nodded as Miles O’Brien approached them.
“Captains, the engineering teams report all ships are
progressing as expected. Captain Picard requests a Command
level meeting in Commander Sisko’s office as soon as
possible.”
They nodded, “Inform Captain Picard we are on our way,”
Garrett said as O’Brien left.
As the two turned away from the viewport, Garrett
touched Pike’s arm. “Thank you, Captain.”
He smiled, “Not at all, Captain.”

The meeting adjourned almost immediately after it
started, DS9’s sensors activated the red alert. The
commanding officers uniformly jumped out of their chairs.
“Ops, report,” Sisko demanded into the air.
O’Brien’s concerned voice filled the office,
“Unidentified ship decloaking…”
“Pike to…
“Garrett to…
“Picard to …

… Enterprise. Beam me aboard.”
Three transporter hums filled Sisko’s office as the
Commander crossed the threshold into Ops. He glanced at the
viewscreen in time to see a decloaking wave unlike any he’d
seen before, which shouldn’t be surprising, he thought,
considering where he was. Before the wave entirely
dissipated, the screen blinked and the main bridge of the
arriving vessel appeared.
James Kirk stood in the center of Sisko’s screen.
Then, suddenly, without warning, a deafening, hideous,
laughter filled every speaker, every ear, encompassed
everything around the station and the Enterprises.
Just as loud came three words, echoing off every
surface.
“TIME TO DIE!”

“Now,” Q yelled, and staggered against a bulkhead. Five
energy patterns fled his body, expanding, until they
engulfed the Enterprise-D’s main bridge. As soon as they
appeared, they were gone.
And the ship began to shake itself apart.
“Report,” Kirk yelled as he was flung to the deck.
“Readings are off the scale,” Spock replied.
“The surrounding space is charged with an energy I have
never encountered,” Data said.
The shaking increased dramatically with each passing
second. Consoles began to explode from the quaking.
“Will the shields hold?” Kirk asked, trying to be heard
above the din.
“Unknown,” Data answered.
Then everything went black.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
“Jim.”
The serenity of unconsciousness shattered around the
Captain. Dizziness and nausea replaced the peace. Kirk
struggled to identify the voice, it seemed like eons since
he heard anything. “…Bones?”
McCoy stood up, away from his friend. “He’ll be
alright, thank goodness.” He mentally thanked Dr. Bashir for
keeping a well-stocked infirmary on Deep Space Nine, since
most of the crews of each Enterprise were beamed aboard the
station after the conscious Captains deemed DS9 the
sturdiest place to be after the evil Ayelborne’s sudden
reappearance.
“That is agreeable, since we will need him for our
endeavor,” Ayelborne said.
“I am still unclear as to what this endeavor will
accomplish,” Jean-Luc Picard said. He stood over Kirk, brow
furrowed with concern.
Q shook his head, “You know, Jean-Luc. Sometimes you
can be so daft. Oh, well. Believe it or not, Ayelborne and I
agree that you will be required as well.”
“Bones…,” Kirk said weakly, trying to push himself
onto his elbows.
“Now, Jim. Be careful. You’re not ready to be going
after bad guys quite yet.”
“Bad guys… Ayelborne.”
Spock stepped into his Captain’s view, “The ‘evil’
Ayelborne is contained for the moment, Sir. You can take a
few minutes to recuperate.”
“Recuperate from what?”
Picard stepped forward, “The Organian council members
caught our opponent by surprise when they suddenly separated
from Q. However, the ensuing conflict was engaged just
beyond Enterprise-D’s shield perimeter. The ship was
moderately damaged and you were knocked unconscious.”
Kirk sat up completely and swung his legs over the side
of the bed. He now could see everyone in the room, standing
toward the back of the infirmary were Scotty, Uhura, and
Chekov. They smiled at Kirk. Kirk nodded back, then looked
at Picard. “Casualties?”
“Surprisingly minimal,” Picard said. “And the ship is
under repair. LaForge says she will be fully operational
within hours.”
“Scotty,” Kirk said.
“Sair,” the engineer replied stepping forward.
“Please assist Commander LaForge.”
“Aye, Sair. It’s good to have you back, Captain.”
Kirk nodded and slowly stood up. Picard grabbed his arm
to steady him. “She’s a fine ship,” Kirk smiled, “And a good
crew.”
Picard nodded, “I was about to say the same thing to
you.”
“Can we stop the mutual admiration society, please.” Q
grimaced. “In case anyone’s forgotten, we’ve still got a lot
of work to do.”
Kirk and Picard, arm over arm, looked at the entity.
“Lead the way,” Kirk said.
“Indeed,” Picard replied.
Q opened and closed his mouth in shock. “Well, it’s
about time.”

The four captains, Sisko, Ayelborne, Trefayne, and Q
sat in DS9’s observation lounge.
“Where is the other Ayelborne?,” Kirk asked.
Trefayne nodded, “Perhaps you should explain it to the
Captain, my friend.”
“Very well,” Ayelborne laced his fingers in front of
his chest and took a deep breath. “My other self is trapped,
temporarily to be sure, in a pocket similar to the one
around Organia.”
Kirk hesitated for a moment, “I see. But as soon as he
realizes its a pocket…”
Ayelborne nodded, “He will do what he can to break
free.”
Q nodded, “Which will be tougher than he thinks.”
Picard looked at his nemesis, “Explain.”
Q smiled, “Well, in a justifiable twist of fate, we’ve
put a kibosh on his powers.”
Ayelborne nodded, “Q speaks the truth but only
temporarily. His powers will gradually return in the pocket
and instantly return if he leaves.”
Kirk nodded, “And where do we come in?”
Ayelborne looked gravely at the Captain, “Ayelborne is
not easily duped for long. He will realize he is in a pocket
and escape, unless the pocket is fortified. That we must
do.”
Pike looked confused, “How could he possibly escape
without any powers.”
Trefayne spoke up, “Remember his powers will slowly
return, therefore the pocket must be powerful enough to hold
him for all time. We will be using our inherent energies to
strengthen it. If Ayelborne senses our endeavor, he will be
able to turn those energies back and break free.”
Sisko, “And then we’ll be back to square one.”
Kirk stood up, “Which is why you need Picard and me. To
keep Ayelborne occupied why you strengthen his prison.”
“That is correct,” Ayelborne said. “We will transport
you into the pocket and then begin reinforcing it.”
Pike stood, “Why only Kirk and Picard?”
Q, “I’ll field this one. Because the Organians are
familiar with Kirk’s abilities and I volunteered Jean-Luc.
Don’t worry, Pike. You’ll have plenty to do.”
Ayelborne, “Moments before we finish with the pocket,
the Captains will need to be transported out. We will be too
occupied to do so, therefore we surmise that interlinking
the transporter systems on the four ships and the station
and diverting all power to them should generate enough to
…how do you say …beam …Kirk and Picard out of the
pocket.”
Garrett, “There will only be enough energy for two
transporter signals?”
Q, “Yes. Yes. Sorry you get to miss the fun.”
Ayelborne, “It will require a very delicate balance of
timing and energy for the transport to be successful.”
Picard, “When do we leave?”
Ayelborne, “As soon as possible.”
Kirk, “Let’s do it.”

Miles O’Brien wiped his brow, standing up from the
splayed system components laid out across the deck. “This is
going to be very tight, Sirs. To do what the Organians
request will require nearly every once of power we can
generate by all our systems combined, from all sources.”
Sisko nodded, and stepped toward the console of
Enterprise-D’s transporter room, where all the commanding
officers had convened, “Can you do it, Chief?”
“It will require the coordinated efforts of the
Enterprises’ engineering staffs, but I think its possible.”
“Good,” Picard said.
“How long until we can leave?,” Kirk asked.
O’Brien looked at the floor, “As soon as I can put this
back together. Fifteen minutes.”

The Captains and first officers of the Enterprises,
along with Sisko and Kira stood in the observation lounge
behind Enterprise-D’s bridge. Kirk stared at the visage out
the large viewports. The Starships Enterprise and
Enterprise-A were clearly visible. ‘My whole life,’ he
thought. ‘All that I am.’ Suddenly another thought, ‘Is
there nothing more?’ The question Spock posed from the
refurbished 1701’s sickbay, the wonderings of V’ger as it
strove to identify itself.
‘Is there nothing more?,’ Kirk thought. ‘My god, we
were on our way to be decommissioned before Ayelborne and Q
interfered. And if we succeed in restoring history? Where
does that leave me?’
“Captain,” Picard called, breaking through Kirk’s
revelry. “We don’t have much time.”
“Of course,” Kirk said. “Captain Pike, as elder
statesman of our group will you please make the
declaration.”
Pike stood, “Thank you, Captain Kirk. In the event that
the mission about to be undertaken by Captain James T. Kirk
and Captain Jean-Luc Picard fails, it is declared on this
date, New Stardate 44001.1, that Captain Rachel Garrett,
Commander Benjamin Sisko, Captain Spock, Commander William
Riker and I will adopt the Constitution to our present
timeline and thereby reestablish the United Federation of
Planets. The Starships Enterprise will be the foundation of
the new Starfleet, with Deep Space Nine to be recommisioned
Starbase One. It will be our first priority to ask Bajor and
Organia to join the UFP. Defenses will be created against
our Cardassian neighbors and space exploration will begin
anew with the purpose of finding a way of one day restoring
the timeline.”
“A tall order,” Riker said.
“But a sense of purpose and identity,” Picard
countered.
“We must put the Declaration to official vote,” Kirk
said.
Each name called by Captain Spock, each reply,
“Agreed.”
Pike nodded, “Then by unanimous vote of command level
personnel, I hearby officially establish the United
Federation of Planets in our present timeline.”
“Good luck, Captains,” Garrett said.
“To us all,” Kirk replied.

“We are ready,” Ayelborne said.
Kirk noticed that his eyes were glazed over, as were
the four other Organians who stood together in the empty
promenade of Deep Space Nine. Q leaned against a wall, but
even he seemed transfixed by the Organians’ actions.
Picard glanced at Kirk. Kirk at Picard. They each felt
their utility belts. Phaser, tricorder, and Kirk had his
communicator. Picard’s was of course built into his insignia
pin.
The two captains nodded to each other. Then Kirk turned
to Ayelborne. “Go ahead.”
Kirk’s senses exploded and everything he knew was gone.
Moments later, Sisko’s voice carried over the station’s
speakers, “Red Alert!”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
“They came upon us quickly,” Spock said, reporting to
his Captain on the bridge of Enterprise.
Pike stared hard at the Cardassian Warship approaching
the station. “Battle status.”
Number One looked up from her console, “All systems are
committed to the transporter sequence for Kirk and Picard.
If we divert power for battle, we may not be able to beam
them out of the pocket.”
“The same is true for all the Enterprises and the
station,” Spock said.
Pike stared hard at the viewscreen, “If we respond to
the Cardassians, the Captains could be trapped in the pocket
with Ayelborne for eternity.”
Doctor Boyce, standing to the left of Pike, put his
hand on his captain’s shoulder, “Then, Chris, either they’re
dead men or we’re sitting ducks.”

Kirk lifted himself off the ground spitting out a
mouthful of dirt. All around him was a barren field. Picard
stood near surveying the surroundings with his tricorder.
“Are you alright, Captain?,” Picard asked.
“Yes, just a little dazed. Where are we?”
“We appear to be on Bajor. Or a reasonable facsimile.”
Kirk looked up at the sky, which was a very odd color
of off-blue. “Of course, the Organians recreated the nearest
planet so as not to alert Ayelborne prematurely.”
Picard nodded, “Or part of the planet. In any case, we
are within the temporal pocket.”
Kirk took out his tricorder, “Life signs?”
Jean-Luc pointed toward some hills in the distance.
“Over there.”
Kirk scanned, “Very slight. But there’s nothing else
registering. It must be our man.” He pulled out his phaser.
“Shall we?”
The two of them headed off into the hills.

“There is one alternative,” the elder Spock said as he
stared at the commanding officers on the screens of 1701-A’s
bridge. “There are independent systems…”
“The shuttles,” Garrett said. “But they can’t withstand
a battleship…”
“Weapons range in three minutes,” Data said from behind
Riker.
“We don’t have any time,” Riker said. “We need to
launch the shuttles now.”
“Not the shuttles,” Pike said.
“The Runabouts,” Sisko said.
“They are our best bet,” Spock said.
“Fine,” Pike said. “I’ll be right over.”
“As will I,” Garrett responded.
“What?,” Sisko asked.
“You heard the declaration, we are responsible for
defending the new Federation,” Pike said before cutting the
connections.
“Besides,” Garrett replied, “We’re the Captains.”

The launch bays of Deep Space Nine were prepped in
record time. The Ganges under command of Sisko with Dax; the
Rio Grande under command of Garrett with Data; and the
Yangtzee Kiang under command of Pike with Kira, launched
three minutes after the communiqué on the respective bridges
ended.
And as they launched, the Cardassian started firing
viciously.

On the promenade, Trefayne’s eyes opened slightly,
“This is getting harder.”
“Concentration,” Ayelborne responded, eyes squeezed
shut. “Concentration, my friend.”

The height of the hills was an optical illusion. As the
captains got closer, they realized how slight they were. But
they were high enough to hide a man.
Ayelborne leaped from his hiding space and tackled
Picard, “What do you want of me!”
Kirk crouched phaser ready, but Ayelborne was
surprisingly quick, kicking the weapon from the Captain’s
grasp. Kirk grabbed the man’s shoulders pulling him off
Picard, spinning him into a head-lock. “That’s as far as you
go, Ayelborne!”
The man gasped, repeating his original question. Then,
“I am peaceful here, why do you invade my home?”
“You destroy my entire race,” Kirk spit, “And you
wonder why I traipsed across a field. Sorry it doesn’t wash,
pal.”
Ayelborne gasped, “I–I don’t know what you’re talking
about–”
Picard grabbed Kirk’s arm. “A moment, Captain.”
Kirk glared at Picard, and then loosened his grip, but
still holding the entity around the neck.
Picard stared at Ayelborne, “What do you mean, you
don’t know –”
Tears began to flow down the man’s cheeks, “All I know
is you came near my home uninvited. I was afraid you would
harm me.”
Kirk grimaced, “So you attacked us. Good strategy.”
Ayelborne was crying now, unable to speak. Kirk
loosened his grasp. The entity fell to the ground sobbing
heavily. Kirk stepped over and retrieved his phaser, aiming
it at Ayelborne. “Opinion?,” Kirk whispered to Picard.
Picard shrugged, “It is possible that his battle with
the Organians has affected his memory?”
Kirk nodded, “It’s a ruse.”
“Perhaps, but if he honestly has no memory of what he’s
done–”
“We still watch him carefully and wait for beam out.”

The Ganges took the lead, as Sisko and Dax were the
most familiar with runabouts. “Someday, old man, we might
want to think about a larger ship to guard the station,”
Sisko said.
“Agreed. Hope we get the chance to petition for it.”
Sisko nodded and opened a channel to the other
runabouts. “Everyone, Pattern Jen 1 now.”
The Rio Grande and Yangtzee Kiang sent signals of
concurment, and they began their moves.

On the bridge of Enterprise-A, Uhura stared at the main
viewer, as the runabouts began their formation around the
Cardassian. Scotty was busy running between engineering and
the main transporter rooms finalizing the power links for
the Captains’ beamout… And she felt helpless, and hated
it. ‘If only we had a prefix code…’ She suddenly smiled
and turned to the center seat. “Mr. Spock, would it be fair
to say that during your tenure on Enterprise-D, you
familiarized yourself with their databanks on Cardassian
technology?”
Spock turned to her and raised an eyebrow. “Indeed.”
McCoy, standing to between Spock and Uhura, turned
toward her. “What have you got in mind, Commander?”
Uhura stood and leaned with her hands against the upper
level guardrail. “If I got you a line into their computers,
Spock. I assume you could wreck some havok with their
systems. Correct?”
“Perhaps. But I must remind you that all our systems,
including communications, have been diverting for the
beamout.”
Uhura’s smile grew wider, “There are other power
sources than just what the ship can provide.”
McCoy turned to Spock, “Ahhh… wait, like Murasaki all
those years ago. Phaser energy, Spock. Brilliant, Uhura.”
Spock shook his head, “We utilized phaser energy as a
fuel substitute for the old-style shuttlecraft. It cannot be
adapted for a communications panel, Doctor. However…”
“…The power cells from communicators and tricorders
could be networked together,” Uhura finished.
“Highly logical, Commander.”
Uhura bounced on her heels, “Twenty plus years is
rubbing off, Captain. Chekov, Doctor. If you could grab as
many tricorders and communicators as possible, Spock and I
can give the Cardassians a very large headache.”
McCoy and Chekov nodded and bounded for the turbolift.

The disrupter blast caused the Yangtzee Kiang’s shields
to explode in sparkles of deadly energy.
“Chris!,” Rachel Garrett shouted suddenly from her
viewpoint at the helm of the Rio Grande. She sighed as the
attacked runabouts shields finally dissipated the blast.
Garrett choked back on her words, embarrassed by the
flair of emotion. She glanced at her co-pilot. Data was
unlike anything she had seen before, the first sentient
android in Starfleet… was staring at her.
“Commander,” she said.
“I am curious as to your exclamation. It is as if you
have a deep attachment to Captain Christopher Pike.”
Garrett looked icily for a moment, “You deduced that
from one exclamation? I am just concerned for any human’s
life.”
“I see. This makes sense, since there are so few left.”
Data concluded as he resumed his Ops duty. “It is time for
our attack run.”
“Engage,” Garrett said, and the Cardassian warship
seemed to leap toward them.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

“You know, Doctor McCoy said the same thing…”
“McCoy!!” Kirk grabbed her shoulders. “Leonard McCoy?”
“Yes,” she said, startled by his emotion. “He’s in the
mission.”
Kirk turned and started across the street, turning back
briefly. “Wait! Wait right there! Spock!” He called after
his Vulcan friend who started down the New York City street
moments before. “Spock!”
The Vulcan seemed to appear from nowhere, “What is it?”
“McCoy! He’s in the mission.”
As if on cue, Doctor McCoy stepped out from the doors
in front of Kirk, “Jim!”
“Bones,” Kirk said delighted, as Spock, in a lapse of
control, grabbed McCoy in a seeming bear hug.
Then, McCoy’s eyes widened, something behind him.
Kirk turned, “Edith!” His voice, a ghostly gasp.
McCoy tried to push past. Kirk turned, grabbing him,
his comrades screaming something, his name, Kirk didn’t
hear. He buried his face in his friend’s shoulder. A screech
of tire…. a final scream.
“I could of saved him. Jim, do you know what you just
did?,” said the anguished voice. An unexpected voice, Kirk
looked up at the person he was holding:
Carol Marcus. “Do you know what you just did?”
Kirk blinked. What?? He turned to the crowd gathering
in the street. On the ground was the broken body of …
David. His son, his dead son.
He turned back to Carol, shocked. What….?
“He knows, Doctor. He knows.”
Kirk looked past Carol.
And saw Ayelborne smiling, delighted.

Kirk awoke with a start, his head swimming. Standing
over him was Jean-Luc Picard. “Wha..?”
“Jim, Ayelborne attacked, suddenly. Knocked me down,
and grabbed you. You passed out.”
Kirk put his hand on his head, “Some sort of mind game.
I’m not amused.” He reached for his phaser, on the ground
next to him, and tried to stand, but couldn’t get his
bearing. Picard grabbed him before he fell. “Which…
way…?”
“Ayelborne took off over the hill.” Picard pointed past
the hills before them. “You recover. I’ll go after him.”
Kirk nodded. “Be careful, I’ll be right there.”
Picard nodded and left in a sprint.
Kirk tried to calm the ‘Red Alert’ blaring in his head.
Above, the skies grew into a darker red.

Linked tricorders and communicators snaked along the
floor of the bridge away from Uhura’s station. Her head was
buried beneath her console. Chekov stood over her.
“How’s it going?,” he asked.
“A few moments more,” her muffled voice answered.
Spock was busy at his station, McCoy standing near him.
“Think it will work?,” the Doctor asked.
“I estimate a 57.4 percent chance of success.” Spock
said, looking up momentarily. “For even though I analyzed
the databanks, the Cardassians of this timeline have
displayed altered abilities. Their computer system may also
be different.”
“You can do it, Spock. If any one can.”
“Curious.”
“What?”
“As illogical as it seems, sometimes I miss your …
barbs.”
“That’s only human,” McCoy beamed. “Now stop wasting
time and get back to work.”
Spock did.

Q stared at the old men, gathered in DS9’s Promenade.
‘Old men,’ he winced. ‘How foolish a thought. I must get out
of this human guise soon. I’m starting to lose intellect.’
Of course, they were not old men, these Organians. They had
kept their presence hidden from the Continuum. Formidable
indeed. Q thanked –God?– (‘another human concept?,’ he
thought.) that the Organians had nonagressive tendencies. If
one Organian, or part of an Organian, could pop the
continuum like Ayelborne had… no, that was because of
surprise. If it were a fair fight, it would be the battle of
the universe. A menacing smile came to Q’s lips, ‘Of course,
that would never happen.’

Ayelborne and his compatriots were on another plane,
even though their humanoid dopplegangers remained visible on
the Federation Station.
‘Do you hear the Q’s thoughts?,’ Trefayne projected to
him.
‘I do. He is but a child, daydreaming. It is of no
consequence. Remain focused, our job here is not completed.’
Trefayne projected acknowledgment and returned to their
duty at hand.

Kira Nerys struggled at the controls of the damaged
Yangtzee Kiang. The other runabouts were drawing the
Cardassians’ fire away from them. But they couldn’t wait
much longer. “I’m having trouble holding the ship on course,
Captain. The helm controls were damaged by that blast.”
Christopher Pike frowned. He knew the ship wasn’t going
to make it. He glanced briefly at the sensor display of the
four remaining Starships Enterprise docked at Deep Space
Nine. ‘My legacy,’ the words flashed in his mind. It was
true, in his day Starfleet was an upstart association,
daring to think they could go where no man had gone before.
The U.S.S. Enterprise, his Enterprise, was the most advanced
starship in the young fleet, having successfully completed a
shake-down tour under Robert April, she was handed over to
Pike. He was supposed to be the man who would go beyond
human ken, exploring new worlds, and seeking out new life. I
only scratched the surface, Pike knew. But if he, his crew,
and his starship hadn’t been the intrepid explorers, then
there may never have been an Enterprise -A, B, C, or D , or
what was still to come. It was a legacy he must protect at
all costs.
“You served in the Bajoran Underground against the
Cardassian occupation of your planet. Correct, Major.”
She shook her head and turned to look him in the eyes.
“One last blow against tyranny, Captain?”
He nodded. “Prepare to engage the warp engines.”
She swallowed, but didn’t hesitate. She grew taller in
her chair, bringing herself to the attention she knew all of
Bajor, of the Federation, deserved at this moment. “Bringing
the mains on line.”

Jean-Luc Picard reached the other side of the hill and
saw the Chapel of the Vedek Monastery. It’s large wood front
door was open wide, almost begging someone to cross the
threshold. He glanced up to the ever-reddening sky. It
became harder to see, with the amber sheen over everything.
The Captain pulled his phaser from his belt and walked
toward the entrance. He turned back momentarily, no sign of
Kirk. Picard hoped his counterpart had recovered.
Picard crossed the threshold and listened. Utter
silence. In front of him was a typical layout for a place of
worship. Rows of pews before a raised alter. The room was
very dark.
Except, something glowed from the alter.
The Captain stepped carefully and methodically, looking
at each row of pews before moving on. No indication of
Ayelborne.
Moving closer to the alter, Picard made out the glow: a
Tear of the Prophet, one of the ‘hourglasses’ from the
beings living inside the newly discovered wormhole. He
swallowed, the tears were very powerful. Although the extent
of their abilities were unknown, Sisko — the ‘Emissary,’ as
he became known not long after excepting his position at DS9
— had reported in depth about their abilities to manipulate
time, at least for an individual exposed to the tear. Why
was one here, in the Organian’s temporal pocket?
Picard climbed the steps of the alter and stepped
toward the tear in its transparent casing. The item’s warmth
calmed him, the transparent casing, apparently sensing the
presence of a body, opened. Picard felt compelled, almost
hypnotized, as he reached for the tear—
— Just as Ayelborne, leaping from somewhere above the
alter, tackled Picard to the ground.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
“Ready, Mr. Spock.”
“As am I, Commander Uhura. You may begin.”
The Commander played her console like a master pianist.
Moments later, she smiled. “We’re in. Work your magic.”
Spock’s left eyebrow rose slightly, as he began to
weave a web around the Cardassians’ data streams.

Montgomery Scott tensed slightly as he made the final
adjustment. There. He signaled his counterpart on
Enterprise-D. “Mr. LaForge, can I count on ya?”
There was a smile in the voice that came back over the
comm system, “Yes, Sir. Mr. Scott. The power link is
completed and acknowledged on all ships and the station.
We’re ready for the beam out anytime.”
Scott smiled broadly, “Ayyyy,” he said with pride. ”
And laddie, call me Scotty.”

“There is a fluctuation in their shields, ” Dax
reported on the Ganges.
“Excellent,” Sisko said from beside her. “I see it.
Just enough Old Man, to punch some holes.”
Dax nodded, “But where did their sudden power lose come
from?”
Sisko shrugged his shoulders, “All I care about for now
is that its there. Contact the others. Tell them to commence
with round robin fire patterns.”
Dax reached for the comm board, when she noticed the
readings coming from the Yangtzee Kiang. “Kira!”

Onboard the Rio Grande, Data analyzed his readings,
“They appear to be energizing their warp engines. I can only
surmise their course of act—”
“Chris,” Garrett punched the comm. “Wait.” She heard a
signal overlapping from the Ganges, essentially the same
hail. “Chris. Don’t do this — We need you,” her voice
cracked slightly, “I need you.”

Pike closed the comm channels. “Are you sure you’re
ready for this, Major?”
“Their shield degradation is strongest along the upper
pylon struts,” she snapped militarily.
Pike nodded. He reached out and touched her hand.
“Engage.”
“May the Prophets be with us.”
The Yangtzee Kiang went to warp speed.

Picard’s head struck the hard wood surface, dazing him.
“SO RELIGION IS YOUR DEATH KNELL, PICARD.” Ayelborne’s
voice echoed through his already ringing head. No longer
meek like outside, the Captain could only surmise that the
being’s powers were returning. How could he deal with that?
With a back hand punch and a roll Picard shook himself
free momentarily from the entity. He tried to get up, but
stumbled.
Ayelborne held his hand to his head, where the Captain
struck. “PAIN… A UNIQUE FEELING. ONE I CAN LIVE WITHOUT.
FEEL YOUR LAST PAIN, PICARD.”
Ayelborne stepped forward, Picard rose to his knees,
trying a crouch stance.
“Freeze!”
The voice came from the back of the room. Ayelborne
looked up, startled for a moment, to see James Kirk pointing
a phaser at the entity’s chest.
Ayelborne laughed. “TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE,
EXCELLENT.”
He swung his arm back with lightning speed… and
shattered the Tear of the Prophet.

On the Promenade, Ayelborne opened his eyes and turned
to Q, “Now.”
Q looked puzzled, “Now?…. ahh, oh, Now! Now!” He
looked up to activate the station’s comm system, “Attention,
everyone. This is Q.” He pulled down on the front of his
Starfleet tunic. “Now.” He said with infinite calm.

The sky was falling. Kirk dodged immense shards of wood
and glass, covering his eyes and face as he moved as best he
could toward the disintegrating alter. “Jean-Luc!”

Picard was blown off the alter stage by Ayelborne’s
actions, landing on his side at the first row of pews. He
tried to get up, sharp pains, ‘broken ribs,’ Picard thought.
Chapel pieces were falling all around him, a chapel that if
Picard couldn’t move would become a tomb.

The communication system worked perfectly as Scotty, La
Forge, O’Brien, Kyle, and Bailey energized in sinc. All
power diverted to the linked transporters, in an attempt to
grab two patterns from the nearly-sealed pocket.
And the attempt failed.

Kirk saw Picard struggling toward the back, the debris
piles were growing all around him. Huge amounts were
blocking his path to the other man. Kirk decided to use his
phaser to blast a path.
Picard heard the familiar whine, still getting to his
feet, “Damn the pain,’ he thought to himself.
And then Ayelborne’s laughter returned.

“Resets in place,” Miles O’Brien said from his location
on DS9. “Emergency systems are shunted to the pattern
buffers.”
“Energize,” Scotty and LaForge ordered together.

Jean-Luc Picard rose, and limped, albeit quickly,
through the newly cleared path.
James Kirk met him as their eyes locked, “Let’s get out
of here, Captain.”
“I second that, Captain.”
They turned around to begin their trek, and then
Ayelborne yelled.
“NO!!!!”
And Picard and Kirk no longer controlled their
destinies.
And Picard and Kirk once again controlled their
destinies.

EPILOGUE

The doors shwooshed open and Christopher Pike gladly
crossed the threshold into his quarters. He yawned and
rubbed his eyes. It wasn’t an overly stressful assignment
the Enterprise was carrying out, but perhaps he was still
recovering from the events of Talos IV. He tugged at his
uniform tunic, contemplating changing into something more
comfortable, but the bunk was too alluring. He flopped onto
it.
Not knowing how much time had passed, or even if he had
fallen asleep at all, the next thing Pike heard was the
pinging of his door chime. “Come,” he said sleepily.
The door opened to reveal his young — for a Vulcan —
science officer. “I apologize if this is a bad time,
Captain.”
Pike sat up, “No, not at all, Mr. Spock. How can I help
you?”
The Vulcan stepped inside and the door closed. Pike
noticed he was holding a bottle of liquor. “Saurian Brandy,”
Spock said. “I understand it is a delicacy you appreciate.”
Pike nodded, “Indeed. Join me in a toast?”
Spock hesitated a moment, he normally didn’t imbibe,
but he did bring the brandy. “Of course.”
Pike relieved him of the bottle and found two glasses.
“I am here to … thank you, Captain.”
Pike hesitated, “Thank me?”
“For allowing me to join the crew.”
Pike chuckled, “Don’t be ridiculous, Spock. I didn’t
allow you to do anything. You certainly earned this
posting.” He offered Spock a glass.
Spock took it, “Perhaps you are aware of the
…disappointment in some quarters by my actions.”
Pike knew indeed. Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan was a
living legend in Federation Diplomacy. The fact that he
strongly opposed his son’s entrance into Starfleet wasn’t as
well known, “I’m aware of your father’s displeasure.”
“It has not made my life easy,” Spock admitted,
throwing Pike off guard by the candidness. “I am glad there
are still individuals in my life to who I can turn for
guidance and acceptance.”
Pike raised a glass, “I am honored you feel you can
come to me. I’ll try not to let you down.”
They clinked their glasses. Spock raised an eyebrow,
“What are we toasting, Sir?”
Pike thought but a moment, “To the future.”
The two comrades and friends drank their drink.

‘What about the future?,’ James Kirk asked himself, as
he sat on the bridge of the battle-weary Enterprise-A. On
the screen was the Planet Earth, and the massive orbital
Space Dock that was this ship’s last port. “Stand by,
automatic approach system.” His words sounded as if they
were coming from somewhere else. “Advise approach control.”
Uhura nodded, and ever so tentatively, at least that’s
how it looked to Kirk, she tapped a key on her console,
“Approach control this is Enterprise-A, Ready for docking
maneuver.”
The controller replied over the intercom in such a
cheery voice, Kirk almost made a vow to track him down later
and punch him in the nose. “Enterprise-A is cleared to dock.
Welcome Home.”
“See to it, Mr. Chekov.” Kirk replied and left the
bridge.
Moments later, he was walking toward his quarters where
he was suddenly met by Spock and McCoy. “Hey, Jim,” McCoy
called out. “Spock has a surprisingly good idea. Follow us.”
Kirk shrugged and wordlessly followed his two best
friends to Spock’s quarters. The door opened to reveal a
table setting for three and a bottle … of Saurian Brandy.
Well, this might be a fine idea after all. “Spock, I’m
shocked.”
“It is somewhat of a tradition of mine to have a toast
with my Commanding Officer.”
Kirk smiled sardonically, “And it took nearly 25 years
for me to learn of this tradition?”
Spock nodded, “I cannot think of a more fortuitous
occasion.”
Kirk nodded, “Join us, Bones.”
“Actually I thought I’d count the sparkles in Spock’s
IDIC display over here …of course I’ll join you.”
Spock poured the brandy and handed the glasses to his
friends. “To the future,” he said as he raised a glass.
“And to the missions of the Enterprises’ past,” Kirk
added.
They clinked their glasses and drank.
Then Kirk sat down, “This is it for me, you know. After
they retire her, that’s it. I’m through with starships and
hopping galaxies.”
McCoy and Spock glanced at each other with knowing
looks, as the three friends sat infinitely comfortable in
each other’s presence.

Captain John Harriman was infinitely uncomfortable,
‘How could this have happened? This was supposed to be a
spin around the block! ….around the block!’ Instead
Enterprise-B, on her maiden voyage had encountered a spatial
anomaly, it almost tore the ship apart. More importantly, on
his first watch as Enterprise Commander, he had lost one of
the most important figures in Federation history. James T.
Kirk was dead.
Harriman shook his head slightly, he still couldn’t
believe it. But it was true, he stood at the rear of the
ship’s chapel. In the front row stood Captain Montgomery
Scott, Captain Pavel Chekov and Ensign Demora Sulu. They
were conducting a private memorial service, as Enterprise-B
limped back to Earth.
Harriman bowed his head, and left the room. Kirk had
saved the Enterprise, as he had done so many times before,
different ships, linked together by one legacy. It was
Harriman who should have made the sacrifice. Kirk should be
alive and well, sitting in that chair on the bridge,
certainly John felt he didn’t deserve to be there. The
Captain silently made a pledge to himself, a pledge only
someone familiar with the intricate possibilities of space
travel could sanely make: ‘If I ever have a chance to
sacrifice myself to preserve you or your progeny, James T.
Kirk, I will not hesitate. I owe you, Captain.’

Rachel Garrett stood up from the center seat of
Enterprise-C and stepped down to the command console. “How
does it feel, Mr. Castillo?”
Richard Castillo just began his first watch as
helmsman. “Wonderful, Captain, Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me, Lieutenant. You earned this.” She
patted him on the shoulder and returned to her chair. This
was a fine ship and a good crew. Enterprise-C would indeed
live up to the name’s legacy, she would insure it. Suddenly,
an intense beeping emanated from the communications station.
The young woman manning it, Ensign Terri, spoke up.
“Emergency distress signal, Sir. From the Klingon Outpost
Nirendra III. They are under attack.”
Garrett stood, “Distance.”
“8 hours at present speed,” Castillo announced.
Garrett shook her head, “Not good enough. Go to warp 8,
Mister. Course, Nirendra III. Ensign Terri, signal the
Klingons, help is on the way.” ‘Time to live up to the
legacy,’ she thought.
And Enterprise-C warped toward her future.

Deanna Troi stood up from the chess match, “Don’t fret,
Worf. I was the All-District chess champion at my high
school.”
“So you’ve mentioned … many times.”
She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. “Funny, I
don’t recall. Let’s get a bite to eat, I’m starved.” They
walked out of the rec room together. Deanna was glad to have
this time to spend with Worf, ever since their duty
schedules matched up so they were off-duty together. Worf
had been through some emotional hardships lately concerning
his late father. He had been quite reserved. Geordi and Data
asked her to look after their friend. She didn’t need to be
asked. In fact, she was surprised and confused by her new
feelings for the Klingon. ‘Maybe I need to talk to the
ship’s counselor.’ She smiled to herself.
They arrived at Ten Forward to find the Captain seated
alone, nursing a cooling cup of Earl Grey tea. Troi and Worf
exchanged glances. Then Troi asked if he wanted company.
“Certainly Counselor, Lieutenant,” He stood in welcome
as they sat.
“It is unusual,” Worf said, “to find you here.”
Picard smiled, “I suppose so, Mr. Worf. I was just
watching.” He pointed at the large picture windows adorning
one side of the lounge. Stars flew by, altered by the warp
field effect. As always, it was beautiful. “It’s nice to see
them for real once in a while, not through some view screen
sensor array. And away from deck one.”
Troi nodded, “I understand. Is something bothering you
though, Captain?”
Picard shook his head, “Not really Counselor, I guess
I’m still awed now and again by the scope of the universe.
How much is still out there…”
Just then, Guinan appeared from seemingly nowhere,
“Well, it’s always a pleasure when my little hole in the
wall is graced by such company. Here,” She placed a bottle
and some glasses down in the center of the table. “On the
house.”
Troi and Picard smiled at the barkeep. Worf nodded as
she left. “What is it?,” the Klingon asked.
Picard picked up the bottle, admiring it, “Saurian
Brandy. The perfect drink to share with friends.” And the
Captain of the Enterprise began to pour.

Ben Sisko wasn’t sure about this idea, but how could he
say no to Dax, after all they had to find a way to recover
from Q’s disruptive visit to the station. The dip and chips
Dax insisted on had arrived, and it was almost time for her,
Kira, O’Brien, Keiko, and Bashir to arrive. He was putting
on his fatigues when a knock came to his door. “Come in.”
Jake bounded in his room, holding a deck of cards.
“Well, I’m ready.”
“Ready ….for what?”
“For the game. So is Nog. He’s on his way over.”
Sisko shook his head, “Oh, no. Poker is a grownups’
game, Son.”
“Ahh, come on, Dad. how come when it’s time for me to
do chores or homework I …” he lowed his voice to simulate
his dad “…have to start acting like a grownup… but when
it comes to the fun stuff, I’m just a kid.”
Sisko was about to say, ‘because I said so,’ but
thought twice. “Just don’t fight me on this, Okay, Jake.”
His son paused for a moment with a droopy look on his
face, “Okay, Nog and I will just go to Quark’s. Tonight’s
The Dabo Girl Talent Show in the Holosuites.”
“…. you understand the difference between a straight
and a straight flush?”
Sisko draped his arm around his son as they left his
room.

Q arrived home with a headache. ‘How can this be? I
don’t get headaches, and where the hell was I just now? On
that decrepit space station?’ Yes, that was it, but he had a
feeling there was something more to it, a lot more. If only
his mind would clear.
“So,” came another’s voice, “Out late again last
night.”
Q looked up to see the face of his friend, not that he
actually had any real –friends — in the continuum. At
least this one came the closest to one he cared anything
about, for now. But, he was annoying him at the moment.
“Excuuuse me. Have you found that asteroid belt, yet?”
The other smirked and went about his business.
As for Q, his head was clearing, and he had an
unmistakable urge …. for a doughnut.

Outside the Organian counsel room, Ayelborne and
Trefayne looked up into the night sky.
“The pocket around our world is indeed gone,” Trefayne
said. “All is as it was before.”
Ayelborne nodded, “I cannot help but feel that this was
all my fault.”
“It was,” Trefayne said.
Ayelborne looked at his compatriot, “I can never fault
you for your honesty, Trefayne.”
“Unlike the rest of us, you did not kill, Ayelborne.
Not then, not now. If that is a fault,” Trefayne shrugged,
“it is one I believe you can live with.”
The other nodded. And then in two flashes of light,
they moved on.

Ayelborne stepped out from the rubble of the destroyed
Vedek Monastery. Fury was the only emotion he felt. He
looked up into the blazing red sky. A temporal pocket, they
got him at his own game. He underestimated the abilities of
the humans, of Kirk and Picard. He envisioned tearing the
captains apart, tearing his other self apart. They deserved
no better. But, they had escaped, with simple transporter
technology, they survived. Fury grew in its passion.
Ayelborne scanned the night skies, and for the briefest
of moments, he thought he saw a little black mixed into the
red. Perhaps not.
Ayelborne thoughts were molded into one word, one word
to obsess on for eternity if that’s what it took….
The temporal pocket filled with hideous laughter.

The author would like to acknowledge the friends and
family who doubled as an editorial board for this story: Ray
Clark, Jason Dzubow, Matt Ferry, Dan Hegarty, Daniel R.
Lewis, Marc Lowenberg, Mike Poaletta and Jerry Smolens.
The author would also like to thank the 600+ America
Online readers who have commented and waited patiently for
part two.
The opening segment of Chapter Seventeen is adapted
from “The City on the Edge of Forever” by Harlan Ellison.
All elements of Star Trek are copyrights and trademarks
of Paramount Communications Corporation.
All other elements and content are copyright by Kenneth
A. Lowenberg.
The story is dedicated to Stuart William Lowenberg.


Alara Rogers, archivist
The Star Trek fan fiction archive is at ftp.token.net /pub/startrek, or
https://www.token.net. Soon both names will change to
startrek.token.net. Check us out! All stories posted to
alt.startrek.creative, alt.startrek.creative.erotica, and anywhere else
on USENET that I see Star Trek stories, will be archived unless a
disclaimer is posted on them requesting otherwise; new stuff can be found
in /pub/startrek/tmp.

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