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 allseeing ... 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 AllDistrict 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.

it looks as if we are about to be a part of history." Picard said. said from next to him. Sir." The viewscreen blinked again and a very blurry image materialized and slowly coalesced into a familiar image. "Where are we?" Riker asked. for as Locutus of Borg. "Mr." William Riker." CHAPTER THREE "Captain. "We are getting a hail from the Enterprise. The turbolift doors opened slowly behind the command center of the bridge. ah. "As soon as the internal sensors are on-line." Picard said. Worf. I was wondering if you could explain further." said Ensign Ro Laren from the Ops station." he said with too much emotion. "Data. no one having been able to keep their footing during the severe buffeting. Sir. I need a status report. flickering into a multi-colored test pattern. All from different time periods. "Captain Picard. "Sensors will be operational momentarily." The screen changed from the historic image to one of familiarity." Sisko said." "Yes. Sisko and his crew stared dumbfounded at the main Ops viewscreen. "It does seem impossible.Everyone was doing the same. 1701-D. nearly overwhelming Sisko for a moment. "Commander. "I don't believe this. "Commander Sisko. "Deep Space Nine." "I'm afraid we are as much in the dark as you. "All systems are coming back on line." Dax concurred from behind him.when the Enterprise arrived to assist in the establishment of a Federation presence on DS9 earlier this year." O'Brien called out. "However. "I am at a lack to understand how we got here. the communications between the starship and ." Picard said. a Galaxy-Class starship's main bridge. all of us. "What was that?" "Unknown. Sisko's violent emotions had ebbed since he met Picard -." The darkened main viewscreen encompassing the entire front wall of the bridge sprung to life. But the viewer's image brought back strong emotions of Jennifer. a man Sisko once despised. In the center was Jean-Luc Picard.all named Enterprise.not Locutus -." "On the screen. in the process killing his wife Jennifer." Picard said coming up behind his android science officer at the helm station." Sisko said. Picard destroyed the Starfleet at Wolf 359." Data said. Troi and Worf emerged. "Report. his Number One. On the screen were five starships -. Sir.

" Riker said." "The code signatures from the vessels and the station fall within Starfleet parameters. Uhura. knows Commander Sisko of DS9. "Normally. He stood up. It's not every day you get to address a legend." Kirk said.. "Now deliver those starships back to." "It would seem so.. Federation hails. "Well." He got up and walked over to his science officer." "Yes. something has . "Now. "Get me Captain Picard . Jean-Luc.the space station are on recognizable. Picard put his hands up in front of him. Sir. Picard. "Captain James T. as did Riker and Troi. rubbing his hands together.D. Picard spun on his heel to face. "From what we've just heard. not only to you but to me. everyone. this is serious. "I guess I should have expected this." "Oh come now. The Starship Enterprise was just returning from the Khitomer Conference en route to decommissioning when the ship began to shake apart. it seems Captain Picard of Enterprise .. What could possibly harm an omnipotent entity?. There is a 92 percent probability they are Federation crafts. We can not let them know more about their future than is absolutely necessary. Sir." Kirk said to his communications officer. "This little affair has your trademark of chaos all over it. but we must remember they are apparently here from the past. Q." the Captain said rolling his eyes." Picard fumed as he took two steps toward the entity.." "And. "Q!" "Of course." "I'm afraid it's much too late for that. Or else we risk altering our history. as if he were pushing something away. "But of a much advanced design. albeit advanced." Q took two steps back." "So perhaps we are in their time period." Worf repeated. Spock. Unbelievably. of the Starship Enterprise." "Who?" Picard asked incredulously. "All evidence supports the conclusion." said a familiar voice from behind him. "Could the buffeting we just experienced have been a time warp?" Spock raised an eyebrow. Kirk. Kirk said to his Vulcan First Officer.." The Captain spun in his chair to look at the center viewscreen." "Q!" "Picard." Picard commented.. But this time its something far worse than a common prank." "That's just it Picard." Captain James T. Picard glanced toward his Number One. I'd agree with you... I know how important James Kirk and his crew were to Federation history. "So.

all-powerful. no longer true. Sir.. "But.. "No response... I suppose.. Riker stepped up next to his Captain. "Because.. "And.." No one said anything. There was no movement on the bridge.. to the extent of the known physical universe.. you and your crew were all that I could think of.. It's from the previous Enterprise. "It looks as if we have a problem." "Why?" Data asked." Q said.. I used all the remaining power of the Q to . everything." "Good point. alas. "To conquer . my dear Data.. And they've started by neutralizing the continuum and eliminating.And DS9?" "Simply the last place I visited in your universe before the invasion." Kirk said.." "Really?" Picard said." Q said." "Marvelous." "Q. "Hmmm. and just what is this bully's intentions." "A nice thought. "Immobilized? As I understood it." Worf said." "Always the master of understatement. off the top of my head.." Q plopped down onto the nearest chair. "Well. Sir. "No. the other Enterprises. "I would never had believed it. Microbrain.." Data stood up.. So when I thought Starship Enterprise... at least you've got me along to help for the duration. we got more than we bargained for. There's a new bully in the neighborhood. I only had a mali-second to act. "If what you say were true than how could any of us be here. and my powers were unfocused due to the invaders." Picard yelled." Picard said slowly." . I can read old-style radio waves." Uhura said..affected me and all Q. "Indeed. something else." Picard brow furrowed." "Wonderful. Picard. "Well. "Stop this evasiveness and. "Believe me. They eliminated the Planet Earth. you don't want to know... that could help me banish these bullies. "Speechless." "At the last moment before your beloved home was vanquished." ".now. Jean-Luc." He was interrupted by a beeping from Uhura's station." Worf asked. We're immobilized. "Assuming they are from our future they should be able to read us. NCC-1701. Q. After all. Sir. I guess these new guys are more powerful." Q said. It never existed. Are our hailing frequencies compatible with theirs?" Uhura shrugged. save you." "Come .." "And what is that?. the Q Continuum was omnipotent and.. Riker." "An aftereffect." Picard said." "Earth. "Is it Picard?" Kirk asked.

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 NCC1701, 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 EnterpriseD filled Kirk's bridge, "The vessel approaching is a

Also." Picard paced in front of the command chairs. "The other ships are breaking orbit as well. I just hate to sit this out. for once. Sir. we are not certain her actions are hostile." The signal broke and Kirk turned to his crew. I sense confusion and helplessness. "The Cardassian technology is quite different. can you sense anything from the ships?" She concentrated for a few moments." Worf said. "We must let the future take care of itself. "Assuming the Enterprise-B is indeed a Excelsior Class as we are aware of them." Spock began. "Stand by to break orbit on my signal." Uhura called out. if the Cardassian craft is of Picard's time period." "Benjamin." "They've never seen the likes of us before. . "Sir. "Lock phasers and photon torpedoes on the warship." "What? On visual. From the Enterprise. I respectfully suggest all ships remain in orbit. Picard and crew watched as the energy pulses danced across the other starship's weakening defense screens. "I agree. striking 1701-B with a full weapons spread.Cardassian Galor-Class Warship." "Perhaps. even if we find a way to restore Earth. Sir." "Captain. Kirk stood up and stepped toward the viewer. "Captain. "Raise Enterprise-B!" "No response. glancing once at Q who sat quietly. "And apparently that is enough. the Federation doesn't exist so the Cardassians have no idea what they're facing. our history will be irrevocably altered. Captain. Moving in to assist." Chekov replied." Chekov said. She may be significantly more advanced." Worf added." The screen blipped away from Deep Space Nine to show 1701-B pursuing 1701-D toward the Cardassians. his ship is the best equipped to deal with it." "All they know is we are invaders. "Aye." "Status of 1701 and 1701-C?" "Still in orbit." Riker intoned. "Opinions. the Galor-Class Warship opened fire. "I sense hostility and a bit of confusion from the warship. "Counselor." Kirk nodded." "Aye." "Get us directly between the Warship and Enterprise-B. Captain. Just then. while 1701-D dispatches her. Also. "An Excelsior-Class ship." McGarity said." Kirk ordered. "Break orbit." Spock said." Picard ordered. Sir. if the Enterprises are destroyed. "Enterprise-B is breaking orbit! She is pursuing Captain Picard's ship. "The Cardassian is somehow interfering with communications." Dax said." "As you said." Data said." "It is possible in this altered reality." Chekov called out." Kirk ordered. next to Troi. We should be able to stop her.

" Picard barked." Picard inquired. launching an attack on Deep Space Nine. "Chief O'Brien divert all power to the tractor beams. unidentifiable by Worf's computers. Hold those three starships in place. "The power systems will be strained. "Fire!" Kirk said. Sir. The Cardassian ship fired a full barrage of phasers. The massive power struck the Enterprise-B dead-on. however." Data reported." Q commented. fire phasers at the warship. Sir. target the source of that tractor beam and lock phasers. "Uhura. torpedoes. causing minor explosions to dance along the ship's hull. "Status of Enterprise-B." Kirk yelled." "Yes. Then the comm board started screaming at him." Picard ordered. so can they." Picard nodded. He watched as three energy lances emanated from the outer ring of Deep Space Nine." "Yes. The bridge crew watched as the phasers struck the Cardassians. flaring on the ship's forward shields and dissipating rapidly." Chekov said as his hands flew across his board. "Got'um." Riker said. "Get us back in between --" It was too late. as well as the hails from the other Enterprises." "They are refusing our hails." "Mr. the stronger plasma blasts broke through. Sir. "Damage report. "That Sisko is such a bully." Sisko ordered." Worf . and something else." Daggers of power lanced forth from Enterprise-D." Riker responded. It appears the Cardassians have advanced shield technology in this reality. Worf scowled and looked at his security readouts." O'Brien fingers flew frantically over his engineering board. "Arm the phot--" "Sir. especially if they attempt warp speed. Sir. Chekov. "DS9 has them in tractors.Sisko made the decision he contemplated when 1701-B broke orbit. "It is unlikely they will withstand another assault. catching the Enterprises as they began to break orbit. "Enterprise-B has fired photon torpedoes. "Minor damage to their forward deflectors. the weapons struck the Cardassians in the same spot as the phasers moments ago. "Mr. "Damn it. Worf." On the screen." O'Brien said. now. The lights in Ops dimmed momentarily and slowly brightened to normal." "If we can tell that. "The Enterprise-B has suffered severe casualties. "The ship is experiences intermittent power overloads due to the Cardassian attack. "Helm. This time. get me Commander Sisko." "Engage the beams." Worf called out. Sir.

now!" Picard called out. found itself instead riding the waves of a warp drive explosion. primed for battle." O'Brien cried over the alert klaxons in Ops." Worf said. Obviously.' he thought as he made some rapid calculations on his master controls. Sir. The station's tractor beam kept us from being propelled into her hull. as his Enterprise." Dax replied." "Enterprise-A barely missed us. "And Picard's ship. Number One... Sensors cannot penetrate the incident horizon. Data.." "They went to warp speed seconds before the explosion. as the two star crafts collided. too." Sisko clarified." Kirk ordered." Sisko said." "All systems coming back on." he uttered to no one as he petted his control panel. "They are near a power shutdown. "Get us out of here.reported. Sisko nodded his head. "The Cardassian tractors held." . His Enterprise would be smashed like an old wooden oceangoing craft slamming into a rocky shoreline. contemplating the next move. pushing her back toward the space station. Boyce reports no casualties. the Cardassian was more advanced then what he was used to. "Never again will I loose ya. as the waves slammed DS9 throwing everyone mercilessly to the deck." "Mr. They will need some repairs. "All systems are coming back on line." "What about their warp core?" Riker asked. altering the ship's course and warp speed output just enough to push his ship above and away from Deep Space Nine." "Worf. warp speed!" Riker called." The dark-haired woman turned from the helm console to look at her Captain. you don't know. Dr. risking so much? "Sir." Kira said. "The shields will be overloaded. "Scanning. "Impossible to tell if they will hold. then added with a surprise." Dax said. The shields were strained by repelling the explosion. 'Not this ship. Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott saw the station approaching quickly on the main viewer in the engine room. "In other words. "Evasive. The Enterprises still in the beam survived and were held away from the station." Picard glared at the Warship. raise the Enterprise." O'Brien said. "Status report. but why had Enterprise-B acted in such an irrational manner. "Never. overloading the visual circuits momentarily.. "The other Enterprise is going to warp speed! They are on a collision course with. "Correct. Sir." "Brace yourselves. Then the explosion blanketed the viewscreen.

first. You got the job. Those bullies have released the flood gates. "Very good. Enterprise-B was destroyed." "Aye. When he didn't say anything. Spock?" The young officer perked up. Q collapsed in a chair. Data. Q. who was under his station examining the circuitry behind an open vent." "Logical. Pike turned to his science officer. You get the gold star." Number One said.. "The Federation and Cardassians hadn't encountered each other during that time period. you can't realign only a part of history. Captain?" "I am assigning you to be our liaison to the other ships and Deep Space Nine. save me from human stupidity. That's why tampering with the space-time . but you're our man." Q clapped. "You should work with Enterprise-A. there are higher-ranked." "Obviously. In fact." Pike turned. "Yes." Picard said loudly.Christopher Pike nodded. Picard clapped his hands together.. How about you. "Well. "Get to it then. "Data. "Indeed. "Perhaps Q is referring to the fate of NCC1701-B. meaning our time. I believe his future self is our best bet for gathering information.?" Q said encouraging Picard to think more.. "Why we ever got interested in you.. He is currently a promising Lieutenant under Captain Garrovick on the Farrugut. bumping his head on the vent. "You see. Now. "All I can figure out is I've had enough of your shenanigans." they said in unison as they departed the bridge." Riker said.." "And now. what can we do? Grieve and move on." "But. Riker? Can you figure it out?" Riker took a step toward the entity. Currently. Pike smiled slightly. of course. how about those pyrotechnics?" Q said as he stood and stretched." "Belay that.? History is not locked in place anymore." "The brilliance in this room!" Q said as he stepped toward the helm.. Q. His ship was saved by the beam trapping them from assisting the Enterprise-B and D with the alien ship. Mister. "But. I recognize her captain. Number One will assist you. Sir. Sir. "Captain." The android stared at Q for a moment and then turned to look at Picard. James Kirk. "Mr. unless that Enterprise was originally destined to be annihilated at this point. "That is all you have to say? Hundreds of people just lost their lives. "Hey. Unlikely." Number One raised an eyebrow. altering the future. we've met. But of course you are again missing the big picture.. noting the brief grimace of embarrassment before the Vulcan got a hold of himself. In our timeline the ship was not destroyed in combat with Cardassians." Q shrugged. Captain." "I'd say that was an obvious conclusion when they eliminated Earth." Q said." Spock agreed..

shook his head and decided to walk in another direction." Quark smiled as he walked away. Jean-Luc." Q said. releasing Picard." CHAPTER FIVE "Odo. is a useful character trait. The meeting Sisko is calling for the Enterprise captains.continuum isn't done more often." Q reached his hand toward the Captain. "Now. especially the Captain's. listen. "Engage!" Nothing happened as Q looked at an angry Captain. The timestream can now be rewritten any number of times. Chekov you have the conn. "Helm. we may have to rely on the newer class starships for future conflict. you're invited." "What about the time flow conflicts?" . what do you think?" Spock raised an eyebrow. How about it Picard. "If we are to learn anything more about our situation. In addition." Picard said. it will be necessary to meet with the others as Captain Picard suggests. Look into it." Kirk said." Picard's image vanished from the Enterprise-A's viewscreen." "With the Captains' meeting?" "What captains' meeting?" "Come on. Mr. to everyone's surprise." Chekov reported. take us back to Deep Space Nine. what do any of us have to loose? Nothing! And we've got everything to gain. "I am not flustered. Kirk nodded and turned back to Uhura. you look flustered. I'm looking forward to it. "The Enterprise-D has resumed orbit." "I have no idea what you're talking about. give me a little credit. I'm afraid we don't see the same cosmic picture. which I must admit is quite gratifying. Now nothing's locked in place anymore. Kirk turned to first officer. Picard unconsciously grasped it and Q pulled him into a big hug." "Fine. "Just kidding. "With Earth eliminated and the Q paralyzed." Then he moved his right hand in a familiar gesture. Sense of humor." Odo stopped his gait. "It is agreed then. Because you leave yourself open for annihilation. We can go back and erase them." Quark said as he approached the security chief in the Promenade." "Q. "And believe it or not. we can finally be a team. Spock with me. "Have Doctor McCoy meet me in my quarters. "Enterprise out.most of it. They erased humanity -. The meeting will adjourn on Deep Space Nine at 1350 hours. "Picard. Odo." When they entered the turbolift. "But I'm inviting all of them to my bar for a celebration as soon as the meeting is over." Odo snapped. "Well. "Just preoccupied." "Alright." Data commented." He turned and looked behind him." "This sounds like an extraordinarily dangerous option. as we have witnessed.

" "Sorry." "Doctor. "Come again." Kirk nodded as the turbolift opened." Kirk responded waving his best friends through the doorway.. Dr. "How did we combat Apollo.. "According to Captain Picard. I hate to be in the dark. Spock was right." Spock began. And you and Spock. and threatened to unleash the emotional turmoil tied to her memory... Doctor. Maybe if we say to this super-entity 'pretty please' it will change its mind and give us our planet back.. or Trelane." McCoy did a double-take. "Well then how the hell are we here?" Kirk shrugged. or Gary? We did it because we are the best crew in Starfleet. Captain Pike." "And we are all are gonna talk about ." McCoy shook his head." "It seems this Q entity was attacked.. It reminded him of Edith. One of those. The rest of us are here because Q's powers were unfocused and dragged every Federation Starship Enterprise along for the ride. "Oh sure." he said." McCoy plopped down on a chair. "And you're going over to the station to meet with the other captains. "Let's go inside.what? Finding another home?" Spock folded his hands together.. All-knowing. it seems that we are here due to an imbalance in the powers of an entity named Q. the Kelvans.. "by an even more powerful being. "It would be logical to assume the topic will be rescuing Earth. Captain Picard and Captain Rachel Garrett." Bones stood up. of course. "Well. This second entity has immobilized the Q and has erased Earth. When they arrived at his quarters." Kirk nodded." McCoy stood. along with station Commander Benjamin Sisko and this Q." Bones shook his head. "Yes. considering I have no personal recollection and Starfleet records show no indication of NCC-1701 ever undergoing our current situation. how are we going to combat an entity that can alter history at will?" Kirk joined them in standing. We did it because we never lost confidence in ourselves or each other. dispense with the pleasantries and start talking." McCoy stared blankly for a moment. or Charlie Evans ."History has apparently already been seriously compromised. but he didn't enjoy the idea of having to reset history. it about time you decided to clue me in. Q felt Enterprise could help in banishing the other entity. Bones. allseeing." Kirk continued. "Wonderful. "Would anyone like a drink?" Spock shook his head. "Earth has apparently been deleted from the time stream. "Well. self-righteous. "Don't tell me. "Maybe we are the luckiest group ." "Yes. the Q entity currently on Enterprise-D's bridge has had previous encounters with her crew. Jim. "For God's sake.. Leonard McCoy was waiting. Damn it." He sat on his bed..

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

standing and clapping Kirk on the shoulder." Kirk said. The Federation can be restored. "Now do you have something useful to offer or are you just here for comic relief?" Q smiled and nodded. He laughed as Kirk recoiled. Commander Sisko. Now. Kirk. so the classroom became the site.. No offense. Sir. Sir. standing. This is an unprecedented meeting of some of the most important citizens ever to represent Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets." "I agree." "Greetings and felicitations. Sisko stood first. Captain. Jean-Luc?" Picard brow creased." James Kirk said. "I have more to offer than your puny mind can comprehend." Kirk took two steps toward the entity. Kira. Q leaned over to Picard. 500 important Federation citizens wouldn't be space dust now.decision." "True. "You must be Q.can have disastrous repercussions. McCoy." "The fate of Enterprise-B may have already caused irreparable repercussions. Thank you. "These pleasantries are time consuming and pointless. "As commander of this station. "Indeed. "Q." The chairs will set up in a circle. Outside the room." "Bravo. It's good to see the promising young man from the Farragut has done so well. Sisko. We've got a universe to set right. "Not an elegant speech maker. At the top sat Jean-Luc Picard. Spock. Q. We are honored by your presence and know that with all of us working together. Odo and Worf led the security team.however that may be defined -. but if you hadn't been so arrogant as to lock a tractor beam on my ship and the others. Kirk. And Sisko trusted the Constable's instincts." Kirk said. James Kirk shook Christopher Pike's hand. Captains." "Thank you." . "I like this one. What do you think of all this?" "I think this is an extraordinarily unusual and dangerous situation. As long as there is an Enterprise-A there will be a B. Pike. Garrett and her first officer Alexander Okuda. "It's a pleasure to see you again. Picard. Captain." Spock of Enterprise-A came into the promenade and approached the two men with whom he held the most loyalty." "Excuse me. Any wrong move on our part -. Captain Kirk. I would like to welcome you all to Deep Space Nine." He sat.. The question is when do I feel like offering it. huh. we can return the time stream and the universe to its proper alignment. please. Number One. "I have no use for super-powered egotistical know-italls. Kirk. I think we should cut to the chase and stop treating this like a mutual admiration society. but we must deal with our immediate futures." Q said clapping. Then around clockwise were Q. Riker." Q smiled. "The meeting is ready to begin.

" "Ah. Picard turned to him. pointing toward Kirk. "Good combative spirit." "Of course." He nodded and whispered." "I hope you don't mind if I interrupt.." Seconds later he was quietly snoring. "There are obviously going to be some personality clashes. And if this entity was able to take the rest of the Q out. I hope that still stands with today's graduates. "Q. . I've done my share already. They locked gazes for a long moment. if you have something worthwhile to tell us. little man. "Watch your tongue. caught off guard. "Q. and McCoy." Q's face grimaced. an omnipotent race of which I am very highly ranked." "Not so omnipotent after all. Jim." He crossed his arm and closed his eyes. "Tell them when they stop acting like children. After all." Spock said. Q. "They. "Mr." He laughed louder. are immobilized back in the continuum. Picard jumped up and put himself between the two. then they went back to their mutual seats. "It would be unfortunate if this cordial meeting degenerated." "That's how he's gonna help us.Kirk took another step toward Q. and I feel Q is most qualified to introduce the situation.." "If I find you are withholding important information.entity or entities." McCoy said. Do so. by a very powerful -. anyhow. Q. "Definitely old school. maybe I'll be willing to help. Captain. "As if you understand anything about the nature of the universe. "I'll try to make this as easy to understand as possible. So. Spock. you'd all be less than spacedust without my help. However." Q called out as he was facing away from the Captain." Q laughed. "That's enough!" Christopher Pike yelled." Picard said." Christopher Pike called over Q's remarks." Picard said. without interruption and insult. the Q.and you think everyone should bow. eh. see if you insignifigants can solve this without me. "You boys have a few puny success stories over a quarter century --less than infinitesimal in universal measure-. Kirk jumped out of his chair." Kirk said staring the entity in the eyes. Kirk." McCoy chortled. emphasized accomplishment of goals over dispositions." "The degree of our understanding the nature of the universe. go ahead. "We are in a unique scenario obviously. "Fine. correct." Q's eyed widened. "seems to have little to do with our current scenario. have been invaded." He turned and smiled at Kirk. in my day. actually. "The doctor's right. I don't see how you can help us. Starfleet Academy.and bullying -. this is childish. fine. I was the only Q to escape their grasp--" "And the others?" Pike's Number One asked. The great exploits of the Starship Enterprise. Jean-Luc. "You see. Kirk. " Q said standing and straightening his tunic. Captain Kirk. or else turn the meeting over to someone else. my lady." Q blurted. "By hurtling insults.

" Kirk replied." McCoy said dryly. but just thinking of that portal gives me a headache. "It's Captain Kirk." Riker intoned. Kirk didn't take the proffered beverage. He was from a race Kirk didn't recognize. "Captains Picard and Garrett and Commander Sisko seem to be competent Starfleet officers." Q said smirking. of course. Great idea. "All is as it was before."According to Q. Quark's. Quark." "And we. Kirk shrugged and was about to reply when a voice called from behind them." "Quark!" Kirk recognized the new voice belonged to Deep Space Nine's Security Chief. Captain Kirk. "Elementary school science project. on a good day. owner of the entertainment capital for this section of the galaxy. "And you are?" "Me? I am Quark.... amazing!' He glanced from Quark to Odo and . 'Another new race for another century.." Pike was saying. "Hmmm." Q perked up." He let his head fall into his palm. Bones. However. "Many such journeys are possible. "This Q is either a super being or certifiable. "The Guardian of Forever. Admiral. are. "Admiral Kirk! Admiral Kirk! We meet at last. "The doughnut? You guys know about the doughnut?" Kirk gave Q a hard stare. and I'd thank you to not manhandle me.." "Gentlemen." "Probably close to both. Jim. to solve this situation will require a substantial leap beyond competency. "Allow me to show you and your men. Let me be your gateway. "I am sorry if this Ferengi pest was annoying you. "A bar?" "Not simply a bar." McCoy looked at his captain and a flash of recognition crossed his face. "Ohh.. After a moment of silence Kirk whispered. I cannot say from our meeting whether or not these officers are up to the task at hand. we need to find allies who can help us." "Q ." the man said. in a pig's eye." Kirk turned around to see a little man with a large head and very exaggerated ears." Bones McCoy snorted. Kirk thought. The shapeshifter marched up to the group and grabbed Quark's arm. lifting him half-way off his feet. what's your opinion about the meeting?" The Vulcan raised his right eyebrow." Kirk exchanged glances with his officers." Kirk stood his ground and yanked his arm back." Spock started but McCoy jumped in. Mr. He. An elementary school science project gone awry." he grabbed Kirk's sleeve. He offered it to the 'admiral. The little man jogging toward him was holding a drink." 'Ferengi?'.' "Saurian Brandy?.it would have to be to annihilate Earth and alter history. So. and Spock were walking through the promenade of Deep Space Nine. An oasis.. "This new force is very powerful -. "Spock.

." "Very well.. please." Quark called out as Odo dragged him off. "You do have quarters arranged for him on the Enterprise. no Q continuum. Mon Capitan. "I have to say that I've studied the history of my ship.. Rachel?" "Well." "Oh.. Your crew. Robert April's crew before you and Captain Kirk's." "Christopher.. Odo. five months ago. wouldn't you say? Maybe there never was any where to boldly go. no Federation. "Can we talk for a moment before returning to our ships?" "Of course. Captain Christopher Pike. she'd be damned if she'd act like a star-struck girl. My crew is a bit untried.. However." "Hold on. proper .. Picard scowled.. Picard." "You're nervous." "Chris." "Christopher. They have got into their shares of crises." Picard nodded." Q stood tall and straightened his tunic in a blatant parody of the Enterprise-D captain.shook his head. Of the Enterprises past. "Thank goodness.. No Earth.. You boys are doubting if you have the proper muster? You are wise to question. Sisko grimaced and turned to Picard. "My opinion. is it?" "Yes. Maybe this is the proper flow." Q smiled at his listeners." She smiled back. I took over the reigns of Enterprise-C on Stardate." "Stop by any time. "I concur. "Chris. Sir. well I guess that doesn't . Certainly not as seasoned as the other Enterprises orbiting Deep Space Nine. when they heard laughter." "They are. is we have no choice but to try to restore the Federation and the universe the way it was before. "Your opinion." He smiled. "I thought you said your powers were nullified." Rachel Garrett reached out and shook hands with a legend. Commander?" Sisko looked into the penetrating eyes of Jean-Luc Picard. I always let you have your speeches." Picard nodded. "No problem. She was a Captain of the Enterprise as well and would act with proper decorum. They turned to see Q leaning against a bulkhead. Captain. now return the courtesy. we talk about resetting the universe to its ." ... We'll just be on our way. "You know. Sobering thinking. Rachel." The two officers arrived at Sisko's quarters. This is larger than all of us. I sincerely hope we have the means necessary. my powers of stealth are fully operational. Rachel. Who's to say? Maybe we've stumbled upon reality here.. But. flow." "What's on your mind.." "Q.

" "Commander Sisko also confirms his station's battle readiness. Sir. his friends. "I had served as a starship captain for eight years before getting the Enterprise. "Captain Picard. The probes from DS9 reconfirm our findings that Cardassian forces are at least three days away. "Thank you. 'Number One would appreciate this woman." Kirk nodded. Show them that this is the Enterprise. Just transfer your strength to your crew. 1701-D standing by. "Voice only signals from Captains Pike and Garrett and . "A "So am I. Captain Kirk." Kirk stood and glanced at his command crew: Spock. My CMO told me to face it head on and lick it. "Being a starship captain doesn't mean you check your feelings at the dock. Excelsior were victims of the time distortion along with everyone else they knew. The Enterprise-A stands ready. and the man left with a look of disgust on his face. But." "Thank you. The screen flickered and a now familiar face filled it. you must learn to use those feelings advantageously." He continued." "Then that leaves us with our job. Captain Picard. Kirk out. waiting in entropy for the Starships Enterprise to act -." Her smile broadened. He was about to rely on them to help save civilization once again. We have that long." "Now." CHAPTER SIX "Captain Picard on hailing frequencies. Chris. follow our lead." "Sir?" They strolled through the promenade and sat down at a table near the entrance of Quark's. "Chris. A strange little man with ears came up to them. Rachel. That they are the Enterprise.' Pike thought." She nodded and smiled. he and the crew of the U. But not Sulu. he's not just any ship. On screen. or turn my back and whither away. Scotty. I think its time we get back to our ships." "Indeed. A proud legacy." "Captain Kirk.bit." She nodded." The screen flicked back to the space scape." "Uh-uh." "Then. Obviously the bartender. the Enterprise of any era is a force to be reckoned with. They'll follow you. You have the coordinates. the other friends and family that filled his crews' lives.S." 'He? A female captain and a male ship. "Rachel.S.if they can. Pike waved him off. Commander. Chekov and Uhura. All wiped away.' "From what I can see. I recently dealt with a personal struggle." She gulped unconsciously and then cursed herself. However. "Captain Pike and Captain Garrett report their ships are fully prepared for battle.

Spock. I know. "but what is interesting." Data queried from his seat at comm. "Stop marching like a toy soldier.. "The planet is right where it was before this mess. And after our falling out. Riker. the ship is on a standing yellow alert. It may even be useful. Major?" Sisko and Kira were standing in Sisko's office overlooking Ops. if it does." Q said as he paced the bridge of Enterprise-D. It is feasible it survived the alterations. Mr. as you call him.. Q?" "Going to the doughnut." "What about it.." "We sent probes." "Bajor." Riker intoned.. set course for Forever World. the whole universe. "This is interesting. An irascible student in his day." Sisko nodded and pitched his baseball between his hands. Commander. He would be more impossible to be around." "Which show the cities decimated. I'm not going to tell him." Q frowned. But. worse than me. please. mentally wished good luck to all." "Watch yourself. until I got tired of his immature pranks. before this one. "Perhaps. "I hesitate to ask this.. Troi couldn't help but smirk. "sound as if they all come from the same spoiled crib." A chorus of 'aye." Riker said. I never wanted to get that personal." Picard said." "The Q. Q would be besides himself." Uhura said. "Sit down. "Q. then perhaps your knowledge. Nope. "My friend. We might find some of the answers we seek down there. "I have to know how the planet's survived in this timeframe. Mr. Q would be besides himself to know that his little pet school project may actually help save the whole continuum .." "Q?. That crib is the essence of the universe. McGarity.. ahead warp factor seven. As of now." Worf snarled from the above security station. "They wish good luck. But that isn't the real reason for your request." "Acknowledge them. was very tight-lipped. You always had to ask him direct questions if you wanted answers.." Q shrugged and sat down Indian-style in the center of the bridge." Kira sat down on the couch." Picard said. I idolized him for a bit. sirs' met Kirk as he sat back in the chair. Chekov. I'm afraid I'll have to figure it out with the rest of you people . Of course. Jean-Luc. they . the previous universe . "If your friend built the Guardian. keep those sensors peeled for any party crashers. "I love pissing him off. Data. and Worf. Commander.. Q laughed. Mr.." "Q.the station." "Forget it. Anyway.

" Kira leaped up again. we may be here for a long time. Major Kira believes that members of the religious community may be alive and in need of assistance. Captain. Therefore. "Okay." "All scanners show clear." "Commander. theoretically. if they ever did. Enterprise-C and the station they would put up a fight if necessary. Pike squinted at the viewscreen. Perhaps. I will provide the runabout and assign Major Kira and my science officer." "Aye.. have O'Brien prep the Rio Grande. Sir. Sir." The screen wavered into the image of Commander Sisko." "Your first officer is Bajoran." Spock exclaimed. There may be clues down there to Cardassian strength and I am curious also to what Bajor is like in this timeframe. as you know." "If the others don't succeed we will need more than we currently have to survive. But." Pike nodded and crossed his arms. "So. Space. I suggest authorizing am away mission led by her to the planet's surface. "Or maybe not." "Commander. During his time. it was years away from being even charted. his crew should have no contact at all with Bajor or this . But. Get their recommendations. out there nothing was familiar." Sisko shrugged. enough to hold off these Cardassians until reinforcements arrived." Sisko put the baseball back in its holder on the desk and paused for a few moments." "My thoughts exactly." "Sir. Captain. nothing like he had experienced. "I agree with your plan. he was sure that between himself. what do you need from me?" "It was my feeling that this should be a joint operation between staffs. Let me discuss it with Pike and Garrett. "Yes! Maybe survivors of the Vedek Assembly or the Kai herself." Number One said." Pike frowned. The Cardassians were powerful. Mr.. "Report at the slightest peep. the Planet Bajor is in this sector." "Major." "Incoming signal from the station. we have had extensive dealings with this planet in the real time line. "Captain Pike. Bajor was on the fringes of Federation space in the 24th Century. as if trying to increase the magnification mentally of his fully-magnified main viewer.. "Thank you.also indicated life around the sanctuary outside the capital." "Yes. Our probes indicate life on the planet near a major religious enclave." Kira smiled.. they after all helped take out a ship two generations beyond his own. We will need allies and supplies. In the meantime. Spock. Number One. If Picard and Kirk fail. He then turned to his first officer." "Bajoran life forms. Lieutenant Dax. Let's have it.

. Commander Data and Worf.' 'OH. WE MUST SUCCEED." "As do ours. they were here and they weren't going to get the Federation back by playing it safe. He turned to look at Deanna at the chair next to his. "I have the utmost confidence in you two.. Lieutenant Spock and my Number One will join your team." Jacoby snapped." She said smiling. She was perfectly composed. But. Sir. WILL. Garrett looked at Lieutenants Harcourt Long and Melanie Jacoby.S. present speed. "You'll have it. NOT ON BETAZED." "We will be ready. Obviously. Sir.OR SCREWUPS. The Captain of the Enterprise-C marveled again at the strength of will of her new crew. I'M BEING SELFISH. We should start making plans for the landing party.' Long nodded to his Captain. I'M SORRY. They will transport over to the station shortly.." "Enterprise. I CAN'T FEEL HER PRESENCE ANYMORE. "Very well." "Yes.. NEITHER IS MY FATHER. IMZADI. knowing that parents and friends like Jacoby had ceased to exist. the crew of her ship stood tall and were ready to serve. Garrett went to the academy with her father. And yet. 'I KNOW. Republic.sector. looking straight ahead. SHE'S NOT THERE. Data. Our sensors show clear. "Your status. Captain.' Riker thought back. They were two of her finest security personnel and they volunteered to join the officers on the away mission to Bajor. Picard here. Captain Jeremy Jacoby of the U." Jean-Luc sat behind his ready room desk with Kirk's image on the screen. "18 hours. IT'S CERTAINLY OVERWHELMING IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT. 'This isn't a mission." "ETA." She turned to the ensign behind the console." "Agreed. "And I want a complete report when you return. MY MOTHER. as will my science officer." 'IMZADI!' The force of the thought made Riker cringe.' "Kirk to Enterprise." 'IMZADI. Captain?" "All is well. head of Security. WILL. it's personal. "Energize.' 'WE HAVE TO SUCCEED. I THOUGHT I DID BUT IT WAS JUST AN ECHO FROM THE PAST.. ESPECIALLY IF YOU THINK THAT WE'RE HERE BY Q'S GOOD GRACES ." "Very good." The screen wavered back into an image of the final frontier. NOWHERE.' 'NOT AT ALL." . Riker's brow creased in confusion "De." The android looked up at the main viewscreen and turned to Commander Riker. Q lounged on the couch across the room.' 'I KNOW. I will join you. A phrase ran through Garrett's head suddenly.. so far.S. myself and Captain Spock should beam down since we have experience with the Guardian.

. "Rio Grande to O'Brien." CHAPTER SEVEN "Entering Forever World's system." Q declared. Kirk started.A loud sneeze came from the couch." said Picard. Captain. The Federation has them classified at the highest level even in our time." .." "Yes. Captain Picard on screen..." The captain of the future appeared. Uhura. Kirk out." "Good luck." "We're almost there." "Enough. Jean-Luc. Major. "Very well. "I'm sorry. Kira out. Gentlemen. They all signaled they were ready. If this is so." ". Q. "I most certainly did not. "Please. I'm getting dizzy. Captain Kirk." Kira called back to her crew. More so than you. "Sisko to Rio Grande." Dax announced. Chekov." ". We're out of here.of his constructed the Guardian. Q says a friend. I didn't get that. We've had to go through some computer security protocol to get to your reports concerning the Guardian.. Lieutenants Jacoby and Long sat in the aft compartment going over the readiness of the 24th Century phasers. "I was afraid he was going to say that." "Thank you. of course." "Everyone strapped in?." "He said 'And Q. Are your people ready?" "Indeed so. raise the Enterprise. Mr.. Captain." Kirk nodded. in fact. Dax sat next to her at the Conn. "Gentlemen." The screen blinked off. We're all checked in and eager to go. "Next stop." Kirk cried out. "She's ready. Sir. Captain Kirk. "I am an essential on this away team.' Captain Kirk. Number One manned the science station. "Yes. Captain.acquaintance. then perhaps he may be of some use on the away team. Sir. "Bajor.. Commander." O'Brien said from his station at Ops. I can't wait to see Riker's reaction when you announce you're beaming down. Major." "Thank you." "You have to admit." exclaimed Q who walked up to the desk and span the viewer to face him. Spock manned the sensors." Jean-Luc looked up at Q's smiling face.." "Very well." "Kira here. Good luck. spinning the viewer back. Your discretion." A surge of power and Deep Space Nine fell out from under the Runabout.

but as you know. 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.. hand picked by the captain. but I don't have time to put people through the ranks.. on the verge of sleep.' he thought in a half-conscious haze. unaware of how long he had been resting. You had more than your fair share of crises as a cadet. "Good luck. Then they both said. 'Damn. both gazing quickly at the other and then turning to their respective commanders. Captain Garrett walked past him and sat down on the nearest chair. "Make it so. Castillo. I am promoting you to the bridge as helmsman. Stepping forward. The dangers involved with using the Guardian are cataclysmic. Therefore." He jumped out of bed and wrapped a robe around himself. Sir?" said Chekov and." responded Picard. The familiar beeping broke through his dreams. A glance at his chrono indicated his shift was still ninety minutes away." She said glancing at the blushing officer." "Then you are aware we are preparing to re-engage the Cardassians. "I'm not surprised. But.." Kirk said. I chose you for your excellent academy credentials.' Sleep captured him finally. The young lieutenant tossed and turned in his bed.. The beep recurred." "See you below.. Someone was at the door to his quarters. The Cardassians and our other enemies aren't giving us such luxury. drenched in sweat. You know our current situation?" "Yes.. Garrett was leapfrogging him over a dozen officers." Kirk added before the communication ceased. 'I can't let this ship or this captain down. "Sir?. regaining his composure. but in their present situation. I'm just sorry your new duties will have to be performed in a . "You would have made it there eventually." he said fumbling at his half-open robe. not like when. the captain." Richard Castillo replied. Lieutenant. Sir? Coffee." "Standard orbital approach. maybe or. the ship and crew were flung into a situation in which he felt helpless. "Hold on a moment." "Sir?." "No time. "Can I get you anything." "I realize you have logged very little time on a starship.. the sensor automatically detected his presence and opened the door to reveal . Ro at the same time. "May I come in?" "Of course. on the screen. The lieutenant sat up quickly. I need my best people in positions where they will be of the best use. "Affirmative." Castillo was genuinely taken aback. in our present situation I don't see what we have to lose. "At ease. "Of course.. Sir. Captain." Castillo blinked in surprise. Days after being assigned to the Enterprise.Kirk nodded. cutting off all conscious thought.

" Q gasped. leaving a flabbergasted man in her wake." And she was gone. . Well. clenching her fist. helmsman. Major Kira. let me just say.. "We should land near the arboretums adjacent to the Vedek Assembly. Microbrain." Kira said. Spock monitored the science console. "Get your Neanderthal off me." "Worf is mainly here to keep you in check. "That's where I was going.." Kira cried out." Dax countered. Number One." Worf grabbed his arm and pulled him back. Kirk turned to see Spock standing next to him. stood and walked toward the front of the runabout where the two DS9 officers were seated." Until now. "I see. One of the headliners has to move the plot along. "Caution is warranted. Q." Kirk and Spock stepped toward the away team." Q groaned. "Well. I commend him for his quickness." The sounds brought back the agony. the Klingon security officer Worf (Kirk caught himself tense and quickly regained composure). Stop squeezing so hard. and Q on the planet's surface." Q said as he bounded toward the Guardian. "Right then. Moments later. Could use a good cleaning service. Jean-Luc. that hurts. "Sensors indicate Bajoran life forms in the area designated by the Major. Owww. from the original Enterprise. "Come along everyone. "It is logical to assume the conditions of the planet in which you are familiar will vary with those on the planet below." Number One concurred. Q." Picard said. a nearly familiar sound filled Kirk's ears as the Enterprise-D's transporter deposited Picard. Sir. the Entity monitored the last vestiges of the two species with curiosity and humor." Kira responded in a fluster." Picard said. but time is of the essence. Kirk watched as the landscape that is forever burned in his memory materialized around him. It enjoyed watching them flop around the galaxy like fish out of water. "Shall we?" he gestured toward the Guardian. "Everyone prepare for descent. Riker. Kira shot her a vexing glance." "Bingo.situation such as this one. See you on the bridge." Kirk said. "If they exist. Your shift starts in thirty minutes." "I agree. "Captain. "I know this is cliché." "I understand. well. Captain. the android Data. "But we have no choice but to assume we can accomplish our mission.

see. a menacing glance.But. Klingon.C. "Analysis." The voice seemed to emanate from everywhere at once. this is Spock from the Federation Starship Enterprise. restlessness and annoyance." Looming before the six men was one of the most ominous encounters in Federation history. didn't believe me. "Data." Suddenly a flash appeared and filled the center of the vortex. Reds gave way to blues. Q yawned. the Guardian of Forever. did you? Well." "Yes. Q." Kirk said cutting Q off." Picard turned to his science officer. concentrating on his tricorder. Triassic ages. "We are seeing the birth of Earth. Jurassic. approximately 500. and shot Worf." "Dinosaurs. which meant squashing the last of the bugs. "Can you show us the history of my home planet?" "BEHOLD" The center of the vortex filled with mist and phantom images appeared. It was almost time to move on. "See." Q smiled. "Guardian. TWO FROM TRAVEL AND ONE FROM THE BEGINNING. "Correct. his eyes however remained transfixed to the center of the time vortex. "THE HISTORY OF YOUR WORLD HAS PLAYED ITS COURSE. When they were able to look again. We are now moving beyond into the Paleolithic era. Images of cave drawings and early humanity. or else. Do you remember us?" "I RECOGNIZE THREE WHO STAND BEFORE ME. Sir. The smallest of creatures became the largest. "7.000 B. "I hope you're enjoying that arm while you can. Cretaceous. Moving through the ages of history. "Spock.. I didn't nick-name it the Blabberer of Forever for nothing.000 B." "Guardian. Old Earth calendar. Data.. does the Guardian's images match actual Earth history. who still held him. Sir. it started feeling something more. The officers turned and looked at Q. forcing everyone except Data and Q to shield their eyes. "Let's get on with it. Q smiled and pulled himself free from Worf." . from now on I certainly expect. "Seen it. Images of a molten world. "Does this jive with your original Guardian recordings?" "Yes." Spock nodded. been there. the Guardian was inactive." Kirk said looking at his science officer." Riker said. CHAPTER EIGHT "Ask it the right question." Kirk and Picard glanced at each other and then returned their gazes to the Guardian." "Quiet." Picard said. Sir. Kirk swallowed unconsciously. "Neolithic Age.." Picard said." Riker said in a whisper.. suddenly cooling." "Amazing." Data said.C.

" Kirk said. minutes before the Borg destroyed her and the majority of Starfleet at Wolf 359. and universal translators and get the entity that took out the continuum and destroyed humanity. However. whatever occurred apparently did so in Earth's Neolithic Period. Yes. "Uhh ." Q said. . how do we get close enough to encounter it?" Spock nodded. "This is not correct. "It doesn't seem to have a recollection of the previous history. "No. The Guardian actually thought that Earth history was supposed to end with the Neolithic Age. THE PLANET EARTH'S HISTORY IS AS IT WAS BEFORE. with eddies and backwash. Riker. the entity that had destroyed humanity had also affected the Guardian. "Assuming the entity was on Earth during the Neolithic Period. Sir.. Can you show us Earth's history again?" "BEHOLD. We traveled in an era much later than the one just concluded. You say you remember us from traveling before." Spock said taking a step forward. A hopeless battle." O'Brien left the office." "Stand by. "Suggestions." Picard replied. "How long do we have?" "Twenty hours until the Cardies bring their weapons to bear." "Everyone ready. "We have to assume that even in its altered state." "The Guardian appears to have been altered along with the universe around us." he said turning to the others. "Let's just go get our phasers." Data said. "Oh. Somehow. "Guardian." "I don't see another choice." Kirk smiled for a moment until he realized that the situation was not good. "And this seems to be our best option.." "Yes." "We have to stop it. right. Mr.S." Riker and Kirk said together. Good idea. "There is the question of where to travel." "HISTORY HAS BEEN RESTORED. "Neither do I. "We must try to restore history. Worf squeezed his shoulder." Sisko said from behind his desk in the office above Ops." Q replied." "Very well.S. "Guardian."What?." "They're definitely coming. The same flow that pulled the entity from our time to Neolithic Earth will bring us there as well." Kirk turned back to the vortex." Picard said. And suddenly an image filled Sisko's mind: Jennifer's lifeless body beneath the rubble of their quarters on the U." "Send a signal recalling the Rio Grande. and get me Captains Pike and Garrett. time still retains the equivalency of a river." Riker said." Kirk asked." Spock said. tricorders. Saratoga. O'Brien.

" Q replied.. Dax frowned and looked at her friend..Captain Pike sat in his command chair looking at the split screen images of Benjamin Sisko and Rachel Garrett." "A dog. Act Three." Q said. Out of nowhere." Kirk said as the team leaped through the Guardian. They just landed on Bajor. I believe it's. They were busy with their devices. "Please. I know!" Kira called out." Kira said glancing at her tricorder. "If they can do any good we need to give them the chance. the sound changed. Scene One.." Kirk said.. crinkling his nose. "Phasers ready. Daddy? Can we do it again?. "An animal lifeform. "Red alert everyone. We need to give them time to accomplish something. "Tricorder.." Kirk said as a large dog...' he thought. Let's stay on our toes." Pike smirked." Q said a bit nervously." Sisko said." "Yes. Whew. "Henry V. "Major. Then glanced at the science officers. "Very well. "Is everyone okay?. Data and Spock didn't need to be told. but I want them back in our protection before the attack force arrives." Spock raised an eyebrow and fell into step behind his commanding officer. "Our crews. The procession headed north into the unknown. We have twenty hours. Spock and Data conferred momentarily and then Spock turned to the group. ". I have my Number One and science officer down there as well. "Once more unto the breach. Number One analyzed her tricorder readings. "At least we skipped that period where everything smells like sulfur. The winds changed. dear friends. "All readings seem to indicate we are in the Neolithic Era of Earth History. The crew disembarked from the Rio Grande onto the lush ground." "The tricorder's life indicators show." Sisko's face hardened..000 B. 1000 meters. Let's use them. the ground changed. then called back to the group." "I will not have my crew returning in the middle of a firefight with the Cardassians.considerably less.C.." Garrett was nodding. Commander. "Anything?" Data looked at his tricorder. "I don't think anyone would disagree with that." "Something's coming." she finished." an android and a Vulcan said in unison on Earth in 7. very similar to a . I know. "I disagree with recalling the runabout." Picard shot a look at him." Picard asked." 'Even though a twenty-fourth century runabout may be nearly as well equipped as my Enterprise in this battle. Everyone had their phasers drawn. didn't you say the assembly consisted of 112 members?" "Yes. "The Vedek Assembly complex is due north.

child?" 'May the Prophets help me. facing a charred painting of one of the Tears of the Prophets. all business." "Of course. It pained Kira to see it like this. a painful groan emerged from the indicated doorway. She will do her job to restore Bajor. Dax. Vedek Bareil?" A shadow of confusion crossed the man's face.gray wolf. She was nearly tempted to get down on her hands and knees and begin to clean the place up. Kira trudged through it." Data said. there was more important things to accomplish. unwilling to interfere with his prayers. Kira's heart fell further. Just then. Kira swallowed." Dax replied. a freedom fighter." Spock replied. came into view." Picard moved toward it when it suddenly barked and turned back the way it came." "If she incurs such loyalty in one who has lived as long and seen as much as you have. if possible. "Humans began domesticating animals. including canines. a word please. "Vedek . A man knelt on the floor. "Let's go. the Federation. Number One touched Dax's arm.. Then. "Life forms are emanating from the building beyond. I am . turning its head toward the group and then started walking quickly away from them. but have no doubts. Kira's heart clenched and she ran into the room. "Seems friendly enough." Number One pointed toward the building. His voice was weak and cracked." She moved forward accompanied by the security officers and Spock. too. Rubble was strewn everywhere. Q started to complain.. "Too bad they never learned how to domesticate on the Klingon Homeworld. "Life forms?" "The next room.' she thought. tail wagging As it approached the party it lowered its head. and the universe. Do you think she can handle herself if events continue to take a bad turn?" "Commander. Stained glass windows were smashed.. "Do I know you. Granted she is devoutly religious and therefore has strong ties to the Vedek Assembly and what they stand for." "At this time in history. But. "My name is Kira Nerys. head down." "Major Kira obviously has close personal feelings toward this place." Picard said and followed after the animal. I will trust her. but shut up when Worf growled at him. He mumbled to himself. "Come on." The once-beautiful Vedek Gardens were overgrown with weeds. with the others close behind. Kira walked up next to him. "Kira Nerys has been fighting for her life and the lives of her fellow Bajorans since she was 12 years old. the man looked up at her. face steeled ahead.. These people are my ." Spock said pointing to the monastery beyond the growth. "Lieutenant. "Shall we go?" The monastery was in shambles.

black "Run. Then. I am sworn to protect the Monastery. Picard smirked. HOW INTERESTING. PUNY ONE. ignoring the crying and snarling. "Thank goodness you had the animals to help. lifting the broken trunk off the frightened primitive. elderly humanoid in flowing. They were greeted by hideous laughter. "Ever look at Worf?. gray-haired. looking back a few times with fear and horror in her eyes." Q said to no one in particular. "Too late. trapped beneath a fallen tree. "Yes. "What could have frightened her so much?. black robes. once freed struggled to her feet and started limping away as quickly as possible. How soon we forget?" Q turned suddenly. please. "No. elderly humanoid in flowing.. The dog followed. gray-haired. THE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE GOES UP. They were greeted by a bearded. "Or maybe not. Kirk and Spock stepped forward. The Captain's mouth went dry." Riker said. of course. child." "Major. All of you. Kira. Fear touched his eyes. "Who did this?" Suddenly her communicator beeped. "You are coming with us. "You really couldn't communicate too well at this point in history. The animal went to her. His black eyes were wild with mania. terror in her eyes. Spock and Number One ran to the security officers' location. Dax. The others heard his hideous laughter. she caught glimpse of the six strangers and snarled." Kira reached down and took Bareil by the arm. who meant so much to her religiously and otherwise looked up at her hauntingly." Static and silence. Q's voice shook." The Vedek struggled against her grasp. Save yourselves before he returns." Bareil cried." Riker said... "Kira here. a look crossed his face like none Picard had seen before. His black eyes were wild with mania. Kira. licking her hand." The voice was deafening." The man who she respected. "We must get that tree off her. Kirk took two steps closer to ." CHAPTER NINE "YOU KNOW ME.. I think you and the others better get out. this is Lieutenant Long." Confusion crossed the Major's face. "Ayelborne. Hurry." The dog lead the team to a young woman. She stirred and reached weakly for the dog's snout." The women. "Who are you?" The others turned to see a bearded." Q asked. Riker nodded. Data and Spock were there immediately.

"Who is Ayelborne?." Kirk replied. "We need to dispatch assistance." Picard said. Kirk nodded to Spock.the entity. "Headed back to the station. Spock." "Agreed. Fascinating. "Ayelborne is not humanoid at all." Picard said. "Guardian of Forever." "There is the matter of the Cardassians returning to attack Deep Space Nine and the other Enterprises. what have you done?" "EVERYTHING I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO." Q said." "Imagine the audacity. Darkness. for entertainment.. "Ayelborne. "We'll head there. "We've got to reverse course and save the Vedek Assembly from that madman. "What is our course?. "As in The Organian Peace Treaty?" "Correct. imagine anyone as horrible as that. we seem to have a reprieve of some sort." Kirk said. "What happened?" "Unknown. "Something is very wrong.." Spock asked. we must enlist the other members of the council to assist us in containing him." Data regained his composure first. "Damn." Suddenly everything changed. although the two men had no memory of the strange humanoid. the flash. EVERYTHING I COULD NEVER DO UNTIL NOW.. "YOU SURPRISED ME. "So did I. and Kirk and the others stood before the Guardian. Everyone was aboard including the security team. I thought. The Organians are extremely powerful noncorporal entities. "I suggest returning to Organia." Picard said. "Yeah. "Nothing has changed." Spock said." Kirk muttered. 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. obviously." Number One and Dax said in unison." Data stepped forward. Moments later he looked gravely at the others." "Sworn to the ethics of non-violence." "Well. "Five Cardassian Warships have entered the system. KIRK. "He is the leader of the Council of Elders on the Planet Organia.." Spock said suddenly." Riker asked. The images reached the Neolithic age. THAT GRANTS YOU AND THE OTHERS A REPRIEVE. JAMES T." "Organia?. "Immobilizing the continuum . Kira and crew were aboard the Rio Grande in deep space. USE IT WISELY. "If the mission to Organia is not . who spoke up." Riker rolled his eyes." Worf asked." "Incoming signal from Deep Space Nine. Dax studied her instruments." Kira jumped out of her seat." The entity smiled widely. "If Ayelborne has gone mad. Captain Picard." Kirk answered." Picard said.

such as it is. it will be only a matter of time before the Cardassians overwhelm us." Spock looked at him." "Switch ships. However. "Indeed. the Cardassian ships are from an advanced time. back aboard the Enterprise." Kirk nodded. Chekov and Scott." Data replied. But I canna approve of this La Forge poking around m' engine room." Scott nodded. Kirk looked around the table. I know you will. he will try to stop us from gaining their assistance. If his fellows are a threat to him. Any comments?" McCoy snorted. However." Scott frowned. "So. We need to take care of Organia personally. You'll be staying aboard to insure she's treated right. Meanwhile. It is paramount . "It's just as well. We need to give the Enterprise a fighting chance against them. the more powerful starship should head to Organia. But one thing is certain. and off they go to fight side by side with Sisko and clowns. too?" "Bones. why not switch doctors." "I don't like sending you off like this.successful. "I know all of us share concerns about the mission." Everyone stood silent for a moment. "Logical. Kirk and Spock could have a reunion with their superbuddies on the supership. "I don't think so. either. logically. you are the most familiar with sickbay and with the medical records of this crew." James Kirk. just as Beverly Crusher needs to remain with the other Enterprise. "Don't worry. Sir. was in the briefing room with his staff: Spock. Uhura. Sir. but we must put our personal concerns behind us. Captain Picard is more experienced with combating the Cardassians. Spock. But be aware that Jean-Luc Picard and William Riker are extremely experienced Starfleet officers." Kirk shook his head. I've got a vendetta to carry out. "Well. 1701-A. hand it to Jean-Luc." They all turned to Q. I am going to Organia to take on this Ayelborne. "I understand your concerns and I'd be lying if I said I didn't share some of them." The others agreed. Scotty. I expect all of you to follow their commands to the letter. just as you would if I were giving them. isn't it obvious." Spock said. Ayelborne would expect an attempt to travel to Organia. Kirk stood. The Captain looked at his trusted Chief Engineer. You are essential for this ship. "I am appreciative of your concern. I know we've been through a great deal together over the years. "Yeah. McCoy. He knew Scotty would not be keen to the idea of a new commander handling what Kirk knew the Scotsman considered as his ship. people? La Forge could spruce up Kirk's Enterprise. "I dinna know if I can approve.

" La Forge smiled." "Almost." "Ach." Data said. "I'm sure we'll all be okay. "It pains me to say this. "You must ascertain that. Then Uhura stood and stepped toward Kirk. he had run into a few designers in his day and couldn't agree with Scott more." Picard looked over his crew in the observation lounge behind the bridge." Silence fell. You. "Good luck. "Good luck. Captain. "I know all of you are somewhat familiar with the service records of James T." Riker said." Scotty looked at the blind man intensely.that we restore history and this course is the best to accomplish that goal . Captain. Commander. "We cannot be sure if the other members of the Organian High Council have been affected like Ayelborne." Scotty smiled. "All of you." Picard said." "I cannot sanction this course. know that the Enterprise will be in the best hands. Worf. Mr. "Aye. No offense." Troi said. Spock. "We've got good people around us." La Forge looked at the older man. The universe canna be in better hands. Kirk and Spock." La Forge felt a flush of anger but quickly pushed it aside. was used to his style of command. but the ones we just faced showed abilities beyond what I'm used to." James Kirk entered his ready room. The room was nearly . however. Data. "The updated phase inducers will give you a burst of speed when you need it. Picard was about to respond but was cut off by loud snoring from Q in the corner of the room. "Will it be enough?" La Forge shrugged." Crusher uttered." Kirk smiled. It would help the odds against the Cardassians I'm familiar with. "Let's get this over with. I know you are doing your duty in voicing your concerns. "To all of us." Scotty sighed. After all. but it will take more than the machinery." Scotty poured through the spec sheets La Forge gave him an hour ago.. this man had served with Kirk for years.. designers. just as La Forge was used to Jean-Luc Picard. we must carry forth. They never logged a single star hour and they think they know what needs to go into a starship. I'd feel more comfortable if James Kirk wouldna leave the center seat. "The new refitted parts from my Enterprise will give your weapons an added kick and firm up the shields." "Amen." Riker said." "Mr. besides I will be more comfortable knowing my trusted officers and friends will remain onboard to look after my ship. "These EnterpriseClass ships were able to take a lot more than the designers originally intended. Captain. therefore. "It's the best we can do. if it doesn't sheer the ship in half.

" Q said as he marched in and flopped onto the couch. I've got work to do. "Get used to disappointment. Carefree. please signal Captain Kirk. did he ever feel that way? A twinkling chorus of bells filled the air. Ki-" "Save it. Am I clear?" Q's eyes darkened. but now you see that we're fast friends. "I am used to free access here you understand. There was no place for a first officer to recline on this ship. when suddenly Kirk pushed him back down. the captain walked over to Livingston." she said. the one now orbiting Deep Space Nine. Many things about me are large as his quarters on the original ship." Picard responded." "I have a large vocabulary." . who was standing and fidgeting. "Very good. And I will not have you in my way. Picard repressed a grin. "Let's get this straight here and now. Q. Chekov. Captain Kirk. "I didn't know that word was in your vocabulary. James T. please. "Come. report to the bridge. Kirk. now. ship's status?" Picard sat in the center seat. If we're going to work together you should be more cordial. "Mr. "All systems on line." Kirk raised his eyebrows and was about to say something when Spock's voice filled the room." "Now. Henry V. In fact." "Picard used to think the way you do." Kirk walked toward the entity." "Q. Q stay here. Kirk." Q laughed and got up to leave. and you're going to need all of them to take out this Ayelborne fellow. Appropriate in any era. leaving Q to stew. I have managed quite well through the years without the help of entities like you." "On my way. I've found the ones I've encountered to be pains in the neck. you may have charmed Jean-Luc Picard. After a moment." the navigator said. "You are tempting fate." And he was gone. Then." "Cordial. Kirk looked at the book encased on the desk near the entrance. Shakespeare. Kirk recognized the 24th Century door chime. Riker starred at the cavernous bridge of his Enterprise." "Why?" "Because I said so." "Enterprise-D on the screen. Kirk couldn't remember when he felt that way. "We are ready to depart for the station. He glanced at Riker." The door swhoosed open. and immediately noticed how uncomfortable it was. swimming carefree in his aquarium. This somehow annoyed him. Uhura. He felt he could reach every point on the bridge of Enterprise-A if he stretched out far enough. noting with envy how much space and elegance the command center on the screen had. stopped and placed his hands on his hips in annoyance. but on this ship -now my ship -. "Captain Kirk. "Mr.I expect my orders followed.

They are going to be needed there.Picard said. "Mr.' he found himself thinking. "Dax. "Feeling?" Kirk nodded toward the empty starfield." Jean-Luc Picard span his chair around 360 degrees. Sisko's First Officer and Science Officer arrived. So why did Jean-Luc feel so uncomfortable around them. Dax report to Ops immediately." On the massive screen in front of the bridge. Through his readings and studying. relieved. Data. I haven't seen anything like that since the Cardassians occupied Bajor and saw their marksmen shooting our children in cold blood. Captain Picard. Picard came to know these people and their accomplishments from a perspective even they would never understand." "Aye. Chekov." The android tapped his console and the Enterprise-D jumped into action. Their missions. Was it because he suddenly felt as if he was flying into battle with a boatload of children? Ridiculous. "Have Major Kira and Lt. Warp factor 5. And have the others transported to their respective Enterprises. "The possibility exists. "Time?" "Twenty minutes till they bring their weapons to bear. take us to Organia. but my tricorder registered nothing. I think we're dealing with a creature who will do anything it pleases including annihilating whole cultures. These people on this bridge defined Starfleet in their time. Good luck." Odo spoke up." Kirk turned and stepped back toward the command center. Their commander looked up at them intently. CHAPTER TEN "We're as ready as we'll ever be." Sisko shook his head. "Definitely humanoid in appearance. "Captain?" "I just have this feeling..." The Vulcan lifted his left eyebrow. 'I know you better then you know yourselves. engage. sir. Sisko nodded." Sisko nodded. "What was it Major? What was down there?" Kira looked flabbergasted." O'Brien's eyed brightened. "Might I remind everyone that why we're speculating so freely. as Spock walked up to him. "Let's get the hell out of here." The screen filled with stars. but the . your report?" The Trill shrugged. That isn't Q. Sir. "It doesn't match his style." "The Rio Grande?" The Chief Engineer checked his console. Spock. "Docking now. "A Q?" Dax shrugged again.." Moments later. Mr. His eyes were intense. Kirk watched Enterprise-A entered warp space. "Like I'm never going to see her again. He stood for a few moments.. the Cardassians are getting closer. "And we for Organia." O'Brien reported to his commander. "A wildman." "And to you." Sisko's brow ruffled in concern. their exploits were legendary.

"Sensors indicate five Cardassion warships bearing down on the station and the Enterprises. And then its a fight you will never forget. because you've raided the game." "DO NOT PROCEED." Worf replied with a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes. "Up till now it's been so easy." Picard ordered.' he thought. Ayelborne. Picard nodded. "Deep Space Nine rendezvous in six minutes." Kirk stepped forward. to relish in the conquest. no glory. He growled. a battle. no victory.. "Or raise the entertainment factor more." Kirk asked." Kirk slowly stood.. "Worf. leaving Q be. wave a magic wand and wipe away the challenge before it's begun. Kirk's memory swam with images of Apollo and 'Abraham Lincoln. Suddenly. But you have to play more fairly. CAPTAIN. "Sensor report." "Aye. If it's a game you want. Chekov hovered over the rear science console." Riker called. "Keep your eyes peeled. "Thirty minutes. Ayelborne. "Full power to the shields and weapons. "This is Kirk. they had no home. A fair fight and all the rewards are yours. They were about to take the most renowned ship and crew in Starfleet into an impossible battle. almost nose to the viewer. Even if they were victorious." "Red alert. Ayelborne. Sir. Kirk stepped past Q. "Time till Organia." . Championship. "Don't you dare." the Klingon said as he tapped some buttons on his board. Why not finish your cowardly act. venomously thundering at the screen.Captain of the Enterprise couldn't shake the irrationality. McGarity reported from the helm. Ayelborne? Wipe us out of existence. before we enter the arena. "This is personal." Data and Spock replied simultaneously." Kirk said. 'I'm the fish out of water here..' Ayelborne's presentation was similar to theirs many years ago. "Captain Kirk." Then Q spun back toward the screen. No guts. Klingon. but you have to let us get our sword." Q barked. an incoming communication announced itself on Mr. restrain him. "Getting scared. Worf's rear panel. But you have a reprieve. we'll give you one." Q continued." Q bounded out of the ready room as a transparent figure coalesced against the starfield on the main viewer. "It is our opponent." Q bounded toward the screen.. You have no idea what it is. Their weapons are discharging. "Frightened of humans and machines. Kirk.To get the full value." "." Riker intoned. "On screen. Organian? Are we touching nerves?" "Q!!" Kirk grabbed the entity's arm. a challenge. He met Riker's eyes briefly." Lt. too. I promise.

He smiled as the captain straightened. The Organians insisted on a society without violence and war. while the inhabitants don't know anything's wrong..and we didn't want . Into Q's arms. "Affirmative." Q stepped toward the screen as the ship jumped into warp.. In fact. next generation allies or not? "It is simply not there. How can such a difference of personality occur? And if he is such an unstable entity. Now." Kirk glared at Q and then turned toward Spock and Picard's crew. If the Organian's were destroyed.. Worf scowled. Their peace treaty forged the way for what I now know to be an alliance between the Klingons and the Federation..' Kirk thought. buffeting the Enterprise and throwing Kirk back.The visage on the screen hardened and then exploded in a phantasm of lights and sounds. Spock and I have been here before. Sensors indicate we are where we're supposed to be.. "The Q would do it all the time. "Indeed. The screens in front of him looked like a kaleidoscope." "Captain's Personal Log... everywhere. "There is another explanation." Spock concurred. Never-the-less." Kirk turned. "The ultimate battle is about to begin. Stuffed it away. annoyed. ." Data replied. "Recalibrate the sensors. No Stardate. like Earth. Continue on course for Organia. how am I going to restore humanity." Q said. Data.actual or helped along." Kirk ordered as he looked over the android's shoulder. it was Ayelborne of Organia who told Captain Kor and me that such a forging of powers was inevitable.. It's like putting the whole planet inside one of those holodecks." Everyone on the bridge stared at the entity. from his position next to Spock." "Unlikely. are these the correct coordinates?" Captain Spock. Mr. "Explanations. keyed the padd." 'That's a relief. And the only thing we have to loose . It's cut off from the rest of the universe. "A planet's destruction would leave some residual indications. at Science station one at the rear of the bridge. If there was some cosmic event .. He walked toward Kirk." Kirk grimaced. "Come again?" Q laughed. On final approach to Organia. even if it occurred millennia ago." Data said from the conn. "The planet could have been destroyed.. with a starship and crew a generation beyond me. best possible speed. is everything. "The bad guy could have stuffed it. "You humans. "Spock. Sir. There is no such evidence. "To boldly go where all men have died before. Q spun around slowly so he could see everyone as he spoke. my ally. it seems Ayelborne has destroyed humanity." he said to no one in particular. "At least we get a chance to fight.

" "A side effect. "That's not the right answer. "That ought to do it.." Spock said. yes." He ordered. set a course for coordinates: planet center. "Seventy-six percent of normal. or orbit. Q nodded. Kirk turned toward the front again." Kirk put his hands on his sides." Kirk replied. Both Cardassian vessels had substantial damage. "Full impulse power. and crash into the planet. but weakening. or star system." Q said." Kirk spun and faced the entity. They would have no clue there were fireworks going on in their galactic back yard because everything looked normal from the planet's surface. port nacelle. If it's there. and Data working on a way." Riker asked. "Annoying is more like it. Spock." Kirk returned his gaze to the viewscreen. Counselor. "Oh. I want everyone to enjoy the show. but you're not gonna like it. if it's not there. Shields holding." "We'll break into the pocket?" Q laughed. We even practiced on starships at times." Q replied. CHAPTER ELEVEN "Hit." Troi gasped.which I guess it is -.." Spock and Data were about to respond when Q put up his hand. "Not in my condition. "Shield strength?." "Faster. Q?.. "And that is?" "Plow right into the center of the planet. We need to know now." His smile grew very broad on that last remark. Q.. stuffed ." Troi asked. "Fascinating. Garrett had engaged two warships and was taking a beating. and certainly not with this equipment. Picard had no time to confer with the other Enterprise Captains or Sisko before the enemy engaged his ship in battle. we would stuff them for a while until we were finished. "Is there any way to tell if Ayelborne has . They had arrived at Deep Space Nine almost simultaneously to the Cardassian attack force. ". she was dishing it out as well. Mr." Q snipped.primitives to know about it. "Me? Hardly ever. glancing at Q. we'll know pretty quick. "Faster?.. whatever was necessary.. Kirk stared hard for a moment." Picard grimaced. However. immediately." Ckekov reported. "We don't have a lot of time to second guess. He shrugged. The battle ." And Enterprise-D leapt toward it's destiny.I can give you a solution. stepping forward. I want you. "If it's that important -. "How often would you practice this stuffing. If I take the time to set off fireworks. Organia?" Q put his palms up in front of him. "If we don't want to bounce off the pocket." Worf's scowl deepened. One quarter impulse power. Data.

"Fortunately for us." Kirk gripped his seat arms. Sir. Organia. "Mr. I have activated reverse thrusters and impulse engines to slow our decent.. Inform them of our arrival.continued. Commander Uhura." Worf didn't hesitate. As for his Enterprise-A." The Cardassian was coming around. Two warships were engaging the station. The image shook Picard. a fifth Cardassian ship had broken away from the station to engage them on arrival." Spock scanned. "We got him." Kirk smiled. Data. The warship had just taken the first shot. but he was glad to have one at the helm today. for some reason. Picard's jaw dropped when the ship imploded. "Mr." Picard nodded. Pike was keeping within range of DS9. "Still no sign . his experience with androids had not been pleasant." "Aye." Chekov exclaimed. Number One. "The pocket's outer sleeve.." Chekov's fingers flew across his board. "Fifteen seconds. let's give Enterprise-C a hand." Q said." "Time to impact. Sir. Commander Chekov." Kirk called. Sir. With his computer speed. a look of shock on his face as well. raise Captains Pike and Garret and Commander Sisko. Like a classic woman who had been raped. Picard stood and walked toward the conn. Riker grabbed him on the shoulder. Full spread on my mark. Sir. Suddenly the ship buffeted hard. shall we. "Report." Kirk yelled over the noise. prepare to swing us into orbit as soon as we get the first glimmer of Organia's bearings. . as it were. The automatic red alert activated. eyes never leaving the collapsing remnants of the Cardassian. "Orbital heading laid in. Data. Data was their best bet for not impacting on the surface." The buffeting drastically increased. striking the warship. Picard walked backwards to his chair. "Status. "Fire. The original Enterprise had a nasty disrupter scar blazed across her main hull. Streams and balls of energy leapt from the Enterprise's weapon emitters. Adjusting course now." "Outer hull temperature up 39 degrees. we have just entered the outer atmosphere. fists clenched in victory. "Lock all weapons on target. apparently trying to make use of the station's mass and shield formation to enhance his own defenses." "Setting a course. bringing her forward disrupters to bear. "I guess the old folktale about Kirk and his Enterprise are true." La Forge reported from engineering. now thoroughly familiar with EnterpriseD's science stations.

" Number One declared." Q barked as he lunged. "Status. Mr. one was apparently crippled.. Before. Spock. upper stratosphere. You. Commander Uhura." ." Data said. we've got a job to do and very little time to accomplish it.ood . "Very well. Riker leapt to assist. The Vulcan was consulting his computers. chopping into the Cardassian." Now. "Don't make me regret it. little old me?' look and they all entered the turbolift." Kirk shot Q a dagger-like glance.." The crackle from the ship-to-ship pierced Enterprise-A's bridge.. Kirk stared at the old man." Uhura smiled and turned to her station.. Crusher and Counselor Troi. just as Kirk remembered.." "Can we get any higher?" "Not without risking entering the pocket." "Spock." Data said." Picard asked. contact Dr. Worf. "Lock phasers on the active Cardassian." Chekov responded. Mon new capitan. it seemed. "Our course is leveling." Spock said. Chekov's hands flew. "We are in atmospheric orbit. do you have the coordinates to the Organian Council Rooms. Tell her she's got pleasant company now." Q shot Kirk a 'What.. you have the conn." Kirk turned to his first officer. "Good choice." "Aye. The shaking lessened. "Cardassian in range. Q sidled up to Kirk. signal Captain Garrett. The Castle rose from the mist. "On my way. The lieutenant at the burning science station was down." "Confirmed... Again. Riker looked over Chekov's shoulder. "Welcome." Kirk shrugged. The heat of explosion burned the back of Picard's ." "Fire. to Organia. now."Structural integrity field weakening... Spock. main connection struts." "Affirmative. "Phasers locked.fight.. The Cardassian had successfully returned fire. Picard paced the bridge. Data. people wearing robes and sandals walking the dirt street they materialized on. Mr. oblivious to the technology witnessed. and Q with me. to the bridge. "We're ." McCoy replied. The coordinates were the same as years ago. The elderly man approached the party.. beams of death leapt from the starship. Of the two warships engaging her. while the other continued to blast away at the near-crippled Enterprise-C. "Medical emergency. Sir." Picard ordered." "Mr. "You!. Garrett was an excellent tactician. "Shields penetrated. Have them meet us in the transporter room. "We can maintain this orbit for approximately five hours before the strain on the shields and SIF will pose a threat to the ship. Latching integrity system damaged.

Come." "I'm doin' all I c'n for ya'. "Engineering." He swung his arm toward the castle. Besides. "Doctor. "Damn you. "It's a trap!. at least it presented another option." "I disagree." Ayelborne gasped suddenly. this planet is locked in a temporal pocket." Chekov reported as McCoy entered the bridge "It's time to hit back. Priority one. firm up the shields.." Crusher turned to was ever used. explain yourself." The Klingon growled. The Klingon surprisingly stumbled back. "Do not struggle!." Q jabbed Worf in the ribs . I . releasing the entity. although he couldn't remember when -. still no continuum. He tried to stop us too many times.." Q smiled." Q gurgled through Worf's clenched grasp. to the council. now we are standing here defenseless. "Your presence is a surprise. Kirk? he has us right where he wants us. which I won't." Ayelborne stood by. "Organia is locked within one right now. Klingon. "Oh." "No." Picard replied as he stepped toward the main viewer again. really. Troi grabbed Q's wrist." Riker said as he stepped down to give the doctor space to work. "About the 'trap'. "Fire!" Worf had Q by the throat. "Curious. face unwavering. "If you know what's good for you. Isn't it obvious.. Strike him down. "Enough!. hard. Enterprise-A had the ability for saucer separation.." "Serves him right. She's packin' quite a wallop.. "Temporal pocket." And he turned and started walking. But. "Shields firming. "He is Ayelborne." Kirk winced.Picard thought back to his academy days. tend to him. we should adjourn to the council room.." "He was being a brute. "Two of Worf's ribs are cracked." Ayelborne ignored this." "Yes. "I concur. Perhaps. We would know.. "You are way out of your league." Scott responded over the intercom. Q. Crusher turned to tend Worf. "You're making a big mistake." Kirk called out. who clutched his chest. "Circumstances warranted our return. you know of such things?" Kirk stepped forward." Spock finally spoke. As you said." the entity replied." "Impossible." "Indeed. Q? Still no Earth. Q. where'd that leave us. Kirk." Kirk stepped menacingly toward Q. Captain." Ayelborne replied. as Q began. turning to face Kirk and Spock. I must speak with Trefayne. The Cardassian swung back into their crosshairs. I thought we had asked to be left alone at our last encounter." "Assuming I could.if -. "I sense no deception. then. Q grabbed Kirk's arm. Q. Counselor. now.

"We're barely shielding the station." O'Brien called out." Spock raised his voice above the sounds of crashing circuitry and exploding consoles. "I don't know. "Damn. Quark. Images of Jennifer and Jake flooded his mind as he gave the order to fire one of the last of DS9's photon torpedoes. Ensign Johannson was flung to the deck. Mr." Garrett ordered above the din. "Yes." Spock said." She turned to her board. Julian Bashir cried out from across the Promenade. "Number One. 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." "It's not that. with Worf behind him. and placed his hand back on his patient's bleeding chest. Quark glanced at him.. theoretical analysis. she thought. He knew the battle wouldn't last much longer. the Conn panel erupted into flame. "Just keep at it. Number One. I need your help while everyone else is in ops. The young doctor was covered with the blood of the wounded personnel and civilians splayed across the deck." "Charles Dickens. A prolific man. . Number One.. Suddenly.they weren't -." Kirk and the party started following the Organian. she wasn't -. through misting eyes." Jake Sisko said weakly as he lost consciousness. Quark.dead yet. "Just what you would expect. "Apply pressure. "Maintain shield integrity around 1701!" "We can't expend the energy. Castillo turned to her." "Thanks. Spock.. I do not recommend such actions. Christopher Pike assessed the situation and thought about the actions of Enterprise-B." So much for commanding a starship.. "Station Deep Space Nine can no longer protect us. He braced himself for the buffeting.. "Prepare parameters for a space warp drive collision sequence. Benjamin Sisko watched the disrupter blast tear into Christopher Pike's Enterprise." Q said as he followed Kirk." Kira said. Castillo held on for dear life. You will be okay. Microbrain. Stop the bleeding." Pike shrugged. Not much at all. "Just hold on." Sisko muttered under his breath as his peripheral vision registered another blast strike DS9. "Yes. "Isn't this fun. I want all options open. I once read somewhere about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few." Quark looked down. Then chastised herself. Bridge duty was more challenging than he imagined. However. Sir.believe you're wrong. "Can't take a little ribbing.?" CHAPTER TWELVE Quark looked at the blood on his hands. Sir." Dr." Pike nodded. "Maintain your post.

I did not think humans were so long-lived." Ayelborne said. "Indeed. my friend. But we have more pressing matters. Castillo!" The starship let loose." Trefayne moaned and slumped over." he said." Castillo reported." Cochrane's message registered in the Captain's mind as she concentrated on the flickering viewscreen. can you sense anything?" Troi shrugged. Sitting behind the table were a group of ancient men. Most distressing. "Others once made the mistake you are making now. I can't leave with all the casualties. "It seems you were correct all those years ago. "What?!. yet the visitor looks so young." "The evidence indicates he is correct. Doctor."Engineering." Worf nodded. "It has been 90 cycles. There they were . Q laughed. with their corny smiles. Q. Cochrane to the bridge. Phasers. on your order. his youthfulness tells us something is very wrong." "Emergency full. "A pocket." Q said. my friend. Med-kit in hand." Kirk nodded. impossible. Captain. "Give it up." Ayelborne spoke: "You. are going to help us?" Kirk stepped past him. Ayelborne took his place seated at the center. The ancient doors mysteriously swung open to reveal the chamber of the Organian Council of Elders. emergency bypass: Conn control to aft bridge stations. Trefayne stirred and sat up. but I sense power beyond anything I've ever encountered. reminding Kirk of a Vulcan mind meld.point-blank. Medical: Dr... "What can you sense?" The older-looking man concentrated.." Trefayne . facing Kirk and the away team. let alone entities." Trefayne looked puzzled.. Crusher jogged around the table. "I know this sounds a bit cliché. Captain Kirk indicates Organia is enveloped in a temporal pocket." Kirk shot him a glance. Kirk." "Ohhhh... Indeed. And exploded. "Incredible. Dr. "The universe seems correct. How are we mistaken?" Ayelborne reached and touched the man's arm. Q took a step forward.. Hold on people. "What! These . "Deanna. Ayelborne put his hand on Trefayne's temple. The Cardassian took the full force of the third generation's phasers. ignoring the unmoving body of Johannson.Engulfing Enterprise -C in a plasma explosion." Ayelborne prompted. Your inept ministrations can barely help humans. Crusher touched Troi's shoulder. and a Klingon working together. Captain. sheepish old men. all with far away looks on their faces." Another council member spoke. then I peered beyond and saw nothing is as it should be. "I'm sending a nurse up. "Not to worry. My people's history tells us they are not to be underestimated. "Fire. "Please explain. Trefayne. -..

for lack of a better term. Crusher interrupted. Ayelborne. "Aren't you Ayelborne? To whom are you referring?" "Perhaps an explanation is in order. It was becoming too dangerous." Kirk's brow furrowed. "Ayelborne?" The leader stood up and pointed at Q. A standard mechanical device would be useless. Then Ayelborne will be caught off guard. "The fact the humans have penetrated the pocket has alerted Ayelborne. like ourselves.shook his head sadly." Ayelborne nodded. we were like you." "And this Ayelborne is your violent self?. "Indeed. as we evolved." Troi asked. many cycles ago. 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." Dr. locked it away. just as you are able to repress your own violent tendencies." Q said." "Thank goodness." Spock raised an eyebrow. However a temporal cloak would fool Ayelborne the same way it has fooled us. We can merge with you. You are not human. as we evolved and became more powerful. We must take action. however. My friend." The leader of the Elders nodded. Kirk nodded." Trefayne said." "Locked?." "Q is correct." Trefayne said. altering the dynamics of the universe. Ayelborne stepped around the table. was hesitant." another Elder spoke. I thought about banishing it. thinking we did not leave the pocket. I did. "It is obvious now what you say is true. we were able to separate the violent part of ourselves." Trefayne shook his head. then so can we. Q laughed. However. We will give up our advantage." . "I concluded that extinguishing a part of myself was in itself a violent act. Instead I. "A cloak. After all. "Excuse me. making sure it would be powerless. I am Ayelborne. However. "It is a start." "Surely. So. annoyed that he was not more involved in the decisions occurring around him." "If he can create a pocket. "You penetrated the pocket with the starship." Ayelborne said." Q coughed. "Gentlemen. "You are an energy being. toward Q. but free. inside my self. "You boys have been duped. if we can find a way to cloak the Enterprise. "You have got to be kidding." "You know that will not be enough. "We were able to separate and extinguish the worst part of ourselves. "Where?" "First. how does it feel to join our club?" Spock stepped past him. "If we act too rashly he will know." Kirk asked. Trefayne sighed. Ayelborne and the elders sat up in astonishment. A cloaking device will be useless against someone of such abilities. One time. Tell me. I can see right through them. it would perhaps give us an advantage. So I refused.

" "How much of an advantage?. Q. Every one stepped down immediately except Q who gazed wide-eyed. The entity's eyes were intense and unblinking. Ayelborne nodded.?" Q looked gazes with him.." the android's disembodied voice responded. "And now. The captain glanced up. As the lift began moving upward." Q stepped back.. turning to the Organians.." he said as he entered the lift. Q?" The entity frowned. "We should be able to equalize things by using Q's body." Q's voice echoed. "And we didn't know him before that. because you were weak we are all now paying the price." Kirk scolded. which gives him an advantage."Something went wrong.. marching toward the turbolift. CHAPTER THIRTEEN The away team materialized.. Bev. Kirk turned to Q. "Okay!." Q said. Then we can proceed to the station." Kirk said.." Troi nodded. he has altered the universe into his image. "Frightened. I will someday have my powers back. Then. "Kirk to bridge. "Ayelborne." Q said." "Acknowledged. The sound created streams of memories for Kirk: memories of Gary Mitchell and Apollo -. On my way.entities that started out as peaceable and then grew into very dangerous adversaries. "Aye. Q collapsed into a fetal position . "Please go ahead. The turbolift doors opened." "Data here." Dr." Worf snarled." Worf asked.. The Starfleet officers covered their ears and squinted. I don't know if I can approve of this." Worf began." "However. "Enough. "Now wait one moment. "I thought the Betazoid was the shrink. Bev." Then he spun menacingly toward the EnterpriseD crew. Crusher put her hand on Q's shoulder.. the chamber was filled with bright light and a chilling noise. Worf . "Do what you must . your violent half is only as powerful as one Organian. eyes glazed over. correct. Q lagged slightly behind." "So. face frozen in shock. turning his head slowly to take in his surroundings." Suddenly. "Status?... as if emanating from more than one set of vocal chords.." "I had him marked as a coward since Farpoint." Q said smiling. "I would say terrified . revealing the bridge. "Once a coward. Ayelborne shrugged.." Kirk asked as the team left the transporter room. "As for you.." Crusher said." Q bellowed. "We have 20 minutes before the Structural Integrity Field goes critical. "Apparently my violent half was able to rebuild it's powers after all these millennia. aye Mon Capitan. "It will take a few of your minutes to create the pocket.

The older man whispered in his ear. "Right away. Q took two steps out of the lift and stopped. hopefully. T'Ress rushed to Castillo's aide. Boyce was spraying ointment on the injuries. "That's all of them." "Aye. too." "Incoming message from Captain Picard on 1701-A. Ayelborne will look right past us .." The explosion temporarily blinded the captain." The young man smiled faintly and passed out. "He will be fine. you are one hell of a helmsman. "Hold on. Troi. "Engineering. "Spock. set course for Deep Space Nine. And the stakes are very high. Jean-Luc Picard sat slowly into the command chair. Garrett lowered his head gently to the deck just as the turbolift opened letting the medical team on to the bridge. Sir." Pike nodded. "Hailing frequencies. there was a shape over him. Sir. The Vulcan simply nodded and stepped back toward Science I. Sir." Kirk ordered. Data. risk is our business. Captain." . Captain. Castillo. if you would. I want full warp power on my command. Aye. You'll be fine. Dr. Please start tending to the others. Phil. Chris." Castillo's vision blurred." "Captai---" "Don't try to talk. Kirk. Spock. The automatic viewscreen filters were not a necessity and its power was diverted to the phaser blast just emitted from Enterprise. "Thank you. Dr." LaForge's voice piped in from the lower decks." Kirk shrugged. "Now. "Aye. Spock." Boyce nodded. Christopher Pike glanced at the burn marks on his hands. please. The Captain's vision began to clear.. Suddenly. "I've said it before. "Main screen. checking the unconscious man with a tricorder. Data." On his bridge. Sir?" "As long as it takes. his mind fogged. "For how long. T'Ress is on her way up." Pike smirked. In other words. and Crusher followed Kirk to the command level. "The Enterprise has been enclosed in a temporal pocket similar to Organia. Mr." Uhura sighed. the panel on his chair erupted in flame from the last impact. More exciting than a horse farm. passive scanners only. Commander. And. take us out and give us all she's got. Dr.. Commander. but keep your eyes and ears open." Q said finally." the android said unfazed." The Captain smiled. "Bring the gurney down here. glancing quickly at the bridge of the Starship Enterprise with pride. Mr. Lieutenant. "Good work.went to his station immediately.." the Vulcan said. He clapped a hand on the Captain's shoulders.

"Let's leave the Commander be with his son for now. safe for the moment. returning to her seat. Chief." Picard said. signaling for Commander Sisko. "I'm sure Jake is okay. "I don't know about you. "It's the Captain." Picard said. How could she have done this to him." Garrett sighed deeply. They won't be gone long. Lt." the Bajoran said. we're picking up the pieces here." Pike nodded. Dax and Kira were running through station diagnostics and both concurred with the operations manager." "Decent enough. As Picard's borrowed starship moved into position. "I agree with the Major. Sir. "Nothing. On main screen. "Captain?" She slowly turned away from the viewport and looked at Christopher Pike. Captain Picard." "For now." Kira said.. please. "If there is one constant in any universe. except Major Kira of Deep Space Nine." "I'll take it." A beeping emanated from O'Brien's board. but I'm not in any position to put up much of a fight without some repair time." Kira said." The others agreed and signed off. The air left her throat momentarily. Varrington?" "Captain Picard on all hail. Jeremy Cochrane who had signed aboard Enterprise at Garrett's request." "I'd say we're in pretty good shape.Garrett nodded. "It is most gratifying to see you all. We probably don't have much of a reprieve.' "Captain. "Yes. The Starships Enterprise. Congratulations on beating the odds. too." Picard watched the rear screens on the Enterprise-A bridge as each became one of the Captains of another Enterprise. "On visual." "Acknowledged. Jean-Luc couldn't help thinking that the most challenging part of their 'mission' was still on the horizon. "Any word from sickbay?" Dax asked." Kira looked up at her friends. began limping toward the docking rings of Deep Space Nine. CHAPTER FOURTEEN Rachel Garrett stared at the brutal. Her crew had many casualties including Dr. "Just don't expect any R and R." Garrett nodded." "I think we can all agree to that. burning scars all over his body.." her Comm officer called. "I believe we should all dock at the station and pool our resources. after he entrusted so much to her. "Major Kira are the station's docking rings in decent shape." O'Brien said to no one in particular. . 'Can't think about this now. it is the Cardassians are persistent. considering.

"To me?. Captain. "I can't understand it. Captain. encompassed everything around the station and the Enterprises. isn't it?. even as captain. echoing off every surface." The meeting adjourned almost immediately after it started." Pike commented. "It's the name. That's what she represents to me. My Enterprise." Q yelled... considering where he was. a deafening. "TIME TO DIE!" "Now. Just as loud came three words. As soon as they .. Then. He glanced at the viewscreen in time to see a decloaking wave unlike any he'd seen before.Pike saw the haunted look and recognized it from the mirror. he thought. They mean so much . "Inform Captain Picard we are on our way." They nodded. It's the imagination. "My Enterprise is nearly at the beginning of what I can see will be an elaborate historical tapestry. until they engulfed the Enterprise-D's main bridge.." Garrett said. "Ops. expanding.." Garrett nodded as Miles O'Brien approached them." They both turned and gazed at the scared and pitted visage of the Starship Enterprise-C. which shouldn't be surprising. not the name. That's why Enterprise is special. "Picard to . DS9's sensors activated the red alert. "Unidentified ship decloaking. Beam me aboard. without warning.. Captain Picard requests a Command level meeting in Commander Sisko's office as soon as possible. hideous. not the history. and staggered against a bulkhead. suddenly. I've been in combat.." He smiled. the engineering teams report all ships are progressing as expected.. every ear. but . "Thank you." She shook her head.. Garrett touched Pike's arm." Sisko demanded into the air.. The commanding officers uniformly jumped out of their chairs." "Pike to. O'Brien's concerned voice filled the office. "Captains. "It is hard. report." He shook his head slowly. As the two turned away from the viewport. the human potential. "No. "Not at all. Before the wave entirely dissipated. James Kirk stood in the center of Sisko's screen.. Five energy patterns fled his body.. laughter filled every speaker. "Garrett to. the screen blinked and the main bridge of the arriving vessel appeared." Garrett said as O'Brien left.. That's what kept me aboard her. Enterprise. I've been on other ships." Three transporter hums filled Sisko's office as the Commander crossed the threshold into Ops.. .

it seemed like eons since he heard anything. "You know. Then everything went black.Bones?" McCoy stood up.." Kirk sat up completely and swung his legs over the side of the bed. brow furrowed with concern. Sir." Kirk said." "Bones. they were gone." Ayelborne said. trying to be heard above the din.. away from his friend." The serenity of unconsciousness shattered around the Captain. Oh. "Report." Data said. CHAPTER FIFTEEN "Jim. Q shook his head. Ayelborne. since we will need him for our endeavor." Spock replied." Kirk said weakly. "Readings are off the scale." Spock stepped into his Captain's view. thank goodness. Believe it or not. Kirk struggled to identify the voice. well.. "Unknown." Picard said. Dizziness and nausea replaced the peace. Bashir for keeping a well-stocked infirmary on Deep Space Nine.appeared. You're not ready to be going after bad guys quite yet. "That is agreeable. "He'll be alright. ". "The Organian council members caught our opponent by surprise when they suddenly separated from Q. Be careful. "The surrounding space is charged with an energy I have never encountered." "Scotty. "I am still unclear as to what this endeavor will accomplish. trying to push himself onto his elbows." Jean-Luc Picard said. LaForge says she will be fully operational within hours. The ship was moderately damaged and you were knocked unconscious. They smiled at Kirk. Kirk nodded back. You can take a few minutes to recuperate. the ensuing conflict was engaged just beyond Enterprise-D's shield perimeter. However... then looked at Picard. "The 'evil' Ayelborne is contained for the moment. He stood over Kirk. 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. "And the ship is under repair.. Consoles began to explode from the quaking. Sometimes you can be so daft. The shaking increased dramatically with each passing second. Uhura. And the ship began to shake itself apart. . and Chekov.. "Now. Jim. He now could see everyone in the room. "Will the shields hold?" Kirk asked. "Casualties?" "Surprisingly minimal. Jean-Luc." He mentally thanked Dr. standing toward the back of the infirmary were Scotty." Kirk yelled as he was flung to the deck." Data answered. Ayelborne and I agree that you will be required as well." "Recuperate from what?" Picard stepped forward." "Bad guys.

"Explain. "How could he possibly escape without any powers. We will be using our inherent energies to strengthen it. "Ayelborne is not easily duped for long. "I'll field this one. therefore the pocket must be powerful enough to hold him for all time. "Which will be tougher than he thinks. he will be able to turn those energies back and break free." the engineer replied stepping forward." "Very well." Ayelborne nodded. If Ayelborne senses our endeavor." Pike stood. "I was about to say the same thing to you. Captain." Picard looked at his nemesis. "And a good crew." Kirk nodded and slowly stood up." Kirk and Picard." Pike looked confused. my friend." The four captains. "Lead the way. "In case anyone's forgotten." Q grimaced. "And where do we come in?" Ayelborne looked gravely at the Captain. To keep Ayelborne occupied why you strengthen his prison." "Aye. "Please assist Commander LaForge. "We will transport you into the pocket and then begin reinforcing it. arm over arm." Picard nodded. we've put a kibosh on his powers. "Where is the other Ayelborne?." Q smiled." Ayelborne laced his fingers in front of his chest and took a deep breath. "She's a fine ship. "Indeed."Sair." Q nodded." Ayelborne nodded. looked at the entity. "Well. "Well." Ayelborne said." Picard replied." Kirk said. Q opened and closed his mouth in shock. "Perhaps you should explain it to the Captain.. "Why only Kirk and Picard?" Q. "And then we'll be back to square one. Sisko." Kirk asked. Ayelborne. Trefayne nodded. It's good to have you back. "He will do what he can to break free. we've still got a lot of work to do. please. Sair." Kirk smiled.." Kirk stood up. in a justifiable twist of fate. it's about time. "I see." Sisko. He will realize he is in a pocket and escape. Picard grabbed his arm to steady him." "That is correct. "My other self is trapped." "Can we stop the mutual admiration society. "Which is why you need Picard and me. "Remember his powers will slowly return. and Q sat in DS9's observation lounge. Trefayne. "Q speaks the truth but only temporarily. in a pocket similar to the one around Organia. unless the pocket is fortified. temporarily to be sure." Kirk nodded." Trefayne spoke up. Because the Organians are . But as soon as he realizes its a pocket." Kirk hesitated for a moment. That we must do. His powers will gradually return in the pocket and instantly return if he leaves.

" Picard called." "Of course. we were on our way to be decommissioned before Ayelborne and Q interfered. "Captain Pike." "Good. from all sources.1. Chief?" "It will require the coordinated efforts of the Enterprises' engineering staffs. "Yes. In the event that the mission about to be undertaken by Captain James T.beam .familiar with Kirk's abilities and I volunteered Jean-Luc. O'Brien looked at the floor.. 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 . "This is going to be very tight. Yes. "As soon as possible. and stepped toward the console of Enterprise-D's transporter room. it is declared on this date. "Moments before we finish with the pocket... Commander Benjamin Sisko. Commander William . but I think its possible. "Thank you." Picard. the Captains will need to be transported out. Captain Kirk. We will be too occupied to do so. Fifteen minutes. 'All that I am. 'My god. "Let's do do you say . 'Is there nothing more?' The question Spock posed from the refurbished 1701's sickbay. Kirk and Captain Jean-Luc Picard fails. as elder statesman of our group will you please make the declaration. "When do we leave?" Ayelborne." Pike stood.' Suddenly another thought. Kirk stared at the visage out the large viewports. You'll have plenty to do." The Captains and first officers of the Enterprises. "As soon as I can put this back together. Sorry you get to miss the fun. standing up from the splayed system components laid out across the deck." Garrett. "We don't have much time." Kirk said. 'My whole life. breaking through Kirk's revelry..Kirk and Picard out of the pocket. New Stardate 44001. "It will require a very delicate balance of timing and energy for the transport to be successful." Ayelborne. "There will only be enough energy for two transporter signals?" Q.' he thought." Ayelborne. And if we succeed in restoring history? Where does that leave me?' "Captain..' Kirk thought. The Starships Enterprise and Enterprise-A were clearly visible. "How long until we can leave?. To do what the Organians request will require nearly every once of power we can generate by all our systems combined." Miles O'Brien wiped his brow. "Can you do it." Kirk asked. Pike. the wonderings of V'ger as it strove to identify itself." Picard said. 'Is there nothing more?. Sirs. along with Sisko and Kira stood in the observation lounge behind Enterprise-D's bridge. that Captain Rachel Garrett." Kirk. Captain Spock. Don't worry. where all the commanding officers had convened." Sisko nodded..

"We are ready." Spock said." Kirk said. "Agreed. Kirk noticed that his eyes were glazed over." Spock said. Q leaned against a wall. the Captains could be trapped in the pocket with Ayelborne for eternity." Doctor Boyce. "To us all." Kirk replied." Riker said. They each felt their utility belts. The two captains nodded to each other. tricorder. "Battle status. each reply. we may not be able to beam them out of the pocket. "If we respond to the Cardassians. "Then by unanimous vote of command level personnel." Pike nodded." Number One looked up from her console. Phaser. "But a sense of purpose and identity. "Red Alert!" CHAPTER SIXTEEN "They came upon us quickly." Picard countered. Picard's was of course built into his insignia pin. Each name called by Captain Spock. Picard glanced at Kirk. Picard . and Kirk had his communicator. If we divert power for battle. All around him was a barren field. as were the four other Organians who stood together in the empty promenade of Deep Space Nine. either they're dead men or we're sitting ducks. "Go ahead. It will be our first priority to ask Bajor and Organia to join the UFP. Sisko's voice carried over the station's speakers. standing to the left of Pike." Kirk's senses exploded and everything he knew was gone. "We must put the Declaration to official vote. I hearby officially establish the United Federation of Planets in our present timeline. The Starships Enterprise will be the foundation of the new Starfleet. Pike stared hard at the Cardassian Warship approaching the station." Kirk lifted himself off the ground spitting out a mouthful of dirt. Chris. put his hand on his captain's shoulder. with Deep Space Nine to be recommisioned Starbase One. Then Kirk turned to Ayelborne. Moments later." Ayelborne said. 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.Riker and I will adopt the Constitution to our present timeline and thereby reestablish the United Federation of Planets. Kirk at Picard." Garrett said." "A tall order. "All systems are committed to the transporter sequence for Kirk and Picard." "The same is true for all the Enterprises and the station." "Good luck. Pike stared hard at the viewscreen. "Then. Captains. but even he seemed transfixed by the Organians' actions. reporting to his Captain on the bridge of Enterprise.

which was a very odd color of off-blue." the elder Spock said as he stared at the commanding officers on the screens of 1701-A's bridge. "There are independent systems. "They are our best bet. "Yes." Kirk took out his tricorder. "Fine." Ayelborne responded." Sisko said. Trefayne's eyes opened slightly. "Shall we?" The two of them headed off into the hills... "Besides. It must be our man." Garrett said. In any case." The height of the hills was an optical illusion." Riker said." He pulled out his phaser." "Concentration." Picard asked. "Very slight. "I'll be right over." "Not the shuttles. "What?. the Organians recreated the nearest planet so as not to alert Ayelborne prematurely. "Life signs?" Jean-Luc pointed toward some hills in the distance." Garrett responded. they realized how slight they were. Or a reasonable facsimile." Pike said." The launch bays of Deep Space Nine were prepped in record time. we are responsible for defending the new Federation. Ayelborne leaped from his hiding space and tackled Picard. "You heard the declaration." Pike said before cutting the connections." Pike said. But they were high enough to hide a man.stood near surveying the surroundings with his tricorder. "There is one alternative. "Of course. "Over there. "The Runabouts." Spock said. And as they launched. and the Yangtzee Kiang under command of Pike with Kira. "Are you alright. "But they can't withstand a battleship. "Or part of the planet." Garrett replied. just a little dazed." Picard nodded. But there's nothing else registering. On the promenade." Data said from behind Riker. The Ganges under command of Sisko with Dax.. the Cardassian started firing viciously. the Rio Grande under command of Garrett with Data.." "The shuttles. eyes squeezed shut. "Concentration. Where are we?" "We appear to be on Bajor. Captain?." "As will I. "What do you want of me!" ." Sisko asked. "We need to launch the shuttles now." Kirk scanned." "Weapons range in three minutes." Kirk looked up at the sky. As the captains got closer. "We don't have any time. launched three minutes after the communiqué on the respective bridges ended. "We're the Captains. my friend. "This is getting harder. we are within the temporal pocket.

" Sisko nodded and opened a channel to the other runabouts. "What have you got in mind. repeating his original question. "I am peaceful here. why do you invade my home?" "You destroy my entire race. Ayelborne!" The man gasped. "It's a ruse. On the bridge of Enterprise-A. aiming it at Ayelborne. I was afraid you would harm me. you don't know --" Tears began to flow down the man's cheeks. Picard stared at Ayelborne.. "All I know is you came near my home uninvited." The Rio Grande and Yangtzee Kiang sent signals of concurment... The entity fell to the ground sobbing heavily. old man." Kirk grimaced. as the runabouts began their formation around the Cardassian. unable to speak. "It is possible that his battle with the Organians has affected his memory?" Kirk nodded." Ayelborne was crying now. standing to between Spock and Uhura.' She suddenly smiled and turned to the center seat. And she felt helpless. you familiarized yourself with their databanks on Cardassian technology?" Spock turned to her and raised an eyebrow. Pattern Jen 1 now. "That's as far as you go. and hated it. but still holding the entity around the neck. "Agreed. Spock." Kirk whispered to Picard. . Kirk stepped over and retrieved his phaser. but Ayelborne was surprisingly quick." McCoy. "And you wonder why I traipsed across a field. kicking the weapon from the Captain's grasp. 'If only we had a prefix code. Kirk loosened his grasp. as Sisko and Dax were the most familiar with runabouts. "Mr. would it be fair to say that during your tenure on Enterprise-D." Kirk glared at Picard. and they began their moves. "Someday. Hope we get the chance to petition for it." "Perhaps. "I--I don't know what you're talking about--" Picard grabbed Kirk's arm. Scotty was busy running between engineering and the main transporter rooms finalizing the power links for the Captains' beamout." Sisko said." The Ganges took the lead. "A moment. "What do you mean. Captain. turned toward her." Kirk spit. but if he honestly has no memory of what he's done--" "We still watch him carefully and wait for beam out. "So you attacked us. Commander?" Uhura stood and leaned with her hands against the upper level guardrail. Then. Sorry it doesn't wash. "Opinion?. Good strategy. and then loosened his grip." Ayelborne gasped.Kirk crouched phaser ready.. "If I got you a line into their computers. Kirk grabbed the man's shoulders pulling him off Picard. we might want to think about a larger ship to guard the station. "Everyone. spinning him into a head-lock. "Indeed. Picard shrugged. Uhura stared at the main viewer. pal.

"There are other power sources than just what the ship can provide." Spock shook his head. including communications." Garrett said.The power cells from communicators and tricorders could be networked together. "Chris!. Data was unlike anything she had seen before. Commander. This makes sense." McCoy and Chekov nodded and bounded for the turbolift. have been diverting for the beamout. She glanced at her co-pilot." Rachel Garrett shouted suddenly from her viewpoint at the helm of the Rio Grande. Chekov. "We utilized phaser energy as a fuel substitute for the old-style shuttlecraft." "Engage. "Wait! Wait right there! Spock!" He called after his Vulcan friend who started down the New York City street moments before..." Uhura bounced on her heels." she said. "I am curious as to your exclamation... Doctor. Spock and I can give the Cardassians a very large headache. "Ahhh.. Captain. Phaser energy. turning back briefly." Uhura's smile grew wider.Spock. like Murasaki all those years ago.. since there are so few left." Uhura finished.. "Commander. "Highly logical. "Leonard McCoy?" "Yes. Correct?" "Perhaps. It is as if you have a deep attachment to Captain Christopher Pike." Kirk turned and started across the street. But I must remind you that all our systems. "Spock!" . Spock." "McCoy!!" Kirk grabbed her shoulders. It cannot be adapted for a communications panel." ". startled by his emotion.." "I see. and the Cardassian warship seemed to leap toward them." Garrett looked icily for a moment. However. wait. CHAPTER SEVENTEEN "You know.. embarrassed by the flair of emotion. "Twenty plus years is rubbing off. "He's in the mission. Brilliant. "It is time for our attack run. the first sentient android in Starfleet. "You deduced that from one exclamation? I am just concerned for any human's life. I assume you could wreck some havok with their systems. was staring at her. Doctor." Data concluded as he resumed his Ops duty. Uhura. The disrupter blast caused the Yangtzee Kiang's shields to explode in sparkles of deadly energy. Garrett choked back on her words." she said. If you could grab as many tricorders and communicators as possible. She sighed as the attacked runabouts shields finally dissipated the blast.." McCoy turned to Spock. Doctor McCoy said the same thing.

" Picard nodded and left in a sprint. Linked tricorders and communicators snaked along the floor of the bridge away from Uhura's station. On the ground was the broken body of .4 percent chance of success. Their computer system may also be different.?" "Jim. He buried his face in his friend's shoulder. If any one can. Her head was buried beneath her console. A screech of tire." Kirk looked past Carol. "What is it?" "McCoy! He's in the mission. grabbing him. Spock. Chekov stood over her. Jim. "How's it going?. suddenly.. "Some sort of mind game." Kirk nodded. a ghostly gasp. "For even though I analyzed the databanks. "Think it will work?. I'm not amused. his head swimming." he asked." Kirk put his hand on his head. Kirk awoke with a start. McCoy's eyes widened." "You can do it. You passed out. I'll be right there.? "He knows." He reached for his phaser. way. looking up momentarily. his comrades screaming something. Kirk turned.. Standing over him was Jean-Luc Picard... "Do you know what you just did?" Kirk blinked." Kirk said delighted. What?? He turned to the crowd gathering in the street. "You recover... "Edith!" His voice. An unexpected voice. David. Kirk didn't hear." "Curious. something behind him. shocked." said the anguished voice. Kirk looked up at the person he was holding: Carol Marcus. Picard grabbed him before he fell. "I estimate a 57. What.?" "Ayelborne took off over the hill." the Doctor asked." her muffled voice answered. He turned back to Carol. McCoy tried to push past.. the skies grew into a darker red. his dead son. His son. Then. grabbed McCoy in a seeming bear hug.. "Wha. sometimes I miss your ." "What?" "As illogical as it seems. Doctor. his name. Ayelborne attacked. a final scream.. in a lapse of control. Knocked me down. and grabbed you." Picard pointed past the hills before them. And saw Ayelborne smiling. the Cardassians of this timeline have displayed altered abilities.." ..The Vulcan seemed to appear from nowhere." As if on cue. He knows. Kirk turned. barbs. McCoy standing near him. "Jim!" "Bones. do you know what you just did?.. "A few moments more. "Which. Spock was busy at his station. "I could of saved him. Above. on the ground next to him.. I'll go after him.. as Spock. Doctor McCoy stepped out from the doors in front of Kirk. Kirk tried to calm the 'Red Alert' blaring in his head." Spock said.. "Be careful. but couldn't get his bearing. and tried to stand. delighted.

she was handed over to Pike. He is but a child. our job here is not completed. It is of no consequence. it would be the battle of the universe." Christopher Pike frowned. then there may never have been an Enterprise -A. having successfully completed a shake-down tour under Robert April.' Trefayne projected acknowledgment and returned to their duty at hand. The helm controls were damaged by that blast. It was true.) that the Organians had nonagressive tendencies. 'Of course. was the most advanced starship in the young fleet.. of the Federation. "I'm having trouble holding the ship on course. I only scratched the surface. I'm starting to lose intellect. or part of an Organian.('another human concept?. "Now stop wasting time and get back to work." . Major. If one Organian. or what was still to come. Captain?" He nodded. no. 'Old men.' the words flashed in his mind. He glanced briefly at the sensor display of the four remaining Starships Enterprise docked at Deep Space Nine. 'Do you hear the Q's thoughts?. If it were a fair fight. even though their humanoid dopplegangers remained visible on the Federation Station. and seeking out new life. He knew the ship wasn't going to make it. 'My legacy. that was because of surprise. C. 'How foolish a thought. but didn't hesitate.' Trefayne projected to him. and his starship hadn't been the intrepid explorers. Q stared at the old men."That's only human. Enterprise..S. Captain. exploring new worlds. But they couldn't wait much longer. Correct. Kira Nerys struggled at the controls of the damaged Yangtzee Kiang. They had kept their presence hidden from the Continuum." McCoy beamed. "One last blow against tyranny." She swallowed. 'I do. The U. B. daydreaming. Q thanked --God?-. "Prepare to engage the warp engines. "You served in the Bajoran Underground against the Cardassian occupation of your planet. But if he. could pop the continuum like Ayelborne had. She grew taller in her chair. Formidable indeed. deserved at this moment. Pike knew.' Ayelborne and his compatriots were on another plane. Remain focused." She shook her head and turned to look him in the eyes. The other runabouts were drawing the Cardassians' fire away from them. gathered in DS9's Promenade. He was supposed to be the man who would go beyond human ken. his crew. in his day Starfleet was an upstart association. It was a legacy he must protect at all costs. daring to think they could go where no man had gone before.' he thought. I must get out of this human guise soon. A menacing smile came to Q's lips. or D .' he winced. these Organians.S." Spock did. his Enterprise.' Of course. they were not old men. "Bringing the mains on line. that would never happen. bringing herself to the attention she knew all of Bajor.

almost begging someone to cross the threshold. she smiled. Utter silence. as he reached for the tear----." "As am I. We're ready for the beam out anytime. It's large wood front door was open wide. one of the 'hourglasses' from the beings living inside the newly discovered wormhole. In front of him was a typical layout for a place of worship. opened. with the amber sheen over everything. in the Organian's temporal pocket? Picard climbed the steps of the alter and stepped toward the tear in its transparent casing." "There is a fluctuation in their shields. The room was very dark. Moments later. call me Scotty. The Captain stepped carefully and methodically. Picard made out the glow: a Tear of the Prophet. Sisko -. at least for an individual exposed to the tear. Except. It became harder to see. The power link is completed and acknowledged on all ships and the station. ." Spock's left eyebrow rose slightly. Mr.Just as Ayelborne. " Dax reported on the Ganges. The item's warmth calmed him. "Ayyyy. Although the extent of their abilities were unknown. No indication of Ayelborne." he said with pride. There." The Commander played her console like a master pianist. can I count on ya?" There was a smile in the voice that came back over the comm system. LaForge. Work your magic. He signaled his counterpart on Enterprise-D. Montgomery Scott tensed slightly as he made the final adjustment. tackled Picard to the ground. Spock. something glowed from the alter. " And laddie. apparently sensing the presence of a body.' as he became known not long after excepting his position at DS9 -. He swallowed. looking at each row of pews before moving on.the 'Emissary. Rows of pews before a raised alter. He turned back momentarily. The Captain pulled his phaser from his belt and walked toward the entrance. the transparent casing. Sir. Why was one here.Jean-Luc Picard reached the other side of the hill and saw the Chapel of the Vedek Monastery. Moving closer to the alter.had reported in depth about their abilities to manipulate time. the tears were very powerful. leaping from somewhere above the alter. no sign of Kirk. Picard felt compelled. Mr. You may begin. Commander Uhura. CHAPTER EIGHTEEN "Ready. He glanced up to the ever-reddening sky. almost hypnotized. Picard crossed the threshold and listened. "Yes. as he began to weave a web around the Cardassians' data streams. Picard hoped his counterpart had recovered. "Mr." Scott smiled broadly. "We're in. Scott.

FEEL YOUR LAST PAIN. Now! Now!" He looked up to activate the station's comm system. dazing him. Just enough Old Man. oh." Dax reached for the comm board. Picard rose to his knees." Dax nodded. Tell them to commence with round robin fire patterns. "Now. Kirk dodged immense shards of wood . ahh. EXCELLENT. Major?" "Their shield degradation is strongest along the upper pylon struts. On the Promenade. Picard's head struck the hard wood surface.. Data analyzed his readings." Garrett punched the comm.. "I see it." The Yangtzee Kiang went to warp speed. Ayelborne opened his eyes and turned to Q.. The sky was falling. Ayelborne looked up. to see James Kirk pointing a phaser at the entity's chest. A UNIQUE FEELING. Don't do this --. when she noticed the readings coming from the Yangtzee Kiang. "Are you sure you're ready for this." Ayelborne stepped forward. I can only surmise their course of act---" "Chris. "All I care about for now is that its there.. PICARD. "Engage." She heard a signal overlapping from the Ganges..We need you." Sisko said from beside her." He swung his arm back with lightning speed. "Attention. "I need you. but stumbled. the Captain could only surmise that the being's powers were returning. essentially the same hail." He said with infinite calm. This is Q." Pike closed the comm channels. "TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. No longer meek like outside. "Freeze!" The voice came from the back of the room. startled for a moment.. where the Captain struck. to punch some holes. everyone." she snapped militarily. "They appear to be energizing their warp engines. trying a crouch stance." Q looked puzzled. He reached out and touched her hand. Contact the others. "Chris. "Kira!" Onboard the Rio Grande. "SO RELIGION IS YOUR DEATH KNELL. He tried to get up. and shattered the Tear of the Prophet."Excellent. "PAIN. "Wait." He pulled down on the front of his Starfleet tunic." her voice cracked slightly. Pike nodded." "May the Prophets be with us. "Now. "But where did their sudden power lose come from?" Sisko shrugged his shoulders. "Now?. ONE I CAN LIVE WITHOUT. Ayelborne held his hand to his head. Ayelborne laughed. PICARD.. How could he deal with that? With a back hand punch and a roll Picard shook himself free momentarily from the entity." Ayelborne's voice echoed through his already ringing head.

The communication system worked perfectly as Scotty. or even if he had fallen asleep at all. "NO!!!!" And Picard and Kirk no longer controlled their destinies. O'Brien. "Let's get out of here. but the bunk was too alluring. Kirk decided to use his phaser to blast a path. covering his eyes and face as he moved as best he could toward the disintegrating alter. Jean-Luc Picard rose. Not knowing how much time had passed. in an attempt to grab two patterns from the nearly-sealed pocket. He yawned and rubbed his eyes. It wasn't an overly stressful assignment the Enterprise was carrying out. sharp pains.' Picard thought. Picard heard the familiar whine. He flopped onto it. 'broken ribs." "Energize." "I second that. Captain. but perhaps he was still recovering from the events of Talos IV. and then Ayelborne yelled. albeit quickly. "Emergency systems are shunted to the pattern buffers. Chapel pieces were falling all around him. landing on his side at the first row of pews. James Kirk met him as their eyes locked. All power diverted to the linked transporters. And then Ayelborne's laughter returned. contemplating changing into something more comfortable.and glass." They turned around to begin their trek. still getting to his feet. He tried to get up. And the attempt failed." Miles O'Brien said from his location on DS9. Huge amounts were blocking his path to the other man. And Picard and Kirk once again controlled their destinies. Kyle. "Damn the pain. through the newly cleared path. "Resets in place. and Bailey energized in sinc. the next thing Pike heard was the . Kirk saw Picard struggling toward the back. La Forge." Scotty and LaForge ordered together. and limped. "Jean-Luc!" Picard was blown off the alter stage by Ayelborne's actions. EPILOGUE The doors shwooshed open and Christopher Pike gladly crossed the threshold into his quarters. Captain. a chapel that if Picard couldn't move would become a tomb.' he thought to himself. He tugged at his uniform tunic. the debris piles were growing all around him.

" Pike knew indeed. "I understand it is a delicacy you appreciate." The two comrades and friends drank their drink. Moments later. I'll try not to let you down. Spock raised an eyebrow. "I'm aware of your father's displeasure.." "It has not made my life easy." Kirk replied and left the bridge. 'What about the future?. Welcome Home. The door opened to reveal his young -." They clinked their glasses.pinging of his door chime. she tapped a key on her console. On the screen was the Planet Earth. "Approach control this is Enterprise-A. "Hey. The fact that he strongly opposed his son's entrance into Starfleet wasn't as well known." He offered Spock a glass. Spock. at least that's how it looked to Kirk. automatic approach system." Kirk shrugged and wordlessly followed his two best friends to Spock's quarters. "Enterprise-A is cleared to dock. I didn't allow you to do anything. Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan was a living legend in Federation Diplomacy." Pike nodded. "Perhaps you are aware of the . "Of course." McCoy called out. Kirk almost made a vow to track him down later and punch him in the nose. "I am honored you feel you can come to me." Uhura nodded. "Stand by." "See to it. "I am here to ." Pike raised a glass. Captain.. throwing Pike off guard by the candidness." Pike relieved him of the bottle and found two glasses. Jim. "Indeed." Pike sat up. "Spock has a surprisingly good idea..." The controller replied over the intercom in such a cheery voice. Sir?" Pike thought but a moment.disappointment in some quarters by my actions. The door opened to reveal a . "Saurian Brandy. he was walking toward his quarters where he was suddenly met by Spock and McCoy. Ready for docking maneuver. "What are we toasting. Chekov. but he did bring the brandy." Pike chuckled. How can I help you?" The Vulcan stepped inside and the door closed. "Advise approach control." Pike hesitated. Pike noticed he was holding a bottle of liquor. "Come. You certainly earned this posting. Spock. "I apologize if this is a bad time." Spock admitted. Spock took it.for a Vulcan -science officer. Mr." His words sounded as if they were coming from somewhere else. Join me in a toast?" Spock hesitated a moment.' James Kirk asked himself. he normally didn't imbibe. and the massive orbital Space Dock that was this ship's last port. "I am glad there are still individuals in my life to who I can turn for guidance and acceptance. "Don't be ridiculous. "No. and ever so tentatively. as he sat on the bridge of the battle-weary Enterprise-A. "To the future." Spock said. Captain. Mr. not at all. "Thank me?" "For allowing me to join the crew." he said sleepily. Follow us. thank you.

he had lost one of the most important figures in Federation history.' Rachel Garrett stood up from the center seat of Enterprise-C and stepped down to the command console.. I'm through with starships and hopping galaxies. Kirk was dead. as he had done so many times before." Spock poured the brandy and handed the glasses to his friends. James T." "Actually I thought I'd count the sparkles in Spock's IDIC display over here ." Kirk smiled sardonically.. The Captain silently made a pledge to himself. "To the future. Castillo?" Richard Castillo just began his first watch as helmsman. different ships. "Wonderful. Lieutenant." "Don't thank me. Captain. They were conducting a private memorial service. of Saurian Brandy. he stood at the rear of the ship's chapel. you know. "Spock. 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. Bones. as Enterprise-B limped back to Earth. sitting in that chair on the bridge. on her maiden voyage had encountered a spatial anomaly." "It is somewhat of a tradition of mine to have a toast with my Commanding Officer. "This is it for me.of course I'll join you." She patted him on the shoulder and returned to her chair. This . "How does it feel. it almost tore the ship apart. It was Harriman who should have made the sacrifice.." he said as he raised a glass." Kirk added. "Join us. After they retire her.." Kirk nodded. In the front row stood Captain Montgomery Scott. Kirk had saved the Enterprise. "I cannot think of a more fortuitous occasion. "And it took nearly 25 years for me to learn of this tradition?" Spock nodded. More importantly. But it was true.table setting for three and a bottle . on his first watch as Enterprise Commander..around the block!' Instead Enterprise-B. Thank you. Kirk should be alive and well. as the three friends sat infinitely comfortable in each other's presence. linked together by one legacy. that's it.. You earned this. James T. "And to the missions of the Enterprises' past. Harriman shook his head slightly. Well." McCoy and Spock glanced at each other with knowing looks. They clinked their glasses and drank. and left the room. certainly John felt he didn't deserve to be there. I'm shocked. Captain. Captain Pavel Chekov and Ensign Demora Sulu. I will not hesitate. 'How could this have happened? This was supposed to be a spin around the block! . Captain John Harriman was infinitely uncomfortable. Mr. Harriman bowed his head.. Kirk. Then Kirk sat down. this might be a fine idea after all. I owe you. he still couldn't believe it.

He had been quite reserved. From the Klingon Outpost Nirendra III. 'Maybe I need to talk to the ship's counselor. Mister. Let's get a bite to eat. ever since their duty schedules matched up so they were off-duty together. signal the Klingons. "What is it?. admiring it." Just then." "So you've mentioned . spoke up. Then Troi asked if he wanted company." He stood in welcome as they sat.' She smiled to herself. she was surprised and confused by her new feelings for the Klingon. Worf.. They are under attack. Picard picked up the bottle.' she thought. Deanna was glad to have this time to spend with Worf. Is something bothering you though. help is on the way." Troi nodded. "On the house. "Emergency distress signal. "Distance." "8 hours at present speed. I guess I'm still awed now and again by the scope of the universe. The perfect drink to share with friends. And Enterprise-C warped toward her future. "Well. Worf had been through some emotional hardships lately concerning his late father." Troi and Picard smiled at the barkeep. I don't recall. altered by the warp field effect. "Funny. Captain?" Picard shook his head. "Don't fret. In fact. "Not good enough." She placed a bottle and some glasses down in the center of the table. "Not really Counselor. Lieutenant. Worf nodded as she left. "to find you here. not through some view screen sensor array. They arrived at Ten Forward to find the Captain seated alone. Geordi and Data asked her to look after their friend. Worf. Ensign Terri. Here. it's always a pleasure when my little hole in the wall is graced by such company. nursing a cooling cup of Earl Grey tea. Stars flew by. Ensign Terri. Troi and Worf exchanged glances. it was beautiful." 'Time to live up to the legacy." They walked out of the rec room together. How much is still out there. And away from deck one." Worf said. I was the All-District chess champion at my high school. "Certainly Counselor. she would insure it. "It's nice to see them for real once in a while. Go to warp 8. Garrett shook her head. . As always... Course. "I suppose so.." Picard smiled. Enterprise-C would indeed live up to the name's legacy. an intense beeping emanated from the communications station. Sir. Suddenly. I'm starved." the Klingon asked." And the Captain of the Enterprise began to pour. "It is unusual.was a fine ship and a good crew. Mr. Deanna Troi stood up from the chess match. The young woman manning it." Castillo announced. I was just watching. many times. "Saurian Brandy." She raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. Nirendra III. She didn't need to be asked. Guinan appeared from seemingly nowhere." Garrett stood. "I understand." He pointed at the large picture windows adorning one side of the lounge.

they moved on. you did not kill. that was it.. after all they had to find a way to recover from Q's disruptive visit to the station. "Oh.. Have you found that asteroid belt." "Ready .have to start acting like a grownup. "Excuuuse me. He's on his way over. "I cannot help but feel that this was all my fault. but he had a feeling there was something more to it. for a doughnut. Dad. Keiko." "It was. "All is as it was before.. "The pocket around our world is indeed gone." His son paused for a moment with a droopy look on his face.. yet?" The other smirked and went about his business. but how could he say no to Dax. for now. "it is one I believe you can live with." "Ahh. The dip and chips Dax insisted on had arrived." Q looked up to see the face of his friend. Outside the Organian counsel room. Ayelborne looked at his compatriot.. I'm just a kid." Ayelborne nodded... "I can never fault you for your honesty.. "Out late again last night." "Unlike the rest of us. "Come in. Ayelborne and Trefayne looked up into the night sky. not that he actually had any real --friends -. And then in two flashes of light. "Okay." Sisko was about to say. Trefayne.. not now.' but thought twice.. So is Nog. and Bashir to arrive. But. holding a deck of cards.. Not the continuum. As for Q. If that is a fault. O'Brien. come on. no. Son. . and he had an unmistakable urge ." Trefayne shrugged. I'm ready. 'How can this be? I don't get headaches. Okay. you understand the difference between a straight and a straight flush?" Sisko draped his arm around his son as they left his room." Trefayne said. Ayelborne. a lot more." The other nodded." Sisko shook his head. "Well. he was annoying him at the moment..Ben Sisko wasn't sure about this idea. "So. At least this one came the closest to one he cared anything about. his head was clearing. Poker is a grownups' game. how come when it's time for me to do chores or homework I . Tonight's The Dabo Girl Talent Show in the Holosuites.. If only his mind would clear. and where the hell was I just now? On that decrepit space station?' Yes." Jake bounded in his room.for what?" "For the game." Trefayne said. but when it comes to the fun stuff." he lowed his voice to simulate his dad "." "." came another's voice. He was putting on his fatigues when a knock came to his door. Nog and I will just go to Quark's.. "Just don't fight me on this.. Kira. Q arrived home with a headache. and it was almost time for her. 'because I said so. Jake.

A temporal pocket.. he thought he saw a little black mixed into the red. Daniel R. . Fury grew in its passion. All other elements and content are copyright by Kenneth A. The temporal pocket filled with hideous laughter. Mike Poaletta and Jerry Smolens. and for the briefest of moments. The author would like to acknowledge the friends and family who doubled as an editorial board for this story: Ray Clark.Ayelborne stepped out from the rubble of the destroyed Vedek Monastery. But. Perhaps not. All elements of Star Trek are copyrights and trademarks of Paramount Communications Corporation. with simple transporter technology. He underestimated the abilities of the humans. They deserved no better. they had escaped. one word to obsess on for eternity if that's what it took. Fury was the only emotion he felt. they got him at his own game. The opening segment of Chapter Seventeen is adapted from "The City on the Edge of Forever" by Harlan Ellison. they survived. Dan Hegarty.. Lewis. Marc Lowenberg. He looked up into the blazing red sky. tearing his other self apart. Ayelborne thoughts were molded into one word. of Kirk and Picard. Lowenberg. Jason Dzubow.. He envisioned tearing the captains apart. The author would also like to thank the 600+ America Online readers who have commented and waited patiently for part two. Matt Ferry. The story is dedicated to Stuart William Lowenberg. Ayelborne scanned the night skies.