"Thank you all for coming," said Admiral Pike to the assembled senior officers. "I'm sure you're wondering why I've called this meeting in the holodeck." Pike was answered by several small nods around the table. "It's because I have something to show you." He walked over to a small side table and lifted a small object out of a case.
Ming Wang eyed it critically and said, "That looks like an autonomous portable holo-matrix."
"You're right," said Pike. Hefting the small block, he walked over to the holodeck's arch and slid it into the program expansion slot. Immediately, the holodeck walls dissolved away, and a new reality swam into focus. Everyone in the room recognized it -- it was the bridge of a Galaxy-II class starship.
"This is the bridge of the *USS Knight*, my old command," said Pike. His voice was steady -- he'd steeled himself for what he knew was going to be a difficult experience for him. Kira and Tyran looked a little shocked. Pike suspected he knew what the two men were thinking. They'd been there too on that fateful day when this recording had been made. If they were anything like him, they'd spent the last year trying to forget what had transpired then.
Sharp as ever, Captain Evans spoke up. "Admiral, records of this type aren't made by Starfleet."
"These records weren't made by Starfleet, Captain," answered Pike enigmatically. "If you'll let me continue, everything will be explained." He turned as if to give the computer the command to begin the simulation, but turned back and faced the officers squarely. He said, "You're going to find all this hard to believe." Then he ordered, "Computer. Begin playback."
The scene before them shimmered again, and the bridge crew appeared at their posts, and the holographic diorama came to life....
The situation was tense. *Commodore* Pike sat in the command chair. Beside him was Captain Kara Neil, his Executive Officer.
"Show our location," said Pike. A small blinking dot appeared inside the display. "Display location of Kelvan Battle Planet." Another dot, this one red, appeared some distance away.
"They're not even at Cardassia yet!" exclaimed Neil.
Pike said, "Computer, time until Kelvans reach Cardassia Prime?"
<Six hours forty seven minutes.>
"Time for us to intercept the Kelvans at warp 9?"
<Five hours twelve minutes.>
"Then we have them!" said Pike triumphantly to Neil.
...."Computer. Pause playback." Instantly, the bridge figures froze in their places.
A hubbub had arrisen among the officers watching. Commander Bentara's voice rose above the others and she addressed Admiral Pike: "The Kelvans?!? You fought the Kelvans? At Cardassia?!? Why haven't we ever heard of this?"
Pike waved his hands to calm down his audience. "The events you are about to witness were classified by Starfleet under more regulations than you can count, not the least of which is General Order 7." He let that tidy little fact sink in. Everyone at the table knew what General Order 7 stated -- No vessel, emergency or otherwise, is to have any contact with the planet Talos IV. To do so incurred the death penalty.
"Sir? What does General Order 7 have to do with the Kelvans," asked Hancock.
"You'll see," was Pike's unsatisfying answer.
"And what's a "Battle Planet?"
"The Kelvans don't conquer other galaxies with ships like ours. They use entire planets as ships. They can propel them at transwarp speeds, their main weapon is a focused heavy particle beam thousands of miles wide powered by the very magnetic field of the planet, and the planet's are defended by orbiting moons covered in missile silos."
Pike could tell the information was more than the officers could digest in such a short time, so he decided to let them simply watch the rest of the recording without trying to explain too much. He said, "For now, I'll just give you a little background:
"The *USS Knight* had been sent to repel an invasion by one of these Kelvan Battle Planets. The battle raged for months, but at every turn the Federation was beaten badly. What's more, all this took place in what for most of you is a different time-stream several *different* time-streams, actually. What you're about to see is our desperate last attempt to stop them.
"Computer. Resume program."
The holodeck faded from view, replaced by the starry black of open space. Suddenly....
The Kelvan Battle Planet flashed back into normal space-time. Their transwarp conduit dissipated, depositing the planet in the heart of the former Cardassian Union.
Somewhere near the northern pole of the planet, in a cavernous chamber several miles underneath the surface, a single, monstrous, pale yellow eye regarded the wall of holographic displays before it. The large main holo showed a typical Class-M planet -- Cardassia Prime. Its system of defense satellites came to life as the Kelvan battle planet came within sensor range. A few Galor-class warships were detected coming around from the far side.
*A pitiful defense,* thought the Kelvan. He lashed out one of his tentacle-like limbs and began working the complex control stations that almost completely surrounded his command pit. A few short minutes later, everything was ready.
Suddenly, alarms began flashing all across his command board. He called up the tactical display, but he couldn't believe his eye. It was the *Knight*, the same ship he had just pushed a thousand light-years in the opposite direction! How could they be here?!? And what puzzled him more, they were attacking, the fools!
His tentacles danced an additional minute or two over his controls. He would direct a portion of his defenses against the foolish Federation ship while he continued with the destruction of Cardassia Prime.
* * *
Pike was sitting in his command chair with Captain Neil in the seat next to his. The reports from his crew were starting to come in.
"The Kelvan Battle Planet has scanned us, sir. Several hundred fighter ships approaching. -- Banshees heading out to intercept enemy fighters. The *USS Orion* is pulling across the Kelvans' vector to draw their fire."
"Steady on course," said Pike. "Bridge to torpedo bay. Status?"
[We just need five more minutes to finish programming the Genesis Device, sir.]
"Helm, time to launch point?"
"Five minutes thirty seconds, sir."
*Why does it always have to be so close?* thought Pike. He didn't have time to ponder the question however. The *Orion* and the four surviving Banshees had met the enemy and the battle was on once again!
Most of the Kelvans were successfully diverted by the *Orion* and the Banshees, but a few wings had broken through and were heading straight for the *Knight*. The *Knight* had only her phaser banks to defend herself with though, because the torpedo launcher had been reconfigured to fire the Genesis Torpedo, and phasers were of limited use against Kelvan shields.
"Red alert!" shouted Pike. "Divert all available power including weapons to the shields. We have to make it to the launch point for the Genesis Device or this whole party will have been for nothing!" He knew they had to stop the Kelvans here, even if it meant sacrificing his own ship.
Taylor looked like he disagreed with this tactic, but complied without voicing his objections.
The shields were taking a beating, and the ride was getting quite rough. Pike held tightly on to the arms of his chair. The rest of the bridge crew were having an equally difficult time hanging onto their own seats. On the main view screen, Kelvan fighter ships darted this way and that as they picked the *Knight's* shields apart bit by bit.
"Shield failure in one minute! Launch point in two!" shouted Tumock.
"Call in the other ships to see if they can take some of this heat off us," ordered Pike.
"The *Orion* reports they are surrounded and can't get to us, Commodore. All our shuttles and runabouts have been destroyed. There are two Banshees left, but they are heavily engaged against several dozen Kelvan fighters."
Suddenly, the ship rocked hard and the consoles behind Tactical exploded. Taylor tried to duck, but some of the plastiform shrapnel caught him in the shoulder. Pike looked back at him in alarm, but Taylor waved him off weakly and said, "I'm all right. Shields down. Genesis launch in 30 seconds."
The Kelvan fighters had smelled blood now and were closing in for the kill. Their powerful beam weapons hammered repeatedly into the *Knight's* now defenseless hull. The ship's ablative armor took a few of the earliest shots, but the concentrated fire soon opened numerous hull breaches all across the primary hull. Emergency force fields snapped into place over most of the gashes but not all. Still the *Knight* drove on.
"Launch point!" yelled Taylor.
"Fire!" yelled Pike in return.
"Choke on this, Kelvan scum," hissed Taylor as he stabbed the launch control.
From the leading edge of the *Knight's* connecting dorsal, a fiery orange starburst flashed into the night toward the Kelvan Battle Planet -- the Genesis Device. A few of the nearest Kelvan fighter ships sped after it in an attempt to intercept it before it hit the planet, but the last two ships of Banshee Squadron, Max and Sam, were after them.
There was no time to idly sit back and watch and wait for the outcome; they were still in great danger. Pike yelled, "Helm! Pull up and reverse course! Get us out of here!"
The *Knight* ponderously began veering away from the planet, but many of her systems had been damaged -- she was responding very slowly. The Kelvan fighters that had been harassing her were still swarming about taking shots. If they knew what was about to happen, they would have gotten away as fast as they could.
A massive hit on the *Knight's* port transwarp engine caused the entire ship to begin spinning out of control. The nacelle vented raw plasma into space and the support pylon began buckling. The torque from the *Knight's* spinning and the considerable damage inflicted by the Kelvans finally caused the port warp nacelle to tear away completely from the rest of the ship, taking a good portion of the secondary hull with it. The area exposed to space was much too large to be covered by the emergency force fields; atmosphere and flotsam spewed into the vacuum.
The bridge echoed with the deafening shriek of tearing metal caused by the loss of the port engine. The deck tilted crazily at 45 degrees, and the entire bridge crew was thrown across the room like a bunch of rag dolls. Some of them didn't get up again.
The computer was reciting a countdown to a warp core breach. There were 15 seconds left. Pike raised himself painfully up on an elbow and shook his head groggily. He was pretty sure his other arm was broken, but it didn't matter. Not even the imminent warp core breach mattered as much as what he saw happening on the main viewer.
Commodore Jeffrey H. Pike, commanding officer of the Federation Starship *Knight*, had fulfilled his duty. He was proud of that fact, he was proud of his ship, but most of all, he was very proud of his brave and gallant crew. Their sacrifice had not been a vain and empty one.
On the main viewer, Pike saw the Genesis Device hit its target. Then the warp core breach countdown reached zero, and then Pike saw no more.
* * *
The Genesis Torpedo impacted the surface of the Kelvan Battle Planet. Immediately, the Genesis Effect began burrowing into the crust. Like a flaming orange shockwave, the Effect spread across the surface in all directions, all the way around to the other side of the planet until the entire globe had been covered. It covered the entire planet and it penetrated inward to the core, until not one single subatomic particle that made up the Battle Planet was left untouched.
The Kelvan Commander never saw it coming. The wall of orange flame that was engulfing the planet swept through the Command Center so quickly there was no time for notice.
The Genesis Device had been programmed to convert its target's matter into simple hydrogen compounds and disperse them into space. The process didn't take very long. Once the Effect had completed its global transit, the planet began changing. Mountains melted and evaporated into space. Dirt, rocks, entire slices of the planet dislodged themselves and crumbled into dust, then disappeared from view as their subatomic structure was reorganized into that of interstellar gasses.
The Effect spread a short distance into space around the dying Battle Planet and touched the expanding debris field of the former *Knight* and her crew. Their atoms were added into the new matrix the Genesis Device was building.
Minutes later, Cardassia Prime had a beautiful, brilliant new purple-and-yellow nebula in its night sky. A week later, all the protomatter had broken down and the nebula was gone, and then there was absolutely nothing left of the Kelvan Battle Planet. It was like it was never there.
....The simulation faded once more and the bare holodeck walls replaced the fiery spectacle the *Ronin's* officers had been viewing. They were stunned by what they'd seen, speechless.