"Kira to Bridge."
[Bridge here, Commander,] replied Evans over the Ronin's communications system.
"I'm ready to begin Captain," said Kira in a resolute tone.
[What do you need us to do, Commander?] asked Pike.
"I'll need to be pretty close to the explosion in order to control it."
[How close do you need us to be, Commander?] said Evans in a bit of a worried tone.
"I didn't say I needed the Ronin to be close to the explosion, I said that I would need to be close to it."
There was a pause that caused Kira to wonder whether his signal had gone through the system correctly. Just as he was about to repeat his answer, Evans' voice came back through the system in an apprehensive tone [Explain Commander.]
"Sir, in order to control the explosion I'll need to be directly in the middle of it."
[Just how are we supposed to get you back here in once piece, Commander?] said Evans.
"I'll have to figure out something en-route, Sir. After I looked at the data on Omega I knew that I'd be able to control the explosion, and I also knew that I'd be able to channel the energy, but I thought that I'd be a lot closer to the explosion. If my calculations are right, I'll have to be aboard the Bounty as it launches the device."
[Absolutely not, Commander. I can't allow you to do this,] said Evans in a terse tone.
"It's all I can think of at the moment, Captain. It'll have to do. I'm on my way down to the transporter room where I'll need someone to beam me over to the Bounty."
[Commander, this is Pike. I can't allow you to do this.]
"I'm sorry Admiral, but I can think of no other alternative at the moment. To quote a Machiavellian platitude, 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.' Please have someone standing by to transport me over to the Bounty, as you no doubt realize that time is of the essence."
As Kira rapidly walked along the
corridors of the Ronin toward the transporter room, he wondered what Evans and
Pike were discussing on the bridge. Obviously the two were in the middle of
a heated argument over Kira' s plan. Just as he reached his destination his
communication badge activated
[Commander, we obviously don't have any other choice. We'll have to let you do this. We've initiated an automatic site-to-site transport. You'll be beamed over to the Bounty as soon as possible. Pike out.]
*Here goes nothing* thought Kira as he began to dematerialize. In a split second he was aboard the main bridge of the Bounty. Quickly getting his bearings he moved to the command chair in the middle of the room and managed to transfer the ship's systems to the small console in his armrest. With full control of the ship's propulsion and weapons systems at his side Kira immediately began to plot a course that would bring him directly in front of the Kelvan's flight path.
"Kira to Ronin."
[Commander, Ronin here,] replied Evans.
"I'm setting a course for direct intercept with the Kelvans. I estimate that I'll be in range of the weapon in forty-five minutes."
[We have Talsmin and Ming working on a way to get you out of there once you've controlled the explosion. I'm not sure what they're going to come up with on such short notice, but hopefully it'll be something.]
"I understand, Sir. I recommend that you get out of here as fast as you can. Once the subspace shockwave is created, you won't be able to get out of the way of the blast if you're too close."
[I understand, Commander. Godspeed. Ronin out.]
"It's up to me now," said Kira to no one in particular.
As the moments passed away and the
Bounty traveled closer to it's destination, Kira continued to pour over the
information contained in the PADD that Commodore Pike gave him just a few minutes
ago. No matter how many times he looked over the data and no matter how many
scenarios he went through he couldn't think of a way to get close enough to
the blast to contain it, and get the Bounty out of the way of the blast wave.
He'd be trapped after the sun was created and would suffer the same demise as
Suddenly an alarm went off on one of the consoles nearby that broke his attention. *Good Lord, forty-five minutes have passed already??*
Reading the console's information Kira realized that he was nearing the Kelvan's weapon's range and his coordinates for deploying the Omega Bomb. Reaching over to the communications channel he tapped a few buttons and then spoke in the clearest, calmest voice that he could muster.
"Kira to Ronin. Any luck in figuring out a way to get me out of here once the package is delivered?"
[Kira, this is Pike. We couldn't come up with a way to get you out of there in time without killing everyone on board the Ronin. Are you sure that you want to do this, Commander?]
"Positive Commodore," said Kira as he came to the realization that he would be sacrificing his life to save the known galaxy. "I'll leave the communications channel open as long as possible. If you wouldn't mind, I'd really appreciate it if you would have Nige contact my family on Bajor for me. Hopefully I'll have something to give him to take back home." Kira paused for a moment as he thought of how Tyran would handle this turn of events. After all, he did officiate Nige and Dinara's wedding. Putting aside those thoughts for later Kira continued to speak, "If I calculated this explosion properly, the sun will go supernova in less than ten hours. The Kelvans will be destroyed by the end of the day."
[We'll keep a communications channel open as long as possible, Commander. Should you succeed, you will not be easily forgotten,] said Evans.
"I'm launching the device now, Sirs. It should detonate in five minutes."
Suddenly the sound of two alarms managed to pierce the silence aboard the Bounty. It was Talsmin aboard the Ronin that managed to provide the answer to what their collective sensors were reading.
[Sir, the Kelvan's weapons systems are locking on to the torpedo.]
[Damn. If they detonate it too soon the whole plan will be for naught. Kira, can you protect it somehow?] said Evans.
"Already doing that, Sir."
In response to Kira's words, the two ship's sensors immediately registered something else.
[Sir,] said Talsmin, [A huge energy shield has been erected around the torpedo. The Kelvan's weapons are ineffective against it.]
[Benton, didn't you say that the Kelvans would ignore our attack?] demanded Pike.
[I did, Sir. However, their automated defense systems must have registered the torpedo,] replied Benton in a tone that neared the cool logic of a Vulcan.
"We don't have to worry about that now, Sir," said Kira, "It's beginning."
[We're going to mute our side of the channel to help you keep your concentration. If you need us, just speak and we'll hear you, Commander,] said Pike.
"Acknowledged, Bounty running in silent mode."
Back on the Ronin every eye on the bridge was turned to the main view screen to watch the proceedings.
"There it is, Sirs," said Talsmin as he zoomed the view screen in closer to reveal that the Omega Bomb was nearing the planned coordinates within half a parsec of the Kelvan battle planets.
Seconds later the bomb exploded emitting
a light so bright that everyone on the bridge had to wince and look away from
the viewer. As their eyes adjusted they saw the blinding, white light of the
explosion's wave front engulfing and passing the battle planets, and shortly
thereafter passing the
"Sir, wave front is approaching at a high velocity," said Talsmin over at the Ops station. "It's moved one light year, two light years, three, four, five. It's accelerating sir. If the Commander doesn't slow it down we'll be trapped in less than ten seconds."
Suddenly the view screen changed magnification again and this time showed the wave front rapidly advancing toward the Ronin's position. A split second later an eerie blue light was seen surrounding the wave front. As the wave front hit the shimmering iridescent blue field surrounding it, it reflected off of the barrier and returned on a course that would bring it back to its origin.
"Sir, the Commander is doing it," said Karissa from behind Evans and Pike. "I can sense his concentration. It's working."
"Confirmed, Sirs, the energy is being reflected back towards the epicenter of the explosion. The total radius of the affected area is just less than 10 light years. The Kelvans are trapped within, Sirs," said Talsmin from his station.
"Captain, look," said Pike as he pointed to a place on the view screen.
"I see it," was Evans' simple reply.
At the center of the screen, at the point where the torpedo detonated, a bright ball of energy began to form. As the Kelvan battle planets tried to move away from the energy that was forming between them, strands of white and blue energy poured into the small area of space.
"Sir, Kira's using the reflection waves of the disturbance to create the sun. He's focused the energy of the blast so that the energy waves are enhancing each other at the center of the explosion," said Talsmin.
"So we see, AJ."
As the crew aboard the Ronin stood spellbound at the sight before them they watched as the Kelvan battle planets were rocked by the energy that was passing through them.
"Sir, the Kelvans' shields are falling. The energy waves are beginning to break down their weapons, shields and propulsion systems. They're trapped."
"Good." Said Pike.
As each second passed more and more energy was being flooded into the new-formed sun causing it to grow in diameter at an exponential rate. Finally, after nearly thirty minutes the remainder of the Omega bomb's explosion energy was drawn into the sun.
"Talsmin, try to reach the Commander." Said Evans.
"I have been trying, Sir, but there's too much interference. We should be able to talk to him soon, though, as most of the interference is rapidly dissipating."
"As soon as you can open a channel do so." Said Pike. "We owe it to the Commander to hear his last wishes."
Back on the Bounty, Kira sat down rather forcefully in the command chair in the center of the room. "I did it." He said to no one in particular.
He slowly managed to stand up and make his way over to the communications station and tried to send a message to the Ronin. Unfortunately, there was just too much interference at the moment.
He then moved over to the ships sensors and tried to get a few readings from the new star that lie before him. Sure enough, although the star was stable at the moment, it would go supernova in less than ten hours. His sensors also showed that the Ronin was at a safe distance from the blast, and that the Kelvans' propulsion systems were off line.
Kira smiled a smile of relief and moved back toward the command chair to rest and collect his thoughts. This definitely had to be the biggest thing that he'd managed to pull off. It was then that he finally realized that their plan had succeeded, and that as a result he wouldn't live to tell the story of it.
As the Bounty stood motionless in space Kira could hear the sounds of the ship squeaking around him. Most of the ship's systems were rendered inoperable during the blast and recoil, and as a result, with the exception of a few systems, the Bounty was lifeless and adrift in space.
Without warning, a high-pitched sound and a flash of light appeared between Kira and the main view screen aboard the Bounty. When the brief light and sound dissipated there stood before him the last person that Kira wished to see.
"Q," said Kira in an exhausted and annoyed tone, "to what do I owe the pleasure this time?"
Q turned around and looked at his surroundings before answering the question placed before him. "No matter how many times I watch that, I never seem to get bored of it."
"What?" said Kira in response to Q's cryptic answer.
"Oh, never mind that. I'm just here to check up on you, *Commander.* Admiring your work is just a perk."
Kira rolled his eyes and let his guard down a bit as he came to the realization that in a few hours he wouldn't be dealing with Q ever again. Somehow that thought managed to give him a bit of pleasure, in a weird sort of way.
"Oh, and don't think that I'm going to let you remain here while your little star blows up, if that's what you're thinking. And it is, mind you. I'll be taking you back to your precious ship in a few minutes."
"Excuse me," said Kira in a surprised tone, "I thought that the Q had more important things to do with their time than rescue StarFleet officers who are trapped in the path of a sun on the verge of going supernova."
With his classic annoyed tone, Q responded, "You're correct, in a manner of speaking, the Q don't have time to deal with trapped ships and their officers. However, it's not every day that you see a star being created from a violent subspace explosion. Besides, didn't I tell you that you were too important to the Continuum the last time we met? Or have you forgotten that conversation already, Commander?"
"No, Q, my memory isn't that bad. I haven't forgotten our earlier conversation, but I still don't understand why the Continuum would be interested in my well being."
"Give it time, Commander, give it time. No one should know too much about their future," said Q as he looked around him once again and fixed his eyes on the view screen aboard the Bounty. "I will say this, your abilities are progressing admirably."
"Never mind. It's time to bring you back to your ship, all safe and sound."
Just as Kira was about to try to ask another question Q snapped his fingers, causing Kira to be brought back aboard the Ronin's bridge, much to the astonishment of the Ronin's bridge crew.
"Commander???" shouted Evans as he realized who was brought aboard his bridge.
"Captain," stated Kira.
"I'll try to explain it later in my report," said Kira. "What about the Kelvans, before I was taken here I thought I noticed that they were adrift and trapped in the space. What's their status now?"
"No change in status, Commander. They're still trapped in the direct path of the pending supernova," said Talsmin from the Operations station behind where Kira, Evans and Pike were standing.
"How long until the sun goes supernova, Chief?" asked Pike.
Talsmin took a second look at the panel display readings before answering, "Less than eight hours, Sir."
"Can the Kelvans repair the damage to their systems in time to get away from the explosion?" queried Kira to Benton.
"Negative, Sir, even if they managed to repair their impulse drive, they wouldn't be able to escape the projected blast radius. The planets are being kept in place by the gravitational field of the star," said Benton.
Relieved by Benton's words, Kira brought his hand to his head and rubbed his temples and eyes in a gesture that plainly stated his fatigue.
"Admiral, Captain," said Kira, "if you don't mind I need to rest for awhile. I promise that I will detail my experiences in full by tomorrow morning, but for now I need to rest."
"Of course, Commander; you're dismissed," said Pike as he motioned to Karissa, "but not before Dr. Hancock has a moment to clear your health. Commander Bentara will escort you to sickbay and then back to your quarters."
"Thank you," stated Kira as he moved toward the turbolift doors that would bring him to the proper level.
Eight hours later after Kira had been given a clean bill of health by the good doctor and was then escorted to his quarters to get some much needed rest, the remainder of the senior staff of the Ronin gathered on the bridge to watch the end of the Kelvan threat. As the artificial sun began to destabilize and finally begin the process of first imploding, then exploding in a violent burst of matter and energy, Evans couldn't help thinking about the events that happened in the last twenty-four hours. What would they have done without Kira to help them with their plans?
Finally, the event that everyone was waiting for occurred, the artificial star began to rapidly shrink in size, losing nearly seventy-five percent of its created diameter. As the fragile balance between fusion and fission permanently broke down, the star then began to explode in a violent multicolored blast that caused the Kelvan battle planets to disintegrate as the energy from the star coursed around and through the cores of the planets. As the last vestiges of explosion drifted into the cold, dark space surrounding it, a stunning nebula began to take shape with shades of iridescent blues, reds and purples. All that was left of the Kelvan threat was an eerily beautiful reminder of how close the Federation came to destruction at the hand of their most feared enemy.