Fifteen minutes after leaving monster-Benton down in the shuttle bay, Pike convened the briefing in the briefing room off the bridge. Captain Evans was there of course, as were all the other top-level officers. Since most of the information discussed would be coming from Lieutenant Benton -- or at least the creature he'd become -- the large monitor on the wall was tuned to a view of the shuttle bay, and the huge writhing mass in its center.
"Let's get this started," Pike said without preamble. The officers seated themselves around the table and quieted down. Pike turned to the monitor and addressed the Kelvan pictured there. "Lieutenant Benton, would you please summarize what relevant details you have found in the Kelvan database."
"Very well, Admiral," rumbled Benton. At the sound of his voice, Tyran squirmed in his seat, looking decidedly uncomfortable at having to listen to a Kelvan lecture them. Benton was unaware of his discomfiture though, and after a few seconds of tentacle-wriggling, began:
"The original home of the Kelvan race is in the distant galaxy known to us as *Maffei I*, 4,700,000 light years from here. 150,000 years ago, a natural disaster occurred there -- several super-massive neutron stars near the core of that galaxy collided, releasing massive amounts of gamma rays and neutrinos. The shockwave from the explosion spread outward at the speed of light like ripples in a pond, and every planet in its wake was stripped of its upper atmosphere and rendered radioactive and uninhabitable. It took only 50,000 years for the entire *Maffei I* galaxy to be engulfed.
"100,000 years ago, the Kelvans were forced to evacuate. They constructed transwarp engines powerful enough to move entire planets and mounted them on a million of their worlds, then left *Maffei I*. They set their course for *Andromeda*, and as soon as they arrived there, set out to conquer the native races. They did so easily, and made *Andromeda* their new home.
"Unknown to them however, the sudden appearance of a million of their transwarp conduits caused a massive spatial compression wave to propagate outward from their point of arrival and eventually sweep over the whole *Andromeda* galaxy. It took 50,000 years to get there, but the compression wave finally reached the core of *Andromeda*. The dense stellar material at the core was knocked out of equilibrium. Several hypermassive black holes were formed as a consequence, and their close proximity to each other caused them to collide after only a few thousand years. The result was another explosion releasing deadly waves of gamma rays and neutrinos, just like in *Maffei*, which spread outward from the core at the speed of light. In 50,000 years, *Andromeda* would be completely engulfed by the radiation and share the same fate as *Maffei*.
"That brings us to about 400 years ago. *Andromeda* is mostly uninhabitable by now, so the Kelvans send scout ships to nearby galaxies to look for a new home. *Triangulum*, *Barnard's Galaxy*, *Leo I* and *II*, the *Milky Way* and the *Magellanic Clouds* are all explored. After a 300-year voyage, the scouts who were sent to the *Milky Way* encounter the USS Enterprise under Captain James Kirk and learn of the Federation.
"Now, the Kelvans have once again launched their transwarp planets -- some to *Triangulum*, some to the minor galaxies, but the vast majority to the *Milky Way*. They plan to conquer the native races here and claim the *Milky Way* as their own."
Apparently that was the end of the lecture. On the monitor, Benton's waving tentacles quieted down and most of them settled to the deck around him.
Pike looked around the table trying to gauge the officers' reactions to this information. He said, "That is a brief history of the Kelvan race. And unless we want to become a footnote in the latest chapter in that history, we have to come up with a plan."
Commander Bentara looked troubled. She said, "I never would have imagined it. The Kelvans aren't here because they're simply rapaciously expansionist. They're here because their very survival as a race hangs in the balance. They've been forced to flee galaxy after galaxy because of a tragic accident."
"It's us or them, Commander!" Tyran shouted heatedly across the table. "This Galaxy isn't big enough for the both of us, and since it's not possible to send them packing back home -- *because they blew it up!* -- we have to destroy them!"
"Yes, but how?" said Captain Evans.
Any further discussion was cut off by an urgent call from the bridge. [Red alert! Red alert! Captain to the bridge!]
Evans immediately shot out of his chair and ran to the door. They slid open just in the nick of time, admitting him onto the bridge. "Report!" he yelled.
The young crewman at tactical said, "Sensors are picking up a group of Kelvan Battle Planets dropping out of transwarp directly astern, sir!"
*Here we go again,* thought Evans. "Shields up. Standby on the armor generators."