Author: Admiral Jeffrey Pike
Date: December 7, 2384
Location: Briefing Room - Starbase 901

Lieutenant Benton had teamed up with Starbase 901's Chief Science Officer, Lieutenant Deveraux, and together the two of them had worked feverishly through the night to confirm Admiral Pike's suspicion.

"Oui. Zhat verifies eet, mon ami," said Deveraux, straightening up from his console and stretching.

Benton would have scowled, but he'd given up on scowling at this aggravating Cajun several long hours ago -- it was just wasted energy. He'd asked Deveraux not to call him 'mon ami' and the like, then insisted, but it was no use -- the irrepressible human was doggedly gregarious and friendly. Benton had to admit though, in spite of his character flaws he was also quite brilliant. If he could ever be persuaded to shed his emotionality, he'd make a fine Kelvan.

Benton crossed the lab from where he'd been working and took a look at Deveraux's results. Grunting in satisfaction, he said, "I agree. I think it's time we informed the Admiral."

"Lead zhe way, mon frere!"

Benton scowled.

A conference was quickly called for the chief officers of both the *Ronin* and the Starbase, and was held in Conference Room #1 directly adjacent to the base's Command Center. Benton and Deveraux spent half an hour describing their methods and conclusions, and the rest in attendance looked on in dismay as the results were explained to them.

Finally, Colonel Tarik, commanding officer of the Starfleet Marines on the Starbase, cut in. "Let me get this straight," he said. "Not only do we have every Kelvan ever born on his way to the heart of the Federation bent on conquest, now we also have to contend with a massive graviton wave from the Kelvan transwarp conduits moving at the speed of light toward the heart of the Galaxy where it will set off chain reactions of supernovae that will *destroy* the entire Galaxy." He looked around the conference table to gauge the reactions of his peers. "Am I missing something?"

"Those are essentially the facts," replied Benton matter-of-factly. Tyran Nige looked suspiciously at Benton, still not completely trusting his motives.

Ensign K'Tag decided now was a good time to deliver his report. He addressed Colonel Tarik and said, "We may not have to deal with the Kelvans, sir. Our long-range sensors show that their armada is on a course that will take them well clear of the Briar Patch and the Mulluran Sector."

Captain Mallory spoke up now and said, "We've received reports from Starfleet that they are massing the fleet near Deneb IV to intercept the Kelvans. Thanks to the Admiral's report on what happened aboard the *Knight* during the Talosian Illusion, Starfleet has equipped most of the ships with Han'gosian temporal shields and weapons, and has authorized the use of the Genesis Device on key strategic targets." Mallory paused thoughtfully for a second, then concluded. "It's going to be a long a difficult battle, but we actually have a fighting chance of coming out of this the victors."

K'Tag spoke up again. "We must join forces with the main Federation fleet and go into battle! To do otherwise would not be honorable."

At this point, Admiral Pike stood up. Placing his knuckles on the table top and leaning forward, he said gravely, "We have an even more important task to accomplish. The fleet will handle the Kelvans. *We* have to save the Galaxy!"

"But sir! How do we stop a graviton wave? It can't be done!" This from Lieutenant Kassia, the station's Counselor. "We'd have to go back in time and prevent it from happening!"

At that comment, Pike just smiled.