"The Right Decision?"

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

"But sir! How do we stop a graviton wave? It can't be done!" said Lieutenant Kassia, Starbase 901's Counselor. "We'd have to go back in time and prevent it from happening!"

Admiral Pike smiled knowingly and said, "That's exactly what we're going to do, Lieutenant. A few of us have already discussed the possibility." He nudged one of the PADDs before him on the briefing room table. "I've been reading the reports on a man named Vince Kelly. According to the accounts, he had access to Iconian technology. That means there's an Iconian Gateway hidden somewhere in the Briar Patch, since that's where Kelly had his hideout. We plan to combine the Gateway's power with Commander Kira's natural talents to get us where we want to go."

"All we have to do is find it," finished Captain Evans for Pike.

There were several troubled looks around the briefing table at the mention of time travel, and Pike didn't blame them for worrying. Time travel was not a decision he'd made lightly, and it troubled him more than a little too. He didn't want to address that particular issue at this time though, so he just said, "Right. As soon as the *Ronin* is spaceworthy again, we'll be heading out in search of Kelly's hideout.

"Later, in Pike's quarters on the Ronin....*

Personal Log, stardate 2461953. A week's worth of hard work by Engineering should see the *Ronin* ready to get underway again. I plan to rely heavily on the resources of the starbase's science section to provide us with guidelines on where to search for Vince Kelly's pirate stronghold -- the region is vast and without their help it'll take us years before we stumble across anything.

Long-range sensors have detected the Kelvan fleet moving through the far edge of the Briar Patch sector into Federation space. It seems that -- just like it was in the Talosian Illusion we lived through on the *Knight* -- that the Kelvans see the Federation as the biggest threat to their conquest, so they plan on dealing with us first.

If we are successful in repairing the Kelvan's home galaxy though, much of history will be changed -- even the personal histories of myself and some of the officers I've known over the years. I'm not particularly happy with that prospect either, but am at a loss to think of another alternative.

End log.

Benton sat brooding in his own cabin. He was reliving some terrible memories of his life in his original, home universe. There, the Kelvans had already mostly conquered the Milky Way Galaxy, and the native races were either dead or enslaved. Only a tiny remnant of Starfleet still remained to fight the hopeless war. His ship, the *USS Virgo*, had been attacked; Captain Maruu killed; the warp core about to breach; and he had done the only thing he could. He'd escaped to another universe -- this universe -- using the alien Quantum Mirror they'd found in the Eriarti laboratory.

He'd abandoned his home and his friends, but not before swearing to return someday with a way to defeat the Kelvans once and for all and drive them from the Milky Way. But now, the hopes of doing that were starting to look less and less sure. This wild scheme of Pike's to travel back in time and prevent the destruction of the Kelvan's home galaxy -- if that even *was* their original home -- might work fine for this universe, but left him without much hope.

If Pike succeeded, history would change. The Kelvans would never invade here, and what chance would he have then for finding a weapon against them to use in his home universe. Would *he* even be here if history changed? Too many unanswerable questions. Something would have to be done....

Jamie Piper walked back to her cabin after the briefing aboard the starbase. As usual, her arms were loaded down with PADDs that she had to sort and file away for the Admiral. She was anxious to get that work out of the way so she could spend a little time strolling around the Promenade on the base. The *Ronin* would be docked here for another week, so she figured she'd make it over there eventually.

She had heard about the Admiral's time travel plans, but she wasn't worried. She knew that whatever happened, it would be for the best. The Admiral was a wise man -- he knew what he was doing.

Turning a corner, she thought she caught a glimpse of a very short, yellow and black striped -- *something* -- scamper around the next corner, but when she got there, it was nowhere in sight. Shrugging to herself and dismissing the incident as a delusion resulting from overwork, she continued on her way to her cabin.