Kira finally woke up from his deep sleep aboard the Iconian ship. It had taken him a long time to fall asleep after Q's little discussion with him in his quarters. The more he learned about the Q the more he realized that they were insane. What troubled him more than anything was Q's outright confession that the Continuum had caused the anomaly in the first place. If that wasn't enough, Q also told him that this situation was a test of some sort. As to why the Continuum was interested in him, well, that still made no sense to Kira.
Putting aside the mental ramblings in his mind, Kira instead focused on trying to find a solution to repairing the orbits of the two super-massive neutron stars that were out of whack as a result of the Continuum's meddling. At this point he was at a loss as to how to proceed. Perhaps the day would bring him some ideas.
Kira dressed in the clothing that the Iconians had left for him in his quarters. Like all of the other things in the Iconian's décor, the clothing that they provided Kira was a mixture of whites and off-whites. Kira looked at himself in a nearby mirror. *Hmmph. Not bad.*
Just as he was finishing looking in the mirror, Tyran walked into Kira's quarters wearing a similar set of Iconian style clothing. Noticing him from the mirror's reflection Kira said, "What do you think?"
"It's a little too drab for my taste," said Nige as he walked behind Kira to compare his outfit against Kira's, "but, as you would say, 'when in Rome'."
"We better get going," said Kira. "Has Kerrin tried to contact us yet?"
"Actually," said Nige, "yes. She said that they were able to contact Benton for us. He's still en route to the galactic core, and said that he'll be here in another day or so. He's using the Iconian shuttle to get here versus waiting for the rest of the Kelvans to get here. However, he did say that they are trying to send ships to this part of the galaxy should we need them."
"I still don't know how they can help in this situation," said Kira, "they're nowhere near as advanced as they are in our time."
At that moment a soft chime sound was heard in the great room between the two sleeping quarters. A split second later the door to their collective quarters opened and Kerrin walked into their rooms.
"I see that you managed to join the two rooms together," said Kerrin.
"Yeah," said Nige, "it made it a bit more comfortable."
"Our ship design allows us to have entire levels without walls should we desire that kind of space," said Kerrin absent-mindedly, "but we have more important things to discuss this morning." Again Kerrin paused as she looked at the two men in the mirror. "I hope that you have found our attire acceptable."
"Quite acceptable," said Kira. "Thank you."
"If we're done admiring each other, we'd better get to work," said Nige in a joking manner.
Kira gave him a quick sideways look and then said, "Lead on Kerrin."
The three exited Kira's and Nige's quarters and began the trek to the meeting room where they had briefly met with the other scientists the day before. As the doors opened to the room Kira had a sense that the conversation wasn't going well. You could cut through the tension in the room with a knife, so to speak.
Kerrin took her place at the front of the room and activated the display in the middle of the table before the participants. The now familiar image of the two ill-fated stars came into focus before them along with technical data on how far off course the two of them were.
"As you can see, after repairing the temporal subspace anomaly, the orbits' rate of decay has slowed down, however, now we are faced with the task of restoring their original trajectories. Any ideas?" said Kerrin.
"What about the Q?" asked one of the constituents at the table. "Have they responded to our calls yet?"
"No," replied Kerrin. "The Q have not responded to our calls."
"This problem is well beyond our capacity to repair," said another scientist who didn't seem to be Iconian.
"This board has come to the conclusion that there is nothing more that we can do to prevent the collision of these stellar bodies. Unless the Q manage to help us in this situation, I fear that our galaxy will cease to exist within less than 50,000 years," said a very tall Iconian male, who seemed to be the leader of the board of scientists.
"What is our biggest obstacle to overcome in order to correct the orbits of these stars?" asked Kerrin.
"The first obstacle to overcome is their own gravity wells. The stars have moved close enough to each other to cause them to be drawn into each other's gravity. We have to find a way to stop them from moving toward each other, and move them away from each other instead."
Another member at the table spoke up and said, "If we were able to stop the stars from colliding then the next problem would be how to get them back on their relative courses. As of now, we don't know how to do that."
Kira was looking at the display before him in dismay. No matter how often he tried to run different scenarios through his mind, he couldn't find one that would have the outcome that he wanted. Frustrated with the situation before him, he decided that he needed to get away from all this talk. Perhaps if he were left to his own devices he'd be able to find a way to fix the problem on his own.
"Excuse me," said Kira, "but I think I need a small break."
Although the announcement was sudden, all in the room warmly received it. "I believe a break would be in order," said the tall Iconian leader. "Let us take a couple of hours break to see if we can come up with anything on our own, and meet back here after lunch."
With that everyone in the room stood up and made their way towards the various exits. Kira didn't notice before that the room had more than one entrance. As he waited for the room to empty Kira cradled his head in his hands and tried to block out the world around him. Nige and Kerrin interrupted him after a few moments.
"Kira," said Nige, "Kerrin is going up to the bridge for a while, do you want to come with us?"
"Sure," said Kira, "anything will work as long as it's relatively quiet and has a sensor array I can tap into."
After another long walk back through the ship, they finally reached the bridge. Kira was motioned over to an empty console that resembled a science station. Kerrin immediately went to work in helping Kira to understand their systems, and within a few minutes the two were in heavy conversation throwing about ideas.
It was at that moment that they were interrupted by Tyran who tapped on Kerrin's shoulder and said, "Excuse me, uhh... Kerrin?" he asked. "Do Iconians have toilets?"
Kira suppressed a smile as he tried to continue his analysis. *Serves him right. he's been cracking jokes at my expense for awhile now.*
"Yes, we do." she said with a smile. "I'll get one of the crew to take you."
"Thank you." replied Tyran, more than a little embarrassed at his request.
As Tyran exited the bridge Kira and Kerrin continued to plod away at the data that lay before them. At this point neither of them could come up with a way to correct the stars trajectories.
More than a few minutes passed as the two talked in quiet tones. The doors to the bridge opened and Tyran and his Iconian escort walked through. Tyran immediately walked over to where Kira and Kerrin were standing and tapped on Kira's shoulder to get his attention.
"Um, Kira," said Nige, "I think I have an idea." Truth be told he had an idea, but it wasn't his own.
"What is it, Nige," said Kira as he continued to look at the data on the Iconian screen.
"What would happen if we reversed the gravitational constant?"
"What would happen if we what?" said Kira in a puzzled tone; most of his thoughts were bent on the data in front of him.
"What would happen if we reversed the gravitational constant?" repeated Nige. Q's idea to have him explain something on this level to Kira was foolhardy at best, as Nige really had very little idea of what Q's comment meant.
"If we were able to reverse the gravitational constant between the two stars they would repel each other versus attracting each other," said Kira absent-mindedly as he continued to process the data in front of him. Suddenly he stopped what he was doing long enough for his mind to process what he and Nige had been talking about. *Could it be that simple?* He turned his chair sharply and looked at Nige in a look that was mixed with admiration and surprise. "Say that again?"
Now Tyran was nervous, as he realized that not only Kira and Kerrin were looking at him, but the entire bridge crew of the Iconian ship seemed to be captivated by his conversation. "I asked what would happen if we reversed the gravitational constant, and then you said that the two stars would repel versus attracting each other."
"Tyran," said Kira in an excited, but very hushed tone, "we should have let you go to the restroom a lot sooner."
"Yeah," said Nige, "sometimes I surprise myself." When all this was over Tyran made a mental note to tell Kira about Q's suggestion.
"Kerrin, if we somehow managed to reverse the gravitational pull of these stars so that they repelled versus attracted each other, what would their resulting orbits be like?"
"Let's find out," said Kerrin as she punched some buttons on the console between them. In a brief moment the familiar view of the two stars orbits showed up, both the incorrect and correct orbit lines. "Here is what they are now, and here is what they should be. If we manage to reverse gravity here is what they would become," said Kerrin. In response a new set of lines appeared on the screen before them. After awhile the lines of the old orbits and corrected orbits crossed.
"If we can reverse the gravitational constant in this area of space for a period of two days the stars' courses would return to their normal stellar orbits. Now the only problem is how do we do it?"
"Could we use the ship's engines to create a stable, mobile warp field around the two stars?"
"The ship couldn't create a field that big, Kira. If we positioned ships around the stars at regular intervals and have them synchronize their warp fields, perhaps we could create a small pocket of space where gravity is inverse of what it normally should be."
"We'd also need one ship in the middle of the two stars in order to complete the blanket effect," said N'tieu, the captain of the ship who had until now been silently listening to the conversation.
"I agree," said Kerrin, "otherwise there would be a large area of disturbance between the two stars where gravity would continue in its normal course, the results of which could cause the stellar bodies to go supernova before they collide."
"The only problem is that we don't have the necessary power to create a warp field of that magnitude in the center ship. No ship that we know of has that ability," said N'tieu.
Kira looked at the display before him one more time and then said, "I can enhance the warp field with my own abilities, Captain. But, I'm not sure how long I could enhance the central field, and two days is an awfully long time to tax everyone's warp engines."
"Perhaps we could do it in a series of bursts?" said Kerrin.
"It would take considerably longer to do that," said Kira. "By that time the rest of the galactic core could be compromised as a result of the absence of the stars' gravity. At least it's an idea to work with. Tyran, how did you ever think of this?"
Caught off guard, Nige responded, "I'm full of surprises, I guess."
"Feel free to surprise me anytime you want," said Kira. "Let's grab something to eat and then get together with the rest of the scientists. Hopefully we'll be able to make this thing work."