Episode IV: The Battle of Wolf 359 (part two)
by Justin Lindsey Allman

III: Two weeks later at Starfleet medical.

"...So anyone with any kind of naonoprobe infestation has been kept here for a minimum of two weeks for observations." Jubae smiled as she set a series of small containers out in front of Chartreuse, who laid comfortably in a hospital suite.

Tall narrow windows opened up into the evening sun on the bay of San Francisco, and from the Marin peninsula they could see the sleek and powerful skyline of the most important city in the galaxy. Subtle chirps ran through the room and sung like quiet birds about Chartreuse's physical state. A peaceful quiet chorus on a lazy warm afternoon.

"Thank you, Dr. Bova. I really appreciate the visit, and ..." she opened up the first plain looking container and smiled at the Andorian doctor, "You shouldn't have."

Jubae smiled back, and placed her cool hand on Chartreuse shoulder and said, "They were sent directly from your parents, so don't thank me."

"They couldn't have gotten them in here without hospital approval."

"Who said anything about getting approval?" The Andorian gave a blue lipped smile.

"Is that Ba'Taul?" came Faulkner's voice from the open entrance.

"Adam!" Chartreuse perked up.

The young man drew out a bouquet of brilliant crisp flowers from behind his back and walked into the room, "I picked these up from a florist on Divisdero. She actually grows them. They aren't replicated."

The young engineer took the bouquet and held it like a baby, "They are beautiful."

Doctor Bova stepped away and moved back toward the entrance to the room, "I have a few more patients to see still. I will talk to you later Chartreuse."

"Thank you again, Dr. Bova." The blue haired beauty smiled.

"Ensign," the Andorian nodded to Adam and began to leave the room.

"Wait." Adam stopped her and drew her attention to his rank pips on his neck. There sat not only the Gold Circle of Ensign, but also the onyx pip that showed Adam Faulkner had been granted a promotion.

"Lieutenant." Jubae corrected herself and smiled richly, "Congratulations."

Faulkner smiled at the doctor then moved towards the woman he loved. He knelt down beside the bed and moved the flowers away. He looked into the young engineers crafted eyes and felt a rush.

"I spoke with your father today." Faulkner said tooling at one of the blooms of the bouquet.

"Why?" She hadn't told her family yet of her feelings toward Faulkner.

"I am not genetically compatible, and therefor not an appropriate consort for a member of the ruling administration of Coridan." He quoted.

Only the sting of tears could reply for her. Adam reached out his hand and touched her beautiful and soft face.

"But, if I were willing to undergo a gene manipulation to correct my few 'flaws' just prior to marriage, then he would allow it."

"Oh Adam, I couldn't ask you to do..." She sat forward and came close to him, "Just prior to marriage?"

He drew out a small ring with a single brilliant stone set in the band. It was a dilithium crystal from her home world, a ring that he could have only gotten from her family.

"My mothers..."

"If you would do me the honor," the newly pronounced lieutenant junior grade dropped to one knee, "I would ask that you marry me."

Chartreuse looked stunned as Adam took her hand and slipped the ring onto it. She smiled as tears welled up in her eyes and she embraced her fiancée as the flowers fell to the ground and the golden light of the sunset bathed the lovers.

Tien sat patiently in the center of a conference room. He had been here for the last seven days, trying to explain just what he had done. He had gone over several texts, and several computer models of what the virus might do now that it was in the hands of the Borg.

They had treated him well enough and he hadn't been considered under arrest. There was no charges filed, and he made no protest. He had been sequestered from the rest of the world and there was seriousness about the men and women that were interviewing him. It gave him a horribly guilty feeling.

He hadn't realized what he had done at the time. He had no idea that he had committed an act of treason. He only wanted to survive.

The doors slid open and a single Vulcan male walked in. He was tall, thin and pale. He wore an admiral's uniform and held one of the highest ranks is Starfleet. He was Admiral S'Kay of Vulcan.

"Ensign, you will now be released. However, you are to understand this: The virus that you uploaded was considered contraband. Captain Hansen knew this, but believed that it was a viable option at the time. We will not debate his decision. On orders of Starfleet command to you are not discuss this with anyone. And if you have any further contact with the Iconian virus you are to delete it and report your findings to Starfleet."

Tien nodded and stood up, "Sir, how bad was it, how many?"

"Thirty-nine ships, eleven thousand lives."

There was no more need to speak. It had all been said in the last seven days. Had he not uploaded the virus the fleet would have been able to retreat, and the loss to the Federation would have been minimal. Now the fleet was weakened, The Borg were more capable than before, and not even the crew of the Enterprise would be able to stop them next time.

Dan had done what no one else could do.

Amanda sat looking out onto the bay toward the bridge, the golden light ebbing into the sea and casting a brilliant hue onto the Golden Gate Bridge. The Borg had been stopped and the Earth had been saved. Though not as mighty as it once was, the Federation still stood strong.

She turned back to her hospital bed and began to put away the few trinkets that she had acquired in her last few weeks here. She put away cards wishing her well, and several chips of recorded messages from survivors of the Agincourt.

Her nanite infestation had been removed, and the scrapes and bruises smoothed as if they had never been. But the scar the Borg left was not only physical. Craig had been lost somewhere in the depths of that synthetic hell. It was a wound inside her. And even though she didn't know most of the people that had died, her heart swelled with sympathy for the eleven thousand that had walked the same beach that she had, and not survived. Kirk sat back onto her bed and began to cry for thousands of voices that had been silenced.

"Amanda." Came a familiar and welcome voice.

"Elizabeth." She replied but didn't rise up.

The Counselor twin of Amanda walked over and sat beside her.

"I don't want to talk."

"I know you don't. I just came to say that T'Kimn, and Savvik have received your flight plan and will greet you as soon as you arrive." Elizabeth sat beside her sister and shared the liquid gold sky.

"It's not my fault."

Elizabeth didn't understand.

"The Tetsuo-Shima. I did all that I could."

"I know you did."

"You always knew, it was me who didn't." Amanda looked into her sister's eyes.

"Commander Kirk." Came a voice over the intercom.

"Kirk here."

"Commander Kirk, you are to report back to Utopia Planetia immediately."

Kirk acknowledged the order and was sure that her mail would have the written specifics. She turned to her sister with a quizzical look on her face, "A promotion? I hardly think that's appropriate."

"Well I do. You escaped from the cube and brought your people home."

But not all of them. Amanda thought to herself. Elizabeth always had the right words. Amanda just watched the sun set across the city by the bay. It was the end of the day; the end of a long burden that she had bore. It was the end of many things, but as she turned to her sister she also knew it was the beginning of something new.

With a new understanding of herself and her world Amanda gained a perspective often reserved for much older beings. A sense of mortality, and with it a sense of joy. She could make a difference, but some things she could just not stop. She could save six, but not seven. And though Craig had died, she hadn't killed him. It released her of a responsibility that she had unnecessarily worn about her neck, for the loss of her crew so many years ago. And with that new freedom it granted her a place in the universe. She now felt complete.

A new Kirk, a new crew, a new legend would now begin....

Epilogue

The wind was screaming defiantly across the frozen tundra, an alien sky hidden by the blinding white storm. Horrific winds carried scatter shot ice and snow battering against the blue figure standing defiantly in the blizzard.

Jubae reached out with all her might and drew out of the ice pack the small animal that she had been stalking. She held it in her steel grasp and its scent intoxicated her. The wind and snow beat down upon her naked flesh, her primal self exposed in the torrent tempest.

The small creature struggled clawing and biting at her flesh. She squeezed a bit harder for a second then tossed it back into the cold snow-covered tundra. She then stood tall in the storm, and reached up to the sky that she couldn't see. Grasping at something intangible, finding solaces amongst the stars.

Credits:
Written and Illustrated by Justin Lindsey Allman
Edited and Proofread by Jacob Hensel
Produced and developed by Justin Lindsey Allman & Jacob Hensel

(Ambassador graphic original was from sci-fi art .com
All other starship art was from original television footage)

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