The Ends of the World, Prelude ---- In a void of pure white, as one might perceive it: "We are of Bajor," said a voice, one of many. "And I am Q. Of Q. Tell me, is old one-punch Ben here?" asked an annoyed older man, coming into view. "The Sisko has always been here," came the reply. "Don't give me that poppycock. You're beyond time, or above time, but you still perceive it. If not, well... we wouldn't be having this conversation. Now, where is 'The Sisko'?" Q formed completely, in the latest style of a Starfleet admiral. Behind Q formed the person of Captain Benjamin Sisko, in an old-style Captain's uniform. "Right here, Q. Are you ready for round two?" He stood there sternly as Q laughed. "Don't be so naive, Benny. No sucker punches today. I need you and your Prophet friends for a little issue I'm having." "The Prophets do not meddle in the affairs of men." "You'll want to meddle here. It concerns an associate of ours. Jean-Luc Picard." --------- La Barre, France, 2390 Retired Admiral Picard tended to his vineyard. A small beard, an affectation he was trying, was closely worn to his face, bemusing the Romulan caretaker with a similar affectation. "Not shaving anymore, Jean-Luc?" he was asked. "No need, Zhaban. It works for you, it can work for me. As long as I don't end up looking like a tramp." Picard chuckled at his reference that Zhaban didn't quite understand. Just then, a small saucer appeared overhead, blinding both Zhaban and Picard. "What the?" Picard looked up at the magnificent vehicle. "You can't park here!" He said, as the saucer landed and a lone traveler emerged. The man was disheveled, with a crazy beard and a wild look in his eye. "You are... the Picard?" he asked, the UT struggling to comprehend. Picard looked at the man confusingly, as Zhaban took a defensive stance, scanning the visitor for any offensive weaponry. The man lunged at Picard, and was knocked out cold by Zhaban with a simple staff. "Should we call the Gendarme?" Picard shook his head negatively. "Give our visitor a bed, and search his ship." ------ Paris, France, 2190 "And the Coridanites refused to pay the Orions, and now a sort of cold war has broken out between the two planets." President Jonathan Archer's longtime aide and confidant, Ambassador T'Pol informed him. "Why do we care? They're neutral planets, and we're supposed to be neutral to their concerns, per the Vanderbilt treaty." Archer strained to read the monitor, even with his new adaptive spectacles. "The Orions control the trade routes out of Rigel, and if a war breaks out, the Rigel Colonies will get involved. And they are a Federation protectorate, which will drag us into a war." "Keep me apprised." This was Archer's code to end the briefing. T'Pol nodded and left. Archer's face soured as he caught his reflection in the now blank monitor. As a Vulcan, she had barely aged a day since serving as his first officer almost forty years ago, but he was 78, with a full head of white hair and more wrinkles than he cared to. He relied on a cane, and had trouble with that. Next year, he would finally retire and leave the Coridanites and Orions to their own devices. "Trouble in paradise?" came an oddly familiar voice in the secured room. Archer swung around and saw a hauntingly familiar face. "Daniels?! You're supposed to dead!" Temporal Agent Daniels sighed. "That's three-dimensional thinking, Captain... President. And I kinda wish you didn't tell me that. ... Anyway, I have one last mission for you. For a man of your achievements." Archer stood up strongly and stared down at the young man, looking the same as he did the day he died 36 years ago. "Whatever it is, we had a deal. Take your Temporal Cold War elsewhere." "This isn't a war. Well, not quite. It's a rogue agent who's done quite a bit of damage to the timestream. And he's my mentor. I need you to stop him. He goes by the codename of Lazarus." -- Captain's log, stardate 5793.5. We are entering orbit around Delta Vega. The grave of my greatest friend. The Edoan navigator manipulated the controls with his three arms, as he responded to his Captain's log. "Is this not where your former navigator tried to kill you?" "It is, Lieutenant. But don't get any bright ideas. Gary went... mad with godlike power. No man could survive with that much power. Which is why you are to steer clear of the energy barrier." "Yes. Captain." As the ship entered orbit, a D7 battle cruiser decloaked. "It's the Klingons!" shouted Lt. Sulu. "Shields up. Onscreen," Kirk responded calmly from his chair. A stern figure appeared. "I am Commander K'vort of the Klingon Empire. This planet and its system are subject to Klingon law. Starfleet is not welcome here. Per the Organian Treaty, I give you four hours to..." "Cut communications," Kirk signalled to M'ress. "Suggestions?" He asked his crew. "The Klingons are likely here for the secrets of the galactic barrier," responded First Officer Spock. "Their ship will be blown to pieces if they try to cross it!" shouted Sulu. "Perhaps, but we crossed it, and lived to tell the tale." "At a steep price, Captain. And if just one of those Klingons has a high enough ESP quotient, he'll gain the same powers that Gary Mitchell gained, and would doom the galaxy." Spock raised an eyebrow, but otherwise remained still. "Noted. Raise communications. Klingon ship. This is Captain James T. Kirk of the United Star Ship Enterprise. We are on an historical fact finding mission. The Delta Vega station is an old Earth outpost, and out of reach of the Klingon Empire. I suggest you reread the treaty. In other words, we were here first, gentlemen. Long, long ago." Mr. Spock stared into his viewfinder. "The Klingon ship is powering weapons." "Evasive maneuvers!" As the Klingon cruiser prepared a volley of photon torpedoes, a beam shined out from Delta Vega, destroying the Klingons and blinding the bridge crew momentarily. A figure stood alongside Kirk. It was Gary Mitchell. "What have you done, Jim?! You've doomed us all!" Before Jim could respond, he placed his hand on his shoulder and they both vanished. - Rura Penthe, 2293 Kirk swung the pickaxe with ease, as McCoy grumbled. "What's wrong, Bones? It's just like swinging an axe." "What's wrong? What's wrong?! Are you out of your mind? We've been falsely accused, tried for a crime we didn't commit, and sent to a prison camp to die! I'm too old for manual labor. And these brutes will kill us. And..." McCoy stopped, as Kirk spun around. "And what..." he looked around in horror as McCoy stood there, frozen. The caverns were quiet as Kirk looked around. "Mon Capitan, funny meeting you here." Kirk scowled at the annoying man standing in front of him. Trelane removed his large French coat and gave a bow. "What are you doing here, Trelane?" "I'm here to save you from a mistake you made. Not this funny Klingon business... but something much more important. Let me ask you a question: What of Lazarus?"