This episode seemed like a two-part episode. Many people noted as much when commenting on the episode, and… well, they were right. When I first envisioned “The Oracle of Ages” in the beginning of Season Two, the hunt for Illidan was originally destined to span two episodes—but that plot was reduced to a single episode when I was struck with inspiration for the episode “Gaiden.” The move complicated an already complicated episode, and as a result, a great deal of “The Oracle of Ages” wound up being deleted. Many of the deletions were made to simply shorten the episode, but the vast majority of the deletions came out of changes to the plot… Presented below are some of the more notable deleted scenes…
This scene was originally the first scene in the episode. I do believe that a very similar scene made it into the episode (as the first scene), but… there are some considerable differences. This scene was written early on in the process, and at the time, Illidan’s mind-haze played a much more considerable role in the episode. He didn’t know that Iconia was dead, and a lot of his short-term memories were also fragmented… His desire to restore his memory was originally the driving force behind his actions; he would ultimately travel to the Iconian Station to seek out a memory gem (the artifacts Erin found over the course of the series). This scene sets all of that up. Additionally, the episode featured a bit more of Talyere on the Aldaris; the Elorg featured in this scene are indeed Talyere and the Underling Tassadar.
It was bright. As his heavy eyelids parted, Illidan immediately became aware of this excessive illumination. He knew not the circumstances that called forth such a harsh lighting scheme—in retrospect, he could not recall much of anything—but one thing was certain… Illidan knew he was definitely not aboard his vessel.
He was in a room of some sort, and as his eyes slowly adjusted to the illumination, its many details became apparent. It was a small, rectangular room with stark gray walls and no windows. There was no door—just a door-sized opening that appeared to be blocked by a forcefield—and the furnishings were sparse, little more than two uncomfortable bunks and food slot. Though he could not be entirely certain, Illidan suspected he was in a holding cell.
To the best of Illidan’s limited knowledge, he had not committed any crimes. He was far from perfect, but he did not believe any of his infractions warranted such confinement—but as he glimpsed the few shadowy figures wandering on the other side of the forcefield, Illidan slowly began to suspect that his crime might have something to do with his lineage.
Illidan was an Iconian…
His captors were apparently Elorg. A pair of them stood behind the freestanding computer console on the opposite side of the forcefield, engaged in some inaudible conversation. It wasn’t until Illidan cleared his throat did they even notice him—and in that instant, every bit of the conversation evaporated.
The elder of the two Elorg immediately vacated the workstation. He was pale-skinned, with blazing orange eyes that were wide with curiosity. Illidan had never before seen an Elorg Overseer up close, but he knew they had a certain affinity for interrogations; he suspected those curious eyes were just the beginning.
The Overseer stopped a good meter from the forcefield. Hands clasped behind his back, he peered into the cell for a moment, undoubtedly sizing up Illidan for conquest—and Illidan immediately made it clear he would not surrender so easily. He quickly sent the Overseer an icy glare.
But the Elorg was unfazed. He simply shrugged aside the glare and asked, “What is the last thing you remember?”
There was very little force behind the inquiry—no impetus for Illidan to reply—but since his memories were little more than hazy fragments, he was tempted to do so nonetheless. “My vessel was in the Mavreean Segment,” he tentatively replied. Unfortunately, he couldn’t recall why the vessel was there… Something was definitely wrong.
The gray-skinned Elorg in the background instantly took note of Illidan’s reply. The underling must have been some sort of genetic aberration, because Illidan had never before seen such an oddly colored Elorg… And now that he was thinking about aberrations, Illidan had to admit, the structure of his holding cell was also curious.
The Elorg tended to construct elaborate and grandiose structures to commemorate the memory of their beloved Na’zar—but as he took in his bland surroundings, Illidan knew they were not of Elorg origin. “Where am I?” he demanded of his captor.
The Elorg shook his head, refusing to answer. “That is not your concern,” he stated.
Illidan begged to differ. “Did you capture this facility?” he tersely inquired. The Elorg had few allies to speak of, and Illidan was already familiar with most of their technology… But as he peered into the background, just past the aberrant Elorg, Illidan couldn’t even guess what backward culture’s text adorned the myriad consoles. “What is this place?”
“A holding cell,” replied the Elorg.
Much as Illidan had expected. “And why are you here?” he demanded.
The Elorg chuckled. “Actually, I am here to see you,” he said. “I wanted to ask you some questions about Rebena Te Ra—but apparently your memory is not what it used to be. My inquiry will have to wait.”
Illidan was only vaguely familiar with Rebena Te Ra—but he wasn’t going to divulge even a scrap of information about the world to the Elorg… Though it seemed the Elorg had already given up. “You are not much of an interrogator,” said Illidan. He was trying to keep his composure, but his fragmented memory was quickly becoming a major concern. What had happened?
Oblivious, the Elorg Overseer shook his head. “I was not interrogating you. If I wished to forcefully extract the said information, I would have done so during one of our previous visits.”
The sentiment gave Illidan a moment’s pause. The conversation might not have been an interrogation in the traditional sense, but he could definitely sense the Elorg was gently crafting some sort of mind game to draw out the information he wanted. Illidan wasn’t about to submit. “I’ve never met you before!”
“Of course,” said the Elorg, his voice cordial. Apparently the sentiment marked the end of the conversation, for the man gracefully turned on his heel and started to retreat… Obviously, it was some sort of interrogation tactic.
Illidan, however, wasn’t going to let the vile Overseer mess with his mind—and he subsequently bolted from his uncomfortable bunk and marched over to the forcefield.
The Overseer paused at the sound of footsteps, and briefly glanced back at Illidan to see what had transpired. “We will speak again later,” said the Elorg.
But Illidan had no interest in speaking with his most hated nemesis. Cordial as the interrogation had been, it was still an interrogation—and Illidan felt it was his duty as a prisoner to escape. And so he touched his hands to the forcefield.
The forcefield instantly shimmered blue, and intense waves of electric energy surged through Illidan’s body, forcefully willing him back into his cell. A lesser man might have retreated, but Illidan ignored the electric blue tendrils burning his hands—and with all his might, he shoved his arm through the field.
There was no turning back now.
Wave after wave, the potent energy surged through Illidan’s tingling body. His hearts were pounding like manic war drums, and his blood felt like it was about to boil. He could barely see through the crackling tendrils of energy whipping around his body, but Illidan did not allow that to stop him.
Using the vast energies pervading his body, Illidan focused his thoughts and shoved himself through the burning forcefield. The pain was excruciating beyond words, and as he stepped through to the other side, Illidan noted that most of his flesh had burned away in the process. He was blackened and charred, and oozing thick green blood all over the deck… But not even that was enough to stop him.
Shocked into submission by Illidan’s gruesome escape, the two Elorg simply stood still, utterly dumbfounded by the sight—but Illidan was not concerned. He could already feel his exoskeleton beginning to regenerate; in a matter of hours he would be restored to normal…
…And dozens of light years away.
Now that they finally realized what had happened, the two Elorg were at long last reaching for their weapons. The gray-skinned Elorg actually managed to get off a few decent shots, but Illidan—still recovering from his trip through the forcefield—didn’t feel a thing. He swiftly jammed his clawed fist into the Overseer’s jaw… and then used the good Overseer’s weapon to dispose of the Underling.
Ten seconds later, Illidan was free.
This was another scene that made it into the episode in a slightly altered state. It is essentially the same confrontation that Kendall had with Lucas in the finished version of the episode, but I changed it because I think it went too far. It came to the point where Kendall actually questioned his friendship with Lucas… and insinuated that he might ultimately turn against him—and I didn’t want to go that far with Kendall. I wanted to keep him focused on Alan as the source of his rage, so I altered the scene accordingly.
The ceiling in Kendall Johnson’s quarters wasn’t really all too remarkable. It was, for the most part, a dreadfully pale shade of gray—nothing particularly special about that—but for reasons unbeknownst to Kendall, the ceiling had somehow managed to hold his attention for the past several days. He could only assume that his bed was more comfortable than he previously thought, because he really had no inclination to leave it.
No inclination… and no reason.
After being relieved of duty by Captain Christopher six days ago, Kendall quite literally had nothing to do. For the past few months, much of his free time had been spent in the temporal science lab. Since that was no longer an option to pass the many hours of the day, Kendall found himself just sitting in bed.
At first, he tried to read up on the latest paleontological news; there was usually a steady stream of unique finds on Earth, but that was apparently not the case in recent months. Aside from a few pristine Propaleotherium skeletons, nothing of interest had been found—and so ended Kendall’s reading.
From that moment forward, he always planned to go running in the holodeck; it was great exercise, and he really did enjoy Neelar Drayge’s new program… But unfortunately, Kendall never got past the good intentions.
He just sat.
Until finally, six days later, his door chimed.
Kendall ignored it. He didn’t know who dared to bother him, nor did he really care. After six days, he was starting to enjoy his endless solitude. There were no status reports or responsibilities—nothing that could keep him away from his ceiling…
But the door chimed again.
Kendall clenched his jaw. “Go away!”
There was a momentary pause, and Kendall thought his visitor might have actually decided to leave—but the very second the thought crossed his mind, the door chimed yet again. And this time, it inspired a bit of action. Kendall sighed, wearily rolled out of bed, and slowly headed toward the door. “What?” he demanded.
The doors parted with a hiss, and Kendall glanced up to see Lucas Tompkins standing at the threshold. “Hey,” he said, inviting himself inside. He was utterly oblivious to Kendall’s mood. “I talked to the Captain this morning, and he says that you can return to duty…”
Kendall was hardly enthused. After six days of peace and quiet, he wasn’t really in the mood to go back to work. Besides, he didn’t really care what the Captain had to say. “Christopher couldn’t deign himself to come down here and speak to me?”
“Heh…” Lucas shrugged. “He’s a busy guy.”
“Oh, I can imagine,” Kendall icily replied. It must have been very difficult to sit up on the bridge and tell bad jokes.
The disdain in Kendall’s voice must have been more obvious than he intended, because Lucas actually picked up on it—almost a miracle in itself. “Kendall,” he said, “is there something wrong? Do you have a problem, or something?”
“No,” said Kendall, shaking his head. “There’s… there’s nothing wrong.”
Lucas frowned. He apparently didn’t believe a word Kendall had said—and for good reason, since none of that was true to begin with. “You sure?” he asked, offering Kendall a second chance to come clean.
Sensing that the conversation wasn’t going to end until he admitted to something, Kendall decided to take his second chance for redemption. “Fine,” he sighed, “maybe I do have a problem…”
“You want to talk about it?” Lucas hated to talk about feelings and things of the sort—but as the Starlight’s first officer, there were times when he didn’t have much of a choice.
This was one of those times, and Kendall was tempted to forge ahead with the conversation out of spite—but he wanted to discuss his problems even less than Lucas. So he shook his head and said, “No…”
But Lucas forced the issue. “Come on, Kendall,” he said, “I thought we were friends?”
“So did I.” A few years ago, Kendall would not have dared dispute the sentiment, but in recent months, he could feel their friendship growing more and more distant; there was never any sort of falling out between them… but things just changed.
But in his mind, Lucas didn’t see any of those changes. As far as he was concerned, their friendship was as solid as it had been all those years ago. “We are friends,” he insisted.
“I’ve… I’ve been off duty for six days,” said Kendall, shaking his head. “You didn’t stop by once!”
Lucas shrugged. “Hey,” he said, voice growing less pleasant, “you weren’t restricted to quarters. It’s your own damn fault you went into hibernation!”
Kendall was already shaking his head. He was no longer willing to accept the blame for every little thing that went wrong in his life—but he did have to keep things in perspective. Lucas was partially right… and he wasn’t the enemy.
At least not yet.
Kendall forced a wan smile to his face. “I’m sorry,” he lied. “The past week has been… well, it’s been pretty rough.”
The admission, shallow as it might have been, was more than enough to satisfy Lucas. He smiled and gave Kendall a stern pat on the shoulder. “We’ll talk about it later,” he said—and there might have been some truth to the sentiment. It was a first officer’s duty, after all. “Your shift starts in an hour.”
There were some serious motivators in that last statement. The sooner he was back on duty, the sooner Kendall could perfect his time travel techniques—and the notion of banishing Alan Christopher to some unspoken void in the space/time continuum brought a genuine smile to Kendall’s face. “I’ll be there,” he said.
While I really liked this scene, it was actually one of the first to get removed from the episode—simply because it was a reinforcement scene. It was not at all pivotal to the plot, and its purpose was simply to remind readers that Illidan had stolen a ship—and that ship didn’t have any temporal technology. The sentiment was already stated several times in the episode—most of the far more succinctly than in this scene—so in order to keep the shortened plot moving, this scene had to go.
Ever since the fall of the Romulan Empire, Starbase 23 had lost a lot of its strategic value. With the Romulan threat diminished, the outpost was simply sitting in the middle of friendly territory, far from the front lines of any conflict. In recent months, it had slowly been earning a reputation as a decent place to do commerce, but even that was apparently in doubt.
As he strolled through the station’s sprawling marketplace, Alan Christopher noted the population was somewhat sparse. There were plenty of Starfleet officers milling about—as one would expect on a Federation outpost—but aside from the three Orions mingling near the local pub, the mercenary population was virtually nonexistent. Christopher suspected that had something to do with Illidan and his continued theatrics.
“We had no idea a single Iconian could cause so much trouble,” said Captain Badaczewski, the station’s commanding officer. “Illidan’s first escape was about two months ago; he was quickly captured and returned to his cell, but escaped again three days later, assaulting five security officers and killing a Bajoran vedek. We subsequently moved him into a maximum security cell, and that appeared to be sufficient… until yesterday.”
Yesterday had been Talyere’s third meeting with Illidan. He had apparently hoped to get some data about Rebena Te Ra from the Iconian, and to the best of Christopher’s knowledge, the previous to encounters went without incident—but something must have changed since Talyere’s last visit. “What went wrong?”
Badaczewski shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know,” he admitted. “The security logs indicate Talyere approached the encounter exactly the same as before… However, Illidan had become mentally unstable in recent weeks. His memory had been fading and he was becoming increasingly ill tempered. That might have had something to do with it, but we have no way to be certain.”
Dozens of doctors had examined Illidan since his capture several months ago—and most of their scans were inconclusive. Illidan had been less than cooperative, a temperament that resulted in his unfortunate incarceration. “The Iconians were known as demons of air and darkness,” Christopher reminded, wandering past a pair of Bolians. “Perhaps the demons don’t enjoy being caged?”
“We did everything in our power to make Illidan’s stay pleasant,” said Badaczewski. “Unfortunately, he was not at all receptive to our efforts.”
“And now he’s gone,” said Christopher—and he had a very bad feeling about where Illidan was going to go, and what he was going to do once he got there. “How did he escape?”
Badaczewski paused near a small kiosk in the center of the marketplace and pointed to a highly disgruntled Ferengi near one of the docking ports. “That is Daimon Throg,” he said. “Illidan stole his ship not long after escaping from the holding cell. He is understandably upset about the incident.”
“Lovely.” Christopher forced a smile to his face. The ship that passed through the Yaraka Sector last year was a junky old freighter. They weren’t able to gather much information about the ship at the time, and since Illidan was already long gone, it was unlikely they would be able to gather much information about it in the near future. Christopher had no choice but to speak with the Ferengi about his ship.
Throg was very short, even by Ferengi standards. As he approached, Christopher felt like a giant, because he literally towered over the Ferengi. Throg also had the worst teeth Christopher had ever seen. Several of Throg’s grotesquely curved teeth poked through his lips even when his mouth was close (and that in itself was apparently a rarity, given that the Ferengi had been constantly barking orders to his thus far unseen crew).
“Excuse me,” said Christopher, “Daimon Throg?”
The Ferengi turned away from the docking port and craned his head upward to see Christopher’s pleasant face. “Are you from Starfleet Command?” he demanded, his voice utterly strident. “You’d better be, because I’ve been waiting for ten minutes to speak with someone about my ship! I’d like to lodge an official complaint with the—”
“I’m not from Starfleet Command,” Christopher politely interjected. “I just want to ask you a few questions about your ship.”
Displeased with the goings on in the docking port, Throg indolently shrugged aside Christopher’s request, and marched into the port. “Drimp,” he angrily exclaimed, “I told you to move those stem bolts an hour ago! Honestly, do I have to do everything around here?”
Not wanting to intrude, Christopher simply peered into the docking port. Since Throg’s ship was gone, it was little more than a closet, filled with several large storage containers and a large hatch that lead to nowhere. Drimp, a tall and lanky Ferengi, stood nearby, obviously confused. There wasn’t really anywhere for him to move those stem bolts.
“About your ship,” Christopher interjected before Throg had a chance to go off on some long tirade. “Anything you can tell me about it would be helpful…”
Clearly annoyed with the continued interrogation, Throg sighed and said, “It was damn expensive! Now get me someone from Starfleet Command! My profit margin is shrinking with each moment that passes!”
“Well, I hope you didn’t pay too much for that ship of yours,” Christopher politely replied. “It was destroyed.”
“Destroyed!” Utterly shocked by the sentiment, Throg’s eyes went wide. “What do you mean destroyed?”
Christopher thought he had been fairly concise, but apparently he thought wrong. “Destroyed… as in… it was utterly obliterated and blown to smithereens.”
“But…” Throg was breathing heavier now and the gravity of the situation forced him to sit down on the nearest cargo container. “But it’s only been three hours! How could it have been destroyed so soon?”
“Oh, it was destroyed last year,” Christopher calmly continued, fairly certain that Throg’s ship was the junker in question. He even flashed a polite smile.
“Last year?” exclaimed Throg. “What are you talking about? I just bought the ship last month! Are you saying it was a rebuilt garbage scow? The Yridians told me the ship was used, but I didn’t think they meant…”
Drimp was equally shocked, but at least he had an explanation: “Just remember Rule of Acquisition number 239, Brother! Never be afraid to mislabel a product.”
Shaking his head, Throg threw his arms into the air. “That one gets me every time.” He glanced up to Christopher, still shaking his head. “Small print leads to large risk… Rule of Acquisition number 8.”
Christopher wasn’t about to explain to the Ferengi that Illidan was actually going to use their ship to travel back in time. Somebody else could do that later on. “Now… about your ship?”
Throg was a bit more receptive this time. “It’s nothing special,” he grumbled.
“No temporal technology?” asked Christopher.
The Ferengi laughed. “Temporal technology? That ship didn’t even have a warp drive when I bought it from the Yridians! I doubt the thief will get very far—even with a warp drive he won’t be able to go much faster than warp three…”
“You’d be surprised,” said Christopher. Illidan was apparently a very resourceful man. If he could escape from a maximum security holding cell and steal a ship without getting caught… he could undoubtedly make a junky old freighter crack warp four. “Thanks for your time, Daimon.”
He sighed. “Don’t mention it…”
“A Security Breach”
The Romulans were another facet that got removed when “The Oracle of Ages” became a one-part story. Though I desperately wanted to keep Tomalak and Jerras in the story, changes in the shortened version of plot no longer made it necessary for Illidan to return to the Pretorian Cluster; Illidan was no longer seeking a memory gem, so he obviously didn’t have to cross into Romulan space to go and get the gem. Thus, the scene was deleted.
Status report…” Praetor Tomalak strode onto the bridge of the Tirex feeling both calm and rested—despite the fact his summons came at a most inconvenient hour. It was the middle of the night, and while Tomalak was typically early to rise, he very rarely found himself milling about this ship at this early hour… He wasn’t even certain which hour it was, but it certainly felt early.
Commander Jerras stood in the center of the bridge, her bright silvery eyes seemingly glued to the wealth of data streaming across the helm. She had been to one to summon Tomalak from his slumber—and having served with Jerras for so many years, he knew that she did not act without reason. “The forcefields around the Iconian Station are fluctuating,” she said, not bothering to glance up.
Tomalak didn’t blame her. Since its discovery several months ago, the Iconian Station had not been very forthcoming with its secrets. In fact, there was no known technology—Romulan or Federation—that was able to penetrate those forcefields. As such, these fluctuations certainly warranted every bit of Jerras’ attention.
“Do we know what is causing these fluctuations?” Tomalak inquired as he approached the helm. He knew that one of the Federation’s temporal experiments activated the station’s defense mechanisms a few weeks ago. This might have been something similar.
But Jerras shook her head. “There is no obvious cause,” she said, still studying the data.
“Can our sensors penetrate the field?” asked Tomalak. Even though the cause of the disruption was unknown, he knew it would be unwise not to take advantage of this weakness, no matter how fleeting.
Jerras swiftly tapped a few commands into the computer, hoping to delve deep into the Iconian computer core—but it was obvious that her attempts were met with failure. “Sensors cannot penetrate the field,” she surmised, quickly muting the wailing alarms.
Not quite sure what to make of the situation, a pensive Tomalak seated himself in the command chair. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was some sort of naturally occurring phenomenon, or something much greater. Unfortunately, since the Iconian station was such a thorough mystery, he couldn’t even begin to guess…
But then there was another sensor alert, this time from the tactical station. Though Tomalak didn’t think his reaction slow, it paled in comparison to Jerras’ quick response. She bolted away from the helm at the speed of light, her silvery eyes immediately falling upon the tactical station. “What is it?” she demanded, her fiery voice echoing throughout the bridge.
The tactical officer, a competent young woman by the name of Tavar, was equally hasty in her response. “An unknown vessel just entered the Pretorian Cluster,” she reported.
“Armaments?” asked Jerras, hands on her hips.
Tavar shook her head. “Minimal,” she stated. “The vessel appears to be a freighter of some sort…”
“A freighter?” Tomalak repeated, arching a curious brow. Since the discovery of the Iconian station, any ships approaching the Pretorian Cluster were subjected to intense scrutiny; Tomalak found it highly unlikely a meager freighter would be granted access to the region. “Are you certain?”
“Yes,” said Tavar, though she checked the data a second time just in case.
Though he was displeased, Tomalak didn’t have a chance to voice his concerns about security in the Pretorian Cluster. In fact, even before he could think about his response, the deck began to rumble. It was nothing major, but it was certainly a distraction.
For a moment, Tomalak suspected the Iconian station, but when he glimpsed the ivory fortress on the viewscreen, it was unchanged. The immense structure still hung in orbit of the glaciated planet known only as NGC 70741, much as it had for the past few months.
Tomalak was certain that no other ships managed to gain entry to the Pretorian Cluster—and with that in mind, the process of elimination thusly pointed to the enigmatic freighter…
Staring at the data flitting across the helm, Jerras was equally perplexed. “Somebody must have enhanced the freighter’s engines,” she said. “The edge of the Pretorian Cluster is more than six light years away. That ship shouldn’t have been able to reach our position so quickly…”
“But it did,” Tomalak grimaced—just as the vessel crept onto the viewscreen. “Prepare to open fire…”
Though it looked slow and vulnerable, the mysterious freighter very swiftly darted around the Tirex, shooting ragged beams of crimson light across the warbird’s bow. Unfazed by the explosions rippling across its hull, the much larger warbird fired back, striking the freighter with a single ray of verdant death. The entire aft section of the freighter thusly exploded, but that did little to stop the vessel’s forward motion. It easily evaded the subsequent disruptor beams, and darted toward the Iconian Station with incredible speed—leaving the slower, less maneuverable Tirex in the dust.
This was the scene that initially inspired me to change the whole memory gem plot thread—because while the scene is well written and everything… it just wasn’t working in the plot department. I couldn’t really find a satisfactory way to explain how the memory gems somehow got stolen from this impregnable Iconian station, and scattered throughout the timeline. As is evidenced in this scene, I tinkered with the idea of having Rutanian mercenaries steal the memory gems (and then have the mercenary sell the gem to Erin in “Monarch on the Shore”), but… we already know that Rutanians aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, so it’s unlikely they would be able to break into the station to steal the gems in the first place. Additionally, the Iconian Station wasn’t even discovered until Season Five, and Erin had collected all of the memory gems by the middle of Season Four. So the timelines didn’t fit… Thus, it was back to the drawing board.
The very moment he escaped, Illidan knew the path before him was a difficult one. He fully expected to confront his newfound adversaries on the battlefield, but he had been under the impression that his old allies would also be there to back him up.
He was wrong.
As he headed into Iconian territory, Illidan was instead greeted by a species known as Romulan. Never before had he heard of this culture, but apparently they now roamed freely in the heart of Iconian space. Illidan could only think of two possible conclusions: either every last star chart in his mind was dead wrong, and he was, in fact, nowhere near Iconian space… or the Iconian Confederation simply ceased to exist.
Both sentiments were disturbing, but considering the lingering haze in his mind, Illidan was tempted to believe the former of the two possibilities. Either way, there was something very wrong, and it was Illidan’s hope that Dycoron Station would provide some answers…
The station was abandoned. For reasons completely unbeknownst to Illidan, it seemed that last person evacuated the station, leaving it in shambles. There was not a single Iconian to be found, neither dead nor alive. As such, the station was bathed in darkness…
Those Romulans could have been responsible. Though he glimpsed only a few of their ships, Illidan saw enough to be moderately impressed with their firepower… The Romulans could undoubtedly provide the Elorg a considerable challenge, but they didn’t seem strong enough to defeat the entire Iconian Confederation.
The answers were out there… But Illidan was not willing to waste his time wandering in darkness to find them. Thus, he headed straight for the command center, located in the dome at the top of the highest tower.
The command center was a fairly modest structure. Gentle beams of ashen starlight cast a faint glow upon the large, circular station in the center of the room. From there, Illidan suspected he could control almost every aspect of the station, from its impressive tactical array, to the massive gateway that loomed on the far side of the room.
Eager to get started, Illidan climbed the short flight of stairs leading to the massive workstation, brushed aside the thick layer of dust clinging to the interface, and…
He didn’t do a thing.
Instead, he just glared at the controls in a state of complete and total confusion. Despite his considerable military service, Illidan quickly discovered had no idea how to operate the console… The controls were unfamiliar, the interface barely comprehensible—in fact, it was barely recognizable as an Iconian design.
…The memory gem…
Illidan summarily realized that he needed to consult with it, now more than ever… He knew not if the sacred artifact would bring about a restoration, but at this point, he had no other alternatives. His mind was very quickly slipping away, and if he did not take action, things would only get worse.
The sacred artifacts were stored in the sanctuary. Illidan knew there was a possibility the Iconians took the artifacts with them when they evacuated, but considering the rest of the station was left intact, there was a chance the memory gem was still there. Thus, Illidan stumbled back into the turbolift in search of salvation…
Several minutes later, he arrived.
But the sanctuary was not what he expected. The room was in shambles. Large pieces of twisted metal hung from the ceiling, ash and soot littered the floor… it looked like a bomb had exploded. So extreme was the damage, Illidan couldn’t even envision what the sanctuary might have looked like in its prime…
As he stepped inside, the thick carpet of debris crunched beneath Illidan’s booted feet. Some primal instinct told him that the memory gem was gone, but Illidan would not flee until he saw the empty tabernacle for himself.
It was located atop the dais in the back of the sanctuary, bathed in dark shadows. From this distance, Illidan could only see a vague outline of the ornate chest—but it was clearly damaged. Eager to see the extent of that damage, he hurried through the debris, easily climbing over the charred remains of fallen bulkhead before ascending the short flight of stairs that led to the dais.
Though it was dark, Illidan could see enough to realize that the tabernacle itself was not very badly damaged—but it was open—and the memory gem was nowhere to be seen. Confused, concerned, and now angered, Illidan stepped closer to the empty box… But he ventured no more than a couple of inches before his foot fell upon something that didn’t quite feel like debris—it was soft.
Curious, he glanced down to identify the obstruction—and it didn’t take long for Illidan to realize it was a body. Though it was somewhat decayed, enough of the bright orange flesh remained for Illidan to know that the intruder had not been an Iconian. It looked more like a nymph than anything else… And while the alien species was unknown to Illidan, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the alien (and his more fortunate companions) had taken the memory gem…
Thus, Illidan returned to the command center to begin his retrieval efforts. Iconian sensors were powerful beyond words, and it didn’t take long for him to stumble upon something of interest…