To be human is to be pure.

It was a family crest.

A man sat on what could only be described as a raised throne, where an enormous crowd stood as one in front of him. There were thousands of them, and they all thumped their own chests with their right fists and then extended their arms. As they extended their arms in front of them, parallel to the ground, they each splayed their fingers into the shape of a shark fin.

All were obedient, all were subordinate. They saluted as one. A man appeared, standing behind the one on the throne. The standing man touched the seated one's shoulder for a brief moment, and then bellowed, "All hail the Emperor Philip the Ninth!"

The scene changed.

There were millions of soldiers, marching and then saluting the same way. The technology seemed more primitive, and the yell was instead to hail Philip the Sixth.

Another scene change, and an even older Constitution class starship, by itself, quickly dispatched half a dozen Romulan war birds. Her captain saluted an image on a view screen, as did the whole of his Bridge crew. "All hail the Emperor Philip the Fifth!"

After the next scene change, there was a handsome fellow with a short haircut and a Rottweiler; the man seemed a bit bowed, as if he had recently suffered an unimaginable defeat. He made the self-same salute, but his eyes betrayed that it pained him to do so. He was most assuredly not feeling it. He addressed a viewer image as, behind him, stood a female Vulcan First Officer, a delta radiation-addled Chief Engineer, a sexpot of a sloe-eyed Communications Officer and a Denobulan doctor with a tentative Tactical Officer. There were MACOs standing guard in the back of the Bridge of that Constitution-class starship.

"We offer this gift," the handsome guy announced and swallowed, "of the Defiant, an advanced ship, to the Emperor Philip the Fourth. We trust we will be found worthy." He spat out the final word. "All hail!"

The Emperor nodded and, near the handsome guy, there was a red-shirted Head of Security, an Asian fellow with a dueling scar on his face. The Asian guy nodded back as he sat at the pilot's station on the Bridge.

The scene changes then occurred more quickly, and it was seemingly forward in time to another Constitution-class vessel, where there was a human captain, a different handsome fellow, and a male Vulcan First Officer and a Captain's Woman with others. A doctor, nervous and scared, stood near them. The doctor was shot as a female Vulcan Science technician stood behind a dark-skinned man.

The scenes melded together in a seething cauldron of change. There was bewilderment, and there was chaos, as oil portraits of emperors and one sloe-eyed empress all changed, from one set of faces to another, far different set.

And then, suddenly, there was an explosion.