The silent man, dressed in command red, sat easily on a bench on the upper level of the promenade on Deep Space Nine. From time to time, he looked up and down the curving corridor, a slight smile playing across his features. The smile became a wide grin when he saw a young woman and a small boy, around six years old walking towards him. As they neared, he stood up and swept the boy into his arms.

"And how's Jason today?" he asked, shifting the boy into one arm so they other could reach out and encircle the woman. "…and my lovely wife." He finished, shifting his gaze to her.

The woman smiled back. "Two weeks." She said, "and then on to the academy."

"Where," the man looked back at Jason. "Daddy is going to teach and will never have to be separated from you again." Jason beamed back at him, seeming unable to express his happiness verbally. The man let his son down and folded his wife into a deep embrace, culminating with a passionate kiss. Then, he whispered, "Two more weeks, Natalia, and it will all be over."

Finally letting go, he jogged down the Corridor, suddenly worried about being late for his assignment.

About an hour later, a type eight shuttlecraft departed DS9 and headed into the wormhole. Commander T'lyrander, DSI, had begun his last mission with Starfleet Intelligence. Checking over his to-do list, he made sure the delicate sensor SFI had installed was working properly, and then began active scans as soon as he left the wormhole, following a trail of odd particles that didn't normally show up on Starship sensors. The first week passed uneventfully but at the end of the seventh day, something odd happened.

"Particle trail has ended." The computer's voice rang in the narrow confines of the shuttle. Commander T'lyrander looked up from the book he was reading.

"Computer, confirm last message."

"Particle trail has ended."

The commander sighed. "Scan for any concentrations of the particles within sensor range."

"One concentration found, spherical, approximately one AU in diameter."

"Where?"

"Particle concentration is in System alpha 3y"

"Set course and engage at maximum warp."

"Course set, ETA is 3 days."

"Three days," he muttered, "lovely." The man settled back into a chair and thought back over the course that had led him to this point in his life. After being rescued from an Orion pirate - the only home he'd had - at the age of twelve, Tuusan Madrae T'lyrander had been adopted by a couple from Kansas in what used to be the United States of America. Growing up in a more rural area, Tuusan had been fascinated by their only neighbor, a kindly gentleman who also happened to be a pioneer of a form of neural science, specifically, neural programming. The study had captivated the young boy, and the gentleman, a Dr. John Gunther, had obliged the boy by allowing him to read through notes and books on the subject, and teaching him the rudiments of what he would need to know. When the boy was ready, Gunther taught him the 83 base synaptic pairs, the "language" of neural programming. When he was fifteen, a very proud Gunther pulled strings and Tuusan was given the opportunity to go to a research institute in Paris, by the time he entered Starfleet academy at the age of eighteen, he was qualified to perform procedures in this little known area of medicine.

At the academy, however, things changed. Tuusan decided he'd go for a tactical position, instead of medical, and adjusted his courses accordingly. Of course, that was before he met a man named Drake.