Author's EDIT Note: I made a few minor changes, really no big deal. Carry on.

Author's note: Okay, so without giving any plot points away, I just want to remind everyone that this is a prologue and is totally not what you think. Next chapter, elaboration. This chapter, let the minor confusion take you for a ride.

Until then, happy reading!

Prologue: The Final Frontier

His lungs burned with exertion, his muscles ached from fresh bruises – but he would not stop. The metal briefcase tucked under his arm was a hefty reminder of what should come to pass should he not escape. Failure was simply not an option.

His own footsteps, muddled by the cavernous halls of the starship, blended with his pursuers, his captors, undoubtedly his would-be executioners. If they caught him again, not even the phaser on his hip would protect him from His wrath.

No, don't think. Run, just run.

Essentially, he could run like this for hours without tiring – but that would be when he'd been at his peak. Weeks of malnourishment had left him gaunt, a shell of the man he's once been, and brutal sessions of torture had left him shaken, weak from pain.

The escape shuttle was 500 yards away.

Freedom was 499 yards away.

He pushed harder, willing himself to go faster. His blood roiled with exhaustion, his vision tunneled with the desperate need for more oxygen.

Breathe. We're almost there. Breathe.

He rounded the corner past the engineering center, his prize finally in sight. A B-12 regulation shuttle, but this one was different. Week after arduous week, time had been spent making the preparations, upgrading the hull, re-outfitting the thrusters, sequencing long lines of transpondent-warp codes, codes that wouldn't be invented yet for years, perhaps decades. It was a model to marvel at – likely the most advanced ship in its time, and simultaneously a dinky escape-pod.

It deserved better.

Shots rang out all around him. Some of the lasers even grazed him, leaving behind seared trails in his black body suit, charring flesh and scorching blood on already bruised skin. He did not allow himself the leisure of passing out. Pain, he told himself, was just a momentary sensation.

He counted the seconds.

Five. Four. Three. Two-

An explosion tore a decent sized hole out of decks two and three, reverberating through the cruiser and rattling eardrums with its deep bass and solid boom. For a tense minute, the whole ship shuttered as life-support struggled futilely to generate more oxygen to compensate for the sudden loss of cabin pressure and exponential leak. The hangar lights dimmed minutely before the reserves kicked in.

"Status report now, I want ship-wide lockdown," the first officer's voice was sharp and loud over the sudden chaos of the ship.

No, don't look back.

He was at the shuttle in an instant, throwing himself inside as quickly as possible and sealing the hatch. Gasping against a sudden swell of relief, he touched the metal walls between him and his tormentor. His other hand traced the ridges on the case; the easy part was over, now came the hard – actually escaping.

The controls were as he'd remembered, painfully simple as if children piloted these. It only took a minute before the communications were flashing; he engaged.

"—You listen to me right now you goddamn son of a bitch, the bay doors are closed and that's exactly how they're going to remain. Surrender, or so help me —,"

"As always it has been a pleasure, James," he hissed vehemently, suddenly feeling all his hatred rush to the forefront of his mind, "and I assure you if we ever cross paths again I will personally exterminate your entire crew. Alas, I have more important matters to attend to."

He terminated the transmission.

Just outside the hull, a certain first officer inwardly gnashed his teeth behind a façade of indifference.

"Sir, systems are malfunctioning," a nameless cadet blubbered, staring wide-eyes at a report tablet. The FO merely glared at the shuttle in response, attempting to school his features back into typical Vulcan passiveness.

A beat, and then, "Evacuate the loading docks."

"But, sir-!"

Spock stared coldly down his nose at the underling, silencing him with a look of murderous promise. He replied measuredly, "You have your orders. I will not tell you twice."

The Commander will not be pleased.

At the other side of the glass doors, the search party watched with horrifically grim expressions as their prisoner escaped. He'd planned perfectly, undoubtedly strategizing with an inside informant for months prior. The monocle failure, the bomb, the system virus. And now Spock would have to answer to the Commander for this breach of security, for this incredible obstacle in what had once been an air-tight plan.

As the shuttle disappeared into the vacuum of space, Mr. Spock decided to call it.

"Issuing warrant: red card, level 9, on escaped felon Khan Noonien Singh."

No, the Commander will not be pleased at all.