You make a dive for the pistol, slapping it out of the imposter's reach just as he grabs for it.  The pistol spins across the floor, stopping at Suxie's feet.  You and Officer Parker's imposter tumble to the ground, fighting.  You take a heavy blow to the side of the head just as Suxie snatches the pistol and takes aim.

"Put your hands in the air!" she orders.

He backs off, raising his hands as he gets to his feet, then suddenly grabs you and pulls you into a chold-hold.  He holds you steadily between him and the pistol as he pulls a knife from a hidden holster.  He stares Suxie down, daring her.  "One false move, and your friend is dead!"

You and Suxie exchange glances.  Her eyes are wide with horror and indecision.  "Commander?"

"Continue on the alternate course," you tell her as the cool, sharp blade presses against your throat.

Suddenly, defiantly, Suxie's eyes shift back to those of your attacker.  "Why?"

"Why?" he repeats incredulously.  "You obviously have no idea the indignities we suffered!"

Suxie's lower lip begins to tremble, and you take a defeated sigh as you realize that her Esirian emotions are beginning to get the best of her.  "You want to talk about indigities?  Every last one of my people are "refugees"--wards of Space-Corp--because we don't even have a planet left to fight over!"

"Not my problem!" the man growls, his grip on you going so tight that the blade in your neck begins to lightly pierce your skin.  "The Gatgar-Nova war ends now!"

"I hope so!" Suxie cries, then aims her sharp eye and fires the weapon.

The electric force of the blast takes you both down.  Everything goes white as the hot, low-voltage current shocks through you.  Your body shakes in tight, painful spasms, your limbs useless.  Beside you, the Nova has returned to her natural form.  She convulses, her jaw tight and eyes wide, the knife still in her hand.

Suxie stands over you.  "Commander?"

"I'm okay," you manage to say, knowing the effects of the taser pistol would wear off soon enough.

"You're bleeding," she says.  Buzz meets her with the first-aid kit, and she dresses the knife wound on your neck.  "It doesn't look that bad, but I'm going to call a medic just to be safe." 

Suxie handcuffs the Nova, securing her to a bench near the airlock, then sends a message to Pandora's Hope.  You lie still, your heart still racing, feeling helpless as your thoughts go fuzzy and your eyes fall shut.

Wake up.