Star Trek Voyager: Unreachable Light by FrancoJordan5618
Summary: An old proverb says: "When the woodland catches fire, everyone suffers, including the bear". After a 23-year journey across the Delta Quadrant, Voyager returned to an alternate reality in which planet Vulcan had been destroyed. Ten years later, crew still try to cope with discrepancies in their lives.

Section 31 leadership mulls over a legitimate concern: Was someone else out there seriously affected by the Narada's temporal rampage?

An ancient interstellar civilazation may have not been able to start "lighting-up" Neolithic cultures soon enough and another one may have begun eating their souls too early.
Categories: Alternate Universes, Voyager Characters: Ensemble Cast - VOY
Genre: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Adult Situations
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 15 Completed: No Word count: 45750 Read: 25131 Published: 13 Mar 2016 Updated: 30 May 2016

1. Chapter 1 by FrancoJordan5618

2. Chapter 2 by FrancoJordan5618

3. Chapter 3 by FrancoJordan5618

4. Chapter 4 by FrancoJordan5618

5. Chapter 5 by FrancoJordan5618

6. Chapter 6 by FrancoJordan5618

7. Chapter 7 by FrancoJordan5618

8. Chapter 8 by FrancoJordan5618

9. Chapter 9 by FrancoJordan5618

10. Chapter 10 by FrancoJordan5618

11. Chapter 11 by FrancoJordan5618

12. Chapter 12 by FrancoJordan5618

13. Chapter 13 by FrancoJordan5618

14. Chapter 14 by FrancoJordan5618

15. Chapter 15 by FrancoJordan5618

Chapter 1 by FrancoJordan5618
Whispers

Illumination turns on as she steps barefooted into an Art Deco aquarium hall, wearing a mauve cashmere sweater dress. Her graceful hands diligently operate Nazca patterns on a touchscreen console. Blurry/grainy black-and-white holographic footage rolls out a glowing cornucopian device.

The 3D visions display four hyper individuals toiling inside an orbital station with lucent walls. They ogle now-and-then at the class-L planet down below. They might be people or perhaps, watchful AI entities waiting for an inexorable event. A little one giggles and bounces off its curved structures.

"Holy mackerel! Excited as a squirrel on a trampoline", exclaims the Ocampan female in control of the image projector. She shifts her head slightly upward as her pointed-puffy ears take in a subspace query. "Aha! That's correct; another human remark to express amazement", she responds smiling at the cyber-jelly fish in the backdrop.

"Pulse Gaff online. Amplifying wave beam. Data recovery in progress", Kes resumes the cinematic recall behind the console. Her thoughts are log entries.

The glittery postern intensifies ahead of her. Kes senses an upsurge in suspense. The four beings halt their activities all of a sudden. Reobtaining knowledge is of the essence and she is there to ensure her generous hosts get it ...on time.

Characters' distorted voices die out as they spot a rocket module emerging out of the planet's dense atmosphere. The primitive capsule cruises their way. Three astronauts of unclear looks attempt their Species' first manned mission to outer space. Upside down, they look at the bluish mushroom swelling across a coat of sepia clouds. Kes attempts to attune for silver halide, but the photonic speck stays shallow and stars are trapped as brightly dots far away. The flick from a possible past goes on.

Mission Control: Commander Takhare; please start read-through.

"Propulsion,  Navigation, Devices... All good; my friends", Takhare replies assertively. He wrote the book on space travel, after thirty thousands hours as PIC in jet aircrafts and low-orbit missions.
 
Previous career accomplishments, regardless of importance, built numerous androgen receptors in his brain to fuel more testosterone. His coolness has reached all-out boldness as he takes a peek out the windscreen to picture Nimbus, the enigmatic satellite orbiting his planet. Nothing now can't stop him from grasping it.

Mission Control: Initiate DLP Projector...
"Calibrating for geometric distortions", Takhare adjusts the photogrammetric bundle to verify structural integrity. He ignores whispers coming from the backseat. On his right side, Taraga, the big copilot gesticulates and pronounces incomprehensible words.

She presses a push-button and an opaque vapor leaks, pelting surfaces to diffuse the high reflection emanating from the Sun. Her people carved the rocket module out of a single forged massive stone, made mostly of Diorite for hardness and agatized fossils for malleability. The alloy is agglutinated by the twinning action of hexagonal Beryllium crystals. There was no other way to negotiate planet's turbulent atmosphere.

"No worries! DLP Scan came out safe-to-fly. We won't disintegrate or anything like that", Takhare gaudily reports.
Kes can't get her attention away from the show.

Mission Control: Oh yeah? You got us on tenterhooks here. Telemetry and dynamic attitude look good. We're proud of you three. Please, proceed with caution.

Taraga gets hyped up by the news encoded in whispers. Her people believe wardens keep in Nimbus their righteous knowledge. Nimbus belongs to the planet and its wisdom shall be set free to spill over everyone.

"Walainaina piaki-papu ghatuqura" She mutters repeatedly.

"What's she mumbling about?" Takhare inquires.

"We'll meet the wardens of knowledge" a childlike voice responds from the back.

"Hah! I guess she's really eager to unlock them" Takhare infers.

Kes reflects on the astronauts' chat. Knowledge holds onto memory. She can talk from personal experience. If you become unable to remember stuff, you'll eventually get very confused about time, places and people. You may lose your past. She once got old and forgot leaving Voyager voluntarily. She thought crew had abandoned her. Rage pumped up in her heart. She jumped timelines and wreaked havoc with neurogenic energy. She hurt her own friends. If memory can twist anybody's life so bad, what would happen if an entire civilization loses its past? "Desolation!" she responds softly.

Mission Control: Hello! We're still here. What's going on up there?
"Heh heh-heh! We now got a better visual", Takhare interprets Mission Control's anxiety as hilarious.

Mission Control: Describe Captain...

"Are you guys serious? Spherical and unnatural as expected!" Takhare replies with his usual cockiness.

Mission Control: Captain Takhare!

"C'mon man! We'll update you on approach", Takhare can't comment on further, since details are not yet visible.

"Kohula-maqe pakaou-wawa" Taraga shocks him by going postal again.

"You all drive me wild with your wicked chinwag. She says", a kid interprets.

"She may want to save some of her oomph for her EVA" Takhare responds a little irked.

"Get-up-and-go", she told me in Basic Training her motto was.

Mission Control: How's Kiapo doing?

"Permutating his hexagon; whispering", Takhare takes a quick look. The boy is grabbing a head-geared doll with his armpit, while pivoting colorful polygons.

Mission Control: What about your favor cousin?

"You know her; staring at me", Takhare laughs about it. Kiapo whispers.

"Tiqanga Koanipreni" Taraga gives her Commander a warmly punch. Takhare pretends to rub his shoulder.

"You're incorrigible! She says", Kiapo translates.

Mission Control: All right! Stop messing around and initiate approach.

Takhare expresses intent with his eyes and uses sign language to impart Taraga his directions, based on primary flight indicators. She handles guidance and environmental gauges. Kiapo observes the warning panel. Taraga focuses on executing the navigation sequence. Control thrusters provide small torque impulse in three axes to stabilize the module. "Approach in progress", Takhare relates back to Mission Control.

"Fuel cells. Good. Batteries. Good", Kiapo thinks out loud playing with a few circuit breakers.

"Kiapo; careful with the audio controls" Takhare cautions. He's absorbed with schematics and switchboards.

"Commander; may ask you a question?" Kiapo sounds a little concerned as an indicator in the warning panel flicks for a split second.

"I'm somewhat busy with a capsule, a sphere, an inquisitive child and a giantess copilot on my side" Takhare teases. Kiapo feigns he's about to translate. "Don't whisper that", Takhare warns. Kiapo smirks. Taraga stares at both of them and makes a "what the heck is going on" gesture.

"Do you think we might find someone inside?" Kiapo ventures to ask.

"Sky spirits? Nah! Messenger; astromancer... all fairy tales", Takhare is almost sorry to put it in unadorned terms. Kiapo whispers. Taraga speaks gibberish with rare solemnity.

"The three champions were real. They saved us all. Taraga says", Kiapo clarifies.

"Yeah right! The three champions. Our cousins... they certainly have some good stories too. Look at that thing! It has been there for millennia. Who could live in it for so long doing nothing? You're a big boy now Kiapo. You can't just go around believing in all that nonsense", Takhare rants for a while.

"Okay! Maybe no Sky Spirits... but what about Goblins?" Kiapo wonders.

Takhare shakes up his head with a skeptical expression in his face.

Mission Control: Commander Takhare, floodlights...

"All right! Striking floodlights" Takhare replies hastily as he takes a quick look at Kiapo, who seems fended off by infrasound. The space capsule strikes with light a wider area of the sphere.

Mission Control: Commander, log in procedure...

"Logging it! Object reflects reddish impression", Takhare shudders a little.

Mission Control: Clarify...

Vision gets tinted. Kiapo sense activity inside the satellite. "Careful something goes on", he advises quietly. Takhare hears Kiapo's warning; but he can't take his attention away from operations. "Ahem! Not solid; surely not a rock. Shall we pursue EV", he inquires.
"I hear two boys chatting. I hear them!" Kiapo indicates thrilled.

Takhare knows Kiapo doesn't make things up. Taraga gets agitated. She hears their whispers too. "Boys?" Takhare asks himself.

"Mission Control! I think we're about to make contact"

Takhare informs against anything better to say.

Mission Control: Contact? With whom? Standby...

Kes gets shocked in her senses. Projection shrinks down to become a dark hole. She walks around the Pulse Gaff. Its gateway only shoots a foggy glow. Data recovery was abruptly cut short. The interruption was probably caused by the anomaly, the temporal wave behind so much divergence in timelines. She will have to readjust the Surveyor in order to map space-time. "Do you know what I hate the most? Running into these crazy happenings", Kes addresses her jelly-fish companions. Surveyor rackets event-horizons at lighting speeds. She poses her hand over her mouth.

"Major event. Soul Eaters; future lost. Borg/8472; present compromised. Alpha Quadrant's humanoids; past jeopardized. Executing intervention", Kes thinks log entries again. Her hosts listen from very far away.

Scorpions Strike Again

Species 8472 Fleet comes out of fluidic space and launches a surprise attack on Borg planets with devastating effects. Borg beams reflect off Fluidian hulls and blow away their own cubes. 8472 focusing ships amplify and direct energy provided by rings of bioships to destroy entire Borg planets. The Collective doesn't possess any know-how in current alternate reality to develop biological solutions against organic technology.

Borg Data lists a sole entry regarding bio-molecular weaponry provided by a Holographic Doctor in a Human vessel from a divergent timeline. Though Voyager's EMH is currently offline, Computer runs his daydreaming subroutine. The Doctor sits at ease on a mustard 19th Century French Porter's chair in front of an early 21st Century 75" Class LED 2160p Smart 3D4K Ultra-HD TV. He wears a black tuxedo while watching in quick motion a fat caterpillar inching its way up an orchid tree. The silkworm turns into a restrictive cocoon, before becoming a butterfly able to taste the nectar of burgundy leafs.

The Doctor hates peak lapels. He has always considered himself to be a shawl collar kind of EMH. "Is that Kes moving furniture around? He recalls her. Is she back? If that's so; she better be in a good mood. Las time; it was wild". She had a bright future in medicine, before deciding to go Super Nova.

8472 antibodies swiftly detect and destroy nanoprobes. "Borg Civilization faces extinction; so what, who cares about intergalactic party poppers?" The Doctor reflects. He can't keep looking at butterflies. He's a physician. He took the Hippocratic Oath. He could reprogram Borg nanoprobes to seek and kill 8472s antibodies. "Where is my sickbay? Where's the crew? He'll have a talk with Captain Janeway. He assisted Borg once; but, his invention, fell through the cracks of the Collective? He's fed-up with cyber indolence.

The Hive Mind can't infer space/time coordinates to pinpoint Human assistance in another timeline. A Borg cube manages to escape the Fluidian juggernaut.

"Hostiles detected! Species 8472 bioships. Cube 9-0-4! Deploy! Lay down course for Grid 351. Charge and fire weapons on sight!" Hive Mind commands.

"Negative! Unacceptable orders. Enemy vessels are organic. We must reprogram our weaponry with molecular facets. We require Humans", a female responds.

"Humans? Species 5618! One unverifiable entry on their collaboration", Hive Mind apprises.
"My entry... They assisted Borg once", the female voice summarizes.

"Not extant! Unauthenticated data! Cube 9-0-4; protect Borg actuality. Humans are problematic. State your designation", Hive Mind prompts. Nobody questions him; not even Borg Queens.

-"3 of 12 Secondary Subjunction Unimatrix 728", the same voice replies.
-"Defective drone! Bounded! Ineligible for Royal Protocol", Hive Mind concludes.
-"Negative! Unbounded! I terminated drone you chose for Royal Protocol. She was... redundant. I'm remarkable. I'm a Queen", a self-crowned monarch defies the Hive.
- "3 of 12! You are ambiguous. Unsafe! Unique! Your neural processor doesn't execute instructions. You're damaged beyond repair. Initiate fail-safe! Deactivate!" Hive Mind dictates orders in vain. The Hive can't control this Queen.
- "Your observations are immaterial. I don't like your Collective", her majesty is clearly attempting to depart from her Hive's demesne.
-"Cube 9-0-4! Cube 9-0-4! Drones unresponsive. Their thoughts can't be heard", Hive Mind reflects out loud.
-"Royal Protocol. Completed! I do hear my drones. Set conduit route to Species 2121 Wormhole. I require Janeway", Queen instructs her loyal drones.
Cube 9-0-4 perforates subspace to transwarp away from the battlefield, heading across Dominion space and towards the Bajoran Wormhole. Borg Queen partially comes out of a gloomy alcove pavilion. She has a plan.

Dreams

An older woman dreams in her bed. She sees vibrant montages of primeval rock art in caves. Hunters and farmers outstretch their arms below a flying ball. She can't tell who they are; but humanoids in wetsuits are holding bizarre tools. Peasants watch saucers clashing in the skies. Mosaics also portray furry beasts, scary demons, dappled horses with dark triangular mane and big eyed globular heads.

Our dreamer breathe heavily as she hikes up a flinty trail. She explores a cavern to find a cryo-stasis chamber holding people in gassy pods. She hears herself saying: "I'm not willing to just leave them living in stasis for another four hundred years". They get out of the cave after an auburn young lady; and spot a girl with curious ears running the crop fields. A Ferengi shuttle enters a turbid atmosphere.

Kathryn Janeway wakes up in slow motion; feeling her early morning routine elapsing in snapshots. She washes her face before the mirror and shyly takes a glance at her much older reflected self.

Computer: Captain Chakotay on viewscreen. Janeway rushes to the studio. Her heart pounds.

-"You look... did you get a good night sleep?" He cares about her.

-"The usual; thanks for asking... I'll see a Doctor today. I need a shot of nano-barbiturics or something. Did you get anything on the horses?" She asks.r32;
-"In our timeline, we got these two dappled horses and hand stencils painted in its walls, as well as children footprints preserved in clay", Chakotay puts in plain words the slideshow on the Pech Merle caves in France.

-"Fast-forward?" Janeway can't hide her anxiety.
-"We now have many spotted horses and... these warlocks from hell. No hands. No children" Chakotay continues.
- "Disturbing! Who are those creatures anyway? Borg? Fluidians?" Janeway wonders what foe they might face in their senior years.
-"Evil spirits! They visited Earth after their ship malfunctioned, ransacked local resources and seized people's souls" Chakotay summarizes fears.
-"Good news! They didn't stay... and haven't come back" Janeway ironizes.
-"We don't know. Many of my tribe in this timeline left Earth to pursue technology to fight them back when they return", Chakotay gravely points out.
-"No sky spirits in this alternate reality" Janeway struggles with discrepancies. His tribe had left Earth in the original timeline to escape technology.
-"Should I confirm your presence for tonight?" Chakotay shakes his head... and quickly changes subject.
-"Absolutely! I'll be there with Tuvok", Janeway reinforces her attendance.
-"Is he in town? I believed he was seriously..." Chakotay ceases his train of thought. He's glad Tuvok can make it.
-"He's feeling much better", she clarifies.
-"Ten years..." Chakotay evokes with a shade of incredulity.
-"I know. Time flies and we get older by the hour" She makes him laugh a little.
-"See you later Kathryn" He is about to go offline; but Janeway has a question.
-"Chakotay! Who brought the spotted horses to Earth in our timeline?" She would like to smooth down at least one incongruity.
-"Nobody knows and my tribe's Elders Council isn't available for questioning" He answers her with a hint of frustration.

-"No clue! All right; Janeway out" She goes in her Mediterranean patio through a shimmering portal and rubs her Irish Settler's back. The dusky bedroom lingers with dreams behind. She can't see the orbs flying away; but her dog does and barks jolty: "I know pepper; it's too early to play".

As Pepper lies on her side; she contemplates a misty Golden Gate Bridge, enveloped in chrome brush-strokes. Janeway slightly eludes a fresh breeze, disguising whispers and infant voices. She sips coffee and peeks at her liver spots, heaving a sigh:
-"I love daybreaks!"


Sanctuary of Mentors


Following the destruction of Romulus by a supernova in 2387, a vengeful Romulan miner named Nero sought revenge against the Federation. He blamed Vulcans and Humans for doing nothing to prevent the tragedy. His vicious actions resulted in creating a temporal singularity, going back in time aboard the Narada, his technically advanced mining vessel, and generating an alternate reality.In 2258 of this timeline, Nero destroyed planet Vulcan by drilling its surface with an energy stream and igniting red matter in its core.

Most survivors relocated to Vulcanis, a Lunar Colony inexplicably unaffected by the rare singularity and living in the original reality. There, many embraced the deep-rooted beliefs in a Pantheon of Deities. Among other practices, Vulcans would go on pilgrimage by foot to the Sanctuary of Mentors, a long forgotten site of monolithic ruins from a mysterious ancient civilization. Three eroded monuments are seen in the distance: a thick lord with headgear, a lady with Mohawk and a warrior with goatee. They dimly remind us of statues found on Easter Island and Lore Lindu.

He's seen walking in the crowd, dressed in a hooded-toga of sophisticated design and assisted by his daughter Azil and his grandson S'Tival. The afflicted man bends and sits on a dusty base inside a broken Dome. Shadows and reflections play tricks on tarnished brick walls; as Tuvok reveals his head. He's senile and febrile. His daughter speaks softly to comfort him. He ponders words. His grandson marvels at a prismatic radiance. They all feel a powerful presence.

-"Father; shall we go through your thoughts together?" Azil advises, but he disapproves with a gesture.
-"I live in a strange quadrant in which the Vulcan Home World has been destroyed. I would like to express my deep sense of guilt over the death of so many", Tuvok declares.
-"Tell mentors about your pain", Azil reminds him. He looks for words.
-"I'm powerless. I cannot serve others. Iruhe devours my mind. Assist me; and I'll gladly join you in Sha-Ka-Ree" He makes a promise.
.
The girl from Janeway's dream comes out of a hazy gap, getting near Tuvok. She places her fingertips around his head: "My mind to your mind; my thoughts to your thoughts. The route through our realm shall begin for you in this Midday Sun. He closes his eyes.

-"I'm Tuvok; son of T'Meni..." He's interrupted by a motherly hush.
-"How do you feel?" She's no longer a girl. She is...
-"My ideas are flowing again clearly" Tuvok looks much better.
-"You taught me telepathic control. I used it to calm your mind down" She assists him. He keeps promises.
-"I'm most grateful' He can't take his eyes away from her. She strikes a chord.
-"Do you remember me?" She knows he does.
-"You're Kes. I spent a night in meditation; lighting candles after your departure" He calls to mind illogical emotions.
-"What do you know?" She just wants to make sure he's back.
-"This is the year 2404 AD of an alternate reality. Voyager returned a decade ago from its journey of 23 years across the Delta Quadrant", He discerns correctly.
-"You'll soon depart again to achieve what, at this instant, my hosts are unable to attain themselves. You shall carry a message to hinder Soul Eaters from conquering ahead of their time", Kes briefs him a lifesaving mission. She fades away.
-"Grandpa! I'm sad and frightened" S'Tival is tearful. Her mother Azil embraces him from behind.
-"You shall learn casting out your fears to grow wise" Tuvok refers to an old Vulcan proverb.
-"Are we going to see each other again?" S'Tival wonders.
-"We must; this is only the entrance to a passage" He alleviates his grandson's anguish.
-"May this Spice tea enrich your journey and ensure it to be free of incident" Tuvok grabs the goblet and drinks tea from it.
Chapter 2 by FrancoJordan5618
Maestro's Workshop

Starfleet Holodeck runs Da Vinci program; Janeway's favorite. She takes a quick look at the cluttered workshop encased by baroque arcs. Her attention gets briefly distracted by bright sparks piercing through a dorme of colorful hexagon crystals. The prism causes light to deviate towards a Moai-like bust with headgear. She resumes painting her dream. The canvas reveals an Ocampa girl jogging across a greenly cornfield. The Florentine genius oversees his apprentice's work.

Janeway: Maestro; I haven't taken a class with you in a while. Yet; here I'm, painting a dream which doesn't let me sleep well. Can you help me to explore it?

Da Vinci: Caterina; your eyes are windows to your soul. Painting is a commendable tool to open up dreams. What do you see in it? She has curious ears.

Janeway: Her name is Kes. She's from Ocampa; an orb with no rain. People there only live to be nine years old.

Da Vinci: Only nine? I see tears in your eyes. You love her like a daughter. Don't you?

Janeway: Yes! I'd say so. We rescued her from captivity. She later changed into energy and radiantly pushed our vessel forward.

Da Vinci: Ha! The Unreachable Light! Don't be sad; you now see her in your dream, living in her orb where rain falls and crops grow.

Janeway is disconcerted by dreaming realities.

Janeway: How's that possible? The atmosphere lacked nucleogenic particles to yield any rain. They lived underground and had energy stored for only five more years.

Da Vinci: Destination; Caterina! Destination drives us.

Janeway reflects on Da Vinci's words.

Janeway: They worked on goals... to make the surface habitable.

Da Vinci: Bravo! Palladium, for instance, can soak up hydrogen to produce cold fusion.

His example leaves Janeway perplexed.

Janeway: How do you know that? You're just a painter from the Renaissance.

Da Vinci: And an inventor... What about these reddish clouds?

They go back to painting.

Janeway: Kes came back to us one last time.

Da Vinci: Good! You saw her again. Had she aged?

Janeway looks back on heartbreaking memories.

Janeway: Kes was unsettled and forgetful. She became violent. We helped her to remember and she left back to Ocampa. She tells me in my dream... her mother wished her to see the Sun.

Janeway faces her canvas. Was Kes driven by destination?

Da Vinci: Hum! I get your angst. You want to rejoice with understanding. I once saw a fired cloud to descent, absorbing and compressing lights and winds. I thought it was our Sun over Florence, but no, I had seen a pathway across heavens. I had seen hope.

Janeway: In my dreams, my crew and I awake a group of people abducted from Earth in 1937... and taken to a distant planet.

Da Vinci: 1937? Perhaps; you may want to visit again what you dream so vividly.

Janeway: You may be right. I should go on a trip to planet Risa or something.

Da Vinci: There you go; Caterina. To travel may carry happiness.

Computer: Vice-Admiral Janeway...

Janeway: What is it?

Computer annoys Janeway a little.

Computer: Reminder! Doctor's appointment, 1030 Hours...

Janeway: Oh shh! Maestro, I'd love to stay longer, but I got to go to see a Doctor.

Da Vinci: A Medicine-Man... feeling unwell?

Janeway: Hot flashes... I just can't get a good night sleep.

Da Vinci: Do you want me to get my botanist? His herbs infusion are envigorating.

Janeway: I appreciate your advice; but no thanks. I'm not into Homeopathy.

Da Vinci: Salve! Khaire!

Janeway: I must. I'm meeting with friends today to talk about an important project of mine. Thanks for everything.

Da Vinci: You're welcome! Don't forget; a well spent tutorial flying about with old friends shall bring you a sweet sleep. Orbs roll in time like a game of dice.

Janeway: Tutorial? Be good Maestro!

The program ends. Janeway leaves the Holodeck somewhat puzzled.

Seven's Children

Seven of Nine and Aimé play an intense game of Velocity. He's a vigorous half-breed athlete of Human, Daliwakan and Klingon ancestry. His unreal physicality challenges her with explosive flips, twists and tumbling moves. He then passes behind her and slaps her buttocks. "If you spank my caboose again, I will turn you off" She comes down on him. "Eteinds moi? Je ne pense pas!" He misunderstands.

Seven: Computer! Freeze him...

Computer: Pausing Aimé...

Her holographic opponent is put on hold.

Seven: I need to introduce behavioral mods.

Computer: Too aggressive? Klingon psychological trends are recessive in nature.

Seven: Let his Klingon side be. Battle is never over. I like that.

Computer: Too overconfident?

Seven: No! Keep his hotshotness levels high; just reduce impudent behaviour.

Computer: Tempering Aimé...

The game resumes. Aimé shoots at Seven, but she skillfully avoids the glowing metallic disk and hits it back to him. He performs a dazzling move and returns it. She fails at darting it or so he thinks.

Aimé: You lose. I can finally make love to you.

Seven: Not so fast Aimé. Walls also play.

The glowing disk bounces off a wall and hits his head hard.

Computer: Full impact on Aimé; Seven wins.

Aimé drops his phaser gun and fakes a concussion. She gets close to examine him. He pulls her towards him and surprises her with a kiss.

Aimé: I won your kiss; let's do it mademoiselle.

Seven: Stolen kisses don't count.

They take a break lying near each other.

Aimé: I know you like me.

Seven: I'm fond of your friendship.

Aimé: Your husband?

Seven: He doesn't know where I am.

Aimé: Your children!

Seven: They are not mine.

Aimé: Then; it's because I'm French.

Seven: We can't be together; Aimé. You're a holographic gigolo.

Aimé: Ne t'inquiete pas! I won't charge you ; but don't tell anyone.

Seven: Computer! Turn-off Temptation M5.

Computer: Save or Delete?

Seven: Delete!

Computer: Would you like to play Temptation F5?

Seven: No! I have no energy for her now.

Velocity Court's Program fades away; revealing a Hologrid. Seven rests on her back for a little while, somewhat troubled. She then gets up and leaves. Someone, toddler in spirit, playfully follows her across the halls, around corners and through the walls of a spaceship with Starfleet and Borg traits. Seven of Nine goes in the Astrometrics Lab, stopping before a large 3D interactive console panel. She haughtily addresses her follower.

Seven: Thamas; I don't need your utility support at this moment. Be good and go back to your quarters. I'll be there shortly.

Thamas zooms himself out as a fluorescent tiny orb. Seven gets back to work. Main console reads: Technology Convergence Program Executed.

Seven: Computer! TCP Execution Summary.

Computer: Overhaul completed. Upgrades installed. All probes operational. You must restart main systems to reach MAS. Do you wish to reboot now?

Seven listens; while studying a large sensor screen plotting an interstellar trajectory.

Seven: Computer! Reset Systems. Update on anomaly.

Computer: Executing! Irregularity roving across Gamma Quadrant.

Seven: Subspace power utilization?

Computer: Symmetrical! It's a Borg Cube. Dominion forces on full alert.

Seven: Any sign of hostility?

Computer: Negative! Speed level non-antagonistic.

Seven heads away. Door opens. She comes in. Thamas and Bhytor manage a variety of holographic tasks and games.

Seven: Bhytor! Thamas! Shall I assume you got breakfast and at present you're working on your assignments?

Bhytor: Mother! Thamas didn't finish his meal. He graduated from Nursing School and went loose like a pin-ball.

Seven: Yes; I saw him and I imagine your effort to halt him was not fruitful.

Thamas: Thamas nurse! Puff! Now hungry! Bubble light. Gimme! Gimme!

Seven: Yes Thamas; sounds like a fairly accurate summary.

Seven hands out Thamas a bubble light. Bhytor checks digital blueprints.

Bhytor: Propulsion! This ship can never become Transwarp capable. Does it?

Bhytor winks at a giggling Thamas.

Seven: This vessel functions with a warp-drive. You can't make it transwarp. We tried it before with no success. Risk of core breach is too high.

Bhytor: Did you ever consider developing a QS application?

Seven: We did. It turned out being... too unstable.

Bhytor: But mother; QS is duck soup.We just route energy to vessels's bow deflectors to generate a crossable quantum field.

Seven goes along with Bhytor's overconfidence. He's heading for a fall.

Seven: Quantum Slipstream requires constant adjustment of phase variances. One mistake; the slipstream may collapse with catastrophic consequences.

Bhytor: Okay; if you say so. I think you're just being fatalistic.

Seven: We tried it; Bhytor. My interplexing beacon picked up a set of phase modifications from an unknown source. The slipstream collapsed. We aborted the project.

Bhytor: Captivating! I didn't know that part. Do you realize you may have received a set of corrections from someone in the future to prevent a disaster?

Seven: Duck soup...

Bhytor nods a grin.

Thamas: Bhytor; remember example...

Bhytor: Oh yeah! Let's say... we are transwarping way into a distant future and our past is destroyed, we couldn't possibly go back to it; right?

Bhytor smirks again at Thamas.

Thamas: Paradox! Paradox! Stay futuristic.

Seven: Correct; Thamas! It'd be like looking up at the skies and watch a dead star's reflection. We can only see its future; its past is a black hole. Did you finish your tasks?

Seven asks assertively.

Bhytor: Affirmative! I ran scenarios for Mission Adeptness Status - MAS.

Seven: Did you get at least one operationally sound?

Bhytor: Computer advises a crew with Delta Quadrant's experience. What shall we do?

Seven already knows what to do.

Seven: We need an enticing message and Thamas must finish his meal.

Thamas jumps on Seven's arms. She gives him another bubble. Bhytor grabs her hand.

Bhytor: Shall we worry about crew's conflicting egos?

Seven: Don't be concerned; strong leadership shall take care of it.

Bhytor: Mother; would they agree to come onboard?

Seven: They'll be soon in their way.

They leave together. Thamas rotates and swallows his bubble light.

Thamas: Yummy update!

Doctor Joe

Janeway arrives at the Family Med Centre for her Doctor's appointment. Nurse Lexi welcomes her in.

Lexi: Vice-Admiral Janeway! How are you today? Dr. Joe will be with you in a minute.

Janeway: Dr... Joe? Who's he? What about... Lewis?

Lexi: Oh! Don't you know? Dr. Kandinsky had to go away on a medical emergency. Don't worry, Dr. Joe... He is good. They are like... best buddies.

A patient storms out of the Exam Room.

Lexi: How did it go Mr. Polo?

Mr. Polo: Obnoxious prick...

Mr. Polo leaves distraught without exchanging any other word. Janeway addresses Lexi in soft voice.

Janeway: Are you sure this is a good idea?

Communicator: Lexi! Are you there?

Lexi: Yes... I'm here.

Communicator: Next one! Please... I don't have all day.

Janeway gives Lexi a doubtful look as she steps in the Exam Room. Except for an incipient beard and a Dali moustache, Dr. Joe could be Voyager Doctor's twin brother. He reviews her chart.

Dr. Joe: A Vice-Admiral from another timeline... So absurd! What brings you in today?

Janeway: Well; I'm not feeling... I think I'm dreaming somebody else's memories. Does that make any sense to you?

Dr. Joe: Absolutely! You are suffering hallucinations.

Janeway: That's not it; you don't understand.

Dr. Joe: It says here... you were lost in space for 23 years and that upon arrival you were given Desegranine to reverse memory loss.

Janeway: We were not lost... I don't see the relevance.

Dr. Joe: Desegranine may cause adverse reactions long after the drug's effects have worn off. Let me test you for HPPD.

Janeway: I don't get it! How is that even possible? It was supposed to be safe.

Dr. Joe: Learn this! Cardassian drugs are not safe. Desegranine molecules may have fused in your fatty cells and are now being released.

Janeway: I'm so frustrated. If you could only...

Dr. Joe: Don't try to talk me in giving you a prescription. I'm not that kind of doctor.

Janeway: Dr. Joe! I'm not... I can't sleep well at all.

Dr. Joe: Oh good! Negative for HPPD; you're not having hallucinations after all.

Janeway: Of course not! We are talking about dreams here.

Dr. Joe: All right! Let me see something. Eureka! As I expected, your Norepinephrine levels are somewhat high for a woman of your age.

Janeway: Norepinephrine?

Dr. Joe: A catecholamine... a powerful hormonal neurotransmitter!

Janeway: Is that a problem?

Dr. Joe: Not necessarily! It has activated countless noradrenergic receptors. Essentially; your brain-cells are in fight-or-flight mode. You are ready for battle.

Janeway: Great! Just what I need it to get a sweet night sleep.

Dr. Joe: High levels of Norepinephrine enhances memory retrieval.

Janeway: Dr. Joe... I've been telling you all along I'm dreaming memories.

Dr. Joe: From somebody else; you said.

Janeway: Or from a different version of my younger self; I'm not sure.

Dr. Joe: Got you! You feel like dreaming memories from another you.

Janeway: Exactly...

Dr. Joe: You should have started there. Take this...

Janeway: What's that?

Dr. Joe: An Alpha-2 agonist sedative...

Janeway: Dr. Joe... I don't want to slug the rest of the day. I have plans.

Dr. Joe: No worries! It's very light.

Janeway: And for my sleeping problem... what should I do?

Dr. Joe: Go to China Town and get Valerian herbs enriched with Melatonin. That should do the trick.

Janeway: I can't believe this.

Dr. Joe: Have a wonderful day!



The Message

Captain Kira Nerys plonks herself on a signature leather sofa, glancing at the replica of the Xindi-Avian skull kept in a crystal box. "Freaking bird-people!", she blurts out. Starfleet officers censure her coarse remark with gawks of contempt. "What? Any problem with my choice of words on extinct aliens?", she replies to their looks. They back off... out of her sight.

Kira is competent. Her work is highly regarded. She knows it; but she feels Starfleet holds back her career. Why can't she take on greater responsibilities? DS9 is a good example. She was the right fit to run it; but no, they gave it to a Human Commander from another timeline. She became so obsessed after hearing the news, her boss ordered her to take an annual leave. She went to Earth.

She likes her boss; Admiral Benjamin Sisko. He's a good man. She had the chance to meet his siblings in New Orleans. Their family restaurant though "Sisko's Creole Kitchen" wasn't that great. She helps Sisko to run Section 31; Starfleet black-ops agency. She ignores Computer; and Sisko comes out to get her. Kira is taken aback.

Sisko: Kira! Come in! Sorry for making you wait; but Starfleet Command drives me nuts with unscheduled meetings about Delta Quadrant's unfolding events.

Captain Nerys goes in Admiral Sisko's Office.

Nerys: Admiral; we've gathered more Intel. MIDAS Array confirms war broke between 8472s and Borg. Fluidians stroke first and Borg are in desperate retreat.

Sisko: What about the subspace anomaly? Where it is now?

Nerys: Crossing the Gamma Quadrant towards our Wormhole. There are discrepancies in readings, but we suspect it could be Borg in origin.

Sisko: Based on?

Nerys: At times; it displaces through collapsing Borg conduits.

Sisko: Interesting! But I don't like it. Borg don't despair or retreat. We helped them once and they may want us to do it again.

Nerys: Admiral, Sir, if we ever helped them... wasn't in our time-line.

Sisko: Kira; we can't ID what reality Borg and Fluidians think they are in.

Nerys: You're probably right; but if it comes down to that... shall we help them?

Sisko: Absolutely not! We won't fight a war against Fluidians. What we could possibly accomplish? Saving endangered Borg? Order DS9 to be on Red Alert!

Nerys: Admiral; we lost all communication with DS9 about an hour ago.

Sisko: Well; that's not a friendly sign? Is it?

Nerys: Sir; and something else came up. It might me related.

Sisko: Let me guess... Project Butterfly!

Nerys: Yes; in fact so, Computer sent us a message.

Sisko: Saying?

Nerys: Unable to reset systems without host signatures.

Sisko: Bring me the crew. We all shall assemble at "The Ranch" in two hours.

Nerys: Shall we notify Starfleet Command?

Sisko: No; no yet. This is a Section 31 Operation. We've clearance. We must deploy dissuasive force in DS9 promptly. We require Voyager.
Chapter 3 by FrancoJordan5618
Catch-Up Lunch

Janeway and Tuvok go way back many years; but their friendship was put on hold for a decade. Upon their return from the Delta Quadrant, Tuvok was taken down by the loss of Vulcan. He left right away for Vulcanis; where he had been born and raised up. The Lunar Colony had survived the temporal shift and his family waited for him.

His bizarre encounter with Kes had brought his mind around; and shortly after, he agreed with Janeway to visit Earth to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their arrival. The Mess Hall Bistro, a busy terrace in Downtown San Francisco, was suggested by the Bay Area Culinary Herald as a "nifty eatery to reconnect with old acquittances".

Janeway: B'Elanna and Tom are spending vacation in Bajor. Their daughter Miral will be also having dinner with us tonight at Chakotay's.

Tuvok: Shall we expect anyone from Starfleet High Command?

Janeway: Nobody! Starfleet doesn't sponsor or publicize our activities anymore. Disappointed?

Her answer leaves Tuvok somewhat stupefied.

Tuvok: Rude awakening... Earth used to be known across the Federation for its eloquent festivities.

Janeway: We're only a short crawler in late night news. No one in this Earth wants to commemorate the anniversary of our arrival and be reminded of temporal disasters.

Tuvok: Fear impairs knowledge... and how's Chakotay doing?

Janeway: He teaches Technology Convergence at Starfleet Academy.

Tuvok is pleased with Chakotay's occupation.

Tuvok: I can't think of a better instructor. He has that spiritual sense... that allows him to keep technological matters on perspective.

Janeway: He's our oak; always there for all of us... despite his sorrow.

Tuvok: So; Seven of Nine left him without warning.

Janeway: They were having... issues; but yes, she just vanished.

Tuvok: I find her melt away to be quite devious for a boldly upfront de-assimilated Human female.

Janeway: She had some trouble expressing her emotions.

Tuvok: Never to the point of receding herself from our view. Why not to tell Chakotay?

Janeway can't be certain about Seven's motives.

Janeway: I don't know; Tuvok. Seven wasn't happy. Chakotay wasn't supportive. She might have just had it with Humanity and joined the crew of an unregistered vessel.

Tuvok: Unfounded assumption, but feasible, ... her departure may have been involuntary though.

Janeway: Involuntary... as in abducted by aliens? I don't think so. Voyager affected all of us in ways that... I still have these wild dreams. My Doctor says...

Tuvok unintentionally interrupts, changing the subject matter.

Tuvok: How's young Icheb prospering?

Janeway: He's a bright Lieutenant with Starfleet. He stays at Chakotay's. We're proud of him. He and Miral date in "secrecy".

Tuvok: They have probably picked up behavioral trends from Humans; often ingenious and furtive in romantic deeds.

Janeway: How's your daughter Azil?

Tuvok: She teaches Mysticism at the Science Academy; and has five children. We just came back from pilgrimage where I had an encounter with...

Janeway unintentionally interrupts. She loves children.

Janeway: Good gracious! I didn't know you could have so many.

Tuvok: Procreation is a vigorous driving force in Vulcanis. I have twelve grandchildren.

Janeway: Tuvok! I can't imagine you a Grandpa.

Tuvok: Why not so? You became a godmother in Voyager.

Janeway: You're right. I did. I haven't seen my godchildren in years though.

Tuvok: Why not? They'd be pleased to hear from you.

Janeway: I'm not so sure. It took me so long to lead us back home to ...this ruffled timeline.

Tuvok: I've aged. My mind dissociates; but I don't regret serving under your command.

Janeway: Thanks for your loyal support; but I still think I let everybody down.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; an old Vulcan proverb says: "You shall find peace by accepting the inevitable".

Janeway: Why do you tell me that? I can't just move on.

Tuvok: Because... I truly consider you my best friend.

Janeway ponders Tuvok's words. She missed his friendship. She might be too harsh on herself.

Life as Usual in DS9 Space Station

Commander Harry Kim shows up in an eventful Promenade. Quark waves at him. The sleazy Ferengi businessman is exited. They talk while watching a big male Klingon taking chance at his fortune. Two Dabo Girls flirt and distract his attention by hinting him tips. He's accompanied by an athletic female Klingon. She's annoyed. Her partner may be gambling too much.

Quark: Kim! Dearest Commander! Could you brief us on this sword's history? You -my friends- listen carefully. It's important.

Harry Kim: My ancestors were Korean. This is a Jedok Geom, a combat sword used by their high-ranked military in medieval times. I brought it from Earth two years ago.

Ferengi Guest1: Oh! You went there to get it from your family. Your parents maybe?

Harry Kim: No! I don't have family... no in this reality.

Ferengi Guest2: Oh! You're that poor Commander... lost in space-time continuum!

Harry wonders who could be Guest2's source of information. Quark jumps in.

Quark: Commander Kim and I... our friendship transcends the range of time.

Ferengi Guests are intrigued by Quark's revelation.

Harry Kim: He... well not him, another Quark... tried to sell me Lobi Crystals.

Ferengi Guest1: Lobi Crystals? Funny! That's an old Ferengi scam to catch fools.

Quark: Folks! You're missing the point here. There are other Quarks!

Harry Kim: My parents never existed... in this time-line. They're probably dead by now; and even if they live, I would never seen them again.

Kadrya overhears their conversation. She's touched by Harry's family situation.

Quark: Hey! Didn't you guys feel it? I did. I was hit by an emotional wave. I told you; this sword has an incalculable sentimental value attached to it.

The Klingon warrior gets euphoric with his good luck spree.

Mek'Tor: HISlaH! Convert! Convert! I convert...

Quark: I heard... Dominion forces hopelessly track a ball of fire.

Harry Kim: Are you asking a question? I've a better one. Are you thinking of selling my sword? I gave it to you as a present.

Quark: Bottom line! I acquired it from you. It is mine. I can trade it for a deficit.

Quark covets profit from his gift. Harry disapproves. Klingons stare at an endlessly rotating wheel. Mek'Tor wins. Kadrya gasps her thoughts.

Mek'Tor: Dabo! Dabo! I won my Latinum back.

Kadrya: MajQa! You broke even. Let's get out of here!

A Dabo Girl whispers a suggestion at Mek'Tor's ear.

Quark: They got to be disturbed with an irregularity crossing their Quadrant, disrupting everybody's communications. Some of our UTs are already malfunctioning.

Quark grabs his universal translator. Harry pretends ignoring Quark's observations and redirect his attention to the Klingon gambler.

Harry Kim: I'm glad he didn't lose it all.

Quark: Don't be so optimistic! He's inebriated and distracted.

Strangely, Kadrya coincides with Quark's assessment.

Kadrya: Watch the wheel; not the girls!

Mek'Tor: Bljatlh 'e'Ylmev! I buy. I buy. I buy!

The wheel rotates. Kadrya tries to hold back her fears. Mek'Tor loses it all.

Harry Kim: You haven't been trifling wheels? Do you?

Quark: No! You offend me! If your mistrust is due to that silly story of yours; I've never sold Lobi Crystals in this time-line. That big Klingon drank quarts of Denobulan Beer. Kadrya is dissapointed.

Kadrya: You lost it all! You disgrace our honorable linage!

Mek'Tor: GaStah nug? Jlyajbe! This table is rugged!

Mek'Tor pulls and sways his Bat'leth, smashing the Dabo wheel in pieces. Kadrya grabs him to prevent further violence; but he gets furious and assaults her, pushing and dragging her all over. Kadrya tries to fight back; but Mek'Tor overpowers her. She falls hard. Hell breaks loose. Other Klingons join the brawl. Harry storms through with Quark's sword to assists Kadrya. They have a moment. He calls for back up and confronts Mek'Tor. Quark presses a concealed button under the register. A small screen reads: "Reinitiating Lobi Programs"

Harry Kim: You had too much to drink. Stop this nonsense!

Mek'Tor: Heghlu'meH QaQjajvam!

Kadrya: "Today is a good day to die"; he says.

Harry Kim: I will not get drawn into a fencing match with you.

Mek'Tor: Hab SoSll'Quch!

Kadrya: "Your mother has a smooth forehead"; he's insulting you.

Harry Kim: My mother had a smooth forehead. That won't work me up.

Mek'Tor: Nap Mang! Nap Mang! Nap Mang!

Kadrya: He's calling you...

Harry Kim: I know. I know. Ensign...

Harry Kim grabs Quark's sword. He gives Mek'Tor a vexed look, just before charging fiercely. Mek'Tor can't fight back. He's not skillful enough to endure Harry's ability with a Jedok Geom. He's forced to back off; rolling down a stairway and crashing unconscious. Kadrya feels infatuated with Harry's attention and bravery.

Harry Kim: Officers! Take this insolent gambler off my Promenade! He'll spend tonight in the brig with all those hooligans.

Harry hears Kadrya yelling. He's astounded. She's coming at him.

Kadrya: Par'Mach! BangwI! Par'Mach!

Lunch Interrupted

Janeway and Tuvok are still at lunch, unaware of bolts from the blue to come. Waitress1 gently breaks off their chat to hand them out menus. Janeway quickly responds.

Janeway: Not necessary; young man! If it is okay with my companion, please go ahead and surprise us with Chef's specialties for today.

Waitress1: My pleasure madam...

Waitress1 leaves. A cook with a colourful jacket watches them from behind a curtain.

Janeway: Sometimes; I like surprises.

Tuvok: It has always bewildered me... the Human buoyancy towards unknown nutrients.

Janeway: Tuvok; I missed your sense of humor.

Tuvok: I'm not capable of witty epigrams. As any traditional Vulcan, I am on a personal quest to reach Kolinahr by purging my emotions through Logic.

Janeway: I think that's what makes you so uniquely funny.

Tuvok foresees Janeway having something else in her mind.

Tuvok: You seem nevertheless preoccupied. What's disquieting you; Vice-Admiral?

Janeway: You already know. I feel guilty of my inability to bring everyone home sooner. If I could go back in time and take care of it; I'd do it. Would you come with me?

He gets concerned with her proposal.

Tuvok: We'd be violating Starfleet Temporal Directive.

Janeway: I thought you'd be glad to serve under my command.

Tuvok: I'd do it... provided it is an official mission.

Janeway: Tuvok; we don't even belong to this time-line.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; Starfleet was critical of our temporal indiscretions due precisely to the enormous tragedy caused by the Narada Incident.

Janeway: I'm aware of it; but we didn't start it. We were pulled to another Quadrant in a blink of an eye... by a portentous Caretaker. Only to come back... to this!

Tuvok: I understand...

Janeway: No; I think you don't. We lost... We all lost a lot. You kept your family.

Tuvok: We lost Vulcan.

Janeway feels embarrassed.

Janeway: I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. You're one of my best friends.

Tuvok: You feel we... Voyager got the worst part of the bargain.

Janeway: Don't you? Shouldn't we have the chance to get back to... our real homes with our families?

Tuvok doesn't express his consent.

Waitress1: Here you go. Roasted Chadre'kab Pita Bread Sandwich for you, lady, and a Darvot Fritter Enchilada for you, Sir. Paraka wings, courtesy of our Chef. Careful! They may be a little spicy for distracted palates. And an Icy Traggle Nectar Pitcher for two.

Janeway and Tuvok stay quiet for a moment. Meals served bring back memories. They check out their neighboring tables, but nothing else grasps their interest.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; with all due respect, you don't want to convolute matters further with more disruptions. After all, we did shorten our journey from 75 to 23 years.

Janeway: 23 years! You say it like... it's nothing.

Tuvok: Unraveling temporal undertakings should be left to astronomers.

Janeway: I agree and guess what; a Klingon scientist put together a Chrono-Deflector capable of directing a wormhole to a specific time and space.

Tuvok: It sounds like a tachyon pulse device; an evasive invention across planets. I wouldn't trust him. Klingon contrivances are usually flawed and potentially disastrous.

Janeway: I know VIPs in Qo'noS. Miral and I could negotiate his deflector for a seat in the Klingon's High Council. Harry would install it in a shuttle and launch us from DS9.

Tuvok: You're tormented by guilt. Your offer is unreasonable. We'd be fugitives.

Janeway: I'd may be a felon here and now; but not there and then.

Tuvok: I don't see why you'd want to spend any of your possible existences in prison; but you may be already doing so in an alternate reality.

Janeway: What do you mean?

Tuvok: You must consider -given our situation- such a plan could have been indeed carried it out in a different time line.

Janeway: But how can I know my plan was successfully executed and we made it back in -let say- seven years.

Tuvok: Successfully? We'll never know. According to astrophysicists, when a drastic event hampers completion of a plan, time line disruption could be a cause.

Neelix shocks their theoretical conversation.

Neelix: Well! For dessert; I brought a Sweet Leola Root Vanilla Tart for my favourite Vice-Admiral; a Jimbolian Fudge Cake for my best Vulcan friend. And for our good old times, I got three cups of hot Landras Blend.

Janeway: Neelix! I can't believe it; after so long. I'm so glad to see you. I knew there was something familiar about this place and its menu.

Tuvok: Talking about drastic happenings.

Neelix: I'm delighted to have spotted you two from afar. San Francisco's air must have vitamins in suspension. What's your secret?

Janeway: Neelix; you can't be serious. You look unchanged; a hardly aged Cook.

Tuvok: Mr. Neelix; you appear to be as hyperbolic as ever.

Captain Nerys unexpectedly arrives escorted by four tactical officers.

Nerys: Vice-Admiral Janeway! Captain Tuvok! My apologies for interrupting, but your presence is urgently required. You must come with me right away. You too Talaxian!

The three friends are astonished. Something tells them that despite appearances, they are not being escorted to a 10th Anniversary Junket, hosted by Starfleet Public Relations Office.
Chapter 4 by FrancoJordan5618
Last Day of Vacation

Tom and B'Elanna drew lots on how to spend their last day of vacation. Tom won and they find themselves in the Museum of Bajoran Culture. He'd like to learn about Bajor and its History. B'Elanna is bored to death and couldn't care less about scrolls and artifacts. She prefers to dare herself with physically demanding experiences.

B'Elanna: So; this is how you wanted to spend our last day of vacation.

Tom Paris: Don't start! I made your day yesterday with the Stone Thrower. It's now my turn.

B'Elanna: Roller-coasters are exciting. This is dreary! Do you really enjoy staring at that amphora?

Tom Paris: B'Elanna; we flipped your Klingon medal yesterday. You lost. We already had fun your way and it is only fair...

B'Elanna doesn't let him finish.

B'Elanna: My way? Don't you like water-sports? And I assume you had a terrible time spelunking the Fire Caves.

Tom Paris: Not that; I was referring to shooting targets in Derna Moon an entire morning.

B'Elanna: Well, well, well! I happen to practice Biathlon since my Academy days. If you felt neglected, why didn't you speak your mind?

Tom Paris: Look; it's all right. I don't regret it; but Bajor is perhaps the oldest civilization in our quadrant and this museum is... Wow! Isn't that incredible? Look at that!

B'Elanna: What now? More amphoras? What's so far-fetched? I hate when you do this.

Tom walks away and leaves her behind. Something gets him fascinated.

Tom Paris: These ancient pictograms are similar to rock art found all over Earth,... my Earth I mean, portraying these guys in wetsuits holding strange tools.

B'Elanna: Whoever they were... never heard of prime directives and didn't care about contaminating primitive cultures.

B'Elanna points at a carved grey stone depicting a spacecraft,... which at the moment, they didn't realized it was kind of familiar.

Tom Paris: Well! We don't know what happened. Maybe they had to intervene.

B'Elanna: You just don't intervene; period! Those are nice tapestries by the way.

Tom was taken a little bit aback; but he appreciated she at least liked fabrics with a few designs made of coloured weft-threads.

Tom Paris: C'mon B'Elanna! Don't you like History?

B'Elanna: Sorry! But past can hurt you a lot sometimes.

They pass by a few obsidian blades in display.

Tom Paris: Okay! I have a deal. You indulge me with Archeology today and tomorrow, before leaving, we visit Harry in DS9 and enjoy its thematic facilities.

B'Elanna: All right! I like that. I heard its Holo-Deck is capable of role-playing your most thrilling memories.

Tom Paris: See? I'm always willing to please you. I don't mind recreating a day or two in our lives as renegades in the Demilitarized Zone.

B'Elanna: No! That's the kind of past that hurts. I'm way over Maquis and done with Cardassians. I was thinking of Hirogens. Those... tIn-wamwI'-ghe'tor!

Tom Paris: Hirogens... Yeah! We could settle some scores with those overgrown nomads from hell.

Chakotay's Guest Room

Icheb and Miral wrap up together in bed. A vintage spaceship-model hanging off a hook grasps her attention. A crystal prism catches bright afternoon lights.

Miral: That Starship resembles an armored version of Archer's NX-01.

Icheb: That is the Enterprise Cruiser. It played a pivotal role during the Romulan War.

Miral: Same designation; but different features.

Icheb: It was a top secret project back then. Starfleet overhauled the Enterprise NX-01 with alien technologies.

Miral: How do you know all that?

Icheb: I took the Seminar: History of Warp Travel - Voyager's Timeline.

Miral: They don't teach that anymore.

Icheb: I don't believe you.

Miral: Well; they do, but it is not mandatory. We aren't that popular anymore.

Icheb: Too bad! History is like Algebra. It may one day save your life.

Miral: You're hysterical. Who cares about History of our timeline?

Icheb: Some people do.

Miral: If anything; a few may study their timeline. To be honest with you; Transwarp Travel is of much more interest these days.

Icheb: Now; that is hysterical. They teach you about a technology not yet available.

Miral has an expression of triumph in her face. She can counter him.

Miral: Teleportation wasn't available for some time; but we knew it was possible to energize matter from one place to another at transwarp speeds.

Icheb: Ha! So; you do know a little bit of our History after all.

Miral: Anything on communication attracts me...

Icheb takes advantage of the opportunity to bring up an issue.

Icheb: Interesting! When are we going to communicate others about us?

Miral: Icheb; please, don't spoil our moment.

Icheb: It's silly! We are XXIV Century adults. They are our relatives.

Miral: My mother isn't ready. You don't understand. She is half Klingon. She has genes for disapproval.

Icheb: Don't give me the genetic speech! I am then an adopted Brunali with a Borg past and I must have genes for sacrificing children or something.

Miral: Exactly! Wait! I didn't mean it. My mother though...

Her comment stunts Icheb. They hear noises. Chakotay arrives home. He picks up a tricorder left over his piano and plays Bridge over Troubled Water.



Chakotay's Living Room

Miral grins and jumps out the window. Icheb joins Chakotay.

Icheb: Nice ballad!

Chakotay: It's an old tune... about dreaming and sailing with friends.

Icheb: I heard your class thrives with... questions and answers.

He's nervous.

Chakotay: Cadets like discussing an off-topic... Voyager's technological quest!

Icheb: I imagine they want to hear it all from... our First Officer.

Chakotay: We're circus' freaks; Icheb. For them; our History is fantasy. For us; real.

Icheb: We're not such an off-topic. We went through technology convergence... for real.

Chakotay: Technology convergence began way before us.

Icheb is a terrible actor.

Icheb: Wait! I think someone has arrived.

Chakotay: I wonder who that could be.

Icheb: I know. It's too early for dinner, right?

Chakotay pretends to be unaware with a consenting gesture.

Rendezvous with Miral

Miral and Icheb enjoy appetizers. Chakotay plays piano. His living room is decorated with prehistoric artworks and a colourful mural.

Miral: This kind of ancient art baffles me. These guys here seem to be wearing spacesuits. Is it my idea or are they alien visitors violating the Prime Directive?

Icheb: You shouldn't judge aliens on clothing and first impressions. It may have been just another typical case of technology convergence.

Miral: What?

They all smile.

Chakotay: Neolithic folks had their rituals. All these pieces represent tribal spiritual links and life-changing experiences... like being taught agriculture and stonework.

Icheb: Brunali people believe... Halberd Gods taught them to crop and build walls.

Miral: Curious! Hefty Chancellors supposedly ordered Klingons to seed naH and lay bricks of mud.

Chakotay isn't a bit impressed by the stories.

Chakotay: Which lead us to ask ourselves who started technology convergence.

Miral: Captain Chakotay... but do we know that for certain?

Icheb: Someone started it.

Miral: Who? The Borg? Do they converge?

Icheb: They do in a way; by assimilating species whose technology is noticeable.

Miral: Yeah; but nothing is there for their "loyal" drones. Don't you think?

Chakotay: Under threat of obliteration; even Borg may give up technology.

Miral quickly switches to another motive.

Miral: What did you mean by spiritual links?

Chakotay: My tribe, for example, in our time-line... left Earth to escape technological extremes; wait for the Sky Spirits to return and embark on a pathway of natural coexistence.

Miral shows some concern.

Miral: There is a thin line though between convergence and cultural contamination.

Icheb: You may stumble with ambiguous situations; I suppose.

Chakotay: We met a prosperous Human civilization in the Delta Quadrant.

Miral: I know... the 37s. I read about them.

Her answer jolts Icheb. It seems she reads History once in while.

Chakotay: They flourished in an L-Class planet with technology left there by aliens who had abducted their ancestors from Earth.

Icheb: Our scientists didn't waste any time either at studying Voyager to develop their own version of the Intrepid Class Starship in this time-line.

Miral: I'm all for it; as long as they don't set Borg nanoprobes free.

Chakotay hopes the same.

Chakotay: Starfleet knows how to contain potential hazards from outer Space.

Icheb: What happened in Voyager; stayed in Voyager.

Miral: Cheers! Hum! This mural is beautiful; and yet so abstract. What it's about?

Icheb: Maybe; it is not for everybody to appreciate it.

Miral: Stop it! Would you?

Chakotay guides her.

Chakotay: It is a subliminal design; focus your sight on a single spot until you visualize it beneath your conscious perception.

Miral: Okay; wait, I see it all! It is a combat between strange aircrafts.

Icheb: Yep; over Nuremberg, Germany, 1561.

Miral: Which time-line?

Icheb: Ours... the one we came from.

Chakotay: The event was never registered in this alternate reality.

Icheb: One of those ancient discrepancies...

Miral: No way! Vulcans didn't make First Contact with Humans until centuries later.

Icheb is taken aback again.

Chakotay: Witnesses didn't see aliens; but they assure these numerous cylinders were pinning down this bright sphere and that slick vessel over there, when out of nowhere a giant dark spear came to their rescue.

Miral: Do you think this battle actually occurred?

Icheb: Well; these don't seem to be high-altitude weather balloons.

Miral elbows Icheb.

Chakotay: It may have been a reflection from somewhere else. I don't know.

Miral: You mean Germans watched a flick beamed by aliens from far away? That's so unreal!

Miral, Icheb and Chakotay swiftly get beamed away by a powerful teleportation system.

Friends' Reunion

Tom and B'Elanna join up with Harry on DS9 Promenade. B'Elanna observes changes in Harry as he plays with a ring.

Tom Paris: What is it with that scar? Did someone bit your face?

B'Elanna: I don't want to be intrusive, Harry. But; you behave like a chosen mate.

Harry Kim: Oh; Jeez! Is it that obvious?

Tom Paris: What? What am I missing?

B'Elanna: He's engaged to a Klingon female. He's wearing her ring with the insignia of the House of Mogh. I wonder what happened.

Harry Kim: She came at me furious; roaring and hurling furniture.

Tom Paris: Harry! You caused quite an impression on her.

B'Elanna: Don't tell me; you didn't do anything to get her so stimulated.

Harry Kim: I stood for her in a brawl.

B'Elanna: Well; that would certainly be appreciated.

Tom Paris: I can't believe that was it.

B'Elanna: Did you read love poetry to her?

Harry Kim: Poetry? No; I played my clarinet for her... a few notes.

Tom Paris: Harry...

Harry Kim: To cool her off!

B'Elanna: Unusual; but I guess it worked for her.

Harry gains confidence as they walk towards the thematic facilities.

Harry Kim: She clawed at me and bit my face.

B'Elanna: Of course she did; she had to taste your scent. Do you love her?

Harry Kim: Yes; I do. It was love at first sight; but I didn't know how to approach her.

Tom Paris: You surely drew each other very close. When is the wedding?

Harry Kim: I don't know; summer? She is in Qo'noS, making arrangements. Her mother is all right; but her father believes in this linage thing.

B'Elanna grins tearfully.

B'Elanna: He'll challenge you; but don't worry, prenuptial fights are usually non-fatal.

Harry Kim: Good to know!

B'Elanna: Female Klingons are spirited wives and devoted mothers.

B'Elanna winks at Tom for reassurance. Tom must consent.

Tom Paris: B'Elanna's mother was Klingon; you know.

Harry shakes his head in sign of disbelief.

Harry Kim: Yes; I know that.

B'Elanna: She was proud of her linage and beliefs; and was hell of a hunter.

Tom Paris: B'Elanna's hunting skills are extraordinary.

B'Elanna smirks and playfully hits him. Tom embraces her from a side. Janeway and Tuvok wander in a secluded transporter chamber. They can't make their tricorders work. Neelix grows impatient. Seven plays Kadis-kot with her children. Thamas is thrilled with its hexagonal colored pieces. Bhytor makes a hush sign when mother isn't looking. The Borg anomaly rapidly makes its way through the Gamma Quadrant and start affecting systems on DS9. Harry, Tom and B'Elanna arrive at its sophisticated Holo Deck. Captain Nerys stares at her silent boss. Admiral Sisko taps fingers over his desk.

Harry Kim: Thank's guys! I'm glad we got together. If I don't see you before departure, have a nice voyage home.

Tom Paris: Harry; too bad you can't join us!

Harry Kim: I'd love to; but I have my hands full. Communications are disrupted.

B'Elanna: Did you check for Neutrino Pulses? Their levels can be highly disconcerting in this region of deep space.

Tom Paris: B'Elanna; please...

Harry Kim: Tests came back negative for Neutrino Pulses.

Tom Paris: See? Nothing to worry about!

Harry Kim: Troubles are caused by a trans-warp anomaly.

B'Elanna: What kind? Where is it?

Harry Kim: An energized matter stream traveling across Dominion's subspace.

Harry summarizes the phenomena...

B'Elanna: Sounds pretty Borgish to me.

Tom Paris: B'Elanna...

Harry Kim: Dominion reports a Borg-like signature; but it doesn't go as fast.

B'Elanna: Did they isolate tri-quantum waves? If charts show high symmetry in power utilization, it is a Borg anomaly regardless of speed.

Harry Kim: Well; the Dominion is not big in sharing information.

Tom Paris: Yeah! I imagine their intention was to prevent us from blaming them.

B'Elanna: The Dominion... always so upbeat!

Tom Paris: B'Elanna! Harry can handle it. We're on vacation.

Tom points towards what they came for.

Harry Kim: Yeah! Enjoy your visit! This Holo-Deck is a Xyrillian design. You place your hands in this casket. When granules glow, DS9 Holomatrix will retrieve and interface with your memories to run a self-aware simulator-program.

B'Elanna: Sounds thrilling...

Harry Kim: I tried it once. Believe me; it is mind blowing.

Tom Paris: What about safety protocols?

Harry Kim: Intuitive! This is a system with a mind of its own. No worries! You won't be unarmed. You'll be allowed to carry TR-116 virtual rifles.

B'Elanna: Having cold feet; Tom?

Tom Paris: Not at all! You know me; always concerned with risk management.

Harry Kim: All right guys; have fun!

Borg Queen dreams in her regenerating alcove. Bolts hop down vibrating wormholes.
Chapter 5 by FrancoJordan5618
The Ranch - Transporter Chamber

Captain Nerys gets back to her guests. They're not pleased with her so far.

Janeway: Captain Nerys; this is a disturbing backdoor procedure.

Nerys: Vice-Admiral; I'm following Superior's orders to the best of my abilities.

Tuvok tries to bring some logic into the situation.

Tuvok: Quite apparent... we must assume; but what it's the point in leaving us here with no explanation.

Neelix: And no place to sit! I'm not yet depressed; but I can't hardly hold my anxiety.

Janeway tries to disregard Neelix behavioral update.

Janeway: So...your orders are to hold two high ranked Starfleet officers in a transporter chamber.

Nerys: Not for much longer; I assure you. I'm coordinating things.

Tuvok: In an undisclosed facility; if I may add.

Neelix: Don't you forget about me! Chef, Morale Officer, Ambassador,... all swept away.

Janeway had it with Neelix.

Janeway: Don't worry Neelix; I don't think they'll be deporting you back to the Kazon-Ogla.

Neelix: We all could use less sarcasm in this... "hush-hush" drama. Don't you think?

Tuvok: Mr. Neelix; this incident is not exclusively about you.

Neelix: I know that; but I can't help clenching my fingers. What kind of orders are these?

Nerys: Of the extraordinary kind...

Janeway: Hah! This is Section 31 at its best. Are you on Red Alert?

Nerys: You'll be briefed soon.

Tuvok: An extreme threat...

Nerys: Something like that...

Miral, Icheb and Chakotay materialize before their eyes.

Chakotay: Kathryn! Tuvok; long time-no see.

Chakotay makes the Vulcan hand salute. Tuvok responds.

Tuvok: Captain! Peace and long life.

Janeway: Chakotay; we better cancel our dinner,... a pressuring matter came up!

Chakotay: I see that. Surprise Voyager reunion... We'll reschedule.

Neelix: Chakotay; old friend! You're very welcome in here! This gathering reminds me of a Prixin Holiday, but in blatant captivity.

Chakotay: Neelix! I haven't seen you since we dropped you off in that asteroid... what was it? 26 years ago? How is life treating you?

Neelix: 26 years for you; but only 10 for me!

Janeway: Is that so? No wonder; you haven't aged that much. What happened?

Janeway notices Nerys leaves them again: "What's she coordinating? It can't be a reunion!"

Neelix: Seven and I were playing kadis-kot when nebular flares sent my asteroid off orbit and in a matter of seconds, stranded it deep in the Alpha Quadrant. I didn't have a clue of where I was.

Icheb: Incredible! How did you make it out of your asteroid?

Neelix: That was the most amazing part. A Vulcan surveyor picked up our beacon right away.

Miral: That is strange.

Neelix: Yes; very weird; they were nearby. I was appalled when they told me you also had just arrived... but 16 years after the nebular flares.

Janeway: Do you recall Seven of Nine alerting you about any stellar event?

Neelix: Yes; she did. She mentioned... her date with Chakotay had gone well.

Everyone get discouraged with his answer.

Neelix: What? What's wrong?

Tuvok: Mr. Neelix; we were hoping for a causal report on the phenomena.

Neelix: Causal?

Icheb: Yes; causal,... like in less adjective, you know.

Miral: Ambassador; they mean more related to the subject matter.

Neelix: Oh; well, I don't have any idea about that.

Janeway looks up in sign of frustration. Chakotay smirks a little.

Chakotay: I can say this much... it was a delightful picnic in Cargo Bay 1.

Neelix: That's what Seven meant. Delightful... Where is she... anyhow?

Chakotay: She too got stranded in the Alpha Quadrant.

Neelix: You've to be kidding me!

Tuvok tries to get the conversation back on track.

Tuvok: What a convenient coincidence a Vulcan ship happened to be in close proximity to your unanticipated trajectory.

Neelix: Now that you mention it; they got a little uneasy when I asked them about it.

Tuvok: Uneasy?

Neelix: They said to have received a Vulcan encrypted message of untraceable origin.

Miral: Not very revealing...

Neelix: I know. Those Vulcans were kind of wacky-kooky; no intention to offend.

Tuvok: None taken! Your asteroid most likely entered a temporal wormhole and exited into this alternate timeline.

Janeway expresses her issue with their current reality.

Janeway: Twisted timeline! We left Neelix in an asteroid. We needed 16 relative years. He took a shortcut and made it in a clap. But somehow we all arrived in this quadrant... simultaneously!

Icheb: Vice-Admiral; you don't make it sound like a good thing.

Chakotay: I was never too strong in Quantum Mechanics; but we all may have been stricken by a severe collision in space time continuum.

Captain Nerys gets back with orders.

Nerys: You all please follow me!

Janeway: Finally...

Before Debrief

The group follows Captain Nerys down the tiled halls of an unfamiliar construction. The premises are austere in their architecture. They pass by a heating radiator and a black/white self-set wall clock.

Miral: Ambassador Neelix; I believe we've not been properly introduced. I'm Miral Paris, daughter of Tom and B'Elanna.

Neelix had noticed her earlier; but he thought the circumstances were no appropriate for him to flirt with a much younger woman.

Neelix: Dear me! You're gorgeous like your mother. Oh; sorry, my bad! I didn't mean to cuddle you so warmly in front of your significant other.

Icheb: Oh no! She and I are not... an item or anything like that.

Miral: Aha! We are just good friends.

Chakotay: Very close friends...

Icheb: Yeah! We were at Chakotay's, enjoying appetizers when...

Janeway can't take it anymore. She feels like spilling the beans once and for all.

Janeway: No worries! You won't be deprived today of dinning together.

Chakotay follows Janeway's lead.

Chakotay: True! Section 31's food replicators are unmatched across Starfleet.

Miral: Kahless! Your Bat'leth shall fall upon my head and put me out this shame.

Icheb: I can't believe it. You two knew about us all along.

Chakotay: Miral! Your tricorder; you may soon be needing it.

Miral: What? In here?

Chakotay: No; not here... but wherever we are going.

Miral: How did you...?

Chakotay: You left it over my piano.

Miral: Oh; that's right... Does my mother know about us?

Janeway: Why don't you ask her?

Icheb hates being left out of a conversation.

Chakotay: Kathryn...
Chakotay believes it is time to give young Miral a break.

Neelix contemplates the discussion among the crew. He still misses Voyager. His life changed a lot onboard that ship. He looks around. The Doctor isn't there.

Neelix: Piano? Good! Maybe we can get you and the Doctor to play Opera for us.

Chakotay: Neelix; I got a feeling... we won't have time for that.

Tuvok: We haven't interacted with our Emergency Medical Holographic program in ten years.

Janeway: Our good Doctor... what was of him?

Temptation 5F

A big crowd fills the holographic pavilion. Seven wears a neoprene suit, mouthguard and combat gloves. Her rival looks pretty strong. Seven gets advice from her coach. She's focused on the imminent clash. Two shadows oversee the octagon.

Nathula: Seven! Who're those in the dark? Your slaughtered parents?

Kirk: Don't listen to her crap! She's powerful; but you're a tough 17% Borg... woman.

Seven: Eighteen percent...

Kirk: Whatever! Name of the game? She's inviting you to kick her Romulan butt real good and that is exactly what you are going to do.

The Doctor shows up out of the blue. Seven is taken aback by the intruder.

Doctor: Captain Kirk; for crying-out-loud! You don't know squat about interspecies physiology.

Kirk: Is that right? Who are you? I got news for you pal. Seven got experience in Tsunkatse.

Doctor: Who cares? She lost to the Pendari Champion!

Kirk: He was a rock. Nobody...

Seven: Doctor... what are you doing here? You are not part of this program.

Doctor: What program? We must talk about this. Someone forgot to deactivate me.

Seven: You are... I can't deactivate you any further and as you can see,... I'm busy. I have a bout to fight.

The Doctor is perplexed.

Nathula: Kirk! How it feels living in a wicked time-line?

Kirk gives Nathula an angry look.

Doctor: Excuse me! She can't just go in there with an... "I'm tough" expression in her face. The Romulan girl is built like brick shithouse.

The two siluoettes come out of the shadows to get involved.

Tyson: EMH blah blah blah and so forth...

Ronda: Doctor... what's your name again?

Doctor: I don't have a name. Do you have a problem with that?

Ronda: We need to talk after the fight.

Doctor: Really? About what?

Ronda: About messing up with my pupil's psyche.

Seven: I'm fine Ronda. It's okay. He shouldn't be here. Doctor...

Ronda: What? Unauthorized? He should go then...

Tyson: Yeah bro! Split! Seven got to zero in... on ripping out that Ramona's heart over there.

Seven: Romulan...

Doctor can't stand it anymore.

Doctor: You... brutes! I'll report this violation to the Board of Interplanetary Combat Sports.

Doctor leaves the octagon. Seven can't figure out how he made it there in the first place.

Ronda: Yeah; you go and talk to BICS! Big deal..

Kirk: Shall we call my Doctor? Bones? Excellent friend...

They all ignore Kirk.

Tyson: Seven! You didn't read any Tolstoi for this fight. Did you?

Seven: No; I didn't, but I read some Jeet Kune Do.

Tyson: Bruce Lee? Good stuff! Get your 1-2s and 1-2-3s going girl. Don't stop!

Tyson moves and throw a quick combination of jabs and crossovers.

Seven: Straight lead punches...

Ronda: Have your nage waza ready to rip and remember...

Ronda makes a cutting elbow sign.

Nathula: Seven! I sense myself...more knowledgeable. Why's that?

Seven: I upgraded your software with Muay Thai.

Nathula: What for?

Seven: To level the ground. You always lose.

Nathula: Grrr! I'm a honoiyika and I'll make you my fvai today.

Kirk: I hate Romulans.

The bell rings. Seven and Nathula charge against each other with violent combinations.

The Ranch

They wait around an oval conference table. Admiral Sisko reflects with his back to them; scrabbling for words outside a porthole. Janeway wants to talk, but Nerys is in her line of sight and makes her signs to stay quiet. Sisko breaks the silence.

Sisko: Does anyone know why are we all here?

Janeway: Benjamin! I'm sorry this issue came back to bite us. I assume full responsibility for getting us back home via divergent cosmic horizons.

Janeway points at Neelix and the rest of the crew. Captain Nerys wants to participate.

Sisko: I know you do; but we're not here to question your temporal indiscretions in the Delta Quadrant. We went over that problem ten years ago. Yes, Kira?

Nerys doesn't get a chance to talk right away.

Neelix: No complaints here! I don't miss my asteroid. Thinking back; it was restless of me to live in it with my dear Dexa. Food was good and people extravagant, but...

Chakotay: But you were defenceless out there.

Neelix: We were lucky... Hirogens didn't slaughter us like Rinaxian Sloths.

Icheb: Good thing then... your asteroid got kicked off like a beach ball.

Seven and Nathula keep punching and kicking each other hard. Seven makes a pause and Nathula counter her with a one/two combination. Seven falls to her knees; but quickly gets up as the Romulan fighter attempts a bear hug on her. Seven moves and holds Nathula by her right arm. She vigorously pulls Nathula frontwards. Nathula floats on her toes. Seven sweeps Nathula's leg for a Yama Arashi throw; but Nathula holds to Seven. They both fall to the floor grappled to each other.

Captain Nerys tries to cut in again.

Nerys: Getting back to temporal matters...

Neelix: Please... go on!

Nerys: We're keeping an eye on a Klingon's time travel device. But; that's not...

Tuvok and Janeway exchange glimpses. Admiral Sisko breaks in.

Sisko: We're concerned with unknown facts. The Narada Incident altered your timeline and destroyed Vulcan; but what or who else got affected.

Icheb: You're right. Maybe; Betazoid fireflies...

Miral: My gosh... or the Mirror Universe; can you imagine?

Chakotay: When the woodlands catch fire, everyone suffers, including the bear.

Sisko decides to bring it out into open.

Sisko: We're all here as part of a Section 31 Intelligence Operation. Kira...

Nerys finally gets her chance.

Nerys: War broke out between Borg and 8472s. A subspace irregularity has spawned out of their battleground and cross the Gamma Quadrant, heading towards DS9. We think it is a Borg vessel.

Sisko: You will operate a revamped Intrepid Class Starship, set an interception course and confront the trespassers. If they're Borg; under no circumstance shall you assist them. Starfleet is overly committed and in no position to fight a war against Fluidians.

Janeway: Benjamin; you may have not noticed... but some of us are contemplating retirement.

Sisko: This vessel is... self-aware and has requested you.

Tuvok: We served on an Intrepid Starship. Self-awareness wasn't one of its features.

Sisko: As I said; this is a refurbished one. Kira...

Chakotay: It is Voyager; isn't it?

Sisko: Kira; if you may...

Nerys: Computer! Initiate Presentation!

Wide-screen monitors pop-up all around showing footage of Voyager.

Computer: Welcome to Argus Ranch! Top Secret unit of Jupiter Shipyards in the Galilean Moon of Io. This dry-dock supports research and development of advance spacecrafts, forefront weaponry and alien technology. You've clearance for Project Butterfly.

The group is startled by the video chronicle. Seven walks out of the Holo Deck drenched in sweat and sore with bruises. Bhytor takes a look at the vacant hologrid and follows his mother.

Bhytor: Shouldn't we be getting ready?

Seven isn't in a good mood.

Seven: I'm ready. Have you seen the Doctor?

Bhytor: The Botanist? No...

Thamas: Mommy's hurt?

Seven must reply on the go.

Seven: I got to regenerate. You two... behave.

Seven fits in her alcove. Bhytor remains curious.

Bhytor: Did you lose?

Seven: Never underestimate what a good arm-bar can do for you.

Seven closes her eyes. Nathula was choking her; but she managed to recoil her legs around her opponents' upper body and entrap her arm. Nathula yelled in pain. The group watches Voyager becoming a cocoon. Nathula taps the tatami.

Neelix: Butterfly? But; that's our starship... Voyager!

Icheb: Let me get this straight... You guys decommissioned her and berthed it here for evaluation after our arrival in 2394.

Nerys: Correct; but about a year later...your ship generated a bio-polarized holographic field around itself... blocking any type of access.

Janeway: Borg nanoprobes!

Chakotay: Severed from their hosts...

Tuvok: And their Collective...

Sisko: We estimate... trillions of them.

Janeway: So; you don't have a clue of what went on inside the ship.

Nerys: Except for Hera X; we don't have any other details.

Tuvok: The experimental multipurpose vector system...

Nerys: Your ship... beamed all prototypes in and hacked the data.

Sisko: We don't know specifics; but Voyager went through an extensive patch-up. We are pretty sure it's now the cutting edge of Federation's Starships.

Chakotay and Miral wonder at footage of the cocoon retracting and unveiling the overhaul.

Chakotay: Maybe; those two boys down there know more particulars.

Janeway: Which boys?

Sisko and Nerys also take a peek.

Miral: Those two under that luminous hatch. Aren't they cute?

Icheb: Yeah right; very cute, and what are they doing there?

Chakotay: They wait for us.

Thamas whispers and waves his hand. Bhytor takes a look around and stares at a couple of officers playing a one-on-one basketball game.
Chapter 6 by FrancoJordan5618
Back to Voyager

Kathryn Janeway and her amazed crew begin to cross the boarding bridge. They are about to embark in a revamped USS Voyager with two unidentified children aboard. Chakotay recaps words of wisdom from his animal guide: "Harmony heals distances".

Janeway looks over her shoulder. Sisko watches from a windowpane. She recounts his words: "You should initiate EMH immediately to examine those kids". Children usually bemuse her; but these ones catch the prize in mystery. In accordance to Captain Nerys: "Sensors scanned the two boys and, except for a few silly noises, they didn't pick up any life signs". She fixates her eyes on the hatch. "The Doctor may be able to report on ship's modifications" She wants to think.

Chakotay replays a vision of a coral snake crawling into the rainforest. Crew dissipates through the dazzling hatch; and right into a room with eight bizarre looking pods.

Janeway: Children! What're your names? Are you here by yourselves?

Bhytor: I'm Bhytor. He's Thamas. We're not alone. Mother oversees our assignments.

Thamas: Mommy inquires.

Miral: I like your jammies.

Neelix: Uppie. Uppie. Come with uncle Neelix!

Miral and Neelix baby-talk Thamas. He makes sepia jelly-fish faces.

Icheb: That was spooky! What's up with these kids?

Janeway: They aren't real.

Tuvok points at them with his tricorder. Bhytor moves evasevely.

Tuvok: They're photonic and organic in nature.

Icheb: That can't be... That's seriously advanced.

Thamas makes grainy-grey jelly-fish faces.

Miral: Icky! Not funny...

Thamas giggles. Tuvok keeps pointing at him with the tricorder. Thamas zooms out and bounces all over the place.

Bhytor: Your multifunction device overexcites him. Thamas! Stop it.

Janeway: Where is your... mother? Can I talk to her?

Bhytor: You must first conclude your nano-coating bath.

Janeway gets frustrated; but she's willing to let the children run the show for a little while.

Neelix: Tummy. Tummy. Nums-nums!

Bhytor: No need to use infant-direct-speech with him.

Thamas: I'm big boy.

Thamas makes cousin faces. Neelix feels restricted again.

Neelix: All right! Since you appear to be legally competent minors, I'd like then to file a complaint against this coercive sanitization.

Tuvok: Mr. Neelix; I don't think this is a decontamination procedure.

Miral consents with Neelix.

Miral: Well; this shower room, or whatever it is, feels intrusive and unnecessary.

Bhytor: Your responses lack criteria.

Miral: It is my opinion!

Bhytor: This is no shower-area.

Thamas: A-O-R! A-O-R! A-O-R!

Bhytor: Thamas! Enough... AOR - Ablution Outfitting Room; to treat your epidermis and equip you all with biomechanical suits.

Icheb: It is awkward; I feel like being wrapped up with plantain leaves.

Chakotay: Bhytor; I think I'm now ready to see your mother.

Bhytor: Could you please state your motivation?

Chakotay: I believe she's my estranged wife.

Thamas: Mommy watches.

The toddler warns everyone. Seven of Nine joins the group.

Seven: I wasn't estranged; but entangled by the execution of a Technology Convergence Program.

Thamas: Mommy! Mommy!

Janeway: Seven!

Janeway is appalled by Seven's reappearance.

Seven: Vice-Admiral Janeway, the bridge awaits you.

Janeway: You've been here... all these years.

Seven: 79,786.32461 hours to be precise.

Neelix: She looks alluring; and we're not in San Francisco.

Voyager travels at high Warp. Crew work on their tasks and participate in online tutorials, assisted by ship's holographic features. Seven, Bhytor and Thamas run workshops. Seven and a female Betazoid make eye contact. Seven feels a little awkward, but continues with her tasks.

"Captain Log; Stardate 8162. Crew quickly becomes acquainted with Voyager's improvements. Ship's ablative armour is made of snail-looking biochemical metamorphic probes. I love our intuitive comm system. We can be called 24/7 for input, based on our profile and potentials. By the way; I am feeling somewhat revitalized. Computer; delete that... last statement. It's not important" Janeway prefers to keep it professional; but she does feel terrific. "Is it the food?" She asks herself.

OCR doors slide. Tuvok and Chakotay get in. Janeway waits comfy seated on a couch, admiring the strange beauty of deep space.

Janeway: So vast; yet so intimate, isn't it?

Tuvok: "You climb to it; you drop in it"; a Vulcan proverb says.

Chakotay: "You'll never go through the whole thing"; my father used to say.

Janeway: Gentlemen! Let's make a toast.

Chakotay: You're in high spirits.

Janeway opens a bluish bottle over the table and serves the drinks.

Janeway: I'm intrigued; but happy to be here.

Chakotay: Exquisite aroma...What is it?

Janeway doesn't mind answering . She assumes it is a bottle of Andorian ale and that Chakotay isn't very habituated with its properties . They each grab a cup.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; notwithstanding our present mission, we're still based in an alternate reality and with no much intel on current status of the Delta Quadrant.

Janeway: I know... but aren't we the ultimate space explorers?

Chakotay: Tuvok my friend; embrace mystery first in order to unveil it.

Tuvok isn't thrilled by the prospects.

Janeway: Gentlemen! To a sense of belonging!

Chakotay: I drink to that.

They sip from their drinks.

Tuvok: Delectable; but unfamiliar...

Janeway: Computer; this isn't Andorian ale.

Computer: No! It's El-Aurian Nectar.

Chakotay: Alcoholic?

Computer: Affirmative! Drink in moderation.

Tuvok faints a little.

Janeway: Are you all right?

Tuvok: Nothing to be distraught at. My mind decays.

Chakotay: That sounds discouraging... especially for a Vulcan.

Janeway touches the front of her neck in sign of concern.

Tuvok: My thoughts hold an encoded notion.

Janeway: Oh no! Isn't that memory engram virus again?

Tuvok shakes his head.

Chakotay: Can you tell what it is?

Tuvok: A message... but I can't grasp it.

Janeway: Tuvok; you better go and rest for a while.

Chakotay: Good idea! Let me help you.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; I'm capable of ...

Janeway: I know you are. You're both dismissed. Go!

Chakotay and Tuvok leave. Seven comes in. Chakotay directs a gaze toward her. She makes an effort to ignore him. Janeway is still coping with Seven's ordeal. "Too tough for a Human", Janeway thinks.

Janeway: How's your Game of Velocity? We haven't played in a long while.

Seven: My intuition is much better. I broke all your records.

Janeway: You surely did. Me conversely...my whole body aches.

Seven imagines Janeway may be hoping for answers. She cuts to the chase.

Seven: Vice-Admiral; I don't know as much as you may expect.

Janeway: Okay; well, what do you know then?

Seven: Nanoprobes invaded, colonized and refitted Voyager. I was pulled in to help out testing systems and mentoring the children.

Janeway: We haven't yet turned into drones. Probes seem to be of the friendly type; I guess.

Seven: Or they might just be self-centered.

Janeway: Um! You mean... they may have an agenda. What about the Doctor? I would think he could have been helpful in this matter.

Seven: I only saw him recently... as part of a holo-program. I don't know how he got in there. He can't be activated. Thamas is a proficient RN though.

Seven's update on the Doctor doesn't get Janeway that worried. She suspects he will come around when need it. As for Thamas; she better don't mother-ease him during medical check-ups.

Janeway: Seven; I'm so sorry you got entrapped here.

Seven: It was difficult the first two years; but it made sense. They needed assistance from a life-form while spreading themselves out and working undisturbed.

Janeway: Why you?

Seven: I had faulty nanoprobes in me. They repaired my Borg contents.

Janeway: Your children?

Seven: They're byproducts of energy efficiency and software updating features; serving onboard as utility support. They might be modeled after an unknown Species.

Something flashy is outside catching Seven's attention. Janeway tries to follow Seven's eyesight towards the skylight.

Janeway: What is it? What's bugging you?

Seven: Not sure! My optical circuitry may not be entirely reliable.

They both angle off the skylight to resume their conversation.

Janeway: Anything else you'd like to report?

Seven: Voyager rummaged Jupiter's Ranch and beamed some goods in.

Janeway: You mean those...Hera Prototypes.

Seven: Yes; among other items, including construction tools and structural materials.

Janeway: Where are they?

Seven: With the Delta Flyer; in an "off-limits" Cargo Bay 1...

Janeway had already figured their return to Voyager wouldn't be without challenges. They will have to force their way into Cargo Bay 1 and face "whatever demon they find in it".

Janeway: We missed you. I'm glad to have you around.

Seven: I too missed you all.

Seven leaves the OCR with tears in her eyes. "She's vulnerable enough for a Human" Janeway thinks.

Battling for DS9

A Borg Cube comes out of the Bajoran wormhole and slows down on its approach to DS9. The station is in chaos. Many have fled to the planet. An outgunned merchant armada opens fire. Borg respond by slicing vessels with sharp Laser beams and shocking others with electro-plasma projectiles. Harry Kim is in charge of DS9, but he is having trouble carrying out his commands among rivals.

Harry Kim: Commodore Tabol! Retreat your freighters to shelter in Bajor.

Tabol: That's unacceptable!

Harry Kim: Your ships are no match for Borg. This battle is lost. We must regroup now in order to prevail later. Federation reinforcements are surely on their way.

Tabol: I won't surrender my vessels to Bajor.

Harry Kim: Nobody surrenders. Bajor offers everyone refuge; including Cardassians.

Tabol: Commander Kim! If this offer ends up being another Bajoran scheme; I will hold you personally responsible for damages caused.

Quark shows Harry some support.

Quark: In stressful games of Tongo, retreat may be a valid strategy.

Harry Kim: Interesting you say that! Why then are you still here? I ordered you to evacuate.

Quark: The way I see things; it might be a better strategy now to acquire.

Harry Kim: You can't be thinking of doing business with Borg.

Quark: Why not Kim? Once I get knowledgeable of their wants and needs...

Harry Kim: You are out of your mind!

Quark: I assure you these Borg are here to trade surplus for deficits.

Tabol misconstrues intentions.

Tabol: You miserable hustlers! I risk my neck in battle; while you contrive capital gains.

Quark: He spied on us! Cardassians are so rude and sneaky.

Tabol: You two! Human! Ferengi! Plotters! I had to hear it all. I trust neither one. You are both cardsharpers of the worst kind.

Harry is frustrated with Tabol.

Harry Kim: He's gonna' get us all killed.

DataEle: Commander! Central System reports corrupted files all over. DS9 Holomatrix is overloaded. I can't turn it off. Program runs with no safety protocols.

Harry Kim: Oh; jeez! Tom and B'Elanna! We need to get them out of there.

Tom and B'Elanna are trapped in their Holo-adventure. A couple of Hirogens carry out the ritual of painting their faces and helmets before the hunt begins. They'll be seeking worthy preys.

Tom Paris: This is not a glitch; but a major system crash. We are on our own.

B'Elanna: No kidding! The casket is dead. We can't recall the program. This is crap!

Tom Paris: Hirogen warriors will be soon coming after us with carving knives.

Tom is well educated in holo-decks. He figures the experience is already wide of the mark.

B'Elanna: Tom! Wait! We shouldn't jump into conclusions.

Tom Paris: B'Elanna! This is a self-aware Holo-system. It took away our TR-116s. This means its intuitive safety-protocols are likely to be off.

B'Elanna sets her eyes up. It looks aberrantly pretty.

B'Elanna: You may be right. Skies are distorted like a Klingon's street-party. This is my entire fault for being such a thrill-seeker.

Tom Paris: Don't blame yourself; I was on denial back there. The subspace anomaly is probably Borg like you said and DS9 is now under attack.

B'Elanna: We'll deal with the Borg later. We must first find weapons to put our hunters down. I don't want our remains to be displayed as trophies in their nets.

Tom Paris: On a positive note; our hunters will be insistently pursued by their females if our remains are deemed worthy trophies.

B'Elanna: So touching! I'll be then very sorry for killing their husbands.

Incoming Cube stays put out there; with unclear intentions. A handful of ships survived and retreat to Bajor, leaving behind scattered remains of their armada. Tabol is back furious with two comrades. There is hardly any staff left in DS9. A Borg boarding party is expected at any moment; but only a chilling female drone gets beamed in a sealed off Promenade. She's different. Though entrapped; she doesn't react aggressively and in a calmly demeanor ogles her surroundings.

Tabol: You two treacherous... thought you could outplay me.

Harry Kim: You got it all wrong, Tabol. Borg are the ones you should fear.

Tabol: They don't impress me. I'd like to see how fierce they can be against a squadron of Cardassians warships.

Quark: Gentlemen; we have her cornered. Don't you see? We should find out which of our surpluses interest her and navigate together the streams of commerce.

Harry Kim: You guys don't imagine in how much trouble we are. One Cube is capable of assimilating Bajor all by itself.

DataEle: Commander! I can't switch our Holo-Deck off; its intricate Xyrillian Matrix was unsettled by Borg Cube's kino-plasmic radiation.

Harry Kim: Keep trying! I know you can do it.

Harry doesn't forget his friends; but he is way more concerned about a Borg in the Promenade.

Tabol: Quark displeases me; but I agree with him. We must go in and get compensation for demurrage and loss of cargo.

Harry Kim: You can't be serious! You risk provoking a cube full of Borg.

Tabol: We are entitled. This is a mercantile post.

Quark: True! We are merchants.

Tabol: Commander Kim; please don't try my patience on this one.

Harry directs a hawk look to Quark.

Quark: What?

Skepticism annoys Quark; but he doesn't realize Harry has first hand experience with Borg.

Harry Kim: I don't think Borg plan to compensate you in any form; but I'll let you go in there and make your claims. I call the shots. Agreed?

Harry can't believe Quark and Tabol just concurred on something. He approves the initiative against better judgement in order to gain their trust.

Tabol: Thank you Commander; you're finally making sense. Comrades; come with me!

Quark: Tabol; I'd like my Dabo Girls to be part of our negotiation team.

Tabol: Ferengi! This is not a good moment to show weakness.

Quark: Don't let these girls deceive you; they know how to run tricky plays and to entice customers with their charms.

Tabol: And you think this Borg female is going to fall for that.

Quark: Of course; she will! I can tell. She likes beautiful people.

Two Hirogen warriors track their preys down. B'Elanna and Tom find apposite elements to make weapons. They'll try to get ready and hopefully, put up a good fight.

Tom Paris: Harry! We need help! Our adventure went south.

They ramble across the woodlands.

B'Elanna: Look! These ash-wood poles; we could sharpen their edges for spears.

Tom Paris: Wait! It gets better. I saw obsidian blades like these at the Museum.

B'Elanna: Careful! You could slice a big Targ in half with a single blow.

They assemble the ash-wood poles and obsidian blades.

Tom Paris: You wrap them up like this. It's an old Scout Ranger's trick.

They get deeper into dense forest.

B'Elanna: They're closing in. I can smell them.

Tom Paris: What shall we do? Hide in here and attack?

B'Elanna: We blend in the woods; use a decoy and lure them into an ambush. They will use their acute visual perception to our advantage.

Tom Paris: Maquis' guerrilla tactics...

B'Elanna: No; a mother's hunting trick...

B'Elanna winks at Tom.
Chapter 7 by FrancoJordan5618
The Interview

Her Majesty awaits serene in the Promenade. Her cranial crest rises a bit as Tabol and his group gets closer. Harry studies her icy moves on screen. DataEle geeks out in her work station. Quark trusts his guts on Borg business prospects.

DataEle: Commander! I managed to insert a polymorphic packer with survival options to assist your friends in their holographic adventure.

Harry Kim: Good job! Keep me posted!

Quark: Look! My girls' cat-walk is already distracting her attention.

Borg Queen checks out the Dabo girls. She is not very impressed. Negotiation team is all in the Promenade. Tabol stands proud before the Queen.

Tabol: Who are you and what do you want?

Harry wasn't expecting Tabol to behave so insolently after a beat down like that.

Queen: We're Borg. I'm a beginning, an end, a one who is many. I require Janeway.

Harry Kim: I'll be damned! She is a Borg Queen.

Tabol disregards Queen's request; and cut to the chase.

Tabol: Good for you! We're glad to meet you under current cease-fire status; and ready to negotiate compensation. On the matter of cargo losses, I would...

Queen: With no place of safety; negotiation is irrelevant. You are not Janeway.

Forbearance is a no-show in Tabol's dictionary.

Tabol: Lady; I'm sure there is something we can trade on preferential terms.

Queen: You are Species 2000. Your technology is indistinctive. Your bodies may be assimilated... only for purposes of tactical subsistence.

Tabol feels insulted.

Tabol: This is outrageous! You must at least take note of our rightful claims.

Queen: I don't process claims. I require Janeway. You must comply.

Quark grows impatient in the Control Room. Diplomacy is not Cardassians' best attribute.

Quark: Tabol; let my girls do the talking. They can be very seductive.

Harry Kim: Tabol; you better abort and leave. This is not working.

DataEle: Commander! Our long range sensors are picking up a broken signal. It is from Starbase 375. A Federation's Starship is coming our way at high warp. It's the USS Voyager!

Harry Kim: Voyager? Tabol! You should get out of there. This is about to get ugly.

Things are not better in the Holo-deck. Tom leaves a few tracks behind; but Hirogen hunters don't chase pitiful targets. They set their attention on B'Elanna; unaware that these preys could be much more challenging than they wished for.

Hirogen-β: Male uses greenhorn tricks to cover his tracks. He's fleeing.

Hirogen-α: Undeserving! He takes away our pride. The female though is a worthy one. She's trying to flank us!

Hirogen-β: HoHoHo! Poor thing... Where is she now?

Hirogen-α: Over there! It took me a while to spot her camouflage.

Hirogen-β: I see her too. She will make a fine trophy.

Hirogen-α: We'll pursue her first. I'll gladly thrust my knife in her for a quick kill.

Hirogen-β: What about the male?

Hirogen-α: Let him go! We'll encircle him later and make him suffer before death. We'll throw his remains to the wild.

Tom and B'Elanna execute their plan. She played decoy. He deceived the Hirogens; and together, they ambush their hunters. Tom surprises Hirogen-β and stabs him to death; but he gets hurt. B'Elanna trips over a ditch. Hirogen-α is determined to get her. Tom comes to her rescue. Hirogen-α is a brawny rival. He is about to finish Tom off; when B'Elanna climbs out of her trap and slices Hirogen-α in half with a single blow.

Tom Paris: Harry; thank you... it worked! We killed them.

B'Elanna: Yeah! We did it; Harry! Can you please get us out of here?

Tom Paris: He better hurry; this thing could reset itself and rerun the program.

B'Elanna: Gosh! I hate this Holo-Deck!

Tom reflects on their "happy" days.

Tom Paris: I miss our days in Voyager; out there in the Delta Quadrant. I wish we could do something like that again; something real, important... to sum us up.

B'Elanna: Hell no! You got to be crazy. No force in this Galaxy shall make me get onboard that Starship ever again.

Bhytor looks after Voyager's matter/antimatter reactor; and clarifies its process to Thamas: "Plasma goes through warp coils, generating a subspace displacement bubble to travel at FTL speeds". Thamas whispers. Bhytor answers: "No yet. It's too soon. This is a test flight". Thamas zips out delighted in anticipation of traveling very fast.

Voyager retakes DS9

Voyager drops out of warp. Merchant Armada's scattered debris hovers around. The Borg Cube scans the incoming vessel with its purple Polaron Array. A carroty beetle-like shuttle docked to DS9 briefly catches Janeway's attention, but she must focus on the threat. Tension builds up.

Seven: Borg's attempt to scan Voyager was fruitless.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; they are charging weapons.

Computer: Red Alert! Red Alert! Armory personnel report to battle stations!

Janeway: Chakotay; initiate evasive maneuvers!

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; Borg's arsenal is ineffective against our snail-ablative armor.

Janeway: Computer; Damage & Casualty Report!

Computer: Shields holding at 98%; No casualties!

Janeway: Tuvok; charge Isokinetic Cannon!

Tuvok: Cannon's trans-warped particle beam will only compromise cube's shields.

Janeway: I don't want it destroyed. I want to capture it. Fire!

Tuvok fires cannon.

Tuvok: Borg shields declined 87%.

Seven: Our Array Probe reveals Cube is 73% depopulated.

Janeway: That may not be good news. Where are they?

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; the Cube may have been partially populated all this time.

Janeway: We don't know that. Do we have audiovisual with DS9?

Chakotay: Negative! Borg Cube continues jamming its communication systems.

Janeway: Computer; clarify status for Cube and DS9!

Computer: Cube: unworthy for battle; DS9: irremediably outdated.

Janeway: Cardassian technology...

Seven: I'm detecting a Borg signature in the Promenade area.

Janeway: Tuvok! Fire transphasic torpedoes!

Borg Cube is destroyed. Its shields couldn't withstand asymmetric superposition of multiple subspace compression pulse phases. DS9 wobbles. Queen gets agitated.

Queen: I can't be a one without many. To have unity; I require a Collective.

Tabol: What? Your nonsense won't be inconsequential. This negotiation is over!

Queen: Your existence is superfluous. You will be now assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Quark begins to foresee trouble.

Quark: Kim! What's wrong with that Queen?

Harry Kim: Nothing! She's about to assimilate Tabol and your girls. Tabol! Get out of there!

Borg Queen's neck-frill puffs out and her cranial crest fully rises; and deploys concealed Neuroptera-like fore and hind wings. She displays superb athletics by high jumping over Tabol. She broadens her jaw and maxilla to protrude tubules out of her long razor-sharp canines, injecting Tabol with fast acting assimilation nanoprobes. Queen moves flashy around and between her rivals. Tabol contorts and falls down. Commander Harry Kim and the others witness in horror.

On Voyager...

Janeway: Miral! Have teleporter aligned to beam up Harry and your parents to AOR. Seven! Have Bhytor and Thamas in position. Tuvok! Destroy DS9 if it becomes compromised. Chakotay! You have the bridge...

Janeway departs. Chakotay can't wait any longer to talk to Seven.

Chakotay: Chakotay to Seven...

Seven: Send your traffic...

Chakotay: Do you read me?

Seven: Five by five...

Chakotay: I hope we could talk over dinner.

Seven: State the meaning of hope...

Chakotay: Huh? To cherish with confidence the obtainment of a desire...

Seven: I didn't cherish going back to Earth; but I thought a change would be positive for our marriage. You became emotionally unavailable as we got closer to our destiny.

Chakotay: Emotions? You got obsessed with searching and scanning incongruities in my personality.

Seven: I'm 18% Borg. Cortical implants hold back my feelings; making my 82% Human side somewhat forthcoming and resilient.

Chakotay: So that night; you left because you lost hope in me?

Seven: I left for a walk and Voyager pulled me in.

Bhytor and Thamas show up. Bhytor heads for Chakotay. Thamas draws near Seven.

Bhytor: If your spirit doesn't work with your hand; there is no art.

Chakotay briefly reflects.

Chakotay: True! My spirit could upset a happy puppy today. My art, not good! Isn't it? Thanks, you should now go back to AOR.

Thamas sits on a console panel facing Seven...

Thamas: Mommy; are you hurt?

Seven: Yes...

Thamas: Mommy is Human. I love you.

Seven gets a little emotional; but quickly collects herself.

Seven: I love you too. You may soon be needed in sickbay.

The children leave to their assignments. Chakotay is visibly embarrassed.

Chakotay: Seven! I'm sorry. I was fearful of rejection. I left Starfleet to join the Maquis. I wasn't sure my betrayal had been forgotten.

Seven: Going to Earth didn't excite me either. I wasn't sure of implications. I had been assimilated by Borg in my childhood. My memories terrified me.

Chakotay: I think; we had trouble with our insecurities. But; you're right, I withdrew from our relationship as we got closer to Earth.

Seven: Some degree of insecurity is healthy and acceptable.

Chakotay: Who told you that?

Seven: The Doctor! He was well versed in Human behavioral science.

Chakotay: Yeah; I bet he had complete files.

Seven: We could talk more over dinner.

Chakotay: Good! I like that.

Tuvok shows again signs of illness.

On DS9...

DataEle: Queen is an outstanding specimen of unknown origin.

Quark: My Dabo Girls! Kim! Do something to stop that Demon!

Harry Kim: Voyager! We have a problem! A Borg Queen like no other is at large in our Promenade...assimilating people. Do you copy? Please, respond!

Janeway materializes in DS9 Control Room.

Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! I'm so happy to see you. Is it really Voyager out there?

Janeway: Yes Harry; It is. I need to talk to that Borg Queen right away.

Harry Kim: She wants to see you too.

Janeway: Is that so? She then better be worth of my kindness.

DataEle: Queen didn't want to negotiate without place of safety.

Janeway: Well; she might be asking too much. Her cube is gone.

Quark: Admiral; my gratitude for your well-timed operation.

Janeway: Vice... You're welcome!

Quark: Vice? We could talk about that too... in private.

Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral...

Quark: Oh! You Humans! This brings us to a rewarding business opportunity.

Harry Kim: Quark; this isn't appropriate.

Quark ignores Harry's warning.

Quark: I offer yo my Na'Far pod in exchange for the exclusive rights to salvage whatever is worth of those remains.

Harry shakes his head. DataEle calculates.

Harry Kim: Quark...

Quark: Why not? My pod has History. It served in a D'Kora Marauder. It is fast, durable and low maintenance. It has a replicator onboard.

Janeway looks sideways as Quarks elaborates on his offer.

Janeway: I like your pod; but don't touch a fragment of that debris or I'll personally stick it up your big ears. Harry; let's go!

Quark is taken aback by her answer. Harry and Janeway reach their destination. Tabol, his comrades and the Dabo girls are all Borg drones. They escort their Queen.

Queen: You are Janeway. Negotiation is now relevant... with place of safety.

Janeway: Negotiation? We had to destroy your Cube.

Queen: An unfortunate outcome... our appreciation was terminated.

Janeway: You attacked a Federation Deep Space Station.

Queen: Borg didn't attack Federation. Species 2000 attacked Borg.

Janeway: Your Cube opened fire on Voyager.

Queen: Your ship was adamant. Cube was a valuable resource for what lies ahead.

Kim talks to Janeway in low voice.

Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral; she came in peace or so she believes.

Janeway: And her Cube was meant to be a testimony of her appreciation.

Harry Kim: Appreciation for what?

Janeway: For a safe-place! Harry; this Borg Queen is requesting Asylum.

Control Room...

Quark: DataEle! This doesn't work either. Vice-Admiral Janeway isn't skillful enough to conciliate. She won't be able to recover my Dabo Girls.

DataEle: My preliminary assessment shows your Dabo Girls are hopelessly lost; they are irretrievable without biotech currently unavailable on DS9.

Quark: This is a financial calamity! All I got left is my Na'Far pod docked outside.

DataEle: I wouldn't worry. You're a savvy merchant; familiarized with cutting losses. You survived your major competitors. Your market position is enviable.

Quark listens thoughtfully to DataEle's assessment.

Promenade...

Queen: This discussion is immaterial. We have an offer mutually convenient.

Janeway: I'd certainly like to hear it and it better be good.

Queen: You may download our technological distinctiveness from this storage device and make it your own. In exchange; you will update our bio-weapons. We will assist you in going through our network of conduits to strike Species 8472.

Janeway: Why should we be interested? You are no longer a threat. We already have plenty of Borg technology; and perfectly capable of deploying our bio-weapons against 8472 in case they invade the Alpha Quadrant. I don't see what you can do for us.

Queen: Species 8472 adverse both of us and must be stopped. Our cooperation shall save your kind in the Delta Quadrant.

Harry Kim: Our kind? What're you talking about?

Queen: Species 8472 is the apex of biological evolution. They're well judged in military matters. They have anticipated our encounter and will terminate your kind.

Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! Is she referring to the 37's?

Janeway: I'm afraid so; Harry.

Harry Kim: How do we know there are 37s in this time-line?

Janeway: Borg and Fluidians don't care about alternate realities.

Harry Kim: Right! They can transwarp at will.

Janeway: Queen! We can't just go ahead and launch a preemptive attack on Fluidians based on a Borg hunch.

Borg Queen doesn't understand Janeway's hesitation.

Queen: I intercepted and decoded their messages with details of purification plans. It is all recorded in your storage device.

Janeway: I'll have to confer with my colleagues and be back with a decision.

Queen: Colleagues?

Janeway: My Collective...
Chapter 8 by FrancoJordan5618
Asylum

Tough Federation officers administers DS9, any dispute arising on the station shall be subjected to the jurisdiction and laws of Bajor. “Easier said than done! When drafting the policy, nobody thought of a Borg Queen kickin’ in it”, Janeway enters in her log.

To be eligible for political asylum, Queen must prove persecution by 8472s, but she was left with no data to back it up. Voyager blew it up with her cube. Her raptorial looks don’t help her very much; and the -singular- way of identifying herself raised a few eyebrows: “A beginning, an end, a one who is many”. What was that all about?

Why did she replace “the beginning” with an indefinite “a beginning? Is she the last Borg Queen alive? Or is she just very special? Despite so many puzzling questions, Janeway can’t get into answers. Her gut feeling tells her the Queen is trustworthy. 37s are in real danger; and running out of time. She knows the case is weak; and even if the asylum is granted, procedures will take time to complete. She needs a persuasive argument.

“Kathryn! To assist Borg is out of question. We shall not take sides on a confrontation between belligerent powers. We don’t hunt for wars”, Sisko can’t stress it enough. She understands her boss. Voyager operates under Section-31, a counterintelligence office taking on extreme security threats. They don’t explore the Galaxy and don’t engage in search and rescue missions. “Borg couldn’t care less about 37s. They view Humanity as hazardous and want you all dead. This Queen is fooling you, Vice-Admiral. She’s just a deserter”, Captain Nerys winds it up for everyone.

“Exactly! Voyager jumbled their Quadrant and pinched their technology”, Sisko had to bring it up sooner or later. Voyager’s temporal indiscretions were and are still an issue.

“That was in another time-line”, a disappointed Janeway mitigates. She liked the other Sisko better, the Emissary. That one had faith.

“Don’t you think they know that? Your Queen is in trouble. I think she lead some kind of mutiny back home. She trots out a deplorable behavior. Those poor drones lingering in there are very compelling witnesses, believe me. Prosecutor will have a ball with her case”, Nerys hangs on to old Bajoran sarcasm.

“Drones don’t have minds of their own, Captain. If they take the stand, I assure you... they will vouch for their Queen”, Janeway adverts for lack of a better reply.

“Bottom line, Borg don’t like us much. For all we know; she may just be setting us up”, Sisko speculates. He might be right again. Borg did show up asking for help and who knows, their Queen could be a hoodwinker after all.

“This Queen is advising us on an imminent attack to defenseless Humans”, Janeway reminds everyone on their duty to protect Federation citizens anywhere in the Galaxy.

“Survival of the many outweighs sacrifice of a few”, Tuvok recites... not feeling well.

In the meanwhile, Harry Kim desperately goes over relevant jurisprudence. Bajoran Kai could grant sanctuary, if Vedeks receive an extradition request from the Borg Collective, accusing the Queen of crimes against religion. For this end, Queen shall seek refuge in an abbey at Bajor and surrender her possessions to its Prylar. If she feeds her soul with hope, Kai will let her pound the drum to expiate her sins. Sanctuary can only be given to purified spirits, open to embrace planet’s prophecies.

Refugee will be confined for life within the abbey’s perimeter, under tutoring of a Ranjen Monk. “Well; I guess, that’s what she gets for being a jerk, assimilating Cardassians and Dabo girls in the Promenade”; Harry murmurs taking a peek at a monitor. Agitated DS9 evacuees demonstrate in Bajor.

“This was a tragedy waiting to happen. You didn’t approve DS9 Constable’s budget to upgrade security. Liquidators will be furious”, a Ferengi merchant points out.

“Safety First! Safety First! Safety First”, a group of Klingons yell at the authorities.

“Unacceptable! Cardassians looking after our wormhole,... defending our station. Why don’t we just give them Bajor back”, argues an infuriated opposition leader.

“The Chamber of Ministers declared a State of Emergency. Envoys from the Board for Distress will manage your inquiries. Please, remain calm”, an officer announces.

Banner reads: “Starfleet rules in DS9”. Harry smirks a little. He may have just found the persuasive argument Vice-Admiral Janeway was looking for. Sisko and Nerys keep on the discussion. Queen awaits her fate.

“I say; since exile is the most likely outcome, hand her over to the Constable. He’ll be taking it from there”, Nerys advises conclusively. Voyager’s crew don’t go along with it.

“Easy peasy, lemon squeezy”, Chakotay grumbles.

“Excuse me?”, Nerys reacts offended.

- “Evidence is irrefutable. Species 8472 plans to attack planet of the 37s”, Seven can’t help waving the storage device at Section 31 officers.

- “Really! I’d like our staff to examine that thing... of hers”, Nerys doesn’t buy into it.

- “We don’t have much time”, Tuvok suffers a seizure and falls to the floor. Icheb, Neelix and Janeway kneel down to assist him.

“Icheb! Neelix! Rush him to sickbay. Initiate EMH. Wait for Thamas”, Janeway orders as she listens to Harry’s pm.
- “Vice-Admiral; due to its interim nature, Bajoran government can’t exercise jurisdiction or apply its laws in DS9 during states of emergency”, Harry informs.

- “Kathryn; we may continue later”, Sisko suggests given the turn of events.

“No! I’m fine. Ben; we must discuss a different mission”, she’s ready to settle it.

- “Kathryn, your intentions are praiseworthy; but your actions may interfere with ordinary development of cultures and breach the Prime Directive. You could be court-martialed”, Sisko condescends.

- “Starfleet regulations apply on DS9 during times of disaster. I’m in command. I’ll grant her asylum under General Order #9. You can always review and overturn my decision in light of impending circumstances”, Janeway makes up her mind.

“What? Asylum will only exacerbate tensions with Cardassians”, Nerys can’t disagree more with Janeway’s determination and tries to ponder it with a diplomatic implication.

-”Cardassians ignored Commander Kim’s order to evacuate DS9”, Janeway reproaches.

-”They attacked a Borg Cube instead... with freighters” Chakotay fleshes out.

-”Species 2000 sometimes pass for unexceptional”, Seven synopsizes.

Queen feels the wiggling upshot of an incoming flashback. She kneels on one knee and keeps her chin down. Streamlined vessels dive sharp and fly across icy canyons. Their afterburners increase the jet thrust, lifting snow dust in their way up. She looks towards the camera, realizing Borg are unwelcoming guests in the Promenade.

“Admiral! They might have a point. Preliminary intel indicates Borg didn’t attack any one throughout the Gamma Quadrant”, Nerys hates to be wrong but in light of the facts, she reconsiders her initial observation.

“Yes; I know! They only attacked Voyager”, an unconvinced Sisko responds.

-“I think Borg didn’t know what to make of us. Their Cube wasn’t able to scan us and considered our presence hostile”, Janeway expresses her theory on Queen’s offensive.

-“Maybe; I tell you what. I’ll concur with you on the asylum. But listen to me carefully; the mission is now about getting this Queen to assist you in transwarping back to the Delta Quadrant to dissuade 8472s from attacking 37s. You’ll help her out with bio-weaponry; but do not confront Fluidians unless under imminent threat. Understood?’, Sisko finally outlines a revised mission.

-”WILCO Admiral!”, Janeway acknowledges it.

-“Carry-on! Sisko out!”, Sisko ends transmission.

Janeway recalls DaVinci for a split second: “To travel may carry happiness”. She is back with her crew in deep space. She presses her badge to recognizes him: “Harry; thank you”. He’s glad to assist.

-“Seven! Bring Borg aboard! Chakotay; I’ll be right back”, Janeway get things started.

“Operations! FOD Walk-down Report”, Chakotay requests. Viewscreen shows debris.

Janeway gets in her quarters and restart subspace comm with Sisko: “Ben; I know you are concerned, but...” He doesn’t let her finish: “That’s an understatement. You guys are the only living link we have with the original timeline. You are... I don’t trust her. She’s like nothing we’ve seen before”.

-”I’m taking precautions”, Janeway complete her thoughts.

-”I’m sure you are. Queen might be right though. Her Cube was a valuable resource”, Sisko reexamines the situation.

-”I couldn’t take chances!”, Janeway rethinks it too. She wouldn’t do it differently. Borg didn’t give her any options.

-”I get it; but, it riddles me Voyager’s intuitiveness wasn’t proactive in this matter”, Sisko still has issues with the overhauled vessel.

-“Ben,... we haven’t yet gotten up to speed with her awareness features”, she must consider Voyager reliable... not some kind of rogue starship.

-“Or perhaps; Computer –in its infinite wisdom- determined a Queen with no Cube was the most workable scenario”, Sisko always thinking about scenarios.

-“That thought too... crossed my mind”, she consents on the possibility.

-“Kathryn, needless to say, if this operation goes wrong, we both could be dishonorably discharged”, Sisko has a way of advising her not to screw this one up.

-“Thanks for the friendly reminder, but... I first have to make it back in one piece”, she’s just trying to be realistic. They are about to transwarp back to the Delta Quadrant... through collapsing Borg conduits.

-“You’ll indeed; this mission is already fitting you well. Look at you! Bon Voyage!”, Sisko catches her off guard with his unexpected leap of faith.

-“Benjamin; your gallantry flatters me, but you may want to check your vision”, she’s all right with a pat-on-the-back once in a while, but not this kind... She’s getting too old for that. She struck the Delta Quadrant for the first time... thirty-three years ago!

-“You look splendid; and I mean it. Godspeed Kathryn...”, He persists. Once emissary, always... She feels peculiar and peers at her forehands. No age spots!


Royal Salute and EMH

Seven energizes Borg guests. Thamas jumps. Queen grabs him. He pecks her lips. The toddler kisses all Borg in their cheeks and gets back to Seven with a baby bottle. Icheb and Neelix rush with Tuvok to sickbay.

Icheb: Computer! Initiate Emergency Medical Holograph!

The Doctor pops up…

Doctor: Please; state the nature of your medical emergency!

Neelix: Doctor; don’t you remember me?

Doctor: I recall you; but my priority subroutine favors healing over chitchatting.

Icheb: Tuvok suffered a seizure and fainted.

Neelix: He might be dehydrated; or overheated.

Doctor: Has he shown signs of fatigue or complained of recurrent fever?

Icheb: None that we are aware of. We haven’t seen him in years.

Doctor: Years? How long have I been off line?

Icheb: Ten years or so; I believe.

Neelix: I haven’t seen you in 17 years; but you haven’t seen me in 26.

Doctor: You’re shooting years like peanuts. It has only been a fraction of a second for me. This sickbay has unfamiliar features. Where am I?

Icheb: You are onboard a revamped USS Voyager; on a mission to save Humans in the Delta Quadrant.

Doctor: Computer! My former nimble physique and handsome facial expressions have declined to unacceptable levels. My interlocutors and mission sound unreal. Could you test my behavioral parameters? I may be undergoing a dreadful psychotic episode.

Computer: You are not psychotic.

Icheb begins to lose his patience.

Icheb: Doctor! Can you please run a diagnosis on Tuvok?

Doctor: I don’t know about that. He’s a Vulcan. His inclination to control his emotions makes him an off-putting consumer of healthcare services.

Icheb: Doctor!

Doctor: All right! I’ll give him a sedative; before scanning him thoroughly.

Neelix: Doctor; I once felt terribly sick after dining a Cream of Trabeian Mushrooms and developed a similar paleness all over my body.

Doctor: Computer! Could you please turn off Neelix?

Computer: Unable to execute.

Neelix: Doctor; you’re so comical. Oh; perfect! Thamas is here. He’s adorable.

Thamas gets in sickbay. Doctor disapproves his presence. The boy glides to hand him over his baby-bottle. Doctor and Thamas communicate through a sound-off feature.

Doctor: Thanks Thamas! I’ll transfer myself to AOR right away. Get screenings started; and keep an eye on Tuvok. Don’t make faces! I do appreciate your updates. I’ll be right back. Your brother waits for me.

Icheb and Neelix are captivated.

Everyone Onboard

Harry, B’Elanna and Tom are beamed up to AOR. Doctor and Bhytor receives them.

Tom Paris: Harry! We’re back together almost without a scratch.

Harry Kim: Guys; I’m so sorry.

B’Elanna: Doctor! What are you doing here in DS9?

Doctor: This isn’t a space station. We are onboard Voyager in our way to save 37s.

Tom Paris: Back to the Delta Quadrant? That’s awesome!

B’Elanna: This is not happening! What’s going on Doctor?

Doctor: I was kept in the dark for ten years. I’m the last to know as usual.

B’Elanna: Why am I naked inside this pod?

Bhytor: Because you’re about to be geared up with biomechanical suits to enhance your sensorial capabilities, data processing and musculoskeletal performance.

Harry Kim: It feels weird; like a …

Bhytor: Like being wrapped up with plantain leaves.

Harry Kim: Right! And who are you? Aren’t you too young to be on this ride?

Bhytor: My name is Bhytor. My brother Thamas and I are Type XR bioelectrical entities, designed to optimize applications and comfort crew via quantum alignments.

Tom Paris: Bioelectrical Entities?

Doctor: Yes, Mr. Paris, they’re Artificial Intelligent Ghosts. And now please; don’t move!

B’Elanna: What are you doing to my husband?

Doctor: I’m trying to heal his fractured ribs through... this shelly plate girdle!

Computer: EMH! EMH! Your presence is required in sickbay.

Harry Kim: You’re back to normal; Doctor. We are keeping you busy.

Doctor: This ship is all but normal. We’re embarked in yet another irregular mission; and I’m looking ridiculously old. Now; if you all excuse me, I have work to do.


Back to Bridge

Janeway on her way…

Miral: Miral to Janeway…

Janeway: Go ahead!

Miral: Why was I assigned to a kitchen’s garden?

Janeway: Vice-Admiral to Cadet; I expect your report on Hydro/Airponics by 1600.

Miral: Hydroponics operational. Airponics... work in progress.

Janeway: Great! You are getting an hang of it.

Miral: But Vice-Admiral; I’m top five of my Class. I’m resourceful.

Janeway: Good for you! Then; impress me with creativity!


Chakotay in charge…

Harry Kim: DS9 is hailing us.

Chakotay: On Viewscreen!

DataEle: We were expecting Vice-Admiral Janeway.

Chakotay: She’s away. I’m Chakotay; First Officer. What can I do for you?

DataEle: Captain; on behalf of everyone on DS9, I’d like to thank you all for resolving our Borg crisis.

Chakotay: You’re welcome! It was our duty.

DataEle: There are some concerns though among businessmen.

Chakotay: I assume you’re referring to Quark.

DataEle: He’s insistently quoting Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

Harry Kim: Can’t he just hold on less profit for a little while?

Quark breaks-in visibly annoyed...

Quark: Hello! I’m here. This is disgraceful. All my years of contribution to this Station, in trade and tourism, are thrown into oblivion. This only shows how prejudiced you are of Ferengi. How do you even know she refers to me? I will report this offense.

Chakotay: You’re the only merchant alive on DS9. Aren’t you?

Quark: I was lucky. I grant you that; but as a result, I’m in a position to acquire because I’m entitled to compensation from my warrantor.

Harry Kim: You’re not suggesting Starfleet is you warrantor?

Quark is confident about his possibilities.

Quark: There is Jurisprudence from Ferengi Commissioners.

Quark is just fishing and Chakotay knows it.

Chakotay: Quark; you need to move on. DS9 is on State of Emergency until normalcy is reestablished. Bajoran Government will expedite procedures for evacuees to come back to DS9. Meanwhile, DataEle is in charge of operations.

Quark: Which lead us to my other concern; she’s not even a life form.

Quark speaks of her as she isn’t present. DataEle is programmed to be polite.

Chakotay: See the bright side; Quark. DataEle is artificially smart and has a good heart. Chakotay out!
Chapter 9 by FrancoJordan5618
DS9 Rebooting

Staff attempt to manage and monitor DS9 from its control room. They have to move and interact in very close quarters. DataEle coordinates their work on safety mode until Ops can be brought back on. Many systems are still offline or just all out malfunctioning.

DataEle: Habitat...
OpsStaff1: Reestablishing argon and nitrogen levels...
DataEle: Fusion reactors...
OpsStaff1: 65% operational...
DataEle: Docking Pylons...
OpsStaff2: Workable...
DataEle: Landing Pads...
OpsStaff2: Available...
DataEle: Deflector Shields...
OpsStaff2: Down...
DataEle: Weapons...
OpsStaff: Resetting...

Nobody asks him to participate; but Quark joins the recovery efforts before a console.

Quark: Ergonomics/Aesthetics... What is this?

DataEle ponders Quark’s interruption.
DataEle: An irrelevant reading...
Quark: It popped up on this console.
OpsStaff1: That’s the old restoration project; I believe.
DataEle: Correct...
Quark: What about my bar? I don’t see it.

DataEle takes a quick look.
DataEle: Not in the options menu. The plan was to upgrade habitat and docking facilities.

Staff can hardly contain their laughs as Quark expresses contempt by biting his lip.

DataEle: Promenade...
OpsStaff1: Sealed...
DataEle: Ops...
OpsStaff2: Contained...
DataEle: Deactivate emergency bulkheads...
OpsStaff1: Initiating sequence...

Quark insists in providing unsolicited assistance.
OpsStaff2: Don’t touch that!
Quark messes up with safety.
Computer: Hazardous Environment! Setting-up safeguards protocols...
Quark inadvertently triggers alarm sirens and signaling horns all over the place. Gas fire suppressant gets released in the Promenade.

Quark: What? What happened?
DataEle: I can’t yet let you go you back to your bar.
Quark: Why not? I have things to do... like repairing my Dabo Wheel for instance.

DataEle points at a monitor showing a smoky Promenade.
DataEle: You don’t want to go in there. It’s unbreathable.
OpsStaff1: T-Rated firestops in code compliance. Ventilating...

Viewscreen suddenly comes back online. Voyager appears stably docked to a pylon, hiding inside a few well kept secrets of its own. OpsStaff2 reports good news.

OpsStaff2: Transceiver is back on!

Quark contemplates Voyager on screen... not without a little resentment. Deep inside his Ferengi heart,.. he is happy to see Janeway and Voyager to be soon on their way.

Quark: This Voyager people... they are good!

DataEle: I reckon they appear to be of good character.

Quark: I don’t mean “good” like in nice... but “good” like in at what they do!

DataEle: Oh! I understand. You mean they are effective. I infer they must pass through a rigorous screening process in order to become part of the crew.

Quark: Probably ... you fast learner!
Quark thinks his conversation with DataEle has turned overly silly.

DataEle: Don’t you think they are of good character as well?

Quark: Sure! They are... They made a mess out there. She didn’t let me conduct any salvage operations to compensate for losses and then, they just go ahead and leave to to the Delta Quadrant. What for? To visit 37 humans castaway somewhere.

OpsStaff1: There are way more than 37 these days.

DataEle ignores Quark’s summary and shocks him with a foregone conclusion.

DataEle: I think I now get your apprehension. You must report your losses to the Ferengi Liquidator and you don’t have a warrantor.

Quark: Smart girl indeed...

Back in the Bridge

Janeway: Hi Tom! Welcome back to the helm.

Tom Paris: My pleasure; Vice-Admiral…

Janeway: How’s B’Elanna?

Tom Paris: She is not... very happy.

Janeway: I’m sorry to hear that.

Borg Queen feels flabbergasted by the whole experience and would appreciate some clarification.

Queen: I require your update on negotiation status.

Janeway: You all have been granted asylum. You’ll help us to protect our kind and we will assist you with bio-weaponry. We’re not at war with 8472s; and you can’t interfere in our operations. Agreed?

Queen: Affirmative! I will comply with negotiation. Borg require now to regenerate.

Janeway: Seven! Please; take our Borg guests to their alcoves.

Seven: You all come with me!

Seven shows the way and runs into Neelix. He’s a little... lost.

Neelix: Seven! I’m kind of disoriented. I don’t know what’s happening. All this vintage Borg industrial architecture and art nouveau... too much going on. Can you take me to the bridge? I need to talk urgently to Vice-Admiral Janeway.

Queen: Borg don’t do art nouveau.

Though true; Seven ignores Queen’s comment.

Seven: No Neelix; I won’t do that. My post is in the Astrometrics Lab.

Neelix: But; I must bring a little something to her attention.

Seven: I strongly advise you don’t storm the bridge with snacks.

Neelix: You’re hilarious! Seriously; it’s important. I don’t find any cabbage or potatoes for my famous inter-constellational soups.

Neelix catches Queen’s attention. Good recruits are always welcome in her Collective.
Queen: You’re Species 218. What’s your function on this vessel?

Neelix: 218! You’re right. I almost forgot it. I’m a Guide. I know where to find supplies and stuff in the Delta Quadrant.

Queen: A pathfinder! Interesting... But; you seem inefficient finding vegetables. If you wish; I could assimilate you in my Collective. You’ll make an excellent combat drone... with such a dense upper body.

Seven talks to Queen as if Neelix is not present.

Seven: He knows. I once told him of his Species’ significance for Borg.

Neelix: Your offer is tempting; but I like my current lifestyle with plenty of personal thoughts and memories.

Seven provides Neelix with relevant information.

Seven: Neelix! Miral Paris is in charge of Hydroponics. She might be able to direct you.

Neelix leaves disappointed. The two Borg ladies got a little bit in his nerves. Queen clarifies with Seven a misconception about her Collective.

Queen: He’s mistaken. My drones keep their reflections and recollections. I read them all and coordinate actions to attain perfection.

Seven: The Hive Mind then must have been thrilled with the prospects of your own Collective.

Queen stares at a Betazoid couple passing by with a cart; carrying ice, fruits, seafood and veggies. They walk embracing each other. Seven and the female Betazoid goggle each other again. Seven internalizes conflicting thoughts.

Seven: You’re not supposed to walk across the ship with food and drinks.

Veya: Commander Kim allowed it. I’m Veya. He’s Lodom. We’re Honeymooners.

Lodom: You’re welcome to join us.

Queen entertains carnal ideas.

Queen: Naughty! I don’t think I have tried a foursome before or... maybe I have. Not sure!

Seven: Inappropriate proposal ensigns...

Veya and Lodom feel amuse. Seven and the Borg Queen obviously don’t know much about Betazoid relationships.

Lodom: Oh no! HaHaHa You Borg ladies are funny. I meant nothing sexual... not yet anyway!

Veya: But very intense; way better than sex actually.

Queen: I must decline then. I have to regenerate!

Seven gets hesitated. She feels an urge to break away.

Seven: Yes! We better go. Enough intensity for the day.

They leave. Seven remains troubled. “What happened back there?” She reflects. “Am I feeling attracted to that Betazoid girl?

Veya and Lodom walk in the elevator. Door closes behind them.

Veya: You are tremendous. You like her. Don’t you?

Lodom: Who? The Queen?

Veya: Not the Queen! Seven... there is something about her.

Veya likes Seven too.
Lodom: You can’t deny her sex appeal. The Queen on the other hand...

Veya: She’s a very strange Borg. I don’t remember seeing anything like her in the archives from the Delta Quadrant.

Lodom: Well; It seems... that even Borg have freaks in their ranks.

Veya: HeHeHe! We better stay away from her.


Borg Queen and Seven continue their conversation as they walk towards the alcoves.

Queen: Species 1599! They’re difficult to read.

Seven: You seem animated by their presence.

Queen: And you don’t? I yearn to blend with them. I like ice as well.

Seven: They’re already… blended to each other; I believe.

Queen: You! You’re an appealing female. What’s your pairing status?

Seven: I’m not looking. Your alcove Queen...


Engaging…

Chakotay: Engineering; please report on Warp-Drive!

B’Elanna: I can’t believe you let my daughter to come along. I bet your animal guide told you it was all right. What is it then; if I may know? Some kind of wild dog?

Chakotay: Commander Torres; this is the bridge. You’re way out of line.

Tom makes signs to Chakotay.

Tom Paris: Tom to B’Elanna; are you okay?

B’Elanna: No; I’m not okay. I feel miserable as a mother.

Tom Paris: She’s my daughter too; you know. I understand what you’re going through; but we all need you strong down there.

Bhytor juts before B’Elanna…

Bhytor: Starlight may not give life to crops without soil and moisture.

Bhytor fades out...

B’Elanna: This kid! What’s his name? Bhytor! He was just here and creeped me out. He said something... agricultural and left. Anyhow; I keep forgetting Miral, our daughter, is a senior cadet about to graduate from Starfleet.

Tom listens...

Tom Paris: Yes; I know. I sometimes forget it too.

B’Elanna: B’Elanna to Bridge! Captain Chakotay; I apologize for my unfair remarks. Warp-Drive is up and running!

Janeway: Well; you all heard B’Elanna. First Officer; execute!

Chakotay: Helmsman! Lay in a course and clear departure with DS9.

Tom Paris: Yes Sir! Course laid-in. DataEle cleared us!
Chakotay: Gear up thrusters!

Harry Kim: Thrusters all set!

Chakotay: Initiate Launch Sequence!

Tom Paris: Sequence underway!

Chakotay: Kathryn! Maximum Warp?

Janeway: Absolutely! Engage!

Voyager departs ahead of luminous streams.


Tuvok’s Recovery

Tuvok wakes up in sickbay feeling much better.

Doctor: Well! This is what I call an unexpected recovery.

Tuvok: I’m afraid that’s unattainable. I suffer from Bendii Syndrome, a degenerative neurological illness. The Iruhe deity digs my mind out.

Doctor: This is how it works. I’m your Doctor. You’re our Security Chief. I am who runs diagnosis around here. BS only afflicts elderly Vulcans.

Tuvok: I’m a 140 years old Vulcan.

Doctor: In Calendar days; you certainly are. Results of your Medical Exam however are consistent with a 115 y/o mature Vulcan male.

Tuvok: But... I just suffered a Bendii seizure.

Doctor: No; you did not. Cellular rejuvenation shocked your hippocampus.

Tuvok: You must be certain. I could harm non-Vulcan crew members by involuntarily projecting in them distress and violence.

Doctor: Thamas screened your Metathalamus. Remission is definite. Neuron-impulses now flow normally to your audiovisual cortex.

Tuvok: I’m then cured.

Doctor: No! You’re not yet sick. You are too young for that.
Tuvok frowns at Doctor’s comment.

Dinner for Two

Seven and Chakotay get together for dinner.

Neelix: And right from my Mess Hall Grill; a Boray Sea Bass Fillet topped with crusted nuts for Seven and a Stuffed Enara Trout wrapped up with Targ Bacon for Chakotay. I didn’t have much time to get fancy with salads... so here you go.

Seven murmurs...

Seven: Cabbage and potatoes...

Chakotay: Thanks Neelix; this plate seems a savory choice.

Neelix waits for Seven. Chakotay makes a “be nice” gesture.

Seven: Mine looks... unpredictable.

Neelix takes her comment as positive and smiles back at her.

Neelix: Enjoy your meal! I got to go and warm up in my quarters. I have these Goosebumps!

Neelix leaves. Chakotay yawns. Seven detours her attention towards the skylight.

Chakotay: You’re so quiet. I feel awkward... like a generation apart.

Seven: I apologize; but since we left the Ranch, my ocular implant picks up micron light dots gatherings outside Voyager. I’m not certain what it is. It might not be even real.

Tom Paris at the helm...

Tom Paris: Scary...

In Engineering B’Elanna analyzes readings.

B’Elanna: You got to be kidding me! Nobody can’t see that well.

B’Elanna returns her attention to a console. She’s concerned with an encryption. Tuvok meditates in his Quarters.

Tuvok: Her neural-Borg-circuitry could have been upgraded by her nano-probes.

Janeway gets ready for bed.

Janeway: Her ocular implant may be too sensitive and require calibration; Doctor?

Doctor pop-ups at Dinner and scans Seven. Chakotay is visibly annoyed.

Doctor: Seven may very well be the high point of avant-garde evolution. She does posses extreme visual acuity in her bio-synthetic eye. She could be a great artist!

Doctor fades away. Chakotay looks hacked off.

Chakotay: I’m glad we managed to speak out our past fears and…

Seven: We haven’t talked about our present ones.

Chakotay: Fair enough! I’m afraid this mission won’t help us to get any closer.

Seven: It isn’t just the mission. My feelings towards you...

B’Elanna storms in; followed by Tom. She’s very agitated.

B’Elanna: Oh; here you are! Starfleet’s Borg Super Star!

Tom Paris: B’Elanna! We should go...

Chakotay: Commander Torres! You’re this near to spend tonight in the brig.

B’Elanna: She sent a bait message to Section 31 to get us all onboard.

B’Elanna fumes. Chakotay doesn’t believe it. Tom is drowsy.

Seven: Computer favored a crew with experience in the Delta Quadrant.

B’Elanna: Your little trick brought along my only daughter, whose life is now in danger like everyone else’s in this restyled Voyager.

In an instant; Bhytor and Thamas pop up. They’re on pajamas. Thamas cries and jumps on Seven’s laps. Bhytor is defensive.

Thamas: Bhytor is mean!

Bhytor: Mother! He wants to play seek-and-hide with the Borg drones.

Seven gets up with Thamas. Bhytor grabs her hand.

Seven: Come with me! You two need assignments and bubble lights.

Chakotay: Please, don’t go...

Seven speaks in low voice.

Seven: Sorry; I don’t want to hurt you further.

Bhytor addresses B’Elanna.
Bhytor: She’s exploring or something.

B’Elanna: We all do... kiddo!

Chakotay is frustrated. Seven begins to leave with her children.

Chakotay: Seven...

B’Elanna tries to provoke Seven.

B’Elanna: They’re not real. You know!

B’Elanna grimaces. Thamas responds by making Queen’s faces. Seven ignores B’Elanna... at least for now.

Miral: Miral to mother! We need to talk something vital.

B’Elanna: Miral! You shouldn’t even be here... in this stupid ship.

B’Elanna collapses. Tom tries to assist his wife. Miral doesn’t know what’s going on.

Chakotay: Doctor! We need you back in the Mess Hall area.

Doctor pops up again and checks on B’Elanna.

Doctor: No worries; Mr. Paris! She hyperventilated. Help me to get her to your quarters.

Doctor and Tom carry B’Elanna out. Chakotay stumble upon a couch. B’Elanna feels so drunk. The three step in the room and fall heavy in bed. Doctor takes a look at his two friends. Tom snores like a wart hog. B’Elanna is smashed. Her words don’t make any sense. Doctor goes back to the Mess Hall to scan a dozy Chakotay. He’s dazed by the readings. Neelix shivers in his closet. Harry has forty winks. Doctor gladly admires his younger reflection in a metallic slat-wall, placing his hand around the jaw.

Doctor: Computer! You see? Now we’re talking.

Computer: As I told you earlier, you’re not psychotic.

Voyager transwarps through Borg conduits in absolute silence.
Chapter 10 by FrancoJordan5618
Next Day

Janeway flies a Na’Far pod towards Voyager; when she is hit by a vast anomaly. Her dream gets hazy afterwards; but she sees herself younger in-between visions. Quark’s pod malfunctions; descending fast as she operates its conical console. The Doctor whistles Spring, from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The dense atmosphere clears; and an island with ample pasture comes into sight. She glides to a crash-landing. Tremors wake her up; coughing in a foggy cockpit. She can’t see clearly; but outside, three big humanoids drag her pod to a stop over a rocky surface. She’s shaky; but manages to pull a lever down to open the hatch and see a murky view. She can’t tell what they say; except for a boy’s voice: “She’ll read the skies for us”. The Doctors stops whistling.

Janeway comes around muttering: “I have a son. I have a son”. She feels weird; like moving around in a string of snapshots. Her heartbeat pounds quickly. She orders the replicator to make hot black coffee. “Probably not a good idea”, she thinks. The Doctor goes through crew’s medical files in sickbay, humming “La Donna e Mobile”. Janeway gets out of the shower sprightly; wrapped up in a towel and feeling fabulous. She picks her mug up and halts before her mirror; amused in a knocked for six kind of way.

Janeway: Computer! Turn on the lights!
Computer: Lights on!
Janeway: This mission can’t be fitting me this well. How’s this possible?

In Senior Officers Conference Room a little while later…

Doctor: How’s this possible? AOR Bath infused microprobes in your bloodstream to augment immunology and repair cellular decay to certain extent.
Chakotay: Should we expect further changes?
Doctor: Augments protect you against biohazards. Getting somewhat younger is just a byproduct. I hope it doesn’t go too far; or I’ll be babysitting you all in the Delta Quadrant with two high-strung bio-electrical kids and that creepy Borg Queen chilling around.
Janeway: Harry! Have you made any progress with Cargo Bay 1?
Harry Kim: Bypass-circuitry and phaser bradawls failed; but we found out with Doctor’s assistance that nanoprobes are also behind this problem.
Tom Paris: Incredible! These Borg micro-robots are thriving all over Voyager.
Doctor: These nanoprobes are not entirely Borg.

Senior staff don’t know how to react to Doctor’s report.
B’Elanna: Wait a second... You’re going to fast Doctor.
Tom Paris: Yeah; slow down.. What do you...
Chakotay: How do you know? Where did they come from?
Doctor: They are smaller than virus; more advanced and able to integrate Borg ones.
Janeway’s intuition goes to work.
Janeway: Computer! What’s the source of non-Borg nanoprobes?
Computer: Source Unknown! Species Unknown!
Janeway: Computer! Please approximate...
Computer: Approximating! Planet of 37s... Species Unknown!
Tuvok: Computer may be pointing towards Briori.
Janeway: Hah! Those mysterious aliens who abducted the 37s from Earth.

Tom recalls the open to doubts story.
Tom Paris: Yeah, right! Briori enslaved 37s bad or something; but were defeated later on by 37’s offspring in a fuzzy rebellion... and nobody knows of Briori whereabouts.
Tuvok: I agree with Mr. Paris. Except for some basic infrastructure and technology, no other evidence of Briori or of 37’s rebellion were ever found.
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral... We freed a group of 37s by deactivating their stasis pods and a cryogenic agent spread out all around us,... remember?
Janeway: You’re right Harry! That gas could have been micro-robotic in nature and we brought colonies of nanoprobes with us into Voyager.

Tom had to ask the question in everyone’s mind.
Tom Paris: What about the Borg Queen? She is...
Chakotay: We’ve been getting minor incident reports about her.
Janeway: From all over the ship! She’s driving me nuts.
Miral: Wasn’t she supposed to stay unglued?
Tom Paris: Exactly... Well; she may know something we don’t.
B’Elanna: Good luck with her! She’s a roaming enigma. Can you believe she asked me if I wished to be assimilated into her Collective?
Seven: She claims to allow her drones to keep their thoughts and memories.
Tuvok: That’s very unconventional for Borg standards.
Seven: She’s also sexually uninhibited and has a soft spot for ice.
Tom expresses a little sympathy for the Queen.
Tom Paris: She might just want to explore feelings and experiment with her body.
Tuvok: I’d be deeply concerned for anyone being the object of her exploration.

Janeway knows the Doctor must have by now more information on the distinguished guest.
Janeway: Doctor... What have you found about her?
Doctor: Thamas screened her samples; with disturbing results. Her DNA is humanoid... from an unidentified Species. Her Physiology is one for the books. She is biologically enhanced by multiple micro-organisms living and interacting inside her body.
B’Elanna: Then; how was she assimilated by Borg?
Doctor: She wasn’t. It was actually all the way around. Her dense microbiology took over and integrated Borg nanoprobes injected in her.
Chakotay: That’d make her a defective drone. Borg Hive Mind would have ordered her disposal or termination.
Tuvok: And it probably did so; but this Queen obviously interjected Hive’s orders.
Harry KIm: She had other plans.
Janeway: To breach in and build her own Collective.
Tuvok: She probably kept herself captive on purpose.
Chakotay: Waiting for an opportunity…
Janeway: She most likely made her move when the Borg systems dwindled... after 8472’s attack.

They all agree with Janeway’s inference; but B’Elanna wants to know more.
B’Elanna: How she does it? She got herself a Cube, a crew and made drones in DS9.
Doctor: She surrogates others by seizing their brain functions with a potent combo of integrated nanoprobes and symbiotic fungal-parasites.
Harry Kim: Why is she pretending to be a Borg Queen? I don’t get it.
Doctor: She’s not pretending. She’s amnesiac; maybe as a result of a trauma to her brain during her initial encounter with Borg.
Tuvok: We must assume Queen planned to take over Borg and 8472s. She could manage a Borg cube; but couldn’t handle 8472s without our assistance.
Chakotay: That’s really why she left the battlefield.
B’Elanna: She’ll attempt to assimilate them through a bionic pandemic.
Janeway: But first; she needs to weaken 8472s. With our help; she could integrate Borg and Fluidians. She’d be extremely powerful.
Doctor: She might be able to integrate weaken 8472s with her aggressive microbiology, but Borg nanoprobes will never be fully effective on Fluidians.
Tom Paris: How’s she going to achieve all that? She lost her Cube and her Collective only has five drones.
Janeway: Can she assimilate us; Doctor? Can she infect us?
Doctor: Good questions! She can’t assimilate you. As I mentioned before, you all have augmented immunology. However; the infection would still require medical attention.
Janeway: She can’t be the kind of Briori we are looking for.
Doctor: I don’t know who the Briori are; but I can tell you this much. Her Biology doesn’t match the strange microprobes fooling around Voyager.

Tuvok realizes how powerful Briori must be.
Tuvok: Then; Briori or whoever is our unknown source of technology anticipated our encounter with this Queen and knows her kind very well.
Tom Paris: To pull it off; they would have to travel at unthinkable speeds and pinpoint our location and hers with absolute precision in an eye’s twinkle.
Janeway: Is that so hard to believe? Briori abducted 37s from Earth and took them in a wink to a planet in the Delta Quadrant.
B’Elanna: And the Caretaker pulled Voyager 75 years away in a split second.
They all consent with B’Elanna.
Seven: They might have developed ultra long range sensors capable of surveying and mapping space-time with tachyon pulses.
Chakotay: Could they foresee events caused by distressful decisions?
Harry Kim: An act of vengeance, for instance…
They all deliberately evade thinking about Nero, the vengeful Romulan, and the Narada’s temporal rampage.

Seven: They may not be able to foretell intentions; but they could anticipate outcomes.
B’Elanna: Or maybe... who knows, they’re doomed by transwarping so much.
Seven disagrees…
Seven: I think they are concerned with restitution of space-time continuum.
Tuvok: But... not with Vulcan’s fate, for instance.
Seven: That might be too specific for their self-centered interests.
Janeway remembers Maestro saying Orbs roll in space-time like a game of dice.
Janeway: They’re tracking outcomes caused by an anomaly in space-time continuum.
Doctor: Good luck with that! And who set off the glitch if I may ask.
Janeway: Nero did…with the Narada Drill. He altered the whole Galaxy.

They all stay quiet for a moment. B’Elanna breaks the pause.
B’Elanna: Okay! I don’t get this. Their technology is breathtaking; right? Why don’t they go out there, put their own behinds on the line and take care of business?
Tuvok remember Kes’ words.
Tuvok: Perhaps; they can’t reach out and want us to achieve what –at this instant- they are unable to attain by themselves.

B’Elanna: What the f@#! Where did you get all that crap?
Chakotay: Torres...
B’Elanna: Why us? My daughter...I can’t take any more of this. I’m out of here.
B’Elanna leaves the conference room in a state of distress.
Tom Paris: B’Elanna...
Janeway: Let her go; Tom.
Miral: Yes dad; let her vent a little.

Harry Kim: What shall we do about our guest Queen?
Tuvok: She can’t hurt anyone as long as we keep her onboard.
Janeway: We still have a mission to accomplish.
Chakotay: To save 37’s!
Harry Kim: What do we do next?
Janeway: Open Cargo Bay 1; we might get some answers in there.


Assault on Cargo Bay 1

Bridge…
Harry and Tuvok match up efforts to take control of Cargo Bay 1. Operations staff seeks to override its locked gates. Tuvok’s Hazard Team brings some cover.

Collins: Captain Kim! We hear sounds of heavy equipment; footsteps, slamming doors and felt... a swirling cold air coming from inside.
Harry Kim: Collins! Sensors show nothing. You all hang in there and focus on your job.
Tuvok: Gutierrez; what do you see?
Gutierrez: I’m not sure; Commander. Our eyes itch. We see… crazy projections.
Tuvok: Projections?
Gutierrez: Yeah! You know... like old black-and-white films or something, showing these hideous creatures.
Harry Kim: Tuvok; I’m reading high levels of infrasound and electrical bustle.

Doctor assists from Sickbay.
Doctor: Ultra-waves irritate eyeballs and jumble temporoparietal junctions, disabling peoples’ brains from the idea of self and recreating unreal images.
Harry doesn’t quite believe Doctor’s words. Tuvok remains thoughtful.
Collins: Captain Kim! We feel worn out and with headaches.
Gutierrez: Collins! Shut up! We’ll back you up. You have work to do.
Collins: Yeah right! You only see ugly aliens. You idiot!
Gutierrez: Damn it; Collins! You smart-ass... I’ll flare your butt with my phaser.
Tuvok: Gutierrez! Hold your position. A hostile may come out of there any minute.
Gutierrez: Captain! We see now a projection of... a herd of spotted horses with dark triangular mane.
Collins: Back up? My silly butt! You’re all screwed up Gutierrez.
Harry Kim: Readings for Positive Ions are way above normal.
Doctor: That would explain nonsense, headaches and the lousy moods.

B’Elanna intervenes from Engineering.
B’Elanna: Bioelectrical kids seem unaffected.
Janeway: B’Elanna... are your all right? How are you feeling?
B’Elanna: Why is everyone asking me that? Are you all right Vice-Admiral?
Chakotay looks at Janeway in sign of ... “What should we do about her?” Tom turns to Janeway too and indicates her to cut-it-off. Janeway understands.
Janeway: Okay... Bhytor! Thamas! Get in Cargo Bay 1 and report findings.

Bhytor and Thamas levitate luminously towards Cargo Bay 1 and squeeze in through the gates; but only to come out right after with their eyes wide open. They leave rapidly as everyone conjecture about what happened. The gates open; displaying a thick gleaming screen from which a big fuzzy BE entity comes out. He’s visibly enraged.

Type-F: Qarawi-Mayke; tiqanga takeli yoqi - tiqanga kuara paihoa!
(Too much/enough) (you’re difficult) (you must wait)

He sets off a potent electroshock charge against operations staff and tactical officers. They all fall down with violent involuntary muscle contractions. Thamas talks and sips from his bottle.

Thamas: Scary! Cousin is mad.
Bhytor: You infuriated him by making your jelly-fish faces. He doesn’t like those. He’s from the mountains; you silly.
Thamas: I was kidding.

Type-F budges his head and assesses casualties. They’re all knocked-out; but no one is seriously hurt. He focuses attention on Bhytor and Thamas.
Type-F: Quamariki; iqawiru piaki-papu ghatuqura - yatagere roreqa puoru.
(Children!) (I guard sphere of knowledge) (You listen to my music)

Everyone can hear a background acoustic music with percussion and chants; as the big warrior makes his way back to Cargo Bay 1 dancing in short steps.

Janeway: Kids! Do you know who he is?
Bhytor: He’s Type-F; our cousin. He’s triggered by trespassing. He’s not lethal. His communication skills are limited though.
Thamas: He’s cousin... speaking weird for you.
Janeway: What did he say? We couldn’t pick up a word with our UTs.
Bhytor: He guards cargo bay. He says to wait and give up doggedness.
Tuvok: Children! You seem to have first hand experience with Type-F. Please, advise on a course of action.
Bhytor smirks at Thamas…
Bhytor: I advise to wait! Hehehe...
Thamas smiles too…
Thamas: Wait; wait, wait…

Tuvok feels children are trying his patience. Staff don’t know what else to say; as they watch Bhytor and Thamas on screen sitting in the floor with their arms crossed. The odd situation disturbs everyone with an obvious question: Wait for what?
Chapter 11 by FrancoJordan5618
Condition Blue

Janeway must have had a premonition, because Bhytor and Thamas stood up just when she turned to take a peak at them on a screen. Seven tries to make sense of stellar cartography.

Computer: Attention Crew! Attention! Condition Blue! Tutorial in progress!
Tom Paris: Vice-Admiral; Computer reconfigures course on the go. I’m trying to fix it; but I get nothing. I don’t know where is she taking us. ETA is five days away.
Seven: Computer ignores Borg conduits.
Queen: Your vessel detours. My Cube was more productive.
Janeway: Seven! Search for irregularities in our trajectory.
Seven: Stellar Cartography reveals the ship is crossing a network of unchartered wormholes.
Janeway: Computer! Why have you altered our course and destiny?
Computer: Present course advances tutorial in progress.
Tom Paris: This isn’t any good. Computer is out of order.
Queen: Your crew is disorganized. My drones were more functional.

Engineering variables make B’Elanna jump out of her skin.
B’Elanna: I’m getting odd readings in propulsion. Electro-Plasma intensity is constant, but emissions from ship’s Reactor are high in frequency.
Harry Kim: B’Elanna! Did you caught that? Theta-Matrix Compositor is re-crystallizing Dilithium with Gamma radiation.
B’Elanna: I know! This is so bizarre.
Queen starts to get worried.
Queen: These features are unsafe in hands of untrained crew.
B’Elanna checks controls. She can hardly contain her excitement.
B’Elanna: Compositor also enriches crystals with hypersonic quartz fallout; keeping power output constant at high frequencies. This is... a Transwarp Drive!
Harry doesn’t take the news lightly.
Harry Kim: What? Is Voyager transwarping? Why it didn’t do so on its way to DS9?

Seven stares at her children. Bhytor smirks. Thamas zooms out to become a dazzling orb the size of a marble spinning away. Bhytor melts into thin air and chases his little brother.

Seven: Because Computer was calibrating and testing systems.
Janeway: You’re all saying Voyager makes its own wormholes. How?
Miral: Miral to Bridge! I think I know how. This ship operates like a mobile trans-warp teleporter. It’s capable of opening inter-phasic rifts by beaming itself through.
Janeway: Thanks Miral! You’re indeed resourceful. This means time passes for us at warp speeds; but when we emerge from the rift, we’d have traveled much faster.
Queen’s concerns grow.

Queen: You all could metamorphose into species at the base of the food chain due to Proton radiation.
Doctor disagrees in sickbay.
Doctor: Crew is in no danger of devolving into batrachians. Biomechanical suits protect their DNA against any type of nucleonic exposure.
Janeway: Thanks Doctor; truly comforting!
Tom Paris consents. He would hate having warty toad nightmares again.
Neelix: I also have good news; I found some more cabbage and potatoes.
Miral is amused. Queen begins to get really annoyed with Voyager.

Chakotay gets real. Safety goes first. Transwarp Protocols must be different.
Chakotay: Crew! This is a good time to report on security features.
Harry Kim: Snail Coating Armor provides depolarization matrix… equalizing velocity all around Voyager.
B’Elanna: Bio-neural circuitry is chroniton-infused to synchronize time all over the ship.
Tom Paris: Voyager’s bow possesses navigational deflecting properties to project a structural integrity field and compensate for gravitational forces.
Seven: These features are not consistent with Voyager’s compact dimensions.

Janeway reflects on Seven’s comment.
Janeway: I agree with Seven. Systems overkill safety. Why?
Chakotay: Maybe; they are intended to cover a wider range of purposes.
Queen treats everyone with disdain.
Queen: You know nothing about hasty emergencies with transwarp crevices.
They all take notice of Queen’s observation.

Janeway: If I read Queen correctly; these security systems may react in tandem to protect us against an overwhelming transwarp stress.
Tom Paris: Intriguing! What could release disruptive power of greater magnitude than gravimetrical forces of an inter-phasic rift?
Queen knows something they don’t.
Queen: Species 001! They’re capable of unleashing the Unreachable Light.
The term sounds familiar to Janeway.

Computer in charge

B’Elanna gets back at the Queen.
B’Elanna: Fascinating! What a story? Unreachable Light and the whatnots...
Chakotay: On the meanwhile, Computer is in a ballgame of its own.
Tuvok: It’s running a tutorial and in five days we will be reaching our destination.
Janeway: Computer! What’s the purpose of this tutorial?
Computer: To train crew at lighting up humanoid cultures.



Queen is tired of listening to so much nonsense.
Queen: Tutorial is unconnected to mission. Species 8472 will terminate your kind.
Janeway: Computer! Override Tutorial!
Computer: Unable to execute! Tutorial continues.
Janeway: Computer! Identify humanoids object of this training mission!
Computer: Species Unknown.
Janeway: Computer! Why is this tutorial our priority?
Computer: You’ll signal a pathway to where they couldn’t go before.
Tom Paris: Oh; boy! Computer lost it!

Janeway thinks in loud voice.
Janeway: Tutorial! Pathway! Flying about with old friends…
Chakotay: Kathryn?
Janeway composes herself.
Janeway: Chakotay! Tuvok! Come with me! Queen! Please go back to your alcove and cool-off with ice. Tom; you have the bridge.

The Tutor

Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok join DaVinci Holo Program. Maestro quickly covers his works. Janeway isn’t in a good mood.

Janeway: Maestro! We don’t have time for tutorials. People’s lives are at stake!
DaVinci: Oh! My goodness! We must then speed up a little. Who’re you two; Venetians?
Janeway: Captain Tuvok, Security Officer; and Captain Chakotay, First Officer…
DaVinci: Officers? Hum! Magistrates! You have snooping ears.
Tuvok: I’m Vulcan.
DaVinci: Are you? You’ll save many. I like your suits! No masks? Carnival is coming.

Chakotay: Your necklace carries my tribe’s emblem.
DaVinci: Sky Spirits! What do they do? Do you know?
Chakotay: They travel across heavens showing us pathways.
DaVinci: Yes! They flutter from one instant to tanother! You see? You can also be inspiring teachers. I knew it.

Chakotay places his hand over a scroll.
Chakotay: Can we take a look?
DaVinci: Sic est! I can show you my drawings.
They look over a sketch of unfamiliar humanoids.
Tuvok: Who are they?
DaVinci: Mentors!
Janeway: Mentors?
DaVinci: Yes! Teachers! They came from a Trinary System.

Janeway: Where are they?
DaVinci: Nescio! We can’t find them.
Janeway: Who is... we?
DaVinci: You, me, us... everyone!

They all stare seriously baffled at the unmistakably features of Queen’s kind.
Chakotay: And these…?
DaVinci: Macabre! Terrore! Gargoyles… They eat others’ souls.
Janeway fixes her eyes in another scroll.
Janeway: What you got in here?
Da Vinci: My favorite! The study of drapery…

As DaVinci unfurls the scroll, layers of wave fold curtains of light spiral out, bringing on memories they haven’t yet lived. Voyager is deployed in the Briar Patch, cloaked within remains of a supernovae, conducting a Section-31 mission. Colonies of 8472s thrive in fluidic space of the Amleth and McAllister C-5 nebulas, deep inside Cardassian space. Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay wonder behind DaVinci’s invention. They all see Seven, Veya and Lodom operating the Delta Flyer. The surveyor drifts away camouflaged as a meteoroid in the Beloti sector, just off the Talarian Republic. The plan is to energize and abduct the skipper of a small towing ship in order to gather intel.

Seven: Decoy distress signal…
Lodom: Transmitting…
Seven checks out Veya; feeling awkwardly infatuated. Veya addresses Seven.
Veya: AOR microprobic infusion affected my empathic abilities. I’m suffering from a very unusual condition.
Seven: Ensign... are you sick?
Veya: You may call it like that… a sort of a hybrid between the Phase and Zanthi fever.

Seven: Why are you telling me this? You should talk to the Doctor.
Veya: You asked... what was wrong with me.
Seven: I didn’t ask you anything... Ensign?
Her thoughts overlaps. How did Veya know?
Veya: Sorry! I’m exuding emotions and desires.
Seven: What...

Lodom: You bet! Veya’s libido is indeed way up there.
Seven: You can’t possibly read my mind.
Veya: Oh yeah; we can!
Seven feels vulnerable. Betazoids shouldn’t be able to read her mind. She’s part Borg.
Lodom: Well; I guess your 18% Borg content is overrated.
Veya: And just for you to know, you think of sex as much as Humans do.
Seven recovers her coolness.
Seven: Stop reading my mind! It’s an order.
Veya: All right…

Lodom peaks up a signal.
Lodom: That rock is hailing us.
Seven: Which one?
Lodom: Port side...
Seven reflects for a split second.
Seven: Open a channel...
Veya: On screen...

Their Talarian interlocutor shows himself distracted, offering everyone a good look at his bald protuberant frontal region of his head. He picks up a fallen cracker off the floor and with enviable aim scoop it in his mouth.

Tudor: Oh! There you are; spy apprentices...
Seven: Who are you? What do you want?
Tudor: My name is Tudor. I’d like to know why are you pursuing so eagerly to be killed by our despicable neighbors.
Seven: Cardassians can’t detect us.
Tudor: Hell they can! Your name?
Seven: Seven here...
Tudor: Seven? What kind of number... name is that?
Veya: Seven of Nine...

Tudor addresses Lodom.
Tudor: Of Nine? Oh! Good! You too are cloning females. We only select for cloning the best ones at mating and labor.
Veya opens her eyes wide. Seven stays put.
Lodom: Ahem! Seven... she’s actually our superior officer.
Tudor: Hmm! We... Talarian males would never clone females to supervise us. But; I guess a kinky civilization like yours...
Lodom shakes his head in sign of objection. Veya “thumb-down” Seven and makes a silly face with her tongue out.

Seven: I’m not a clone. You hailed us. What’s bugging you?
Tudor: Cardassians are closing in your position. They also know your mothership is on the hide somewhere nearby. They suspect... she is in the Mac Pherson nebulae.
Veya: Our mothership is not...
Seven grasps Veya’s arm and gawks at her... meaning “don’t say”. Veya shuts up.

Seven: Do you have a problem with that?
Tudor doesn’t have any idea of Voyager’s whereabouts; and Seven knows it.
Tudor: We’re concerned about the welfare of an emerging intelligent life-form in those cosmic remnants.
Lodom: Oh! Good to know! You Talarian... are environmentalists.

Veya: Network of circuit nodes remains stable in the nebulae.
Seven: I don’t get your concern. You don’t posses the photonic technology needed to expand production of vertion-particles.
Tudor: We have... You got everything figure out. Don’t you? Cardassians are looking for you hard and when they find you, they’ll kill you all.

Lodom: How do you know that?
Tudor: Nothing is free!
Seven: Which are your terms? Technology?
Tudor: We don’t need... You’re too close to the Talarian border. I’ll share intel with you; but you must go away afterwards. We don’t like you.

Veya places hands on her chest in sign of deep disquietness as she forwards Seven a disturbing telepathic message: “They gave up planet Batris and its female population to the Borg Hive Mind in exchange for technology”.

Seven: Transwarp species can be dangerous; don’t you agree?
Tudor: I assume you talk out of your own experience.
Seven: What do you know about Cardassians and 8472s?
Tudor: 8472s? Hahaha Funny! More numbers; typical Starfleet’s arrogance...
Seven: That’s their Borg designation.

Tudor feels a little awkward at the sole mention of their benefactors.
Tudor: Borg... informants report Cardassians and the 8472 creatures struck a deal. Our presumptuous archenemies let them colonize fluidic realms in the Amleth and McAllister nebulas in exchange for technology.

Veya: Is that it? Nothing can be that simple.
Tudor: Yes; it is that simple. They’re hiding in there.
Lodom: Hiding from who?
Tudor: We don’t know that! They’re smart though. Cloaking devices are useless inside the Amleth nebulae due to its high levels of ultraviolet radiation.

Seven: And sensor scans can’t see trough the particles flux in the McAllister nebulae.
Tudor: Exactly... another good trench. Now; I suggest you go your way.
Seven: I also have a suggestion for you. Don’t turn your back on Borg.
Tudor: What make you think... Lodom! Don’t let them bash you around. You’re welcome in Talar anytime. We don’t have mothers; only fathers!
Lodom: Interesting! I don’t mind transgender.
Seven: Lodom...!
Veya giggles...
Tudor: Hahaha! You smart ass!

Seven would like to confirm a hint.
Seven: What about planet Batris?
Tudor: Batris? Our Batris?
Seven: Yes, your... Is it a good place to hide too?
Tudor: In a way... Planet’s flank is sort of protected by the Tholian border; and you know how disagreeable they can be. Tudor out...

Lodom: Briar Patch?
Seven: Certainly... Go through Mac Pherson! I’d like to check on that emergent species.
Lodom: Laying down a course...
Seven looks at Veya out of the corner of her eye.
Veya: Yes! You can kiss me anytime.
Seven holds on as cool as a cucumber.
Seven: I told you not to read my mind.

Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok keep their eyes peeled and their ears tuned as DaVinci turns-off the scroll.

Janeway: I think we all know by now whom are they hiding from.

Chakotay is floored; but calmed. Janeway gives her First Officer a pat on the shoulder. Tuvok fallows DaVinci to a Yakutia chessboard.

DaVinci: You see? The idea in this game is to place your camels, carts, the lord and the boys too in an advantageous tactical position. Then; you strike. The enemy knows this... which only makes matters more interesting.

Tuvok comes to a realization. DaVinci is a Great Master in deep calculations.
Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; I think he expects us to help him… by completing this tutorial.
Janeway: All right Maestro! What shall we do to light up a culture?

DaVinci: You first observe if folks know pottery and bake bread from wild crops.
Tuvok: Bread?
DaVinci: Yes; Bread is always a good sign. Seek also for their expertise.
Chakotay: A unique know-how?
DaVinci: Exactly! You must also ask yourselves if they’re constructive.
Tuvok: As in making strength out of a disadvantage...
DaVinci: Yes! If they’re not; forget about it!

Janeway becomes more involved in DaVinci’s project.
Janeway: My mother advised me to always keep a positive attitude towards life.
DaVinci: Caterina! Your mother was a mastermind.
Chakotay: Okay; so, we got pottery, bread, expertise, constructive…
DaVinci: And you’ll see them bursting a dream!
Janeway: Do we need to bring anything with us?
DaVinci: Yes! Vision! Oh; and don’t forget an archivist to glide the Sphere.
They wonder what sphere DaVinci can be talking about.

The Sphere

Harry gets good news from his crew.

Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! Cargo Bay 1 is accessible. Gates are unlocked.
Janeway: Good! This “waiting” is over. Tuvok! Deploy your tactical officers.
Tuvok: Gutierrez! Proceed cautiously to secure perimeter.
Harry Kim: Collins! Don’t touch anything; we’re on our way.
Janeway: I want a full report in two hours. Maestro! We’re not finished here.
Maestro: So I wish! Go and hinder Soul Eaters from conquering ahead of time.
DaVinci fades away. Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok are fully aware storm is coming.

Inside Cargo Bay 1…

Janeway: All right team! Tell me about your findings!
Tuvok: We got ourselves a revamped hangar.
B’Elanna: Glittering roof and gates are gassy versions of alloys found all over the ship.
Harry Kim: Hangar is set up to facilitate operations of take-off and reentry.
B’Elanna: I need some more time to figure what these devices do. They might be part of a clearance verification system.
Janeway: What about these terrific spacecrafts?
Tom Paris: Our old Delta Flyer is now transwarp capable and equipped with two Type-3 Disruptor Canons.

Tuvok: Romulan thermal-shock weapon...
Janeway: We’re far away. They won’t mind us breaking any Arms Treaty.
Seven: Hera Vectors are single-seat escort crafts, outfitted with a warp drive and four high-yield phased-plasma drones. They are extremely maneuverable.
Doctor: Just in case; I strengthened their drones with a cyber-virus-module to spread mayhem among enemy’s organic defenses.
Janeway: Good work! What’s behind those dividers?
Tuvok: The Sphere…

They go around the dividers…
Icheb: This Sphere is a surveyor and a space library on warp-civilization. It’s capable of teleportation and it may download our AI entities for assistance.
Seven mutters…
Seven: Flying capabilities…
Icheb: Oh; that’s right! It is equipped with an impulse drive and orbital stabilizers. It is hull-fortified to negotiate extreme atmospheric conditions.
Janeway: Great! So; it does fly.
Icheb: Oh yeah! If I’m getting this right, all I have to do is…
The sphere elevates and wings down left-sided; bumping into a wall. Icheb struggles a little bit to get it steady.

Icheb: Don’t panic! I got this!
Tom Paris: Much better; top-gun!
Janeway: Hi Bhytor! I didn’t know you were there. Do you have anything to report?
Bhytor: Yes! I do. Thamas is playing seek-and-hide.
Janeway: Does he? With whom?
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! I’m getting strong bioelectrical readings.
Tuvok: Gutierrez! Hold your fire…
Type-F shows up again out of thin air, pointing at the Sphere.
Type-F: Tiqanga kahu-tiaki; tiqanga hanaki piaki-papu onganalo awelawe.
(You’re the archivist) (You’ll glide sphere to help in orbit)

Bhytor: Type-F says Icheb was born to be an archivist!
Tom Paris: Really? Isn’t that something?
Thamas gets out of his hidden place making Marusos’ faces to Type-F. He runs joyful with a bottle in his hand. Type-F cracks laughing.
Type-F: Quamarike! Iqawiru piaki-papu ghatuqura!
(Kid!) (I guard sphere of knowledge)

Type-F slowly fades away dancing his music in short steps.

B’Elanna finally gets it.
B’Elanna: The big guy s in charge of clearance.
Chapter 12 by FrancoJordan5618
Approach

During her ten year entrapment, Seven of Nine developed an interest in reading authors from Voyager’s original timeline. Her favor one was Montgomery Scott; the prominent Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise. She liked his courage. He admitted to admire Maxwell more than Einstein; not due to Maxwell being Scottish, but because back in 1868, it was very hard to prove that electromagnetic waves traveled on empty space at the same speed light did. His book “In Time for Transwarp” draw more than one and half billion followers in Federation's social media.

Back in that timeline, many galaxy-trotting warp pundits thought transwarp was merely theoretical and unattainable. The Vulcan Science Academy went as far as concluding “beyond warp 10, speed becomes infinite and a single starship would collapse into an overwhelming paradox, by traveling through multiple spaces at the same time”. Scotty proved them wrong and wisely responded: “Infinite speed? Yer Vulcan bums’re oot the windae! Light wouldn’t ripple... but puncture electromagnetic fields. We can only travel faster; that’s all! Unless the boiler breaks down; which could happen to anyone really”.

Seven felt indebted to him. In her solitude, he brought her the joy of complex math and made her laugh hard for the first time ever when saying: “Nobody will want to pilot warp buckets anymore; with transwarp perks docked out there”. The second time, she had to crack up harder. He actually said: “If your starship cannot handle transwarp upgrades; don’t be silly, stay home and forget about flying warp tatters”. She knew he was talking figuratively; but couldn’t hold it and laughed-out-loud. The kids were caught off-guard and stared at her for a couple of days. “Did she overplayed it”, after all, Computer got startled as well and asked: “Are you all right Seven of Nine?”.

Maybe; that’s what she should pursue, someone like Scotty -though younger and more athletic- ... a miracle worker with punchlines! She never quite grasped though what he meant by being in his youth an Aberdeen “pub-crawler”. “Wouldn’t pub-biped be a little bit more appropriate?”. Jokes can be challenging for her. Chakotay? He makes her kind of unfit with his spiritual afterthoughts. She got to be careful with party-animals too. Last thing she wants is an intoxicated soulmate running down the halls stark naked.

As she comes out of her alcove, Seven notices a difference in travel experience. She can sense the transwarp rift; the sound of its silence caressing her skin.

In Sickbay...

Veya: How many patients like me have you treated?
Doctor checks on tests and analyzes charts.
Doctor: A few...
Veya hoped for more details.
Veya: Betazoids?
Doctor: Your husband...
Veya: Doctor...
Doctor: His traits are less... effusive.
Veya: How come? We are both...
Doctor: Betazoids! It doesn’t matter. Symptoms vary across individuals.
Veya: Is it life threatening?
Doctor: Not really! Challenging nonetheless...
Veya: Any progress?
Doctor: Sort of! I just treated a hefty female Tellarite,.. fussing about out-of-character displays of in-heat behavior and excessive sense of smell.

Veya: How did that go?
Doctor: She insulted me like... any Tellarite in her condition would.
Veya: Ungrateful... Did she call you names?
Doctor: No names for me... but she wished I would shut down myself, lose my DLL files and slip forever into a helix coma-subroutine.
Veya: That was unusually insensitive... even for a Tellarite. How did you handled it?
Doctor: I gave her a shot of Theragen to suppress her rage and sent her back to Engineering.
Veya: Just like that...
Doctor: Slipstreaming...
Veya: Doctor! That was mean.
Doctor: Sorry! I don’t yet have a cure. I’m studying case by case.

Veya tries to keep up optimism.
Veya: Well; hopefully... she’s now feeling better.
Doctor: Probably not... B’Elanna already complained she authorized a competent Engineer to come to see me and I sent back to her a sluggish shadetree mechanic.
Veya shows sympathy for Doctor’s situation.
Veya: You can’t please everyone... Doctor.
Doctor catches Veya in the act.
Doctor: I know... and you’re wasting your time trying to read my mind. My thoughts are also holographic.

Veya stayed quiet for a little while; but she could hardly contain her anxiety when the Doctor was about to get back to her with conclusions.
Veya: I searched my symptoms in the ship’s intranet. They seem to be Phase and...
Doctor: Zanthi fever...
Veya: Correct! Are you reading my mind Doctor?
Doctor: No! I’m going over your bio-signs.
Veya: Oh! So... what you think?
Doctor: Tell me... has your sex drive increased lately by a factor of four or more?

Veya thinks about it.
Veya: No! Of course not! It has increased... but not that high!
Doctor: No Phase then...
Veya: What about Zanthi fever?
Doctor: Have you lost control of your empathic abilities?
Veya: No... I am pretty much in control of it.
Doctor: No Zanthi then...
Veya: But Doctor... I’m projecting emotions on others.
Doctor: On Seven of Nine by any chance?
Veya: Yes... how do you know that?

Doctor reflects on a feasible cause.
Doctor: Veya; these microprobes are AI offsprings from a formidable civilization. They are not copies of each other. They’re distinctive and come from different societies.
Veya: What are you trying to tell me Doctor?
Doctor: Yours happen to be from the same colony as Seven’s are.
Veya: Oh! No wonder the unreal connectivity...
Doctor: Not entirely! Your symptoms... Your microbes are struggling to settle in.
Veya: What should I do to end these... yo-yo effects?
Doctor looks for words.
Doctor: Like already said; I can’t yet cure you. Thamas is helping me with lab tests; and hopefully, we’ll develop a treatment kit soon.

Veya: So; on the meanwhile...
Doctor: I’ll give you a shot of Trianoline.
Veya: Isn’t that for concussions?
Doctor: You’re experiencing a mild paracortical disturbance.
Veya: This situation is nerve-breaking.

Doctor calms her down.
Doctor: Work on that connectivity issue... to get it back into line.
Veya: But how...?
Doctor: You are a Betazoid. Use your psionic abilities on yourself. Think hard about your seesaw feelings and focus your thoughts on a single spot in your lower abdomen.
Veya: Would that help?
Doctor: I think so. Microprobes should be able to pick up the energy signals transmitted through your fascia tissue and run improvements.
Veya: Thank you Doctor. You are a doll.
Veya kisses Doctor in his cheek and leaves.

In the Bridge…
Tom Paris: Voyager just dropped out of Transwarp.
Chakotay: Pretty smooth transition after such a scorching acceleration…

In Astrometrics…
Icheb: Impressive! From what I know... transwarping would imply great temporal and gravimetric forces.
Seven: True for Borg vessels; because they perforate subspace.

In Engineering…
B’Elanna: But false for Voyager; this ship vacuums subspace instead, rendering inter-phase rifts devoid of matter and energy.

In Astrometrics, Seven glares and slightly twists her head.
Seven: Silky sensation on your skins is due to the ship’s high negative energy density, coming out of inter-space emptiness.

In Engineering…
B’Elanna: Thanks for underlining it! Who told you that? Your Hive Mind?

In Astrometrics…
Seven: I read it in a dissertation by Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. Aren’t you familiar with him?
B’Elanna frowns quietly.

In the Bridge...
Janeway: Seven! B’Elanna! I can see you two are getting along very well. You’ll be working together in this mission.

Seven and B’Elanna regret their discussion. They don’t dare to respond. Janeway and Chakotay exchange smirks.

Queen regenerates facing intense REM sleep. She dreams taking off a skyscraper in a sleek vessel, leaving behind an icy megalopolis. She travels at fantastic speeds, when an irregularity forces her ship to drop out of transwarp. Her vessel suffers devastating damages. She’s hurt and dizzy. A voice engulfed in purple light comes to her rescue.

Queen’s dream…
Hive Mind: We are Borg. You’re an unknown species with distinctive technology. You’ll be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

In the Bridge…
Tom Paris: We’ve just dropped out of warp. I have now full control of the helm.
Janeway: Can you set a course back through our wormholes?
Tom Paris: Sure I can! Setting a course…
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! We’re bearing to an L-planet, oxygen-argon atmosphere.
Janeway: Wait Tom! Full scan! On Viewscreen!
Chakotay: It looks familiar.
Janeway: Bridge to Astrometrics! Verify our location!
Seven: On approach to Planet of the 37s.
Harry Kim: Strange! Atmosphere shows usual high trinimbic interference; though no signs of industrial activity.

Reports are disconcerting.
Janeway: Where’s Amelia City? Don’t tell me we got here too late.
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! Amelia was built on that dry endorheic basin. There is now a big lake instead with an island in its midsection.
Janeway: Amplify! No signs of other cities either.
Tuvok: Vice-Admiral! We may have transwarped to a different era.
B’Elanna: He’s right. We know where we are, but not when.
Janeway: Astrometrics! Please run interstellar alignment calculations.
Seven: Vice-Admiral; I already did. We went back in time 197,243 years.
B’Elanna: Agh! No way! We really over did it this time.
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral; sensors detect a humanoid settlement in the island.
Janeway: Icheb! Get your Sphere all set; tomorrow we got to go to light up someone.
Bhytor and Thamas are excited.

Queen waked up all stressed out and supervise her drones assembling gadgets. She regurgitates and vomits on suspicious devices. She stares at a monitor; her thoughts run over. Voyager is there to jump-start her enemies. She can sense the BE kids spying on her. She turns scornfully. Bhytor and Thamas confront her with no words. Her neck-frill puffs out again and her cranial crest rises spiky. She speaks with hate.
Queen: I know you. We can’t get your thoughts; but I won’t help you to reset History.

Janeway is in her quarters; Bhytor and Thamas pop up all of a sudden.
Janeway: Children! What’re you doing in here? It’s late.
Bhytor: Queen is aware; she’ll propose renegotiation.
Thamas: Queen knows.
Janeway: What does she...? What’s she aware of?
Bhytor and Thamas stay with Janeway. Borg guests cautiously move across the halls.
Queen: Designation 3 of 12 to Janeway; I have another offer for you.

Janeway: Queen; I don’t have time for this. Live up to your end of the bargain.
Queen: You can’t comply with negotiation. This mission is extraneous.
Janeway: You agreed not to interfere with our operations.
Queen: Get me your Doctor. He can assist me in assimilating your crew. They will be much more efficient as drones. We accomplish mission. You get to stay with your kind afterwards.
Janeway: You listen to me. They’re my family. You touch anyone; and I’ll drop you off in the first frozen planetoid we run into.

Communication ceases for a second.
Queen: I like the frozen. Queen out...
Bhytor: Queen will attempt to escape.
Janeway: We know that. Computer! Report on Queen’s location!
Computer: Locating! Queen and drones adjacent to Cargo Bay 1.
Tuvok and his Hazard Team wait for the Queen and her Collective.
Janeway: Tuvok! Be ready! She’s almost there.

Janeway takes a quick look at Bhytor and Thamas. They stare at her and gaze away to sense infrasound. She realizes something is wrong and storms out of her quarters... rushing towards Cargo Bay 1. Thamas whispers.
Computer: Red Alert! Red Alert! Unauthorized take-off!

Janeway enters in Cargo Bay 1. Doctor examines a couple of tactical officers. All Borg drones are down. Type-F grunts in disappointment.

Janeway: Doctor! How’re they doing?
Doctor: I’ve defused the neurotoxin; but they’ll require follow-up in sickbay.
Tuvok: Her drones attacked us with improvised explosive devices.
Doctor: Warheads were charged with exothermic bacteria; very ingenious!
Janeway: She didn’t go for our Delta Flyer.
Tuvok: That wasn’t her plan. She went straight ahead to a Hera Vector.
Janeway: And her Borg drones?
Doctor: They all are catatonic.
Tuvok: Type-F hit them with all he got.

Chakotay: Kathryn; this Queen executed a plan. Her drones were expendable; just part of an elaborated diversion to facilitate her escape.
Janeway: I think... her plan is to assimilate Fluidians.
Doctor: I wouldn’t worry. She won’t be able to integrate digital tech into 8472s.

Janeway: I know. You told us; but she’s still a threat to others... in search for her “many”!
Tuvok: Queen didn’t integrate anyone on Voyager.
Doctor: She knew you are immune to her symbiotic fungal-parasite.
Janeway: Computer! Did Queen have any access to our medical files?
Computer: Negative! Borg subjects didn’t have access to any files.

Tuvok reflects on the odd situation.
Tuvok: Apparently... this course of action was logical for her; but why?
Bhytor: She became aware of her kind.
Thamas: Queen knows us.
Janeway gives children a wondering look…
Janeway: I got the feeling she’ll be back with a much powerful Collective.

Descent

The sphere carries out maneuvers for atmospheric entry. Passengers can see a crimson abrasion through its walls. Descent is vibrant; leaving behind a long tale of wavy flames and smokes. Neelix falls asleep.

Tuvok: Lieutenant; we are descending on an overshoot trajectory.
Chakotay: He’s right; Icheb. You may want to adjust Sphere’s angle of attack.
Icheb: In case you haven’t noticed; this sphere was designed by advanced aliens. I know what I’m doing. Enjoy the view!
Miral: Yeap Captains; this craft is tough. She can take it.
Tuvok raises eyebrows. B’Elanna can’t believe her daughter’s words. Janeway smiles.
Janeway: Well! I can say this... I’ve never seen and atmospheric entry this close.

Descending gets rocky. Neelix moves a little... but hangs on dreaming.
Miral: Uh-ho! Wait! What’s this bumping all about?
Harry Kim: It’s normal. We’re going across a highly charged atmosphere.
B’Elanna: Don’t worry, Miral! This thing… can take it.
Tom Paris: Yeah; it was built by perspicacious green-men.
Chakotay smirks. Miral opens her eyes wide. Big blurry fellows work on a foundry inside a smoggy cave.

Icheb: Hey Miral! See over there? It’s clearing away.
Miral: Wow! It’s so stunning.
Janeway hides her smile.
Seven: I don’t see any charm in it; we’re free falling towards planet’s surface.
B’Elanna: This is not good. Tom! Do something!

Tom Paris: B’Elanna! He’s Type-F’s designated archivist. He glides it.
Icheb: No worries! I have a surprise in storage for everyone.
Janeway: I don’t like surprises.
Tuvok: Sometimes you do; Vice-Admiral.
Janeway gives Tuvok a critical glance; while he looks the other way. Big humanoids melt rocks in an enthroned furnace full of lava.
Computer: Impact Warning! Impact Warning!

Bhytor, Thamas and the Doctor pop up to check on crew.
Bhytor: You’re on collision course. Tutorial is in jeopardy.
Doctor: Except for our sleeping beauty right here; you all show obvious signs of inquietude.
Thamas: I love everyone.
Janeway: Computer! Turn-off Doctor, Bhytor and Thamas.
Computer: Executing...

Bhytor, Thamas and the Doctor fade away. Three big fellows pour thick liquid material into spherical molds to forge stones, when they sense an incoming flying object. One of them looks up with his blue eyes.

Zhagori: Haukapi! Haukapi!
(Trespassers! Trespassers!)

Computer: Impact Warning! Impact Warning!
Janeway: Computer; shut-up! Icheb! I’m not enjoying this view anymore.
Icheb: All right! Sphere; please release parachutes!
B’Elanna: Oh No! Tom! This is worst than the Stone Thrower.
Tom Paris: I thought you loved roller coasters.
B’Elanna glares at Tom.
Icheb: Okay! You all stay put. We’ll soon touch down on water.

Sphere splashes on the lake and partially submerges. Neelix wakes up and see freakish aquatic creatures shimmering around. Sphere charges itself with bio-photonic energy.
Neelix: Oh, well! My uncle Balux was right then. There is no forest in the afterlife.
Sphere floats back to surface.
B’Elanna: If you got to frequent my daughter; you better improve your aviator skills.
Miral: Mother!

Tom gets closer to Icheb.
Tom Paris: No worries; I’ll help you out. I’m the best underrated pilot in Starfleet.
Janeway addresses Icheb.
Janeway: Beam us out... and work on your gliding while we’re away. All right?
Miral and Icheb exchange quick “love you/take care” kind of looks.
Janeway: Icheb! Carry-on...
Icheb: Starting sequence...

At that precise moment, all passengers experience a weird sensation when their heads are covered by gassy/gleaming digital helmets. Icheb carries out Janeway’s order; and teams are energized out of the sphere. He exhales. Navels -natives from the lowlands- on the shore spot the arrival of the anticipated Sky Spirits. Up the hills, mountaineers prepare to confront trespassers.
Chapter 13 by FrancoJordan5618
The Astromancer

Vice-Admiral Janeway hadn’t spent a night in the outdoors since her days in Indiana, when she and her friends used to break away, explore the limestone quarries and camp at Lake Lemon to watch the regattas. Stars seem so small and bright up there. Silver orbs go by her; conveying an air of equanimity.

“Navels give the impression of being somewhat frail, but they are actually very resilient and diligent workers and have this obsession with light. Their ghostly looks remind me of Bhytor and Thamas. Tomorrow shall be interesting”, Janeway closes her eyes after a smooth whisper. Her biomechanical suit is “wonderful”. She doesn’t feel any discomfort in trying to catch a rare good night sleep.

She dreams again of a younger self; in grainy black-white-sepia images:

“Class L planets are usually rocky and waterless; but this one has a big island in the middle of a lake, supporting prairies, copious vegetation and animal life... and why am I so young. This can’t be right!”, Janeway muses in her dream.

Navels insist she is their Astromancer and her role is to read skies. The funny thing is; they have a point. She too wants to find out about planet’s location. “Not an easy task”, since the only available astrometrics are inside her wrecked Ferengi pod. “Maybe I should try repairing the damn thing; but I don’t have B’Elanna with me”, she reflects.

The shuttle was a total loss. The Astromancer gets back in it to restart systems. She still can’t figure out what went wrong with the temporal rift: “It appeared stable. The tachyon pulse was robust and then... that overpowering light came out of nowhere”.

She is lucky to be alive and... back in her 20’s! The chrono-deflector got melted down by the tachyokinetic energy; draining away most of the dilithium as well. She could briefly replay some stellar cartography on screen; just before “...the whole caboodle” went off for real. “This pod is dead”, she grumbles as Navel children play with controls.

The Astromancer places a hand on her UT and look at her tricorder. They soon will be gone too; with no power and interface. “I just wanted to bring everyone home sooner. What am I gonna’ do now?”, she begins to sob aloud. Kids gets startled. Makhire -the boy present during her rescue- inadvertently hits a patch as he watches tears flowing from her eyes. Na’Far pods carry a back-up telescope, powered by a solar panel... a Ferengi thing! Janeway now knows what to do: “I got to take it to a mountaintop and, at least, have a bit of a connection with Space”.

A couple of weeks later...

Two grownup Navels steer a rustic rowing boat across the placid swaying lake; while a stream of ripples departs behind it. The Ferengi telescope stick-out the stern. The Astromancer and Makhire converge... talking about life and stars.
Makhire: Don’t you like our cousins’ mountain?
Astromancer: I love it! Beautiful place... but I can’t see the skies very well.

Makhire: You think it’s better... outside Navel?
Astromancer: Not sure; but atmospheric interference might be lower over the barrens.
Makhire: Demons live in there. They like to eat Navels.
Astromancer: So I heard; but I assure you Makhire... the area is deserted. Not a soul. Cartography...
The Astromancer stops; realizing Makhire can’t possibly imagine what the heck is she talking about.

Makhire: How can you speak our tongue so well?
Astromancer: I told you... this badge; but it won’t last forever. You’ll have to teach me your language later on. Do you understand?
Makhire: Yes! I do. It’s like with our cousins. We -kids- can whisper their tongue; but they... (he points at the grown-ups) can’t and must learn the signs.
Makhire makes signs with his hands.
Astromancer: Right! Something like that...

The boat docks on the shore.
Makhire: Look! Orbs turn brown...
Astromancer: What’s up with them?
Makhire: Brown? Heavy verve! Not safe... we should go back to Navel.
Astromancer: Makhire! Come with me; we’re doing this,.. okay?
The boy nods.

The group crosses an invisible threshold of humidity. The orbs stay behind. The climate gets hotter and dry. A muddy strip extends many miles width into the horizon.
Astromancer: The lake back there... is shrinking.
Makhire: I know. Orbs die too. That’s why you must read the skies for us.
Astromancer: We shall then hurry a little Makhire and... make it to that mountain over there.

They keep themselves off the mud by moving forward across boulders; though unaware of a ten-meter long sludgy creature, burrowing its way towards them. The snub-faced predator crawls up a cliff with its powerful front splayed-legs and flank them. They all stand still before their inevitable fate. The beast charges with its menacing tusks and half coiled tale pointing at the group.

Astromancer: Makhire! Get out of the way! Come with me...

The grownup throw rocks at it. The Astromancer fires a weak shot with her phaser gun; but the creature only gets more infuriated and sweeps Navels with its tale. They fall in the murky sludge. Other beasts move in for the kill. Makhire hides behind her. Navels make signs to someone coming from behind. The Astromancer tracks the signs with her eyes. A huge mountaineer dashes across boulders in long strides.
Janeway can detail his looks well in her dream. He takes good impulse and jump to strike the scary predator down with his obsidian macana. An orange orb shows up.

Makhire: Champion Rukhari! We’re safe.
Astromancer: I didn’t see him coming. What’s he doing out here?
The Astromancer asks Makhire... as Rukhari handles the beast.
Makhire: He fights demons.
Rukhari throws the beast towards the incoming herd. He rescues the fallen Navels and gets back to drier terrain with the two grownups on his ample shoulders.

Rukhari: Wakane torbo... Haukapi yarne!
The Astromancer glares at Makhire for translation.
Makhire: You strange woman... trespassed my hunting grounds.
Astromancer: I’m not... He’s just being vile.
Makhire translates. Rukhari rants and rave.
Makhire: He didn’t like... vile!
Astromancer: I came with you; if he hasn’t yet noticed.

Makhire whispers an explanation.
Rukhari: Quamarike haukapi!
Makhire: I’m a trespasser too; he says.
Makhire gets emotional. This is the first time a cousin calls him “trespasser”.
Astromancer: Great! You now made the boy cry.
Rukhari: Makailo taine quamarike wakane torbo.
Makhire: We both must go back home.
Astromancer: Tell him... I need to read the skies from that mountain.

Rukhari doesn’t approve.
Rukhari: Makailo taine! Keoto atele haounu tordo.
Makhire: Go back! Clouds can also clear over my mountain.
Astromancer: His mountain? I can’t work there with so many orbs messing up with me.
Makhire: “Tell them to back-off!”, he says.
Astromancer: Your cousin is incredible!
Makhire: He likes you too.
The Astromancer opens her blue eyes wide.
Astromancer: Huh? What?

MacPherson Nebula

A few Navels gaze at the three peculiar visitors striding up the promontory, dressed in weird wetsuits and with bizarre tools in their hands. White orbs glossy reflect shrouds of light on the trio. Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay puzzle over the experience: “Shall we even be here at all?”, Chakotay puts across his concern. Janeway and Tuvok concur with him as they all recall their time together with DaVinci the night before, unfolding another scroll from his legendary drapery collection:

Lodom: Sensors reveal a coherent energy matrix 37 degrees ahead.
Seven: Emissions patterns…
Lodom: Organic…
Seven: Vertion particles…
Veya: A profuse influx...

Seven: Ionic radiation…
Lodom: High! 20,000 mSv...
Seven: Source…
Lodom: Traits consistent with a matter-antimatter explosion.
Seven: Someone detonated a photonic weapon in this sector.
Veya: Talarians? They don’t…

Seven: Borg may have provided them with know-how.
Veya: This is very... very wrong. Prime Directive… hello!
Lodom: Or another controversial example of technology convergence…
Veya: Why the interest?
Lodom: To play God… You saw Tudor.
Veya: Yeah! I know. He regards himself as divine!

Seven suspects something else could be happening.
Seven: It may have been the response to a bait message.
Lodom: From those beings?
Seven: I can’t tell. Insufficient data…
Veya: Anyway! Does this drama concern us in any fashion?
Seven: It might...

Veya: I don’t follow you.
Seven addresses Lodom.
Seven: Scan for neuropathways…
Lodom: I’ll be...! Similar to Human neocortex…
Seven: Positronics…
Veya: Starfleet’s signature…
Seven: We brought that lifeform to this timeline.

Veya: What? Seven…
Seven: The first strain self-emerged onboard Enterprise D. Captain Picard believed it deserved the same kind of respect as other beings.
Lodom: Could it survive on its own?
Seven: To certain extent…
Veya: Not entirely then…
Seven: They require a constant infusion of vertion particles to reproduce.
Veya: I see. Picard gave them a little push.
Lodom: He fired on McPherson to increase vertion particles.
Seven: It worked. Most of the lifeform migrated to the Nebula.

Lodom: But not all of it…
Seven: Some stayed onboard and spawned like wildfire across Starfleet.
Lodom: Thus; we all have it in our starships.
Veya: Don’t they impose a potential hazard?
Seven: They may display unpredictable behavior during procreation.
Lodom: In which case… we go along with it and fire another photon torpedo.
Veya: Smart! They use us as transportation to populate cosmic leftovers.
Lodom: What’s their purpose?
Seven: CMO Beverly Crusher suggested a theory.
Veya: I can’t believe it’s just to bring themselves into being.
Seven: No! This lifeform is rich on self-replicating RNA molecules. If brought to the surface of a CHZ planet, it could become the precursor of more complex biodiversity.

An unfamiliar signal catches Veya’s attention.
Veya: What’s that?
Lodom: Tachyon pulses…
Seven: Frequencies…
Lodom: Alternating…
Veya: Seven! I’m getting a considerable subspace disruption.
Seven: Field magnitude…
Veya: 3.4 teracochranes…
Seven: Incoming Borg conduit…

A Borg sphere blurts out the matter stream of its transwarp corridor; emitting an intense emerald Polaron beam.

Lodom: They’re scanning our friends.
Veya: What for? I hate Borg.
Lodom: They’re now charging weapons.
Veya: Against us?
Lodom: No! They aim at the beings.
Veya: Seven! What shall we do?
Seven: Nothing…
Lodom: This looks like a good moment to break out.
Seven: They haven’t detected us.
Lodom: Exactly…

The Borg sphere fires its potent photonic weapon and for a split second, the crew of the Delta Flyer can see how large the mesh of tiny little orbs is. Borg detect fluctuations in their nodes and attempt to transwarp; but they can’t get away from the huge netting wrapping their sphere up before perforating subspace. Seven, Veya and Lodom take a deep breath and initiate maneuvers to avoid the vortex and leave MacPherson.

Back to Tutorial

Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay reach the top of the promontory to watch over activities from high ground. They can digitally see it all through optical sensors in their helmets. Navel children play close by with crystal prisms.

Kiapo: I can’t reach the light.
The boy tries in vain to capture colorful reflections. Janeway glances at him curious. A thatch roofed village can bee seen in the background. A reticent Tuvok observe Navels.
Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; their ostensible fearless behavior perplexes me.
Janeway: Don’t worry Tuvok! They trust us... we’re backing them up.
Chakotay: Are we? Our crew doesn’t seem so helpful.

Downhill, crew have troubles assisting Navels with pulling ropes and pushing a huge Moai-like statue toward its hole. Neelix falls and flips over dirt. A rope looses and whips Miral in her buttocks. Some Navels have a blast. Others dance in short swinging steps. Takhare and Yukhure join Janeway and her senior staff up the promontory.

Janeway: Tom! How’re you guys doing?
B’Elanna: Well! As you can see; it hasn’t been pretty.
Tom disapproves her interruption.
Tom Paris: Vice-Admiral; we’re almost done here.
Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay oversee how a monumental statue is placed besides other two imposing headstones. They remind Tuvok of the Sanctuary of Mentors.
Janeway: What do you think they represent?
Janeway directs her question to Chakotay.
Chakotay: Likely; they are modeled after real life characters.

Tuvok: Who’re they?
Tuvok directs question to Navels.
Takhare: Taraga and Makahe; they’re champions.
Takhare points at the two preceding statues.
Yukhure: Zhagori! Greatest Champion!
Yukhure proudly points at the last statue.

Takhare: It gets late; we’d like to express our gratitude for helping us to dance Zhagori.
Supervisory group pace its way down to Navel Village; when a girl cuts them off.
Gaya: You’re Sky Spirits!
Takhare and Yukhure hush at her. She runs down the trail.
Chakotay: Sky Spirits?

Yukhure: Endearing kid... HeHeHe! It’s a legend.
Janeway: We’d love to hear about it.
Takhare: Well! Supposedly, a Messenger came from above long time ago to announce an age of struggle between Sky Spirits and Demons.
Janeway and her officers get intrigued by Takhare’s story.
Tuvok: A tale indeed worth noting…

Yukhure: Many Navels believe in it; but our Astromancer…HeHeHe! She’s skeptic.
Janeway: Astromancer? I’d like to meet her.
Takhare: It’s not a good idea.
Chakotay: Why not?
Janeway and her senior officers wonder.
Yukhure: Don’t matter! She’s old and thematic.

Next day; outside Navel Village, Seven and B’Elanna discuss their tasks, dressed up in biomechanical suits and gassy/gleaming helmets. They use tricorders to assess the surroundings. Navels follow them with interest. Snails-like creatures of all sizes, some of them big as dogs, slowly crawl their way around.

B’Elanna: Seven! Your non-stop scanning pushes my patience to the limit. What’s wrong with this mud? Is not dirty enough?
Seven: We don’t prospect for any mud; and dirtiness is irrelevant.
B’Elanna: Oh well! Would you then be kind enough to enlighten me?
Seven: This soil doesn’t have the exact mixture of sand, silt, clay and organic matter.
B’Elanna: In other words; this mud is not perfect for you.
Seven: Precisely! In addition; I don’t see any source of straw nearby.
B’Elanna: I have an idea. Let’s run a test!
Seven doubts B’Elanna…

Village’s workshop…
Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; this is a first-rate workshop for a Neolithic culture. Their flint and obsidian tools are like nothing I had seen before.
Janeway: They burnish their pottery and gild their furniture. It’s so beautiful.
Janeway is delighted with their fine handicrafts.
Chakotay: Kathryn! I think their crafting skills fulfill our “expertise criteria”.
Janeway: I agree. I could take this lovely jar back home for my patio.

Icheb observes from the Sphere.
Icheb: Chakotay! Can you get closer to those implements over that table?
Chakotay: Yes! I’ll sure do. These are bones, horn, springy-wood and ligaments.
Janeway: All these smaller pots here are filled up with plant gum.
Icheb: What the amphora contain?
Tuvok: Tricorder reads birch-tar, bitumen and iron-oxide.

Janeway: What is all this for?
Icheb: Those are fibers for heavy-duty cordage and compounds for making glue.
Chakotay: These laminated bows and slingshots are impressive ordnances.
The weaponry hangs off a bamboo-like wall.
Tuvok: They are impeccably finished.

Icheb: Remarkable! Can anyone hold-back one of those big bows for me?
Both Tuvok and Chakotay try their best. They wonder if any Navel could possibly handle such rugged weaponry.
Tuvok: Three Klingons… could not get it in full tension.
Chakotay: They must belong to some very strong Navels.
Janeway: Or someone else in this island...

Out there in the prairie…
Seven: How many of these mud balls shall we make to initiate test?
B’Elanna: As many as you can before I say – Go!
B’Elanna throws mud balls to Seven; who after a little hesitation reacts and responds by throwing her own to B’Elanna.

Janeway checks on everyone.
Miral: We are through putting together their Crop Nursery.
Neelix: Navels joined us in stocking up seeds and sowing them in clay-pans. Nerhe should be sprouting soon and be ready for transplanting.
Janeway: Tom! Harry! Farming tools! How are they coming along?
Tom Paris: We finished a couple of tillers and a plough. We made them of hardwood and shod with flint-stone. We’re working on the yoke.
Harry Kim: Navels are excited about harvesting with a sickle.
Janeway: Have you guys been able to spot a draught animal anywhere?

Harry Kim: Negative! But; a boy mentioned “Marusos” when I mimic an Ox.
Tom Paris: They are supposed to pasture in herds up in high plains to the East.
Janeway: Icheb! We need to locate those animals.
Icheb: All right! I’ll be on my way to pick you guys up.
Janeway: B’Elanna! Seven! I haven’t heard anything from you two.

Janeway can’t hear clearly. It is an L-Class Planet. She figures they may be having trouble with their communicator badges. Icheb arrives and beams her up, together with Chakotay and Tuvok. They’re confident about finding Marusos out there.

Mud patch…
Seven: We ran out of mud balls. Your test has failed. Do you have any other ideas?
B’Elanna: Sure I do; we could improvise.
B’Elanna sprints towards Seven and they get tangled fighting in mud. Enhanced by their biomechanical suits, they’re able to perform incredible moves. Some Navels surround them to witness in awe live MMA combat from the 24th Century.

High-plains…
Icheb: Those must be the Marusos.
Chakotay: Very big muskoxen…
Tuvok: We can’t fit them in here.
Icheb: We don’t need to. I can tow them down with our tractor-beam.
Janeway: Okay; let’s do it! We must hurry. We still have work to do.
Sphere tows two Marusos across a blue sky. Hiding behind boulders; three big folks talk gibberish as they watch a never-seen-before airborne operation.

From Voyager to Navel Village…
Doctor: B’Elanna! Seven! I’m disconcerted with your health readings. You’re showing symptoms of exhaustion and dehydration. Stop any physical activity!
B’Elanna and Seven try to catch their breath as they hear Doctor’s orders. They’re worn out and caved in dirt.
B’Elanna: Doctor! No troubles! We’re now resting on… imperfect mud.
Doctor ponders her answer. Seven and B’Elanna perspire copiously. They can’t fully open their eyes, blinded by sunlight. Navel children close in and throw mud balls at them. They run away giggling. Bhytor and Thamas show up.

Bhytor: You two could be court-martialed, discharge for bad conduct and confined to the brig for a reasonable period in accordance with General Order 39B.
Seven: Thank you Bhytor; we’re also aware of our right to remain silent.
Thamas stares at B’Elanna and makes her an offer she can’t resist.
Thamas: You’re a bad girl. Take it. Eat bread!

Marusos are furry and docile type of cattle with splashy tongues. Janeway focus on Tom and Harry fitting a wood made yoke. Chakotay and Tuvok instruct volunteers. They get slightly distracted by kids playing to take-off and land flying-like toys. Others observe and talk softly among themselves.

Takhare: Visitors trespassed and took Marusos from their pastures.
Yukhure: Mountaineers don’t like trespassing; but haven’t yet showed up.
Takhare: Oh! They’ll come down.
Yukhure: Shall we advise visitors? They might be -after all- Sky Spirits.
Takhare: No yet! So far they only seem interested in teaching us.
Yukhure: You think they may want something in exchange.
Takhare: I don’t know. All I’m saying is... We shall not risk our ties with Mountaineers for… some crops and bricks.
Yukhure: You’re right. How many Mountaineers shall we expect?
Takhare: They saw visitor’s flying-bubble. They’ll send the three champions.

Tuvok and Chakotay find Seven and B’Elanna working hard in their project with some enthusiastic Navels.

Tom Paris: Did you have fun looking for mud?
B’Elanna: You have no idea!
Tuvok: Outstanding! This sweatshop is already fully operational.
Seven: It’s rudimentary, but functional. Navels will mix mud and straw here. They’ll use these wood-made molds to make bricks and sundry them over there.
Tom Paris: Are you all right... B’Elanna? You look shilly-shally.
B’Elanna: It’s nothing! I now appreciate better… people with Borg content.
Tuvok: Seven! Is there anything noteworthy you’d like to add?
Seven: Yes! I do. No mud is unspoiled.

Janeway gathers her crew in village’s center just before dusk. Air is imbibed by smoky scents from burning firewood. Navels bring seafood, veggies and fruits. Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay will get back to Voyager. Rest of crew shall stay overnight and wrap up early next day. Children play among rounded stones. Three big folks descend from the high plains; jumping and slaloming down hill. Chakotay scan Atlas stones.

Chakotay: These perfectly round stones are not carved; but forged.
Tuvok: Navels can’t melt rock in their wood ovens.
Janeway takes a quick glance before being interrupted again.
Takhare: This is a festivity in your honor. You should stay tonight.
Janeway points at B’Elanna, Tom and Harry.

Janeway: Thank you Takhare; but I have to go. Your people have been wonderful with us these days. This crew will stay and join Navels in celebration.
Tuvok: Takhare! What do you plan to do with your new knowledge?
Takhare: We wish to teach it to Mountaineers.
Janeway: Who are these Mountaineers?
Takhare: Our cousins up there. Their ancestors came from the barrens... far away.
Janeway: I may have seen one in dreams.
Yukhure: HeHeHe! Maybe you did. White orbs conjure up impressions on everyone.

Chakotay had to pop the question.
Chakotay: Do they use bows and slingshots by any chance?
Yukhure: Yes! We make their weapons for their games.
Tuvok: They compete.
Yukhure: Cousins contest in trials and we watch them carrying out great feats.
Janeway: Are they coming down here tonight?

Takhare thinks about it; looking for words.
Takhare: They don’t like festivities.
Janeway: Well! I’m sorry we won’t have a chance to meet them.
Yukhure: Maybe; tomorrow?
Janeway: You all get up early. B’Elanna! Get a good night sleep and clean up your suit. Icheb! Seven! Take us to Voyager!

Harry, B’Elanna and Tom are served with homemade meal and honored with a tribal play. They eat through their gassy helmets. Navels perform disguised in feathers and wearing rattan masks. They pretend to rise and fly; blowing winds and pointing at stars. Others dressed up with straw made costumes dance in short steps like Type-F. Three cousins bent in shadows, cuddling their two Marusos pasturing by the hillside. They then disappear... deeper into the forest.

At down; Seven and Icheb investigate the source of the orbs, a large hot-spring in the lakebed...

Icheb: Abiogenesis...
Seven: But how it works? These are not simple organic compounds.
Icheb: Sensors report recent geological activity...
Seven: External! Some kind of stellar event..
Icheb: A small asteroid?
Seven: Maybe...

Icheb: Wait! Getting cross-reference report on screen...
Seven: Photo-organic nodes with neural-transceiver properties...
Icheb: They can copy thoughts and retransmit data. They’re aware of each other.
Seven: But not of themselves.
Icheb: Borg...
Seven: It can’t be. How...
Icheb: Why not? We’re in the Delta Quadrant.

Seven feels awkward. Icheb should know better. He was Borg too.
Seven: Borg are driven by assimilation of technology to achieve perfection.
Icheb: These orbs are perfect!
Seven:They’re not. Each one of them only posses fragments of knowledge.
Icheb: They seem to put those fragments to good use and work together in sustaining a humidity dome over the lake area.
Seven: Which only serves as mega-catalyst for biodiversity.

Icheb: Don’t you find that convenient?
Seven: Convenient? For who?
Icheb: Navels...
Seven: Icheb! They’re in the Neolithic.
Icheb: I think these orbs encourage them to search for knowledge.
Seven: Then; we shouldn’t even be here teaching them basic agriculture and masonry.
Icheb: We’re here to jump-start their quest for progress.

Sensors pick-up multiple entries. Seven and Icheb watch on screen as 8472s’ ships go down in flames due to planet’s heavily charged atmosphere. Noisy explosions wake up everyone in Navel. An enemy shuttlecraft makes it through and lands just off the village.

Janeway: Seven! Come in! What’s your status?
Seven: Icheb and I are underwater. A malfunctioning Bioship made it through. We detect 23 Fluidian-Borg signatures.
Janeway: Can you communicate with our crew on land?
Seven: Negative! Bioship jams perimeter with infrasonic radiation. Intruders aren’t aware of our location though.
Chakotay: Seven! Up here; Fluidians amass a large hostile fleet out of the irregularity from which we jumped in.
Tuvok: Queen will be leading them into battle.

Seven: They became allies.
Janeway: We think she recovered her memory. Navels may be destined to play an adversarial key role in her troublesome future.
Chakotay: Seven! Those drones must be stopped.
Seven: The Sphere is unarmed.
Icheb: We could reconfigure its tractor beam into a shock-weapon.
Janeway: Good idea! Attack on Voyager is imminent. Keep us posted!
Seven: Understood! Seven out!
Chapter 14 by FrancoJordan5618
Invaders

Queen’s integrated Fluidian-Borg drones are daunting. They’re about three meters tall, tripedal, muscular, agile and telepathic. They have been enhanced with full body armor, assimilation tubules in their claws, vocalization and a mechanic arm with retractable stabbing and lacerating weapons. Tom, B’Elanna and Harry try to evacuate villagers; but it’s difficult. Many Navels don’t know what happens or hide in their homes. Others are away planting Nerhe or making bricks. Drones bring down a number of crumbly structures. Harry and Tom separate from B’Elanna. They take a group of children to a cave up a hill. B’Elanna leads others into a storehouse, hoping to lose their chasers.

B’Elanna: You my little guys... hide over there.
Kids obey. A small one weeps and hesitates. Kiapo stays somewhat behind. He would like to help B’Elanna.
Kiapo: Cousins will get very upset when they get here.
B’Elanna: Really? Don’t be so sure. They don’t like festivities!

The little kid makes some noise. Drones hear it. Three get in the storehouse. B’Elanna fires her phaser gun; but they adapt and keep coming. She picks up a long obsidian knife and attacks one of the intruders. She gets bashed away and drops the weapon.

B’Elanna: Kiapo! Run...
Kiapo stares and smiles at an orange orb.

The aggressor goes after her. Two others stumble on the hidden kids; when a whirling sound is heard. One drone falls down cold with an arrow across its neck. B’Elanna tries to fight off her opponent; but it’s all over her for the kill. She then notices an imposing body coming from behind her attacker, wearing a snail-shell made armor. The enormous figure picks up the knife off the floor. She can’t help closing her eyes when his massive arm pushes the obsidian weapon through the drone’s head.

The third drone aims its attention towards Makahe. The mountaineer is a formidable adversary: 2 ˝ meters tall, thick, protuberant forehead, rounded eyes, rectangular jaw, kinky hair, goatee and tattooed face. He stares at his rival. Children come out of their hideout. Kiapo whispers. Makahe listens and stares at B’Elanna. She’s dumbfounded.
Kiapo: I told Makahe you’re a Sky Spirit. We’re safe now.
The orange orb gravitates before B’Elanna’s eyes.

Makahe accelerates from his passive stance and charge the drone with a furious combination of punches. The drone fights back, attempting to stab Makahe with its mechanic arm. Makahe grabs it with his powerful grip and strike his rival’s face with head-blows. Drone falls back. Makahe steps over drone’s armpit, twisting, pulling and dislocating its mechanic arm. He goes over and viciously punches the intruder’s head. They all get out the storehouse; leaving behind the third drone seated against a wall with its head hanging.

Makahe speaks unintelligible words and makes exorbitant gestures.
Kiapo: Makahe says he hates demons.
B’Elanna: Aha…
Makahe speaks some more.
Kiapo: “Too quick! I didn’t have time to show off”, He’s bragging. HeHeHe!
B’Elanna glances at Makahe with a vacant expression.

Voyager manages to keep Queen’s fleet at bay.
Janeway: Seven! We’re under attack. Shields are holding; but we don’t know for how long. You must soon make your move and get back here with our crew.
Seven: Vice-Admiral! We’d be leaving Navels to Queen’s drones.
Chakotay disagrees with the order.
Chakotay: Kathryn! We must protect them. They’re weak.
Janeway: We don’t look very strong up here facing a Fluidian/Borg fleet all by ourselves. There is only so much we can do without perishing.

Tuvok sympathizes with Chakotay... but Logic must prevail.
Tuvok: Captain Chakotay; keep also in mind, we’ve detoured from our real mission in order to complete what so far has been an unsubstantial tutorial.
Chakotay: Tutorial? This is looking more and more like mission to me. We are here to save this people. Otherwise; what’s the point in teaching them anything?
Doctor doesn’t connect well with Chakotay on this one.

Doctor: Tutorial or Mission... We should consider that Nature may have selected Navels for extinction.
Chakotay: That may suffice you Doctor; but I didn’t sign up to play God.
Neelix -as usual- expresses his nonsensical reasoning.
Neelix: Doctor... haven’t you notice these “mountaineers” dwarf Hirogens?
Doctor looks at a bunch of big guys descending from the hills and going into the forest.
Doctor: So what? They don’t stand a chance. Hirogens had XXIV Century guns.
Tuvok: Mr. Neelix... are you going anywhere with your ratiocination?

Neelix: Of course! What I mean is... and I’m paraphrasing sport-news anchors back on Earth... these cousins are “game changers”!
Doctor: Game changers?
Neelix: Yes! They’re for real. Maybe Nature selected Fluidians for extinction.
Janeway looks up and shakes her head a little; before getting back to battle mode.

Miral: Vice-Admiral! Focusing ships are aiming at us.
Janeway: Tuvok! I’m up to here with focusing ships. Flare them up with cluster photon torpedoes.
Tuvok: Launching clusters...
Voyager's transphasic nets impact the incoming Fluidian ships, delivering a devastating subspace compressing pulse.

From the lakebed...
Icheb: Done! I have improvised a shock-weapon; but we can only fire a few shots.
Seven: Fine! That and... the “surprise” factor shall work well for us.
Icheb questions Seven’s rationale towards the tasks at hand.
Icheb: Why don’t you believe in this mission?
Seven: Mission? I... I’m not good with beliefs.
Icheb: I see; your 18% thing... Tell me! Didn’t you believe Borg aim to assimilate technology to pursue perfection?
Seven puzzles over what is in his mind.

Seven: That’s what they do; Lieutenant.
“Icheb must be the most insecure ex-Borg ever”, she thinks. They already discussed this issue.
Icheb: Oh yeah? Then...why even bother to assimilate Neolithic Navels?
Icheb’s deduction disturbs Seven. Janeway comes in.
Janeway: Janeway to Seven! Report on status...
Seven vacillates...
Icheb: Commander...

Seven: Seven here! Icheb reconfigured our tractor beam.
Janeway: Good! You know then what to do.
Seven: Vice-Admiral! Attack on Navel Village may be a diversion.
There is a brief static silence...
Janeway: We’ll be vigilant. Carry on. Janeway out!

Children wait inside the cave. Oldest stick their heads out to see. Some cry out loud and others weep. Bhytor and Thamas pop up. They generate a little bit of hesitation though; with their luminous appearance. Thamas moves around, hugging children and making faces. He figures Navel kids must love “cartoons” as much as he does. Children adapt quick though; after all, Bhytor and Thamas behave somewhat like overgrown orbs.

Bhytor: Thamas! Stop it! You’re not making things any better. Call him!
Doctor pops up...
Doctor: What am I doing here? I must immediately get back to sickbay.
Thamas: Take bottle!
Doctor grasps his baby bottle and conducts a preliminary observation on the samples.
Bhytor: They say more cousins will join these “games”.
Doctor: That might be the consensus among optimist children; but...
Bhytor: You don’t think so.
Doctor: Bhytor; I don’t play games. I work with facts. These foes are too many.

Harry and Tom seek weapons in a workshop. They find Taraga, a female mountaineer with a bow and a slingshot in her hands. She’s as tall as Makahe, though somewhat leaner. Her hair is long-kinky-Mohawk, tattooed head, round face, long nose and big eyes. She’s with Gaya. Taraga stares stone-faced at visitors. Gaya touches her thigh. Taraga bends to hear Gaya’s whispers. She arms her bow and in her way out, proudly passes by Harry and Tom.

Tom: Ladies first…

They fallow Taraga out of the workshop. Four drones turn their way; and she goes off shooting arrows. She hits and disables two targets. She then pulls a wooden-obsidian macana off her back and threw it to another drone, smashing its chest. She quickly moves to the only drone left standing and attacks him with a combination of kicks and punches. Tom and Harry can’t react quickly enough to assist her.

Drone inflicts a cut on her face. She jumps on it; rips off its optical enhancement and stabs its other eye. She gets up, recovers her macana and finishes it wrathfully. Tom and Harry witness her deed in total disbelief.

Gaya: Taraga is mad.
Harry Kim: No kidding!

In the cave…

Doctor studies Thamas’ baby bottle. Bhytor shows more cartoons to some children through spherical holographic monitors. Thamas whispers with others.
Doctor: Doctor to Seven! I can’t connect with Voyager.
Communication is partially jammed.
Seven: Doctor? Aren’t you in...?
Doctor: I’m with Bhytor, Thamas and Navel children in a murky cave.
Seven: I can’t locate your position. Too much interference...
Doctor: Who cares? Seven of Nine... I’ve made a startling discovery.

Seven: Doctor! You should be in sickbay; not playing with children in a cave.
Doctor: I know; and you should pay more attention to what I have to say. Navels are immune to Queen’s toxic microbiology.
Seven and Icheb are flabbergasted by the information.
Icheb: Incredible...
Seven: That can’t be. We haven’t inoculated them with our augments.
Doctor: You don’t understand. They’re the natural source of your augments.

Seven and Icheb exchange thoughtful glances. There is definitely something wrong about the Fluidian/Borg attack. Queen must know that Navels are immune. If so; what is her true objective? What can be so important?

Icheb: The humidity dome...
Icheb murmurs. Seven acknowledges it.
Seven: Doctor...what’re my children doing?
Doctor: Entertaining others as usual...
Seven: Not good! They’ll deplete themselves down there and I will have to run a cold reboot to reload their bio-photonic systems.
Doctor: That sounds strenuous.
Icheb smiles. Seven doesn’t like it.

Seven: Doctor...tell them to get back to Voyager right away.
Doctor and Thamas communicate. Doctor doesn’t approve his suggestion.
Doctor: Cultural heritage? Thamas! I’m a Doctor; not a Curator!
Bhytor: We must go. You stay here for a little while; okay?
Doctor: All right! I’ll oversee their... homework.
“That one over there looks pretty good actually. What is it? Two women on wetsuits...fighting on mud?”, Doctor observes with interest the familiar depiction.

Thamas and Bhytor fade away. Navel children keep painting. Taraga’s and Makahe’s groups coincide in an intersection. Harry analyzes readings in his tricorder.

Tom Paris: Who’s Prince Charming?
B’Elanna: Makahe! He hates demons. What about Miss Congeniality?
Tom Paris: Her name is Taraga and she’s mad.
B’Elanna: I can tell she might be too much to handle.
B’Elanna winks at Tom.
Tom Paris: Yeah Harry! Don’t do anything stupid like playing your clarinet.
Harry Kim: Guys! I know why we can’t communicate with mountaineers. They speak in a wide-range of infrasound frequencies.

B’Elanna: Oh! So... Navel kids can hear low frequencies?
Harry Kim: Not just that; they whisper infrasound to communicate with their cousins.
Tom Paris: Janeway’s mother was right. To be constructive; all you need is a positive mind-set.
Harry points at a mature Navel man making signs from a corner.
Harry Kim: Grownups lose this “whisper thing” and... use sign language.
Tom Paris: What’s he saying?
Harry Kim: I don’t have any idea.

Makahe and Taraga speak assertively. Children listen attentive. The Navel man enters in a cottage around the alley. They all hurry the pace towards him. Kiapo decodes cousins and signs on the go.

Kiapo: Astromancer waked up and wants to meet you three.
B’Elanna: Astromancer...
Tom, B’Elanna and Harry accept his invitation to come in, wondering why this old lady is so revered by Navels and Mountaineers. The encounter shocks them.
Astromancer: Hah! The legend was true. We are Sky Spirits!
Harry, Tom and B’Elanna could have been knocked down by feathers.
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral? This can’t be. Voyager...

An elder Janeway reclines in a rocking-chair. She and B’Elanna briefly hold hands in silence. She gives B’Elanna a tablet.
Astromancer: I’m not your Vice-Admiral. I was of others you in a different timeline. It’s a bit complicated.
Harry Kim: What happened?
Astromancer: Harry; I finally got caught in a godforsaken paradox... and as expected, it has given me huge headaches.
Tom Paris: How did you get here?
Astromancer: He... well, not him, another Harry, helped me installing a Klingon chrono-deflector in a Na’Far shuttle.

Harry Kim: Another me? No! Did you steal Quark’s pod?
Tom elbows Harry. B’Elanna studies a blueprint. Astromancer smiles...
B’Elanna: Something may have gone wrong with its tachyon pulse generator.
Astromancer: I had a plan. I just wanted to reach Voyager to make it back sooner than twenty three years. Instead, I was pushed away at unimaginable speeds.
Tom Paris: A temporal wave…
The three are marveled by the unreal account.

B’Elanna: With so much tachyon-kinetic energy, timer-device burned itself out. You are lucky to be alive.
Astromancer: I know and I’m grateful. No complaints...
B’Elanna: Quark’s pod had to be damaged beyond repair. Where is it?
Astromancer: It would take indeed too long to repair it.
She looks sideways and doesn’t answer the question.

Tom Paris: Shall we assume... you have been stranded here for quite a while.
Astromancer: That’s an understatement. I was young when I came out of the pod.
Harry Kim: Oh! You got... rejuvenated.
Astromancer: You may call it like that. I prefer to see it as getting a fresh start. I have been reading stars ever since.
B’Elanna: You didn’t share any technology with these people...right?
Astromancer: Only some good old cooking recipes…
They all laugh a little.
Harry Kim: I can’t imagine myself living in a Neolithic setting for so long.

Astromancer: I had breached Starfleet Temporal Directive. I didn’t want to violate the Prime Directive as well by contaminating them with small things like… agriculture and masonry!
She glares at them.

Tom Paris: Oh yeah; that,... the other... our Janeway, Chakotay, DaVinci… they all agreed there is nothing wrong with some technology convergence.
Astromancer: Is that how they call it now? I wish them luck back home with our “by the book” Federation’s Security Council.
Astromancer coughs a little. Her visitors feel cheerless. Kiapo looks up. He hears a message and whispers back.

Kiapo: Makahe says Demons took some children hostage.
Harry Kim: Always a bad idea!
B’Elanna: Can we be of any help? We could take you to our EMH and…
Astromancer disapproves…
Astromancer: No! I already had two long eventful lives. These are now my people and I still have something important to do.

Kiapo: Makahe says hurry! Taraga is mad.
B’Elanna frowns…
B’Elanna: Can someone whisper Taraga to cool off or go to hell? I’m trying to solve a problem here. The pod...
Tom Paris: B’Elanna…
Astromancer smiles at B’Elanna’s moody reaction.
Astromancer: Get underway! And don’t let those demons kill my son.
B’Elanna: Your son? Who? Where?
Astromancer: Leave! Just go out there! You can’t miss him.
Tom Paris: Okay; but what about Janeway? What shall we tell her?
Astromancer: Tell her to let the Messenger go!

The group leaves the Astromancer accompanied by the mature Navel male who invited them over. B’Elanna ruminates as they walk towards the village’s center.

Tom Paris: A penny for your thoughts...
B’Elanna: Agh? I’m not sure. A strange feeling...
Tom Paris: What is it?
B’Elanna: The Ferengi pod...
Harry Kim: She could contaminate this culture real good with it.
Tom Paris: You heard her. She couldn’t fixed it.
B’Elanna: She didn’t say that.

The group arrives at the village’s center; finding there sixteen drones terrorizing children and their parents. Grownups beg invaders to leave. The “Scorpion” leader vocalizes its Queen’s petition. Gaya whispers. Makahe speaks. Kiapo translates.

Scorpion: You must surrender, give your Starship in and let our Queen integrate you in her collective. And you! Stop farming and making bricks; and we’ll spare you all.
B’Elanna: Yeah; right! Talking about poor negotiation skills…
Makahe goes off. The resonance of his rant brings winds of war.
Kiapo: Makahe says; you must go away or he’ll hurt you bad.

The drone leader addresses Makahe...
Scorpion: Dreamer! We outnumber you; and more will soon descend. You’re only two.
Kiapo whispers. Orange orbs blow in from nowhere. Gaya speaks softly.
Gaya: We are safe.
Makahe gesticulates and talks firmly.
Kiapo: Makahe says you’re wrong. Sky Spirits came down to help us; and not two, but three Mountaineers will be fighting you today.

More Navels show up on roofs. They seem exited by a twirling noise. Zhagori comes into view across the tetragon. He’s older and bigger than Makahe; square shaped jaw, wearing a cylindrical headdress and resembling her auburn Human mother. He displays histrionics and declaims avidly. He spins a slingshot. Navels chant and play drums. A few drones are drawn against him.

Scorpion: Who’s him? What does he recite about?
Kiapo: He’s Zhagori; Greatest Champion! He says: “You’re ugly. You’re bad. We live! Demons die! We live!”.
Scorpion: I don’t like him. Kill him!
B’Elanna: Children! Get away...

Zhagori releases his slingshot; and a round granite projectile smashes a drone in its forehead, knocking it down. Hell breaks loose. Drones get in a crossfire; surrounded by cousins and visitors. Children escape with their parents to safety. Makahe and Scorpion engage in a brutal fight. Taraga releases her arrows. Tom and B’Elanna fire their phasers. Harry joins in with his Jedok Geom.

Tom Paris: B’Elanna! Harry! Their optical devices are vulnerable.
They succeed somewhat and a few drones back off; but not for long. They quickly adapt to phaser shots and Harry can’t mangle a drone’s tough makeup. The drone fights Harry off and stabs him in his abdomen. He’s bleeding profusely. Tom assists him.
Harry Kim: This is not good.
Tom Paris: Harry! Stay with me!
Tom can hardly hear her voice; but she’s coming.
Seven: We’re on our way. Go to extraction point.
Tom Paris: Seven! That’ll be a problem. We all are at the extraction point.

Makahe manages to blow a combination of strikes. Scorpion can’t take so many fists, elbows and macana. He falls over and in its way down tries to stab Tom. Harry pushes his friend away. Scorpion empales itself in Harry’s sword.

Zhagori fights several drones. One is about to stab him from behind; when B’Elanna intervenes to alert him. Zhagori faces threats with determination; but another drone lacerates B’Elanna. She gets hurt in her shoulder. Taraga pulls her aside; while Makahe shot-putts a stone against a drone’s chest. Zhagori lift an Atlas stone over his shoulders and charges. Taraga gets back to combat. Mountaineers can’t push all drones away; but the Sphere springs up... gliding above Navel Village. Many outstretch their arms.

Seven: Icheb! Initiate charging sequence.
Icheb: Weapon charged.
Seven: Aim 34 degrees starboard.
Icheb: Targets locked-on!
Seven: Fire!

Zhagori wrestles a drone; when a shock-beam blasts over a few others. He grabs it by its neck and stabs it with its own mechanic arm. Four others retreat towards a shuttle. Two others fall behind. Taraga and Makahe catch up with them and bring them down into grappling submission. They finish the job with their obsidian knives.

In the cottage...

Makhire: Look! Indigos...
Astromancer: Makhire! I think...
Makhire: Is it time to fly?
Astromancer: Yes...
Makhire: I feel the truth in me too.
Astromancer: Please... help me get to the pod.
Makhire assists the Astromancer in leaving her cottage; enveloped both by a profound sense of calmness as they follow the blue orbs.
Makhire: They picked up light from the Sky Spirits.
Astromancer: Light! Knowledge! Energy! Remember that...

On Voyager…

Tuvok: First wave retreats.
Janeway: Computer! Damages Report!
Computer: Cargo Bay 1 compromised!
Miral: They found a weak spot.
Janeway: We can’t let them get in here.
Tuvok: Vice-Admiral! Fluidians will attempt to board us. I should go out in Hera Vector 2 to back up Voyager.
Janeway hesitates; but consents...
Janeway: Tuvok! Aim small...

Tuvok leaves the bridge puzzled: “How small shall he aim?”. He orders the deployment of tactical officers to reinforce Cargo Bay 1 and boards his Hera Vector.

The Ferengi pod turns operational wrapped up by blue orbs. The Astromancer poses her hands over the glowing console.
Makhire: Shall I see you again?
Astromancer: We won’t... this is the end of a passage.
Makhire: What happen next? Do you know?
Astromancer: Sky Spirits will soon leave and you’ll get to see Nimbus sometimes, brighting up over the night skies of Navel.
Makhire: Do you really have to go?
Astromancer: I do...I got to. I don’t have anything else to give.

Makhire: But... who’s going to read the skies for us?
He asks with anguish.
Astromancer: You will Makhire! I have taught you to learn. You’re ready to start doing Science; so one day, your people can make it to Nimbus...and from there, the Galaxy!
The hatch closes. The afterburners reheat for maximum thrust.

The Sphere hangs over the Village. Navel applaud. Zhagori, Makahe and Taraga chant garbling words: “Nitat gojari! Kutanehi hinkate weranoji runpra. Nitat gojari!”

Tom Paris: Kiapo... what they sing?
Kiapo: “We, the joyful! Together defeating the demons from beyond. We, the joyful!”.

Tom and B’Elanna hold Harry. He’s badly hurt.

Kiapo: Zhagori says goodbye; and thanks you for helping us to dream.
Tom Paris: Tell him... we’ll never forget what they did here today.
Kiapo: Taraga says; you should leave the “bubble” behind. She wants to glide it.

Taraga laughs loudly. B’Elanna and Tom smile and wave. Seven and Icheb beams the brave crew up. Thamas turns up right away to practice first aid on the injured. He moves insanely fast. Sphere speeds up on a vertical trajectory.

Seven detects a few more Fluidian ships making it through the dense atmosphere and trying to get to the surface. Icheb locks on several targets and fires the shock beam one last time. He takes a few to pieces; engulfed by brown orbs.

Navels marvel at the sparkled debris coming down the skies.

The impact wave affects the visitors too; triggering all BE entities to go away and surround the Doctor in the cave. The walls reflect globular heads.

Gaya: Look! Konjina...
Kiapo: Oh! Specters from above...
White orbs swarm all over. The children rush to paint the luminous apparitions in order of height. The Doctor is caught off guard.

Type F: Quamariki patonga ghatuqura.
Thamas: “Kids treasure knowledge”, cousin says.
Bhytor: You see Doctor? Energy flows through their hands.
The Doctor ponders Bhytor’s observation.
Doctor: Okay... Children! Keep up the good work! I must now get back to sickbay.

Navel children take a quick peek at the AI entities fading out, while they tell on rock the incredible stories of the Sky Spirits. Their cave gives off light in the background.

The Sphere keeps going up towards the stratosphere. Seven can’t do anything about a couple of Fluidian ships landing on the shores by the barrens. The drones though are ambushed by numerous mountaineers hiding by the cliffs. The fight is to the death.

Thamas popup again in the Sphere to check on the injured. Type-F and Bhytor shows up in Cargo Bay One. The Doctor gets back to sickbay. Tuvok “aims small” and quickly turns into the ace of the battle.

There is a another ship though on the water; about a hundred meters off the shore from the barrens. Queen is up to something with a handful of her drones. She flaps her neuropteran wings fast, to move around with diligence.

Queen: Move it! Plug the anti-cyclic emitter to the ionic capacitor ...
DroneAlpha: Accomplished...
Queen: Switch it on!
Drone Beta turns the device on and a foggy cone of crimson luminosity is projected at high speed to hit the Humidity Threshold. The mountaineer defeat the drones, but it might be too late. The humidity threshold becomes a visible wobbling drapery.

In the cave...
Gaya suddenly stops painting...
Gaya: Why orbs leave us?
Kiapo: To replace their death...

In Voyager...

Chakotay: Kathryn! Short range sensors reveal spatial stress off the barrens’ shoreline.
Janeway: The Queen...
Miral: The whole attack was a distraction.
Chakotay: She wants to prevent Navels’ survival.
Miral: Vice-Admiral! Full comm with Sphere...
Janeway knows when to confer with her best Engineer.
Janeway: B’Elanna! What do you make of it?

B’Elanna: Vice-Admiral! I believe the Queen is firing a sub-phasic graviton array into the humidity threshold to collapse its architecture by depleting its vertion energy.
Chakotay: That would devastate biodiversity on the lake area.
Janeway: We can’t fire a photon torpedo on it without causing a major catastrophe.
Chakotay: Icheb! Your shock weapon...
Icheb: It is offline. I got to reset its matrix. We have no time.

Chakotay gets freaked out by the readings.
Chakotay: Kathryn... I’m detecting an unidentified flying object approaching Queen’s location at subsonic speed.
Harry Kim: Quark’s pod...
Harry babbles in the Sphere...
Janeway: On Viewscreen...

The Astromancer takes a look outside its windshield; as crepuscular starlight radiates behind her head against cauliflowers of clouds. She can see the shadow of her Ferengi shuttle casted on a white rising mound, encircled by a bright halo.

Astromancer: Glory...

By the Village...

Makhire: Sky Spirits will leave soon.
Zhagori: Crowning Mama...
Makhire is left-open-mouthed. He didn’t know Zhagori could speak Navel.

From Voyager and the Sphere, Janeway and her crew only had time to see the bluish flash of a vortex down below. The dwindled chrono-deflector generated a dwarfed pulse, good enough to form a boxy wormhole capable of sucking the crimson cone in it.

Miral: Sub-phasic graviton array imploded.
Computer: Tachyokinetic energy released by the collision sufficient to reestablish optimal flow of vertion particles....
Chakotay: Kathryn! Are you all right?
Janeway leans forward a little with a hand on her chest.
Janeway: YesI I’m fine. I got her... I got her memories.

Queen swims underwater to reach the shoreline. Mountaineers spot her and a chase takes place all over rugged terrain. They have never seen someone clearing so fast the boulders on the muddy stripe. By the time they reach a plateau, she’s igniting thrusters and her Hera Vector takes off at max impulse.

As she reaches outer-space, Queen howls in anger and changes orders.
Queen: Grrr! Attack! Destroy Voyager!
Sphere reaches outer-space as Fluidians unleash Queen’s rage.
Computer: Red Alert! Red Alert!
Chakotay: Operations! Shields up! Engineering! Full power to deflectors! Battle Stations! Charge weapons!
Janeway: Fire at will! Fire at will!
Voyager aims and hits many incoming hostiles with all she got.
Tuvok: Vice-Admiral! I’m being hunted. I’m releasing all my drones.

Sphere takes blaze as well from Queen’s fleet juggernaut. Tuvok releases his drones, impacting on several targets.
Janeway: Icheb! What’s wrong? Your sphere looks like a sitting duck out there.
Icheb: I don’t know. Its shields harden by absorbing bio-energy from Fluidian shots.
Janeway: Is everyone all right? We can’t energize you with all this interference.
Icheb: Harry and B’Elanna are hurt; and something is wrong with Thamas.


Seven: Sphere’s sensors focus on village and its surroundings.
Nerhe sprouts in moisten fields. Navels and Mountaineers rebuild with bricks.
Chakotay: Kathryn! Sphere lingers on a nerve-breaking pause.
Janeway: I know; and we can’t push play.
Computer: Tutorial ends in two minutes!
Janeway: Miral! You’re all I got. Please! Go and rescue my crew.
Miral: Roger that! No worries; I’ll be in good company.

Miral takes off in the Delta Flyer. Bhytor and Type-F go with her. They fire disruptors, causing thermal shock and exciting molecular bonds of 8472s’ targets. Type-F fades away and integrates into Delta Flyer’s hull, providing extra power to deflect and bounce back enemy charges. Thamas ceases to function.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral! I can’t safely get near Voyager. Queen chases me all over the battlefield. I will attempt Epsilon tactics.
Tuvok flies away from battle, drawing on his tale an infuriated Queen.

Icheb: Miral! You’re close enough.
Bhytor: I have a lock on five.
Miral: Energize!
Delta Flyer gets back quickly to Cargo Bay 1 through its glittering roof. Sphere glows a reddish aura. Doctor takes care of Harry and B’Elanna in sickbay.
Computer: Attention crew! Attention! Tutorial is over! Tutorial is over!
Chakotay: Kathryn! Our sensors spot extreme temporal-gravimetric forces.
Janeway: Where?
Chakotay: Everywhere…
Miral: Maybe; we should get the hell out of here.
Janeway: Tuvok! Your status!

Queen keeps chasing Tuvok. She gets agitated by checking her control panel; full of unstable readings. She growls again; glimpsing at Voyager.

Like the subliminal mural in Chakotay’s living room, a gigantic black spear looking ship comes to life, materialized out of myriads of cosmic particles. Voyager’s crew feels its powerful vibrations. The immense ship triggers an overwhelming blast of light, kicking away the Fluidian-Borg fleet and the two Hera Vectors. Notwithstanding the intelligent photonic-phenomena, everyone in Voyager heard Tuvok’s last transmission.

Tuvok: Vice-Admiral; it has been an honor.

“Tuvok!”, Janeway screams out of despair.



(Final Chapter coming next...)
Chapter 15 by FrancoJordan5618
Second Contact

Harry and B’Elanna come around in sickbay. Doctor took good care of their wounds before vanishing. Their bruises itch and their bodies ache.
Harry Kim: A hell of a blast...
B’Elanna: No joke! My hair went electric. Where’s our... Doctor?
Harry Kim: Computer! Initiate EMH!
Computer: Unable to execute...
Harry Kim: This is weird! Even for this mission…
B’Elanna: B’Elanna to Engineering! I don’t get response.
Harry Kim: Kim to Bridge! Nothing; I’ll check on them.
B’Elanna: I’ll be down in Engineering.

Harry comes in. He’s happy to see everyone up. Janeway is in command. She looks at Tuvok’s vacant station and briefly closes her eyes in sign of sadness.
Janeway: Computer! Casualty Report!
Computer: One MIA. Four AI Entities unaccounted for…
Chakotay: Kathryn! No major structural damages, but many systems are off-line.

Janeway: Engineering! What you got?
B’Elanna: Sorry! Not much! All I can give you is... impulse.
Miral: Vice-Admiral; Hydroponics is fully operational.
Janeway: Thanks Miral; good to know about food supplies.
Neelix: Vice-Admiral! I couldn’t agree more. A nutritious soup shall revitalize everyone.
Janeway: Neelix! Hold up the soup for now.

Harry Kim: Communications are pretty disrupted; but I’m picking up traffic.
Tom Paris: Vice-Admiral! We’re orbiting Planet of the 37s.
Janeway: Astrometrics! Verify alignment calculations.
Seven: We’re back to present time.
B’Elanna: Thank you Kahless!
Janeway: Harry! Can you screen anything out?

Harry Kim: Messages mostly refer to an intense battle between bizarre aircrafts and to some kind of archeological finding in their Eastern Caves.
Janeway: Harry! No cliffhangers...
Harry tunes up his senses.
Harry Kim: Wait! It appears... A team of archeologists found ancient rock art depicting encounters of primitive people and space traveling aliens.

Janeway and Chakotay exchange glances. Icheb observes his control panel.
Icheb: I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but that huge ship is still out there.
Chakotay: Kathryn! We’re being hailed. Viewscreen is down.
Janeway: Open a channel!
Chakotay: Go ahead!
Janeway: This is Vice-Admiral Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. We’d love to properly make contact with you, but many of our systems are currently off-line. We’d like to thank you for giving us a hand against our enemies.

There is no immediate answer. Janeway simpers, not knowing what else to say. Reply shocks everyone. She’s suddenly energized inside the Black Spear. She finds herself enclosed in an ample room. Spangled walls are filled with 37s lake aquatic creatures. Crew can see Janeway. Doctor covers his face against a Doric column and counts.

Doctor: Ninety Eight, Ninety Nine, One Hundred!
Janeway: Doctor!
Doctor taps Janeway on her shoulder.
Doctor: Tagged! You’re now it.
Janeway: I’m not playing. But; I’m glad to find you here. What’s happening?
Doctor: We’re running a seek-and-hide subroutine test. Our programs were damaged in battle. “They” (Doctor makes quotation signal) restored and upgraded my program with medical knowledge from Species of the Delta Quadrant.

Janeway notices a colorful gastropod crawling towards them. She scans it and smiles.
Janeway: That snail appears to be out of place. Where is Thamas?
Doctor: Thamas! That’s not an appropriate concealment.
Thamas unveils himself; runs excited and grab Doctor’s lap.
Janeway: Where’re your teammates?
Doctor: All outs! Ollie-Ollie oxen free!
Thamas whispers. Bhytor gets out of his hidden place. Type-F comes just behind him.
Bhytor: Doctor! You lost again.
Doctor: I got Thamas this time.
Bhytor: You didn’t tag him. You’re still it.

Thamas shyly sets his eyes on Janeway.
Janeway: What’s wrong with him?
Doctor: He’s concerned about Harry and B’Elanna.
Janeway: Thamas; they’re fine. You did a great job... and you too Doctor.
Doctor: You see? I told you.
Janeway: Doctor! Did anyone come to see you?
Doctor: Not a soul; but I do register a remote intrusion backing up my program.
Janeway: They copied you. We better find our way out of here.
Thamas whispers.
Type-F: Tarinwha! Tarinwha Qhes!
Thamas: Wait for Kes... cousin says.

Janeway notices a familiar pattern. The four AI entities are positioned next to each other in order of height. Voyager becomes operational. Viewscreen, as well as all holographic and teleporting features are back on-line. Crew can watch pictorials projected from the black spear. They can also communicate with Janeway. Telepathy is in the air.

Kes: Welcome aboard! My apologies for your troubles…
Janeway is startled to see Kes coming out of shadows.
Janeway: Kes! You’re real. I’ve dreamed of you, running across fields.
Kes: Where I now reside, it rains and crops grow.
Neelix had to break in.
Neelix: Ocampa only live nine years; but you look phenomenal at 35.
Kes: Thank you; Neelix! I like to think so too. Briori biomechanical suits are fabulous.

Chakotay: You travel in a very powerful ship.
Kes: It belongs to Briori; though temporarily operated by their projections.
Walls show insides of a gargantuan spaceship, populated by AI Entities.
Chakotay: Briori have treated you well.
Kes: They have! I was out of my mind… lost in Deep Space.
Harry Kim: They don’t enslave anybody.

Tom realizes Harry is right, but certain facts still bother him.
Tom Paris: 37s! What was their abduction all about?
Kes: Briori wanted to provide Humans with a beachhead in the Delta Quadrant.
Janeway: Why so generous?
Kes: To recognize you for tutoring Navels out of their Neolithic.
B’Elanna: How come? We just got back from that. 37s were abducted centuries ago.

Kes: Centuries for you; only instants for Briori.
Seven: We only detect human signatures in the planet.
Kes: Briori left millennia ago to populate other worlds with more resources.
Janeway: Can we meet them? There is so much to talk.
Kes: Not at this instant; but they thank you for lighting up their ancestors.
Tom Paris: Ancestors? Navels…
Kes: Yes! Navels and Mountaineers –together- became Briori.
Kes opens her arms to point at the surrounding digital walls.

Pictorials show Navels and Mountaineers working together throughout History, building up a splendid civilization.
Harry Kim: Where’re they? Why so much mystery?
Kes: They’re hold up in a distant future.
Miral: Why are they so far away? Are Briori in trouble?
Kes: Narada’s Incident not only altered your time line and destroyed Vulcan; but it also gave rise to an interstellar anomaly that voids timeframes randomly. Mentors from a Trinary System never made it to initiate Briori’s legacy.
Chakotay: And Navels and Mountaineers didn’t converge when they were supposed to.

Kes: Correct! Keep in mind Briori had to become transwarp capable at certain point in History in order to light up other humanoids across our the Milky Way.
Janeway: Not good for any of our cultures to have Briori entrapped in their transwarped future without their original past.
B’Elanna: A temporal paradox! They couldn’t go back in time to a denied past.
Kes: They needed help to recreate the encounter with ancient aliens and reset History.
Icheb: History saves lives.

Tom takes advantage of a short pause.
Tom Paris: Why us of all cultures in the Galaxy?
Kes: Briori like Humans. You’re good at interweaving.
Chakotay: We can’t be that nice. Is that it?
Kes: Mentors... may have lighted up your ancestors as well.
Janeway: You are not sure.
Kes: Briori haven’t yet locked their location.
B’Elanna: Hah! Human egotism will stretch off-the-charts.
Tom Paris: B’Elanna... you are half-Human!
B’Elanna: Don’t go there! Most Humans see me as Klingon.

Janeway: B’Elanna.. why are you bringing this up?
B’Elanna: Don’t you see it? We all are playing with fire here.
Chakotay: Undeserved self-importance...
B’Elanna: Exactly! Humans just turned into a transwarp civ... by way of inheritance!
Kes: That’s not fair. You were getting there.
Janeway: But we didn’t achieve it by ourselves. Briori pushed us through.

Tom Paris: And here we are “fixing” space/time continuum...
Icheb: This is huge.
Neelix: Shouldn’t we take a break?
Janeway gives him the “not now” look.
B’Elanna: What’s next? Go to Neolithic Earth and light ourselves up?
Kes: Wouldn’t you put up a fight before going down in History?
B’Elanna doesn’t answer the question.

Seven has concerns about Borg involvement.
Seven: Borg traits ended up on that planet. Why?
Kes: Time constraints... Briori had to safeguard biodiversity for your arrival.
Janeway: This tutorial thing... communication could have been better. Don’t you think?
Kes: Distance! Vice-Admiral... they had to make their plan works from far very away.
Janeway shows understanding.
Janeway: All right! I won't judge any further. We didn’t refuse technology convergence.
Miral: True! We took it.
Chakotay: And still here! Alive and kicking...
Icheb murmurs.
Icheb: For now...

Seven can’t forget her.
Seven: Queen didn’t like Briori.
Kes: Of course not! She’s a Soul Eater. Her people hate Briori for being immune to their noxious symbiotic biology.

Queen lands in an icy planet. She swiftly gets out of her Hera Vector and runs towards a couple of wrecked Bioships burning nearby. More are seen farther.

Seven: Queen told me she had dreams of an interstellar tempest.
Queen gets closer to a crash and stalks surviving 8472s. They have been weakened by Voyager’s bioweapons.

Kes: The irregularity voided her kind’s future; but she was in her way to rebuild it with Fluidian-Borg drones. We had to stop her.

Queen charges, protruding her canine tubules and injecting Fluidians with assimilating nanoprobes and symbiotic microorganisms.

B’Elanna: Nothing to worry anyway; she’s probably in her own barge of death by now.

Queen climbs up a hill. Three drones escort her. She ogles the horizon with her optical enhancement, spotting a large snowy barrier moving their way.

Kes: Soul Eaters are clever navigators. She may have found a way back to her past.

Queen and her drones wait. A mounted phalanx slows down its galloping. Warriors look Imposing in their bronze helmets, round shields and long spears. She smirks when they arrive before her. Leader hangs his shield off the beast and takes off his helmet. They’re ancient Soul Eaters, riding spotted horses with dark triangular mane.

Icheb expresses his issue.
Icheb: We lost our Sphere though.
Kes: Don’t be concerned! It served its purpose.

Kes points at a black-and-white short-flick. They watch a luminous beam reflect through an observation window. It’s a space capsule; and three astronauts are packed in front of a cockpit full of switches. They’re now recognizable. Commander and boy are Navels and their copilot is a female Mountaineer. The three are mesmerized by the fearsome satellite deployed ahead. Mountaineer speaks gibberish. Boy translates…

Taraga: Walainaina piaki-papu ghatuqura!
Kiapo: Taraga believes in Nimbus. She says...
Takhare: “We’ll meet the wardens of knowledge”, I know.
Mission Control: You’re authorized for extravehicular activity.

Commander Takhare and Kiapo watch through the observation window as Taraga jets away and grasp the spherical structure. Their beam focuses on a spot closer to her. A gleaming gassy hatch opens up. Four silhouettes wait inside, positioned next to each other in order of height.

Miral: Oh my! There is a thin line between lighting up a culture and contaminating it.
Icheb: Don’t be concerned; knowledge guarded by the Sphere is all Briori in origin.
Chakotay: It represents their best chance to reconnect our original time-line.
Janeway notices Kes disagrees with Chakotay.
Janeway: Are they going to be successful?

Kes: There is only so much Briori can do to restore History.
Kes faints a little…
Janeway: Kes! Are you all right? Can I help you? Doctor...
Kes: You already helped. I’m fine. I just got superb news. My tutor accomplished his mission. I must go now.
Janeway: Your tutor? Are we going to see you again?
Kes: We must; this was just an entrance to another passage.

The Dossier

OCR table…

Janeway and her senior officers report back to Section 31. Captain Nerys waits with her chin down and arms crossed. Sisko ponders his words with his back on everyone.

Sisko: Briori! Nobody has yet seen one. Why? Because! They’re connecting time-dots.
Chakotay: Towards their knowledge...
Janeway: Benjamin! We did meet many of them.
Nerys: Their ancestors; two hundred thousand years ago.
Janeway: Exactly! We also watched them on video reaching their Sphere.
Sisko: A Sphere we put in orbit.
Chakotay: Admiral; we can also see them through their AI expressions.
Nerys: Bioelectrical Entities! One of them is a four years old toddler.
Seven: My children are perfectly functional.
Nerys: Her children; she says.

Sisko: Nothing tangible! Look! I can see you all are proudly seated in your chairs after a job well done; wondering how can I be so obtuse. But; who shall debrief our Federation Security Council? You Seven? Chakotay? They’ll crush me with the Temporal Directive.
Janeway: Benjamin! This story was out there for ages. Earth! Bajor! Qo’noS! We didn’t give much credit to it; but it turned out to be true. Aliens came from above and taught us agriculture and masonry. Nero’s vengeful acts compromised that past; and we went on a mission back in time to revive it.

Sisko: I understand; but was such a mission successful? Narada altered your time-line anyway and still destroyed Vulcan. Only a few million made it out of the planet.
Chakotay: Millions…
The news leave Janeway and Chakotay flabbergasted.

Janeway: What next? How can we help you to straighten out this situation?
Sisko: You wouldn’t mind staying in the Delta Quadrant for a little longer; would you?
Janeway looks around her. Crew decants good vibrations.
Janeway: No; not particularly…
Sisko: Good! Kira and I will process your data, study your report, work on a Dossier and “make some calls” before informing any Council. We’ll keep in touch. Sisko out!

Janeway exhales. Chakotay can’t get “millions” out of his head.
Doctor works on his patients. Tabol wakes-up.

Tabol: Where am I? What happened to me?
Doctor: You’re on sickbay aboard Voyager; recovering from dissimilation procedure.
Tabol: Dissimilation? My body feels like being yanked around by a beast of burden.
Doctor: A Soul Eater assimilated you into her Collective by inoculating you with a nasty combo of microorganisms and Borg nanoprobes.
Tabol: Am I going to be all right?

Doctor: In a way; you will. But your days as a pure 100% Cardassian are over.
Doctor sedates Tabol. He perceives someone coming from behind. A Dabo girl bites him under the impression he’s flesh-and-bones. He rolls his eyes up; as she gets shocked down. The other Dabo girl approaches him and mutters something to his ear.
Doctor: Tips for your wheel? No thanks, I don’t gamble.
Doctor sedates her too. She falls in his arms.

The Bio-Vector

Just when Voyager’s crew catches some rest; they run again into extreme danger.
Computer: Collision Warning! Collision Warning!
Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral; long range sensors detect an unidentified ship traversing at high warp on interception course.
Janeway: Computer! Do you distinguish any sign of hostility?
Computer: Affirmative! Speed, trajectory and quietness are consistent with animosity.
Janeway: Can we fully scan it from this distance?
Seven: Negative! It is out of range for our Array Probe; but it is quickly closing in.

Chakotay: Computer! Approximate…
Computer: Approximating! Neither Borg Dagger; nor Fluidian Bioship…
Harry Kim: Not very helpful information...
Chakotay reflects…
Chakotay: Not necessarily; it could be a combination of both.
Janeway: B’Elanna; how’re we doing with propulsion?
B’Elanna: Transwarp Drive is fully operational.
Janeway: Helmsman; interphase!
Tom Paris: Straightaway!
Voyager goes transwarp. Crew remains expectant.

Harry Kim: Vice-Admiral! Hostile ship opened its own inter-phasic rift and continues on collision trajectory.
Janeway: Kes said Soul Eaters were great navigators.
Chakotay: Our Queen may have found a way to her past.
B’Elanna: She hates us for helping Briori to reset History.
Tom Paris: And she’s back with a vengeance.
Miral: She wants to kill us all.

Seven: Array Probe is set up and scanning.
Janeway: Share results!
Chakotay: No weapon systems…
B’Elanna: Changeling shielding…
Icheb: Variable-geometry…
Seven: Neurological avionics…
Harry Kim: Circulatory system…
Neelix quivers…
Neelix: Creepy-crawly; if you ask me.

Doctor concludes...
Doctor: It’s a Biogenic-Vector; designed to neutralize enemy vessels and deliver its infectious genetic material.
Janeway: Queen doesn’t want us dead after all.
Chakotay: She always wanted to integrate us to her collective.
Miral: But; aren’t we immune?
Doctor: Maybe not! We used to be; but that was long time ago for her.
Seven: If we’re not able to compromise its changeling shields; her bio-vector will impact us and melt through our hull to inject its genome.

Janeway: Doctor! Your call…
Doctor: I can’t improve your immunology without a sample of its toxicology.
Chakotay: And we can’t hit it with everything we got while transwarping.
Tom Paris: We can’t let Queen’s dagger to sting Voyager.
Miral: We could teleport Type-F to set off its assortment of ultra waves.

Chakotay: That’d create an inter-phasic stress strong enough to lessen its shielding.
Icheb: We could then beam in a spatial charge and detonate it remotely.
Doctor: There might be other biogenic-vectors in the vicinity.
Janeway: Doctor is right; we need to get inside and learn all we can from it.

Janeway and crew prepare to execute a risky operation.
Doctor: Seven! I have enhanced your phaser-gun to fire a highly poisonous alkaloid.
Seven: What it does?
Doctor: Nitro molecules will shackle lipoid membranes of Soul Eater’s brain cells.
Seven: It sounds imaginative. I hope it works.
B’Elanna: Vice-Admiral! I have modified your tricorder to download BE’S.
Janeway: Harry! Energize!

Voyager fires a modified photon torpedo, hitting the Bio-Vector with Type-F. Electrical bustle weakens its shields and everyone else is beamed in. Bhytor downloads data and Thamas collects samples. Seven and Janeway set a spatial charge and oversee their “kids” work. Things go as planned. Janeway proceeds to retrieve BE’S in her tricorder when a kind of drone never seen before decloaks and leaves its alcove silently.

Type-F: Tikali wikane! Rolaika!
Type F goes in Janeway’s tricorder…
Bhytor: “Mission accomplished”; he said.
Seven: How did you do?
Bhytor: A walk in the park; Soul Eaters didn’t expect us.

Janeway and Seven consent. Bhytor fades away.
Thamas: “Good luck”; cousin also said.
Janeway: And you? What do you say?
Thamas jumps on Janeway’s arms.
Thamas: Thamas says... Jelly-fish serum stings much.
Thamas gets in her tricorder as a console with stunning graphics caught her attention.

Janeway: Harry! Energize tricorder. Chakotay! There is a tale of bio-vectors behind us; please be ready to fire transphasic torpedoes on my mark.

Seven notices an imposing presence. She turns around just on time to face a decloaked Queen’s Clone, storming in and bashing her around. She can’t push her aggressor off; and drops her phaser gun.

Janeway tries to assist Seven. Queen’s Clone knocks Janeway down. She suffers a concussion. Clone dominates Seven and infects her with its genome. Janeway comes around. Clone suspends inoculation to exchange blows with Janeway. Seven recovers her phaser-gun and fires. Doctor’s alkaloid isn’t fast effective. Clone grabs Janeway and protrudes its inoculating canines. Thamas comes to her mind. She reacts instinctively.

Janeway: Jelly-fish serum!
Janeway’s biomechanical suit activates her helmet; which sprays a poignant liquid all over Queen Clone’s face. Janeway try to assist Seven who’s quickly transforming.
Seven: Vice-Admiral! You go. I’m infected.

Janeway embraces Seven…
Janeway: Harry! Beam us out to sickbay!
Doctor immediately acts on Seven.
Seven: Your alkaloid wasn’t too poisonous.
Doctor: I may have to work further on a fast acting version.
Janeway: Chakotay! Fire! Tom; get us out of this rift.

Transphasic torpedoes detonate upon impact. Explosions engulf all bio-vectors and Voyager gets away from extreme transwarp stress thanks to its safety features….

Seven: Vice-Admiral! I forwarded a few projected locations.
Janeway: Great! Tom! Set a course!
Tom Paris: These constellations are far deep. Laying course!
B’Elanna: I can’t believe it! This is truly outlandish.
Miral: Mother! Icheb and I are here in Cargo Bay 1 and…
B’Elanna: Miral! Not now; I just can’t handle a wedding at this moment.
Miral: What wedding? Mom; this is actually an important Engineering Project.

Icheb: Commander Torres; you should really come down here.
Janeway: Seven! How’re you feeling?
Seven: Somewhat off; but better…
Neelix: Hey everyone! My Briori Snail Soup is ready. Let’s cheer up our bellies!
Crew can’t ignore Neelix’s call any longer. They’re really hungry. Seven arrives with Bhytor. Everyone is having a good time. Chakotay assists Neelix in the kitchen. Thamas levitates around them. She can’t help, but smiling at the scene.

Seven: May have a medium bowl.
Neelix: I’ll get you a large one. You must recover 100%.
Chakotay: What about... large minus 18%?
Seven laughs...
Seven: That sounds workable.
Bhytor: 18% of what?
Thamas: Snails...
They all laugh. Veya and Lodom are glad too.

Lodom: Look! Seven doesn’t even notice us.
Veya: Doctor...
Doctor: Yes... Veya!
Veya: The treatment is working. I’m not projecting my yo-yo emotions.
Doctor: Good for you! But... I still need to see you in about 64 hours.
Lodom: She’ll be there.

As they leave the Mess Hall, Veya feels espied and heads back with her eyes, just soon enough to catch Seven facing-about.

Lodom: What happened?
Veya: Dunno! I won’t read her mind.

Back to the Bridge

Harry gets back from the Mess Hall. He’s a little late. janeway gives him her “crunch time” look. He PM the First Officer to get a mission update.

Harry Kim: Chakotay! What’s our destiny?
Chakotay: Har-Har Destiny! That’s a big word Commander.
Janeway: We’re going after a Queen... Harry.
Tom Paris: Course laid...
Janeway: Interphase!
Tom Paris: Straightway...

Bhytor and Thamas rush towards Cargo Bay 1. B’Elanna follows them wondering what “those two are up to”. Miral and Icheb stand inside grabbing each other hands, watching a spherical frame being built by myriads of microprobes.
B’Elanna: What? Not another sphere...

EMH sings Funiculi/Funicula...
Doctor: E nun te corre appriesso, nun te struie sulo a guarda. Se va comm’a lu viento a l’intrasatto, gue, saglie sa!

Neelix: Bravo Doctor! I love Opera. LaLa LaLa Lala Lala La...
Seven: Neelix; that’s not... that’s a Neapolitan song about a funicular up the Vesuvius.
Neelix: Vesuvius? I haven’t been in that planet.

In their commanding chairs, Janeway and Chakotay ponder matters over.

Chakotay: Only about ten thousand Vulcans would have survived Narada’s drill; but Sisko mentioned millions.
Janeway: I know. You come with me. Harry! You have the bridge.
Harry is left speechless after hearing his provisional designation.

AFTERMATH

Janeway and Chakotay get in Maestro’s cluttered workshop. They search for him; but at first DaVinci doesn’t show up. Janeway unveil a scroll.

Navel kids play over an abandoned Fluidian/Borg shuttle. They whisper enthusiastically; and call Zhagori over. His feet get wet wet on the shoreline. Makahe and Taraga follow him towards the wrecked spaceship. He places his powerful hands on an crevice and pulls down like a can opener. Zhagori feels nickering in his face for the first time. Navel children hear the neighing.

Chakotay: Horses...

Janeway takes a glance at an old glider hanging off his roof. A blank canvas is on her side. DaVinci pops up out of the blue. A drawing table is on his side.

DaVinci: A bat-wing design was a good idea... inner part sustains the structure and the outer part pushes forward. But it didn’t glide very well.
Janeway: Maestro! Maybe; if you add a tale rudder to stabilize yaw rotation.
DaVinci: Oh! Like in a Caravel!
Chakotay fixes his attention on Maestro’s work-table.
Chakotay: I can see you’re studying the Sphere.
DaVinci tries to cover his draws.
DaVinci: He-he-he! I love roundness. It is so faultless.
Chakotay: What’s it? It looks like a parachute.

DaVinci: A Parachute? You and your Ottoman words…
Janeway: What’re you planning to do?
DaVinci: Good question! One invention goes first; then another. This is a puff-vault; to hook a sphere from it and let it free fall with no risk whatsoever.
Janeway: How’re you going to let it free-fall?
Da Vinci: Well! I can’t do it from our bell tower…as you can imagine.
Chakotay: Not enough height!
Da Vinci: And I’d be eligible for ex-communion; he-he-he!
Janeway: You’ll require a way to impulse it.

Da Vinci reflects on her suggestion.
Da Vinci: I need a paddle to pull air and push it forward. Why I didn’t think of it before? You see? That’s our challenge; to determine what knowledge goes first.
Janeway switches her attention to her canvas. Da Vinci looks at her in anticipation.
Janeway: Maestro; I need your advice to paint an unclear dream.

DaVinci: If you don’t see it, begin your piece with a wash of black.
Janeway follows his instructions and her canvas becomes more revealing.
Janeway: I see him much better now.
Da Vinci: Good for you! Is he from Walachia?
Janeway: No; he’s not.
Her canvas shows an elder Vulcan on a hooded-toga inside monolithic ruins.

Da Vinci: Ah! Interesting! Ancient ruins inspired the Renaissance.
Janeway: He’s Tuvok; my Vulcan friend.
Da Vinci: Vulcan? Oh; yes! I met him once.
Janeway: How did you shed light on my gloomy dream?
DaVinci: I didn’t. Nature is dark until exposed by light.
Chakotay: We just lost him in battle. But here it seems like it was long time ago.
DaVinci: Millenia can go on intants. What is he doing inside a wrecked vault?
Janeway: He’s... thanking you; I belief.
Da Vinci: Honoring me? I’d like to hear what he says.

Da Vinci grabs Janeway by her arm to his patio. Chakotay follows them. Birds sing under a blue sky. Holo-Deck deploys a 3D live motion picture in which they all are in; but not as characters. They observe Azil, S’Tival and an elderly Tuvok going through a pathway enclosed by ancient brick walls. They can also see far behind eroded statues of Makahe, Taraga and Zhagori. Pilgrims wander their own shadows in the sand. Winds blow across a megalithic portal. His voice burbles lineage and journey.

Tuvok: I’m Tuvok, son of T’Meni. I was fostered by an Unforgiver. She blocked Iruhe from devouring my mind; allowing me to serve in a lifesaving mission.
Azil: Father! You don’t have to do this.
Tuvok ignores his daughter with a calm gesture.
Tuvok: I humbly bow before you, Watcher, bearer of knowledge, for enlighten my journey to save so many of my people.
Winds blow stronger…
DaVinci: Tell me! Why didn’t you go back when you had a chance?
Janeway: Because... I hoped to find our pathway.
DaVinci: Did you?

Janeway nods. DaVinci caress her face.
DaVinci: Hope! The willing to know never exhausts a clamorous mind.
Janeway drops tears...
Chakotay: Maestro! Are you making any progress in your mission?
DaVinci: Yes! Of course! My Sphere contains the correct sequence of knowledge for our ancestors to follow their dream.
Way up in the skies a fired cloud compresses winds and lights.
Tuvok: I saw beauty, joy and love in the eyes of my people. I’m now ready to meet you in Sha-Ka-Ree.
S’Tival: Forever beholden... peace in your wisdom!

Janeway, Chakotay and Da Vinci see across a portal. Tuvok stays with his arms down and his head up under his hooded-toga. A mighty unreachable light comes from above and hauls him up in a resplendent elevation.

Janeway: Why did you take him?
DaVinci: He came to us. He is the messenger. We all need him.
Janeway: Why...
DaVinci: Your friend was in a journey to save more Vulcans because for him knowing about their demise wasn’t enough, without the urgency of doing something about it.
Janeway: Who’re Briori? Are you… the Gods of Antiquity?
DaVinci: No! We’re not Gods. We are just cave painters.

Cauliflowers of Clouds compress lights and winds; spinning around Janeway, Chakotay and Da Vinci. They watch Zhagori pulling two dappled horses with dark triangular mane across fields of Nerhe, surrounded by Navels.

Doctor: Jammo, jammo ‘ncoppa, jammo ja, funiculi, funicula!

Makahe and Taraga take a peak inside the cave. They yell: “Quamariki! Quamariki!” A bunch of children come out running, giggling and chanting. Cave’s walls unveil rock art about aliens in wetsuits teaching, scanning, helping and fighting. Four luminous beings are painted last, next to each other. Crops grow and rain falls over a brick town ahead of three imposing statues. Voyager transwarps away, vacuuming inter-phasic rifts…


THE END
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