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Kes uneasily and slowly walked through the doors, holding a padd in her hands. "I have the DNA results."
"Good," James muttered, holding his hand out.
"I want to know what you're going to do to him first," Kes said.
"I haven't decided yet," James replied.
Kes sighed, "I'll tell you who the father is if you promise to hear his side of the story, and not lose your temper with him."
"His side of the story? What good can come from his mouth?" James grumbled in disgust. "He's the main suspect for the death of his girlfriend and two babies. I can't promise not to lose my temper."
"Then I'll give the results to Tuvok," Kes said.
"Why didn't you go to him in the first place then if you didn't trust me," James muttered.
"Because I was hoping you'd have an open mind as you usually do," Kes replied. "Sorry." She stepped back out. James quickly got onto his feet.
"You can't be serious!" he snapped.
Kes and Tuvok were talking when James burst in, they looked toward him. "Kes, I didn't think you were serious about keeping the results from me."
"Why would I joke about it?" Kes asked, shrugging her shoulders.
"Ensign, you are not Chief of Security. This is a serious matter," Tuvok casually said.
"No but this is my case," James said, almost like a moan.
"I'm sorry James, but I think there's more to the case than everyone thinks. I wanted the guy to get his say without a beating or threats," Kes said.
"What do you mean by more to the case?" James frowned.
"It's a feeling, something more is going on. There's something else, if I said it you'd know who to look for," Kes mumbled.
"This sounds like a typical wife beater case, all you have is a feeling," Tuvok said.
"Kes is usually right with her feelings," James said. "I'll try to keep my cool, I promise you that." Kes sighed, unsure whether to believe him or not.
"If you wish to continue this case, Ensign, you can come with me to talk to the suspect," Tuvok said. He headed toward him so he could leave.
"Kes?" James said, looking at Kes with the harmless look he successfully uses on Jessie.
Kes nodded her head, "thanks for understanding, but don't make me regret it. I understand why you want to take this case, so you can go. It's ok." He turned to follow Tuvok out of the room, leaving Kes looking uneasy.
Kathryn stood by the window, watching the stars go by, holding a cup of coffee in her left hand. The door chimed. "Come in."
Chakotay stepped inside, he held his hands behind his back. "Captain, I have some bad news."
"As long as the next sentences you say don't have the words anomaly or rift in them, then go ahead," Kathryn said.
"Christine Rannak was found," Chakotay said.
Kathryn interrupted him, "I know, James informed me. How is this bad news?"
"It appears she's been murdered, as well as her two newborn babies," Chakotay muttered.
Kathryn swung around to stare directly at him, her cheeks flushing red. "What!?"
"All three were drowned in the bath in their quarters," Chakotay responded. "Chaster reported the whole thing to Tuvok, and he told me. Supposedly James was working secretly to protect the girl. Obviously you know that, but I don't understand why Tuvok and I won't told."
"The less males involved, the better," Kathryn said, finishing off her coffee. "She was being abused by her boyfriend and hid in the Jeffries Tube. We don't know who he is."
"No offense but you knew it couldn't have been me and Tuvok," Chakotay said, raising an eyebrow.
"You really don't understand, we were trying to protect this woman. The more people who knew, the more likely he would find out," Kathryn muttered. "How did he get passed Security?"
"We don't know yet. The guards never left their positions, nobody could have beamed in. The transporters aren't working as they should," Chakotay replied.
"I know, James did something," Kathryn said.
Chakotay groaned, rolling his eyes. "I'd wager in ten days that boy will be using command codes, and pretending he's in charge of everything. We already have him thinking he's the Chief of Security."
"I admit that's a problem," Kathryn said. "Tuvok's given him quite a bit of power, but no real boundries, he doesn't know what he's not supposed to do."
"You'd think that reporting an incident like this to the Chief would be something he knew that he had to do," Chakotay said.
Kathryn shook her head, "what does it matter now? How the hell did this happen?"
"There's no sign that anybody got in those quarters. No surprise here but James has taken it upon himself to solve this," Chakotay replied.
"So, that is part of his job," Kathryn muttered.
"Maybe so but I can't be the only one who's noticed his behaviour since he returned," Chakotay said.
"You're not. I believe there's something he's not telling me about his trip to the other Voyager. He's distracted, avoidy and well, either trying too hard to be non irritable or he doesn't care enough to get irritated like he usually does," Kathryn said. "I think the last one seems like a blessing in disguise, but we can't ignore it."
"If we let him stay with this investigation he's just going to keep avoiding whatever happened. This must be an excellent distraction for him, but we all know that's not a good cure," Chakotay said.
Kathryn sighed, glancing down at her empty cup. "Make sure that Tuvok takes full control of the investigation. The Sykians might keep him occupied a little, but not too much. Otherwise there's nothing but his usual tasks to do."
Chakotay nodded in agreement, "I'll talk to them both."
"Also tell Tuvok I want to be notified the second he's solved the case," Kathryn ordered.
"Yes ma'am," Chakotay said, turning to leave.
Kathryn looked down at her cup again, she made her way over to the replicator and placed the empty cup in it. "Coffee, black." The metallic cup disappeared for a second, then reappeared with steaming hot black coffee in. She picked it back up, inhaling the smell she loved so much but it didn't ease her like it usually does.
The computer on her desk beeped at her, so she headed over to the desk. The text, "twenty four hours, till the end," scrolled across the screen.
"What the? Computer locate source of this message."
"Unable to comply, there is no message to locate," the computer responded.
Kathryn frowned, "the one on the screen, verify source."
"God," Kathryn groaned in annoyance. "The message that was just sent to my computer, who is it by?"
"There has been no messages in the current inbox."
"What? It's right here," Kathryn said, rubbing her throbbing forehead. "Never mind, I'll do it myself."
Most of the staff were busy rushing around repairing the warp core and several stations. James and Tuvok came through the already open main doors, B'Elanna rushed to walk in front of them.
"Commander, after we drop off our guests we'll need to shut down the warp core. The damaged systems will need repairing, they'll last the trip but not any longer than that."
"I will inform the Captain," Tuvok said. "Where is Ensign Simpson?"
"He's on the upper level," B'Elanna replied. "Why?"
"It's a Security matter," Tuvok replied.
"Really? Was he a witness to something?" B'Elanna questioned, walking away from them.
"Interesting," Tuvok commented. He and James went to the lift.
On the upper level Jack was working on his own at the station opposite the core. He looked up as Tuvok and James headed over to him. Tuvok placed an arm out in front of James just in case, even though he knew that wouldn't stop him, only caution him.
"Commander Tuvok, what can I do for you?" Jack questioned, seeming like he was back to normal again.
"We're investigating. Do you know a crewmember called Christine Rannak?" Tuvok questioned.
"Yes, yes I do. She's a friend of mine since school actually," Jack replied. His face lit up more than usual, "have you found her?"
"Yes she was found, however..." Tuvok replied.
Jack quickly butted in, sounding ecstatic. "Oh thank god, it's been months and I was expecting the worse." He sighed in relief, but his relief didn't last long as he noticed the look that could kill on James' face. "What?"
"Did you ever hurt her?" he asked. Tuvok raised an eyebrow.
Jack stared at him with a shocked expression on his face. "What? I'd never hurt her. Has something happened?"
"Oh so that's how it's going to work is it?" James muttered. "Did you have a relationship with her?"
"Um, that's kind of personal," Jack replied, now worried that he wasn't going to be leaving the room in one piece.
"Did you know she was pregnant?" James asked.
Jack's eyes widened. Tuvok almost groaned, "Ensign, maybe you should leave the questioning to me."
"Pregnant?" Jack stuttered.
"Yes," Tuvok replied. "When was the last time you saw her?"
"Oh, I'm sorry sir, I'm not sure. You lose track of time when someone you care about is missing," Jack replied. He looked toward James, "pregnant? How is she, is she ok?"
"What happened the last time you saw her?" Tuvok questioned.
"Um, she and I had an argument. I remember thinking for about two days or so that she just left me, then I found out no one else had seen her since," Jack replied.
"Did you ever harm her?" Tuvok asked.
Jack looked at the two men in front of him looking horrified. "I can't believe this, ask anyone. I'm not a violent person, not even a little bit. What happened to her?"
James glanced toward Tuvok, "one of us should ask 'anyone'."
"I already thought of that. I'll do it, however you should remain calm until I return," Tuvok said, he headed back to the lift.
"I'm not usually an aggressive person but I demand to know what's going on," Jack grumbled.
"She was hiding away from you. Why would she if you weren't an aggressive person?" James questioned while folding his arms.
"I don't know," Jack replied. "Our argument was about some silly little thing, it couldn't have been that. Are you going to answer my question?"
James glanced down, then away awkwardly. "I'm sorry but, she's dead."
"No, she can't be," Jack stuttered, his eyes slowly filling with tears. He turned his back to him. "How?"
"That's what I'd like to find out," James replied.
"Was she still pregnant, is the baby ok?" Jack stuttered. James' silence made him burst out crying into his hands, he tried to hide it with one of them. At this point James was looking a bit uncomfortable, but he felt like he was talking to the wrong guy.
Tuvok reappeared, "Ensign, we are done here."
"Fine, I'll be with you in a minute," James said.
Tuvok stepped back onto the lift to take it down again.
"I'm really sorry. Chrissy told a friend of mine that you hurt her, so we assumed..." James said.
Jack tried to dry his eyes so he could turn back around. "I don't understand why she'd say that. Of course there's no proof for me, everyone's going to think it was me."
"I don't know why she would either, I don't know her well enough," James said.
"She said her last boyfriend was a jerk," Jack mumbled. He shook his head, "she was with him for two months, god I hated him. That's the only time in my life I ever felt aggressive and violent, when he was around. She would tell me everything that he did, when we heard Voyager was about to be launched we both requested to join to get away. We figured as he was just a civilian he wouldn't be able to follow."
"Did you ever see her get abused by him, or any injuries?" James questioned with a frown on his face.
"No, she would always get them treated to hide them from me. Eventually she confessed it all," Jack sniffed.
James looked away, deep in thought. He turned back to him, "excuse me. Sorry for, well everything." He walked toward the ladder on the other side. When he was gone, Jack fell to his knees.
Matthews turned away from Chrissy's body lying on the slab. He pressed a button, it slowly moved into the storage in the wall. After typing on the padd in his hands, he moved into the tiny office he had, and placed it next to the computer.
"Computer transfer logs from the padd to the morgue database."
The computer responded with two beeps, "transfer complete."
Matthews tapped his commbadge, "Matthews to Taylor."
In: "What have you got?"
"It took me a while but I was able to verify Chrissy's cause of death, and who touched the children," Matthews replied. He sat down in his chair then turned the computer on. "There was no bruising or any other kind of wounds on her body. It's very unlikely she tried to fight back."
In: "Could she have been drugged, knocked unconscious?"
"No there was nothing abnormal in her blood, I can tell she wasn't unconscious when this happened. It appears to be suicide," Matthews muttered.
In: "I don't understand, how could she have intentionally held her head under the water long enough to do that. I thought that some kind of natural instinct would take over or something."
"That's all I have. If somebody did do this to her, she must have let him do it," Matthews said.
In: "Maybe the killer of the babies threatened he'd kill them if she didn't."
"No. Their times of death were earlier than hers," Matthews shook his head. "You're not going to like the next part."
In: "Try me."
"The babies bodies were mostly dry when we found them, there were splashes but that's it. The killer must have held them and you know, to kill them. Unfortunately for her that left us with clearer fingerprints, and DNA samples," Matthews said. "You saw the children, were they wearing the same thing when you saw them the first time?"
In: "Yeah, and the replicator hadn't been used to replicate copies."
"I thought as much. The only people to touch these babies were Christine Rannak, Leva Samson and Jessie Rex," Matthews said. "I do know that the last two were the ones who carried the children to their quarters, and that Leva was the one guarding the door with Chaster." He heard a sigh come from the other end of the commlink.
In: "There's no way somebody else could have done this?"
"The babies were wearing those clothes at time of death, nobody changed them to cover anything up like you said. Only those three girls could have done it," Matthews replied. "The boy died a minute before the girl did, I don't know if that helps."
In: "I don't know yet. Thanks for the help."
"I'm still waiting on one DNA scan, a strand of long wet hair that was on the little girl. It should be done in half an hour, the scanner's a little slow after the rift messed with it," Matthews said.
In: "I'll come by then. Taylor out."
The doors opened for Chakotay and Tuvok. They entered what looked like a training hall, straight ahead of them a group of holo-demons were fighting against James. Most were already lying on the ground unconscious. James had a hold of a long, thin pole which he swung around to knock four of them to the ground. The two left charged for him, he defeated them just as easily.
The computer beeped, "end of level."
He groaned, "skip five more levels."
"Pause," Chakotay butted in.
James swung around to face them, dropping the pole to the ground like he was trying to hide it. "Sorry, I just thought I'd spend my dinner break in here, I must..."
"It's ok, your break's still on," Chakotay said.
James eyes shifted nervously, "then what are you guys doing here?"
"We are here to discuss the Rannak case," Chakotay replied. "I'm afraid Tuvok's going to take full control of it. We don't need this many cook's, do we?"
"What, why?" James questioned bewilderedly.
"You are obviously taking this too personally," Chakotay replied. "It's only natural to feel responsible, especially when there were babies involved."
"Especially when?" James muttered, glancing toward Chakotay with flashing eyes, then gestured his head to Tuvok.
"He knows about Jessie," Chakotay said. "Supposedly the Captain told him."
"The Commander and I believe that you got involved, without contacting me first when you should have done, only because of, paternal instincts," Tuvok said.
"I thought only the mothers get those during pregnancy time?" Chakotay whispered to him.
James tapped his foot impatiently, with his arms folded and half rolling his eyes. "I wasn't acting 'fatherly', I just have a soul."
"Charming," Chakotay commented.
"I never said that you didn't," James said. "Somebody needed help, actually three did, and well it was my job."
"James when the murder occurred, you took it too hard. We can tell by your actions," Chakotay said.
"Actions?" James raised an eyebrow. "I may have snapped at the team, but considering what had happened they should have expected it. For all I knew, they screwed up. As for the suspect, if I had taken it too hard then he wouldn't have had the chance to speak now would he?"
"All right, reactions," Chakotay said.
"You're just making excuses. You only want Tuvok in charge cos you think he's better than me," James muttered. He sighed and turned away, "you'd be right though."
Tuvok raised an eyebrow, "the reason is simple. You're too emotional over this."
"And you couldn't give a crap, I get it," James said.
"Besides after your 'trip' to your opposite Voyager, both the Captain and I think you should take it easy. You took on too much too fast," Chakotay said. "We've got a simple little mystery that'll probably only take you five minutes."
"But Matthews has already contacted me with the autopsy results. I'm going there after my break," James stuttered.
"I think this is more suited to your skills," Chakotay said. Tuvok stepped closer and handed James a padd, he looked at it.
"Twenty four hours?" he read. "Till the end."
"We need to know where it came from. The Captain received it at 1200 hours," Chakotay said.
"You're right, that'll only take five minutes," James said. "What do I do for the rest of the day, besides the usual? Surely I can help."
"The Sykians are still your responsibility. Perhaps you should check on them," Tuvok said.
"Or give them a tour of the ship?" Chakotay suggested.
James glared in his direction, "hell no, they're really annoying."
"Malek seemed, unannoying," Chakotay muttered.
"Then you give him a tour," James groaned. The two more senior officers stared at him intently. "I don't know why I even bother, you already made up your minds. Fine, but no tour." He headed toward the exit, "save program and end."
Tuvok followed him. "Ensign."
James groaned, then turned around. "What?"
"I need to know what you've learned so far," Tuvok said.
"What's the point? You can ask Matthews everything else you need to know," James said.
"I wish to hear it from you," Tuvok said.
"What, you don't like Matthews?" James said, raising an eyebrow. Tuvok did the same. "There was no sign of any struggle from her, she wasn't drugged either. It appears to be a suicide."
"And the infants?" Tuvok questioned.
"I don't think they committed suicide," James muttered.
Chakotay rolled his eyes as he walked forward to stand by Tuvok's side. "I think he asked who killed them?"
"I'm not sure how Matthews did it, but he was able to check who touched them. Leva held the girl, Jessie held the boy. Obviously Chrissy held them both," James replied.
"So either two scenario's occurred. Rannak tried to stop one of those girls from murdering her children," Tuvok said. James cleared his throat, and passed him a cold look. "Miss Rex has to be considered a suspect."
"Yeah like a pregnant girl like Jessie would just randomly kill someone elses babies. What on earth's the motive, she was really attached to the son," James muttered.
"Whoever did it succeeded, and in grief Rannak killed herself. In scenario two she did it herself," Tuvok said.
"Again, why the hell would she do that?" James questioned.
"James your break's nearly over, you should get started on that," Chakotay snapped.
James turned to look at him, he rolled his eyes, shook his head then marched out of the holodeck.
"He does have a point," Chakotay uneasily said. "There have been cases of depression, where a new mother has abandoned her children, sometimes worse."
"It's possible," Tuvok said. "First I must speak to Miss Rex and Leva Samson."
"Samson and Chaster were both guarding Rannak's quarters, maybe you should talk to Chaster as well," Chakotay said.
"Yes, that would seem logical," Tuvok almost sighed in annoyance. He walked through the holodeck doors, Chakotay followed him.
Chaster sat down in one of the chairs, Tuvok watched her intently. "I don't understand, Commander. I gave you my full report."
"Did Miss Samson leave her post at any time?" he asked her.
"No, and I didn't either," Chaster replied.
"Did either of you go inside?" Tuvok asked.
Chaster sighed, "sir with all due respect, I answered these questions when I gave you my report."
"Did you know Miss Rannak?" Tuvok questioned.
Chaster shook her head, "no. Leva knew her, they've been friends since the Marquis joined us."
"Did they have any arguments that you know about?" Tuvok asked.
"Why don't you ask her," Chaster muttered.
"I have already. I'm asking you as well," Tuvok said.
"No, she was just concerned about her when she was missing," Chaster replied. "These two were close friends sir."
"Did you know about Rannak and Simpson's friendship?" Tuvok asked.
"Well yeah, and before you ask they all got on ok," Chaster replied. Tuvok raised his eyebrow.
in the day
Everyone were in their usual places when James stepped out of the turbolift nearby opps. He headed over to the centre of the bridge.
"Well?" Kathryn questioned.
"I've tried all conventional and unconventional methods of tracking the sender, nothing. It's like the message never existed," James replied.
Kathryn sighed into her hand, "that can't be possible. It's just not good enough James."
Jessie glanced over with a concerned look on her face. James, for probably the twentieth time that day looked uncomfortable.
"There's something else I can try. I'll be going in a minute or so..." he said. Kathryn looked up at him expectantly. "I have to do something first." He walked over to Jessie.
"Is she giving you a hard time?" she asked quietly.
"Nah, I need the push. Um can we talk in private?" James questioned.
"Sure," Jessie replied. They headed across the bridge, and into the Conference Room.
Kathryn sighed before glancing at Chakotay, who was smirking at her. "What?"
"You're keeping him on his toes aren't you?"
"I'm not, just..." Kathryn muttered.
"I like the way you kept him away from the murder/suicide mystery," Chakotay said. "You're just trying to keep him occupied elsewhere."
"There's nothing wrong with that," Kathryn said.
"No but you'll have to trust him with an actual mystery, not this twenty four hour message you gave him," Chakotay smiled.
Kathryn sighed uncomfortably. "I didn't make it up. If I did he would have known that five seconds after looking at it."
"You mean, someone did send that threat?" Chakotay asked.
"It was delivered to me at noon exactly like I told you. I didn't want to give him another mystery like this but I assumed it would be easy for him," Kathryn replied. "He'll get it."
"No doubt," Chakotay sighed.
"He'll have it sorted long before the deadline, and he or she will be caught. Nothing to worry about," Kathryn said. "We should have a meeting when Tuvok reports in at 1830."
"I'll make the arrangements," Chakotay said while lifting himself off the chair.
in the Conference Room:
Jessie sat in the chair Kathryn would usually sit in, watching James as he sat on the edge of the table, deep in thought.
"Um, you wanted to talk about something?" she butted in.
"Huh?" James mumbled, "oh." He shook his head to snap out of it, then looked toward her while leaning into his hand on the table. "I've got some bad news Jess, I didn't want to be the one to upset you but it's got to be better than finding out from Tuvok who wants to question you."
"I suppose so," Jessie frowned. "What's wrong, what did I do wrong this time?"
"You didn't do anything wrong," James mumbled. "Um it's about Chrissy."
Jessie's face turned a little paler, "oh god, what did that boyfriend of hers do to her?"
"The boyfriend's soft as muck Jess, everyone we talked to tells us the same thing. He wouldn't harm a fly, and well he loved her," James replied.
"Oh, then she lied to me or he's putting on one hell of an act," Jessie muttered.
"He told me that her last boyfriend was a bully, so she said anyway," James said.
"So what are you saying? She likes to accuse guys of hurting her?" Jessie said, smirking slightly.
James sighed while looking down at the table. "I don't know for sure."
"I don't understand what Tuvok could upset me with during questioning. Was she attacked or something?" Jessie asked.
James cleared his throat before looking back up at her. "She's dead Jess." She stared at him blankly like she didn't believe him. "It looks like she killed herself."
"Oh my god," she stuttered. "How?"
"Um, drowned in the bath," James replied.
"Accident, it could have been an accident," Jessie stuttered.
"I doubt it, the only way that could have happened is if she hit her head. She had no injuries," James mumbled awkwardly.
Jessie stared with wide eyes, her face was now paler than his usually is. "But why would she do that? She had new babies, and..."
"I think that's why Jess," James said.
"I don't understand," Jessie muttered.
James closed his eyes, glancing away. "They're um, god this is hard."
"Noo no," Jessie stuttered as she scrambled to her feet. "You've got to be kidding. No, you're not sick enough to make those jokes, somebody else is messing with you."
"Jessie, it's not a joke. I saw them," James said.
"So what I'm thinking, I was right?" Jessie muttered with disgust in her voice. "No, I don't want to be right this time. Please tell me those babies are ok."
James stood back up. "I can't."
Jessie pouted her bottom lip, her eyes shed a few tears before she turned her back to him. "God I'm so stupid. Why couldn't I just left things well enough alone?"
"What are you talking about Jess, you didn't do anything?" James asked as he stepped closer to her.
"Bulls***," she snapped, turning back around. "If it wasn't for me, they'd all be alive still. It's my fault."
"If it weren't for you we wouldn't have known about them," James said.
"They would still be alive though," Jessie angrily muttered.
"You don't know that. Only three people touched those babies, you were one of them. Leva and Chrissy were the others. Chrissy seemed out of it, scared, depressed and unsure of herself. I think she was just one of those scared young mothers that snap, just for a minute," James said.
"What? Are you saying that it's possible that cos I'm a young mum I might just bash my baby's head against a wall, shake him a lot, suffocate him or drop him on the floor?" Jessie stuttered. "No, she couldn't have done it."
"I don't think it'll happen to you," James said. "I'm just saying that's what probably happened. Nobody got in there but us, we left, Chaster and Leva guarded and well they both have the same story."
"Yeah sure, they could be covering for one another," Jessie grumbled.
"Look Kes said she's been having strange feelings all day that suggests that the case might not be what it seems," James said.
"So what, we all know who's fault it is," Jessie said.
"I don't believe that. If Chrissy snapped and killed her babies, or something else made her do it, then it would have happened in the Jeffries Tube," James said, closing the gap between them. "You didn't do anything wrong."
"Then why do I feel like it is?" Jessie asked quietly.
"Cos it's easier to blame ourselves than Chrissy, it's the worst thing a parent can do. We don't want to think of her like that," James mumbled. He put his arm around her, and gently wiped some of the tears from her cheek with his thumb. "You're not the only one blaming yourself."
"I think I have more reason to than you. I told you about her, and asked for your help," she said, then rested her chin on his shoulder and held onto him tightly. "I'm so selfish. All I can think of is that our child won't have as many other kids to play with than I thought."
"That's not selfish, you're not thinking about yourself," James said.
"No but it's still inappropriate," Jessie muttered.
Jessie walked through the door to the new Counselling office.
"Ah Jessie, Simpson's back. He's in your office," Reynolds said without looking up at her. "He must have thought you were good enough to come back to."
"Uh... sure I..." Jessie stuttered.
Reynolds looked up, "I can seem him if you want, you look a little pale. Are you all right?"
"I'm ok. I'm just a little shaken, there's been a murder," Jessie quietly replied.
"Oh, friend of yours?" Reynolds questioned.
"Could have been," Jessie muttered. "I'm ok really." She headed toward her office.
Reynolds turned her chair around to follow her direction. "You're doing a great job so far," she said with a reassuring smile.
Jessie turned around to look at her, "thanks." She took one step backwards into her office. The door closed after her. When she turned around her eyes widened, and mouth dropped open in shock. "Oh my god, Lieutenant!"
Reynolds rushed into the office, she did the same as Jessie then ran to the side of Jack. He lay in front of the desk in a pool of his own blood, with cuts on both of his wrists.
Jessie stumbled backward toward the door, instead she backed into the wall as dizziness began to take over. She closed her eyes to block out her view instead.
Reynolds tapped her commbadge, "Sickbay, medical emergency."
The Doctor and Kes finished working on Jack's body on the solo biobed. He walked over to Jessie and Reynolds who were waiting behind the station.
"He has a rare blood type. The replicators are still having malfunctions, we can't risk it replicating the wrong type. We can keep him stable until a donor is found," the Doctor said.
"Did someone do this to him?" Jessie asked.
"Injuries like this usually mean suicide, however we don't know for sure," the Doctor said. "I'll do the usual tests to determine that."
Kes walked over to the group. "Even with a donor he could die, he was there for a while."
"Then he must have done it as soon as he entered the office," Reynolds said. Everyone looked at her. "He was alone about ten minutes."
"There's only two matches in the crew manifest for his blood type. Christine Rannak, and you Jess," Kes said.
"Huh, I didn't know I had rare blood," Jessie mumbled. "I hate for this to sound selfish but if something happens to him, and the replicators break again. I'm screwed." Kes stepped forward, flashing her eyes like she was hinting to something. Jessie caught on. "I can't do it, this isn't part of my job."
"This isn't a job matter Jessie, it's a humanitarian mission," the Doctor said in disbelief. "You said it yourself, if he dies too you won't have a donor yourself."
"You know how squeamish I am with blood, I dunno," Jessie stuttered, glancing briefly at Kes for help.
The biobed alarms went off, the Doctor and Kes rushed over to Jack's side. Jessie followed half way.
"We're losing him again," the Doctor said.
"Ok ok, I'll do it," Jessie said.
Kes glanced at her briefly, shaking her head.
"We don't have the time," the Doctor muttered. He groaned angrily when Jack's heart monitor made the continuos tone, "damn it."
"Is that it?" Jessie muttered.
Kes sighed, "I'm afraid so."
an hour later
The Conference Room:
The entire senior staff sat around the table, some were in their usual places. Tuvok was the only one on his feet, he stood by the window.
"If that is all," Kathryn said.
Kes sat forward to lean on the table, "actually Captain, there is something I'd like to add."
"All right," Kathryn said.
"I don't think any of today's deaths are as straight forward as suicide," Kes said.
"Since when was suicide straight forward?" Tom asked.
Kes ignored him, "something else is going on. I felt something from Jack earlier in the Mess Hall. It was like for about a minute that he was pushed aside, and replaced with something. Whatever it was, it wasn't soulful."
"Possession?" Chakotay questioned.
"No, I would have sensed a different presence in his place. It wasn't like that, also when it happened he was acting differently," Kes replied. "I have asked a few of his friends, they say he keeps going into these moods where he's cold and quiet. He's been like that for weeks now, these moods didn't happen often either."
"If it's been weeks then that might explain why Chrissy hid from him," Jessie said.
"She would have been seven or eight months pregnant at the time, surely he would have noticed that fact," Harry muttered. "You said he didn't know about it."
"Perhaps he was lying," Tuvok said.
"Why would he lie about that?" Tom asked.
"If you were to give this something a name, Kes, what would it be?" Kathryn questioned.
"Evil, demonic. I'm not sure," Kes replied.
Chakotay sat up straight, he looked in James' direction. "If it's demons, you should be able to sense something. Have you?" He groaned into his hand as he noticed James not paying attention, and in a daze again. "Somebody get a phaser or something to hit him over the head with, this is getting ridiculous."
"Shush angry warrior, keep your cool," Kathryn muttered.
Jessie rolled her eyes while looking toward Chakotay, she shook James' arm to get his attention. "James meeting."
He looked at her, "oh sorry."
"Have you been able to sense anything demonic or not? I'm not sure if Slayers do that," Chakotay muttered.
"Kinda, I'm not sure," James replied.
"Can you get sure?" Tom nervously asked.
"I dunno, I shared a ship with three hundred of them. I may be sensing demons or it could be just after effects," James replied.
"Doctor I want you to do a thorough examination of Simpson and Rannak, I need to know what happened," Kathryn ordered.
The Doctor nodded, "aye Captain."
"James, I expect you've found the sender of that file by now," Kathryn said.
"Uh no, I'm still trying though," James replied.
Tom leaned in closer to Harry to whisper to him, "somebody's slipping."
"Let me know when you do. Dismissed," Kathryn ordered.
Everyone but James got up to leave, Jessie noticed him still sitting so she walked back to her chair. "Penny for your thoughts."
"Tom's right, I must be slipping. I can't even solve this stupid message mystery," he muttered.
"You're not, it's just taking longer than you thought to get back into the routine," Jessie said. "Of course all of this isn't helping."
"Maybe," James sighed.
Jessie sat back in the chair she was in before. "Do you want me to kick a few butts? I think a few people are being a bit impatient with you."
James smiled a little, "that's ok, it's usually me that's being irritable. I still am, but not as much."
"After the day I've had I'd kick nearly anyone's ass just to get it out of my system," Jessie said.
"I have a program you can use," James suggested.
Jessie smiled back at him, "you have several."
"I like this one better," James said.
Tuvok re-entered the room, "Miss Rex. I need to speak to you."
"Oh god," Jessie groaned, pulling a face. "It'll probably be him."
"Probably," James said.
Jessie stood back up. "Ok I'm coming."
"No, it should be here. Mr Taylor," Tuvok said.
"Fine, but if you have any problems you'll be wishing you hadn't told me to leave," James muttered as he climbed to his feet.
"You're on my side anyway," Jessie whispered to him. James nodded, he then headed for the nearest door.
In the small, cramped Deck Fifteen three figures stood in a dimly lit work room. One was holding something in his hands in front of his face.
"Wow it's beautiful. If I stare deeply into it I can see my salvation, my future, all the evil things I'm going to accomplish. I just cannot wait," the man rambled on, almost drooling.
Another male voice groaned, then whispered to the third figure. "He does realise I haven't given him the device yet, right?"
"Computer increase the lights by ten percent," a female voice ordered. The lights increased, the figures turned out to be Damien, Halei and one of the unnamed Sykians. Damien was the one with something in his hands.
"Ah you and me against the universe, they don't stand a chance," Damien sneered at the item in his hand.
Halei groaned, "how much longer do we have to listen to you talking to that yogurt pot?"
Damien turned around, glaring at the two aliens. He was holding one of those Muller Dessert themed yogurts, still unopened. "Don't you have any respect? You are both too simple minded to understand."
"Yes, unlike you we have a mind," the Sykian said. "Can we really trust this weirdo?"
"That's still in debate," Halei muttered.
"Now now, no debating without me," Damien said with a mouthful of yogurt. "I help you with your little quest, and you give me the device."
Sykian pulled out a futuristic looking device that fit in the palm of his hand. "This is it. It will get you to where you want to go, then you're on your own."
"I still say your plans clash with ours as we will succeed," Halei said.
Damien snorted with laughter, "yeah you wish. This crew may be a group of crazy freaks but they can get out of almost anything. Unlike you, I know where to hit them. With this, I'll accomplish what you could only dream of."
"This crew is only in our way, we're not obsessed with them like you," the Sykian said.
"Yes but we both want the same thing in the end," Damien said. "Now give it here."
The Sykian moved his arm behind his back. "You haven't given us the information we need."
"I will, I want the device first," Damien said.
"We're on a deadline you know. Your plans can wait," Halei said. "What do you have to lose?"
"Fine. I'm not someone you would like to screw over, remember that," Damien muttered. He turned to face a computer, he began working on it.
Kes walked a lot quicker down the corridor to catch up with James, he was working on a padd while walking.
"How's it going?"
"I wish people would stop asking," he muttered.
Kes frowned, "sorry."
James closed his eyes, "I'm sorry Kes, I didn't mean to snap at you." He reopened them just before they got to the doors to the Mess Hall. "It's not going well. At least the message exists to the computer now, that's not going to help us in four and a bit hours, is it?"
The doors opened for them. James ducked down, taking Kes with him as a chair went flying over their heads. It crashed into the wall next to them. When they straightened they both looked around with bewildered looks on their faces. The entire Mess Hall was a war zone, every crewmember but Neelix were fist fighting or throwing chairs and tables at each other.
"How did you know?" Kes stuttered.
James replied just by shrugging his shoulders. Neelix rushed over to them. "Sweeting I saw that, are you all right?"
"Fine Neelix, what's going on?" Kes replied.
"I don't know. Everything was calm and peaceful one minute, then out of nowhere people started jumping on each other and throwing furniture," Neelix replied.
"It had to happen when I was dropping by, didn't it," James muttered. He handed Kes the padd, then pulled out his phaser. He pressed one button on it, then aimed to fire it at the ceiling. Everyone stopped to stare at him. "Ok that's enough of that, or I'll be trying out the widespread function."
A few of the crewmembers headed for their nearest exit, all glaring in his direction.
"Can you ask them to clean everything up?" Neelix whispered.
James glanced at him with a raised eyebrow, "just offer to give them your quorn sausage rolls."
"Oh bribery," Neelix's face lit up. "Everyone, if you clean up I'll make some more of my sausage rolls." Everyone quickly headed for the doors, looking panicky.
"No, you're supposed to say 'clean up or I will make you eat them'," James smirked. Kes did the same.
"I don't understand, I thought everyone liked them," Neelix stuttered.
Chakotay stepped through the nearby door, he wasn't sure whether to look amused or shocked at the mess of the room. "Ok don't tell me I missed it all."
"Yeah unfortunately," James said, he turned to go to the replicator.
Chakotay walked up to Neelix and Kes. "You could hear the fighting on the bridge, what started it and who?"
"Everybody was fighting, it all happened at once so it's hard to tell who or what started it," Neelix replied.
Kes sighed, "the first people who left, I sensed the same thing in them."
"Great, what's going on here?" Chakotay muttered.
"I wish I could tell you Commander," Kes replied.
James walked over holding a chicken leg in his hand, he pretended to offer it to the three. "Cup of coffee?"
"Ugh B'Elanna said the replicators would be completely fixed by now," Chakotay groaned. "Can you get a list of all the crewmembers who were fighting, the computer should be able to tell you easily enough as it was everybody in the Mess Hall."
"Like I haven't got enough to do as it is," James muttered, he reluctantly took a bite out of the chicken leg. He pulled a face, "ookay, it tastes a bit like coffee after all."
"Don't tell me you still haven't figured the message out yet," Chakotay said.
"Ok," James said, he walked away.
Chakotay shuddered when he was out of sight. "Neelix can you do the list, and send it to me?"
"I'm not Security," Neelix replied.
"Ugh never mind," Chakotay groaned, he walked toward the door James just left through.
The turbolift doors opened. Jessie slowly stepped through them, looking like she was on her way to her execution. She stopped before she got to the door with the words 'morgue' written in small writing on. Instead she stood against the wall, and remained there for a while watching people go past her.
The Sykians hung around anxiously in the main area of their quarters. James and Chakotay stood by the door.
"You reported a problem?" Chakotay questioned.
"One of our men is missing," Malek replied.
"He didn't come home to bed by eleven then, how sad," James muttered. Chakotay attempted to hide a smirk with his large hand.
Shanak grunted, but this amused Malek. "I hope other members of your crew are like him."
"He left an hour ago, but he was only supposed to go for a half hour," Shanak said. "He's harmless though."
"He might appear harmless, they always do," James said.
"Hmm yes," Shanak said, eyeing him distastefully.
James raised an eyebrow, "we should look for him, just in case. We only have an hour left."
Chakotay took a hold of his arm to lead him closer to the door, this made him cringe and pull his arm away. "You haven't found the source yet?" he snapped quietly.
"No I haven't, and don't act like I didn't tell you," James quietly hissed back at him. "I've got a scan going on while we speak, if that doesn't find it then we'll have a problem."
Chakotay turned back to the Sykians, "you say this guy's harmless but you contacted us anyway."
"He's been acting differently," Shanak said.
Malek nodded, "his behaviour's been erratic, he'll be himself for a while then turn back to, something else. I reported this as I believe he may hurt someone."
"I still don't think he could," Shanak quietly said to him.
"If you were worried about him, why did you even let him leave?" James asked.
"I didn't, somebody else was in charge at the time," Malek said, glaring briefly at Shanak.
"If he does become a threat, I have a good mind to push you through another wall," James muttered. He turned to leave.
Chakotay sighed, "I'd appreciate it if you tell me more about his behaviour."
"He's usually very gobby and well, sociable. During his mood shifts he would stir up fights between the others, scowl. He wouldn't speak for an hour and that's not like him," Malek responded. "He's not a violent man, the most he could do is provoke people into fighting."
"Mood shifts?" Chakotay muttered.
James turned back around, the door remained opened for him. "do you have a small computer in this room?"
"No they don't, why?" Chakotay replied.
"Replicator?" James said.
Chakotay nodded, "but it's been disabled, they've been eating what Neelix makes."
"No wonder the guy was so irritable," James muttered. He walked over to the replicator, then started to work at it. "I knew it, someone's tampered with it."
"How? They'd need codes to get access to anything," Chakotay questioned.
"I don't know, have you seen anyone use this?" James asked, glancing back at the aliens.
"No, Jhian looked at it but that's it," Shanak replied. "That's who's missing."
"Let's see what he's been replicating," James said as he worked at the panel beside the replicator. His face turned a shade paler, "oh god."
Chakotay grew concerned, "what?"
The Sykian that was scheming with Damien and Halei crawled down a Jeffries Tube. He got to the end, opened the door and climbed out into the top level of Engineering, pulling a large bag out with him.
On the lower level all the Engineers were hard at work, unaware of what was going to happen next.
Jhian activated a tiny device attached to his right arm. The bag on the floor beside him had been opened already. A good old fashioned shot gun rested in his other arm, he moved it around as he prepared to aim down at the people below him, keeping himself hidden behind the station, from there he only had view of people who were at the back of Engineering, working near the core. Fortunately for the gunman, there were three targets already.
B'Elanna walked over to Ian's side as he worked at the station in front of the core. "Why are the replicators still broken? I know we've got a threat of instant death in an hour or so, but I'm more worried about what Neelix is doing for lunch."
Ian smirked at her, "some of the bio neural gel packs are still malfunctioning. If you replicate your lunch on the bridge, off Deck Eight and below you'll be fine."
"Can you personally see to it that the ones doing those repairs speed up," B'Elanna ordered.
"Yes ma'am," Ian said. He was about to walk away when the glass floor above those three crewmembers smashed, throwing glass everywhere. One of those crewmembers fell to the ground. The other two tried to get away while shielding themselves from the glass, but two more loud bangs ended their escape.
"What the hell," B'Elanna growled. "Everyone, evacuate Engineering!" Nobody argued with her, well except Ian when she stayed where she was. He pulled her away as the gunman started walking across what was left of the glass floor. A few gun shots hit the station they were at.
Kathryn marched out of her Ready Room like she had been interrupted during her coffee break. "What now?"
"Commander Chakotay reported in saying that one of the Sykians has replicated a shotgun. Then we got reports of an attack in Engineering," Harry replied.
Tom turned his chair around with a worried expression on his face. "Captain, B'Elanna... can I?"
"No, you stay where you are. Get Security on it," Kathryn ordered. "Tom, you wouldn't happen to know how to protect yourself from a gun from the twentieth century."
"I do actually, don't get hit or bullet proof vest," Tom replied.
A couple of Security officers stepped out of the turbolift holding rifles, other non Security crewmembers ran in the opposite direction toward the turbolift. The only one who wasn't was Jessie, who was still standing nearby the morgue.
"What's going on?" she asked no one in particular.
The Security crewmembers didn't notice her as they had lots of crewmembers pushing passed them. They could all hear gunshots in the distance, people screaming.
"Oh crap," Jessie stuttered. She went to the turbolift, but like a couple of the escaping crewmembers she was forced to wait for the next one.
The Security people disappeared around the corner. All the others could do was listen to the phaser firing, gun shots and yelling. A few of the crewmembers were smart enough to run into the morgue to hide, other doors were too much of a risk to run toward.
The phaser firing stopped, everyone of course froze at that point. Jessie looked around for another exit, she then noticed a Jeffries Tube door, however it was half way down the corridor like the other more risky doors. She decided to take the chance and ran toward it.
Just then Jhian turned the corner aiming the gun, he went straight for Jessie. She opened the door in time, the bullet hit that instead. Without any hesitation she leapt inside the tube. The turbolift doors opened as well, but the gunmen had decided to start shooting at the people there. Only two out of six remaining got into it, the other four lay badly injured but not dead near the doors. The two in the lift were shot at, they hid at the side of the lift but one was hit in the leg in the attempt.
Jhian ran to get into the turbolift himself but he was way too late. His eyes focused on the Jeffries Tube door which slammed closed.
"The attacks have moved to Deck Ten, the Security teams were not able to stop him," Tuvok said.
Kathryn slammed her hand against the railing, "one man, two teams. Impossible."
"Not really, we never got trained to duck," Tom said.
"Now's not the time Tom," Kathryn growled.
"I'm not kidding," Tom pouted.
Jessie climbed up the ladder toward Deck Eight as fast as she could manage. However something made her freeze just for a second, the sound of somebody crawling through a tube below her, dragging a heavy object with them.
"Damn it, damn it," she whispered to herself, while picking up speed up the ladder. At Deck Eight, she climbed into another tube and went up that instead, quickly she tapped her commbadge. "Rex to Security."
Jhian meanwhile got to the ladder, and climbed up it a lot faster than her.
Luckily for her the exit to a corridor was only a metre away. The door opened, she climbed out as quickly as possible. The door closed again quietly.
Jhian stopped at Deck Eight, sniffing the air. He followed Jessie's path down the tube.
In the corridor itself about three teams of Security were standing, waiting for him to emerge, all pointing rifles in the door's direction.
"Oh yeah, this is my time to shine," Sid laughed quietly.
Foster stood next to him, sweating like crazy. "I really hope not."
The door swung open, the teams began firing at Jhian. A yellow shield appeared around him as he climbed out of the tube, getting ready to fire the shotgun back.
"Damn it, retreat!" Thompson yelled. Everybody backed around two different junction corners as Jhian began firing at them.
"I have an idea," Foster said as he made sure Sid stayed with him around the corner. He whispered in his ear. "Well?"
"Anything for the team buddy," he grinned.
"Just don't die," Foster whispered. He gestured the other Security guys with him to fire at the guy again. Using that as a cover, Sid snuck toward the gunman, looking disappointed that he hadn't been spotted yet or probably cos he wasn't allowed to walk through the phaser fire.
Jhian didn't notice Sid until he was right beside him, he swung around to prepare to fire. Sid spotted the device on his arm, he went to pick it off without noticing that he had been discovered. He grinned as he was shot in the chest, he fell backwards to the ground.
Foster cringed, "crap, but at least we know what it is." He and the rest of the teams on his side retreated. The other side were getting shot at still, some of them got away but the rest weren't as lucky.
Foster's teams ran up to where Jessie and a few crewmembers waited anxiously. "There's a device on his arm that acts as a shield, it gives him about half a metre to breathe. Though Sid did get pretty close, closer than that and the shield didn't work then."
"It's only programmed to repel electrical discharges," Jessie muttered. "We just need to get close to him, and if Sid couldn't do that..."
"He may love pain but a bullet does the same to him as it does to us," Foster stuttered. "I don't know if it'll help but we should seal the deck off."
"Oh crap," one Security guy stuttered as Jhian turned the corner.
"Damn, never stop to talk," Foster stuttered. The teams split up, some went into nearby rooms, a few were lucky enough to jump into the turbolift. Jessie was one of them this time.
The turbolifts stopped only at Deck Nine, the occupants didn't know or care as long as it wasn't the one they were on before.
Jessie and two of the escapees headed down the corridor. A Jeffries Tube door burst open, scaring the three witless. A man climbed out of it, they all heard a loud bang. The man fell the rest of the way out with a gun shot wound in his back.
"Crap, we only went up or down one deck," another crewmember stuttered.
"Nine," Jessie stuttered. "Please be here, please be here." She muttered, she ran down the corridor. The other two followed her.
Jhian pushed the dead crewman out of the way as he climbed out. He dumped the shot gun, then pulled out a small gun from his belt. Again he sniffed the air, and followed Jessie.
The three crewmembers reached a dead end, Jessie lead them into the empty Security Office. "No. Computer locate James Taylor."
In: "James Taylor is on Deck Nine."
Jessie looked hopeful for a minute but then noticed his commbadge lying on the desk. "Aagh, why do that? We'd better hide."
Jhian burst in, aiming his smaller gun. He aimed directly at her, she dove out of the way but landed hard on the ground. Instead she resorted to dragging herself across the floor to use the desk as cover. Jhian fired again, hitting her in the leg. She cried out, but still pulled herself out of his view.
He shrugged his shoulders before turning around to fire at the other two. The first one pushed the sofa forward, and used that as a shield. The other ran to join her but was shot down before he could get there.
Jessie pulled herself under the desk, sitting up slightly so she could put a hand across the leg wound. She stayed perfectly still and quiet as Jhian's footsteps got louder and closer. The desk suddenly was thrown away from her, it went flying across the room then smashed into pieces against the wall.
Jhian smiled while he aimed at her again. She tried to get up but her wounded leg didn't make it easy for her. His smile faded as the door opened, he swung around to get a hard punch in the face. The gun fell out of his hands as he landed on the ground.
"James, thank god," Jessie muttered.
James, who stood nearby glanced at her briefly. He then grabbed the gun before Jhian got a chance to recover. He straightened up, aiming it at him. The last surviving crewmember peeped over the sofa to see what was happening.
Jhian moved onto his knees to get up only to find the gun he did have pointed at his forehead. He laughed as he looked at it's new owner. "Now James, you know better. I'm a mortal, you won't hurt me."
"Yeah, I only kill demons," James muttered, backing away slightly but still pointing the gun at him. Jhian sighed in relief, but it was short lived. "Today I'll make the exception," he fired at him anyway several times in the chest. The first one probably killed him, but he continued shooting anyway.
Jessie finally managed to stand up, she put a hand on his arm. "James stop it!"
After about ten shots he stopped, the anger on his face fizzled away immediately while being replaced with a guilty one. He looked at Jessie hoping to see that she wasn't mad at him.
"You could have knocked him unconscious," she stuttered.
James looked back down at the body, "I know." He phased out for a second, then lost his footing. Jessie took a hold of both his arms to steady him, of course he cringed but the pain did bring him back out of his phasing out.
"You didn't get treated did you?" Jessie demanded.
"No," he replied. "We should both go now." They and the other crewmember left the Security Office, she tapped her commbadge. "Sickbay, another to transport from the Security Office."
The crewmember lying on the floor transported away.
The entire room was packed with injured crewmembers. Kes, Tom and The Doctor were rushed off their feet trying to treat them. More walked in, Jessie and James followed them.
"We really don't have enough room," the Doctor grumbled. "Mr Paris, set up a triage facility in the Mess Hall, take the less serious injured ones with you."
"It's nice that you don't trust me with critically injured people," Tom muttered. He clapped his hands, "you heard the Doc."
Jessie glanced up at James, "you stay here, knowing you you're probably critical." She limped after the crewmembers who were leaving. Tom followed after everyone who was leaving had gone.
"Computer, what is the time?" James asked.
The computer responded, "1130 hours."
"Damn," he muttered as he left as well.
After retrieving the computer from the remains of the desk, James put it on the sofa and activated it. He stared at the death threat while sitting next to the computer.
"Computer, re-analyze the message on the screen now. Did it come from a source outside Voyager?"
"Negative," the computer replied.
"Here we go again," James groaned, keying in something. "What about inside?"
He frowned, "that's different, you said negative after the last scan. So you're saying it did come from the ship." He typed in another command, "can you narrow down any more source locations?"
"Damn," James groaned. He continued to stare at the screen to see if there was anything small that he missed. He moved closer as he spotted something amongst the recent scan results. A part of it said 'received time 12:01', just below that it said 'sent time approximately 11:46'. "That wasn't there before. Computer, what's the time?"
The computer responded with, "11:40."
James tried to tap his commbadge then he remembered that he left it on table earlier, instead he jumped to his feet and ran out of the office.
The Engineering staff were back to work, most of which seemed a little shaken.
"Just get that warp core shield up, we only have fifteen minutes," B'Elanna ordered. Ian nodded at her, and turned back to the station he was at.
In: "Janeway to Engineering."
"Yes Captain, we're working on the shield. It should be operational in ten minutes," B'Elanna said.
In: "Good, I want other systems that could be used to destroy us protected."
"Well we would have had it done sooner if that crazed gunman hadn't have paid us a visit," B'Elanna grumbled. She looked around, "two of my people aren't back yet either."
In: "Do what you can. Let's hope the gunman was the attack and the message was to trick us into thinking it was happening at twelve."
"Amen to that," Ian commented.
Kathryn stood over Danny's shoulder as she worked at the helm. Chakotay sat in his chair doing the usual. Tuvok and Harry were in their usual places.
"Captain, I'd work better if you didn't breathe coffee down my shoulder," Danny muttered.
Kathryn groaned as she straightened up. "I just want to keep an eye out for anything suspicious."
"Uh huh, it's nice to know that you trust your crew," Danny muttered.
The turbolift opened, a crewmember stepped out. While keeping an eye on the Captain he shifted over to join another guy at the back station. The two talked quietly between them.
"Fine. I trust you," Kathryn groaned as she walked away. She stood around the centre of the bridge, waiting impatiently. "I'll be in my Ready Room." She rushed into her Ready Room.
In: "Sickbay to Bridge."
Chakotay sighed, "bridge here."
"I hope you've figured out the twenty four hour mystery as I've stabilised everyone," the Doctor said. Kes raised an eyebrow at him.
In: "Not yet Doctor, we've got just over fifteen minutes to go."
Kes shuddered slightly just as the doors opened, a crewmember limped in with a gunshot wound in the leg.
Meanwhile the turbolift down the corridor opened, James stepped off it. He rushed towards Engineering. Once inside he walked forward and looked around for anything else out of the ordinary besides the broken upper level.
The doors opened again behind him. He looked over his shoulder. One of the surviving victims of the shooting had walked in, he moved to the side wall stations and stayed at the one closer to the warp core. The uniform jacket he was wearing seemed a size or two bigger than it needed to be, and looked lumpy in places.
James moved backward, then went to stand next to Ian who he used partially as someone to hide behind. He looked at him oddly.
"This isn't the time to hang out you know," he commented.
"Shhh, just continue being tall and fat," James whispered.
Ian looked offended, "hey, it's not fat. I'm big boned."
"Yeah whatever," James muttered. "What's the time?"
"Eleven forty four, why?" Ian asked quietly.
James took out the gun from earlier from his jacket, "just stand in my way so that guy with the bulgy jacket doesn't see me and this. Walk with me as well, pretend to be working on a padd."
Ian looked over his own shoulder to watch the crewmember just stare at his console. He let the crewmember next to him take over with the shield, then moved backwards slightly so if that crewmember turned around he'd only see Ian.
minute or so earlier:
Everyone on the bridge, but the two crewmembers at the back and Tuvok sat or stood anxiously waiting for something to happen, or not at all. One of the crewmembers slipped his hand under his uniform jacket.
At the exact same time in Sickbay, the crewmember who walked in and was talking to the Doctor did the same thing.
"Yes the Mess Hall, minor injuries only," he was saying. He then noticed his hand, "what are you doing?"
Meanwhile on Deck Two, Jessie limped out of the Mess Hall even though her wound had been healed. She muttered to herself as another girl followed her out a second later. "Next time I'll get Kes to treat me," she said, stopping to put a hand on where the wound was earlier.
The girl passed by her smirking, "tell me about it, my arm actually feels worse than it did before."
Then it happened.
The two girls slowly turned around, both frowning as they felt the ground shaking. They were blown from their feet as the doors, and part of the wall were blown apart by a small but powerful explosion.
On the bridge Harry's station beeped madly in several places, "Commander, there's been a..." Just then the back stations exploded, throwing most of those crewmembers flying into the air, and over the command chairs.
Harry and Tuvok both were pushed into the sides of their stations by the force of the explosions shockwave. Chakotay had been thrown to the floor.
Danny was forced to duck as one of the airborne crewmembers flew toward the viewscreen. It smashed as she made impact with it, she fell to the ground with glass covering her. Danny moved her chair in the way to avoid it, but got numerous cuts from it anyway.
In Sickbay the Doctor panicked, he tried to grab the crewmember to stop him. Kes tried to help some patients that were more able up to their feet. "Go, if you can get out the other way." A few of the injured helped each other get through the office to the other door.
The Doctor then was pushed clear away into Kes. As the crewmember put his hand into his jacket, the Doctor pushed Kes on the floor behind the station, then rushed to help his patients.
Another guy charged at the crewmember, they stumbled through the doors. As they closed the explosion blasted a small hole through the wall and doors. They were thrown clear into Sickbay along with pieces of debris from the wall. Everyone tried to duck out of their way.
As James began to go slowly toward the crewmember, Ian walked alongside him working on the padd. He raised the gun to aim at the suspicious character, then the ship rocked from the three explosions.
The man smirked before turning around quickly, his smirk soon faded when he saw James. He and Ian, like the rest of the Engineering staff had lost their footing when it happened. The man growled, "you." Then he lunged for James and technically Ian as well. James quickly kicked him away so he could repoint the gun, Ian meanwhile backed off slightly.
"Get everyone out," James quietly told him.
By this time everyone had stopped what they were doing to watch what was happening. B'Elanna marched in the centre, next to Ian when he backed further away. "What the hell is going on, James?"
"He was going to destroy us, I know it," James replied.
The man laughed a little, "how naive you are."
"Lieutenant!" one crewmember called over in panic. B'Elanna turned to her. "There's been three explosions onboard ship, all at the same time; 11:46 hours."
"Is that what you were going to do?" James asked.
The man just stared coldly at him, "you wouldn't be here if I was."
"Ian, what did I say!" James yelled back at Ian.
He cringed slightly, "oh yeah, everyone. Let's go!" He headed toward the door. Everyone but James, B'Elanna and the suspected bomber ran toward the main doors.
"Give me the bomb, now!" James yelled at the suspect.
"Uh no, why don't you just shoot me to get it," he sneered. "You can't risk it, you can't risk shooting me. So." He walked closer, "will you be sticking around long enough to see what is really going to happen?"
B'Elanna growled as she stepped closer to the two. "Why are you doing this, if that bomb is on you then what's the point?"
"I don't think that's a problem," the man replied. "Isn't that right James?"
"If you detonate the bomb near the warp core it'll kill us all," James muttered. B'Elanna then headed toward the door, she edged closer to the wall station.
"Hmm gee," the man said, with a fake concerned look on his face. "Never thought of that, not my problem though."
"You've got to be kidding," James groaned. "You used that rift to destroy us as you can't do it conventionally, this'll destroy you too."
"I hardly call this conventional. Though I am glad you've figured it out," the man said.
"Computer, eject the warp core, authorisation Torres Omega five nine three," B'Elanna whispered to the station she worked at. "Now."
The man swung himself around as the warp core disappeared out of sight, James took the opportunity to go forward to attack him. Despite just being a human his size, the bomber was strong enough to fight back. He pushed him away as B'Elanna rushed back over to help.
"No, you should get out of here," James said.
B'Elanna grunted, "I'm not a helpless little thing."
During this exchange the bomber placed his hand in the uniform jacket. "I didn't say you were, go," James said.
"You owe me one," B'Elanna muttered, she ran to the door. The bomber chose that time to lunge at James again. The pair fought for only a minute as James grabbed the guy by the throat. He chuckled, well at least tried to.
"Too late," he croaked.
James widened his eyes, he pushed the man away from him then turned to get away.
Outside Engineering, B'Elanna stood around impatiently. "I should have took care of it," she muttered. Then she heard the bomb go off, and felt the slight shockwave shake the ground. "See."
The doors opened crookedly, the Engineering side of them were black from the flash fire that came from the initial explosion. There were a few fires everywhere, stations were a charred mess, ones that were still online sent sparks flying every second or so. The entire area was filled with a black smoke.
B'Elanna carefully walked in with her hand across her mouth. Ian appeared behind her, they both looked around for any sign of life. B'Elanna then almost tripped over something on the floor. "Here." She knelt down.
Ian joined her, and knelt down. James lay on his side not far from the door, a lot of his skin looked badly burnt. He opened his eyes, coughed as he breathed in too much when he awoke. B'Elanna and Ian pulled him to his feet and lead him out of Engineering.
"Computer, initiate fire extinguishing systems in Engineering," B'Elanna ordered. The computer responded with the two beeps. She turned to James, "why didn't you warn us, you obviously knew when you got here."
"I didn't know for certain," James muttered, trying to clear his throat with a few coughs. "The last scan showed the real deadline, I came here as it was the best place to kill the entire crew."
Ian coughed a few times everytime he opened his mouth to speak. Eventually he got a word out, "if he was planning on bombing the core, why attack other areas of the ship."
"Back up maybe," James replied. "Where were the explosions?"
The crewmember who reported the explosions looked worried. "Bridge, Sickbay and the Mess Hall I think."
"We should..." Ian uncomfortably said. James interrupted him just by walking away.
"Just in case I should go to the bridge," B'Elanna muttered, she walked faster than usual to follow him.
Ian sighed, his eyes quickly widened then he ran after them. "Wait, I'm going too. Danny's on the bridge."
Lots of injured crewmembers sat or lay on the left side of the room, if you look at it from the kitchen. Five of the demons from the alternate Voyager were spread around, two each were putting debris into piles in front of the only main door left, and the gaping hole on the right side of the room. The last one stood in the middle, pointing a rifle at the injured. A few Voyager crewmembers emerged from the kitchen.
"The back's sealed as well, no one can get in," one said.
"Well except for you know who," the lazy demon with the rifle muttered. Each of the pairs of demons finished their creations, and rejoined the others. "I can't believe how easy this was."
"How many more do you think is left?" one of the humans questioned.
One of the demons grabbed him by the throat, "one less when I tear off your head."
"It doesn't work like that," the human grunted after pushing his hand off.
Another of the demons walked towards the injured. He eyed Tom with interest as he attended to the burn victims. Then his eyes rested on Jessie, she lay on the ground unconscious with a large bruise on one of her arms.
"Leave her alone," Tom boldly snapped. "Don't you think you've done enough already."
The demon bared his teeth at him, hissing. He stood over Jessie, then crouched down to look directly at her face. She then chose that moment to wake up. "Eeew," she screeched while throwing the demon a punch in the face. He then received her trademark kick in the groin. As he stayed perfectly still in obviously a lot of pain, Jessie pulled herself backwards. She cringed when she noticed her arm.
"Are you ok?" Tom asked, moving over to her. He hovered the regenerator over her arm.
"No, what on earth happened?" she replied.
"I don't know, something exploded. I don't know what," Tom replied. "When everyone came to, we found the demons guarding us."
"This is making less sense," Jessie said.
Two other demons dragged the one she kicked over to the others. One of them sniffed the air, he walked toward the group. "I smell the Slayer."
"You fool, he's not here," the lazy one snapped. The other two and one of the humans picked up rifles from the kitchen.
"Don't you?" the demon asked. "He must have been around one of these people." After sniffing the air around the injured, his eyes set on Jessie. "Her."
"What? I'm no Slayer. Whatever that is," she said.
"Yeah what is that? Is it some kind of food, as you were sniffing around," Tom said, laughing nervously. Jessie rolled her eyes.
"Are you sure it was a 'Slayer' you smelled, it was probably Neelix's quorn crap," another crewmember said.
"It's not crap," Neelix pouted.
Two demons joined the other one. "You're right. She's been around him."
"Oh a he, I probably walked by him," Jessie said.
"No, you stink of him," demon two hissed.
"Ooh I wonder why," Tom sniggered. Jessie gave him the elbow, he squeaked in response.
"It's her, what luck," demon one said. "What do we do?"
"Wait for him to come for her," the lazy demon, who now appeared to be the leader, replied smiling deviously. "But first, get her."
"Oh no no, no getting," Jessie muttered. The three demons marched forward to grab a hold of her and pull her up to her feet.
The Bridge was in the worst state out of all the attack areas. The fires had been put out but damage was everywhere. The back stations were charred, glass lay everywhere especially around the viewscreen which had been smashed to bits. The command chairs had been half uprooted at the back. The turbolift door near Tuvok kept opening and closing on it's own. Two crewmembers lay either dead or unconscious, one by the viewscreen and the other in the middle of the command centre.
Two more of the demons were guarding everyone, one in front of the Ready Room and the other paced to keep an eye on everyone. Everyone conscious had been forced to stand in the centre. Kathryn's voice yelled through her door.
"I swear to god when I get out of here I'm going to tear you apart! You don't just plant suicide bombers on my ship!"
Chakotay sighed as he looked around at his remaining people. He eyed Danny the longest who had a few nasty looking cuts on her face and arms. "Don't worry, we'll get out of this." He turned to look towards the pacing demon. "Hey, I want to talk about this."
The demon stopped, "there's nothing to talk about mortal."
"I think there is. From what we've heard you want to get into our reality, there has to be easier ways," Chakotay said.
"How could you understand what's happening here," the demon scoffed. "You just had that freak as a guide to our kind."
"The only freaks around here are you sons of bitches," Danny grumbled.
"Silence!" the demon hissed.
"What do you plan to do now? Whatever you planned, it didn't work did it?" Chakotay said.
"Can I kill their Captain yet?" the other demon moaned.
"No, we need her command codes," the first demon snapped.
"The message said we would all die at twelve, we're still here," Chakotay said.
"You thought it would be instant? Humans are so naive," the first demon laughed.
Chakotay smiled smugly, "something went wrong didn't it?" The first demon growled at him. "Tell me, how did you influence those two innocent men into becoming suicide bombers? They obviously weren't the only ones."
"You talk too much," the first demon said.
The second demon sighed in relief as Kathryn had stayed quiet for a while. "How do you plan on bringing more of our troops here?"
"How do I plan? I don't you moron," the first demon growled. "We must wait first, we won't succeed when the Slayer's still around."
The Doctor moved toward Kes at the station, she leaned on it. "Is that what you sensed in Simpson and Rannak?"
Kes nodded, "I was wrong. Demons mustn't have souls, so what did I sense?"
"If they can do something like this then you're right," the Doctor muttered.
This time there was only one demon and a human around. The demon guarded the door and the human stood by the office, watching them intently. Kes looked toward the one by the office, "that one might give us information. Something is different about him."
"This is ridiculous," the Doctor groaned, he marched toward the demon by the door. "Why on earth would you target Sickbay? The people here were already wounded, and it serves no purpose whatsoever. What do you want from us?"
Kes used his outburst as a cover while she went over to the second guard. "Don't," he said, looking away.
"Why did you do this? You only appeared after the explosions," Kes asked quietly.
The human looked at her, "it was the only way."
"I don't understand, what was?" Kes questioned.
The human sighed, glancing toward the other demon who stood arguing with the Doctor. "I guess there's no harm now, it's done. We use the humans as conduits, then 'swap' places with them. It's not a swap really, we get their place and their bodies are destroyed."
"Why, there are more demons than people on board?" Kes questioned.
"It's a stupid idea," the human grumbled. He noticed the demon had stopped arguing, so he backed away to continue guarding.
The turbolift doors opened, James stepped out leaving B'Elanna and Ian still inside. "Good luck," Ian said as the doors closed again.
James headed down the corridor towards the Mess Hall.
Not long later Kathryn passed through the same corridor, muttering angrily to herself. "I'll teach them to do this to my ship."
James reached the doors to the Mess Hall, but he could easily see the pile of debris on the other side.
Inside the demons who had a hold of Jessie kept teasing her, while blocking a certain area on them. The other demons and human bad guys looked bored to tears.
One demon poked his sharp claw into Jessie's side, she managed to grab him by the throat. "Do that again, and I'll snap it off and jam it into your throat."
"Oooh, she's really the freak's type, feisty," another demon who held her purred.
Almost everyone jumped when the pile of debris blocking the door started to wobble, allowing parts of it to fall to the ground. The leader pulled out a knife, then put it in front of Jessie's neck. "You're with me." He pulled her away from the others.
The rest of the pile fell to the ground, a few pieces were chucked to the side. James stepped over the remaining stuff in his way.
"Ah ah, that's far enough," the leader hissed.
"You'd better let her go," James muttered.
"Hmm, give me a reason to," the leader said.
Tom moved closer to Neelix to whisper to him, "I have a bad feeling about this."
"Easy, I'm going to kill you. Next question," James said.
"You can't do that while I'm holding your precious little girlfriend," the leader teased.
"What hey," Jessie grumbled.
"Yeah I knew it," Tom sniggered.
"You know better than that. If you hurt her you'll have a serious problem on your hands," James said.
The leader smirked at his minions, "what, you'll turn evil? Oh all these innocent people around, you don't want to risk doing that here."
"Let her go and I may take it easy on you," James muttered.
"I don't think you're in a position to make demands. I'll tell you what though, I'll let you decide," the leader said. "I'll let these lot go. Not her though, I'll slit her throat. Then deal with you myself. Or I'll let her live, but you've got to leave."
"Leave?" James questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"Leave the ship," the leader replied. His minions smiled or smirked. "If you come back, I'll kill her."
"She wouldn't be with you then, it wouldn't be so easy," James said.
"Hmm you're right," the leader said, clicking his spare finger. One of the humans walked over, he pulled out a hypospray.
"Oh crap, what's that? No no," Jessie stuttered as he pushed it into her neck. The leader kept the knife at her neck to stop her and James trying anything.
The human handed the leader a small device, which he put into his jacket while still keeping Jessie with him. "Now she's one of our bombers."
Tom and a few of the others widened their eyes, unsure who was going to end up killing them, the demons or James himself. He clenched his fists so tightly, they were turning whiter than a sheet.
"If you come back, and I'll know about it as this thing has a sensor, she goes boom," the leader laughed. "It won't be pretty, body parts flying, blood... eugh, not a nice way to go."
"I am so going to hurt you," James grumbled.
"Yeah yeah," the leader said. "Now when you leave, we'll seal the door again. We'll use these lot as conduits for our soldiers, any incompatible ones we'll just beat them till they are."
"I don't understand," Tom mumbled.
"Only the weak," another demon butted in.
The leader growled at him, "shut up!" He turned back to James. "Every single one of these people will die as I described. We can't pass through until the conduits are destroyed. Count 'em."
Another demon looked at the injured. "Ooh there must be something like thirty people here. I remember this one in maths, was it thirty over one or one over thirty? I can't remember."
"Not just thirty," the leader smirked. "Once they've allowed thirty of us through, we'll roam the ship. It wouldn't stop at one hundred and something, not when we have a ship that actually can contact other races. Which will it be Slayer? The people you care nothing about, or the girl you care so much about. Hmm toughy."
"We're doomed," Tom whispered, everyone nodded in agreement.
A demon snuck out of a turbolift, he spotted a few crewmembers so he began chasing them. As they were weaponless they ran for their lives. They turned the corner, he followed. Moments later he ran back around it, now he was fearing for his life.
Kathryn appeared around the corner holding a rifle. "Do you feel lucky, punk!" She fired the rifle at him, he vaporised. "Damn it, I should have picked a better line." She walked off looking for more targets while lowering the setting, just in case.
"Look maybe we can discuss this," Chakotay said.
"Enough, you're driving me nuts," the first demon grumbled.
Danny giggled rudely, "ooh, Chakotay's driving you nuts is he?"
The first demon stamped his foot, "ugh, why does she keep speaking like that?"
"Never mind her. You won't be victorious if you just stand around, waiting," Chakotay said.
"Don't be stupid, I can already taste victory," the first demon said.
Danny laughed, "oh you're tasting already?"
The demon glared at her, he started to march over to her. Chakotay hit him across the back of the head with fallen debris. He took the rifle from him, and shot the other demon. He shot the one he hit, just in case.
"Now, Harry we need a status report," Chakotay said.
Harry smiled as he got to his feet, "yes sir." He headed back over to opps.
"Have you decided yet?" the leader asked.
"If she dies, so do you," James replied.
The leader laughed, "am I worth her life though?"
"You didn't let me finish," James muttered. "That won't be enough for me in that state, I'll blame them and you know the rest."
"James don't," Jessie stuttered, struggling in the leader's grip.
"Let her go," James said.
"You choose the girl, classic," the leader laughed. He pushed Jessie away from him. "You've got five minutes, try anything and everyone dies."
James moved to guide Jessie out of the Mess Hall, she angrily pushed his hand away from her. As soon as they left the demons quickly resealed the doors.
"Now, let's see what we have here," the leader smirked. He handed the remote to one of the humans, "you keep an eye on her signal."
"I can't believe you did that," Jessie muttered as she and James walked down the corridor.
"And you claim to know me so well," he said. They stepped into a turbolift. "Shuttle Bay."
Jessie stared at him bewilderedly, "you can't be serious, we can't leave."
"We have to," James said.
"We don't know for certain that there was a bomb planted in me at all," Jessie said.
"There's no reason why they wouldn't," James said.
Jessie rolled her eyes, "this is ridiculous, it's not like you to give into demands."
"Of course it is. You had a knife to your throat, I didn't want to take the chance. You can't treat a cut to the throat, believe me I know," James mumbled.
Jessie fidgeted uncomfortably. "I don't like the idea of leaving. You never think about me in these decisions."
It was James' turn to stare bewilderedly. "I do nothing but think about you."
"Yeah safety wise, you never consider how I'd feel," Jessie snapped. "You decide that I'm better off without you, you kill yourself. There's a rift about to kill us, you jump into it. Now this."
"Jessie, I..." James mumbled.
Jessie folded her arms, "I don't want to live my life knowing that it cost those people theirs, and maybe the entire crew's. I don't want that on my conscience, you may think it's acceptable but I don't."
"Jessie, please trust me, I know what I'm doing," James said. "You said you trust me with anything, so just trust me now."
Jessie sighed, "I wish you wouldn't use that on me."
"You use the 'do it for me' thing on me, it's only fair," James said.
Kathryn had met up with B'Elanna and Ian, all of them stood in the Ready Room with a rifle each. "Ok now I'll distract the guard by talking to him. You two fire at the door."
"What's the point of the distraction?" B'Elanna frowned.
"No point, I just want to annoy him," Kathryn replied.
"Explosions occurred in Engineering, Mess Hall and Sickbay," Harry read from his station. Tuvok stood beside him.
"It appears that several members of our crew are on the demons side," Tuvok said.
"I wonder how we're going to get out of this one," Chakotay muttered.
Everyone heard a phaser blast, the Ready Room doors opened involuntarily. Kathryn, B'Elanna and Ian charged in. Five seconds later they blushed in embarrassment. "So this location's sorted then," Kathryn stuttered.
Danny ran over to hug Ian, "thank god you're ok."
"I was going to say the same thing," he sighed in relief. Everyone groaned as the pair began kissing like nobody was around.
"Where next then?" Kathryn asked.
"There's a lot more activity in the Mess Hall, something's going on," Harry replied.
"All right. I'm going, if anybody wants to come with me just follow," Kathryn said. She headed back to the Ready Room, Chakotay nodded at Tuvok as he followed her. B'Elanna did the same.
"Commander, a shuttle's left," Harry said.
Tuvok glanced at him with a raised eyebrow, "why wasn't it detected before?"
"I don't know. The sensors look like they were disrupted by fake telemetry," Harry replied. "It's Jessie and James, weird."
Danny and Ian pulled away from each other so they could look in their direction. "Maybe they're eloping," Danny commented. Everyone stared blankly at her. "What, she'd do anything to get out of wearing a wedding dress."
"Not getting married's a good start," Harry muttered. "I can't get a lock on them, he's hacking against me. They've jumped to warp." The station beeped, "there's a message, text only."
"Maybe they're the invites," Danny said, looking hopeful.
"It tells us not to follow them to bring them back," Harry frowned. "If we do, Jessie will die, odd."
"Die with embarrassment maybe, she's probably wearing the dress after all," Danny said.
"Ugh enough with the eloping theory," Harry groaned.
Tuvok raised both eyebrows, "indeed."
on the shuttle:
Jessie sat at the controls while James stood near the back, he fiddled with a phaser rifle.
"Do you ever get the feeling that Danny's making dirty or couple suggestive comments about you, when you're not even around?" Jessie asked.
James looked up to think about it, "no, she usually says it to my face."
"Hmm, I do and I have it now," Jessie sighed.
James walked back to the front of the shuttle, then sat back down. "I just want you to know I hate this plan."
"It's yours," Jessie reminded him.
"Exactly," James said.
"Which part do you not like the most?" Jessie asked.
"Normally I'd say you being at the helm, but if this messes up that bomb will go off," James replied.
"Comforting," Jessie muttered uneasily.
"It shouldn't though," James said, standing back up. "It's autopilot by the way."
Jessie's mouth dropped open in shock, "oh, you insist on me trusting you but you don't trust me."
"You've never flown before, ever," James mumbled. "If you flew today, it might get you killed."
"Yeah but at least I'd die with style," Jessie said.
James pulled a face, "having a bomb in you isn't stylish, it's quite the opposite."
"Fine. I just sit here, fine," Jessie pouted, folding her arms in a huff.
James leaned over to kiss her on the forehead, then straightened back up. "Ok then, set autopilot."
Jessie's face lit up, "oh, so I do get to do something." She keyed in a few commands. "Here we go."
The human by the office watched the demon as he began to pace slightly. He edged closer to him, raising his rifle a little. Kes watched, unsure of what he was up to. Before the demon turned around again, the human swung the rifle across his head. This knocked him unconscious.
"Finally," he said. "We haven't got much time until he wakes up again."
Kes and the Doctor stepped a little closer. "What did..."
"I'm here to help you, so listen up. I know how they use your race as conduits, and how to force them out," the human said.
"Who are you?" Kes asked.
"My name's Rhyian, now can we?" the man nervously said.
Kes glanced up at the Doctor, then back at him. "You mean the Rhyian who helped James get back here?"
"I didn't do that much," Rhyian said. "Now, let's get to work. It'll have to be put through your environmental systems, luckily they'll be working overboard to be rid of the smoke and those areas will need it the most."
The Mess Hall was again a warzone. The more able hostages were staying in groups, and fighting back against the demons and conduit humans. Not one person noticed one of the piles of debris coming down again.
Tom meanwhile charged at one of the humans, knocking him to the ground unconscious. He jumped up looking dazed himself. "Ha, I'm good." The demon nearby knocked him to the ground by accident while struggling with three humans.
James walked in, not sure what exactly he was seeing. "Huh, this is good I suppose." He raised the rifle, aiming at the nearest demon. He vaporised.
The leader noticed him, he pulled the remote out. "You've just made a big mistake." He pressed the button.
James pointed the rifle at him next. "Boom," he mockingly said as he fired. The leader suffered the same fate as the other demon. One of the remaining conduit humans ran at him, yelling like a mad man. He threw that one across his shoulder when he got to him.
Tom jumped to his feet once the bad guys had either been killed or knocked out. "All right, who did that. I'll kick some butt."
"Good one," James said, fake laughing as he walked away. Everyone stared after him.
Captains Log Supplemental: The damage to Voyager has been extreme, I have been told it'll take seven and a half weeks to fully repair everything that was damaged. The worst thing about this was that, added to the casualties from the last two rifts I now have to do a memorial service for fifteen members of my crew, and two infants. Everyone's still a little shaken with the turn of events, and there's still a lot left unexplained.
Most of the entire senior staff sat at the tables, most of them talking at once. Kathryn poured herself a coffee, while rubbing her forehead.
Chakotay stood up, clapping his hands to get everyone's attention. "Everyone calm down. One at a time, please." Everyone calmed down. "We'll go around the table clockwise, I will start. I know the last few weeks have been strange and difficult, but we're alive..."
"Tell that to those fifteen crewmembers," B'Elanna muttered.
"We've crippled the demons, they shouldn't try anything again for a long time," Chakotay said. "We can't let them get to us like this. Now moving on, Captain?"
Kathryn looked at him with narrowed eyes, "I want to know how these people got explosives."
"A few replicators were hacked into, we didn't get an alert because there was a virus in the systems," Tuvok replied.
"It wouldn't surprise me if that warning message contained it," Harry added on.
Chakotay glanced at Tom next. "I say we pulled together as a team this time, that's the only good thing," he said.
"When did we do team work?" B'Elanna frowned.
"Us in the Mess Hall, we wouldn't have survived if we didn't do that," Tom replied.
"You wouldn't have had to if someone hadn't decided to save Jessie instead of you lot," Chakotay said, looking in James' direction. He was in a daze again, resting his chin in one hand. He still hadn't been treated yet either.
"He had a plan all along, he came back didn't he?" Jessie snapped.
"Oh don't give me that, he probably was forced to make one up later," Chakotay said.
"If the virus in the message, and the wrong time had been discovered sooner we might have been able to prevent some of this," the Doctor said.
Jessie rolled her eyes, "oh now it's your turn to jump on the bandwagon. There's no way this could have been prevented."
"What about Chrissy, surely somebody should have mentioned her as soon as she was found," Harry questioned.
"Oh Harry, you're digging yourself into a big pile of crap there," Danny muttered.
"I'm just saying," Harry muttered. Nearly everyone began speaking, or yelling at the same time. The only ones quiet were Kathryn, Tuvok and James.
After a few minutes of this, Kathryn stood up looking like she was going to kill somebody. "That's enough!" she screamed. Everyone stopped again. "When that girl was found in the Jeffries Tube, or when I discovered the message, nobody expected that events would turn out like they did. How could anyone? Everyone concerned did everything they could possibly do."
"What about James then?" Harry muttered. "Oh I'll choose an irritable little bitch over a group of thirty injured people."
"What did you call me!" Jessie snapped. "You would have done the same if it was someone you care about, except you wouldn't have returned so you better watch your mouth!"
"Maybe he should have checked to see if there was a possibility of this attack happening before waltzing back home," B'Elanna commented.
Kathryn shook her head, "somebody's going to get choked in a minute."
The overlapping yelling and loud talking started to build up again, a thud interrupted them. Everyone looked to find the source, which was James lying on the ground unconscious. Jessie rushed out of her chair to kneel by his side. The Doctor soon joined her holding a tricorder.
"He needs a lot of medical attention and I mean a lot," the Doctor said, managing to look shocked at the tricorder readings.
Kathryn shook her head in disgust, "everyone's dismissed." The others watched her march out of the Conference.
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