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A rescue mission becomes a fight for survival, while a risky escape plan gets underway. Voyager itself attempts to avoid its fate.
January, March, April 2013
Craig walked around the side of the Flyer, squinting as the bright alien torch reflected off the hull and briefly into his eyes. He reached the other side of the vessel, joining Nathan and Shar standing in front of the shuttle's tip. The main window now had a neat circle shaped chunk taken out of it, big enough for somebody to fit through.
"Why?" Craig could only say.
Nathan shook his head, "they're not in the camp, or in the alien ship. If our friends took 'em..."
"No, these guys were competent. That doesn't sound like them," Shar said. She pointed at the window, "they managed to do that without even making a peep."
"These guys have infiltrated a few towers before," Nathan pointed out.
Craig shook his head, "she's right. Somebody else did this." Nathan stared at him quizzically. "They didn't want us in the Flyer at all. It's not like they killed them and took the shuttle, it's still here. Whoever did it, wanted them."
"I think we're back to why," Shar muttered.
"I don't think you want to know," the female alien said as she joined the group. "I was afraid of this."
"Not afraid enough to warn us," Craig grumbled.
The alien stared with narrowed eyes. "It's not like them to take aliens. They usually take people straying from villages looking for food. Kidnapping visiting aliens, that's a risky move for them."
Craig was beginning to lose patience, "who's they?"
"Our enemies of course," the woman replied.
Nathan laughed like he didn't believe any of it. "Are you saying your government have a habit of kidnapping its own people? The way you were going on, you'd think they'd be voted out by now."
"As if the people in villages or small towns would be allowed to vote," the woman snarled. "Nobody in the big cities would even know this was happening."
"We're still on why," Shar commented.
The woman sighed, "when I said you didn't want to know, I meant we don't even know ourselves. We only have theories. People just vanish."
"I think we have a good idea." Everyone turned to look and point their flashlights at the source of the comment. They could just see James and the injured man walking up to them.
"Ohno," the woman stuttered. "Are you all that's left, what happened?"
"Never mind that, he needs medical attention," James muttered. The woman nodded, she rushed over to another group.
"I know these guys are so vaguely annoying, but you already know beating them up doesn't help," Craig commented.
James allowed himself to smirk briefly, "it never does."
The group rushed over to tend to their comrade, they took him away to the ship.
"Dare I ask though?" Craig said.
Nathan shrugged, "saying that is asking."
"What happened here?" James questioned.
Craig looked back at Nathan and Shar, then pointed at the window. "Jach and Janet stayed behind to guard the shuttle. That didn't work out too well."
"That's not true, the shuttle's still there," Nathan pointed out. Craig clenched both his fists and his jaw.
James sighed, "I wish that was the worst thing happening right now."
"Did they even get a chance to do what they wanted to the tower before... you know," Shar asked.
"No, their bomb was still in its case," James replied.
"What about the something?" Craig questioned.
"Oh it was something alright," James commented. He looked back at the Flyer with a worried expression on his face. "We need her fixed, top priority."
"It wasn't before?" Nathan teased.
"He means it's more important than Janet and Jach," Craig said with a roll of his eyes.
Shar's eyes flashed with fury, she marched forward. "You're not serious are you? I know you're not a real human when you pull crap like this!"
James swung his own head in her direction, he stepped forward to close the gap between them. Nathan quickly put an arm in the way. "Ok you two, enough with the testosterone display, we've got more important things to worry about. Yes?"
Shar turned and slapped him hard in the face. "Are you accusing me of being a slimy man!?"
"Um, ow," Nathan complained, he rubbed his sore cheek. "And yeah, you can be very mannish."
"Jerk," Shar grumbled, she stomped on his foot and stormed off.
Craig tried his best not to look amused, he cleared his throat. "Ok, so we fix the shuttle and then what? We don't know where those two will be."
"No worries, I already have an idea where they'll be," James said.
"Mind lending me that crystal ball when you're done hogging it?" Nathan commented with a smile.
James passed him a raised eyebrow, though he missed it in the dark. "They'll likely be in the central tower."
"Likely?" Craig muttered.
"Do you want me to waste time explaining, or do you want to rescue them before there's nothing to?" James snapped at him.
Craig seemed a bit taken aback for a second. "You think they took them to kill them?"
"No," James replied.
Nathan frowned, "so nothing to refers to... what?"
James looked down then back at them, "to the things that attacked us."
Nathan and Craig stared at each other, then back at him.
"Whatever they were, they were strong," James continued.
"Great, demons?" Craig groaned. James shook his head. "What, ok... vampires? Robots?"
"They looked just like our alien friends," James replied. Craig was about to say vampires again, but he quickly interrupted him. "They were alive."
"Dude," Nathan said to himself. He then pulled a face as the others stared at him. "I've been around Kevin too much." He shook his head, "your theory is they were lab rats?"
"Oh come on!" Craig groaned. "How did you make that leap? James is just as vague as those idiot alien terrorists, how can you..."
"Not demonic but strong, plus evil government kidnapping people. I was always good at maths," Nathan smiled.
Craig threw his hands up in the air, scoffing as he walked away. They heard him mutter, "they could have been witches."
Nathan bit his bottom lip and raised both of his eyebrows. "He's a bit touchier tonight."
"Good. I'll need a team to go get them back," James said.
"Ho boy, this should be good," Nathan laughed.
Craig walked back over to them, passing a glare at the older man. "What about the Flyer?"
"Anyone who stays behind, fixes it. If those aliens are still here, they help or guard," James replied. "It isn't the hardest of plans, is it?"
"Fine, I'll come with you," Craig said. He cringed as Nathan raised his hand. "No, one sarcastic asshole is bad enough."
Nathan opened his mouth and placed a hand to his chest. "I'm not sarcastic, you wound me."
"No, you're just flamboyant now," Craig groaned.
"We're definitely using our big words tonight," Nathan commented. "I'd normally say leave him behind to cool his jets, but he may get it out of his system."
"Guys, save it for the stronger than you aliens," James butted in. "We'll leave once you're ready, make sure you bring more than just a phaser."
"Are you sure?" Tom asked nervously.
"Positive. They do look like portals, but nothing's coming out. Yet."
"Those beams are what's generating them," B'Elanna read from the ex Engineering station. "They share the same signatures, and they're pointed in the right places."
"All we need to do is get out of them then," Tom mused to himself.
"You said that these things are similar to Death Corridor," Jodie reminded everyone. "It was Jess that helped us out in there."
Tom briefly looked back at her. "Let's not start panicking until we're being invaded. She used a spell that time, you don't use a console for that." A light switched on his head. "B'Elanna, let's try constantly re-modulating the shields. It may throw them off."
B'Elanna nodded as she worked quickly at the console.
"We can't keep doing that with these guys surrounding us," Jodie warned.
Tom smiled confidently, "leave that to the pilot." He hovered his right hand over the control stick, grasping the small lever with his left.
"It's working," B'Elanna sighed in relief. "The energy signatures are fading. Maybe it's time for a more permanent option."
"Can't we fire at some of them, clear a path," Jodie suggested.
"I'm glad we're all on the same page," Tom remarked, breaking into a grin.
"If we fire at any of the close by ones, the blast may weaken our shields." B'Elanna turned briefly to the back part of the station, then back again. "The beams are loosening their grip."
"Things may get a bit bumpy," Tom commented. Everyone on the bridge looked at somebody else with worry. Tom's hand pushed the lever forward.
Outside, the alien ships closely changed their formation. The ones firing the beams seemed to close a tight net around their prey. A dozen more encircled the front saucer, charging up another attack.
They didn't notice, or didn't have time to react as Voyager's warp nacelles lifted. One flash later, Voyager was gone, leaving a trail of alien debris scattered in its wake.
Everyone clutched to their stations, even though nothing was happening at the moment.
"I hope they don't catch us anytime soon. The forward shields are at twelve percent after that stunt," B'Elanna remarked.
Tom pulled a half smile. "Better than the alternative."
"If they catch us, we'll end up like the Leda," Jodie mumbled to herself. She dared to let go of her station. "Speaking of which, are we..."
This lowered Tom's spirits, his shoulders fell. "No, they want Voyager. They're not interested in them, and I'd like to keep it that way."
"Astrometrics to the Bridge..."
Everyone's face turned very pale, they also remained deathly still like the voice was in the room with them.
Tom mouthed, "what is Annika still doing here?"
"Fodder," B'Elanna also mouthed, shrugging.
Tom reluctantly tapped his commbadge with the hand that wasn't on the speed lever. "What is it?"
"That was a very efficient way of dealing with those meanies, Captain Paris. Couldn't have done better myself."
"You definitely could have, just tell the aliens you were on board," Jodie commented.
Tom shook his head. "Yeah, thanks. Is that all?"
"Only ten minutes away there's a planet with two satellites. One of them we could easily hide in its pole."
"Um... which one?" Tom asked with a sense of dread all over his face.
"Either pole will do sweetie."
Tom almost gagged, his hand went to his mouth just in case. B'Elanna came to his rescue, "he means which planet, you bimbo." She turned to Jodie, "honestly, she was a lot less annoying as the Mary Sue of the series."
Jodie seemed genuinely confused, "she's always been crackers. Not just any old crackers; she's crackers with Edam cheese and butter spread."
"She was lucky enough to miss out on Season One, B'E," Tom remarked. "Anyway, there's got to be a better solution than sitting around and waiting for them. I say we try to outrun them. Are they chasing us?"
"There's no sign of them, but you can count on it," Jodie replied.
"I knew I should have made Annika torture Damien into giving us his cloak specs," Tom muttered to himself.
"Me? Oh no, violence is part of the old me."
B'Elanna sighed, "I have a feeling that they'll catch us if they want to. They came out of nowhere, and those readings..."
"Yeah, I vote for hiding. The magnetic poles may make it harder for them to find us," Jodie said.
"But... if they can't find us, they may go for the Leda. We can't risk it," Tom stuttered.
"We don't have to stay there too long. Just long enough to fix the shields and investigate what happened. You said it yourself, they're not after the Leda. They disabled them and left," B'Elanna explained.
Jodie frowned, "yeah, but why? What's so special about Voyager?"
"I've been asking this for years," Tom sighed in response. "Is that planet habited Annika?"
"Yes, it's a dingy looking M class planet. Oh, what a coincidence."
B'Elanna looked amused, "it is? It doesn't help us one bit."
"You're right there," Tom quietly said to himself.
"No no, silly. The Flyer was heading in that general direction. If we're not hiding there, we should at least go to say hi."
"I don't know why I even bothered," Tom groaned to himself. "Send the co-ordinates to the helm, we might as well go meet our fate."
Jodie frowned, "what the hell does that mean?" B'Elanna flashed her a fiery glance. "Jeez, everyone's so touchy. I figured it would be me."
"Yes, being touchy is fun."
Everyone almost gagged yet again. Jodie pressed the cut off button like it was covered in slime.
"Ok, here goes nothing," Tom sighed. He lowered the lever slightly, and then guided the control stick to the left.
After walking for a good while in complete darkness, the bright light they were faced with made it extremely difficult to keep their eyes open. As the alien Commander had described to them, the looming centre tower was covered in blinding lights. The five small towers surrounding it could only been seen from the tower's light reflecting off them, even though they were about a couple of miles away.
Standing guard at the large glass doors, were two aliens holding large plasma rifles. Ten metres directly in front of them stood a seven foot tall electric metal fence, surrounded and hidden by large, but dead trees.
Behind one large tree, stood the three Human soon to be trespassers. Each of them armed with a phaser rifle with a strap hanging off their shoulders.
Nathan pointed towards the fence, then at a tree branch almost touching it. "I'm definitely getting the bad guy vibes here. Even the trees aren't safe."
Craig shook his head as if it would help in ignoring him. "How do we get in without proving it? We run in, get shot. We shoot first, we get noticed."
"As if he needed you to explain what you meant," Nathan commented.
James looked up to the tower, squinting his eyes a little. "There's plenty of windows."
"Yeah, and every one of them belongs to an occupied room," Craig said.
"Not necessarily. We know these guys are huge energy hoggers. I bet they all went home and left the lights on," Nathan commented with a smirk.
"There's also a fence with a sign on it. A huge energy plant wouldn't put some flimsy fence up, hire two guards and chuck a Keep Out sign on," Craig said.
Nathan sighed, looking a little disappointed. "Did we have to bring Mr Negative with us?"
"Why not, it's usually me," James commented. He turned back to the others, his eyes still burning a little from the light. Craig showed him the tricorder he was using. "He's right, it's an electric fence. That's an easy fix though."
The other two glanced towards the fence, then looked back at him. Nathan smirked while Craig looked a little unsure. James pulled out a knife from near his pocket.
"Oh, we're not digging underneath are we?" Craig complained.
Nathan's smile grew wider, "oh, I hope we are."
James stared at them blankly, then shook his head. "With a knife?" He handed the knife to Nathan, "go ahead. Craig and I will meet you back outside when we finish the mission, and you're still in the hole."
Craig shrugged, "well you have been over dramatic lately, how was I supposed to know?"
Nathan pouted a little as he handed the knife back. "You guys need to have fun sometimes, really."
"Anyway, we just pick where we want to go through the fence, and I'll take care of it," James said, already starting to lose his patience.
"I dunno, stabbing a fence might take some good aiming and patience," Craig muttered. "You don't have one of those, at least."
James covered his face with his spare hand, "well at least we're closer to what I had in mind." He walked away from the others, keeping a close eye on the tower.
Nathan frowned in Craig's direction. He shrugged and followed, Nathan did as well.
They didn't have to go far, as James stopped near the left side of the building. He raised the knife.
"Um, electric and metal equals yikes," Nathan warned. He then brushed his hair back, "next thing you know, spiky hair."
Craig rolled his eyes, "yes, cos that would be the worst thing that could happen."
"It's got a rubber handle, so shut it," James muttered.
Nathan smirked at his impatient voice, while Craig just sighed to himself. "I'll keep a look out," he eventually said, turning his back to the others.
"How do you expect to cut through metal with a knife, even if it wasn't electrified?" Nathan asked. "Rubber handle or not, metal hits metal and whoosh!"
James didn't listen to him, he held out his spare hand. "Tricorder." Craig handed the tricorder to him, then turned his back on them again. After fiddling with it a bit it began to beep, he then knelt down and put the tricorder on the ground right next to the fence. "That should do it." Carefully he placed the blade of the knife against a part of the fence.
"Um, my question's still valid. That's metal you want to cut through," Nathan muttered.
"And?" James only said as he then sliced at the thin metal. The knife went clean through without any resistance, electrical or otherwise.
Nathan looked speechless for once, he looked to Craig for help but his back was still on them.
"Well, first the appearing out of nowhere, now this. I thought my sis was the witch of the couple," he eventually said.
Craig pulled a confused face as he looked back over his shoulder. James didn't react as he seemed too busy to be listening.
It didn't take long to cut a bigger hole in the fence. Once it was done, James knelt down to pick the tricorder back up. "I'll go first, to check it out." This time he didn't get any vocal protesting. Ducking his head he carefully climbed through, rearming himself with a bigger weapon. Nathan followed, and finally Craig.
By the time Nathan and Craig reached the wall, James was having a peek through the window nearby with his eyes and the tricorder.
"There's no one there," he said.
"Great, got any more tricks up your sleeve? Breaking a window may get some attention we don't want," Nathan questioned.
"Nope, just the same trick," James replied, gesturing with the knife again. Nathan pulled a face as a headache started to form, he again looked to Craig for help.
"What's your problem?" he only mouthed.
Moments later James lifted his leg over the window sill, then climbed inside. He had a look around the small office while Nathan did the same.
Craig climbed in while keeping a lookout behind him. "That thing must be blunt by now."
James briefly looked at the jagged knife before putting it away. "It pretty much was before the window."
Nathan looked on, wincing slightly. Craig walked forward to nudge him in the arm with his elbow.
A tricorder scan stopped James from going any closer to the door. "There's people outside."
Craig shook his head, only then he noticed something at the corner of his eye. He turned towards the wall on his left. "I have a really bad idea." The other two stared at what he did; a small square vent near the ceiling.
"Well, it's better than going through the door," Nathan muttered. His attention went to the desk nearby, "instead of fighting over who gets to pick up who, why don't we..." James walked over to it, Nathan cringed a bit when he grabbed it. "Not drag it across the floor."
James tossed him a bemused look before he lifted the desk off the floor with one hand, and carried it across the room like it was a padd.
"You're not going to give me a weird look for that too, are you?" Craig complained in Nathan's direction. His mouth was already open to say more things, but decided against it.
James put the desk down next to the wall, and climbed on top of it. The vent was just in arm's reach, so he carefully pulled the metal grating off.
"We're still going to be fighting over who carries who," Nathan sighed. "Craig's the tallest, but..." Craig passed him a narrowed eyes stare. "He's the grouchiest kid this side of the quadrant, so he'll probably drop us."
"Prick," Craig muttered under his breath.
James smirked at them both. "We just need to decide who goes first. Whoever does, has to make sure the coast's clear, and if not, find another route."
"Surely that's you," Nathan said.
"Sure, if you want him to pull your arms out of their sockets on the way up to the duct," Craig said.
Nathan widened his eyes while James stared blankly at him. Craig's response was just to shrug his shoulders.
"When have I ever done that?" James complained.
"Um, ookay. I'll take charge, being the oldest and wisest," Nathan stammered. "I'll go first, James second, Craig third so he doesn't have to do anything, agreed?" He didn't wait for an answer, he climbed on to the table with James, then reached up to grab the edge of the vent. As he had to stretch his arms just to grab it, he didn't have much luck lifting himself up.
Craig scoffed to himself. "Looks, like you're first to lift people, or last to push them. Your choice," he then said in James' direction.
Nathan stopped what he was doing, and turned to James with his face extremely red. "I forgot the tricorder."
"Yeah sure," he said with a smile, handing him the tricorder. Once Nathan put the tricorder away, he tried again. Craig couldn't help but laugh quietly as James grabbed Nathan by the legs to lift him up. He yelped a little once his head was in the vent, which echoed down it. That made Craig laugh even more.
"Ssshhh!" James shushed him, while trying not to laugh himself.
"What happened?" Nathan's voice echoed.
Craig shook his head, he climbed up next. "I'd put the table back, in the rare chance that the whole building doesn't know we're here, no thanks to Nathan's squealing."
Inside the vent, Nathan could only hear muffled voices as he maneuvered himself into a sitting position. "Seriously, what happened?" He dragged himself backwards a bit, just in time to see Craig appear in the vent just as quick as he did.
"Scooch," he whispered.
Nathan stared at him, not believing his eyes. He inched back again as Craig rotated around so his back was to him.
"More than that."
"Right," Nathan mumbled. Using his arms he dragged himself back another metre.
Craig leaned forward so his arms were hanging out from the vent. Meanwhile James had put the table back and was heading back. He lifted the vent grate over to him.
"The arm and socket comment comes back to mind," he said, closing his hands into a fist.
"For the last time, I'm not that heavy," James muttered. "Move then."
Craig pulled a face as he retreated back into the vent, James grabbed the grate back off him.
"What are you... we're leaving him here? He is shorter than us, he won't reach if I couldn't," Nathan commented.
Craig looked at him, bemused. "Yeah that extra inch really helped you get up here."
Nathan frowned just as one hand grabbed onto the edge, his eyes widened yet again as James seemed to jump up and climb into the vent on his first try. He moved around to face the hole to maneuver the grate back where it was.
"Oookay, you said the security system will be three floors up so..." Nathan stammered. He began to crawl off down the the tube. "This way gents."
"Why does he always do that?" Craig asked, looking back at James.
Craig shook his head, he turned around to start crawling after Nathan. "You haven't noticed?"
"I dunno, I just assumed eccentricity runs in the family," James replied when he did the same.
Craig bit his lip to stop himself from sniggering loud enough to be heard. "Not that, and I'm telling Jessie you said that."
Nathan meanwhile had stopped crawling as he reached a dead end, at least ahead of him anyway. He looked up to see the vent continued vertically for three metres. "And they said I wasted too much time on slides."
Craig and James looked at each other briefly as Nathan stood up. His hands pressed against the vent, then he straightened his back up against the other side.
"Is it wrong that I want him to muck this up?" Craig whispered.
"Depends how much noise he makes when he does it," James answered with a smirk.
To both of their disappointment, Nathan lifted his knees up to lean against the vent. He was gone from their sight in a few seconds.
"Looks like it's up to you to muck that up," James said.
Craig scoffed. "You wish, I'm not going to do that." He crawled forward to reach the end, and carefully looked up. He got there just in time to see Nathan's leg disappear over the edge. He tried to copy off what Nathan did, but by the time he went to put his knees up, he stumbled back down. Immediately he got back up, this time deciding to try to jump and reach where Nathan was.
"Aaaw, was someone slide deprived as a little tyke?" Nathan's voice taunted him. He offered both of his hands.
"I can do it," Craig huffed as he tried to climb again. James shook his head and began to crawl closer. "Don't even think about it!"
"Gee, fine," Nathan huffed, thinking he was yelling at him. "I'll scout ahead, shall I?"
"You do realise that one of us still isn't keen on closed in spaces, so..." James commented.
Craig grunted as he tried to get his legs up, one at a time. "Not my fault you're a little wuss..." he said breathlessly. James groaned in repsonse. Just as Craig got his other leg up, he started to tumble again. Only this time James grabbed him by the legs, and pushed him up.
"Yey he did it," Nathan laughed, looking back. He did a double take as Craig was now lying face down, with his head against the ground.
"Hurry up!" James' voice yelled from down the bottom.
Craig lifted his head, "I hate him."
Inside a small room filled with alien computers, another grate fell from its vent onto the floor. Nathan popped his head out, as well as the tricorder in his hands.
"Yep, definitely clear."
He swiveled his legs around so he was in a seating position, then jumped down onto the floor.
"Am I the only one wondering why a room this important is unmanned?" Craig's voice mumbled. He then came into view.
Nathan looked around towards the door as he jumped down into the room too.
"Yeah, cos we're too busy wondering if Craig ever listens," James commented as he was next to leave the vent.
Craig pulled a face as Nathan turned to him. "The Security room's still one floor up, mate."
"But you said... three floors, I'm pretty sure there were three..." Craig stuttered.
"Three's how many times it took you to get up the last part," Nathan smirked. "It's ok, I don't blame you for losing count."
James walked forward to join Nathan, so he could take the tricorder. "So, how are we getting up to the next floor?"
"Easy," Nathan smiled. He pointed to the door, "that leads up to a large room containing a pair of stairs. The room we want is just up them."
"Great, so we climbed through the hell vents, cut open an electric fence, just to walk into reception," Craig muttered.
"Easy hissy fitter, there's no one around. I guess the only people still in the building are the few desk lackeys on night shifts," Nathan said.
James went over to the door. "Or the guards."
"And or, or," Nathan commented with a smile.
Craig was not impressed. He quickly walked forward to join James.
"There are people around who could probably reach us in time."
"Um yeah. Night time or not, surely somebody would be guarding a large area like that. I mean, what else would it be?" Craig questioned.
"So your solution is to waste time chatting about it?" James commented. He turned back around to face Nathan. "You know the plan, if you listened anyway."
"Yep. Get to security room, locate our friends with it, do what we did before to get here. Check," Nathan replied.
James shook his head as his hand went to grab the door handle, "just a yes... never mind."
As soon as the door opened, the trio crept through it one by one. Just like Craig expected it would be, the room they entered appeared to be a large reception area. A large desk stood in between the two large stairs leading up to a raised walkway above the back of the room.
James lead the way up the stairs, keeping half of his attention on the tricorder. Nathan remained in between him and Craig, clutching the rifle hanging against his front while Craig had chosen to hold it properly, while pacing backwards.
The pair stopped as James did half way up the stairs. "Change of plans."
"Great, which chairs do we need to take cover from?" Craig muttered.
"Get to the security room, now," James ordered as he turned back to go down the stairs. Nathan held out his arm to stop him. "No time. There's a group coming this way, I'll make them think there's only one us."
"Are you crazy?" Nathan whispered. Craig poked him in the back with the rifle, or rather nudged him. "But..." He reluctantly continued up the stairs, so did Craig. However he stopped just as he got to where James was, he handed him the tricorder.
"If we have time to get there, surely..."
"Just get Jach and Janet out," James whispered back.
Craig nodded, he rushed up the stairs to join Nathan on the platform. At the dead centre there was a door, surrounded by dark windows. They both ducked their heads so if anybody was in the room, they couldn't see them coming. When they reached the door they crouched down onto their knees.
"I can't see in, it's like a mirror on this side," Craig whispered as he handed Nathan the tricorder. He began to work on the panel next to the door.
They froze as they heard some doors slamming open directly beneath them, then some voices yelling in an alien language.
"Hurry," Craig whispered harshly. Nathan threw him an angry glance which surprised him.
Just underneath them eight of the aliens marched out of two large doors, quickly spreading around the room. One side stepped closer to one of the stairways. He turned his head to look over the solid banister. He got a phaser rifle to the face for his trouble.
After he stumbled back, James appeared from the other side of the banister, aiming the rifle. The other aliens turned to face him simultaneously, almost robotically. His phaser fired a wide shot, which enveloped the whole room in front of him. His eyes widened as the aliens only stumbled back, slightly dazed.
"What the..." he stuttered, quickly raising the setting from High Stun to the next level. The aliens recovered and rushed for him. The one close by brandished a long, curved dagger and literally leapt at him. James grabbed the nearest sofa like chair, and threw it into his path.
The security door clicked open, Nathan pushed it softly to open it enough to let them in. Craig got back onto his feet, but stayed hunched, and went inside. Nathan looked back, wincing at the noises he was hearing downstairs, then followed him inside.
The room they entered was huge, but filled with computers taking up the entire walls. Most of them were filled with screens showing parts all over the building.
"All right, first things first," Craig thought out loud as he approached one of the computers. Nathan stood behind him, scanning the screens one by one. He turned, eventually settling on the window. "Disabling the camera for reception..."
"Yeah, it's a little late for that," Nathan commented.
"Really not. Have you seen our people on any of the security footage?" Craig questioned. He glanced back, "Nathan, the screens!"
Nathan frowned as he managed to catch a glimpse of the fight below. "Um, right. Not yet." His attention went back to the many screens on the stations.
Meanwhile one alien had grabbed James from behind, his arm tightly around his neck. A group of three surrounded him just as he punched another alien down to the ground. Just as two of them lurched forward, he swung both of his legs up to kick them right back. The alien on his back tightened his grip, but he was hurled over his shoulder anyway.
Another alien took that chance to also jump onto him from behind, this one quickly raised a dagger. James pushed himself back into the wall, the alien instantly lost her grip on him, and fell to the floor.
He quickly ducked as the last two standing aliens swiped their sharp weapons at him. One responded by kicking him in the head, knocking him almost onto the ground. He recovered in time to block the other alien's swipe with one of his own weapons. Both aliens stared blankly into his eyes with the same creepy blackness as the last ones. One punched, while the other tackled him. All three of them crashed into the back wall, tearing a huge hole as they tumbled through it.
Craig and Nathan felt the ground shake as the wall supporting them weakened. Craig held on tightly as he continued to work. Nathan meanwhile had his eyes on one particular screen, the colour in his face had gone and had been replaced by a sickly white.
"Typical," Craig could only say. This prompted deathly pale Nathan to briefly look over his shoulder at him. "James can't resist smashing people through walls. I miss the good old days where he just hit you."
"Um..." Nathan could only say.
"Good thing is, nobody saw it. I'm checking any rooms that may be brigs, or heck even labs," Craig continued, unaware of Nathan's mood.
"That um, wasn't him... well, it was but..." Nathan stammered.
Craig decided to see what he was looking at, which was a view of the reception pointed straight towards the new hole. "Damn, there's another camera? Ok, hang on. It would be useful if you, oh I don't know, look for our people!"
"Right," Nathan stuttered, he rushed to another computer.
As he did, he missed the shot of one of the aliens being thrown from the hole and into the nearby rubble.
Two aliens that had been knocked down before, got back up. One of them eyed the thrown alien, without hesitation she ran towards the hole.
James appeared with a few new scrapes across his left arm, and chest. He leapt over the rubble to avoid the alien running for him. She stopped instantly, and raised a thin sword in her left hand. He looked back as the second alien had also joined them.
They leapt forward to attack. James jumped up to grab a hold of the banister behind him, he kicked one of them down, then tried to pull himself further up. The woman also jumped, grabbing his legs.
A couple more of the down aliens staggered back up, ready for more. Just then they heard a beep coming from afar. They looked over to see the phaser rifle lying discarded on the reception desk. Before they could decide what the beeping was, it fired another wide shot in their direction, this time knocking them to the floor.
"There!" Nathan announced, pointing at one of the screens. He placed the tricorder onto the console and pressed a few commands. Craig rushed over to his side.
"That's not far, there's even a duct nearby," he said, not sounding particularly happy about that. Nathan looked at him, the colour was back in his face again.
"I'll let you go first this time, hmm?"
"Hmm?" Craig mocked him. "Sure." They both turned to leave via the parallel door to the one they came in.
James meanwhile had climbed to the top, even with the stubborn alien still trying to pull him back down. She had however climbed further up. With one arm she tried to swipe at him with the sword she had managed to hold onto, he took that opportunity to push her off of him. He then pushed himself up onto the walkway, dodging the banister in the way. He looked back down to check if the aliens were still down, before heading for the security room.
More voices from below stopped him in his tracks. With a heavy sigh, he turned back around.
"How long have they been missing?" the alien, formally known as Snugglebumps, demanded.
His two companions stared at the younger man, one of them smirked with disrespect.
"Does it really matter? They're not going anywhere."
Snugglebumps snarled, puffing some air out of his nostrils. "Thoughts like that lead to plans being ruined all the time."
"I'm sure the witch will kill him, long before they can figure anything out. They can't do anything about it now."
The smirking alien laughed to himself. "Do not fret, Galnar. Snuggles here is just cranky about giving up his master."
The pair didn't even flinch as Snugglebumps' already large form, changed into a beast twice his size. "Call me that now!" He swiped a large claw within a centimetre from the joker's face.
"Put it away Lurkrun," the alien referred to as Galnar chuckled.
"I told you he was too young for this mission. A first Shifter are only good for cheap laughs." The second alien walked over. With just his index finger he poked the man now more than twice his size. This managed to push the beast back a step. "Right Bumps?"
"If it wasn't for me, we wouldn't have the witch. Some respect..."
Galnar waved him off. "Yes, congratulations for sniffing out the Slayer's wife. It must have been like searching for a star in the sky."
Snugglebumps, or rather Lurkrun growled but reverted back to normal anyway.
"More like finding a bomb and bringing it home with you," a familiar voice taunted them. The aliens heads swung around to the source. "Cos that's all you've done," Damien sneered.
"You!" Galnar snapped. "Are you as stupid as you look?"
The trio approached the intruder.
"Yes, of course," Damien smugly retorted. He quickly shook his smugness off, ready to correct himself. "By that I mean, I do look like a genius, after all." They blankly stared at him. "But you, I'm not the one bringing aboard a pissy witch who has been evil before. Also not to mention being hooked up with the Chosen. You'd have better luck kidnapping the Phage."
"Where is she?" the unnamed alien demanded.
Lurkrun closed the already small gap between Damien and the others, he grabbed the intruder roughly by the arm. Damien only smiled at him.
"I liked you better as Snuggles." This obviously prompted a growl. "She thinks that I'd pretend to betray her, gain your trust, then turn on you. She's never been the brains of the group."
"I assume you're here for another reason," Galnar stated.
"Well, we got along so well the last time I betrayed Voyager, didn't we?" Damien smiled deviously at the trio.
Galnar and the unnamed alien looked at each other knowingly. Lurkrun frowned as confusion filled his face. "What are you blabbering about now?" he asked.
"Please! Your excitable self shapeshifted in front of me. Only a regular Joe would miss what that means."
Lurkrun snarled at his companions. "He's trying to throw us off. The witch is probably doing something as we speak."
Damien briefly looked at the others, faking a shocked expression. He turned back to the man holding his arm. "You manage to think of something like that, yet think you can scare off other shapeshifters by shifting. I should have known you weren't a rabbit, you don't have the brains to be one."
The unnamed alien sighed, "we'd be fools to overlook the incident four years ago."
Damien smiled in his direction, "what's a little traitorism between friends?"
"We're not friends with Humans!" Lurkrun spat.
"Hmph, Human," Damien complained, dragging his arm away. "As if! They're weak, the lot of them. Even their Slayers are pathetic."
Galnar smiled coldly, then began to pace in a circle around him. "You betray your own people for kicks, yet you work with them to ensure your own survival. You enslave innocents to achieve your own ends. You think you are the centre of the universe, the most perfect thing to grace the cosmos."
"What's your point?" Damien smiled smugly.
"I'd say that's a perfect description of every member of the Human species," Galnar laughed, stopping directly in front of him.
"You're forgetting one little detail," Damien said whilst trying to hide the anger brewing in him.
"You're right, I could go on," Galnar retorted.
Damien forced a devious smile. "I'm the brilliant inventor of this shield you keep harping on about." This wiped the smirks off the older aliens faces. "It's based on the principles behind the portals that opened on Deck Thirteen ten years ago. Of course, if you figure anything out from that, be my guest. I'll just be on my way."
Lurkrun moved around to stand in the doorway, blocking his escape. "Unbelievable, this Krashak was the one who enslaved an entire unit to attack the Humans with, four years ago? I should kill him for that alone."
"Relax!" the unnamed one groaned, with a roll of his eyes. "Damien, do us a favour and pet him between the ears."
"I will not stand here and continue to be insulted," Lurkrun growled.
"Then walk," the unnamed alien said.
Lurkrun marched through the door, muttering to himself. "He'll just do it again, fools."
"Well, now that the imposter is out of the way," Damien turned to leave. The unnamed alien took Lurkrun's place.
"Do not think you have the upper hand. Your so called enemies are being destroyed as we speak."
"Really? Good. In that case, I'll keep the information to myself," Damien remarked, folding his arms tightly. "I'm sure Voyager won't be able to decipher my notes enough to make it. They probably didn't know you'd even attack to even bother. It's not like they have people that have the ability to see the future. That'd be a bummer if they did."
Galnar took a few steps closer to him. "If you were so willing to betray them and not us, why wait until now? We were alone in the interrogation room."
"What can I say? I can't resist an old fashioned betrayal. I'm sure Jessie will enjoy it too," Damien replied.
"Do you think they'll buy it?" Kiara asked in a worried tone.
"Not a chance. It keeps them distracted, gets him away from us, and might get him killed. Win, win I say," Jessie replied with a cheeky smirk. Kiara smirked back at her.
"You do realise though, that we've got more chance of him turning on us than..." she said in mid thought. Jessie put an arm out in front of her. "Never mind."
"No," Jessie whispered as she quickly pulled Kiara with her by the arm. They disappeared around the corner. Seconds later Lurkrun marched down the corridor.
Once he was long gone, Kiara bit her lip nervously. "Sorry."
"Forget about it, I doubt Q's would teach you to be discreet," Jessie continued to whisper. She headed back into the corridor, and continued down it. Kiara followed closely.
"A... little help!" Craig stuttered painfully. His body lifted off the ground, pulled by his own hair, then slammed back down.
Nathan coughed as something heavy was pressing him into the wall, by his chest. He tried his best to change the setting on his phaser rifle.
"I'm kinda in the same pickle, you know!" he managed to spit out.
Craig tried to break his second fall with his hands pressing against the floor. It was a waste as they just slid forward from the strain, his head hit the floor yet again.
The phaser rifle beeped, getting the lone alien's attention. Her head swung around just as Craig's head was lifted up again. She dropped him, then used her now spare right hand to slap the rifle from Nathan's hands.
"Um, uhoh," he squeaked.
Craig's response was to only groan from the floor.
The alien's right hand swung to Nathan's throat. Her eyes stared deeply into his as she began to squeeze.
"Ugh, good work Nath..." Craig muttered as he lifted his head back up. He then caught sight of the dropped rifle. With a lot of painful effort, he looked behind him. "Never mind."
His hands quickly reached to grab the rifle. Even that noise got the alien's attention. It was enough to stop her choking the life out of Nathan. Craig rolled onto his back, only then noticing the alien's attention had shifted again, then he fired. She fell backwards to the ground.
"Phew," Nathan sighed in a croaky voice. His hand checked to see if his neck was still the same shape. "James wasn't kidding about them."
Craig groaned as he got back onto his feet, whilst checking the wounds on his head. "Uh huh." He headed over to the small computer station in the centre of the room. Ten doors decorated the walls of the room, all but one reinforced with a blue forcefield.
"Makes you wonder how he could take two of them, alone," Nathan said, as if to himself. "Or eight."
"Uh huh," Craig wasn't listening, he was busy working on the station. "We didn't get here fast enough. I'm only getting one lifesign." His head turned to one of the doors. "I'll get the door open, you go."
"Right, right," Nathan said, rushing to the same door.
Craig nodded. "Now."
The forcefield disappeared, the door then opened from the middle. Nathan rushed inside a tiny, spartan cell. The lone figure scrambled to his feet despite the many injuries he had. "Nathan? How..."
"Jach, no time. Where's Janet?"
Jach's eyes closed, his head lowered. "They took her away." His balance wavered, and he stumbled forward. Nathan caught him quickly, then helped him walk out of the cell. Craig soon joined them once the door closed behind them. "They wanted me, but..." his voice cracked.
"But what?" Craig asked like he didn't want to know.
Jach looked back up at them, his eyes filled with anger. "She stood in front of me, demanding they take her first. They hit her. They didn't want a filthy human."
"They took her anyway?" Nathan questioned.
Jach nodded, but it even hurt him to do that. "Obviously I wasn't strong enough for them," he stammered, gesturing his hands at his wounds.
"I have a crappy feeling about this," Nathan mumbled.
Craig stared just ahead of him, at nothing in particular. "We should go..."
Nathan shot an annoyed glance at him. "And leave Janet with these guys, what's the matter with you?"
Craig turned his stare to Nathan. "To the laboratory on the next floor down."
"Oh," Nathan looked a little embarrassed. "Maybe Jach should rest up inside one of the ducts then. He's in no condition to help us out."
"But..." Jach tried to protest.
"If you want to help Janet, you should stay out of harm's way. We can't really break into a lab while we're keeping you upright," Craig explained to him.
Jach sighed, he knew he was right. Nathan smiled encouragingly in his direction.
"Don't worry, if we don't get her out, maybe James will."
Craig was about to say something but was interrupted by the alien girl stirring. He gestured his head to the only unblocked door. The trio quickly left before she awoke. Once they entered the corridor, an alarm started blaring.
"We're out of time," Nathan stuttered.
A group of three aliens stood in the middle of a corridor, calmly discussing something despite the loud alarm. Only a few metres away James stood with his back to the wall, just around the corner. He could just hear bits and pieces of their conversation over the noise.
"Of course..." one spoke. "Compatible... procedure. Respond... to... encouraging results."
The other two seemed a bit angry at him. "No, you..." one went to a mutter, so he couldn't hear the rest.
"I don't... It... matter. She is clearly... Human... What difference..." the first one said with confidence.
One of the aliens looked over in the general direction James was. He muttered something to the others. They turned to go in the other direction, and quickly too.
Once they were around another corner they continued talking. "Get that thing out of here," the last one snarled to the two behind him. He heard a small bang which made him turn on his heel. His eyes widened at the sight of his two comrades collapsing to the ground, with James standing in the middle of them.
"I really hate being called a thing," he said casually, before raising a fist.
The alien man fell to the ground too, James stepped over him to continue on his way.
His pace slowed as he heard slight footsteps around another corner. This time he armed himself with the rifle hanging off his shoulders, and one of the swords. Carefully he turned the corner, only to be greeted by a familiar face.
His attention immediately went to her eyes, which instead of her usual bright green were black as night.
"Damn," he had time to say before he was backhanded into the wall.
Craig jumped down from another vent, surprising a lone alien working at his desk. He went to press a button on his computer, but was shot before he could reach it.
"Hurry!" Nathan yelled down from the shaft. Craig turned, he could only see Jach sitting on the edge of the shaft. Before he could jump himself, Craig rushed over to grab onto his legs while Nathan held him around the shoulders.
Once he was safely down, Nathan jumped down to join them.
"There's two in the corridor outside," Craig warned them. His head turned to Nathan, "ready?"
"Yeah if they're not enhanced aliens," he replied nervously.
"I don't think we have a choice," Craig said, also sounding a little nervous. He turned to Jach, "if we're not back in twenty minutes..."
"Yes, climb back into the vent and escape. I know," Jach snapped.
Both Nathan and Craig went over to lift the desk the alien was at to the wall where the vent was. Nathan then went towards the door, raising his rifle. Craig looked over to Jach one more time, he got the hint and went to take cover behind a small filing cabinet.
"He wants to help," Nathan sighed.
Craig went to join him on the other side of the door. "Tough, he can't fight. Janet knew that, that's why she..." Nathan stared at him with a raised eyebrow. "We're wasting time."
Nathan pressed the button on the door panel, the door itself shot open. The pair ran outside, each of them pointing their rifle in opposite directions. To their surprise nobody was there.
"This way," Craig whispered back at Nathan. He nodded. With his back still on him, he started to follow Craig.
Just around the next corner, an alien holding a small flat computer in her hands walked up to a door at the end of the corridor. She keyed in a few commands on the panel to open the door and go inside.
Craig stopped, forcing Nathan to bump into him first before stopping too. "What, what?" Nathan said, turning around. Craig pointed the rifle at the security camera just above the door the woman went into. A red light was flashing on the side of it. "Great, the security camera's are back on as well. Now what?"
"Simple. We need to get in, they can't see us..." Craig muttered as he upped the setting on the rifle. Nathan made a little cough to get his attention, but it failed to work. Craig got ready to fire but stopped as soon as a hand appeared over the tip of the rifle. "What?"
"It's too late."
Craig looked to his left to see the owner of the arm. "Why the hell not? It'll give us a few minutes."
James' response was to only take the rifle. Craig scoffed before looking back at Nathan, who was staring at dismay at the state James was now in. Added on to the wounds he had before, his forehead was split open and still bleeding, whilst a part of his sleeve had been ripped off to wrap around his bleeding right arm.
"I told you, it's too late. We should get out while we can." He turned to walk back the way the other two came. Craig reluctantly followed, Nathan however stood there for a short while with a guilty look on his face. He eventually followed them.
on the alien ship:
The two girls had reached a small office containing two computers. Jessie stood guard at the door, while Kiara worked at one.
"I've found it," Kiara said with a proud smile.
Jessie looked back over her shoulder. "Great, we'd better hurry then."
Another computer beeped violently from afar. The unnamed alien hurried over to check it. "Galnar!"
"Quick, he may have a treat," Damien sniggered.
Galnar was not amused, he stood his ground in front of him. "Not now, Bray."
"But sir, it's the witch," the now named alien said.
"Oooh, too slow. She'll be escaping soon," Damien teased. Galnar narrowed his eyes quizzically. "Your Security must be as good as your personalities."
Galnar grabbed his arm to drag him roughly over to Bray with him. "What about her?"
"We've had a computer security breach. Whoever it is, they're looking for..."
"The shuttle bay," Damien answered for him. The two stared at him with faces of thunder. "What, it's not like you have a clothes shop with a 50% sale on. Where else would she go?"
"Get Lurkrun and stop her," Galnar commanded.
Bray nodded, he turned to leave. He stopped abruptly when he felt somebody following him. Damien stopped as well, Galnar soon grabbed his arm again.
"You must think we're deeply stupid," Galnar said coldly.
"Of course, but everyone is compare..." Damien remarked. Bray swung around to deliver a backhand to his face. With a thud, he landed sideways on the floor.
Galnar nodded at him, he returned it and rushed through the door. The leading alien stood over Damien, he meanwhile dragged himself back up, covering his right cheek with his hand.
"If I were you, I'd talk before we catch her," Galnar muttered. Damien opened his mouth to speak, Galnar quickly raised his palm into the air. "About the shield."
Damien managed a laugh, even if it hurt his now sore jaw. "I thought Voyager was being destroyed as we speak."
"I'll admit as we're alone, they eluded us. Something to do with their shields. Interesting, no?" Galnar explained.
"They remembered to switch them on. Oooh, bad luck," Damien sniggered.
Galnar's hand shot forward and squeezed Damien's throat. "Tell me how to remove it!"
"Firing at them usually does the trick," Damien managed to croak.
"You know I don't mean their regular shields!" Galnar roared in his face. He pulled him closer, and higher. "How did they close those portals you mentioned. That is the key to this shield, isn't it?"
"Clever boy," Damien goaded him. He was soon dropped on to the floor. After checking his neck was in one piece, he stood back up. "Won't do you any good though."
"I'll bite, why is that?" Galnar impatiently asked.
"There is only one way to close those portals, and I'm not afraid, you don't have what it needs," Damien smugly replied.
Galnar smiled darkly. "If you are really in a traitorous mood towards your friend, maybe you can help us acquire what we need."
Damien dared to step forward to look the other man directly into his eyes. "That could be a problem. What you need is on Voyager itself." Galnar's eyes narrowed, partially hiding the anger in them. "Now what? I told you how to lower their shields. Do you need me to tell you how to do it? It's the little button labelled fire."
"I could kill you in an instant," Galnar growled.
Damien sadly sighed, "is this what passes for villains these days? I know it's hard to top me, but this!? Mindless little beasts with the shared brain power of that blonde baby Jessie spat out two years ago. No motivation, no drive, no point. It's a little boring to be honest." Galnar went to grab him again, but he quickly stepped back. "Ah ah, do I have to spell it out for you?" He pointed at him, "you... need..." He then pointed at himself, "me." Once again he pointed at the alien, "imbecile."
"If you're not going to tell me, there's no point in keeping you around, is there? Entertainment perhaps," Galnar said.
"Did you really think I'd tell you everything? I expect to be compensated. Being allowed to live, or not, is not encouraging me to bow down," Damien smiled.
Galnar sighed. "Very well. We can work something out."
"Good. Your group is badly in need of some brains," Damien said.
"First. We need a test of loyalty and commitment. The witch should be dealt with as we speak," Galnar said.
It didn't matter how fast they ran towards it, it had already happened and there was nothing they could do about it. However they continued to rush straight ahead of them.
Jach however collapsed as the pain was too much. Nathan stopped and double backed to check on him.
James reached their destination first, while Craig arrived seconds later breathing heavily. Both of them couldn't believe their eyes. Straight ahead of them all they could see was smoke billowing from just below their feet. Craig turned his back on it and walked away, while James stared down at the huge chasm right in front of him.
"The camp," Nathan stuttered as he knelt down beside Jach. "Why?"
Craig stopped in front of them, "they were a threat. That's all they cared about."
Jach lifted his head weakly, staring intently at the smoke ahead of him. "But they weren't. Against those things, they didn't stand a chance."
James looked back, his eyes cast downward. He soon turned back.
"The Flyer was further ahead, we should keep going," Craig said.
"That's if it's still there," Nathan said wryly.
James turned to the side to start the walk around the hole in the ground. "Things, right," he mumbled to himself. Nathan overheard and watched him walk away.
"One way to find out," Craig said.
As the group finally cleared the chasm in the earth, finding normal ground again, they could hear a woman yelling in the distance. The group picked up their pace, or in Jach's case just tried to. Nathan stayed with him, keeping a supportive hold of him.
Once they reached the top of a small hill, James and Craig could see the familiar sight of the Delta Flyer and the alien ship. They could just make out three figures standing outside. The yelling got louder and louder as they approached.
One of the figures spotted them first, she charged forward to reach them. James stopped as she went right for him, throwing her hands against his chest as if to push him away. "This is all your fault! You could have stopped this!" she screamed.
Craig looked back at the two other figures briefly, both were alien and unfamiliar to him. His focus went back to the other pair.
"Calm down, what happ..." James uncomfortably said.
"Calm down? Don't you tell me to calm down, you freak of nature!" Shar screamed at him. She stopped pushing at him, realising it wasn't making any difference. Only then both he and Craig saw the puffiness of her eyes, and the red in her cheeks. "Why didn't you stop us from coming here? Oh I know, you preferred to appear out of nowhere and show off instead. I hope you're happy..." She looked behind him at the approaching Nathan and Jach, then back. "You have three lives on your conscience, though I'm sure it's pretty busy in there already!"
Nathan gently helped Jach sit down on the bottom of the hill, then quickly headed over to the other three. James turned to the side to walk away a few metres.
"Three? What happened to Binene and Li'Chin?" Craig asked.
Shar scowled at him, as well as giving him a slight push. He stumbled back a little. "What do you think?"
"I think they should have been here with you, you know, fixing the Flyer," Craig responded.
"Don't you dare try shifting the blame!" Shar growled, her finger then pointed towards James. "He knew this would happen, but he didn't care enough to do anything about it. We're next obviously."
"Hey, hold your crazy horses Shar. I really doubt he put us all in danger on purpose," Nathan butted in.
"I still don't know what even happened," Craig muttered.
Shar flashed him a deathglare. "They're dead, that's what even happened! All because that idiot over there, thought we'd be better off here."
"Again, why weren't they here with you?" Craig impatiently asked.
"It wanted the Delta Flyer fixed. Both of them went with the aliens to get some supplies, and..." Shar grumbled. "All I heard was a huge bang. We could see the light from it, from here."
"It?" was all Nathan could say. Shar gestured again in James' direction. "Oh come on, that's not cool."
"Not cool? Binene, Li'Chin and it looks like Janet too are all dead thanks to..." Shar shouted in his face.
"Hey!" Craig snapped at her. "Maybe instead of blaming James for something he didn't foresee, maybe you should blame the assholes who actually bombed the camp. Or maybe you could do something useful and shut up for five minutes."
Shar clenched her jaw, she then responded how he expected; her hand went across his face. Then she marched off towards the shuttle.
"I'm sorry, but don't you think that the resistance was wiped out because of what we did?" Nathan quietly asked, the shame in his voice was obvious.
"No," James replied when he was right next to the pair. They both jumped as they didn't notice him approach. "They got into the small towers many times, it wasn't until the last one that they were attacked."
"So?" Craig quietly said.
"So, they were probably going to attack the camp anyway, right?" Nathan sighed in relief.
"Right," James answered him.
Craig didn't look convinced. "The resistance were only attacked in the tower that one time they bring an outsider with them, not just any old one as well."
"It was the last tower they were attacked in," James angrily repeated himself. The other two stared at him, not sure what to make of it. "It had nothing to do with me. Their mission would have had them destroying the towers if they had been left alone."
"The towers that you said were useless," Craig reminded him.
"The towers that if destroyed, would have given their game away," James muttered.
Both Craig and Nathan frowned at him, even more confused than ever.
James shook his head, "never mind that now. They either didn't know the resistance were planting bombs until that last one, or they did and they wanted to give them false hope to the very end."
Nathan cringed a little, "the last one I wouldn't put passed a group of people who make super powered crazy people."
"Hold on. Give what game away? That the main tower should have been the real target? If I were these government guys, I would let them find that out the hard way. It's not like they would have gotten to the top of that tower to bomb it," Craig said.
"It doesn't matter anymore. We should find somewhere else to camp for the night. It's already late," James said.
Nathan nodded, "yeah, there's nothing stopping these guys dropping a bomb on the Flyer as well. One of us should tend to Jach as well."
Craig turned around to walk over to where Jach was resting, he knelt down next to him.
"What about our last remaining alien buddies? It's probably not a good idea to leave them here," Nathan said.
"Probably?" James commented with a raised eyebrow. Nathan shrugged. "You should talk to them, I'll get some supplies. I really don't want to hang around here much longer."
"What about Shar? She's probably not going to be thrilled about coming with us," Nathan questioned with a wince.
"If she doesn't come, I'll force her to. No one's getting left behind this time," James muttered. He headed for the Flyer leaving Nathan looking a little worried.
"Rather you than me," Nathan said to himself. He shuddered a bit, "maybe not."
Jessie and Kiara were waiting around a corner, keeping a close eye on a door a few metres ahead of them.
"Is it time yet?" Kiara whispered.
Jessie shrugged, "we'll know soon enough." She rushed for the door, with Kiara right behind her. The door flew open, stopping them in their tracks.
"I hope we're not thinking of stealing a shuttle. That's a bit too obvious, don't you think?" Lurkrun sneered. He pointed a phaser like weapon at them, and then walked forward to close the gap between them.
"Well we could leave via an airlock, rabbit obsessed shapeshifters first," Jessie muttered.
Lurkrun smiled, "witty."
Jessie eyed the weapon, then looked back up at him. "Maybe you should put that away before you get hurt."
Kiara leaned to her left to make it seem like her head popped out from behind Jessie. "Yeah!"
Lurkrun's face grimaced. "Who is... where did this child come from?"
"You didn't see me coming did ya?" she retorted. If that wasn't enough, she tilted her head to the right, and pulled a neer neer like face.
Jessie shook her head whilst raising her hand to her face. She decided against it halfway up. "I don't know, I just assumed it was more trickery from you." Kiara turned her head, pulling a different face at her.
Lurkrun seemed offended by the suggestion. "Hmph, she's not one of ours." He snarled at the girl, her eyes widened and she backed away a step. "Absolutely not one of ours!"
"I'm sorry, did I hurt your feelings, Snuggles?" Jessie taunted.
Lurkrun growled, his arm shot out to grab her arm. "If I were you, I'd be more concerned about your freak and spawn. Right now, if they haven't already, they're being ripped apart by our little pets. Maybe he should have gone on his little training mission."
"What did you mean by trickery?" Kiara quietly squeaked at her.
Jessie pulled her arm out of his grip. "Maybe you shouldn't have touched me." Before he could respond, her foot stamped on one of his, and then an elbow collided with his ribs. He doubled over, just in time to see something flat and grey fly towards his face.
Kiara laughed as the man literally twice Jessie's size fell onto his back. "I haven't missed that."
Jessie shrugged her shoulders, then lowered what appeared to be the metal casing of the computer she worked on before. "It never gets old. Take his weapon."
She hesitated a little before kneeling down to disarm the unconscious alien.
The two girls swung around to the source; Bray holding a similar weapon to Kiara.
"You aren't leaving, there's nowhere left for you to go," he warned. "Your small ship is burning in space, that tiny shuttle lies in tatters on our planet, and Voyager..." He chuckled to himself, "I'll leave that one to your imagination."
"Then why does it matter if we leave or not?" Jessie asked him.
Bray smiled maliciously at her. "I'm sure we can find some use for a witch, and whatever you are..." He then looked a little unnerved as he glanced at Kiara. "You... You were the first. I should gut you where you stand!"
"First what?" she dared to ask.
"Abomination," Bray answered, pointing the weapon in Kiara's direction. "Shall I mend the timeline?"
"Oh... that," Kiara uneasily said. "I still don't get the first part," she whispered to Jessie.
"Bridge to all hands, this is the Great Damien speaking." Both girls rolled their eyes. "I'm sure one particular member of the crew knows how a back stabbing feels like, literally and figuratively of course. So I'm a little surprised that you'd allow yours truly to wander into the villains lair, alone. It was a typical Jessie plan, doomed for failure."
Bray smiled as Damien continued to yammer on in the background. "Well right now, Slayer's brat, you're the first to die. Though the mother of three of them sounds a lot more appealing." His phaser like weapon pointed at Jessie instead.
"Well it's a bit late now," Kiara muttered. This earned her the phaser back in her direction.
"I suppose having so many annoying little whiners can have an effect on a weak mind like yours. Maybe..."
"Will you get to the point?"
"However, I suppose everyone can be right only once in their lives, unlike me."
"We're still waiting for yours," Kiara commented.
"Ahem. So my friend here is completely rushing my great speech, but no matter. The point, is never trust a genius villain to do your dirty work for you."
Bray stared in dismay as both Jessie and Kiara disappeared in a transporter beam. "What, what is this!?"
Galnar marched over to Damien, he waved just as he also did. "What happened?"
"The witch and the brat have transported away."
Galnar looked at the communications panel Damien was at earlier. "It only shows the last communication, how did he get into the... Gah! Never mind, find them!"
The trio meanwhile appeared inside a small cockpit similar to the interior of the alien ship. Damien looked too smug for his own good.
"Don't look like that, it was my idea," Jessie grumbled.
"It takes a genius though to pull it off," Damien commented. He turned to one station to work at it.
"Um, I hope one of you geniuses knows how to fly this thing," Kiara said.
Jessie and Damien looked at each other, then at what appeared to be the helm. Damien rushed forward first to nab it.
"Oh who am I kidding, I can't even fly one of ours," she muttered bitterly to herself.
Bray had reached the control room, joining the furious Galnar at the same station. "There are no Human lifesigns on this ship, impossible!" Bray rushed to another computer, he then looked up at the monitor.
Galnar swung around just in time to catch one of their shuttles already outside, and shoot off into warp. His station then beeped at him, he begrudgingly pressed one of the buttons.
"I'm glad you enjoyed the show Gullible. Oh by the way, you wanted a shield, I made one up for you. See you never."
"Follow him, now!" Galnar shouted back at Bray
Bray looked very concerned as he worked his station. "He's done something to mask the warp trail, I can't."
"Incompetent Krashak! You saw his direction, follow," Galnar ordered.
Under the cover of a steep hill on one side and a dense batch of trees on the other, the rest of the Flyer awayteam settled around a fire, contained within some rocks. The two aliens who remained sat with them, talking amongst themselves with a sullen expression each planted on their faces. Shar had calmed down, or at least was storing herself up for another outburst, while the others quietly argued over something.
"It makes more sense my way, and..." Nathan said.
"Nobody would have time to really rest in shifts. It was dark before we even went to the tower," Craig interrupted him. He took a bite out of the rations, this made him pull a face like he was chewing a lemon.
"Exactly, we only need one person keeping a lookout," James added on.
Nathan shook his head. "No way. We've all been to hell and back, so we all need a rest. Every one of us."
"Divided between the six of us who can, we'd only be on watch for about twenty minutes or something," Craig groaned.
"And? It's not like everybody only gets to rest for that long. Times that by five and what do you get?" Nathan said.
Craig frowned at him, "it wasn't even twenty minutes, it was an exaggeration."
"Even better. I don't understand why you two are being pissy about it," Nathan complained.
James climbed to his feet, still holding his uneaten rations. "I'll keep watch for god's sake, you should rest while you can." He put the rations down where Jach lay sleeping, and walked towards the hill.
"Nobody agreed to that," Nathan commented as he got up too. Craig lifted his hand up as a stop gesture, his mouth was again full with the tasteless rations. "It's still a few hours. We can at least have one more guard to take over, you know for half the night."
Craig reluctantly swallowed his food. "Don't bother. He can be a stubborn git, just like his..." His face fell, then his eyes were cast downward. "Just leave him be."
Nathan looked back over his shoulder in time to see James sit near the top of the hill; not too high to be seen from afar, but high enough to keep watch.
"I'm sure Slayers need to rest just like us," he said back in Craig's direction.
"Oh for god's... don't whinge at me then, tell him," Craig complained.
"Why? I didn't even know he was one until..." Nathan muttered, interrupting himself with a cringe. "I guess the shuttle fight should have been my first clue, but..." He looked up as he heard Craig laughing quietly. "What's so funny?"
"You're in a Slayer trainee group, and it didn't occur to you that your teacher was one. Thanks, I needed a good laugh."
Nathan frowned at him, this only made him laugh a bit louder. "I doubt that being a Slayer is a requirement. I mean those watchers couldn't even do battle with a fly, but their job is to train them."
Craig managed to get tears in his eyes, he tried to wipe them away and calm down. "You're right, of course. If a watcher can't be bothered to train some people, they usually just pawn them off to a random Security officer."
"Speaking of being a stubborn git," Nathan muttered at him, narrowing his eyes. "I just figured he was a regular Joe Slayer. I had no reason to think he was the real deal." He turned his head away, "I had plenty of reasons otherwise."
"Hang on, save some of that for tomorrow. We all need something to get us through the day," Craig sniggered behind his hand.
"As if," Nathan scoffed, rolling his eyes. He looked over as Shar got up to check on Jach. "I can't believe you can laugh at a time like this."
"You were the one telling me to lighten up, or some claptrap like that," Craig said with a sigh, his laughter finally faded.
"Still," Nathan groaned.
Craig shook his head. "Maybe one of us should get up after an hour, or something. Just in case James changes his mind."
"Yeah sure," Nathan said unenthusiastically.
"Get some rest then," Craig said. Nathan looked at him with surprise on his face. "I was the one in charge of the mission, you know."
"That was Li'Chin," Nathan muttered. He sighed, "I'm not resting yet. I can't get those creepy aliens out of my head."
"I'm sure I could convince Shar to knock you out for the night," Craig commented with a wry smile.
Nathan managed a small smile himself. "No thanks." He finished off the last of his rations. "This may seem like a dumb question..."
"Then why ask it?" Craig commented.
Nathan scowled at him, "forget it then."
Craig mouthed the word wow, then decided to lie down where he was.
Shar meanwhile got back up and sat down where she was before. Nathan looked at her. "How are you doing?" She just shook her head as a response. "Yeah, me too." He turned his attention back to the hill.
The turbolift doors opened to reveal a very uneasy looking Tom. His eyes darted around and his fists were continuously clenching. Eventually he grew the nerve to take the first step off onto the deck.
"It looks like every other deck," he told himself. The skin on his arm formed goosebumps as the top of half of his body shuddered. "That's what's so creepy about it." Steeling what was left of his nerves he turned the corner, but it wasn't enough. He jumped out of his skin.
"A little jumpy?" B'Elanna greeted him from the other side.
Tom's shoulders relaxed instantly, his heart still continued to beat faster than normal. "Dear god, why did you do that?"
B'Elanna placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Relax Tom. Nothing weird has happened here in almost eight years." She smiled mischievously, "and to answer your question; I couldn't resist."
"Hmm, with wives like you..." Tom mumbled to himself. "So we could have met on another deck, I assume?"
"Maybe," B'Elanna admitted, pushing out her bottom lip. "But scaring husband pranks aside, this deck's still the best place to be."
Tom sighed loudly, which creeped him out further as it seemed to echo down the small corridor. "You just said to relax as nothing weird has happened in years."
B'Elanna turned around to walk in the direction he was going before. "I wasn't counting today."
With a much quieter sigh, Tom reluctantly followed his wife down the corridor, then around another corner. This time though, he slowly peeped his head around it. With nothing to scare him in near sight, he continued normal pace.
The pair reached their destination, near the end of the corridor. Waiting for them already was Ylara with a very impatient look on her face.
"Yes we know the deck's haunted or something, can we go now?" Tom tried to say without his voice breaking.
Ylara frowned at him while B'Elanna laughed and shook her head. "Where's..."
"She's still here," Ylara interrupted in an angry tone.
Tom now looked white as a sheet. "Who?"
Ylara stepped a metre to her left revealing the catsuited Annika in all her glory, sporting a tricorder. Tom yelped as he made his second out of his skin jump. His hand rushed to his chest to check if his heart was still ok.
"God! Women are evil," he stuttered, prompting a smirk from B'Elanna.
Ylara shook her head. "When those portals disappeared she came running down that corridor." She pulled a disgusted face, "imagine that for one second!" Tom must have as his face turned from white to green instantly. "I'm surprised she didn't knock herself out."
"Anyway!" B'Elanna pretended to cough into her hand. "Brain bleach or not, Annika discovered something."
Annika turned around after hearing her name. "Hi Tommy, you ok?"
"No," Tom groaned. "What did you find, and quickly? I hate this place."
"Well they didn't," Annika said with a toothy smile. "Many portals opened, or started to all over the ship, right?"
"Right, I said quickly," Tom muttered.
"It wasn't, as nothing came out. Silly boy," Annika said in a patronising tone.
Tom looked to B'Elanna for help, she smiled back with sympathy. "I had similar troubles when she called me." Her head turned back to Annika. "Tell him about Thirteen's."
Annika laughed, "oh, I see. Well, out of all of them, this one was the biggest, the most powerful and... Ooh wait for it." Tom impatiently waited for it. Ylara meanwhile was probably turning Evil again. "Was the first to open."
"Right. Maybe you could have told me that, on the bridge," Tom said to B'Elanna. She narrowed her eyes, telling him not to push his luck. "Erm well, when it was reported to me, it all happened at once."
"To the naked eye, yes," Annika said, winking for emphasis or just for the hell of it.
"As opposed to a one wearing a skirt? Get on with it," Tom snapped.
Annika gasped, placing a hand on her chest. She turned to Ylara. "Isn't he getting rude? It seems like everyone is these days, must be the air." Ylara turned her head in her direction with a cold, annoyed stare. "You too Lena?"
She couldn't take it anymore. To avoid casualties, Ylara marched off down the corridor muttering obscenities on the way.
"Um, what she means is that the Deck Thirteen portal opened a few milliseconds earlier than all the others. They opened at once," B'Elanna explained, sniggering to herself.
"Yes, she gets it and isn't mean about it," Annika added on, giving a bad evil eye to Tom.
B'Elanna shook her head, "as it seemed to be generating more power, and was first, I thought the obvious."
Tom understood her, but it just made him feel a lot more uneasy about where he was. "They didn't attack the Leda like this for a reason. They couldn't."
"Exactly. Though it is safe to also assume that they wanted Voyager over the Leda anyway for other reasons," B'Elanna said.
Tom looked behind him. He could still hear Ylara muttering to herself. After turning his head back, B'Elanna nodded a confirmation. "But why? This is the last ship you should attack with hordes of demons."
"It's still the first ship you'd want to, if you were said horde," B'Elanna said.
"It's still bothering me though. They have these ships, why the need for the portals? I know that they went through our shields, but considering what happened to the Leda, that's not a problem," Tom mused.
"You're assuming those monsters are driving the ships," Annika commented. She clicked her tongue and folded her arms. "They're not that clever."
B'Elanna frowned as she turned her head in her direction. "So who is? Who'd hate us enough to send demons onto us..."
"When they could just as easily blow us out of the sky," Tom said.
"Not really. The Leda was never built for battle. It's a science ship," B'Elanna reminded him.
Tom seemed surprised, "why am I finding this out now?"
"It was supposed to be spared an attack, and it answers your question," B'Elanna said with a sigh.
"Yeah but Starfleet chose it to go on a dangerous and mysterious mission with us, doesn't that seem a little odd to you?" Tom questioned her.
Annika's eyes widened, "oooh, the plot thickens."
"No it hasn't," B'Elanna sighed. "Anyway, when Annika and I put two and two together with this portal, I had a look at the readings myself."
Tom didn't like where this was going, "and?"
"I know why Jessie and Damien were kidnapped, well one of them anyway," B'Elanna replied.
"Oh?" Tom's face lit up slightly. That quickly faded, "the scene's going to cut out before you tell me, isn't it?"
B'Elanna smiled in response.
He didn't realise how tired he really was until he started to climb the hill, but Nathan continued anyway.
"Get some rest," was all he got when he reached the half way point.
That didn't stop him, he kept on climbing.
James shook his head, then turned it back towards the other side of the hill. "You never listen, do you?"
"That's not true," Nathan huffed once he reached where he was. With a deep sigh he sat down nearby. "I listened when you told me to leave you behind."
"True, but I didn't expect you to protest then," James said.
This made Nathan sigh in annoyance. "I hope you really don't think of me like that, I didn't want to leave you to die." James slowly glanced in his direction with a raised eyebrow. "Jessie would kill me," he stammered, forcing a smile.
"Probably," James smiled too.
"Our secret?" Nathan asked him.
"Sure, if she knew about that, she'd kill me too," James replied.
Nathan's smile turned genuine, only for a few seconds. "Listen, I hope you didn't decide to sit up here all night cos of Shar. She was upset, I doubt she meant any of it." James scoffed and shook his head. "I mean it's understandable if you blamed yourself too but..."
"I don't," James interrupted him.
Nathan stared for a moment, unsure what to say at first. "Well, um... good, cos it's not you know. The watchers brought us here, the aliens shot us down. I don't get how or why you got here, but it still doesn't equal fault."
"I know," James said with a shrug.
"Great," Nathan muttered. "If you start thinking like that, we should all discuss it. The last thing we need..."
"What are you doing?" James finally asked, frowning at the older man.
Nathan's eyes widened a little, "huh?"
"I already said that I don't blame myself for what happened. Why are you still talking like I said the opposite?" James questioned.
"I dunno," was all Nathan could answer with.
"Maybe the old me would have blamed everything on me, but now I know it's stupid. It was egotistical really of me to think that I'm responsible for everything that happens. It's in the past," James said, almost ranting.
Nathan frowned. "I see, yeah I guess it is. Though for someone in your position, it's really easy to fall into a blame trap."
"Yeah, and I didn't. It's no problem. All I'm doing here is making sure the rest of you are safe, that is my job after all," James muttered.
Nathan didn't look convinced, he shook his head to hide that. "Sure, I guess."
"Yeah," James sighed, looking away again.
"Yeah," Nathan copied him, he dragged himself a little down the hill, then got up. "Just remember, you're a Human being like the rest of us... well more or less." He grew a little nervous. "Er, by that I mean, Shar and Jach aren't. What I mean is you're just as mortal as the rest of us. My point is; you should rest sometime too."
James looked down at him with a frown. "What do you think I'm doing?"
"When I say rest, I mean..." Nathan explained, then made a loud snoring noise with his eyes closed.
James' stare turned into a blank one, he then tried not to laugh. "You're insane."
"I prefer to call myself charming and a blast," Nathan said with a chirpy smile. "Look, Craig's offered to take your place when you need a nap. I don't mind either. We all got a bit beaten up back there."
"Thanks, but no. I'm fine," James sighed. His attention went back away.
Nathan sighed as well. "If you change your mind, we're the guys down there." He continued down the hill.
"Told you he was stubborn," Craig said, still with his eyes shut.
"Yeah, definitely runs in the family," Nathan muttered to himself as he sat down.
Craig opened his eyes, immediately frowning. His head then turned to look in Nathan's direction. He didn't notice as his attention was on the fire. With a sigh, Craig turned his head back and tried to rest his eyes.
Far over the horizon, the black sky was slowly turning into a beautiful shade of red. The few clouds in that part of the sky were lit up by a hazy orange. The beauty of the scenery was lost on the Flyer team, the tension was back to running high.
Shar paced back and forth in front of a sitting Jach, he watched her nervously. Craig and Nathan were also sitting, but they seemed more annoyed than anything else. James stood on the quieter side with the aliens.
"Maybe we should calm down and be rational about this," Jach spoke up. He winced as Shar threw him a stone cold glance.
"That's easy for you to say. You weren't there," she grumbled.
"No, he was too busy getting kidnapped and beaten to a pulp by these guys. You're right, what was he thinking?" Craig groaned sarcastically.
"Oh for... Yes that was awful, but he didn't witness a camp full of people being wiped out in two seconds. Excuse me for not being rational after seeing that," Shar snapped.
"Fair do's. So maybe we can have some quiet time from you, while you calm down. It'd be better for everyone," Nathan commented with a sly smile.
Shar shifted her glare in his direction. "People are dead, don't you care?" She pointed in James' direction. "Why don't you direct your snark to the one who actually deserves it."
Nathan stood up. "Now wait a min..."
Craig shook his head meanwhile, then interrupted him before it got worse. "Of course we care, we all do. However whinging and pointing blame isn't making things better, it's making it worse."
"Can't our mighty Slayer defend himself?" Shar grunted.
Nathan groaned as he sat back down. "Good god, put a sock in it."
Shar looked puzzled, "what's socks got to do with it?"
"It's a Human expression. It means shut your fu..." Nathan replied hastily.
James quickly interrupted this time, "Craig's right, there's no point in bitching about how we got here. We need to figure out what to do next."
"You would say that," Shar scoffed.
James took a few steps closer to her. "Just out of curiosity, what do you want me to do about it now? This is obviously more important to you than us surviving and getting off this planet, otherwise you'd let the rest of us figure things out." Shar turned her head away. "Well?"
Shar turned back and smiled at him. "You're right, I am wasting time. It's too much to ask for a cold blooded murderer to feel guilt for the new additions to his list. I dunno how you can pick up your own kids with all that blood on your hands. Though I'm sure they're used to being covered in it."
Nathan was about to speak up again, but Craig gave his arm the elbow.
James clenched his fists, the look on his face almost matched Janeway's death glare. As Jach was just behind Shar when this happened, his eyes widened and he quickly moved next to Craig.
Even Shar's smug smile started to waver as James closed the gap between them. "If I was this cold blooded murderer you think I am, you wouldn't have had the chance to say that to me. Don't forget that." He turned away to head back for the hill.
Everyone but Shar relaxed a little when he was out of earshot.
"Well, that was... horrifying," Jach said.
"Please," Shar tried to scoff, she seemed a little unnerved to pull it off. "He knows I'm right."
Nathan stood back up, just avoiding another elbow from Craig. "But you're not though. He blames himself too, so perhaps you should dial down the crazy bitch, hmm?"
"Does he?" Craig questioned. "For once it seems like he's not."
"Crazy bitch?" Shar grumbled.
"Well yeah, I barely know him and it seems blatantly obvious to me," Nathan said.
"Good, maybe that'll bring Binene, Janet and Li'Chin back," Shar retorted.
"Wow, there's really no pleasing you, is there?" Craig groaned.
Shar shook her head, "knowing he's responsible doesn't mean he feels bad about it."
"Oh come on, you don't know that. What does it matter anyway, it's not going to help us," Nathan snapped.
Craig stood up as well. "All right, that's enough!" he yelled at both of them. They looked at him with surprise on their faces. "Why don't I clear this up, right now. Say James did what you wanted, Shar, and nobody came here. The tower team still would have been slaughtered, the camp immediately bombed afterwards. Meanwhile the three you mentioned are alive and well until the demon invasion, where they and you probably don't fare any better."
"But I..." Shar tried to butt in.
Craig continued, "the other scenario, is James comes here alone. The only difference there is he probably dies when the camp is bombed, or survives at the Flyer like you. Meanwhile the three you men... well that part's the same, isn't it?"
"There's no proof Voyager will be attacked while we're gone," Shar muttered.
"Actually if you hadn't have been whinging, James would probably have given you that proof, also we'd probably have some sort of idea what to do about now. Instead I have to spell this crap out for you," Craig continued.
"Bravo," Nathan quietly said to himself.
Craig ignored him, "oh yeah, there's the other scenario. We go on the training mission like you mentioned, we're shot down and captured. The aliens find out James isn't with us. They go on their mission without him. As we're likely to be in the camp, we all die in one shot like them."
"You don't know that," Shar grumbled.
"They wanted to capture us, I doubt they'd let us stay in the Flyer," Nathan pointed out.
"Also James wasn't even on the shuttle, so they had other reasons for thinking he was with us," Craig explained. "So er, where are we on this whinging situation? Finished? Good, now can we get onto something more important like sitting around doing sod all, or I dunno coming up with a plan."
Jach raised his hand, "well I could continue my work on the Flyer."
"You may need to repair that hole in the viewscreen too," Nathan said. Shar meanwhile turned away with her arms folded. He gestured in her direction, "good work Craigy."
Craig shook his head. "She was giving me a headache."
Nathan winced a little, pointing at Craig's head. "That may have something to do with being slammed into the floor, over and over."
"It doesn't help. So one of us should help him, another guard. We fix the Flyer and then what? Do we get back to Voyager or do we try and help with the aliens?" Craig wondered.
"We have their ship..." Shar grunted. She turned and pointed at the two remaining aliens. "I say we just fix ours using parts from it, then get back to Voyager."
"You really have to stop pointing..." Craig groaned.
"We can't do that, not with what we know now," Nathan cut in.
Shar walked front of him, her hands flew to her hips. The look on her face probably could have put the enhanced aliens off. "What do you suggest exactly? We're not in any position to save the planet."
"I never said that we should," Nathan muttered.
"Ugh, you're as bad as that thing up there!" Shar snapped at him, pointing up the hill.
Craig rolled his eyes, "well that lasted ten seconds."
Nathan stood up, not put off by her penetrating gaze. "You'd better watch your mouth."
"Or what?" Shar groaned. "If you and the freak want to try to save this planet, don't drag us into it anymore. There's nothing we can do."
"Our planet is dying because of these monsters, how can you say that?" one alien piped up.
"I'm not the idiot who elected them into power was I?" Shar grumbled.
Nathan stared at her in disgust. "In case you have forgotten, a lot of people died a few hours ago. Have some respect."
"Oh please, I'm trying to stop more of us getting killed. Don't make me into the bad guy," Shar said.
"We didn't even elect them. It's all power play," another alien said.
Craig looked up with a frown. "What does that mean?"
"Exactly how it sounds. This government was only picked as our old one was too weak," the first alien replied.
"Too weak? Members of the union were slowly picked off, one by one. They weren't weak, they were assassinated," the second alien said.
Shar sighed into her hand. "Look I'm sorry for your planet and stuff, but see it from our... my point of view. We didn't come here out of our own free will, we've also been picked off one by one. There aren't enough of us left to help. Also if I remember right, Humans aren't supposed to interfere with internal affairs."
"I think there's more going on than internal affairs," Nathan argued. "If you don't want to help, that's fine. Stay in the Flyer and let the ones who do..."
"Listen to yourself. You could barely rescue Jach, how can you possibly help?" Shar muttered.
Everyone fell silent, nobody really had an answer.
One of the aliens broke the silence after a few minutes. "We were way over our heads. We thought that if we got a Slayer to help us, it would be over. We're very sorry." The other alien looked at him sadly.
"Yeah, I have to ask. What was the deal with that? Why would a Slayer help in bombing these towers. You didn't know about the enhanced guys until your team was attacked," Craig questioned.
"All our Commander told us was that these towers would be familiar to a one," alien two replied. "Especially a Chosen."
Craig looked a little uneasy. "The thing he wanted to show him, was just the tower itself?"
"In a way," alien two replied.
Alien one looked down, "if we had listened to your friend, the rest of my team..." His eyes closed as he winced.
"What do you mean? I thought your Commander already knew, hence the shooting us down?" Craig asked, even more confused than before.
"I'm not sure. He told us that the centre tower was the problem, not the small ones," alien one replied. He looked very guilty, "we didn't really let him explain."
"Your Commander was right," Nathan commented. The aliens looked confused at him. "The towers were familiar to James."
"I'm missing how," Craig mumbled.
Shar groaned, "if I were you, I'd be more worried about the experiments they're apparently doing in there."
"We never did find Janet. James only said it was too late," Craig said. "I say that's more than an apparently."
"If we had the Flyer up and running, we may have a chance of killing two birds with one stone," Nathan thought outloud. Everyone looked at him strangely. "Or Voyager. The towers are draining some kind of power, and turning people creepy and strong. Destroy them and problems goes away, at least until somebody comes up with a better way to choose a government."
"Did you ever think for a second that, that's why Voyager gets attacked in the vision?" Craig asked him, shaking his head.
"Vision, what vision?" Nathan questioned.
Shar rolled her eyes as she turned her back on them. "The same one that showed that idiot up there that we'd be shot down and recruited."
"And obviously not the rest, or we wouldn't be here. So why..." Nathan said.
"I don't know, why don't you ask your best friend up there!" Shar snapped.
"Do I really need to mention the ripped apart by demons bit again?" Craig sighed into his hand.
"Maybe it was because if a team didn't go, they'd know that we knew, and would change their plans," James added on. The group didn't catch on right away, when they did their heads went in his direction.
"You've got to stop doing that," Craig groaned.
Shar folded her arms tightly. "Who's they?" She pointed at the aliens. "Them?"
"No. Now that you have your answer, will you stop complaining?" James asked her.
"Ugh, so those three died just so we could do what the bad guys wanted us to. Great plan," Shar huffed.
"That's a no," James rolled his eyes.
"Janet's not dead, right?" Nathan stuttered.
James closed his eyes briefly, "no she's not." The others looked at him with dismay. "Not exactly." Everyone waited for him to continue instead of asking him to. He sighed, "I walked right into that one. I can't really explain it. She's alive, but she's not. It was like an empty shell."
Nathan's skin crawled. "Yeah, that alien we saw... I'd say that was the creeps I was feeling."
"Ok genius, what made you even think that these government guys expected us to even be here?" Shar demanded to know.
The two aliens glanced at each other knowingly, Shar turned her attention to them.
"Well they knew enough to plant a bomb like one of ours, at the station when you arrived. They knew we contacted you," alien two answered. The other alien shook his head. "I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of them work at the station."
"I wouldn't be surprised if they ran the thing," alien one sighed.
"Ok, ok fine. There was still no reason for the training mission..." Shar said.
James groaned. "Tom had to get permission from them to launch the Flyer after the bombing incident. This was all before the vision update."
Shar moved away from the group. This resulted in a sigh in relief from the others.
Craig looked at an imaginary watch on his wrist, "sixty seconds till next whinge."
"All right, so we're back where we started. Do we stay or do we go?" Nathan questioned.
"Stay. I won't, and probably can't order you to..." James said, looking briefly in Shar's direction. "So I'll ask. This planet will be destroyed if those towers remain, who will help me get rid of them?"
The two aliens immediately raised their hands, then Nathan did. Jach looked uneasy, but he eventually raised his.
Everyone but Shar looked at Craig to wait for his answer.
"It's suicide," he answered.
"It's ok, you can use the Flyer to get back..." James said.
Craig butted in, "I'm in."
Nathan cringed, "ooh, I dunno. Helping a guy to kill himself, not cool."
"Please, I'm not him," Craig grunted, gesturing at James. He rolled his eyes. "I'd rather die trying to do something worthwhile, than live knowing I did nothing."
"I could have done without the not him comment," James muttered.
Nathan frowned, "I'm not gonna ask."
Craig shrugged his shoulders. "Well I'm not you. If you got something else out of that, not my fault."
James smirked at him, "right." He looked in Shar's direction, who was being unusually quiet. "Looks like you'll be going home alone."
She looked over her shoulder. "No I'm not."
"Oh yey, Shar's coming," Nathan sarcastically sang to himself.
"You're going to need all the help you can get, taking on three towers," Shar said, ignoring Nathan.
James sighed, "actually about that, there's something you should know before we plan anything."
TO BE CONTINUED
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