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The battle truly begins...
March - April 2013
"Maybe you should have told them everything," Craig said.
Him and James stood outside the Flyer, sorting through what weapons they had. Nearby Jach was sitting on the Flyer's nose, repairing the hole in the window.
"We don't have time," James shook his head. "It won't help anyway."
"No, probably not," Craig sighed. "I wish I didn't know. I mean it does explain how this planet got into this mess in the first place."
"It's likely not the only one," James added on.
Craig turned away and looked up into the cloudy sky. "Yeah... I wish you hadn't said that to me either."
James smiled. "Yeah sorry, I'll stick to being secretive."
"You do know that this plan has a really huge flaw," Craig said as he looked back.
"You mean the whole plan?" James commented.
"Nah, it's worse than that," Craig said. "They'll know you're there, like the last tower heist."
"That's why my team will just have me in it," James said.
Craig didn't look too convinced, he shook his head.
A low rumbling got their attention, they looked up into the sky to see where it came from. They couldn't see anything but clouds.
"That's the third one, that's never a good sign," Craig commented.
"I think we'd be dead already if it was what you thought it was," James said as he carried some weapons away.
Craig looked on after him, "you can't say things like that."
"I always say things like that!" James loudly said back, just before he went out of sight behind a hill.
"Yeah, that's why," Craig groaned, looking back at Jach. He looked right back at him, with a worried look on his face. "Maybe we should make the shields a priority instead."
"I like that plan a lot better," Jach commented quietly.
The starlight eclipsed onto the northern half of the barren moon, casting the rest of its surface into complete darkness. Hiding within the shadows, the USS Voyager stood inside a large crater.
On its bridge, the stations and viewscreen were the only sources of light. The room was tense, as every member of Voyager's skeletal crew were there, most of the alien trainees were trying to get their voices heard over the senior staffs'.
"This is ridiculous," Onlan complained.
"I agree, it's crazy," Sonla agreed. More voices overlapped as Stewart and Daniel also joined in with the chatter.
Tom tried to get everyone's attention by waving the flashlight in their faces, but it only aggravated them further.
"Am I the only one who likes this plan?" Kevin asked. This shut up most of the group as they stared at him in disbelief.
"It's all we've got," Stewart had said meanwhile.
"That answered that," Kevin commented, giving him a thumbs up.
Tom sighed in relief, "ok guys, now that we're quiet..." Arguments erupted into life again, making him sigh.
B'Elanna meanwhile shook her head as she worked at the Engineering station.
"Voyager's all about crazy, time to get used to it," Zare commented over the top of the trainees.
"It's easy for you to say, we're not exactly gifted in the Slayer department," Onlan said.
"I don't understand the problem, it's better than fighting to the death," L'Era wondered outloud, at the same time as Onlan.
Leesa raised her voice to be heard, it didn't work though, "we're relying on a silly theory, that's the problem."
"Why's there a sign on that girl's back?" Stewart asked, pointing at Annika. She stood at the station behind the command chairs. Jodie heard him, and she sniggered quietly to herself.
"We're expected to hold these guys off, then what? Voyager doesn't even have a Tactical station," Sonla grumbled, pointing at the rubble Tactical was in.
"My back feels funny," Annika pouted. Meanwhile Daniel was having a look to see what Stewart was talking about. Sure enough a piece of paper was attached to the back of her catsuit.
"L'Era's as right as she is hot. Before we had to fight off hordes of demons, now we've got a chance to block most of them out. Why the hissy fits?" Kevin commented.
L'Era pulled a face, "um, thanks?"
Kevin's remark angered the group even more, by then Tom had given up trying to get their attention.
Ylara's fists clenched, her eyes were closed tightly. In the dark nobody noticed these warning signs.
"Why don't we keep arguing, that'll keep the demons away," Zare grumbled.
Stewart looked around, "um, hasn't anybody noticed we're a Slayer down?"
"This is dangerous. We don't know if this shield thing will block us out too. Maybe you're ok with fighting to the death, but..." Onlan snapped at her.
Zare rolled her eyes, "you volunteered for this, Kevin and I didn't. Don't ever whine at me."
"Good point Zar," Kevin smiled approvingly.
"Ugh, typical poor me Slayer attitude," Sonla groaned.
"Oh give it a rest, she's right. You came to Voyager to do exactly this," Daniel piped in.
"What, die for some stupid haunted ship while waiting for a stupid forcefield to come on?" Onlan mockingly asked. The group once again started a yelling contest over each other.
Ylara shoved Onlan out of her way over to the command seats. He didn't dare say anything to her though. Only Annika noticed as she stepped on top of Chakotay's seat, then climbed on to the console.
"Hey, I'm using that," she whined. This earned her a light for Ylara kick in the shoulder, sending the ex-drone to the floor in a heap.
"Guys, really? He's our teacher," Stewart stuttered.
"I dunno about you, but I think if Voyager's the only one that can be invaded, we should just evacuate it," Onlan said. "Who's with me?" Most of the trainees didn't look too sure, Sonla seemed to agree though.
"Then they'll follow us to the Leda, and finish the job. Meanwhile the bad guys get a ship that can open a door to demon dimensions," Zare muttered. "Ligod and Wesley sure picked a bright bunch."
"I'm sure he didn't go on the training mission," Stewart muttered to himself.
"It's better than dying for some scrap of metal," Sonla commented. A phaser fire hit directly in front of her feet, startling her and the others backwards two metres. They all looked to the source.
"If you're quite finished bitching about something that's going to happen anyway, maybe you should go back to your poles," Ylara grunted, still pointing a phaser at the group.
"Posts love," Kevin corrected her.
Ylara's eyes looked up, then rolled to the left. "Whatever." She fired the phaser at his feet too, he stared at her bewilderedly. "Call me that again, and I won't miss."
"Ok, check. The lady's right," Kevin nervously said.
"That's it? If we don't want to fight, we have to?" Onlan stammered.
"You were OK with it when you thought you'd be dealing with lots of demons, weren't you? If it doesn't work, what difference does it make? If it works, there will be less of them," Ylara pointed out.
Tom sighed, "that's what I've been trying to say for ten minutes, but OK, listen to the scary girl with the phaser."
B'Elanna pouted her bottom lip out, nodding in agreement, "seems reasonable to me."
"I guess," Tom said as he headed to her station. "How's it coming?"
"Good news is, we have enough power to secure Deck Thirteen and us when this happens, or Deck Thirteen and Engineering. Whichever you prefer," B'Elanna replied.
Tom frowned, "I'd have asked for the bad news first if I had a choice." He leaned forward to rest his arm on the back of her chair.
"The bad news is our Security/Slayer volunteers will still need to keep our guests from getting too far, for a short time," B'Elanna said. "It wouldn't have made sense to say that part first."
"So again, no real difference to before," Ylara commented. Her eyes narrowed at the trainees, daring them to say anything. She jumped back down to join them. "Right?"
"Right," B'Elanna said with one shoulder shrug. "It shouldn't be long, a couple of minutes."
The opps station beeped. "We're being hailed, audio only," Jodie said. "It's the Leda."
"We should make it quick. We don't want our stalkers to trace our whereabouts," Tom said to himself. "Let's hear it."
Everyone on the bridge cringed as all they could hear was loud static. A voice tried to break the surface, clearing it up a little bit. "You better still be alive Paris, Voyager's getting old, you know."
Tom straightened up, then looked back at the group at the centre of the bridge. "Chakotay, I didn't think you cared that much. We're flattered."
"I assume that because you're still trying to be sassy, there are no demons trying to stick swords in you."
"Not yet," Tom whispered to himself. Jodie meanwhile sniggered again as she watched Annika try to reach the sign on her back.
"We can't keep chatting, Chakotay. If they detect our communications..." B'Elanna warned.
"I'll remember not to care next time. What happened?"
Tom sighed, "we escaped for now. B'Elanna's working on something. You guys should be safe though."
"Yes, you said that before. Next you'll be telling me that you're a bearable guy who everyone always wants to hang out with."
Tom pulled a face, "I am." He glanced back at B'Elanna. "Why are you blaming me, it wasn't my vision. I assumed the Leda was intact in it. We must have changed something."
"Yes, beaming the entire crew onto the Leda. That oughta put a new target sign on us."
"My back feels funny," Annika commented, scrunching up her nose. She made one last attempt, this time grabbing the paper. "I don't get it," she said as she read it. "Yes I'm Jessie, you can still stab here... what?"
"Damn," Jodie sighed. "Worth a try."
"Maybe you should quickly tell us what B'Elanna's doing, we may need it," Harry's voice piped in.
"Actually you won't, you..." Annika started to explain.
"I assume Annika's taken Jessie's death spot, that's the best plan I've heard in a while," Chakotay butted in.
Annika pouted, "meanie." Her eyes widened, "wait, what?"
"She's right. They can only open these on Voyager," Tom explained. "They use Deck Thirteen as a sort of conduit, you know between us and demon palooza."
"Yes, I got it at conduit," Chakotay's voice grunted.
"If B'Elanna's plan works, all we really need to worry about is fighting off the aliens," Tom explained. "Getting them all may take a while."
"If we knew the Leda was completely safe, we'd have been able to help with that."
Tom sighed, "just let it go." He made the gesture to cut him off. Jodie nodded and smiled. "All right, I think now that we're all caught up, we should get to our positions."
Most of the trainees stared darkly at him. He tried not to let it get to him, or show in his face.
"If you'd prefer I can tell B'Elanna to forget all about the shield. You seemed a lot happier then," he finally said in a stern voice. This took everyone by surprise. The more vocal trainees began to head for the turbolifts, lost for words now.
Kevin patted him on the arm, "our boy's grown a pair, it's about time."
Tom ruined it by rubbing his arm, "um, ow."
Meanwhile Zare walked the last few trainees to the second turbolift, she put an arm out to stop L'Era. "If any of them panic or get a change of heart..."
"Slap them?" L'Era joked.
Zare smirked back at her briefly. "Tempting but no. Forget what I said before, just let them go. Yeah they volunteered to be Slayers and help us out, but unlike Kevin, Ylara and I; they can quit anytime."
L'Era silently thanked her with a smile, she turned to join the others.
"Zare, wakey wakey!" Kevin called her, waving like an idiot.
Zare rolled her eyes and then headed back to the centre of the bridge. Now only Ylara, Kevin and Daniel were left. Tom soon joined them, as well as Zare.
"We don't know for sure if they'll open the portals in the same place. There's no reason to assume they would anyway," Tom said, ending with a sigh.
"Apart from Thirteen," Zare commented.
"Typically the only place we know for sure, will be protected first," Tom said.
Kevin looked serious for once in a long time. "What if it doesn't work, it won't be. Maybe one of us should be there, just in case."
"Annika," almost everyone suggested. She pouted.
"Ok, ideally I'd want a team on every deck that's not protected right away," Tom said, looking at Kevin. "If the shield works anyway. If it doesn't, I'd prefer the most vital areas of the ship were protected. As we're short handed..."
"You want us to cover those sections," Zare said.
Tom nodded, "right. Obviously that will be Engineering, if we decide to protect the Bridge first, and vice versa. Deck Thirteen's definitely a yes, Kevin. Sickbay, just in case. I can trust that we can keep the solo Slayer teams, so you guys should be the ones to guard these areas. Daniel, your trainees job is to only cover the ground in between."
"Oh, they're mine now, are they?" Daniel sighed.
"I know you're worried about the warp core, but I think priority should be the bridge. The battle will be outside as well as in, and we know they try to get onto the bridge from the vision, likely to stop you destroying their ships," Zare suggested.
Tom nodded. "I thought so too. I was just concerned we're boarded by intelligent demons, like the ones from ten years ago, or the aliens... they'll try to gain control of our systems."
Ylara sighed, "there were none like that. They just wanted to kill as many as they could."
"We've still got to assume they want Voyager intact for something," B'Elanna pointed out. "Or they'd just attack us normally. Even though their ships could be destroyed in one hit, there's no telling how much damage they'll do while we're picking them off."
"Still, Zare's right... we need the bridge done first. Zare, can you take Deck Five, Ylara and Kevin, one of you at Deck Thirteen, just in case. I'll leave which up to you," Tom ordered. "Daniel, I'd pick whatever team was the most whiny to join."
Kevin turned to Ylara and Zare, "after you ladies." Zare stared at him with a bemused look, Ylara not so much. "What, you're not a lady? Poor Lena." Ylara responded as he expected, her fist flew into his cheek. She then marched towards a turbolift.
"Whiny? I'm sure you'd complain in their place," Daniel smirked at him. Tom was about to complain but he quickly raised his hand. "I'm still on your side, the shield's a good idea."
"Even when you're being nice, you still have that slimy flirter voice. You do know that, right?" Zare laughed towards Kevin as she went to follow Ylara.
Kevin's eyes widened, "slimy? Huh, that explains a lot." He quickly followed as well.
"How did you even come up with it anyway?" Daniel asked in B'Elanna's direction.
B'Elanna sighed deeply, "well..." The Red Alert siren interrupted her, everyone's faces drained of their colour. "Battle stations, Commander?"
Tom quickly rushed to the helm, "yes ma'am." He quickly flipped a few switches, then kept his hand on standby over the lever. "Jodie, what you got?"
"Opps," Jodie tried to joke, but her nervous voice betrayed her a little. "The energy signature that followed us before has entered orbit. They're coming straight for us."
"Straight for the moon, or directly us? I don't want to risk taking off if..." Tom muttered.
"Us," Jodie quickly interrupted "They'll be on top of us in five minutes."
"I guess that is my cue then," Tom said to himself.
Voyager made its presence on the dark moon known with the activation of its hull lights. It lifted up off the surface, the landing struts retreated back into the hull.
Meanwhile the blue energy orb appeared from a flash of light, and zoomed straight over to the moon. Within seconds the tiny silver ships shot out of it in different formations.
Tom watched the viewscreen, his clammy stressed hands still on the controls. All they could see at the moment was the black in front of them.
"Thirty seconds," Jodie stuttered.
Tom acknowledged with just a nod. "Here we go." His hand pushed the lever forward, pushing the ship forward. Everyone else's attention was half on the viewscreen.
The silver ships reached the moon. A few formations remained where they were, two broke off. They skimmed the moon's thin atmosphere and followed it down to where Voyager's old hiding place was.
Unknown to them Voyager was doing the same thing, but going in the opposite direction.
The viewscreen showed the tail end of the attacking ships. Tom smirked to himself, "fire."
B'Elanna smiled too as she pressed the appropriate commands.
Voyager charged its phaser array. Just as they were about to overtake their attackers, it fired short bursts at each ship, destroying them instantly. The starship then rolled onto its starboard side, flying straight towards the remaining ships.
Jodie gripped the Opps station so tightly her knuckles turned red. "I never liked this part."
B'Elanna shrugged, "it's the best part, I say."
"Jodie!" Tom warned her.
"Right, twenty kilometres," Jodie stammered. "Any closer and they'll..."
"B'Elanna, get as many as you can," Tom commanded, his hand holding the control stick tightly.
Jodie started to panic as the ships and energy ball got closer. "Fifteen!"
"Now," B'Elanna said in Tom's direction.
The alien ships began to power up their beam from before. Voyager curved its flight path upward, firing off a lot more of their short phaser bursts. Once the starship had completed half of a loop it straightened up to fly away. The remaining alien ships, which were still in their hundreds, chased after them.
Voyager continued firing as they closed in on them.
"There's still too many of them," B'Elanna reported.
Tom for once didn't seem worried. "We've given ourselves more time, we're ready."
Jodie watched uneasily as the alien ships were back on the screen, overtaking them, then turning around to face them. They fired the blue beam in their direction. The ship shuddered as it was forced to a standstill.
"If it gets too much, we'll just warp away again," Tom commented with his trademark chirpy smile.
B'Elanna shook her head. "I hope you don't like having shields." She looked over to Jodie, "I've transferred weapons control to you now, go nuts."
"Go nuts is good advice," she stuttered.
The intruder alert siren rang around the bridge. The new Tactical station also beeped madly. "Faint energy signature on Deck Thirteen." The station made even more noise. "Now Decks Eleven, Nine, Five, and One."
Jodie and Tom both swung their heads around to her direction. "How long?" Tom stammered.
Jodie's head darted around the bridge. "I don't see anything."
"They'll be tiny, don't panic," B'Elanna said.
Tom pressed a button on the left side of his station. "Paris to all hands. Zare stay on your deck, whoever took Engineering ditto. Whoever's left, report to Deck Nine."
B'Elanna's station beeped again, "wait!"
"Oh god, it's not working," Jodie stammered.
"Not that, another energy signature, Deck Three," B'Elanna reported.
"Did you hear that? Split up the trainee team and get Deck Three covered as well as Nine," Tom ordered.
B'Elanna quickly worked at her station. "They're getting bigger, we should have enough power now."
Once again most of the camp were in a heated argument. The two remaining aliens sat halfway up the hill, discussing the situation a lot quieter.
Craig had enough, he got up to walk in James' direction. He was back to keeping a lookout, this time from the trees.
"Next they'll be arguing over which of the rations pieces they want," he grumbled. With a heavy sigh he dropped into a seating position right next to James. "Honestly."
James' attention was still away from the camp, he shrugged to show he was listening though. "Still figuring out who's going to which death trap?"
"I made the mistake in suggesting leaving just one behind to finish the Flyer," Craig said, ending with a groan. "I don't think she'll fly in time, but if we can get transporters or communications on at least..."
"Tell them if they don't figure it out who stays, we will," James said.
Craig managed a slight smirk, he looked up to the sky. "Well I thought about telling them that Voyager might drop out of the sky, on top of them, would be an incentive. Is that going too far?"
James turned his head, and looked down at him. "No," he answered simply, then smirked back.
"Good. I still think it should be one of us, I mean to decide who goes where," Craig said.
"I'd have picked Jach to stay if we left it up to me," James said, turning back to the trees.
"After he got kidnapped the last time we, or rather I left him?" Craig shook his head. "Nathan was an Engineer wasn't he?"
"On the Leda," James muttered with a shrug. "Besides we need as many fighters as we can get, and Jach isn't cut out for it."
"You used to say that about me... or somebody did," Craig pointed out.
"True, but we don't have years to wait for Jach," James said as he turned back to look down at him. "You were whinging before about needless arguments."
Craig sighed before climbing back to his feet. "I know. This is why you left it up to them. We can't ever agree on anything."
"No, I didn't feel comfortable ordering some people to go on a possibly suicidal mission," James said.
"You just didn't want Nathan to get his butt handed to him, and then get yours given to you when Jess found out," Craig smirked.
James shrugged, "that too."
"I'll tell you what. I'll give them five minutes to decide on their own. If they don't, I'll nominate Jach for repair duty," Craig said.
"I thought you didn't agree with me," James commented.
Craig raised his shoulders and hands slightly, "you sometimes can be right."
James frowned as he turned his head away again. His attention went towards some trees in the distance; their branches were swaying.
"I don't mean about Jach. Nathan can fix, and guard himself if needs be. Also Jessie won't be mad at you," Craig explained to him. He hadn't noticed that he wasn't listening to him. "You were just right weeks back, when you said I just like to disagree with you." He then noticed he was talking to himself. "Erm hello? I'm kinda admitting something, which is pretty big of me."
James looked back, "what?"
Craig groaned, then placed a hand across his face. "I was apologising for some of our arguments, kinda."
"Kinda?" James said with a raised eyebrow.
"Well I didn't say the actual word," Craig said with a shrug. The trees nearby rustled, but only James noticed. "I may have if you had been listening."
"Have you got a weapon on you?" James asked.
Craig groaned, "jeez, I'm trying to be the bigger man here..."
"Ok you're sorry, you're forgiven. Guard," James quickly said, before rushing off into the wilderness.
Craig sighed as he raised his phaser rifle to his chest. "That only lasted about five seconds."
James approached a clearing, so he slowed down to a walk. He looked around at every tree surrounding him, to see any signs of movement. In the corner of his eye a shadow darted between a distant tree, and a one nearby.
A figure walked slowly up behind him as his attention was dead ahead. As soon as his arm was grabbed, he used his other arm to elbow the person behind him. The figure ducked down to their knees, avoiding the hit entirely. Just as James quickly swung around to face his attacker, they charged forward to grab him around the waist. His eyes widened just in time to have the attacker's full strength throw them both to the ground.
He swore he heard another second person; a familiar man's laughter as his attacker jumped back onto her feet.
"Good thing you decided against flipping me over your shoulder, huh?"
James got back on to his feet almost as quick as he left them, his face still looked bewildered.
"I had an idea how to block that anyway," Jessie said with a mischievous smile on her face. "That'll teach you, that's not how you greet your wife, is it?"
James didn't say anything, his face said it all. He walked over, put his arm around her waist and kissed her. They either ignored or didn't hear the disgusted cough from nearby.
Jessie smiled once he let her go. "That's much better."
"Not for us bystanders," a familiar voice grunted in disgust. "It's a bit early to be making the next kid, isn't it?"
Jessie scowled as James turned around to face what she was looking at. Damien stood next to the tree James had saw the shadow run to earlier. He then looked back at her, "what's he doing here? What did you do to deserve that?"
"What I didn't do would be a better question," Jessie commented, shaking her head.
"Can you go back to beating him up, that was hilarious," Damien sniggered.
"I thought the laughing was annoyingly familiar," James said, turning back Damien's way. Damien shrugged, still smirking. "But really, why are you two here?"
"Aaaw, is your pride just as sore as your ass. Man, I wish I filmed it," he laughed to himself. He then got disgusted, "I could have done without the make out part though."
Jessie shook her head while James just raised his eyebrow. "You should be asking why are you three here?"
"Three?" James frowned. Damien was meanwhile shoved out the way by an arm from behind the tree. James' eyes widened when he saw the owner of the arm step into sight.
"Hey, long time no see," Kiara said with a small smile.
"Kiara? When..." James looked back at Jessie, with an uneasy look on his face. "This isn't good," he quietly said to her.
"She knows, your mum part of it at least," she whispered back. "As for the other part, didn't ask."
"Bored again," Damien yawned. "Where are the other idiots?" He was about to wander off but Kiara grabbed his arm. "You're right, you're all the same."
"Let him, but keep an eye on him. I may as well catch James up," Jessie said.
Damien scoffed, "is that the code words for make out more? Gross." Kiara pulled a face at him, she walked off towards the camp, dragging him with her.
"I'm amazed he's still alive," James commented.
Jessie sighed, "me too, though he was useful in getting here. Where do I start?"
Meanwhile Craig noticed the other pair heading towards him, but the shade obscured his sight a little. He spotted Kiara, his eyes went wider than James' did earlier, then lowered his rifle. However when he saw Damien behind her, he raised it half way up.
"What the?" was all he could muster.
"Hi Craig. Dare I ask?" Kiara said once she reached him.
"Yeah, no... I'm fine. What are you doing here?" Craig stammered.
"Finished my training," Kiara shrugged.
"And him?" Craig asked, pointing the rifle in Damien's direction.
"Saving their asses, you're welcome," Damien grumbled. "What am I reduced to?"
Craig turned half way around, "we should go back to the camp. What happened to James?"
"The witch knocked him flat, it was funny," Damien commented. He got away from Kiara, then walked passed Craig.
Craig side stepped a few times, then stopped his path with the rifle. "You mean Annika, yeah she can do that to anyone, all she needs to do is jump in front of you." Kiara laughed behind her hand, while Damien stared at him looking disgusted.
"Didn't you think the smooching grossed me out enough!" he snapped. Ignoring the rifle he headed into the camp. Craig sighed, and let him.
"Don't worry, it's not Annika," Kiara smiled.
"Yeah, I got that at smooching," Craig commented. "Nobody's that crazy."
The remaining trainees and the aliens had meanwhile surrounded Damien. Craig and Kiara spotted this, they took their time to go over.
"Identify yourself!" one of the aliens yelled, brandishing their rifle.
"Oh another one for an autograph," Damien gushed, waving his hand like he was swatting flies away. "I'm the thing darkness is afraid of, the controller of worlds, for I am..." Craig swatted him across the head with his spare hand, he cradled his head afterwards. "Ow, you fool. You ruined my speech."
"Exactly," Craig smiled.
Shar marched over to stand in front of him. "What's going on? Is Voyager in orbit, and who's the kid?"
"The kid can talk you know, take it easy," Craig snapped at her. Shar didn't back down, the other trainees however backed off and sat back down. "She's with us."
"I'm not, by the way," Damien smirked.
Shar stared at Kiara, "well?"
"Kiara," she answered simply. "You?"
Shar scoffed, "helpful."
Craig pulled her to one side, she snatched her arm back. "She's James' niece, have some respect."
"I don't give him any," she remarked.
Nathan overheard, so he got back up and headed over to Kiara. "Hey, I'm Nathan. Jessie's brother."
Kiara frowned, "another missing sibling? How many's that now?"
"Two, but I'm the best one," Nathan smirked. It quickly left his face, "wait speaking of, where is James?"
"Damien and Kiara aren't our only visitors," Craig replied.
Right on cue, James and Jessie returned. Nathan quickly went over to them.
"Long story," Jessie sighed. "One I've already told."
Nathan shrugged, "shame, maybe later then."
Shar walked over to the three. "Maybe we can hear the shortened version."
"Suit yourself, but it's only going to spoil the full one," Nathan remarked. Shar cast him a dirty look, he just smiled back.
"Um ok. Kidnapped by shapeshifters, Kiara appeared, we escaped, you were the closest," Jessie explained badly. She shrugged too, "we couldn't find Voyager, so..."
Worry appeared on Craig's face. "Wait, what about the Leda?"
"We tried to contact them, but... we were too far. Like I said, here is closer," Jessie replied.
"It doesn't matter. We can't exactly help anyone anyway," Shar muttered, she walked back in the direction of the shuttle.
"Yes we can," James said. "We have more people now, and another ship in our possession." Everyone but Damien looked over at him. "In half an hour, we head for the towers."
"And save the world," Nathan grinned. Most of the group cringed at this.
Damien stared at him in disgust. "Oh god, how did this happen? I was a villain, now I'm with the cheesy heroes. Somebody kill me." Everyone then looked at him, smiling. "Ugh!"
Kevin stood armed with a large axe in one hand, and a tricorder in the other. Directly in front of him was a blue light, almost the same size as his head. The tricorder beeped just before it flashed, then enlarged to two metres wide.
"Um, I'm assuming the shield's not working, yes?" he said, flipping the tricorder closed.
He shook his head, then quickly put the tricorder into his pocket. "Easy for you to say. The trainees will be peeing in their pants by now."
"It might scare the demons away then. How big is it now?"
"Let's just say if Junior keeps up this growth spurt, we won't have a ship to put a shield in," Kevin answered. He backed off a metre, then stood ready for whatever was going to come out of it.
The rift flashed briefly a few times, so Kevin backed off again just in time. He didn't get far as he backed into, or rather through a forcefield. "Huh? I have to say, I'm a little disappointed."
Tom shook his head, "don't be. Stay there until something comes out, we won't know until then."
B'Elanna smiled, "forcefield online around the bridge." She looked towards the Ready Room, "just don't go in there, hmm Tom."
Tom looked back, "Engineering next? Or should we put our trainees on Three and Nine safety first?"
"If this works the way I predicted, it shouldn't matter. Once all of them are putting out the same amount of energy, the fields will go up instantly, as soon as they're all clear anyway," B'Elanna replied.
"It's still all down to our Slayers and wanna-not-be's," Tom commented.
The doors opened, Ylara rushed in holding sharp weapons in both hands.
"Like I knew where Engineering was," she muttered. Then she noticed the same two metre wide portal Kevin had saw on Thirteen. It sat halfway between her and the warp core. She tapped her commbadge quickly, "Bridge?"
"There's still not enough power, standby."
"If I understand correctly, that could be a problem," Ylara said as she closed in on the rift. "This one is close to your engine. If it expands another five, six metres... we're dead."
"You're telling us now? We could have..."
"Tom... we would have had demons crawling on the Bridge if we did Engineering first. Don't worry, it should be enough before then. Just make sure no demons get too far from the portal. If they do, we'll have to activate the field anyway, whatever gets caught in it with you..."
"Yes, I know," Ylara butted in. "They won't get past me."
The group were now cramped inside the back room of the Delta Flyer. Whilst everyone were discussing the situation, Jach and Nathan were working on a station at the side.
"Sounds like fun," Jessie commented.
"Yeah, it would be if those two could get the transporters working," Craig sighed. He looked back at them. "Otherwise we're vent crawling again."
Damien smiled deviously, everyone in the group groaned in response. "Perhaps I should ditch you losers and look up their Slayer making techniques. It would be glorious."
James raised an eyebrow, "I don't think that would work on rabbits." Jessie elbowed him and gave him a dirty look. "Ok, are you going to stop beating me up sometime today?"
"Don't give him any ideas," she hissed in response.
Damien meanwhile was staring into the ceiling, his eyes were glazed over. "Rabbits! Of course. Super strong rabbits. My army would be feared across the galaxy."
"How would these super strong rabbits fight? They have no thumbs and I doubt they know how to kick and punch," Nathan sniggered while reaching for a tool.
"You underestimate them, that would be your only mistake," Damien sneered.
Jessie shuddered violently, "anyway!"
"Sorry," James whispered to her. "I thought it would be better than super strong Justin Timberlake or Riker clones."
"Hmph yeah, it's ok. We're even for the tackle earlier," Jessie whispered back.
"As if!" Damien scoffed.
"Yes anyway... we should divide into teams. As someone suggested before, we'll each have two teams per tower," Craig said.
Nathan smiled proudly, "my idea."
Damien rolled his eyes, "I remember saying that you wouldn't be able to destroy those big towers with one bomb, imbecile."
"Yet I remember saying first that we should have a fail safe, just in case a team in a tower is delayed or stopped," Nathan smugly said.
"Which brings me back to the one bomb part. Maybe you should have three teams, I'll lead one," Damien said. Everyone stared blankly at him, even the aliens who didn't know him.
"Wasting time again," James said. Craig nodded, he was going to say the same thing.
"You're damn right for once," Damien groaned. "As soon as we transport in, they'll detect us. It's a shame. You goodie two shoes aren't as sneaky as I am."
"Can we throw him in one of those vents and leave him?" Craig asked.
"What do you suggest then?" James dared to ask.
Damien smiled, "it would be best if I did it, instead of wasting my time explaining it. It would go way over your head."
"Really? So it's got nothing to do with matching the transporter energy frequency to one of the towers', so they think it's one of their own," James muttered.
Damien looked behind him, then he looked back. "Like I'd use a infantile move like that. Just let me sort the transporters, you'll be amazed." He headed over to join Jach and Nathan, much to their obvious delight. Nathan immediately leapt to his feet, leaving poor Jach underneath the console.
"In that case, I'll give the communications another tweak," he said.
"That I'm an expert in too," Damien boasted.
"You're an expert in talking, shocker," Shar commented.
Nathan coughed into his hand, "hypocrite."
"Transporters are still top priority," Craig said.
Jach moaned, but it sounded muffled to everyone. James shook his head. "Maybe the genius should take the communications."
"That's probably the worst idea since going one on eight with badass aliens," Nathan commented. His eyes widened when he realised what he said.
Jessie's meanwhile narrowed, "eight?"
"Yeah Craig!" Nathan pretended to scold in Craig's direction. He rushed over to rejoin Jach. "Hey, take a break. My turn," he stuttered while he nudged Jach's leg.
"All right," Jach complained as he shuffled out.
James couldn't stop smirking, obviously he was trying not to laugh. "We couldn't stop him."
"Uh huh," Jessie didn't believe a word. "I'm impressed that Craig managed to survive against eight super strong enhanced aliens."
Nathan meanwhile had taken Jach's place, he stared at him with a bemused look on his face.
Damien snorted with laughter before going towards a different console. "Wow Slayer boy is so whipped, he's even got the brother in law too."
Jessie half rolled her eyes. "It's not the eight aliens I'm annoyed about. It's the involving my brother in a lie about the four aliens."
James looked Nathan's way, who was now humming in an innocent way. "Anyway, has everyone picked their teams yet?" Most of the group nodded, Nathan continued to hum.
"I had a phaser rifle, I could have. It's not that funny," Craig muttered to himself. He noticed everyone looking at him, "yeah yeah, I'm teamed."
"The transporters should be fixed, we just need to route more power to it," Jach said.
Damien tried to work one console when it suddenly went off. Jach pulled a nervous face.
"Yeah, we agreed on doing that after I warned him."
Nathan pulled his head out briefly, "but you did."
Jach cleared his throat nervously. "Once we transport the teams in, we'll restore power back to communications."
"We'll? I'm not missing this," Nathan smiled. Jessie smiled back at him, not in a nice way. His eyes widened and he returned to the safety of the console. "Jeez, I tried to stop him."
"Just remember, we can't beam you straight into the target areas. There's nothing near them to mask the transporter signature," Jach said.
Kiara sighed, "yup, this will be fun."
"Wait, wait. Jach's bodyguard this time will be Damien?" Craig stuttered. "Nothing is worse than this plan."
James walked over to Jach, who didn't seem particularly happy with what Craig had said. He handed the young trainee a phaser. "If he tries anything, it's on kill." Jach's eyes widened just as he caught sight of Damien in the corner of his eye, smiling deviously.
"Um, just wondering. What if we can't reach Voyager because they're, you know, too busy?" Kiara questioned.
"Or dead," Damien gleefully added on. Everyone stared at him instead. "God you people have no sense of humour."
The Thirteen rift fluctuated, it now looked half the size it was before. Two fierce looking figures ran out of it. A third one tried to follow them, but seemed to get trapped within it.
Kevin swung his axe around him, slicing at the demons throwing themselves at him. The newer two lunged forward to grab him from behind. Kevin swung around to punch one of them back, the other got a hit in. He quickly grabbed its arm, then pushed it hard into the nearby wall, but not hard enough to damage the wall.
The first to attack swung some deadly looking claws at his chest, but Kevin only saw this at the corner of his eye. He decided to duck, and it slashed him across the face instead. He responded by kicking the demon in its side, as hard as he could. The force threw it across into the forcefield. It screeched as the field burned him, seconds later he disintegrated.
Meanwhile the third one also screamed as the rift fluctuated again. He disappeared as well.
The last remaining demon stared towards the forcefield, then at Kevin. Instead of going to Kevin, it decided to go back to the portal.
"Oh no you don't," Kevin muttered. He grabbed a hold of it by the neck. "We've gone to a lot of trouble to welcome you guys, the least you can do is..." It elbowed him in the ribs, but he kept a tight hold of him. Annoyed that he had interrupted him, Kevin threw him to the side and into the forcefield. "Welcome to Voyager." He tapped his commbadge, "Bridge, Thirteen's clear."
"Good job, join the trainees, they'll need a hand."
"Check," Kevin said. He made his way towards the forcefield. Unlike the demons he went through it unharmed, and headed for the turbolift.
The rift was dangerously close to the warp core, but it wasn't the only one. One demon held Ylara against the console around it. As it did, three more of them appeared through the rift. One of them went for her, while the other two looked towards the door.
"I'm getting real sick of..." she grunted. Her hand grabbed a hold of the railing so tightly, it cracked. The demon was too busy trying to hold her down to notice this. Quick as a flash, she pulled away a metre of the metal railing, and swiped it across the head of the demon. It stumbled back into the others, knocking two of them back into the rift. The remaining two looked a bit worried at her, she meanwhile knelt down to pick up one of her dropped swords.
"Bridge, I'd put that shield between the portal and engine now, if I were you. More will come soon."
"You heard her," Tom sighed.
"I'll have to use the energy from the other rifts to get Engineering's up first," B'Elanna said.
"I hope everyone else are fine then," Tom thought outloud.
B'Elanna looked back towards the Ready Room, "Deck One's portal has been completely drained, it's gone."
"Thirteen's?" Tom questioned.
B'Elanna shook her head, "it's tiny. The forcefield got enough power from it to protect Thirteen and some of Twelve."
"If we can get that one closed, the others should go too," Tom reminded himself.
B'Elanna smiled to herself, "forcefield established on Deck Eleven. Ylara's going to have to stay there, but the portal shouldn't grow further to hurt the core."
"You hear that? Make sure nothing leaves Engineering until the portal closes," Tom ordered.
"Yes, I heard you." The comm beeped to show she'd tapped her commbadge again.
"I'll work on Nine and Three now," B'Elanna said.
"This is actually very clever, for you guys. It does seem more like the rabbit nut's work though."
Ylara lay face down on the ground, blood pooling from her newly broken nose. A lone figure paced behind her, keeping a close eye on the forcefield blocking the rift's path.
"It's not going to help you." He turned around to stare down at her. "It doesn't matter how strong you, or the other two are... there are still only three of you." The figure knelt down next to her, then leaned in close to her head. "And one of me," he whispered.
Four figures rematerialised in a dark, lengthly corridor. Each one of them armed with at least one weapon, and a tricorder. After a brief glance at their surroundings, three of them headed down one way, while the fourth walked off in the other alone.
Meanwhile in a similar corridor, four more figures appeared.
"Are you sure about this, that alien still isn't named and you're a minor guest star," Jessie quietly asked.
Shar nodded while the alien looked on with his eyes wide. "It's fine, it's payback time for what these creeps have done to the others."
"It's payback no matter what team you're in, but all right," Craig commented.
Shar shrugged, "besides, my chances are better than the character whose running gag involves dying a lot."
Jessie hid her clenching fist, but obviously not her narrowing eyes. "What are we waiting for?" She headed off down the corridor, Craig also shrugged before joining her.
The alien looked worried as Shar headed off in the other direction, he followed her. "My name is Foddra."
"What?" Shar muttered.
"I'm named now, my chances have gone up," the alien said.
"Yes I'm sure, Fodder," Shar commented as she turned the corner.
"No, Foddra," Foddra corrected her. She shook her head.
Things were a lot more hectic on Deck Three. The portal had taken up the entire corridor, the walls were charring from its edges and a computer panel was sparking out of control. There were five visitors against Daniel and two injured trainees; it wasn't going well.
Daniel stabbed one of his attackers in the gut, quickly ducking the second one's hit. It shoved him hard onto the ground. Without any effort from it, Daniel could only struggle as it savagely beat at him.
One demon had chosen Onlan to attack, he was pinned to the wall and was receiving similar treatment as Daniel.
The fifth demon had only just emerged from the portal, whilst the fourth was claw versus sword fighting with Leesa. The fifth took advantage of the clear path ahead of him, and ran down the corridor.
"No!" Daniel grunted as he blocked one hit.
Leesa blocked another claw attack. With her other hand she pointed a small phaser towards the wall. It fired, destroying the wall panel. The blast smashed the demon in the face, knocking him clean backwards.
"Leesa!" Onlan yelled, he tried to push his attacker from him.
The other demon was quicker, it swung its not blocked claw into her chest. Before she dropped, Leesa made one last attempt to swipe at him back. It only knocked him back. It turned its attention to Onlan.
"Son of a..." Daniel grumbled. Whilst the demon continued to use him as a punch bag, he tried to reach the phaser Leesa had dropped.
Onlan meanwhile made one last attempt to push his attacker from him, but then he saw Leesa's opponent coming for him too, brandishing its bloody claw. It got ready to swing, but it stopped to screech horribly. It looked down to see a burning hole in its stomach. Onlan's eyes widened as the hole was so deep, he could see right through it. The other demon looked back as well, so he quickly elbowed it, then swung a long dagger at its throat.
The last demon by now had Daniel up into the air, using only one hand. Its other hand grabbed the phaser in his hand, but Daniel wasn't letting go of it anytime soon.
Onlan quickly got away from his attacker as it reacted to its new wound. It growled before charging straight for him. He had no choice but to leap out of its way. Lucky for him its charging path lead him straight into a forcefield. It screamed horribly as it burned him out of existence.
"Phew, about time," Onlan sighed. He quickly checked to see if there were any signs of life in Leesa. Clenching his teeth, he made a growl of his own when he could find none. His attention then went to Daniel.
He had meanwhile kicked the attacker in the jaw, it was enough to get it to loosen its grip on him. He tumbled to the ground. Onlan grabbed a weapon that had been dropped on the floor, he threw the sword as hard as he could towards the demon's neck. He was disappointed when only the handle bumped into the back of its head, and dropped on the floor.
"It's not as easy as it looks," Daniel coughed through his sore throat. "Old fashioned works ok, got it?"
Onlan nodded, "sure."
The demon looked back at him, obviously not happy about the bump on the head. Daniel then aimed his sword and charged forward. It heard this, quickly turning to block. Onlan then picked up the sword he threw to do the same. It smacked Daniel across the face, knocking him flying back into the wall. It did not have time to evade Onlan's attack.
"We should get to the other side," Onlan said, gesturing to the shield. He then went over to help Daniel back to his feet, then dragged him to the forcefield. Daniel struggled then, forcing Onlan to let go. Daniel still had to hold the wall for support.
"No, we still have to defeat any demons that come through until they can't anymore. They may return to tell others about the shield," Daniel said.
Onlan frowned angrily in Leesa's direction, then at him. "In case you haven't noticed, we're not in any state to defend anything now. We're going."
Craig looked over as much as he could despite his current predicament. "I did warn you," he croaked.
Only a few metres away Jessie lay flat on her back, breathing heavily. Her face cringed as she pulled herself up into a sitting, then kneeling position. "Well it worked on James, didn't it?"
The arm holding Craig in the tight headlock tightened a little, he tried to push his body weight towards the wall but his attacker was not budging. "I have one thing to say to that."
Jessie rubbed her back as she stood back up. "What?"
"Gross," Craig grunted.
Jessie pulled a disgusted face. "Ugh, that's not my fault you went there!" Craig's face went a little red as the alien's grip tightened. Jessie sighed, she quickly picked up her rifle to aim it towards the pair. Craig's eyes widened as she did.
"Um, that's on a very high stun," he stammered. It was too late to object though as she fired. Both the alien and Craig fell backwards to the floor. Despite being unconscious, the alien still had a firm hold on him.
Jessie shrugged as she walked over to them. "You're welcome."
"Uh huh. Maybe if you hadn't have tackled the alien, I may not have..."
"Do I have to say it again?" Jessie said with a smile. She knelt down to try to pull the alien's arms away from Craig, he tried to do the same. "Nobody said these super aliens were stronger than..."
"They're not. He still took out eight or maybe more of them," Craig groaned once he was free. With a grunt he climbed to his feet. "Wait, you didn't? Never tell me."
"It wasn't rude, ok. I think he thought I was some alien about to attack him. Now can we go?" Jessie grumbled. She continued down the corridor, Craig waited a bit before he followed her.
"So you decided to attack him anyway. Glad I don't have a wife," Craig commented. Jessie threw a glare back at him. Luckily for him his tricorder beeped a few times. "The next room."
"Saved by the beep," Jessie shook her head. Her hand went inside her pocket, she brought out a small device from it. Craig stood next to the door to open it, pointing the phaser he held inside. He nodded his head. Quickly she caught up to him and went inside the small storage room. After a brief scan around she decided to stick the device on the back wall.
"Ok, two down, eight more to go."
Everything seemed peaceful outside of Engineering, the only action was the red light flashing on the wall panels.
The wall next to the door and the one parallel to it exploded, shooting smoke everywhere down the corridors.
Once the smoke started to clear, a male figure stepped out of Engineering like nothing happened. He raised his arms into the air, stretching them.
"That's better. It was getting a little cramped in there."
He looked backwards at the forcefield, which was a metre away from where he stood. The rift now was half the size it was earlier.
"Never mind. Another one should be making its way to Deck Ten. If I understand it correctly, if I'm within the area when the forcefield shoots up, I'm immune to it. Unless somehow, someone is there to keep me out of its way. Hmm."
The smoke cleared further, he could see straight ahead of him, through the new holes of the walls. His face frowned, he took a few steps forward.
What he didn't realise was a bruised and bloody Ylara stood out of his sight, behind a part of the wall that was still intact. She raised a large broken piece of metal as he approached her.
"If you're not available, who is the next closest?" the man said. "I wonder if there are any of your trainees still around to be snapped in half." He made another few steps forward.
Ylara swung herself around the corner, immediately swiping the piece of metal in his face. He grabbed it at the last second, sneering at her. She attempted to pull it back, but he kept a firm grip on it. So firm the metal broke in half.
She quickly threw a fist into his ribs, which didn't faze him at all, then aimed a quick kick to his head. Like before he blocked the attack by grabbing her. "Now Lena, you should know better than that." Her eyes widened in shock, but it was all she had time to do. With barely any effort he pushed her leg, sending her flying back. With a crash she fell through another wall, bringing it to pieces as she did.
"Deck Eleven's field has spread to Twelve, it's joined with Thirteen's," B'Elanna reported with a smile. The ship shook lightly.
Jodie shook her head, "another ship's trying to lock on."
Everyone felt the ship roll to the side. "Not a problem," Tom grinned.
"I really need to check the inertial dampers," B'Elanna commented as she clutched her station.
Tom shook his head, "it's much more fun this way. How's the other shields doing?"
"Overall, I believe 47% of the ship's protected. Deck One's portal's been drained, the forcefield is guarding all of One and Two. Three's is growing into Four, merging with Five," B'Elanna read out. "Nine is blocked, but another opened nearby."
"More power for it," Tom commented.
"Yes, but only the trainees would have been there. I informed Kevin, but he said he spotted something odd on Ten," B'Elanna said.
Tom frowned, "odd, like a portal?"
"No, it's clear," B'Elanna replied. "Also..."
Tom winced, "also's not good."
"Ylara's still on Deck Eleven. I just checked, and she hasn't moved far since we chatted to her," B'Elanna said.
The colour in Tom's face completely drained. "Does that mean?"
"The only way to know is if we heard from her, or not," B'Elanna said. "And..."
"Oooh, you've got to stop with these also's, but's and... er and's," Tom complained.
"As you wish Captain," B'Elanna smirked. "I can inform Zare, the other trainee team are out. I'd expand on that, but I'm not allowed to."
Tom sighed, "one more but or even a however, would be ok."
"Daniel's team is more or less down to one," B'Elanna replied quietly. "Daniel's injured, and another is dead."
"Damn," Tom groaned. He looked backwards at Annika. "You're an ex Borg, go to Deck Nine and help the trainees."
"But, my catsuit..." Annika stuttered.
"Is bloody awful, but what's that got to do with anything?" Jodie butted in.
Annika pouted, "it's flattering." Everyone shook their heads. "Fine, if I die, I'm haunting you!" She stormed off into the turbolift.
"If she dies permanently, I'll throw a parade," Tom commented. "I am concerned about Ylara though. How can trainees survive and she can't? Also..." He shuddered at his next thought. "I don't want to be around when Craig or Chakotay finds out."
"Why, they hate her?" Jodie commented.
"They like her body though," Tom replied. B'Elanna and Jodie both looked grossed out. "Ok, maybe just Craig does," Tom corrected himself, blushing madly. "Shut up and pilot, me."
Another small device stuck to a light fixture on the wall, while Nathan and one of the aliens stood guard at a doorway.
"I mean I get it, I have the fighting skills of Tom but I'm still better than Craig," Kiara was in the middle of ranting.
The alien frowned in confusion while Nathan just smirked to himself. "Tom?" she questioned.
"Surely he needs more bodyguards than I do," Kiara continued with a frown. She turned around to face them. "Ok, that's the fourth one. Where next?"
Nathan glanced at his tricorder. "Just three doors down, but we should..." He stepped into the room, the alien followed him. With that the door closed behind them. "Wait until our company walks passed."
"I'd say Craig was more in league with Harry, but that's a bit mean," Kiara whispered to herself.
"Really? He must have beefed up a tad since you knew him, but that's understandable," Nathan said.
"It is?" Kiara seemed confused.
The colour in Nathan's face drained. He quickly turned away to hide his widening eyes. "Well you know, he's a Security guy right, on Voyager. He had to become the grouchy pants he is now to toughen up, I assume. Shutting up."
Kiara looked on, suspicious. "Sure."
They stayed quiet for a while as they heard footsteps go by behind the door.
Once it was clear, Kiara sighed. "It's a shame. That's what I liked about him, Lena did too but she'd never admit it. He never really tried to be somebody he's not. I hope he isn't doing it to impress girls, cos it'll not work."
"I hear ya," Nathan agreed. "We should be in the clear." He rushed out of the room quickly, leaving the alien looking a bit flummoxed. She waited for Kiara to go out first.
"That was odd."
Kiara nodded as she moved for the door. "Yeah, like everything else."
Amongst the piles of rubble outside Engineering, sat a cracked commbadge covered in black dust.
"Ylara, can you hear me? We've just detected a portal opening on Deck Ten. Kevin may be there, but you're definitely the closest. Respond! Ylara?"
A large piece of metal fell from the ceiling, landing on top of the commbadge. Directly above it, there was a new hole.
Another blue orb stood in the middle of a corridor, fortunately it was still only a centimetre wide.
Just around the corner a door opened. Ylara crawled out, then used the door frame to pull herself to her feet. Her face and arms were badly bruised and cut, her clothing torn and bloody. She looked behind her before making a run for it, away from the portal.
Moments later the man who attacked her stepped out of the same door. The only visible injury he had was a deep gouge down the side of his face, starting from his eyebrow down through his eye, to his jaw. This didn't seem to bother him though, as his blood shot eye was still as wide open as his good one.
His nose raised as he sniffed the air, without hesitation he followed her.
Ylara ran up to a door. When it opened, she looked inside but decided to keep going down the corridor.
Seconds later the man reached the same door. He looked down, noticing the trail of blood leading him down the corridor. With a cold smile he followed.
Further down the corridor, another door opened. This time Ylara ran inside.
Still following the blood trail, the man reached the same door as her. It didn't open for him like it did for her.
On the other side Ylara stood looking helplessly around at the two shuttles sitting there. She eventually noticed a computer station. Before she got a chance to move the huge doors blasted inward, sending large pieces of metal flying across the shuttle bay.
Ylara ducked down to avoid getting hit by one of the bigger pieces, then ran for the station. The man saw this, he ran for it too.
Every single panel blinked in a foreign language to her. Frustrated, she went to press any button at random. The man reached her way too quickly, he grabbed her wrist to stop her.
"Oh I see, clever girl. Can't beat me, so lure me to eternal oblivion by opening the bay doors," he sneered. Ylara tried again to hit him, but he blocked her like she was nothing. "That would kill you too, such a martyr."
"It's better than listening to you," she grumbled.
"Noble or just suicidal?" the man said. "Both excellent traits for a Chosen."
"Oh... my god..." Ylara groaned. She kicked him as hard as she could, it was enough to unblock her previous attack. This time she got a punch in. "Don't you ever shut up!" she screamed at him.
The man laughed as he still had a hold of her arm. He followed this up with a punch of his own. This sent her flying backwards onto the ground.
"Is that all you're concerned about?" The man walked across to stand over her. "You're right though. Talking is wasting some of my energy, should I go all out?"
Ylara scrambled backwards, rolled herself over to climb back onto her feet. He just watched her do this, sneering at her all the way. Once she was up, he lunged forward to throw another punch. Luckily she ducked this one by leaping back onto the floor, and rolling away. His fist flew into the nearby shuttle while she ran back for the console.
"Ooops, I doubt this one's space worthy."
He smiled as she struggled to figure out the station. While watching her, he knelt down to pick up a large, sharp piece of door debris. Slowly, he made his way over to her.
"Come on, one of these must open the doors," Ylara stuttered as she pressed every single button. Eventually she got what she wanted, the doors opened. The forcefield however was still on. "Why isn't it working?"
For once the man remained silent as he went to stand behind her. Ylara swung around just in time for him to swing the piece of metal across her chest. Her eyes closed, expecting the worst, but she didn't feel anything.
"Huh, who the..." she heard the man stutter.
Ylara opened her eyes to see the back of another man directly in front of her. He collapsed to the floor a second later, blood pooling around his body.
"Hell was..." the man continued. His nose once again sniffed the air as he looked down at his victim. With a dark smile he looked back up at Ylara. "Another Chosen Slayer in my tally, hmm? One more?"
"No..." Ylara stuttered, her eyes wide in panic. With as much strength as she could muster, she pulled at the station she had worked on, ripping the huge panel off. Ignoring the sparks coming from it, she swung it as quickly as she could at the man's head. It was enough to knock him back a few metres, and through the wall.
"Ylara," a familiar voice spluttered.
Closing her eyes tightly, she knelt down next to the body. When she opened her eyes, she could barely look him in the face, all she could see was the huge gash through his torso.
"Don't fight him, run. Portal..." He coughed, then covered his mouth to stop the blood from hitting her. "Nearby... shield, will be up soon."
"Why did you do that!? You shouldn't have... why? I was supposed to be dead centuries ago!" Ylara angrily stuttered.
"So was I," Kevin managed to smile through the pain. "Go!"
Ylara looked back, she then saw the man climbing through the new hole in the wall. Ignoring the huge lump in her throat, she ran as fast as she could towards the doors.
The man looked back at Kevin as he closed his eyes, then followed Ylara's path with his own eyes. He then walked after her, his eyes filled with anger.
Shar took cover around the corner, just avoiding a phaser strike. On the opposite corner wall, Foddra aimed his own rifle at the shooter. One shot was all it took to get him down to the ground.
"Good shot," Shar admitted begrudgingly. "We'd better hurry."
"It really pains you to be nice to anyone, doesn't it?" Foddra dared to mention.
All he got for a response was a scoff. Shar then headed down the corridor.
"How long have we got?" he asked.
Shar quickly checked the tricorder in her hand without breaking her stride. "Thirty two minutes. That's more than enough time. In here." She gestured at a nearby door.
"We have a saying here. Never insult a bad event by speaking its name or by doubting it, else you can tempt its wrath," Foddra said. The door opened and he went inside.
"Is that just another way of saying; don't jinx it?" Shar asked. She shook her head, "you and Humans are too alike."
"Our version sounds better," Foddra commented once she joined him in the room.
Jessie placed one of the devices onto the wall. She got up from her knees, then moved a couple of boxes in front of it to block the view of it. Behind her Craig stood with a disappointed look on his face.
"What? I let you do the last one," she said once she saw his face.
"It's not that. This just seems almost too easy," he said.
Jessie winced a little. "I thought by now you'd know better than that."
"No offense, but the last time was only bad cos we had to climb through miles of vents, only to be caught cos we had James with us. This time, no problem," Craig said.
"What about the one that attacked you like a school bully. I thought you knew how to fight now," Jessie smirked.
Craig stared blankly in her direction for a few seconds, then he lost his temper. "I didn't rush tackle the guy only to be thrown on the floor."
Jessie tried to shush him. "Keep your knickers on will you! Are you trying to get us heard?"
"I didn't start it," Craig whispered. He turned to walk out of the room.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. In the corner of his right eye he could just see a humanoid shaped shadow staring right at him. Clutching the phaser rifle like a security blanket, he slowly turned on his heel in that direction. His eyes widened in terror as he discovered it wasn't his imagination playing tricks on him.
As if she was a part of the darkness itself, the lone figure stood at the bottom of the corridor. A lone pair of eyes stared into his soul. At least that was how it felt like to him. He didn't understand how that was the only detail he could make out when they were her darkest feature.
If that wasn't bad enough, an inhumane shriek flew from her lips. She ran right at him at a speed he'd never seen anyone run in before. He didn't have time to evade. Pain shot through his back as his body hit the ground. For only a second he was relieved to see only the ceiling straight ahead of him. Soon all he could see was her face, blocking that view. His eyes managed to get wider as the face was more terrifying than her eyes.
Jessie ran through the doors armed with both a rifle and sword, but neither helped her prepare for what she almost ran into.
The woman's head turned to stare straight at her in an almost robotic way.
"Oh my god, Jan..." Jessie stuttered, not believing what she was seeing. Before she could even raise her rifle, a hand grabbed a hold of it, snapping it in half.
Craig tried to pull himself backwards, ignoring the sharp pains nagging at him to stop. The woman raised her foot over his chest. Panicked, he threw his hands up to defend himself.
Jessie looked down at her broken rifle, then decided to swipe it at her head. It was only enough to daze the woman for a second. She swung her arm without even looking. Jessie fell backwards on to the ground, dropping what was left of the rifle and her sword.
The woman pushed her foot down. Craig's screams sent a chill down Jessie's spine. Clenching her left fist, she reached for the sword with her right.
Craig's screaming was interrupted as his attacker covered his mouth and nose with her hand. He struggled but it was no use.
She screeched instead as the blade went through her back. Jessie pulled it back out, then kicked her to the side, away from Craig.
He tried to use his hand to pull himself back up, the pain was too much and he fell back down. Jessie quickly knelt down next to him, "let me see."
Craig shook his head. "There's only one more, you should go. I'll wait here."
Jessie also shook her head, a lot more determinedly. She gently took a hold of both of his arms, "come on, get up."
"No, my hands... they're broken, I can't help," Craig said in a sorry for himself voice.
Jessie clenched her jaw as she climbed to her feet, she kept a hold of him while doing so. "I don't care, I can't carry you out, and this place will blow in twenty odd minutes. Get up!"
Craig closed his eyes in a grimace. He shook his head again. Jessie puffed her cheeks, she crouched down to move one of her hands to his shoulder. She tried to pull him up that way, but it was no use, as he wasn't trying she was pulling dead weight. She let go of his arm and shoulder to kneel next to him again. He didn't expect it but she still slapped him across the face.
"What the... aren't I injured enough?"
"Do you really want to lie there and give up? What will Lena say when you do get to where she is, huh?" she snapped.
Craig looked away from her, cringing slightly. "She'd probably kick my ass back down here." Jessie smiled, nodding slowly. With a huge sigh, he tried to sit up. She helped him by clutching his arm.
Once he was on his feet, she knelt down to pick up the rifle he dropped.
Another door opened, this time a lone figure stepped out of it. He looked to the right, then the left. His gaze lingered on the left for a while. He turned to look back to the right, the man headed in that direction, walking very quickly.
Once he was around the corner and out of sight, a second figure entered the corridor from the right corner.
The next corridor was barely visible as the only light source was a broken, flickering light right at the end. James slowed down for a moment while he switched the torch on his rifle on. His attention rushed to behind him, but even with the torch he could see nothing.
He hurried down to a T junction. As soon as he hit it, he turned left and pressed one of the small devices into the wall without stopping. Turning on his heel, he hurried down the right path instead.
"Andrews to Stuart. We've got one more to do. I just thought we should pick our rendev..."
"Shh, he may be fighting something. We don't want them hearing this," Kiara's voice butted in.
"Oooh, right. Good point."
James grimaced as Nathan's voice and even Kiara's quiet one echoed down the corridor. "She's right, now's not the best time."
"Check. If you need any help..."
"No," James quickly replied before tapping the commbadge in his pocket.
He carried on down the corridor, the sense of somebody following him drained away the further he went. At the end of the corridor stood a huge metal door. To the right of it a small vent near the floor. He knelt down to open it, then crawl inside. Quickly he put the grate back in its place before going down it. The ventway itself only lasted a few metres. Pushing away the grate on the other side, he emerged in a grubby looking office.
With a nervous sigh James walked over to the parallel wall. Using his right hand, he reached for the commbadge in his pocket. A figure casually walked up behind him.
"You know, I'm surprised they've let you get this far."
James' eyes went wide, his tried to look over his shoulder without moving his head too much. His left hand quickly reached for the blade at his side, he swung his whole body around quickly, raising the blade too. All he managed to see though was a fist flying straight for his face.
The strength of it sent him backwards, straight through the wall behind him. The figure stepped over the remains of the wall to join him again.
James started to push himself back up with his hands. His attacker grabbed a hold of his arm, then his neck, using that arm he lifted him up so he was eye level.
"It's been a while, James," he sneered.
"How?" James said so quietly it was like he only mimed it. The man's face smiled darkly. He threw his right arm up and let go. His eyes danced with mischief as his victim flew through the ceiling, out of sight. It didn't even bother him when dust and debris fell over him as a result. With a smirk he decided to wipe dust from his sleeve.
James crashed right into another ceiling, this time only cracking it heavily. He dropped back down, just missing the hole he came through by a few inches. He moved his head to the side to look down. His face grimaced as he counted four holes, and it was so dark he couldn't even see if there were anymore than that. Despite all the complaints his body gave him, he climbed back onto his feet.
With the door only a few metres away, he rushed for it. He missed a pair of hands grab the edge of the hole, but he didn't miss the man push himself up to join him. He turned around, twirling something in his hand.
"Andrews is it? Well, he did tell you he was busy. It's rude not to get the hint," he said into it.
James looked over his shoulder. His hand went straight for the door handle. The man rushed over, grabbing his hand at the last second.
"I don't think I want to ask but, who is this? So far, the enhanced aliens don't talk."
"Close, but no Slayer living. Bye," the man teased, his fingers crushed the commbadge lying in his palm. James pushed him back with his other arm, then opened the door. The man kept a tight grip on him though, he violently pulled him backwards, throwing him on to the floor like a rag doll. "Why are you trying to run away? What happened to the James I met the last time? I hope you're not in a rush, as we really do need to catch up."
James dragged himself back up. "You're dead."
"Yeah, for many, many years now," the man smirked.
"You know what I mean," James said.
The man's smirk got even more obnoxious. "I'm afraid I don't. I was even dead when you were lying in your own filth while mummy dearest, rest in peace, drank her body weight in coffee."
This made James' skin crawl, he clenched his fists and his face tightened.
"Ooh, still a touchy subject?" the man sneered at him.
"I saw you turn to dust, good thing I really want to see that again," James grumbled.
The man laughed briefly, his face immediately turned serious. "I can't believe you fell for that. Did you really think you could kill me that easily, even when you're your evil self. Trust me, your Evil persona is just a bigger whiner with black or red eyes. It makes no difference."
James frowned, the grip on the sword handle grew a little tighter. "He certainly acted like you. Talked too much, cheesy..."
"Died by your hand, oh wait, that couldn't have been me. I'm not that weak," the man taunted him.
"Fine," James rolled his eyes. "Who or what did I kill then? Your twin?"
"I'm surprised you didn't find that out while you were snooping in the last towers. All I'll tell you is the turned to dust part was a surprise to them as well," the man responded, shrugging his shoulders. "They did a great job with him, I'll give them that."
"A shapeshifter?" James stuttered. The man smiled as if in acknowledgment. "That's..."
"Ridiculous, impossible?" the man said.
"Pointless," James answered. The man frowned slightly. "If I'm so weak, why didn't you take me on yourself? Why the ruse? Was it the copy or was it you that gave the order to attack my mother?"
The man's smirk came back. "Are we still on about that? I knew I shouldn't have brought her up. Wah, wah... you didn't even like her anyway."
"God, enough! Why do you always have to talk so much?" James complained.
"Because if I don't, Slayers die too soon, and that's a bit boring if I'm honest," the man replied. "Though, I did kill that last one a bit fast. What a pathetic loser he was."
James' eyes widened again, "what?"
"Oh, I assumed you didn't want to chat anymore," the man laughed. He then sighed, faking sadness. "They don't make them like they used to." He then lunged forward, James dodged him at the last second by dropping back through the hole. "Wrong way," he sang to himself before jumping down as well.
The second blue portal flickered, shrinking to half of its previous size.
The last demon was pushed into the wall, two different swords impaling it at once. It dropped to the ground as Stewart and Sonla backed away.
L'Era tapped her commbadge, while nursing a cut on her chest with her other hand. "Bridge, Nine is as clear as it's going to get." She stepped over another dead demon to reach the other two near the portal.
"Phew, no more portals. There's no more room," Stewart sighed. Sonla nodded in agreement.
"We'll stand guard until it's up, but not that close," L'Era told them. She gestured them to swap places with her. Her eyes went to a nasty stomach wound on Stewart, "maybe you should go behind the other shield."
"No way, it's..." Stewart's eyes widened. L'Era swung around just in time to see one more demon step out of the portal. She quickly pushed him back, he stumbled backwards into the nearby forcefield. "Hey!"
"He can still get out," Sonla warned, gesturing her head to Stewart.
L'Era looked down the clear corridor nearby, "this one can too, let's hurry." The two girls raised their weapons to attack. The rather large demon swung its arm, knocking Sonla back into the wall. L'Era crossed claws and sword with it, trying to force it back into the portal.
Just then they all heard the sound of the other forcefield switching on. Everyone looked towards that clear corridor, which was now blocked by the new shield. The demon growled at the girl.
"Get out of there!" another voice yelled.
Sonla and Stewart looked behind them, they saw Zare rushing towards them.
The demon almost hissed at the sight of her. Without any resistance it swiped the sword out of L'Era's hands, and grabbed her by the throat. "Stop Slayer... or I'll snap her neck."
Zare reached the other two, she pulled Sonla into the shield with her. The demon's hold on L'Era tightened so she didn't go any further forward.
"You've got nowhere to go but back, killing her or me won't stop that," Zare said.
"You're right," the demon sighed. It raised its arm higher, lifting the girl off the ground.
"Stop!" Zare shouted. "Wouldn't you rather kill me instead?"
"I let her go, you'll attack me. I get one. I kill her, you'll attack me. Two for two," the demon growled. Stewart and Sonla couldn't stand it, they began to lurch but Zare put her arms out wide to stop them. "Four?"
"How's this. You let her go, and I let you go back to your portal in one piece," Zare said.
The demon laughed, "no, how's this?" It lifted her up further, then threw her over its shoulder like she was nothing. The three left behind gaped in horror as she disappeared into the portal. "I let her go into the portal in millions of pieces, and you get to try, little Slayer."
"Oh my..." Sonla stuttered, while Stewart looked like he was going to be sick.
Zare clenched her jaw, her eyes filled with rage. The other two could only watch as she ran forward to tackle the demon. It didn't stand a chance, it bowled over on to the floor. It tried to block as she leaned over it and savagely punched it many times. Eventually she got back up, lifting it up by the neck instead.
"Why don't we see how you like it," she growled. The demon flew into the nearby forcefield, screaming in pain for the few seconds it still existed.
"Oh, this isn't happening," Stewart sadly said.
Zare sighed. She closed her eyes to calm herself down, clenching her fists and opening them again a few times. "We don't need to stay here, come on."
"Nine is on, as for Ten..." B'Elanna said.
"Kevin's still there, we need his OK before..." Tom was saying.
"I know, we can't risk putting up the shield and trapping a demon or two within it," B'Elanna angrily said.
The ship shook violently, then lurched on to one side, everyone clung onto their consoles to avoid falling. Annika's station exploded, as did the consoles behind it.
"Damn!" Jodie complained. "Why did you send her away?"
Tom gritted his teeth as he struggled to keep his hands on the controls. "Never mind that, what happened?"
"Instead of firing one of their portal makers, they fired weapons. Port nacelle's been hit!" B'Elanna reported.
Tom used his left hand to key in commands, while using his right to pilot. "Compensating." The ship levelled off.
"Our shields couldn't take any weapons fire before the battle, we can't..." Jodie said. Her station sparked furiously behind her, making her jump. "Um yeah, forget the shields."
"Warp jump's out then," Tom commented.
"One more shield could drain what's left of Thirteen's portal," B'Elanna said. "They likely know that."
"So much for them leaving us alone once its closed," Tom muttered.
B'Elanna shook her head at the same time the ship shook too. "Kevin hasn't moved, it must be busy down there."
Jodie frowned, "um guys." The pair glanced at her. "That wasn't one of the ships, we're being fired on by something else."
"Oh god, only us," Tom groaned. "Who, what?"
"It came from the planet's surface," Jodie answered.
"Bridge. Get the Deck Ten shield on, now!"
Tom sighed in relief, "Ylara? We detect Kevin still in the vicinity..."
"He's dead. Get the shield up, or we'll end up like him."
Everyone's faces filled with shock. B'Elanna eventually nodded and worked on the station.
"Damn," Tom quietly said.
B'Elanna swallowed a lump in her throat, "shield activated."
Tom frowned at his station, then looked up at the viewscreen. The remaining two ships firing a beam stopped. "Report."
"Deck Thirteen's portal is draining. The alien ships have kept a close formation around us but they're not firing the beams anymore," B'Elanna reported.
Jodie looked up from her station, "another shot from the surface!"
Everyone clung on as Tom roughly moved the control stick to the right.
With plasma and smoke billowing out of its port nacelle, Voyager slowed to an almost stop, then did an almost 180 degree turn. The alien ships followed. A white torpedo shot from the planet's surface, detonating where Voyager was earlier.
Four alien ships careened around at top speed to catch up, then overtake Voyager again. A brief phaser shot finished off one of them, the other three dodged similar hits.
Voyager twisted again as the rear ships each fired a hit, the starship turned all the way around to fire on its attackers, then fly passed them. While this was happening, another torpedo shot from the surface, it detonated almost in the good nacelle's path. The blast was large enough to char the nacelle, the blue lights in it flickered then powered off.
"Damn!" Tom grunted. "Warp and impulse are gone."
Jodie shook her head, "there are only three more ships left, but we'll be dead in the water, or worse if..." Her station beeping interrupted her. "Another shot from the surface. It's coming from a tall structure, one of three."
Tom's face turned even paler, which was a new record for him today. "Like a tower?"
"Yeah, let's talk about this!" Jodie snapped.
"Thrusters, but they're not enough to escape it all. We need to get out of its range," Tom stuttered.
On the viewscreen, the planet was getting closer. Jodie's eyes widened at the thought that entered her head. "Tom, that's the complete opposite of what you said."
"Don't panic. We were always going to end up at that tower, may as well use it to our advantage," Tom said with determination.
"What!?" both B'Elanna and Jodie blurted out.
Jessie walked around, then knelt down next to Craig. One of his hands had black material wrapped around it, cushioning his fingers. She gently took a hold of his arm closest to her, cradling similar material in her other hand.
"We don't have time..." he said.
She shushed him as she began to wrap the material around his other hand. It was only enough to cover a few fingers, her response was to groan. "Why not, it's already ruined." With a sigh this time she got back to her feet.
"It doesn't matter," Craig tried to stop her. All he got was a hand wave gesturing him to shut up. He knew better than to argue with her.
Jessie picked up what was left of her jacket, then made her way back to kneel in the same place. "I told you, it was already ruined."
"Thanks," Craig said sincerely.
This cheered Jessie up slightly as she tore off a bit more of the jacket, "yeah you should be. I like this jacket." The rest of his hand was soon covered. "I know, you told me not to tackle that alien."
"It can't be long now, we should contact them," Craig reminded her.
Jessie nodded, "yeah, the Flyer may not have enough power for more than two transports." She tapped her commbadge, "Stuart to..." Her eyes widened, "what's her last name?" Craig smirked at her, he didn't know either. "Shar?"
Luckily that worked too, "yes I know, we got held back on the last one. We were spotted, and we had to lose them first before choosing a new spot."
"We feel for you," Craig muttered, shaking his head. Jessie passed him a sympathetic smile, then a smirk.
"Well we're at the rendezvous point, so whenever you're ready to join us..." she said.
"We'll be there, though I'm surprised you are. Shar out."
Jessie shook her head, "I'm not that bad."
"No, this time you did the stabbing," Craig smirked back at her. He winced as he moved one of his hands. "And the clothes butchering. I'm starting to think you were swapped with one of the shapeshifters."
"Yeah, you're welcome, again," Jessie sighed, allowing herself to laugh a little.
Deep at the bottom of the chasm where the camp used to be, one alien ship stood waiting. It rose from the ground, blowing dust around it. Once it was clear, it took off forward. Dead ahead of them a shuttle with a similar design flew straight towards them. It attempted to swerve to avoid the larger ship in its path. The ship matched its movements to block them. The shuttle was forced to stop. As soon as it did a tractor beam fired from the ship to hold it.
Damien looked over at the comm speaker, Jach looked on. He smiled deviously at the young alien, unnerving him.
"Did you really think we wouldn't find you on one of our planets. You really are a worthless piece of skin," Galnar's voice growled.
Jach reached forward to get their side of the communications on.
"As usual, you've made the fatal error of underestimating me. Say adios to Snugglebumps for me," Damien sniggered.
"You're all talk. What can you possibly do now?"
Damien glanced over at Jach again, he nodded and keyed in something. Once he was done he hovered over one final command. Damien kept watch as the shuttle was pulled closer to the ship and its opening shuttle bay.
"Boom," Damien raised both his eyebrows and widened his eyes.
Jach shook his head while he pressed the final command.
The alien shuttle exploded from within, tearing it into pieces. The fire engulfed the large ship. Pieces of the shuttlecraft flew into it, spreading the fire through the damaged hull.
Jach raised his fist up to do a little fist pump, "got 'em!"
Damien smirked while shaking his head. "Another one doubting me, so sad."
Jach ignored him, he decided to change his fist into a high five. Damien just seemed happy enough watching the alien ship fall to the earth on the screen in front of him, exploding on impact. He finally looked over at Jach, his face frowned.
"Is that a new salute? I like it." He raised his own palm into the air. "Hail Damien." Jach pulled a face as he lowered his hand, high fiving now ruined for him.
"Um, I'll try again to reach Voyager." Jach rushed to the back of the Flyer where there was an open panel underneath a console. He pressed a few commands. "Ok try the long range communications."
"I don't take orders from a minion," Damien groaned.
Jach sighed, he did again when the egotistical man at the helm did what he was told anyway.
With three more alien ships on its tail, Voyager flew into the atmosphere. Straight ahead of them flew a white torpedo. At the last moment the starship drifted to its left, allowing the torpedo to graze just passed them and into the path of their pursuers.
They tried to dodge but there wasn't enough time to. The torpedo detonated in front of one of them. The blast spread, smashing into the other two. It continued to spread, grazing the back of Voyager itself.
Everyone on the bridge lurched forward, luckily Tom kept his hands still enough on the controls. The view of the planet continued to get closer.
"Uh, we can fly back up now," Jodie whimpered. "They're gone."
B'Elanna shook her head as she looked at the Engineering part of her station, "that torpedo detonated too close, the tail of its shockwave hit us."
Jodie ran from the opps station to the only working back station. Opps itself exploded, knocking her to the floor anyway. Everyone else hung on as Voyager lurched down even further. The lights flickered on and off, then went out completely.
"I can't keep us level. Lateral thrusters are failing!" Tom stuttered.
B'Elanna glanced up at the viewscreen. Panic rising in her as the view of the planet completely filled it now, and they were gaining on the clouds. Jodie climbed onto her feet using what was left of the railing behind the command chairs.
"Good news is that energy signature is gone, there's nothing left to pursue us," B'Elanna added on.
"Goodie, in the clear," Jodie squeaked.
The clouds pushed into their view, the ship trembled. "Don't panic, it's just turbulence, the inertial dampers are mostly still working," B'Elanna said.
Tom quickly wiped the sweat off his brow with his arm. "We're going to need them."
Jodie leapt for the backstation and grabbed a hold of it. She noticed it flashing at her. "We're being hailed!"
The turbolift doors opened partially, Zare fell forward out of it. Nobody heard or noticed her over the noise.
"Unless it's the natives crapping themselves about that ship falling out of their sky, offering to help, leave it," Tom said.
"It's the Flyer," Jodie said.
Tom's eyes widened, "go for it."
"Hey Voyager, how's this for irony?"
Everyone looked confused, Tom decided to change that for a face palm. "Damien, how... what the hell are you doing... and what?"
"Slayer boy says you'll know about these towers and whatnot."
Tom's face turned very pale, the girls all looked at him expectantly.
"FYI, I'm only helping you as I don't like these guys. Though I don't like you either."
The viewscreen cleared up, now they could see miles of the planet's landscape. The haunting view of a city sitting in the centre loomed closer. To the left the large tower was the only building they could clearly make out, surrounded by greenery and the five dots which were the smaller towers. Two of them touched the edge of the city.
"Which tower Damien?" Tom yelled as he let the sweat roll down his forehead.
"We're going to Enterprise D any minute here!" Tom snapped at him as he battled the controls.
"Ah, well you could aim for it. If you know what I mean."
B'Elanna shook her head. "I'm detecting a tower network, six of them in total. The city sitting next to it is habited by 250 thousand. There are two more networks like this, a few miles away."
"Tower smashing's sounding better," Jodie stuttered.
Tom shook his head, "there are eighteen towers, Damien. Which one!?"
"Jeez Parisite, he did tell you. What more do you want?"
Jodie butted in, "one's firing at us again!"
Tom sighed in relief, "fine. Return fire then Jod."
"Aim for the tower that's firing at us, hurry!" Tom ordered.
"Check, but I still don't get what's happening. I feel like one of the readers," Jodie mumbled to herself.
on the Flyer:
Damien pulled a disappointed face, "oooh wrong choice. It's one of those other tower networks, the one further west. Yeesh, you didn't listen to your blond, smaller twin, did you?"
Jach frowned. He reached over to swat him on the head with the phaser. He passed him a pathetic puppy dog eyes look, while rubbing his head. "Don't listen to him, two teams are in there."
"Ugh, what does a genius have to do to have some fun around here?"
In the vastness of the city natives stood in the streets, staring into the sky. Panic started to rise as the strange alien ship got closer and closer, with black fumes streaming from its engines. A lot of people began to run in all directions, away from where they thought it was heading.
The ship blocked out the view of their star for a moment, casting an eery shadow over them.
The few who stood still pointed as Voyager careened to the left of them, heading towards the unwelcome tower outside their city.
Continuing on its downward path, Voyager charged its phaser array then fired several phaser blasts towards the giant tower. The people on the ground covered their ears at the deafening sound of the phasers so close to them, some seemed to even cheer as they watched. A shield sprung up to block them all, disappointing the few.
Unknown to the people on the ground, an artillery like shaped torpedo launcher sitting on top of the tower, turned around to aim at the attacking starship. It fired a small white torpedo in its direction, just missing it as the ship slowly inclined on its right. In retaliation a couple of torpedoes slammed into it, sending ripples around the entire shield.
"Their shield is weakening but..." Jodie stammered.
Tom winced as he used all his strength to turn the control stick to one side, "the starboard thrusters are giving me a little attitude."
"I'm on it," B'Elanna said as she worked at the Engineering Station.
"Even if I push her over to the fields around the tower, she'll be down in ten minutes." Tom reported.
Jodie tried to ignore her aching finger as she pressed the fire command a few more times. "I don't think we'll make it, also we're running low on torpedoes."
Tom closed his eyes, sighing deeply. "If you want to go to the escape pods, I'll handle that."
Everyone threw their stares towards him. "What?" they all yelled in unison.
"I'll set a collision course."
B'Elanna couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Tom, we were only defending ourselves here. Crashing into that tower makes that a little redundant."
Tom smiled a little as his controls eased a lot, he guided Voyager into the tower's path. Zare meanwhile frowned as she watched the tower get closer on the viewscreen.
"Exactly, we'll not let you do this. It's..." Jodie stuttered.
"Oooh Jach my slave, put this on screen. I have to see it, and maybe charge pay per view to the others if they survive."
"James gave me permission to shoot you, you know."
Tom ignored the commotion over the comm. "I'm not getting into this now, there's no time! This is an order, not a debate." He pressed on a few panels with his other hand. "Paris to all hands, abandon ship..."
"Wait!" B'Elanna butted in. "Tom, you have to give us more than that. I'm not abandoning you here."
Tom shrugged his shoulders. "We're about to crash anyway, it doesn't matter where."
"You know it does," B'Elanna said as she stood up. "This is crazy, there's no reason to take the tower with us."
"That's... that's impossible," Zare stuttered, her eyes still on the screen.
"Oh, what now?" Jodie complained.
"That's a Game Sphere tower," Zare answered.
B'Elanna and Jodie widened their eyes in shock. Tom seemed surprised as well, but he quickly hid it with his determined face. "That settles it, we're ramming."
"But there's no sphere. This isn't possible," Zare stuttered.
Jodie frowned in Tom's direction, "wait, you knew about this?"
"Not exactly. Not that, no..." he answered, unsure on what to say. "I knew it was bad but... Never mind that. Escape pods people."
Jodie shook her head, "I may as well finish off our torpedoes first."
Zare swung her head in her direction, she rushed over to her side. "I hope you're aiming for the base, destroying the top of the tower is useless." Jodie just nodded. "Can we transport outside, we could probably still get in by foot?"
"Don't they recommend Chosen's for this?" Tom questioned.
"I'll get Ylara and Kevin then," Zare said as she went back for the lift.
B'Elanna turned her head. "Ylara only. Kevin's out of the game."
Zare's head lowered, she stared near her feet for a few seconds. "I see."
Jodie's head flew up in a panic, "incoming fire from orbit!"
B'Elanna rushed back to her station, she quickly worked at it. "She's right..."
"I see it." Tom maneuvered the control lever to the right. His face frowned, "it's not coming for us."
Some of the citizens on the ground pointed to the sky again, the crowds yelled or screamed as they ran for cover. Shooting out of the clouds, the orange ball of energy flew straight over their heads and headed straight towards the tower. As it smashed into the shield, a couple more followed it.
Everyone on the Bridge saw this as well, they stared in shock. Tom quickly reminded himself to fly the ship.
Jodie's station beeped over Damien's disappointed groan. This snapped her out of her daze, she pressed a button to cut him off.
"Hey Tom, what did I say about having fun without me?" Harry's chirpy voice rang over the comm.
Tom's face broke into a grin. "I owe you one Harry."
"Actually, it wasn't completely my idea."
"Think of this as making up for the 8472 battle two years ago," Chakotay's voice said.
B'Elanna smiled in Tom's direction, he shrugged. "All right, let's finish what we started," he then smiled. "Things are looking up." He looked at the viewscreen, "not literally."
The walls tore apart like paper as a body crashed straight through them. A metal desk broke his fall after breaking into little pieces. He pulled himself up to his feet, then raised the two swords in each of his hands. Straight ahead of him he could see a figure running through the dust, right for him.
"Aaw, are we playing with toys again? Very well," he sneered, ripping a piece of metal already hanging off the wall.
Using it like a sword, he swiped it at him. James responded by blocking with the left sword, he swung with his right towards the man's stomach. He leapt back fast, then swung around to kick him there instead. James stumbled back a few steps.
He quickly threw himself to the floor and rolled to the side, as the man thrust the piece of metal straight forward. It impaled a pillar nearby instead. With just a flick of a wrist, he sliced through it. The ceiling above them weakened from the strain as the top half of the pillar collapsed. Noticing it was falling his way, James rolled forward just in time to avoid it, then jumped to his feet.
The man lunged forward to swipe the metal bar, James quickly blocked it with his left sword. Then he swung his right arm over his head, down at his own attackers'. He pushed the left sword towards James so he could block the right hit with the bar as well.
"Oh, are we getting tired yet?"
"Tired of the Frenit blabber, yeah," James muttered.
His smile grew larger, "I always enjoy our little play fights, you're always such a sport." He pushed against the two swords, James stood his ground. "I don't know why you're against us though, I thought you'd like some more little Slayer buddies, especially to replace that other one on your ship." He pushed himself closer without moving the fake sword he held. "Your little sister didn't look too hot either. They're all dropping like flies, soon you'll be all alone again... so sad."
James withdrew one of the swords with his right hand, then went immediately to plunge it straight forward into his attacker. In retaliation he swiped the attacking sword with his own weapon, knocking his flying out of his hands. James threw the left handed sword into his right, then swung forward.
Frenit's eyes widened. He heard the sound of the metal dropping to the floor. His eyes rolled to the right, then he turned his head that way. His eyes managed to get wider in fury as his weapon lay in front of him, still being clutched by his arm. He looked towards his foe, eyeing the bloodied sword in his hand. His head swung to his shoulder, then to where his right arm should be. Nothing.
His fury darted back to in front of him, it faded to shock as nobody was there anymore. With a demonic growl he ran forward through the holes in the wall, leaving his weapon and dismembered arm behind.
Nathan frantically tapped his commbadge again. "Come on James, this isn't funny."
Kiara looked on with worry planted on her face. "Can't we just ask the Flyer to beam up any Human lifesigns. It doesn't matter about being sneaky now, this'll blow in five minutes."
"I haven't got a better idea," Nathan sighed. He tapped the commbadge again, "Andrews to the Delta Flyer."
James ran around the corner, then headed straight for another hole in the wall. He tried to ignore the reason there were many more directly in front of him, and ran through them all. A few rooms away was the room he was thrown up through the floor in. Before he could reach the last room, the wall to the right of him exploded, he leapt backwards to avoid it. As soon as the dust cleared all he could focus on was the deadly eyes staring straight into his.
Before he could do anything else, Frenit's hand lunched for his throat. He then pulled him into the wall, forcing him halfway through it.
"Did you really think cutting an arm off a vampire was going to help you? I'm stronger than you without it."
"Then why haven't you killed me yet? You've had plenty of chances."
Frenit snarled at him, "don't flatter yourself. It doesn't suit you. You're only still here cos I liked to play around with you. The best part about killing a Slayer, is to torment them..." James reached for one of his pockets while the man began to squeeze at his throat. "I had thought about killing you, making you like me." He smiled, "exactly like me, but now, we'll just finish things right here."
James' left hand shot out of his pocket holding a dagger, then went right for Frenit's chest. He grabbed just as it pierced his skin. With a growl, he tossed him to his left side. Fortunately he landed close to the hole he was aiming for. His head lifted up to watch as Frenit pulled the dagger's tip out of his chest. While his attention was still on it, he dragged himself to the hole and let gravity handle the rest.
Frenit swung his head in that direction, his eyes fiery as to him he had just disappeared again.
Nathan ran down a corridor, pointing the phaser rifle like it was only a torch. He stopped to peep his head around a corner. His heart skipped a beat as he heard a huge crash in the distance.
"What was that?" Kiara's voice asked.
"Maybe he died?" Damien's voice sniggered.
Nathan heard a smaller bang, this time over the comm. He shook his head, then ran towards the source of the first one.
"Nath hurry!" Jach's voice stuttered.
"Ooh, almost time," Damien's voice laughed.
Nathan opened a nearby door, his eyes widened as even they couldn't believe what they were seeing. Face down on piles of rubble, with even more falling from above, James lay, still conscious but struggling to push himself up. Nathan ran over, dodging a small bit of metal falling from the hole.
"Jesus Chri..." he stuttered. "Guys, I got him. Can you lock onto us from here?"
"That means no, tower boom?"
Nathan ignored the second small bang as he knelt down to put his arm around James' shoulder, and that hand just underneath his arm. "I know I'm probably not supposed to move people in this state but..." He quickly tried to lift him up to his feet, they both stumbled forward just in time to dodge a larger piece of metal fall where they were.
"Here goes nothing."
Damien watched in glee as one of the screens showed one of the towers explode from its lower floors. Kiara meanwhile cringed and covered her eyes as another screen nearby her showed another one. Damien clapped like he was watching a moving movie. Shar and the two aliens had joined him at the front of the shuttle, the aliens watching almost as eagerly.
Jach smiled then looked behind him. Two figures rematerialised at the back of the shuttle, this got Kiara's attention so she uncovered her eyes.
"Damn," Damien groaned. "Oh well, I'll go back to the Voyager one." He pressed a button to switch focus to the last tower.
"Holy crap," Kiara stuttered as she saw the many injuries James had. She rushed over to help Nathan keep him on his feet. They helped him to the other room in the shuttle.
"Anybody got any popcorn?" Damien asked, glancing back briefly. "Pfft, he's probably faking it," he complained. His attention went back to the battle around the third tower.
Voyager drifted passed it, grazing its shields. This roughly pushed the starship onto its right side. Another two torpedo hits from the sky slammed into the same spot. Charging its phasers, Voyager did the same. The shield fluctuated, then fizzled out.
"I think it's time for a Janeway like pun. Anyone?" Tom smirked.
Jodie winced, "ooops, I've already fired." Tom placed his hand over his face, sighing in disappointment.
"Could be better," B'Elanna shook her head.
Two blue torpedoes shot out the back torpedo launchers. Each one flew into the huge building, exploding on impact. The tower shook as the explosions engulfed the bottom of the building. Voyager continued its descent, narrowly avoiding the explosions.
"Die my uglies, die," Damien meanwhile laughed as he stared at the screen.
"That's the best line you could come up with?" Shar grimaced.
"Jealous much?" Damien grinned at her. She pulled a face in disgust.
Meanwhile in the back room Jessie was busy treating Craig's hands as he lay on the only bed. She turned her head briefly when the doors opened. Her eyes widened then she turned back to have a better look. "Oh my god... James?"
Craig turned his head to have a look as Nathan and Kiara walked James down the steps. He turned on his side to roll to the edge of the bed, then get off, wincing as Jessie hadn't finished with his last two fingers.
"I think we could do with a Doctor for this one," Nathan stuttered.
Jessie rushed over so she could take over from Kiara, she quickly got out of the way. "Can you finish treating Craig?"
Kiara only nodded as Jessie handed her the regenerator.
Craig shook his head, "I'll live. How are we doing with the towers?" he asked Kiara's way.
Once James was on the bed, Nathan walked over to Craig. "We just made it. Let's hope Voyager did come to our rescue after all, cos..." He looked back at the bed, then at Craig again. "One more tower will kill us."
Kiara nodded, "don't worry, we've definitely got help."
As the final tower crumbled to the ground, the small neighbouring ones emitted a blinding light. Everyone nearby covered their eyes to shield them from it. While this was happening Voyager dipped closer to the ground, inclining to the left to dodge any falling debris. The path they were on lead it towards a large open area filled with dead grass and crops. Small farm like buildings were scattered around the entire area.
The ship's landing struts emerged from its belly, the pressurised air from them managed to slow the ship's descent only for a moment, levelling the ship a little. The front landing struts were the first to hit the ground. They crushed themselves under the weight of the saucer still being pulled down by the planet's gravity. This allowed the rear landing struts to touch the ground, but only for a moment before the nose of the ship tumbled to earth. The ground trembled, and even cracked under the strain.
Tom lifted himself up from his console, cradling his scratched forehead. He ignored that to turn and check behind him. Zare lay on the floor nearby, but she soon got up like nothing happened. He just caught B'Elanna using her chair to get to her feet. Jodie meanwhile was stubbornly staying where she was lying, groaning to herself.
"Is everyone all right?" Tom asked.
B'Elanna nodded, "yes." Zare also nodded at him before looking back to check on Jodie.
"I'm fine," she groaned into the floor. "I'm nice and comfy where I am, thanks." Zare rolled her eyes before she went over to join her.
"Well, the landing struts did work," Tom smiled B'Elanna's way. She raised an eyebrow back at him. "It slowed our fall, didn't it?"
B'Elanna sat back down in her chair to look at her station. "Shall I save the damage report for later?"
The back station beeped a few times, Zare decided to go for that instead of Jodie. "That's the Leda and the Flyer."
Tom sighed to himself as he got up out of his chair, eyeing the helm sadly. "I don't think I'll be needed here for a while." He walked to the centre of the bridge. "Just tell the Leda we're fine, and open a channel to the Flyer."
Zare frowned then shrugged her shoulders. She pressed one command, "we're fine." She pressed another, then looked back at Tom. "You're on."
He had buried his face in his hand again, "ugh, too literal. Flyer, can you hear us?"
"That wasn't as good as the Enterprise D crash. You promised! Hey... this is my seat!"
The bridge crew heard a small bang, then a few people laughing.
"Yeah Voyager, we can hear you. Is everyone ok?" Nathan's voice asked.
"Ugh, you're boring."
Tom glanced in B'Elanna's direction. "The number of lifesigns are the same as when we entered the atmosphere. Everyone's in Sickbay at the moment."
"Damn, full house huh? Can we beam one more?"
"Why not?" Tom sighed. "Please tell us we don't need to destroy two more towers."
B'Elanna frowned in confusion, "this is weird." Everyone looked in her direction. "I can't detect the other two tower networks."
"That answers that," Tom smiled.
"No, I mean I can't even detect debris. They're just gone," B'Elanna reported with her eyes wide.
Zare didn't seem surprised, she sighed anyway. "Once they're destroyed, they never existed."
"So, they were Game Sphere towers?" Tom questioned, his already sore forehead now throbbing.
"Without a Game, yes. Something's very wrong here," Zare mumbled to herself.
"That would explain those terrorists complaining about their planet dying, right?" B'Elanna said in her direction. "That's what those spheres do, drain the life out of the planet it's on." Zare only nodded slowly.
"Wait, Game Sphere towers? Have I missed something?" Nathan's voice asked.
"I think we all have," Tom answered him.
Two shuttlecrafts flew in front of the saucer, each of them firing a tractor beam. Dozens of people stood safely nearby, holding vasts amount of repair equipment. Nearby the clouds shifted, then the Leda emerged from them. It soon joined an alien ship hovering nearby the downed starship.
Lieutenant Commander Paris' Log Supplemental: With the help of our new friends, the Leda and various shuttles are working to get Voyager onto its literal feet. Repair crews are on standby to start what'll probably be a few weeks worth of work to get us back into action again.
Even though we've destroyed the three towers, the damage already done to this planet is irreparable. We have been told by researchers here, that the whole planet only had a week or so before it would become uninhabitable. Three and all that would be left would be a debris field like we encountered lightyears away. Once we can continue repairs on our own, the Leda will be tasked with evacuating the people in the affected areas.
With so many unanswered questions, all we can do is attempt to put the jigsaw together.
"Must you do that in my Sickbay, it's a little off putting," Doctor Jones muttered.
Tom stared at him with a raised eyebrow, "off putting, you? Try pulling the other one."
The Doctor smiled broadly, "I meant for my assistants obviously." He got back to work using a regenerator on James' face. Once he was done, he tried to get off the biobed, but a hand on his arm hinted that he shouldn't. "No!"
Tom shook his head. "This isn't your Sickbay anyway, it's the Leda's."
Doctor Jones shrugged. "I am the Chief Medical Officer of the fleet, so it is."
"Interesting," Jessie sarcastically sighed. "Will he be OK?"
"Of course, I'm on the case," Doctor Jones replied cheerfully.
The doors opened for Harry and Chakotay to walk in. Zare and Ylara followed behind them, chatting amongst themselves.
"That's everyone, right?" Tom said, glancing at B'Elanna.
"We're missing Kevin, right?" Jessie said.
James shook his head, Tom looked on with a frown. "I'm afraid not, he didn't make it. Speaking of which, Doc, how are the trainees?" Jessie meanwhile glanced James' way with a look of shock on her face.
"I'm afraid we have two casualties from the battle on Voyager. One we could not recover," Jones replied sadly. "Two from the surface, as well as Mr Li'Chin."
Harry glanced at Chakotay, then back at Ylara nervously. "We're still missing one, but that's on purpose right?"
Tom cringed and clenched his fist, "definitely, one disaster at a time." He tried to shake it off. "All right, I've invited you here as a couple of us are trapped in Sickbay anyway, so..."
"Hey I was fine half an hour ago," Craig complained from afar. Naomi shushed him then waved a tricorder in front of him, he rolled his eyes.
"So, where should we start?" Tom questioned.
Chakotay sighed loudly. "What about the part where you and him knew what would happen?"
"Yes, this is all our fault," James groaned, rolling his eyes.
Tom shook his head, "you were told about the visions, Chakotay, all we knew was the little details."
"Little details, like what happened on the planet, these towers and..." Chakotay ranted, everyone groaned loud enough to shut him up. "Seriously, you're not bothered, even a little bit?"
"Tom and I decided not to share the new details, as they were a mess anyway. That vision was a huge blur," James answered him. Ylara nodded slightly, Chakotay caught that in the corner of his eye.
"You as well?"
"I am the second Chosen of this generation, I'm surprised you've forgotten," Ylara coldly hissed at him. He narrowed his eyes.
Jessie smiled nervously, "I knew too." Everyone looked in her direction, well except the ones who knew that. "Oh please, James is terrible at hiding things from me."
Chakotay groaned, "right. So what exactly did you know?"
"Those towers were featured heavily. There was something about a group of people raiding a room with computers," Ylara replied.
"The planet broke apart," James added on.
Tom pulled a confused face, "what about the Voyager part? You said you saw us flying passed a tower, exchanging fire."
"It doesn't seem that much of a mess to me," Chakotay said.
Harry glanced at him, "it probably makes more sense now that its happened."
"There were other things chucked in too," James said. "So much happened, it's hard to remember the order. You have to understand though that a lot of what did happen, wasn't in the vision anyway."
"You knew the ship would go down, that's why you wanted to evacuate," Harry sighed. Jessie raised her hand meekly, "oh that's right, your idea."
"What about Damien and Jessie's kidnapping. What was that about?" Tom wondered outloud.
B'Elanna shrugged. "We only have a theory. We think that the ones who kidnapped them wanted to stop us from creating that forcefield system."
"That's some theory. Why would that fool help us?" Chakotay asked. Jessie narrowed her eyes in his direction. "Oh please, like I meant you."
"I'm more bothered about the Game Sphere tower part," Craig said as he quickly escaped from Naomi. "Why have a sphere at all if you can just plant these towers on any planet and suck them dry."
Zare shrugged, "the sphere protects it from outside influences such as torpedo and phaser fire. You're right though, it's a little worrying."
"Who attacked us anyway, and why sick demons onto us?" Ylara questioned as well.
"It's simple. Whoever attacked us wanted us out of the picture so we wouldn't discover the towers on the planet," Craig mused.
"I'd like to know how the towers were even built in what, the six months those aliens said?" Jones butted in.
"To make sure we couldn't stop the attack, they kidnapped Damien and Jess. Damien with his demon portal knowledge, Jessie as she's usually the one chucking shields up to stop them," Harry continued from what Craig was saying.
Chakotay groaned, "now it's a mess. Can we focus on one thing at a time, instead of talking about different things at once? It all comes together, it must. We won't get anywhere prattling on with stupid questions."
"Ylara's was answered anyway," James pointed out.
"It was?" Ylara frowned.
James shook his head. "Who else would build life draining towers that disappear when they're destroyed? Only one species would and could do all of this."
Almost everyone glanced at each other knowingly. It was obvious to them who they were dealing with.
Chakotay shook his head. He said what almost everyone was thinking, "the Softmicron."
Ylara frowned, "no, my question is not answered at all." Everyone turned their attention on her.
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