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Once upon a time the USS Voyager returned home at the expense of the timeline. Now the timeline needs her help.
Thirteen and a half years and I'm finally here, the 200th episode. I hope you enjoy it.
For reasons that will become clear very quickly, I haven't put an Episode Based In date here as I usually do. Also I've kept the Written dates until the end. There's a good reason for it, but telling you why here would render doing that pointless.
Her eyes narrowed at the face staring directly at her, mocking her with a smirk and steely blue eyes.
"Janeway!" she hissed. Her hands flew out, clawing at her unfortunate victim "Nyah, Raaawr, nyaaah, die, die!" the resulting growls echoed around the empty chamber.
A cough from behind her made her stop in her tracks. "I'm over here."
She blinked a few times. Sure enough the person or thing she really attacked was in tatters, barely hanging off the wall in front of her. As it was just a poster it still mocked her, her attack had barely ripped through the face. The temptation to attack again was strong. Instead she swung around to face the real intruder.
"Janeway!" she hissed in the exact same voice as before.
"So I've heard."
The woman before her was not the nemesis she was used to dealing with. She had aged about twenty years but she still had the same cocky face she always did. In fact she looked even worse, if that was possible.
"You were foolish to come here. You cannot destroy my network," she snarled. "In fact, your plan stops here with me." Her hand reached out to the real intruder, needles shot from her hand and into the person's neck. Only nothing happened, she felt no resistance, nothing corporeal.
"Did you think I'd just beam in here?" her opponent taunted her. "I'm not really here, but I am nearby."
"A hologram," she whispered.
"I'm here to negotiate."
She had heard that one before, a skeptical laugh escaped her. "You infiltrated this time, gave Voyager the technology to destroy us, only to negotiate with us?"
"Of course not. I wanted to get Voyager home," the intruder snapped. "But my younger self, you remember her?"
Her eyes cast back to the tattered poster that somehow had found itself into her chamber. "Vaguely."
"Yes," the intruder nodded in understanding. "She can't go home quietly. She wants to destroy you first, to hell with going home. She sent me to do that."
"But you..." she was even more suspicious than before. "You don't want to hurt us?"
The intruder smiled in a grim way. "No, I've grown older, wiser. Now all I care about is my crew. This is the only way to do it. If she destroyed you, Voyager will take sixteen years to get home."
Finally, an advantage. A smile spread across her face. "Very well. Let us negotiate." One thought made the intruder in front of her disappear and a transporter beam bring in the real deal. While she was still stunned she lurched forward to pierce her neck, this time she knew this one was real.
"Clever ruse, Captain... or Admiral. Hiding on my doorstep," she cackled. "Now your technology will be ours and Voyager will perish."
Voyager shot through the tunnel, protected by an armoured shell. Looming behind them, a Borg sphere. It closed in, it was only a matter of time.
She felt her entire weight tumble to the floor, she had grabbed the nearby railing for support with her only hand. Her eyes widened as they drifted to her opponent, her skin now a sticky pale with implants piercing through her cheek.
The smirk was back, anger grew inside of her. "Must have been something you assimilated."
"It's working. The shockwave's right behind us," Harry reported as he clung on to his station.
Tom's hands flew across the helm, sweat dripped from his forehead. "It's no good, the sphere's almost on us!"
Her determined blue eyes stared straight ahead at the viewscreen, the sphere filled the entire thing up. She knew exactly what to do.
"Maintain course," she ordered.
Chakotay passed her a small proud smile. She didn't have to look to see it, she knew it was there.
The poison coursing through her and her collective weakened her until she could no longer stand. A small smile spread across her lips as she took one last look at her nemesis.
"You think you've won? As long as you are here Voyager's future is uncertain." Her eyes closed. "Self destruct."
Her nemesiss eyes flashed with rage, it was probably the only thing keeping the collective mind from taking over. "That's the same result. You'll die, so will the Borg."
"Yes, but so will you. With you gone, none of this will have ever happened. Time is reversed."
Destruction was right behind it, the exit was close. The sphere made it just in time as the corridor was crushed by the shockwave. In its path were most of the Federation fleet, waiting for it.
The sphere shuddered as explosions from within tore it apart. As it exploded something flew out of it and directly towards the fleet.
"We did it," Harry stuttered. Everyone else were just as shocked.
"Earth," Tom added on.
The commlink beeped, and a voice soon followed. "I don't know how you did it, but... welcome home."
She smiled warmly, "thank you Admiral."
Voyager was finally home. She joined the rest of the fleet for the last part of her journey, to Earth.
The path in front of them twisted and churned. There was an explosion just off the right side of the fleet. In its place a blue shimmer appeared, the nearby ships were pulled slowly towards it. Many more appeared, dotted all around Earth's orbit.
Space split open directly in front of Voyager's bow, tossing the nearby ships in front of her to one side. There was nothing in its place, just darkness.
She threw herself to her feet. "What's going on?"
Harry was trembling as he looked at every part of his station, anywhere for an answer. "I don't know. The readings are off the chart. I've never seen anything like this."
The viewscreen showed the nothing in front of them, it seemed to be getting bigger and quickly too.
"If it keeps going like this, it will collide with Earth," Chakotay said.
A familiar voice rang around the bridge, "wouldn't that be a shame!"
Despite the situation she groaned. "Q. Now's not the time to babysit your boy again."
A white flash appeared only briefly beside her. Q stood beside her in its wake. "Funny you use that word, time," he smirked.
She swung herself around to look directly at him. Only then she noticed that her first officer had frozen, mid standing up. She quickly checked to see if the same was true for everyone, it was.
"Do you know what is happening here?"
Q nodded. "I do. That's why I'm here." He also turned around to face her. "Time is fractured, a paradox has formed."
Guilt spread across her face, she tried to shake it off. "Admiral Janeway. What we did..."
For once a sympathetic smile appeared on the Q's face. "Not exactly. The damage was already done, the timeline just needed one little push and here it is."
"If you knew this would happen, why did you tell me about it now?"
"This had to happen. The timeline was on course to oblivion. It had to end before we could attempt to repair it," Q replied.
Her head shook, her forehead ached; it was what usually happened when time stuff happened. "I don't understand."
"You don't have to," Q said with another smile. "Are you wondering why I've come to you?"
"Because I was the one who tipped it over the edge?"
"It's not like you to doubt yourself," Q said. His own head shook a few times. "It's because I need your help to fix it."
"How? Time travel is not my forte. Ironic considering," she muttered the last sentence.
"I wouldn't worry about that, I'll take care of the main details. You just need to do one little thing," Q said.
She frowned in confusion, "stop my future self from interfering in the present, stop her from even coming here?"
"No," Q chuckled. He turned to face the viewscreen, slowly he approached it as if he was admiring the lack of view. "Earth was always going to be doomed to oblivion, it was just a matter of when and how. The timeline's been broken for some time." His head turned to look over his shoulder, "at least in your perspective."
"So what did break it?" she had to ask.
"It's complicated. Are you sure you want to hear it?" Q smiled as his body swung around to face her again.
She wasn't, but she had to know anyway. "Yes."
Q seemed to think about it. She worried, that couldn't be a good sign. "I'll keep it as basic as I can. Events that should have happened, never did. People who were in certain places, were not." His eyes grew a little playful, she didn't like that one bit. "People who should exist, don't."
"I think I'm more confused than I was before you said that," she grumbled.
"I know," Q smirked. "Time travel, is not for mortal hands. You play with it, it will fall to the floor and break. It's not a matter of if but when. So many have tampered with it, so much has changed." The smirk faded, it was replaced by a somber look. "Only you can do this, but it's a lot to ask."
"Oh? What do I have to do?"
"You have to go back, back to a much earlier point. Then you have to decide which one event is the one you must change," Q replied. He got the confused look he expected. "It will be difficult to determine which event it is, as it'll seem so trivial. All I can do is take you to that week..."
"You can't tell me? Wouldn't that be easier?" she asked.
"I can't. If I tell you, you would not go through with it," Q said.
She found that insulting. Earth was at stake, more than that she figured. If it would help, she'd do anything.
Q seemed to sense this. "If I told you what to do, you'll wonder why it affects the timeline, and then I'd have to explain what will be the result. You will not want to make such sacrifice."
She felt the heat leave her cheeks. Her skin prickled. "Sacrifice? You should know I'd sacrifice myself if it meant saving lives."
Q smiled bitterly. "I know, your fate would never bother you." The sense of dread she felt before grew, she knew deep down he didn't mean her, not literally. "I can't tell you. I won't."
She stared towards the viewscreen and gazed deeply into the void in front of her. It was such a cruel fate to finally make it home after seven years and this happens. Not only that but having to re-live it all over again?
Her head turned side to side to look at her crew, frozen in time. Kathryn Janeway would do anything to get them home, it wasn't a difficult choice.
"All right. I'll do it."
Q sighed as if he hoped she'd say no. She was a little puzzled to say the least. "I feel that I should warn you that you'll be re-living your life but everyone else won't be. Nobody will remember this. Once you've made the change, your memories of the future will no longer be relevant so you won't be needing them..."
"I understand." She said that too soon, the re-living your life part got her thinking. "How far back are we going?"
Q smiled, "where's the fun in telling you?" He got a scowl as his answer. "Are you sure about this?"
Kathryn took in a deep breath as she took one last look around her bridge. She didn't have to think about it. "Yes."
A piercing white light shone in her eyes, her hands flew up to protect them. Kathryn felt her body tingle as the light enveloped her.
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