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Flashlights barely touched the surface of the darkness, they were enough though to see into the panel Harry opened near the Science station. He scowled at the quiet sniggering coming from one of them.

"It doesn't seem to be a power overload this time," Harry reported as he worked. "I'll try tapping into the energy reserves."

"Won't they drain that?" Jessie asked, interrupting her laughter for the time being.

Harry looked back over his shoulder, then he turned to look over his other one towards Tuvok. "What exactly does Jessie do around here besides poke nonexistent holes into the plot with her fist?"

"I don't always use my fist. I prefer kicking," Jessie protested.

Tuvok thought it would be best to change the subject and quickly, he suspected Kathryn had a fourth wall sixth sense. "The power drain is not related to Deck Thirteen?"

"No sir," Harry sighed in response before turning back to the panel.

"Go ahead," Tuvok ordered with a nod.

Harry reached back into the panel to work on it.


Craig had no way of knowing which part of the ship he was at now. All he could do was grope the wall beside him and keep walking. He'd find someone with a light sooner than later.

No sooner had he thought that, he heard mumbling and rapid breathing in the distance. He froze, imagining all sorts of horrors that could be making that noise. Fighting his paranoia, Craig continued on, shaking horribly.

The wall curved slightly, so he knew he was at a corner. The noise he was hearing was getting louder. He could now hear an occasional footstep that wasn't his.

He finally got his wish. Someone with a flash light stumbled out of a room through a half open door. They shone the light in his direction. It not only illuminated him, it allowed him to see what was making all that noise.

Whatever it was, it was right in front of him. He screamed and ran off by the light holder, and back into the darkness.


Elsewhere Chakotay made his way slowly down a corridor, a flashlight attached to his wrist, the arm pointing in front of him. He already knew it was useless to try the panels lining the walls. They were little more than glass right now. So he kept going in the direction of the closest Jeffries Tube hatch.

He heard a man's scream echo down the corridor. It sounded like it came from above him, only a few metres away. The deck above him, he figured, instantly on his guard. The priority was no longer the Bridge, he needed to find a weapons locker.

The Jeffries Tube was still where he needed to go, that should be just ahead. Loud and hurried footsteps radiated from above, closing in on him. Something heavy clattered against metal, over and over, louder each time.

Chakotay was very careful about moving any further forward. He took a slow step, all while pointing the torch in the direction the sounds were coming from. Another step and he saw a shadow fly out in front of him. It slammed right into him, knocking it backwards onto the ground. It stunned him, but the shadow was left gasping for breath, clearly winded by their collision. He shone the torch on it.

"Craig?" he groaned, moving it away so to not blind the young man on the floor. He held his other hand out to help him up.

"Ow, Commander... are you made of stone?" Craig whined half way up.

Chakotay noticed while he held onto him that he was trembling. "What were you running from?"

Craig's eyes widened as if he had forgotten and the Commander's question reminded him. "A ghost."

"A ghost?" Chakotay said in monotone.

"Could've been a monst... alien," Craig stammered, more embarrassed than frightened now. "Yes, alien intruder. That was the first thing I said."

"Right," Chakotay said, deciding to humour him for the moment. "Where?"

"Near the Mess Hall I think," Craig replied. Chakotay gently grabbed his arm, pulling them both where the young man had come from. His trembling started up again. "No, no, you know where it is. I'm..."

"Security," Chakotay said patiently and with an amused smile. "I'm sure I can count on you to protect me."

"Oh," Craig whimpered. "I forgot," his voice lowered in defeat.

The Bridge:
A couple of lights, including a few on the Opps station sprung to life. Harry's face also lit up, he leapt to his feet to hurry over to it. Tuvok and Jessie closely followed him until they reached the back. Tuvok split away from them to go to Tactical.

"What? No Hop, Skip, Fall In A Heap for us?" Jessie teased.

Harry's face flushed red a little, he cleared his throat instinctively. His voice started out a little higher than usual, showing his embarrassment further, "I found the cause of the power drain. It's a dampening field coming from something on our starboard bow."

"On screen," Tuvok ordered, hoping that whoever was responsible would be greatly lit up in the abyss they were in. Harry obeyed, killing that hope instantly. They saw what they always have in the last two months. Nothing. Whatever was there needed lighting up, an idea quickly came to mind. "Do we have the power to launch a photon torpedo?"

"Perhaps one, why? We can't even see them," Harry questioned.

"I do not intend to fire on the cause. I intend to shed some light on our predicament," Tuvok answered. "If I reconfigure the torpedo to emit a poly-luminous burst..."

"It's so dark, it'll light them up," Jessie said.

"Precisely," Tuvok said.

Deck Two:
The double team of Chakotay armed with a flashlight and Craig shuffling his feet along the floor as slowly as possible, reached the spot Craig had fled from earlier.

"Nothing's here, let's go," he stuttered. Chakotay grabbed his arm before he could turn around and run off.

The pair heard the same noises further ahead. They were approaching. Chakotay pointed his arm straight ahead. To both of their surprise the light caught a large, moving object much closer to them than they thought. It was right in their faces, waving about erratically, moaning at them.

Chakotay was a little shocked at the abrupt sighting of whatever it was. A few seconds of staring allowed him to see the less scary details. The object seemed to be made entirely out of an ugly maroon and gold patterned fabric. Some parts of it looked hollow underneath, flapping around as the object moved.

It also smelled a little like Leola Root stew.

"See, it's a ghost," Craig stuttered as he struggled to get out of the hold on him.

Chakotay rolled his eyes, "it's Neelix," he said also in monotone.

"Commander?" Neelix's muffled voice whimpered, they could barely make it out.

Chakotay reached forward to help him out, only for a flash of light to fly passed him and Craig, then strike the flailing figure. They heard the telltale sound of a phaser shot. He blinked rapidly in disbelief as the walking curtain fell to the floor.

Somebody else approached them from behind, they stopped beside Craig. He noticed the phaser rifle sitting in the fold of her arm.

"Intrude on my ship, shame on me. Intrude on my coffee time, shame on it," Kathryn spat.

Chakotay wasn't surprised at all now. He slowly turned around to face her, "Kathryn, that wasn't an intruder. That was Neelix."

In the poor light he could still make out the harsh, judgmental stare the Captain was sending his way. "Look, I know Neelix wears clothes that look like he's tore up his carpet, but that's just offensive. I'm putting you on discrimination report."

"We have that? You should have hundreds," Chakotay stammered.

"She'd only file them to herself, so what's the point?" Craig whispered.

To his horror and surprise she slapped him across the back, it stung him quite a bit. "He's a clever boy, you should take notes."

A groan emanated from the floor. It sounded so much like Neelix, Craig felt a little embarrassed he didn't think it was him. He hurried forward to crouch down and help him.

"There are no intruders, at least not yet. It's probably another Deck Thirteen malfunction," Chakotay said. He knelt down to do the same.

Kathryn watched them with her death glare on full power, eyebrow twitching. They could still feel it in the dark, with their backs to her. "Oh, is that all? If you think no one will take advantage of us this time, after lucking out in Borg Space, you're as stupid as you look," she groaned, unaware of a shadow creeping toward her from behind.

"I was smart twenty seconds ago, and I didn't even say anything," Craig said with a slight pout. He and Chakotay helped sit the dazed curtain covered Neelix up.

The shadow crept even closer, Kathryn still completely unaware. "You guys think you're on some little holiday. News flash, you've got to keep your guard up."

The shadow revealed a misshapen hand, raising up above her shoulder. "You never know when some ugly tosser's gonna sneak up behind you and choke hold you."

The hand was almost on her when it stopped, its head blurred slightly. "We've got to watch each other's backs, so we're not surprised." A very quiet grunt came from the figure as it dropped out of sight. It got Kathryn's attention so she looked over her shoulder to see nothing wrong.

"We're wasting time arguing about it. Craig, you stay with Neelix," Chakotay said. The younger man gave him a timid nod. "We'd better get to the Bridge."

"Wrong again," Kathryn said. "We're going to Engineering. I gotta make a quick stop first." She squinted her eyes slightly. "Did you forget your uniform jacket?"

"Um, yes," Chakotay murmured.

Kathryn re-adjusted her hold on the rifle, all while gesturing her left hand at her unzipped jacket. "Good. Come with me. I always like giving the shippers some scraps to nibble on, or they'll starve." With that she hurried off in the direction she came.

Chakotay struggled to resist the smirk coming on. "If I said a fourth wall joke, I'd get a slap." He was about to get up when he noticed her trip over something on route, then heard her grumble some swear words.

"Oh, great time for a nap asshole," she snarled at whatever she tripped up over. Chakotay hurried to catch up with her, wondering what the hell she was talking about.

Craig nodded and returned his attention to Neelix. His eyes widened a few seconds later, then he looked toward the spot where she tripped. "Uhoh."

The Bridge:
"Torpedo reconfigured," Tuvok reported as he worked. "Firing."

Everyone's eyes were on the viewscreen as the small blue light emerged from their side and drifted into the black. They waited for it to reveal the hull of a ship, when it didn't happen Harry and Jessie slowly turned their heads toward the Tactical officer.

"Well that was anti-climatic," Harry commented.

Tactical made a confirmation sound which was equally confusing to them both. Tuvok's eyebrow managed to go even higher up. It inspired Jessie to have another look at the viewscreen. She managed to catch the sight of the torpedo detonating against shields, both of which briefly illuminated the image of a ship.

Harry's station was next to make a noise, all while he joined Jessie in staring blankly at the screen. It took a few bleeps to make him snap out of it and turn his attention to Opps. "Someone's hailing us. We only have enough power for audio."

Tuvok's curiosity was further piqued. "Open a channel." He waited for a moment. "This is Lieutenant Commander Tuvok of the..."

"Maybe watch where you're firing those things next time," Arturis' voice said, clearly rattled. Harry and Tuvok exchanged their own bemused stares. "Now they'll have seen us..."

"Who are they?" Tuvok questioned.


He kept his eye firmly on the same spot, waiting for any sign of movement. Neelix whimpered next to him, his breathing ragged. Craig's nerves were already on edge as it was, Neelix's sudden arm grab made him gasp squeakily as he leapt up almost into the ceiling.

"I can hear breathing," Neelix still managed to make it worse.

Craig could only hear his heart thumping from the recent shock, as well as Neelix now breathing in his ear. Neelix's grip tightened, most of it though was tugging on his sleeve than his arm.

"I can't," Craig told him, his other hand reaching up to try and bat it away.

"I may be Nothingphobic, but my ears are just fine," Neelix whispered.

Craig had no idea what that was, for a moment he was distracted from his fear. "A fear of nothing? If you hear breathing, then it's not nothing so cut it out," his voice turned into a squeak.

"No, no, it's a fear of the appearance of nothing, hiding whatever lurks within it," Neelix argued in a stutter.

"That's just common sense," another man's voice said nearby.

"It's a fear of the dark. Children are afraid of the dark," Craig snapped in Neelix's direction.

"You were so afraid of it, you thought I was a ghost. Besides, I didn't say that," Neelix said. The pair's eyes widened so much they tingled slightly, tears threatened to fall from them. "Neither did you."

Craig shook his head. They froze on the spot; Neelix clutching the curtain material in one arm, and Craig's arm with another. He on the other hand had inadvertently curled his legs up into a ball, and the hand used to slap Neelix's away remained there. It was a funny sight, a one the mystery voice's owner was more than amused to see when the lights gradually came back on.

On seeing him standing not far in front of them, they pulled away from each other.

"James, how long have you been there?" Craig tried to snap but stuttered instead.

"Long enough to know that Janeway thinks the crew ship her and Chuckles," James answered with a wry smile.

Neelix puffed out his cheeks in anger, "we thought we were in danger. It's very rude to keep us in suspense like that."

James looked over his shoulder first, then turned his entire body around. Doing so allowed them to see an alien figure lying on the floor behind him. "Seems like you were right."

The Bridge:
"Janeway to Bridge."

Harry winced as if she were there on the Bridge with them, glaring at them.

Tuvok took the hit and tapped his commbadge, "Tuvok here, Captain. The dampening field has been blocked. We have detected three alien ships, one of which is attacking the others. Three intruders are on board, ten have already beamed off."

"Make that one," Harry said quietly.

Jessie sat at her station, watching as a barely lit ship flew passed their line of sight.

"Zero. The two ships have retreated," Harry said. "The remaining one is hailing again."

"How the hell didn't we detect them before they chucked a dampening field around us? Which schmuck was snoozing on the job?" Kathryn's voice hissed.

Harry shrunk into the seat he never used, his head and neck also began to lower into his shoulders.

"Don't be like that, he wasn't snoozing. He was creating musical art," Jessie pretended to defend him, with a malicious look in her eye.

"Oh so Kimmy's to blame. I'm gonna stick that clarinet so far up his..." Kathryn growled. Harry quickly cut her off in a blind panic, he knew he'd regret that later.

"Why?" he squeaked.

"Hmm, you're like Janeway, Tom and James combined, you Tom like attention seeking bitch," Jessie said, mimicking his mannerisms. "Stupid question."

Harry laughed nervously while side stepping towards the turbolift.

"Crewman, Lieutenant," Tuvok said, more as a reminder than a warning. It stopped Harry before he could disappear.

Jessie nodded, "I know." She tapped at her own station. "On screen."

The viewscreen changed to show Arturis sitting at the front of his Bridge. His companion nowhere in sight.

"You're Lieutenant Commander Tuvok of the Starship Voyager," he said kindly this time.

Tuvok's eyebrow raised, "yes. And you are?"

"My name is Arturis. It's a good thing I found you in time. Those beasts will prey on anything with a mechanical pulse," the alien captain answered.

"We didn't even see them coming," Harry said.

Jessie nodded, "if only they were hiding in Recorder Tunes for Dummies."

Harry decided to bite his tongue instead of rising to her bait this time.

"You wouldn't. Their power levels are kept to a bare minimum, their vessels painted black. Scavengers with no sense of moral judgement," Arturis said. "If I were you, I'd go around this anomaly. They won't stop until they own every inch of your ship."

"We cannot go around. We are already facing a two year journey going through it," Harry said.

Arturis face softened on cue to look sympathetic, however his eyes remained the same.

Tuvok studied him carefully before replying, "might I ask what you're doing here?"

"Engine trouble I'm afraid. This anomaly plays havoc with the emitters," Arturis replied with a warm smile. "Fortunately the scavengers dampening field has no effect on my power systems. It may have taken a little longer on impulse, but I was able to assist you before it was too late."

"Perhaps we can help you, to return the favour," Harry suggested.

"How kind," Arturis said in a plain tone of voice. Tuvok's eyebrow rose in caution. "But it isn't necessary. I can however help you with your journey."

"Explain," Tuvok said.

"If you have a two year journey ahead of you, am I right in assuming you are still using primitive faster than light travel?" Arturis questioned.

Harry couldn't help but let his hopes rise. He had a good feeling about this.

"That is correct," Tuvok however was feeling even more cautious than earlier.

"Ah well. My engines fold the fabric of space, allowing my vessel to travel much greater distances in a shorter time period," Arturis said. Harry was practically drooling by this point.

"Um, good for you, but how does that help us?" Jessie asked dryly.

Arturis wasn't put off by her tone at all, it actually made him slightly more cheerful. "Isn't it obvious? Come with me and I'll get you out of this anomaly within minutes."

"I shall discuss it with our Captain," Tuvok said before Harry could leap over to the viewscreen and squeeze it.

"Of course, I'm in no rush after all," Arturis said, nodding his head. His image disappeared from the screen.

"Was he really suggesting we jump onto his ship for a ride home? It's not like he could tow us," Harry said.

Jessie was partly expecting him to already be in the transporter room, so she felt a little surprise that he sounded suspicious. She glanced over and caught his eager beaver face and sparkling eyes, making her roll her own. "Go ahead, but he'll probably just drop you off outside where you'll be waiting for us for two years."

"That's true, we never told him where we were going," Harry's spirits were crushed.

"We should be cautious Lieutenant, Crewman. We cannot assume his words are genuine because he helped us," Tuvok said.

Harry's shoulders fell, "yeah, but it would be nice to have some good luck for once. We're way overdue."


Chakotay waited for a while, occasionally pointing a glance toward the door. Behind him Tuvok stood patiently with his arms crossed behind his back. A minute, he was told. He knew it was the Captain's more polite than usual way of telling him to leave her alone. It was better than the piss off he was used to hearing. Still, he thought he'd give her a chance. Thirty a minute's later was more than enough. The Commander looked over his shoulder, catching his Security Chief nodding as if in agreement in the corner of his eye.

"Energise," he said with a sigh. As soon as he did so, he quickly put on his diplomatic smile. Seconds later Arturis stood on the transporter pad with a diplomatic smile of his own. "Arturis, I'm Commander Chakotay. Welcome aboard."

"Thank you, Commander," Arturis said as he stepped down to their level.

Chakotay gestured his arm toward the door, allowing their guest to go first. The trio left the transporter room in single file. Chakotay increased his pace to walk alongside Arturis, while Tuvok followed closely.

"Commander Tuvok has caught me up. I hope you understand why we're a little cautious," Chakotay said.

"Oh, too right Commander. I don't blame you," Arturis chuckled. "A few of my customers are wary at first, but I'm a lone pilot, merely offering my unique services to those in need."

Tuvok's eyebrows were once more piqued, "customers?"

Arturis made sure to look over his shoulder as he replied to him, "I'm what you consider a taxi service through this anomaly. When the anomaly appeared, it put a lot of people out as you can imagine. I thought my ship could be of help to them."

"Appeared? So it's a recent anomaly," Chakotay mused aloud, which got Arturis' focus back. "How much do you charge for your services?"

"The fee is optional. If some wish to pay me back in some fashion, they can, but I certainly do not demand it of them," Arturis said.

Chakotay glanced back at Tuvok, he quickly got the impression the other Commander was on the same wavelength. Something was off about this.

Before they could say anything Arturis seemed to sense their distrust, he doubled his smile. "I do not need payment. Every trip through this anomaly I learn something new about it. This trip for example I learned that folding space in certain pockets of this void gradually causes wear to the emitters."

"So what else do you know about it?" Chakotay questioned.

"A fellow scientist I assume," Arturis said a little too cheerfully. "The anomaly formed little over six months ago. I didn't see it, one visit to the area and things were normal, and the next it was there. A few systems were swallowed by it, one of which was the home of the scavengers who attacked you."

"I see," Chakotay said with a touch of sympathy. "Their world is gone. I can't say I blame them for resorting to desperate measures."

Arturis' friendly facade flinched for barely a second. Chakotay didn't spot it, Tuvok did and his eyebrow raised slightly higher. "Their home is not gone. Believe it or not, the stars and planetary objects still exist in this void. The anomaly isn't the void itself, the void is because of it. It is but small pockets of temporal instabilities scattered throughout the area. They block the light from travelling very far."

"You say they're small pockets, but they're big enough to completely block out light within a two thousand light year range?" Chakotay said dubiously.

"It also confuses sensor scans. You're fortunate the nature of space is mostly empty, as you would not detect a planetary object until you were within a few million kilometres," Arturis explained. They reached the turbolift. Arturis took that opportunity to change his position so he could face the both of them. "Don't worry, I don't abandon my customers outside the anomaly and go on my way. I'll need to know your final destination before I set in a course."

Chakotay laughed meekly, "I think even with your engines you'll be too put out. We also haven't decided..."

"Ohno, I'll happily drop you off wherever you need. All I ask for long distances is a small fee," Arturis said.

"Okay, how much does the Alpha Quadrant cost?" Chakotay asked.

Arturis' eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. He cleared his throat nervously, "no wonder you came this way. Hmm, it'd take roughly three of your months, so six in total." He thought about it while Tuvok called for the lift, and Chakotay tried to recover from the three months revelation. "All I ever ask for in long journeys is half of my fuel, basically what's used to get them to their destination."

Chakotay nodded. He knew there would be a catch sooner or later. Arturis carried on with a salesman smile on his face, "since this is such a unique situation, I'll only ask for a quarter. Half is far too much."

Tuvok thought it would be best to step in now as Chakotay's head stopped nodding, hope seemingly building in his eyes. "Am I correct in assuming that this service you provide is merely transport on your own ship, not a tow."

Arturis' demeanour took another hit, he looked a little disappointed to Chakotay at least. "Um, of course. Quantum slipstream technology is very delicate. We're talking about building a bridge over an ocean while you're still running on it. The stresses to a starship not built for this, I cannot imagine. Normally I'd let people store their ship in my bay, but your vessel is far too large."

"I see," Chakotay said. Although he expected that, he still felt a little disappointed as well. "I'm afraid we'll have to turn your kind offer down, Mr Arturis."

Arturis glanced between the two, as if panicked. "I don't understand. The Alpha Quadrant will take decades for you to reach. You'd prefer to continue that journey on this ship, than get home in months without it?"

"Well..." Chakotay tried to explain.

"Besides, didn't you say you'd need to discuss it with your Captain?" Arturis continued.

"I have a feeling she'll say the same thing, but not as politely," Chakotay said, mumbling the last part to himself.

Arturis nodded once, Chakotay thought he had understood and accepted it. "It's a shame," the alien spoke. "This vessel is already damaged by the elements, primitive in its technology. I understand the sentimentality, I do, but in sixty years this vessel will no doubt be a burden to you, if you survive at all. You may regret turning down my offer. I hope I'm wrong." He said it kindly, but it still didn't disguise his meaning. It left the Commander a little uneasy.

"It's not only sentimentality. Abandoning our technology here would be against the Prime Directive," Tuvok said.

"I wouldn't worry too much about that," Arturis said.

"Oh?" Chakotay was even more suspicious. "We only met because what you called scavengers attacked us. That's something to worry about."

Arturis simply laughed like it was nothing, "they are only interested in material. Your technology would be of no use, they'd only take food and perhaps fuel."

An image of Neelix's crops popped into Chakotay's head. He didn't have to imagine what would happen if these obviously desperate aliens scavenged Voyager if they were gone. His entire body shuddered in revulsion.

"I still need to fix the problem with my emitters, so please, take the time to think this through. Your people are far from home, this lone damaged ship isn't worth stranding them," Arturis pleaded with them.

The turbolift doors finally opened. Only it wasn't empty. Chakotay and even Tuvok winced at the person standing inside it. As soon as she laid eyes on their guest she marched out and reached to grab him. "You!" she hissed while doing so. Arturis only had time to briefly squeak before his shirt was pulled forward.

"Um, Kathryn," Chakotay said as calmly as he could.

Kathryn didn't even give him a side eye glance, her attention was solely on the man in her grasp. "How did you get back onto my ship you little drama queen?"

"Get back?" Tuvok questioned slowly.

"Please, I can explain," Arturis stammered.

Kathryn gave him a close up version of the skunk eye. Chakotay felt his own insides cower from his partial glimpse of it, he didn't want to think about Arturis'. "What little lie have you come up with this time? Oh, I found this ship in a cracker prize, I don't want it," she said with venom.

"Captain, you've met this individual before?" Tuvok asked. Even his usual calm and collect manner was wavering witnessing this.

His question forced her to redirect her stare toward him, which he regretted immediately. "Don't you remember? Neelix invited him aboard months back, claiming he was a walking universal translator and that he'd easily decrypt our message from Starfleet."

Chakotay turned slightly pale. "We might have done it ourselves but you banned us from talking about the H word ever again." Tuvok was very grateful for that as her stare went to him instead. "Why do I hate myself?" he muttered.

"I do not understand why you are angry at him then, unless your anger is to do with being reminded of the time loops," Tuvok said.

"Because he had no intention of helping us," Kathryn replied, turning back to Arturis, prompting another squeak. "Did you? You'd plant your little ship for us to find, hack the message to tell us to go to it. We think it's ours and blindly board it. Then what, tell the nice men."

"Ohno," Chakotay groaned into his hand. Meanwhile Kathryn roughly shook her captor a couple of times.

"How do you know this, Captain?" Tuvok asked.

"Yes, how indeed," Arturis said mid shake, so his voice wobbled.

"The same way she knew that terrorists would grab a hostage in Engineering. Interesting that Seven was in charge there at the time," Chakotay replied.

Kathryn's face softened for the moment, there was even a hint of a smile, "oh, I saw no reason to change that one."

Chakotay brought his hand to his face once more, "what? So why was B'Elanna seen trying on your maternity jackets during all of this?"

"It's not a crime to give Paris a scare now and then to keep him in line," Kathryn answered far too sweetly for his liking.

While their conversation was going on, Tuvok stepped forward to address Arturis. "Are you admitting to her accusations?" he asked.

"What? No, no. I'm questioning how she'd know of such a ridiculously untrue plan like that. I barely had a chance to say hello to her, how would she know?" Arturis stuttered.

Kathryn's head snapped in his direction as she growled. "Don't deny it. Why else would you be here?"

"Please, let me explain. You're not the only one who's been tricked," Arturis said, getting the other two men's interest. "We've both been manipulated by a third party. You've been fooled by bogus tips he's been feeding you for months."

Kathryn hesitated slightly, her grip loosened. He still wasn't in the clear, he felt it. "What kind of tips? And who?"

Arturis shook his head. "I don't know his name. He only referred to himself as the Boss, and I've never seen his face. All I know is he sent fake information to your database. He convinced me with similar methods that you were a threat that needed to be confronted. He used my resulting plan against me; broadcasting it to you as another warning of things to come."

"Why?" Chakotay asked, summing up his many questions into one.

Arturis scoffed a little bitterly. "I assume so he can cause trouble while keeping his hands clean. I don't know what his final objective is, but I do know it involves your crew."

Kathryn roughly released her grip on him, not breaking her deadly gaze. "Convenient. If you were really on our side, you'd have told us this from the beginning. Clearly you haven't."

Arturis shook his head timidly, his hands raised up a little like he was surrendering. "Okay, I admit that my original visit here had malicious intent. You knew of it though, did you ever question how? Am I right in assuming that it wasn't the first time you knew of a threat in advance?" He noticed Kathryn's eyes glaze over briefly, it gave him his answer. "I didn't admit it because I wanted to right my wrongs, help you, but I knew you wouldn't let me if you found out. I apologise."

"It doesn't change anything," Chakotay pointed out before Kathryn said anything else. "I had my doubts about leaving Voyager behind. I was already debating the risks of leaving our entire crew at the mercy of a stranger."

Tuvok nodded. "The same thought occurred to me as well Commander."

"Would it help if I gave you proof?" Arturis questioned pitifully.

"I don't think so, no. I imagine most of the crew will feel the same way," Chakotay replied. "Thanks but no tha..."

Kathryn turned her attention to him, fortunately her features had become more neutral and slightly stiff when she did. "Don't assume anything. We can't speak on our people's behalf on this subject. Some may be okay with leaving Voyager behind so they can return to their families. We can't ignore them."

Both Chakotay and Tuvok were a little puzzled and surprised she said anything like that. They stared at her with similar blank stares. They irritated her slightly. "What, it's only a ship for god's sake. If he has proof that we can trust him, we should inform the crew of this choice," she spat at them. "I'll leave it in your capable hands." She didn't give them time to answer her, she stepped back into the turbolift and shut the doors with a panel tap.

"Well, um," Chakotay mumbled while he organised his jumbled thoughts.

Tuvok came to his rescue, "what proof do you have?"

Arturis seemed to be far more relaxed now that the Captain was gone. He managed a weak smile, "you won't have to come with me to get home. You may be able to do it yourself."

"You mean use slipstream ourselves? Didn't you hint that Voyager couldn't?" Chakotay questioned.

"Couldn't be simply towed. We won't know if it's capable until we try, now can we?" Arturis said.

Tuvok and Chakotay shared yet another wary glance with each other.


Lieutenant Paris' Log, Stardate 0: Well it is. We were making some great progress in the construction of the Delta Flyer. Unfortunately news has quickly spread about the slipstream ship and so my team has almost halved over the last two days.

First Officer's Log, Supplemental: So far, our guest hasn't done anything that the Captain could consider backstabbing. Several teams are currently on the ship Arturis calls the Dauntless, running tests on the core itself. While he is currently working with Engineering personnel to adapt the technology to ours.

News spreads fast on this ship though. It's been difficult trying to convince the crew not to get their hopes up just yet.

Daily Log, Seven of Nine. Stardate 52374.3: I've analysed the Quantum slipstream technology of the Dauntless. It's similar to the transwarp drive used by the Borg. As a result, my expertise will be crucial to the mission's success. Voyager's crew is counting on that success.

Captain's Log, Supplemental: After Arturis excus... explanation, I've re-read some of the information I discovered months back. I'm starting to have my doubts. Despite some of its accuracy over events like the weapon specialist being a giant manbaby and the radiation nebula only Seven was immune to because 'reasons', I'm struggling to believe that I'd go on an awaymission to steal the computer core back with Leonardo da Vinci. Or that some alien would swap lives with Tom. I mean, really? How did this writer manage to hold a pen on that much booze?

Also, what kind of idiot writer ends two lines with the same word? I bet it's the same moron who writes just every other sent...

Seven walked down a corridor with her shoulders slightly tensed. Her eyes scanned her surroundings while the words of her own log replayed in her mind. "I find myself ambivalent. So I am carrying out my assignment, nothing more."

If we do return to Sector 001, will I adapt to Human civilisation? A single Borg amongst billions of individuals.

Kathryn growled ahead of her. Her hand hovered over the computer recording her log, she slammed her hand on it. "What kind of stupid question is that? Of course not. I hope it was worth interrupting my log, you attention hogging crybaby."

Neelix whimpered, his hands tightly squeezed the object she couldn't see. "But, I need new curtains. The first ones ripped during the blackout." He could still see her glaring at him in the darkness of her quarters. "I thought they were pretty," he whispered before running out to safety.

Kathryn sighed. "Now, where was I? Oh yeah." She pressed the computer once more. "If Arturis isn't going to be our antagonist this week, I'm sensing someone's going to be making up some forced drama that'll be forgotten by the next incident. My money's on Seven. She hasn't bitched about being the only Borg to get attention for a while."

She thought about what to close her log with, only to realise that her first fist slam didn't pause it. It annoyed for all but the ten seconds it took to replicate another cup of coffee.

The Dauntless Engine Room:
Harry's chirpy grin spread across his face. He looked up, naively expecting to be greeted by some enthused faces. Instead all he got were the same two near frowning faces he'd be working with all afternoon. He wasn't going to let them affect his.

"That's it, we have our safety net," he announced to them. "Quantum field strength is below fifty percent, we're one step closer to home."

"Hmm," B'Elanna barely made a sound.

"Commander Tuvok wants us to run a metallurgical analysis of the bulkheads to look for anything unusual," Seven said.

Harry's smile almost lost its own structural integrity. He hung in there.

"You two do that. I should run some simulations in the Holodeck," B'Elanna said halfheartedly.

"Getting ahead of ourselves aren't we?" Harry teased.

"Of course not, that's your thing," B'Elanna muttered.

The smile started to crumble, "again? Seriously why are women turning on me lately? I really oughta change my cologne." He wandered off to another computer panel.

Seven's mechanical eyebrow raised slightly. It went even higher when she spotted B'Elanna rolling her eyes. "Another typical male response. It's never their fault," she grumbled to herself, although Seven managed to hear her.

"Lieutenant," Seven said to get her attention. She got little more than a narrow head turn. "You don't seem... eager to return to Earth."

B'Elanna didn't answer her immediately. Seven determined she was ignoring her as she had been doing to almost everybody lately. She was taken back when the Lieutenant finally did say something, "I wouldn't go that far."

Seven stared at her, deep in thought. "You were a member of the Marquis. Starfleet will no doubt punish you for your crimes. Yet, almost all of the crew are excited about this. I do not understand."

For some reason she didn't get, B'Elanna flinched at her words. "What about you? Are you interested in seeing Earth?" she said with no feeling.

"No," Seven answered.

"You were a member of the Borg. Starfleet will no doubt judge you based on that. I guess we'll have our fugitives posters side by side," B'Elanna said.

Seven's face turned a few shades paler, eyes widened more than usual.

B'Elanna stared at her, slightly surprised by her reaction, though she didn't show it. "Relax, I'm kidding. You're not the first ex-Borg in the Alpha Quadrant. The key is to not act like a robot, take a joke once in a while. If you act like a Borg, they'll treat you like one. Okay?"

Her words seemed to make the drone feel worse. B'Elanna sighed and walked away. Seven watched her do so, staring curiously at her right leg. After a few steps she noticed the engineer favoured it only slightly over the left. It was so subtle, no one else would've noticed it but her.

Harry passed by her carefully to avoid another biting attack. "I've received a message from Tom, he's been left alone on the Flyer project," he said towards Seven. "Apparently the blackout a few days ago caused a feedback loop in the emitter arrays."

B'Elanna stopped and looked over her shoulder, her face frowned slightly. Seven wondered why that of all things would get her attention.

"If you wish I could assist him. I'm sure you'd prefer to remain on this project," she said.

The suggestion brought his smile back. It also inspired another eye roll from B'Elanna, and encouraged her to continue walking away.

"That's thoughtful of you Seven, but that's okay. I'm a little familiar with the Flyer's systems, and your expertise should remain on the more important project," Harry said.

Seven nodded, a little disappointment flooded her face.

The Conference Room:
Chakotay waited by the window, drumming his fingers against his leg. The sound of the door opening turned him around in time to see Tuvok join him.

"Commander, you wished to see me?" he said.

"I need your advice," Chakotay admitted.

Tuvok looked a little surprised, "a first."

"I know we usually keep out of each other's way, but I've always respected your opinion and judgement. Right now, I need to hear it," Chakotay said.

Tuvok nodded firmly. "Proceed."

Chakotay sighed, only realising at that moment how tense his shoulders were. "It's the Captain." They already began to ease, only slightly. "As you've noticed, she's isolated herself from the crew. Her temperament is getting worse, not better..."

"She believes that she made an error in judgement three years ago. That she's responsible for not only Voyager being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, but the recent hardships we have endured in the last two years," Tuvok said.

"She told you?" Chakotay blurted out in surprise.

Tuvok's expression didn't change at all. "No," he replied as he began to pace. "I've been observing her behaviour. Guilt has been her constant companion. Her temperament, as you called it, is her way of hiding it. As well as pushing anyone who can assist her away."

That part was news to Chakotay. It hit him hard in the chest. "I thought... I hate myself for it but I thought it was some sort of post-partum depression. She hasn't been the same since the birth."

"You could be partially correct. It happened to coincide with the events she blames herself for," Tuvok said.

A part of Chakotay wished he never asked. It was necessary though in order to help her. "You've known her longer than anyone here. Have you ever seen her like this?"

"Several times," Tuvok answered to his shock. "If a mission under her command went wrong, usually resulting in an injury or casualty, she would take it upon herself to complete the mission. At least twice she put herself in mortal peril."

"Seeking redemption," Chakotay muttered.

"Precisely. To Captain Janeway, failure is not an option. Her methods have been quoted as insane by the officers who've served under her. Her stubborn nature is her strength as a leader, but unfortunately it is also her greatest weakness," Tuvok said.

Chakotay couldn't agree more, it also made him far more concerned than he was before. "If she tries to do that again, I want to be ready. I'm going to need your support."


"I keep telling you," Harry pretty much shouted for the entire shuttle bay to hear. He carried a large piece of equipment into to the new shuttle's cockpit, almost tripping over some abandoned tools a couple of times. "We'd be already on our way home with my plan. That's all there is to it."

Tom couldn't take his eyes off the new helm controls. A PADD in one hand, the other gently caressing the side of it. "You're so pretty, I might just live on you."

Harry abandoned the equipment on the closest chair to him. His face twisted into a disgusted grimace. "Uh, should I come back later?"

"Ah!" Tom stuttered in surprise. He quickly turned his chair around, blushing furiously. "I didn't hear you, Har. Bring the new emitter array?"

"Yeah, yeah. Does B'Elanna know you've dumped her for the younger women?" Harry teased him. "I was surprised when I walked in that I didn't see a shiny red thing with eight wings."

Tom sighed in disappointment, "if only. It's okay, she's sexy... er functional enough with a cool grey coat." He visibly and silently berated himself to Harry's amusement. "Let's get the emitter installed, pronto, so we can get you back to the latest hope killer."

"You're only calling it that because we won't need the Flyer when it's done," Harry said. He waited for Tom to climb out of the chair to inspect what he brought. "It is interesting that the only reason we ran into Arturis was because he had problem with his emitters too."

Tom looked at him brightly, "what a coincidence." His face shifted to a firm glare in a fraction of a second. "You're not having it."

Harry's smile turned a little cheeky, a twinkle appeared in his eye. "Please Tom. We've already repaired his." He was satisfied with Tom's eye roll response. "It's an easily avoidable problem, in theory."

"Harry, don't you think it's a little suspicious that we both have the same malfunction, for two different reasons," Tom said.

Harry's mood didn't change, at least his face didn't show it. "Our shields should protect them from any further damage. We could repay him with the specs, or..."

"It couldn't be because of the scavengers dampening field," Tom's voice rose, hoping he'd hear him. "The Dauntless is immune to that, apparently. The Flyer meanwhile has never been outside, let alone in slipstream."

"We could extend our shields around the Dauntless while in flight," Harry continued on as if he said nothing, talking over some of his words.

Tom smirked slightly as he picked up the precious part. "If you fancy giving me a couple of weeks rations, continue ignoring me."

"We'd have to be close, a few seconds behind him anyway," Harry said.

Tom nodded, "two weeks rations it is. He could plot his course around these time hole things, if that's the root of the problem."

Harry looked him in the eye, scowling slightly. "You sound just like B'Elanna."

"B'Elanna?" Tom said, suddenly worried.

"She shot down all of my suggestions. Seven didn't say anything, which is usually a sign that a plan doesn't suck or she would've criticised me too," Harry answered.

"How would following Arturis out of the anomaly once pay him back?" Tom asked. "We don't even know if it'll work anyhow, he's lied more times than Tuvok's raised his eyebrow."

Harry sighed irritably, "weren't you listening to me? We'd need to be directly behind him when he activates the drive. We'd be in his wake, pulled along with him. We don't need to build our own. In three months we could be home, or still building the damn thing. Which do you think is better?"

"This is what you told B'Elanna and Seven?" Tom asked in an unenthused voice.

"Yes, why is no one excited? This is huge," Harry stuttered in anger.

Tom sniggered at his impatience, "don't take it personally. Seven doesn't do excited, and B'Elanna..." His amused eyes mellowed out, his whole body slumped. "She's not herself. I'm worried about her."

"It feels like she doesn't care anymore," Harry agreed, his anger faded. "Maybe if she did..."

A thought clicked into Tom's head before his friend could finish. "Hang on. Have you tested this? I mean, Arturis is a known liar, but you've got proof these emitters are damaged for the reason he says, and he has a slipstream drive? You're not running tests assuming these variables are true, are you?"

Harry's scowl returned, "I'm not that naive and obsessed with home, Tom. I've been burned far too many times to take that chance. The slipstream exists, and the emitters powering matter conversion like replicators, fuel convertors, transporters were fried."

"Sooo, partly no and yes," Tom muttered.

"We're talking about folding space in an area that's blocking light for thousands of light years and has already ate our probe," Harry said. "I'm convinced enough that part of his story is true."

"You have tested your plan then?" Tom asked.

Harry's face fell, "no. I thought that maybe since I did you a favour, you could help me do that."

"Harry, I'm the only dude here building a shuttlecraft from scratch," Tom protested, his eyes widening.

"Yeah, but it's not like we're in a hurry for it anymore. And it looks almost done anyway," Harry argued with a wry smile.

Tom groaned and face palmed into both of his hands. "Of course it is, I'm just that good." He lifted his head back up, "that's not the point." Harry's smile grew until it was chirpy enough to be infectious. Tom struggled to resist. "Fine, but your emitter favour is in fact null and void since you've taken me away from installing it. You owe me."

"Yeah, yeah. I'll buy you a beer in my local when we get home," Harry said, resisting using a cheeky wink on him.

Tom could only groan once more.

Seven glanced behind her as the doors opened. Kathryn walked through them, holding a mug in one hand and a bottle of what looked like talc powder in the other.

"This better be important. I was very busy," she hissed once she joined the ex-drone.

Seven stared at her curiously, "your daughter still needs her diapers changed?"

Kathryn directed a look of disgust her way. "No. It's nappies. What's the matter with you?" To Seven's dismay she started sprinkling the contents of the bottle into the mug. "I trained that out of her at the earliest opportunity. As soon as they can crawl, they can sit on a damn toilet."

"Then, what is that?" Seven asked.

Kathryn finished what she was doing without breaking her gaze. She shook her head to further show her disgust. "What the hell does my coffee powder got to do with babies and their toilet habits, you sick bit..."

"I thought..." Seven protested, still convinced the bottle was talc powder. The contents didn't look or smell like it. It still sparkled a little though. "Is that talc powder or only the bottle?"

Kathryn's glare eased slightly. "Waste not, want not."

Seven blinked a couple of times while the Captain sipped on her coffee. "I've decided that I will not be going with you to the Alpha Quadrant."

Silence followed for almost a minute. A loud slurp broke it. Kathryn sighed as her mug was now empty. She placed it to one side with a neutral look on her face for once. She used it to look at the ex-drone. "Okay."

There was no way she'd admit it, but the response dented Seven's pride a little. "Aren't you going to talk me out of it?"

Kathryn seemed genuinely puzzled, "no."

"But..." Seven said, actually sounding a little upset.

"Is that all?" Kathryn asked tiredly.

Seven grit her teeth for the time being. Kathryn began to walk away. "No," the drone replied, stopping her. "I've discovered something about the Dauntless."

Kathryn reluctantly walked back to her side. "Okay, what?"

"I used coherent neutrino beams to look for any suspicious activity or items as you requested," Seven said. She paused to type in a few commands on the computer. It brought up an image of Arturis' ship, zoomed in to the lower decks. Most of it was a hazy white, but the part she focused on seemed to be a large dark grey object.

"What is that?" Kathryn asked curiously.

"It's the exact size and density as our probe," Seven replied.

To her further surprise Kathryn smiled at the news. "Is that so? I can't wait to hear the excuse for this one."

Excited chatter filled the room as the entire staff were all occupied working around the core. None of them noticed Arturis slowly walk toward an unused station while keeping a close eye on them.

His fingers were about to press against the console when a voice bellowed from the entrance. "Going somewhere?" He froze on the spot at the sound of Kathryn's voice.

A lot of Engineering stopped what they were doing and swivelled around to see what was going on. They caught sight of Kathryn marching toward them, Seven and two Security on her heels, with a deadly glare on her face. They knew better than to keep looking.

"Captain?" Arturis whimpered, trying badly to look like things were normal. He failed miserably. "Is there a problem?"

Kathryn stopped within a metre of him, with luckily the station he chose in between them. "What were you doing with our probe?"

Arturis' fear conflicted with a whiff of confusion. His face twisted, showing it. "What probe?"

Kathryn's eyes narrowed further, "don't you dare pull that crap again, you little toad. The probe we lost before we ran into you and your scavenger friends, why is it sitting in your cargo bay?"

"Honestly, I don't know what you're talking about," Arturis stuttered.

"I tried to tell myself; this idiot wouldn't dare try tricking us again. He must know we'd be on our guard, watching him. Did you think we wouldn't find it?" Kathryn said dangerously. "Let me guess. You stole the probe so we wouldn't see the scavengers. Then you told them to attack us, so you could swoop in and pass yourself off as the hero."

"Please, I... stay calm," Arturis said as calmly as possible. "Your probe wouldn't have seen them coming either. I have no reason to take it. No one would. There's got to be another explanation."

"You can think of one for us while you're rotting in our brig," Kathryn said. She nodded back at the two Security officers. They gave her a wide berth as they walked over to confront Arturis.

"Wait. I didn't want to say anything before but I saw her..." Arturis said, pointing at Seven. She responded with an eyebrow raise. "Working on the transporter controls two days ago. It seems obvious that she stole the probe, then beamed it over to my ship to incriminate me."

"You are lying," Seven said plainly.

Arturis shook his head, "you hate her. She treats you horribly. You don't care about getting back home, so you'd do anything to sabotage Voyager. Were you responsible for the thirteenth deck too?"

"As true as that may be..." Kathryn said, prompting a bemused stare from Seven. "You had more to gain from the probe loss than her."

The two Security officers surrounded him. He quickly typed a few things before his arms were grabbed. He disappeared in a transporter beam.

Kathryn sighed. "Next time, bring the Security officers with names."

"Bridge to Janeway," Chakotay's voice rang through her commbadge. "The Dauntless is beaming people from Voyager."

"Here's a thought. Raise the shields for once," Kathryn growled, before storming off.

The Bridge:
Chakotay winced. He waited for the commlink to cut off before saying anything more. "Block his transporters, bring them back," he directed at the unknown at Opps.

"Uh, I can only do one at a time, and he's faster than..." they stuttered before they were rudely shoved to one side.

"On it," James said once he took his place.

"Scratch that," Kathryn hissed once she charged out of the turbolift. Seven followed her. Chakotay widened his eyes in surprise. "Beam that pissy Arturis back to Voyager, and into my Ready Room. I'll just replicate a bat."

Chakotay watched her go straight for her office. "How did you get here so quickly?"

"I can't. He's put up a forcefield around himself. It may take a while," James said.

Kathryn stopped as her doors opened. "Fine. Get the crew back first." She changed her route to the centre of the bridge. Chakotay instinctively took a step backward.

Kathryn noticed the helm looked a little empty. She tapped her commbadge. "Bridge to Paris. Get here, now!"

Chakotay rushed over to Opps, mainly to get out of Kathryn's arm range. "How are we doing?"

"He keeps changing transport spots, beaming people in groups. Sometimes I catch it in time and block it, when I don't I just beam them straight back," James replied.

Chakotay stood at the edge of Opps while the previous occupant hobbled out behind James. "I thought you of all people would be able to handle this."

James smirked in his direction, his hands kept tapping the station. "I can, it's just getting a little boring."

"So you're saying he's like, a load of rubbish?" Kathryn asked hopefully.

Chakotay was confused at first, then he knew where she was going with this. "No, you can't use the garbage pun."

"It's time for..." she said as the turbolift opened. Tom hurried out of it as if his life depended on it.

"No," Chakotay pleaded.

"Arturis to go on vacation," Kathryn improvised. Everyone groaned. Tom fake laughed as he took his place.

Chakotay shook his head, "James, I'll take over, you try to get through Arturis' forcefield. We'll be here all day otherwise."

James shrugged as he took a step to his left, "fine."

Chakotay immediately hurried to his previous spot and got to work. He worked furiously, his eyes widened slightly. "He's targeting the Bridge."

Kathryn turned her attention to Tactical. "Tuvok, give him some torpedoes."

Tuvok nodded and complied. At the same time both Seven and Kathryn disappeared in a transporter beam. "Dauntless has raised its shields," he reported.

Chakotay's face turned slightly pale, he looked toward James at the same time he looked at him. "It's all yours." He hurried away to go back to the centre of the Bridge.

"Commander. The Dauntless is powering up the slipstream drive," Tuvok reported.

"Set a pursuit course," Chakotay ordered.

Tom briefly laughed, "really? This wasn't what I meant by a test." Chakotay frowned into his back.

"Someone's trying to open the shuttle bay doors," James said to add to Chakotay's stress.

"Are you serious?" Chakotay groaned. "Stop them."

The floor shuddered slightly. James sighed, "I would, but there aren't any doors anymore."

Tom looked up from the helm, panicked slightly. He and several others saw the Dauntless on the viewscreen, glowing from its engines. Then a shuttle flew into view, right behind it. Tom recognised it, he died a little inside. "The Flyer."

"You've already finished it?" Jessie said in surprise.

The Dauntless shot off into the distance, disappearing within seconds. It wasn't the only one. The new shuttle went with it.

"Yey me, I'm just that good," Tom said, repeating his earlier words in a whimper.

Chakotay stood beside him, scowling down at him. "Am I talking to myself? Bring the warp core modifications online. Follow."

"It's only been three days. You're expecting us to believe we can modify the warp core to use slipstream in that time?" James stammered.

"Why not, we finished a shuttle in a few days as well," Jessie sighed.

"Guys, save the nitpicking for the bedroom," Tom said angrily. He knew he'd get punished for it later, but he was far too worried about his precious shuttle to care.

"Why the hell would we nitpick there? I would never have nits to pick," Jessie muttered.

James shrugged, "it's probably what he does in his bedroom so he assumes everyone does."

"Poor B'Elanna," Jessie said, shaking her head.

Chakotay tried to keep a straight face. "While we're waiting. Who's missing?"

"Captain Janeway, Seven of Nine..." Tuvok read from his station. His eyebrow raised higher than normal.

"What?" Chakotay said with worry.


The Dauntless shot through a blue tunnel, apparently unaware of the small shuttle directly behind them.

Aboard, B'Elanna sat in the front seat, staring in disgust at the strange helm controls Tom had fitted. "Oh whatever, at least he didn't put in the steering wheel and gearbox," she grunted.


"Do you understand? I'm telling you I'd prefer to remain here, in the void, than return to Earth," Seven said carefully.

"Duh!" Kathryn said in a fake deep voice. It echoed around the tiny cell they were trapped in. "I understand perfectly. B'Elanna's quiet and moody, Jessie's moody and anything but quiet, then there's me."

Seven frowned, as usual she had no idea what the Captain was saying.

"You don't do anything original do you? Gotta home in on other people's stories. You're a leech in sheep's clothing," Kathryn snarled.

Seven stared at her with her eyes wider. "No, mine happened before yours, especially Jessie's," she protested.

"Oh, go on, have your teenage tantrum," Kathryn smirked. She pitched her voice slightly higher to make it sound whiny, "wah, I'm running away. Why won't you pay attention to me, wah."

"That's not what this is at all," Seven said.

"Don't you think it's a little sexist that it's only the girls having these breakdowns? You could've taken one for the team," Kathryn said.

"It's not my fault you locked Paris up until Vis a Vis was over," Seven said irritably.

"And I'll do it again. I'm sure he has to have a sad episode every season. The boy is so one note," Kathryn said.

Irritability flashed in Seven's eyes. "You are changing the subject. Your attempt to assimilate me into your image has failed."

Kathryn burst into hysterical laughter. "Oh yes, because I slap on a skin tight bodysuit and walk around the ship pretending to be better than everyone."

Neither of them noticed Arturis had been on the other side of the forcefield for a while now, waiting for a chance to speak. He sighed, deciding to sit down until they were done.

"No, I don't recognise your values. Your desire to explore space is inefficient. Your need for familial connections is a weakness. Your infatuation with that one planet is irrational!" Seven spat.

"Wah, wah, wah! Why are you arguing with me? I don't care if you go back to the Borg. You deserve each other," Kathryn said with indifference.

Arturis looked up hopefully. "Oh, speaking of the Borg..."

"Admit it, you just want me to stop you. Beg you to stay," Kathryn continued.

"Of course not. I wouldn't expect you to care about anyone other than yourself and the coffee," Seven said.

Arturis whined at being interrupted once more. "You're both going to see them," he muttered.

"Oh how precious. You think that since I don't like you, I don't like anyone, because hating you is impossible," Kathryn chuckled. "Look, find someone else to imprint your mummy issues onto. I'm not interested."

"Irrelevant. I'll survive without Voyager," Seven said.

"Yes, because you're soooo perfect," Kathryn taunted her.

"Precisely!" Seven hissed.

"Revenge shall be mine," Arturis said mid whimper.



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