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The Voyager crew finally reach their destination, but everything is not how it should be.
If you're reading this right now then that means the original World Domination is no longer canon. Just saying.
3rd & 9th June 2017
10th, 12th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 28th - 31st August 2017
Draft: Mid 2000
Official Release: 22nd April 2001
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking."
Only a handful of people looked up, showing they were paying attention.
"We'll be taking a minor detour to avoid some bad weather ahead, which will add another twenty minutes to our journey..."
A red headed girl instinctively leaned over to look through the tiny window beside her, catching the plane tilt, showing her only the clear black skies. She sighed tiredly, already feeling a little restless three hours in. What was another twenty minutes on a fourteen hour flight? Torture, she thought after the kid in front of her stamped on her foot once more.
"We apologise for the inconvenience and I hope you'll enjoy the remainder of your flight."
"Right," the girl mumbled.
The plane began to level once again, that was when she saw it. A shadow over the ocean in the distance. It was moving fast. Turbulence rocked the plane. Passengers laughed, some gasped, just like every other time. The girl tried to convince herself it was nothing more than their own shadow, or a cloud and it only looked like it was moving due to their own speed and tried to peel her eyes away.
But she couldn't. Her fears wouldn't let her even budge, her eyes remained fixed on the shadow, it had grown. The cabin's atmosphere turned in that instant. Voices were far more panicked, the turbulence increased.
Before she could get her bearings she heard the nearby gasps, "woah look at that."
"Oh my god!"
The girl could see it now. A blurry shape made of grey, hurtling away from them from seemingly above, down towards the clouds with its own trailing behind them. A lump formed in the girl's throat, nearly choking her as the plane buzzed from the sighting. Most of them had seen it. Only she knew something she didn't. It wasn't a plane.
"It can't be," she whispered to herself.
The intercom once more echoed around the cabin. The words were muffled to her until she forced herself to listen. "... to remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened, and remain calm. We'll be landing in one hour and ten minutes time at our destination." The girl could hear the man trying to hide the shock with his customer service voice, it wasn't stable and even from her seat at the back, she could tell it wasn't convincing anybody. Passengers were stirred up, anxious, curious and even excited at what they had seen. His words only confirmed what they were thinking. Now they knew it wasn't normal.
The girl clutched her bag to rummage through it. Before she could find what she was looking for, a flight attendant told her to put it under the seat in front of her. Reluctantly she listened. All she could do was wait and try not to stand out.
Captain's Log Supplemental: We're responding to a distress call a couple of lightyears off our course. Scans tell us nothing unusual about this binary system with two inhabited worlds. We should know when we get closer.
Kathryn paced, only stopping to sip the coffee sitting on her armrest.
"Still nothing unusual," Harry reported.
Tom shook his head gingerly, "I have a feeling we're in for a bucketful of crazy here."
"And? When are we not?" Jessie genuinely wondered.
"True," Tom nodded.
A few minutes of nothing flew by. Naturally Tom had to break the silence, "entering system."
"Slow us to quarter impulse," Chakotay ordered. "Where was the distress call coming from?"
"From the sixth planet in the system. M-Class..." Harry reported, trailing off while he was checking the sensors. "Weird. No signs of advanced civilisation on either habited worlds. Settlements on the one with the distress call are of the industrial era."
"What? Then who...?" Kathryn snapped.
"Hold on," Harry stammered over the top of his recently bleeping console. "We're getting a new message. Audio only."
Kathryn swivelled around to stare at him. "So where is it actually coming from?"
Harry started to sweat. No matter where he looked, he couldn't find an answer. "It's coming from the planet, but it's not. I mean, it's not coming from anywhere on the surface. Just the planet's general direction."
Chakotay got out of his chair to stand beside Kathryn, giving her a firm stare. She shared a similar one, then nodded like she agreed with him. "Keep us at Yellow Alert. Open a channel."
The commline buzzed for a moment, until it turned into malicious sniggering. "Surprise," a woman hissed.
"What?" Kathryn froze, then fumed, "was that...?"
"Captain, I'm detecting traces of subspace fluctuations and intermittent temporal waves in the atmosphere, it's the same co-ordinates the hail originated from. A vessel is emerging," Tuvok reported. He was changing the viewscreen to show the planet which appeared normal when his readings changed. "There are five more behind it," he added on as a silver vessel emerged from seemingly out of nowhere, directly ahead of them.
Kathryn groaned impatiently, "figured. Shields better be up." Tuvok quickly deviated to do something when the ship on the screen fired a few phaser blasts towards them, shaking the ship. "Oh, someone's getting a slap."
Other, smaller ships also appeared from the same place out of nowhere and flew in different directions out of their line of sight.
"They're taking up a circular holding pattern around us. All of them have their weapons armed and trained on us," Harry said.
"Shield emitters were jammed by the interference. They're holding at thirty percent," Tuvok said.
Kathryn scowled over her shoulder, "yes, jammed. I believe you, others wouldn't." As she expected, she got double the eyebrow treatment.
"Shields aren't the only ones. I'm not getting any response from the warp core. We're limited to impulse," Tom reported.
"Return fire to the lead vessel, wide beam phasers..." Kathryn ordered.
"No, hail them," Chakotay quickly said, fearing the glare he'd get for it. And he got it.
"Why bother? They'll only gloat and hurt my eyes," Kathryn grunted. She focused her intense stare at the viewscreen, particularly to the familiar vessel ahead of them. It was almost like someone had placed a mirror in front of their own ship. The only differences in the ship ahead of them were patches of Borg technology imbedded in its hull.
"Seventh Voyager," Jessie said with disgust.
Everyone instinctively clung onto the nearest thing as the ship shook again, this time the vessel ahead wasn't the cause of them.
"Fifteen percent," Tuvok reported.
"They're hailing us Captain," Harry said.
Kathryn hesitated, glancing toward the right side of the Bridge. Who saw her assumed she was looking toward the Ready Room, thinking of having a coffee injection before answering them. "Fine. I'll get some sunglasses first."
Chakotay resisted laughing for the time being. "It's not that bad."
"Yes it is, just open a channel," Kathryn groaned.
When the viewscreen changed, the mirror image effect was a lot less effective with the vastly different hairstyles, clothes and expressions that greeted them. The completely different Janeway in command would have done it alone, but the assault on the eyes threw the entire bridge off.
"Oh hey sis, how do you like your present?" Phoebe sneered.
Kathryn's fists clenched on approach, Tom winced as she was in arms reach of him. "Don't call me that, you little brat."
"Ooph touched a nerve," Phoebe teased with a devilish smirk on her face.
"Is this the only way you can hurt us? Sneak attack and recruiting nobodies?" Kathryn asked, doubling the strength of her glare.
Tuvok flinched, "actually Captain..."
"I wouldn't call them nobodies," Phoebe smirked. "This is the rebellion. The true will take your place."
"I'm sorry," Kathryn said in an over the top sad voice, mocking the younger Janeway. "I don't speak cheesy villain-bragonese. Come back when you're not stupid."
"Oh, you're not meant to understand. Not yet," Phoebe cackled. "I just wanted to see your faces as I shoot you out of the sky. Fire!" Nothing happened for a few seconds. Phoebe turned to Tactical with a ferocious look on her face. She got a blank look in return. "I said, fire."
"Fire what? Phasers, torpedoes. If so, how many?" Seventh Tuvok questioned with the same touch of seriousness as his counterpart, but there was a twinkle in his eye. Phoebe must've spotted it and was fuming more than ever. "You can't complain about using the goddamn torpedoes, then call me a wuss for phasering someone."
Chakotay tried not to laugh, "apple doesn't fall far, does it?"
Kathryn made a mental note to slap him for that later. She lowered her voice to a whisper to speak to Tom, "you can get us out of here while they're not doing anything, right?" Tom's smile was her answer. He got straight to work as she backed away slowly.
Phoebe's hands flew to her hips, amusing most of the Fifth bridge crew further. "This is the goodie two shoe Voyager. You know the plan, you know it doesn't matter! Do I have to make all the plans?"
"Opps is whispering something to me," Seventh Harry piped up.
Phoebe rolled her eyes, "put a sock in it Looney Tunes."
"You never make the plans. Our Boss does," Seventh Tom said smugly. Seventh Chakotay slapped the back of his head, making him whimper. "But he does? Since when do you stick up for her?"
Seventh Chakotay looked puzzled, "what are you talking about, I was swatting a fly."
"Keep talking," Tom more or less mimed as he piloted Voyager downwards to go underneath Seventh Voyager. He already set their escape course away from the system before he made the dive, one mere finger on the engage button and they'd be away while they were still bickering. Only once they were clear of the ship and making the turn Voyager instead was tugged sideways towards the planet, shaking it all the while. "What, we're caught in something."
"What?" Kathryn snapped.
"What?" Phoebe and Seventh Chakotay directed to their Tom, who was still checking for a fly that didn't exist. By the time they noticed the commotion on the other Bridge, the screen switched back to space view with no sign of their enemy anywhere.
"They flew into the portal, we tried to warn you," Seventh Harry gloated.
Phoebe growled and clenched her fists. "I thought I told you to lock the door as we left."
"We did!" Harry protested, caressing his station.
"If you thought I meant a literal door, I'm going to use you as a mop next time Tuvok cleans out the kitchen," Phoebe muttered.
"Opps says that's not funny and she's very offended," Harry huffed. "Yes, I told the portal to close."
"Then why... oh whatever, pursue them!" Chakotay snapped. He rolled his eyes, "Tom. You're the fly I was swatting."
Tom stopped mid checking his hair. He only seemed to hesitate as he kept going after a few seconds, then decided to turn the ship around and go back the way they came. They barely turned around when the tip of the saucer bumped into something, the impact pushed them backwards harshly, almost taking out their ally ships. "Oopsie," both he and Harry said simultaneously.
Phoebe chose Harry to glare at though, who had meekly threw his arms around the station as much as he could. "See, closed it. It's not instant you know," he sniffled.
"And you ask why Boss wants to capture the Fifth crew so desperately," Phoebe said toward Chakotay with narrowed eyes.
He looked confused, "I thought it was because they were st..."
Phoebe slapped him before he could finish. Before she stomped off he returned the favour. This went on for a few minutes until Phoebe got bored and kneed him in between the legs. "Surrounded by people who would struggle to recite the alphabet," she sighed.
"That's not true," Tom huffed.
The turbolift doors opened, allowing the Seven alter ego named Six to hurry out, wearing a bathrobe and a towel on her head. Most of the crew averted their eyes with a disgusted groan. "Sorry, didn't hear the Red Alert, was in the tub. What did I miss?"
Phoebe was the only one who dared to look at her. "Tub? You're dead. You'll only make the smell worse, you cretin."
"The word's Tolg, you insensitive..." Six cried before scurrying back into the turbolift, sobbing loudly.
"On second thoughts, yes it is," Tom said.
Voyager emerged sideways not far away from a different world. As soon as Tom regained control again he carefully straightened her up and flew into a proper orbit.
"Status?" Chakotay directed at anyone, or everyone.
"It appears we inadvertently flew into the distortion the Seventh ship and its allies emerged from," Tuvok replied.
Kathryn rolled her eyes and marched to stand beside Tom again, he swallowed a massive lump in his throat. "Any moron could've figured that out. Take us back through. Make sure the shields are up this time."
"Um..." Harry tried to intervene, his face had turned whiter than Neelix's mince and dumplings.
"I'm trying, nothing like that is happening again," Tom started to sweat.
Tuvok backed him up, "the readings I was getting from the anomaly are no longer registering."
"Uh guys," Harry tried again.
Jessie groaned, "so we're stuck in evil wannabe dimension?"
"To hell we are. Check the sensor logs, we have to recreate it, or we can just wait for the imbeciles to follow us here," Kathryn said.
Harry had enough of being ignored. He changed the viewscreen to show the planet, hoping that would get their attention. It took a while, Tom noticed it first and his eyes bugged out.
"Holy moly..." he stammered.
The look he got from Kathryn froze his blood, he shakily pointed at the screen. This time everyone looked, it left the bridge in silence.
"Earth," Harry squeaked, ready to faint any second. "We're ho..."
Kathryn snapped out of the daze first. "Don't get your knickers in a twist. This'll be their Earth, not ours."
"Curious," Tuvok said, getting their attention instead. "I am not detecting any starships in the vicinity, nothing that would indicate a post-warp civilisation."
"Crap," Kathryn sighed. "What year or rather era is it?"
"I am picking up multiple satellites in orbit, including a small habited station. Radio waves, which would..." Tuvok began to reply.
Tom panicked and quickly worked at his station, Kathryn kept a close eye on what he was doing. "Twenty first century. Late twentieth at best."
"Ugh, not again," Jessie sighed.
Tuvok nodded, "confirmed. The date I'm receiving from the worldwide network system they have is 2017."
"What are the chances anyone has spotted us?" Chakotay asked.
The nervous laughter that rang from Tom sounded a little obnoxious unintentionally, "the ISS, telescopes, planes flying everywhere, everyone carrying PADD like devices that record every moment of their lives and put it out there for all to see. Hmm, probably the same odds as Janeway going to the replicator first thing in the morning."
"You didn't just use me for one of your metaphors, did you?" Kathryn asked dangerously.
Tom's eyes widened. He made sure to answer carefully, "no ma... Captain."
"Good, the Pacific's a large place," Kathryn said with narrowed eyes. Tom responded with a timid gulp of air.
"Uh Tuvok, you might want to recheck your scans," Harry said. Tuvok glanced at him curiously. "I'm picking up faint subspace signatures. Someone's down there that shouldn't be."
Jessie frowned and looked over her shoulder, "so? I thought we've established this isn't our Earth. Does it matter?"
"Have we? If this is their Earth, why so long ago? Shouldn't the portal have brought us to the Delta Quadrant, in the twenty fourth century? Why here, why now?" Chakotay questioned warily.
Kathryn marched her way back to her seat, only Chakotay thought she was gunning for him so he side stepped out of the way. "I think until we find out otherwise or leave, whichever comes first, we treat this as a time travel incident."
"In that case we should probably find somewhere to hide the ship here while we investigate these subspace readings," Harry said.
Tom's face twisted into a grimace. "I'm telling you, that's not possible. Even if we hide our warp signature like the last time, or slip into the moon's shadow, someone will see us. Many will and we'll be plastered all over the internet in seconds. It's extremely likely we already have been. I dunno if I got us out of orbit quick enough."
"You got a better idea?" Chakotay asked.
"No, that doesn't mean I'm wrong though," Tom said with offense.
Harry looked a little eager to his dismay, he had no idea why. "What about Gravett Island? It's not been discovered yet, right? We can hide in the moon's shadow until evening, and land with cover of darkness."
A mixture of eagerness to try landing on a small island and fear of being spotted, polluting the timeline, made Tom pull a few funny faces as he tackled his ambivalence. "If we're doing this, I'd better get started."
Kathryn chewed the inside of her cheek, shaking her head, while she retook her seat. "Is there really no other way?" No one answered her, she took that as a no. "Fine. Still fog our signatures, keep our systems minimal, turn our lights out, anything that'll hide us on the way down. I'd like to look on the bright side that we haven't been seen yet." She got multiple acknowledgements from her bridge crew.
After a couple of diversions to avoid a storm and a plane, Voyager landed with a wobble or two on a deserted island. At least Tom hoped so since it seemed a little too easy considering it was pitch black outside and the ship didn't have any of its usual lights that would help. Still he wiped the torrents of sweat from his neck and forehead. The sigh of relief he made told everyone it was done.
"Keep power levels minimal. If you must have lights on, make sure the room doesn't have a window or cover it up. Just because we're in the middle of the ocean, doesn't mean we're safe. One light on and anyone flying over will see it in this abyss," Kathryn ordered.
Sweat still dribbled into one of Tom's eyes, leaving him squinting. "That's for sure. So, what now?"
"I think we'd better monitor the radio and internet waves for any mentions of us, or the subspace originators," Harry suggested.
"Ho boy, internet? That's a job for the whole crew," Tom whimpered.
Kathryn glanced at him once more, "thanks for volunteering, chump."
Tom though was visibly pleased to her disappointment, he was practically giddy at the thought. "I'll setup a constant search engine algorithm for the usual words and terms. Oh then I'll trawl some of the more active forums. Harry, wanna join my team?"
"Yes he does," Chakotay groaned. "Where's the subspace signatures? We need to find them and quickly."
"USA. It's always America," Jessie sighed.
Harry cleared his throat as he did another scan. He looked a little annoyed with himself, "I can't pinpoint them. Something's blurring our sensors down here."
"Just like something jammed our shields earlier?" Kathryn asked dangerously.
"Exactly Captain. It seems to be familiar phenomenon," Tuvok replied.
"Of course it is," Kathryn sighed impatiently while staring at the ceiling. "Okay. If we go by the percentages, Jessie's right, the United States is a highly likely option. However we do need to figure out what Seventh Voyager would have wanted in this time, regardless of what dimension it is. That might narrow down the search."
Tom winced through his teeth, "early twenty first century was, how do I put this? Pretty messed up."
"How so?" Chakotay asked.
"Well if I were the mischevious, power hungry sort, I'd revel in this period. They could be encouraging riots, violent protests, mob attacks. Influencing politics," Tom meekly answered.
"The last time we ran into these idiots, they sent their kids over and attacked us with a weakened ship," Jessie said.
Tom's face fell, "oh yeah. Still, could be a problem. They say hateful idiots ruled the world back then."
"Great, they'd fit in nicely then," Harry commented.
"Question is, who did they leave behind, or did they at all? These signatures could be anyone. And where?" Chakotay said directly toward Tom.
He laughed nervously in response, "sorry. I told you, twentieth century's my gig. Nicer."
"Nicer?" Kathryn's voice raised, making him cower. "Two world wars for a start, you prick."
"I wasn't finished. Grander, fun, charming. Sure twenty first had the Warp flight and better TV, but it just left me feeling cold," Tom said.
"Admit it. You got as far as 2001 or 2, opened your mouth and got kicked out of the class," Jessie said.
Tom faked a laugh in her direction, "yes that's it. Still know more than you do."
Tuvok thought to interrupt before they got off topic, "may I suggest we focus our search in areas with historic purpose. If I understand the Seventh Voyager situation correctly, history in their dimension should be a direct copy of our own until the moment they were split from us a few years ago."
"He's got a point. Their past is our past, we really ought to be careful," Chakotay said with some concern.
"So you're saying this is our Earth after all? Ugh, I hate time travel," Kathryn grunted, holding her head in anticipation of the definitely coming headache.
"Jessie is right though unfortunately. If you're looking to cause trouble, USA in this year is more than a good place to start," Tom said.
Jessie looked more than disappointed, "great. Why can't we go somewhere nicer like Spain or the Bahamas for once?"
"Seconded," Craig eagerly chirped from the turbolift door.
The grin on his face made Jessie shudder, "on second thoughts."
Kathryn though was still on Tom's earlier comment, "how do you know that?" Tom looked at her curiously. "What makes this year so memorable for you if twenty first century isn't your expertise? It's seventeen years after twentieth."
"Really?" Tom was surprised she asked that. He glanced around the bridge and felt a little worried that no one seemed to have a knowing expression on their face. "Was I the only one awake during basic history lessons? Okay then, trust me, I'd start there and make sure you're discreetly armed."
"Get a few teams ready," Kathryn said to Chakotay without breaking eye contact with Tom. "I don't want us all stuck in one place though. I want at least one team following the other possible hotspots, they can respond if Tom finds anything on the internet that could be about the subspace readings."
Chakotay nodded and walked away. On his command a lot of the bridge crew dispersed from their stations and either into turbolifts or other stations. Kathryn remained where she was staring thoughtful into space.
"What would idiots do... no what would my sister do? Still an idiot but as not much as the others," she mumbled aloud.
"They wanted some of our crew, didn't they?" Chakotay said, eyes briefly pointing toward Harry.
"Damn, wait!" Kathryn grunted. Everyone froze on the spot as she span around, looking for someone in particular. First one she spotted was Jessie beside Tactical, ready to leave. "Jessie," then she looked at Craig, "leg humper."
"Hey!" he whined.
Kathryn ignored him, "collect James, I assume he's with the rest of the team you're skiving from."
"It's my day off," Craig pouted. Jessie smirked at him.
"Still!" Kathryn snapped. "I have a job for you three."
Tom gasped, "it better not be my sweet internet gig."
"Yeah right you sad bastard," Kathryn scoffed derisively. "No, Chakotay's right. Seventh have had only one goal; kidnap some of our crew and leave us with their braindead alter egos. Whatever they're doing here has to be connected to that."
Chakotay winced, "I don't like where this is going."
Kathryn didn't hear him, she was once more looking thoughtful about something. "Harry and B'Elanna, they were kidnapped recently. Them too."
"But..." Tom protested.
"You're the Alpha Team. It's very important and..." Kathryn continued as if he never said anything.
"We're bait, no need to sugarcoat it," Jessie said with a raising eyebrow.
That remark threw Kathryn off, she struggled to remember where she was up to. Chakotay walked up to her with a curious look in his eyes, "so where do we send them? USA or are they the anywhere something's going on team?"
"Oh Chakotay. Do you really need to ask that, it's so simple," Kathryn said in a sweet voice, her face had even softened.
"Okay," Chakotay said. He waited, she waited, she didn't expect him to call her bluff, "well? As you always say, we're all idiots."
Kathryn coughed awkwardly. "Your discretion Commander. I'll be in my..." she hurried off to the Ready Room.
"Low power means replicators will do bare essentials only," Chakotay smirked as he reminded her.
Her course changed for the other turbolift which was free, since the crewmembers she stopped earlier were still waiting beside Tactical. "My awayteam, what are you talking about?" Before he could argue she was gone.
"Which of our hotspots have the best coffee?" Jessie asked.
Tom smiled sneakily in her direction.
"Oy, don't make me put you on a leash!" Kathryn snapped toward Seven. The drone, dressed normally for once and with her hair down covering her facial implants, stood only a mere two metres away, studying a newspaper stand. When she didn't jump to her attention, Kathryn clicked her spare fingers harshly.
Seven remained fixed on the spot, "I assumed we were trying not to stand out."
Kathryn growled while taking a sip from the Styrofoam cup in her hands. It only angered her further. "Are you giving me attitude?"
"Captain," the Doctor tried to calm her down.
"Then don't brainwash another easily manipulated idiot boy, you probably have your pick of them here. Knowing our luck it'd be your great great grandfather," Kathryn said, taking yet another sip. This one annoyed her enough to toss it into a nearby bin. "What is this, Starbucks Piss Water?"
The Doctor tried not to laugh at her, "you asked her to come. Why do that if you're going to complain about it?"
"She might be useful. I'm not petty," Kathryn said, already a lot calmer now that the cup was gone.
Seven actually laughed for a moment, surprising them both. "No of course not. Perhaps you'll have noticed the usefulness of these news magazines, since I didn't."
"She is giving me attitude," Kathryn said to the Doctor with narrowed eyes.
The Doctor smirked back at her, "you asked for it."
Kathryn deathglared him into the Recycle Bin. "The last time she roamed free she got into bed with our kidnappers, literally, and sent her idiot boyfriend to kill my daughter. I'll ask for it when she makes up for it."
Seven was speechless. Kathryn made a point to snatch the paper she had picked up from her so she could look at it. When she did the front page made her recoil in horror.
"Eeew, what the hell is a clown doing on the front page and why is it that colour!" she shrieked, prompting a few sniggers nearby from the people also in the shop they were inside. Kathryn either didn't notice or didn't care, she decided to read the text underneath. It didn't ease her shock but it did bring the anger back, "is this why my professor told me to skip early twenty first century history? Bunch of morons."
The Doctor sneaked a look too. "This could be something the Seventh are behind. We should chase it up."
"Pfft, this is too dumb even for them," Kathryn waved the newspaper in his face, forcing him to back off a step. "No, it looked like this happened last year. We need recent events." She reluctantly started to flip through the paper.
"Perhaps a plane full of people being held and questioned over a UFO sighting in Los Angeles," the Doctor said.
Seven frowned, "I do not see that one."
The Doctor pointed at huge screen on the nearby building showing a newscaster and some headlines scrawling underneath him.
"Oh. I'll kill that little paras..." Kathryn grumbled while fishing what looked like a smaller PADD from her pocket. She was about to talk into it until she remembered, then put it by her ear. "Tom, that plane you mentioned. How close did you fricking get?" she hissed quietly so others wouldn't hear.
Only Kathryn heard Tom's little whimper before he answered, Seven and the Doctor knew from experience so didn't need to hear to know he did it. "It's only being reported that way on Fox News. Everywhere else are talking about the massive storm off the west coast of North America that forced it, and us, to divert."
Kathryn's face turned a little red. Her teammates knew to back away and pretend they weren't with her. "One is bad enough. Somebody saw us and you're gonna..."
"I wouldn't worry, it isn't a reliable news outlet. Only the already paranoid are taking it seriously," Tom's voice stuttered.
"Still, we need to get to Los Angeles and investigate the extent of the damage we've caused already," Kathryn said icily.
"Okay. Give me a miscall when you're ready and I'll beam you as close as possible to the airport," Tom's voice said.
Kathryn pulled the device away to stare at it with a grimace, "a miss what?" Then she noticed he had hung up on her. With a straight almost calm face she looked at her teammates and said, "do you think it'll break the temporal prime directive if I looked up one of his ancestors and punched him somewhere?"
The Doctor laughed nervously, "maybe, but it might fix our current problem." Seven raised her eyebrow at that response.
Tom sighed deeply in relief as he slouched back into the chair he had dragged into Astrometrics. The large screen had been setup to show multiple TV stations on the right and windows showing internet websites taking up the rest. The console at Tom's fingertips had a few of its own, but with a Searching prompt running over the top of it.
"Nothing to worry about," he told himself. The search finished; No Results. Tom's face drained. He frantically leaned forward to tell it to go again, with a few more keywords. "Must've been a minor event. It'll be in our history, has to be. Nothing to wor..."
"Are you talking to yourself?" Chakotay asked from behind him.
Tom jumped a few feet in the air. He shook it off and span the chair around. "That plane did not see us. They were diverted because of the storm, not me. I haven't done anything."
Chakotay struggled not to laugh at him. "Is that why you can't find any references to the event?" he asked, pointing at his once again No Results screen.
"Can I... help you Commander?" Tom tried to sound calm, but it came out as twitchy and rude.
"Don't mind me. I just wanted to double check our position," Chakotay said, face returning to normal, if a little concerned. He walked around the now confused helmsman to take up the unused right side of the station.
"What are you talking about?" Tom groaned. While he was talking a new large window appeared on the screen, blocking and overlapping most of the ones already there. "Twenty first century, Earth, Gravett Island." The window changed to showed a few hills with specs of colour dotted all across them. "Sure the dimension stuff is still up in the..." The image zoomed in and the coloured specs turned into buildings and roads, making Tom speechless.
Chakotay sighed, only a little annoyed, "so you haven't done anything?"
Tom started to stammer, "huh, what? These are pictures of some town, village. What's that got to do with me?"
"This is the view we have of outside, with a little light exposure since it's still early morning out there," Chakotay replied. Tom started to laugh but uncomfortably. "Are you sure this is Gravett Island?"
"Of course I'm sure. Somebody's mucked up this image, no one knew this island existed in this time," Tom answered.
"I guess we'll see soon enough," Chakotay said on walking away.
Tom's eyes widened, he leapt out of his seat to follow him. "Wait a minute. You're not going out there, are you?"
"Why not? You said it yourself, it's not supposed to be habited but it clearly is. Our task is to find anything that doesn't belong here, right?" Chakotay said.
"Well yeah, but shouldn't we, no you tell Janeway?" Tom asked.
Chakotay smiled, "yes you should." Before Tom could object Chakotay tapped his commbadge, "Chakotay to Tuvok. Please report to the Transporter Room."
"But..." Tom whimpered as the first officer walked straight out during Tuvok's response. He squeaked once he was on his own. He shook his head stubbornly, "I'm not telling her. This isn't my fault."
There was a slight chill in the air as the sun meekly began to raise above the horizon. The transporters had deposited the small team at the tail end of the beach. They didn't have to look far for signs of civilisation as they were within stepping distance of a concreted path beside a narrow road. Both of which were cracked with weeds bursting through them. Chakotay glanced further ahead at what looked like a house on the other side of the road, clearly meant to be a mix of two colours in its brickwork but now was faded enough they blended together. Foliage was growing from the ground up and into the broken windows. Whenever the wind blew the building rattled its bones.
"This place, it's giving me the creeps," Morgan shuddered whilst holding her own arms.
"You didn't have to come, I never asked," Chakotay reminded her while Tuvok glanced down at his tricorder.
Morgan looked up toward the nearby hills, grimacing at the similar state of the buildings there. Near the top of the hill what looked like an antenna caught her eye, only it was massive even from where they were standing. Even so it blended well into the remainder of the hill due to its camouflaged colour, only its sharpened metallic tip catching the rising sunlight gave it away.
Tuvok had noticed it too but not by sight, his tricorder readings had pointed him in that direction. "I'm picking up what appears to be a jamming signal. It could be what is interfering with our sensors."
"Could be?" Morgan scoffed.
"It is faint, I did not pick it up on Voyager," Tuvok said, gesturing his head toward their ship standing on an embankment half a mile away. Then he pointed the tricorder at the structure close by, "even here, the tricorder is not detecting any signs of civilisation. No lifesigns, even our own is being clouded."
Chakotay's breath caught in his throat for a moment. "What the hell is going on here?"
Morgan once more looked up towards the antenna. "Well we know one thing. That thing's there to keep this island a secret. Is this why nobody found it for ages?"
Her question made Chakotay pause and think his answer over. He shook his head eventually. "No. When the island was discovered it was untouched. There was no evidence of a prior civilisation, especially not one advanced enough to make that. I think even by twenty first century standards, it's pretty advanced."
"If you wish to proceed Commander, I suggest with caution," Tuvok said.
"Agreed. Anyone who is willing to hide like this won't be too welcoming," Chakotay said.
Morgan frowned and looked back at them. "But look at this place. No one's been here for ages. Do you think the Seventh lot are here, hiding?"
"No. But I do think we may have found the source of our subspace signatures," Chakotay replied.
"Phew," Harry sighed once the transport ended, leaving the team in an empty alley. He looked like he had been in torrential rain, only it was sweat not water. "Last time we listen to Jessie."
Jessie wasn't bothered at all, she looked happy with her fresh tan and wind swept hair. "What? Spain was a reasonable candidate. First world country, political..."
"And hot," Craig wheezed, not looking much better than Harry. He was already down to his tank top with red tan lines around the edges.
B'Elanna smiled. "You boys need to toughen up, or stand our like a sore thumb like James," she said while pointing toward James.
Everyone followed her point to their fifth party member wearing a jacket, tshirt, cap and jean combo. He shrugged at them.
"Actually, he sorta fit in as a local. At least until he outed himself as a tourist when he spoke," Jessie smirked.
"It's the accent. Throws the translator through a loop," Harry sniggered.
James seemed to agree, he was nodding and smiling a bit. "Or it could've been the moron who asked for directions in his own attempt at Spanish."
B'Elanna paced to the end of the alleyway to sneak a peek at their new location. She was surprised to see more glorious sunlight shining on a busy market within a bustling city. She also got a whiff of food cooking. "Where did they beam us this time?"
"Dunno but I swear I asked for a change of clothes," Craig said, fidgeting due to feeling sticky.
James walked over to B'Elanna's side to look as well. A few glances around and he answered, "looks a lot like Newcastle."
Jessie hurried over to them, squeezing between them so she get straight to the market. They noticed her eyes sparkling with excitement. "Oh, maybe we should split up."
"Wait," B'Elanna put her arm out in front of her and asked, "where?"
Harry was strangely eager as well, B'Elanna frowned at him for it. "Oh I know. Is that the English city famous for the botched terrorist attack?"
"What?" Craig was confused.
James shrugged, "shouldn't have attacked on match day."
B'Elanna stared at him next, wondering if he was being serious or sarcastic. For once she couldn't tell. "So is that why Tom sent us here? I figured if we were going to England it'd be somewhere like London. Is England even..."
"Yeah the UK's high up there on Tom's list of hotspots, but nothing really huge happened here in this city..." James said, quickly glancing down at the PADD the team were given. On it were a list of places, which if pressed would branch out into a list of incidents. The one he had extended only had two entries, the one Harry mentioned wasn't there.
"Other than that," Craig reminded him.
James glanced back over his shoulder toward him, "yeah, but I meant that'd get Seventh Voyager goons' attention. Besides, we're way early for that one."
"It's Tom. He probably thought it would be funny to beam us here since he thinks we're locals," Jessie said. "But seriously, split up. I don't fancy Harry and Craig here whining behind me."
B'Elanna gestured the hand that wasn't blocking Jessie's path toward the PADD. James understood and handed it over. She poured over it for a few minutes. "Today seems uneventful, but there is an election tomorrow, further events after. It doesn't really matter right now where we are for that. He probably chose here since it was safer to look around. Splitting up to gather info and search for anything unusual is probably a good idea. At least we won't need to translate any text we run into."
"We'd still have Harry embarrassing us though," James said.
"Not my problem, less embarrassing with me," Jessie said while trying to pull him by the arm toward the market, and gesturing a nod in B'Elanna's direction.
"We're not going clothes shopping. We only have a tiny bit of cash," she said. A thought occurred to her, making her smile sneakily. "Actually. If we're splitting up, putting two locals in one team isn't a good idea."
Jessie pulled an unsure face, "we don't know the city that well. I've only been once and hello, this is three hundred plus years ago."
"More than us," Craig said.
James sighed, "looks like it'll be Harry or Craig carrying your bags today."
"Hey! We don't have that much money," Jessie stuttered, then muttered, "I wouldn't do that."
B'Elanna shook her head, "Harry and I will lead a team each. James and Jessie split up, if that's physically possible. Craig as a second Security officer, go with Jessie's team."
"What did I do?" Jessie complained.
"Relax, I'll take you and Craig. He's the lesser of two complainers," B'Elanna smiled.
"What was the physically possible comment for?" James asked bitterly.
B'Elanna flinched, she didn't realise she had said that until he asked. "Sorry, too much time with Tom I think. Check in at an easy to find location after an hour. Anywhere like that?"
"Hmm, dunno," Jessie hesitated, glancing briefly at James who didn't look so sure either. "I remember a tall pillar thing that was pretty old, looked a lot like a centre area. Maybe that."
"Ok one hour," B'Elanna said, leading the way out of the alleyway. Jessie followed, Craig too after he tried to fix his drying from sweat hair.
James looked back at Harry, who was trying to look commanding but looked more nervous than anything. The still sweating brow didn't help.
"We should start in the pubs, we should overhear some gossip, plus there'll be TVs," James suggested.
"Yeah I was just about to say the same..." Harry hurried off, his nerves long since forgotten, leaving James in his dust.
"Great. I'll be carrying him in twenty minutes," he said with a sigh.
After a couple dozen more No Results, Tom rapidly scrolled through a long list on window, all while keeping his eye and occasionally glancing toward the TV screens. All of them were showing the news, all but one with Breaking News banners underneath their hosts and/or video footage of interviews and bad weather. Everytime he looked at them directly, he'd do it longer.
"Have you tried weather reports?" Neelix asked him helpfully.
"Twice. The storm isn't in our records," Tom replied, once more catching himself staring at the news for too long. He returned to his work in front of him. "Neither is our so called UFO Voyager sighting, so I'm not worried about that."
"You look worried," Neelix smirked.
Tom chuckled nervously, "Seventh were here for a reason. They've left something behind. Even the slightest thing would create a hiccup in history, I'm sure. I'll find it. It's just, the only discrepancy I've seen so far is this storm we nearly hit during landing."
Neelix glanced upwards, paying particular attention to the one with the headline saying, UFO cover up operation likely underway. It also showed crowds of people shouting at a building in the middle of a car park, a good number of them holding signs.
"It doesn't help that its taking up a good chunk of the airtime, so I'm having to compare our database with mostly forum posts," Tom said, smiling with a glint in his eye.
"You're enjoying this, way too much," Neelix said.
Tom's smile turned into a grin, "maybe a little. Right now I'm checking out our Alpha Team's location. So much is about this election. It's crazy how heated this stuff gets. I'm glad we didn't arrive earlier, cos phew-ee!" he laughed a little too loudly.
"Why?" Neelix asked, more than a little curious.
A couple of the internet screens were enlarged so Neelix knew to focus on them. Neelix looked more than a little flummoxed reading it, if a little scared. Tom nodded, smirking slightly. "Thankfully the British of the past aren't as overdramatic as our friends James and Jessie, so I doubt we'll see a repeat of this."
B'Elanna's half of the team followed a stream of people, keeping an eye out for an opening so they could break free from it. Only they ended up in a central area where crowds had gathered around a large monument. A group there were holding banners and shouting slogans. A lot of the people in the area continued into other streets with barely a passing glance, some though stopped to get a good look. No matter where the team tried to go, they were blocked by streams of people going in all manner of directions or stopping to watch.
"This is the meeting place, maybe we should..." Jessie raised her voice so her teammates could hear over the chants and the voices of the crowd.
"All right good. Now where from here?" B'Elanna asked herself.
Jessie looked across at a nearby building with a wide entrance. "I dunno maybe. Is that a shopping centre?"
B'Elanna groaned while Craig's attention was caught by the people chanting. "You really do have a two track mind. Clothes and James," B'Elanna scolded.
Jessie tore her eyes away from the building to glare at her. "No. I thought that we could overhear conversations better indoors than out here. Maybe find a cafe or something to sit in and eavesdrop, read a few newspapers." B'Elanna's expression didn't change, making Jessie's eyebrow twitch furiously. "You know I don't appreciate you stereotyping me into some bimbo who only cares about looking pretty for the boys, just because of a silly comment I made when we arrived. You're the one who keeps bringing up James, did you lose a bet with Tom or something?"
"Fine, I'm sorry," B'Elanna said in monotone, it didn't calm Jessie down at all. "We'll go inside then. Maybe there will be a patch or something, and Craig here can have a break."
"I dunno why I have to put up with... are you listening to this?" Jessie complained toward Craig. Her annoyance turned into curiosity once she noticed what he was so engrossed in.
Three people climbed up onto the steps in front of the statue like they were taking a stage, while a lot of the people shouting and holding banners quietened down and gathered around. Each of the trio held a megaphone, one of which raised it to talk into.
"For too long we have lived in a society built only for the rich!" they said loudly and with an annoyed flourish. "They squander, they take and give nothing back to the majority who elect them."
B'Elanna began to walk towards where Jessie had suggested, but noticed her two teammates weren't following. She turned back and stared at her two companions irritably, "what now?"
"Shh!" Jessie snapped back at her.
"They build a manifesto of fear. Their opposition, too weak to take it from them," the speech giver continued, prompting claps and a few positive shout outs from the crowd.
B'Elanna frowned as they spoke. One sentence and she was scoffing, "really? We're looking for people who think evil means dying their hair so it glows in the dark, with Holodeck timeloops as their biggest hit."
"I guess," Craig said, looking apologetic. He was about to turn away and go with her when Jessie held his arm to stop him.
The speech giver meanwhile continued, "the UK will prosper not with them, but with you. How long will you vote safe? How long will your vote not matter?" More people clapped this time, the crowd was also starting to get bigger. "The Southerners look down on you, they laugh while their crooked government brings ruin to our country. But we are just like you. Our leader knows austerity, he lived like you, looked down on. No more. Together, we will fix this once great country."
B'Elanna was about to comment but the cheers and clapping that followed were far too loud. She waited until the subsided before doing so, "ok, why has this got your attention? There's an election soon, of course there's stuff like this going on."
Her teammates didn't get the chance to answer. One of the other megaphone users stepped out to shout toward the crowds, "let me present to this great city, our leader and future Prime Minister..." They were doing it with such enthusiasm and too closely to the megaphone, static took over when she announced his name, all B'Elanna definitely made out was, "ee Boss!"
She laughed in disbelief, "no way. I didn't hear..."
Jessie shrugged, "I dunno, sounded like thee or dee something," her voice sounded unsure.
B'Elanna was feeling more than a little worried after that. It didn't help when a fourth figure clad in a long black coat took the fake stage, his face obscured by the hood he had up and the distance. "No way," she trembled.
Her teammates glanced at her. "What?" Craig asked in concern.
"Afternoon Newcastle," a deep voice boomed across the centre, it sounded fake and distorted through the megaphone. B'Elanna flinched as soon as she heard it. "We are the Decide Upon Dreams party, and you're welcome."
"Come on. What is this, he's obviously an evil wannabe fruit loop. He can't be a candidate for election, surely no one will..." Jessie laughed, but soon got overlapped by loud applause, louder than before. It shocked her into silence.
Thankfully she wasn't the only one. When she and Craig looked around there was still a great number of people with similar expressions, and a lot of them were walking off with shaking heads and or laughter.
"Thank you," the Boss said, sounding disgusted but most of all very familiar to B'Elanna with his modulated deep voice. "I came to you today as an ignored faucet of the country to ask, even plead with you for your own country's future. Your lives are not for them to play with. If they propose taxes on the sick, I demand more research, more money from the useless dregs of society; politicians..." Cue more applause. "Overrated popstars and their ilk raking in the millions. Footballers." Less applause this time, unfortunately the crowds that remained were hooked.
"I am not a politician, I am not interested in your money. It's yours. I am a scientist, a thinker. Choose me tomorrow and I will use my brilliant brain to keep you safe," Boss continued. "My funds will come from the needless rich, while you live tax free in my utopia."
Cheers were echoing all across the city, even in the busy bar James and Harry were checking out. Harry was doing so with a pint glass already half full, slouched in a chair trying to eavesdrop on a nearby table.
"People can't be this stupid right?" James thought aloud and glanced back at Harry waiting at their table.
The barman serving him smiled a little warily. "All you have to do is look at America, mate. There's your answer."
James frowned, not really sure what he meant but gave him an agreeable shrug anyway. "Yeah true."
"Doesn't matter anyway. We can vote for the tooth fairy for all that it matters. This is just a waste of time and money so they can crush what's left of the opposition," another patron chimed in.
The Boss meanwhile continued his speech, getting more and more passionate and expressive with his hands.
Harry dropped off his now empty glass at the bar, his eyes fixed on the TV screen. "Him again? Good job."
"What?" James said.
"What do you mean what?" Harry stared at him as if he insulted his mother. "That's the guy who was sleeping on the job instead of guarding B'Elanna and me on that ship. I guess thanks to him I escaped that holohell."
James' frown melted away with the realisation, still he looked uncertain. "He's covered head to toe, the voice is fake, are you sure it's him?"
"Exactly, that voice. You never forget a voice like that. It's him," Harry said through gritted teeth, narrowing his eyes at the screen. "We should call the girls."
"And Craig," James reminded him.
Harry blushed in embarrassment for moment, "oh yeah, forgot about him." He laughed it off, "let's get going. Do you know this place?"
"I'm not sure, but with those crowds and the noise, shouldn't be hard to find," James replied.
The speech seemingly ended to a mixed chorus of cheers and booing. Boss took it all in anyway, gazing at them all. None of them knew he did so with contempt in his eyes, and he was equally oblivious to Harry doing the same back at him.
Kathryn stared at the angry crowd before them with her mouth locked half open, her eyes brimming with quiet for now judgement. Seven half smiled at her frozen expression, then toward the Doctor on the Captain's other side. He seemed fixated on a particular group who were shouting the loudest, their faces bright red from it all.
"What..." Kathryn said finally after five minutes of gawking. "The hell?"
"It would appear to be a protest," Seven stated.
Kathryn very slowly turned her head to point a scowl at the ex-drone. "What, against common sense?"
"Excuse me," the Doctor said, tapping on one of the shouting people. They didn't take that kindly, they swung around looking ready to attack. "You really should sit down, have a drink of water. I'm worried you may asphyxiate if you cont..." The man retaliated by spraying something in his face, which the hologram only reacted to by blinking in disbelief. The group of men looked on in shock. "That was very rude."
Kathryn's eyes glazed over, even twitched as she tried to contain her temper. The only way she could think of to do that was to stomp over and pull the Doctor by the arm.
"Who's this, your mummy got to fight your battles for you?" the man sneered at her.
Seven's eyes widened. She quickly hurried off, through the crowds and toward their destination. The Doctor watched her, wishing he could do the same but the Captain had a tight hold of his arm.
"Your... mummy?" Kathryn ground her teeth. Seconds later the man was nursing a bloody nose, one nostril stuffed with the spray he used earlier. She stomped off towards the crowds, dragging the Doctor with her. "I've never, ever seen such stupidity in my life and I've talked to Tom."
"Was that really necessary?" the Doctor stuttered.
Kathryn grunted in response, he took that as a yes. She seemed to miss the man she charged by protesting with a sign not only with terrible grammar, but also the word colour spelt in the American way, or she thankfully chose to ignore it. However the relief was short lived when another man in her path had raised their arm into the air, straight with a flat palm, all while shouting about protecting aliens. The Doctor worried when that stopped her cold.
"I've got to stop jinxing myself," Kathryn muttered, casually elbowing the guy in his exposed ribs. He doubled over while she stomped past him. "I don't get it, what are they whining about? Have their mothers gone on a changing their nappy strike?" she asked once she caught up with Seven at the front of the crowd.
Her eyebrow flickered up, "it appears they are angry about the government letting aliens into their country."
Kathryn sighed impatiently, "and Paris said there was nothing to worry about. Let's get inside before the stupidity melts my brain." The Doctor and Seven exchanged worried but amused glances as she stomped through the automatic doors. They followed before anyone linked them to the carnage Kathryn left in her wake.
They were all surprised to find a much bigger crowd inside, most of them congregated around a line of counters manned by stressed staff. Kathryn noticed the board hanging from the ceiling, most of the lines of text ended with the words Delayed or Cancelled.
"It seems the storm's causing a bit of a stir," the Doctor commented.
"Never mind that. We need to find the plane that supposedly saw something, and Tom better start preying it wasn't us," Kathryn said.
The awayteam navigated through the crowds, and sometimes avoided them completely by sticking to the walls, until they reached a different open area. It appeared normal compared to the previous one they had been in, until they reached a mass of reporters and television camera crew pestering anyone who was leaving from Arrivals. Security were keeping them from getting too close to the doors. A bunch of fed up looking members of the public hung back, becoming increasingly frustrated.
"Something tells me this is it. How do we...?" the Doctor said.
"Let me handle this," Kathryn said and walked off before he or Seven could object.
The Doctor followed looking worried. Seven did too except she was curious to see how long it would take for the Captain to be arrested.
"Hello, excuse me," Kathryn said and smiled towards one of the security personnel by the door. Seven was more than disappointed by this, the Doctor's jaw dropped. "I've been waiting here for a few hours for my sister, she came in from Sydney but some clerk back there said she was being interviewed. Can you tell me anything, I'm definitely getting a bit worried about her."
"It's alright ma'am, they're interviewing everyone. No one's being singled out," the guard replied in a friendly voice.
The Doctor chimed in behind the Captain, "is it true what they say in the news?"
The guard tried not to laugh, his teammates too. "About the UFO, of course not."
"I heard it was a plane crash," a woman close by said toward the team. "They like to get a testimony from anyone who witnessed it, it's standard."
"Ma'am, that's not true. No planes are missing," another guard said to her.
"Yes there's nothing to worry about," the first guard added.
Kathryn kept her smile planted on. "If it's nothing, why are they being held?"
"We don't have that information," first guard replied to her disappointment. "It's definitely not a UFO though."
Kathryn forced a chuckle to hide her impatience. "Yes, what kind of moron would believe that? Do you know how long we're going to have to wait?"
"It'll be a while. If I were you I'd go home and wait for your sister to call, or find somewhere to sit and have a drink," second guard replied.
"Is the airport going to refund our parking tick..." the woman from earlier started to ask, but she burst into bitter laughter. "Of course not. It'll probably be cheaper to buy a new car at this rate."
Kathryn sighed and turned away to face her teammates, her smile faded away like it never existed. She continued walking so they were out of earshot of anyone, they followed closely. "What do you think?"
"It's possible. If the staff were told at all they'd be expected to lie to anybody who asked," the Doctor replied.
"Agreed. Also they'd let any passenger go they've already talked to, but they're clearly not. They're trying to contain something," Kathryn nodded.
Seven frowned at them both, "if that's true what can we hope to do about it?"
"It could've been a sighting and if it is, nothing realistically. However if they were held back because someone of interest was onboard," Kathryn said, gesturing her eyebrow upward. Her teammates assumed they understood why she was doing it, Seven reacted with a tired sigh and a look of judgement toward the outside wall. "We need to be here when they let them out."
With the rally over, the three people with megaphones escorted The Boss away while security personnel cleared a path for him through the crowds. He smirked to himself at all the people both heckling and cheering for him. They marched through the streets, the people following them dwindled down to an odd few as they mixed in with the rest of the public going about their business.
"That's all. Prepare for the next city," the Boss said.
"Sir, it's getting late. Businesses will be closing, people going home. At best, you'll attract the hen parties," one of the trio warned him.
The Boss stopped, forcing everyone with him to as well. "Tsk, fine. It better be enough. I got lucky with the early election, I can't afford to wait another five years."
"You've covered the most noncommittal seats, this speech was locally televised so that should cover the rest," another said.
She got a dark chuckle from him, "deluded fools. They're in the minority so they'll vote for anything. If they want change, they're going to see some." The trio smiled and laughed with him, killing his buzz for some reason. "What are you still doing here? Return to the lair, I want it ready for tomorrow. Deviate from the list like last time..."
The only male of the trio shook, "it will never happen again. Excuse us." They hurried off toward a car park nearby, unknowingly passing Harry and James lurking in a nearby shop entrance which hid them from the Boss and his security's sight.
James overheard one of them whisper angrily to the other as they did, "I told you not just any corner will do. He likes the Mississippi."
"What?" James mouthed with his face twisting.
The Boss shooed his entourage away with a demeaning hand wave so he could go into the car park alone. They hurried off without argument, back the way they came. The Boss barely stepped into the car park when he stopped to fish around in his cloak styled coat.
Harry shrugged with indifference. "Who cares? We gotta stop this guy."
James laughed briefly, "we do? He'd be lucky to win a ticket at a parking metre."
Harry wasn't listening. He sprinted out of his hiding spot so abruptly James was too surprised to react immediately. It took him a good half a minute to chase after him.
"What are you whittling on about?" the Boss snapped into what looked like a tricorder. "Company? Impossible. Pftt, whatever. Raise the freq..."
He didn't get the chance to finish his order. Harry, still at full sprint, threw himself at the cloaked man's back, knocking the both of them onto the road. Harry tried to hold him down, while his right hand curled into a fist. Something clattered to the floor in the struggle. James arrived at the entrance to the car park in time to see the Boss elbow Harry in the face. The blow made him stumble to one side, allowing the cloaked man to not only break free but also push him into the nearby wall.
"You fool. Do you have any..." a normal but familiar voice came from the Boss figure, he shut up once he realised it. He attempted to pick himself up the rest of the way from the ground, all while glaring at Harry, slumped with his back to him.
James ran over to grab the Boss before he could stand, he grabbed one of his arms and pulled him up to his feet. The Boss struggled until James used his other hand to roughly pull down the hood still over his head. "You..."
"Me, thanks for the pronouns game," Boss spoke over him despite his pained voice.
"Damien," James repeated himself anyway.
He felt a tiny struggle again and heard a grumble done under his breath. "Shoot."
James was about to say something but noticed a moving car coming down from the next floor. He checked on Harry who was still against the wall before hurriedly stepping to one side, bringing the Boss with him. Doing so amused the villain for no reason he could see.
"This country is at critical alert. You won't get out of this city alive," he vocalised his cackles.
James loosened his grip so he could push him to his right, hoping the occupants of the car wouldn't notice anything suspicious. Despite that he heard a massive amount of approaching footsteps, the car slammed on its brakes directly beside them. James turned his head to the left to see why, even though he had a good idea. There blocking the entrance were a mix of police officers, some armed with guns, as well as the Boss' entourage.
"I'm a politician, so to speak. This is terrorism," Damien laughed whilst clutching his throat with one hand, the other trying badly in vain to put his hood back up. "Arrest him. He tried to kill me."
Guns were cocked toward James. He responded by raising his hands slowly.
Harry meanwhile started to stir and groan, not that it could be heard over the loud volume of the police shouting.
Some approached carefully, eager to escort Damien away from James and to safety. Damien walked by him slowly, passing a brief smirk his way under the hood. He was barely in front of James when he kicked him the rest of the way. The cloaked villain fell into the officers who were trying to help him, knocking them all down. James ran the opposite way before any of them could register what just happened. When they did, they tried to give chase.
Harry rolled onto his back, nursing his bleeding nose, having heard the commotion. At first he only saw the car beside him, still stuck there due to people being in the way. He looked up, catching an upside down glimpse of the Boss talking to a bunch of police officers, honing in his fearful victim act. Harry knew better than to try again, he shuffled forward into a sitting position, then crawled into the car park to hide until they had gone.
TO BE CONTINUED
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