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Kes watched the tricorder as it scanned her. The Doctor did so with a very concerned look on his face, his forehead had been taken over by worry lines. James, Craig and the rest of the team were nearby. All but James were having a sneaky sit down or lean on whatever they could.
The doors opened for both Kathryn and Tuvok, they headed straight for Kes and the Doctor.
"Report," Kathryn demanded.
"We reached the area Seven of Nine said she saw somebody attempt to get into Deck Thirteen," James explained. "We found Kes instead."
"Yeah but that's not all. She was shimmering," Craig added on.
Kathryn's eyebrow began to twitch. James spotted her and rolled his own eyes. "She looked like a reflection in a pond. It was like she was fading away."
"Damn, I thought that," Craig muttered to himself.
They both had Tuvok's full attention, he even looked a little worried. "Kes, were you experimenting with your new abilities?"
Kes glanced down at the floor, closing her eyes. The Doctor sighed angrily. "Please, my patient has been through a traumatic event and then lugged up seven decks by a Security team."
"We need to find out what happened before she continues fading away into a shimmering pond," Kathryn muttered in a sarcastic tone. James passed her a brief dirty look, she ignored it.
"We also did a good job getting her here, there was no lugging," Thompson butted in.
"You were still climbing down, you got in the way," James pointed out. Craig nodded in agreement.
"Well maybe somebody shouldn't have smacked me in the face, again!" Thompson snapped.
Kathryn literally shook with rage, but unfortunately nobody saw it in time. "I'll do more than smack you in the face you little ponse!" Thompson whimpered, he quickly rushed to the office to hide. "And you, one more sarcastic comment and dirty look..." James shook his head and walked straight outside. She growled at his empty spot.
"Please don't be hard on them. I shouldn't have been there, and they did a good job getting me here," Kes tried to calm the situation. She turned to Tuvok. "Weeks ago I had a vision of Voyager being damaged, possibly destroyed. I..." she cringed and closed her eyes again. "I was so busy being selfish that I caused what I wanted to stop. I just wanted to fix it."
"There is no proof that you did this, Kes," Tuvok said.
"If you hadn't have stopped Seven, we probably would have been assimilated by the Borg by now," Craig spoke up.
Kathryn raised her hand as if it was to tell him to shut up. "Wait a minute, back up here. You told me that she could alter anything on a molecular level, is that the new ability you were talking about?"
"You are correct," Tuvok replied.
"So, you think this is what happened to her?" Kathryn questioned.
The Doctor sighed. "Once she was brought back here her body was obviously back to normal. I have no way of investigating this phenomenon unless it happens again, here."
"We didn't dare touch her, now I'm glad we didn't," Craig winced.
"Okay fine. How would this new ability help then?" Kathryn asked.
Kes shook her head, "I may not have been the main reason for the disaster, but I'm certain I was one of the catalysts. The aliens hit the ship on Fifteen, I alter the hull on Eleven, Thirteen is the one that explodes. I wanted to see why. I tried to use my powers to get to Thirteen without going through the forcefield and..."
"We already know how it happened, an energy surge," Kathryn replied.
Kes looked a little frustrated, which was a rare sight for everyone there. She shook her head again. "You don't realise what that means, do you? How could you all forget?" She tried to calm herself down with deep breaths. "This has happened on that deck before."
"Of course we remember that," Kathryn said.
"If you did, you'd know that it's a huge concern. It nearly destroyed us, twice," Kes explained.
"Kes, we remember that. What makes you think we haven't?" Tuvok questioned.
"Because we're not worried about it. We've investigated it, it's not the same as the last two. It's also not there anymore," Kathryn replied. She felt calm for the moment, so she placed a comforting hand on Kes' shoulder. "It is likely the cause of it all, so a lot of people are working on it now. You shouldn't have been there. There's nothing even left of the deck."
"Also you'd need an environmental suit to look around," the Doctor added on. "You've had a difficult few weeks Kes, these new abilities are a lot to take in. It's obviously taking its toll. I suggest rest."
"I'm not tired," Kes tried to get out of it. The Doctor shook his head. "We're still in danger, I feel it. The answer is on that deck."
"We're all on the same page, don't worry. The Doctor is right, rest. If we find anything out, you'll be the first to know," Kathryn smiled.
Kes tried to smile back, "thank you, Captain."
Kathryn nodded, she turned around to walk back out. Her smile was already gone and her eyes were stone cold. She marched straight outside to look for something, she found it immediately. "You, word now."
James stopped leaning against the wall to turn and face her. "Finally. Are you going to tell me what your problem is, instead of picking on every little thing I do?"
Even the surrounding walls trembled in her presence. "For one thing, you're back to being that cheeky little punk you were when you first joined Voyager. Remember him, the one who deleted coffee from the replicator. Oh and speaking of picking on every little thing! That's a bit rich isn't it?"
"What are you talking about? I've always, to quote you, been a smart ass. I get sometimes getting mad at it, but even when I'm not doing anything, you're ripping me a new one," James snapped.
Kathryn tried not to laugh. "Oh, did I hurt your feelings?" James shook his head and kept his mouth shut for once. "My problem is you recently turned over a new leaf. But now you're back to being..."
"A punk? Seriously, who uses that word?" James commented. Kathryn growled quietly. "And that, stop it, you're not a dog. Though I'm probably wrong there."
"You've gone back to that annoying, hothead twenty one year old who did nothing but pick fights. Whatever happened between you and Jessie is none of my business, but don't take it out on everyone else and start acting your age again. All right!" Kathryn snapped back.
James stared at her blankly, slowly shaking his head. "Nothing happened between me and Jess, don't bring her into it."
"Oh please!" Kathryn scoffed. "I'm not daft. She's acting just as badly as you, any idiot would notice the pattern here. Sort it out and maybe I'll stop picking on you." She turned to walk down the corridor.
"Right, cos I'm the one losing my rag all the time over the littlest thing. Sort yourself out before judging others, okay," James said.
Kathryn tried not to growl again. She decided not to prove his point in anyway and continue walking. Her fists did clench though, she quickly undid it until she was out of his sight.
Each wall was ripped apart. All that was left of the corridors were the explosion's trail, gouged into the ground as it had travelled through the whole deck. Debris lay everywhere, left to not rot in the atmosphere-less environment. The darkness was overpowering.
Nestled in the centre of the deck was a deeper gouge. The two walls that used to surround it only existed now as powdered debris lying to one side. If it wasn't dark and people were allowed there, they would have seen a tiny speck of black appear in the air over that spot. A tiny drop of black liquid slipped from the speck, congealing in the hole below.
Day Twenty Five
First Officer's Log Stardate 51196.9: Repairs to the ship are still progressing slowly. The overloads continue to plague the ship's systems, slowing the repairs further. So far though there has been no encounters with the Borg, and Deck Thirteen remains docile for the time being.
"Chakotay, she's crying but there's nothing wrong with her! Get your tubby ass in here now or you'll be the one crying!" Kathryn's voice screeched. She was somehow drowned out by baby cries.
Tensions are still fray but that's no surprise. The replicators are still out of action, and everyone's been living off salads and rations. Don't ask where water is coming from, it's best not to ask these kind of questions.
"Oh for... she's spit up on me. Stop screaming! Stop it! I miss coffee too, it's not my fault," Kathryn's voice cried as well.
Um, end log.
Chakotay pulled himself away from his chair to go and rescue his daughter. In the Ready Room he found only Kathryn in tears and his daughter lying in her arms gurgling happily.
"Should I take her?" he asked softly. He headed over to her without hearing her answer.
Kathryn was about to reply when the comm beeped. "Torres to Captain Janeway. I think you should see this."
Chakotay and Kathryn looked at each other with the same worried look. That couldn't mean anything good.
It took them a few tiring hours to get there, but Kathryn and Chakotay rushed through the doors anyway. They headed straight for B'Elanna, she stood at the warp core, working on the control panel there.
"What's the news?" Chakotay dared to ask.
B'Elanna sighed, she didn't turn around to greet them. Instead she nodded at Harry at the station nearby and turned back to face the core. The good old whirring sound it made when powering up raised both Kathryn and Chakotay's spirts. They had forgotten B'Elanna's surly attitude when they arrived. The sound seemed to stall, so did the visual side of it. It still seemed to be powering on, but slowly.
"No overloads but what..." Chakotay said.
B'Elanna nodded. "I have no idea. The antimatter is reacting, the core is stable, it's just doing it slowly. I have no idea yet what it'll do when its online."
"It's a start," Chakotay tried to reassure her. The look on her face made him think that it was way too late for that.
"We're not done," Harry chimed in. "It's minor but it's too similar to ignore." He keyed in a few commands on the station in front of him, Kathryn meanwhile approached to see what he was doing.
"What time did we call you here?" B'Elanna asked.
Kathryn looked up at her, her fury slowly returning. Chakotay quickly tried to calm the situation before it started boiling, "we did have to drop Kiara off to our babysitter, we still got here as fast..."
"I'm not picking, I just want to know," B'Elanna said.
Chakotay frowned, he glanced down at Kathryn who had gone back to watching what Harry was doing. "0900, why?"
B'Elanna cringed, it wasn't what she wanted to hear. "I called you at 0950. We logged it, just in case."
"Right now here in Engineering it's 1246," Harry said. Both Kathryn and Chakotay frowned, that didn't seem right to them. "Here's the time on the Bridge." He pressed one more key. Kathryn shook her head as she read it. 1147.
"Has the main computer been affected by the overloads, explosion, anything?" Kathryn asked.
"No, there's no problem," B'Elanna replied.
"Any theories?" Chakotay said with a little hope. When no one answered him that faded away.
Kathryn sighed. "When will sensors be online?"
"We haven't been making them a priority as we're still struggling with the engines," Harry replied.
B'Elanna walked over to stand with them both. "I can get started on the external ones now, it'll probably take a few days."
"Good. There's a chance that we've drifted into something that's effecting a few systems. That's probably all it is," Kathryn said. She turned to leave as quickly as she entered. "Keep me informed."
Day Twenty Seven
Kathryn stared at the viewscreen, hoping to find anything that would explain the problems.
"There's nothing there, just pieces of our own ship," B'Elanna's voice quickly said.
Harry's voice sounded a little chirpy despite the news, "the time difference isn't as large anymore, probably around an hour and ten..." His voice cut out for a second, "minutes."
Chakotay climbed out his seat to stand beside her, he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Kathryn, maybe it's time you go home, rest. You've been up for three straight days." Kathryn turned her head around slowly, her eyes drilled holes into him. He didn't back down though. "Perhaps the night shift Engineers can work on the internal sensors in the mean time."
"You're thinking Thirteen, right?" B'Elanna asked. "Probably right, check it out."
Chakotay frowned, her voice sounded a little higher than normal and she was missing words out. "B'Elanna, has the computer problem spread to the comm?"
"No, why do ask?" she asked. The comm switched itself off with a distorted beep.
"That'll probably take another few days, Kathryn," Chakotay said.
Kathryn shook her head, "I'll rest easy when I know what's causing this." Chakotay sighed. It was one disaster after another, he worried that the next one would keep her up as well. At least she was too tired to lash out at everyone.
Despite the lack of success in Engineering, Harry had a big smile on his face as he walked down the corridor. The only thing that had kept him sane the last month was the upgrade project for Stellar Cartography, which he had dubbed Astrometrics. It wasn't just the project he was looking forward to, he was looking forward to his time with Voyager's ex Borg drone.
As soon as he entered Astrometrics his smile disappeared and his heart sank. She wasn't there. He tried to reassure himself that the clock issues on board may have interfered as she wasn't the type to be late.
He decided to get on with the new computer interface they had installed in the centre of the room.
He must have been there a good half an hour before he realised that. His hand instinctively went for his commbadge. It hardly beeped back at him, leaving him frowning.
The hole to Deck Thirteen in the middle of Twelve's floor had finally been repaired. The team assigned to it on and off were busy clearing up whilst chatting with each other.
Seven of Nine stood with her teammates, but she wasn't interested in joining in with them. She had her eye elsewhere. She was waiting for something.
A tiny bang in the distance got her attention. She turned her head to see if the others heard it. They didn't seem to. It was the right moment to leave the group and follow the noise.
Around the corner she saw the door to the turbolift shaft. It had been forced open weeks ago so she could see straight inside the turbolift stuck there.
It didn't take long for her to get there. Whatever made the noise was long gone. She looked inside the turbolift to get a good look, but she didn't have to look for long. Something heavy had smashed a large hole in the floor. She looked up to see if anything from the roof did it, it appeared intact.
Seven of Nine calculated that the hole was big enough for somebody to fit through. It was close enough to the emergency ladder in the shaft. The turbolift had sat there for a month, it was clearly not in danger of falling or it would have already. There was only one way to find out if it was what she was looking for. She activated the torch strapped to her wrist and knelt down.
She didn't have to climb down far. Her target stood out a mile. The door leading to a corridor had been ripped apart, the walls surrounding where the door would have been was severely charred.
Arming her arm with the torch attached directly ahead of her, she climbed through the gap. The forcefield that was supposed to be sealing off the deck didn't exist, her only issues were avoiding getting her heel caught on debris as she stood up.
Slowly and carefully Seven of Nine made her way down the debris filled corridor, shining the torch around to assess the damage. The only way to distinguish the corridors from the rooms was by the amount of debris piled up, more of it meant a wall had collapsed.
While she walked she took a tricorder out of a pocket attached to the outside of her suit. The display reading lifesigns read two, this was the evidence she was looking for. Still she pushed on further. She still had questions and that lifesign had the answer, her gut told her. She hadn't used it before but she was told to trust it.
Halfway down the corridor something clattered in the distance again. She figured she was getting close, so her arm lowered to point the torch to the floor. Whatever or whoever was here, she didn't want them seeing her before she saw them.
It was getting harder to tell if she was heading straight into further corridor or the rubble of a room. The debris was a little more spread out. She decided to follow the remains of a wall on her right around a possible corner. That was when she registered something strange in her mechanical eye.
Everything around her looked like something, but this just appeared to be a tiny hole floating in the air. It made no sense to her. Then she realised her torch didn't reflect off it or through it either, it was like it didn't exist.
The light increased for a second, then she heard very light footsteps through the rubble. She swung around to find a familiar face right in front of her.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was about to ask you the same thing," she didn't answer.
B'Elanna kept a close eye on the warp core as its dull colours slowly moved around the see through casing. It may have been her wishful thoughts but she swore it started to speed up, only slightly. She hurried to a close by station.
"Damn," she muttered. Her instruments were telling her it was running normally, which is what it had been saying for days. She was about to walk away when she noticed something had changed. "Time 1602, Bridge time 1559. Well at least something is fixing itself."
Kathryn never understood why it existed, it didn't work, yet she still drank it. It was the closest thing she had to the real thing. It was insulting and she felt like a traitor for doing it, but it was better than just water. It was cold as well, that was the worst part of it all.
Half way down there was a knock on her door. She was grateful for that.
Seven of Nine entered, Kathryn grimaced a little. She still hadn't gotten used to that silver thing she wore. It was all she wore as well.
"Seven? After you've finished here, talk to somebody like Jessie and get some more clothes. You're probably a bit ripe after a month," she grumbled.
Seven of Nine raised an eyebrow, she decided to comment on the easiest part. "Seven?"
"Well no one calls me Kathryn Janeway constantly, do they?" Kathryn shrugged. "What is it?"
"I have some... disturbing news about Deck Thirteen, Captain," Seven replied.
That was something she didn't want to hear, "has Kes tried to break in again?"
"No." Seven of Nine started to explain.
Kathryn's face stiffened, her eyes could even freeze the drone standing in front of her. Everything the drone was saying was turning into a blur as fury washed over her. She raised her hand to stop her, "hold on." She pressed her commbadge.
Jessie climbed into the Bridge, panting heavily. Chakotay looked over, concern grew on his face. "Jessie, what..."
"B'Elanna sent me as the comm's a bit hit and missy, it works and then it doesn't..." Jessie explained.
"Ok I get it, what's wrong?" Chakotay quickly butted in.
"I don't think we're out of the woods. You need to see this, now," Jessie replied. Chakotay nodded, he headed for the jeffries hatch. Jessie didn't follow, she was struggling to get her breath back.
"Relax, I'll tell B'Elanna you're helping me with something else here," he said. Jessie nodded gratefully.
"Excuse me," she heard Chakotay's voice say. Moments later James climbed out of the same hatch.
"Oh hey," Jessie said with a smile. She still struggled to get her breath back though.
James looked worried, he quickly walked up to her. "What's the matter?"
"Oh, just broke the record for fastest Deck 11 to 1 climbing," she replied.
"Really? What's happening?" James asked.
Jessie shook her head, she was about to answer when Kathryn's voice rang out over his commbadge. "Sometime today would be nice, Ensign."
James shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Whatever's happening, it'll happen soon right?" Jessie nodded. "Time to visit the witch, hmm."
She noticed a lot of worry in his eyes despite his comments. He gave her a half smile to reassure her and headed for the Ready Room. Jessie watched him until he disappeared inside.
"Have a seat," Kathryn icily said.
James' head turned to the left, Seven of Nine stood nearby, staring intently at him. "I'd rather not."
"I'm not asking," Kathryn dangerously said.
James stubbornly stood there for a minute or so, the stares she was giving him finally made him give in. He sat down uncomfortably.
"You know what this is about," Kathryn said. "Perhaps we can skip the denials and lies and get an explanation."
James looked at Seven again, and back to Kathryn. "The Doctor's a perv?"
Kathryn definitely wasn't amused. Her stare managed to get even more intense. "Of course, but that's not what I asked. What were you doing on Deck Thirteen, Mr Taylor?"
It wasn't the staring that made him wince, it was being referred to by his second name. "Kes warned me about the explosion in her vision. I went to get the people there out..."
"No!" Kathryn sharply snapped. "Not last month. I meant today."
James looked confused, he glanced towards Seven who's stare had not changed since he had come in. He turned back to Kathryn. "What are you talking about?"
"Denial and lies is it? So I assume Seven just imagined you there," Kathryn said.
James' eyes widened a little, "wait, you'd believe her over me? She tried to get us assimilated a month ago."
"Yes," Kathryn harshly replied. That stung him quite a lot. "I'm waiting for an explanation."
"So am I," James muttered. He looked back at Seven, "why are you doing this?"
"For all I knew you were responsible for the explosion. I had to report it," Seven answered.
James shot out of his seat. "I told you, I went there to get that team out." His desperate, angry eyes looked back towards Kathryn. "I'd never do anything like that, you know that."
"Normally I'd agree, but for weeks you've been secretly going down there. You've jeopardised the lives of this crew by activating life support, removing the forcefield on Thirteen. Your behaviour lately is not what I expect from you either, as we've previously discussed," Kathryn said.
"No, no, that was not out of character for me. You're blowing this way out of proportion," James argued.
Kathryn climbed out of her own seat, her eyes were on fire. "So you admit it?"
"Not to that, I just meant your comments on how I was acting," James replied, shaking his head. "I've done some stupid stuff over the years, but I'd never put this ship in danger, ever."
"Then cut the lies and heartbreak rubbish and explain yourself!" Kathryn snapped.
"I dunno what to say. I wasn't there," James said.
Kathryn sighed, she looked very disappointed. She looked at Seven and gave her a nod. The ex drone walked out of the Ready Room.
"She's lying," James said.
"Stop," Kathryn butted in. "You're a terrible liar. Her tricorder readings place you there, and she hasn't just found you out today. Somebody has been on the deck for weeks, not every day but more than enough to flag up. You know more about this than you're letting on, that much is certain."
James continued to shake his head. "I was responsible for her being disconnected, under your orders sure, but she won't see it that way. She's setting me up."
"Do Borg even do that?" Kathryn didn't buy it.
"It was the first thing she did once 8472 were gone," James replied. He covered his face with his right hand. "Why won't you believe me?"
"I've already explained that," Kathryn shrugged. "If you're doing this to help the ship, why not just say it? Lying and denying it isn't helping you."
"I wasn't there," James said quietly.
Kathryn glanced down at the desk, sighing deeply. She looked back up. "Then I have no choice." Her hand went to her commbadge. "Janeway to Tuvok." Nothing. She tried again with an annoyed sigh. The chirp finally sounded, "he's not co-operating."
The other door that's rarely used opened. Tuvok stepped inside with a few Security officers behind him. James looked at them and back at Kathryn with a sense of betrayal on his face, he shook his head before walking over to them. They all disappeared through the door.
Kathryn squeezed her eyes shut and inhaled through her nose, she shook her head as well. The anger was gone, just disappointment remained.
"Captain Janeway to the Bridge, please," Harry's voice chimed in. The ship trembled, giving away what he wanted.
"Great," Kathryn sighed as she climbed up to her feet.
As soon as she entered the bridge, the ship trembled again more violently, it almost knocked her off her feet. The jolt sprung the Red Alert klaxon into action, but it was garbled. The red lights flickered on and off more frequently.
"Every station on the bridge began acting strangely, and then..." Harry started to explain. He ducked down underneath opps as a part of it exploded. "That."
"More overloads?" Kathryn couldn't believe it.
"How long did it take me to get here?" Jessie quietly said to herself. Kathryn gave her a what look. "B'Elanna warned that this wouldn't be an issue until..." The ship shook again but this time it didn't stop.
"Torres to Bridge!" B'Elanna's voice yelled over the comm. Small explosions were heard behind her. "Finally, I've got through, has Jessie reported in yet?"
"Yeah, I was just telling them," Jessie replied.
"Telling me what!?" Kathryn snapped. "What's going on now?"
"I have no explanation Captain. Most of the systems on board are running at 110% and they're still rising! I believe it may be the reason why the computers in Engineering were showing a later time," B'Elanna loudly explained over the noise.
Kathryn steadied herself by grabbing the railings. "What about the core, that didn't..."
"The core is the only thing not affected, in fact it is still trying to power itself on. It doesn't making any sense," B'Elanna answered. Another loud explosion cut the commlink off.
"B'Elanna? Damn," Kathryn muttered.
Every single console that was on began sparking uncontrollably, everyone manning them backed away as quickly as they could. There was nowhere to hide as even the lights started to do the same. The ship itself was shaking more violently than before, everyone were struggling to keep their balance.
"We need to shut down again, Harry!?" Kathryn yelled.
Harry tried to return to his station but it wasn't having any of it, the back station spat sparks at him before shutting down completely. Jessie meanwhile tried to get to her Engineering station, dodging everything it threw at her. Eventually she resorted to crawling there on her hands and knees, Harry looked at her and thought he could get away with doing the same. Both of them carefully reached up to still working parts of their stations.
"Sickbay to Bridge, we're getting power overloads on every biobed and every comp..."
"Join the club, Doctor!" Kathryn snarled.
"I realise that but..." the Doctor stammered.
Jessie lifted her head a little so she could see some of the station. "Captain, it's serious, Deck Thirteen serious."
"Doctor, evacuate Sickbay now!" Kathryn ordered.
"Acknowledged," the Doctor stuttered. The comm cut off.
"Captain I can't shut us down," Harry stuttered. His eyes widened, he quickly leapt out of the opps area right before it blew itself to pieces. Him and the crewmembers nearby were slammed into the ground.
Kathryn looked back, she rushed to the barrier around the command chairs to check on them. "Jessie, you have an Engineering station..." She ran around to tend to them.
"I know, I know..." Jessie stuttered after ducking another barrage of sparks. The only part of her station still functioning was flashing and every time she pressed something she could feel the heat building up.
The Doctor hurried his several patients down the corridor, towards the Jeffries tube. Other crewmembers were running as well, ducking wall panel explosions.
"Warning, Deck Five structural failure in two minutes," the computer's garbled voice did nothing to help the panic.
"Hurry, please," the Doctor stuttered. Two crewmembers ran around the corner and passed him. He waited a little longer for anyone else, once he was certain there were no more he followed the others to the tube. In the distance he could hear a roar approaching. He didn't waste anymore time, the door separating the corridor and the Jeffries tube was slammed shut.
Kathryn helped another crewmember up to his feet, Harry attempted to help her but his ankle screamed at him to stop. Once the crewman was up, he stumbled to the floor, grimacing in agony. Kathryn went to aid him again, her eyes fell on his leg. Blood had stained through the lower half of his trouser leg, she was about to help with that when she heard a terrifying sound. Her daughter's terrified screams.
"I'm okay," Harry said through gritted teeth.
Kathryn looked to the crewmembers already gathering around to help Harry, knowing he wasn't alone she got up to run for the Ready Room.
"That's it, I think I've got it!" Jessie yelled with a smile on her face. She pressed one last control. The console didn't seem to like it at all, fire erupted from it, striking her right in the arm she was using. The force of it slammed her to the floor. Kathryn's head swung side to side, torn between finishing off what Jessie started and her helpless daughter crying all alone in the Ready Room.
Fate made the choice for her. The computers and lights began to switch off one by one. For some systems it was not soon enough. Fires had begun and were spreading fast, support beams from the ceiling were falling away. Once the lights had all gone out, the only sound to be heard was the crackling of the fires.
Chakotay had no idea how far he had come, without any kind of light he was climbing blind and he didn't know which deck he was on when everything went to hell. On every deck he'd force open a door, slower each time as his energy drained, to see anything familiar. Each deck looked alike and not in the way he was used to. Scattered debris lay everywhere from what he could see, small fires were burning in localised spots, lighting up the darkness of each corridor.
With a heavy heart he'd continue climbing down, adding one to his count. He figured the next deck would be where he should stop.
His strength was almost gone when he pried open that last door. He hoped it would lead to his destination and that would be it. Once it was open enough for him to see inside, he wished he hadn't bothered.
If it were not for the fires dotted around, he wouldn't have known he was in Engineering. Even then the whole place had been ripped apart, there wasn't much to distinguish it from any other room. One particular fire reflected light from the warp core, which he was glad to see for the first time, was offline. It also appeared undamaged from whatever happened here.
Chakotay desperately looked around for any signs of life. The whole room was deathly silent and he feared it was a futile effort. He tried nonetheless. Every body he came across wouldn't move or respond to his voice, his hopes died with every pulse he failed to find.
It was only a tiny groan, but in the silence it was deafening. Chakotay quickly tried to find the owner of it.
Through the haziness he finally found some movement. Two figures, one was helping the other one up. He rushed forward to help as well. The groan he had heard though continued from another direction. As the two figures slowly approached him, he continued his search for it.
"Chakotay?" B'Elanna's voice coughed from the direction of the figures.
He was relieved to hear her voice, but he couldn't help but think about the members of his crew who didn't make it. He finally found where the groan was coming from, a young woman lying on the floor with burns on her face. "It's okay, I'll get you out of here." Chakotay knelt down to help her up.
All that he could hear were the screams of a baby. Tuvok tried to lift himself up but something was holding him down. Whatever it was, was heavy. His hands tried to push it away but nothing happened. He could hear groans from his team-mate lying beside him. His head tried to turn to the other side. His neck made a loud crack noise in protest, if he were not Vulcan the resulting pain would have made him scream.
Another groan pierced the blackness, Tuvok now knew that at least one of his team survived, but he wasn't sure about the other.
"Lieutenant?" he tried to speak, his voice was hoarse.
The groans from beside him stopped. "Sir," the same voice struggled to answer.
"Can you move?" Tuvok asked him.
The Lieutenant tried to sit up, but the same weight was pushing him down. "No sir."
"Ensign Shaw?" Tuvok croaked. Another groan was muffled, but he took it as a confirmation anyway. "Taylor..."
"I dunno sir," the Lieutenant groaned. The pain was starting to seep through his chest, his eyes felt a lot heavier than they did before. Tuvok tried again to move, but to no avail. Whatever was holding him down was too heavy, even for him.
The three of them heard metal clattering and scraping, but the noise wasn't enough to keep them alert. A loud bang saw to that though. A lot more metal clattered to the ground immediately afterwards, the baby's cries got louder like she was in the room with them.
"What... what's happening?" the Ensign barely mumbled.
"Hold on," they heard James' voice say. Then they heard rushed footsteps going away from them.
"Taylor, now's not that time to esc..." Tuvok said, trailing off as he fought unconsciousness.
They all heard a loud sigh, the baby's cries seem to settle down. The footsteps grew closer again, metal crunched close by.
The Ensign felt the world starting to fade away, when the weight crushing down on her seemed to disappear. She did her best to fight her closing eyes. Another loud bang helped her out.
"Say something, where are you?" James' voice called them.
"We're both here," Tuvok tried to call back, his throat throbbed in protest. He tried again to move, his hands pushed against the metal holding him down. As he did, it moved upwards with little effort. Another loud bang told him it was out of the way. Both him and the Lieutenant slowly tried to sit up, now only the pain was holding them back.
"Can anyone stand?" James asked. He tried to look around but the darkness was still obscuring his view of everyone. He knelt down nearby where Tuvok lay. He answered by reaching out to grab a hold of his arm. James stood back up slowly, bringing Tuvok with him. "I hope we're not going to the Brig still?" he tried to joke.
Tuvok knew not to take him seriously, "not just yet. The Captain's child?"
"Not a scratch on her that I could see, she's obviously just scared," James replied after a glance behind him.
"Good. We should get medical attention for Shaw and Reynolds," Tuvok said. He attempted to walk forward on his own but his left knee gave way for a second. James grabbed his arm to stop him from falling.
"And you," James commented.
"I need to return to the Bridge to assess the situation," Tuvok said as he limped forward. "Make sure they are stable and then join me. There could be more casualties." He held onto the door frame as he passed through it. The Ready Room was dimly lit up by a small emergency light. Tuvok saw the Captain's daughter fidgeting inside her carrier on top of the sofa, he decided to take James' word and leave her be. His target was the door to the Bridge.
James meanwhile knelt back down again, he could just make out the Lieutenant resting his back against the wall. The man shook his head, "I'm fine, check Alissa." James looked around to see if he could find the Ensign again. Her painful breathing drew his attention.
Tuvok stumbled across the Ready Room. The only way he could open the door was with the manual overrides, but they would be by the Captain's desk. With his knee throbbing it was a longer journey than he realised. Once he reached the desk, he had to lean on it to get his bearings back.
Something behind him screeched, he slowly turned around to see what it was. James got in his way as he approached him. "Not very logical for the second in command to be hobbling around, is it? That's what lackeys are for."
Tuvok looked over his shoulder towards the door. It was now open, his eyebrow raised in response. "Ensign, the door."
James looked around behind him, he turned back with a frown on his face. "Yeah, and?"
Tuvok shook his head, he began his long limp towards the door. James lightly shook his head, he took a few steps forward to walk alongside him. Tuvok found his left arm lifted up over James' shoulder and his pace quickened.
The state of the Bridge shocked them both, Tuvok was experienced in keeping it contained and to himself. Crewmembers lay unconscious, possibly dead near the back of the Bridge. Harry was one of them, lying upright against the back of the Captain's chair. Tuvok noticed Kathryn lying face down on the floor right in front of them, he pulled himself away from James to kneel down next to her. His hand reached for her neck.
"She's alive," he said. His head looked back up to assess the damage.
The fires had thankfully died down, what was left was smouldering the Engineering station. Tuvok continued to scan the room but James kept his attention on the fire. His eyes widened in horror as they spotted a familiar figure lying close to the fire. He didn't waste anymore time, he ran over to her and knelt down.
"Jess?" James gently lifted her up from the floor and rested her head and shoulders in his arm. Only then he realised her right arm was horribly burnt. His spare hand went to check if she still had a pulse, he sighed in relief as she did.
Kathryn began to stir, groaning into the floor. Tuvok briefly glanced back at her. "Captain?" He just got another groan.
"We badly need the Doc," James said without looking away from Jessie.
Tuvok nodded. "Indeed. We may need more than that though."
Chakotay and B'Elanna helped a young woman out of Engineering. They gently sat her down next to a few others who were injured too.
"What do you mean, they were running too fast?" Chakotay was asking.
B'Elanna sighed as she straightened back up. "Remember the time error we had in Engineering. Well imagine that but in more important systems."
"And they overloaded," Chakotay understood, at least he thought he did. "Is that why it happened the first time?"
"No. I don't know," B'Elanna shook her head angrily. "None of this makes sense. When I sent Jessie to tell the Bridge, the power being fed had only risen by .01%. It spiked to 10% in a few minutes. The warp core on the other hand."
"Calm down, we'll figure this out," Chakotay softly said.
B'Elanna scoffed, she looked around at what remained of her Engineering staff. All four of them. "By that time most of us will be dead. We're lucky the power shorted itself out and the core wasn't doing it as well."
Chakotay frowned in confusion. "I wonder why. It was slower as I recall. Why would it behave differently to everything else?"
"Probably because it's anti-matter, not matter. I don't know," B'Elanna sighed. The whole situation had completely drained her. "Even just one system wouldn't speed itself up to oblivion on its own, everything doing it is ridiculous. 8472's attack couldn't have done this, Kes' telepathic powers couldn't, not even Deck Thirteen's anomaly habit."
A thought occurred to Chakotay, he felt his cheeks tingle as the blood drained from them. "Anomaly."
"I didn't mean it was an actual anomaly, Chakotay. I just meant..." B'Elanna muttered while covering her face. She then had a thought of her own about the same word. Her hand moved away again, she stared at Chakotay. He only nodded.
Day Twenty Eight
"Like I tried to tell you, I wasn't there," James groaned angrily. His attention went back to Jessie lying on a table, now bed. Kes tried to block out the conversation so she could concentrate on treating her arm.
"Aaargh!" Kathryn yelled in frustration. She paced back and forth in front of him. "Now's not the time for this!"
"Kathryn," Chakotay whispered to her calmly.
Kathryn shook her head, the fire in her eyes were directed towards him. He felt his innards melting. "No, no! People are dead and all he cares about is covering his own ass."
"I don't care about getting into trouble with you, so why would I lie?" James snapped at her.
"I don't know, you tell me!" Kathryn screamed at him. The Doctor glanced over from the other side of the Mess Hall, he shook his head in anger and tried to get back to treating his own patients. "Look at what happened to Jessie. She risked her life to save this ship and for all we know you're the cause of this. I thought she was all you cared about."
"Don't," James growled. "If I knew what was happening, the last thing I would do is keep it to myself."
Chakotay shook his head, "we want to believe that, but you were on that deck and you told nobody about it."
"I wasn't!" James complained. "I'd prove it if I could."
"Is there an anomaly on that deck?" Chakotay asked like he had never said anything. James stared at him in disbelief, he turned his head away.
"Seven of Nine described a strange black dot, for want of a better word, there when she caught you," Kathryn said. James' head turned back, he was torn between confusion and worry. "Did that slip your mind?"
"A black dot?" he said once he went with confusion.
"If you don't know about that, then why were you there?" Kathryn asked.
James' eyes widened as they rolled, he sighed and returned his attention back to Jessie. "I don't know why I bother."
Kes looked on in concern, she wanted to help but wasn't sure how.
"I knew there would be an accident, I went there to evacuate the deck," James said quietly. "I thought I saw an anomaly but it was just for a moment. I thought I imagined it, as the next thing I remember we were surrounded by carnage. There was nothing like that there then. As that team will tell you, I escaped it with the last evacuee. I never went back until the rest of team one and I found Kes. I haven't been back since." His eyes kept a close watch on Jessie's face as she remained unaware of what was happening. "I swear."
Kathryn sighed. The lack of sleep and coffee was enough to rattle her, but everything else added on to that was making it difficult not to smash nearby furniture. "So who did Seven see there? Nobody else could have done it. You're the best hacker we have. Besides you, only I could have lowered that forcefield."
"If I knew I'd have bloody told you, wouldn't I?" James grumbled. "Believe me, after the last time I never wanted to see anything like this again."
"Perhaps we should ask his Security team, as well as Jessie when she wakes up. They'd have noticed if he sneaked off at anytime," Chakotay reasoned.
"Fine. Until then, you're not to be alone. Do you understand?" Kathryn snapped.
"Perfectly," James groaned.
Kathryn walked off first with Chakotay close behind. "What do you think?" she asked.
"I believe him. He has no reason to go down there and hide it either," Chakotay replied.
Kathryn nodded, "I do too." Chakotay was surprised at that answer, everything pointed otherwise. "I still think he knows more than he lets on. At least now we have more information."
"We're still a long way from an answer. Was there an anomaly or not?" Chakotay said.
"I'm leaning more towards yes, but not one we've encountered before," Kathryn replied. "We need to start repairs all over again from scratch. This time our priorities, apart from replicators anyway, are to repair that deck. I want it taken apart bit by bit until it gives us an answer. I feel like we're wasting our time trying to repair anything else until we do."
Chakotay agreed, he nodded. "The ship's going to take longer than the estimated three months this time."
"Exactly, we can't afford to waste it if Thirteen's just going to hissy fit again. We've already been in Borg Space one month too long," Kathryn said, ending with a sigh. "It's odd that they haven't come for us yet, we're an easy target."
"If you were the collective, would you assimilate a cursed ship?" Chakotay smirked. Kathryn scowled at him, he recognised that look in her eyes. He was going to pay for that joke when he was alone with her.
"Vessel identified: USS Voyager, Federation starship. Intrepid class, registry 74656. Location spatial grid 1991. Cube 1898, intercept."
One Borg cube changed its heading and shot off into warp.
Day Forty Seven
B'Elanna and a few crewmembers climbed down the Jeffries tube ladder, she reached the next level first. She didn't wait, she went straight for the opening where a door used to be.
The crewmembers followed her into a heavily damaged corridor, already habited with some repair personnel. Portable lights were dotted every metre or so down the corridor so they could see what they were doing. Most of them were trying to rebuild the walls.
"This one's going to take more than a few weeks," she explained. "The explosion ripped through the power conduits like a fire going down a fuse. I've got a team already rewiring a whole new system, what I need you to do before they finish though is..."
The team passed by Seven and Harry as they worked on rebuilding a wall panel. Right now though it was a lying on the floor, the wall was still just rubble.
"I've never seen this deck so busy," Harry said with a smile. Seven seemed to ignore him as she continued to work. "Even before this the deck would be..."
"Creepy, I have been told already," Seven butted in.
Harry didn't find this rude at all, he grinned at her. "Our only theory was that when the ship was split into two, it was actually split into three. The third one was more than just a duplicate though." Seven finally turned her head to stare at him quizzically. "Think of it as an opening to another dimension. Just my theory anyway."
"The previous anomalies would absorb power from the ship, damaging it in return while it grew," Seven said. "What does a third or second Voyager have to do with that?"
Harry pulled a confused look, "you know what, I don't remember. We just assumed somebody was doing it to us on purpose."
"What about now?" Seven asked, turning her head back to their work.
"Maybe. We make progress and the ship overloads," Harry shrugged. "Does the Borg know anything that could give us a hint to this?"
"No," Seven answered plainly. Harry seemed a little disappointed with that non answer. "If this vessel does have a gateway to another dimension, they would want to assimilate it though."
Harry's face drained a lot, he cleared his throat and continued his work. "Maybe we should keep it to ourselves then, hmm?" Seven nodded. Harry smiled at that, he saw it as a sign that she didn't want to go back to her previous life.
At the back of the Bridge, Chakotay was busy explaining something to Tom, James and a craggy looking Kathryn. He gestured his hand every now and then to the cracked schematic of Voyager on the back station. "If we suffer a major hull breach, the rest of the ship shouldn't feel a thing."
"I think it is genius," Tom beamed.
"I think Chakotay doesn't swing that way," James commented. Tom threw him a glare.
Kathryn yawned into her hand, "let me guess. You thought of it, but couldn't explain it so he did it."
Chakotay shrugged, "firstly, yeah Tom's explanation would have had you reaching for a phaser."
"Too late," Kathryn muttered.
"Secondly, even if I did, no way," Chakotay said in James and then Tom's direction.
"Hey, twice," Tom complained.
"It isn't a bad idea really. It makes me wonder where you even got it from," Chakotay said.
"I was inspired by the ancient steam ship, the Titanic, I can't take all the credit," Tom said, smiling proudly.
James opened his mouth to speak but stalled when Kathryn tackled the helmsman to the ground. He and Chakotay watched as she beat him silly.
"You dumb shi..." she threw another punch. Chakotay winced while James just smirked. "Don't you think we're in enough trouble? I should wring your scrawny neck!"
"Captain please..." Tom squeaked, holding his hands up to defend himself. "I made a few..."
She hit him in the chest, making him wheeze. "A few what? Holes? Or did you melt down the escape pods to make this brilliant new hull design of yours!" A slap to the head stopped him from replying. "Oh I know, when we're up and running again let's turn off the sensors and fly the ship in the dark shall we? Make it a bit more authentic!"
"I made improvements," Tom stuttered. She pinched his nose tightly. "Ow, Captain I didn't!" he squealed in a nasally voice.
"You're supposed to be a twentieth century and ocean fanatic, an expert in both. Explain to me how the only twentieth century ship you could think of was the most famous!" Kathryn snapped at him. Her slaps and punches just kept coming. "Oh yeah, what was it famous for? Let me think!"
"To be fair, we wouldn't sink," Tom stupidly said.
Kathryn's face managed to get even redder, which the other boys didn't think was possible. "Oh, so that's ok then! I know, let's put that new hull in your quarters to test it out. Then we could beam some ice outside, send you home, and see if you still think oh we won't sink then, prick!"
"Before we change the name of the ship, maybe I should point out that this did look like it would work before Tom said anything," Chakotay said as he stared at the back station. Kathryn threw him a killer glance so fast she probably got whiplash.
"Did you think that after seeing the Titanic's plans, they said that'll totally sink, then sent it out on a cruise?" James commented.
Tom sat up a little as Kathryn had eased off a little. "Well it was a British ship." James gave him a little kick in the leg.
"Doctor to Paris. Report to the Mess Hall at once."
"How did he know?" Tom stuttered. Kathryn stared daggers at him as he crawled into the safety of the Jeffries tube hatch.
Day Forty Eight
Jessie picked up the last clean cardigan she had left by the collar. She flung it up slightly to get it to land on her left shoulder, it was easy to slide the arm into the sleeve. Her right arm was another matter.
She stared at the sling supporting it. It still stung so much she had to repress shouting or screaming. Kes had treated the skin damage but the nerves were shot. Jessie was angry that she could barely feel it enough to move it, but it would still hurt like hell anyway.
Her right shoulder lowered to try and coax the cardigan to sit there, but it would just fall straight off and hang there from her left shoulder. She sighed. Sometimes it would take her one try. The other times she'd try a few times and James would help her, no matter how much she protested.
As if on cue there was a knock on her half open door. "I'm decent," Jessie said with a shake of her head.
James popped his head through the opening. He was about to speak when he noticed her struggling with the cardigan. He turned to the side to squeeze through the door.
"It's okay, I got it," she quickly said to stop him. To prove it she tried again, but that didn't work any better than it did before, it even started to slide off her left arm. She groaned in frustration. "Ugh, this shouldn't be hard."
"I know. It's not permanent, so can't I help in the meantime?" James said, showing her a small innocent smile. She laughed a little at it, shaking her head.
"You don't know that. By the time Sickbay's fixed it'll probably be too late."
"Aren't you the one always telling me to stop being so pessimistic?" James' smile grew a little. He pulled the cardigan gently onto her right shoulder, covering her sling arm with it.
Jessie sighed and nodded. "Yeah usually."
James walked around to stand in front of her. "I know you weren't eager to have me around so much."
Jessie shook her head. She butted in, "it's not that. I mean I'm not bothered about that. I just don't like having other people do things, simple things, for me."
"It's not like I help you get fully dressed," James said. Jessie's eyes narrowed, probably a good thing as they looked deadly. He broke into a laugh, "I'm sorry. I get it, I just wanted you to stop feeling so down."
Jessie's eyes returned to normal, she resorted to faking a scowl at him. "I wouldn't pick you anyway, even if you do live here."
"Ouch, I guess I deserved that," James said, only half serious. He broke into a smirk, she couldn't help but smile in response. It didn't last long, his smirk turned into a fully serious face. "I know all this crap between us is my fault, so..."
"Don't, we're fine," Jessie kept her smile. "I do appreciate you helping me out. I don't think it's the not being able to put a cardy on that's getting to me anyway."
James looked around the room. Hers was a lot neater than any of the other rooms he'd seen, but there was still debris from the overloaded computers and lights lying in the corners. Everything was still broken as well. "Yeah, I know what you mean."
"Well that too," Jessie shrugged. James looked back at her with a frown. "Five or whatever weeks is a long time to go without a bath, let me tell you," she whispered with a disgusted look on her face. "I'm so gross."
"Really, I didn't notice," James said.
Jessie smirked. "Careful," she continued to whisper. "Somebody else would think you were flirting with a comment like that." She headed for the door while maintaining eye contact with him.
Once she had gone through the door he sighed like he had been holding his breath for a while. "I'll remember that," he said to himself.
Harry pointed his tricorder down the corridor. Seven stood beside him, staring straight ahead.
"Are you sure this is where you saw the black dot?" Harry asked her.
Seven walked forward, looking around to familiarise herself with the specific corridor. "I'm certain."
"There was no power, no light. The whole place was rubble," Harry said as he put away his tricorder into his belt.
"I am certain," Seven repeated herself with a little anger in her voice. Harry was surprised at this. "Perhaps it was destroyed when the ship overloaded the second time."
"Hmm, maybe," Harry wasn't so sure. "Why don't we have another look around? This deck's had people all over it and they haven't seen it, but if it was nothing like you said, they wouldn't."
Seven nodded in agreement. "What would somebody like Ensign Taylor benefit from sneaking down here?"
Harry's eyes widened, "wow, that question came in at warp speed. You're really sure it was him?" Seven stared at him blankly. "He wouldn't. That's why it's a little difficult to believe, as is everything that's happened."
"Curious," Seven said with her eyebrow raised.
"What?" Harry questioned.
Seven shook her head. "It's not important right now. We should look around as you said."
Harry nodded with a smile on his face.
Day Sixty Five
Captain's Log Stardate... god only knows by now. It's been months since Species 8472 attacked us, causing overloads all around the ship. As we've narrowed the problem down to Deck Thirteen, most of the crew have been working around the clock to restore it. I hope that we'll find out the cause if we do. So far even the strange things that Seven reported haven't been seen for a while. B'Elanna has...
"Captain, why are you explaining a decision we made a month ago?" Tuvok's voice asked.
It's not my fault this episode hasn't had a log since Day twenty five. Sheesh!
"Also Captain, it's stardate 51268.4," Tuvok's voice said.
In other news Commander Tuvok is overdue his foot up his ass appointment, so I'll be attending to that when I'm done here. As I was saying; the repairs are going slowly but well, so I'm expecting another disaster any minute now.
"Foot up his ass?" Tuvok questioned. A tiny giggle distracted him for the moment. He caught Kathryn narrowing her eyes, even he knew to back away slowly. Chakotay passed him just as he left the Ready Room, he entered after him.
"Kathryn, happy birthday," he said with a broad smile.
"Happy what?" Kathryn huffed. Her eyes drifted upwards as she tried to figure a few things out. "51268 is... how do we work these sodding stardates out again? Why don't we just use normal dates?"
"Um, okay," Chakotay didn't know what to say. He approached the desk, passing a wave and smile towards his baby daughter. She smiled and tried to wave back. "I've got you a present. Don't worry, I replicated it months ago."
"Is it a reset button? We seemed to lose that years ago," Kathryn sighed.
Chakotay couldn't help but smirk. "No but this may be useful too, especially when you don't even know what date it is."
He brought out an old fashioned silver pocket watch from his pocket. He handed it to Kathryn, she didn't look impressed. "It's a replica of a the chronometer worn by..." Kathryn handed it to Kiara, who promptly chucked it back at her dad, giggling madly. "Um ouch, in more ways than one."
"I would have kept it if it didn't come with a Chakotay Tale of the Month," Kathryn muttered.
That hurt his feelings, he winced. "If I handed you a pocket watch without the story, you would have wondered why I picked it."
Kathryn groaned. "Harry and Seven still haven't found that apparent anomaly she saw. I'm starting to feel like we're chasing ghosts."
Chakotay smiled, he silently accepted that as an apology. He knelt down to pick the watch up. It went onto the desk this time, far enough away so his daughter wouldn't grab it.
"Who has time for sentimentality anymore? Every day is a reminder of the hell we're in. How do I help my crew through this when I can't even pick myself up?" Kathryn asked.
Chakotay sighed, he wished he had an answer for her.
The Mess Hall had returned to its old job of serving meals and providing a brief respite for the weary crew. There were not that many people there at the moment, one of them was Seven reluctantly drinking a white drink. Neelix and Kes were preparing yet another salad for lunch.
"Have you practiced any of your new abilities?" Neelix cheerfully asked. Kes shook her head timidly. "You shouldn't let what happened put you off. I don't believe you did anything wrong."
"I can be more useful helping the Doctor and you," Kes said.
"You shouldn't give up. You always wanted to become more than you were, that's why you left Ocampa," Neelix tried to encourage her. "You've come so far, I hope you don't give up."
"My abilities would only damage the ship. There is no helpful and safe use for it," Kes said sadly.
"You won't know until you try," Neelix smiled.
Kes finally looked up into his eyes, she smiled gratefully.
James and Jessie walked in through the nearby door, chatting amongst themselves. With her good arm she attached herself to his right one, pulling him closer. He tried to fight the blush building in his cheeks, it worked but Jessie already noticed it. She laughed as she pulled her arm back away only to use it to playfully slap one of them. His right hand reached down to clutch hers.
Kes glanced over, catching the whole thing. Her smile widened. Things were starting to pick up, she thought. She turned back to Neelix to continue preparing the salad.
Harry waltsed in with a nervous look on his face. He looked around until he spotted Seven. His nervousness grew as he approached her table. Meanwhile Tom tip toed into the room, once he was in he made a dash for the galley to take the only free seat. He turned his head to look over his shoulder.
"Ensign Kim?" she greeted him.
"Um hi Seven. What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?" Harry stammered.
Tom meanwhile nodded in approval, "good good, go in strong." Neelix and Kes stared at him in bemusement.
"I was in need of a nutritional supplement, this is where the crew eat," Seven answered. "Though I resent the implication that an ex Borg shouldn't be here."
Harry's blood escaped his face, it seemed to run away from him completely. "No, no, that's not what I meant. It's a compliment."
"I do not understand," Seven said.
Harry quickly tugged at his collar as it felt like it was sticking to him. "Was your mother a thief?"
"No, she was a scientist," Seven replied.
Harry pretended she didn't say anything, he continued. "She must have been, cos she stole the stars to make your eyes." He glanced behind him briefly at Tom who put his thumbs up at him.
Seven looked very puzzled at this point. "That would be astronomically impossible."
"Strike two," Tom winced. Kes shook her head while Neelix chuckled quietly.
"They should rearrange the alphabet, cos U and I should be together," Harry stammered.
"The alphabet is irrelevant, it has no logical use. I see no need to change it either," Seven said, she was starting to feel uncomfortable.
"Do you practice medicine on the side, cos I'm running a fever," Harry improvised.
"No, you should see the Doctor. It appears to be affecting your speech patterns as well," Seven answered.
"Ooph, he's not getting any anytime soon," Tom commented.
"Any?" Kes was confused.
"That's a nice outfit, it would look better on my bedroom floor," Harry continued.
Seven looked around for some help. "I don't think it would fit you, Ensign." She climbed to her feet, "excuse me." Harry repressed a whimper as she walked away.
"Ouch!" Tom commented once she was gone. Harry looked at him with a lost expression on his face. "That was classic."
Harry wasn't sure what he meant by that. "I guess she takes things literally. If she was another girl she would have been all over me."
He heard laughter coming from a nearby table, he looked over to see both James and Jessie were the culprits.
"Thanks, we needed a good laugh," James commented once they both stopped. "Maybe next time write her a love poem, comparing her chest to mountains." Jessie unfortunately was taking a drink, she nearly spat it out.
Tom nodded seriously, "good idea. Women love compliments!"
Harry's face was stone cold, he turned his head towards his so called friend. "You can't be serious."
"Oh, too far?" Tom snickered. Harry only nodded, most likely while plotting Tom's murder later.
Day Ninety Three
The turbolift doors opened, allowing B'Elanna, Chakotay and Kathryn to step out of the turbolift. Chakotay glanced back at it after he left it. "I've missed that."
"We all have," B'Elanna smiled. She lead them down the corridor which looked almost new in places. There were still holes dotted around the walls as crewmembers worked on fitting computer panels in those spots.
"Impressive," Kathryn said.
"We're still weeks away from it being finished. We still haven't found any problems," B'Elanna reported. They passed the last hole before the corner, which no one was working on. A panel had been left discarded in front of it on the floor.
"So nothing creepy or anomaly like," Chakotay stated.
They turned the corner, just missing a black drop of liquid drip out from the hole and onto the glass panel. Everyone in that part of the corridor were too busy working to see it.
"No. We've been extra cautious with every repair we've done, but it's just like repairing a normal deck," B'Elanna replied.
"Do you recommend assigning more teams to other parts of the ship?" Kathryn questioned. There was hope in her voice.
"Maybe one or two. Once we're closer to the finish line, I'd feel better," B'Elanna replied.
Two drops fell this time. Nobody was around to see them either.
"Good. It'll be nice to get back to normal," Kathryn said, quickly touching the wall beside her. Chakotay passed her a little smirk. "Touch wood."
"I thought you were scientist through and through," he teased.
Kathryn passed him a fake scowl, "you're lucky we have replicators back."
"Yes, you were very sensitive without your first twenty cups in the morning," Chakotay laughed. He returned his attention back to B'Elanna, "do I dare ask for an estimate?"
"If we keep the full team on Thirteen, three weeks for that. Then it'll probably be another few months before the rest of the ship looks even half as good as this," B'Elanna replied.
"Good keep at it, hopefully everything will remain uneventful," Kathryn said. Chakotay tapped the wall, smirking at her.
Day One Hundred and Thirty Seven
A child's giggles echoed down the cleaner corridor. A man's voice called after her.
On her hands and knees, a now four month old Kiara was crawling as fast as her hands could take her.
"Oh god, Janeway will kill me," the man's voice stuttered. He eventually appeared around the corner, spotting her immediately. "Oh thank god," Craig sighed in relief.
He ran to catch up to her and stop in her path. Undeterred she just crawled around his feet.
"No, no, no, no," he squeaked. He quickly knelt down to scoop her up. The mischievous girl laughed in his nervous face. "How did you get the turbolift to work, hmm?" A big smile appeared on her face, he half expected it to overlap her eyes. "All right, between us."
"Janeway to Anderson."
Craig jumped a mile, luckily he kept a tight grip on the little girl in his arms. She laughed again. He quickly tapped his commbadge, "yes Cap..." Kiara copied off him, cutting him off. "Crap, don't do that please." He did it again, but so did she.
"Janeway to Anderson, don't cut me off again, you hear?"
Craig quickly tapped his commbadge, "I didn't, it..." Kiara cut him off again, laughing cutely. "That'd be cute if you weren't doing that to your mum." Her head cocked to the left side and she squeaked. When he thought she couldn't get any cuter she blinked so many times and smiled. "Oh dear."
Craig was forced to put her back on the floor, of course she took off again. "No!" he screamed.
Using the Conference Room wall panel, B'Elanna brought up a picture of Voyager's interior. She pointed towards several points. "These will take another two months. The damage was severe."
"How's Sickbay doing?" Kathryn asked.
"Another month I'm afraid," B'Elanna replied with a frown. "We'll have to start from scratch, and then there's the Doc's emitters. They'll need rebuilding."
"If his mobile emitter is working we can afford to skip that for the time being," Chakotay suggested.
Kathryn nodded, "agreed." She swiveled her chair back around to face the rest of the staff. "How are we doing offensively, or defensively?"
"Shields are at minimal power, Captain. We only have ten percent," Tuvok replied. "Offensively we'll need a lot more power to get the phasers to a minimum level."
"It's a start," Kathryn seemed happy enough with that. She turned back to B'Elanna. "External sensors?"
"We worked on the internal ones first, just in case Thirteen had a hidden surprise for us when we finished," B'Elanna replied.
Harry quickly chimed in, "I can get those operational, short range only, in a day. I got started a few months ago when I had a break from Astrometrics."
Tom sniggered, it caught in his throat. Everyone looked at him. "You mean when you struck out with Seven."
Seven raised her eyebrow, "Mr Kim didn't strike me."
"You don't say," James commented. Tom couldn't contain it this time, his snigger turned into a full blown laugh. He wasn't the only one.
Harry pouted and folded his arms. "Sure, will you all laugh at me when the external sensors detect any trouble before it's outside our windows?"
B'Elanna sat down in her chair, smiling as she recovered from her laugh. "Probably."
"Good thing I'm not petty," Harry muttered.
"Right. If that's all..." Kathryn cleared her throat, fighting the smirk tugging at her lips. "Dismissed."
Day One Hundred and Forty Two
In his long purple robe, Tuvok knelt down in front of his meditation table. He wasn't alone. A very nervous Kes knelt opposite him.
"You seem concerned, distracted?" he stated.
Kes nodded. "That last time we did this..."
"The ship was attacked. I do not see the significance," Tuvok said. "What you did to the structure of the wall didn't effect the overall outcome. Shall we begin?"
Kes breathed in deeply, she hoped it would settle her nerves. She eventually nodded.
The new Opps beeped constantly at its user. Harry turned to that part of the station. Kathryn looked over in the meantime. Harry's face was now very pale.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Er... short range sensors are picking up a cube. It's heading right for us, warp nine," Harry replied.
"Great," Kathryn sighed as she abandoned her coffee on the floor beside her. She climbed out of her seat. "Red alert, battle stations."
"Red alert isn't fixed yet," Jessie pointed out.
Kathryn groaned, covering her face with her right hand. Chakotay looked over sympathetically. "Shield status?" he asked.
James was covering for Tuvok at Tactical, he quickly checked. "Fifteen percent."
"Time to intercept?" Kathryn directed towards Harry. She pulled a confused face as he kept switching between his back station and front one. "What?"
"It should be here, now," he replied. "I don't understand."
"Is it still at warp nine?" Kathryn asked.
Harry nodded, then shook his head. "If they were they'd be on top of us, but it says right here."
"Maybe you screwed up the sensor repairs," Jessie remarked.
"I didn't," Harry said.
"Ignore the warp nine reading, what's the intercept time?" Chakotay questioned.
Harry sighed, "I'm not sure, I'm working it out. It says warp nine but the cube hasn't moved. It's sitting still."
Kathryn sighed, "cancel battle stations."
Jessie looked around as nobody moved. "What's the difference?"
"On the bridge, there isn't any," Chakotay replied. Kathryn sat down, picking her coffee up on the way. Jessie gestured her head that way, Chakotay shook his own. "Harry..."
"I know, I'll get right on it," Harry said, looking ashamed of himself. He quickly exited the Bridge. Another crewmember took his place.
"Perhaps we should focus on repairing the warp core now, just in case they do come for us," Chakotay suggested.
Kathryn nodded in agreement. She sipped at her coffee.
Kes shook her head, "I can't do this. I don't want to hurt anyone."
"Kes, without practice your new abilities could manifest on their own. Once you are disciplined you will be able to use them without harming anyone," Tuvok tried to reason with her.
Kes knew he was right but she couldn't settle her nerves. The feeling in her gut told her it would be disastrous.
Day One Hundred and Sixty Two
The Doctor beamed proudly as he finished his treatment. "How does that feel?"
Jessie wasn't sure. The pain was intense sometimes but it was the only time she felt like she still had her arm. Her arm just lay there lazily across her lap, it looked sorry for itself. She looked to James at her side. "I still can't move it."
He looked worried, his head turned to the Doctor. "It still needs time and lots of physical therapy. Your arm hasn't been active in months, even with my wonderful medical expertise it wouldn't suddenly work again."
"I see," Jessie seemed a little disappointed. Her left arm reached for the sling by her side. James' hand reached out to take her hand before she picked it up, she looked to him with her eyes quizzing him.
"Can she start the therapy now? It shouldn't hurt right?" he asked the Doctor.
"I don't see why not," he replied.
"Yeah why go now and miss some recovery time? Unless you like having me around all the time, overprotecting you, helping you put jackets on and carrying your food," James said, directing a sneaky smile her way. She matched it with a pretend glare.
"Like you'd stop overprotecting me," she said.
James shrugged, "that's true."
Jessie glanced over at the Doctor, he was busy smirking at the pair. "He even carries a glass of water around for me, like I'm some invalid." She turned her head back towards James. "Don't get me started on the clothes."
"Ok I put the wrong pair of jeans with the wrong top out for her one morning. I never heard the end of it," James tried not to laugh.
"They didn't match, and you didn't have to get them for me," Jessie argued. She looked at the Doctor, "see what I mean?"
"Ohno, don't get me involved in a couple's spat. I'll just prepare your therapy," the Doctor hurried away.
"We're not..." Jessie tried to say but he already was in his office.
"He's just teasing," James smirked. "You should know what that sounds like."
"Yeah, I know a lot of jerks," Jessie commented, not seriously. Her fake glare was back, he did one back to her making them both laugh.
"How's it going?"
He was getting sick of hearing it, but he wouldn't dare say that out loud. Harry gave the poor console a slap as he groaned in frustration. "There's nothing wrong with the external systems. I've gone through it dozens of times. I don't get it. It still says there's a..."
"Harry, let it go," B'Elanna butted in. "You've been at this for weeks. It wouldn't be the first time Voyager's done something it shouldn't."
Harry didn't listen to a word she said. He just buried himself underneath the station. B'Elanna turned back to the warp core, sighing in sympathy. She'd be doing the same thing in his place, who was she to argue? She also had her own mystery to solve.
Seven walked over to her from another station. "Lieutenant, perhaps I should take a look at the EPS manifold."
"No," B'Elanna shook her head. "I already did, twice." She stared at the warp core, glaring at it like it was taunting her. Its colour was still dim, the coolant inside seemed to be just sitting there, unresponsive. "It's online, every console backs it up. The anti-matter won't react, every time I try the computer says the start up procedure is done and it just sits there."
Seven turned her head, watching the core intently. "Perhaps in your eyes it just sits there. That is clearly not the case."
B'Elanna's grip on the railings tightened, she bit her lip for a few seconds but she had to say something to the drone. "What the hell does that mean?"
"It's an understandable mistake. My ocular implants can see things other Human eyes cannot," Seven answered. "The core is functioning, but not at the speed in which it is supposed to."
B'Elanna decided to let her off, this time. "Like it did when we had the inconsistent clocks around the ship, it's working but slowly." She stared more intently at the core but her eyes couldn't see any signs of life. "A lot slower."
The silence was more than just awkward to him, it was painful. Neelix kept looking up to check on her, each time Kes' face would manage to get even sadder. He had to say something. "You never told me what happened in Engineering. What's frightening you so much?"
His sudden questions took Kes by surprise. She looked at him with dismay on her features. "What?"
"You're the kindest, gentlest person I know, but you're convinced you were the cause of the terrible accident months ago. I want to understand," Neelix explained himself.
The pair were sitting in the empty Mess Hall, relaxing after another busy lunch hour. Kes hadn't expected an intervention. She didn't know whether to scold him or thank him. Her head was racing through the many thoughts she had trapped in there. He had helped her before, maybe he could again.
"With my new abilities I can alter the structure of any object. I did this to the engineering junction where Seven was, to stop her. The aliens shot us at the same time. I lost my control."
Neelix managed to smile grimly. "Did you do that to Thirteen?"
"No, that's not the point," Kes answered.
"I think it is. As far as I understand it the hit collided somewhere else, disrupting an already fragile deck. None of this had anything to do with Engineering," Neelix said. "What happened was bad timing, a coincidence."
"Perhaps, but you can't know that for certain. My power could easily have made things worse," Kes said.
Neelix disagreed. His head shook, "I know you well enough to be certain. You're powerful but you're also kind. You wouldn't hurt this ship."
"I only have to look at an object, gaze at it and I can see what it's made of, its foundation. I can control it. It's dangerous," Kes argued.
"I... I'm not sure I understand," Neelix stammered.
"I do. That's what is so terrifying. If I could show you without hurting anyone..." Kes sighed. Neelix placed a hand over hers, giving her an encouraging smile.
Tom chose that moment to walk in, his eyes widened. "Yikes, another sappy scene." He quickly walked back out.
"You can do anything you set your mind to. You've proven that over and over again," Neelix said.
Kes tried to force a smile but it was too difficult. "I wish I was as confident as you."
"You are. If it wasn't for you those men on Deck Thirteen would have died in the original blast. We'd also have the Borg paying us a visit while we were at our weakest. We'd be lost without you," Neelix smiled. "I would be."
"Even though I was cruel to you?" Kes whispered.
"I was only holding you back. I know that now," Neelix said.
"If this is about that Borg Cube not flying at warp nine, can it wait until after my afternoon coffee?" Kathryn scowled.
Harry eyed the four empty cups sitting on her desk, then the Captain herself. B'Elanna cleared her throat to tell him to not go there.
"Sort of," he replied.
"What the hell are you talking about? I'm not interested in seeing you peel that catsuit off, I'm not even interested in seeing you wear it," Chakotay snapped, clearly flustered. He shook his head with his eyes wide. "Are you sure it wasn't Harry?"
"I am certain," Seven replied.
"Oh, just like you were certain I was gallivanting around Deck Thirteen," James commented from Tactical. Tuvok, who was also there, tried to pretend he wasn't listening to this but his eyebrow shot up.
"Sounds like someone needs to go back to the Doc to get her MOT done," Tom sniggered. Nobody laughed, or probably got it. "You know, a service." Silence only followed. "You guys suck," he grunted.
The opps station beeped twice. Jessie, now sling-less, glanced at it. "Sensors are back online. I assume Harry fixed it."
"No, he claimed the sensors were never broken," Seven replied.
"He must have reactivated them before coming here," Chakotay said with a shrug.
Jessie's cheeks were a little pale as she read what the station was feeding her. "I really hope it's still broken." Everyone looked her way, each with their own curious expression. "I'll put it on screen."
The doors to the Ready Room opened as the viewscreen was activated. It was tiny but everyone could make it out anyway, the shape of the object was cubed.
Tensions on the bridge rose to critical levels when they saw what it was showing. Kathryn rushed back onto the bridge seconds later, with B'Elanna and Harry behind her. Harry was about to go to his station when he saw the viewscreen in the corner of his eye, he stopped in front of the rear stations.
"The sensors are back on, I see," Kathryn muttered. Harry nodded grimly.
"It's definitely not moving," Chakotay said before swallowing a lump in his throat.
Jessie nervously bit her lip as she looked back down at her station. "According to the sensors it is."
"Warp nine?" Kathryn knew the answer.
"Uh huh," Jessie nodded.
"How can the sensors get it so wrong?" Chakotay questioned.
"They're not, it is at warp nine," B'Elanna replied. Everyone who wasn't in the Ready Room, except Seven, turned their heads towards her. "It's us that's wrong."
"What?" Chakotay stuttered.
Kathryn breathed in deeply through her nose to calm her nerves. "That Borg cube has been intercepting us for months, in their perspective... probably only a few hours."
Most of the bridge crew's jaws dropped.
"Figuring out the distance between where it was when we detected it, and where it is now, we estimate it'll get here in thirty three days, and five hours," B'Elanna explained.
"It'll probably take them another month or two to fire weapons," Harry commented as he returned to opps.
Chakotay shook his head, "I've heard some ridiculous things over the years, but this takes the cake. How do you know it's not just a broken ship after a fight with 8472?"
"For one the cube is definitely generating a warp field," Harry replied.
"The core," B'Elanna added on. "Remember? It was running slowly around the time that we had the problems with the clock. It's the only source of anti-matter on the ship, it was also the only system that didn't overload the second time. It isn't affected like we are."
"It's still a bit of a leap," Chakotay said.
Jessie shrugged as she moved away from Opps. "If it's true we have plenty of time to prepare."
Kathryn turned around to share a look with everyone on the bridge, a small smile formed. "She's right. We need to decide though whether we're flying or fighting. We don't have time to get this ship ready for both."
"If our core is running slower than us I'd say fight," James suggested.
Tuvok glanced his way, "even if we disable that cube, we'll still be in this situation."
Kathryn nodded, "what do you suggest?"
"Clearly the overloads were caused by the phenomenon causing the temporal distortion. We need to find it and eliminate it," Tuvok replied.
"Preferably after the Borg ship is gone, right?" Tom said.
Chakotay looked worried as Kathryn's smile grew, he knew that smile that meant trouble. "Not necessarily."
"I never said my answer, can I still vote for flight?" Harry asked with a whimper. A lot of the bridge crew nodded, obviously hoping for the same thing.
Day Two Hundred and Two
The red alert lights and klaxon were back up and running, everyone on the Bridge wished it wasn't.
"The cube is hailing," Harry reported.
Kathryn rolled her eyes and slapped her arm rest as hard as she could, "god damn it!" Chakotay looked over from his seat with a bemused expression. She climbed out of her own and headed for the Ready Room. "I'll see you in another week, cancel red alert." She disappeared through the doors, muttering obscenities.
Tom span his chair around 180 degrees. "Anyone wanna play charades?" Everyone's expressions gave him his answer, he turned straight back around.
Day Two Hundred and Eight
"Come on, come on, come on!" Kathryn screamed at the viewscreen, which she was within an inch of.
"I knew we should have gone with the beam over Janeway plan," Jessie commented.
Almost everyone tried not to laugh. Tuvok raised his eyebrow, "she would no longer have the protection of the temporal anomaly."
"Yeah, that's the flaw in her plan!" Chakotay groaned into his hand.
Tom span his chair around again, "just the girls. Strip poker?" He smirked in Jessie's direction, "Jess?"
Day Two Hundred and Twelve
Tom marched out of the turbolift with an angry look on his face, he directed an angry finger towards Jessie. "That was not cool!" James shrugged, clearly disagreeing. Jessie only smiled maliciously.
"It was quiet," Chakotay sighed in disappointment.
"God, how long does it take for a collective to make up its mind?" Kathryn complained. "They're just a bunch of dumb bitches aren't they?"
"Dum bishes!" Kiara squeaked. Chakotay cringed, a lot. Kathryn however was over the moon with this. She rushed over to where her daughter was sitting on the floor.
"That's my girl! Now say coffee," she giggled. The pair disappeared into the Ready Room.
The turbolift doors opened, Craig ran out of them with a panicked look on his face. "Has anyone seen Ki... itty?" he trailed off when he saw Chakotay. He broke into nervous laughter.
"Relax, she's with her mum," Chakotay groaned.
"Oh, thank god. I thought the worst had happened," Craig sighed in relief.
Opps beeped, waking up Harry from a standing nap. He quickly shook it off, "Commander, they're activating the tractor beam."
"Damn, I was about to suggest Twister," Tom complained.
Chakotay tapped his commbadge, "Chakotay to Janeway, it's time."
James winced a little, "they've only just done it, are you sure about that?"
Chakotay's eyes widened in horror. He didn't dare look towards the Ready Room, he didn't have to, he could feel a pair of eyes piercing his soul.
"Dum bish," Kiara squeaked.
Kathryn nodded, patting her daughter's head. "That's daddy." They both went back into the Ready Room.
"Oh, if we've still got time, I'll get a twister mat," Tom grinned.
"James, can you put him into a longer coma this time?" Chakotay groaned.
Tom looked confused, "huh James, I thought it was Je... eeek!" He ran back for the turbolift. Almost everyone were in stitches, especially as James had barely moved an inch from his spot when he ran.
Day Two Hundred and Fifteen
"Any minute now," Harry reported.
Chakotay sighed in relief. "Our minute or theirs cos this shift's nearly over."
"Ours," Harry replied.
"Damn," Chakotay groaned.
"Damn? We've been waiting for this for nearly two months," Kathryn hissed. She watched the viewscreen intently. The Borg Cube's green tractor beam was almost on them, not that anybody could see it moving.
"How about..." Tom started to suggest. Kathryn's growls and everyone's no's startled him into silence.
B'Elanna smirked, she kept switching her attention between the viewscreen and the Engineering station. Her fingers were still, hovering ready over specific controls.
"Prepare the pulse, Lieutenant," Kathryn ordered.
"That's what I was going to suggest," Tom muttered. "No one listens to me."
Harry's eyes flickered up for a second, "ten seconds. I think."
B'Elanna nodded, "we're ready here."
Harry wiped the sweat from his forehead, "five, four, three, two..."
"Time's up!" Kathryn snarled. The ship trembled as the tractor beam finally connected. B'Elanna pressed her fingers down.
"Kathryn, you've already used that one," Chakotay warned.
Kathryn looked disappointed, "oh I did? Okay, let me think." It came to her. "Time to take out the garbage!"
"That doesn't even make sense," Tom commented.
"It's working, the pulse is overloading their emitters," B'Elanna reported. The ship's vibrations got more intense, anyone watching the viewscreen saw the surface of cube cracking up. Explosions erupted from the cracks.
Harry nodded, "the cube's systems are overloading."
"Oh I got a better one," Kathryn smiled just as the ship jolted viciously. Everyone standing were tossed to the floor. Kathryn clutched her arm rests and prepared for her big close up. "There's coffee in that... no wait, that's not..." The viewscreen was overwhelmed by a huge fireball emanating from the cube.
The fires from the cube ripped the huge vessel apart, the resulting explosion smashed into the tiny ship in its tractor beam.
Seconds later all that was left was tiny specks of debris. In Voyager's place all that remained was a tiny black spot, only illuminated by the green mist the Borg Cube left behind. It didn't take long for it to shrink into nothing.
"Oh my god! Futill, antee. Do you even know how to say I?" Kathryn snapped. "Don't get me started again on the whole dadda instead of dayta thing."
Seven of Nine stared blankly at the deranged Captain, unsure of what to say back to her.
"Of course, you're a Borg imbecile. Note I said imbecile, not imbecill. You say rubbish like we are and we are not amused. You don't know what I even means, funny that considering the source," Kathryn rambled.
"Kathryn, a lot of us, including me are allowed to speak English a little differently. It's called a dialect," Chakotay quietly said.
"Abandon ship," Tom whispered to Harry.
Kes woke up in the dark. It was a struggle to sit up, her head span as a throbbing pain coursed through it. Through the pain she managed to see a tiny light by her feet. Her hand reached for it, accidentally knocking the source of it into her eyes. When she finally got a good grip of it she pointed it all around her to find out where she was.
It didn't take her long to recognise it. It was one of the Jeffries tube hatches, but not just any old one. The damaged ladder beside her told her it was the one before Deck Thirteen.
"The damage was fixed. How..." she mumbled. The last time she was in this spot she lost control of her abilities again, she thought. "That was months ago. How?"
Kes decided to get out of there before she was discovered again, and figure it out later. She grabbed the ladder and began to make the long journey up to a safer deck.
As she wandered down a corridor she was starting to feel like the last few months were only a dream. Some of them were fine, just without power, but others sported broken wall panels. Crew passed by her, armed with flashlights.
Sickbay was in sight, she picked up the pace to reach it. Just as she did footsteps approached her from another direction.
"Kes, hey. Are you all right?" James asked.
Kes stopped. She tried to force a smile on her face before turning around to face him. "Fine considering what happened. What about you, what have you been up to?"
"Oh," James looked a little worried. "Seven thinks she saw somebody try to break into Deck Thirteen."
"You're a long way away from there," Kes said.
James smirked and nodded. "Tuvok wants me to take the team, apparently I don't go alone."
"Reasonable," Kes shrugged. "So erm, I've lost track. How long has it been since that deck was destroyed?"
"I dunno, about two weeks," James replied. He noticed her shoulders tense up and her eyes glaze over. "Are you sure you're fine?"
Kes nodded, "sure. Everything's fine."
James wasn't convinced but he knew he had to hurry. "I'll catch you later, we'll talk then. Okay? I just have to..."
"I know," Kes sighed. James reluctantly hurried into Sickbay, glancing back at her before the doors shut behind him. "It will be fine," she said. She knew what she had to do now.
"I'm not sure I understand." That was an understatement, to Kathryn this was out of nowhere.
Kes glanced down at her hands, she squeezed them both tightly. "I've thought about this a lot over the last few... since this started. The power I described is only the beginning. I held it back, fearing I would be risking this crew. I can't keep doing that. This is who I am."
"So what if you make a wall wavy now and then, it's hardly our biggest problem right now," Kathryn said angrily.
"I think someday it will be. I care for this crew too much to risk their lives. I have to leave Voyager before I do that," Kes explained softly.
Kathryn shook her head, Kes was certain she saw a few tears in her eyes. "Go where exactly?"
"I don't know yet," Kes answered honestly. "I'm changing, evolving into something... bigger, and I've tried to hold it back for the sake of everyone. It's not just because I think I won't always have control of it, it's for me as well. This is why I left the underground and Ocampa. I believed my people had the potential to be more than they are. I have a chance to explore that."
"Can I talk you out of it?" Kathryn almost whispered. "You can still do that here."
"I can't. I've seen... I know that it will hurt the ones I care about. I must do this alone," Kes answered. "I don't want you to think I'm ungrateful, up and leaving at a time like this."
"Of course I do, you're a rotten little pixie," Kathryn grumbled, but her heart wasn't in it. Kes tried her best not to laugh. "If you ever change your mind, you're always welcome. This is your home."
"Thank you, Captain," Kes smiled, tears started to fall onto her cheeks. "I have something I want to give you, all of you."
"All of us? Then it isn't coffee," Kathryn tried not to sound disappointed.
Kes chuckled, shaking her head. "No, it's better."
A white flash penetrated the darkness, Voyager flew out of it, gradually coming to a halt after it faded away.
"Holy..." Tom stuttered.
Chakotay's eyes were wider than they'd ever been. "What was that?"
"I don't believe it," Harry gasped. "We're nine thousand five hundred light years from where we just were."
"Engineering to Bridge. The warp core has gone back offline, I don't know what got into it."
"Incredible. We no longer have to worry about the Borg," Chakotay couldn't help but grin.
Kathryn smiled, "thank you for the gift, Kes. Good luck."
"I dunno, she could have left the warp core on," a random crewmember muttered to his friend. He trembled at the sound of Kathryn's dangerous growl.
Chakotay sighed, "great, now she'll be crabby again for another few months."
The crewmember screamed as he ran for his life, well walked, he only had to jump onto the ladder in the Jeffries tube.
"Hmm Harry, ever feel like you missed out on something huge?" Tom asked.
Harry nodded, "every damn episode."
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