Starship Voyager – The Alien Adventures — 22 Modifications

The present novel is merely Fan Fiction.

No commercial interest is pursued.

© Aliki, 2019

The story of this book is based on science fiction concepts created by Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Jery Tailor, Bryan Fuller, Brannon Braga, Nick Sagan, Ken Biller, Michael Okuda, Rick Sternberg, and many others.

Copyright for all humanoid characters and Star Trek technology is owned by Paramount Pictures / CBS.

Multiplication and distribution for commercial purpose are not allowed.


22. Modifications

The ribbon of the Milky Way is extending above the starship Voyager in a silver gleam, while she is floating between stars in the endless vastness of space.
“Captain`s log, stardate 56348.1.
For more than five years we have been stranded in the Delta Quadrant, and for another two and a half years we were removed, by relativistic effects in a dilapidated subspace, from the original present of our home-world, where this time has already elapsed.”
Around the outer edge of Voyager`s saucer module, three assembly teams are in action. The humanoids in space suits stick out radially from the edge of the saucer, held by magnetic boots on the hull of the ship. For some teams, spider robots are assisting the humanoids. There are two further assembly groups; one is working at the highest point of the saucer, on top of the dome that vaults above the bridge, the other group is busy at the keel of the propulsion module.
“Nevertheless, we are confident and full of hope! We have come across a propulsion technology that could shorten our journey. It is involving high risks. However, a member of our crew has indicated that he can manage these dangers. We are now installing a sensor system according to his specifications that should make Voyager`s flight in quantum slipstream safer than it was at our first attempt. But it will be a venture though since the design of our ship is obviously very unfavorable for this flight technique.”
A small probe flies over the saucer module. It stops at one of the workstations and adjusts its camera lens accordingly. There, a robot burns an opening through a monotanium plate with his laser beam. The probe flies on to the next station, where a robot and two crewmen in-sert a housing part into the already created opening. The probe floats to the third station. Workers install brackets and connections into an inserted housing.
Finally, the probe flies to the fourth station over the bridge. Through the curved glass visor of her space suit, Seven looks in a bent posture at the display of a small module inside a newly set and equipped sensor housing. She enters data. Then she opens a suitcase, takes out an octahedral crystal of 20 centimeters in size and places it in the holder next to the display. The crystal is mounted and fixed at its opposite pyramid tips. Kim kneels next to Seven. With the thick gloves of his space suit, he points a tricorder at the sensor unit. Inside the helmet his voice makes a hollow echo.
“B`Elanna, the first slipstream sensor is installed. Are you getting a sig-nal?”
“Which one is it, Harry?” asks Torres`s voice.
“The one on position four.”
Beneath Kim and Seven, the dome of the bridge arches, which rests on the center of the saucer module. Through the windows of the bridge another assembly place is recognizable. In front of the viewscreen, where the camera image of the probe shows Seven and Kim, a second navigation console has been erected to the left of the helm. It is a pentagonal table with equal lengths of its edges. Control panels are attached at each of the five corners of the tabletop. In the middle of the table, there is a padded trough. From its edge five large grooves run to the five control panels, tapering towards their ends. On the inside wall of each groove there are two rows of shiny metal cams.
Torres and Janeway are standing at the edges of the table. Ceph hangs on the ceiling above it. Torres presses the probe of a measuring instrument against one of the cams in a groove.
“We got the signals, Harry.”
“All right, B`Elanna,” confirms Kim`s voice. “Then Seven and I go to the next sensor unit. – Kim out.”
Janeway looks at Torres. “Let`s test if the configurations are correct.”
Torres nods. “Ceph can check it on the simulation right now.” She turns to Paris, who is sitting at the conventional helm station.
“You may start the simulation now, Tom.”
Paris activates a program. A quantum tunnel appears on the screen in foreshortened representation. Ceph sinks down from the ceiling into the hollow in the middle of the table and places an arm in the groove Torres points to. In doing so, he rolls the arm carefully from back to front, so that each suction cup comes to rest on one of the signal-carrying metal cams. The end of the tentacle protrudes beyond the end of the groove and lies down on the control panel attached at the corner of the table. The tentacle tip rubs gently across the panel towards different directions. Thus, the throat of the quantum tunnel, aligned forward in central perspective, moves sideways on the screen, depending on the direction in which the tentacle tip moves.
“I`m going to induce interfering signals,” announces Paris.
Shortly afterwards, the tunnel on the screen begins to vibrate. Immediately, the tentacle tip on the panel oscillates back and forth more rapidly and the vibrations on the screen become considerably weaker.
Torres declares, “Once he has access to the other signals and works with all five arms, he will be able to compensate the interferences even bet-ter.”
Janeway nods contentedly.


On Voyager`s bridge all officers are at their stations. Janeway is sitting at her place. She raises her head.
“Captain to all hands! – We are about to try another transwarp flight in quantum space. Despite some improvements compared to our first at-tempt, this technology is still new for us. It may get bumpy again. Occupy your stations and be ready for emergency actions! – Janeway out.”
She turns her head.
“Mr. Tuvok, have the adjustments been done?”
Tuvok nods. “As soon as we leave slipstream, the computer will raise shields to 100%. Mr. E-Bug will do long-range scans, I, myself, will scan the closer surroundings for alien vessels and for stellar and planetary objects nearby.”
Janeway turns to the astrometric console on port.
Seven raises her head. “After exiting, the sensor data will be immediately compared with the astrometric maps. As soon as our new position has been determined, it will be automatically forwarded to the navigational systems.”
Janeway turns to the OPS console. “Mr. Kim?”
“As soon as the quantum matrix collapses, internal system checks will start looking for hull damages.”
Janeway looks at the weapons control.
Carey reports, “All phasers and torpedo systems are operational, ma`am!”
Janeway looks ahead. “Mr. Paris?”
Paris is sitting at the helm, in front of the warp and impulse drive displays.
“As soon as we`ve left quantum space and subspace is available again, I`ll go to maximum warp if anything smells like danger!”
Janeway nods. “All right, … that`s all we can do. I don`t want to land in the throat of a Borg cube again!”
She touches the communicator. “Lieutenant Torres, is everything ready?”
“The warp core is at full power, Captain,” Torres`s voice reports. “The connection from the quantum transformer to the deflector is estab-lished!”
Next to the workstation of Tom Paris, above the newly built navigation console, Ceph is hanging on the ceiling. Janeway watches his arms that are wriggling restlessly. Some yellow stripes wander over his body. Almost all eyes are on Janeway. She nods to him. He descends and sinks with the bulk of his body into the central hollow. Then he rolls the five tentacles, radially to all sides, from the body outwards into the grooves and presses the rows of his suction cups against the signal contacts. The ends of the tentacles lie down on the five control panels and one eyestalk each stretches its eyeball towards a panel. Two eyes look at Janeway, the rest fan out over the screen.
The bridge officers look forward with tense faces. On the screen, the image of space disappears. The whirling streaks of the quantum matrix form. Janeway touches the communicator.
“Bridge to main engineering. – What do your instruments show?”
“Ceph has brought the ship into a quantum portal,” replies Torres. “The embedding into the matrix is 100%. But I don`t see anything that might point to a string -”
“So, it`s not going to be as easy as we thought.”
Paris calls, “Captain, the ship is moving. It seems that Ceph is following a gradient in the field of tension of the quantum matrix, … look, a string appears!”
The next moment, the screen shows how the quantum vortices of the embedding matrix form a tunnel in front of the ship, as if they were pushed outwards by a radial force. The ship is immediately drawn in and rushes forward at a furious speed.
Janeway cramps her fingers around the armrests of her chair. She stares forward as if she were sitting on a bullet that is driven explosively through a barrel that constantly bends to different sides. Several times, a branching is indicated, like a short flash of two possible paths; but too fast to let humanoid eyes see into which of the two branches the ship dives.
“Mr. Kim, what`s the status of the hull?”
“Slight vibrations with few spikes. The amplitudes remain below 10% of the vibrations of our previous slipstream flight.”
Janeway`s tension releases. She observes Ceph who has spread like a starfish over his control desk. The stems of the eyes fanned out over the screen are standing motionless. Also, the other eyes are looking at their observation targets in a stiff way, as if the stems were made of wire. The stripe patterns above his skin are still pronounced, but they no longer wander. The arms are rigidly resting in the grooves, like carved in stone. Only the five ends of the tentacles conduct curve-like twitches on the control panels, as if they were recording the seismic waves of an earth-quake. As shiny dots, sweat beads start to grow on Ceph`s skin.
After a while Kim considers, “I don`t know, Captain if it means anything -”
Janeway turns her head back to him.
“The vibration levels gradually increase. But we`re still far below the critical level.”
Janeway looks forward again, where a damp layer over Ceph`s skin be-gins to shimmer in the backlight of the shining streaks in the wall of the quantum tunnel racing by.
“It`s our first flight with the new sensors. We don`t want to overdo it!” She lifts her flat hand, “Attention everyone – we`re leaving slipstream!” and lowers it.
As the quantum tunnel dissolves on the screen, a slight quake passes through the ship.
“No other starship is detected near us.”
E-Bug fades in the results of the long-range sensors on the viewscreen. The symbols of several stars appear, with their planetary systems and distances in light years. Below, a text is shown: No warp signa-ture.
“Mr. Kim?”
“All systems reporting normal.”
“What`s our position, Mr. Paris?”
Paris narrows the eyelids as he reads the data.
“If these coordinates are right, we`ve deviated 34 light years east from our course.” Paris erects his upper body. “However, … in forward direc-tion, Captain, …” He turns around. “we`re almost 1,300 light years closer to Earth!”
A triumphant glow forms in Janeway`s eyes. “Seven, are these values correct?”
“I`ve checked them. They are — correct,” she answers coolly.
Janeway rises. “It would have taken us more than a year to do that with warp drive!”
While approaching Ceph, she starts beating her palms against each other. The other humanoids follow her example. An uncoordinated clapping fills the room.
Beginning from the ends, Ceph rolls his arms out of the grooves and to-wards the body. Sweat drips from his skin onto the table of the console. Tiredly the eye stalks retreat a little into the body. The stripes on the skin are fading.

Naomi and her mother enter cargo bay 1. Mrs. Wildman is holding Nao-mi`s hand in one hand; in the other she carries a wicker-basket, which almost flows over with turnips, bulbs, seed packets and potatoes, from whose tubers the first shoots are sprouting.
Naomi impatiently pulls her mother`s arm. “Why can`t we watch on the holodeck how vegetables are sown and planted, … and then get the adult plants from the replicator?”
“I already explained it to you, Naomi: real life on a planet is not like a holo-game! When we`ll be back on Earth soon, there will be no holodeck anymore. And food will not be provided from the replicator there, at least nowhere except in drive-in`s at the roadside. On Earth everyone is entitled to plant a small garden, and many enjoy growing their own food. By the way, your father is also an enthusiastic hobby gardener when he`s not working on Deep Space Nine!”
Naomi breaks away, pulls an onion out of the basket, and rushes up over the embankment to the garden. She stops between the cornfield and the algae pond.
“Here is a nice place to plant!” She bends down and presses the onion against the grassy ground with all her might. “Mother, … the soil is much too hard; you can`t plant here!”
“It`s always like that,” explains Mrs. Wildman. “You have to loosen it first and remove the grass with the roots.” She puts the basket down. “Will you bring me the hoe that leans against the tree trunk over there?”
Naomi runs to the tree and gets her the tool. Mrs. Wildman starts dig-ging. She hits the flat metal into the ground and goes about to laboriously lever out the tufts of grass. She bends down.
“Look, Naomi: you have to shake the earth off the roots!”
She grabs two tufts on the stalks and pushes and rubs the root bales against each other until the roots are free and the soil has trickled back into the hole on the ground. Then she lays the grass plants to the side.
“When we have finished the planting, we`ll take all the weed to the compost. There it rots and gets new humus.”
Mrs. Wildman stretches her upper body and grabs her back with her hand, while her face is showing painful discomfort.
“Naomi, see if there`s a shovel or a spade somewhere … maybe it`ll be easier with some other tool.”
Naomi runs through the garden, while her mother hits the ground again. At the end of the cornfield, Naomi abruptly stops. She looks at the metal figure of the gardener motionlessly lying on the ground. Naomi bends down and presses the button on his back. The gardener`s arms twitch. Naomi quickly jumps backwards. The gardener laboriously straightens up and swivels his optical visor all around. He looks over Naomi to Mrs. Wildman. With force she just drives the hoe into the ground again and then uses the handle as a lever to break out a rootstock. The gardener goes in Naomi`s direction. Her mother pauses.
“Naomi, … come back! Hurry — run!” she calls at her daughter in alarm.
Shortly before the gardener reaches Naomi, she turns around and runs to her mother as fast as she can. As the gardener approaches, Mrs. Wildman grabs her daughter by the shoulder, pulls her behind her and retreats with her.
“You must not get too close to him! They say he has a serious malfunc-tion.”
The gardener has reached the fresh cultivation place. Mrs. Wildman strikes out with her hoe.
“Don`t come any closer!”
The gardener lifts the sturdier of his four-membered arms and strikes out as well. A flat metal folds out at the end of the arm. He hits it deep into the ground. Slash by slash, he pierces the lawn with his tool and continues the strip broken open by Naomi`s mother lengthwise, in the width she had started with. Simultaneously, two more arms reach for the broken tufts of grass and remove the soil from the roots. After a short time, the gardener has digged and cultivated a strip several meters long, while behind him Naomi and her mother put bulbs and tubers into the soil in two rows.

Passing Tuvok, Ceph swings into the lift and leaves the bridge. Paris looks after him.
“He seemed quite exhausted, Captain!”
“I noticed it. We`ll fly smaller stages in the future. In between he`ll get as much time to relax as he needs.”
Kim raises his head in surprise. “Captain, someone seems to be very close to us, though; … we`re being hailed.”
“On screen!”
“There are two audio messages, from different sources. Their wordings are constantly repeated.”
Against the background of a crackling radio noise, a deep, slowly speaking voice sounds: “Wee — Luulaak — greet — reespeectfuully — thee — Goods — aand — aask — foor — thee — faavouur — oof — deeliiveeraance — oof — thee –aaffliictioon!”
“That was the first radio message,” explains Kim. “Now the other one.”
A bright voice, speaking swiftly, beeps: “Thepeopleofthe Lilic thanksthe-Heavenlies fortheirappearance andasksmosthumbly fortheirhelp!”
“They use radio waves on two different frequency bands.”
Puzzled, Janeway turns to Tuvok.
“Why haven`t we noticed them before?”
“Their planet was in the radio shadow of its sun when we left slipstream. It`s a Class-M planet. The message apparently comes from a species that already possesses radio wave technique and astronomical instruments but has not yet developed space technology.”
Janeway looks anxiously at the screen, where E-Bug zooms in on the image of a planet.
“They seem to think we`re gods. They`d better not have noticed us!”
Sitting on his chair Paris turns around.
“They asked us for help, Captain.”
With the expression of a dilemma Janeway consults Tuvok. “What do you think, Commander?”
“Since we`ve already been noticed, it would probably be best to convince them that we`re not gods.”
Janeway nods seriously.
“Mr. Paris, get us into orbit around that planet!”
“Aye, Captain.”

The starship Voyager flies past a moon, is heading towards a white-cloudy blue planet and positions itself above its day side, over two continents. Each has a wide, green coastal area surrounding a large, brown inner zone.

On the viewscreen, E-Bug fades in measurement data next to the image of the planet, concerning atmosphere, ocean, and geology.
Tuvok interprets them. “In the nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and carbon dioxide can be detected, which are typical of an early industrial culture. Numerous superficial lakes of melt-ed ice can be observed in both polar regions. Their origin cannot be ex-plained by seasonal climate fluctuations, but points to a global thermal drift. The water ocean covers 84% of the surface. Apart from one larger island, there are only two continents. One is equatorial, the other lies in the northern hemisphere. The brown and yellow zones in the center of the continents are deserts and steppes.”
E-Bug fades in symbols along the coasts of both continents. Kim points at them.
“Look how backward that culture is: they seem to get their energy from oxidation processes, … they are still burning coal!” He looks at his read-ings. “We`re being called, Captain, on the same two frequencies as be-fore.”
“Let`s hear!”
“This one comes from the northern continent.”
A bright, enthusiastic voice shouts, “Youheavenlies! Thepeopleof theLilic thanksyou thatyoucame forourhelp!”
Janeway raises her head. “This is Kathryn Janeway, captain of the Federation Starship Voyager. We are not gods! We`re just travelers in space. How can we help you?”
In an unremittingly enthusiastic manner the voice answers, “Divinetravelers! Ourprayershave beenfulfilled, … nowthatyou`re coming!”
Janeway gives Tuvok a resigned look.
Kim inquires, “The second message comes from the equatorial continent. Shall I open it?”
Waving her hand, Janeway gives a sign of refusal.
“No need. My feeling tells me that they are just as hard to convince. We`re going to beam down with two away teams and explain to them who we are.” She turns around. “Mr. Paris, we two will pay a visit to the northern continent. Mr. Kim, you and Mr. Neelix go to the equatorial continent. But beam into a sparsely populated area first and check the situation!”
Paris leaves the helm and follows Janeway to the lift.
“Shouldn`t the missions be accompanied by security teams, Captain?” warns Tuvok.
“I don`t think that`ll be necessary.” Janeway smiles. “Gods usually enjoy immunity.”

On the flanks of green, grass-covered hills, low bush plants rise from the ground in regular arrangement. They all sprout from heaps of dark humus that look like molehills. In a hollow between the hills, Janeway and Paris materialize.
Janeway opens the tricorder and swings it in several directions.
“We seem to be the only ones here, far and wide. Nothing but plant life is detected.”
Paris climbs up one of the hills. He throws himself flat on the grass and peers over the hilltop.
“Captain, they actually exist!”
“Who, Mr. Paris?”
“The extraterrestrials — the little green men!”
“No –!”
Janeway climbs up to Paris and crouches next to him. They look over the hilly landscape, where a swarming crowd of creatures about 50 centime-ters tall is busy caring for the bush plants sprouting out of heaps of earth everywhere. The beings run upright on several gnarled legs and handle equally gnarled arms. The clothing that covers their bodies seems to con-sist of dense, green foliage. Some of the beings carry measuring instru-ments with which they scan plants and soil. Others sow fertilizer powder around the heaps of earth; and a third group sprays water over those heaps from hoses.
Janeway is surprised. “I don`t understand why the tricorder didn`t show anything -” She opens it again. Her eyes widen. “Tom — they are plants!”

One of the green beings points his measuring device at a small bush that barely reaches its hips; it gently knocks on its branches. The branches of the bush briefly falter. They quickly calm down again. The being goes to the next plant. This one already moves without stimulation. Its little branches swivel downward until they touch the ground. They claw firmly. More and more of them reach the solid ground. Together they press so hard against the soil that they bend. Suddenly, the small heap of earth, from which the little bush sprouts, starts to move. It rises like a bottle cork that is pulled, falls apart into lumps that roll to the side and finally the small bush lifts the rootstock from its topsoil. Exhaustedly, the newborn being tilts to the side. The grown-up one quickly puts away its measuring instrument, grabs a water-hose and sprays off, with a circular motion, the remains of the soil from the newly hatched rootstock. A root head emerges, which is surrounded by a gelatinous, transparent, light green mass. Inside of it, the filigree root network is condensed to an interwoven knot.
The nursing grown-up turns off the water. It pulls and tugs the newborn until it stands upright on its branches, albeit still wobbly, with the root head up. Then the nurse grabs it by a branch and ushers it away.
Suddenly, a red lamp flashes on the nurse`s measuring device. It directs several of its root stumps at the ends of which a lenticular film of water shines to the other beings nearby. Their devices are blinking too. It presses a button with its branch finger and the lamp goes out. Then the nurse and the child continue their way.

Janeway and Paris are still lying on their bellies in the grass under the hilltop, next to each other, and are peering on the other side. Between the blades of grass, Janeway turns her head.
“What do you think, Tom, … should we dare to show ourselves to these obstetricians?”
“I don`t think they would -”
Suddenly a net falls over the two. A crowd of small, green bush beings anchors it with pegs in the ground so tightly around the two caught Hu-mans, that they can hardly move.

In a darkened room with walls formed by bars, Neelix is sitting with a resigned face on a bare board floor. Next to him Kim crouches down on his knees and peers through a gap between two bars, trying to see what is going on beyond the pale translucent cover. He touches the communicator.
“Kim to Voyager! Can you hear me?” He looks upwards along the bars. “Probably this grid material is shielding the radio signal.”
“I`m sorry, Harry, … you were right. Only one of us should have shown up before them and the other should have waited in cover how these beings react!”
“It`s all right, Neelix. We got to find a way to get out of here. Check the rods on the other side!”
Neelix goes to the opposite side of the room and shakes the bars. He complains, “Even a Pandar couldn`t break through here!”

On stocky, branch-like legs, two green plant beings walk with slow steps out of an organically shaped building. One of them, grown slimmer than his companion, declares in stretched language and low voice, “Wee aare suure, myy Maiintruunk, thaat theeyy aare noo spiees oof thee Liilliics. Buut theeyy stiill aare a daangeer. Thee screeniing haas reeveealed thaat theeyy feeed oon plaants!”
The two of them step in front of a terrace table, next to the entrance of the house.
The lushly grown Maintrunk replies, “Iif theeyy aare aa riisk foor uur sliips, theeyy haave too bee brouught iintoo thee fauunaatiic reeseervaatioon, Braanch oof Seecuuriityy!”
“Iii aam taakiing caare oof thaat, myy Maiintruunk!”
The slimmer one reaches for an object standing on the table. He pulls a cloth away that covers the object. The Maintrunk bends over it.
“Whoo aare youu aand whyy diid youu iintruude iintoo ouur coontii-neent?”
Between bars that are enclosing a room which resembles a parrot cage, Harry Kim presses his head out to the tree creatures raised to a height of six meters.
“We belong to the crew of a starship. You`ve been transmitting a dis-tress call. We`ve come to see how we can help you.”
The Maintrunk is straightening up. His root-entwined organ of speech opens and together with his companion he begins to laugh in roaring bursts.
Then he replies to Kim with his low voice, “Whaat aan iimpeertiineent iinsooleence oof plaant deevouueeriing goobliins, too poose foor gooods oof thee Luulaak!” He turns to his companion. “Geet theese wiights iintoo thee faaunaatiic reeseervaatioon, Braanch oof Seecuuriityy!”
“Yees, myy Maiintruunk!” replies the Branch.

The eyes of Tom Paris are pinched together to grim slits and are rigidly directed at a target. His nostrils swell rhythmically, like those of a musk ox, before he takes a run racing towards his opponent.
Two other eyes, staring from the opposite direction, also muster their target. The bark-like eyelids of these eyes are narrowed as well. They form sickle-shaped slits at the ends of two root stumps, which protrude from a gelatinous coated rootstock brain.
Tom Paris is lying on his back on a cart. He is strapped with ropes over all parts of his body so that he can only move his fingertips. On his belly a 50-centimeter long Lilic is standing, stocky and stout, on twig-like legs, covered with countless green leaves. Next to Paris lies Janeway, just as firmly tied. Both are tucked up with a cloth and have apparently been robbed of their uniforms, which have been placed at their feet on the cart.
“If I just could sneeze heartily, Captain, that wretch would be thrown into orbit!”
“Don`t provoke him any further, Tom! We`ve got enough trouble al-ready!”
The cart is surrounded by a flock of other Lilics. It stands in front of a cas-tle-like building about three meters high. Its shape has been designed in a root style, with winding oriels growing out of the walls and a treetop tower rising above the building roof. The façade is overgrown with climb-ing plants. In the background, there are industrial buildings with countless yellow-brown smoking chimneys.
A Lilic appears on the balcony, wearing a coat that looks as if it was com-posed of hundreds of silver and copper-colored leaves. The Lilic who is standing on Paris looks up at the balcony and raises his arm greeting.
With a quick, bright voice, he shouts, “Herearethetwo, myRootKing!”
“Theyarenotgreen, TuberofResearch,” wonders the king, shaking his root-head. “Arethey — faunatics? Arethey herbivores?”
“Indeed, myKing,” cries Tuber of Research. “Ididthoroughly examinethem. Theyhavemanygrinders andinthefissures betweentheirteeth Ifoundplant relics!”
The king looks down from his balcony, on the humanoids below him.
“Ihaveneverseen suchherbivoresbefore. Havethe Lulacs bredthem tousethem againstus?”
“That`spossible, myKing!”
Janeway`s eyes look up at the king. “We have not been bred by anyone, my dear King! And we do not know the Lulacs. We are space travelers from another star and have heard your call for help. That`s why we`ve come to ask what we can do for you.”
“Spacetravellers?” the king calls out indignantly. “Onlyourgods travelth-roughspace! Youarenot — gods!”
“That is right. But perhaps we can still help you if you tell us your prob-lem.”
Wordlessly the king stares down at Janeway and Paris.
Tuber of Research considers, “Maybetheycan reallyhelpus, myKing. Still, theyarethefirst speakingfaunatics everheardof!”
The King`s voice takes on a categorically authoritarian tone. “Wemustnot trustaherbivore! Thisisatrap oftheLulacs. Deportthem tothereservation!”
The King turns around and disappears from the balcony, with his coat blowing. Tuber of Research gives the bystanders a wave with a twig, and they remove the cart from the castle.

Kim and Neelix are stalking through a bushy, rocky landscape in crouched posture and with a spying gaze. In the distance behind them, the waves of a sea glisten and its surf sloshes, rushing against the coast. Neelix anxiously looks back.
“We`re still less than half an hour on this island, but already in the target-line of predators!”
“Calm down, Neelix. The way the wind is, they cannot have smelled us.”
Suddenly, Kim stretches his hand against Neelix`s shoulder and pushes him into cover.
“Careful! There`s someone in front!”
They push branches and grasses to the side and peer in the direction from where a smacking noise can be heard. Between the rocks, a broad herbivore is standing, resembling a billy goat. He peels off the juicy bark of a young tree with his teeth and chews it loudly with his mouth open.
“But this time the wind is blowing from us to him!” warns Neelix.
The billy goat looks in the direction of the two, smells with his nostrils and continues to chew unimpressed.
“He poses no threat,” decides Kim and walks in a wide arc around the herbivore. Neelix follows. Behind the next group of rocks, they suddenly hear bright, excited cries with a crackling undertone, like cracking branches.
“What`s that, Harry?”
“Let`s have a look!”
They hurry over a hill and reach a rock face. There three Lilics are crowd-ing into a niche. With rotten branches, they desperately try to drive away a group of bucks attempting to eat their leaves.
Neelix jumps forward. “Quickly, Harry, … take stones!”
He picks up fist-sized stones from the ground and throws them at the herbivores. Kim follows his example. The bucks turn away from the Lilics and lower their horns against the two humanoids. When the foremost of the bucks is hit on the nose, he turns around and flees. The others follow him.
Carefully Kim and Neelix approach the Lilics, who squeeze into the niche and lift their branch weapons ready to defend themselves.
“Look, Harry, how small they are!”
“Maybe they`re children of the Lulacs.”
“What is this strange mould on their arms and legs?”
“It looks like a disease. If the Lulacs had left us at least one of our com-municators, then we could talk to them!”

On a windy slope, Janeway and Paris hastily climb upwards. Paris looks back in worry. Two quadrupeds with fangs are light-footedly jumping from rock to rock, following the two humanoids. At the foot of the hill a wide grassland extends, and in the distance the sea surges to the coast of the island.
“Come on, Tom!” shouts Janeway. “Up there is a group of trees. Maybe we`ll find some cover or something to defend ourselves!”
They climb a plateau and run towards a group of trees. At the edge of the woods, they look backwards. The fangs also appear on the plateau. They pick up the scent and rush after Janeway and Paris. Paris stretches for a branch.
“Up on that tree, Captain!”
He pulls himself up and squeezes close to the trunk through twigs and lichen-like tufts of mould. Paris stretches his arm downwards. Janeway reaches for his hand and follows him into the branches. The fangs have already reached the edge of the forest. Snarling they jump up the trunk of the tree where Janeway and Paris have fled and snap at them.
Suddenly, a sturdy branch hanging to the ground strikes strongly and hurls one of the fangs a few meters out into the open plateau. The other fang looks in amazement at its hunting companion and at the thick branch that hit it. The same kick now strikes the puzzled fang as well and with a whimper it flies through the air. Recovering, it picks itself up again from the ground and quickly the two fangs flee over the edge of the plateau down the slope.
Also, Paris and Janeway look in astonishment at the branch that has de-veloped these surprising dynamics.
“I don`t know, Captain -”
Paris leans far from the trunk outward and tries to see the upper part of the tree through the maze of branches and leaves.
“If this thing weren`t so big, you`d think it was a -”
“Careful, Tom!” shouts Janeway. “Hold tight!”
Several branches stretched down to the ground begin to move and with the two humanoids clinging to his belly, the Lulac steps out of the group of trees onto the free plateau. Behind its edge, the sun goes down.

On Voyager`s bridge, Torres leaves the turbolift with a worried face and goes to the tactical station.
“Are there any news, Tuvok?”
“Mr. E-Bug has just located four humanoid life signs on an island between the two continents.”
“Can we beam them up?”
“The bio-signatures are too weak to be localized with sufficient accuracy by the transporter.”
Torres nods. “During our first rescue attempt only the communicators came up; they had been taken away from them.”
Torres looks to the screen, where the planet`s night zone shifts over the two continents.
“Let me beam down, Tuvok! I`m going to search for them!”
“I think it`s safer, Lieutenant, to operate with a security team in daylight.”
“Maybe. But there`s more cover at night. And we do not know, how urgently they may need our help. Just give me one person as an escort for cover!”

Two moons shed their silvery light on the rocks and grasslands of the island. Leaning against a bolder, Janeway and Paris are sitting a few meters beside the Lulac who is as high as a tree. They are looking south, over the open land, to the sparkling sea. In the western sky, there is a large, bright crescent that follows the last glimmer of sunset. Above the eastern horizon rises a somewhat smaller disk of a full moon, in reddish-brown splendor.
Paris ponders, “If there weren`t two of them, you might think you`re on Earth.”
“Do you miss our homeworld, Tom?”
“As long as I`m on the ship, … no, but here …”
In the scree in front of them stones rattle down into a hollow.
“What was that?”
There`s a crackling noise from the side in the bushes. Janeway gets up.
“Let`s go back to the tree being!”
The silhouette of a fang jumps off a rock in front of them and cuts off their path. Two more of the same species jump out of the bushes. Snarling, they drive Janeway and Paris away from the Lulac, towards the rock face. Opposite, the third of the attackers attracts the kicks of the Lulac onto himself. He escapes with rapid jumps to the side. Janeway and Paris grab stones and hurl them against the two in front of them. They dodge with cat-like reflexes and come continuously closer. One already snaps at Paris`s leg.
Suddenly, a phaser shot flashes brightly through the air and knocks down one of the attackers. The other fangs recede.
“Tom, … Captain, … are you alright?”
Torres comes out of the bushes, with a phaser in one hand and a tricorder in the other. The Lulac takes a step back. Torres suddenly recognizes the liveliness of the giant figure and aims at it. Janeway pushes her phaser downwards.
“Don`t B`Elanna — he`s a friend!”
At some distance, there are flashes of lightning, and a hissing crackle can be heard. Again, the Lulac gets restless.
“Aa Thuundeerstoorm coomes uup, … flaashees striike Luulacs!”
Janeway eases him. “Don`t worry. I know these flashes; they don`t strike trees!”
“Whyy doo Ii uundeerstaand youu?” wonders the Lulac.
Janeway points on a device attached to Torres`s uniform.
“Because of this communicator. My companion and I had a device like that, too, but the Lilics took it from us.”
Kim and Neelix come running out of the bushes. Two fangs are running and hissing just behind them. Suddenly, a black shadow jumps over them and two side feelers strike down, sparking at their heads. E-Bug lands behind Kim and Neelix. He turns around and looks back with twitching tube-eyes and swiveling temple antennae. The two fangs are rolling over the ground making whimpering sounds. They rise, turn around, and hurry back the way they came. Slowly and without haste, three Lilics are marching from the same direction. On their retreat, the huge fangs run between them without paying attention to the small plant creatures.

On the bridge, Torres`s voice reports, “Torres to Voyager! – We`ve found the two away teams and brought them together.”
Tuvok raises his head. “Excellent, Lieutenant! Shall we beam you up?”
“Not yet, Tuvok,” replies Janeway`s voice. “I believe now I know why the inhabitants of the planet are transmitting distress calls into space. Beam the doctor to my position! He shall take with him everything he needs for the analysis and treatment of fungal diseases in plants.”
Tuvok lifts an eyebrow. “All right, Captain.”

The starship Voyager floats in an orbit over the planet of the Lilics and the Lulacs.
“Captain`s log.
For three days, the doctor and a security team have been on the island between the two continents of the planet. As it turned out, Lulacs and Lilics were seized with a deadly fungal disease for which they have no antidote. To contain the epidemic, both species have brought their sick to a large island. This is also the last refuge of many herbivorous species and their natural enemies, who were exterminated on both continents long ago.”

On a plain framed by rock formations, the Lulac is sitting on the ground, with his back leaning against a large stone. Tom Paris and two other crewmen climb in his branches, spraying a liquid on the mould plexuses that exuberantly grow from the body of the Lulac. Other crew members are standing on the surrounding rocks in arms, securing the area.
Near the Lulac the doctor examines the three Lilics with a medical scan-ner. Janeway materializes some steps next to the doctor. She goes to him.
“How do you succeed, Doctor?”
“You`re just in time, Captain!” He straightens up and proudly lifts his chin. “The fungicide I developed takes effect: the Lilics are as good as cured! The Lulac is still being treated.”
Paris has descended from the Lulac and joins the doctor and the captain.
Janeway inquires, “Can we supply the two species with the remedy?”
The doctor frowns. “Voyager`s capacity won`t be enough for that; there are too many cases of illness.”
“Then we must enable them to produce the fungicide by themselves!”
Paris shakes his head in doubt. “Doctor, how can it be that two species that are so different can be attacked by the same pathogen, and that the same remedy works for both species?”
The doctor grins in schoolmasterly wisdom. “That`s very simple, Mr. Par-is. Because they are not two different species! They indeed belong to the same species. I`ve checked that genetically.”
Unbelieving, Paris looks back and forth between the Lulac and the Lilics.
With the pleasure of a successful researcher the doctor continues, “I had only three days to study the exo-botany of the two primate life-forms of this planet, but I assure you: Lilics and Lulacs are modifications of the same plant species. The epigenetics of their body size is just markedly temperature-dependent.” He casts an examining look on Paris. “You may know what a dandelion is, Mr. Paris; it grows on your home planet.”
“I know the dandelion, Doc!”
“Then you may also know that in the warm lowlands it may grow almost half a meter high, while in the frosty, high mountains it nestles its leaves close to the ground and the stem protrudes only a few centimeters. — The Lilics live on a cold continent near the arctic. The Lulacs live on the warm equator.” The doctor puts his scanner aside. “And if you still don`t believe me, … ask my plant colleague, he`ll confirm it!”
One of the three Lilics steps forward before Janeway.
“OnbehalfofallLilics, Ithankyou, CaptainJaneway, foryourhelp!”
“You`re a doctor?” asks Janeway in surprise.
The ocular-set rootstumps carrying the Lilic`s eyes direct to the ground.
“Iwasadoctor, beforeIwasmisled tobecomea massmurderer.”
“What do you mean?”
“Whenweheard thattheLulacshaddeveloped awarfareagent toeradicate alltheLilics andsettleonour continentthemselves, wealsocultivated abio-logicalweapon. MycolleaguesandI wereinfected andhadtobebrought tothisisland.”
Horror sounds in Janeway`s voice. “You caused that disease yourselves?”
“Itwas reprehensible andamistake! WhenourKing sawthat notonlyLu-lacs, butalsoLilics werebeingattacked, heorderedtocease researchin biologicalwarfare. TheLulacsalso endedtheirprogram. Butitwasalready toolate!”
The Lulac listened to the conversation. Angrily he rises. The climbing crewmen cling to his branches.
He roars, “Soo wee oowe thiis plaage too youu!”
“You`vestarted withthat!” scolds the Lilic back.
Janeway steps between the tiny Lilic and the tree giant. She raises both arms to stop them.
“Calm down! Atrocities of that kind will repeat, as long as your nations won`t communicate with each other!”
The Lilic shouts, “Lilicsneversucceeded, tocommunicatewithLulacs! Theirbigsize makesthemsoarrogant thatany constructiveconversation isimpossible!”
Janeway ponders. “Maybe we can help you with that too.”

A table about three meters high is standing on a flowering meadow. At one of its front sides a staircase leads up to a pedestal. Its surface lies 20 centimeters below the tabletop. A second pedestal, also accessible by steps, stands on a long side of the table. Its platform is one meter below the edge of the table.
“Captain`s log, supplemental.
After demonstrating to the Lulacs and Lilics that we have a cure for their fungal infection, we could arrange a meeting of their leaders. I`m going to participate and try to support the negotiation of a peace treaty with the possibilities Voyager provides.”
The Maintrunk of the Lulacs strides to the free front of the table. On the opposite front, the Rootking of the Lilics climbs up the stairs to the plat-form just below the edge of the table. Kathryn Janeway steps in from the side and climbs up the stairs to the plateau one meter below the table.
“I thank the leader of the Lulac and the King of the Lilic for their willing-ness to negotiate!”
The Lulac looks down on the tiny Lilic at the other end of the table. He begins to laugh. His branches wobble; his leaves vibrate like those of a trembling poplar in the wind. Janeway looks up to him sternly.
“I ask those present to treat the matter with the necessary seriousness and mutual respect!”
The Lulac calms down and clears his throat.
“First, I would like to understand both your points of view. Would you please begin, dear King!”
The Lilic stretches himself as best he can.
“WeLilicshave ruledfor thousandsof generations overthenorthern conti-nent. Ourancestors settledit; theycultivatedit forthegrowingof ourseedl-ings andexterminated allthe herbivores whothreatenedus andtheseedl-ings. Weonce onlyusedhumus andmineraldust. Butsoon ouringeniouss-cientists succeededin facilitating andenriching allareasoflife throughthe-development ofnew technologies. Thesameway asourlifestyles werere-fined, theenvy ofthe barbariclivingLulacs grew, andtheyhave beenplanning awarofaggression foralongtime tocaptureour achieve-ments!”
“Thaat iis aa liee!” roars the Lulac infuriated. “Iit iis thee ootheer wayy rouund: thee Liiliik have aalwayys been spyiing iin ouur teechniicaal faaciiliitiees! Theyy seend spyys oon ouur coontiineent, whoo aare luurkiing liike aaphiidees upoon thee braanchees oof ouur faactooriees aand steeal ouur iinveentioons!”
“That`snottrue!” screams the Lilic hoarsely. “Nothingbut slander!”
Janeway raises her arms.
“Stop! Both of you! If you do not bury and forget the conflicts of the past, there will be no peace solution. Much more than in those old quar-rels am I interested in your present conflict. What was the reason for your attempt to wipe out each other with biological weapons? I cannot believe that this had anything to do with espionage and technological envy -”
Silence spreads at the negotiation table. The Lulac looks up at the clouds in the sky, the Lilic stares down at the flowers in the meadow below. Janeway`s gaze flips impatiently between the two.
“If you won`t voice it yourselves, I will. With the sensors of our starship, we were able to study the atmosphere, the oceans, and continental phenomena of your planet. We found that your civilizations thrive best in the shallow coastal areas. But as your industries warm up the atmos-phere, the polar ice melts and the rising sea level devours your habitats. — Each of you intended take the other`s continent with a weapon for mass extermination.”
Furthermore, the Lulac and the Lilic are silent.
Janeway continues, “If you won`t both decide on measures for climate conservation, your peoples will perish.” She looks up. “Maintrunk of the Lulac, are you willing to agree on such measures?”
The Lulac looks down on Janeway and then to the King of the Lilic.
“Wee Luulaac aare biiggeer thaan thee Liiliic, … thuus wee aare iintiitled too poosseess moore Laand!”
The Lilic protests, “Butweare muchmore thanyou!”
Janeway shakes her head. She touches her communicator.
“Janeway to Torres. – Are you ready?”
“Anytime, Captain,” answers Torres`s voice.
Janeway raises her hand and snaps her fingers.
Suddenly, every element of the scenery, the flowers on the meadow, the table, Janeway and the Lilic, begins to grow, while merely for the Lulac his own size seems to remain unchanged. The other two and the table grow inexorably, beyond the Lulac until the proportions have finally reversed. Tiny as a Lilic, the Lulac, whose ground has disappeared under its feet, is clinging to the huge tabletop. Next to him stands Janeway, more than three times his size, and she herself is towered by the four meters taller, gigantic Rootking of the Lilics.
The King reaches deep down to the tabletop, holds tight and shouts: “Help, I`m dizzy!”
With the stumps of his root eyes wobbling in horror, the Lulac stares up at the head of the gigantic Lilic.
“Hoow iis thaat poossiible?”
When the Lilic looks down and sees the little Lulac under him, he forgets his fear of heights and has a good laugh. His arms reach down to grab the Lulac.
Janeway shouts: “B`Elanna, fast — Mode 2!”, and again she snaps her raised fingers.
Immediately before the Rootking`s twig hands get hold of the Maintrunk of the Lulacs, the King`s arms and body shrink so much that he can`t reach the other side of the table anymore. At the same time, the Lulac grows again. When the metamorphosis comes to a halt, everyone is standing at the table in the same height — the Lilic, the Lulac and Janeway.
Quickly, the Lilic pulls his outstretched arms back. Janeway smiles reso-lutely.
“Can we finally continue the negotiations on the same level and with the same respect for each other?”
With curious eyes at the ends of the root stumps protruding from their heads, the Lulac and the Lilic look at one another as if they were seeing each other for the first time.

The starship Voyager is floating above the planet of the Lulacs and the Lilics. All of a sudden, it turns and leaves the orbit.
“Captain`s log, second supplement.
With the help of our holodeck, we were able to persuade the Lilics and the Lulacs to sign a peace treaty. Moreover, they agreed to plant fewer seedlings and to jointly develop climate-neutral energy sources.”

On the bridge, Janeway is sitting in her place, looking at the viewscreen where a moon is passing by.
“We`re receiving a radio message, Captain.”
“Let`s hear it, Mr. Kim!”

“Iin thee naame oof aall Luulaaks
andinthename ofallLilics
wee thaank thee miightyy Go`ods oof Maagiic
andwishyou agoodjourney home!”

Janeway turns to Tuvok. She gives him an ironically resigned look, rubs her forehead, and blows from full cheeks through her closed mouth. Then she turns forward again, where Ceph settles down on the slipstream helm.

Near a moon of the planet a quantum vortex opens. Voyager dives into it and the vortex closes behind her.


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