Starship Voyager – The Alien Adventures — Transformation – Part 2

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.


Part 2

The starship Voyager is floating above the hexagonal cloud structure of Saturn`s North Pole. The three large warships have disappeared. In-stead, two smaller cruisers have directly docked to Voyager`s shuttle hangar. On the hull of the saucer, module teams of technicians in space suits are moving around, carrying out measurements.
Inside one of the glazed docking bridges, two technicians in grey uniforms walk from the shuttle bay at the rear of the Voyager to their cruiser. Shortly afterwards, like a flexible stethoscope, a tubular structure swings upside down from the ceiling, peering out of the shuttle bay into the docking bridge. Just as quickly as it appeared, it withdraws. Suddenly, five Tubeworms jump into the passage from above, cross it with far-flung leaps and disappear into the cruiser.

In Voyager`s main engineering, covers have been removed from the central console in front of the warp column and from wall panels. Techni-cians in grey uniforms are working on measuring devices that are connected to the exposed modules via cables.

In the casino, a person in a white coat takes food from the larder behind the counter and smells at it. Another person analyses food on a plate with a tricorder. A third one examines a replicated menu at the output of the replicator.

In sickbay, a woman in a light blue uniform is sitting at the doctor`s desk checking entries on his computer. From both sides, her colleagues are bent over the table, reading along on the monitor and pointing to the data.

The bridge is swarming with technicians in grey uniforms. Almost all con-soles have been opened. Numerous displays show ERROR messages. A bright yellow input field on Tuvok`s console requests to enter a password.
Two technicians kneel next to the pentagonal station for navigation in slipstream. They start bridging modules with cables. Suddenly, large let-ters flashing in red appear across the entire width of the top panel. Attention: Self-destruction mode is initiated in TEN seconds! A large display counts down: 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 -…
One of the technicians, the only one wearing a black uniform, calls out to the others, “Stop immediately! Disconnect the line!”
Hectically, one of those kneeing grabs a cable and pulls its end out of a socket. The warning goes out. The man in black uniform wipes the sweat off his forehead and snatches at his communicator.
“Bridge to security!”
“What is it?” asks a voice.
“Report to Admiral Rockwood: We have a problem!

In the middle of a windowless, bare room with concrete walls illuminated by pale white artificial light Janeway is sitting on a wooden chair. She is surrounded sideways and forward by tables. Stretched out, Mollie is lying on the floor at Janeway`s feet.
Several officers sit down at the tables. Nobody speaks a word. Finally, Major Heydric enters the room and takes his seat in front of Janeway. He looks to the right.
“Go ahead, Ramlock!”
A man with a sharp-edged face leafs through papers. Then he raises his head and stares at Janeway through his metal-rimmed glasses.
“Let`s start with the chronologically first point: the destruction of the Albatross at Kassra V and the death of their crew. According to Romulan witnesses, your ship was responsible for that.”
“We have communicated our version of the events,” replies Janeway.
“I`m not interested in any radio messages! I want to hear it from -”
Growling loudly, the dog interrupts him. Heydric raises his hand.
“Let`s skip that, Ramlock!” He looks at Janeway. “I`m convinced it was certainly not your intention to destroy a Federation ship immediately before you planned to introduce yourself to the Federation as the returned Voyager crew.”
Ramlock objects, “But the story about the Changeling, … couldn`t it be -”
“Stop it. Pass on to the important points!”
Reluctantly, Ramlock puts one paper aside and takes the next one in his hand. Then he stares at Janeway again.
“There are Borg and Hirogen technologies on your ship and half a dozen other technologies unknown inside the Federation.”
“How do you know that?” asks Janeway. “I didn`t hand over the logs to you yet.”
“That`s what the inspection of your ship revealed.”
“Inspection? My crew would never have allowed that without consulting me!” In worry and anger Janeway inquires, “What happened to my people?”
With his hand raised Heydric cuts Ramlock short again and declares, “We`ll get to that later. Our foremost concern is the ship and its technical data. Why is their encryption secured with the self-destruction mode?”
“We were in enemy territory and couldn`t let this data fall into the wrong hands.”
“This argument is no longer valid. Starfleet expects you to get full access to the ship`s logs!”
“Starfleet will get this access as soon as my people are free and as soon as I have spoken with Admiral Paris, or with another Starfleet officer who does not belong to your organization!”
Angrily, Heydric`s eyelids narrow and his lips contract. “You`re not in a position to make demands. Officially, you don`t even exist.”
Ramlock yells, “Tell us who you really are, finally! A new kind of subver-sive shapeshifters? … Morphogenetic clones that conceal cardassian or romulan spies? … Or are you the vanguard of Species 8472`s attack forces? Show us your real face!”
The dog grimly barks under the table. Janeway reaches down with her hand until Mollie becomes calm.
Then she declares, “I am Captain Kathryn Janeway who was transferred to the Delta Quadrant at stardate 48045 with her ship and her crew by a species called Caretaker.”
“That`s impossible!”
“Prove it!” calls Janeway. “I demand a confrontation! That`s the only way to clarify who is real, or who is a fake, … or what happened to us in the Delta Quadrant.”
Helplessly, Ramlock looks at Heydric. The latter rises.
“As you wish. We will soon be confronting you to somebody.”
He gives two guards a sign. They go to Janeway and stand to the left and right of her.
Janeway gets up. “I want to be brought to my people!”
One of the guards takes a questioning look at Heydric. He nods. They leave the room with Janeway. The old dog follows her.
The guards lead Janeway down a corridor with open detention cells on the left, secured by force fields. One of the guards receives a beep. They stop. He holds a receiver to his ear, listens, and nods. Janeway looks to the side, into one of the cells. Her body twitches. An expression of horror distorts her features. Above the cell is written: No.38 – Maximum Power Security Cell.
The guard tells his colleague, “We`re supposed to first take her to room 17!”
They turn around, lead Janeway into a side corridor and into a small room. Its only furniture is a bare table in the middle. Behind the table, Admiral Rockwood is waiting. He gives the guards a sign. They leave the room and close the door. Janeway stands in front of the table, facing the admiral. Next to her, Mollie tiredly lies on the stone floor.
“Do also you think me to be a monster that has turned into a human being to wipe out our civilization?”
“I think you are someone with the iron will and the fighting spirit of a Kathryn Janeway. And actually, I don`t care which one of you two is the real one.” He supports his hands on the table and bends towards her. “My offer to you is this: side with us, cooperate. — Then I`ll do my best to get you back in command.”
Janeway shakes her head. “Not until my people are free and publicly rehabilitated!”
The admiral frowns. “I must warn you: that Heydric is not the affection-ate kind of man. He will do anything to get what he wants to find out.”
Grimly, Janeway replies, “I never thought Starfleet morals could relapse centuries in such a short time.”
The admiral retreats from the edge of the table and straightens up.
“You`re speaking of morals? — We had a war that cost the Federation countless ships and soldiers! Even if we forced the Dominion to sign a peace treaty, their fleet can still attack us at any time. Our al-liances with the Klingons and Romulans are equally uncertain. With the Borg, we also went through a disaster that could be even worse next time! And then we got knowledge of that three-legged species from a liquid parallel universe seeking revenge for an alliance you or your double had formed with the Borg against them. — The morals you`re speaking of is a luxury a civilian society can afford in peacetime.” He thumps on the table with his fist. “Now is the time of warriors — not of moralists!”
Janeway gazes at him disgustedly. “How many times have we fought this fight already, Admiral?”
“What do you mean?”
“The struggle for the ethical foundation of our civilization, which people like you always question anew as soon as a crisis situation frightens society.” Janeway presses the knuckles of both hands on the table and bends forward. “My argument against you is the same vow on which countless officers before me have based all their effort and personal destiny: I accept only a social order on the basis of an inviolable legal system! I will never bow to such inhuman barbarism that detains individuals far from any public control and surrenders them to the arbitrariness of people like you!” She straightens up again. “As an officer of Starfleet, I have taken the oath of allegiance to an inviolable legal system. I am subordinate to it above anything else. For this I will fight, if necessary — to the end!”
Grimly, the admiral gazes at her. “If we won`t succeed in breaking your will, you will have to. This investigation camp lies 50 meters below ground. It is not only the best fortified on this planet, but one of the safest in the entire Federation.” He points his finger to the ceiling. “From up there nobody will come to your aid!”
Rockwood goes to the door and hits it with his fist. The guards open and he leaves the room.
Behind him, Janeway stares at the empty wall and mumbles darkly: “A place like this must not exist!”

In the room where Janeway was interrogated, only Heydric and Ramlock are sitting at the outer tables. Two guards are standing on both sides of the chair in the middle, where a deeply bent man crouches.
It is quiet for a while.
Then Heydric asks the question, “Will you cooperate?”
The face of the motionless figure on the chair is directed at the concrete floor in front of his feet. His head rises. He nods.
“You know the role you have to play?”
The head nods again.
“Excellent!” calls Heydric. He orders the guards, “Bring him to cell 2, first!”
“Aye, sir.”
They drag the man up from the chair and lead him outside. Heydric looks at Ramlock.
“If they are imitations, maybe they`re going to give up when they see him. And if not, then he will at least try to get that Janeway to cooperate!”
“What if these were the real ones?” considers Ramlock. “Do we have to deal with the others too, then?”
Heydric shrugs his shoulders. “We don`t have to decide about that. Our mission is to crack this one Voyager and sound her crew! I don`t care who they really are or who they think they are. After all, we can`t release them anyway!”

B`Elanna Torres is lying on a plank-bed in a solitary cell. She lies on her side, her face turned to the back wall, her legs tightened, and her arms crossed over her stomach.
In front of the cell, a guard disables the force field. A man enters. Behind him, the force field builds up again. The guard moves away. The man stands still for a while. Then he goes one step deeper into the cell.
“How are you, B`Elanna?”
Torres`s head facing the wall turns with a jerk. She looks up at the ceiling and listens, as if she had heard a ghostly noise.
The man speaks to her again.
“B`Elanna, … do you recognize me?”
Torres starts around, tries to get up, collapses, and stares in disbelief at the man at the entrance.
“– Chakotay –?”
“So, you know who I am?”
Torres struggles to get on her feet.
“Chakotay —- you`re alive!”
She staggers one step towards him. Then she hesitates.
“But how did you make it, … how could you -”
She walks backwards and sits down on the plank-bed again. Her gaze becomes clouded.
“You are not Chakotay! You are — the other one.” She collapses again. “So, it`s true.”
“I don`t want to harm you; trust me!” He looks at her from bottom to top. “How do you feel?”
“How I feel? I wish I was with the Vidians. They tried to treat my organs well at least!”
“Do you remember the first radio contact that was made from the Delta Quadrant to the Federation?”
“When you, … when my former captain told me that the Maquis had been destroyed?”
“You know that?”
“How could I have forgotten? Almost all our friends had died then,” rep-lies Torres, bitterly. She fixes him. “Can you get us out of here?”
Chakotay`s gaze is directed at Torres without expression.
“I would like to help you, B`Elanna, but tell me: which technique made it possible for you to return?”
Dismissively, Torres replies, “Save your breath! You won`t hear from me any more than the ones who sent you.”
Estrangement shapes their faces as they look at each other. Finally, Cha-kotay makes a sign to the guard. The force field is disabled. Chakotay leaves the cell.

In another cell, Janeway is sitting at the edge of a plank-bed. Her hand is buried in the hair at the back of the dog`s head. She stares into vacancy. Tuvok is standing at the other end of the bed and watches her. Janeway turns to him.
“We`ve been flying halfway across the galaxy for so many years to get to a place like this.”
“We`ve been in many situations that seemed hopeless, Captain. But we`ve always managed to free ourselves.”
Janeway shakes her head. “This time it`s different. It`s not just a hostile species we have to escape from. Even if we`d manage to fight our way out of here, … what will become of our people, of their dream to return to their families that made them endure for so long?” The expression of a manic desperation mixes in Janeway`s gaze. “We have lost our destina-tion, Tuvok, … in this dungeon we are losing faith in the good we thought would surround and protect us in the fold of our homeworld.”
Heydric appears in front of the cell.
“I promised you a confrontation, Captain Janeway — here it is!”
From the side, Chakotay steps next to the major. Tuvok raises his eye-brows. Janeway`s eyes also widen. She stands up and walks toward Cha-kotay. Two steps in front of him she stops. The flickering of the force field between them makes the scenery on the other side seem like an unreal projection.
With an ambivalent expression, Janeway scrutinizes the man in front of her.
“I had hoped we`d been told a lie; but now –” A trace of warmth returns to her eyes. “And yet it makes me happy to see you.”
Chakotay`s gaze is absorbed in her face.
“I would like to help you so much, Captain Janeway. But first you have to take a step. Consider, the insights you have gained in the Delta Quadrant could help to make this part of the world safer!”
There is a twitch in Janeway`s eyelids, and her eyes turn from Chakotay to Heydric. The sound of her voice gets stony.
“Serving the safety of this part of the world is no longer my top priority. I want safety for my crew first and a public hearing on our case!”
Heydric`s previously victorious face turns into unconcealed hatred. Sounds can be heard from the side of the cell.
Ramlock`s voice shouts, “We`ve finished with him, Major! Shall we take him back to his cell?”
“No.” Heydric waves his hand at him. “Bring him in here!”
Ramlock appears with two helpers pushing a rolling plank-bed. Janeway`s body twitches again. Peri is lying on the planks. He is laying on his back and was fixed over his segments with straps. The unprotected legs and stomach parts are turned upwards. He does not move. In several places, yellow-brown lymph fluid emerges from injuries of his limbs.
At Heydric`s sign the force field is disabled. Ramlock`s helpers push the bed into the cell in front of Janeway and Tuvok. The field closes again.
Janeway bends over Peri. With a voice full of pity and disgust, she shouts, “What have you done to him -?”
“Talk, finally! Is this your true shape?” yells Ramlock. “What function does he have? Is he the head that controls all of you?”
Janeway`s eyes rest on Peri`s big, motionless facet-eyes.
“He`s the most peaceful being I`ve ever met.”
Janeway turns to Heydric. “I beg you, get a doctor!”
Heydric doesn`t answer.
Angrily, Ramlock declares, “There was nothing to get out of this one! Shall we continue with the squid, Major?”
“Do that!”
In Janeway`s body, which is bent over Peri, a tension forms. Slowly, she straightens up. The despair in her gaze changes, turns into sinister deter-mination. Standing upright, still looking down at Peri, she raises her hand.
“Wait! — I will reveal information.”
The major`s face brightens. “Excellent! … Come on!”
As the field opens and Janeway steps out, Mollie wants to follow her. She pushes her back.
“Tuvok -”
He steps over, bends down, and holds Mollie by her neck. Pushing the dog, Janeway presses her hand against Tuvok`s hand for a moment and looks him in the eye. Chakotay notices the gesture that lasts less than a second. His eyelids narrow.
Janeway rises and walks towards the major. Behind her the field closes.
“The information that is most important to you is in cell 38!”
Smiling and courteous, Heydric pushes Janeway in front of him with his hand, to let her go first. In the rear Chakotay is led between two guards. His body is tense. His eyes look out of slits to different sides, as if he were looking for something that is outside of his perception.
In front of cell 38 the group stops. The major points inside.
“Our scanners could not penetrate this thing. We couldn`t even beam it from your ship. A shuttle was needed to get it here. What is this, Cap-tain? Is it a vault? A data store?”
“I`ll open it for you, Major. — Could you turn off the field for a mo-ment?”
Heydric grabs at the console in front of the cell and touches a button. The field collapses. With a swift movement, Janeway snatches the phaser away from one of the guards and fires into the cell. The next moment, she is hit at her leg by a shot of Ramlock and falls to the ground. One of the guards pushes her down, the other disarms her. Then they step aside, and point their phasers at Janeway. Chakotay kneels down and bends over her. He examines her leg, where a part of the uniform fabric is burned. Ramlock hastily rebuilds the field in front of the cell.
Grimly Heydric shouts, “What was that about? Did you want to destroy the information?”
A sinister look promising mischief hits him from Janeway lying on the floor, while she replies: “You`ve brought one alien too many down from Voyager!”
“It could be a bomb, Major!” shouts Ramlock.
“Activate reserve generators! Shield to maximum!”
“Aye, sir.” Ramlock pushes a slider up to the stop. “The field could now absorb the explosive power of a photon torpedo.”
Heydric grins wily. “I don`t think it`s an explosive device. The surface is much too elaborately shaped for that.”
He raises an eyebrow and looks down in surprise. Concentric light circles wander out of the cell diverging like circular waves.
Janeway grabs Chakotay, who is bent over her, by the arm and pulls him to the ground next to her. She mumbles, “If you want to live, Chakotay — keep lying!”
Chakotay looks from her fingers clutching his upper arm, along her hand, up to her elbow, her shoulder, chin, her eyes. Meanwhile, the light rings are wandering over objects and people to the concrete walls and pene-trate them.

Like during regeneration, Seven`s upright head is resting in an alcove. A cable is attached to her temple implant. Her eyes are closed. When a ring of light glides over the eyelids, they burst open. With a horrified gaze, she observes the following stripes of light that migrate towards her.

Ceph crouches on the plank-bed of his cell. The eye stalks are bent downwards, the arms have sagged to the ground. Suddenly, one eye snaps forward. In the next moment, the remaining eyes also turn towards the entrance of the cell, from where the circular rings swell into the room. Ceph`s arms shoot upwards, and he pulls himself into a corner of the ceiling. Discolorations form on his skin, assuming the structure and ash grey hue of the concrete.

Upright, Torres is standing in her cell as the light penetrates her body. Her fists clench, as if awaiting the beginning of a battle that could break out at any moment.

Janeway and Chakotay are still lying on the floor in front of the cell, from which the rings have stopped swelling. In anger, Heydric turns to Janeway.
“Is that the cooperation you promised? Either you immediately tell me how to open this thing, or we`re going to ask your five-legged friend!”
“Shoot at me, Major!” replies Janeway. “Then it will open.”
Heydric looks impatiently back and forth between Janeway and the inside of the cell. Finally, he pulls his phaser and points it at Janeway. At the same moment, a bang shakes the underground bunker.
As Chakotay takes his hand from his eyes where it was warding off in reflex action, concrete fragments are still crackling down on him and Janeway through the dust-filled air. His gaze searchingly hurries around. Nothing but a torn stump has been left of the console in front of the cell. Heydric, Ramlock, and the guards are no longer standing in their places. A dust-covered, dark liquid seeps down to the floor in strands on the opposite wall where body parts protrude under rubble. Next to them, there is a frayed hole through the concrete about one meter across. Its edges seem to have been broken out by bizarre claws. Torn structural steel wires oscillate in the opening.
In the distance, further explosions, panic-stricken calls, and the hissing firing of numerous phasers can be heard. Chakotay braces himself up to a kneeling position and grabs a weapon lying next to him. He looks at Janeway, who scrutinizes him from a concrete-grey, dust-covered face with a penetrating look.
“You must decide now, Chakotay.”
“I have decided — Captain!” he replies, lifting the phaser and firing over Janeway. Behind her, two guards collapse who had been approaching with weapons pointing toward them.
Chakotay reaches down. “Give me your hand, I`ll support you!”
She grabs his arm and pulls herself up.
“What happened, Captain?”
Her gaze glides darkly from the torn bodies on the wall to the hole near the ceiling.
“I`ve opened a portal to hell. I do not know if I can close it again.”
With one leg limping, Janeway drags herself forward, supported by Chakotay. Next to the shot down guards, she stops and points to a phaser rifle on the floor.
“I need that gun!”
He bends down, picks up the rifle and gives it to her. They walk on to a branching passage and look around the corner.
“There are still two guards in front of the cells. Stay here, Captain, I`ll take care of them.”
“No!” She holds him back with her hand. “I have to do that myself!”
Janeway staggers into the wide corridor. In his cell, Ceph`s eyes are res-tlessly wavering in all directions. Suddenly, they jerk towards Janeway. Tuvok notices her as well. He immediately addresses the guard in front of the cell. “Soldier, we urgently need a doctor!”
The second guard sees Janeway and levels at her. Her shot strikes him down. The guard at Tuvok turns around. He is hit by a phaser burst from Chakotay. Janeway drags herself to Ceph`s cell and lowers the force field. Ceph swings out. For a moment, twelve eyes exchange a look with two eyes. Then he swings into the corridor, pulls up the weapons from the two guards, and turns his eyes and phasers to both sides. While Chakotay follows Janeway into Tuvok`s cell, his gaze remains in dynamic tension directed at Ceph.
Concerned Janeway inquires, “What`s his condition?”
“He`s alive,” reports Tuvok, “but he needs medical attention.”
“I wish they had also brought the doctor here! He`s the only one who`s familiar with Mr. Peri`s physiology.”
“I think I know where he is, Captain,” declares Chakotay. “There`s a room one floor up, where numerous objects from your ship have been stored. They took me there to ask me about their functions. There was also a holographic emitter!”
Janeway reaches for his shoulder. “Let`s hurry!”
He pushes her back. “Stay here, Captain, I`ll get along faster on my own. On the way I have to clarify something as well!”
He directs his phaser forward and runs up the corridor. Janeway turns to Tuvok.
“Where`s E-Bug?”
Tuvok points to the right. “He was beamed to a special cell. On the ship they had to use a shock wave emitter to overpower him.”
Limping, Janeway sets out. “We need him. Stay with Peri!”
“It would be my job, Captain -”

Torres is standing close to the force field of her cell. She listens to the battle sounds in the distance. Her guardian also looks around, restlessly. Suddenly, a shot hits him. He wobbles sideways out of Torres`s view and it can be heard as he falls to the floor. A burst of fire hits the console. Torres retreats. The force field collapses. From the side, the silhouette of a man steps in front of the cell, stretching a phaser rifle towards Torres. She takes the rifle.
“Like in the times of old, Chakotay?”
“Like in the olden times, B`Elanna!”

Janeway gets into a gun battle with two guards. She strikes down one of them. A grazing shot hits her shoulder. She gets down on her knees. She fires and strikes down the second guard. Groaning she straightens up again and approaches a row of cells.
From the nearest one Kim calls out to her. “Captain — here!”
She switches off the force field. He runs out.
“Where`s E-Bug?”
Kim points to the side. “In the next but one.”
“Free the others!”
“Aye, Captain.”
Janeway drags herself two cells further. She stops in front of the console. Its panel is dark. No force field secures this cell. She is standing diagonally and bent in front of the entrance, her injured leg angled, her arm powerlessly hanging down.
E-Bug is lengthwise lying on the floor. His legs were tied to the body with loops, the side feelers are screwed to grounding rails via clamps and metal straps. None of his muscles move. Only the eye tubes tiredly lift up and point towards Janeway. Laboriously, she goes to him. She sets the regulator of her rifle to continuous beam and directs its muzzle to the metal bands. Like with a welding torch she cuts the shackles. They are under tension and jump off, clinking. She crouches down and opens the clamping cuffs on the feelers. Out of balance due to the injured leg, she tilts to the side and supports herself for a moment on E-Bug`s flank. No twitching goes through her body. Worriedly, she pulls her hand back. Then she straightens up.
E-Bug tries to move. He powerlessly sags to the ground. Janeway turns sideways and fires her rifle against the side wall of the cell until a cover chars, warps, and gapes open. With her unhurt arm, she tears the plate off the wall. Strands of cables swell out underneath. Janeway pulls off a cable, touches the open end with her fingertip and receives an electric shock. She quickly stretches the end of the cable towards E-Bug. One of the side feelers approaches. A spark jumps over as its end wraps around the bare metal. The second feeler stretches to the open wall and searches for another high-voltage signal.
“I wish I could recharge myself as well,” mumbles Janeway.
Kim, Carey and two other crew members come along.
“In this section all were freed and the exits secured, Captain!” reports Kim. He looks to E-Bug. “How is he?”
“His cellular biocapacitors were discharged,” Janeway compassionately explains. “He must first restore his muscle tonic and regenerate his circu-lation.” She turns to Kim. “Look for the rest of the people and try to cap-ture as many weapons as you can!”
Carey declares, “There must be an armory somewhere. I`ll have a look around!”
Janeway nods. They move away. Janeway turns back to E-Bug and stares into his eye tubes with an expressionless gaze.
After a while, she darkly mumbles: “No one in universe you`re capable of hating more than those resembling you -”

In Tuvok`s cell, Lang kneels next to Peri`s sickbed and monitors his condi-tion with a tricorder. The doctor has bent over Peri and treats his injuries. Lang anxiously frowns.
“Pulse rate of the segment hearts is dropping, Doctor, and the blood pressure grows weaker!”
The doctor digs in a box full of small parts. He pulls out an injector and puts an ampoule in it.
“It`s a good thing these looters pinched a sample of almost every drug!” He administers an injection into Peri`s tissue between two segments. “Eighty micrograms of lymphorelactacine should stabilize his segmental cardiac system!”
In front of the cell, more and more crew members with fully packed trol-leys appear. Through the dull acoustics of the corridors, distant gunfire can be heard. Kim keeps looking at the display of his tricorder and sketches a layout plan on the cell wall with his phaser.
Chakotay and Torres hurry into the cell. Chakotay points to a spot on the plan.
“Is this our position, Mr. Kim?”
“I think so,” he replies. “The bunker construction is quite complex. It`s hard to reconstruct a plan from tricorder data.”
Chakotay also opens his tricorder and holds the display next to Kim`s plan.
“Our group has taken this coordinate interval.”
Peri`s seven-fingered hand reaches for the parts box and scratches its side wall. Lang notices it. She pulls out a holocom pad and gives it to Peri. It glides off his hand and falls to the floor. Lang picks it up and holds it next to Peri. He turns it on and activates a loading process.
Chakotay wonders. “What`s he doing?”
The next moment, a holographic plan of the bunker pops up. Some areas are structureless and gray. In others, the architecture is represented in detail. Torres reaches into the plan and rotates and zooms to different perspectives.
“Mr. Peri has integrated the data of all tricorders in radio range. See, … here we are, there are stairs and lifts. We have freed our people from these areas.” She marks the areas in green. “Up there is the storeroom and next to it the armory Carey found.”
Chakotay shakes his head. “On my ship, the communicator looked different. This holographic mode didn`t exist.”
The doctor explains with the grin of a schoolmaster who proudly points to the achievements of a model pupil: “Mr. Peri constructed this holo-graphic extension because the crew often didn`t understand what he was trying to communicate. Meanwhile, his holocom has found application in many areas on the ship. And it has provided some crew member with an additional means of communication to get the attention it deserves!”
“What function does this being have on your ship?”
“He is second chief engineer on Voyager,” explains Torres. “Every time I don`t know how to solve a problem, I ask him.” She lays her hand on one of Peri`s arm limbs. “And he is a friend!”
“And that other being, the one with the tentacles?”
“Why do you want to know that so precisely?” asks Torres, suspiciously. She looks outside into the wide corridor. “Is this all just a simulated farce to make us believe you`re on our side?”
Mollie shoves past her legs and walks out of the cell.
“I don`t think so,” Kim darkly replies. “I scanned several of the dismem-bered corpses. — They are not holograms.”
Supported by Baxter, Janeway appears in front of the cell.
“Forgive us, Chakotay, we`ve lost faith in strangers.” She looks at her ship`s physician. “Doctor?”
“His condition is stable. But I have to take him to Voyager to continue his treatment.”
“That will have to wait.” She turns to Torres. “How many of our people are liberated?”
Torres fades the crew icons into the holocom. Almost all of them are green.
“Only Tom and Seven haven`t got their communicators back. They ha-ven`t been found yet.” She points to the plan. “We were almost every-where on the lower floors — except of the western section.”
From outside the cell, E-Bug`s eye tubes are directed into the holocom. His side feelers rise above the spine. A spark jumps over with a crackle between the endings. Janeway raises her hand.
“Where`s Tuvok?”
“His group is advancing upwards fighting their way to the exit. They try to clear a corridor to the outside,” reports Torres. “Let me and E-Bug search the western section, Captain!”
Janeway nods.
“May I accompany you?” inquires Chakotay.
Torres turns after him. “I don`t mind.” Smiling she points to E-Bug. “But I advise you: don`t get too close to that colleague!”
The two of them leave the cell. Mollie smells at Janeway`s leg injury. She pushes her head aside and tells Kim, “Let`s take all crews that are still on this floor to the upper area, Harry. We must try to join Tuvok`s group!”
The doctor feels the wound at Janeway`s leg. She bends with a pain-distorted face. “Not now, Doctor!”
“I assure you, once I`ve treated this, you`re going to advance faster!”
Janeway impatiently looks at Kim. “Start with the action! I`ll follow.”
“Aye, Captain.”

An alcove was installed in a laboratory room. Numerous cables are con-necting modules of the alcove with laboratory equipment standing on a table. Their activity is indicated by blinking lights. One chair is turned over and the door is open. Red warning lights are flashing on the walls. Voices penetrate into the room.
“Her bio-signatures are indicated behind this wall, … they`re getting weaker!”
“Let`s hurry!”
Torres and Chakotay appear in front of the door. Horrified they look into the room where Seven is standing in the alcove with closed eyes. Several cables are connected directly to Borg implants on her face and on her hand. The two try to enter. They bounce against a force field and flinch back. Torres examines the door frame.
“Where do you turn off the damn thing?”
It sparks and crackles behind her. One eye is pointing inwards, towards Seven, the other one is twitching over the area of the force field. Torres turns around and pushes Chakotay to the side.
“He won`t be able to penetrate that force field,” supposes Chakotay.
“He has no intention of doing so,” Torres replies.
With swarming side feelers E-Bug throws himself against the force field. It gets visible shimmering around the contour of his body. Heavy dis-charges flash from the feeler endings through the field, multiply splitting, like the formation of breaking edges in shattering glass. Sparks spray from the door frame, whose cladding is blown out in several places. Burnt cables swell from the gaps. The field has collapsed. E-Bug steps aside. His two companions rush through the open entrance. Torres examines the measuring equipment.
“Signal sequences are transferred into her neocortex. And to at least three other areas of her body. Changing amplitudes, … phase variations. They were probably looking for signal patterns to which her nanoprobes cannot adapt.”
“Is it possible to separate her?”
“I don`t know, … I wish the doctor was here!” She checks readings on a device. “Damn it! They didn`t even bother to stop the constant increase in pulse intensity before they disappeared!”
Torres turns back a regulator. In front of the door, E-Bug`s tube-eyes twitch to one side. His temple antennae tilt in the same direction. A red light flashes on Chakotay`s tricorder. He opens the display.
“A group of six persons is approaching, … heavily armed!”
With a look that rushes back and forth between the measuring devices, Torres explains, “I can`t just pull off Seven`s connections. I have to ob-serve her bodily functions and find the right order how to do it.”
She looks outside, where E-Bug turns in one direction and marches off.
“I hope E-Bug will keep them off our backs!”
Chakotay lifts his rifle. “I`m going with him!”
“Be careful when you advance with him in concerted action; always pay attention to what he does!”
“I will.”
Chakotay hurries outside and follows E-Bug. At the end of the corridor, he catches up with him. There, the corridor widens into a hall where round canisters and containers are stored, stacked on top of each other. Carefully, the two walk in. In the middle of the hall Chakotay fortifies himself behind a container and peers around its edge. As he looks to the side, E-Bug has disappeared.
At the other end, soldiers in helmets and protective suits penetrate the hall, with their rifles in firing position. They take cover behind canisters. One of them points a tricorder at the area in front of them.
He reports, “One humanoid life-form, … 15 meters ahead!” He closes the tricorder and commands in an undertone: “After six meters — swarm out!”
They rise and stalk forward, always looking for cover behind stored up material. Behind them on the floor, the shadow contour of a head shifts over the cast shadow of the top edge of a container. From the shadow of the head, two slowly swinging antennae branch off.
The soldier with the tricorder makes a sign to his comrades. “Infrared sensors on!”
As they touch their helmets, the glass shields become displays of thermal images. Immediately afterwards, the leader fires at the lamps on the ceiling, which go out in sparks. The hall grows dark. Only through the two opposite exits, some light penetrates from the corridors.
Chakotay restlessly aims at barely recognizable shadow images in the semi-darkness in front of him. They are approaching him and enclose his position in a semicircle that becomes continuously narrower.
Suddenly, something drops down from a container. In the thunderstorm with lightning that follows, walls are brightly lit, where the projected contours of humanoid figures collapse. At once, phaser burst hiss through the darkened room. Chakotay jumps up and storms forward. He fires at three attackers who are shooting at a target sideways of them. One is hit and collapses. The others return Chakotay`s fire. One shot strikes his upper arm and throws him backwards. The back of his head hits against a tin can. Chakotay keeps lying motionless. In front of him, two flashes of lightning strike down from a flying shadow. Then it is quiet.
After a while, people appear at the end of the hall.
Torres`s voice shouts in an undertone: “Chakotay, are you in there?”
A canister rolls to the side, rattling.
“Here — B`Elanna!”
He struggles to get up. Torres approaches, with Seven leaning on her. Next to Chakotay, E-Bug appears. His whip feelers are twisting in the air and his eye tubes are twitching.
Torres looks at the soldiers lying in the semi-darkness. “I see your team-work with Mr. E-Bug was successful!”
Chakotay holds his arm and pulls one eyebrow up, the other down-wards.
“Teamwork, as it were. He was the hunter — and I was the bait!”

From the upper end of a ramp, a blue sky shines daylight into the inside of the bunker. On both sides of the ascending corridor, Tuvok and his security team have pressed themselves tightly against the walls, aiming their guns at the exit. Janeway is at the bottom of the ramp. At her feet, Mollie crouches, panting heavily.
Kim approaches. “We`ve encoded the position parameters on all communicators, Captain. So no one can beam us away against our will!”
Janeway nods. She looks at Tuvok and gives him a sign. The security team advances to the exit. When the first ones reach it, they get under heavy phaser bombardment. Concrete splinters are blown off the walls and crackle inside. Tuvok and his team retreat.
He reports, “It would be suicide, Captain, if we tried to escape here!”
Janeway gazes darkly at the bright exit. A voice comes out of her communicator.
“Admiral Paris to Captain Janeway. – Do you hear me, Captain?”
“I hear you, Admiral!”
“I want to talk to you.”
“Agreed! — I`ll give order to let you pass.”
She looks at Tuvok. He nods.
In the bright exit, the silhouette of an elder officer appears who quickly approaches. In front of Janeway, he stops. She stretches out her hand towards him. He hesitantly shakes it and scrutinizes the woman standing in front of him. Hopeful, she looks at him.
“Admiral, I want my people to be released and be able to return to their families. After that, I`m ready to justify myself before an official Starfleet court in a public hearing.”
“I`ll do what I can for you — but only if you first lay down your arms and surrender.”
Janeway`s face turns stony. “That does not sound to me like a guarantee on justice.”
“It`s your only chance! After what has happened, Starfleet will accept nothing but your unconditional surrender.”
Janeway shakes her head. “I can`t do that, Admiral. I will not hand my crew over to this fascist nightmare a second time!”
The Admiral looks past Janeway to the wounded the doctor is treating, and to Peri`s sickbed, next to which Ceph has clung to the ceiling.
“We weren`t able to free your son yet,” Janeway informs the Admiral. “My people are still looking for him. … Admiral, Tom has proven himself during our trip as a reliable and exemplary officer! Talk to him first, before you pass judgement on us.”
The Admiral`s eyes turn back to Janeway. “I have already talked to that person. He`s on his way to a military prison; that`s all I could do for him.”
As the Admiral`s gaze sinks deep into Janeway`s face, an expression of compassion and warmth forms in his features.
“Understand, Kathryn: even if you could fight your way out of this bunker, you don`t have anyone out there to help you. And you don`t have a ship to escape. — Surrender!”
With a dark face, Janeway slowly shakes her head.
“Damn it!” shouts the Admiral. “You`re resembling her so much that I would like to shoot the way clear for you, myself!” Then he declares with a harsh tone: “Admiral Rockwood and Security Service give you ten mi-nutes to think about it!”
He turns around. With wide steps, he walks toward the exit of the bun-ker. On his way up the ramp, his moving silhouette covers the daylight in front of Janeway`s eyes and casts a long, dark shadow into the bunker ramp.
Kim and Tuvok step beside Janeway.
“Will the Admiral represent our case before Starfleet?” inquires Tuvok.
“He won`t — and nobody else will,” Janeway tonelessly answers. She turns to Kim. “Harry, is there anything among the things from the storage room that can be used as a radio?”
“I think I saw an old subspace transmitter. But it won`t do any good here. There`s a highly effective shielding integrated into the outer walls of the facility.”
“Get that tool!”
“Aye, Captain.”
Kim moves away. Tuvok raises an eyebrow with a questioning and skep-tical look. Then he turns to a side corridor.
“They have returned, Captain.”
Torres and E-Bug join them, followed by Chakotay.
Torres worriedly reports, “We couldn`t find Tom, Captain.”
“His father had him taken away.”
“Where to?” shouts Torres, scared.
“To a better place than this.”
Kim drags a device the size of a suitcase.
Janeway gives the order: “Commander, distribute all Hirogen armor we got to your team! We must get this device outside — at any cost!”
“Aye, Captain,” replies Tuvok.
Suddenly, two crew members collapse in the upper part of the ramp, hit by phaser shots.
Torres warns, “They`re sending in drones!”
A swarm of soccerball-sized missiles penetrates the entrance and quickly approaches. Tuvok gives a signal, and the crew takes cover behind pas-sage junctions.
Shortly thereafter, Torres and Carey step into the main corridor in Hirogen armor. From Tetryon rifles, they shoot volleys against the swarm. Several drones fall to the ground. The rest concentrate their fire against the two humanoids standing uncovered in front of them. The two are pressed against the wall by the force of the hits against their armor. They dodge into a transverse passage. Immediately, the drones follow them. When the flying swarm also turns into the passage and is crowded together by the narrowness of the space, it is leaped against from behind. From both sides of the swarm, a lightning storm penetrates it, with threads of plasma jumping over from drone to drone. Exhausting smoke, they fall to the ground firing their last undirected shots. The front three, not hit by lightning, are struck down by tetryon salvos.
The crew leaves their cover again. The doctor and medical helpers hurry to the wounded. From the transverse passage, E-Bug appears, walking asymmetrically. An injured hind leg hangs sideways and the jump-leg in front of it takes over its part in the locomotion. Behind E-Bug, Carey, and Torres climb over a rubble of smoking balls. Wounded, Torres leans on Carey`s shoulder.
All of a sudden, vibrations shake the floor and walls, and the sound of fire shocks dully reverberates in the underground corridors. The voice of Tom Paris penetrates from Janeway`s communicator.
“Ensign Paris to Captain Janeway! – Answer me, Captain!”
“We hear you, Tom! Where are you?”
“In a shuttle, in a cloud layer above you!”
Janeway`s eyes widen as she looks at Tuvok. “We`re trying to escape at the east wing of the facility!”
“That`s what I thought. Half a battalion had entrenched itself here. They are already on the retreat. Tell me when you come out. Then I`ll accele-rate their retreat even more!”
Janeway gives Tuvok a sign. “Now, Mr. Paris!”
“Aye, Captain!”
The shocks from outside the facility are becoming more frequent. Tuvok and his men advance to the exit. In their midst, covered by them, Kim carries the transmitter and next to him goes Janeway who drags herself forward with her injured leg. Between Kim and Janeway, Mollie accompanies them, laboriously panting. Chakotay follows at the end of the group.
At the exit, Tuvok peers outside. He is not shot at. He leaves the bunker a few steps and looks around. Then he gives the others a sign. In a stoop, they hurry outside. Kim puts the transmitter down on the meadow and turns it on. Janeway gets on her knees next to it.
“Who would you like to contact, Captain?” asks Chakotay.
Janeway does not answer. Kim watches the trembling hand of her in-jured arm trying to set the knob of a controller.
“Let me help you, Captain! What subspace frequency -”
“It`s all right!” She takes the other hand.
Covering with their guns pointing outwards, Tuvok and Carey stand next to Janeway. Kim looks up.
“Where is he? … I don`t see him.”
Chakotay points to one of the monolithically towering clouds floating in the sky, from which a phaser shot flickers.
“He uses the cumulus cloud as cover. If he has extended the shield of the shuttle over the whole cloud, his position inside is hard to locate. — That`s an old Maquis trick we used to defend bajoran colonies.”
In the distance, guns fire sporadically upwards into the cloud.
Crouching on the ground in bent posture, knees and toes pressed into the grass, Janeway pushes a button and calls: “Captain to Voyager! – Captain to Voyager! – Code: Mayday – Janeway – Authorization – Omega – 3 7 5 – Z – Gamma – Psi – Code: Mayday! – Code: Mayday!”
Tuvok turns to her with a questioning look. “Captain, who are you call-ing?”
Without answering, she repeats her call: “Captain to Voyager! – Captain to Voyager! – Code: Mayday – Janeway – Authorization – Omega – 3 7 5 – Z – Gamma – Psi – Code: Mayday! – Code: Mayday!”
She looks up. “Ensign Kim, are you sure this device is transmitting?”
Kim kneels next to her and checks data on the display. “Transmission logs are indicated without errors. But Captain, … with all due respect — who shall receive this call?”
Janeway presses the activation switch again and sends her call, louder than before: “Captain to Voyager! – Captain to Voyager! – Code: Mayday – Janeway – Authorization – Omega – 3 7 5 – Z – Gamma – Psi – Code: Mayday! – Code: Mayday!”
Chakotay also kneels next to her. “Captain, this makes no sense. Parts of your ship have been dismantled. Your entire crew is here on Earth.”
Tuvok`s gaze shows astonishment and concern. “Presumably there is technical personnel of Security Service on board the ship, Captain. Even if there were someone there who wanted to start the ship, that attempt would be forestalled!”
Chakotay notices Janeway`s desperate gaze, directed towards the open sky, into a gap between the clouds. He grabs her arm.
“Listen to my suggestion, Kathryn: Ensign Paris should beam as many people and weapons into the shuttle as he can accommodate and carry out a warp jump to Voyager to take the ship. If they succeed, they re-turn here to get the rest of the crew!”
Janeway turns her head. Her gaze pierces his eyes. “He wouldn`t even reach the exosphere of the Earth with that shuttle!”
With a jerk, she pulls her arm out of his grip.
Paris reports, “Captain, I can`t cover your position for long! Several jets are on their way here!”
Janeway`s crouched upper body straightens. Her neck is bending back-ward, until her face is turned to the white monuments on the dark blue firmament. To a cloud standing like a mountain massif above her, she speaks with a manic darkness in her gaze and lowered corners of her mouth: “Listen to my order, Ensign Paris. – Keep our position – at all costs – as long as you can!”
For a moment, there is silence.
Then Paris answers: “Understood, … Captain.”
Torres is standing at the entrance to the bunker. Her fingers cling to an iron railing, as her gaze rises from the depressed grass under Janeway`s knees up to the sky.
“Tuvok,” orders Janeway, “get everyone back into the bunker!”
“Someone should stay with you -”
“All of them! The less there are standing around in the open, the better. And keep ready!”
Tuvok goes ahead. The others hesitantly follow him.
Janeway kneels on the meadow and supports both arms on the transmitter housing. She hears a quiet whimper next to her. Breathing heavily Mollie looks at her. She puts her hand on Mollie`s neck. Then her gaze falls on a nearby elevation in the landscape.
“Let`s go up that hill, Mollie.”
She laboriously stands up, bends down, and lifts up the transmitter with a painfully distorted mouth, clamping her injured arm weakly to the housing. With the heavy load, she sets out limping on her way to the elevation. Step by step, she forces herself up the hill. Panting, the old dog follows her. Phaser fire can be heard in the distance.
When they reach the top, Janeway sets the transmitter down in the shade of two young trees. Once more, she goes to her knees and sends her distress call into space.
“Captain to Voyager! – Captain to Voyager! – Code: Mayday – Janeway – Authorization – Omega – 3 7 5 – Z – Gamma – Psi – Code: Mayday! – Code: Mayday!”

In the corridors of the Voyager, grey uniformed technicians are walking along, slowly and in a strolling way, as if they were stretching their legs while waiting for something.

In main engineering, technicians with bored faces are sitting in front of the consoles, idly staring at the displays.

In the semi-darkness of a Jefferies tube, a covering is leaning on the wall next to three neuropacks inside a niche. Bundles of filigree glass fibers are leading from the packs to the optronic modules behind them.
Suddenly, repeating pulses of orange light flicker through one of the many fibers. Like an optical morse signal the pulses follow the curvature of the hair-thin glass to the middle of the neural gel-packs.
Shortly thereafter, the space transparency in front of the three packs glimmeringly changes. In silvery grey, the body of the amoebic being becomes visible and its two thread-like protrusions leading into the interior of the middle gel-pack. All of a sudden, many more outgrowths sprout from the shimmering metallic mass and bore themselves into all three neuropacks.
Behind them, in the bundles of glass fibers, increasingly intense optical activity develops. While only few information data are sent from the optronic components in the background to the middle gel-pack, its two neighboring packs transfer pulsating cascades of data streams back into the optronics of the starship`s main computer.

On the bridge, grey-clad technicians sit idly in the officer`s seats in front of displays that still show ERROR and warning messages. All at once these displays go out and activities of the ship`s systems are depicted on all consoles. The technicians look around in astonishment. One of them is wearing a black uniform. He jumps up.
“What`s going on?”
The next moment he and the others dematerialize.

Janeway`s dark gaze is directed into the clouds above her, where an aerial battle rages. Like the gas of igniting plasma lamps, the clouds light up with every phaser shot, extinguishing immediately afterwards. With a rigid expression Janeway hears the dramatic radio message from Tom Paris.
“Paris to Captain! – Shields have failed. I`m diverting the entire reserve energy into the weapons. … Perhaps I can make a last hit. I`m sorry, Cap-tain, I would have –” He grows silent.
“What is Tom? — Speak!”
The phaser shots in the clouds have stopped hissing and rumbling. The last glow has gone out.
Then Paris`s voice announces: “I don`t know why, … they have suddenly turned off, … a ship is dipping into the ionosphere, … sinking rapidly -” Paris shouts: “It`s Voyager!”
Still kneeling on the ground, Janeway`s upper body rises, stretches up-wards toward the sky above her. Her eyes expectantly widen and her lips open.
The hull of the propulsion module emerges from an anvil cloud above her and moves downwards. Shortly thereafter, the warp nacelles and the saucer module appear. The spacecraft floats towards the surface of the Earth and remains motionless in the planet`s air, a hundred meters to the side of the hill and twenty meters above its top level.
The medley of many voices rises to Janeway`s hill. The crew streams out of the bunker`s exit. Injured people are supported by companions or pushed on rolling beds. Rolling tables with piled objects are gathering on the meadow. Tuvok walks a few steps toward Janeway`s hill and looks up at her. She reaches for her communicator.
“Captain to Tuvok and Paris! – Tom, beam the Commander on Voyager so he can get the crew onboard the ship!”
“Forthwith, Captain!”
Tuvok dematerializes. A few seconds later the members of the crew dematerialize in groups. Finally, only the loaded tables and Chakotay are left on the meadow.
From Janeway`s communicator the message comes, “Tuvok to Captain. All hands are on board, and occupy their stations. We now beam the instruments into the cargo bays.”
“All right,” confirms Janeway.
The devices on the tables disappear. Merely Chakotay remains on the grass under the hill. He casts a questioning look up to Janeway.
“Janeway to Tuvok. – Chakotay has no communicator. You have to lock on him manually.”
Chakotay dematerializes. From above, the shuttle descends from its cloud and positions itself below the Voyager, at about the same height as Janeway`s hilltop. Paris`s face is visible behind the cockpit window.
He inquires, “Captain, the shuttle doesn`t belong to us. I stole it. Should I still take it to the shuttle bay?”
“Not yet, Mr. Paris,” answers Janeway. “First fly over the facility and run an optical scan! Look for a black ball, about one meter in diameter.”
“Aye, ma`am.”
The shuttle rises two hundred meters and flies off.
Tuvok`s voice announces, “Captain, strong combat units are approaching our position. We should leave.”
“Not yet, Commander,” replies Janeway. Her eyes follow the shuttle`s flight.
“I think I`ve found it, Captain,” calls Paris from the communicator. “It`s lying in a debris field with freshly broken earth.”
“Take the shuttle down – slowly and carefully – next to that object!”
The shuttle descends to the ground.
“I`ve landed.”
“Open the loading gate!”
“It is open. — Captain, that thing jumped in and contracted back to ball shape!”
“Take the shuttle into the ship and leave it. Do not touch your cargo nor scan it!”
“I certainly won`t, Captain.”
The shuttle rises and flies to the Voyager. With a tense look, Janeway watches it disappear into the shuttle bay.
When the sluice-gate at Voyager`s hangar has closed behind the shuttle, the muscular tension fades away from Janeway`s body. Still kneeling, she sinks in bent posture. Her chest rises and lowers laboriously. Her gaze wanders into the hilly landscape in front of her. It is covered by light green spring grasses and flowers. In the distance, it runs out into a river valley lined with rocks. Beyond the valley, snow-covered mountain ranges are rising.
Janeway`s hand feels the reddish-brown fur on the ground next to her. She strokes it. The other hand sinks into the cool carpet of moss under the trees, full of shiny dew drops. Like two different siblings a cherry tree and a young birch sprout trunk to trunk on the top of the hill next to Janeway. At half height, they separate. One is inclined to the east, the other to the west towards the afternoon sun.
Janeway lowers her gaze to Mollie. She is lying still on her side, legs slightly bent, her eyes closed. Her exhausted panting has come to rest. She is lifelessly lying next to Janeway as if she were sleeping.
The phaser fire of big guns can be heard from afar. Energy discharges crash into Voyager`s shields.
Once again Tuvok`s voice warns, “Captain, I recommend that you beam onto the ship. — We should withdraw!”
Grave-like cold sounds in Janeway`s voice as she looks at the dog`s body.
“Beam everything that is still alive out of that bunker, Tuvok!”
“Captain -?”
Janeway does not answer.
“The shielding of the walls prevents target detection.”
“Then open the walls.”
For a moment nothing happens. Then Voyager`s phaser phalanx spreads continuous beams to all sides on the meadow above the underground bunker. Columns of smoke rise. The phasers switch off.
Shortly thereafter, Kim reports, “We beamed everything that emitted life signs to a station three kilometers away, Captain.”
“Mr. Carey — get as many torpedoes inside as needed!”
“You should beam to the ship first, Captain. The explosive power -”
“Do it!”
In the background Tuvok`s voice declares, “I`ve extended Voyager`s shields to the captain`s position, Mr. Carey.”
Hissing through the air, torpedoes shoot inside the openings that had previously been phasered into the bunker. A vibration wave makes the ground of the surroundings quake. The trees above Janeway tremble. Concrete parts are blown out from the ground in numerous places. As clouds of debris and splinters mixed with soil they scatter far up into the air, from where the fragments of various shapes rain down again. At the protective shield surrounding the ship and the small hill, the ejected ma-terial of the bunker bounces off, flickering. Janeway`s gloomy gaze follows its flight paths in slow pans, as if she were observing an event in decelerated time.
In the moss-grown soil next to her hand, something moves. A large, red-dish-brown beetle is digging its way out of the ground. It crawls up the mossy vault, the sprouting trunks have formed around their footing and climbs up one of them. It climbs past spring buds that unfold into light green leaves, past filigree umbel catkins secreting small clouds of yellow pollen in the mild wind. On its way up, it avoids branches of the cherry tree, whose pink flowers begin to widely spread. A buzzing fills the air while bees and bumble bees, collecting nectar, settle on them. A gust of wind sweeps them away together with the petals. The large beetle climbs further up the trunk, next to ovaries that swell and turn red. The beetle remains motionless on the underside of a bough as a flock of starlings storms into the branches. Immediately afterwards, they fly away like in a whirlwind, holding the ripe red fruits in their beaks. Again, the beetle continues its march upwards, while around it the leaves turn their dark green into yellow, brown, and orange colors. Finally, the beetle has arrived at a branch tip of the crown from which no way leads further up. It stands up, erecting itself on its hind legs, and stretches its front body freely upward, heavenwards. It opens its covering elytra-wings, and spreads out the flying wings underneath. Fluttering it takes off; and with it, separated by a gust of wind, the autumn leaves of the two trees that the whirlwind forms into a lively cloud, enveloping the small hill, then ascending, condensed and flowing like a flock of migratory birds that the autumn wind carries away. Lifeless skeletons of branches remain and a draught that has become frosty lets single, large, white-crystalline flakes, fallen out from icy-grey clouds, float around the two trees.

Heavy phaser bombardment thunders against Voyager`s shimmering shields.
Tuvok`s voice speaks: “It`s no longer possible, Captain — I`ll beam you back!”
Kneeling beside the two trunks, her flat hands resting sideways, and her head turned upwards, Kathryn Janeway`s body dematerializes from the surface of the Earth.

In the same position as on the hill, Janeway appears on the bridge of the starship Voyager, next to the captain`s chair. Her hands, previously sup-ported on a ground, reach a hand`s breadth into the void, and she tilts forward. She intercepts herself. Chakotay hurries to her and stretches his hand down to help her up. Ignoring him, she turns backward and pulls and props herself up at the seat and the back of the chair. She straightens to a distorted posture. Her eyes meet Kim, who looks at her like the others do. The gloom of her expression changes for a moment into motherly warmth and despair.
The ship is shaken. Without paying attention, Janeway looks at Kim. “I`d have loved so much to have given you back to your parents, Harry.”
“I know. — Give us the order to ascend, Captain.”
The ship is violently vibrating. Again, her gaze gets stony, and she turns forward to the helm, where Paris is waiting, ready to take off. She nods to him. Then she limps in bowed down posture towards the edge of the bridge and approaches her ready room. Behind her, Paris hastily operates the controls.
In the center of the screen, the small hill is imaged, surrounded by the field of debris shaped from the explosions. Voyager rises. The Earth`s surface retreats and sinks below a haze of clouds, into which the starship penetrates.
Janeway stops. Without looking at Tuvok, she mumbles, “Take the bridge Commander. … Set an escape course.”
“We`ve got warp drive, Captain, but we can`t get into slipstream. All Lusenith sensors have been removed from the hull.”
She opens the door of her room.
“To what heading shall we set course, Captain?”
Janeway hesitates. Then she drags herself on the upper bridge to Tu-vok`s console and enters direction coordinates. Tuvok takes a look at the data. He raises his eyebrows. Janeway goes back to the entrance of her room and disappears inside.
On the screen, the clouds have receded far away. The large ice surface of the polar region can be seen, and over a coast, the vortex of a hurricane rages.

Voyager appears above the atmosphere of the blue planet, that lies as a pale, yellow, ring-shaped strip around the arc of the horizon. In the dis-tance, several starships appear. They are rapidly approaching, while Voyager enters the darkness of space.
Suddenly, she accelerates to warp and disappears with a flash next to the moon of the planet.


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