Suddenly Human

This takes place towards the beginning of season two. The doctor and Kes get
taken away by a mysterious race to their ship where they meet a surprising vistor.
Meanwhile, Voyager is trying to work together with a race which says it was
taken by the Caketaker as well.

First I guess I should say there is no sex whatsoever, so, if you can’t stand to read
fanfic without it, don’t bother continuing with this little story.

Disclaimer: Believe it or not, these people aren’t mine. No, I am serious! They
are Rick Berman’s. . .maybe if I ask really nicely he’ll give them to me .
Anyway, I’m just borrowing them for a while because I don’t think they do nearly
enough stories with the doctor. Thanks Gene for such a wonderful world and
letting us play in it. Melissa, however, is mine. I figured since I came up with
her, I have the right to be protective of her. 🙂

Timeline: This story takes place right after Kes’ 2nd birthday party. Somewhere
in the beginning of second season, *way* before Doc got the chance to walk
around the ship.

This is the beginning of the trilogy (maybe more) so don’t worry if some of the
stuff, especially towards the end doesn’t make any sense. Unless you are related
to Deanna Troi you shouldn’t

I want to say thanks to my loving boyfriend, Mike, who told me over and over
that I should post this and for finally helping me decide what name to use for
Melissa. 🙂 Thanks babe, and now, on with the story!
Comments are welcome as long as they positive 🙂 If you can’t find at least one
thing good with the story, constructive criticism is greeted with open arms.
Thanks!

Suddenly Human
Jessica Wilson YappiGirl@aol.com

Captain Kathryn Janeway sat in her ready room going over the latest crew
reports. As she finished reading the last of them, she couldn’t help but to smile.
Even after the short nine months that fate had brought together two completely
different crews they had managed to function as one unit, a task normal crews
had trouble doing.

She put the PADD on her cluttered desk and allowed her mind to wonder
away from the demand and duties put on her. The first thing that came to her
mind was the tragedy that hit Voyager, being thrown nearly seventy thousands
light years from the closest sign of the Federation. Janeway had to admit,
however, all that happened wasn’t bad.

Through this trek she had met many wonderful people from the Maquis,
who if they had been successful in captured and taken for their crimes, Janeway
would have never known them. In the Delta Quadrant they met Neelix and Kes,
who both proved to be helpful to Voyager. Neelix felt free to voice his opinion
about anything he didn’t agree with to the captain, while Kes worked in sickbay
with the doctor, their holographic physician.
Her communicator hummed, retrieving Janeway from her daydream.
Tuvok to Captain Janeway, came the emotionless voice of her security chief.

She sat up and took her professional stance as she normally did when she
was talking to one of her officers even when they weren’t with her. Janeway
here. Go ahead, Lieutenant.

We have picked up a unknown vessel in Sector 518, replied Tuvok.
Janeway straightened at hearing the news. She couldn’t help but think
these people could be the very ones who could help them return to Federation
space where they could be reunited with their loved ones. Besides, if they went at
warp speed, they could be at the ship’s location in a few hours. Very well,
Tuvok, have Mr. Paris set a course for the vessel and engage at Warp 5. Janeway
out. She didn’t feel like going to the bridge. Not yet anyway.

Just as she was about to slip into another fantasy of her and Mark, her
lover, living a peaceful life on Earth, her door chimed. The job of a captain never
ends, she thought somewhat ruefully to herself. She let out a short sigh and
called, Come in.

As the doors slid apart, the exuberant face of Neelix came shining
through. Good morning, Captain, he said, approaching the human, and might I
say you look simply ravishing today? Instead of using his expansive hand gesture,
they were behind his back, not permitting Janeway not see what he was
concealing.

Janeway tried not to smile at the Talaxian’s perkiness but failed. Why,
thank you, Neelix. What can I help you with today?
Nothing too important, he said, shaking his head. Janeway could tell by
his voice that he was lying. I thought you might want to try one of my exquisite
omelets, though. He revealed two plates from behind his back.

Janeway accepted the plate Neelix held out to her warily. Every time she
had gone down to Neelix’s kitchen she would wind up going to her quarters,
using up her precious replicator rations. Knowing she wouldn’t get out of eating
the omelet, she took a bite. Surprisingly enough, the meal tasted palatable.

This is excellent, Neelix. What did you use?

Neelix perked up, excited she was interested in his recipe for his meal.
Well, Captain, this omelet was made from six eggs from a near-dead Tortain bird
we found a few days ago on Hincas Two. It was a rather funny story because the
bird smelled so bad that not even Mr. Vulcan would approach it. Finally, I came
up and captured the bird. He smiled proudly as though he had accomplished a
hard goal. The meat is actually from the bird itself.

Janeway’s eyes widened and her hands involuntarily let go of the fork she
held. It is? Tortain birds were the ugliest creatures Janeway had seen during the
course of her career. It was as if Neelix had revealed there were live worms
inside the omelet.

Neelix nodded proudly, not noticing the disgust Janeway’s voice held.
Mr. Paris knew of the little surprise I cooked up for you. I am glad to see he
didn’t let you in on our secret.

Janeway shook her head as if she was the one to blame for the omelet. I’ll
have that boy’s head for the stunt he tried to pull, she thought to herself. I’ll be
sure and pass on your appreciation to him. In fact, I’ll save of my breakfast and
pass it on to him.
Meanwhile, Neelix dug into his exquisite omelet happily, thinking
Janeway had truly enjoy the meal he served to her. For several minutes the room
was silent as the Talaxian ate his brunch. Janeway took this time to get up and
order some coffee.

Sipping on her warm coffee, she turned to face Neelix. This rather short
alien found in the Delta Quadrant soon became Janeway’s morale officer, though
she often thought of him as her comic relief. If Neelix was anything like the rest
of his people they were a kind yet outspoken race. They couldn’t help but to get
in the mist of things and made sure everyone around them knew it. Though
Janeway would never tell him, she thought Neelix was the funniest character she
had ever met throughout her Starfleet career.

So, Captain, where are we headed today? he asked. He had learned over
his stay on Voyager that hardly a day went by without them checking out
something that appeared askew.

Our sensors have picked up a vessel in Sector 518. We are going there to
investigate the vessel, since it’s not far from our location, answered Janeway.

There was that word again–investigate. So far, Neelix had never heard
Janeway use another word to describe the reason they were changing course. Her
other officers, such as Chakotay and Tuvok, had the same problem, he noticed. It
appeared to Neelix that they actually liked seeing him be in the dark.

This time Neelix wasn’t concerned with the captain’s redundancy,
rather, he was distracted with her statement. I am not aware of any civilizations
in this region of space. The was he said it made it sound to Janeway like it
shouldn’t be.

Janeway’s eyebrows arched in apprehension. She knew if the Talaxian
thought something was odd, it probably was, but her mind fought to prove his
statement false. Perhaps the ship is from a planet nearby. They could be on an
exploration mission, offered Janeway, or possibly a cargo vessel.

Neelix thoroughly thought over what the captain had offered. After a few
moments he decided neither statement could be true. I don’t think so, Captain.
Any ships that would be on such missions the sensors would be able to identify.
Besides, there are only two species in that sector and none possess warp
technology. I think we are in for a meeting with some strangers.

This troubled Janeway immediately. Impulsively, she reached for her
communicator to inform Chakotay of what she had learned from their needed
guide. Now they were all alone in the Delta Quadrant, they couldn’t afford any
unnecessary risks. Janeway to bridge, she said, pushing her communicator.

Chakotay here, said the first officer.

Commander, we might be in for a little problem. Neelix has informed me
that there is no known life forms in this region that possess warp technology. So
please, proceed with caution, instructed Janeway.
In her mind she could see Chakotay nodding. Understood, Captain.
Chakotay out.

Janeway turned back to Neelix who had finished his omelet and had
begun to eat Janeway’s. Before I forget to tell you, Mr. Neelix, thank you for a
lovely breakfast.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *

In sickbay the doctor was going over the full crew’s medical records.
Finally, with the help of Kes, he had managed to preform at least one full medical
scan on the crew of the Maquis ship. As he was going through the last of the
files, the doors to sickbay opened.

The hologram prepared himself for a crewman to come in whining about a
headache or some minor injury such as that. Instead, he saw Kes walk into his
office with a smile on her face. She walked across the room and presented
herself in front of his desk.

The doctor actually found himself smiling when he saw the Ocampa
instead of some other passenger on Voyager. Hello, Kes. How may I help you
today? Since she had no scans to run, the doctor didn’t know exactly why she
was there, but he somehow knew she wanted another lesson on anatomy of a
species in the Alpha Quadrant.

The doctor liked Kes. She was one of the few people on the ship who
treated him like a real person. She had the utmost respect for him and his studies.
Every day she would come in wanting to learn something new. She was
ambitious, hard-working, enthusiastic–qualities the holographic doctor was
programed to love. He was happy to have her working with him, after all, she
was the only medical personnel who could be at any certain location on Voyager.
She had no experience prior to working on Voyager, but she was in sickbay so
much, she had made up time lost.
Kes smiled broadly. I was just wondering if you could use a helping hand.
Neelix is having breakfast with Captain Janeway and I had nothing else to do.

And you decided to come down and visit me, how nice. Normally the
comment would be meant sarcastically, but when the hologram said it to Kes, he
was sincere. As I have told you before, you are welcome down here at any time.
If you don’t see my smiling face, just call up my program. I’ll find something for
you to do.

I know you will, Doctor. How’s Lieutenant Carey? Yesterday the
red-headed engineer beamed into sickbay with a broken ankle. Surprisingly
enough, the injury wasn’t caused by the short-tempered engineer, B’Elanna
Torres. Rather, he was trying to ski down Mount Everett on the holodeck without
the safety program.

He’s fine. I let him return to duty this morning, the doctor said. When
Lieutenant Carey came in, telling his story, the doctor had to bite his tongue from
making a snide remark. Just as he was about to let Kes preform the procedure of
mending his ankle back together, Neelix summoned her to the mess hall.

Kes nodded. She had noticed since the doctor’s experience of feeling the
misery of being sick he had been kinder in allowing crew members having time to
heal. What do you have for me to study? Since there was no one currently in
sickbay who needed medical attention, she wanted to study anything she could
get her hands on.

The doctor sat back in his chair, smiling. I thought we could start getting
into Klingon anatomy. I think you’ll find it most interesting. For example, did
you– Suddenly he stopped, as if there was a glitch in his program.

Kes instantly began to worry. Doctor, are you all right?
The doctor ran his hands over his eyes as if he make sure his visual
sensors were working. For a moment there I thought I was somewhere else. It
felt like someone was trying to transfer my program somewhere else. That was
all he had time to say, because a moment later two energy beams came in the
doctor’s office and laced them around Kes and the doctor. A moment later the
rays of energy were gone.

So were the doctor and Kes.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *

Meanwhile, Harry Kim was busy trying to unsuccessfully fight three angry
Klingons in a holographic bar. Tom Paris sat in the corner drinking his
holographically-produced Romulan Ale. He had no intention of helping his best
friend. He knew if Harry was ever going to attract any women on Voyager, he
needing to change his preppie image. For starters, he had to build his sense of
adventure.

Harry took a moment to throw a quick glance at Tom. The look in his
eyes told Tom to stop the program. Before Harry had agreed to be subjugated to
this Tom had instructed the program to end on only his command.
Tom shook his head even though the ensign could no longer see him. He
was too busy fighting the three Cardassians who decided to join the fight. Tom
thought this to be too simple of a task, so he called, Computer. He suddenly
noticed the huge smile that appeared on Harry’s face. Poor kid, he thought, this
isn’t even the beginning. Add figure 1a.

Nanoseconds later, Captain Janeway appeared. Her hair was disheveled,
her uniform tattered. She appeared like she was an overworked slave. As Harry
slid into her view, her holographic heart lightened. Harry, help me!

Harry turned around, startled. Captain! Even though she was only an
image, his adrenaline rush. He punched one Cardassian to the floor. Just as he
touched Janeway’s fingertips, the Cardassian’s friend came and pulled Harry
away. The Cardassian was Gul Dukat, Harry recognized. Gul Dukat hit the
young ensign and threw him on a table.
All the images others than Janeway began laughing at the motionless
body. Tom stood up to see if Harry was going to jump up and seize them. When
he saw the drops of blood on the ground, he knew Harry wouldn’t.
Computer, end program, called Tom. He didn’t understand why the
holo-safties didn’t work. Perhaps they were still off from Lt. Carey’s program.
He would have to talk to B’Elanna, if there was anything wrong, she would figure
out the problem. But first he needed to get Harry into sickbay.

He quickly walked up to Harry. It looked as if he was starting to come
around. Come on, Harry, I need you to walk with me to sickbay.
Harry took the arm offered and pulled himself up after several tries. He
smiled crookedly at Tom. If I don’t get any women after this I will be content
being a single man.

Tom smiled.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *
Commander Chakotay sat in the captain’s chair, thinking of the
possibilities the ship their sensors had detected could bring now that Captain
Janeway had given Tuvok approval to change course.

As he was about to visit his animal guide to seek the answers he was
looking for Captain Janeway paged him. Janeway to Chakotay.
He sat up like he normally did when the captain was talking with him.
Through his years of dealing with women Janeway had a way with making him
feel self-conscious like no other woman had before.

Chakotay here, he said.

Commander, we might be in for a little problem. Neelix has informed me
that there is no known life forms in this region that possess warp technology. So
please, proceed with caution, he heard the captain say.
He nodded. Understood, Captain. Chakotay out. He turned to Tuvok,
who had been listening inattentively to their conversation. You heard what the
captain said. I want you to raise shields when we get within fifty thousand
kilometers of the vessel.

Tuvok raised his eyebrows. I heard nothing to the effect of raising
shields. After he saw the look the first officer shot at him, he added a belated, sir.

Chakotay was getting tired of explaining all of his orders to the Vulcan.
Recently, Tuvok had been questioning Chakotay’s judgment frequently. He
calmly walked up to Tuvok’s station. Didn’t I hear Captain Janeway warn us to
be cautious?

Tuvok nodded. Yes, sir.

Excellent. This is how I protect myself in a potentially dangerous
situation. If you have any other ideas that would keep us as safe as well as the
shields do, I’m willing to listen, shot Chakotay.
Coming up with no answer that would satisfy the first officer, the Vulcan
said, Very well, sir, I have programmed the shields to come up when we are
within fifty thousand kilometer of the alien vessel.
Chakotay let out a breath. At least Tuvok didn’t call for Janeway’s
approval, but somehow Chakotay knew he would ask Janeway about his order at
the first chance he got.

As he sat down, he realized if this was any indication of how their day was
going to be, he needed to visit his animal guide right away.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

When Tom and Harry finally made it to sickbay, Tom helped Harry slide
onto a biobed. After the walk, Harry looked as if he used every bit of energy of
he had left in his body and was about to slip into unconsciousness for a second
time.

Tom walked to the doctor’s office. Unexpectedly, it was empty.
Normally, at this time, the doctor was giving Kes another lesson in one medical
thing or another.

Computer, being program, called Tom.

Instead of seeing the impudent doctor, he heard the computer saying,
Please state program’s file name.

Tom’s forehead wrinkled. The computer should have known which
program to run, after all the doctor’s program was the only one able to operate in
sickbay. Computer, begin Emergency Medical Holographic Program.

Requested program not on file, replied the computer.
Tom felt the blood race to his face, like it often did when he got too
excited or worried. He glanced over at Harry, who looked as if he was going
through enough pain to make the doctor feel bad. Tom grabbed a medical
tricorder and a regenerator off the holographic doctor’s desk and ran to Harry.
From a quick scan he learned the ensign had a broken nose, not to mention the
abrasion that stretched from the bottom of the chin to his ear.

Tom shrugged. Maybe he had gone a little too far in that program, but he
figured Harry had to have gotten something out of that program other than the
injuries. He ran the regenerator over the wound and broken bone. He found a
hypospray with Kayolane and administered it in Harry’s neck. Harry would wake
up in a few minutes, in that limited time Tom needed to work on the problem of
their missing doctor.

Computer, run the holographic doctor, he ordered. He though maybe
another file name was needing to start the program.

Requested program not on file, refused the computer.
And you’re supposed to be advanced technology? he asked. He shook his
head. Run a Level five diagnostic on all sickbay systems.
Three seconds later, the computer had its results. All sickbay systems are
functioning properly.

Tom snorted. If I believed everything you said, I’d be as stupid as you are
acting.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *

Harry Kim woke up slowly. The last thing he remembered clearly was
fighting aliens from the Alpha Quadrant three times his size…and Tom Paris
watching it all with a smile on his face. I am going to kill Tom, he thought
quietly. The question is, how am I going to do it?

He pushed himself up tenderly, not wanting his muscles to scream any
louder than they already were. He walked over to the doctor’s office. Tom, if I
were you I’d–

Tom, unconcerned with the threat, waved his hand. Harry, come here.
Something is definitely wrong with the computer.

Seeing the worry in his eyes, Harry extinguished his anger. What’s the
problem?

Tom sat in the doctor’s chair and leaned back. Try to call up the doc,
Tom instructed.

Harry couldn’t understand what was the point of the charade, but he
would go along with it. For a while anyway. Computer, begin Emergency
Medical Holographic Program.

The computer buzzed. Requested program not on file.
It appears that Prince Charming doesn’t want to show his shining face
today, snickered Tom. Seeing the distaste on Harry’s face, he added, I have
already run a Level five diagnostic. According to the computer, he’s gone.

Harry snapped his fingers. What about Kes? If anything was wrong with
the doctor she’d know about it. The two are the best of friends. He tapped his
communicator. Kim to Kes. There was no answer.
After several more attempts on both their parts, Tom called, Computer,
locate Kes.

Kes is no longer on Voyager, it replied.

The two shot a glance that clearly meant they were in trouble. Where is
she? they called in unison.

Unknown, the female voice simply answered.

Tom sighed. Paris to Janeway. Captain, we have a problem.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
Ten minutes later, the senior staff and Neelix were sitting at the
conference table. Captain Janeway sat at the head of the table with her hands
folded. Mr. Paris, please tell us the importance of this emergency.

Reminded of the doctor’s preprogrammed question, Harry and Tom
looked at each other. Well, Captain, we have two problems. The first one being
the doctor’s file is lost. We tried to access him, but the computer said his
program is not on file, said Tom.

Janeway couldn’t disguise the shock and horror that went through her
mind. Without him, they had no doctor. There was no one to save them if they
were to get injured. Kes could help, but she could only do so much–she wasn’t
nearly as experienced as the doctor. They couldn’t survive without him. What’s
the second problem? she asked, not at all sure she wanted to know.

Harry knew it was his turn to taint the already sour atmosphere. The other
is, he snuck a glance at Neelix before turning to Janeway. Kes is missing. His
brain cried for him to hide under the table until the Talaxian finished exploding.
He should have listened.
Neelix shot up as if there was no gravity in the room. What do you mean
D4Kes is missing’? She was fine when I left her in our quarters. Just wait until I
get my hands on whoever took Kes.

Janeway put her hand on his arm, trying to calm him down. Neelix,
please. She pushed out the negative thoughts knocking to enter her mind and
focused on trying to defuse their problems. She would have enough time to
contemplate everything that had happen in full scale. Later.
B’Elanna, I want you and Mr. Kim to work on getting the doctor back.
Tuvok, I want you to begin an investigation trying to figure out what has
happened to Kes, she ordered.

Neelix held up a hand. I’ll help Mr. Tuvok.

Janeway shook her head. She knew how hard it was not to be able to help
a loved one, but it was for the better. I am going to need your help when we meet
the ship. When we do encounter this vessel, I don’t want them knowing of our
problems. We’ll act as if nothing is wrong. Understood?

The officer nodded. Only Neelix looked as if he was going to put up some
kind of fight, but soon decided against it.

All right, I want hourly updates on the progress of finding Kes and the
doctor, ordered Janeway. Dismissed.

For a moment, Janeway simply sat there as if doing that would reveal the
answers she was looking for. This was a terrible blow for Voyager, not only had
they lost their CMO, but their whole medical staff.

She heard the door open, but didn’t bother to look up. She had a feeling it
was Chakotay suggesting her to visit her animal guide. Instead, it was Neelix.

Captain, I just wanted you to know I trust you completely and I know you
will get Kes and that doctor friend she’s so fond of. If I may be of any service, let
me know, he said.

Janeway smiled, knowing at least the problem of Neelix getting too
involved wouldn’t be a problem for the time being. I will, Mr. Neelix.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

Kes woke up with her head spinning like a planet orbiting its sun. She
closed her eyes and allowed the vertigo to pass before opening her eyes again.
When she did, she noticed she was no longer in sickbay, nor in any place she had
seen on Voyager, but in some kind of large room.
The room was at least three times the size of her quarters, though the
ceiling appeared about fifteen centimeters shorter then her room on Voyager.
There were two large beds with canopies, both done in royal blue. The lights
shone a green light. Two tables were on each side of the room. On the one
closest to Kes was a bowl of fruit and a medical tricorder.
In looking across the room to see what was on the table, she saw the
doctor laying facedown, as if he was unconscious. A million thoughts, most of
them questions, came rushing in Kes’ mind, but the first was, how could he be
with her if he was merely a hologram.

She thought somehow, they might have been transported to a
holodeck–the only other place the doctor had been able to exist. But, now she
focused on trying to fix the doctor. Kes knew when the ship malfunctioned,
sometimes he did also, due to his direct link to the computer core. Computer, end
program.

Nothing happened.

Just as she was going to call Harry Kim to run a diagnostic on his
program, she saw him moving. He was getting up so slowly that it appeared to
Kes as if there was a large amount of weight applied on his back. Doctor, are you
all right?

Instead of answering, he looked around his surroundings. Kes, where are
we? How can I be here?

The last question concerned her, but she tried to concentrate on the first
question he asked. I don’t know, I think we may be in the holodeck.

The doctor shook his head. That’s not possible. I have no data coming
from the computer at all. This shouldn’t be possible, I should not be here.

Kes instantly worried. If he had no data coming from the main computer
that meant they weren’t on the ship, of course, but the real question was how
could the doctor even be there?

He spotted the tricorder and his eyes lit up, as though he had an idea come
to him. He remembered the last time that he had no data coming from him, the
only thing that could provide him with an answer was the instrument on the table.
Kes, I want you to run a scan of me. For once, I would like to know what is
going on.

Kes obeyed his order without voicing one of her many questions. There
was something different about him, she noticed. She popped the scanner from
the top of the instrument and began to scan him.

After a variety of scans, she pushed the button on the tricorder to see the
results. When she saw the readout, the color drained from her face.
The doctor did not take this as good news. Usually when Kes made a face
like that, the patient was facing something terminal. He began realizing what a
short life he had. What life? part of himself asked. What’s wrong with me?

Kes looked at the doctor, as if he had a problem with what she was going
to say to remember this is what the tricorder said, not her. Congratulations,
Doctor. According to these scans you are fully human. You are truly alive! she
said in a false cheerful tone she had heard the doctor use many times before.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

Neelix sat in the mess hall thinking of Kes. He knew no one could have
helped, but he felt somehow responsible for her kidnapping. If he would have
have kept a closer eye on her none of this would have happened.
Ensign Nicole Williams came inside cautiously, not wanting to upset
Neelix. Everyone by now knew of Kes’ disappearance. Good morning, Mr.
Neelix, she said.

Neelix didn’t even turn in her direction.

I am going to get something to eat, she replied unnecessarily. He wasn’t
even aware she was in his kitchen. She spooned some foreign food on a plate and
took a seat next to Neelix.

She had taken a couple of courses in psychology at Starfleet Academy and
tried to remember something from them to help Neelix. Don’t worry, Neelix,
Captain Janeway won’t let whoever did this get away with it.

For the first time, he realized someone else was in the room with him. I
know that, but I still feel like I should be doing something to help Mr. Vulcan
find Kes.

She smiled at his name for Tuvok. I think her knowing how concerned
you are for her is doing enough. At least, she is lucky enough to have someone
care for her as much as you do.

Neelix smiled weakly. Inside he was crumbling, but he knew being
morale officer put him in a position where he couldn’t show any negative
thoughts.

Captain Janeway to Neelix. We are approaching the vessel. I need you to
come up to the bridge right away, she paged.

Neelix wasn’t listening to the captain though. He was busy telling the
ensign how he was feeling. It feels like part of me is missing. I don’t think I can
go on any longer.

Nicole frowned. She didn’t want a suicidal Talaxian walking the ship,
even if Captain Janeway did call him. What would that help? If–When Kes
comes back who’s arms will she fall into? Tom Paris?
Hearing her say that made the blood rise to the Talaxian’s face. He knew
he shouldn’t feel jealous, but the ensign was right. If he wasn’t on the ship Tom
would make his move on Kes and he couldn’t let that happen. You’re right. Kes
needs me, he said.

Nicole smiled. That’s right. Now, get up to the bridge before Captain
Janeway gets upset.

Neelix had no idea the captain had paged him, but he put his trust in
Nicole. He left his kitchen and made his way to the bridge.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
Captain Janeway sat in her seat on the bridge, barely able to sit down. It
had been nearly an hour since her senior staff had been informed they had two
crew members missing. But, now she needed to concentrate on the mysterious
vessel that was on the view screen.

The ship was large compared to Voyager, perhaps the size of a Galaxy
Class starship. The vessel was tear-shaped and didn’t seem to be able to hold
many people due to its shape. Instead of the contemporary gray color of Starfleet
vessels, this was yellow, making sure anyone who passed by it would know it was
there.

She had called Neelix nearly ten minutes ago. She knew he was mourning
for Kes, so were most of the young men on Voyager, but she needed him on the
bridge.

We are being hailed by the unknown ship, Tuvok calmly announced.
Neelix popped in, as if that was his cue. Seeing the first officer wasn’t
there, Neelix sat in Chakotay’s chair.

Thank you for finally deciding to come, Neelix, muttered Janeway. Mr.
Tuvok, on screen.

Appearing on the screen were two red beings, looking perfectly identical.
They were bald and around their heads appeared to be tiny horns. There eyes
seemed to be glowing and they never closed.

They bowed their heads in some kind of salute. Greetings, we are the
Stovals. This is Lovat, my loyal servant, and I am called called Dojak. Perhaps
you can help us. We are from the Beta Quadrant, we were taken by a being called
the Caretaker about a year ago. Is there anyway you can assist?

Janeway looked at Tuvok with a shocked look. She couldn’t believe they
were meeting another victim of the disaster that had hit them. She made a sign to
cut the signal. Neelix, could their story be true?
Startled, Neelix looked at Janeway. Err–Yes, I have never seen anyone
like those creatures before.

Janeway signaled for Tuvok to reestablish the link. I am Captain Kathryn
Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. We, too, were taken by the
Caretaker. How may we help you?

The two aliens smiled at each other. Our enemy, the Fotians, have
managed to follow us here. They are a terrible creature. They are of a light blue
color and have no horns, but rather a single patch of hair on the back of their
heads. We have been at war with them for over seventy years. Since they have
no honor, their tactics are usually coward-like such as planting bombs,
kidnapping people with their transporter–
Janeway’s eyes popped open. Two of my people are missing from my
vessel right now, she spilt out.

Tuvok almost spoke up, reminding Janeway the doctor was simply a
hologram, but held his tongue.

The two Stovals appeared sympathetic. We are truly sorry. Had we
known our foe would stoop so low, we would have met with your ship earlier.
The two looked at each other, as if they were talking telepathically. Captain, we
invite you and your crew to our vessel for dinner in two hours. We could discuss
the Fotians and show you what they have done in the past to us. Perhaps together,
we could find a way to get your people back.

Janeway considered this invitation carefully. She knew that most of the
time the crew would jump at the opportunity to take shore leave, but know that
Kes and the doctor were missing, she didn’t know if they would feel that way.
Deciding that these people might be able to help them find their missing officers,
she nodded. We accept the offer.
The two nodded. We will see you at that time. The signal ended.
Tom Paris turned to the captain. They sure seem awfully friendly. I’m
surprised he didn’t call you Kathryn. After he saw the look on her face he added
a belated, Captain.

Ignoring the snide lieutenant, she turned to Tuvok. Notify the crew of this
meeting with the Stovals. Remind them a skeleton crew will have to remain on
board.

Aye, Captain.

She nodded. Janeway to first officer. Chakotay, you’re never going to
believe what has just happened.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

The senior staff met for the second time in the last three hours. They
thought it would be best if they met one time before they beamed to the Stoval
vessel.

Now that we were invited we have to decide who of the senior staff is
going to stay on board, announced Janeway.

I’ll stay back, Captain, said B’Elanna. I am still working on trying to get
the doctor back.

I will, too, said Harry.

Tom’s forehead wrinkled. Usually Harry was the first person to sign up
for shore leave. Why, Harry?

Harry swallowed tightly. When he saw what the Stovals look like it
reminded him of the horror stories his cousin used to tell him. Being stuck so far
away from home made him remember every nasty looking alien he had to set his
eyes on. No reason. I think I should stay here just in case something comes up
with the doctor or Kes.

Janeway nodded. Any progress with finding Kes?
Captain, when I scanned sickbay I detected there had been two transporter
beams inside, said Tuvok. I would hypothesis that they had to try twice to beam
Kes away.

B’Elanna held up a hand. Not only that, Captain, we think that the
safeties cut off the holodeck at about the same time the doctor’s program and Kes
disappeared.

Janeway frowned. That’s too bizarre to be a coincidence. B’Elanna,
while you are here I would like for you to keep on trying to find the doctor’s
program. Maybe he can give us some information about Kes.

The half-Klingon nodded. Understood, Captain.

Janeway stood up. It’s time to pay a visit to the Stoval ship.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *

That’s impossible. I am a hologram. The doctor had been saying that for
the last ten minutes, but it still didn’t sink in. Yet he had to admit it made sense.
There were no signs of a holographic projector, or any Voyager equipment for
that matter. Not only that, but somehow he felt different.

He turned to Kes. You have been working with Lieutenant Tuvok on
enhancing your telepathic abilities. Can you sense my presence?
Kes closed her eyes and focused on the doctor like the Vulcan had taught
her. Yes, I can, she said.

He shook his head. How could this be possible? He sighed. This
shouldn’t be happening, but I’m actually feeling hungry. He picked up a pear and
began eating it. Not bad, he shrugged.
The Ocampa picked up a foreign fruit. Doctor, where are we? It is
obvious we are no longer on Voyager.

The doctor shrugged, more concerned with his hunger. Suddenly the door
opened. Three beings came in–one hiding behind the taller two. Neither the
doctor nor Kes had seen an alien that looked quite like them.
We are the Fotians. We have removed you from your vessel for our
experiment– began the taller one.

The doctor stood up. Would you mind telling me how you you made me
into a humanoid being?

We have the technology to convert holographic images into real beings or
things–

How could you do such a thing? I’m simply an image. There is no way
you can put life in a hologram, denied the doctor.

The Fotian sighed. True, but we used the bio-neural circuitry from your
ship to give you life.

And how was that done? You can’t exactly snap your fingers and put
biological components in me.

We didn’t D4snap our fingers,’ we put you through our transporter beam.
There we added the biological components needed for you to survive. Though
you aren’t fully human for you have no soul. You are much like an android with
emotions, explained the first Fotian.
The doctor turned to Kes. Great, I have gone from being a hologram
who’s confined to sickbay to a soulless android. I’m sure Data from the
Enterprise would love to met me right about now.

The Fotians were getting tired of the doctor’s comments. So, they put a
hand up to stop the doctor from speaking. As I was saying, you have been taken
to participate in our experiment. Since we don’t have the same variety of
emotions, we want to see how humans and Ocampas react to anger, the two said
in unison.

Kes’ mouth dropped to the ground. Excuse me, but I do not want to
become part of any experiment. I, we have a life to live on Voyager. I see no
reason to have to bow to your whims, she said. Besides, the doctor is my friend.
Nothing would make me turn my back on him.
The tone of voice she spoke in was one the doctor had never heard her
use. Every time she talked to him it was in a soft, friendly way. This time she
was harsh and vigorous.

They shrugged. We can make it possible so that you can hate each other.

The doctor simply stared at the Fotians. Excuse me, I have been alive for
twenty minutes and you are already giving me orders? I see no fleet bars on you
therefore I don’t have to and won’t obey. Besides, Kes is my friend. To hate her
would be wrong.

Morals, hunger, pain, the list of new sensations the doctor was
experiencing grew. But at least now he wasn’t confined to sickbay. He was like
any crew member on Voyager, and that somehow made him feel good.
The Fotians brushed off their arguments. Do you honestly think your
whining has changed our feelings in our experiment? It will go on.
Kes walked a few feet closer to the taller Fotian. You can not make me
hate the doctor. I don’t know how things are with your culture, but you never
treat people that you care about hostility. Especially your best friend.

The doctor was momentarily flattered, for he had no idea Kes thought he
was her best friend. The Fotian, meanwhile, walked up to Kes and looked as if he
was going to knock her down. The doctor walked between Kes and their captor,
blocking any blows that were meant for her.

The Fotian laughed evilly. Yes, child, I can make you and your D4best
friend’ do what I want. He pressed his upper arm, the area in which the Fotian
brain was located.

You two will hate each other just so this experiment will work, he said.

Feelings of bitterness and hatred flooded the minds of Kes and the doctor.
They now looked at each other with new eyes. The two looked at each other
distastefully. Actually, now that I think about it, who would want a hologram for
a best friend? Kes shot at the doctor.
The doctor had never thought it possible to have this feeling towards Kes.
She was the one who got the crew the respect him. Part of him, however, was
struggling to fight off this incredible force. Kes was fighting the same losing
battle.

The doctor looked at her the same way. How do you think I feel? My
assistant is some child who’s going to die in less than a decade.
Just as they were about to explore the new feelings they had for another,
the third being ran forward, separating the two from another. Stop it, Jokad! she
yelled.

The Fotian looked at the child disapprovingly, not breaking off the
telepathic connection.

Being momentarily disorientated, the doctor glanced at the child who
yelled. Despite the hate the doctor had for Kes, he cried out seeing the young
individual. His old frame of mind started taking over. He immediately began
diagnosing the teenager.

She was no older than seventeen and was rather short. Her body was
covered in huge bruises, her left eye was swollen shut and had several wound on
her body–two on her left leg and one next to her temple. There were scars across
her legs and arms, as if someone had whipped her. Her light brown hair was cut
to her shoulders, but was cut choppy. Her blue eyes were the only sign of life in
her beaten body. Not only that, she was human.

Now, Jokad! You can tell they aren’t ready for such a change, she yelled.

He nodded grudgingly. He didn’t have a problem watching two people
suffer, however, he did need them to cooperate. He touched his arm for a second
time and the connection was disconnected.

Kes and the doctor looked awkwardly at each other for a moment. They
stood as straight as they could, facing the Fotian. He laughed at them as the
human stepped up to them. This is your servant. You can call her Melissa. She
will serve your every need.

The girl bowed to them. I hope to serve you sufficiently. If you need me,
pull the cord by either of the beds. I will return in two hours to feed you your
meal. Melissa smiled at them, as if they were her best friends. She bowed again
and exited the room.

The larger Fotian turned to Kes and the doctor. You should thank your
slave. Since she is right, I must block your short term memory, leaving over what
you need to know accessible. After he finished wiping their memories, the two
left.

Kes turned to the doctor, remembering only that they were to participate
in some experiment and they now had a badly beaten servant. I’m going to try to
contact Voyager. She tapped her communicator. Kes to Neelix. Unfortunately,
all she received was static.

Three seconds later, the Fotians came back in a took the communicators
off their uniforms. This is to prevent any…misfortunate communications between
you and your friends, one said. Then they left the officers to themselves.

Seeing their defeat, the doctor walked around their quarters. He abruptly
found something that amazed him–a window facing space. It was beautiful,
seeing the billions of stars.

Kes saw the child-like joy in the doctor’s eyes when he saw the stars. She
knew the only time he was able to see the area that trapped them so far away from
most of the crew’s home was in the holodeck. Nothing gave a person the same
sensation.

Most of her mind was still focused on the girl, however. She had never
seen such a thing as sad as the teenager. She could tell that her life on the Kazon
world was nothing compared to how she was treated. Not only that, the child
somehow seemed to be happy.

I know how you feel, the doctor said, laying a hand on her shoulder.
Children are not suppose to be treated like that, but my question is, how did they
lay their hands on a humans child? There shouldn’t be any around here.

Kes shrugged. I guess we will have to wait two hours to find out.

The doctor picked up a Ocampan apple. Until then, we eat.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
Captain Janeway stood in Transporter Room three with Chakotay, Tuvok,
Neelix, and Tom, the first group of people to beam to the Stoval’s ship. The
stepped on the transporter pad in unison. Energize, she ordered the operator.

After she had finished telling Chakotay of their newly developed situation,
Tuvok had asked to speak with her. He reminded her it wasn’t logical for her to
give out classified information about their missing officer and lost hologram.

Being familiar with her friend’s logic, she simply admitted what she did
was completely human. She felt no apprehension of this race. They seemed
friendly and homesick–much like the the crew of Voyager.

Tuvok knew she did what she thought to be right in this situation. No
matter the outcome, he would stand behind his captain.

When they arrived on the ship, Dojak and Lovat were waiting for them in
what appeared to be some kind of waiting room. They bowed there heads.
Welcome to our ship, Captain. May we ask who your guests are?
Janeway politely smiled. Of course, this is Commander Chakotay, my
first officer, Lt. Tuvok, my second-in-command, Tom Paris, ship’s navigation
officer, and Neelix, my, um–

Expert of the Delta Quadrant and master chef. I will be tasting the meal
to see if they are adequate for my captain, supplied Neelix. He was making it
perfectly clear to Janeway he didn’t trust these people.
Of course, Dojak smiled. This way, Captain.
The Voyager personnel followed them into a room outside a large banquet
hall. Dinner will be served in a few minutes, until then we think it would be wise
to tell you of the Fotians and our war with them.
It started seventy-four years ago. It had began when a Fotian took a
Stoval’s land. He murdered him and his family–people of the two races began to
fight all the time, then it led to this.

Their ship has the ability to cloak and not be detected until they are right
on top of you. Their weapons are laser beams and torpedoes. We have arms
similar to them.

As for your missing officers, I do not know what to tell you. The Fotians
don’t usually release their hostages. They would normally rather torture them for
information. Though, we can’t imagine what knowledge your officers would
possess. But, we will help you in any way possible.

Janeway nodded. She looked at her officers. Chakotay looked surprised
at the friendliness they posed, Tom didn’t seem to notice their hospitality, mostly
because there was a Stoval who caught his eye in the next room, Tuvok looked
unaffected, but she could tell he had something on his mind, and Neelix didn’t
look convinced at all. Fortunately, he quietly stood by Janeway without muttering
a word.

Thank you, any help would be appreciated. I’m sure my officers feel the
same way, added Janeway when she saw none of them were going to say
anything.

A bell chimed three times, each time getting a little louder. Ahh! Dinner
is ready, replied Dojak. I do hope you enjoy your meal.
Tuvok, Tom, and Chakotay walked ahead first, leaving Janeway with
Neelix. Captain, I don’t trust these people. Their eyes may be glowing, but
inside they are dead, said Neelix, as if that explained the reason he didn’t trust
them. Seeing the captain wasn’t taking him seriously, he added, I have learned to
trust my intuition, especially since I have been on Voyager and if it means
anything to you, Captain, watch out. He said it in a voice she had never heard
him use before. It was almost as if he knew something was going to happen.

Janeway nodded. I understand your suspicion, but do you really have to
try out my food?

Neelix nodded. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t.
She didn’t complain. She knew Neelix wasn’t going to have faith in
anyone while Kes was gone. But, for one reason or another, she couldn’t forget
what the Talaxian said. Or the way he said it.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *

Tom Paris took a seat next to the Stoval he had been checking out from
the other room. He knew exactly what Harry would say, him only being here a
few minutes and all, but he didn’t care.

Hi, my name is Tom Paris, he said to the Stoval.
The Stoval smiled. My name is Hotol. Welcome aboard, Tom Paris.
It’s all right, you can just call me Tom, he said. So, what are we having to
eat? He had learned from prior experience to ask a boring, non-important
question and take it from there.

We are having Welitag, it’s from our home world. It is cooked with a
variety of vegetables and herbs. I often make it, for it makes me forget about
being away from our home, Hotol said sadly.

Sounds delicious, he commented. Over on Voyager, I eat food native
from Earth too, though it’s mostly because I can’t stand to eat the things Neelix
has come up with.

Well, I hope you like this meal. I made it myself, you know, Hotol said
politely.

Tom smiled sweetly. He knew it was time to make his move. I’m sure I
will love anything you make. If it tastes half as good as you look, I know I will be
content for a week.

The Stoval frowned slightly, as if it didn’t understand what was going on.
I’m sorry for the confusion, but I thought it was customary for your people to get
together with the opposite sex, is it not?
Tom looked at the Stoval to make sure he wasn’t playing some kind of
joke. You mean to tell me you are a male?

Hotol nodded. Of course, all of us in the Stovals are males. We have no
females in our race.

Then how do you procreate?

When we are young we set eggs. If we are older and want offspring we
simply release a chemical that enters into the embryo, explained Hotol.

Tom turned white. Well, with that in mind, I just remembered Captain
Janeway asking me to help my friend with a diagnostic.
Hotol nodded. I understand. And if it means anything to you, Tom, I
think you’re cute too.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

When Neelix walked in the banquet hall, he was shocked at the size of the
room. The table could seat at least two hundred people comfortably. The walls
were covered with colorful paintings. The food on the table never seemed to end,
most things Neelix had never seen before. That raised his suspicions even more.

Captain Janeway sat near the head of the table with Neelix seating by her
side. Within fifteen minutes, everyone from Voyager and the Stoval ship that
were attending the banquet were there.

Dojak’s servant began serving Janeway, but instead gave the plate to
Neelix to test. He cut the foreign meat into a small square and ate it. People
around him from Voyager stopped to watch him to see what his reaction was.

He pushed the plate to Janeway. This is fine, Captain. Though, in my
taste it’s a little bland.

He noticed when he gave the all-clear sign, the crew of Voyager began
eating their meal. He was glad they trusted him that much, for food was a very
important thing. When his plate arrived he ate it quickly, though he wasn’t the
least bit hungry.

Eating the food made him think of Kes. He wondered if she had anything
to eat or if she was alone or if one of these Stovals were with her. Was she all
right or dead? The questions he asked himself were almost too much to bare. He
looked at Janeway, who was talking to Dojak, and hoped she could get Kes home.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

B’Elanna Torres sat in the floor of sickbay trying to figure out how to get
their doctor back. When she was down in Engineering her diagnostics showed
that all of the doctor’s files were eradicated but all other medical files were
untouched. It seemed only his files had been erased.
B’Elanna was sure who ever took Kes was responsible for getting rid of
all signs of the doctor as well. She pushed herself up and began pacing. She
wanted to know what she should do next. She heard the door open from behind
her and whipped around to see who it was. Most everyone had gone to the
banquet.

Harry Kim cautiously stepped into the room. He knew B’Elanna was in
one of her bad moods and knew he was taking a chance talking with her. How’s
it going? he asked, already knowing the answer.
How do I look like I’m doing? she shot at him.
Harry didn’t answer, instead he asked, Have you come up with a way to
get the doctor back?

No, I haven’t, B’Elanna admitted. All of his files were erased, but there
has to be some other way to get him back.
Harry snapped his fingers. Was it only his medical files that were erased?

B’Elanna nodded. Yes, why?

What about the time he has spent in the holodeck? That wouldn’t be
under any of his medical files. His program would be under whatever holodeck
program the doctor decided to run. Maybe we could pull up his file from the
holodeck and transfer it here, offered Harry.

That might just work since we have all the medical records here. All we
would have to do is have him update his program. We have to remember, though,
that he’ll only have knowledge of whatever he’s experienced on the holodeck
until we give him access to medical files, reminded B’Elanna.

What about Kes’ second birthday party? He would know just about
everybody on the senior staff, even though he wouldn’t have that much experience
time with us. At least he would know our names, suggested Harry. Not only that,
but he has already gone through at least one crisis with us.

B’Elanna nodded. That’s good enough. I’ll have to rewrite his
preprogrammed question again because that’s gone. She raised her voice slightly
and approached a computer console. Computer, show me all holographic
signatures that were present in Program Kes-2.
A list of serial numbers scrolled down the screen. There we go, she said,
pointing to a sequence of numbers and letters, that’s our doctor. I wonder why
they didn’t take this file away too, it has the same program name as our doctor.

Harry shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe they didn’t look for his files outside
sickbay. After a couple of seconds of silence, Harry smiled briefly. Now to get
the doctor to sickbay and remind him he’s a doctor.

Computer, transfer file EMH Program AK1 Diagnostic/Surgical
Subroutine Omega 323 to sickbay, ordered B’Elanna.

Requested file being transferred to sickbay, it bleeped, Transfer complete.

B’Elanna crossed her fingers and silently hoped Harry’s plan would work.
She didn’t feel like coming so close and failing. Computer, begin program.

The doctor appeared in the middle of the room, confused. He saw Harry
and B’Elanna and walked towards them. Would one of you mind telling me
what’s going on? One moment I was in the pool hall helping Kes celebrate her
second birthday and the next I’m here, wherever here is!
B’Elanna looked at Harry and smiled. Seems like the same doctor to me.
She turned to the doctor. Doctor, do you know who I am?
He nodded. You are the hot-headed half-Klingon, B’Elanna Torres. He
turned to Harry. You are the worrisome Harry Kim. Why?
Harry shook his head. No reason, Doctor. We just wanted to make sure
your program wasn’t affected by the transfer and to see if you’re right for the job.

Right for what job? Would someone please tell me what’s going on?

Well, Doctor, you are our new Chief Medical Officer, said B’Elanna.

Chief Medical Officer?! But, but I don’t have any experience whatsoever,
fought the doctor.

Don’t worry, Doctor. We are going to download all medical files to your
program, said Harry softly. He could tell B’Elanna was getting tired of the
doctor’s questions. As for experience, you’ll pick up some soon enough, I
guarantee.

He took a seat behind his desk. You may begin when you are ready.

Computer, download all programs to the Emergency Medical Holographic
Program, called B’Elanna.

Requested program not on file, shot back the computer.
B’Elanna looked as if she was about to destroy the computer. Harry
raised up a hand. It is still under his file code, remember? You are going to need
to change that first?

You’re right, Harry. Computer change file EMH Program AK1
Diagnostic/Surgical Subroutine Omega 323 to Emergency Medical Holographic
Program.

Transfer complete. File EMH Program AK1 Diagnostic/Surgical
Subroutine Omega 323 is now recognized as Emergency Medical Holographic
Program, called the computer.

Now, download all medical files to Emergency Medical Holographic
Program, said B’Elanna.

Download in progress, thirty minutes until download completed, replied
the computer.

B’Elanna let her shoulders down an inch. That solves one of our
problems. Now it’s time to let Captain Janeway know about it.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
Kes sat quietly on her bed thinking of Neelix on Voyager. She hoped he
knew she was all right.

The doctor, seeing his friend was distressed, came over to her. I am sure
Captain Janeway hasn’t given up on us yet. We will get back to Voyager and
won’t participate in this project at all.

Kes smiled. Thank you, Doctor. By the way, how are you feeling?
Fine, I suppose. Though, I find it peculiar having a brain instead of all my
programs. At least then I won’t be fighting with myself, he answered.

What do you mean, D4fighting with yourself’?
The doctor subconsciously frowned. For example, if I had a patient with a
broken fibula, I would use my programs to choose a treatment and preform it. No
questions asked. But, now I’m second guessing myself. Like right now, part of
me told me to see how you were doing while the other part of me told me to
leave you alone. He sighed.

She put a hand on his arm. Don’t worry, Doctor. That’s normal.

He laughed softly. Perhaps for a corporal being, but I am a hologram! He
turned to Kes. You know what I want? I want to be on Voyager, in sickbay,
listening to Tom Paris babble about every woman on the ship or with B’Elanna
Torres yelling at me because I was gone and caused her some trouble. Anything
would be better than this, he whined.
I realize you’re homesick, so I am, but like you said, Captain Janeway
hasn’t given up on us yet and she will get us back, replied Kes, hoping to cheer up
the doctor.

It’s not only that. For months I wanted to be more human–having the
ability to leave sickbay, having people treat me like a real person, wanting a
name, but the moment I achieve what humans go through, I want my old life
back, he whined.

Kes would have never guessed how much different he could be if he
wasn’t a hologram. He seemed as helpless as a crew member on Voyager. Don’t
worry, Doctor. I am sure there is a way to convert you back into a hologram.

The doctor sighed heavily. I hope you’re right, Kes.
Just as he finished, the door opened. The girl introduced as Melissa
limped in the room alone. Good evening, you two, she greeted politely.

The two looked up at the girl. She was still badly beaten and bruised, but
you would have never been able to tell by her voice; it was once again cheerful
and enthusiastic.

I know you two are hungry, but I thought you would be interested in
knowing who I am and what I’m doing here. I was taken from the Alpha
Quadrant by the Fotians several months ago. As for who I am, my name is
Melissa Swaim of the U.S.S. Lexington.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
Captain Janeway was in the middle of her meal when she received the
excited call from her chief engineer. She looked at Chakotay when she heard
their chief engineer’s voice, he nodded. She excused herself from the table
knowing Chakotay would make up some excuse to cover her sudden absence.

Once she was out of everybody’s range of hearing, she returned, Janeway
here.

Captain, we have solved one of the problems. Harry and I have retrieved
the doctor from a holodeck program. We still can’t find his files, but we are
updating his program with medical files, so he should work as well as our real
doctor was, said B’Elanna.

Janeway let out a breath. At least they had a doctor, she had that to be
thankful for. But, if B’Elanna was correct, that meant someone had to have his
memory files. She had a good feeling it was the Fotians. Thank you, Lieutenant.
We will return to the ship shortly. Janeway out.

Now the question was, how was she going to get out of this
dinner. She shrugged. She would simply have to tell them the truth. But, she
was soon reminded of Neelix’s warning. She sighed, this had to be one of the
longest days of her life.

When she returned, she saw Chakotay’s questioning gaze. She turned to
Dojak. I am truly sorry, but that was my chief engineer. She has informed me
that my senior staff and I must return to the ship to. . .read reports. Out of the
corner of her eye she saw Tuvok’s eyebrow raise. Please, Tuvok, don’t say
anything, she silently begged. Fortunately, none of her staff said anything, they
simply stood up.

Dojak bowed his head. Of course, Captain. I know the constant
requirements of a leader on a vessel. However, I would like you to have this. He
held out his hand which held a computer chip. It is everything we know about the
Fotians.

Janeway gladly accepted the gift. Thank you, Dojak. She turned out of
the room. She hoped things weren’t as bad as they seemed, but with Voyager she
had learned to expect the worse.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *

Twenty minutes later the senior staff sat around the conference table. So
far this doctor has adapted quickly in this environment, but he still lacks having
experience from the crew. He says he would like to know if we are his enemies
or his friends. She paused, He’s not our doctor, but he’ll have to do for now.

No one could fight with that statement, but they still had questions
pondering in their head. Tom was the first to dare ask an query to the chief
engineer. But shouldn’t something prevent his files from being erased?

Of course! But for some reason they didn’t work. So, you are going to
have to learn to love this doctor as much as you loved the other one until we can
can find him, yelled B’Elanna.

Before she could yell any louder, Janeway spoke up. I have a feeling
these Fotians have something to do with this.

Tom, feeling pretty good for asking the question, put up a hand. Excuse
me, Captain, but why haven’t these Fotians come out and showed themselves? It
seems awfully strange that they would abduct Kes and possibly our computer
without giving us a clue as to who they are, he interrupted.

From the other side of the table, Neelix smiled grimly. He had been
thinking along those same lines. He just hoped the captain would pay attention to
what he said.

Their secrecy could be intentional. Knowing the Stoval would inform us
of them saved them the trouble of contacting us, replied Tuvok.
Yeah, well my trust in these Stovals has gone down, said Tom Paris. He
thought back to what happened at the dinner. Way down.
If I may add, Captain, the Stovals didn’t seemed too concerned with the
Fotians attacking them, added Chakotay. When he beamed aboard he was
surprised to see that the inside of the ship reminded him of the Enterprise, not a
war ship.

Before Janeway had time to comment on the attack on the Stovals, the
ship jolted. She didn’t need to say anything, everyone went to their posts.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
On the bridge, Janeway struggled to keep herself steady. There is a vessel
on the port bow, reported Tuvok when he saw Janeway’s inquisitive eyes.

On screen, she commanded. When the image appeared, the bridge crew,
with the exception of Tuvok, stopped in astonishment.

The ship was ten time larger than a Galaxy Class starship. It was a domed
blue ship with touches of teal. Quite artistic for a starship, Janeway thought.
Despite the comforting colors, on both sides of the vessel were two huge cannons.
The large holes seemed like two endless voids.
Hail them.

The channel is open, replied Tuvok.

This is Captain Janeway. Please, we mean you no harm. We ask if you
would– Her request was cut off by a shot from one of the cannons. Mr. Tuvok,
fire phasers, but only at their cannons. If Kes is on that ship, I don’t want
anything to happen to her. She turned to Neelix to show how much she cared
about his feelings.

Firing phasers, he said. Two seconds later, he added,Their defense
systems are down.

Harry looked up from his console. Already? That ship has enough power
to wipe us out and we get rid of that power in one shot? I don’t believe it.

The Vulcan’s eyebrows rose. Nevertheless, sensors do show they have no
firing power.

Tom, who had his mind on other things such as the Stovals, waved his
hands towards the image of their ship on the view screen. I just love how our
little friends come and help us in our time of need.
Captain, the enemy vessel is recloaking, said Tuvok.
Can we track them? demanded Janeway.

Negative, Captain. There is no sign of the ship, answered the security
chief.

That’s fine, we’ll get them later, Mr. Tuvok. Hail the Stovals, I’d like to
know just what they were doing while all this was going on, replied Janeway.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *
The expressions of the doctor and Kes were a cross of shock and pure
delight. If she was indeed from Starfleet, she could possibly help them find a
quicker route back to the Alpha Quadrant.

Melissa laughed softly. Would you two mind closing your mouths? I feel
awkward just standing here.

It was the doctor who spoke first. If what you say is true, then would you
mind telling us how you got here?

She shook her head. Not at all. But, first I thought you would like
something to eat. Knowing what the response would be, she approached a
replicator. Computer, this is Servant 91730, release all security measures
protecting this replicator.

State the security code now, came the harsh male voice.
Code identification: 1172985 Delta 293 release, she scrolled out.
Access granted. State nourishments desired.

I’d like meal 2a. Please release enough food for two humanoid adults, she
replied.

Aren’t you going to eat? asked Kes.

She shook her head softly, afraid to irritate the wound. Actually, I haven’t
been that hungry for the last couple of days.
By then, their meal of chicken and side dishes had appeared. She brought
it to the table and allowed the visitors to begin their meal before she continued.
Are you certain you want to hear the entire story?
Kes nodded. If you could we would welcome something to pass the time
away. She cut the meat. Could you also tell us a little about yourself? It would
make me feel a little bit better knowing about the person who is commanded to
serve us.

Melissa nodded, but not before allowing herself to laugh at the doctor.
The way he was cutting the meat reminded Melissa of a surgery. She shook her
head and began her story.

All right. As I told you before, I’m Melissa Swaim. I went to Starfleet
Academy and graduated in 2371. When I graduated I was seventeen years old,
the youngest graduate from the academy. If you look under my records I was
known as the child prodigy. She shook her head in disgust. Before her days at
the academy, she had been given that nickname and now she was tired of the
name. My parents were killed three years ago by Cardassians. My twin, Wyatt,
lived with our Aunt Rachel and Uncle Steven after they died. I’m mostly
Betazoid though I do have some human in me.

Now for my story on how I got here. It started roughly six months ago, I
had been assigned to the Lexington for six weeks as the holo-technican. One day
we were in the Clissaria Cluster and an unidentified ship decloaked. They
opened a channel demanding a telepath. Of course, I was the only one on the
ship, she laughed softly, as if it was some kind of inside joke.

Captain Dole swore up and down there were none on his vessel, but by
then they had discovered me. The ship knocked our shields out in one blow and
beamed me over there. They threw me in a cell and told me to be quiet. I sat
there for several hours when one came in the room and explained to me they were
going to make me their personal slave, as well as there link to humanoids in the
Alpha Quadrant, she continued.
But, if they could come make a holograph alive, why didn’t they just
create a Betazoid? asked Kes.

Because they need biological elements and the data. In a holographic
program, the hologram only know their part in the holoprogram, not the outside
world, except in special cases. Take the doctor, he’s quite aware of the outside
world and has knowledge of every type of medical procedure in the Alpha
Quadrant.

But, why would they take the energy of making me alive when they could
have taken another officer from the ship like Tom Paris? asked the hologram.

That’s easy. You two are the most knowledgeable of the anatomy and
physiology of humanoids, she replied simply.

The doctor huffed, not pleased with the answer. He waved a hand toward
the teenager. Please, continue with your story.

Anyway, I couldn’t act anyway but happy or else the would beat me.
After a couple of days, they gave me a couple of dresses to wear and threw my
uniform with the rest of my belongings, which are in the room I was transportered
in.

As for their space travel, I have learned they have the ability to go past
Warp 10. I believe their maximum warp is seventeen. I have been trying to
figure out how that is possible, but so far I haven’t been able to, she said.

The doctor allowed his medical knowledge came into play. he couldn’t
look at her wounds any longer without analyzing them. Have you been feeling
woozy or seeing spots? I’m concerned with the gash on your heaE

Even if I did, you wouldn’t be able to fix it. They would find out and beat
me again. They know you pity me and warned me not to allow you to help me.
They think all Starfleet people are the same, no good, she replied.

How do they know we are Starfleet? asked Kes.

Before you were taken here, they drugged you heavily and did what they
call a mind probe. They control your mind, making you release private
information. She smiled sadly, sorry she had to see the deed being done. At first,
though I thought you were Louis, she said referring to the doctor.

Louis? he asked.

Sure, Louis Zimmerman, your creator. He and I were friends for some
time, but I’ll tell you about that later. Back to the story, I read your minds and
told them everything I knew. She paused, unsure she wanted to ask the next
question. Um, is it true Harry Kim is on Voyager?

Kes nodded. He is. Were you two friends?

Melissa smiled. Sure were, feeling embarrassed, she changed the subject,
but now we have to think of a way for you two to get back to Voyager. The two
officers looked at each other doubtfully. Unless you two want to be the beginning
of their experiment. Without waiting for their answer she walked out of the
room. Be back later, I’m being called.

They both had a confused look on their face, for they had heard nothing.
She tapped the side of her head. Telepathy, she said simply as the doors shut
behind her.

Kes could hardly believe such a lively spirit could live in such a dead
shell. She couldn’t understand how the Betazoid could talk about something so
horrible as if it was some kind of fairy tale. She smiled at the doctor, She didn’t
didn’t seem the least bit sad.
He raised his eyebrows. True, however I am more interested in her
relationship with my programmer. He let a couple of seconds pass before he
spoke again. And that wound to her head.

Do you think it could be a bleed? she asked, feeling more at home with
the discussion of medical diagnoses.

I would hypothesize that to be a highly possible prognosis. When she
returns I would like to scan her with the tricorder, answered the doctor. He
looked out of the window and saw Voyager with his stars as a background. If she
does manage to free us, I’ll never complain about being a hologram again.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* *

Before the channel was open Harry called, Captain, we have a problem.
We are getting injury reports from around the ship and Doc’s going crazy. He’s
asking, make that demanding for some help.
Janeway nodded. Mr. Paris, get down to sickbay.
But, Captain–

She stopped him before he could sweet talk her into anything. Now,
Lieutenant! He stood up and left, but not before he made it clear he didn’t want
to follow her orders.

Neelix smiled. He never cared for the flippant officer, or walking
hormone as he often liked to call him. Even after his jealously with Kes was
over, he still didn’t like the cocky attitude he displayed towards Janeway. He
enjoyed being on the bridge seeing him being ordered as if he was a young child.

Meanwhile, Janeway was busy trying to hail the Stovals when Harry
called, Captain, we are being hailed by the Stoval ship.

On screen.

Dojak appeared, as if he had recently been waken up. Captain, our
sensors show your ship was attacked several minutes ago.

Janeway nodded, trying to get her anger from showing. That’s right,
Dojak. Why didn’t your ship assist?

Dojak frowned, it was almost like he didn’t understand why she was
asking the question. Captain, this is our Rotal, our time to rest. No one works
unless there is some kind of emergency, he tried to explain.
Then, how do you know the Fotians won’t attack you when you are in
your Rotal? asked Tuvok.

We signed the Treaty of Rotal about fifty years ago. It states that from
1800 to 0730 hours neither sides are permitted to attack another another. Since
you weren’t there to sign it, they could rightfully attack you, he answered.

Rightfully attack? thought Janeway. What kind of people was she dealing
with? She tried to push his last comment out of her mind, for now. Later she
would talk about Dojak’s attitude with Chakotay.

All right. Do you know what we should expect? asked Janeway.
I would assume they are trying to repair to their defense systems. You got
them pretty good, Dojak said, smiling grimly.

How long do you think it will take them?

He shrugged. It depends, if they have everyone working on it, two hours.
If not, it could be up to five. Now if you don’t mind, Captain, I’d like to return to
my Rotal. Until 0730 hours. The channel blinked out.

Chakotay smiled grimly at Janeway. Not one for pleasantries anymore, is
he?

I know what you mean. Before she could invite him into her ready room,
her communicator hummed.

Sickbay to Janeway. This is Doctor Zimmerman, he said uncertainly. He
couldn’t help but to feel a bit awkward using that as his name, though he had
been told several times that really was he was called.
Janeway frowned. The only time he had been called that name was when
he was trapped in the holodeck and though he was a real human. Obviously, this
was Tom Paris’ way in getting him back for his rude behavior. She knew she
would have to have that talk about being courteous to fellow officer to Tom soon.
Yes, Doctor?

Is there anybody else who can help me? We’re rather busy down here, he
asked, desperately hoping the answer would be positive.
I’m sorry, Doctor, but your student is not available. She glanced around
the bridge and saw Neelix humming some song from his home planet. However,
I will send Neelix down to assist you.

Thank you so much, Captain. I don’t know how I can ever pay you back,
but I will, he said. Oh, one more thing, Captain, could you have Chief Torres
keep searching for my memory files or have her give me access to your personal
logs. I would like to know if I hate you or not or at least try to guess.

All right, Doctor. I will have her start searching soon. But right now we
are in a bit of a crisis, replied Janeway.

Thank you once again, Captain. Sickbay out, he said closing the channel.

Captain Janeway called her chief engineer. B’Elanna, after you are done
making sure everything is fine, I want you to keep on searching for those files.
Mr. Kim, I want you to keep an eye out for our friends. Chakotay, Tuvok, you’re
with me.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *

Kes and the doctor fell asleep right after they finished eating their meal.
They didn’t know if the food had something in it or if they were more tired than
they thought.

The doctor thought it was amazing to actually feel his body losing energy.
He knew every medical aspect there was to know about sleeping, of course, but to
experience such an action was incredible for the former hologram.

For a while nothing went on. Suddenly he was no longer on the Fotian
vessel, but in sickbay on Voyager. A wave of relief washed over him. He turned
to Kes, who was watching him. Are we really back on Voyager, Kes?

She nodded. Of course. Captain Janeway beamed us back with Melissa,
remember?

Am I to assume I am a human and not a hologram?

She nodded again. Yes, when Captain Janeway beamed you back over,
the bio-patterns were fully integrated into your body.

This time he nodded, putting the new information in his brain. Before he
had a chance to ask the Ocampa why he couldn’t remember anything, Lieutenant
Paris came in, carrying a critically wounded Janeway. Tom set her down on a
biobed and looked at the doctor expectantly.

Remembering what he was originally programmed to do, he grabbed a
medical tricorder and scanned Janeway. She had been shot with a phaser at
pointblank range. He had only a few seconds to save her life.
The standard treatment was to give her a hypospray of Cortazine and run a
regenerator over the wound, but, for some reason, the doctor couldn’t remember
the simple procedure. Panicking because time was running out, the doctor
grabbed the closest hypospray, which was full of Fimi, a cure for Talaxian Flu,
and administered it to Janeway.

Milliseconds later the console buzzed loudly to confirm Janeway’s
unnecessary death. He looked helplessly at Kes, who had simply stood there
during the whole ordeal. Tom walked up to his face and yelled, Doctor, do you
realize what you have done?

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Kes moving. She had a hypospray and
was making her way to the doctor. He turned to push her away, but she was too
quick. The last thing he heard was the hiss of the hypospray.
When he opened he eyes he found that he was still on the Fotian ship with
Kes snoring lightly in the bed to the left of him. He wiped the sweat off his face
and noticed his hands were trembling. He would have never imagined dreams
could be so life-like.

He tried to look around, but he remembered they had turned off the lights.
It was the only thing they could do without the computer demanding an access
code. Computer, turn on lights.

The green lights came on, flooding the room with color. Kes sat up,
wondering why the lights had invaded her slumber. Go back to sleep, he
instructed. She followed his order and fell into a dreamless sleep.
Not being able to convince himself to return to sleep, the doctor sat up
and walked to the window. He looked through it and saw Voyager floating in
space. He sighed ruefully. At that moment he realized how dear the people on
Voyager were to him.

I’ll get you home, Doctor, I promise, came a voice.
He turned around and saw Melissa standing behind him. I hope you’re
right, he said.

Of course I am. After all, one of your programmers couldn’t be wrong,
could they? Melissa asked.

You are one of my programmers? he asked, but he knew her name
sounded somewhat familiar.

She nodded proudly. Yes, I am. When I served my internship on the
Enterprise I met Reg Barclay, I am sure you know who he is. He was assigned to
create part of your program. Knowing my expertise is in holo-programing, he
pulled a few strings so I could be on the team, too. Reg was in charge of your
interpersonal skills while I was in charge of programing your personality. She
smiled mischievously. Everyone at Starfleet headquarters always said I put too
much of my sarcasm and causticity in your program, but I don’t think so.

The doctor smiled, feeling somehow connected to the teenager. No, not
enough, especially in dealing with Lt. Paris. I need all the sarcasm I can get, he
agreed.

She looked down at her hands and was reminded why she made the
journey to their quarters in the first place. Doctor, you need to wake up Kes. I
have something to show you.

He walked as quietly as he could to the Ocampa. Gently he shook her
shoulder to wake her up. Kes, get up!

She opened her eyes widely, momentary forgetting where they were.
What is it, Doctor? she asked quietly.

Ensign Swaim has returned and wishes to speak with us, he said.
Kes got up slowly and made her way to Melissa. She had had trouble
sleeping. There were too many telepathic messages being sent for the Ocampa to
sleep peacefully.

Melissa smiled sympathetically at her knowing what she was going
through. I have a present for you. She held out her hand. In her palm were three
communicators–two looking a bit worn, the other looking brand new. I have
been trying to work on a way to send out a signal without our captors knowing.

And what have you learned? asked the doctor, scanning her with the
medical tricorder.

If I send out a signal on a lower EM frequency it will work.
Unfortunately, I had only enough time to adjust my communicator, she said
apologetically. Besides, you would have to type an access code to get clearance
in the main computer and it wouldn’t recognize either of you. When I contact
your ship, I’ll be sure to tell them you are fine.

Almost fine, the doctor said, finishing the scan. Remember, I am not
supposed to be human.

I know that, Doctor, she said. She looked at them nervously. Are you
ready?

The captives nodded, not sure if they were ready at all.
She typed in an access code and hoped it worked. Finally Melissa heard
the computer say, Access granted.

She let out a breath and hit her communicator. Swaim to Kim.
There was a momentary silence. This is Kim. Would you please restate
your name?

She smiled at Kes and the doctor, who appeared to be relieved. Harry, it’s
me, Melissa. Her heart was racing. She knew if anyone could help, it would be
Harry.

Melissa? he yelled. His raised voice startled her as much as the captured
passengers from Voyager.

Shh! Yes, it’s me. Now listen the doctor and Kes are here with me–

Doctor?

Yes. We’re here–

How can he be there?

She sighed irritably. She loved Harry as she did her own brother, but this
was getting tiresome. Never mind that. We’re on the Fotian ship and unless you
help us, we’re all in trouble. Talk with your captain and come up with one of
your marvelous planes. Contact me in ten minutes. You are going to have to set
your communicator to project a lower EM frequency or else they’ll detect it. Got
that? she asked, speaking at a fast rate.

Yes, but how can you be there? he couldn’t help but to ask.
The doctor and she sighed exasperatedly. You’re full of questions today,
aren’t you? they asked in unison. They looked at each other and Melissa smiled.
Maybe they were right the Starfleet HQ, she thought.

There’s no time for questions, Harry. If your plan works we’ll have all the
time in the world to talk about it. Swaim out. She smiled at the Voyager
passengers.

I hope he tells Neelix. I don’t want him worrying about me, said Kes.

I’m sure Harry will. Next time we talk I’ll tell him to tell Neelix, replied
Melissa.

The doctor, meanwhile, wasn’t paying attention to the women’s
conversation. After she had signed off, he used the opportunity to scan her with
the medical tricorder. He was concerned with what he discovered. He cleared
his throat. Melissa, according to these tricorder readings, unless we stop that
bleed within ten hours, you are going to die.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *

Harry felt his heart race. He couldn’t believe he just spoke with Melissa,
his best friend from home. Hearing her impatient voice made him feel that much
closer to home, though he couldn’t help but wonder how or why she was there.

He left his post and made his way to Janeway’s ready room. He knew she
was in some type of meeting, but this was top priority. He walked in the room
without a chime. Captain! We need to talk, he said desperately.

The shock on Janeway’s face, due to the ensign’s outburst, spilt over her
face. She knew this was very important for the ensign had trouble talking with
her, let alone bursting in one of her private meetings. She sat back in her chair
and looked at Harry, now interested in what he had to say.

Harry used those seconds to somewhat compose himself. Captain, I just
received a transmission from Melissa Swaim who was–

The Melissa Swaim? asked Janeway.

He nodded. She is on the Fotian ship with Kes and the doctor, somehow.
According to her, we have less than ten minutes to come up with a plan and save
them, he said.

Janeway swallowed. Are you sure it was Ensign Swaim and not someone
pretending to be her?

Harry nodded without thinking. He knew that voice as well as his own.
Yes, Captain. It was definitely Melissa’s voice. Not only that, I heard the
doctor’s voice it the background, too.

Ignoring the questions she was tempted to ask, she made Harry repeat the
conversation he held with the holo-genius.

She looked at Tuvok and Chakotay and half-smiled. At least for now they
were safe with a trusted officer, though something told her it wasn’t going to be
that way much longer. She looked at Harry, who was pacing back and forth and
put up a hand to stop him.

Knowing this, what should we do? asked Janeway.
Save them, of course! exclaimed Harry.

But, how do we really know that was really Ensign Swaim or if it was her,
how do we know the Fotians aren’t tracking her? asked Chakotay, despite his
personal feelings to save whoever he could.

Harry looked at them as if they needed to be committed. Captain, you can
not simply let them stay on the Fotian ship. If it really was Melissa, which I know
it was, she’s in need of our help. She’s not one to ask for help unless she really
needs it. Trust me, if anyone would know, I would.

Janeway looked out her window. She knew what she would do before she
even asked them the question. The captain turned back to her eager officers.
We’ll try to save them. Now the real question is, how do we go about doing this?

All three men spoke at once.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
Kes saw the teenager swallow tightly. Quickly, Melissa hid her fears and
smiled. In that case, Doctor, I hope Harry comes up with a good plan.

He didn’t smile back, he just looked at Kes with a confused look.
Kes knew the Betazoid did not believe the prognosis, so she would let her
stay that way. Instead, she changed the subject to something she had been
wondering since they got word of their escaping. What about you, Doctor? Have
you decided to stay human or go back to being a hologram?

The doctor began walking. He didn’t like being looked at the way Kes
and Melissa were. I have determined that I will stay a hologram. Being human
would put me in a situation where I wouldn’t be comfortable in, he answered.

Kes nodded. She somehow knew the hologram would make that choice.
Besides, the doctor was a hologram and she, along with the doctor, knew that if
he became human he wouldn’t be himself.

Melissa smiled. That’s excellent, Doctor. If you became human I
couldn’t brag about you to the other people on Voyager, she laughed.
Voyager. Hearing the name of the Ocampa’s home made her smile. Just
think, in a few minutes I could be with Neelix. He’ll never let me out of his sight
now, she said with a smile.

This one adventure showed her how much she truly loved the short
Talaxian. She hoped that he wasn’t as worried about her as she was about him.
Every time she tried to listen to his thoughts, she was interrupted by the Fotians’
telepathic messages.

The doctor was surprised at how optimistic the women were. He wanted
to remind them that they hadn’t even escaped the ship yet or even come up with a
means of escape yet.

Melissa nodded. You’re right, Doctor, she said, hearing his thoughts. For
now we’ll have to see what ideas your ship has to offer us, the Betazoid said
simply.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *

Five minutes later, Harry was trying to reestablish the link with Melissa.
He was sitting in Janeway’s ready room. Hearing the news, Neelix and the rest of
the senior staff joined the others.

When he finished retuning his communicator, he looked at the others
nervously. He gently tapped his comm badge. Kim to Swaim.
Less than a second had passed before she answered, I’m here, Harry. Go
ahead.

He licked his lips. This is what we have come up with. Since we can’t
locate your signals, you will need to send out a higher EM pulse from
communicator, so we can beam you over. we would program the transporter to
beam you out as soon as the signal was sent. Doc’s files would need to be
transferred over, too.

Silence filled the room. That’s excellent, Harry, but there’s just one thing.
The doctor is no longer a hologram, he’s a human.
A human? asked seven voices.

Yes, the Fotians have the technology to convert holographic images to real
things. I’ve talked it over with the doctor and he would like to return to being a
hologram. The only way we could do that is if I beam him over myself.

How do you know if your transporters are working? asked Janeway.
What do you mean, Captain? asked Melissa. Janeway couldn’t help but to
ask in her mind how she knew she was the captain. Don’t worry, Captain, I’m
not a spy. You were the commanding officer of Voyager, the ship the vanished
for no apparent reason, everyone knows who you are. Plus, I’m a Betazoid,
so…nothing is really a secret to me.
Thank you for that reassurance, Ensign. Back to the transporters, your
ship was attacked over an hour ago, how can you be sure all your primary systems
are functional? asked Janeway.

I didn’t feel our ship getting attacked, came the confused voice of
Melissa.

I didn’t either, said Kes.

Nor I, replied the doctor.

Regardless of what the ensign had said, Janeway’s heart smiled at hearing
their voices. At least she knew for certain they were with someone Harry knew
and trusted. What she couldn’t understand was why they didn’t feel the ship
being attacked.

. . .We’ll figure out that mess later. This is what I can do, I’ll take the
doctor and Kes to the transporter room and beam them over directly to
sickbay–run a full diagnostic on the doctor and a medical scan on Kes. They
should be fine, but they’ll be unconscious. Fotian transporters aren’t they nicest
way of traveling. I’ll send out a high EM pulse and from there you should be able
to beam me over, explained Melissa.

Janeway nodded at Harry. That’s fine, Melissa. How long should that
take?

About ten minutes, maybe less if no one stops me. Oh, by the way, be
sure to tell Neelix Kes is fine. Swaim out.

Now that the plan was in motion, Janeway felt it was necessary to start
issuing orders. B’Elanna, I need you to get rid of that other doctor. Tom, when
Kes and the doctor get here I want you to make sure there’s nothing wrong with
them. Harry, go down to Transporter Room 4 and be prepared to beam Ensign
Swaim over. Dismissed.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *

Melissa turned to them and whispered, We had better go soon. The
Fotians will find out about the communication sooner or later and I don’t want to
be here when they do, she explained.

They silently left their quarters. Melissa could immediately tell
something was wrong. It was in the middle of the Rotal and everyone was awake
and working.

She had the doctor and Kes hide behind a wall while she tried to figure
out what was going on. She found Jokad in the next room. He was busy applying
horns to his newly colored, bald head. Confused, she asked, Jokad, what’s going
on?

Startled, he turned to face his slave. Despite the many times he had
beaten her, part of him trusted and admired her for putting up with it for so long.
He smiled kindly at her. Melissa backed away, he had never committed such an
act before.

Let’s just say, I’m getting a chance to show my acting ability to a bunch of
humans, he said slyly.

She squinted her eyes, trying to figure out what he meant. It was no use in
trying to read his mind–he had sealed it off. What does that mean?

Well, I guess I can tell you since you or your friends will never be talking
to anyone from Voyager. We have been playing a little prank on our
slow-minded friends. I am posing to be Dojak, a leader of the Stoval, who is
fighting a war with the mean Fotians, he said in a sympathetic voice.

But why? she asked.

Because, slave, Janeway has no clue that we have taken their people, he
explained.

The anger rose up in Melissa. Now she understood why the people from
Voyager couldn’t find them or why they hadn’t felt the attack. The attack was a
hologram turned real; they were scanning for a fictional ship.
Blocking her own mind, she bowed low to Jokad. The visitors will be
waking soon. I must prepare their breakfasts, she lied.
He nodded as she was leaving. I must leave as well, I feel the urge to
make a call to Captain Janeway, he said mostly to himself.
Melissa’s eyes widened. If Janeway believed Jokad as much as he said
she did, she would probably reveal their plan of escape. She knew if they didn’t
make it, it really would be the death of her–Jokad would make sure of it.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *
B’Elanna Torres walked into sickbay feeling assured everything was going
to go smoothly in the rescue operation. She peered around the doctor’s domain,
but found his program wasn’t running. Computer, begin program. Disregarding
the fact he had been there less than a day, B’Elanna felt it was necessary to at
least inform the doctor his program was being terminated.

B’Elanna smiled as if she couldn’t believe what she was doing–showing
compassion to a hologram. Obviously Kes’ constant reminders the doctor was
more than a simple hologram was having an effect on the chief engineer.

Seconds later, the doctor appeared in sickbay. Please state the nature of
the medical emergency. When he saw B’Elanna he smiled at her. Ahh,
Lieutenant, you will be happy to know that I have updated my program with the
crew’s personal logs. At least now I can make my own judgment as to your
characters.

For example, did you know Captain Janeway is using her holodeck time
running a gothic holo-novel or how much Tom is scared of failing again, and I
had no idea that you have those feelings for Commander Chakotay, he said in a
phony astonished tone.

That’s enough, Doctor. I’ve come here to erase your program. She didn’t
like beating around the bush. Besides, he was a day old hologram, it wasn’t like
he had grown attached to the crew.
His brown eyes grew at an incredible rate. Why would you do something
like that? If you have to, reprogram me. Please don’t erase my program just
because you don’t like my personality!

B’Elanna frowned, not believing the doctor was so desperate to stay alive.
She didn’t know why the word alive came in her head, he was nothing more than
data files. Doctor! Calm down. We aren’t erasing your program because we
don’t like who you are. The real doctor is returning, she explained.

He sat in the chair behind the desk, pouting. What was I meant to be, a
temporary hologram until your beloved doctor returns?
She nodded, getting provoked by the doctor’s sulking. Actually, yes.
Now that he’s returning, we don’t need you any longer.
He shrugged his shoulders. Fine, if you want to delete my program do it.

Fine, said B’Elanna. Computer–

Before you do, I’d like to write a final farewell speech. You may read it
to the crew when you have the time, replied the doctor.
The chief engineer rolled her eyes. She was tired of this doctor’s whining
and complaining. Personally, she liked the original doctor–he was someone who
dared to challenge her word. Computer, end program.
Can I assume. . . the new doctor managed to get out before he vanished
forever.

B’Elanna let out a breath. At least that was over with, she thought to
herself. Pushing all thoughts of pitying the doctor away, she began erasing all
evidence of the other doctor existing. She could not imagine how their doctor
would react to them recreating him.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *

Captain Janeway was about to go down to sickbay when Lt. Tuvok called
from his station, Captain, we are being hailed by the Stoval vessel.
Janeway sighed. She wanted to be in sickbay when her people came back.
On screen, she said.

Moments later, Dojak’s face appeared on the screen. Greetings, Captain.
How are we doing this morning after Rotal?

Janeway smiled briefly at him, wanting him to get to the point of why he
called. It was delightful. May I ask what do I owe the pleasure of you calling?

I thought I might ask how the progress is on your people. Have the
Fotians given any clue as to why they may have taken them?
Not exactly, said Janeway. She was immediately reminded of the
conversation her and her officers held before they were attacked. She knew they
wouldn’t approve of her telling the Stovals of their contact with Melissa, but they
hadn’t done anything to provoke mistrust. We were contacted by another
Starfleet officer about five minutes ago and she told us our people are with her.
Right now we are planning on their escape.

Dojak’s eyebrows rose, but other than that, no one could tell the feeling
swelling inside him. Really? What is this marvelous plan of yours?

Now it seemed to Janeway he was being a little pushy and demanding.
She felt the need to keep silent and not release any information to Dojak. We
haven’t come up with anything yet, she lied. I am going to contact her in several
minutes. Janeway out. She turned to Tuvok. If the Stovals try to call, ignore
their hails. Chakotay, you have the bridge, I’ll be in sickbay.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *
Kes ran as fast as she could to keep up with the doctor and Melissa. She
hadn’t a clue as to why Melissa had practically pushed them and started running
as fast as she could. That was a little more than five minutes before and Kes
didn’t know how much longer she could keep running.
From the background she heard several people call, Stop! Slave, we
command you to stop!

Come on, Melissa urged. We’re almost there.
Quickly, she slid in a transporter room and put a lock on the door. That
will keep them out for a couple of minutes. There is something important I need
you tell Captain Janeway in case I’m don’t make it. Tell her the Stovals are
really the Fotians. She will understand what I am talking about.

The doctor frowned. Why wouldn’t you make it? Ensign Kim will get
you out of here.

I know, Doctor. Let’s just say the last few months have made me a
pessimist. Plus, she said, trying to change the subject off her not making it back
to Voyager, If I need as much medical attention as you say I do, it may take a
while for me to wake up. She opened a cabinet from the side of the room. Inside
it was a box. It’s all my stuff, she explained, When you see Harry, please tell him
what it is.

The door outside was being pushed in. Hurry, get on the transporter pad.
They dragged her belongings onto a transporter pad as she hastily typed in the
access code to receive control the transporter. As I told them on Voyager, you
will be knocked out, so don’t flip if you see three or four faces staring down at
you.

The two nodded quickly. Before they followed her orders, Kes whispered
softly, Thank you for saving us.

Melissa shook her head. It was my pleasure. I’m just glad you didn’t
have to suffer with the Fotians as long as I did.
The doctor smiled sadly at her. If it is true that I am going back to a
hologram, my program will have no record of meeting you. I was looking
forward in finding out more about myself.

Melissa grinned back. Don’t worry about that, Doctor. When you’re in
the transporter, I’ll convert all your memories into files. You will remember
everything that has happened here, she said with a wink, Now, get on the
transporter before it’s too late!
Now they climbed the few stairs and took their places. Immediately,
Melissa began the process of beaming them over. It took her a half a minute to
convert the doctor back to his original state, but soon it was over. She had saved
her new friends.

Unfortunately, at the same time the guards had released the lock on the
door. Seeing their was no hope of escaping them, she tried as fast as she could to
send out a high EM signal. She saw a guard walk up beside her, but she made no
notice of him. All she needed was two more seconds and she would be able to
get Harry’s attention to beam her home, however, that point in time never came.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *
The doctor opened his eyes with a smile on his face. He could hear the
computer talking to his program. He started to sit up, wanting to know what his
condition was. B’Elanna came over and pushed him down like he had done to his
patients many times before.

Lieutenant, he said hotly, I am perfectly capable of functioning as CMO.
Please, let me return to my job.

Well, he’s definitely himself. There’s no question about that, she said to
someone to the side of her. It could have been the doctor, but he could of swore
there was a bit of resentment in her eyes.
She lifted her arm and allowed him to sit up. Captain Janeway was beside
him with a smile on her face. The smile was troubled, the doctor could somehow
tell. Maybe he had learned something from his being human–the ability to read
into emotions better. It’s good to see you awake, Doctor.

How long have I been out?

About ten minutes, she answered.

And Kes?

She’s still unconscious, but according to Tom Paris, she should be fine,
told Janeway.

Humph, he said disapprovingly. He looked around sickbay, searching for
Melissa. If Tom hadn’t noticed her injuries, he needed to be more worried for
Kes than he had been. Where’s Ensign Swaim? She should be on life support.

Janeway’s gaze turned away from the doctor’s brown eyes. We never got
her signal. I suppose she is on the ship.

The doctor swallowed. He had a feeling the child was in for another
punishment: death. He tried to, unsuccessfully, push that thought away from him
and turned his concern to Kes.

She was lying on the biobed breathing normally, though her face was
troubled. The doctor had a feeling she knew something had happened to Melissa
through her telepathic abilities. He ran a medical tricorder over her. It showed
she was fine other than being a bit dehydrated.
Janeway looked at him. She’s going to be fine. She’ll need some water
when she wakes up. She’s dehydrated.

Neelix pushed his way forward. Was it terrible over there, Doctor? Did
they make Kes do anything?

No, they did not make Kes do anything other than stay in a room with me.
He turned to B’Elanna, who he knew would think that would be the worst
punishment of all. For some I know that would be pure torture, but I don’t think
she minded too much. B’Elanna shot him a dirty look.

Remembering what Melissa had said in the transporter room, he grabbed
Janeway’s arm. Captain, I almost forgot. Ensign Swaim wanted me to inform
you that she discovered the Stovals are really the Fotians in disguise. Everyone in
sickbay looked up at him in surprise. He had four pairs of eyes staring at him.
He simply returned the look to them.
But, what about that other ship? she asked mostly to herself, hoping he
would stop giving her the look he was sending her.

The doctor shrugged, thinking she was speaking to him. They made me, a
hologram, into a real person. Why couldn’t they have done that to a ship?

Janeway’s eyes widened. Of course, Doctor. She walked to the door,
heading for the bridge to inform her other officers what she speculated. Doctor, I
want you to call me the moment Kes wakes up.
He nodded. Neelix was standing besides the doctor, trying to figure out
more of their abductions. Why would they abduct two people, one that’s not even
real? No offense, Doctor, he said.

The doctor wasn’t offended by the Talaxian’s comment, rather he was
pleased with the fact he wouldn’t be known as a human. If you want information
on our little adventure, you’ll have to talk to Kes about it, personally, I am not in
talkative mood.

He saw Harry hunched in a chair over the box of Melissa’s belongings.
Those are Ensign Swaim’s items, he said softly.

Harry looked up. I know, Doctor. She’s had this same old suitcase ever
since I gave it to her for her thirteenth birthday. He looked at the hologram. How
was she, Doc?

The doctor pulled up a chair to join the ensign. The truth? Harry nodded.
She was their slave over there. Harry’s face changed from being unemotional to
pure shock. She had been severely beaten several times, but other than that she
was fine. He didn’t want to tell Harry to prognosis he gave her in the ship.

Fine?! He sighed softly. I actually thought something was going to go
right, but I was wrong. The one time I have a chance to be with my best friend,
she’s an overworked slave on an enemy vessel.
Believe me, I wanted to have her here,too. Do you know she was one of
my programmers? asked the doctor.

Harry’s brows went down, as if to try to remember if she came bounding
in their quarters about news of the hologram. Before he forced himself to
concentrate on the doctor’s question, he thought of the time Melissa and he
shared quarters. It was during her second year of going to the academy when her
parents died. She had always lived in their house, but found that she couldn’t.
Harry offered to let her stay with him until she could find a place to stay when he
saw the misery she was going through staying at the house. She had stayed there
until she was assigned to the Lexington.

Finally, he remembered one day about six months before he came on
Voyager when Melissa came bounding in about her being assigned to some big
holo-programing project. He didn’t pay much attention to it then because there
was always a big hologram project in her book. Now, he realized the doctor was
the project she had been talking about. No, I didn’t. Now that you say that,
though, it does make sense. I have never seen her get so worked up over one
project before.

The doctor nodded. I’m sorry I never got to tell her thank you. With that,
he left for his office to do some thinking about the events that happened to him in
less than a twenty-four hour period.
Harry looked at the sadness on the doctor’s face and imagined grief on his
own. He studied the reflection of himself in a glass. He knew he couldn’t let
Melissa stay on the ship. By what the doctor had said Harry knew she wouldn’t
make it if no one saved her. Harry bolted out of sickbay, he knew what he needed
to do.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *

Fifteen minutes later, Kes sat up quickly with panic over her face. She
knew Melissa was in trouble, but then remembered she had beamed them over to
Voyager. Neelix, seeing his love was awake, took the hand he held and squeezed
it softly.

Kes turned her head to face the Talaxian. She smiled and got up from her
position. She gave Neelix a hug. Oh, Neelix, it is so good to see you. I thought I
might never be able to touch your hand again.
Don’t ever worry about that, Sweetie. I will save you no matter what it
takes, Neelix said, glad to see the Ocampa was all right. He led her to the desk in
the doctor’s office where he had set up a variety of drinks. The doctor informed
us that you are a bit dehydrated. I whipped up a batch of every type of drink I
knew.

And more, the doctor said from behind his desk. On the floor around him
were at least twenty more drinks, three which were spilt across the doctor’s
carpet. How are you feeling?

Other than the feeling something was wrong, she was feeling no different
than she was normally. I’m fine. She looked around sickbay like the doctor had
done. Where’s Melissa?

The doctor frowned. According to Captain Janeway, Ensign Swaim never
was beamed over here.

Kes’ hands went to her mouth. She never made it? You mean she is still
on the ship with those evil people.

The doctor nodded sadly. Now that I know you’re fine, I have to contact
Captain Janeway. She wanted to be informed the second you were awake and
fine. He hit his communicator softly. Sickbay to Janeway.

Janeway here. Go ahead, Doctor.

Kes is awake and appears to be doing well. Mr. Neelix is down here,
helping her drink liquids, he replied.

Excellent, Doctor. A change in her voice came when she next spoke,
When’s the last time you saw or spoke with Ensign Kim?
About fifteen minutes ago. Why?

Ensign Kim isn’t on Voyager any longer. We think he beamed to the
Stoval vessel to try to save Ensign Swaim. We are trying to get a lock on him, but
we can’t, explained Janeway.

The doctor and Kes looked at each other. They both knew it was going to
be a long day.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
Harry walked slowly around the corner to make sure no one was there. In
one hand he held a phaser, the other a tricorder. He had gone to the transporter
room on Voyager and linked his communicator to the transporter. All he had to
do was touch his communicator and Melissa was home. He hoped she still had
hers because that was his ticket back to Voyager. Now he had find her.

As he walked past a door he felt himself pulled towards it. It was almost
as if he could sense Melissa in the other room. He tried to go through the
doorway, but the door wouldn’t open.

The. . .lock . . .Harry. Unlock. . .it, came a voice in his head.

He almost jumped and hit the ceiling because it was Melissa’s. He knew
she had used her telepathy abilities. He unlocked the door and came through.
Now that he finally had gotten his wish to see his friend, he wished he hadn’t.

She was in the middle of the empty room, near death. She was bleeding
in several different places. Her breathing was irregular, almost as if something
was crushing her lungs. Her fingers had been twisted back so far it touched her
arm. Her blue eyes were half-open, though she wasn’t paying much attention to
what was going on around her. Hope had died during her last beating.

Harry ran towards her, hoping she would make some sign that she knew
who he was. She opened her hand. Harry saw her communicator and took it. He
gave his communicator to her and took hers. Now that he had the communicator
all he needed was a high EM pulse.

He turned back to Melissa and moved her fingers so she tapped the
communicator. I’ll see you later, he whispered as she twinkled away.
When he saw her completely vanish, he walked out of the room in search
of a computer console. If he blasted one with his phaser, that would be a high
enough pulse to activate the transporter.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a Fotian. The Fotian walked away, as
if he had seen nothing out of the ordinary, fooling the young ensign. Harry
walked slowly, not aware he was being watched.

The Fotian Melissa knew as Jokad saw Harry and touched his arm
throwing the ensign into a telepathic coma. If you can’t suffer, Melissa, he will,
he said telepathically.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * *
Melissa Swaim materialized in sickbay barely alive. The doctor
immediately noticed her and beckoned Kes to assist him. Harry. . .Harry, she
mumbled.

Where is Ensign Kim? the doctor asked.

Kes’ eyes widened. She was hearing the telepathic message being sent
out to Melissa. In trouble. She took Melissa’s trembling hand and whispered, I
can hear it, too.

The doctor preformed a couple of scans. According to the tricorder
readouts, she has a concussion, has a punctured lung due to seven of her ribs
breaking, her left wrist is broken, her left ankle is twisted, her hip is broken, and
her left leg needs to be broken again. It has been broken in the past, but this time
it needs to heal correctly,
listed the doctor. Other than that she’s doing fine.
Kes shot the doctor a look. Sometimes his fake cheerful personality was
annoying to the young Ocampa. What should we do?

I would suggest we get started on trying to save Ensign Swaim’s life, we
don’t have much time to do it in, said the doctor in his usual cocky tone.

Kes smiled at the doctor, this was certainly the doctor she learned to love.
As a friend of course.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
Tom Paris sat in his quarters wondering what had happened to Harry.
Everyone on the ship knew that the girl had made it, but Harry hadn’t. He
couldn’t help but to think back to his little experiment on the holodeck. If he
couldn’t win against holographic images, how could he beat the real thing?

His door chimed, but Tom said nothing. He didn’t feel like having any
company right now. To keep his mind off the person standing outside the door he
went to his replicator. Chocolate milk, cold.
As he was walking back to his room, the door chimed again. He sighed.
He knew quite well this person wasn’t going to go away. Tom walked to his
living room and called, Come in.

Captain Janeway walked through the doors as soon as they opened.
Captain! Tom exclaimed, I had no idea it was you. I thought it was going to be
Neelix jumping for joy at the fact Kes is back.

Janeway smiled. Actually Mr. Neelix just finished throwing a welcoming
party for Kes, but she couldn’t come because of Ensign Swaim. It didn’t matter
to Neelix now that she’s on the ship he’ll be able to be himself.

I’m glad somebody is happy on this ship, he said sarcastically.
Janeway’s happy face transformed into one of sadness. We’ll get Harry
back, Tom. We have more help than ever with Ensign Swaim on board. She
should know that ship practically inside and out, she said, hoping to cheer up the
young lieutenant.

Tom half-smiled. I know we’ll save him, Captain. I would just like to
know what condition he’ll be in when we do.

Janeway shook her head. One thing she did not need during this time of
chaos was a pessimist. Listen to me, Tom, he will be fine. She knew the girl
would be waking up soon and needed to get to sickbay, but she couldn’t leave
Tom and his chocolate milk sulking in his quarters. Why don’t you come down
to sickbay with me? Ensign Swaim should be waking soon. Maybe she can give
you some of the answers you are looking for.

He put down his chocolate milk. It’s all right, Captain. I think I’ll go to
Neelix’s kitchen to see what’s to eat at Kes’ welcome back party.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *
Three hours later, Melissa’s injuries were no more. The effects were still
there, of course, but the doctor figured three days of rest should heal her
perfectly.

Captain Janeway was there hoping they could find out about what had that
happened to Harry. Wake her, Doctor, Janeway ordered.
The doctor pushed the hypospray in her neck and instantly Melissa’s eyes
popped open. Louis, I just had the worst dream of my life, she said. When she
saw the startled look on the doctor’s face she let her mind remember the last
possible thing it could. She suddenly remembered the Starfleet visitors she saved
and figured they must have saved her. I’m sorry, Doctor. I was out of it for a
moment.

She slowly sat up and smiled. Ahh, if it isn’t the honorable Kathryn
Janeway. She stuck out her hand. It’s a pleasure.
Janeway shook the Betazoid’s hand. The pleasure is mine.
Melissa pushed herself up to get off the table, but an overwhelming sense
of dizziness came over her. She turned to the doctor. Aren’t you programmed to
warn your patients about potential after effects after treatment?

The doctor shrugged. Most people don’t listen to me anyway
I am.

The doctor nodded. You may experience dizziness and your left leg is
extremely weak. If you need to walk, I would suggest for you to use a cane and
you need to rest for at least two days, replied the doctor.
She nodded. Thanks, Doctor. Before she turned back to Janeway, she
asked. When are my telepathic abilities coming back Doctor? I know when any
type of medical procedure is done on the brain Betazoid senses are temporarily
lost.

The doctor’s brow came together. What do you mean? Your telepathic
abilities should not be affected by anything I did.

Then, how. . . She turned to Kes, the only other telepath she knew on the
ship. Are you blocking my senses?

Kes nodded. I’m sorry, Melissa. There has been some telepathic messages
sent to you and I wanted to make sure you were all right before you received
them.

Obviously your powers are stronger than I thought, commented Melissa.

Kes shook her head. I wasn’t the only one blocking them. Tuvok was
also helping.

Melissa’s eyes widened. I’m surprised you two were able to do that, but
thank you. I really do appreciate it, but I’m ready for them now. Reluctantly, Kes
released the hold on Melissa’s senses. It took the Betazoid a few seconds to catch
up with her messages. When she received all of them, she jumped down from her
bed and said, Come on, Captain, we’re saving Harry’s life.

Melissa ran as fast as she could with Captain Janeway following closely
behind her. She had studied the blueprints of Voyager many times so she knew
where every room on the ship was.

After a few minutes, she slowed her jog to a walk and entered Transporter
Room three. Inside, B’Elanna was trying to get a lock on Harry. I wouldn’t
bother with that. The Fotians aren’t going to let Harry go willingly. She reached
in a storages locker and removed two phasers. She tossed one to Janeway. We
need to hurry, Captain, Harry doesn’t have much time left.

They stepped onto a transporter pad. B’Elanna, make sure you send out a
low EM pulse.” The Klingon nodded. “Energize, Janeway ordered B’Elanna.
Moments later, they were out of safety’s gentle caressing hands into the sharp
stinging claws of danger.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * *

The doctor paced around sickbay. He grabbed a hold of Kes and shook
her desperately. Why don’t they ever listen to me? If they had cared to listen a
little longer they would have discovered walking on Melissa’s leg could break it
again.

Kes released his hold on her and started pacing as he had. Not only that,
but think of what may happen to her if the Fotians see her.
They sat for a moment in silence, their hearts going out to such a brave
child. Their thoughts were interrupted by a page from Commander Chakotay.
Bridge to sickbay. Captain Janeway, please respond.
The doctor tapped his communicator. This is the EMH program. Captain
Janeway isn’t here.

What do you mean, Doctor?

Kes had been holding back Melissa’s telepathic abilities. When she
returned them, Melissa took Captain Janeway out of sickbay. I think they beamed
over to the Fotian ship in attempt to save Ensign Kim, answered the doctor.

Chakotay audibly sighed. Just great. I’m going to set up an away
team, Doctor. Lieutenant Tuvok will be in command.

I see no point in leaving so soon, Commander. Ensign Swaim’s health is
still poor. I would say they would have to return back to Voyager within fifteen
minutes to insure her safety. If they’re not back by then then I would send a team
over, replied the doctor.

All right, Doctor. We’ll wait and see. Chakotay out, he said.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

Melissa crept silently down the familiar corridors. She knew everyone
knew of her escape and how everyone would be searching for her to come back
and save Harry. Put your phaser on stun, we are almost there, she whispered.

Instead of doing what the ensign said, Janeway felt the sudden urge to stop
Melissa from reaching Harry no matter the cost. She was doubting whether or not
the was really the Melissa Swaim the she read so much about. No, you must not
go. I won’t let you go any further, Janeway said.

Melissa turned back to Janeway. Captain, listen to me! The Fotians are
trying to take control of your mind. Try to break away from their link. I can only
help you if you do that.

Seeing Janeway was still under their influence, Melissa desperately tried
to think of something to snap her out of it. She suddenly remembered a time, the
only time, Captain Picard has lost his cool during her stay on the Enterprise. The
time when she called him by his first name.
It isn’t proper calling captains by their first name. They would much
rather hear their officers say D4Yes, sir’ as to D4Yes, Jean-Luc’, he scolded.

Looking at his lion fish, she replied, I understand your feelings, Captain,
but believe it or not, you won’t have a problem with me calling you Jean-Luc. By
the end of her stay on the Enterprise she was correct.

She shook Janeway hard. Kathryn, listen to me! Break away from the
Fotians.

Moments later, Janeway became herself again. I don’t know what came
over me. It was like someone was controlling my thoughts.
Melissa nodded knowingly. The Fotians pride themselves on their
abilities to manipulate humanoid thoughts. For some reason, though they have
never been able to control mine.

She walked in the hallway, exposing her and Janeway to anyone passing
by. They walked a little while and stopped in front of a black door with a
window. He’s in there. They haven’t hurt him physically, but mentally he’s a
goner.

What are they doing to him? asked Janeway, looking through the window.

Sending him horrible thoughts. They are waiting until he’s in a state of
comatose, then they will wait until his mind simply shuts down. She saw the look
of fear on Janeway’s face and added, But you don’t have to worry about Harry,
he’s a tough guy.

Janeway nodded. I know he is.

She lifted her phaser up. It’s time to crash this party, she thought to
herself. She opened the door and pointed her phaser at Jokad. Janeway had a
phaser pointed at his servant.

Well, if it isn’t Captain Janeway and my beloved servant. Did you miss
me yet, Kazon Pus Hog? smiled Jokad.

Shut up, she shot back. She glanced at Harry, who was shaking all over.
Let Harry go now, Jokad.

He pretended to look scared. Oh, no. Someone please save me! Maybe
Captain Janeway will stick her Talaxian pet on me.

Janeway’s tolerance for the Fotian had just vanished. I wouldn’t talk,
Dojak, or whatever your name is. Neelix is a necessary part of my crew. Now,
release my officer before we have to take force.
Jokad laughed. The name is Jokad, my dear captain. As for your officer,
you’re never going to get him back. You and this child will be our personal
slaves. It will be nice to have two people to serve us and torture.

Melissa pushed her way forward. No, Jokad! I will never serve for you
again.

Sure you will, though I believe your captain needs to be filled in with the
rules from our ship, answered Jokad. I am the master and you will follow every
order I give you.

Janeway shook her head. I don’t think so, Jokad.
Well, I do and frankly, Captain, that’s the only thing that matters, replied
Jokad. He pushed her hard enough so she would hit the wall. She slid down
slowly and lost consciousness.

Melissa felt pure hatred coming up to the surface. She could hardly
tolerate the Fotians beating her, but when she saw Jokad knock Janeway down
she felt as if she was going to kill them. And she did.

Jokad laughed. Did she think I would tolerate such insubordinate
behavior?

Jokad, this is going to be the last time you do that to anyone else ever
again, yelled Melissa. Her fury was uncontrollable. Now she not only saw the
man that caused her horrific suffering, but someone who had no conscience and
would continue living that life. She pointed the phaser at Jokad and shot him.

Seconds later, he was no more. The heat from the phaser left nothing but
ash for Melissa to see. After she realized what she had done, Melissa screamed
and dropped the phaser. She looked at Jokad’s mute servant and asked, What
have I done?

The other servant took off the hood she was wearing. You did what you
should have done a long time ago.

The woman was a human in her twenties. Her brown hair was cut in a
bob. She had deep rich brown eyes and a kindly face. She was wearing a long
black dress that went down to her ankles. It looked a lot like herself.

Melissa squinted her eyes, not believing what she saw. Who are you?

I am what you would consider a guardian of the galaxy. We try to keep
peace in every place we can, she tried to explain.

Where have I seen you? she asked.

Instead of answering, she said, Your parents died, for all you know, you
are considered a genius, you have the ability to block out strong telepathic links,
and you were able to survive numerous beating that would kill a normal human.
Would you consider that pretty amazing?
Melissa nodded. She was starting to feel horribly frightened. She didn’t
like the way the woman was talking with her. What are you trying to tell me?

What do you remember about your mother? she asked.
Not much, Melissa found herself answering. She was always gone due to
the demand of Ferengi gems on the Federation/Cardassian borders.

Let’s say that your mother just didn’t deal with mortals. Her and I became
quite good friends. She asked me to watch over you when she died.

Melissa folded her arms. Yeah, sure you are. Don’t tell me, my dad is
Captain Kirk from the original Enterprise.

I’m serious, was all the guardian would say.

If you really are a guardian meant to protect me, then send my friends and
me back to Voyager, she said. Melissa blinked her eyes due to the blinding
flash of light. When she opened them, she was in sickbay with a very annoyed
doctor looking at her.

Not even my own creators care what I have to say, muttered the doctor.

I’m sorry, Doctor, but obeying your impulse is the key to being human. I
wouldn’t worry about me though, because you have two patients who need your
help, said Melissa. She sat on the bed, resting her leg.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
The doctor did as the young ensign said and visited his new patients.
Captain Janeway appeared to be unconscious. He quickly scanned her and found
she had a minor concussion.

Kes, I want you to give the captain a shot of Cortazine and use the
regenerator to close the open wound, he said to the Ocampa.
Of course, Doctor, she said with a smile.

The doctor turned to his next patient. Harry looked absolutely horrible, he
noticed. He ran a quick scan over Harry and discovered he was in a telepathically
induced coma. His brain readings were askew and the doctor had no idea how to
help him.

He turned to Melissa. She would be his best source of information. The
doctor walked over to her and said, The captain has a minor concussion, but I
have Kes working on her right now. She should wake up in about an hour.
Ensign Kim, however, is in worse condition. He motioned for her to come to
Harry’s bed.

Melissa motioned to her weak leg. Within the time the doctor had last
seen her, the throbbing she had felt increased.

He tapped his communicator. Sickbay to Commander Chakotay. Captain
Janeway has returned to the ship. She has a minor concussion. Ensign Swaim
has a minor fracture in her right leg, but is awake and for the most part well.
Ensign Kim, however, is in critical condition, he reporteE

Chakotay let out a breath. The Fotian ship has just left here at Warp 13.
We thought they had taken Captain Janeway and the others. Let me know when
she’s able to talk or Ensign Kim’s condition has changed. Chakotay out, he
replied happily.

The doctor was about to make a snide comment, but he saw the pain in
her eyes and decided to keep his mouth shut. There was something else in her
eyes, but he no longer had the human insight he needed to find out what was it
was. He gave her a pain killer and handed her a walking stick.
You put your weight on the cane rather than your leg. After you see the
ensign I’ll see if I can do anything else to help you, replied the doctor.

Sure thing, Doctor.

The doctor helped her off the bed. He couldn’t stay mad at her, he
learned. Just talking with the child made him feel less like a hologram somehow,
like he felt when Kes talked to him.

When the two had reached Harry’s bed, they found Kes there. I have
finished healing Captain Janeway, Doctor. I thought I might be able to help.

The doctor smiled. He couldn’t believe how hard Kes constantly workeE
That’s fine, he said. The hologram turned to Melissa. What do you think?

I think if Kes and I combine our telepathic abilities we may be able to
break the link between him and the Fotians, she said.
The two females looked at each other. The doctor saw them closed their
eyes and focus on Harry. After a few seconds, they opened their eyes and smiled.

May I assume your attempt was successful? asked the doctor.
Melissa nodded happily. Yes, it was, Doctor.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *
Melissa let the doctor continue treating Harry. She really looked at the
doctor for the first time. She couldn’t believe how human he looked. She had to
admit this had to be some of Starfleet’s best work. Too bad they don’t really care
about Emergency Medical Holographic Programs, she thought to herself.

She knew in her heart she was only assessing him to keep her mind off
what had happened less than an hour before. Killing Jokad was now in the back
part of her mind. She was now thinking only of what the guardian had told her.

She knew she had to talk to someone. Harry would had been the ideal
person to discuss everything that had happened, but the doctor had warned her it
would be quite a while before he woke up.

She saw Kes out of the corner of her eye and beckoned her over. Finally,
she allowed herself to think about what she had done.

When she did she began shaking all over in fear. She couldn’t believe
that she, a Betazoid who Starfleet thinks is a genius, could kill a person no matter
what they had done.

She looked at Kes who had been watching her. It’s all right. You can
come over here, she said.

Kes pulled slightly on her arm. Why don’t we talk in the doctor’s office?
You can at least sit in there.

Melissa nodded. She followed the Ocampa in the office. She took a seat
in front of the doctor’s desk. Kes, I am in trouble, she said.
Kes looked down at her toes. Somehow she knew what Melissa had done,
but she knew Melissa wanted to tell someone. What did you do?
Melissa’s eyes grew large. I killed Jokad. There, I said it. I killed a
person, she said, barely managing to get the words out.
Now that she had said it, she felt like an damp old sock. It felt like her
insides were ready to give up. Within the last fifteen minutes she had convinced
herself that she was a delinquent and no one would forget that.

But, didn’t you have a reason to? That was the man who nearly killed
you, reminded Kes, Besides, I think everyone on Voyager realizes that is what
they would have done.

Sure, but killing a person? How can anyone keep on living like that?
asked Melissa She thought back to the incident and remembered the guardian
character she met. Oh, yes. I met this guardian that claimed she was my
protector in life. She said I ought to have killed Jokad long ago and then
vanished.

Really? Kes asked.

I don’t believe her, of course. I think it was last joke that the Fotians
played on me. She looked solemnly at Kes. Don’t tell anyone about me killing
Jokad. I need to conquer the demons inside of me before I deal with them from
all around.

Kes nodded. You can trust me, Melissa. You should know that.
Melissa nodded. Kes, am I a bad person?

Kes approached Melissa carefully. She knew in times like these a person
was ready to crumble. Oh, no you aren’t.

Melissa threw open her arms and Kes went inside them. The Betazoid
stayed and cried in the doctor’s office until Captain Janeway woke up.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
When Captain Janeway woke up the first thing she noticed was that she
was no longer on that horrible Fotian ship, but on her own safe Voyager. Her
heart smiled for the first time in a while.

The doctor walked up to his patient. How do you feel? he asked.
Janeway sat up. A little dizzy, but other than that I’m all right. She
looked around and saw Harry laying in the bed beside her. Doctor, is Harry going
to be ok?

Thanks to Kes and Ensign Swaim, yes. He should wake up in several
hours, maybe more, replied the doctor.

Where is Ensign Swaim? asked Janeway.

She and Kes went in my office a half an hour ago. I wouldn’t go in there
if I were you. When I went in their to put the data in the computer, I heard
Ensign Swaim crying, warned the doctor.

Janeway hopped down from her bed. Do you have any idea why?
The doctor shook his head. Not a clue. Seeing she was walking in his
office, he said, If you find out anything, let me know. As usual, I am the one left
in the dark.

Janeway ignored the doctor and approached his office. There she saw
Melissa in Kes’ arms. It must have been bad, whatever it was, she thought to
herself.

Am I interrupting anything? asked Janeway.

Melissa shot up and wiped the tears from her face. Captain!
At ease, Ensign. There no rule in the Starfleet handbook that states you
can’t cry, Janeway said hoping to break the ice.
Melissa smiled softly. Thank you, Captain, but there is something I need
to tell you. She waved to the doctor. Doctor, come in, I want you to hear this too.

Questions invaded Janeway’s mind. She calmly leaned against the
doctor’s wall, as if she didn’t have a worry about what Melissa was going to say.
Go ahead, Ensign.

Melissa looked at Kes who nodded. I want you to know that I killed
Jokad.

Janeway’s mouth fell to the floor. You did what? She knew that the risks
of becoming a slave were high, but the protocol of a Starfleet officer, in any
situation, was not to become violent unless absolutely necessary.

Melissa looked at the ceiling. I killed Jokad. I don’t know what came
over me. When I saw him knock you to the floor, I realized that’s what he would
continue doing that for the rest of our lives and I couldn’t let that happen,
explained the ensign.

Janeway put on her poker face. Anything else, Ensign?
Melissa shook her head, she needed time to deal with what the guardian
had told her. I know what I did was wrong and I should die for the crimes too,
but–

Janeway shook her head. No, Ensign. What you did was something any
other human in this galaxy would have done, stopped a mad man from torturing
who knows how many other people. Some might even consider you a hero, she
said. Including me.

Melissa looked at Janeway incredibly. You mean you aren’t going to have
Tuvok come and take me to the brig until we get home?
Janeway shook her head. In fact, if you don’t want us to, we won’t say a
word to anyone else. It’s hard enough running the crew as it is, but to have them
fearing you would just be to hard, explain the captain.

Melissa nodded and smiled. Thank you, Captain.
It’s all right. Now, I have got to get to the bridge before Chakotay starts
worrying about me. When the doctor gives you his approval to leave, Ensign, I
want you to come see me, said Janeway walking out of his office.

Before she left she turned to the doctor. By the way, Doctor, I would like
a full medical report on Ensign Kim’s condition in my office right away. As the
doors closed, she let out a sigh. She needed a cup of coffee.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
Melissa turned to Kes and smiled. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it
was going to be.

The doctor stood there frozen. I am not sure I understand what my
program is telling me.

Kes looked at him fearfully. What’s wrong, Doctor?

My primary program is telling me there is no reason why a person should
die and yet another one is telling me Melissa’s actions are perfectly acceptable.
He turned to Melissa suspiciously. Are you sure I am a hologram?

Melissa nodded. We programed you to be like that. We had hoped that
you would be used long enough to make your own decisions, so in certain cases
you have two to choose. You get to make the choice of which one you believe
more strongly.

Well, I am glad you programmers decided to make me so human, he
replied. Now, if you two would excuse me, I have a patient to check up on.

Remember our little secret, reminded Melissa.

Don’t worry, I won’t. After Ensign Kim has woke up, you can be sure that
you are going to have a full medical examination, said the doctor.

Melissa turned to Kes. Thank you. If it wasn’t for your comfort and
kindness I would had lived with that lie for the rest of my life.’
Kes smiled. I only said what you knew you had to do, she said softly.
How about something to eat? Neelix runs the mess hall on Deck 3.

Melissa looked at the doctor. Do you think the doctor will let me go out
of sickbay?

Kes smiled. Let me deal with that.

Kes walked up to the doctor. Unfortunately, Melissa couldn’t hear a word
of what they were saying. She studied his desk and found nothing interesting.
Poor hologram, he doesn’t even have a life, she thought to self, but I’ll change
that as soon as I can.

Kes came back with her usual smile. He said that would be fine,
according to his calculations, Harry shouldn’t wake up for several more hours.

Melissa almost asked for the doctor to join them, but soon remembered he
was only a hologram. Maybe they did do a better job on his program than they
originally thought. Let’s go.

* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

Tom Paris sat in the mess hall picking at his food. Since he hadn’t been
on the bridge recently he hadn’t heard to news that Harry was safe and sound. He
was about to leave when he saw Kes and her young companion walk in.

He approached them slyly. Anyone who had watched him hit on women
knew this is how he did it. Hello, Kes. How are you today?
Just fine,Tom. Harry’s down in sickbay, she informed the lieutenant.

Tom’s eyes grew and a smile formed on his face. He is? But I thought he
was on the Fotian ship.

He was, but thanks to Melissa he’s going to be O.K. The doctor thinks it
will be about another few hours, replied Kes.

Tom nodded. Am I to assume you are Melissa?

Yes, I am, but don’t listen to Kes. I wasn’t the hero of the situation, she
said with a smile.

Well, you saved my best friends life and that’s good enough for me, said
Tom. Anyway what are you two doing down here? I saw Melissa walk in here
with a limp. Isn’t it the doctor’s job not to let sick patients out of sickbay, or has
he completely lost it like usual?

He thought he was being funny. Something that can always win a girl’s
heart. Instead of seeing a smile back he saw a look of disgust shot at him.

For you information, Mr. Paris, I was one of his programmers. I didn’t see
you working on his program for four months, so unless you think you have the
talent to program another hologram that does half of what mine does, I would
suggest you learn to hold your tongue every once in a while, shot back Melissa.

Tom swallowed tightly. He knew he was in trouble, but he didn’t want to
show it. He saw Melissa roll her eyes at him. Come on, Kes, I am starving.
Perhaps you can introduce me to Neelix, he heard her say.
Despite the fact he had been trampled on by this young woman the only
question he asked himself was–How did she know my name?

She turned back to face him. Because I’m a Betazoid. So I recommend
you learn to shade some of your dark secrets or I might slip and tell some body,
she said bitterly.

Tom walked back to his table and began eating at his food again. He
decided that today was a good day. His best friend was alive and now he had a
challenging woman to chase.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
Neelix was trying to reach in his cabinet to get his cookware when he
heard someone calling him from outside. He couldn’t tell what the person was
saying, but he knew it had to be Kes. Only one person in the universe had a voice
so soft as hers.

Neelix popped up from behind the counter. Hello, Sweetie. What did you
just say? I couldn’t hear you. I was trying to find the correct pot to cook my
Tangian chicken in. You know how nasty they can taste if you don’t cook them
right, he said, walking to Kes.

I would like to introduce you to Ensign Swaim. Melissa, this is Neelix.
Neelix, this is Melissa Swaim, she said.

Neelix looked at Kes. Is this the one who rescued you and the doctor? He
waited for Kes to nod. The Talaxian gave Melissa a hug. Welcome on board,
Ensign.

Melissa smiled brightly. She knew her and Neelix would get along just
fine. You can call me Melissa, Neelix. Now, Kes tells me you are a wonderful
cook. I’m so hungry, I could eat anything in the galaxy, she said.

Neelix’s face lit up as a five years old would if their parents said they
could stay up all night. Wonderful. I just got finished making Gala Worm Stew.
It’s a speciality.

He saw the essence of disgust on Melissa’s face, but she soon hid it away.
You know, Neelix, she said, on Earth we cooks have this customs to never tell
our recipes. It gives the secret of what’s in the food away. So instead of calling it
D4Gala Worm Stew’ call it D4the soup of the day.’ For example, when people
come up wanting to taste your Tangian chicken with soil sauce, or whatever it is
call it D4Chicken a la Neelix.’ You will find more people will be willing to eat
your wonderful food.

He thought it over for a few moments. That might just work. What a
place your world must be! Let me try this on you. Melissa, would you be
interested in trying the soup of the day? he said.

He couldn’t believe not telling people what is in their meal, but he would
try anything for the person who saved Kes’ life suggested.
Melissa nodded, trying to forget what he called it in the first place. I
would love some, Neelix.

He poured some soup in a bowl and handed it to her. Here you are, he
said walking to a nearby table.

Thank you.

Neelix pulled out a chair for Kes. Did I hear you correctly when you said
you were a cook?

Melissa nodded enthusiastically. Sure am. Other than Starfleet, cooking
is my life. I use to spend hours in my kitchen trying to come up with new and
exotic meals. Did you know that daffodils are delightful with a little Angorian
spice?

Really? About some Gigian turnips with a light pear sauce over it? asked
the Talaxian.

Melissa tried to remember if she had ever heard that name while on the
Fotian ship. Now I remember, yes, I have had Gigian turnips, but not with a pear
sauce. You’ll have to make it for me some day, Melissa replied.

Neelix clapped his hands together in delight. Finally he found someone
he could talk to about cooking. Together the three stayed until the doctor called
them several hours later.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * *

The doctor tapped his communicator for the third time within the last five
minutes. He had first tried contacting Melissa, but soon remembered she wasn’t
wearing a communicator. Then, he tried calling Kes, but remembered she hadn’t
gotten a chance to replace her nonfunctional communicator. Now, he was hoping
Neelix would have a communicator available.
Sickbay to Mr. Neelix, please respond, he said.
Neelix here, Doctor. Go ahead, said the Talaxian.
Would you please send Kes and Ensign Swaim to sickbay at once? Ensign
Kim is going to wake up in a few minutes, asked the hologram.
We’ll be right there, Louis. Swaim out, Melissa closed
Louis? asked the doctor aloud. He would have to check the young officer
when she came back to sickbay–to make sure she hadn’t had memory loss.

Before he could get another thought across, his communicator beeped.
Doctor, it was a joke. You know? Ha ha? Be there there in a few. Swaim out.

The doctor shook his head. He had a feeling his sense of humor was
going to be needing to broadened. He walked to Harry, who was sleeping
peacefully. The doctor had administered a sedative in him about two hours
before. He knew the effects of the untroubled sleep would wear off soon.

Five minutes later, Melissa came in sickbay with Kes. So, how is he, DZ?

Before I answer that question, I want you to answer mine. Why are you
calling me DZ? asked the doctor.

While Kes, Neelix, and I were talking, they told me of your adventure in
the holodeck. They also said that you were named Doctor Zimmerman correct?
she explained.

Correct.

So, I thought I would call you DZ which is short for Doctor Zimmerman.

Do you understand now? she asked.

Yes, I do, but why would you give a nickname to a hologram?
Let’s just say to me, you are more than a hologram, replied Melissa with a
smile.

That goes for me as well, said Kes.

The doctor smiled. Well, I am so glad to hear that. As for my patient he
will be waking up soon. You, Melissa, are my next patient. As soon as you say
hello to Harry we will start full medical examinations. I am not letting you out of
my sight until then. It was hard enough to find you last time.

Of course, DZ.

The doctor didn’t know whether to be annoyed or flattered. He was
flattered of course for Melissa to treat him as human as she did anyone else, but
he didn’t know if he could stand being called a pair of letters for the next
seventy-five years.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *

Melissa approached Harry’s bed carefully. She didn’t want to disturb him
before it was his time to wake up. She looked down at his face and smiled. If
anyone was a hero, it was Harry, she thought to herself.
Moments later, he woke up. Melissa, is that you? were the first words out
of his mouth.

She smiled, barely being able to hold back her many tears. Yeah, it’s me
Harry.

He sat up and gave her a hug. What happened? The last thing I remember
was seeing you being beamed away and then I was hit in the head or something.

You were put in a telepathic coma thanks to the Fotians. Captain Janeway
and I came back so we could rescue you, explained Melissa. You have been in
here for seven hours.

Seven hours? He fell back on his bed.

Yes, during that time I got to meet your friend Tom Paris. He’s an. . .
interesting guy, she said.

Oh, no. What did he do? asked Harry, knowing his friend would do
something as soon as he saw Melissa.

Oh, let’s see, he tried to hit on me the moment I walked in the door.
Then, he had the nerve to talk about the doctor, my program, she said
exasperatedly.

I forgot, you were part of that project, weren’t you? That’s why the doctor
seems so familiar to me. He’s exactly like you in personality, said Harry.

Melissa turned to the doctor. See, what did I tell you?
Yes, I guess you are right. Apparently the similarity is obvious except to
us. He looked at the two of them and sighed. Despite the fact that I know you
two want to talk to each other for hours, I must separate the two of you. Ensign
Kim, I want you in your quarters. I want you off duty for at least a day. If anyone
has a problem with that, tell them to come talk with me. Ensign Swaim, are you
ready for some tests? asked the doctor.

Melissa had always hated going to the doctor, but since she was with her
best friend in the universe, she didn’t really care. It’s a date, Doctor. She helped
Harry off the bed. I have a feeling I am going to be in here a for couple of days,
so come by and see me.

Harry got off the bed. All right, by that time I hoped to get through to
Tom that you are one tough cookie.

Melissa smiled.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *
Three days later, Melissa had the doctor approval to leave sickbay. Harry
had come to visit her every day after his shift was over, Neelix came every meal
to make sure she was fed properly, and Tom Paris was there every second he
could. Finally, the doctor restricted him off sickbay, saying that his patient
needed to get well and all this attention was making her worse.

Now, Melissa was in the doctor’s office, giving her thanks to the
hologram for saving her life. DZ, I was looking at your desk a couple of days ago
and noticed how bare it looked. Don’t you have read piece of literature?

The doctor shook his head. No, I am not programmed to read literature on
my own time.

Well, we’ll change that. Anyway, I love to read any fantasy type book,
and since we are so alike, I thought you might like this. She pulled a book from
behind her back and handed it to the doctor.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, he read, Um, it looks pretty
interesting.

Melissa nodded. It is, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you. This is
the key to a whole other way of living doctor, you will see.

The doctor opened the book. I will start it right away.
Melissa smiled. In the past few days, she had become instant friends with
the hologram. She could hardly imagine that she was one of the people
responsible for creating such a spectacular being.

She allowed the doctor to be alone with the first gift he had ever received.
She saw Kes in the primary part of sickbay running a scan on Lt. Carry. Well, I
wanted to say thanks before I left here.
Kes smiled. It’s been nice having you here to talk with. I am glad I got a
chance to meet you.

Same here. I have to visit Captain Janeway, so keep an eye on DZ while I
am away, requested Melissa.

Of course, Kes nodded.

Melissa left sickbay feeling better. She and Kes had the opportunity to
talk often during her stay in sickbay. She learned Kes wasn’t what she first
expected from her. Melissa had thought she was a timid young woman, but she
was wrong. Kes was a strong believer in anything thought was right and wouldn’t
let anybody think otherwise.

She silently hoped Janeway was the same as she first seemed to her. She
had enough problems to worry about the captain’s real personality, she would
have to find out when she saw her.

* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *
Captain Janeway sat in her ready room waiting her newest officer to
arrive. She had a feeling Harry had gone through the basics rules of the ship you
were limited in everything. Just as she was about to order some coffee, her door
chimed.

Come in, she said.

Melissa came in wearing a smile on her face. Good morning, Captain. I
am guessing I am here for my duty assignment and you want to make sure I know
all rules of the ship.

Janeway nodded. She had almost forgotten what is was like to have a
Betazoid on board. None of her feelings would be hidden from her. You will be
the holo-tech like you were on the Lexington. Your duties include the doctor and
making sure the holodecks run properly.
Understood, Captain, she said in her most professional tone.
Janeway realized she must had been talking in a stricter tone than she
meant to. Did Ensign Kim fill you in with the rules of the ship?
Melissa nodded. I feel like I know every nuance of the ship and the way it
runs.

Excellent. Chief Torres will stop by your quarters later today to get you
your duty schedule, said Janeway.

Will do, Captain.

Dismissed, Ensign.

Oh, one more thing, Captain. I am sure you are aware of the fact that we
are seventy years away from anyone.

Janeway nodded. She wanted to know why the new officer would ask a
question like that. Of course I do, she said in a slightly disgusted tone.

If it will even take us a quarter a that time I wouldn’t want you calling me
D4Ensign.’ I’m sorry, but I’m not one for Starfleet protocols. I think in order to
make this crew work better, there needs to be more of a personal atmosphere. So,
please, just call me Melissa, she explained.

Janeway couldn’t explain what she felt after the teen said that to her. It
was quite true, if the crew felt like they knew each other they were bound to work
more efficiently. Janeway only learned that after years of experience and yet this
child came and knew it plain and simple.
Janeway, of course, said nothing of this and wondered if Melissa knew
what she was thinking. If she did, her face didn’t show it. All right, Melissa,
Chief Torres will be down to your quarters in a couple of hours.

Melissa smiled. Thank you, Captain. She walked out of her ready room
with the same smile.

Janeway shook her head. She could understand why her fellow
commanding officers praised the child, but she knew she would have to get use to
the fact that she was having a child on board who was as smart as she was.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
Harry Kim sat in Melissa’s quarters waiting for her to arrive. He had gone
through the stuff she had left in sickbay with the doctor and wondered how she
managed to receive all of her favorite items.

I never leave home without my stuff, Harry. You of all people should
know that, she said with a smile.

He sat back, taking in the fact that his best friend was here to stay with
him the ride home. I know, but did you really have to keep this? He held up a
picture of him when he was 13 and had a buzz cut.
Yes! she said with a smile. This is my favorite picture of you. I’m sure
you have a humiliating picture of me somewhere.
Harry smiled ruefully. I do, but they are all at home.
Then we’ll have to make sure we get home before you’re too old to
recognize me, she grinned.

Harry grinned. Melissa, I have a feeling we will be home soon enough for
me to finally find you a husband.

Oh, I hope you do. I would hate to have to tell people my love in life is a
hologram, she laughed. She paused, Or worse yet, Tom Paris actually going on a
date with me. Ack, talk about your nightmare. She giggled again.

Harry listened to the once familiar sound, now foreign to him. Melissa,
laugh again.

And she did. She was in a place that accepted her, that was home to her.
As soon as the crew pulled together she knew they would achieve their goal. By
the looks of things, so did the whole crew.

So there you have it. . .I know there are a lot of unanswered questions, but that’s
why I’ll write another if you guys are interested! Just drop a note by
YappiGirl@aol.com

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