Star Trek : 26th Year

Children of the U.S.S. Voyager’s Crew, 26 years after the ship’s return to Earth

 

Commander Naomi Wildman (31):

Captaincy being considered by Starfleet. Married to Icheb, with one child, Sabrina Wildman.

 

Miral Paris (26):

 Daughter of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres. Starfleet ensign. Also considered a prophet, by a small sect of Klingons in the Delta Quadrant.

 

Danroth “Dan” Paris (22):

Son of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres. Academy drop-out. Expert in human and Klingon martial arts.

 

Jason O’Malley-Janeway: (24):

 Son of Admiral Kathryn Janeway and Donnell O’Malley (owner of O’Malley’s Café on Earth). Engaged, but already expecting a child.

 

Oliver O’Malley-Janeway (23):

Son of Admiral Janeway and Donnell O’Malley. Attempting to get into Starfleet Academy.

 

Lakita Hansen (23):

 Daughter of Annika “Seven of Nine” Hansen and Chakotay. Environmental scientist.

 

Kale Kim (22):

Son of Harry Kim and Libby Webber. Starving artist.

 

Sek, Stekev, Tosev, and Asil: (no age)

 Children of Tuvok and T’Pel.

 

Prologue

 

Torpedoes tore through space, ripping through the hulls of the Talaxian fighters. The triangular ships maneuvered around most of the blasts, but their pursuers had them grossly outnumbered. It was almost impossible to do any damage back. The Talaxian ships were blackened from weeks of battle, both inside and out. But from the windows of the fleeing ship in the back of the group, the long Krenim warships looked as in-tact as ever, glowing green with Borg technology. Another blast from the Krenim ships sent up white smoke that filled the bridge.

 

A young Ocompan at the helm coughed, then shouted over the screaming alarms, “Our shields are almost gone Sir!” Talaxians, Ocompans, and Vidians ran to different stations on the bridge, helping the injured or replacing the dead at their stations.”Keep firing!” The Talaxian captain yelled from the back of the bridge, where he had taken over at one of the stations.”It’s no good!” the Talaxian at the weapons station shouted. “We’re not even putting a dent in their shields, we’re just wasting power.””Fine, then help Florrah get us out of here” The younger Talaxian leaped over his console as if jumping a fence.”We need a miracle.” He muttered, taking his seat next to Florrah.”No,” the red-haired Ocompa snapped. Another blast rocked the ship.”Sheilds are almost down!” A Vidian in the back of the bridge yelled.”So use those telepathic powers of yours,”

 

They spoke paying only half attention to the conversation, as usual. The last few weeks had called for more multitasking than most onboard had ever done in one month.”Have been.” Florrah replied, not taking her eyes off of the chaos on the view screen, as they struggled to avoid the green blasts from the Krenim ships. “But I don’t know if anyone’s been getting the message.”You’re not talking about that Captain from the Whatever Quad” He fell backwards in his seat, as Florrah sharply brought the ship up. One of the four new blasts grazed the underside of the ship.”Captain Janeway, yes.” Florrah answered, taking the ship into a summersault. “Humans live as long as you people do. She might still be alive.”

 

One more hit from the Krenim shook the entire bridge. Several crewmembers went flying, including Florrah and her co-pilot. She regained consciousness a moment or so later. Florrah couldn’t see anything except white, but felt blood running down the side of her face. The smoke quickly cleared enough for her to see small flames crackling in various parts of the bridge. The captain was nowhere in sight. Her co-pilot lay motionless next to her, with his eyes half-opened. Only seconds after her mind registered what had happened, Florrah heard the Vidian in the back shout something that made her realize her friend was the lucky one.”We’re being boarded!”

 

Spots of green light shimmered in several areas of the ship, where the Krenim soldiers were beaming aboard. Or rather, Krenim drones.Phaser fire exploded everywhere, as the remainder of the crew fought futilely to protect the civilians in the decks below. Florrah continued to lie where she was. The drones stepped over her or in one case, on her arm preying first on those they knew for sure were alive. Through her half-closed eyes she saw a medley of Delta Quadrant species Kazon, Talaxian, Hirogen, all pale and covered with Borg implants, all under the control of the Krenim. She had given up on protecting her friends on the bridge; on protecting her young brother below in the cargo bay, and the rest of the civilians with him. But she was far from giving up on saving the rest of the quadrant.

 

Mustering all of her mental strength, Florrah focused on one last message, one face. The images she’d seen of the legendary Captain Janeway, the brown-haired human woman in the red and black uniform. Captain Janeway help! The Krenim have the Borg, they’re slaughtering millions There were fewer phaser blasts, more screams. Children are dying, please help us! Send us help! A Hirogen drone scanned her co-pilot’s body, and then moved on to her. Everything she saw was suddenly tinted green, for a few moments. It’s the Ocompa, the people you tried to save when you first got lost here! We need Her concentration broke momentarily, as she was yanked off the floor by her long red hair. Janeway Two bursts of pain exploded in the side of her neck. Florrah screamed as they pierced deeper and harder, Borg nanoprobes flooding her body. More pain, as something cold erupted on her right cheek. Seventy-thousand light-years away, a white-haired Admiral Janeway woke with a start.

 

Chapter One : The Reunion

 

The desktop monitor beeped. Janeway took a long sip of coffee as she sat down to take the call. A woman appeared on the screen, with short gray hair and spots running down the sides of her face and neck. She smiled. “Good afternoon Admiral.” “Good afternoon Captain.” Janeway replied. “So, what’s the story?” The captain of Deep Space Nine folded her hands on her desk. “Starfleet has reached a decision about your request. First, what we know. The doctors and telepaths you’ve spoken to have confirmed that what you’ve been experiencing has definitely been telepathic communication. And sources suggest that there is a war in the Delta Quadrant, involving the Krenim and Borg technology.” “A war, or a one-sided massacre?” Captain Ezri Dax sighed. “Good question.” Dax paused. “Starfleet will not risk the safety of the Quadrant by getting involved in a war that doesn’t concern us. We know lives are at stake, but so are a lot of lives at home.” Janeway was silent. It was true—Starfleet was already working to save the dying star in the Andorian system. Not to mention all the help Bajor still needed in rebuilding itself, and Starfleet’s failing relations with the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant. “I understand.” “However,” Janeway raised her head a bit, as Dax continued. “We have found a loophole in Starfleet’s regulations. If a situation is, as you said, a one-sided massacre, then Starfleet may sponsor a trip to deliver things like food, medical supplies, and defenses.” Trying to contain her pleasure, Janeway asked, “How many…what exactly can Starfleet spare?” “We want to start small Admiral. We can give you a ship, equipped with our latest defenses against Borg technology. You can bring replicators programmed to provide food, medical supplies, and shielding. When you return from the first trip, and we have more information on what exactly is going on, then we’ll probably be able to send in more help, and send them some weapons to defend themselves. But we have to be sure it’s not some trick, or that there isn’t secretly another side to this story.”

 

“I see. When will I be able to leave?” “The ship will be waiting for you on Deep Space Nine, by next Friday. It can accommodate up to five people.” Dax grinned again, genuinely this time, as her animated self. “Good luck Admiral. And…” she shrugged, “…thank you for doing this.” “Thank you Captain.” They said their goodbyes, and the screen went black. Janeway leaned back and breathed out a long sigh. From behind her, someone else let out a second one. Janeway looked up at her husband. “Hello.” “Katie,” Donnell O’Malley’s voice was filled with concern, in addition to his usual Irish accent. She waved her coffee mug before taking another sip. “You’re not talking me out of it.” “I know. I’m just telling you to be careful, as always.” “I’ll have the best doctor in Starfleet with me, and the best expert on the Borg in the galaxy. I should be fine.” She stood up. “Speaking of the Doctor, he’ll be bringing Lakita over early, to help us set things up for the reunion.”

 

Donnell frowned. “Just Lakita?” “I’m afraid so. Her mother’s in no mood to socialize.” Janeway shook her head. “While we’re on this mission, I’m having another talk with Seven. She is taking this too far.” “You can’t overreact to a spouse dying,” Donnell said sympathetically. “From what you’ve told me, you were just as bad when you lost your father and your…” “…my first fiancé. But it’s been two years Donnell. Chakotay would want Seven to move on with her life, and besides, she has a daughter to take care of. Poor Lakita’s basically been taking care of herself for the last two years—”

 

The door chimed. They both moved to answer it. Three people stood on the porch, in front of the Irish countryside. One was the Doctor, looking just as he did when he was first activated, except for the suit he now wore. With him, a young woman who had Chakotay’s jet-black hair and small dark eyes, but otherwise was a spitting image of Seven of Nine. Lakita Hansen’s body was swimming with Borg nanoprobes she’d inherited form her mother, but she had no external implants to show for it, save one spidery Borg wheel on the bottom of her left cheek. Behind both of them crouched an ancient Ferangi.

 

Janeway and Lakita hugged. “Hi Aunt Kathy!” The girl’s low soft voice was enthusiastic. Of course Janeway wasn’t a blood relative; she had grown up calling Janeway “aunt” due to the admiral’s close friendship with both of her parents. “Lakita?” Janeways’s youngest son, Oliver, came flying down the stairs to greet his friend. The boy was like his mother-short, with thick brown hair, and a bad caffeine addiction—but had his father’s accent, a fact Lakita never let him forget. The Doctor asked Janeway quietly, “Any news about…?” “In a few minutes.” Janeway peered over the Doctor’s shoulder to address the Ferangi. “I assume you’ll need some help setting up the bar?” “It’d be appreciated. Just tell me where you’d like it.” “In the back yard. Oliver, Lakita, why don’t you go help him.” She muttered, “I hope the weather stays this way. I don’t want to try fitting two-hundred guests in this house!” Oliver was talking to Lakita. “Maybe we’ll get a free pint or something for helping,” he mused. “Did you just say ‘peint’?” Lakita snickered. “Oh shut up!” Donnell waited, holding his smile politely until Oliver, Lakita, and the Ferangi were outside, before leaning over and whispering to his wife, “What is that crook doing here?” “Quark helped me in a pinch last year. So in return, I’m letting him help us liven up the mood at the reunion.”

 

“Well fine. But you’d best have someone watching him so he doesn’t try selling the wrong things to any underage guests.” Voyager soared over the Golden Gate Bridge, weaving through the exploding fireworks. A few of the guests were gathered around the screen, watching the broadcast. A man’s voice came on, over the image. “It’s been 26 years since the U.S.S. Voyager made its return to the Alpha Quadrant. The journey should have taken them 70 years, but Kathryn Janeway got it done in seven.” The man paused, looking thoughtful. The view had cut now to the speaker, standing on a small stage. “I guess it’s a lucky thing the one ship in Starfleet that wound up lost in space had a female captain. Macho Captain Kirk probably would’ve refused to pull over and ask for directions. They’d still be stuck out there…” The guests watching the display laughed at the comedian. “Too true,” B’Elanna Torres said, eyeing her husband. “Hey!” Tom elbowed her. “I’m going to get a drink. You want anything?” “Sure, bring me a club soda.”

 

Tom exited the living room through the back door. The sun was starting to set, and most of the guests were socializing in the enormous back yard. Quark had his bar stand set up close to the house. Tom could see his daughter sitting at the small bar, with Lakita Hansen. The girls were discussing something over their drinks, having some kind of a heated argument. Miral Paris took a sip of her blood-wine. “If these were Tarcillian beetles we were talking about no one would care. It’s just the cute animals everyone wants to save.” Lakita held up a finger. “They are an important link in that planet’s food-chain! If one species dies out the whole eco-system collapses.” “The eco-system does not need tribbles!” “Hey there,” Tom waved to the two girls, and took a seat next to Miral. “Can I get you anything?” Quark asked, taking a swig himself from a glass. Tom raised his eyebrows. “Weeell, long time no see.”

 

The aging Ferangi frowned. “Have we met?” Miral bit back a giggle. Lakita seemed confused. “Remember when Voyager was first taking off from D.S. Nine?” Tom kept his tone conversational. “You tried to swindle my friend Harry Kim into buying a tray of pebbles.” Quark’s eyes shifted, as the memory came back to him, and as he tried frantically to find a safe way to change the subject. “… Ensign Kim and Lt. Paris, yeah. I uh, didn’t recognize you at first.” He squinted at Tom. “You lost a lot of hair.” Both women were now fighting back laughter. Tom made a face, but then nodded. “Touché.” He ordered his and B’Elanna’s drinks. He was just standing up when a young man with dark curly hair came jogging up towards them. “Kale!” said Tom. “Where’s your dad?” “By the tables, there,” Kale Kim pointed to where Harry stood with his wife Libby, talking with Tuvok, his wife, and four or five other former shipmates. “Anyone see Dan?” “I don’t know. Miral, where’s your brother?” “Good question. You’d think he’d want to spend all night right here.” Lakita spun around on her stool, scanning the yard. “He’s by the woods. Having a bat’leh battle with some of the kids.”

 

“Someone let Dan around children?” Miral said mockingly. “Better get him away before he teaches them some new words.” Tom shrugged. “Even if he does, their parents won’t know what they’re saying unless they speak Klingon.” “Thanks.” Kale took off across the yard, almost knocking into Janeway and Naomi Wildman. “Oh excuse me,” Janeway turned to Naomi. “You were saying?” The two continued to walk as the younger woman spoke. “I’m being considered for a captaincy. But I won’t take any missions that are too far from home, not until Sabrina’s older. Now wasn’t Jason going into the academy too?” “Oh, not anymore.” Janeway glanced at her oldest son, a tall dark-haired man, standing by the refreshments table with his pregnant fiancée. The couple was speaking with Naomi’s husband, Icheb. “Jason’s a very all-or-nothing young man. He won’t divide his time between a Sylvia and the baby and a career in Starfleet. Oliver’s been trying to get in, but…he barely made it through basic school, he’s never done well under pressure…” Naomi shrugged. “If it’s what he truly wants then he’ll succeed eventually. He might just need more help.” “There won’t be extra help in the real world Naomi. I just don’t know if Oliver has what it takes to be in Starfleet.” By the woods, Kale Kim quickly found his friend. Dan Paris and a little girl were having a Klingon bat’leh fight, using sticks. “Dan?” “Oh hey Kaaarrrgh!”

 

The girl, Sabrina Wildman, leaned on her stick giggling while Dan Paris enacted an elaborate death scene. Kale laughed politely. “Okay Dan, can I talk to you for a minute?” Dan gasped, “Make it quick, I haven’t got long.” He spun into a fall, flopping face-first onto the grass. Kale rolled his eyes. He knelt down. “Dan,” Dan answered in a voice muffled by the grass and shoulder-length hair that had fallen around his face. “I’m dead. Tell it to me in Sto-vo-kor.” “DAN!” “What?” Dan pushed himself up, shaking his dirty-blond hair out of his face. There was a ringing sound, someone clinking a spoon against a glass. “Everyone, if I might have your attention for a moment,” It was Reg Barclay who spoke. He stood behind one of the picnic tables, in front of the house. Dan brushed himself off. “Toast time! We gotta get some drinks.” Kale sighed, and followed his childhood friend to Quark’s refreshment stand.

 

Barclay lifted his glass. “Twenty-six years ago, this crew returned from what has got to be one of the longest away missions in Starfleet history,” Those already gathered around him laughed politely. “I remember the day the ship finally returned home…” Miral, Lakita, and now Oliver were still at the bar, talking with Quark .”I’m not named after anyone, me mum just liked the name because of ‘Oliver Twist’.” “Lakita’s an interesting name too.” Quark said drying a mug. “Does that name mean anything?” “Mmm-hmm.” She put her glass down. “It’s from my father’s language—” Dan Paris’ voice broke in. “It means ‘great mountains of beauty.” Lakita sighed. “It means ‘raven.'” Dan pushed his way between her and Miral. “You got any Romulan Ale?” “Dan you’re not old enough to drink that!” his sister snapped.

 

“Uh,” Quark was answering Dan’s question, looking into his own almost-empty mug. “I’ll check…” Kale Kim frowned. “Are you supposed to be drinking while bartending?” Quark ignored him, still searching for Dan’s request. Miral gave up. “When’s the toast?” Barclay had gone onto a tangent, telling a story about Voyager’s return to Earth. “…the wormhole opened up, and out comes a massive Borg sphere…” he seemed to have forgotten that most of the people in his audience had been there when it happened. “…and out of those flames flew a starship—”

 

“Just like yesterday.” Janeway said, finally cutting off Barclay’s story. “And now, you wanted to give a toast to that day?” “—Ah yes. I’m sorry, I got off track a bit. Today is special, not just because it’s the day Voyager returned home, but—correct me if I’m wrong—but it’s also the day that an Admiral Janeway in an alternate timeline changed history to bring her crew home.” The yard was silent. There were a handful of confused faces, especially in the younger crowd. “Maybe I didn’t word that in the clearest way,” Barclay said nervously.

 

Janeway decided to help him out. “What Reg means is that,” she looked at everyone around her, “As most of you know, Voyager was stranded for seven years in the Delta Quadrant, until a woman from twenty-six years in the future traveled back to our time to bring us home. She was my future self. It’s because of her that this crew returned home after seven years, rather than sixteen. The advances Starfleet has made in technology to fight the Borg come from technology she brought to us from that alternate future. And this year, twenty-six years after she traveled back in time to help us, this is the year from her point of view that she would have changed history to save Voyager.

Many people still seemed to be trying to work out what she’d said. Even her husband looked a bit confused, and Donnell knew the whole story back to front. Janeway realized it might not be worth it to try to explain the story to anyone who wasn’t there. “Let’s just get on with this toast before my headache gets any worse.” Janeway decided.

 

“Thank you Admiral.” Barclay lifted his glass. Everyone followed. “So today I would like to toast not only this family, which I am grateful to have been adopted by, but I’d also like to toast that woman who changed the timeline and sacrificed her life to bring this crew home. If it weren’t for her efforts, most of the crew wouldn’t have come home in time to start families, and much of our younger crowd here would never have been born.” Kale Kim muttered, “Creepy.” Barclay finished his speech. “To the admiral.” Everyone repeated, “To the admiral.” As she sipped her champagne Janeway glanced at Jason and Sylvia, eight months pregnant; at Oliver, Kale Kim, Lakita Hansen, and the Paris kids, playing some drinking game. She owed that admiral a lot. And Janeway hoped that her upcoming mission wouldn’t ignite some catastrophe that would ruin everything her alternate-self had fought to achieve for them.

 

Chapter Two –  Twenty Six years of History

 

The small ship came out of transwarp a few lightyears from the Ocompan solar system, cutting through a cloud of sapphire-colored space dust. The shuttle bore Star Fleet’s symbol on its hull, but inside, its three occupants wore civilian clothes; if anything in their private mission went wrong, Star Fleet didn’t want Janeway, the Doctor, or Seven of Nine sporting Star Fleet uniforms for the Delta Quadrant. Janeway sat at the helm sipping her coffee, while the Doctor checked his medical supplies. Seven was in the back room, lying in a bed, “recharging” through her mobile-regenerator. Janeway took the ship towards the Ocompan home world, trying to ignore the uncomfortable silence that had come over the ship since Seven had left to regenerate. The Doctor, still examining his supplies, finally broke it. “It’s awfully quiet in here, don’t you think Captain? I brought some of my operas along, just for awkward silences like this. ” “If you want someone to talk to Doctor, just ask. You don’t have to threaten me.” Janeway joked, taking another sip of coffee. “And I haven’t been anyone’s captain in twenty-six years.” “Well, I’ve had a name for twenty-one years, but everyone from the old family still calls me ‘Doctor’ or ‘Doc.’ I don’t know about you Kathy, but being back here in the Delta Quadrant, I’m feeling particularly nostalgic. It’s nice to have something to take my mind off of recent events.” Janeway knew he was referring to his recent, failed relationship. “I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you and Lana,” she said sympathetically.

 

“It was for the best,” the Doctor said, in an accepting tone of voice. “If I can’t have her for a wife, perhaps I’ll have her for a stepmother.” Janeway frowned over her coffee mug. “Your old girlfriend is with your creator now?” “I introduced her to Lewis Zimmerman, and they ended up getting along a little bit better than I’d had in mind.” The back door opened, and they both turned to see Seven walk in. Now in her fifties, Seven still looked quite good for her age. Of course she no longer had her hourglass figure, and her once golden hair had turned a mouse-brown flecked with gray. She spoke much more like an ordinary person than she had on Voyager, using sarcasm and idioms regularly. But she still sported her Borg implants, and loved working her large scientific vocabulary into everything she said. She still carried herself regally, with her hair in an elegant braided bun, dressed in a royal-blue tunic and pants that flattered her figure and brought out the blue in her eyes. In her older age, Seven often gave off the aura of a queen. But a sad queen lately, one whose heart was broken. And who, no doubt, didn’t entirely enjoy the company of another old queen, who had loved that same man she had.

 

But Janeway and Seven’s friendship was stronger than a petty romantic rivalry. They both knew it. Chakotay had told them both right out, he didn’t want them to waste their lives resenting each other over him. Near the very end, on his deathbed, he’d even given Seven a very strong hint, which even the ex-Borg drone couldn’t have missed: “…I want you to move on, Seven. You have a lot of love to give, and I don’t want you to let it go to waste after I’m gone. You’ll still have our daughter. Your Aunt Irene. Kathryn…the Doctor.” Seven broke Janeway out of her thoughts. “We’re nearing the Ocompan system?” she asked, diplomatically. Janeway nodded. “Just a few light-years now. Let’s get this show on the road!” Seven took a seat between Janeway and the Doctor. “Let’s just hope there isn’t much Borg activity around Ocompa these days,” she sighed. “There are several things I miss from our time aboard Voyager, but the Borg isn’t one of them.” “I’ll drink to that!” Janeway lifted her coffee mug. “Speaking of drinking, Quark was at the party last week. He asked me to say hello to you. You remember him?” Seven gave half a smile, and raised her eyebrow. “He risks his life to help us win the Second Dominion War, just so I’ll model for his bar’s advertisement. How could I forget. Tell Quark I said hello, too.”

 

“I wish you could’ve been there Seven.” Janeway said gently, carefully. “Everyone’s been missing you. Harry, Tuvok, Naomi…Lakita was there too. She told me you two haven’t seen each other a single day since she moved out.” Seven turned away from her, looking down at her consol. “Lakita and I have both been busy.” Without looking back at Janeway or the Doctor, Seven stood up. “We should be at Ocompa in approximately twenty minutes. I should make sure all of our supplies are ready.” The Doctor and Janeway exchanged a glance as Seven left the room. Ocompa, they were relieved to find, was not a Borg planet. It was patrolled by Talaxian and Vidiian starships, and a few vessels of a shape Janeway didn’t recognize, and supposed might be Ocompan. After some discussion with the forces in charge, it was decided that Janeway’s group would land on the planet, and meet with a Talaxian guide. The three of them stepped out of their ship, and met with a tall, slim Talaxian guide named Drex. The Doctor and Seven looked around curiously as the group made their way through the sand. Neither of them had ever set foot on Ocompa, so they couldn’t appreciate just how different the planet looked since Voyager had first encountered it all those years ago.

 

The planet was still largely a desert. But manmade streams and rivers cut through the sand, framed by stone walls. Clusters of dome-shaped houses stood along the rivers, and a few plants and trees grew here and there. In the distance, they could see various starships at docking pads, between the clusters of homes. According to Drex, Ocompa had become something of a space port. Ocompans and other Delta Quadrant species stopped their business on the streets to watch the group approach. When they reached the edge of the nearest river, a small crowd waited for them. Ocompans gazed at Janeway, Seven and the Doctor, women with conch-shaped ears lined with red markings, men with blue-lined ears, all with the same pixy-like features and manner Kes had displayed. Most of them wore the same sort of oddly-shaped garments Kes had worn in her younger years aboard Voyager, the bright colors clashing sharply with the empty brown desert behind them. Here and there stood some Talaxians; a couple of Kazon; and a third species with round bumps on their foreheads, who Janeway recognized as Viddians, now cured of the Phage disease. An old Ocompan man in purple robes stepped forward from the crowd.

 

“Minister,” Drex nodded to the Ocompan leader. “Allow me to present Admiral Kathryn Janeway, Dr. Annika Hansen, and Dr. Leonardo Amadeus.” “Leo” was what a lot of people called the Doctor, since he’d picked his name. But most of the old Voyager group still called him “Doctor.” The same was true for Seven; most of her friends whom she’d made after Voyager, like Deanna Troi or Captain Dax, called her “Annika,” but those closest to her still called her “Seven” (except of course Lakita, who called her “Mom,” or “Mother” when she was mad). “Kathryn Janeway,” the town’s head minister stepped forward. “I am Thanis, Minister of this sect. We’ve heard so much about you. Stories of your crew have been passed down from generation to generation, telling how you destroyed the Caretaker’s array to save us from the Kazon.” The Kazon men and women in the crowd looked on somberly. Apparently, they did not share their past generations’ grudge against the Ocompa. “And then, of course, the Ocompan who lived aboard your ship, who returned home to us.” Janeway blinked. “Kes.” “She was old and tired. But she had infinite wisdom to share with us. She helped us expand our mental abilities, and rebuild our civilization here, above the ground. We owe her everything.” Janeway glanced at the Doctor, who was listening with a sorrowful look on his face. Kes had been his first friend aboard Voyager, the first crewmember to treat him like a real person. Seven’s face showed a solemn sympathy for Janeway and the Doctor, having never known Kes herself. Janeway looked back at the minister, and swallowed. “Kes is gone now, of course.” It was secretly a question, but she didn’t phrase it like one.

 

“Kes did not die a natural death,” the Minister answered. “It’s said that when her body became too old for life, it dissolved into pure energy. There are those of us who believe she is still here, in another form…” he regained his composure. “But we’re running low on time. We have sick and injured coming to this village every day, from colonies and ships that were attacked by the Krenim and their Borg weapons. I’m told you’ve brought treatments that can reverse the effects of assimilation?” “Better than that.” Janeway said. “We’ve brought you the technology to replicate those treatments, as well as food and other necessities for survival. But these replicators are programmed only to provide these necessities. I’m sorry, but our society cannot allow us to give out weapons, not knowing what hands they’ll end up in. But after I speak with your authorities, and witness what’s going on with my own eyes, I may be able to convince my leaders to lend you some more help.” The Ocompan minister nodded. “Of course. We’re gracious for any help you can provide us.”

 

Three days later, Janeway, the Doctor, and Seven were back in their ship, headed back for the Alpha Quadrant. They had to move a safe distance from Ocompa, before entering transwarp. For the first twenty minutes or so, they’d have to travel at a regular warp speed. This was to prevent damage to the surronding space. They had spent most of their time teaching the Ocompa and their allies how to operate the technology they’d give them, and had had little time for much else. But they found time to learn a bit about the Ocompan culture, and how things had been going for that section of the Delta Quadrant over the last thirty years. And there was plenty of reading material for the ride home. In return for the help they had provided, Thanis had given them copies of Ocompan history texts, and all the information on Kes, so Janeway and the Doctor could learn what their friend had been up to since returning to her home world. It seemed that after the Caretaker’s death, the Ocompan elders had kept his demise a secret from the public, trying to maintain their underground society as it always had been. An aged Kes had found them when they were close to ruin. She’d revealed the truth to the Ocompan public, and began teaching them how to expand their mental powers, which they eventually used to battle off the hostile Kazon who roamed their planet’s surface. She’d then spent the last year of her life helping them build a society above ground.

 

“Each Ocompan sect functions like a Collective,” Seven mused, as she read through the information on her PADD. “Who would’ve thought Kes would be taking a leaf out of the Borg’s book!” “On Earth, we’d refer to their society as Communism,” The Doctor said with amusement. “That structure seems to have worked out much better for the Ocompa than it did for humans.” “I imagine their telephathy helps,” Seven said, now looking the Doctor in the eye, and showing genuine enthusiasm in the discussion. “Things like privacy and personal gain become less important when everyone can hear each other’s thoughts twenty-four seven.” Janeway watched Seven and the Doctor go on about different theories they had about Kes and the Delta Quadrant, with half a smile on her face. Seven had seemed more alive in the last few days than she had in the last couple of years put together. Trying to talk to Seven about present events, Janeway had come to realize, was useless. So instead, Janeway had started bringing up the past, starting conversations about the great times aboard Voyager, and reminiscing about when Jason, Oliver and Lakita were babies. “…so let’s say you’re right, and Kes is outside the space-time continuum now,” Seven said to the Doctor, “Then perhaps she’s joined the Q continuum. Maybe she and Q will wed and rule the cosmos together!”

 

The Doctor’s face scrunched up with disgust, while Seven giggled through her hand. “Kes and Q? What a dreadful thought—!” An alarm suddenly began to beep. Seven looked quickly and her console. “There’s a ship with a Borg signature nearby.” “Increase to maximum warp!” Janeway said, looking frantically on the viewscreen, to see if the ship was in sight. The stars stretched, and they were soon cutting through space. Seven’s eyes stayed glued to her consol. “We’ll be ready to move into transwarp…now!” “Do it!” Seven typed into her consol. In front of them, a spiral of green light began to bloom, welcoming them into transwarp. But as the little ship came into it, the transwarp tunnel suddenly weekend, and spiraled back down out of existence. “What the hell is going on?” Janeway demanded. “We’re caught in a tractor beam,” Seven looked up at the view screen. “That ship came out of nowhere! I don’t know how…” at a loss for words, Seven worked at her consol frantically, trying futilely to outmaneuver the tractor beam. The ship on the viewscreen didn’t look Kermim, or Borg. It was slick and smooth, with a shape that reminded Janeway of a Klingon dagger. And something else was familiar about it…she’d seen this ship before… “I’m targeting the source of their tractor beam,” the Doctor added frantically. “If I can find it…” “Kathryn,” Seven said, grabbing Janeway’s attention. “That ship, it isn’t the Krenim, or Borg or…anyone I recog—Wait,” Seven squinted at the viewscreen, as the strange-looking ship grew closer and closer. “I’ve seen this ship,” “So have I.” Janeway stared, wide-eyed, at the writing on the ship’s hull: Relativity. The old admiral shook her head with disbelief. “No…” “We’re being hailed,” the Doctor said. “The signature’s…Federation?” “Open a channel,” Janeway said, dreading the upcoming conversation.

 

The man on the view screen was exactly whom she’d feared it would be. A burly middle-aged man with brown hair in a buzz-cut, wearing an oddly-styled black-and-purple uniform, and an irritated scowl on his face. Captain Braxton, the time-ship captain from the 29th century. Voyager had run into Braxton only twice, but each time involved more than one Braxton, Braxton’s from different time lines…a young, blonde, Braxton who had coldly informed Janeway that he was about to kill her crew; an old, bearded, insane Braxton, who picketed an “End of the World” sign around 1990s Los Angeles; the silver-haired Braxton who’d tried to blow up her ship…and a few others to boot…both of Voyager’s encounters with the Relativity had left Janeway with a throbbing headache, for so many reasons. The particular Captain Braxton who gazed back at Janeway on the viewscreen looked like the one she and Seven had worked with, who had wanted their help to catch a saboteur that was trying to erase Voyager from history. (The culprit had turned out to be another Braxton.) Hoping to God that this Braxton was at least one of the sane ones, Janeway held her head up respectively and greeted him. “Captain Braxton.” “Captain—No, I’m sorry—Admiral Janeway.” Braxton’s tone of voice wasn’t an improvement over the look on his face. “Have we in some way disturbed the time line?” Janeway asked with mock politeness. Braxton snorted. “Oh, not the entire timeline. Just twenty-six years of history.”

 

Chapter Three –  Slight Complication

 

Janeway stared at Braxton like a deer in the headlights. “What are you talking about?” Braxton raised an eyebrow, almost smugly. “Someone has just changed the timeline. You see Admiral, it seems that up until a few minutes ago, history had it written that the starship Voyager was lost in the Delta Quadrant for twenty-three years. You lost many crewmembers along the way,” he glanced at Seven of Nine, whose jaw clenched. “And your long journey brought the Federation information that was able to help us bring the Borg Collective’s reign of terror to a slow-down.” He bit his lip in a scowl. “Approximately ten minutes ago, my timeship detected distortions in the timeline. You’ll never guess which individual they were linked to. As soon as I recognized it as Kathryn Janeway, I had my officers download the history texts from Earth, so we could have a look at the damage. It seems that now, Voyager returned home after only seven years, and crippled the Borg collective all in one blow!” Still staring wide-eyed, Janeway gave Braxton a curt not. “You’re very welcome!” “I’m not finished. Since the collapse of the Borg, their technology has been attained by a species called the Krenim, and a new wave of terror was born. In a few decades (from your point of view), there will be a galactic war that will almost destroy the Federation, and lead to the deaths of millions.” Janeway, Seven, and the Doctor stared intently at Braxton.

 

“Surely there is a way to prevent those events,” Seven said, keeping her voice void of emotion, “Without destroying this timeline.” “You’ve already destroyed the real timeline!” Braxton thundered. “Millions of lives were affected!” “Why aren’t you taking this up with the Admiral Janeway who committed that crime?” Janeway demanded. “I’m not the one who traveled back in time and altered history. If you want that Janeway, why not go back twenty-six years ago, and talk to her?!” “Oh I plan to!”Braxton smiled. “After I arrest you, we’ll drop by and pick up your ‘temporal clone,’ as it were. Then you’ll both face trial, and we’ll decide after that whether or not we want to keep this new timeline you’ve created for us.” “I don’t know if this means anything to you, Captain,” Janeway stared at Braxton coldly, walking around the back of Seven’s chair. “But this ‘new timeline,’ as you call it, happens to contain some unique individual lives. Human lives. Children who wouldn’t be born, if you forced Voyager to stay in the Delta Quadrant all those extra years. Mine in included. And Seven’s. If you think we’ll even consider—” “I don’t mean to interrupt,” The Doctor piped up from his seat near the wall. “But the Krenim are getting closer as we speak. Why don’t we move this conversation somewhere a little bit more—”

 

A blast from the Krenim ship shook Janeway’s’ shuttle craft. On the viewscreen, they saw Braxton’s ship take a few hits as well. “Sir!” Braxton’s first officer Ducane called, “The Krenim—” “…can wait!” Braxton snapped. “Beam Janway aboard!” “I can’!” Ducane shook his head fiercely. “Our transporters are jammed,” “Shut off your tractor beam!” Janeway begged. “We’ll help you fight them! We’ll beat them together!” Braxton glared at Janeway, then pounded his consol with one finger, closing the discussion. Seven and the Doctor still fought at the shuttle’s controls. “We’re sitting ducks!” The Doctor finally exclaimed, giving up. Seven shot out of her seat. “This is useless. I’m getting a phaser rifle.” “What good will those do if the Krenim have Borg technology?!” The Doctor said exasperatedly, but Seven ignored him.

 

Amidst the blasts and alarms, there came a high-pitched whine. Janeway and the Doctor turned to see a blue-hot phaser beam cutting through the shuttle craft’s wall, in a circular motion. “I think we’re being boarded,” The Doctor said dryly, just as Seven returned from the back room with the weapons. Hearing this, Seven wasted no time distributing the weapons. The three of them stood there, phaser rifles ready, waiting to be faced with Krenim soldiers or Borg drones. But when the circular chunk of wall was pushed to the floor, in stepped Captain Braxton and Lt. Ducane. Janeway, Seven and the Doctor swapped glances, but none of them lowered their weapons. “You brought your first officer on an away mission?” Janeway asked, half mockingly. “He insisted,” Braxton said flatly. “Now, Admiral, if you please.” In his hand Braxton held a piece of future technology that Janeway obviously didn’t recognize, but looked similar to a site-to-site transporter. “I’m not going anywhere with you.” Janeway said over her phaser rifle. Braxton shrugged, and took a few steps backward. “By all means, I’m in no hurry!” He sank into a seat by the helm, folding his hands behind his neck. “Go ahead, stand there and threaten me. I’ve got all of eternit—”

 

A blinding flash of light filed the shuttle for half a second. Immediately afterwards, all heads turned to the shuttle’s viewscreen, to see a roaring, flaming explosion. Braxton shot up from the chair and stood, staring at the viewscreen, as his ship was torn asunder. The Relativity was being destroyed by the Krenim ships, blasted, burned apart, dissolving into debris….gone. Braxton and Ducane stared, frozen. Braxton’s jaw was dropped. Janeway, Seven and the Doctor were almost equally petrified. Janeway had had some concern for the wellbeing of Braxton’s ship and crew earlier, but the prospect that it could actually be obliterated like that, by mere 24th-century starships… “We have a problem,” Ducane said softly. Braxton slowly turned his head to stare at his first officer. The Doctor glanced back down at the panel on the help, and then a shocked look of realization came over his face. The hologram lunged for the controls, swinging his phaser-rifle over his shoulder. Within seconds, the Doctor had the little ship moving again.

 

“The tractor beam’s gone,” Seven said, thinking out loud. “We can escape!” She rushed to join the Doctor at the controls. Janeway turned to Braxton, and lowered her weapon. “Looks like it’s you who’ll be taking a little trip with me.” “Our shields are down, thirty-nine percent!” Seven called from her console. Janeway hurried to join her friends at the controls. Ducane and Braxton looked on helplessly, unfamiliar with how to operate an “ancient” 24th century time ship. After some furious typing from Seven, the transwarp tunnel spiraled opened once more. The Doctor took them in, and soon everything outside the windows was spiraling green. It was like being inside some strange roller coaster. Janeway was reminded of the classic “Willy Wonka” holoprogram she’d once played with a school friend. “We’ll be back in no time!” The Doctor smiled.

 

“Don’t get excited,” Seven said flatly, “The Borg have transwarp too. I’m trying to jam the Krenim’s controls,” A blast from the enemy shook the ship, and made everyone stumble forward. Seven and the Doctor steadied themselves on their consoles. Janeway grabbed the back of Seven’s chair to keep from falling over. Ducane wound up gripping Janeway’s arm. Before the shock of that blast had worn off enough for anyone to change positions, there came the hum of a transporter at work. Janeway saw the shuttle around her turn to a tinted green, and then vanish entirely, as her body dissolved into another location… The Doctor barely had time to look as both Janeway and Ducane were simultaneously beamed off the ship, through the green light of a Borg-styled transporter. At once, Seven screamed “Captain!” and Braxton hollered, “Juel!” The Doctor quickly turned back to his console, to keep up with the attack. To his surprise… “The Krenim have broken off pursuit!” “Go back!” Seven shouted. “Doctor, go back—!” “I can’t!” the Doctor’s voice sounded more stern now, than panicked. “We’re, we’re moving too fast.” “You’re lying!” “Approaching Deep Space Nine,” The Doctor’s voice softened, as they came out of transwarp, back into normal space. “We have to go back,” Seven’s voice was cracking. Braxton just stood there silently, too shocked for words. The Doctor slowly leaned back in his chair, exhaling (to express his emotions, naturally, not from exhaustion). “…We’ll contact Starfleet Command, and report our…slight  complications in our mission…then make arrangements to retrieve the Admiral.”

 

 

Chapter 4: If A Leads to B, and B Leads to C…

 

“Cat!” “Very good! Now what’s this?” “…Bibble!” “Tribble.” “Bibble!” “T-rrrribble!” Icheb was leaning over the bathtub, where his two-year-old son Ntaryn sat, surrounded by animal-shaped toys. Over in the next room, his wife and daughter sat against the glass window-wall, silhouetted against the massive, setting blue sun. Sabrina was huddled on the sofa, busy with schoolwork. Naomi stared intently into her desk monitor, taking some kind of a call from Starfleet. Icheb had worked for Starfleet a while, but after he and Naomi had Sabrina, they decide at least one of them should “stay home.” Icheb had decided that, since he’d already had his time on a starship, he should let his wife be the one to keep her dream job. He now worked as a geology professor a university, here on the home world of Naomi’s father. Their human friends often seemed to disapprove of Naomi’s career, since human children required more attention from their mother. But, as Icheb would remind these friends, Sabrina and Ntaryn were only one-forth human, and in the Brunali and Ktarian cultures, the father’s involvement was very important. “Say ‘ribble.'” Icheb tried, holding the rubber tribble over his son’s head. Ntaryn, like his sister, had inherited his mother’s forehead horns, but unlike Sabrina, he also had a hint of Icheb’s nose-ridge. “Ribble! Come on!” Icheb smiled. “Wribble!”

 

“Yes! There you go!” Icheb let the toy tribble drop into Ntaryn’s hands, as a shadow fell over the tub. He looked over his shoulder to see Naomi standing in the doorway, her red-gold hair falling casually around her shoulders. Her arms were folded, her face somber. That message she’d gotten wasn’t a rejection from Star Fleet, or anything so trivial. This look said something else, something more serious. “Who died?” Icheb said, with a nervous chuckle. “Well we don’t know for sure that she’s dead,” Naomi said softly. From the couch, Sabrina looked up curiously. Danroth Paris stepped into the fighting ring, his adrenaline surging.

 

From the orange-rock seats of the stone coliseum, spectators from a medley of species cheered and booed him. The majority were Klingons, but Cartesians, humans, Romulans, and virtually any other species with a violent streak regularly came to Qo’noS to view this not-quite-legal spectacle. At the other end of the ring, Dan’s opponent entered: a talk, green, Gorn. Dan now felt a tinge of fear—not of getting hurt, but if failure. One of his many idols, James T. Kirk, had famously beaten a Gorn in battle. Kirk had been a mere full-blooded human. If Dan, with his Klingon heritage, failed to match Kirk’s victory, well…that would stink.

 

Neither party knew who they’d be fighting until they both stepped into the ring. Before this, each had to choose their own weapons from a locker of choices. Dan stepped forward with two Klingon daggers on the hips of his black armor. The Gorn greeted Dan with a congested snarl, brandishing a blunt weapon that reminded Dan of a cross between a medieval Morningstar and a stegosaurus’s tail.

 

Dan never liked to waste time standing awkwardly, waiting for his opponent to strike first. He swung with one dagger, which the Gorn dodged easily. Dan ducked, letting the blunt weapon fly overhead, then delivered a roundhouse kick to the Gorn’s shin. Their fight continued, with the Gorn twirling and swinging his spiked club as if it were light as a baton, Dan fighting back with a random combination of Klingon and human martial arts. The crowd was going wild for both of them. Shouts in Klingon echoed across the rock stadium, from “The Klingon will triumph!” to “Get out of the ring, human!” Dan liked being one-fourth Klingon. Among humans, it made him feel powerful. The fact that his human heritage angered so many Klingons only made his life more exciting. Dan had been knocked to the ground when he saw a ship fly overhead. It was a small vessel, which looked like it might be his sister’s private shuttle.

 

The Gorn’s roar brought Dan back to the ring, and he quickly rolled out of the way, before the Gorn’s club smashed into the ground. The club became stuck between some large rocks. While the Gorn was bent over, trying to pull his weapon free, Dan spun around and slashed him across the back. The Gorn arched back, roaring in pain. Dan moved around the Gorn, expecting another swing from the club. Instead, the Gorn bodily pushed down on the handle of his club, creating a catapult-effect that sent a basketball-sized rock flying up into Dan’s face. Dan flew backwards, smacking back onto the ground, his face covered in blood. Before he could get back up, the Gorn stepped on his chest with one lizard-like foot, pinning him down. Whomever pinned his opponent to the ground for ten seconds won the competition. Biting his lip, Dan brought his two daggers in a crisscross at the Gorn’s ankle, and slashed as hard as he could. He barely broke the reptilian’s thick hide, leaving what looked like two paper-cuts. The judges counted to ten in Klingon, and the match was over. Dan let his head drop back to the ground, defeated, and swore quietly.

 

The Gorn released him, but Dan didn’t get up right away. He wasn’t a sore loser, he was too proud to be a sore loser. But it always took effort to face everyone, after he lost. Looking at the cheering and booing crowd, he saw a familiar figure push her way down towards the front row. It had been Miral’s ship, then. His older sister waved him down, signaling that she wanted to talk. Dan rolled over and pushed himself up, then hurried up to meet her. “Mom doesn’t like your ‘fighting,’ you know,” Miral said casually, as she handed her brother a handkerchief for his bloody nose and chin. Dan dabbed his face with the cloth, they exited the stadium, and crossed the barren landscape towards Miral’s shuttle. “I know.” Dan grinned, examining the blood on his handkerchief. “Why do you think I do it in the first place?” Miral didn’t have any witty insult to respond with, like usual. “Miri, what’s wrong?”

 

“It’s Aunt Kathy.” Miral’s voice was low and stern, controlled. Starfleet. “She’s been taken prisoner in the Delta Quadrant.” It took a moment for the news to sink in. “That mission she went on…that involved a war-zone of some kind?”

 

“I guess so.” Miral opened the hatch of her shuttle, and let Dan enter. “I just got the message this morning from Doc and Seven. Captain T’Rain granted me leave to come tell you, and possibly join the rescue mission. If there is one.” Miral climbed in and closed the hatch, then started up her ship. Dan nodded. “If someone’s taking volunteers into a deadly region of space, I want in.” “I figured you would.” Miral smiled, as she took them off into the sky. Klingon women. Buxom, scantily armored, Klingon women. Kale Kim was a talented painter, capable of producing professional-quality art. He was the son of a famous Starfleet hero. And this was the only work he could find to put food on the table. Painting covers for erotic, Klingon romance novels.

 

Just the irony of someone like him, of all men, being tasked with this type of art, was hilarious. Granted, Kale wouldn’t starve if he didn’t work. People on Earth didn’t work for money these days. But society expected you to work. He’d feel worthless if he didn’t. He had to work. He had to contribute to society, in return for the little apartment he rented, the food he ate, and the cats that kept him company. But the fact that society had no bigger favor to ask of him than covers for sleazy novels, that was annoying.

 

He actually had a novel of his own that he was working on. A historical fiction, set during the time of Captain Kirk. But the research required to make it as accurate as he wanted had turned out to be a hell of a lot more work than he’d anticipated.

 

Kale’s desk monitor chirped, startling his cat Demeter from her sleep. Kale wiped off his brush and set it in the cup of water, more than willing to take a break from painting the lighting Princess K’Lora’s right breast. He answered the monitor, and was greeted with Miral and Dan Paris, in what looked like Miral’s shuttlecraft. Dan was wearing Klingon armor, his face dabbed with cuts. He was curing them himself, with a medical instrument, while Miral piloted. “Hey, Kale,” Dan said, not stopping his work on his face. “Hey,” Kale said awkwardly. “Um,” he shrugged, “What’s up?”

 

Miral answered solemnly, “Admiral Janeway’s been taken prisoner by the Borg, or some assholes controlling the Borg. I’m not too sure about the details.” Kale suddenly grew a little sick inside. “Aunt Kathy…?” Dan nodded, eliminating a cut on his forehead. “Wanna go rescue her?” Kale blinked. “Rescue…Admiral Janeway?” “No, Princess Galactica.” (This was a later-edition “Captain Proton” character, who Dan and Miral’s dad had modeled after their mother.) “Yes, Aunt Kathy! Seven and the Doctor are asking for volunteers to like, get on some ship and go save her. I think. Wanna go?” Kale had no idea how to respond. “Now?”

 

Dan looked around, and shrugged. “We’re headed towards San Francisco to pick you up, unless you don’t want to go.” “Um…I…I want to help,” Kale touched his temple. “God, I want to help Aunt Kathy. But I don’t know what I’d do,” “Come on, think all the inspiration you’ll get, for you art.” Or a novel. “Yeah,” through his nauseated worry for Katherine Janeway, Kale managed to see the potential fun. The adventure. “Yeah, I’ll go!” Hell, The Battles of the Soul could wait a while, or get a new illustrator.

 

After the reunion, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Donnell had invited Lakita to stay over for a few days, until the mission to help the Ocompa was complete. The discussed plan was that when Janeway returned with Seven and the Doctor, they’d all get together for dinner, and hopefully Lakita and her mother could start to work on patching up their relationship.

 

Lakita and Oliver were in the basement, enjoying the private little holodeck. The O’Malley-Janeway family owned a private little holosuite because, well, they were famous and loaded. Lord of the Rings was a favorite of Lakita and Oliver. Oliver always insisted she play Arwen, saying she looked and acted the part perfectly. Oliver himself played Frodo. The holonovel would change up the story a bit, depending on which characters the participants wanted to play, so that whomever one chose could be incorporated into the Fellowship of the Ring, the Battle of Helms Deep, and the destruction of the Ring.

 

“Hey Oliver,” Lakita said casually, as she decapitated an orc with her Elven sword. “We need to get a whole group here sometime, and play out the whole cast! Miral would make a wicked Eowyn, and I know Dan would love to play Aragorn. And I have a friend at work who can be Gimli—Pier, he does a lot of woodwork on his spare time. He knows how to use an ax!” “Yeah?” Oliver stabbed an orc with his blue, glowing sword. “That sounds like fun! Kale Kim could be a hobbit, or Legolas or—” “Oliver?” a female voice said quietly, “Lakita?” Without lowering his sword, Oliver said, “Computer, freeze program.” The Orcs and Fellowship froze in mid-battle.

 

In the doorway of the tiny holodeck stood Sylvia Velazquez, Oliver’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, and mother of his unborn nephew. Sylvia’s normally copper face was deathly pale, beneath her black curled locks. “What is it?” Oliver asked. “Is Mum okay?” Hesitantly, Sylvia said, “I think you’d better come upstairs. Both of you. The Doctor and Seven are on the monitor…” “…She’s alive,” The Doctor assured the family.

 

Lakita, Oliver, Jason, Sylvia, Donnell, and even the dogs sat around the monitor. The Doctor and Seven were calling from a suite on Deep Space Nine. “Starfleet will let us take a ship to find her,” The Doctor explained. “It’s a humanitarian rescue mission, so it won’t violate protocol. But Starfleet itself won’t be sending a crew. That does violate protocol…for perfectly sensible reasons apparently too complicated for my simple program to comprehend,” the Doctor trailed off, bitterly. Seven spoke up. “We’ve already gotten over fifty volunteers, from Starfleet and otherwise. We even have a captain—or commander at least. Naomi’s volunteered to lead the mission. It’ll go on her resume,” Seven finished the last sentence with a hint of humorous irony. “Everyone’s meeting here at Deep Space Nine. The Doctor, Captain Braxton and I will explain the details.” “Captain who?” Jason asked. Seven and the Doctor exchanged a glance.

 

“It’s…complicated.” The Doctor said. “I,” Jason began, then looked at his pregnant fiancé. He stood up from the couch, and paced a bit, rubbing his chin. Finally, he decided, “I can’t, I can’t leave. I can’t leave you and the baby.”

 

“Jason,” Sylvia said sympathetically, “It’s your mother,” “And you’re my…son’s mother. No, I won’t leave you. If I lose my mother that will be awful enough, without our son losing his father.” Donnell shook his head. “I wouldn’t want you to go anyway.” He looked at Oliver. “You’re definitely not going.” Oliver thought this over, but didn’t argue with his father. He looked at Lakita, who gave a half-shrug and raised an eyebrow.

 

“I’m going.” She stood up, and smoothed her black hair, looking like she was thinking of how to word what she was going to say next. “If someone wants to just…walk me to the space station,” she eyed Oliver, “Tell them all what I’m capable of, be my reference,” “Yah,” Oliver nodded. “Yah, I’ll vouch for you. I want to hear what they’re going to do to get me mum back, anyway.” Looking at his father, he said, “I’ll give you a full report, after dropping Lakita off.” Donnell stared at his youngest son through narrowed eyes, almost angrily. “I want you te’ contact me the moment you get there.” Oliver nodded. “Yeah. Will do.” As Lakita headed for the room’s exit, Seven called from the monitor, “Where are you going?” Lakita stopped and turned. It was the first thing her mother had said to her in a long time.

 

“To pack.” Lakita said matter-of-factly, and left. At least fifty people were gathered at the promegade. Quark, the old Ferangi, was tending the bar, serving light alcohol and fruity drinks, as if this were some corporate businesses’ Christmas party. There were no available chairs left, and several people were sitting on tables or just standing. At the front, near the bar, stood Seven, the Doctor, and a third person, who Oliver supposed must be Captain Braxton. Seven and the Doctor surveyed the crowd with calm, controlled faces. Braxton looked like he’d rather be anywhere but here. “It is 0600 hours,” Seven said to the Doctor. “Shall we begin?”

 

Lakita led Oliver to a table near the front, and took a seat on the table. Oliver clumsily tried to copy her, and almost fell; she caught him, and had to help him up next to her. “Is everybody here?” The Doctor asked awkwardly. “All right…let’s begin.” He cleared his throat. “This is the situation: in the Delta Quadrant, there is a species called the Krenim, who have harvested Borg technology. The Collective has, for the most part, been destroyed—” “Mostly?” Danroth Paris exclaimed.

 

“—But the Krenim are now assimilating other races into servitude. Admiral Janeway, Dr. Hanson, and myself traveled to the Delta Quadrant on a humanitarian mission, to help some of these races. But on the way back, we received an unexpected visitor,” he glanced at Braxton with a raised eyebrow. “And shortly after, both Captain Janeway and Lt. Ducane—Braxton’s second in command—were beamed off or ship, presumably taken prisoner. Our mission will be to take a starship into the Delta Quadrant and track the admiral down.” Lakita cocked her head curiously at Braxton. “So where are you from, Captain…?” Braxton.” He grumbled. “I’m from five-hundred years into your future. Actually, you shouldn’t even have a future.”

 

Lakita furrowed her brow inquisitively at him. Next to Braxton, Seven looked away, and the Doctor began to rub his forehead, as if a massive headache were staring up.

 

Lakita folded her arms, and shook her long black hair. “If there’s more to this story, I think we should all hear it.” She looked around the Promenade, and got some nods and voices of agreement.

 

Seven looked at her daughter. “It is…complicated,”

 

“No it’s not!” Braxton strolled briskly to the bar, the scowl still on his face. He grabbed a glass off the counter and helped himself to a glass of Romulan ale (to Quark’s slight horror). “It’s a simple matter of A leads to B, and B leads to C.” he took a swig from his glass.

 

The Promenade was silent, as everyone stared at the timeship captain, waiting for clarification.

 

“A, B, and C. The basic time-travel model that everyone learns in their first year at the academy. None of you ever heard of it? Of course not…” he muttered into his glass, “Damned primitives.”

 

Oliver saw Miral Paris scratch the side of her head, staring at Braxton like she thought he was crazy. He decided he agreed with her.

 

Braxton continued. “A: My timeship, the Relativity, detects fluctuations in the timeline, linked to Kathryn Janeway. The Admiral has traveled sixteen years into the past, to bring Voyager home ten years early, and in doing so, alters the timeline drastically. B: I drop by to arrest her for her crime. From her point of view, the crime occurred decades ago, but from mine, it just happened today. C,” Braxton’s voice raised angrily, “My timeship is destroyed by the Krenim empire, which Janeway so curiously created with her new timeline, and I am now stranded here, in the stone ages, until we can somehow reverse the damage!”

 

The crowd seemed, for the most part, to understand.

 

“That wasn’t too complicated,” Dan Paris shrugged.

 

Seven nodded. “Very good. With that said—”

 

“There’s more!” Braxton growled, his eyes widening. “There’s a bit you all may want to know about this enemy you’re facing. The Krenim. You see, Captain Janeway is not the only one who’s been playing around with time travel. The Krenim used to have a timeship, or something like it. At some point in history—never mind when—the Krenim invented a vessel that existed outside the space-time continuum. They used this vessel to erase individuals, entire ships, entire races from history, to their own species’ advantage. As you can image, the damage was bad.” Braxton shook his head. “I have to hand it to Janeway; for all the pain in the ass she’s been, she did destroy that timeship, erasing it from history.”

 

Seven stared at Braxton. “I don’t recall ever experiencing, or being told about, such an incident.”

 

“Well of course you don’t, you pedantic drone!”

 

“Don’t talk to my mother that way!” Lakita exclaimed.

 

“Lakita,” Seven looked at her daughter, begging for diplomacy.

 

Braxton went on. “When Janeway destroyed the timeship, she erased it from history. No one, not you, not even the Krenim themselves, remember that it ever existed. But know this: there was one timeline when Janeway didn’t destroy that timeship, and the Krenim were unstoppable, even worse than they are now with Borg technology. If the Krenim ever find out about that timeline, we’re all done for.”

 

“And what timeline was that?” Seven asked.

 

The Doctor’s eyes widened. “Kes!” he stared at Braxton, then looked at Seven. “Not long before you came aboard Seven, Kes was experiencing a phenomena involving time travel. She was traveling backwards in time, until B’Elanna and I managed to fix the problem—with a bit of ingenuity on my part. She warned us about a possible future, where a race she called the Krenim would devastate the ship, costing us several valuable crewmembers, our captain included. With the knowledge Kes provided for us, we had a bit of a head start when we finally did reach Krenim space.” He looked at Braxton. “If the Krenim somehow could travel back in time, and prevent Kes from warning us about them, then that timeline she experienced could play out all over again, and the Krenim would still have that timeship, wouldn’t they.”

 

“Yep.” Braxton nodded. “Bottom line: The Krenim are, at this moment, still experimenting with temporal technology, trying to invent that timeship. If they find out about either of those alternate timelines, where they had the timeship, that’ll be bad.” “They’re bound to discover it eventually,” Miral Paris said shaking her head. “If they’re experimenting, already.”

 

“Then we need to stop them!” Icheb called from the back of the room. “Let’s focus on getting the admiral back, first,” the Doctor said. “If everyone’s ready, we can start assigning ship duties.” “So who’s gonna captain this little fiasco?” Braxton grumbled. “I am!” Naomi Wildman stepped forward, from the back of the crowd. Braxton looked at her dubiously. “And do you have a ship?” “In fact, we do.” Naomi allowed a half-smile to touch her lips. “Starfleet’s granted me permission to take Voyager out of retirement.”

 

 

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