A Fire of Devotion: Part 2 of 4: Louder Than Bells: Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

“Are you sure?” Samantha Wildman said to Seven of Nine, the latter sitting across from her in the mostly empty mess hall. The only other sentients there were Neelix preparing some snacks for the night shift, and Harry Kim sitting at the far end of the room drinking coffee while working on his reports.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Seven said. “Even if the risk of damaging my regeneration alcove were lower, it would be simply too impractical to move it to your quarters.”
“And the Captain shot down my idea of just moving mine and Naomi’s stuff to cargo bay two,” Sam said, her chin resting in her hand. “She actually thought I was joking when I suggested it, if you can believe it.”

“I am often surprised at what Captain Janeway finds funny,” Seven said.

“Well,” Sam said, “I stand by it. The walls in the cargo bays are modular. Moving one over to make your alcove area small enough to qualify as crew quarters shouldn’t be that hard, and there’d still be plenty of room for Naomi.”
“Where would the sonic shower go though?” Seven said. “It would be more than just moving a wall. Inappropriate laughter aside, the Captain does have a fair point.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I guess we’ll just have to keep doing things they way we have been,” Sam said.
“Our living situation is certainly not traditional Sam,” Seven said, smiling as she put her hand on Sam’s knee under the table. “But it has not been a particular burden. Doing anything different is just too impractical for the time being.”
Sam nodded, and looked around.
“It’s late, we probably should-”
“Lieutenant Kim,” Commander Chakotay’s voice said over the comm. “Please report to the bridge.”
“On my way, sir,” Harry said. Sam looked at Harry as he got up to leave, and only then noticed that the view out the mess hall viewports had changed from the familiar streaks of light from warp travel, and that they were getting closer to a planet.
“Odd,” she heard Seven say.
“How so?”
“We were not projected to come that close to a planetary body for another several days. We must have changed course.”
“Must be important,” Sam said.

“I suppose I should stay awake in case I am needed,” Seven said. “I’m not due for another regeneration cycle for at least twelve hours.”
“You do that,” Sam said, leaning over the table to kiss Seven on the cheek. “Me, I need sleep. I’ll see you before your next regen cycle?”
“Almost certainly,” Seven said.

Harry Kim didn’t let his excitement show, which was easy because there was less of it than he’d expected. He’d been given a real opportunity here; his first time commanding an away team. Voyager had received an automated distress signal just under an hour before he’d been summoned from the mess hall. The signal originated from an M-class planet, but attempts to hail the originator of the signal were met with no response. The bridge crew failed to detect any life signs, but Commander Chakotay had pointed out there could be any number of reasons for that and they should send a team down anyway, a team that he would monitor from the bridge while Harry was in charge. So Harry quickly put a team together, a small one consisting of himself, the Doctor, and Timothy Lang from security division.
“The distress call was automated?” the Doctor asked as he and Harry made their way to the transport room, where Lang would already be waiting for them.

“That’s right,” Harry said. “We’re hoping whoever sent it is still alive.”
“Well,” the Doctor said, “thanks for bringing me along, Lieutenant. And congratulations.”
“For what?”
“This is your first away mission as lead, is it not?”
“It is,” Harry said. “but it’s just a standard recon. If a full rescue is required, Commander Chakotay will take over from there. I don’t think I deserve a lot of praise for something so basic.”
“Ah,” the Doctor said. Harry wondering what that ‘Ah’ meant exactly, but decided not to press it. The two entered the transport room, their other team member already on the pad, clearly ready to go, but not looking impatient at all. Though to Harry’s memory, Timothy Lang hardly ever had any expression beyond detached disinterest. Harry and the Doctor stepped onto the pad as well.
“Energize,” Harry said.
Within seconds, the away team was on the planet, surrounded by rocks, and reddish orange sky, no signs of any kind of life nearby, not even plant life.

“Are you sure these are the right coordinates?” the Doctor asked.
“Positive,” Harry said, taking out his tricorder as he spoke.

“Apparently,” the Doctor continued, “whoever sent the distress call was already rescued.”
“Maybe,” Harry said. “But if that’s the case why not turn off the beacon once they were gone? We should make a thorough search anyway, just to be sure. Spread out.”

Harry went off in one direction, the Doctor and Lang each taking another, both with tricorders out. It was barely a minute before Harry heard the Doctor call out for him. He jogged over to where the Doctor was standing.
“This is the source of the distress call,” the Doctor said, looking at a device of some sort that was embedded in a nearby outcrop. The device emitted a very low hum, one that was barely any more audible once Harry was closer to it, scanning with his tricorder.
“Para-trinicshielding” Harry said. “A dense energy matrix, bio-neural circuitry…”

“Bio-neural?” the Doctor said, “Like Voyager?”
Before Harry could confirm that, a series of blue lights on the side of the device activated, and the low hum was replaced with a high pitched beeping.
“Okay,” Harry said, “back off, this thing could be dangerous.” He wondered if a noise like that had been what Tuvok had heard from the Krenim torpedo that had cost him his sight during the Year of Hell. He then felt disappointed at having thought about the Year of Hell for the first time in months.

“Wait,” the Doctor said. “There are patterns in the beeps. It’s speaking to us, speaking in duotronic algorithms. I think it’s an A.I. My translation matrix is still interpreting, give me a moment.”
The beeps continued.
“It says it’s injured,” the Doctor said. “It needs our help. It’s asking why it can’t see, or why it can’t feel it’s arms and legs.”

“It doesn’t have any arms and legs,” Harry said.
“I’m aware of that,” the Doctor said. “Regardless, it’s terrified.”

The Doctor moved over to the opposite side of the device. Harry kept his tricorder open. Lang simply stood just behind Harry occasionally looking around to see if anyone was trying to approach them, perhaps expecting some kind of ambush.
“Can you identify yourself?” the Doctor said to the device. A short series of beeps followed. “It’s saying that its memory’s been damaged. It doesn’t remember its name. Excuse me one moment please while I speak to my colleague.” The Doctor went over to Harry.

“So,” Harry said, “we have an artificial intelligence on our hands.”
“One who doesn’t seem to realize it is artificial, “ the Doctor said. “I don’t want to risk any psychological trauma, so we can’t tell it what it is just yet.”
“Doc,” Harry said. “It’s a machine. I don’t think synthetic lifeforms are that fragile.”
“Perhaps, but regardless it’s confused and it needs our help, Lieutenant,” the Doctor said. “We should beam it aboard.”
“Not until we know what we’re dealing with,” Harry said. “You know away mission protocols, Doc.”
“I do,” the Doctor said. “But I also know what morality dictates. It is clearly in distress, and we are in a position to help.”

Harry sighed. Something about this didn’t sit well with him, but his instincts had let him down in the past. He tapped his com badge.
“Kim to Voyager,” he said.

“Go ahead, Harry,” Captain Janeway’s voice replied.
“We found the source of the distress call,” Harry continued. “It’s a synthetic life form, badly damaged. The Doctor thinks we should beam it aboard.”

“You’re in charge of the away mission, Lieutenant,” Janeway said, “what do you think?”
Harry looked at the Doctor, and at the device.
“We’ve had bad experiences with A.I.’s before, Captain, but this one has no visible weapon ports that I can find. I’m going to suggest going along with the Doctor’s suggestion, but as a precaution I recommend sealing off an engineering bay with a level ten force field and beaming it directly there.”
“Agreed,” Janeway said. “Give us a few minutes.”

The Doctor smiled, turning to the device.

“We’re going to transport you back to our ship,” he said. The device let out another series of beeps. “I’m Voyager’s Emergency Medical Hologram.” The device beeped again, and the Doctor began going into detail about the science behind how holograms worked, and Harry had to suppress a laugh.
Well, Harry thought, if we can get this thing fixed up it looks like Naomi is going to have a real classmate for the first time.

B’Elanna Torres looked at the device that the Doctor had brought aboard, resting on a workbench near the back of engineering.

“Well, at least this one isn’t silver and humanoid shaped,” she said.

“I hope you aren’t implying that my new patient is also a leftover weapon from a centuries old war, are you?” the Doctor said.

“Nah,” B’Elanna said, shaking her head, more to try and clear the mental image of the robot called 3947 from her memory than to show disagreement. “Realistically, what are the odds that twice in less than five years we come across two synthetic life forms dedicated to fighting a war that its creators had ended?”
The Doctor frowned.
“Given some of the things this crew has been through the past six years?”
“Touché,” B’Elanna said. ”Though I have to admit, if it does turn out to be a weapon we couldn’t have picked a worse place to start working on it. Could we maybe move it a bit further away from the warp core?”
“There’s a level ten force field around it, B’Elanna,” the Doctor said. “If it goes kablooey it won’t take us with it.”
“I wish I had your confidence,” B’Elanna said. She heard the door to engineering open, and turned to see Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Kim enter.

“How’s our patient?” the captain asked.

“Complicated,” B’Elanna said. “It uses bio-neural circuitry to mimic humanoid synaptic functions, but its memory core is damaged. Basically, it has the technological equivalent of amnesia.”
“Any theories as to what it might be?” Janeway said.
“It could be a probe,” B’Elanna said. “or a communications device.”

“Whoever our friend is,” the Doctor said, “he wasn’t alone. He claims to have been traveling with a companion.”
“He?”
“He insisted on male pronouns, Captain,” the Doctor said.
“Ah, okay. Carry on. Was the companion an A.I. too?”

“I believe so,” the Doctor said.

“Okay, I’ll have Seven use astrometrics to start looking for him. Perhaps if we can find his companion we’ll get more answers.”
With that, the Captain and Harry left. The Doctor moved closer to the device, and asked Tim Lang, who had been watching over the device since both had been beamed up, to lower the force field so he could go talk to it.
“How are you?” the Doctor said. B’Elanna continued on her scanning of the device, but the Doctor was not being quiet, making it impossible not to hear his side of the conversation.

“Well, that’s an interesting question,” the Doctor continued, after a series of beeps and chirps. “Lieutenants Kim and Torres are attempting to repair your, um, damaged circuitry.”
The series of noises the device emitted next didn’t need much translation in B’Elanna’s opinion.
I guess now I know how to say ‘what the hell are you talking about?’ in binary, she thought.

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” the Doctor said. “You’re not an organic being. You’re technological. You’re an artificial intelligence, embedded in a machine of some kind.”
Another series of beeps.

“No, there’s no mistake,” the Doctor said. “We believe the damage you suffered in the crash is causing your confusion.”
The next series of beeps to come out of the device sounded distressed to B’Elanna’s ears. She supposed she couldn’t blame him at all.
“Well,” the Doctor continued, “look at it this way. You and I have something in common.”

Seven of Nine hoped the planetary scans would go by quicker now that the Captain was here to aid. In the past she might have been insulted that Janeway would jump in on a task that Seven could easily complete herself, but between her romantic relationship with Samantha, and her budding friendships with several other crew members, she had learned the value of free time.

“I’m detecting no further technology on the planet surface,” she said.
“Maybe the second device was destroyed when it crashed,” Janeway said. “Scan for metallic particulates consistent with our friend in engineering.”

Seven made the proper adjustments to the sensors in seconds, and had results shortly after that. It was an oddly pleasant experience being able to scan a planet without any sort of unusual outside factors making it difficult. The lack of a metaphorical ticking clock putting pressure on her to find something within an unreasonable amount of time was also nice.

“There are minute traces scattered across the northern continent,” Seven said. “I’m isolating them now.”
Both women turned from their consoles to look at the astrometrics lab viewscreen, the view shifting to zoom in and clarify the image of that area of the planet. When it was finished, Janeway stated what Seven had already deduced.

“An impact crater,” she said.

“It spans a radius of two hundred kilometers,” Seven said.

“And look at this,” Janeway said. “Heavy concentrations of radiogenic decay in the crater walls. The fracture gradients are consistent with a highly focused explosion.
“Evidently we’ve discovered the device’s function,” Seven said. “The Doctor will likely be less than pleased to hear this.”

“True, though I’m also not looking forward to telling B’Elanna we’ve got a weapon of mass destruction sitting right next to our warp core.”

“To be fair, Captain,” Seven said, “I doubt anyone in her position would be pleased about such a discovery. I believe the term Mister Paris would use would be ‘sphincter tightening.’”
“Yeah,” Janeway said, Seven noticing that the Captain was not taking her eyes off the crater on the viewscreen. “Sounds about right.”

“I understand your concerns,” the Doctor said to Captain Janeway in the briefing room. “but the device hasn’t shown itself to be hostile.”
“Not yet,” B’Elanna said, standing next to Harry, who was the only one in the room sitting down at that moment, the latter looking worried. The Doctor figured that Harry was blaming himself for potentially endangering the ship, but the Doctor didn’t see it that way at all. He saw an opportunity and he wanted to pursue it.

“All the more reason to talk to it,” the Doctor said. “We explain our concerns, and then ask it for help in safely defusing its explosive components.”

“If it’s programmed to detonate,” Chakotay said, standing between Janeway and B’Elanna, “there’s no telling how it would react.”
“Agreed,” Janeway said. “We have to neutralize the threat now. Suggestions?”
“We could beam it off the ship,” Harry said. “Out into space, or back where we found it.”
“Harry, this is a sentient being we’re talking about,” the Doctor said. “I refuse to believe our only options are to kill it or abandon it.”

“What if we could separate the bio-neural circuitry from the explosive?” B’Elanna said. “Take the weapon off-line, but salvage the intelligence?”
“They’re fully integrated,” Harry said. “Where would we keep the A.I. if we can do that?”

The Doctor smiled, excited at the prospect of having another synthetic life form to talk to.
“The answer’s obvious,” he said. “Download its synaptic patterns into a holographic matrix like mine.”
“Then what?” Chakotay said, his tone flat enough that the Doctor couldn’t tell if the commander was on his side or not, the way B’Elanna appeared to be.
“First off,” the Doctor said, “we try to find out where it came from, and return it to its people.”
“What if it doesn’t want to go?” Harry asked. “I don’t know if I’m alone in thinking this, but it would seem to me that creating a synthetic life form as complex as this one, only to stick it in what is essentially a missile is just downright sadistic. That would be like having a child for the sole purpose of training it to commit suicide.”

Janeway sighed.
“Well,” she said, leaning forward on her chair, “in that case I suppose we’d have to grant it asylum, if it asked. Very well then. Harry, B’Elanna, assist the Doctor.”
“Thank you, Captain,” the Doctor said.

“At the first sign of danger though, we transport it off the ship. Understood?”
Captain Janeway’s tone and stance made it clear that no amount of arguing would do any good on that front, but the Doctor wasn’t worried. He was sure that working with Harry and B’Elanna they’d be able to save the A.I.

“Yes, Captain,” he said.
“Dismissed,” Janeway said.

“This begs the question,” Joe Carey said as he helped Harry carry the device, now known to be a weapon, out of engineering to take to sickbay. “why would you waste such a sophisticated artificial intelligence on a bomb?”
“Harry said pretty much the same thing,” B’Elanna said as she started gathering tools they’d need to perform the procedure to attempt to disable the explosive. “He called the thing’s creators sadistic. Though I wouldn’t entirely rule out stupidity. Anyway, I’ll meet you there. There won’t be enough room for all three of us plus the synthetic in the turbolift.”

“Understood,” Carey said.

The device made a loud noise as the two men started moving towards the door with the device in their arms.
“It’s okay,” the Doctor said, walking alongside them. “I wouldn’t like being carried around either.”
More beeps came out of the device as the group entered the nearest turbolift, B’Elanna walking past them to get to the next nearest.
“We’re taking you to sickbay,” the Doctor said. “we’re better equipped to help you there. Don’t worry.”
We’re talking to a bomb the way I’d talk to my sons when I had to take them to the doctors when they were little, Carey thought, trying not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

There was another series of beeps, softer this time. Carey hoped that meant the explosive device wasn’t panicking. The yield of the explosive was irrelevant, the ship might survive, but he was holding the damn thing. He and Harry certainly wouldn’t. He doubted the Doctor’s mobile emitter would survive either.

“We’re going to transfer your intelligence to a holo-matrix,” the Doctor said. “In a little while, you’re going to be walking around, just like me.”
“Which reminds me,” Harry said. “Have you picked a body for it yet? Him, I mean, sorry.”
“I figured I’d let him choose an appearance,” the Doctor said. “I’ve removed any crew members, especially deceased ones, from the list in order to avoid any possible discomfort for the rest of the crew. Though since we have only the one mobile emitter I suppose we’ll have to work out some kind of sharing schedule so he won’t be confined to just sickbay and the holodeck.”
“Just a thought,” Carey said, “you may want to remove any Cardassians from the list as well. Don’t want to risk anymore drama like we had that one time.”
The Doctor sighed. “Why do I have to keep reminding people I had no idea the man was a war criminal when I created the consultant program?”

The conversation was cut off when the turbolift doors opened on deck five, and the group made their way to sickbay. They carried the device in, and set it down on one of the bio-beds. Seconds later, B’Elanna entered.
“Alright,” she said, setting her tool kit next to the device and opening it up. “ready whenever you are, Doctor.”

“Are you ready?” the Doctor said to the device.
There was a short, single beep.
“Okay then,” the Doctor said.
Harry opened a panel on top of the device, and B’Elanna went to work. Carey stepped back. He didn’t think he’d be needed since B’Elanna and Harry were perfectly qualified to handle this task, but the former had insisted he stay in case they needed an extra pair of hands.

A series of rapid, loud beeps and chirps began. Even before the Doctor started telling the device to remain calm, that they needed to access some of its system in order to perform the transfer, Carey figured the device was responding with panic. He wondered if the device felt pain. After all, if Harry’s theory about the designer’s sadism were accurate he couldn’t rule that out.

“He says he wants to know exactly what you’re doing as you do it,” the Doctor said to B’Elanna, who rolled her eyes.
“If I’ve ever been that annoying while you were working on me,” she said, “I owe you an apology.”
“Actually you owe me six, but who’s counting,” the Doctor said.
“Regardless,” B’Elanna said, “this is a delicate procedure. I won’t be able to concentrate if I have to give constant updates.”

“I can help with that,” Carey said.
“Okay, Joe,” B’Elanna said. “Get as close as you can without getting in my or Harry’s way.”
“Alright,” Carey said, “Well, first we’re going to be setting up an active interlink between you and the holo-systems. To do that we’re going to have to take your program off-line while we resequence your bio-neural circuitry.”
There was another series of beeps. Carey picked up on the tone of distress, impressed with himself for doing so.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “there isn’t another way.”
“Very perceptive Mister Carey,” the Doctor said. “He did in fact say he didn’t want to be turned off.”

“I figured it was something close,” Carey said.

B’Elanna continued to manipulate the tool she was using, but seconds later, the lights in the device began flashing red, and a loud alarm sound starting coming out of it. B’Elanna and Harry immediately took a step back, the latter opening his tricorder.
“He’s arming,” Harry said. “The detonation sequence has started.”

“Sickbay to transporter room 1,” B’Elanna said. “the device is going to detonate. Beam it off the ship.”
“Yes ma’am,” Todd Mulcahey’s voice responded. After a few moments passed and no sign of a transporter beam, Todd began speaking again. “For the love of- it’s protecting itself somehow, I can’t get a lock.”
“Goddamit,” B’Elanna said, “I really wish that kind of thing would stop happening. When we get back to Earth I’m recommending a complete fleet wide overhaul of our transporter systems. Doctor, try to talk it down.”
“Please, stop,” the Doctor said earnestly, “you’re going to destroy yourself, and us.”
Not the order I would’ve put that in, Carey thought.
“Detonation in twenty seconds,” Harry said. “I’m going to try sending an E.M. pulse through its power matrix. maybe I can short it out.”
“Fifteen seconds,” B’Elanna said.
“Please don’t detonate,” the Doctor said, still talking to the device. “We’re only trying to help you.”
“Ten seconds!” B’Elanna said. Carey stepped back. He could help Harry, but since Harry was working on a smaller console than the ones they had in engineering, it was more likely he’d just get in the way if he tried.
“Initiating the pulse,” Harry said.

“Six, five, fo-” The device shut down, cutting B’Elanna’s countdown, much to Carey’s relief, and apparently Harry’s as well give how loud his exhale was.
“That was too close,” B’Elanna said.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” the Doctor said.
Carey looked at the Doctor, and felt a sense of dread. Something was off with the Doctor’s voice.
“I know you got a little attached to the thing,” B’Elanna said, packing up her tool kit. “But we had-”
“You lied,” the Doctor said.
“Oh shit,” Carey muttered under his breath.

“You said you were trying to transfer my neural patterns, but you were really trying to shut me down.”
“Oh no,” Harry said, having reached the same conclusion Carey had.
“You’re the A.I.,” B’Elanna said. “You used the interlink to hijack the Doctor.”

“You tried to destroy me,” the A.I. said through the Doctor’s voice.
“We were only trying to disarm the explosives in your body,” Harry said.
“I’m a weapon. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It was a precaution,” Harry said. “We were afraid you might be dangerous.”
“Looks like we were right,” B’Elanna said. “We were going to try and destroy you, but the Doctor, the hologram you just hijacked, convinced us to try and help you.”

“You must help me complete my mission,” the A.I. said. “I remember it now. I am a long-range tactical-armor unit. I’ve been deployed by my people. They’re facing a terrible threat. A hostile species. My companion unit was destroyed, but I will reach my target. Your ship will take me there.”
“Look,” Harry said, cautiously walking towards the A.I. that had stolen the Doctor’s form, “we can contact your people, you just need to tell us who they are-”
“I must resume my mission!” the A.I. screamed, pushing the buttons on the side of the device in pattern. The lights on the top, where the panel had been removed earlier, lit up again. The three officers looked at each other. No one needed to say it out loud; the device had been rearmed. “If you try to stop me, I’ll detonate. This ship, and everyone on it, will be destroyed.”

“Oh hell,” Harry said. “Kim to security, do not, I repeat do not attempt to enter sickbay.”

“Lieutenant Kim,” Tuvok’s voice said, “what is your status?”

Harry filled Tuvok in on what had happened. Carey risked getting closer to the A.I. in order to look it in the eyes, the Doctor’s eyes.
“Listen to me,” he said, “we don’t even know how long you were on that planet. Your mission may be over already. Give us back our Doctor, and tell us who your people are so we can return you to them. Please.”
The A.I. ignored Carey, and picked up a PADD, and began entering coordinates into it.

“Give this to your navigator,” he said. “Set this course, and proceed there at maximum velocity. The target system is approximately two light years from here” He shoved the PADD into Carey’s hands. Carey looked at B’Elanna, who nodded.
“Go ahead. Fill the Captain in. We’ll go along,” she said, the ‘for now’ implied in her tone.

“On it,” Carey said, leaving sickbay.

“The course I have plotted bypasses enemy minefields,” the A.I. said. “Do not deviate from it.”

“If he has access to the Doctor’s program,” Captain Janeway said, “he probably knows how fast the ship can go, so going at warp 1 to buy time won’t help.”
She looked again at the PADD that Joe Carey had given her before returning to engineering, as if just staring at it for a little longer would give her a solution to this problem. She wished she could contact Harry and B’Elanna, but the A.I. had locked down sickbay after Carey had left, and wouldn’t allow anyone to exit or enter. If she tried hailing them, the A.I. would overhear.

“We could offer to fix its own propulsion system and send it on its way,” Chakotay said.
Janeway shook her head.
“Helping it would be getting involved in a war we know nothing about,” she said. “I know there’s been debate about the Prime Directive among the crew lately, but I doubt anyone could argue this case isn’t a pretty cut and dried example.”
“I hope you aren’t suggesting we just let it blow up the ship,” Tom said without turning from his console.
“Only as a last resort,” Janeway said, not ready to give up just yet. “We’ve still got time for options, so if anybody has any, I’m all ears. We’ve survived so much since we got to the Delta Quadrant, I’m not willing to accept that of all things we end up losing Voyager to a damaged A.I.”

“Sensors are being accessed from sickbay, Captain,” Tuvok said.

“Let them be,” Janeway said. “We need to play along until we can find a way out of this. If the A.I. can’t see the sensors he might just assume we’re lying and blow us up anyway. Chakotay, get Seven of Nine up here. Don’t use communicators, not yet anyway, we don’t know how much if any of the systems the A.I. is able to access through the Doctor. Tuvok, Tom, report to the briefing room.”
Both Tom and Tuvok acknowledged the request and immediately stepped away from their posts, junior officers moving in to cover for them.

Janeway waited until Chakotay returned to the bridge, Seven of Nine in tow, to the bridge before heading to the briefing room herself.
“Brainstorm time people,” Janeway said.
“If we could disable the force field around sickbay we could beam the device out into space,” Tom said.
“Even if we could do that fast enough to get a lock before it detonated,” Seven said, “we could not beam it out far enough from the ship to escape the blast.”

“If we could tap into the holo-projectors we might be able to shut him down,” Chakotay said.
Janeway shook her head.
“Mister Carey told me that the Doctor’s mobile emitter is still on him,” she said. “He didn’t remove it when they got to sickbay before they started the procedure. It’s not a bad idea otherwise, just our bad luck.”

“Have we entirely ruled out attempting to reason with the bomb?” Tuvok said. “Is it a true A.I., or just a sophisticated weapons system?”
“It certainly seems capable of anger and paranoia,” Janeway said. “It’s certainly sentient, but it has the determination of a zealot. Trying to change its mind might work if we had more time before reaching the target system.”

“If it can be talked down,” Seven said, “Lieutenant Kim is likely already attempting to do so. He and Lieutenant Torres are still trapped with the device, after all.”

Janeway sighed.
“Good point,” she said, “but I’d like to have other options besides hoping Harry can build a rapport with it. We need to outsmart the smart bomb.”

“You don’t have to do this you know,” Harry Kim said to the A.I.
“It’s what I was programmed for,” the A.I. replied, not looking up from the console where it monitored the ship’s sensors.
“So?” Harry said. “You’re a sentient being, capable of making your own decisions. Look at the Doctor. He was designed to be just a doctor, but in the past five years he has become more than that. He’s taken up hobbies, made friends, he’s even dated.”
“Your Doctor is a tool,” the A.I. said.
“A tool that saved your life,” Harry said. “If it weren’t for him you’d still be damaged and alone on that planet. He’s the one who convinced me to beam you aboard.”

The A.I. looked at Harry for a moment, but didn’t respond before returning its gaze to the console. Harry continued speaking, not allowing the unusual situation of trying to reason with a bomb to get to him.
“When we found out what you were, most of the senior staff wanted to destroy you. The Doctor defended you, said you weren’t just a bomb, you were a synthetic life form with the same rights as any synthetic in the Federation.”
“Tell me,” the A.I. said, “despite all his achievements, did your, friend ever stop being a Doctor?”

“No,” Harry said, wondering where this was going.

“And I can’t stop being a weapon,” the A.I. said.
“It doesn’t have to be like that,” Harry said. “We can give your own holo-matrix, and you can keep all of this. Eyes, the ability to move around, the ability to speak. You blow yourself up, that all goes away.”

“The only thing I want is the destruction of my target,” the A.I. said.
“What is your target anyway?” Harry said.

“A military installation on Selinia Prime,” the A.I. said. “Grid 11, Vector 9341.”
“Tell me about it,” Harry said. “Who is your enemy?”
“A ruthless violent race that’s threatening to destroy my people,” the A.I. said, anger in his voice.

“What else do you know about them? Do you even know their name? What’s their planet like?”

“I’m not programmed with superfluous data.”
“Or maybe your creators just didn’t want you to know,” Harry said, hoping he’d found a thread to pull on. “Maybe, they knew that if you knew more about them, you might change your mind and decide not to blow up at all. One of the risks of making a weapon with an artificial intelligence after all. Did I ever tell you my theory about your creators? That they are sadists for creating something with such remarkable intelligence, only to make it blow itself up?”
“Enough!” the A.I. shouted.

“You’re aboard Voyager now, you have access to our scanners,” Harry said. “Why don’t we take a closer look at your target?” Harry went to a console behind the one the A.I. was using and started pulling out long-range sensor data.
“If you must,” the A.I. said. “Just stop talking about it.”
“Or what, you’ll blow up? When you are so close to your goal?”

Harry crossed his arms, and grinned, even though inwardly he worried he’d pushed the bomb just a bit too hard and his talking to it was going to literally blow up in his face.

“Get out,” the A.I. said, “before I use your friend’s body to harm you.” The A.I. stood up and turned off the monitor Harry was using.
Harry found himself at a loss, not sure what he could say next that wouldn’t escalate the situation. He sighed and left the Doctor’s office, leaving the A.I. alone.
B’Elanna saw him, walked over, and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You tried,” she said. “no one can fault you for that.”
“Can’t they? This all happened because of the first command decision I ever made as an away team leader.”

“The name of the species that made the bomb is the Druoda,” Neelix said, setting something down on the briefing room table. Seven of Nine looked at it, wondering what it was.
“How’d you find that out?” Janeway said, which was the second question that Seven had thought of herself, the first being how Neelix had even known there was a meeting since he hadn’t been invited.
“I saw the bomb while it was in engineering,” Neelix said, “and parts of it looked familiar. So I went through some of the items we collected during our last trading run, and that right there is a piece of kitchen equipment that uses the same technology.”
“Good catch,” Chakotay said, “but I don’t know how that helps us right now.”

Neelix didn’t have a response, and Seven felt sorry for him. It was in Neelix’s nature to want to help, and under different circumstances, this information would be more valuable than it was currently.

“That’s alright, Neelix,” Janeway said. “But since you’re here, go ahead and take a seat. We’ve been at this for over an hour with no luck, we could use a fresh perspective.”

Neelix shrugged.
“I suppose it can’t hurt,” he said. “just promise not to laugh too hard if I make a stupid suggestion.”

“Promised,” Chakotay said.

Seven of Nine took another look at the schematics of the weapon on the PADD in her hand, and had an idea. One with a low probability of success, but it was better than the nothing they had so far.
“I have studied the weapon’s schematics,” she said, “and I believe my nanoprobes can be modified to disable its bio-neural circuitry. However, that would require me gaining access to its primary control port.”
“Great idea,” Janeway said, “except for the force fields around sickbay. How would we get you in there without giving the bomb enough time to detonate itself?”

“We could just shut down the warp core,” Chakotay said. “and stop the auxiliaries from kicking in right away. We’d have more than enough time before air ran out for Seven to disable the bomb. How much time would you need?”
“Approximately twenty seconds,” Seven said.
“Does that include how long it would take you to get to the device?” Janeway said. “He might have forced Harry and B’Elanna to move him further away from the door, and he has his own power supply.”
“But his intelligence is in the Doctor,” Chakotay said.
“Who, as Mister Carey informed us, was still wearing his mobile emitter,” Tuvok said.
Seven sighed.
“I had failed to take that into consideration,” she said. “I apologize.”

“Don’t,” Janeway said. “Maybe there is another way to get you in there. Tuvok, run a scan on that subspace minefield the bomb warned us about. Specifically, I want to know their explosive yield and how much damage they could do to the ship.”
“Captain?” Tuvok said.
“I believe the Captain intends to stage an injury,” Seven said, “that would require taking me to sickbay, A bold strategy, however it supposes the bomb would allow me to be brought in.”
“True,” Janeway said, “but it’s the best idea I’ve got so far. Any objections?”
No one said anything.
“Alright then,” Janeway said. “Seven, start looking into the best way to fake third-degree plasma burns. The injury is going to need to look severe if this is going to even have a chance at working.”
“Understood,” Seven said.

“Wait a second,” Tom Paris said, “wouldn’t we have to change course to hit those mines? The bomb would be on to us immediately.”
“That’s why I’m having Tuvok study them” Janeway said. “So we can find a way to mimic the side effects of encountering the mines. I know this is going to be anathema to your sensibilities as a pilot Tom, but we may be asking you to give us a bumpy ride on purpose.”
“I can learn to live with it,” Tom said.
“Good. Dismissed,” Janeway said. With that, the crew filed out of the briefing room, ready to do what they needed to to try and save the ship from an intelligent bomb. From Seven’s perspective, that was far from the most unusual thing she’d encountered, in or out of the collective.

The A.I. stood at the bio-bed where it’s original body still lay, scanning it, and visibly getting more and more frustrated. B’Elanna hoped it would get angry enough to make a mistake, but then admonished herself.
How would I even know what to do if it did? she thought.
“Assist me,” the A.I. suddenly said, going into the Doctor’s office where she and Harry were sitting.
“Excuse me?” B’Elanna said.

“I am attempting to find the malfunction that caused me to crash,” he said, “but several of my memory files are still damaged. Restore them.” The A.I. turned around and left the office without giving her time to respond.
B’Elanna looked at Harry, who was already standing up.
“Might as well,” he said, “can’t risk pissing him off, he might blow us up right now.”
“You’re still hoping the Captain can find a way out of this?” B’Elanna said.
“She’ll have the rest of the senior staff helping her,” Harry said, “we just need to buy them time.”
B’Elanna sighed. She would’ve preferred to just sit and let the damn bomb try to fix its own memory banks, but she saw no point in resisting if Harry was going to help.

“The Cardassian missile, the silver robots, now this. If I make it back to the Alpha Quadrant, I’m going to make sure I’m never alone in a room with Commander Data,” she muttered to herself. To the A.I. she said in a louder tone, “Where do we start?”
“There are several disruptions in my memory index,” the A.I. said. “including a three minute, thirty-seven-second gap just prior to the crash.”
“A recursive search algorithm might retrieve the missing data,” B’Elanna said. She touched a few buttons on the console, and quickly she found what the A.I. was looking for.

“Well, that was easy even by my standards,” she said, hoping the A.I. took offense at her pride at being able to accomplish in seconds what he hadn’t been able to at all. “Right there, you received a subspace transmission, a command. A command to alter course and head to the planet surface. Looks like your landing wasn’t an accident.”
“So much for your target,” Harry said. “Seems to me like your creators managed to solve their problems without you.”
“It must’ve been an attempt by the enemy to divert me from my target,” the A.I. said insistently.
“No way,” B’Elanna said. “Your access codes are encrypted.”
“They must have developed an infiltration code.”
“Why do you say that?” Harry said.
“Who else would try to divert me?”
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Harry said, “but these are the same duotronic algorithms you use to communicate with.”
“My own people wouldn’t try to stop me!” The A.I. said.
“Looks to me like they did,” B’Elanna said, starting to get a sinking feeling of deja vu for the silver robots she’d met several years ago who had wiped out their own creators to prevent them from ending their own war. “Whatever the reason, they didn’t need you to be a bomb anymore. Now, me, if I’d created something as sophisticated as you I’d want it back, but-”
“The enemy is ruthless. The target is a threat. Why would my people call off the assault?”
“Motherf- we just told you we don’t know,” B’Elanna said. “And don’t try suggesting we planted that order there, you were looking right at me when I found it in your memory banks.”

“Okay, everyone calm down,” Harry said. “Maybe if we clear up some more of these memory files, we’ll see why your orders were changed.”
“Your assistance is no longer required,” the A.I. said.
“Because you’re afraid of the truth?” Harry said. “Let us finish our job, then decide what to do next. But you have to accept that you may not like what we find.”
The A.I. looked at Harry, then at B’Elanna, then back at Harry.
“Proceed,” he said. “But I will be monitoring you, looking for any sign of subterfuge.”

B’Elanna went back to work, and began pulling up more damaged data.
“Does the phrase ‘designated command matrix’ mean anything to you?” she said.
“That’s my control center,” the A.I. said, sounding calmer.
“It looks like they rescinded your orders some time after you originally launched,” Harry said, looking over B’Elanna’s shoulder at the monitor.. “See for yourself.”

The A.I. looked at the screen in shock as it read the order he had received out loud.
“‘All long-range tactical armor units, terminate mission immediately.’ It says the war is over, that it ended nearly three years ago. My launch was a mistake. There was a malfunction in one of the command sensors that activated a series of launch sequencers. My people managed to shut most of them down, but thirty-four weapons were fired. Including me.”
“I guess this means you can disarm yourself now,” Harry said. “We can return you to your people. You can go home.”
“No,” the A.I. said, “there’s no confirmation code here. We evaded the enemy minefield so they are attempting to deceive us.”
“The confirmation code could be in one of your damaged memory files,” B’Elanna said.
“Or maybe it was you!” the A.I. shouted, getting agitated again. B’Elanna decided she had had enough of this.
“How?” she said, yelling as loud as he had been. “Seriously asshole, how? You’ve been monitoring us this whole time! When would we have been able to alter your memory files like that?”

“You have lied to me before, why should I trust you now?”
“We didn’t lie to you before, you paranoid synthetic,” B’Elanna said. “We were trying to get you your own holographic body when you decided to hijack our Doctor and take our ship hostage. But you don’t even have to trust us, just access the rest of your damn memory files!”

“No! I am programmed to destroy my target! I will complete my mission!”

“You don’t have a mission anymore,” Harry said, somehow staying calm amidst all the shouting. “The war is over, but you could end up starting another one. How many of your people would die then? At the very least, the very very least you owe it to them to determine the truth before you go blowing yourself up.”

The ship suddenly shuddered, and the red alert klaxons started going off.

“Sickbay to bridge,” the A.I. said, “what is happening?”
“We’ve run into a subspace mine,” Janeway’s voice said, sounding upset. “You told us your course would bypass your enemy’s minefields.”
“There shouldn’t be any mines along this course,” the A.I. said. He glowered at B’Elanna and Harry, and B’Elanna glowered right back.
“Your information is a little out of date in case you forgot,” she said.
“We’re plotting a new course to avoid them,” Janeway’s voice continued. “But there are thousands of them scattered throughout the region.”
“Transmit it to me,” the A.I. said. He looked at the new course on the monitor. “This trajectory will delay us for two days!”
“That just gives you time to confirm the war is over,” Harry said, “since you won’t believe your own memory banks, we can contact your people. Unless you expect your own controllers to lie to you as well.”
“Don’t give the paranoid any ideas, Harry,” B’Elanna whispered.

“No! Proceed as planned, Captain Janeway. I am programming a shield enhancement that will protect Voyager.”
“I’m still going to have to reduce speed. That last hit dropped us out of warp,” Janeway said.

“Agreed,” the A.I. said, grudgingly. “But only until we’ve cleared the minefield.”

“Understood. Janeway out,” the Captain said before closing the channel.

“Do you think he bought it?” Janeway said.
“He seemed to,” Chakotay said.
“Mister Paris,” Janeway said, “give us another good shake or two, just to be sure.”
“Yes ma’am,” Tom said.

“Bridge to Neelix, get started on Seven’s plasma burns.”
“Already on it, Captain,” Neelix said over the com. “And I think they look pretty good if I do say so myself.”

“Good,” Janeway said. “Tom, once he’s done, hit another ‘mine,’ a big one. Chakotay, prepare to blow out the plasma relays on deck six.”
The ship shook violently as Tom did his work.
“Janeway to sickbay, we’re taking casualties,” she said, hoping she sounded concerned enough to fool the A.I.
“Maintain course and speed,” the A.I. said.
“That’s going to be difficult,” Janeway said. “Our astrometrics officer has been injured. She’s the one who has been guiding us through the minefield.”

“Replace her,” the A.I. shouted.
“Seven of Nine’s abilities are unique,” Janeway said, adding a bit of anger to her reply even though she was grinning while she spoke. “We’re not going to get past these mines without her.”

“Then treat her injuries and send her back to her post!”
“She has third-degree plasma burns. She needs to go to sickbay to be treated. if you want to reach your target you’re going to have to wait.”
“Alright Captain, but I am warning you, no deceptions.” The channel to sickbay cut off.
“I really hope this works. Bridge to Neelix, you’re good to go.”
“Aye, Captain,” Neelix said.

Seven of Nine made a note to thank Samantha for the opportunity to learn about acting. While the two had not performed even once since they had done Coriolanus nearly a year ago, Seven still attempted to apply what she had learned to her performance as a burn victim, letting herself limp, and leaning on Neelix as though she really needed his support to remain upright as he escorted her to sickbay.

The door to sickbay opened, and the A.I. still in the Doctor’s holographic body, and still wearing the mobile emitter, let them in, closing the door behind them.
“Treat her as quickly as possible,” he said to B’Elanna before walking away to do, something, in the doctor’s office. She groaned in mock pain as B’Elanna helped her into the bio-bed right next to the one the device was in.

“Is he looking the other way?” Seven whispered as B’Elanna looked at her ‘injuries.’
“Um, yes,” B’Elanna whispered back. “What’s going on?”
Seven sat upright as quick as she could, and put her hand over the thankfully still open panel atop the device, and extended her assimilation tubules into it.
“She’s attempting to defuse the weapon,” she heard Neelix say.
Now I just need twenty sec
Her thought was interrupted by intense pain, real this time, as the device started to electrocute her.
She heard Neelix call her name in concern before she hit the floor, barely conscious. She could hear that Neelix was talking over her, but couldn’t make out what he was saying right away.

“-me move her,” she heard Neelix, feeling him and B’Elanna get their arms under her to try and lift up to the bio-bed.
I failed, she thought sadly, How did I not see that coming? How did I not know it would have some kind of defense like that?
She heard the pressing of buttons, and the A.I. began speaking.
“Sickbay to bridge. Your attempt to disable me has failed.”

“We tried to reason with you,” Janeway said. “You left me no choice.”
“And you leave me no choice. You and your crew will abandon Voyager immediately.”
“No deal,” Janeway said.
“You will comply or I will detonate!” The A.I.’s scream shocked Seven into full alertness. She could see from their wincing that B’Elanna, Neelix, and even Harry who had joined the rest at her side, though she was unaware of when, also did not appreciate someone being that loud that close to them.

“Go ahead,” Janeway said. “Do it.”
The A.I. paused, clearly not expecting that. “Everyone aboard will be killed!”
“But no one else will,” Janeway said. “The only reason I didn’t tell you to do it sooner is because I thought there was a chance we could stop you. Through reason, or force, it didn’t matter. I had hope. But now I know that I can’t stop you from destroying us. I can however stop you from continuing your war. Every Starfleet officer knows there’s a chance they’ll have to lay down their lives to uphold the Prime Directive, and that’s what I’m doing now. I know nothing about your people, or your enemy, or your war, and I don’t care. My people are not a part of it, and we would rather die than be dragged into it.”

“I really hope she’s bluffing,” Seven heard Harry whisper.

The A.I. looked stunned, unsure of how to respond, but he didn’t immediately detonate his explosives, so Seven allowed herself to be optimistic and hope that was a good sign.

“Captain,” Tom Paris said, his voice heard over the still open channel. “Thirty-two vessels just dropped out of warp, right off our port bow.”

“On screen,” Janeway said.

“Shit,” Harry said. “Thirty-two.”
“It’s our bomb’s friends,” B’Elanna said to Seven and Neelix.

“They detected my presence aboard your vessel,” the A.I. said. “They say my target is essential. and that they altered course to ensure that I reach it. They demand that I be transported off your vessel so I can be tractored to my target.”
“Mister Kim,” Janeway said. “reintegrate his neural matrix and prepare to beam it off-”
“We can’t do that Captain,” Harry said.
“Explain.”

“These weapons were fired by accident, we can’t let them reach their target.”

“ENOUGH!” the A.I. screamed so loud that had it real vocal chords it would’ve been in danger of blowing them out. Everyone flinched, and Harry even put his hand over the ear closest to the A.I. “Captain, order him to proceed!”
“Harry, what are you talking about?” Janeway said.
“Give me a minute,” Harry said. He got right in front of the A.I. and jabbed him with his pointer finger. “Bomb, can I call you bomb? Forget it, I don’t care. You’re making a mistake. Your own people tried to disarm you.”
“I cannot be certain of that,” the A.I. said. Seven found herself grateful that he wasn’t shouting for once.

“Yes you can,” Harry said. “Check your memory files. Look for the confirmation code.”

“No more delays,” the A.I., looking pained, and confused. “Reintegrate my matrix.”
“Check the files,” Harry said, not as loud as the A.I. had been but still shouting,.
“Do what Harry says,” Janeway said, “or you’re not leaving this ship. And if you detonate now, your companions are close enough the explosion would destroy most if not all of them too. The power in this situation is out of your hands.”

The A.I. began working on the console. Seven couldn’t see what he was seeing, and in fact was very tempted to just lie down and go to sleep, the pain of the shock she’d suffered still affecting her, but that was overpowered by the desire to see this through. If the worst came to pass, she did not want to die unconscious.
“Coding intersequence 443,” the A.I. said. “Vector 39121. Cessation of hostilities… Confirmed. Unauthorized launch, confirmed. Order to terminate mission, confirmed.”

“You must disarm and order your companions to do the same,” Harry said, speaking softly now, Seven having to strain to hear him. She tried to get up, but Neelix and B’Elanna held her down. She was weak enough that they didn’t need to exert themselves to do so.
“It’s a deception,” the A.I. said, but it sounded more like it was trying to convince itself than Harry.
“This code of your uses a modulating algorithm,” Harry said. “It would be almost impossible to duplicate.”

“Almost impossible,” the A.I. said. “Almost. I- we, should return to our home system, seek additional confirmation. Too many variables.”

“Yes,” B’Elanna said. “You should. War is too big a thing to leave to maybes.”

“No,” the A.I. said, “the enemy is ruthless. Violent.”
“Now you’re just spouting propaganda,” Harry said. “You are a sentient being. Your designers gave you intelligence so you could make decisions in the field. The evidence is pointing to this attack being a mistake. You owe it to yourself as much as to the people you’d potentially kill to find out for sure, and the best to do that is, in your own words, to return to your home system.”

“Bridge to sickbay,” Janeway said. “You’re receiving a transmission from the other bombs. What are they saying?”
The A.I. looked down.
“They are asking why I haven’t left your ship,” he said.

“Tell them,” Harry said.
“I will,” the A.I. said. “I’m transmitting our orders to terminate the mission.”
Harry breathed a sigh of relief. B’Elanna smiled and nodded.
“Good job, Harry,” she muttered under her breath.
“Definitely,” Neelix said, concurring with B’Elanna. Seven herself admitted internally she hadn’t thought this was possible.

“Oh no,” the A.I. said. “They already received those orders, but were past the targeting threshold.”

“The what?” B’Elanna said.
“Once within two light years of a target we cannot, in theory anyway, be diverted. I’ve resent the orders, but they are not standing down.”
The A.I. looked sad. “This is my fault,“ he said. “Had I listened to you sooner I could’ve prevented this.”
“We can worry about blame later,” Harry said. “How can we stop them?”
“We can’t,” the A.I. said, “not without destroying them I mean. I don’t want to do that, but I think we may have no choice.”

“That seems like a bad design flaw,” B’Elanna said. “Why give you that level of intelligence, only to yank it away at an arbitrary distance?”
Seven, now able to sit up on her own, saw the A.I., looking ashamed, but still pressing buttons on the console.
“I’m trying to convince them to stand down, but they don’t believe me about the order. We will have to destroy them. Thirty-three sentient lives is a small price to pay to save thousands, isn’t it?”
“Wait, thirty-three?” Harry said.

“Reintegrate me into my matrix, and let me join them. Get Voyager to a safe distance, and I will detonate, taking them with me.”
“We can’t let you do that,” Harry said.
“You wanted me to see beyond my programming, Lieutenant Kim,” the A.I. said. “That’s what I’m doing now. Noble self-sacrifice is not part of my original code. I have entered contact information for my people. Tell them everything, including the part about the targeting threshold. Your engineer is right, that is a terrible design flaw.”
Another synthetic life form allowing itself to die, Seven said, thinking sadly of Edwin. One more time and this officially ceases to be mere coincidence.

“Captain, are you still listening?” Harry said.
“Lock on to the weapon and prepare to beam it out. B’Elanna let’s get started on the reintegration.”
“Harry, are you sure about this?” the Captain said, though she easily could’ve refused if she’d felt that Lieutenant Kim was making a mistake.
“Trust me on this one, Captain,” Harry said.
“Got it,” Janeway said. “Let transporter room one know when you’re ready. I’ll patch you through.”
The A.I. put a hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“Thank you,” he said.
“For what?”
“I am still getting to complete my mission, only my target has changed. When I destroy the other weapons, a new war will be averted. Countless lives on both sides will be spared.”
“It’s ready,” B’Elanna said, closing the top panel on the device. Harry pressed a button, and the hologram flickered at the same time the lights on the device powered up.
“Please state the nature of the medic- wait, what happened?” The hologram was still there, but clearly the Doctor was back. “How long was I off-line?”
“I’ll explain later,” B’Elanna said. “Seven’s hurt.”
“It is not life-threatening,” Seven insisted, though she made no effort to get out of the bio-bed. She had a feeling that the after effects of the bomb’s defense measures would last a while though.

“Transporter room one, are you there?” Harry said.

“Ready and waiting,” Ensign Mulcahey said.

Another coincidence, Seven thought. Of course Todd Mulcahey is involved in this too.

“Energize,” Harry said.

Seven leaned back, hearing rather than seeing the device being beamed away.

“I’m detecting a series of antimatter explosions,” Tuvok said.
“In proximity to what?” Chakotay said.
Janeway knew however. Her instinct told her that she’d been right to trust Harry’s judgement.
“No ships, no planets, nothing. The weapons have been destroyed,” Tuvok said.
“Bridge to Lieutenant Kim,” Janeway said. “Good work. The A.I. kept its promise and destroyed the other weapons.”
“Good to hear,” Harry’s voice replied, though his tone suggested he was less than thrilled. Janeway couldn’t entirely blame him, it had been barely a few minutes between Harry successfully convincing the smart bomb to disarm itself before it had to go and die. Her ancestors had a term for that; bittersweet.

“Harry,” Janeway said, “go ahead and take the rest of your shift off. That goes for B’Elanna and Seven too. I think you’ve earned it.”
“Thank you, Captain, but if you don’t mind there’s something we need to take care of first.”
“The weapon’s people?” Janeway said. “Apparently they’re called the Druoda. We’ll make sure they get the information. Get some rest. That’s an order.”
“Yes, Captain,” Harry said.

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