8-1 - Hiatus
By: Jemima (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: Star Trek: Voyager, its
characters and related properties are Registered Trademarks of
Paramount Pictures. No infringement of Paramount's copyrights
is intended. Voyager Virtual Season 8 (VS8) is a non-profit endeavor.
The unique characters and milieu of VS8 are the property of the
VS8 producers and individual authors. This story is the property
of the author. Please do not repost without permission.
surviving crew of the unluckiest starship in Federation history
gazed entranced at long-range visuals of blue-green Earth. After
seven long years, they had made it home. Most of them, that is,
and close enough to home. One short light-year lay between Voyager
and everything they'd left behind when the Caretaker's array dragged
to the far reaches of the galaxy.
the Captain's orders, Commander Chakotay took the helm - an omen
of ill if ever there was one.
a course...for home," Captain Janeway said, one last time.
laid in the course and Voyager glided Earthwards on impulse power
alone. Yet the viewscreen displayed the fleet approaching Earth
at much closer range.
nice, Mr. Kim, but a little premature," Janeway said. The
eager ensign had superimposed short-range visuals of the fleet
over the long-range scan of Earth.
a standard technique for tactical views," Harry said in his
isn't the Chin'toka Retreat, Ensign," Janeway replied. "The
Borg were kind enough to drop us off a light-year from home, but
there is a speed limit here in the Alpha Quadrant."
Captain turned back towards Chakotay at the helm and added, "Keep
that in mind, Commander."
restored a non-tactical view of the stars to the viewscreen, with
Sol bright but tiny in dead center. The surrounding stars, however,
were not streaking along at warp speed.
had taken a beating, both in the transwarp corridor and in the
explosion of the Borg sphere around them, so it was no surprise
when Commander Chakotay announced, "Warp power is off-line."
to Engineering," Janeway barked impatiently.
here," Nicoletti responded over the comm link. Sounds of
cheering and modern Bajoran dance music could be heard in the
music cut off suddenly, and only shushing noises accompanied Sue's
report, "Sorry, Captain. The explosion of the Borg sphere
took out our primary and secondary power couplings. Also the dilithium
matrix will have to be realigned before we can go to warp."
bridge crew saw Janeway's grin, but the Engineering staff only
heard her dreaded gravelly voice as she asked, "How long
will it take your staff to get off the dance floor and repair
hours, ma'am," Nicoletti replied nervously. "Engineering
and Harry immediately offered to go down to Engineering to lend
them a hand with the repairs.
your horses, Harry," Janeway replied. The young Ensign was
ready to get out and push, if that would get Voyager to Earth
five minutes sooner. "I need you to reopen the comm channel
to Starfleet Headquarters."
did so, and a cheerful Admiral Paris reappeared on-screen, next
to Reg Barclay and backed by an increasing number of staffers.
explained their situation to him: "I'm afraid there's a slight
complication on our end, Admiral. We won't have warp power back
for a day or two. Will you send a transport for the crew?"
Paris was already hard at work on the massive logistical problems
posed by Voyager's return. Debriefings, reunions and promotions
vied with court-martials, criminal trials and his own son's parole-board
hearing for the Admiral's attention. If the crew remained isolated
aboard Voyager for a few more days, the Pathfinder staff would
have that much more time to untangle legal and personal skeins.
naturally the Admiral replied, "That won't be necessary,
Captain." Prodding Barclay, he added, "Actually, Reg
here had an idea for your homecoming."
Janeway, I was thinking you could land Voyager on the parade grounds
at Starfleet Academy," Reg explained in an unsteady voice.
"I was just about to arrange the air clearance and the fireworks."
smiled, encouraging Reg to add, "It will be the party of
sounds perfect, Lieutenant," Janeway replied.
we send a repair crew over to help your staff?" the Admiral
offered, though he didn't want too many rumors flying around before
Captain Janeway, at least, had been debriefed concerning Voyager's
mysterious return home.
shared the Admiral's concerns. She trusted her crew, but there
was a good deal of future technology scattered around Engineering.
The fewer people who saw it before Starfleet decided what to do
with it, the better. Besides, B'Elanna wouldn't want
strangers touching her engines.
won't be necessary," Janeway replied. "I think we can
repair a few power couplings without calling in the calvary, Owen."
you need any supplies, just shout and we'll have them sent over,"
Admiral Paris said. "Pathfinder out."
newest passenger, Miral Paris, slept soundly in her father's arms.
B'Elanna ought to be doing the same, but she was too riled up
after Harry and Seven's visit. Her friends had stopped by Sickbay
on their way to Engineering to see the Parises' bundle of joy.
Unfortunately, they let slip more about the state of the engines
thannwas medically advisable. An hour later, Tom was still trying
to calm his post-partum wife.
Chakotay can't crash the ship if we don't have warp power."
don't know him like I do, Tom," she fumed, propping herself
up on an elbow and waving her other hand to punctuate her fury
properly. "And what was Sue doing throwing a dance party
in my engine room?"
back, B'Elanna, dear. You know Lieutenant Nicoletti is used to
running Engineering during gamma shift when everyone's half asleep
anyway. She can't keep the Maquis in line the way you do."
had said the drugs were causing some disorientation, but that
it was better not to sedate her. Then the cowardly hologram had
deactivated himself, leaving Medic Paris to convince the hyperactive
Klingon to get some sleep.
bust her down to crewman, and then I'll have her clean the plasma
manifolds with a toothbrush," B'Elanna growled.
course you will, dear, right after you get some rest." To
Tom, this latest threat of violence was actually a good sign -
last time she'd planned to have Nicoletti lick the manifolds clean,
and before that had been the painfully loud 'space Sue' stage.
Now, B'Elanna eyelids were definitely drooping - the exhaustion
was winning out over
laid back down on the biobed with an audible sigh. "Okay,
flyboy, I'll sleep, but only if you promise me you won't let Chakotay
was out like a light before Tom could answer.
reduce lighting to 30%," he said, then turned his attention
Miral, sweetie," Tom whispered to the bundle in his arms,
"we finally get some quality father-daughter time. First,
Daddy wants to thank you for winning the baby pool for him. Now
don't deny it - I won't tell Mommy. You knew that Daddy bet on
1500 hours. I'll split the proceeds with you 60/40."
paused to listen to the sleeping child's breathing. "What's
that you say, Miral? 30/70? You did all the work? No, I think
Mommy did all the work. Anyway, what good are replicator rations
to you?" He listened again. "No, they're not much use
to me, now, either; it's just the principle of the thing. We'll
split them 50/50 - is it a deal? Good. Daddy's little girl learns
hummed a lullaby in the semidarkness of sickbay.
Crewman Chell surveyed the mess hall proudly. Tables, chairs,
galley and viewports were all his. Chakotay had approved the Bolian's
request to be put in charge of the mess hall full-time just the
day before. His stint as cook would last only one more day, but
it was the time of Chell's life.
in Engineering, Chell had spent most of his time on repair crews,
roaming the halls and hulls of Voyager, welding shut minor breaches
and patching together non-vital power conduits. Despite the name
'repair crew', he usually ended up working alone - the other pseudo-engineers
were a sullen bunch who never wanted to chat on the job. His colleagues
in structural repair always managed to split up the team and get
themselves out of earshot. Starfleets were so antisocial, Chell
in the mess hall, however, everyone was willing to talk to the
cook. Neelix had trained them well, and now Chell had replaced
the Talaxian as the central comm system of shipboard rumor. What
would happen to the Maquis when they reached Earth? To the Equinox
crew? To the ex-Borg? What had Admiral Paris said when he hailed
Voyager? Inquiring minds came to Chef Chell to hear the latest
in fact and
the Bolian was having the time of his life. He puttered around
the kitchen, putting away the leftover Closer Than Proxima Centauri
Casserole. The dinner crowd had consumed all the Home Fries, Round
Trip Rotini, and Visit Vulcan Veggies. A few leaves of The Green
Green Greens of Home were left in the salad bowl; Chell picked
them out one at a time and munched on them contemplatively. The
vinaigrette was perfect - what a shame his cooking career would
never have a chance to get off the ground.
tables were still occupied by chatting crewmembers. Chell collected
their empty plates, handed out the last of the Return Turnovers
and then sat down with a couple of his old friends from Engineering.
how far a light-year is when the warp core is down," ruminated
Crewman Harren. "It would take us over a year to get home
if it weren't for old Zefram Cochrane." Impulse drive was
fine for tooling around in orbit, but interstellar distances were
unthinkably vaster, and insurmountable at sub-light speeds.
would never have been in the Delta Quadrant if it weren't for
you Starfleets hunting us down," Jarvin joked. "And
now you have us where you want us." The former Maquis held
out his wrists for Harren to snap on imaginary restraints.
wasn't the only Maquis to turn bitter and sarcastic at the sight
of Earth. Back in the Delta Quadrant, they had been one crew,
but here in Federation space criminal charges weren't so easily
forgotten. Nor was that the only difference dividing the formerly
inseparable crews; yesterday, thirty thousand light-years ago,
and Starfleet had been equally far away from friends, family and
homes. Now, close up, the Maquis were forced to remember that
their friends and family were almost all dead, and their
homes still in ruins.
mind was only on the legal issues. "What did you ever do,
Jarvin? Or you, Chell?" he asked, pushing Jarvin's hands
away. "Janeway and Chakotay are the ones who should be worried,
not us little people. The Cardies will be after him, and Starfleet
is going to cashier her."
biggest challenge as cook was cheering up disgruntled crewmembers
- another tradition he'd inherited from Neelix. Maquis though
he was, he felt obliged to say, "I'm sure Starfleet will
see reason. They can't throw Voyager this huge party they're planning
and then turn around and lock up half their returning heroes."
it's true about the party?" Harren asked. He was easily distracted.
have it on the highest authority," Chell replied. "Voyager
will be landing on the parade grounds at Starfleet Academy, and
all the family and friends who can get there in time will be there
to welcome us home."
the security," Jarvin said, trying not to think of his family
or his ruined home world.
don't know about that, but I have heard a bit about the menu."
Chell droned on until his friends remembered how glad they were
the Bolian had been transferred to mess hall duty. Yet the distraction
was welcome now.
"Admiral Paris is unavailable at the present time,"
Reg said for the thirtieth time.
soon as Reg Barclay cut the connection, another caller appeared
on his office viewscreen.
Mrs. Sharr, it's so nice to hear from you again. It's been almost
two hours since your last call." He half-listened to her
as he watched the menu for the senior staff reception scroll across
Mrs. Sharr, if 'that nice boy at Ops' says your daughter is sleeping,
I'm sure that's the case. No one has been assimilated." Not
lately, the unhappy lieutenant added to himself. Why did the annoying,
middle-aged woman insist on looking a gift horse in the mouth?
no reason to use that sort of language about Captain Janeway -
she did get the crew of Voyager home, didn't she?" Reg turned
the volume down at a squeal of protest from Ensign Renlay Sharr's
course they're not home yet, ma'am, but they're as close to Earth
as makes no difference. I'm sure Renlay will return your call
when she wakes up for gamma shift tonight."
attention strayed again as Mrs. Sharr thanked him for all his
help. He appended a requisition for holographic hors d'oeuvre
to the menu, so the EMH wouldn't feel left out at the senior staff
Sharr was waiting for an answer - what had she asked again? "What
time? Oh, I think gamma shift begins at 2300 hours. That will
be two in the afternoon your time. Do call again if you have any
other questions, Mrs. Sharr."
cut the link and sagged back into his chair, wondering how exactly
he'd been roped into the job of Voyager's civilian liaison. Paris
had a fistful of aides - one of them should have been saddled
with the thankless job. The Admiral had rushed off to Utopia Planitia
with one of them, in order to borrow an experimental shuttle.
Reg was left to
notify the families that Voyager was (almost) home. Of course,
Barclay had gotten to know all the relatives back when he was
delivering letters for the Pathfinder project, and then arranging
live communication links once that became possible. He just wished
he had an aide of his own to deal with the handful of Mrs. Sharrs.
would he do after the welcome-home party? The Pathfinder
project was certainly over now. There was no obvious next step
to Barclay's career, which had, to date, consisted of a series
of impossible quests, questionable research projects, shady business
opportunities and wildly inappropriate postings like his stint
Enterprise. Speaking of the Enterprise...
was looking up one of his former crewmates in the Starfleet personnel
database when the console chirped again. "Ah, Glinn Doten,
how pleasant to see you again. I'm afraid the Admiral is still
out." The Cardassian diplomatic attaché was the last
person Admiral Paris wanted to speak to right now, in any event.
Cardassian government hopes justice will be done' - yes, I'll
be sure to pass that along to him, Glinn. Barclay out."
put all calls to the Pathfinder office on hold for a moment while
he filled out a personnel requisition form. He signed the Admiral's
name at the bottom of it.
Lieutenant Paris had come to the shuttlebay somewhat prepared
for the niceties. He blew a bosun's pipe and announced loudly
enough for the two crewmen in the observation lounge to hear,
"Admiral on the deck!" as Admiral Paris and an aide
stepped out of their shuttlecraft.
ease," Owen Paris said.
quite a little ship you have there, Dad," Tom said, as he
shook his father's hand.
a top-secret prototype, son. You never saw it."
lips are sealed," Lieutenant Paris replied sotto voce. "I'm
sorry I couldn't arrange a larger honor guard," he apologized,
loudly enough for the aide to hear.
truth was no one quite remembered what to do when an admiral came
aboard. It had been so long, and that section of the Starfleet
database had been corrupted somewhere along the line - maybe even
as far back as the cheese incursion. Tom had been afraid to ask
Janeway or Tuvok about the proper protocols. Harry didn't remember,
Seven said antiquated rituals derived from seagoing vessels were
(meaning that she didn't know either) and the several Maquis Tom
had asked just laughed in his face or made ribald suggestions.
the helmsman was winging it. "Everyone's busy with repairs,"
he elaborated. Some excuse. Sure, a hundred and forty crewmembers
were crowded around the warp core handing Nicoletti and Vorik
hyperspanners like so many nurses...
your wife, I hear."
smiled. "B'Elanna and Miral are sleeping, but we can look
in on them on our way."
Janeway is expecting you in her ready room. Maybe your friend
here would like to have breakfast in the mess hall," Tom
suggested, eyeing the aide. The Admiral nodded.
the shuttlebay, most of the fleet had already dispersed. Seven
ships remained behind in order to escort Voyager that last light-year
Admiral Paris found Captain Janeway at her ready-room desk sipping
a cup of coffee and sorting through a stack of PADDs. So this
was the room, he thought, in which so many plots were hatched
and so many voices raised. Yet it looked just like the same room
on any other Intrepid-class vessel, if a little worse for wear.
from the senior staff's logs - or rather, from what could be read
between the lines - Janeway hadn't been easy to work with. Had
she ignored her senior staff's advice that often here in the Alpha
Quadrant, she would have been considered a renegade. Instead,
she was a heroine.
she hadn't heard him come in. "No rest for the weary,"
Janeway stood up to embrace her old friend. "You can't imagine
how good it is to see you."
tried for a moment to imagine how he'd feel in her place, and
was choked up.
his discomfiture, Janeway changed the subject. "So tell me,
how does it feel to be grandfather to the first baby born in transwarp?"
She wondered whether the sacred text had mentioned that the Klingon
Messiah child would be born under the sign of an exploding transwarp
overwhelmed," he answered, slumping into the chair by her
desk as if to demonstrate his emotional exhaustion. "Just
talking to you through the Pathfinder Project was a miracle, and
now here you are on our doorstep! And I was one of the more hopeful
members of the Project..." Owen's voice trailed off.
suppose our return was unlooked-for," Janeway agreed. She
paused to fetch him a cup of coffee, then sat down again behind
her desk. "It raises many questions you never quite answered
for me over the datastream."
sure everything will be resolved, eventually," he replied
half-heartedly. He could use stronger allies in the fight than
Reg Barclay - Janeway, for instance, would be a powerful force
in the public relations battle, if she didn't end up in the dock
answer was not sufficient, so she pressed the point. "You'd
be surprised how many of my crew are liable to be prosecuted for
their crimes - terrorism, violations of the Prime Directive and
the Temporal Prime Directive, genocide--"
Admiral interrupted, "Seven of Nine won't be held accountable
for her actions while she was a drone."
was referring to the 'Equinox Five', as the Federation News Service
calls them." Janeway waved a PADD of news reports at her
guest - she'd spent half the night trying to get a sense of her
crew's political standing here in the Alpha Quadrant. In the case
of the Five, it was a very poor standing indeed.
Admiral frowned. In his opinion as well, the Equinox crew were
the most challenging legal issue of Voyager's return - except,
perhaps, for the mysterious return itself. Those five deserved
to be court-martialed; he would be lucky if he could swing a dishonorable
discharge for even two or three of them. At least he had some
those proceedings - Starfleet as an organization could not interfere
in the civil legal proceedings which other members of Voyager's
then, of course, there are my Maquis," Janeway continued.
"I don't suppose the statute of limitations has run out on
will do what we can to support the Maquis' case, of course,"
Paris replied, "but the Federation Judiciary hasn't yet determined
whether any of Chakotay's crew committed crimes in our territory."
drained her own morning cup of coffee contemplatively. She was
very expressive with a mug - it swung out expansively as she noted,
"Ah, yes, it wasn't our territory any longer, once
we handed it over to Cardassia."
one wants to dredge up pre-war disputes," the Admiral said,
"except the Cardassian diplomatic attaché, and his
protests do the Maquis more good than harm."
makes strange bedfellows," Janeway responded, toying with
her empty mug. Her mind was clearly elsewhere.
wish I could promise more for your crew."
know we're not above the law," she replied.
Paris had the distinct feeling that she was talking about something
else entirely. But what?
tell me how you got back here. The fleet reports that you came
in the belly of a Borg sphere - you always did have style, Kathryn."
she told him. When she was finished, an uncomfortable silence
remained. Even the recycled air felt stuffy.
you going to tell me your opinion of my actions?" Janeway
do you think of them?" the Admiral countered.
answered slowly, "I'm not sure what else I could have done.
She had trapped herself in our time, in effect destroying her
own timeline. She did that intentionally, of course. No matter
what I did, her version of the future was gone for
Janeway placed her mug in the center of her desk. Then she addressed
that point, in between the two of them, with a dispassion appropriate
to an inanimate audience.
probably think I should have locked her up and destroyed her ship,
but that wouldn't have brought her timeline back. She was the
one who altered her past, not me. I had to deal with my
present as I found it and do what was best for my people,
not for her dead-end timeline. I'm not the time police."
tone turned defensive as she finally looked up at him and asked,
"So I used her technology against the Borg - was that so
wrong? The Borg never stop to worry about the Temporal Prime Directive
when theyhappen upon new technology! And they knew we were nearby.
For all I knew, they had seen her over the comm link and
had already scanned her shuttle's advanced systems.
can tell Starfleet that I was under a great deal of stress. She
knew exactly how to convince me - when to chip away at my defenses,
when to stand aside and let me stew, how to give me a splitting
headache by explaining all the time paradoxes she'd caused. It
was like arguing with Borg Queen when you've already been assimilated
looking back on it, I never had a chance." She rubbed her
was my idea to kill two birds with one stone - to use the transwarp
hub to get home, destroying it at the same time. The consequences
of bringing advanced Federation technology back to the Alpha Quadrant
were the furthest thing from my mind at the time. But now that
the Borg - if there are any Borg left - know about it, Owen, you
can't let Starfleet just throw this technology away.
know that to Starfleet Command I'm just a rogue captain who's
been on her own too long. But they'll listen to you. We can invoke
the Temporal Prime Directive; we'll tell them the technology came
from the Delta Quadrant, and nothing more." She waited for
Paris asked a question. "You could have told me that yourself
- why tell me the truth?"
I'm not a rogue captain. I did what was best for my crew,
but it's not my place to decide what's best for the Federation.
That's your job, Owen."
I wish it weren't," he said.
In the Astrometrics lab, the ever-efficient Seven of Nine contemplated
the emotions stirred up by the blue-green planet filling viewscreen.
Adjusting to her unleashed emotions was proving more difficult
than she had expected. The Doctor had not prepared her sufficiently;
that was unsurprising when one considered that his emotions were
as constrained as hers had once been, though by pre-programmed
subroutines rather than Borg dampeners.
former drone was awaiting a message from Earth before proceeding
to Engineering to help with repairs. When Irene Hansen appeared
on the viewscreen at exactly 0900 hours, the Borg part of Seven
was pleased with her aunt's efficiency, though her human side
had hoped to avoid the call.
Hansen," Seven acknowledged the signal.
Annika, call me Irene."
what can I do for you?" Seven had reviewed every social lesson
the Doctor had given her in preparation for the return to Earth.
Other Terrans would not tolerate her Borg habits the way Voyager's
crew had. She would have to adapt.
looking forward to seeing you at the celebration in San Francisco.
I'd like you to come home with me afterwards - you can stay as
long as you like. I can show you around the countryside, introduce
you to some nice people...you'll meet all your cousins. They're
already planning a private little party for you."
don't know..." Seven said hesitantly. Her social lessons
weren't helping much. How did one put off responding to an invitation?
don't want you retreating into some Starfleet lab before you've
see the world, Annika. Say, you haven't made any plans yet, have
you?" her aunt asked suddenly, worried that her crewmates
were trying to overwork the poor young drone.
Seven answered slowly, "I haven't made any plans. I would
enjoy visiting you, Irene."
it's all settled. I'll see you in San Francisco." Irene Hansen
beamed at her newfound niece, then closed the connection.
of Nine considered what she had just done. She and Chakotay had
not had time to make any plans, but she suspected - no, she knew
- that he expected her to include him in her planning process.
The complexity of her relationship with Chakotay had been rising
exponentially since date three, and the repairs to her cortical
had only complicated the matter.
had expected that the surgical procedure would merely amplify
those pleasant, recreational emotions she had entertained for
Chakotay. To her surprise, she had also discovered one of the
most powerful emotions of all: self-doubt. It was a feeling unknown
to the Borg Collective.
Commander had certainly been the best candidate for her social
experiments when they began on the holodeck. His personal background
was intriguing, his appearance satisfactory and the performance
of his duties exemplary. Then, there had been only a handful of
men to choose from, but now she had a quadrant full of them to
evaluate. Now she need not be concerned about living on the same
small starship for
thirty years with a failed candidate if things went awry - as
they so often did with irrational humans.
had chosen not to endanger her friendship with the Doctor or Harry
Kim through a romantic entanglement. If the relationship with
Chakotay did not succeed - even if he became irrationally angry
and bitter about the affair - nothing at all would be lost. In
fact, nothing would be changed, since he had been suspicious and
cold to her for several years beforehand. In other words, she
had adapted to their breakup long before she had begun to date
she had not counted on was success. She had been surprised and
flattered when the real Chakotay showed himself as interested
in her as her pre-programmed version had been, but ever since
Admiral Janeway had warned her about her future marriage to the
Commander, Seven had wondered whether she had narrowed her romantic
options too quickly.
Chakotay was present, he could override such doubts. When she
was alone, as she was this morning in Astrometrics, her calculating,
Borg side came to the fore. There was a whole new world out there
to adapt to--
a piping voice interrupted her thoughts.
turned around. "Naomi Wildman," she replied. Seven of
Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One, appreciated these
last few hours in which she could be her old Borg self, before
the final adaptation to Earth. "State your business,"
she ordered the child.
Seven. Are we really going to Earth?"
are well aware of our destination. The warp drive will be repaired
in approximately twelve hours. I must aid the repair teams."
you have to go right away, Seven?" Naomi asked quietly.
not." Seven smiled at her small companion as she returned
the view of Earth to the central Astrometrics viewscreen. "I
am planning to live with my aunt on Earth," the former drone
informed her young protégé. "Voyager is the
only family I know. It will be difficult to adapt to a new family."
will adapt," replied Naomi, who still resorted to Borg parlance
when she was under stress.
also will adapt. You will not miss Neelix so much when you go
to live with your father." Greskrendtregk was on his way
from Deep Space Five, though he would not reach Earth in time
for the upcoming celebration.
always miss Neelix," Naomi pouted. "I wish we were back
in the Delta Quadrant with him."
is a new world, Naomi Wildman. Someday, you will love Greskrendtregk
as much as you love Neelix now. Do not let memories of the past
distract you from the potential perfection of the future."
patience, even for Borg advice, had its limits. "Can we play
a game of kadis-kot?" she asked.
Seven replied tersely.
replicated a kadis-kot board - replicator rationing was just a
memory now - and passed Seven the green pieces.
"Good morning, Lieutenant," the EMH said as B'Elanna
Torres woke to the sound of Miral crying, again.
what you said at 0200 hours and 0600 hours," the bleary-eyed
mother responded. "Will this morning never end?"
her question, the Doctor ran a few final tests on his pair of
patients. The results on the console over B'Elanna's biobed were
within expected parameters.
and Miral are free to return to your quarters, at your convenience,"
he said. "I've arranged a feeding schedule and added your
regular checkups for the next three months to your personal database."
The EMH checked Miral's neonatal monitor, and, satisfied that
it was functioning properly, went into the sickbay lab to give
the new mother and daughter some privacy.
Miral fell asleep in her arms, B'Elanna walked over to the lab
to tell the Doctor goodbye. The EMH was glued to a console.
are you up to - writing another holonovel?" she asked him.
yet," the Doctor replied with his familiar enthusiasm. "First,
I have forty-seven papers to publish in the medical journals.
This one," he told her while handing her a PADD, "is
an exposition of Vidiian medical concepts and the organization
of their hospitals and research facilities. I was hoping you would
look it over for me before I present it at the medical anthropology
conference on Risa next month."
been a long time," the once-divided Klingon said. "We
certainly had our share of adventures, didn't we?"
Doctor nodded and took Miral from her arms. He looked positively
human with a baby in his arms. He rocked her slightly.
your baby was the high point of my career on Voyager."
too," Torres agreed. She skimmed the Doctor's report until
she came across a mention of Tom, which prompted her to ask, "Where's
stopped by earlier with your father-in-law. They should be back
soon." A swoosh sounded from the other room. "That must
be them now."
EMH followed his patient out of the lab to find Sickbay crowded
with Parises. Owen Paris asked after B'Elanna's health. She was
unsure what to make of her father-in-law the Admiral, so she answered
his polite questions somewhat haltingly. The Doctor interrupted
the uncomfortable reunion moment with a more thorough diagnosis,
then passed the baby off to her doting grandfather.
observed his unique family of traitor, terrorist, admiral and
infant carefully. Once it seemed safe to assume that no Paris
or Klingon tempers would explode during the visit, Tom suggested
lunch in the mess hall. He invited the Doctor as well, but the
hologram excused himself, saying he had his papers to polish up.
Chakotay strode into Janeway's ready room with a stack of PADDs
in his hands and a smile on his face. Despite the difficulties
of defending themselves and their crew from the twin demons of
prosecution and publicity, the Captain and First Officer of Voyager
were in rare spirits. They had finally succeeded in their impossible
quest to cross 70,000 light years. After that, all challenges
seemed as minor and surmountable as the last, short light-year
between Voyager and Earth.
loomed over the desk with his threatening paperwork. "How
did it go?" he asked.
ball is in the Admiral's court," Janeway replied, clearing
some space on her desk for Chakotay's personnel reports. "I
hope I never have to think about the Temporal Prime Directive
we know more than we ought to about the future. Starfleet may
be concerned," the Commander suggested as he deposited his
burden on her desk and took a seat in front of it.
future isn't going to happen," she said with a note of finality,
or determination - Chakotay couldn't tell which.
changed the subject quickly to the official purpose of their meeting:
"I finished the Maquis personnel reports. Of course, Starfleet
may view my opinion as biased, so if you rewrite them--"
was hoping just to add a note to each file." Janeway sighed.
"I thought we would have months to resolve this issue before
we reached Earth. Now we have hours."
worry about it too much, Kathryn. We're home again, and that's
the most important thing. A short vacation in New Zealand won't
spoil the Alpha Quadrant for anyone." Chakotay smiled to
reassure her, though a nominal six months in a comfortable Federation
penal colony - the most he thought he or any of his crew from
the Liberty might be sentenced to - would put a crimp in his new
relationship with Seven of Nine.
that wasn't going very well in any event. Ever since Earth had
appeared on the viewscreen, Seven had been distant and uncommunicative.
Unusually uncommunicative, that is. She claimed to be busy with
repairs; maybe she just needed time to adapt. Maybe. He shouldn't
push her, he decided - he'd done too much of that already.
will for me," Janeway was saying.
won't lock you up," he replied, deliberately misunderstanding
see. Do you have Tom's personnel report here? He'll need it for
his parole board hearing."
handed her the appropriate PADD. "I have the Equinox Five
you've been catching up on the news, too. Public opinion is against
them." A shame, but it was bound to happen, Janeway thought.
Even now, the former Equinox crew were not accepted by everyone
on Voyager - some merely tolerated them. And public sentiment
here was more black-and-white than she remembered it. The war
had changed many things in the Alpha Quadrant.
Maquis seem to be folk heroes now, though," she teased him.
"How does it feel to be larger than life?"
tell me," he responded in kind.
dismissed his quip with a light glare. "There is some good
news, though," she said, smiling once more. "Icheb has
been accepted into Starfleet Academy. In fact, he'll be allowed
to join the current first-year class, since his knowledge of the
basic courses is--"
I'm sure," Chakotay laughed.
put down the PADD she'd been holding. "I believe you owe
me lunch, Commander. We can finish these afterwards."
lunch menu is Party Pitas with Festive Fruit Salad. My man in
the mess hall is cooking up a storm."
a good thing we're home - I'm not sure how much more of Chell's
creative naming I could have taken."
rose, by any other name..."
Harry nodded off over a misaligned power conduit for a full ten
minutes, and woke up with Jeffries-tube grating marks on his forehead.
That was when he decided a lunch break was in order. The Ops officer
was working a triple shift. Not that anyone had asked him to -
he just wanted to get home yesterday. Tomorrow wasn't soon enough
for Ensign Kim.
mess hall was crowded. It looked like an end-of-the-month replicator
ration drought, though replicator rationing was over forever.
As was their journey. Harry was still not quite awake when Chell
handed him a Party Pita and poured him a mug of Celebration Coffee,
but once ensconced at a corner table with a PADDful of the
latest repair reports he livened up a bit.
mind was not on power relays, however. Just two tables away, the
Delaney sisters were laughing with Ken Dalby at some private joke.
Janeway and Chakotay were deep in conversation across the room,
but he thought he could see her half-grin, even from this distance.
Tom, B'Elanna and Admiral Paris were trying, by turns, to quiet
a fidgety Miral down.
were they all smiling so much more than he was? Harry was the
one who wanted to get home more than anyone, and now that they
were back in the Alpha Quadrant, he was the happiest of them all.
Wasn't he? At last he would see his parents and taste his mother's
cooking again. He would finally be promoted - they would be so
proud of him. Ensign Kim, soon to be Lieutenant Kim, was happy.
Ensign Kim wasn't laughing like Jenny Delaney. Ensign Kim wasn't
smiling proudly like Tom Paris. He wasn't even grinning slyly
like Captain Janeway. Harry was trying to remember why he had
wanted to return to the Alpha Quadrant so badly, and what exactly
he was so blindly happy about.
if there were a counselor aboard Voyager, or Neelix were still
around? The Talaxian would have told him that sometimes, when
you get something you've wanted for a long, long time, you lose
all sense of direction. You don't know where to go next.
Harry knew exactly where he was going. He would stay in Starfleet,
of course, and like the rest of the crew of Voyager would be reassigned
to some other ship. Voyager herself would be put in drydock for
a complete refit, if not permanently decommissioned.
he'd ever wanted... Harry was very, very happy, but he still wasn't
smiling. Ignoring his PADD and his pita, he closed his eyes and
turned his thoughts back to DS9, seven years ago. Could he recapture
the enthusiasm of a young ensign embarking on a career in Starfleet?
Almost, but not quite - it had been too long ago. Harry's mind
drifted to Tom and B'Elanna's wedding, to his friendship with
Seven of Nine, to building the Delta Flyer and the Astrometrics
lab and repairing the ship, over and over again.
were the warm and alive and smiling memories - all the night shifts
and little moments that had made up his day-to-day life in the
Delta Quadrant. He couldn't remember a thing about his career
ambitions, except the occasional crack of Tom's about pips. He
couldn't remember how it felt to pine for home, though he had
so much of his time doing it.
was home," he said aloud.
you are awake." Harry's eyes snapped open; Tom was leaning
against his table. "I bet B'Elanna three diaper changes that
you were snoozing over here. You let me down, Harry."
Tom. I already had a nap back in the Jeffries tube."
if you're not too busy getting Voyager to Earth single-handedly,
I'd like to introduce you to my father." Harry didn't respond
quickly enough for him, so Tom added, "He's handing out pips."
laughed out loud. "Okay, Tom, I'm coming."
Admiral Paris was needed at Starfleet Headquarters. He accompanied
Tom and B'Elanna back to their quarters on his way to the shuttlebay.
at last," his daughter-in-law sighed as she collapsed on
the couch. "Just roll the bassinet over here, Tom, and I'll
to Admiral Paris had always been a house on Earth, not a cabin
aboard a Starship. "You're free to stay at the house in San
Francisco for as long as you want," he said, continuing their
lunchtime conversation. "I'll have everything made up for
you before the party starts."
like that," B'Elanna said, her eyes half-closed already.
She wondered how long they would stay with her father-in-law.
had warmed to Owen Paris much more quickly than Tom had expected.
Even he was getting along unusually well with his father. Tom
also wondered how long this uneasy peace would last before a Klingon
or Paris temper flared. For the time being, Miral had the old
man under her spell. She had the entire family under her tiny
glanced at the chronometer on the desk console. "Dad, your
aide is waiting for us. You have to get back to arranging our
do have other duties, Tom."
course you do, Dad. Say goodbye to my wife--too late, she's already
asleep." They stood over B'Elanna and the baby, who were
stretched out comfortably on the couch, for a moment, then tiptoed
out of the room.
this isn't goodbye, son," Admiral Paris said as they made
their way down the hall to the turbolift. "I'll see you tomorrow
morning, if there are no more delays."
will see to it that we're on time for the party, sir."
a fine young officer."
you should have known him back when he was green. He was the worst
kind of Ferengi-fodder. But we've all grown up a lot since then."
entered the shuttlebay in silence. The Admiral's aide was already
aboard the shuttle running a prelaunch check. The two Parises
what are you going to do about the debriefings?" Tom asked
sure half the things we did in the Delta Quadrant are classified,
or ought to be. You haven't decided yet, have you?" Tom prodded
not yet. Kathryn Janeway has quite a talent for getting into impossible
back out of them," Tom added. "I'd say keep the hull
armor but ditch the transphasic torpedoes."
Paris considered his son's advice. "You have a promising
future in Starfleet Command, Tom."
see you on Earth, Dad."
blew his bosun's pipe once more as his father climbed aboard the
older Paris turned back towards him for a parting shot before
closing the shuttle door: "I'm proud of you, son. You'll
make a better father than I did."
Paris saluted Admiral Paris wordlessly.
Ensign Kim was back at Ops for beta shift. Things had been relatively
quiet after Admiral Paris's shuttle left. Two of the other Starfleet
vessels had chased off an opportunistic Ferengi trader who had
wanted to sell Voyager's crew some long-forgotten Alpha Quadrant
delights. It was a shame, Harry thought; Tom would have appreciated
a bottle of Romulan Ale.
civilian transport passed through the hovering 'fleet vessels
unchallenged, however, and transmitted the proper clearance codes
Tuvok, the Safe Haven is hailing us," Harry announced.
them through, Ensign."
is Captain McAdams of the Federation transport ship Safe Haven,
with a delivery for you." The captain smiled at them, enjoying
his fifteen minutes of fame in the Voyager drama that had gripped
the Federation for so long.
signaled Harry to cut the audio and summoned Captain Janeway.
She emerged immediately from her ready room. The Vulcan yielded
her the conn.
in her unquenchable good mood, she smiled at Captain McAdams.
"Thank you for coming so far out of your way, Captain."
mention it, Captain Janeway. Shall I beam your passenger over?"
send Ensign Kim the coordinates, Captain."
nodded. "Safe Haven out."
turned to Tuvok, who had assumed his position at tactical. "Would
you see to our passenger, Tuvok?"
I have a security detail meet me in the transporter room, Captain?"
sure the matter is well within your own capabilities - however,
it may require some time. I'll take over your duty shift here."
She waved him along, making it clear that no more discussion of
the matter was desirable.
ma'am," Tuvok replied. Apparently this was a classified matter
- that would explain the Captain's unusually elliptical statements.
He did not bother to speculate on the identity of the person as
he made his way through the 'lifts and hallways of Voyager - there
were too many possibilities, and too few clues to work with.
the Vulcan arrived in the transporter room, the crewman on duty
yielded the console to him, explaining that Ensign Kim had reassigned
him to a repair team.
highly classified matter, Tuvok revised his estimation. The coordinates
were already laid in; once the crewman had left, he engaged the
the transport was complete, he looked up. She was already stepping
down from the transporter pad. It was illogical to be unable to
speak - to cover his lapse in control, Tuvok stepped around the
transporter control console and approached her.
was also illogical to stare. He forced himself to speak.
should not be here," he said, holding out two fingers to
arrival was also unlooked-for," she responded, taking his
fingers in hers.
is not logical for my wife to be allowed aboard Voyager,"
Tuvok explained. "The rest of the crew will not see their
families until we reach Earth."
was returning to Vulcan from a conference on Vega when I was informed
of your return," T'Pel replied. "Since you were ill
and required the fal-tor-voh, Starfleet requested that Captain
McAdams make a small detour to rendezvous with Voyager."
condition is not yet serious," Tuvok protested.
is for your doctor to determine. Shall we visit him now?"
nodded and escorted his wife to sickbay.
"Deanna!" Reg exclaimed. He brushed aside an ensign
who was trying to get him to sign requisition forms. "It's
been too long!"
it's good to see you again. You look busy - I can come back later,"
Troi offered, hoping to escape the mob of cadets and other hangers-on
filling the Pathfinder offices.
no, no - I was just doing some paperwork. Voyager will be going
to warp in about an hour, and we're all going to watch the scans.
Aren't we?" Reg shouted his question to the room. The cadets
cheered. A lieutenant rolled his eyes and stalked off.
Reg, Voyager isn't scheduled to arrive until late tomorrow morning,"
requisitioned plenty of snacks." As if to prove Barclay's
point, a cadet came around with a bowl of pretzels.
glad to see you getting along with your coworkers so well, Reg,"
Troi said, politely taking a couple of pretzels.
these are mostly cadets from the Academy who volunteered to help
with the celebration." Reg grabbed a handful of pretzels
and munched as he spoke. "Admiral Paris and most of his staff
are over at the Judiciary building straightening out the Maquis
business. Come join me in front of the main monitor - the early
bird gets the best seats."
you for thinking of me, Reg, but I'm here on business, not pleasure."
face fell - he knew why she had come, of course, but he had hoped
she would join in his all-night party-before-the-party.
went on explaining her presence unnecessarily: "Admiral Paris
requested my services as a counselor. Voyager's crew will have
plenty to adjust to, once they reach Earth."
as you said, they won't be here until tomorrow," Reg said
understand you have copies of the crew's personnel files here."
Eyeing the juvenile crowd in the main room, Troi asked, "Is
there somewhere where I could go over them in private?"
course," Reg answered, realizing that keeping her in a room
nearby was the most he could do, for the moment. He showed her
to a small office already occupied by a sullen lieutenant who
glared at Reg for his trouble.
"Lieutenant Torres would be proud of you all," Nicoletti
told her tired, overworked Engineering staff. "We've finished
the repairs half an hour ahead of schedule. Let's run the final
diagnostics and get this ship home!"
pesky Bajoran dance music blared from the speakers again. Sue
wiped the sweat from her face with her shirtsleeve and sighed.
They would never behave this way around Torres, or poor Joe Carey.
Tabor just stood there looking innocent, but Sue knew an instigator
when she saw one.
frowned slightly as he ran the warp core diagnostic. If there
was anything more illogical than Humans, it was Bajorans. He would
miss his illogical associates in Engineering, nevertheless. Perhaps,
he thought, he should apply for a posting to Utopia Planitia.
He had rebuilt these engines so many times that he would be bored
on a normal Starfleet mission, where major repairs and refurbishments
were left to
drydock. He had also enjoyed the experimental aspects to working
in Engineering aboard Voyager - adding alien technology to the
ship and seeing how far it could take them. It was illogical to
thrive on excitement, however. Perhaps he should return to Vulcan
to undertake the Kolinahr discipline.
the diagnostics came back within specs, Nicoletti joined Tabor
on the dance floor in front of the warp core. Vorik sighed; even
Utopia Planitia would be dull after Voyager.
Troi was just starting to make a dent in her workload when Reg
poked his head into the office. "Deanna, Hildegard, come
out here! Voyager is about to go to warp."
how many thousands of starships have we seen go to warp?"
Paris is back, too," Barclay added defensively.
should at least greet her temporary boss, Deanna thought. "I'm
coming, Reg - just let me finish this page."
smiled and went back to his crowd of adoring cadets. He'd explained
the Pathfinder Project to them five times already, letting slip
a bit of classified information in the process - but if you couldn't
trust Starfleet Academy cadets, whom could you trust?
Ayala was at tactical, Tom at the helm and Janeway and Chakotay
in their usual places. At Ops, Harry was waiting for confirmation
that the other seven ships were as ready and eager to head home
as Voyager was.
relieved of paperwork for the moment, took the opportunity to
consider the personal consequences of Voyager's sudden return
to Earth. In his heart, he had never expected to see this day
- he preferred living in the present over dreaming of an unlikely
future. Yet those who chose to live for the future alone, like
Harry, had turned out right after all.
he have started dating Seven of Nine if he had believed Voyager
might make it home any day, thereby upsetting the former drone's
fragile emotional equilibrium? He wondered whether he had really
convinced her that relationships were worth the risk involved
- perhaps when the ship landed on Earth, she would again attempt
alter the parameters of their relationship. He could only wait
escort is ready to go to warp," Ensign Kim reported from
gave the word: "Do it."
ma'am!" Tom said, and somehow managed to manipulate the flat
helm console with a flourish more appropriate to the outre buttons
and levers of the Delta Flyer.
stars began to streak across the main viewscreen, but then swiftly
disappeared in a brighter flash.
shock wave cut off Janeway's question. As Voyager rocked, a greenish
haze filled the viewscreen. The ship went to red alert.
hit some sort of subspace mine," Ayala announced.
being pulled in, Captain," Harry added.
looks like the same transwarp corridor we came out of," Chakotay
can't be," Janeway said. "The transwarp network was
in it already." Harry agreed with the Commander: "It's
a chronoton echo of the transwarp corridor, possibly created or
reenergized by the mine. It's highly unstable."
armor," Chakotay ordered. Ayala engaged the ablative hull
of the escort vessels have been drawn in with us," Harry
reported. "The Pleiades and the Himalaya - their shields
won't be strong enough to resist the stress--"
explosion on-screen interrupted Harry's prediction, and verified
it. "The Himalaya has been destroyed with all hands,"
Ayala said solemnly.
have to get out of here now," Janeway growled.
corridor is dissolving around us," Kim said. "I'm detecting
an aperture directly ahead. There's no way to tell where it leads."
take it. Hail the Pleiades - tell them what we're doing and have
them follow in our wake," Janeway ordered.
the viewscreen, a ragged black gash appeared in the green miasma.
the aperture coordinates," Tom reported. "Out we go..."
Troi and Reg had wormed their way through the crowded room to
the Admiral's prime position under the main viewscreen, which
showed only stars now that the ships had gone to warp. When the
cheering of the cadets had quieted down, Deanna said to her superior
officer, "Admiral Paris, it's good to see you again."
Paris said, turning towards them. "What a pleasant surprise.
I didn't realize you were back on Earth."
eyes narrowed. Reg sensed anger.
is amiss," a Vulcan cadet announced. Reg had put T'Lin on
subspace scanner duty; she was to report Voyager's progress towards
Earth, on demand. "The scans show only five ships, and they
are turning about."
Admiral and his staff crowded around T'Lin. Paris muttered something
about rogue captains. Deanna began to clear the other cadets out
of the room.
Pawnee is hailing us, Admiral," his aide reported.
them on screen. And get these people out of here!" Paris
cadets fled at once, scattering pretzels in their wake.
happened, Fred?" the Admiral asked the distraught captain
of the Pawnee.
was an explosion, sir - a subspace mine, with a Borg power signature.
Voyager, the Pleiades and the Himalaya are missing."
sagged against a nearby console. "Missing?" he asked.
detected no debris, only excessive graviton and chronoton particles."
transwarp corridor..." Paris murmured.
knows where they are now, sir."
bridge crew of the Pawnee and the staff of Pathfinder stared at
one another despondently.
least they're with friends, Fred," Paris said, finally. "Pathfinder
put a reassuring hand on the Admiral's arm as he closed the comm
I have a city full of anxious relatives who are going to need
counseling. Can you help me out?"
the Admiral added, "cancel the party and reopen the Pathfinder
Project. Maybe they're back where they started." Paris shook
his head, thinking rather that maybe there really were time police.
Sharr is going to kill me," Reg muttered.
"We're clear of the corridor," Harry confirmed.
about the Pleiades?" Chakotay asked.
the wreckage for survivors," Harry said, putting the sobering
image up on the viewscreen. The Pleiades had been a Defiant-class
starship; now it was a nacelle with a scrap of hull attachéd
and no overt signs of life.
announced, "Our hull armor has sustained heavy damage - armor
integrity is at 3%."
lucky we made it out alive," Chakotay said.
eleven survivors to sickbay," Harry informed them. The Pleiades
had had a complement of 47.
didn't seem to hear Harry's words; instead, she stared silently
at unfamiliar starscape on the viewscreen.
broke the uncomfortable silence. "What was that thing we
ran through the sensor logs and concluded, "The subspace
mine had a Borg power signature."
Borg Queen..." Janeway muttered. The sphere hadn't had time
to destroy Voyager outright, but the Collective had left behind
a deadly trap. And she had walked right into it.
silence dragged on. The bridge crew dared not disturb the crestfallen
woman in the big chair. Only Chakotay ventured a half-whispered,
turned towards Ops. "Harry, please tell me we're not back
in the Delta Quadrant."
still running the sensor data through the navigational database,
Captain," Ensign Kim replied.
looked up at the viewscreen sharply. A navigational check shouldn't
take more than a second or two. How long had the main computer
had already to fix their position? Two minutes? Three?
Tom prodded, after another full minute had passed.
voice shook like a green ensign's as he reported, "According
to the navigational database, these stars aren't in our galaxy
at all. In fact, the distribution of extragalactic matter does
not match that of our universe."
you saying we're in another universe?" Janeway asked.
don't know where we are, ma'am."
this was what came of trying to cheat fate.
Producers: Thinkey, Anne Rose and Coral