8-5 - Magpie
By: Abby (Abismith@btinternet.com)
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.
Wildman was BORED.
of her mind was vaguely aware that Icheb was trying to tell her
something about some guy called Schroedinger, who apparently had
an equation of some sort, which was very important in something
called wave mechanics. However, at that precise moment she was
more interested in feeding leola root to Ratty, who was sitting
up in her lap, nibbling daintily at the morsel he held in his
introduction of Ratty to the crew, or at least to the important
members of it, had been a bit nerve-wracking.
had been... well... Mom about it. She'd looked a little worried,
and said that if Commander Chakotay had said it was all right
to keep him, then she supposed that it was. Then she told that
Naomi to keep him in a cage, and to clean it every week, and not
to let him get out, and to make certain that he had enough to
drink and to eat, and that meant asking Chell before she took
food from the kitchens.... And then she'd kissed Naomi on the
head, sighed, and promised her an extra replicator ration per
week, if she looked after Ratty properly.
doctor had snorted at the sight of the little furry creature,
and muttered something about being a doctor not a veterinarian.
The doctor was always muttering about something though so Naomi
hadn't taken much notice of him. Eventually he had pronounced
Ratty free from disease, and ready to join the crew.
she had had to write her report for Tuvok as Commander Chakotay
had told her. She had swallowed a bit at that. Naomi was secretly
a little frightened of Tuvok - because he never smiled - not even
at Neelix's funniest jokes, and she didn't want her report to
have anything wrong in it. She had spent hours working on it,
making sure that she had all the proper words and that they were
spelled right. He hadn't said anything to her so she supposed
that he had been OK with it.
the ex-Borg, had simply smiled slightly and raised an eyebrow.
Naomi had been half-expecting her to comment that pets were irrelevant,
but she just said that Ratty would assist Naomi in her studies
of animal behavior.
glanced sadly at the empty regeneration alcove in the cargo bay.
She had hardly seen anything of Seven since they had arrived here....
wherever here was. She missed Neelix, and Seven was her other
best friend. But Seven had been busy in Astrometrics, and, when
Naomi had come across her, she had seemed to be, well, thinking
of something else. Naomi had once plucked up the courage to ask
her about it, but Seven had just said that she "would not
understand". Naomi thought that it was probably something
to do with Earth. Having lived all her life on Voyager, she truly
did not understand why the crew wanted to get to Earth so badly,
but she knew that it was making her mom sad, so she had left Seven
Captain Janeway had yet to meet Ratty. She had heard her mom saying
nobody had seen much of the captain at all lately. Naomi thought
that she was probably busy with something important, and she wondered
if she should take Ratty to see the captain. The captain always
liked to meet new crew.
movement caught her attention. Ratty had finished his leola root
and had darted into his new cage, which was sitting, open, on
the floor in front of her. He poked his nose into the water bowl
and began to drink.
was pleased with the cage. With all the crew occupied in either
Engineering or Astrometrics no one had been around to give her
much advice so she had done the best she could with the ship's
database. In the end she had chosen an old fashioned design -
one with mechanical catches - because it had appealed to her.
It was large, which was what Commander Chakotay had said. And
it certainly seemed secure enough. She sometimes had a little
trouble with the catches herself, so she couldn't imagine Ratty
finished his drink, and sat up on his hind paws, cleaning his
whiskers. His beady black eyes were fixed squarely on Naomi. She
made a small clicking sound with her tongue, and to her joy Ratty
climbed up on to her lap again. She gave him another piece of
leola root as a reward.
Wildman. You are inattentive to your studies." Icheb's voice
broke into her daydreaming.
did not have an older brother, but if she did, she knew that he
would sound just like Icheb. His voice had that tone of exasperation
mixed with superiority that elder brothers of every species had
used since the beginning of time. It was probably one of those
universal constants that he was always going on about - like the
speed of light. On top of his work in Astrometrics Icheb had been
assigned to tutor Naomi, and he took his duties seriously. Very
am listening, Icheb, honest, but look... Ratty can come when he's
rodents is irrelevant," replied Icheb repressively. "If
you have been paying attention, you will be able to explain the
lesson to me."
cast her mind around for some clue as to what Icheb had been saying.
What was it... Schroedinger..... waves.....
arrival in the cargo bay saved her the need for an immediate reply.
The blonde woman surveyed the two of them, and her gaze rested
briefly on Ratty. Her eyebrows raised but she made no other comment.
Addressing Icheb, she came straight to the point:
presence is necessary in Astrometrics. Scans have picked up what
appears to be a planetary debris field, or a cluster of small
asteroids. You are required to perform a detailed analysis for
looked as if he were going to protest. Then he said, in a slightly
sulky tone "It would be more efficient to complete the lesson
before going to Astrometrics."
will be a useful exercise for you, as your entrance to Starfleet
Academy appears to have been somewhat delayed."
expression reminded Naomi of the one she always wore when her
mom sent her to tidy her room. It was odd how he was bossy one
minute, and then sulking the next. Maybe it was a phase, like
her mom was always saying about her. Personally, she was just
grateful that fate, in the shape of Seven, appeared to have rescued
her from Schroedinger for the time being.
maybe not. With a start Naomi realized what Seven had just added:
Wildman may accompany you to Astrometrics and continue her studies
there. She may benefit from some practical application of her
Seven...." It was Naomi's turn to protest.
will shortly need to regenerate," stated the ex-drone firmly,
"and I require silence in which to do that. You would not
be allowed to remain here in any event. I suggest that you return
your... pet... to its cage, and continue with your studies in
did not dare to protest any more. She hurriedly scooped up Ratty
and bundled him into his cage, where he promptly burrowed under
a nest of bedding. Then she obediently followed Icheb out of the
sighed, and positioned herself in her alcove. She closed her eyes
and let her regeneration cycle begin.
under the pile of bedding, a nose appeared, followed by a set
of whiskers and then a full head. Ratty looked around and sniffed
the air. He fixed his glittering eyes on Seven. As she hadn't
moved in a long time it seemed safe enough for him to come out.
He crept to investigate the door of the cage. In her haste Naomi
had only half-latched it. Ratty gave it a good sniff, and poked
at it with his nose. He explored it a little with surprisingly
dexterous forepaws, and then nudged it with his head. After some
patient work the little creature managed to disengage the catch.
The door swung open.
slipped out of the cage and disappeared behind a storage container.
Janeway adjusted the collar of her turtleneck again. It wasn't
that it was folded in, or crumpled, or even uncomfortable, really.
It was just one more ritual, one more action that delayed her
departure for the bridge. She studied herself in the mirror. She
looked tired, she thought. Tired and worn down and old. She ran
her hands through her hair, disarranging it. Now it needed brushing
again. More delay. Another 5 minutes before she had to begin the
daily walk to the turbolift, to take the trip to deck 1, to walk
on to the bridge to greet her crew as if she knew what the hell
she was doing.
least she had managed to overcome her desire to run and hide.
She glanced around her quarters. The empty coffee mugs had been
recycled, the haphazard piles of clothing tidied away. And she
had got through all of her PADDs, which were now neatly stacked
up on the side of her desk, waiting to accompany her to the bridge.
Her quarters now looked as if a functioning human being lived
there. Someone who had some degree of control over her life. Or
at least over her cleaning, she thought ruefully, reaching for
was the crew really going to react to this latest mishap, she
wondered as she brushed her hair. At the moment they were all
task orientated - repair the ship's systems, locate Voyager's
position, analyze the nature of space. But after that had been
done? Then what?
was not the same crew that had formed in the Delta Quadrant seven
years ago. They were older, and wiser, and harder. Then they had
started their journey with enthusiasm and optimism. They knew
where they were, and where they were going even if it was going
to take them 70 odd years to get there. They had had an unshakable
faith that something would happen - something that would get them
if it turned out that they were yet another lifetime from their
friends and families?
they going to be able to summon all that up a second time? Was
where was the command team going in all this? Somehow we have
to put aside our personal issues and doubts about the other and
work effectively together again. I will try; I hope we will succeed.
words. And, as the captain, her responsibility.
it in stages, Kathryn, she told herself. Make it work. One step
at a time.
put down the hairbrush. There was, after all, a limit to the amount
of time that
person could spend fussing with her hair or straightening her
uniform. The day wasn't going to be made any easier by not facing
it. Not to mention that another... shall we say.... discussion...
with Chakotay would not go any way to improving what was left
of their relationship. She tried to smile at the thought, but
didn't quite make it.
her captain's mask firmly in place, she left her quarters to face
the day's ration of the unknown.
doctor looked at the tricorder, shook it with a flourish, and
then looked at it again.
B'Elanna Torres watched him in mild disbelief.
did you do that?"
the tricorder. It makes no difference to the readings."
have been looking into medical history, and in the past it was
common for medical practitioners to shake their instruments, and
check their findings."
was in the days of mercury thermometers. You could drop kick the
tricorder into the corridor and the readings wouldn't be affected."
have been looking into the psychology of the doctor/patient relationship,
and I am experimenting with ways in which to improve crew confidence
in the medical facilities."
closed her eyes. The doctor had been fully occupied, firstly in
treating the rescued crew-members from the Pleiades, and then
with the aftermath of the battle with the Sernaix. Now that the
situation had settled down and the injured had been sent to convalesce,
he was at a loose end. The thoughts of an idle doctor tended to
turn naturally towards self-improvement. And that led inevitably
however, he was simply radiating smugness. Irritating, but safe.
I am happy to inform you that you are in the best of health."
Does that mean that I can get out of here now?"
was already off the biobed and half way to the exit.
paused, and turned to face him.
doctor looked uncomfortable.
think my mobile emitter needs a full diagnostic run on it."
It was fine the last time I checked, and that was just before
we returned to the Alpha Quadrant."
doctor shifted uneasily again.
know that. But since then I've been having trouble with my Cavaradossi."
I know. Half way through E lucevan le stelle there was the most
awful crack in my tessatura. You see my problem."
glared at the doctor.
I don't. Was that supposed to mean something to me?"
was the doctor's turn to glare now.
thought that I was perfectly clear."
You weren't. What is a Carava.... whatever it is?"
doctor was outraged.
never heard of Cavaradossi? Well, I suppose I shouldn't have expected
anything else from a race that considers howling to be an art
struck a pose.
is a poor painter, who falls in love with the beautiful Tosca...."
me the narrative, Doctor. It would only be wasted on someone who
considers howling an art form. I gather this has something to
do with your singing."
is what I have been saying. I have a crack in my tessatura."
just looked at him. The doctor sighed theatrically.
tessatura is the point in the voice where a singer moves from
the middle register to the higher register. It is the hardest
part of the voice over which to develop even tone and clarity.
My tessatura is normally perfect."
snorted something. The doctor ignored her and continued his lecture.
was part way through one of Puccini's most exquisite arias, when
digested this information. Finally she said:
mean you have a frog in your throat."
doctor looked mutinous.
you want to put it that way."
sounds like there's a problem with in one of your vocal sub-routines."
sure it isn't the emitter?"
sighed. Right now she had a new-born baby and a sick warp core
to look after. She did not need to deal with a hologram having
an attack of artistic temperament. She walked up to the doctor.
poked around and examined the emitter, whilst the doctor looked
at her anxiously.
you see anything, Lieutenant?"
honest answer was, no she couldn't. Not immediately. Maybe some
of the controls were a bit stiff, but she couldn't see that being
the source of the problem. Still, experience had taught her that,
if the doctor wasn't humored to a degree, he would just pester
her for the rest of the day. And she was in no mood to sit in
sickbay tinkering with a minor fault in the doctor's programming.
well," she improvised, "I think that something might
have gotten into the control panel, but I can't see it clearly."
knew it," said the doctor happily. "So you can fix it?"
I can fix it, but I need to check on the other repairs and then
I have to get back to Miral. I can't do a full diagnostic in sickbay
at the moment."
doctor started to look worried again.
Doctor, if you're happy to manage in here with the sickbay emitters,
I'll take the mobile emitter with me and check it while I'm looking
after Miral. That's the best I can do for now. I'm afraid that
repairing the primary systems is going to have to take priority
over your singing career."
a moment B'Elanna thought that the doctor was going to refuse,
and her heart lightened. Then he said:
I suppose I must suffer for my art. Computer: transfer EMH program
to sickbay emitters."
disappeared briefly and then reappeared again. B'Elanna took the
have this back to you as soon as I can."
she left the doctor muttered under his breath:
people might think that the EMH was a primary system."
B'Elanna heard him she didn't let on.
Captain's Assistant knew that she was probably in trouble. The
crew was still too busy to pay much attention to her, which was
how she had managed to get away with sneaking round the ship all
morning, but it hadn't done any good. She had to face facts.
she had got back to cargo bay 2 after watching Icheb run sensors
sweeps of the asteroid cluster, and listening to his unending
explanations about spectra and frequencies, the cage had been
open, and Ratty had gone.
frantically searched the cargo bay. She had looked in just about
every place she could think of - or at least could reach easily
- and was beginning to wonder if she could climb up some of the
higher stacks, when Seven disturbed her.
Wildman, what are you doing here?"
wasn't about to confess about the missing Ratty, not even to Seven.
After all, both her mom and Commander Chakotay had told her to
make sure that he didn't get out.
I'm playing hide and seek."
and seek." Seven's eyebrow rose. "I see no other person."
playing with.. um... Sally."
she's imaginary," replied Naomi unhappily. She didn't expect
Seven to believe a word of it.
considered this while Naomi watched her anxiously. She had heard
that it was not unusual for children to invent friends to make
up for the loss of a loved one. Naomi Wildman was clearly missing
Neelix. That was the explanation.
are supposed to be studying with Icheb, are you not?" she
nodded, scarcely able to believe her luck.
I suggest that you find him."
fled the cargo bay.
of finding Icheb, she next headed for the mess hall. When she
got there, Chell was chattering away to a couple of crewmen that
Naomi couldn't quite place. She wondered if Ratty had found his
way to the pantry, and was busy gorging himself on leola root.
While Chell was distracted by his conversation, Naomi peeked in.
Certainly she couldn't see any traces of him - no trail of leola
root - no sacks with mysterious, gnawed holes in them.
there, Naomi! What can we do for you today?" Chell's cheery
voice sounded behind her and she jumped guiltily.
snack maybe? Prixin Popcorn? Or a Bajoran Bagel?"
winked at her conspiratorially, and patted her shoulder.
know what it is that you want."
do?" said Naomi nervously.
do. Your mom spoke to me this morning and I've got it right here."
reached under the kitchen counter and pulled out a sealed container.
root for the little guy. We can spare plenty, now that we've managed
to stock up on food supplies again. You just keep him right on
nibbling. We have to get rid of it."
her thanks, Naomi left the mess hall.
she trailed unhappily along the corridor towards her quarters,
sniffing to herself and trying swallow her tears. The Captain's
Assistant did not cry in front of the crew she told herself sternly,
as she chewed her lower lip. The Captain's Assistant was professional
at all times.
was no sign of Ratty anywhere, and she had run out of places to
was no one in her quarters when she got back. At this time of
day her mom would be on duty, and she herself was supposed to
be with Icheb. Naomi didn't care about that though. She just wanted
lay on her bed, hugged her stuffed Flotter to her and started
all outward appearances alpha shift on the bridge looked as it
had for the preceding seven years. Kathryn Janeway in the captain's
chair, Chakotay in the first officer's, everyone else at their
stations. Today there was an indefinable change in the atmosphere
though. It was not the razor sharp antagonism surrounding the
Equinox incident, but there was... something.
so much a presence of anything - more an absence. An absence of
eye contact, odd gestures, shared looks. Those moments when the
bridge crew was fully aware that one member of the command team
knew precisely what the other was planning, even if neither of
them had said anything.
had been apparent from the moment Kathryn Janeway had walked onto
the bridge. She had bid them all "Good morning" in a
rather muted tone of voice, and then disappeared into her ready
room with an armful of PADDs. That had surprised no one, and it
had been the norm for her over the recent days. What had surprised
them was the fact that she had emerged again, minus the PADDs,
to take her seat in the captain's chair.
you, Commander," she had said quietly, as Chakotay stood
to move back to his more usual seat. Make it work.
hadn't replied, but had inclined his head briefly in her direction.
then on the shift had proceeded uneventfully, incoming astrometric
data alternating with ongoing reports on the status of engineering
was an Astrometrics report that prompted Harry Kim to break the
rather odd silence on the bridge.
we're now getting the results of the astrometric scans of the
asteroid cluster. There seems to be high concentrations of a number
of minerals, but particularly polyferranide."
realized that she had allowed her attention to wander somewhat,
and forced herself to pay attention.
sign of life?"
Sensor sweeps indicate that this region is uninhabited. No signs
of life, ships, or anyone else who might want to claim the place."
might be the moment to offer an olive branch, she thought. Or
at least a twig with some leaves on it. One step at a time.
we left the Sernaix behind there's been no sign of anyone out
here, hostile or otherwise. I think that it might be good idea
to take a closer look. We should get B'Elanna' and Seven's opinion
on whether a collection trip is worth using the resources."
was no discernible inflection in his voice, as he mentioned Seven's
name. Kathryn wondered idly why she had been listening for one.
agree, Commander." She hit the com button. "Bridge to
Seven of Nine."
of Nine, here," came the reply.
can you come up to the bridge with the reports on the asteroid
cluster please. And I'd like your opinion on whether or not we
should attempt to recover some of the minerals."
my way." The link went dead.
All we need to do now is to prize Lieutenant Torres away from
her daughter, to look at this." Kathryn tried a small smile.
It wasn't a very good joke, but it was the best she could manage.
at the desk in her quarters, B'Elanna Torres put down the diagnostic
tool that she had been using, and glared at the doctor's mobile
emitter, as if it were the cause of all her troubles.
break his tessatura for him," she muttered under her breath.
she had suspected there was nothing wrong with his emitter. The
problem with his precious voice was almost certainly a fault in
one of his vocal subroutines. Considering the damage the ship
had sustained - first in the transwarp corridor, then from the
subspace mine and finally at the hands of the Sernaix - he should
consider himself lucky that the worst that had happened to him
was being a bit croaky.
listened closely for any sound of the baby stirring, but she could
hear nothing. She wondered about taking Miral up to sickbay to
return the emitter, and get the doctor out of her hair for the
time being. She could also, perhaps, drop into Engineering while
she was out. Vorik constantly reassured her that everything was
progressing well, but she liked to see it for herself.
comlink sounded. "Bridge to Lieutenant Torres."
captain's voice. B'Elanna was mildly surprised. She had gotten
used to talking with Chakotay about the progress of repairs recently.
here," she responded.
we've detected an asteroid cluster, which doesn't seem to belong
to anyone and appears to contain some useful mineral deposits."
flickering light near to B'Elanna indicated that astrometric data
was being transferred to her personal terminal. She put the mobile
emitter onto the edge of her desk and studied the information.
she said thoughtfully. "Polyferranide. That will help us
repair the warp core. And there's no denying that a lot of this
other stuff would come in handy as well."
we spare the resources to go get it?" Well, she hoped it
wouldn't take personnel away from her. There was still too much
that needed fixing. On the other hand, seven years in the Delta
Quadrant taught you certain things......
won't lie to you, Captain, that kind of expedition would stretch
us at the moment. But if we honestly don't know where we are,
or how long we're likely to be here, I'd say it makes sense to
stock up on what we can when we can. And the polyferranide will
definitely be useful."
I thought you'd say that, Lieutenant. Thank you for your input.
the link went dead B'Elanna heard a small noise from the other
room. The sort of noise that suggested that Miral was awake, and
would shortly be demanding her mother's immediate attention.
honey," sighed B'Elanna to herself, "couldn't you have
hung on just a little longer?"
response there was a full throated cry.
stood up to see to her daughter. As she did so she brushed against
the edge of the desk, dislodging the doctor's mobile emitter.
Any noise that it might have made as it fell was drowned in Miral's
she returned to the living area, having fed, changed, winded and
soothed Miral, there was no sign of the emitter anywhere.
Wildman returned to her quarters at the end of her shift, with
some questions for her daughter, such as why Naomi had apparently
cut classes. She found her curled up on her bed, still sniffing
into a decidedly damp Flotter.
honey, what's wrong? Don't you feel OK?"
just sniffed some more. Sam sat beside her and began to rub her
you sick, honey? Do you want me to call the doctor?"
just shook her head, with her face still buried in Flotter.
what is it then? Icheb said that you didn't meet him for class
today. Is it him? Don't you get along with Icheb?"
little girl still wouldn't look at her mother.
I want to help you, but I can't unless you tell me what's wrong."
started to cry into Flotter again.
tell you what. Why don't I get you a chocolate milkshake, and
maybe that'll help."
was no response. Sam patted her and went back into the living
area to replicate the drink. She gave the order to the computer,
and then took her uniform jacket off. She went to toss it onto
her bed, and was just about to move away when she noticed that
the things on her dressing table had been scattered about.
honey, have you been playing with my things?" she called.
was still no reply. Sam sighed and started to tidy up.
you know I don't like you to play with these things," she
continued, as she scooped up hair pins, and clips and other odds
and ends. Suddenly she stopped. On her dressing table Sam kept
a brightly colored sea shell, rather like a large abalone shell.
Naomi had found it a couple of years ago, on one of the few Delta
Quadrant shore leaves which hadn't involved the planetary natives
trying to kill them.
had offered to take Naomi "beachcombing". Sam smiled
at the memory. She really should have known better. The beaches
of that particular planet had been littered with these shells,
so Naomi had wanted to bring back sackfuls. In the end they had
negotiated down to one only. Sam had it on her dressing table,
and used it to hold the few pieces of jewelry that she possessed.
of those pieces of was a silver locket. It was very plain, but
held a picture of Naomi as a baby, a picture of Greskrendtregk,
Naomi's father, and a small lock of Naomi's baby hair. It was
an old fashioned thing and Greskrendtregk had teased her about
it as he bought it for her, but lockets had been a tradition in
Sam's family for as long as she could recall. She had retorted
that she would put a picture of their first child into it. Of
course, she had thought that he would be there to see it.
now it was missing.
time she went into Naomi's room.
honey, have you been playing with my silver locket? The one with
the picture of daddy in it?"
you sure, sweetheart, because it's not in the shell where I normally
honey, I'm not going to be angry with you, but I need to find
it. Have you been playing in there today?"
what have you been doing today, if you haven't been with Icheb,
and you haven't been playing in my room?" Sam was beginning
to feel worried now.
looked up at her.
went to cargo bay 2 and I saw Seven and then I went to the mess
hall and I saw Chell and then I came back here."
why didn't you go to see Icheb?"
my tummy hurt."
we'll get you to the doctor."
gave her a suspicious look.
and you haven't been in my room?" Naomi shook her head. "Well,
then I think I'd better call Commander Tuvok, and report this
as a theft."
minutes later the dark Vulcan was sitting in the Wildman quarters.
He showed no visible reaction as Sam told him about the missing
regret to say that this is not the first such incident that has
come to my attention recently. A number of crew members have reported
really don't understand why anyone would have taken it, Commander.
It's not valuable - I mean it is to me, of course, but that's
only sentimental value. Naomi's father gave it to me. It was his
last gift to me before Voyager left DS9."
am unable to answer that question, Ensign. However, I would like
to ask your daughter, Naomi, some questions."
Why? She has nothing to do with this."
not, but there are some things that I would like to clarify nevertheless."
felt distinctly uncomfortable, but couldn't see how she could
refuse Tuvok's request.
I suppose so. Naomi, honey, could you come in here please?"
had been listening to this exchange from the door to her room.
When she was called she slunk in, and huddled up close to her
mother. She looked at Tuvok with wary eyes. He was even more frightening
up close. He looked back at her impassively.
Wildman, where were you today?"
gave her a reassuring hug.
OK, honey, you can tell him."
haltingly explained to Tuvok where she had been. She stopped and
hung her head when he asked her why she had been searching around
in cargo bay 2.
Wildman, are you are aware that various objects have gone missing
from crew quarters?"
a minute. What are you suggesting? My daughter is not a liar and
she not a thief! Sir," she added belatedly.
did not react. He stated mildly, "Items have gone missing,
and Miss Wildman has been seen in places that she ought not to
have been. I am simply seeking an explanation."
had begun to cry again. Sam held her tighter.
was Ratty," she sniffled suddenly.
gone. I got back to cargo bay 2 from Astrometrics, and his cage
was open, and he was gone, and I was trying to find him, and I
didn't take anything, honestly Commander, except the leola root
and Chell gave that to me."
was soothing Naomi, and, at the same time, trying to remember
not to glare at a senior officer.
however, seemed not to have noticed anything. He stood to leave:
you for your assistance, Miss Wildman. That will be all."
He moved towards the door, then paused, and added:
I do, however, suggest that you attempt to recapture... Ratty...
as soon as possible."
senior staff were assembled in the briefing room once more, with
the exception of B'Elanna, who, in the absence of a crisis, was
looking after Miral.
Paris was present, despite his entitlement to "paternity
leave". He adored his little girl, and thought she was the
most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. However, he frankly hadn't
anticipated how many other crew members would also want to fuss
and coo over her. He was beginning to find the sight of otherwise
intelligent people mouthing inane nonsense at Miral more than
a little frightening. Eventually B'Elanna had summarily dispatched
him off to the relative sanity of his bridge shift, telling him
it would do him good to "go play with the ship" for
was seated at the head of the table. Observing her covertly, Chakotay
noted that she might not have been pacing around the room with
her usual drive, but at least she was taking the meeting. An air
of wary uncertainty still pervaded the room though. Even Tom appeared
to have abandoned his usual asides.
was completing her outline of the astrometric scans of the asteroid
cluster. The full information had been as promising as Harry's
brief outline had made it sound. High concentrations of useful
minerals. No obvious reason why these should not be easily available
had not sought eye contact with Seven during her report, nor she
with him. He fixed his gaze on a point just past her shoulder,
as she concluded with her recommendation:
agree with Lieutenant Torres's evaluation. Given the present uncertainty
of our position, a mining expedition would seem to be an efficient
use of ship's resources.
then that seems to be settled. We're going mining again."
Kathryn looked at the ex-drone. "I should think that a two
man party will be sufficient. Seven, this time I'd like you to
go, and take with you...."
she could nominate another member of the away team, Seven interrupted.
if I may make a suggestion?"
glanced involuntarily at Kathryn, remembering how she had received
his last attempts at making a suggestion. Their brief eye contact
told him that she had picked up on his reaction. He inwardly cursed,
and quickly looked away.
she merely said, "Go ahead, Seven."
analysis of the asteroid cluster was prepared principally by Icheb.
This will be an extremely straightforward mission. I would suggest
that he forms part of the away team. It would be a more efficient
use of my time to continue working in Astrometrics, and it would
provide invaluable experience for Icheb."
extremely straightforward mission?" queried Kathryn.
when have we ever had one of those?" muttered Tom under his
first smart remark from Tom. Was that a good sign, wondered Chakotay.
replied Seven, ignoring the pilot. "Extraction of the minerals
will be possible using the technique of pulverization and then
selective transport according to the spectral signatures of each
mineral. The shuttle will not even have to land."
thought about this, and then turned to Chakotay.
that case, Commander, I suggest that you take the Delta Flyer,
with Icheb. I've been reviewing the information on the crew from
the Pleiades. Take the pilot and an engineer with you, and let
them familiarize themselves with the Flyer's systems. Make this
a proper training mission."
Captain," said Chakotay neutrally. He was not entirely certain
what to make of this. Did it mean that she trusted him enough
to send him out with a rookie crew, or that she only trusted him
to do the simplest tasks?
you have any suggestions as to which members of the Pleiades crew?"
he asked carefully.
as long as they're fit, it's your choice, Commander."
nodded, noting in passing that Tom had remained completely silent
at Seven's comment that the shuttle would not need to land. Under
normal circumstances he would never have passed up that kind of
opportunity to poke fun at Chakotay's piloting skills. It had
come to something, he thought, when a lack of jokes at his expense
would make him worry.
however, had moved on.
we're all clear on what we're doing, then let's get to it."
was a general movement of people towards the door of the briefing
room. As Chakotay left he felt a hand touch his arm. He turned
to see Tuvok behind him.
began the Vulcan, "may I have a word with you about a personnel
two men left the briefing room together, and walked in silence
across the bridge to the turbolift.
inside Chakotay was the first to speak.
can I do for you Tuvok."
security matter has come to my attention. One which I thought
you should be informed of."
proceeded to tell Chakotay about the thefts. Chakotay ran his
hand through his hair.
pilfering. That's never been a problem on board this ship. Not
in seven years."
There appears to be no discernible pattern or motive to these
crimes. None of the objects have any intrinsic value - costume
jewelry, teaspoons, metal hair combs. Some have sentimental value,
others do not. Some have been stolen from ex-Maquis, others from
Starfleet officers. The only connection appears to be that all
the objects are made of metal."
Hardly a rare commodity on a starship.
possessed of a certain luster."
of things are made of shiny metal Tuvok. And if you want a teaspoon,
why not just replicate one? What is the point in stealing one?"
no, it couldn't be..... He began, almost hesitantly.
seems quite a... childish... thing to do...?"
you are referring to Naomi Wildman, I have already spoken with
Tuvok to have grasped that nettle, thought Chakotay thankfully.
does not appear likely that Miss Wildman is involved. Although,
you should be aware that... Ratty... is missing."
groaned. "Not already? I'd counted on an escape eventually.
I had hopes of at least a week's grace."
hopes are destined to be disappointed, it seems, Commander."
looked up at the ceiling of the turbolift, as if the answer to
all his problems would be found there. Not in seven years, he
thought, wryly, and not now either.
The thefts seem inexplicable."
sighed. Tuvok did not use the word "inexplicable" lightly.
Or happily. An unexplained crime was the Vulcan's equivalent of
Chinese water torture.
investigating. Under the circumstances I don't know what else
was a pause, then Tuvok said delicately, "I have not yet
informed the captain of the situation."
sighed again. "Let's not at the moment, Tuvok. I think she
has enough to concern her at the moment. Let's wait until there
is something concrete to report."
Vulcan nodded agreement. There was silence between them again.
The turbolift came to a halt and both men got out.
suppose I'd better round up Icheb and two bodies from the Pleiades,
and get started on this away mission". There was a distinct
edge to Chakotay's voice.
stopped and looked at him, as if making a decision. Finally he
it is clear that there are some," - he chose his words carefully
- "difficulties between you and the captain at present."
said nothing, but just waited for Tuvok to continue.
feels responsible for our current predicament. She is distancing
herself from the crew. And you feel that, once again, she has
withdrawn her support from you at a critical moment. At the very
point that the command needs to be united, she is publicly demonstrating
a lack of trust in you."
reflected. Not a happy analysis, but uncomfortably close to the
know what you're going to say, Tuvok." The Vulcan raised
his eyebrow. "We've been through this before, we've always
patched up our differences, and the ship has gone on."
is not an unfamiliar situation," agreed the Vulcan.
time it's different. It feels like we're back at Day 1, with her
watching me to see if I'm going to take over the ship behind her
back. Except that then we had no history. Now we do, and I don't
know if I can rebuild on those foundations. And if I can't then,
I don't think that I can function effectively as this ship's first
officer. Not if she's going to be second guessing my every move.
Maybe it would be better for me, and for the ship, if I stood
down and let you take over. At least she trusts you."
regarded him impassively.
that it may take us some time to resolve our current situation,
the crew members from the Pleiades must be familiarized with the
ship's systems. Even if they have previous experience on Intrepid
class vessels, Voyager has been significantly modified. Icheb,
too, must gain experience. It is logical to use this type of away
mission for the purposes of such training, and it, therefore,
follows, that a highly experienced officer must command the mission."
other words you think I'm being paranoid."
captain spent seven years focused on returning to Earth. She was
prepared to spend seventy. Just as she was on the verge of achieving
her goal, it was taken from her. She needs time to adjust to the
know, but the crew needs her."
they do you, Commander."
blinked slightly at this statement.
position as conduit between the captain and the crew, and as a
voice for the Maquis, has been essential to the effective running
of this ship. If the crew have been unsettled by the withdrawal
of the captain, the resignation of the first officer will do nothing
to reassure them."
found himself unable to reply.
continued, "You should also bear in mind that you yourself
need to come to terms with what has happened. Take time to consider
any decision that you might reach."
let Tuvok's speech sink in. There was no denying that he had a
point. A point which he should have seen himself, perhaps. He
smiled, for the first time that day.
you thought of applying for the post of ship's counselor, Tuvok?"
would have sworn that Tuvok gave him a dark look, if Vulcans were
capable of that sort of thing.
worry Tuvok, I'm not going to resign. Not this week at least.
Oh, and Tuvok, let's also keep the escaped Ratty between ourselves
for the moment"
Vulcan merely nodded, and went on his way.
doctor pottered around the holo-Alpha-Hirogen, taking readings
and humming to himself. Since he was confined to sickbay while
B'Elanna was sorting out his emitter, he was at something of a
loose end. He had just completed a full work up on the physiology
of the Alpha-Hirogen, which he thought might make an interesting
paper for Starfleet Medical. Or another interesting paper he should
say. This one would be number 48.
his observation he deleted the holo-Hirogen, and touched the console
to display a file entitled - Bedside Manner - The Doctor/Patient
Relationship Through The Ages . His fledgling doctor/patient psychology
study, and current brainchild. Number 49 on his list of interesting
papers, he thought to himself.
he said, "Open file Doctor Bedside Manner"
open," responded the computer obediently.
doctor began to dictate.
most important component of any treatment program is the quality
of the relationship with the patient. In order to build up a good
rapport, the physician must be able to empathize with his patient.
In today's multi-species medical practice his skill in this regard
is often tested to its limit."
paused. This was the point at which he would record his unique
insight into the human experience, gained when his program had
been transferred into Seven of Nine. He would describe how it
had felt to eat, to drink, to be molested by alien captains...
on second thoughts, perhaps he would leave the last part out.
sat down at this desk, pondering. What if the experiment could
be somehow repeated? He already had data from Seven of Nine. Maybe
it would be possible to transfer into another race. The only crew
member who was equipped to take part in such a scheme other that
Seven was Icheb. The doctor considered this. For all his desire
to identify with his patients, he was not quite certain that it
went as far as wanting to see the world through the eyes of any
sort of adolescent.
left the holoemitters. Not that that would permit him to be another
species as such. But it would allow him to gauge how far the crew's
perceptions of different races affected their response to him
as a doctor. All very valuable data for his paper.
thought further. The idea was to determine how to inspire confidence
in the patient. A Vulcan was obviously confidence inspiring. Betazoid
was too obvious. Ferengi? The doctor contemplated that for a moment,
and then decided that was too difficult. Not even other Ferengi
trusted Ferengi. Klingon - now there was an idea. Could his skill
as a doctor overcome the popular notion that all Klingons were
drunken, violent and irrational beserkers?
more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea. Klingon,
it was then. All that was needed was to adjust his holomatrix
to suitable parameters. He called up the Klingon models from the
Sickbay database. After carefully considering what would best
suit his experiment, and his personal style, he selected a fearsome
looking warrior, in full battle dress, complete with a wicked
walked round the holoimage a number of times, just to check, and
then ordered the computer to adjust his matrix to those parameters.
adjusted," reported the computer helpfully.
promptly dropped the bat'leth, narrowly missing his foot. Those
things were heavier than they looked, he thought.
deleted the holoimage of the Klingon. He still felt like himself,
but a quick glance down showed that he had the physique and dress
of a Klingon warrior. He turned to the mirror to get the full
effect. The image made him jump, and he laughed nervously when
he realized that he had just frightened himself.
sound that came out was a raucous Klingon laugh. The doctor rather
liked it. He laughed again, louder this time. The time the sound
was even more strident. He wondered what it felt like to give
a battle roar. Feeling a little self-conscious he gave a small
roar. Then he gave a more confident roar. The figure in the mirror
looked really rather intimidating.
with himself, the doctor picked up the bat'leth, and swung it
experimentally a couple of times. Really, it didn't seem to be
too difficult. Thoroughly enjoying himself now he swung the bat'leth
in front of the mirror and let out a full throated roar.
was promising to be a most interesting experiment.
Flyer away," reported Tom from the helm.
this is the Delta Flyer," came Chakotay's voice through the
comsystem. "Launch confirmed and course laid in for the asteroid
Delta Flyer," the Captain responded. There was a fractional
pause and then she added, "have a good trip, Commander."
was another slight hesitation, and then Chakotay's response:
do our best. Delta Flyer out."
the easy banter that the bridge crew were used to, but it was
a conversation. Of sorts. Make it work. One step at a time.
the crew had thought that Chakotay's absence would ease the mood
of the bridge, they were disappointed.
time Tom Paris glanced over his shoulder Kathryn was staring absently
at the console in front of her, or the viewscreen. The atmosphere,
although not strained, still did not lend itself to light-hearted
from the away team now interrupted the familiar Engineering and
Astrometrics updates. Mostly, they were from Chakotay, reporting
uneventful progress in a friendly, but somewhat neutral, tone.
Kathryn responded in a similar way.
a message came through from a nervous, unfamiliar voice, and was
cut off half way through. Clearly the Pleiades pilot was having
a little trouble with the Delta Flyer comsystem. Tom smiled to
himself, and glanced over his shoulder to make a quip. He thought
better of it, when he saw his captain's face.
turned back to the helm. and heard her voice behind him say:
have the bridge, Mr. Tuvok. I'll be in the ready room if you need
didn't really register the Vulcan's acknowledgment, as he concentrated
on keeping the ship on course for... for wherever it was headed,
he thought wryly. The computer made the infinitesimal course corrections
necessary to maintain position. Tom was pretty much on auto-pilot
as well, as he kept an eye on the console in front of him.
had been quite concerned at the sight of the captain. She had
looked... not exactly ill, but tired and, somehow, defeated. Although
she had managed to remain on the bridge for the best part of the
shift - which was certainly an improvement - she still looked
like someone who had had too little sleep and too much to think
also didn't appear to be talking to Chakotay either. Of course,
she didn't ignore him - that was hardly feasible on a ship this
size. Talking, but not communicating. Tom leaned on the console,
and stared at the viewscreen himself. This was not the first time
they had seen something like this. He remembered the Void as well
as anyone. Something sure as hell needed to happen before they
got into THAT sort of situation again.
wondered if he should speak to the doctor about it, although he
could just imagine the captain's reaction if she thought he had
gone behind her back like that. The only other alternative was
to put his "medic's hat" on and talk to her himself.
She had always given him a lot of leeway in the past. Maybe if
he approached her directly, he'd just end up being maimed instead
turned in his seat:
there's not a lot happening here at the helm at the moment. I
have something that I'd like to raise with the captain. Permission
to leave the bridge."
looked quizzical, but did not question further.
well, Mr. Paris. Permission granted."
walked to the ready room doors with a certain amount of apprehension.
The captain had been a little unpredictable recently. He was not
at all certain of the reaction he would get.
was seated at her desk, looking at the PADDs which seemed to have
mysteriously multiplied since she had left the stack in there
earlier. Where had they all come from, she wondered? Did Tuvok
sneak in with them while I wasn't looking?
was just trying to figure out where to start when the door chime
sounded. She couldn't decide whether the interruption was an annoyance
or a relief.
in," she responded.
Paris walked in. This didn't help with the annoyance/relief question,
she reflected. Tom Paris could be either. He moved to stand in
front of the desk.
can I do for you, Mr. Paris?" she asked.
studied her, more closely than he had in previous meetings. She
was sitting at her desk, erect and groomed, for all intents and
purposes the Starfleet captain. But she looked tired. The gleam
in her eye wasn't there - that hint of challenge that indicated
she was just waiting for him to come up with some hair-brained
scheme to ruin her day. He took a deep breath.
Captain, you probably don't want to hear me say this. I know you
don't you humor me then, Mr. Paris, and not say it?" she
replied, trying to recapture her usual tone with him.
was wondering how long it had been since you had a medical check
medical check up?" Whatever Kathryn had been expecting, it
hadn't been that. "Oddly enough, Mr. Paris, what with all
the other things that have been going on, a medical check-up just
slipped my mind." She sounded acid, even to herself.
was going to suggest that you pay sickbay a visit later today,"
Tom carried on bravely.
sat back in her chair, and fought to control her rising anger.
First Chakotay trying to bully her into behaving as he thought
she ought to. And now Tom Paris of all people. She suppressed
the urge to ask if Chakotay had put him up to it.
she said, trying not to bite her words off too abruptly, "once
our defensive capability is re-established and we know where we
are and where home is and how to get there, I'll find the time
to have a check-up. But don't count on it being anytime soon."
noticed that the fire had briefly returned to her eyes. He pressed
I know that you're busy and I wouldn't suggest it, but it's at
times like this when people aren't getting enough sleep and aren't
eating properly, that they get sick. I'm just suggesting that
you have a check up, maybe get some vitamin shots, to help you
just glared at him. Tom Paris also tended to keep going when most
sensible people would give up and flee. Maybe he was taking lessons
in that from Chakotay too.
Tom said slightly desperately, "those people out there just
lost their families at home - again. They don't want to lose this
one as well."
warning, Kathryn recalled Owen Paris, and his pride in his new
granddaughter. And in his son. The young man in front of her had
regained so much, only to lose it again. She pinched the bridge
of her nose. She could feel the beginnings of a headache.
she began, waving a hand at the PADDs on her desk, and starting
an explanation about the amount of work she had to get through.
Then she looked up at his worried face, and changed her mind.
"Thank you for your concern," she said in a softer tone.
"I'll take your suggestion under advisement."
stop by sickbay as soon as I can, Tom," she assured him.
this point Tom decided that he had pushed his luck just about
as far as it would go. At least she had called him by his first
name this time.
you, Captain," he said simply and left.
watched him go and shook her head. Sickbay. When was she going
to get the time to go to sickbay? She returned her attention to
her desk, and picked up one of the unread PADDs at random.
was forwarded from Tuvok. That was unusual. It was headed Security
Report for the attention of Captain Janeway, and then merely noted,
Please see report attached. Kathryn looked at the report.
the attention of Commander Tuvok. Report from Naomi Wildman on
the status of Crewrat Ratty.
Ratty? Kathryn blinked. The only Ratty that she could think of
was from a children's holoprogram. Then she remembered Chakotay
had said something about it. She had asked about the rat, and
he had told her about a mutiny.
read on. The little girl had obviously taken her report very seriously.
It was set out in approved Starfleet style - sectioned, headed
and numbered all according to protocol. Naomi had also clearly
struggled to use what she considered "proper Starfleet language".
She had left nothing to chance, particularly when it came to Starfleet's
advice to identify clearly all persons involved.
treasured the description of Ratty's introduction to the Wildman
arrival at our destination, negotiations were entered into between
myself and Ensign Wildman (who is my mom). I told Ensign Wildman
that authorization had been given by the proper superior officers
(Commander Chakotay who is the First Officer and the Doctor, who
is the ship's doctor, and also a hologram) for Crewrat Ratty to
be assigned quarters to live with us. Terms were then agreed as
follows for Crewrat Ratty that I have to look after him and clean
his cage and ask Chell for his food and make sure that he doesn't
get out. Terms were also agreed that Ensign Wildman is going to
give me one extra replicator ration a week so that I can save
up for a chocolate fudge sundae.
Chell is now in charge of the mess hall which is where Neelix
(Morale Officer) used to be.
smiled at the official sounding phrases mixed with the girl's
own descriptions. Maybe she should make the effort to meet her
doctor stomped around sickbay idly swinging his bat'leth. He roared
a little, but even that was somehow half-hearted. His experiments
in being a Klingon doctor has not been entirely successful.
had discovered that the joy of striding around and roaring rapidly
wore off. He couldn't even enjoy the sight of himself in the mirror
any more. It had fallen victim to a wild sweep of the bat'leth
during his initial euphoria.
had hastily swept up the pieces and deposited them in the recycler.
An onlooker might have enjoyed the sight of such an impressive
warrior, armed to the teeth with a dustpan and brush, making his
way across sickbay in a rather sheepish manner.
had even tried a little Klingon opera, to while away the hours,
but the parameters he had selected did not appear to allow for
this. To be blunt, his alter ego was tone deaf. Or at least he
assumed he was tone deaf. When he instructed the computer to play
a Klingon aria for comparison, he couldn't honestly hear whether
he was right or wrong.
he muttered to himself, grumpily.
he was distracted by his first patient of the afternoon. Ensign
Taylor from Engineering had slipped in a Jefferies tube, fallen
awkwardly and fractured her wrist. She was a little taken aback,
to say the least, to be confronted with a Klingon warrior in full
battle dress. Reassuringly, he invited her to take a seat on the
biobed. Even to his own ears it sounded more like a rousing call
to arms. Ensign Taylor had allowed him to treat her arm, but had
eyed the bat'leth with distinct apprehension throughout the procedure.
you are," he boomed, "all finished," as he completed
the regeneration of the bone. Ensign Taylor slid thankfully off
the bed. The doctor turned to replace the osteogenic stimulator,
as Ensign Taylor sidled towards the door.
before you go, I'd like to ask you a few questions about a study
I'm currently undertaking."
was no response. The doctor turned around. Sickbay was empty.
humphed the hologram. "Not even a thank you."
picked up the bat'leth and began to swing it aimlessly again.
was still swinging it when his next patient came in. Crewman Dalby
had been sent to Sickbay suffering from minor burns, following
a closer than advisable encounter with an EPS conduit. As he entered
the doctor greeted him cheerfully.
Crewman Dalby. My next Engineering casualty of the afternoon.
What can I do for you?"
Dalby had taken three steps into sickbay and come to a standstill,
gazing at the doctor in disbelief. He looked at the doctor. He
looked at the bat'leth, and looked back at the doctor again. He
came to a decision.
worry about it Doc, it's just a scrape. I'll live."
really, I can see that you're busy. I'll just replicate some gauze,
or maybe I'll just leave it. My gran always used to say that you
should let burns have fresh air. I'll get right out of your hair."
before the doctor could get any further Ken Dalby had fled.
was clear that he was going to be unable to obtain any sensible
data for his psychological study as long as he was looking like
this. Time to adjust the parameters of his matrix again. He wandered
over to the database console, carefully propping up the bat'leth
against the side of it. He scrolled through the species list.
Obviously Klingons just weren't cut out for the caring professions.
How about Vulcans? Calm, orderly, logical - what could be more
reassuring to the distressed patient?
modify EMH matrix to conform to Vulcan appearance parameters."
do you mean unable to comply.? I order you to change me into a
to comply," repeated the computer imperturbably.
thought the doctor. Lack of cooperation from the one thing on
the ship completely unmoved by a raging Klingon warrior.
started again patiently. "Computer, why are you unable to
program pathways have been corrupted."
pathways? Well, all he had to do was fix it. It couldn't be that
hard, could it. The doctor put his hand on the console, wondering
where he should begin. Of course, he didn't normally do his own
matrix adjustments. That was what Lieutenant Torres, or Ensign
Kim or Seven did. He shuddered slightly at the thought of what
B'Elanna would say when she found out what had happened. He suddenly
found the presence of the bat'leth very comforting.
he had a guilty recollection of an occasion when he had experimented
with other personalities. And one when he had modified his program
to allow himself to daydream. He withdrew his hand from the console
slowly. Maybe the wrath of Lieutenant Torres was preferable. And
anyway, all he had to do was transfer into his mobile emitter,
while the problem was fixed.
to Lieutenant Torres," he said nervously.
here," came the response. Then, "Doctor. Are you feeling
said the doctor non-committally. "Lieutenant, I wonder if
you could stop by sickbay. Soon."
watched as Lieutenant Stefan Riccitelli, until recently helmsman
on the Pleiades, maneuvered the Delta Flyer into position to pulverize
another section of asteroid.
locking on to target," reported Icheb.
gave the order to fire. The small rock floating in space in front
of the flyer was reduced to rubble.
are reporting high concentrations of polyferranide in the debris,
report came from Ensign Marta Cann, a science officer, also from
to transport the ore on my mark," ordered Chakotay.
sir," responded the ensign.
completed, sir" confirmed Marta Cann.
Pleiades had been the ensign's first posting out of the Academy.
She was anxious not to make a mistake. Shades of Harry, thought
you don't need to add "sir" to the end of every phrase,"
was a more experienced officer, but even he was surprised when
he saw the controls of the Flyer.
an.. unusual... design, sir."
you're with us any length of time you'll find out that Lieutenant
Paris has some.... unusual... ideas."
far the away mission had gone according to plan. A rare event
indeed in the history of the ship. This part of what he was calling
space, for want of a better term, appeared to be both unowned
the unfamiliar design, Riccitelli had grasped the basics of handling
the Flyer quickly, and was competently executing the basic maneuvers
required for the mining operation. Chakotay had heard no complaints
from the back of the cabin, so he assumed that Ensign Cann was
equally having no trouble in configuring the transporter to selectively
transport the various ores from the debris clouds. He also assumed
she was having no personal difficulties in working with an ex-Borg.
The two crewmen from the Pleiades hadn't really even blinked at
the sight of Icheb. Possibly because he had been liberated before
he had ever been involved in assimilating anyone.
all right back there, Icheb?" he asked without turning.
was no answer from the ex-Borg, but Marta Cann said: "He
said he was going back to the hold to check on the ore."
sighed. Icheb was supposed to be supervising the ensign, not ferreting
around at the back of the ship. He decided to go and see what
was going on.
he entered the hold, the young Borg was busy methodically checking
and recording the ores gathered. Chakotay watched him for a moment,
boy looked up.
what are you doing here? You're supposed to be supervising Ensign
procedure is not difficult. Ensign Cann is performing the task
competently. Supervision, therefore, is no longer required. It
is a more efficient use of my time to begin cataloging the mineral
the point is not just to supervise the ensign. The point is also
to give you experience in working on an away mission. Working
as part of a team within a command structure. You can't just go
off on your own when you feel like it."
regarded him with sulky resentment. For a moment Chakotay thought
that he was actually going to storm out in temper. Then Icheb
said quite deliberately:
apologize if I have acted inappropriately, Commander. May I continue
cataloging the mineral ores?"
ran his hand through his hair and sighed. He wondered why, on
top of everything else the Spirits had seen fit to give him an
adolescent Borg to deal with. He sat down on a storage container.
Icheb, you may not continue cataloging the mineral ores. Sit down."
hesitated. Chakotay insisted. "Sit down."
young man sat down facing Chakotay. He put his elbows on his knees,
and hung his head, intently studying his feet.
Icheb, is everything all right?"
boy was silent.
if there is a problem with the crew, or with what you're doing,
then I might be able to fix it. But I can't if you don't tell
me what it is."
looked at Chakotay. For a moment Chakotay saw the confused and
insecure young man behind the mask of Borg efficiency.
he said, "It's just that.... well, I don't know what I am."
on this training mission to learn to be part of the crew. Yes?"
Chakotay nodded. "But I'm not a part of the crew, am I? I
didn't go to Starfleet Academy, so I'm not Starfleet. I didn't
fight with you, so I'm not Maquis. I wasn't ever fully part of
the collective, so I'm not even really Borg."
felt his heart go out to the young man in sympathy. He, better
than anyone, knew how it felt to be caught between two cultures
- and not feel a part of either.
are a part of the crew, Icheb. Look at Neelix. He wasn't in Starfleet
or the Maquis. Or Seven."
of Nine has the knowledge of the collective. And everybody just
last was nearly a wail.
is liked by everybody, Icheb, Not even Neelix. And you have friends
on the ship."
are irrelevant," said Icheb automatically, but he didn't
decided that, sympathy or no, something had to be done before
Icheb slid into the Borg equivalent of full blown adolescent angst.
And in fairness to the lad, days spent alternately tutoring Naomi
Wildman, and working with Seven in Astrometrics, were probably
a bit short on human contact. His mind skated over exactly what
that little analysis said about his current feelings for Seven.
I think that you have been working apart from the crew for too
long. When we get back to Voyager, and after the situation in
Engineering settles, I have to review the crew rosters, to accommodate
the survivors from the Pleiades. Would you like me to consider
you for alternative duty assignments to Astrometrics?"
young man looked at him.
you have any preferences that I should know about?"
hesitated again. "I'd really like to improve my piloting
Why don't you speak to Mr. Paris about giving you some advanced
training. If he agrees, tell me, and I'll schedule it in for you."
thought occurred to him.
you only need to regenerate occasionally, don't you?"
also have to sort out some permanent living arrangements for the
Pleiades crew. Would you like to be assigned to crew quarters?"
I mean, would that be possible?"
can't see why there would be a problem. You'd have to double up
though. We don't have that much room, and we now have ten extra
would be.... acceptable."
I suggest that you go forward and check on Ensign Cann."
Commander. Thank you, Commander."
watched the boy leave the hold. One more crisis hopefully crossed
off the list he thought.
a supreme effort of will B'Elanna Torres restrained herself from
forcibly tearing the bat'leth out of the doctor's hands and giving
him a short demonstration of technique, which would have ended
in the holoemitters strewn in pieces around Sickbay.
you just put that down for a moment, and explain to me exactly
what it is you have done?"
doctor had not picked a good time for experimentation. B'Elanna
wanted to check over the status report from the last shift in
Engineering. And she wanted to get back to Miral. Despite the
fact that she had complete confidence in Tom - who had now returned
from his stint on the bridge - she was still happier when she
was there. Now she was stuck in sickbay, trying to fix yet another
problem caused by the doctor's incessant quest for self-improvement.
She was sorely tempted to request authorization to deny him access
to his own programming.
Klingon hologram roared at her again.
adjusted my matrix parameters to look like this, and now I can't
did you do that for?"
wanted to experience being a Klingon."
being a Klingon! Kahless!
examined the console, and the emitters.
there seems to be some corruption of the program pathways. It's
difficult to see. Probably something was damaged in that last
want to look like myself again."
all want that, believe me Doctor."
can't you just transfer me into my mobile emitter while you sort
the mood the doctor was currently in, B'Elanna had been hoping
that he wouldn't ask that question.
it's gone missing," she stated bluntly.
screamed the Doctor. "What do you mean, missing?! This is
wholly unsatisfactory. I can't function like this. I have responsibilities
to this ship and its crew. I am an integral part of its proper
doctor's own natural tendency towards melodrama was not improved
by being filtered through a Klingon warrior. To make matters worse
each complaint was punctuated by a wild sweep of the bat'leth.
one gesture came close to B'Elanna's ear, she decided that enough
she roared back at him. "Stand still and shut up!"
was enough to startle the doctor into silence.
B'Elanna continued, at a slightly lower volume, " I cannot
work with you roaring like a wounded targ. Nor can I work as long
as my life is in danger from that bat'leth. Now, put it down.
There. Well away from me."
as chastened as his appearance would allow, the doctor meekly
put his bat'leth down where B'Elanna indicated - on the other
side of the room.
we will get on faster, if you could adjust yourself to being a
more even-tempered race."
what I was trying to do, when I realized that I was stuck like...
like this." He gestured to himself with evident distaste.
Belatedly, it occurred to him that insulting the race of the person
who was trying to fix your problem might be a mistake. "Not
that it isn't very nice. In it's way," he added hastily.
just glared. "Sit down," she instructed him. "Why
don't you pretend to be another race? Just for the moment, to
give me some peace."
do you suggest?"
don't you try some Vulcan meditations? Tuvok's always telling
me how good they are for controlling irrational temper outbursts."
doctor was about to say that he didn't think that there was anything
irrational about not being happy that you were stuck in the wrong
body shape, and that your mobile emitter had gone missing, but
one look at B'Elanna's face changed his mind. He settled on the
floor and started to think about candle flames.
meanwhile, was pressing buttons on the console. After a moment
she instructed the computer to restore the doctor's original appearance.
to comply," responded the computer helpfully.
what exactly did you do?" she repeated.
doctor thought. "Well, I called up the image of a Klingon
using the holoemitters. Then I instructed the computer to change
my appearance. And it seemed to work."
all that I can remember. I don't normally adjust my matrix. Usually
you, or Ensign Kim, or Seven of Nine do it."
glared at him in exasperation.
you ever stop to think that there's a reason for that, Doctor?
It's because Harry, Seven and I know what we're doing."
doctor didn't answer.
while we're talking about the Klingon experience, I can assure
you that no Klingon warrior in history ever has, or ever will,
go into battle roaring, This is wholly unsatisfactory."
what seemed an eternity, the shift had finally ended. Kathryn
gloomily surveyed the fresh stack of unread PADDs, recently dumped
on the desk in her quarters. As fast as she got through one, she
thought another two popped up to take its place. She seemed to
recall that once she could get through most of this sort of stuff
during the shift. Maybe she just wasn't working at peak efficiency.
picked up one of the reports at random, and read the title : Evaluation
of the temporal nature of surrounding space. She wondered if Seven
and Harry ever actually slept. She selected another one. Primary
systems repairs - Alpha shift status report. They had certainly
been quick off the mark with that one. She glanced at a third.
Ship's food inventory. She looked away again. The last thing she
wanted to think about was food.
scratch that. The last thing that she wanted to think about was
reading anymore PADDs. Not for the next three-quarters of an hour
at least. She was going to have a hot cup of coffee and a bath
before she tackled any more of today's crises, whether major or
minor. She instructed the computer to replicate her a black coffee,
and went into her bedroom to strip off her uniform gratefully.
She tossed it in the vague direction of the bed, to deal with
later, and put on her robe. Coming back into the living area she
collected the coffee from the replicator, and headed into the
bathroom, instructing the computer to engage the privacy lock.
The doors closed behind her, and moments later the sound of running
water could be heard.
a shiny little nose poked its way round the edge of Kathryn's
desk. A pair of glittering black eyes studied the door to the
bathroom, as if to make sure that the occupant was not going to
come out anytime soon. Then, a lithe, furry body appeared from
behind the desk and scurried across the floor, into the bedroom
and towards the bed.
her haste to get out of her uniform, and into the bath, Kathryn's
throw had been slightly short. Her turtleneck rested half on and
half off the edge of the bed, with one arm trailing on the floor.
Ratty sniffed at it curiously, and poked his nose underneath it.
Then scrabbled with his forepaws, reaching up the side of the
bed as if he were trying to climb it. As he tried to get purchase
on the material, the garment began to move. One more tug from
Ratty, and the turtleneck slid completely off the bed and fell
on top of him.
was some rustling and heaving under the cloth and Ratty emerged
again, cleaning his whiskers. He began to examine the garment,
sniffing intently. He seemed particularly interested in the four
gleaming rank pips at the collar. He investigated them thoroughly,
and then began to gnaw at the material, in a very precise fashion.
minutes later, Ratty was heading towards the ship's ventilation
system, with a small piece of gray fabric clamped in his jaws.
Attached to this fabric were the four time honored symbols by
which Starfleet Command identified its captains.
time after the departure of Ratty, Kathryn emerged from the bathroom,
feeling cleaner, and more refreshed, but without any noticeable
increase in her enthusiasm for reading PADDs. As she entered the
bedroom, she noticed that her turtleneck was now on the floor.
it must have fallen off the bed, she thought. This was what happened
when you didn't hang up your clothes like your mom always told
she picked up the turtleneck, and shook it out. Then she stopped,
startled. Someone had torn a hole in the neck and taken her rank
pips. For a dizzying moment she wondered if this was some subtle
act of rebellion - someone was questioning her fitness as captain.
Then she caught hold of herself again. She had been in the bath
less than half an hour, and the privacy lock had been engaged.
There had to be another explanation.
found her combadge and hit it. "Janeway to Tuvok."
can you come to my quarters immediately?"
could almost hear the eyebrow going up over the link.
my way, Captain."
the time Tuvok arrived Kathryn had replicated herself another
turtleneck, and gotten dressed again. She could see by the slight
twitch of the inevitable eyebrow, that he noticed the absence
of rank pips at her collar. By way of explanation she thrust the
damaged garment at him and explained what had happened.
examined the hole in the turtleneck.
am afraid, Captain, that this is not the first occurrence of this
been stealing rank pips?"
regret to report that there has recently been a spate of petty
briefly outlined the details.
wasn't I told of this before."
could have sworn there was almost an uncomfortable pause. Then
brought the ongoing security investigation to the attention of
Commander Chakotay. Given the ship's current predicament, we both
felt it unnecessary to raise the matter with you until we were
in possession of verified facts."
felt another brief stab of emotion at being left out of the loop.
Anger? Panic? Then she stopped herself. Think it through, she
told herself. What would you have done if you had known? Tossed
the ball back to Tuvok and told him to continue his investigations,
that's what. One or other of them should have submitted a report,
but you haven't exactly been throwing yourself body and soul into
ship's management, have you? We're all making judgment calls under
pressure at the moment. Chakotay included. Let this go.
it work. One step at a time.
ran her hand through her hair. Tuvok watched impassively as emotions
flitted across her face. He let her work it out for herself.
Tuvok. I appreciate your thinking on this. Just keep me informed
from now on, please."
you say that the doctor's mobile emitter has also gone missing?"
is he taking that?"
Torres is with him now. I believe she may be experiencing some
I guess we'd better go down there and take a look. Oh, and what's
being done about finding the emitter? We can't have him restricted
to sickbay again."
believe that Ensign Kim and Seven of Nine are searching for it."
Let's go then"
Kathryn and Tuvok headed for sickbay.
and Seven of Nine moved through the Jefferies tube methodically
scanning for the signature of the doctor's mobile emitter. Close
behind them came Naomi Wildman, looking around her anxiously for
any traces of Ratty.
reached a junction and Harry and Seven stopped briefly to confer.
Naomi sat back on her heels and fiddled with the handful of leola
root that she had hastily stuffed into her pocket.
noticed that the adults had stopped talking.
I could have a tricorder, then I could just scan for Ratty on
my own, and I wouldn't be in your way, would I?" she suggested
hopefully, one more time.
and Seven exchanged looks.
Naomi," said Harry patiently, "We've been through this
before. You can't go crawling around the Jefferies tubes on your
own. It isn't safe and you might get lost. Plus which, neither
Seven or I have got the time to configure a tricorder for you,
even if we could find a spare one. Pretty much every piece of
equipment we have is being used at the moment."
priority is locating the doctor's mobile emitter, not your missing
rodent. In any event, he has survived without your assistance
before. It is reasonable to suppose that he will do so again,"
reassurance, Harry thought, that had left a little to be desired.
worry Naomi, I'm sure he'll turn up when he's hungry."
adults obviously had decided to turn left at the junction. Naomi
trailed along disconsolately behind them. They had gone a little
way through the tube, when Seven stopped suddenly and adjusted
I believe I have located something."
checked her readings and then his own.
think you're right, Seven." He adjusted his tricorder slightly.
"Yes, I definitely have something. It's this way."
carried on down the tube, faster now, as the signal got stronger.
Eventually, Seven halted again.
signal is getting weaker," she announced.
backed up a bit, and rechecked his readings. "It seems to
be strongest here."
had stopped in the middle of a section of Jefferies tube. To Naomi
it looked no different to any other section of Jefferies tube
on the ship. There was also no immediate sign of the mobile emitter.
don't understand," remarked Harry, "there's nothing
here, and yet the signal is very strong."
had been examining one of panels whilst Harry had been speaking.
panel is loose," she observed. "and it appears to bear
peered at the panel. He tested it, and Seven was right, it was
loose. He couldn't see the scratches though. Clearly, Seven's
ocular implant had detected them. He worked at the panel until
he could get it free. He lifted it off and put it to one side.
Naomi crowded up to see what he was doing.
the panel was a cozy little nest, made out of bits of cloth and
other odds and ends. The nest appeared to have a number of metallic
objects in it. It was a little difficult to see for certain, because,
curled up comfortably, completely unperturbed by this invasion
of his home, was a furry creature, looking at them with unblinking
jet black eyes
exclaimed Naomi joyfully.
little animal crawled out of his nest and onto Naomi's lap. She
tickled him, and then pulled some leola root out of her pocket.
Ratty took it in his paws and began to munch happily.
departure revealed the full extent of his haul. The nest was full
of small metallic objects of all sorts. There were pins, and buttons,
and jewelry - rings, chains, bracelets and a Bajoran earring -
and other odd items - souvenirs from various shore leaves. There
was also Sam Wildman's locket, the captain's rank pips and the
doctor's mobile emitter.
at this lot," murmured Harry.
certainly appears to have been busy," agreed Seven.
like a little magpie," commented Harry.
looked up, confused.
a magpie?" she asked.
earth bird related to the crow family." Seven informed her.
" It has a reputation for stealing bright objects and taking
them to its nest. As Ratty is clearly not a bird, Ensign Kim's
analogy is inexact."
Naomi had stopped listening, and was too busy making a fuss of
ran another diagnostic tool over the mobile emitter. The doctor,
still in his Klingon form, was sitting on the floor grumbling
beneath his breath.
can't stay like this for much longer, Lieutenant. Surely you've
finished by now."
patient, Doctor," replied B'Elanna, "I'm sure that you
want me to get this right."
but I don't want any more members of the crew to see me like this."
know," returned the engineer, sweetly, "but I do need
to be certain that your Cavaradossi has been fixed now, don't
doctor could have sworn that her checks actually started to become
slower. He wondered if she was enjoying this in some perverse,
Wildman, meanwhile, was fidgeting nervously. The joy of retrieving
Ratty had worn off and she was beginning to feel very guilty about
all the things that he had taken. It didn't help that the doctor
was glaring at her, and audibly commenting that it was plainly
stupid to allow the keeping of dangerous pets on a starship. On
the way to sickbay Harry had also shown her the piece of cloth
with the captain's pips on it. She didn't think that Captain Janeway
was going to be very happy about that.
the moment, the doors to Sickbay opened and Captain Janeway herself
walked in, followed by Tuvok.
sight that met her, rendered her momentarily speechless.
on the floor, muttering and looking sulky, was a Klingon warrior
in full battle dress. B'Elanna Torres was doing something to the
doctor's mobile emitter, while Seven was working at the one of
the consoles. Naomi Wildman had shot behind Harry Kim, clutching
her dress to her, and was now peering out from behind him with
a stricken look on her face.
tried her voice. "Hello everybody. I'm sure that there is
an explanation for this and no doubt someone will give it to me."
Klingon spoke. "Captain, I must apologize for my unfortunate
looked at the warrior. An awful suspicion began to dawn on her.
she said tentatively.
looked at Tuvok. "Difficulties," she said. "I begin
just getting the problem sorted now, Captain."
this point Naomi Wildman piped up:
it was really my fault, not his. Commander Chakotay told me to
get him a cage and I did, and then he got out, and I couldn't
find him, and he didn't mean to do it, and I know he's sorry"
was bemused by this speech. "Who is sorry, Naomi?"
Harry joined in.
it's been really hard for Naomi. We all know how much she misses
Neelix, and it can't have been much fun for her, what with everyone
working round the clock in Engineering or Astrometrics."
held up her hand. "Peace, Mr. Kim. I'm still trying to catch
she could continue, however, the doors to sickbay slid open again.
This time it was Sam Wildman who came in. She spotted her daughter,
still partly hidden behind Harry.
honey, are you all right?"
wailed Naomi and rushed over to her. Sam hugged her tightly.
going on here?"
began to talk at once.
got out and took things...."
harm was really done....."
someone could please restore my original matrix...."
pathways appear to be restored....
will you just be patient..."
shout silenced everyone. Now all eyes were trained on her. It
dawned on her that she had just reclaimed the role of Captain.
looked at them all. They were heaven alone knows where, the ship
was still in several pieces, and she was standing here trying
to deal with a Klingon EMH and... Ratty. Something about this
suddenly struck her as funny. She bit her lip, and then smiled
and shook her head.
I suggest that you get the doctor back to normal as soon as possible."
it now, Captain."
activated the controls on the doctor's mobile emitter, and the
Klingon on the floor disappeared. A fraction of a second later
the doctor reappeared, back to his usual form. He looked himself
can't tell you what a relief that is." He avoided B'Elanna's
turned to Naomi. "Now, as for Ratty."
aren't going to make me get rid of him, are you, Captain?"
said the little girl in a small voice.
held up her hand again.
worry, Ensign, nobody's getting rid of Ratty. He's already been
authorized for one thing. However, I would recommend that you
look at getting a better cage, and make sure that you keep the
door closed this time."
ma'am." said Naomi breathlessly.
perhaps you'd like to give Naomi a hand with that some time?"
The ensign nodded. "Good. Now if that's sorted I'm sure we
all have things to do."
exchanged a glance with B'Elanna. It hadn't escaped either of
them that the captain had used their first names. That seemed
like a good sign.
doctor interrupted them: "I think I'm back to normal now,
if anyone's interested. I can even give you an example of my Cavaradossi
to prove it."
was a pause, then Kathryn said:
you, Doctor, but I gather that the Flyer has just arrived back
in shuttlebay 2. I want to go and have a look at the ore and hear
how the mission went. Commander Tuvok, you're with me."
strode out of sickbay, with more purpose than she'd shown for
a while. Tuvok followed in her wake. Taking their cue from the
captain, the others made their excuses and left.
was curled on Naomi's lap contentedly munching leola root. She
was absently stroking his head. She still wasn't absolutely convinced
that the captain wouldn't make her get rid of him After all, stealing
the captain's pips must be a pretty serious offence. She hadn't
dared to look in the database to find out what the punishment
to mention taking the doctor's mobile emitter. Although he had
looked funny as a Klingon.. She fished in her pocket and fed Ratty
yet more leola root.
have to put him on a diet, if he keeps eating like that."
jumped, and scrambled to her feet, clutching Ratty.
I didn't hear you come in.
ease, Miss Wildman," said Kathryn looking at the nervous
child. "I just thought I'd stop by to be officially introduced
to my crewrat. Even though he has already been in my quarters."
sorry he caused so much trouble, Captain," said Naomi contritely.
all right. Between you and me, I think we needed something to
lighten the mood a little." Ratty was poking his nose over
the top of Naomi's hands. "May I see him."
offered Ratty to Kathryn.
perfectly tame. He likes being tickled. Oh, and he likes leola
know. I read your report. It was very thorough"
was awestruck at the thought of her report actually being read
by the captain.
watched as Kathryn stroked the little furry head. Ratty curled
up in the crook of the captain's arm, and appeared to go to sleep.
cute, I'll say that for him."
we really lost again?"
sighed. She was going to have to get used to answering that question,
one way or another.
that's because we hit a mine left by the Borg."
heard that people said that it was Starfleet who lost us here.
But if the Borg left the mine, then didn't they do it?"
thought about that. If only it was that simple. But maybe, on
one level it was that simple.
she said finally. "The Borg did it."
Producers: Thinkey, Anne Rose and Coral