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 Post subject: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite PostPosted: 2008-01-19 09:23pm
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This is a little side project I've been wanting to do for a while, and with The Humanist Inheritance presently being reviewed by test readers before I begin editing yet again, now I have time to do it. It's a rewrite of "Caretaker", Voyager's pilot episode, done in the format of a novella, which I think reflects what the show could have been, rather than what it became.

I've endeavored to stick as closely as possible to the original televised episode, and I have retained as many details as possible. The idea isn't to fix all of the things I don't like about Star Trek in one go, or undo every silly idea every inflicted upon Trek fans by the writers, but to write something that I think a creative team with some degree of courage might have produced, without throwing everything established by TNG and DS9 out the window. I've also tried to keep as close to the original characters as I could, flaws and all (though I promise to make them less glaring when appropriate--please don't run away on first sight of Neelix, who I promise will be better).

I don't anticipate writing any more episodes; this is a one-shot project for me. I can't even promise I'll finish this one. But I hope you like it.

____________
Stardate 48307.5
Location unknown.


Red alert.

The first thing she heard was the red alert kalxon, wailing over and over, like a spike being jammed in each ear. She rolled over, groaned, opened her eyes, stared at the flickering overhead lights. She had a deep pain in her head, behind her eyes, dark red; the stuttering lights made it bloom brilliant white.

Red alert.

Her thoughts were quicksilver; flowing freely, conjoining and fissioning, squirting away when she tried to pin one down. She couldn't remember how she had wound up on the deck.

Without warning, she was overcome by a wave of nausea. She barely had enough time to turn her head to vomit. It tasted of coffee.

Confusion, pain, sensitivity to light and sound, amnesia, vomiting. Concussion.

Red alert.

She tried to get up, only for an explosion of agony to blaze through left shoulder. She collapsed back to the deck. Dislocated shoulder and concussion.

How long had she been here? Why wasn't anyone helping her? Where were the people running to their stations?

She opened her eyes again. The lights had settled down to a steady, even glow. It hurt her eyes, but it didn't worsen her headache.

She wormed over to one side of the passageway, so that with her good arm, she could grab a joint in the paneling. After two failed tries (both times landing on her injured shoulder, eliciting wails and tears of pain and frustration), she managed to pull herself up to her feet.

Red alert.

Red lights were flashing on and off up and down the passageway. The siren was still going; nobody on the bridge had turned it off yet. It set her teeth on edge, disrupted her already loose thoughts. Panels had fallen off along the walls. She smelled ozone and the telltale chemical stink of burning plastic; small fires from broken EPS conduits, killed by the fire suppression systems and automatic cutoff valves.

She caught her reflection off a dead LCARS panel (cracked horizontally across its entire length); her left arm appeared to be backwards. She needed to go to sickbay.

Red alert. They still hadn't shut the siren off.

There was a turbolift thirty meters down the corridor. She remembered that was where she was going when...when what? USS Voyager had suffered some kind of serious problem, an accident or an attack, and she had been injured. That much she could infer on her own. She had no more information than that. The intercom was silent. That by itself was ominous, because in the few previous Red Alerts she'd experienced in her heretofore uneventful career, the bridge had issued an uninterrupted stream of instructions and status updates over the intercom.

The bridge. The memory crystallized in her head. That's where she had been going. She had been called to the bridge. Voyager was in the Badlands, hunting Maquis, and they had called her to the bridge because the captain wanted advice from her science officer in that weird, dangerous patch of space.

She remembered her commbadge. I must have hit my head hard, she thought. The first thing she should have done was call the bridge for instructions. It chirped when she tapped it; at least that was still working. "Janeway to bridge," she said.

No reply. She tried again and got the same response. Sour adrenaline began pooling in her stomach. The silent intercoms, the howling klaxon (grating away at her nerves), and now this.

"Janeway to bridge," she said. When she got no reply a third time, she set her jaw and decided any more attempts would be just postponing the inevitable. "Computer: status of the bridge."

The computer's emotionless reply belied the horror it struck in Lieutenant Commander Kathryn Janeway. "Structural integrity failure on Deck One," it said. "Explosive decompression in all compartments."

"Survivors?"

"None."

She took a deep breath before asking the next question. "Status of Captain Bujold."

"Captain Bujold is dead."

Damn it. "Status of First Officer Cavit."

"Commander Cavit is dead."

"Status of Chief Engineer Patel." He shouldn't have been on the bridge.

"Lieutenant Commander Patel is dead."

"What? How."

"Lieutenant Commander Patel was killed by a plasma conduit failure in main engineering."

Janeway needed to brace herself against the wall to remain standing. Depsite her own injuries and the damage up and down the corridor, she had been, until that point, allowed to indulge in the hope that whatever had happened to Voyager had been a minor accident, or at worst, that its worst effects were localized. Now that luxury was gone.

She realized she had no idea who was in command of the ship, who she had to report to (or where, but that was the next problem, to be dealt with later). "Computer," she said. "Who is the senior surviving line officer on Voyager?"

"Lieutenant commander Kathryn Janeway," said the computer.

Janeway was glad nobody else was in the corridor. This time she did fall; not, all in all, a very captainly thing to do.

The ship shuddered hard. There was a sound, a deep, almost subsonic booming, that carried through the deckplate: the warp core, going offline, in as violently a fashion it could without actually exploding and destroying the ship. Then main power failed, and all the lights went out.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
X-Ray Blues


Last edited by RedImperator on 2010-10-11 12:48pm, edited 18 times in total.
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-01-24 07:15pm
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Ten Days Earlier
Federation-Cardassian frontier


It hadn't been Chakotay's week.

"The Cardassian vessel is closing," said Tuvok. The Maquis raider shook under another phaser volley. Something important behind the captain's chair failed with a shower of sparks; they rained on the back of his neck, each one stinging like a mote of fire.

"B'Elana!" shouted Chakotay over the open microphone to Val Jean's engine room..

"I know, God damn it!" Down below, the engineer yanked a panel off the wall and tore into the mess of jerry-rigged machinery that kept Val Jean alive, cursing in Klingon and English.

Val Jean banked hard, faster than the inertial dampers could compensate. A'shadieeyah Mohommad, Chakotay's crackerjack pilot, was doing her best, trying to dodge the Galor-class cruiser's weapons fire. Mohommad had gotten them out of more than her share of impossible jams, but this time the Cardies were hanging tight.

"Weapons?" said Chakotay. It was more of a prayer than an order.

"Yes, some weapons would be nice," said Seska. His Bajoran executive officer had been a good luck charm for so long, he'd started to think they were invincible as long as she was around. So much for that.

"I'm really not in the mood for jokes," said Chakotay.

"Weapons inoperative," said Tuvok.

"B'Elana, is there anything--"

"How about I stick a broom up my ass and sweep the floor while I'm at it?" said Torres.

"B'Eleana, I need my fucking phasers!"

"How much do you need a warp core breach?"

"The Cardassians are going to give me one anyway if you don't get those phasers online."

"They won't need to bother in a minute!"

"They don't need to wait that long!"

Seska leapt out of her seat and dove into an open access hatch and started working on the weapons herself. Mohommad turned the ship again, but not in time to avoid a phaser hit amidships. Every alarm on the bridge wailed to life at once.

"Shields collapsed," said Tuvok.

"One more hit and we're done!" said B'Elana.

"Can you give me warp speed?"

"Are you crazy?" said B'Elana.

"Can you!?"

"I can give you one second. Maybe."

"Do it. Mohommad, how far are we from the Badlands?"

"Ten light years from the outer boundary."

"The Cardassians will be anticipating such a move," said Tuvok.

"I can't get us ten light years on a one-second burst," said B'Elana.

"There's another ship out there between us and the Badlands," said Seska. "We have to lure it here before we go to warp."

"Good idea," said Chakotay. "Tuvok, signal our surrender. Mohommad, straight ahead, one-quarter impulse. Keep us out of tractor range."

"What?!" said Mohommad and B'Elana together.

"You heard me! Just do it; I have a plan. You don't think we're actually surrendering to the Cardassians, do you?"

"I hope they think we're actually surrendering," said B'Elana.

"They are acknowledging," said Tuvok. "They have ordered us to heave to and prepare to be boarded."

"Maintain course and speed. Mohommad, B'Elana, prepare for warp. Set course for the Badlands; maximum possible speed on my order. Seska, how are the phasers coming?"

"You've got one shot, maybe two."

"Tuvok, target the Cardie. Manual aiming only. Hit them as close to their bridge as possible."

"Understood."

Seska returned to her seat, smeared with grease and grime, sheened with sweat, and bleeding from a cut on her forehead. With a motion so subtle nobody else on the bridge could have possibly seen it, she placed a hand on his. "This had better work," he said.

"It will."

"The Cardassian ship is repeating its order to heave to," said Tuvok. "They are threatening to fire if we do not stop."

"Maintain course and speed." Come on, you ugly yellow bitch. Where are you?

"The Cardies are closing in on us," said Mohommad.

"Full impulse on my mark."

"Tractor range in five seconds," said Tuvok.

Where are you?

"Three seconds. Two. One."

"Full impulse now!"

Val Jean leaped forward like a spurred thoroughbred. A Cardassian phaser blast missed them by meters.

"Standby for warp on my mark!" said Chakotay.

"Galor-class cruiser dropping out of warp at 227 mark 85, range sixty thousand kilometers!" said Tuvok, the slightest hint of a waver in his emotional control creeping into his voice.

"Fire phasers! Helm, engage!"

Val Jean fired two quick blasts at the first Galor, striking its shields just forward of its bridge. Then she leaped into warp and disappeared.

B'Elana had done better than she'd promised. They stayed at warp for five seconds, and momentarily hit warp six before the warp drive gave out.

"Viewscreen," said Chakotay.

The brilliant yellow and red gas clouds of the Badlands filled the entire forward view.

"Brilliant, B'Elana," said Chakotay.

"We don't have much time," said Seska. "We need to get the warp drive back in working order before the Cardassians figure out where we went."

No sooner had she said that than an alarm went off at Tuvok's station. "Cardassian Galor-class cruiser warping in sixty astronomical units from our position."

"How long until they spot us?"

"Three minutes on the outside to perform a sky scan," said Seska. "B'Elana, move."

"You don't need to tell me twice." She started banging and cursing on machinery. Seska and Tuvok joined her.

Two minutes later, the Galor went to warp. It was on top of them before Chakotay could even shout the alarm.

"We have warp!" said B'Elana.

"Helm engage!"

They had to drop out of warp at the edge of the Badlands, not even Mohommad daring to run through the dangerous patch of disturbed space faster than light until she got her bearings. The Maquis had mapped the whole area (at no small cost in blood) and a skilled navigator like Mohommad could warp through safely, but not quickly.

And the Cardassians were starting to map the place, too.

"Let's move," said Chakotay. "I don't want to hang around here all day."

"I'm working as fast as I can, boss," said Mohommad.

And then the Cardies were on top of them again.

"Go!" shouted Chakotay, watching the two cruisers approach on the viewscreen like orcas bearing down on a wounded seal. Val Jean leapt to warp again, with the Cardassians baying at their heels. One followed at a distance while the other closed in--so when Mohommad dropped Val Jean out of warp to turn, one would overshoot, but the other wouldn't.

"They're going to wait until we're in open space and then they're going to attack," said Chakotay.

"This isn't right," said Seska. "They weren't supposed to follow us in here."

"Maybe you should tell them that," said Chakotay.

The ship dropped out of warp, turned with thrusters, then leapt into warp again. Mohommad had free reign with the ship, taking them through the twisting warren of safe passages through the Badlands without asking Chakotay or anyone else for instructions.

"They are still pursuing," said Tuvok.

"I'm taking us into the Rat's Nest," said Mohommad. "If the Cardies have charted that, I'll eat my scarf."

They turned again, and then Mohommad opened up the warp drive to full power. Something went bang and caught fire; B'Elana cursed and screamed and hammered on machinery with a wrench (B'Elana referred to such outbursts as an ancient Klingon mechanics' ritual).

Ahead of them was a vortex of raging plasma storms. The Rat's Nest was a network of passages interlaced through one of the most violent regions of the Badlands; the storms had been particularly bad that whole year. From a distance of a few light years, the tendrils of hot gas seemed motionless; Chakotay knew that was only because they were so enormous and so far away. The tips were flailing at half the speed of light and could boil away entire planets. Mohommad and the Cardassians could avoid those, but the smaller bursts that popped up at random outside the safe areas could smash a passing starship with ease. Sometimes they popped up inside the safe areas, too. Especially in the Rat's Nest.

Val Jean began rattling. "What the hell is that?" said Chakotay.

"Subspace is very disturbed around here, boss," said Mohommad. Val Jean started vibrating more violently, occasionally getting buffeted hard.

"We're going to have to drop out of warp if this keeps up," said Torres. "The engines don't like this at all."

"I see a spot," said Mohommad. "Dropping out of warp."

They fell below superluminal speed in the middle of a calm patch a few million kilometers across, surrounded by vast clouds of hot gas.

"The Cardassians overshot us. They are in the middle of a cloud."

"On screen!"

The two Galors were being buffeted by plasma and repeatedly slashed by energy discharges. One took a shot right across the bow that penetrated the shields and tore away part of the hull.

"Let's move," said Chakotay. Val Jean warped away, leaving the Cardassians behind. A few minutes later, when Mohommad had to turn again, Tuvok checked their long range scan.

"Are they following us?" said Chakotay.

"Negative. They are leaving the Badlands."

"They had enough for one day," said Seska.

Chakotay leaned back in his chair and smiled for the first time all day. The adrenaline of combat was draining away, leaving him in a euphoric haze that was practically post-orgasmic.

Speaking of...

"Mohommad, you have the conn. Take us through the Rat's Nest and out the other side of the Badlands. Make sure there aren't any Cardassians on the other side waiting for us."

"That's Federation territory, sir."

"Cardies, Starfleet, what's the difference? Keep us out of trouble."

"Will do, boss."

Chakotay went back to his cabin. Seska followed, a discreet amount of time late. Afterwards, they were both dozing when some tremendous force like a collision shook the whole ship, tossing them both out of Chakotay's bunk onto the cabin deck.

#



Image
Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
X-Ray Blues


Last edited by RedImperator on 2008-01-25 04:31am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-01-26 06:45pm
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New Senegal Penal Colony

Tom Paris was digging a hole when two guards came to him and told him he had a visitor. In his early days on New Senegal, he would have had a remark for them; "I told your mother I'm not interested in any more conjugal visits" perhaps. There was a series of mile-long, zigzagging ditches through the desert north of camp, each one dug by him and a few other insubordinate prisoners, reminders of the price of a smart mouth here. Mostly these days, he didn't say anything to the guards besides "yes sir" and "no sir".

They escorted Paris across a kilometer of scrub desert to a plain white concrete bunker on the outskirts of a cluster of other concrete buildings, the administration center for the camp. Inside, the bunker was dim, so he couldn't see right away who was waiting for him inside. Slowly, as his eyes adjusted, a short, trim woman in a Starfleet uniform materialized out of the gloom. It was red, in the newest cut, with four rank pips: a starship captain. Behind her were two other Starfleet types. Spooks, he guessed. Starfleet Intelligence.

"Good morning, Mr. Paris," she said. Her accent was French. "My name is Captain Nicole Bujold, of the Federation starship Voyager."

"Hi," he said.

"Please," she said, "sit down." She waved her hand at a hard metal chair on one side of a steel desk. He did so. She sat across from him. The two spooks, he noticed, did not.

"What's this all about, captain?" said Paris.

"Ten days ago, a Maquis raider named Val Jean disappeared in the Badlands."

Paris's eyes widened. A second later, he realized that had been a mistake. Never show Starfleet you know anything about anything. He sighed internally. Mistakes had marked his entire tenure as a freedom fighter, which is why he was digging holes on New Senegal.

"I take it you know the name."

"I've heard it," said Paris.

"You picked it, from what I understand." Bujold smiled at him. There wasn't any mirth in it. "Let's cut to the chase here, shall we? Val Jean disappeared in the Badlands. There was a Starfleet Intelligence agent on board. I have been tasked with recovering him and arresting the crew of the ship."

"If they disappeared in the Badlands, they were probably destroyed."

"Perhaps," said Bujold. "That is what the Cardassians are claiming. But there are enough holes in their story to make us believe they aren't telling the whole truth."

"What do you want from me?" said Paris.

"You have navigated the Badlands," said Bujold. "You, frankly, mapped much of it. There are even features named after you--"

"Paris's gap, Paris's ridge, Paris's flare, the Paris highway, and Paris's asshole," said Paris. "Somebody else named the last one."

"Yes," said Bujold. "You know the Badlands. I need to navigate them to complete my mission. I want you to be my guide."

"Forget it," said Paris.

"You would be rescuing the Maquis, Mr. Paris."

"Arrest and rescue aren't the same thing. At any rate, they don't need rescuing. Either they were destroyed, or they slipped past the Cardassians and the Cardies are too embarassed to admit it."

"We have not heard from our operative since Val Jean disappeared."

"Maybe they caught him," said Paris.

"Maybe," said Bujold. "In which case, I am rescuing him, and you would be assisting."

"I'm not selling out the Maquis," said Paris. "If I lead you through the Badlands, you'll be recording every kilometer of the flight. You'll learn more about it from me in a day than you could have learned on your own in a year--and so will the Cardassians, as soon as you turn over your charts to them."

"It is curious you speak of 'selling out', since I do not recall yet offering you a price. It is doubly curious, because if I remember correctly, you were 'sold out' yourself by none other than Chakotay."

Paris ground his knuckled into the hard steel tabletop. A part of him admired Bujold for doing her homework. The incident between him and Chakotay hadn't gone exactly like that, but it was close enough to count as betrayal, and Bujold knew and was poking at the wound.

"Other than ruining Chakotay's day, what are you offering me for helping you?"

"A reduced overall sentence and an immediate parole at the conclusion of the mission."

"Parole to where? Earth?"

"Close. Betazed."

Paris grimaced. "Won't even have to bother with a parole officer, will you?"

"You will be paired with a transition counselor to ease your passage back into civilian life."

"And a Betazoid handler to keep an eye on what I'm thinking."

"I promise you, nobody will make you dig any holes for what you think. As long as you don't break any laws, nobody will bother you. And once your sentence is up, you will be a free man."

Paris didn't respond.

Bujold leaned in. "We're interested in two things, Mr. Paris: rescuing our agent and capturing Chakotay. The rest of the crew, your old friends, they'll get token sentences. And if they are in trouble, you'll be saving their lives." She paused. "Or, you can rot here until the proper authorities declare you rehabilitated. The average time for that for hardened terrorists is, I believe, forty-six years. That's a lot of holes."

"What if you don't find them?"

"The only thing I am asking of you is to make a good-faith effort to help us. If Val Jean cannot be found despite your best efforts, then so be it." The two Starfleet Intelligence officers gave Bujold alarmed looks, but she ignored them. "Mr. Paris," said Bujold, "Be honest with yourself. Did you join the Maquis out of a genuine, if misguided, sense of justice and empathy for the oppressed, or because you wanted to piss off your father and meet girls? Well, you succeded in one--your father is still very angry--and as for the other, you'll have far better luck on Betazed than you will here. Chakotay stole Val Jean from you and dumped you in Starfleet's lap. Why are you still protecting him?"

"You're the most cynical Starfleet officer I've ever met," said Paris.

"I'm not the cynic, Mr. Paris. You are. Which is why you'll accept our offer."



Image
Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
X-Ray Blues

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-01-31 07:55pm
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Deep Space Nine

Ensign Harry Kim stood by one of the Promenade's huge windows, watching Voyager's final approach. His heart raced when he first read the name and registry number--his ship, his first assignment. His hand drifted up and brushed the single rank pip on his collar, and then down to his communicator badge.

He watched the ship until it passed out of view, docking high overhead. Then he wandered back onto the Promenade. He still had three hours before he had to board Voyager--a ludicrously fast turnaround for a starship making the trip from final evaluations at Utopia Planitia to Deep Space Nine, but still a long time for him to stare out the window in dreamy excitement, watching starships pass through the Bajoran Wormhole (maybe we'll be sent on a mission to the Gamma Quadrant, he thought, thrilling at the notion of traveling all the way to the other side of the galaxy).

The Promenade was crowded with people moving in all directions, but there were a few discrete streams, and one of them was flowing into Quark's Bar. The place was crowded with Starfleet, many of them waiting, like Harry, to board Voyager. He felt like he should be mingling in the crowd and making friends, but his shyness presented an insurmountable wall. He found a seat at the bar instead.

The Ferengi bartender (Quark, presumably) had no problems with shyness and seemed to sense Harry was looking for someone to talk to. Or maybe just that Harry wanted a drink.

"Good afternoon, friend," said the Ferengi. He struck a classic bartender's pose, leaning on the bar with one elbow while polishing a glass, which was a neat trick because he was barely taller than the bar (Harry peeked over and saw the floor on the other side was raised). "What can I get for you today?"

Harry glanced at the blizzard of different liquids in bottles behind Quark. His brain promptly locked up. "I'll have...a rootbeer," he finally said.

"A rootbeer? A rootbeer?! My good sir, where are you from?"

"Uh, Earth?"

"Earth! And have you ever left Earth before?"

"Well, we took a family vacation to Mars once."

Quark gave Harry a look of pitying astonishment, like Harry had just admitted he was a virgin or had never eaten chocolate. "Do you mean to tell me that this is your very first time outside your home solar system, and you've come to this magnificent bar--" he gestured at the air around them "--with beverages to delight your senses and expand your horizons from across the galaxy, and what you want is a root beer?"

"Well, I--"

"Never mind. Starfleet has obviously already beaten the adventure out of you. Rom, one root beer!"

"Now wait. What else do you have?"

"That you'd like? Oh, tap water, tap water with ice, tap water with bubbles, that kind of thing."

"I'm serious. What else do you have?"

"Are you sure you don't want a root beer? It's safe and bor--I mean, predictable."

"I'm serious. I'm sure I don't want the root beer."

"Well, okay then. Rom, hold the root beer!" The Ferengi at the other end of the bar made a hand gesture that might have meant "OK!". If Harry had been paying closer attention, he would have noticed that Rom hadn't been doing anything that could have been construed as pouring a root beer in the first place.

Quark leaned in close to Harry. Harry could count the points of his teeth. "So what do you have in mind?"

"Um...you pick. What's good?"

"Well, everything I have is good. But I thought we were having an adventure. You don't want something good, you want something great. And I have just the thing for you."

"What's that?"

"Romulan Ale."

Harry's eyes widened. "That's illegal!"

"It's illegal in the Federation, my boy. This station is Bajoran territory!"

Harry pondered, remembering his third grade production of the epic drama, Romulan Ale Is Uncool, where he had played "Incurably Insane Romulan Ale Addict #3", as well as a lifetime of anti-Romulan Ale propaganda.

On the other hand, Romulan Ale was cool, and Harry, a lifelong dork, sensed an opportunity to achieve his long-thwarted dream of not being a dork. "Okay," he said. "I'll have some."

Quark smiled in a way that made Harry want to flinch a little. He retreived a decanter of blue liquid from under the bar, and with great ceremony, poured some into a small glass, which he pushed across the bar to Harry. Harry took one sip; it was smooth and cool, and very sweet, unlike how he had imagined.

"That will be one strip of latinum," said Harry.

Harry fished in his pockets for his FedBank chit, which let him carry Federation credits with him in areas where money was necessary. Quark held a chit reader over the bartop. Harry gave Quark one credit, plus fifty centicredits as a tip. He smiled at Quark.

"Where are the other hundred ninety-three and a half credits?" said Quark.

"The other what?"

"The other hundred ninety-three and a half credits you owe me."

"But you said it was only one."

"One strip of gold-press latinum. You're paying in Federation credits, and the current exchange rate is 194 to 1."

"But the official exchange rate is 1 to 1!"

"The official exchange rate is 1 to 1. Only an idiot actually accepts one credit for one strip of latinum. Try it; go down to the currency exchange and buy one strip for one credit. They'll laugh you right out the door."

"But you have to take credits at the official exchange rate. That's the law."

"I have to take credits at the official exchange rate in the Federation. That's why, so far as I know, nobody has ever successfully bought anything in the Federation. You owe me one hundred ninety-seven credits."

"197? I just paid you one and a half."

Quark put his hands on his hips. "The credit just fell to 198 and a half to the strip."

Harry sighed and paid. He didn't try to tip the Ferengi this time. He even bought a second Romulan Ale, and a third, and a fourth, the last costing him 352 credits, Harry reasoning that once back on the ship, he wouldn't have much to spend his money on anyway (Harry listened as Quark told a long tale of woe about the instability of the credit on the Ferenginar currency exchange, Harry the whole time thinking that he thought it was the customer who was supposed to tell the bartender a sad story). He had been at the bar for an hour when a civilian took the stool next to him (a stool Harry didn't remember being there, but he'd been drinking for an hour).

"Romulan Ale," said the civilian, a man in his early thirties. Quark poured him a glass, and, unlike with Harry, demanded payment up front.

"One strip of latinum," said Quark.

The man thought for a moment, then entered a number. Quark entered a different one; they haggled for a few minutes until they had settled on a price. Then he moved down the bar, leaving Harry and the stranger alone.

The man took a sip of his drink. "Damn," he said. "This is a lousy vintage." He squinted down after Quark.

"Mine's okay," said Harry.

The man eyed Harry. "Mind if I take a sip?"

"Sure," said Harry.

The man took Harry's glass and had a small sip. He started laughing.

"What?" said Harry.

"This isn't Romulan Ale," said the stranger. "This is Wild Berry Tasty-Ade and synthehol. And I thought I got snookered. Next time make sure he hasn't switched bottles on you."

Harry stared at him. "I paid 352 credits for that!"

The stranger laughed again. "The exchange rate isn't that bad. I paid 83 for mine. Always stop by the currency exchange first to check the rates."

"Oh," said Harry. He stared into his glass, having intense flashbacks to high school.

The stranger seemed to take pity on him. "What's your name?" he said.

"Ensign Harry Kim," said Harry.

"You with Voyager?" said the stranger.

"Yeah."

"Me too." He held out his hand. "Tom Paris."

Harry took it. "Nice to meet you. What are you, a civilian expert?"

"Something like that."

A call came over the station intercom: "All Voyager crew, report to Pylon Three."

"That's us," said Paris, finishing off his drink. When he saw Harry abandoning his, he finished that, too.

"Should I try to get my money back?" said Harry.

"From a Ferengi? You might as tell a Klingon you're going to steal his bat'leth. Come on."

They walked out of the bar, joining the crowd flowing towards Pylon 3.

"Say," said Harry, "was it my imagination, or did your stool wink at me when you got up?"

Paris shrugged. "You never know in this place."



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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USS Voyager
Federation-Cardassian Frontier

Lieutenant Commander Kathryn Janeway was still getting settled in her office when the door chimed. "Come," she said.

The doors hissed open and Captain Bujold walked in. Janeway sprang to her feet.

"As you were," said Bujold. "I just came down to see how you were settling in."

"Just fine, ma'am," said Janeway.

"What do you think of the facilities here?"

"They're very nice," she said. "Not as much space as we had on Atlantis, but all of the equipment is top of the line."

"Nobody has the lab space of a Nebula," said Bujold. "Our mission profile is geared more towards observation than analysis."

"That makes sense," said Janeway. "If we're not going to be in deep space for years at a time, we might as well leave the analysis to facilities on the ground." Like hell we should, she thought, but she was not about to question the design of the captain's starship on her first day on board.

"Yes, indeed," said Bujold. She looked around. "Still, you would like more lab facilities, no?"

"Yes, ma'am, I would. Science is what Starfleet is all about."

Bujold heaved a theatrical sigh and gave Janeway a wry smile. "I agree. But since Wolf..." She shrugged. She was right. Since Wolf 359, science had gotten the short end of the funding stick. Janeway understood the rationale, but she didn't have to like it.

"Have you gone over your inventory yet?" said Bujold.

"Eh? Yes, I have. I was going to mention--"

"You are short several items."

"Yes, I am." It's a lot more than "several".

"We were in a rush to depart Deep Space Nine. Since this is a short-duration mission, I felt we could leave non-critical supplies in storage there and return for them later. I apologize for not telling you earlier, but as you can imagine, today has been hectic."

"I understand," said Janeway. She pretended to be distracted by a blinking figure on her PADD, to hide her irritation.

"I have an assignment for you," said Bujold. "We will be in the Badlands in a few hours. I would like you to send someone to work with Mr. Paris and Lieutenant Stadi to plot a course and plan our search."

Janeway went through her mental list of offficers and crewmen in her department. The trouble was, she'd been on board Voyager less than a day, and couldn't even remember all her people's names, let alone their qualifications. Bujold waited, tapping her foot. Janeway, pressed, decided on the one person she knew she could trust.

"I can do it," said Janeway.

Bujold gave her a curious look. "You, Commander?"

"Yes ma'am."

"What is your specialty again?"

There was a long pause. "Meteorology, ma'am."

"Meteorology."

"Yes. Specifically, meteorology of class J and T planets."

"Gas giants," said Bujold.

"Yes," said Janeway. Her ears were starting to turn hot.

Bujold stared at the overhead for a moment, as if she had just spotted an interesting bug or somesuch thing. She said "Hmm" several times. Finally, she said to Janeway, "Well, if you feel it is best, by all means, please join Lieutenant Stadi and Mr. Paris in stellar cartography. Just please send somebody."

"Yes ma'am." After Bujold left, she pulled up her department's personnel records and flipped through them, looking for someone to send to meet with Stadi.

#

USS Voyager
The Badlands


Lieutenant Stadi didn't like the way Tom Paris was leaning over her shoulder, watching the helm station's readouts. For one thing, he was making noises: small "hmms" and "uh-huhs" like an Academy instructor, making it clear he was critiquing her performance, as if a failed revolutionary had any business judging a Starfleet officer. For another,he was looking at her breasts. She was sure of this because she was Betazed, and though she tried not to read minds unless she had a good reason, Damn. Nice cans. I'd hit that. was hard to ignore, especially when he thought it two or three times in the first hour.

"Set course 285 mark 13, warp 3, four minutes," said Paris.

"That's a little slow," said Commander Cavit, Voyager's first officer.

"If you want to blow your nacelles off running at high warp through a subspace pothole field, be my guest," said Paris.

"This is ridiculous," said Cavit. "The Cardassians told us where Val Jean disappeared. Why don't we just go straight there and start looking?"

"Because the Cardassians couldn't find their own asses in the Badlands," said Paris. "All we know is that Val Jean went into the Rat's Nest. We're looking where she would have gone if she came out."

"That's not a rational search pattern, Mr. Paris," said Bujold.

"Look," said Paris, "One of two things happened. They went into the Rat's Nest and they never came out, meaning the ship was wrecked, meaning it's not going anywhere; or they did leave, and they're hiding somewhere else in the Badlands. If that's the case, you want to catch them now, because the Maquis watch both sides of the border and someone saw us go in. If Chakotay is still in here, and he's alive, it's a race to find him before he finds out we're looking."

Bujold and Cavitt seemed to accept that explanation, though Stadi glanced back over her shoulder once and saw Cavitt sitting in his chair cracking his knuckles, a sure sign he was unhappy. Stadi felt the same.

That unhappiness deepened as the search dragged on for another hour, and then another, and then another after that. Paris tried several times to make small talk with her. She brushed off each attempt with clipped, one-word answers. She tried to ignore her disgust when he started having sexual fantasies about her. When that failed, she started deliberately making small mistakes for him to correct, under the assumption that if he was micromanaging her, he wouldn't have time to wonder if she took "it" there.

She was profoundly relieved when the pipes sounded the end of her watch, and just as dismayed when she heard Paris's thoughts just before he spoke them: "Lieutenant Stadi should stay on post," he said as her replacement approached the helm. "We're working together well."

"Is this so, lieutenant?" said Bujold. Bujold, who was human, knew how to frame the thoughts in her head so Stadi could clearly hear them (Stadi often wondered who had taught Bujold that trick). I know he is a pig, thought Bujold (in French; Stadi had taken a crash course). It is up to you if you wish to stay.

Stadi looked up into the face of the leering Tom Paris. The less time she spent with the repugnant toad, the better. On the other hand, she sensed he wasn't lying, at least not all the way: he was comfortable working with her, and uneasy at the thought of training another helmsman on the fly in this dangerous environment.

She sighed. "I can work another watch, captain."

That was the decision that killed her.

#

USS Voyager
Time and place unknown

Paris was awakened by a horrid screeching wail, like metal being twisted to the breaking point, an instant before he was flung to the deck of the brig. He stood up, only to get thrown to the deck again by a violent shock. The red alert sirens wailed to life.

"What the hell was that?" said Paris. He crawled to his bunk, held onto it as he rose to his knees, braced for another shock. He looked around, noticing the lights were flickering. The cell's forcefield held steady, powered off a 72-hour backup battery if main power became unreliable.

The Andorian able crewman who had been guarding the brig had fallen to the deck, but was pulling himself up at her station. She had a huge cut on her face, and blue blood was dripping off her her chin onto the control station.

"Hey!" said Paris. "What's happening?"

"Quiet," she said. Her fingers flew over the control panel.

"Let me out," said Paris. "I know first aid; I can help you."

"I said keeep quiet," she said. She tapped her commbadge. "Brig to security."

"Security," replied whoever was on the other end of the channel. It sounded like pandemonium in the background.

"This is Tsien. I'm requesting instructions."

"Stay at your post."

"Acknowledged."

"That's it?" said Paris. "You didn't even ask them what happened."

"They're busy," she said.

The lights steadied themselves. Paris was starting to wish he was back on New Senegal, digging some nice, safe holes.

"You're bleeding pretty bad," he said.

"I'll be fine."

"You should let me help you."

"You are not to leave your cell."

Andorian pride, thought Paris. Even a Klingon would put a bandage on that. "Look, I'm a pilot, not some kind of kung-fu master. And you have a phaser. There's a dermal regenerator in the first aid kit over there. Let me out, I'll fix you up, and then I'll go back in my cell. If I try anything, you can stun me and dump me back in here."

She hesitated before responding.

"We're on a starship," he said. "Where am I going to go?" To the shuttle bay, after I seal your eyelids shut, steal your phaser, and shoot everyone between here and there. A low-warp shuttlecraft would be just the thing in the Badlands; they'd never find him, not with Voyager apparently crippled.

Able crewman Tsien touched a button on the control panel; Paris heard the brig's security doors lock. "Okay," she said. "I'll let you out."

She was reaching for the panel when there was a deafening bass roar--the warp core! thought Paris--and all the lights went out. Behind able crewman Tsien, a wall panel blew out in a fountain of iradescent gas. For an instant she was silhouetted against a cloud of blue death, and then she was overwhelmed, her scream cut off as if by a knife, and the brig force field glowed blinding purple-white against the energy of the plasma.

Eventually--it was only a few seconds, though it seemed like decades for Paris--some cutoff valve upstream shut off the plasma flow and emergency vents opened in the brig, flushing the atmosphere, clearing the air so that Paris could see the devastation the blowout had wrought. Nothing was left of able crewman Tsien except a pile of glowing bones.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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USS Voyager
The Badlands

They had given Harry Kim had the overnight shift at ops. Because of this, he was off-duty when Voyager entered the Badlands, and did not have to report to his general quarters station when they sounded yellow alert. The price for this was that he was supposed to be asleep, but between the excitement of a first mission, his own body clock insisting it was only early in the evening, and his continuing seething resentment at Quark, he couldn't sleep. At 1900 hours, only an hour before he was supposed to wake up anyway, he gave up. He slipped out of the quarters he shared with three other junior officers and, his clarinet in hand, went to the deserted forward observation lounge, to play Benny Goodman and watch the red and yellow plasma clouds outside shift to blue and violet as they repeatedly jumped to warp.

About thirty minutes after he arrived, he noticed that the warp hops no longer seemed random. Instead, they were closing in on some huge, gnarled blister of violent storms. It was beautiful, and thrilling, and more than a litty scary, because it just kept getting bigger and bigger, each hop bringing out finer details. He had no sense of scale, but the blister had to be many light-years across.

Then came another hop and it was gone, repleased by a hellscape of extremely violent storms and plasma flares that looked close enough to touch. He gasped and realized they were inside it. Then they hopped again, and again, and again, in quick warp bursts, like they were trying to find a path through it. He forced himself to keep playing his clarinet, knowing that the people on the bridge knew what they were doing.

His faith was rewarded when Voyager hopped into a clear bubble of space and stayed there. He checked the time; 1948, enough to try a new arrangement of Glenn Miller he had found.

Outside, the color of the sky changed from orange-red to yellow.

Captain Bujold's voice came over the intercom: "Commander Janeway, report to the bridge."

The yellow brightened to white.

Harry heard the warp engines building up power again.

The Red Alert siren managed a single whoop.

The white light outside became bliding, like the surface of the Sun. Harry looked away, shielded his face, felt his arms burn. There was a terrible roar, and then Voyager was smashed by some great force, as if it were a plastic toy being whacked by a cricket bat. Harry was hurled out of his seat into the side of the bar, where falling bottles from the shelf behind rained down on him. And then one of the big windows shattered, thirty centimeters of transparent aluminum giving way with a scream like a damned soul, and Harry was being sucked out to space, saved at the last second by a force field snapping to life. The ship shook more, and he dove for cover under a table until it stopped.

When it did stop, it stopped like a guillotine blade hitting a chopping block. There was a final thud, and then silence. Gradually he became aware of the red alert siren, the howls of alarm and pain outside, noises from the ship, and a low moan he was making himself as he cradled his burned forearms. When he was finally sure the shaking was done, he crawled out from under the table.

Red alert. He had to get to his duty station. He also had to get to sickbay, but that could wait. There would be a first-aid kit on the bridge.

He stood up and looked around. It was only then that he realized two things.

First, his clarinet was gone. He'd dropped it when he was thrown, and it had been light enough to get sucked out the window easily.

Second, the Badlands were gone. Outside the windows hung a planet, an orb of banded yellow clouds. Beyond it were stars. Between it and Voyager was an object, shaped like knives glued together blades-out, firing pulses of energy to the world below.

"Oh, shit," said Harry.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 27 Mar) PostPosted: 2009-02-03 03:58am
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Val Jean
Ocampa system Kuiper belt

"Here comes another one," said Seska.

Chakotay snapped around to face the viewscreen. A brilliant white bloom of light was boiling in orbit of Ocampa, resolving into the shape of a starship.

"I am getting a reading," said Tuvok. "It is a Federation starship."

That got everyone's attention.

"A rescue mission?" said Mohommad.

"Capture is more like it," said Chakotay.

"They are badly damaged," said Tuvok. "They did not weather the trip well."

"The Kazons have spotted them," said Seska.

"How badly damaged are they?" said Chakotay. "Can they fight?"

"Their warp drive is unstable and going into shutdown. No discernable shield readings. Their main phaser batteries appear to have suffered emitter damage."

"So they're helpless."

"Not necessarily. They may still have photon torpedoes."

"Interesting," said Chakotay.

"Should we hail them?" said Seska.

"Not yet," said Chakotay. "Let's just watch for now."

#

USS Voyager
Location unknown

Harry Kim staggered into sickbay and immediately tripped over a body lying by the door. "Ah shit," he said. The dead man had a blue uniform, two and a half pips, and had been in sickbay: Kim was pretty sure he'd just tripped over Voyager's former chief medical officer. He looked around and saw the likely cause of death: a plasma conduit blown out so spectactularly there were burn marks on the opposite wall. He looked around again and saw a younger officer, most likely the nurse, laying prone with half her face burned off.

"Ah shit," he said again. "Computer! Activate emergency medical hologram!" I hope this works, he thought. Then he vomited.

A bald, middle-aged simulacrum in a blue Starfleet uniform shimmered to life in the middle of sickbay. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency," it said, as if it couldn't see two bloody bodies lying on the floor.

"There's been some kind of accident; there are casulaties all over the ship," said Kim. "Including them."

The EMH wasted no time, grabbing a medical tricorder from a cabinet and scanning both bodies. "They're dead," it said. "Are you injured?"

Kim showed him his blistered hands. "Second-degree burns," the EMH said immediately. It picked up a dermal regenerator. "Hold still." It gave Kim a few waves of the device, enough to shrink the blisters. As he worked, the doors hissed open and more people staggered in, a security rating with bad burns and, leaning on him, a petty officer with a grotesque compound fracture.

"Move," said the EMH to Harry.

"But I'm not done!" said Kim.

"This is a triage situation," said the EMH. Kim noticed for the first time how its voice never changed from a clipped, professional monotone, giving it the bedside manner of a tree stump. Well, it wasn't designed to have a bedside manner. It was designed to assist the medical staff in a situation like this. Except some idiot had routed a plasma trunk behind sickbay's wall, and now the CMO and his nurse were dead.

"Attention all crew, attention all crew," said the intercom. "This is acting captain Janeway. Anyone who is not hurt must report to his or her red alert station immediately. All section chiefs, please report your status to the auxillary bridge immediately."

#

Voyager engine room

"...All section cheifs, please report your status to the auxillary bridge immediately."

Lieutenant Joseph Carey glanced up from the control board and muttered, "Aw, hell." How is the fucking science officer the acting captain? He had known Janeway for about six hours and she hadn't impressed him; career science dweeb tag-alongs never did.

"Computer," said Carey, "Who is the legal commanding officer of USS Voyager?"

"The commanding officer of USS Voyager is lieutenant commander Kathryn Janeway."

Shit, though Carey. There had to be some kind of mistake, but he didn't have time to fix it now. "Rodriguez! What's the story?"

"Sir, the starboard plasma injector fused shut; we came a cunt-hair's breadth from blowing the whole Goddamn core. The safeties saved our asses, but now everything's shut down tighter than a Vulcan's twat. I can get you auxillary power off the impulse reactors, and that's if you're lucky."

"How are the antimatter pods holding?"

"They're solid, sir. About the only thing on this fucking boat that isn't broke right now."

"Bridge to engineering," said the intercom.

"Oh now what the hell," muttered Carey. "Engineering; Lieutenant Carey reporting."

"What's your status down there?" It wasn't Janeway's voice, but someone else who managed to sound halfway professional.

"Bridge, we have a total warp core shutdown. We're bringing up the impulse reactors for power generation right now."

Pause. "Lieutenant Carey, this is Commander Janeway. When can we expect warp power to be back online?"

"Commander, the starboard plasma injector has fused shut. That's what caused the plasma backflash throughout the ship. At this point, I have no idea what state the rest of the warp core is in. We might not be able to bring it back up at all; at the very least, it's going to take days to properly inspect it all."

Another pause. Carey made a show of twiddling his thumbs; Rodriguez caught the gesture and sniggered. "Engineering, we need warp power back as soon as possible," said Janeway.

"I understand, commander," said Carey. "But the backflash hit the reaction chamber. I could have spalling, I could have microfractures, I could have a cracked dilithium crystal for all I know right now. It's going to take some time."

"What about the port nacelle? Can we use that?"

I cannot believe this is happening to me, thought Carey. "Ma'am, the reaction chamber feeds both nacelles. Even if the port nacelle worked perfectly, there's no way to power it."

There was yet another long silence. "Ma'am, maybe we should just call for a tow," said Carey. "It's pretty long odds we can fix this girl outside of a drydock."

"That's not a practical solution at the moment," said Janeway.

What the fuck does that mean?

"Mr. Carey, come to the auxillary bridge. I think you should brief me in person."

With crayons, no doubt, thought Carey. He was about to argue when a thought occurred to him: She's out of her depth and she knows it. I might be the highest ranked officer left alive after her. The thought of taking command of Voyager in this state didn't exactly make his heart leap, but at the same time, he realized he trusted himself more than some dweeb who'd taken the bridge officer's exam on a lark--and maybe Janeway did, too.

"I'll be right up, commander."

"What was that about?" said Rodriguez.

"They need me on the backup bridge. You're in charge down here."

"Yes sir."

"Oh, and Rodriguez?"

"Yes?"

"I'm the chief engineer of this ship now. When I ask you for a report, save the colorful language and just give me numbers."

Rodriguez looked something halfway between puzzled and shaken. "Aye sir."

#

Janeway had never been in so much pain in her entire life. The initial shock of her injuries was fading, along with her brain's natural pain suppressors. Her shoulder felt like someone had taken a laser welder to it, from the inside out and her headache was getting worse.

"Navigation, do you have a fix on our location yet?" she said.

"No ma'am, not yet. The best I can tell you is that we're somewhere in the Delta Quadrant, ten thousand light years from the galactic rim. I've found Sagittarius A, but there aren't a lot of other landmarks out here."

"Keep looking," said Janeway, knowing it was a tall order. They had to be more or less on the exact opposite side of the Milky Way from the Federation, exactly the area most thoroughly obscured by the giant molecular clouds and the galactic core. They couldn't have gotten much further from Earth if they'd tried.

Janeway took another dose of painkiller from the first aid kit and injected it directly into her shoulder, where it did almost nothing. She gritted her teeth. She would hang on until the pain became more distracting than a more potent painkiller would be. Then, she promised herself, she'd go to sickbay. Why hasn't Sickbay reported in yet? she thought.

In front of her, on the viewscreen, was an image of the yellow planet they'd found themselves orbiting, and an alien space station. The star and the planet weren't on any charts in the database, and the space station refused to respond to their hails. They hadn't bothered hailing the planet; there wasn't any point. The surface temperature was over 400 degrees.

Big fat zeroes, she thought bitterly. She was positive the space station was somehow responsible for their being there, but whoever was on board wasn't owning up to anything.

The doors hissed open and Lieutenant Carey walked into the cramped auxillary bridge. He spotted her sitting in the central chair, said "Lieuttenant Carey reporting, ma'am," and then seemed to take a half-step back as soon as he got a good look at her. I must be some sight, she thought.

"Report, lieutenant," said Janeway.

Carey looked confused. "Wouldn't you prefer to do this in the briefing room?"

"I can't hold my breath for that long," said Janeway. When Carey didn't seem to get it, she said, "The main bridge had a briefing room. The auxillary bridge doesn't. So just talk to me here."

"All right," said Carey. "The starboard plasma injector fused shut when we tried to go to warp. When that happens, the plasma in the conduit is supposed to be shunted through an escape valve out into space. It didn't. The plasma stayed traped in the line until it found an outlet into the EPS system, and then all hell broke loose. Right now, I don't know what kind of damage it did to the reaction chamber, the dilithium matrix, the portside injector, the portside nacelle, the antimatter injectors...nothing, really. Let alone the condition of the starboard nacelle. Plus, there's serious damage all over the ship, thanks to the EPS overload. Electrical power is unreliable, replicators are out, transporters are out, shields are out, SIF is out, phasers are out. The SIF is really critical; even if I had warp power, the ship will fly to pieces at warp speed without the SIF. Like I said already, I don't think the ship can be repaired here. We need a tow back to a starbase. We've probably got more sick and injured than sickbay can handle; those people can't wait until we get propulsion back online."

"Mr. Carey," said Janeway.

"Ma'am?"

"Right now, we are approximately 70,000 light years from the nearest starbase. Whatever force wrecked the ship also pulled us out here. So for the time being, you're on your own."

Carey stared, unbelieving, looking back and forth between Janeway and the viewscreen.

"We should hail that station," he finally said.

"I already did, Mr. Carey."

"We should hail them again."

Janeway snapped. "What do you think we've been doing up here, Mr. Carey?"

Fucking around, said Carey's face. "Sorry, ma'am. I got--"

"I understand, Mr. Carey. Look, for now, you're the chief engineer. We need main power back on line as soon as you can get it."

"Yes ma'am. What are my secondary priorities?"

Janeway reflected on that. "That's your call," she said.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Captain, we're being hailed! Audio only."

"Put it on speaker."

A deep, scratchy, arrogant male voice came over the loudspeakers. "Unidentified ship, this is Jal Jabin of the Kazon-Ogla. Heave to and prepare to be boarded. If you surrender without a fight, everybody lives. If you don't, I'll space every last one of you."

"Mr. Gombe, show me the source of that transmission."

A massive brown ship, shaped vaguely like the head of a squid, appeared on the viewscreen, approaching them at relatively low speed. It had snuck on them undetected at warp--another bad sign for Voyager's readiness, but not one that Janeway could afford to worry about at the moment.

"Sheilds," said Janeway. "Red alert."

"Shields are out," said Carey. "So are phasers."

"Get down to engineering right now," said Janeway. "Get me whatever shields you can get."

"Yes ma'am." He took off running, off the auxillary bridge.

I'd better stall them, she thought.

"This is act...this is captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship--"

Janeway was interrupted by a flash from the Kazon vessel and a sudden explosion on Voyager

#



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 15 Dec) PostPosted: 2009-12-15 01:54am
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Voyager

Voyager shook with the impact of the Kazon weapon. Alarms started howling around the auxillary bridge.

"Damage report!" said Janeway.

"Electromagnetically propelled kinetic impactor," said Gombe, the acting tactical officer. "It penetrated the saucer, deck four portside, just aft of the forward turboshaft. Sections 408 and 409 are venting atmosphere."

"Unidentified ship, this is your last warning. Surrender or die."

For a moment, Janeway was frozen. Everyone on the bridge was looking at her.

"I have photon torpedoes," said Gombe, breaking the silence.

"How many?" said Janeway.

"Only the ready two in the tubes. The loading system isn't responding."

"That should penetrate their shields" she said.

He grimaced. "They should, but they won't," he said. "There's only enough antimatter in the ready reserve for one one-tenth yield shot, and I can't get the antimatter pumps to respond, either."

She wanted to cry. Now what do I do?, she thought. "We're running out of time," said Janeway. "Does anybody have a plan?"

Nobody said anything.

"Unidentified ship--"

"Try to stall them," said Janeway.

"How?"

"I don't know. Ask them for instructions."

There was a flutter of chatter between the comms operator and the Kazon on the other end. "Ma'am, I asked them about transporting over, but they didn't seem to know what I was talking about." More chatter. "Ma'am, we're running out of time."

"They are charging their weapons," said Gombe.

I can't let this ship fall into their hands, she thought.

"Janeway, this is your last chance. Surrender or be destroyed." For emphasis, the Kazon ship fired another slug into Voyager's saucer, smashing open more compartments on Deck 4.

"Captain," said the comms operator, "we're being hailed by another ship. It encrypted with...it looks like an old Romulan code."

"Do we have the key?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Put it on speaker."

#

Val Jean

"I have Voyager," said Tuvok.

"Are we sure about this?" said Torres. "Chakotay, you know why they were in the Badlands."

"You just keep the warp drive working," he said. He didn't trust a week's worth of jerry-rigged repairs, even B'elana's. It gave him a legitimate reason to shut Torres up before she could reinforce his own doubts.

"Unknown ship, this is Voyager. Who are you?"

"This is the Liberation Front starship Val Jean, and we're coming to save your ass," said Chakotay. "I can help you, but only if you do exactly as I say."

#

Janeway looked around at her officers. On the one hand, the idea of accepting help from terrorists was repugnant. On the other hand...

"Tell the Kazon we surrender," said Janeway to comms. To Chakotay, she said, "All right, I'm listening, Chakotay."

"Do you have any photon torpedoes?" said Chakotay.

"Two. But they can't penetrate the Kazons' shields."

"What about your transporters?"

"They're out," said Janeway.

"Ma'am, the aeroshuttle has a cargo transporter," said Gombe. "It still works. I can't operate it from here, though."

"Correction, Chakotay: I've got a working cargo transporter. Mr. Gombe, send a crew down there to operate the transporters right away."

"Listen to me very carefully," said Chakotay. "In two minutes, I'm going to drop out of warp in phaser range of the Kazon. The Kazon don't have subspace sensors, so they don't see me coming. Once I drop out, I'll need to remote operate your transporters."

"There's no way we can get the torpedo fueled and hauled over to the cargo bay in time," said Gombe.

"Do a site-to-site transport, then," said Janeway.

"Ma'am, transporting antimatter once is risky enough--"

"Do you have a better plan?" said Janeway.

"No ma'am. Readying the torpedo."

"All right, Chakotay. I'm sending the remote access code for the aeroshuttle's transporter systems. They'll be online by the time you get here."

"Acknowledged, Voyager. Chakotay out."

"How do we know he's not just trying to steal a photon torpedo?" said Gombe.

"You said it yourself," said Janeway. "It's dangerous to transport antimatter."

"Yes, ma'am." He glanced down at his station. "Ma'am, the Kazon have launched boarding shuttles."

#

Harry Kim ran like he never had in his entire life, his feet pounding on the deck as he approached the aeroshuttle airlock. With his normal Red Alert station--backing up the ops officer on the main bridge--destroyed, he had run around looking for the auxiliary command center until some damage control officer corralled him and sent him down to Deck 9 forward to supervise a gang of ratings on firewatch. He'd had to come by emergency ladderway, and his heart had been hammering by the time he'd scrambled down nine flights. He hadn't even found the ratings when another officer, a j.g. lieutenant named Nozawa grabbed him.

"Do you know how to power up a runabout?" he'd said.

"Yes, sir," said Kim, who'd done particularly well on that unit.

"Good. We need to get the aeroshuttle's transporters online in the next ninety seconds."

Kim gulped and followed Nozawa at a dead run through three hundred meters of half-lit, smoke-filled, debris-clogged lower-deck passageways to the aeroshuttle docking port. Fortunately, the airlock doors still worked. Inside, to Kim's right, were the cabins and cargo spaces and a passageway to engineering. To his left was the standard forward cabin of a Danube class runabout.

Nozawa pointed to the cockpit. "You start up the ships's systems from there. I'll go operate the transporter. You've got about one minute."

"What are we transporting?" said Kim.

"A live photon torpedo, so make sure the voltage is steady." Kim nodded, swallowed hard, and bolted for the pilot's chair.

As soon as he sat down, the Okudagram control panel lit up, instantly filling Kim with paralyzing terror. For six, seven heartbeats, he couldn't even read the labels.

"I'm ready when you are!" shouted Nozawa.

That broke Kim out of his trance. His training rushed back and his fingers danced across the panel. Unfortunately, as the startup procedure unfolded, he realized he was never going to get the impulse reactors started in time, let alone the warp drive. He checked the umbillical connection from Voyager. It was stone dead; Engineering had cut the aeroshuttle off to conserve power. "Oh, shit," he said.

Then the lights on the panel reminded him. The aeroshuttle was designed to operate semi-independently, which meant it had a battery, which meant..."You've got power!" he shouted at Nozawa as he flipped open the circuits. "Give it twenty seconds to warm up."

#

"Thirty seconds to impulse," said Mohommad.

"Are you sure about this?" said Seska. "Transporting live antimatter--"

"You think we can get home without Starfleet's help?" said Chakotay.

"Do we want Starfleet's help?" said Torres. "They'll arrest us the minute we get back."

"Look at them," said Chakotay. "They're a wreck. Once we're back in the Badlands, we'll leave them in our dust. But we need to get back to the Badlands first. Tuvok, ready phasers. Alaya, stand by; they're going to hand over transporters to you the second we drop to impulse." He turned to Seska. "Are you sure you have the timing down?"

"Yes," she said.

"All right," he said. "Tuvok, make sure you only fire on the mothership. If we wipe out their boarding parties, there's no reason for them not to shoot Voyager."

"Ten seconds," said Mohommad.

#

On Voyager, Nozawa activated the transporter and held his breath while the sleek black torpedo materialized on the pad.

Outside, the Kazon boarding shuttles drifted in, a few hundred meters from Voyager's hull. The first group of them had started slowing to contact speed.

On the Kazon battleship Predator, Maje Jal Jabin watched with growing excitement as his boarding parties approached the crippled alien starship. The Caretaker had provided many victims for the Kazon-Ogla, but he sensed that he had one of the great prizes of his career at his fingertips. There was something about the streamlined, white, alien hull which suggested great power and sophisticated technology. Ships like it had come here before, but they'd outrun or outfought him or destroyed themselves.

He didn't notice how his boarding shuttles were blocking most of his best firing lines to Voyager.

On the auxiliary bridge, Janeway called Carey on the intercom. "Mr. Carey, if this doesn't work, we'll fight the boarding parties for as long as we can to buy you time. But this ship can't fall into the hands of the Kazon. If Engineering falls, you blow the antimatter pods. Do you understand?"

Down in engineering, Carey and Rodriguez looked at each other for a long moment. Then Carey, his voice shaking, said "Yes, ma'am," and dialed up the controls for the antimatter containment fields.

Val Jean screamed towards the Caretaker array at many times the speed of light.

#

"Captain, another ship is approaching," said Gombe. "Maquis raider. They just dropped out of warp and they're closing fast."

"On screen," said Janeway.

Janeway's heart sank when she saw the condition of the little raider. Its hull was covered in hasty patches and fresh burn marks; it could scarcely be in much better condition than Voyager. She spotted a hole in the hull just a few meters from the flickering port warp nacelle; the ship's engineer had to be incredibly good and incredibly reckless to keep the ship operating at warp speed in that condition.

"Bridge, this is the aeroshuttle," said Nozawa. "Val Jean has taken control of the transporter."

"The Kazons are firing on [i]Val Jean
," said Gombe. On the screen, the computer highlighted depleted uranium shells streaking within a few kilometers of the Maquis ship.

Janeway could do nothing but cover her mouth with her hands and wait.

#

"They've got us bracketed!" said Seska.

"Mohommad, give them whatever you've got left!" said Chakotay.

"They're recharging their forward coilguns," said Tuvok.

"Alaya, now!" said Chakotay.

#

Harry Kim could hear the whine of the transporter as the torpedo vanished.

#

Gombe's eyes went wide. "Captain, I know what he's doing! The Kazon have to open a hole in their shields to fire their weapons!"

Janeway didn't have time to reply.

#

Deep in the bowels of Predator, near a critical three-way power junction, a Kazon crewman named Mierna was startled by a high-pitched whine. He turned around to see a black, lozenge-shaped device shimmer into existence. He reached out to touch it.

The world exploded.

#

The explosion ripped through the port side of Predator, dissolving steel and flesh in a blaze of gamma rays, creating a blast wave of metal vapor that piled up against armored bulkheads so fast that even with most of it escaping into space, it had enough pressure to smash down gastight doors and raced through passageways. Spikes of death and fire radiated along corridors, ladderways, and conduits, killing and destroying in every part of the ship. One such spike reached all the way to the internal starboard nacelle, turning twenty-five thousand tons of irreplaceable warp coil into junk. The port nacelle, of course, was destroyed completely, leaving only a single runty third nacelle in the ship's underbelly. Another cracked open the deeply armored central core, just a few compartments away from where Jal Jabin was in the process of being hurled through the air by the shockwaves reverberating back and forth through Predator. Out on the ship's surface, armor spalled away and the hull cracked open, spilling living Kazon into the vacuum.

Janeway stared, gape-mouthed, at the slowly spinning wreck Predator had become. And yet, there still was a ship to stare at. And yet, her engines, unbelievably, were still working. A few shield panels still flickered. There was power to her guns. Val Jean wasted no time, blasting the wounded Kazon battleship with phasers.

"Fire torpedoes!" said Janeway. Gombe hurled their last empty casing at Predator, where it smashed uselessly into a tangle of twisted wreckage.

Suddenly, Predator heaved, like a wounded animal trying to shake off a pair of grasping predators. An anemic subspace field faded into being, and suddenly Predator was gone, warping away at barely more than the speed of light, with all her boarding shuttles abandoned to Chakotay's tender mercies.

"Kazon boarding parties, this is--" said Janeway. That's all she got out before each and every shuttle popped, like a string of firecrackers, self-destructing, leaving them no prisoners and no answers to the ten thousand questions Janeway had.

Voyager floated in the sudden calm over the hothouse world. The alien space station sat, implacable, unperturbed.

"Val Jean to Voyager", said Chakotay. "We need to talk."



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 14 Dec) PostPosted: 2009-12-18 02:36am
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Voyager

It had taken forty minutes of negotiation just to agree on a meeting place, during which time Janeway's headache and shoulder just got worse and worse. Janeway finally gave up and agreed to beam over to Val Jean in an hour's time, then went to sickbay to finally have her shoulder repaired.

The sickbay was bedlam, with patients slumped in the passageway outside, bleeding on the deck and smearing more blood on the walls. When the wounded parted to let her pass, she felt intense guilt.

Inside, the carpet was drenched in blood and a single doctor, assisted only by a handful of goldshirts performing basic first aid, was working on patients virtually stacked one on top of another. He worked on a patient lying on the stasis bed, his hands moving faster than Janeway could see, and she realized he was an artificial human--either an android (which seemed unlikely, since she only knew of one in Starfleet) or a hologram. The EMH.

He was working frantically on a gold-shirted crewman second class. He had opened her chest cavity without even bothering to remove her uniform or set up a partition--only the sterile force field separated them from the rest of sickbay. As Janeway approached the operating table, he suddenly looked over at her and said, "Please stand back, captain." His voice and face were flat, neutral. His hands never stopped moving.

Alarms started piling up. The woman's vital signs were collapsing. Her heartrate and breathing zeroed. The sickbay went quiet. The doctor kept working, even reaching under her sternum to manually stimulate her heart. Except when he directly manipulated it, though, her heart refused to beat.

Finally, he gave up. He withdrew his hands and, still showing no emotion, shimmered briefly. The blood coating his arms hung in midair for the briefest instant, like a pair of gloves. Then it splashed to the deck.

"She's dead," said the doctor. He pointed at two goldshirts, who were injured themselves with burn blisters on their faces. "Take the body." They hustled through the sterile field, grabbed the dead woman from either end, and hauled her off. As they passed, Janeway reached out with her good hand and stroked the woman's face, once.

The doctor turned to Janeway. "Please step through the sterile field," he said. She did, feeling numb. The field burned, like rubbing alcohol, as she walked through.

"What was her name?" said Janeway.

"Crewman Second Class Pullman," said the doctor. "I have noted her death in the medical log." He scanned Janeway with a medical tricorder. "You have a dislocated shoulder and a concussion," he said, as he guided her to sit on the edge of the table on which Crewman Pullman had just died (the self-cleaning bed and deck had already dissolved and absorbed her blood). "You should have come to me immediately. Hold still."

"How many other casualties?" said Janeway.

"Forty-six," he said, as he injected something into her neck via hypospray. Janeway blanched. That was nearly a third of the ship's crew.

"Where's Dr. Fitzgerald?" said Janeway.

"Dr. Fitzgerald is dead," said the hologram.

Janeway jumped off the table, too angry to notice her headache was gone. "Why the hell didn't anybody tell me?" she said. All the conversation in sickbay died as every conscious patient turned their heads to look at her. Even the doctor didn't respond.

Janeway's ears started burning and she was about to slip back onto the operating table. Wait, she thought. You're the captain. It's your perogative to shout. She closed her eyes and thought about how she'd handle the situation as a department head, and realized she would have had the exact same reaction. Still, shouting at sick people wasn't going to make it better. She tapped her commbadge. "Attention all hands: this is Com--Captain Janeway. Listen carefully: I am ordering everyone to report his or her status and location to the computer. That's immediately. I need to know where everybody is and what they're capable of now." She tapped her commbadge off. "Are you sapient?" she said to the doctor.

There was a long pause, as if the simulacrum was imitating deep thought. In reality, Janeway knew, it could fit a million of its deepest thoughts in the time it took Janeway to blink. "I am capable of independent initiative," said the Doctor. "And I am aware of myself as an object distinct from my surroundings." He poked his index finger though the surface of the table. "For a given value of 'object'."

"Close enough for government work," she said. "Until further notice, you're the acting CMO."

"Captain, I must point out that I do not have a legal Starfleet rank and thus I am legally unable to serve as CMO."

Shit, thought Janeway.

"However," continued the Doctor. "I should also note that as commanding officer of Voyager, you have the authority to issue brevet commissions to any sapient life form that is not legally disqualified from accepting such a commission."

"And are you legally disqualified?" she said.

"No," said the Doctor.

"Fine. I hearby issue you the brevet rank of Lieutenant," she said. The Doctor nodded. A pair of rank pips appeared on his collar.

"Computer, coalate the data the crew sends you," said Janeway. "I want a map of where everyone is and an organizational chart of who's still alive. Doctor, bring me a PADD." The Doctor complied.

"Captain, I need to reset your shoulder," he said.

Janeway took a deep breath, held it, let it out. She knew what was coming. "All right. Let's just do it."

"Relax your arm," he said. He gave her a hypospray of painkiller, which wasn't enough, and started carefully manipulating her arm.

"It's the twenty-fourth century," she said. "You'd think they'd have a better way to do this."

"Please hold still," he said. A muscle spasmed and she cried out. The Doctor was unrelenting, continuing to rotate her arm even as she cried and pleaded with him to stop.

And then, suddenly, there was a *pop* and her arm was back in place. Instantly the pain...well, it didn't exactly disappear, but it changed to something more tolerable, and it got more tolerable still when the Doctor gave her another hypospray. He bound her arm in a sling. "I gave you medication to speed up your body's natural healing process," he said, "but you will still need to keep your shoulder immobile for the rest of the day. I have also given you something for your concussion; however, you should take care to avoid future head injuries."

Janeway nodded, grateful that the intense, distracting pain was gone. She barely even noticed her concussion headache was gone, too.

"Is there anything you need, Doctor?" said Janeway.

"More assistance," he said.

"I'll see what I can do," said Janeway.

"Captain," he said. "You should be aware: I was only designed to operate temporarily, as emergency relief. It would be in your best interest to find a replacement doctor as soon as possible. I cannot predict what will happen to my program if I am left running in the long term."

"I know that," she said. "Right now, your closest replacement is 70,000 light years away, so we're going to have to get by with you."

"I understand," he said. Satisfied, she left sixkbay.

Her next stop was engineering. The turbolifts still weren't working and there were depressurized compartments all over the ship, forcing her to take a roundabout path. She made use of her time by going over the PADD, where the computer had already downloaded data on the surviving crew. She grimanced once at the numbers--not only was a third of the crew dead, but a disproportionate number had been high-ranked officers, most of whom died in the bridge blowout. She grimaced again when she saw the map. People were scattered at random, with no regard for chain-of-command or actual expertise, leaving her with such absurdities as the ship's only surviving OPS officer supervising a firewatch on Deck 9 while she tried to run the auxillary bridge with a crewman first class on the OPS station. Damage control and Engineering seemed to know what it was doing, but everyone else was lost.

She was still pondering this when she arrived in Engineering. Carey was standing in the control room, giving instructions to what seemed like three different people at once.

"...look, don't worry about the starboard engine," said Carey. "Just get the portside running so we'll have impulse power again. We can always vector the thrust." He looked up and noticed Janeway. "Captain," he said. "What can I do for you?" He was plainly annoyed she was there.

"What's your status?" she said.

"I could have told you that by commbadge."

"I was in the neighborhood," said Janeway.

"Fine," said Carey. "We're trying to get the impulse engines back online so we have mobility."

"What about power?" said Janeway.

"We're drawing auxilliary power off the fusion reactors. Those still work; we're just having trouble with the reactant pumps."

She pointed at the dead warp core. "What about main power?"

"Well," said Carey, "Technically, we could probably start the warp core. The thing is, though, after a violent shutdown, regulations say we need to conduct a level-1 diagnostic on the entire system. That could take days."

"Then shouldn't you be getting started?" said Janeway.

"Ma'am, the way I see it, whatever dragged us here must be on that space station. We don't need the warp drive to get back. Unless we're planning to take the long way." He smiled to show he meant it as a joke.

You are a presumptious little shit, thought Janeway. But she hesitated before upbraiding him. He might have been right about the warp engine; it was very uncomfortable, she realized, giving orders to technical specialists which contradicted their technical judgment. "Mr. Carey, I'm going to follow your recommendation," said Janeway. "But in the future, I expect to be consulted before you make decisions like this."

"Yes, ma'am," he said.

"All right, I'm going over to talk to the Maquis. Do the transporters work yet?"

"Not yet. You'll have to use the aeroshuttle's transporters."

"What about one of the shuttles?" The shuttlebay was a lot closer than the aeroshuttle.

"No air in the shuttlebay," said Carey.

"Right," said Janeway. "Aeroshuttle it is, then." She left engineering, trying to remember how to get to the aeroshuttle dock. The map on the PADD helped. She weaved through debris-strewn passageways and around gold-shirted repair teams.

She couldn't shake the feeling that Carey didn't respect her. The further she walked from engineering, the more disgusted she was with herself for putting up with his attitude. Not for the first time that day, she wondered how in the hell she'd wound up in charge of Voyager. Why hadn't Bujold put her at the end of the line of succession? Why had she taken the bridge officers' exam in the first place? She was a scientist, not a leader. She was born to do battle in the halls of academia, with snide memos and contemptuous letters to the Starfleet Meteorological Review editorial page. She hadn't planned on getting into actual battle with alien pirates, let alone in a crippled ship on the wrong side of the galaxy.

"You are getting dangerously close to feeling sorry for yourself, Kathryn," she said out loud. A nearby rating turned his head. Fortunately, he didn't seem to recognize her.

She checked the ship's org chart again. Among the departments decapitated was Science--the computer had removed her as department head when she got promoted to CO-by-default. She checked the next name down and tapped her commbadge. "Janeway to Ensign Wildman."

"Wildman here."

"Have you ever run a science department before?" said Janeway.

"No, ma'am."

"Now you have," she said. "We have to get our heads together. Gather up everyone in the department you can find and start working on how we got here and how we're going to get back. If the sensors don't work, notify Lieutenant Carey and get a repair team on it. First priority is that space station. Do a scan of the planet, too, while you're at it. Maybe there's something we missed the first time."

"Yes ma'am," said Ensign Wildman.

"Janeway out," said Janeway, who only afterwards realized she had no idea what Ensign Wildman even looked like.

She walked on, fiddling with the PADD. She dragged names around with her finger, trying to put together a chart that made sense. She was resigned to putting ensigns and junior grade lieutenants in charge of departments; in that sense, she was lucky to have Carey, or else an ensign would have been her chief engineer.

And speaking of ensigns...

She found him standing in the middle of a group of crewmen, looking lost. Gold shirt, one pip, round face, jet-black hair. "Ensign!" she said.

He jerked and spun around. "Yes ma'am?" he said.

"What's your name?" she said.

"Ensign Harry Kim, ma'am," he said.

"You're the backup ops officer, right?" she said.

"Yes, ma'am."

"I see. Then what the hell are you doing down here?"

"I was sent by--"

"I don't want to hear it," she said. "This ship needs an ops officer. You're the only one left, I'm sorry to say. Get your ass to the auxilliary bridge, on the double."

Ensign Kim spent a moment staring, wide-eyed. "Yes, ma'am!" he said. He scurried away.

Did I just chew out a baby-faced ensign because I let Carey walk all over me? she thought. The crewmen were still standing around, watching her.

"Computer," she said. "Locate the nearest NCO."

"Petty Officer Jarvis is in section 917," said the computer.

"You heard the computer," said Janeway. "Get to section 917."

The crewmen saluted and scattered. "You sure showed them who's boss," said Janeway to the empty air. She sighed and walked towards the aeroshuttle dock.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 18 Dec) PostPosted: 2009-12-24 03:41am
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Val Jean

Chakotay and Seska waited in Val Jean's tiny transporter room. Chakotay tapped his foot. It made him nervous, having Starfleet on his ship.

"Are you sure about this?" said Seska.

"I told you once: that ship's a flying science lab. Unless you think B'Elana can figure out how that station works all by herself, we're going to need their help to get home."

Seska nodded. "I understand. Just don't start trusting them."

"What do I look like?" said Chakotay. "Some kind of idiot?"

The transporter hummed to life. After a few seconds of sparklies, a middle-aged Lieutenant-Commander with a blue uniform and her arm in a sling appeared on the pad.

Chakotay was instantly annoyed. What, I'm not worth Janeway's precious time?. "I thought you were sending Captain Janeway," he said.

The woman smiled grimly. "I'm Acting Captain Janeway," she said. "You must be Chakotay. Permission to come aboard?"

Chakotay was glad his skin was dark enough to hide his flush. Beside him, Seska was swallowing laughter. "Yes, of course," said Chakotay, recovering himself. He offered his hand. She stepped down off the pad and shook it. Her grip was firm, and she looked him straight in the eye. Only a slight rivulet of sweat on her temple betrayed how nervous she was.

"Well, we should get started straight away," said Chakotay. "This is my second-in-command, Seska Jiasha. She'll lead us to the mess."

Tuvok and B'Elana were waiting in Val Jean's cramped messhall. Janeway greeted them all with handshakes and, for Tuvok, a tenative Vulcan salute. "Take a seat wherver you want," said Chakotay. "We're not formal here. Do you want anything to eat?"

Janeway shook her head. "I'd rather get started," she said.

Janeway sat down at the end of the table. The four Maquis clustered at the other. "Well," said Chakotay, "first things first. What brings you to the Delta Quadrant?"

Janeway explained the story of how they managed to join Val Jean, starting in the Badlands. She was surprisingly candid about the fact Voyager was hunting them; he had expected a line of Starfleet bullshit about exploring gaseous planetary anomalies or something. She was frank and candid about the damage to Voyager, too. More than once, he and Seska exchanged glances. No wonder they'd had so much trouble with the Kazons.

"What about you?" said Janeway. "Val Jean looks like she's seen some action, too."

"We took all of this back in the Alpha Quadrant," said Chakotay. "When we arrived here, we had some bumps and bruises, but no more damage to the ship. The Kazons showed up, but we outmaneuvered them and they couldn't score a hit. That's how we learned they don't have subspace sensors."

"And the transporter trick?" said Janeway.

"Seska's idea," said Chakotay. "She was the first one who noticed they had to open up gunports in their shields."

Janeway nodded her thanks to the Bajoran. "I'm sorry we didn't have more juice in that torpedo."

Chakotay shrugged. "Those are tough ships. They're not very sophisticated, not a lot of technique, but they're built for slugging matches. They're punchers." He shadowboxed a little; he couldn't help it. Seska called it an endearing quirk, how he always described ships like he would boxers.

"What do you know about the station?" said Janeway.

"Not much," said Chakotay. "Our sensors were mostly fried when we got here, and we didn't hang around very long. We've spent most of the last ten days in this system's Kuiper Belt, trying to put the ship back together. Tuvok's been studying what we have, but it's not much. We were hoping you could gather more. A lot more."

Janeway nodded. "The entire science department on Voyager is working on the problem. I'm willing to share data with you."

Chakotay looked to Tuvok. He nodded. "Send it to Tuvok," said Chakotay. "What do you want in exchange?"

"We'd like you to stick around to give us a hand if the Kazons show up again."

Chakotay nodded, but added a caveat: "Voyager can take a lot more punishment than this ship. She can dish out a lot more, too. You'd be better off if you could defend yourselves."

"We're working on making repairs," said Janeway. "We have the impulse reactors providing auxilliary power, and the engines themselves should be online soon."

B'Elana spoke up. "What about your warp core? Doesn't that provide the bulk of the power to your shields and phasers."

The look on Janeway's face said it all: I don't know. She looked suddenly like a student who hadn't done her summer reading. "Yes," said Chakotay. "All modern Starfleet vessels do it that way."

Janeway slowly nodded. "Yes, it does. But it could take days, possibly weeks to get the warp core back online."

Torres scowled. "If it was that damaged, you would have lost the ship," she said.

"My chief engineer has assured me that if we do it by the book, the inspections alone will take days," said Janeway. She was trying and failing not to sound defensive.

"So throw out the book," said B'Elana. "We don't have time for Starfleet bullshit."

"B'Elana!" said Chakotay.

"The 'book' was written in blood," said Janeway. "Every procedure in there exists because--"

"--because of hard-won experience, right, I know," said Torres. "I got that lecture in the academy, too. But that's a load of crap. Half those procedures were written in blood. The other half were written by lawyers trying to protect the Admiralty from getting blamed for another Yamato disaster."

"That's enough, B'Elana," said Chakotay. He lowered his head, took a breath. "But she's right, Captain Janeway. Now isn't the time for following the book. The Kazon will come back; you can count on that. Safety's important, but so is combat readiness." He scratched his chin. Janeway was listening. She looked angry and defensive, but she wasn't arguing. "I have an idea," he said. "How about I sent B'Elana to Voyager to help your chief get the warp reactor restarted? She's gotten this old girl running more than a few times."

"I think," said Janeway, "that there's a difference between an Intrepid-class warp drive and whatever's powering this thing."

"It's powered by matter and antimatter, isn't it?" said Torres. "I've gotten this 'thing' flying with worse damage than what you've got, and without a team of crack Academy-trained engineers to help me. If your guy can't get it done, then beam me over there and I'll have your warp drive running in half a day."

"B'Elana, maybe you should--" said Chakotay.

"I want to go home, Chakotay!" said B'Elana. "I want to get the hell out of here, and right now our only ride home is broken with nobody willing to fix it!"

"B'Elana, go," said Seska.

Torres slammed both fists down on the table before storming out of the room. Nobody said anything for a moment.

"She's right," said Seska. "And she's good. She's not some Maquis wrench monkey. She knows how to nurse a warp core."

"So do my engineers," said Janeway. "I'll decide when and how we bring our warp drive back online." She stood up. "Are we finished here?"

Chakotay stood as well. "Yes, I think so."

Tuvok, who had said nothing the whole meeting, finally spoke up. "Captain Chakotay, Captain Janeway, with your permission, I would like to transfer to Voyager."

"What for?" said Chakotay and Janeway simultaneously.

"I believe it might be useful for me to liasion directly with Voyager scientific staff."

Chakotay looked at Janeway. "I have no problem with that. He could be useful to you; he's the closest thing to a scientist I have."

Janeway nodded. "For something like this, face-to-face works better than e-mail. All right, I agree. He can come back with me."

"Good," said Chakotay. "Captain, I'm sorry about B'Elana's outbust. Please consider my offer if you find yourself shorthanded in engineering."

"I will," said Janeway. She had smoothed down her uniform and had put her calm, professional Starfleet face on. Chakotay had read enough of those to know she meant, When hell freezes over.

Chakotay escorted her back to the transporter room, along with Tuvok and Seska. When the Vulcan and the Starfleet officer finished dematerializing, Seska turned to Chakotay.

"I'm not impressed," she said.

"I think there's someting to her," said Chakotay.

"I think she's an idiot and she's going to get us all killed or stranded out here," said Seska. "It's a mistake working with her."

"You have any better options?" said Chakotay.

Seska said nothing.

#

Voyager

To Janeway's surprise, she materialized in Voyagers regular transporter room. Carey must have gotten them fixed. The lights were burning steady, too. Not bad for half an hour's work.

"Welcome to Voyager," she said to Tuvok. "Let me show you to the science labs."

"Captain Janeway," said Tuvok. His face was an expressionless Vulcan mask. "There is one thing I believe you must know."

"What?" she said.

"I am not a Maquis. I am an agent of Starfleet Intelligence, working undercover within the Maquis. Once we return to the Alpha Quadrant, I intend to arrest Chakotay and his crew."

"What the hell is this?" said Janeway, "some kind of test? You can tell Chakotay that if he doesn't want to trust me, he can find his own way--"

"Computer," said Tuvok. "Verify Starfleet identity number and biometric signature." He rattled off a string of letters and numbers.

"Identitiy comfirmed: Lieutenant-Commander Tuvok, Starfleet Intelligence," said the computer.

Nobody said anything.

"I take it," said Tuvok, "that Captain Bujold did not brief you fully about Voyager's mission."

"No, she didn't, actually," said Janeway. Fuck me running, she thought. Her life had just gotten even more complicated.

#

Kazon battleship Predator

Predator limped at low warp back to base, one system over from Ocampa. Maje Jabin cursed the Caretaker for not allowing the Kazon to maintain a base in its system, cursed the aliens for what they'd done to his ship, cursed himself for falling into their trap, cursed his ship for just barely surviving, instead of simply exploding and saving him from the disgrace that awaited him once word of this disaster spread.

"Kinell!" said Jabin. "Your report!"

Jabin's first mate scurried up to the dais where Jabin kept his command seat. Kinell was carrying a computer tablet with a video queued up. "We found the security footage," said Kinell.

"Let me see," said Jabin, taking the tablet. He started the video. On the screen, a Kazon warrior--the hapless Mierna--was guarding a primary power junction. Suddenly, behind him, there was a shimmering, sparkling light, and a black lozenge-shaped, coffin-sized container appeared out of thin air. Mierna reached out for it, there was a flash, and the camera went dead.

"So they do have some kind of teleporting weapon," said Jabin. "How did it get through our shields?"

"We don't know yet, Maje," said Kinell.

"Well, find out!" said Jabin.

"Yes, Maje," said Kinell. He scurried away with the tablet.

Jabin sat back in his seat and thought about many things--about how to salvage what he could from Predator, about all the letters he had to write to newly-made widows and orphans, about how he was going to explain and atone for this disaster, about how he might save his honor and career. But most of all, he thought of that sleek white alien ship, about that tiny fighter that the Caretaker had pulled through ten days before, about teleporter bombs and shields and how he was going to punish those aliens if it was the last thing he ever did.

He thought about the Caretaker, too. "That fucking machine," he said, "is becoming more trouble than it's worth." After a while, he took out his own tablet and started composing his thoughts.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 18 Dec) PostPosted: 2010-01-05 10:30pm
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Acting Captain's Log, Stardate 48308.1:

It has been twelve hours since we have arrived in the Delta Quadrant. I remain in command of Voyager as acting captain, despite my own reservations about my qualification for the position. Starfleet doctrine is clear: in a crisis, a stable chain of command is vital. Accordingly, I have assigned the senior surviving officers in each department the position of acting department head. The only position still vacant is first officer. I can't spare anyone to take the job; as it is, I have ensigns and junior lieutenants heading departments. Lieutenant Carey is the most senior surviving officer besides myself, and should I be killed or incapacitated, command of Voyager will devolve to him, but the actual duties of first officer--discipline, organizing department heads, and the regular day-to-day minutia of running a starship--I have taken on myself.

In the meantime, the enormous task of repairing Voyager continues. Our defensive systems are working again--more or less. Without warp power, phasers and shields are limited to less than half their full capacity. Worse, our impulse drive is still out; after three failed test starts, engineering still has not identified the problem. Fortunately, we do have photon torpedoes working properly again, and the structural integrity field is back at full strength. Mr. Carey had to use most of our spare plasma relays to do it, but he convinced me by pointing out how badly damaged we were by our trip out here. If we have any hope of surviving a return trip to the Alpha Quadrant, we'll need the SIF at full strength.

We still have no warp power and no prospect for getting it. I stand by my conviction that Starfleet regulations were written for a reason, and we can't risk further damage to the ship by restarting the warp core without a full inspection...but every minute we sit here, exactly where the Kazons found us the last time, I itch.

Our only hope for returning home lies with whatever brought us here to begin with. Other than the Kazons, however, nothing and nobody has attempted to contact us, including the space station orbiting this planet. It's maddening not knowing why we're even here. More than one person has suggested that the Kazons pulled us through, perhaps using technology they stole from somebody more advanced than themselves. I admit the idea has a certain logic, but I find it difficult to believe the Kazons are anything but opportunists who prey on somebody else's victims.

For now, our only hope of getting home lies in figuring out how we got here on our own. I am convinced the station had something to do with it. Ensign Wildman is coordinating the science department to learn everything we can about it. As expected with a 22 year old ensign, there have been a few snags in organization that required my personal intervention to sort out, but we're now collecting good data and have started analyzing it. I'm helping with that as much as I can, when my other duties don't demand my attention.

Which brings us to the problem of Tuvok. Ostensibly, he's here to assist the science department and report our findings back to Chakotay. I find that he hasn't been much help. Humans tend to assume every Vulcan is either a scientist or a mystic, but just because a man has pointy ears and a commbadge, doesn't mean he's Mr. Spock. Tuvok knows barely more about science than a fresh academy graduate. He may well have been Chakotay's go-to 'science guy', but that could only be because the rest of his crew knew even less.

Lieutenant Gombe, who does not know Tuvok's true mission, suggested Chakotay must know that Tuvok can't help us in the science department, and sent him as a spy. At first I dismissed it as too clumsy, but I wonder if Chakotay, for all his tactical skill, truly understands intelligence and counter-intelligence. The evidence suggests otherwise; after all, one of his most trusted subordinates is a Starfleet spy.

I wish I didn't have to think about this. I have enough problems without worrying about how we're going to arrest the Maquis (who saved our lives) as soon as we get back. Tuvok wants a meeting to talk about it; I've put him off for now.

Finally, the casualty report. The Doctor [note: he needs a name] has revised the total number of deaths up to fifty-three, with six missing and a dozen more critical injuries that require hospitalization. That's more than one-third of the crew dead or incapacitated. The missing are almost certainly crew members who were incinerated by plasma blowouts or sucked out into space. The only hope left is that some of them are trapped in isolated compartments that have lost internal sensors. The Doctor has devised a probe we can beam into these compartments without risking the lives of search crews. I'm sure it's an illusion, but he seemed quite proud of it. We will start beaming them to "black" compartments within the hour.


#

"Nothing," said the ops officer, whose name Tom Paris hadn't caught. "No debris, no warp trail."

Paris nodded. He looked over Stadi's shoulder at the helm console, wondering for the hundredth time what she looked like under the form-fitting Starfleet tunic. It had occured to him, vaguely, that she was a Betazed and could probably hear his thoughts, but other than occasional encounters with the dog-faced guards of New Senegal women's camp, this was as close as he'd been to a woman in years.

"Set course 636 mark 49," he said. "Warp 2."

He heard whispering behind him. He turned to see Cavitt and Bujold conferring. Cavitt looked angry; Bujold looked tired. They'd been searching the Badlands for most of the day.

Bujold noticed him watching them. "Mr. Paris," she said, "how much longer do you expect this to take?"

"I don't know, ma'am," he said, truthfully. "The Badlands are as riled as I've ever seen them. We have to go slow."

"Like hell we do," said Cavitt. "We could use our own sensors to navigate and be at Val Jean's last reported location in half an hour." He pointed at Paris. "I think he's jerking us off so his old Maquis pals have time to escape."

"That's bullshit!" said Paris. "You think I actually care if Chakotay goes to jail? Hell, I'd be happy to help put him there."

"Mr. Paris, perhaps we should discuss this further in my ready room," said Bujold.

"Fine," said Paris. He followed the captain to her lavish office just off the bridge. She didn't waste any time.

"Mr. Paris, I believe my first officer is correct. I think you have been leading us on a wild goose chase in order to protect the Maquis."

"That's bullshit and you know it," said Paris. "You know I hate Chakotay's guts."

"Yes, I do," said Bujold. "But perhaps not his pilot's, no?"

Paris's ears and neck started to burn. "Fuck her. She screwed me, too."

"In more ways than one, no doubt," said Bujold. "Mr. Paris, I offered you a deal in good faith, and in return you lied to me. I will give you one last chance. Tell me the fastest way to the Rat's Nest right now, or I will have you escorted to the brig."

Paris sighed. The game was up. He told her.

"Thank you, Mr. Paris," she said. She tapped her communicator. "You may come in now," she said.

The ready room doors slid open and two big security goons walked in. "Take him to the brig," said Bujold.

"What!" said Paris. "You said you wouldn't send me to the brig if I told you!"

"I lied," said Bujold. "Now we're even." The goons siezed him by both arms and half-led, half-drag him across the bridge, to the turbolift. Just before the lift doors slid shut, he heard Bujold order the ship to yellow alert.

#

Paris woke from his dream in thick, steamy darkness. The ventilation and lights had failed in his cell hours ago, leaving him to drift in and out of oxygen-deprived consciousness total blackness, while the air grew hotter (has the cooling system failed? he thought) and saturated with dampness from his own breath and body. When he was awake, all he could think about, besides his own misery, was how stupid he'd been to get himself stuck in this situation. Once again, he'd screwed up, and this time, it would probably kill him. Even sleeping was no relief; his oxygen-starved brain was replayed it over and over, in living technicolor, in his dreams.

His eyes were so dark-adapted that the faint blue sparkle of transporter dazzled him. It was outside the cell. Instinctively, he stood up and tried to walk over to get a better view, only to be stopped by the forcefield, the only thing left on the brig that still worked. Even from his angle, he could tell it wasn't man-sized.

"Hey!" he shouted anyway. "Help me!" And then he stopped shouting, momentarily flabbergasted, when he saw what had arrived in the brig. Floating just outside his cell, illuminated faintly by the lights of its own screen, was an unfolded medical tricorder, dangling from the bottom of a hoverball.

After a minute, it disappeared in another ripple of sparkles. A moment later, so did he.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 05 Jan) PostPosted: 2010-01-13 03:35am
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The replicators were working again. Janeway was taking advantage with her third cup of black coffee in a row. She was sitting in the science department's conference room with Tuvok and Tom Paris.

"So you're the civilian expert Bujold brought on board," she said.

"Yes, ma'am."

"What were you doing in the brig?" said Janeway.

"Bujold thought I was yanking her chain, so she sent me there."

"Were you?" said Tuvok.

"Of course not," said Paris. "What do I care what happens to Chakotay?"

"Did you know anything about this?" said Janeway to Tuvok.

"I did not. My last contact with Captain Bujold was three days before we left the Alpha Quadrant. I find the logic of using Mr. Paris as a guide...interesting."

"You don't trust me, either," said Paris.

"Your history demonstrates that it is usually unwise to do so."

"I should just get ear extensions," said Paris. "If everybody's going to treat me like a Ferengi, I might as well look like one."

Janeway drew a finger across her throat, silencing the budding argument. "Well, however trustworthy you are or aren't, I'm too shorthanded to have you sitting in the brig wasting oxygen. If I even had a working brig. Do you have any useful skills?"

"I'm a great pilot," said Paris.

"That's not very helpful right now. What else can you do?"

Paris shrugged. "On New Senegal, I was a trustee in the hospital for a while."

"Good," said Janeway. "Get down to sickbay, talk to the Doctor about helping him."

"Sure," said Paris. "What's his name?"

"He doesn't have one. Dismissed."

Paris, blinking and confused, got up slowly and left. Janeway tapped her communicator as soon as he was gone. "Mr. Gombe, have someone make sure Mr. Paris doesn't get lost on his way to sickbay."

"Yes, ma'am."

Janeway sighed, pinched her nose, and hung her head. For a minute, maybe two, she zoned out, thought of nothing. She snapped out of it and reached for her coffee. Her hand was shaking slightly; she focused on the muscles in her wrist and arm and it stopped.

Tuvok was still in the conference room, watching her the whole time.

"What do you want?" snapped Janeway.

"Commander Janeway, may I make an observation?"

"Feel free," said Janeway.

"You are exhausted," said Tuvok.

"I'm fine," she said. "I've pulled plenty of all-nighters before."

"With respect," said Tuvok. "The stakes today are considerably higher than they were when you were cramming for your Astrogation 401 exam, and you are fifteen years older now then you were then."

Janeway cracked a smile. "I never took Astro 401," she said.

"The point stands," said Tuvok.

"Mr. Tuvok, I appreciate your concern, but I have too much work to do. This ship needs a commanding officer. I'll sleep when we get home."

"Commander--"

"The discussion is closed, Tuvok," said Janeway. She tapped her commbadge again. "Ensign Wildman, I'm ready for you now."

The doors hissed open and Ensign Samantha Wildman entered. She was human, of medium height and build, square-faced, blonde, twenty-three. Not yet due for a promotion to lieutenant (j.g.). Practically a baby in diapers, running an entire department in a dire emergency.

She hesitated as she approached the table, unsure where to sit. Janeway gestured for her to take a seat next to her. Tuvok shifted so the three of them were clustered at one end, and could all easily see Wildman's PADD.

"All right," said Janeway. "Report."

"Do you want to hear the report on the station first, or the planet?"

"The station," said Janeway.

Wildman frowned. "We don't have much. Our sensors can't penetrate more than a few centimeters beneath the surface. We're still trying to get a handle on the material composition, but nobody seems to know where our quantum spectrometer is and--"

"It's on DS9," said Janeway. "If you can't find it, that's where it is. Bujold left most of our lab equipment behind because this was supposed to be a quick mission." She took a sip of her coffee and reminded herself there was no point being angry at a dead woman.

"Er, right," said Wildman. "We have learned a few things by examining the surface."

"Such as?" said Janeway.

"It's really old. And battle damaged. Look." Wildman tapped her PADD, calling up a slideshow of visible-light photos of the surface of the station. Each photograph showed obvious battle damage; pits and divots, trenches, faded scorch-marks, hasty repairs. The entire planet-facing hemisphere of the central station was scarred with metal patches and the melted stumps of some kind of support struts..

"Any idea who did this to it? The Kazon?"

Wildman shook her head. "This damage is old. Look at this picture. See this patch? It obviously melted and re-froze. It looks like a lunar maria. Well, just like a lunar maria, you can tell how old something like this is by counting craters and comparing to the known rate of meteoroid bombardment--micrometeroid, in this case."

"Forgive me," said Tuvok, "but how could you know that?"

"We took a census of the sub-millimeter debris in the inner solar system and estimated based on their orbits. It's not perfect, but we can say pretty confidently that these battle scars were made at least ten thousand years ago. Almost certainly longer. The maximum age is one hundred thousand years."

"Assuming it's been here that long," said Janeway. "For all we know, it could have come from some other solar system; maybe a younger one with a lot more debris. Or it could have spent time in an asteroid belt."

Wildman nodded. "Yes, that's a possibility. I'd like to get a surface sample so we can do an isotope comparison between the local solar wind and interplanetary medium and the surface deposits on the station. Then we'd know for sure if it's a wanderer."

"Send a probe to do it," said Janeway. "No EVAs anywhere near that thing until we understand it better."

"Yes ma'am."

"Can we figure out anything else from those battle scars? Any signature left behind by the attackers?"

Wildman shook her head. "If they did, it decayed a long time ago."

"OK. Anything else on the station?"

"No ma'am. Not yet."

"Fine," said Janeway, not feeling fine at all. "What about the planet?"

Wildman perked up. "That's more interesting." She tapped her PADD, bringing up a long list of facts and figures about the planet. "Class N terrestrial; atmospheric composition 96.5% Carbon dioxide
3.5% Nitrogen, 0.015% Sulfur dioxide, miscellaneous trace gases. Atmospheric pressure 90 bar. Mean surface temperature 735 kelvin. Surface completely obscured by sulfuric acid clouds."

"Sounds like a typical class N," said Janeway.

"That's where it stops being typical, ma'am. We made a radar map of the surface. Look at this." She tapped on the PADD and turned it so Janeway could see.

Class N planets--like Venus, a typical example--had distinctive surfaces. They had liquid mantles with active convection, like class-M planets, but without oceans to lubricate tectonic plates--impossible at such surface temperatures--the crust was too rigid for tectonics. Instead, the heat and pressure built up in the interior until the crust failed entirely, and the entire planet was resurfaced in a planetary-scale volcanic event. It had happened to Venus in 2330, undoing a century and a half of terraforming efforts and generally embarrassing the Federation Geological Survey, which had claimed the next resurfacing was thirty million years off. The resurfacing events created a distinctive, easily-identified surface of vast basaltic plains, with a few continent-sized volcanic uplands, riven with cracks and faults, randomly splotched about the planet.

This planet--nicknamed Planet Hell by Voyager's crew--did not look like that.

Janeway wasn't a geologist by training, but anyone who had ever looked at a topographic map of a class M planet would have recognized these features--oceanic basins with central spreading ridges and subduction trenches along the edges, continental shelves, river valley systems and fan-shaped deltas, upthrust mountains, earthquake faults, glacier scars and glacial lakes at high latitudes, even identifiable sedimentary structures. All of it dessicated and baking at temperatures hot enough to melt lead--the high mountains even had deposits of lead oxide "snow" at their peaks--but very obviously formed by familiar class-M processes.

"This is a ruined class-M," said Janeway. "Not a natural N." She nodded. "Was it inhabited?"

"Yes," said Wildman. "We've detected concentrations of refined metals, disturbances to the landscape indicative of agriculture and mining, and the ruins of structures."

Janeway closed her eyes. Starfleet had discovered worlds like this from time to time--worlds inadvertently ruined by their own inhabitants pushing the climate into greenhouse tipover. Sometimes the species survived in space, living in habitats and asteroids. Sometimes...they didn't. Whoever lived on this planet hadn't.

Maybe Wildman had guessed what she was thinking. "It wasn't their fault, captain. Look." She played another slideshow on her PADD. Radar and subspace images of ruined structures, enhanced by the computer, flipped by. All of them were masonry, heavy, rough, primitive. No flying buttresses, no domes, not even any arches. The styles were subtly different, but most were variations on "big pile of rocks" like Egyptian or Mayan pyramids, with the most sophisticated structures looking vaguely Egyption or Minoan; thick stone walls and massive columns. "Captain," said Wildman, "the only refined metals we detected were bronze and very little iron. No steels, no aluminum."

"The acid in the atmosphere," said Janeway.

"It wouldn't have eaten it all away," said Wildman. "Most of it never reaches the surface. It's so hot down there it disassociates. No culture on this planet got past the iron age. They didn't ruin their world."

Janeway steepled her fingers. "You wouldn't be bothering with all this buildup if it were natural, would you?" she said.

"No ma'am," said Wildman. "Look." She called up one last picture on the PADD. It was a tower, more than a kilometer high. "It's made of the same stuff as the station. There are thirty more just like it still standing, and more which have collapsed." She highlighted a ruined structure near its base. Janeway thought it was small, until Wildman zoomed in and a scale indicator appeared. It was an enormous building, set at the nexus of a dozen radial avenues lined with more ruined buildings. "What do you think that is?"

"It looks like a temple," said Janeway. "They worshipped these towers." She turned to Wildman. "So which came first, the people or the towers?"

"We don't know," said Wildman. "We want to launch a probe."

"Do it," she said.

"I should report this to Chakotay," said Tuvok.

"Yes, fine," said Janeway.

Gombe's voice came over the intercom. "Bridge to Janeway, he said.

"Janeway here."

"Ma'am, you'd better come up here. Long range sensors just detected another ship entering the system at warp. He's on his way to the inner system."

"Yellow alert," said Janeway. She popped up out of her seat and finished her coffee in one swig. "Let's go," she said.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 13 Jan) PostPosted: 2010-01-18 05:21am
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Voyager

"Hail him," said Janeway. Let's hope he has subspace comms.

"Hailing frequencies open," said Gombe. "Audio only."

"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. Identify yourself."

There was a pause. Then came a gibberish burst of alien speech. Janeway wondered for a moment if the Universal Translator would catch up--and then it did, like always. "Go away," it said.

Janeway looked back at Gombe. At least he's not shooting at us, she thought. That's progress,

"Unidentified ship--"

"My name is Neelix, my ship is the Baxial, and I paid the Kazon Ogla for salvage rights in this field, so you can just scram. Take it up with them if you don't like it."

Janeway put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. She made a "mute" gesture at Gombe.

"Hostile little booger, isn't he?" said Chakotay.

"If he were hostile, he'd have shot at us already," said Janeway. She gestured for Gombe to turn the comms back on. "Mr. Neelix, we're not interested in jumping your salvage claim. We're a long way from home and we're just looking for some information."

"Tell him you'll pay him," said Chakotay.

"We're willing to pay you for your time," said Janeway.

There was another pause.

"Captain, he's opened a video channel," said Gombe.

"Well by all means," said Janeway, "put it on screen."

Gombe did, and Janeway had to fight a burst of laughter. The alien on screen was short and stocky, made to look even shorter by an unflattering camera angle. He had a stiff mane on top of his head and spotted skin on his temples. The cockpit of his little ship was strewn with debris. He wore a suit of lavishly clashing colors.

He looks like a hedgehog, thought Janeway. A hedgehog crossed with a Ferengi used car salesman.

Neelix smiled at the camera, showing a mouth full of pointed teeth. "Greetings," he said. "What, um, what would you be willing to pay me?"

"Well, I doubt our currency is worth anything out here," said Janeway. "But we'd be happy to barter supplies or services."

Chakotay, who was on the viewscreen in an inset, mouthed "Services?"

Neelix seemed to think about that for a minute. Finally, he said, "How much water can you spare?"

#

"Ahhhhhhhh," said Neelix, as he slid into the bathtub of near-scalding water. The bathroom was thick with steam. Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay looked on. Apparently, Neelix didn't value his privacy much, or had a different concept of it from the rest of them.

He also stank like a monkey's cage. The computer automatically dispensed soap into the water.

"Gotta conserve water on my little ship," said Neelix. "Don't even have a shower. Ripped that out to make room for more cargo space. Ahhh...this is nice, forgot how nice a hot bath was." He suddenly looked self-conscious. "You know, my people are actually very hygenic. But when it's just me for weeks and weeks, there's no reason to waste water on a bath. That's what stations are for."

"And your people are...?" said Chakotay.

"Talaxians, native of Talaxia. About seven hundred light years spinward from here. I'm actually from a moon called Rinax...used to be a nice place."

"Used to?" said Janeway.

Neelix appeared somber for a moment. "Yeah. There was a...well, there was a big war. We, um, lost." Then he shook it off, and his voice and body language became upbeat again. "But, no use dwelling on the past, right? So where are you fine folks from?"

"We're from the United Federation of Planets," said Janeway. "Mr. Chakotay and I are humans, from a planet called Earth. Mr. Tuvok is from the planet Vulcan."

"If you're from Earth," said Neelix, "why aren't you called Earthians?"

Janeway and Chekotay looked at each other and shrugged. I've always wondered that myself, thought Janeway. "It doesn't sound very good in our native language," said Chakotay, which Janeway figured was as good an answer as any.

"I see," said Neelix. "So where is this Federation of yours?"

"About seventy-five thousand light years from here," said Janeway.

"Oooh, that's quite a ways. We don't see many from that far off."

"You mean there's been more like us?" said Chakotay.

"Oh, yes! It was one or two every year, for years. Lately, though, it's been one or two a month. Nobody knows why the Caretaker does it. Usually it grabs them from pretty nearby, but once in a while it reaches way out and snags somebody like you."

"The Caretaker? Who is that? Does he live on that station?" said Chakotay.

"As far as anybody knows, he is the station," said Neelix. "Nobody knows why he does it. It's been good business for the Kazon, though. And those of us living off the Kazons' table scraps." He suddenly looked embarassed. "Not that, you know, it isn't terrible for the poor people who get sucked out here."

Janeway chose to ignore the faux pas. "Why is he called the 'Caretaker'. What's he taking care of?"

"Nobody knows that either," he said. "If you ask me, there's something on the planet. But that's just a guess."

"Has it ever taken another Federation starship?" said Janeway.

"I don't know," said Neelix. "Usually we only find out about the ones Jal Jabin catches."

"Who is he?" said Janeway. "Who are the Kazons?"

"Jal Jabin? He's the Maje--boss--of this system. He reports directly to First Maje Jal Razik. He's the boss of the entire Ogla sect. They own everything from here to about fifty light years spinward. They're the biggest Kazon sect."

"How many more are there?" said Chakotay.

"There are eighteen big sects," said Neelix. "Or nineteen. Sixteen. It's hard to remember; they're always allying with each other and having civil wars and the like. And then there are hundreds of smaller sects. Some of them are just one extended family with one ship. They fight each other all the time, unless they have someone else to fight." He eyed Janeway, Chakotay, and Tuvok. "People like you. Jal Jabin has five hundred kills, if you believe him."

"Does anybody ever defeat him?" said Chakotay.

"Sometimes," said Neelix. "Most people just try to run away, but sometimes they fight. There was one species--a 'Jam Haddar'--which actually deliberately crashed their ship into Predator--that's his ship. It took them almost a year to repair it." He looked around. "How did you fight him off?"

"We trans--" started Janeway.

"Our weapons are far more sophisticated than theirs," said Chakotay. "We smashed Predator in one shot."

Janeway expected Neelix to be impressed. And he was...to an extent. But he looked pensive, too. "Captain, you might not want to stay here too long," he said. "Jal Jabin doesn't like sharing his loot, but if the Ogla think you're a threat, they'll come back with more ships."

"Then we'll blow them up, too," said Chakotay, but Janeway could hear a whisper of uncertainty in his voice, too.

"We'd like to get out of here before the Kazons come back," said Janeway. "How do you know the Caretaker's name?"

"Well, I know because it told the Kazons."

"It communicated with them?" said Janeway. Her heart started pounding. For the first time, they had something to communicate with. If you could communicate with it, you could negotiate with it. If you could negotiate with it, maybe you could get it to send you back home.

Chakotay and Tuvok looked to be having the same thoughts. Neelix tried to let them down easy. "It was only once, years ago. It told them they could come in the system, but they couldn't build a base here and they weren't allowed to try to board the station."

"Did they ever try?" said Chakotay.

"Well, they could never find a way into the station," said Neelix. "But they tried building a space station, yes. In orbit of this planet."

"What happened to it?" said Janeway.

"The Caretaker...moved it."

"Moved it where?"

Neelix started to fidget. "Um...the sun," he said.

"The Caretaker threw the station in orbit of the sun?" said Janeway.

"No," said Neelix. "It threw the station into the sun."

Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay all looked at each other, none of them having anything useful to say. Like this wasn't bad enough already, said Janeway. The Caretaker wasn't just inconsiderate, it was homicidal.

The tension was broken by the intercom. "Engineering to Captain Janeway."

Janeway didn't recognize the voice. "This is Janeway. Who is this?"

"This is Ensign Vorick, ma'am. Lieutenant Carey and Lieutenant Rodriguez are sleeping until 0400."

"I didn't order them...never mind. What do you need, Mr. Vorick?"

"There is an electrical fault in grid 11, subsection C. It is a simple repair, but in order to make it safely, we must shut down several non-essential systems for fifteen minutes, including the internal communication network."

"Fine," said Janeway. "Make it fast."

"Yes, ma'am."

Vorick made a shipwide announcement, and then the comms went dead. Janeway tested it by tapping her commbadge; it only mustered a strangled "Error" chirp.

Neelix started climbing out of the bathtub. Alarmed, Janeway and Chakotay turned away; Tuvok tossed him a towel. "Well," said Neelix. "It would probably be best if I got back to my ship. You're lovely people, but all that scrap isn't going to sort itself. If, um, you feel like throwing in a little extra payment, that'd be most appreciated."

"Wait," said Janeway. "Has the Caretaker ever sent anybody home?"

"No," said Neelix. "The only way home is the long way."



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 18 Jan) PostPosted: 2010-01-20 05:04pm
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Voyager

"Well, what do you think?" said Janeway. She, Chakotay, and Tuvok sat alone in the science department conference room. Janeway had another coffee. Her stomach was churning and she had to piss every fifteen minutes, but she kept chugging it down.

"Assuming he was telling the whole truth," said Tuvok, "We may not have many options."

"The whole truth?" said Chakotay. "Do you think he was lying?"

"That possibility cannot be ruled out," said Tuvok. "However, I find it more likely that an impoverished scrap merchant simply does not have access to all the information the de facto local authorities do."

"You're saying we have to talk to the Kazons," said Janeway.

"That may be necessary," said Tuvok.

"Fantastic," said Janeway. "I'm sure they'll be in the mood to help us."

"Maybe," said Chakotay. "That depends on if we can offer them something they want."

"Such as?" said Janeway.

Chakotay waved his arm. "Transporters. Subspace sensors. Phasers. Replicators. Better shields, better computers. Holodecks. Take your pick."

"Absolutely not," said Janeway. "The Prime Directive forbids it."

"They're warp capable," said Chakotay. "The Prime Directive doesn't apply."

"That's bullshit and you know it," said Janeway. "You used to be a Starfleet officer; you know the Prime Directive has shades of meaning. We can make contact with warp-capable civilizations. We still can't interfere with their development by giving them technology centuries more advanced than their own. And then there's the follow-on effect: giving them advanced technology would absolutely upset the balance of power here, upsetting the development of hundreds, possibly thousands of cultures. And finally, I don't know if you noticed, but you just proposed giving sensitive Federation technology to a species which fired on a Federation starship without warning just yesterday. All in the hope they know something about the Caretaker that could get us home? No, absolutely not."

Chakotay was clearly not a man used to being told his ideas were "bullshit". "Commander Janeway, you're right about exactly one thing: I used to be a Starfleet officer. I'm not anymore, and Val Jean isn't a starfleet ship. I put about as much stock in the Federation's precious principles as the Federation council did when it abandoned my world to the Cardassians. If you're not willing to set aside the Prime Directive for the sake of our two crews, I'll go to them myself."

"If you try to compromise the Federation's strategic interests--"

"What strategic interests? What will a bunch of barbarian pirates on the other side of the galaxy do to the Federation? Use the Caretaker to make raids on the Alpha Quadrant?"

"Maybe," said Janeway.

"Now you're the one talking bullshit," said Chakotay. "If the Kazon could figure out the Caretaker, they'd have done it by now. They're no threat to you even if they have replicators or a handful of photon torpedoes or anything else. I don't think you even care about that. It's all about the Prime Directive to you."

"The crew of this ship took an oath to uphold the Prime Directive, even if it costs us our lives," said Janeway.

"Mine didn't," said Chakotay. He stood up. "You can't stop me. I won't lie: I'd rather do this together, but if I have to go it alone, I will."

Janeway stood too. She didn't know what she was even going to say. In the back of her head was the knowledge that Voyager's weapons were online again.

The doors hissed open. Tom Paris walked in, wearing a borrowed blue uniform and holidng a medical tricorder. "Captain, the Doctor wanted to remind you that he needs to examine your shoulder again, but the comms aren't working, so he sent...me." He trailed off. He was looking directly at Chakotay.

Chakotay was looking directly back at him. His mouth was hanging open.

"You son of a bitch," said Chakotay. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Hello, Chakotay," said Paris. "Miss me?"

"How much did they offer you to sell out the Maquis?"

"I don't know. How much did they offer you to steal my ship and dump me in Starfleet's lap?"

"Fuck you," said Chakotay. "I won that election fair and square. Maybe if you weren't absolutely worthless as a commander, your crew wouldn't have voted for me. Even your girlfriend wanted me, not you."

Paris wound up and thre the tricorder at Chakotary's head. Chakotay ducked, vaulted the table, and charged.

#

Paris had forgotten Chakotay's hobby was boxing. The big man knocked Paris off-balance with his charge, then drilled him with a right hook to the temple that sent him sprawling. Chakotay hauled Paris back to his feet and delivered a body-blow to the solar plexus which blasted all the air out of Paris's lungs. Paris staggered backwards, breathless, dazed, and reeling, his vision blurred. Chakotay was winding up for another punch to the head.

Suddenly, Tuvok grabbed Chakotay's arm. Chakotay wheeled on the Vulcan. "What the hell are you doing?" he said.

"Captain--" started Tuvok, but he didn't finished because Paris took advatage with an off-blance swat at Chakotay's right ear that miraculously connected. Chakotay shook off Tuvok and turned on Paris.

"You're really going to get it now," said Chakotay.

"Tuvok is a Starfleet spy!" gasped Paris.

Chakotay froze. "You're full of shit," he said.

"Oh yeah? Why do you think Starfleet came looking for you? You think they give a shit about you? They wanted to get their man back." Paris folded over, fell. He could barely breathe.

Chakotay turned to Janeway. "Is this true?"

And Janeway--inexperienced, exhausted, caffeine-addled, and in shock at the fistfight which had broken out in her conference room--couldn't think fast enough to tell a convincing lie. By the time she worked her mouth the second time and no sound came out, Chakotay knew.

Paris started laughing. "You're the only Maquis commander in the galaxy stupid enough to trust a Vulcan," he said.

Chakotay advanced on Paris. "Hey!" said Paris. "He's the guy who betrayed you!"

"He's just a Vulcan. He can't help it. You, on the other hand, are a piece of shit." He drew back his leg, ready to drop-kick Paris's head. Paris braced himself, wondering if the Doctor would be able to get the dent out.

"Chakotay!" said Janeway. There was a whining hiss--a phaser--and Chakotay grunted and cumpled to the floor, crashing on top of Paris. It hurt, but it hurt a lot less than a kick in the face. Paris lay there for a moment, trying to recover his breath, and finally crawled out from under Chakotay. He sat up and looked around, expecting to see Tuvok holding the phaser.

He wasn't. "Get him to sickbay," said Janeway. She set the phaser down on the table gingerly, like it would explode. She half-sat, half-fell back into her chair. "Fuck me," she said.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 20 Jan) PostPosted: 2010-01-25 04:52pm
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Kazon-Ogla Staging Area
3.4 Light Years from Ocampa


Predator limped into his dock like a dying old man, which was exactly what he was. Maje Jal Jabin's personal belongings had been evaporated by gamma ray flux, so when he stepped through the gangway, the only possesions he had left were his uniform and his gun. He didn't know how long until they took the former and shot him with the latter.

Maybe not long at all. A man was waiting for him at the end of the gangway, wearing the uniform of the First Maje's office. "Maje Jabin," he said. "Follow me."

Jabin may have been a dead man walking, but as a Maje he still had rights. "Who demands it?" he said.

The man from the First Maje's office drew up straight. He was half a head shorter than Jabin and, judging by his skull ridges, of an inferior caste, not even important enough to be allowed to serve on a starship. But he wore the herald of the First Maje on his breast, and that gave him the right to ignore all proper social conventions--outside the Maje's office. If Jabin laid a hand on him, Jabin would lose it, and the officious peasant knew it. "The First Maje demands it, oh great Maje Jabin. He wishes to inquire into the condition of his ship."

Jabin briefly considered shooting the peasant and then himself, just for the satisfaction of taking somebody with him while he avoided a drawn-out execution.

"If the First Maje wants me, then I am at his service," said Jabin.

He was led through a maze of cramped pasageways towards the center of the station. The design of the place was ad hoc, with hundreds of additions over the years and no logical sense to the layout. Along the way, they passed a window looking down into an internal hangar, where the wrecks of some of Jabin's earlier prizes floated. I made a lot of money for the Ogla sect, thought Jabin. Maybe that will buy me another chance. It was the best hope he had.

They walked deeper into the station, finally found a horivator bank (Jabin suppressed a snarl as the peasant got into the officer caste car with him). It took them to the station's multi-level central promenade. Like the promenade of every Kazon station, it was crowded with civilians, the camp followers of the warrior caste who ruled Kazon society. The decks reserved for warriors werre less crowded (and cleaner and better maintained), but there were still many, many Kazons. The First Maje brought his personal fleet, thought Jabin. Word of the disaster that had befallen Predator had spread fast.

The First Maje's offices were at the very top deck, above even the station's control room and Jabin's own station quarters (rarely used). He had an office at every station in Kazon territory, attended usually by mid-ranking functionaries, ensuring the First Maje got his cut of every crown that passed through every Ogla's hand. Now they were full with the First Maje's entourage. The peasant passed him off to a warrior-adjutant. "Come with me," he said.

The First Maje's personal office was a throne room. First Maje Jal Razik himself, old, bald, and immensely fat, clothed in fine fabrics of deep maroon and orange-gold, sat on a throne of ornate hand-made ironwork covered in gold leaf. The walls and ceiling were marble trimmed with gold. Coutiers and courtesans lounged around the room, eating and drinking, pointing a Jabin and quietly snickering. Every last one of of them appeared to be addled on drugs. Jabin approached the throne and prostrated himself before it.

With a grunt, the First Maje managed to lever himself out of his throne. He wheezed his way off the dias and plodded down the carpeted aisle to Jabin. Jabin dared not move.

"Rise, Maje Jabin," said Razik. Jabin did, taking care to avert his eyes from looking directly at Razik's face.

"Look at me," said Razik. He reached forward with one fat hand and turned Jabin's head until the two men were looking eye-to-eye. Razik and Jabin stared at each other.

"Rejoice!" said Razik. "Our brother Jal Jabin lives!" And then he grabbed Jabin and embraced him in a crushing bear hug. The courtiers--looking confused and disappointed, but knowing what was good for them--stood and dutifully applauded. Jabin felt his legs go limp with relief. The First Maje had chosen to spare him.

"Walk with me, brother," said Razik.

"I obey," said Jabin. They walked together--Razik made a show of leaning on Jabin for support--to Razik's private office off the throne room. Like the throne room, it was all cold marble and gold leaf, with a massive desk made of the wood of a tree from a planet the Kazon-Ogla had bombarded with asteroids until the crust melted. Razik and Jabin walked through this room, through a short passageway, to a smaller, more comfortable office, decorated with traditional Ogla art and photographs of the First Maje's grandchildren. The First Maje offered Jabin a seat in a comfortable chair, then collapsed into his own chair--one which had much more padding than the iron throne.

"Do you remember, my friend, when we were both boys?" said Razik. "And our grandfathers led the Kazon-Ogla to glory without needing all this decadent nonsense?"

"I do, First Maje."

"I worry that we've lost our way," said Razik. He shook his head, sending his chins wobbling in three different directions. "But that is not why I am here. I am truly glad you're alive, my friend."

"I'm not," said Jabin. "I lost nine hundred warriors. I should be with them in Paradise, shining their armor and serving their meals for ten thousand years in pennance for my incompetence."

"I have seen the video and read the report, Maje Jabin. It was not your fault. I have forgiven you; so have your fallen warriors, and so should you."

"Forgive me, my lord," said Jabin. "I am not sure I'm ready."

"This is why I have always liked you," said Razik. "You take responsibility, even when you shouldn't. Too many so-called Majes seek only glory; never blame." He leaned back in his seat. "So," he said. "If you will not forgive yourself, what is your plan for redemption?"

"It's time we destroyed the Caretaker," said Jabin.

First Mal Razik leaned forward, resting his fat face in his upturned hands. "You've gained more than any of us from the Caretaker," lied Razik. Between his share of the loot, the money he was charging Jabin to lease a fleet and a starbase, and all the taxes he was collecting on the supplies needed to run the operation, Razik was making more from the Caretaker than anyone. But if the Caretaker were destroyed, Razik had his fingers in many other pies, when Jabin would be out of a job.

"I know," said Jabin. "But Predator has twice been nearly destroyed by aliens twice now. What if it brings us more of these 'Federations' and their teleporting bombs? What if it brings us more of those lunatic 'Jem'Hadar'? What if it brings us something worse?"

"We are powerful, Jal Jabin," said Razik. "What we lack in technology, we make up in numbers. The Vidiians are far more advanced than us, and we've held them at bay for decades. Talaxians, Hakkonians, the bloody Trabe; we have triumped over and over against superior technology and desparate odds. The Caretaker pulls in ships one at a time. What could one ship do?"

"It's not one ship," said Jabin. "Val Jean arrived ten days ago. It slipped away from me."

"I know," said Razik. "It's happened before."

"Yes, but most of the time, they run away as fast as they can. Val Jean stayed, and now it's working with Voyager. Don't you see? This could be the beginning of an invasion."

"Or they could be allies of desperation," said Razik. "Jal Jabin, are you certain your concern is genuine, or do you just want revenge on the Caretaker for what happened to your crew?"

Jabin honestly didn't know. "Maybe both," he admitted.

"First things first," said Razik. "Our priority now is those 'Federations'. If this is the beginning of an invasion, we need to smash it now."

"I have dispatched scouts to Ocampa," said Jabin.

Razik shook his head. "Skulking in the Oort Cloud with passive sensors won't do," he said. "We need better intelligence. Would you agree that it's likely Voyager and Val Jean have subspace sensors on board?"

"Given how Val Jean was able to drop exactly on top of us only a few minutes after we arrived at Ocampa, that seems certain," said Jabin, who'd been thinking over and over about the battle.

"Then we need our own real-time FTL intelligence. We will move a Spyglass into Ocampa's Kuiper belt, along with a fleet to protect it."

"They'll see us," said Jabin.

"They have two ships. They are powerful, but they're not gods."

"Those teleporting bombs..." said Jabin.

Razik grinned. "My engineers have analyzed your data," he said. "It was a trick, Maje Jabin. Just a simple trick. And simple to defeat. The next time we fight, it will be on our terms."



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 25 Jan) PostPosted: 2010-01-29 05:56pm
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Voyager

Janeway stormed down the passageway on her way to the auxilliary bridge. Tuvok followed behind her.

"That was unwise, Commander Janeway," said Tuvok.

Janeway stopped, spun, and got in Tuvok's face. "I wouldn't have had to do anything if you hadn't been just standing there! And on my ship, you will address me as Captain Janeway."

"As you wish, Captain," said Tuvok. His calm voice was only angering her further. In her entire Starfleet career, she had never fired a phaser at anyone. Adrenaline sloshed through her veins, winding her up, fraying her already disintegrating nerves. "Captain, I admit, I should have acted faster. However--"

"You've been Chakotay's butt-boy for so long that you couldn't bring yourself to nerve pinch him even when he was beating a civilian to death," snarled Janeway. "Like some kind of Vulcan Stockholm Syndrome." She kicked a nearby wall; the panel fell off. "Piece of shit fucking ship!" she said. She pointed at Tuvok. "Chakotay's waking up out of stun in twenty minutes. As soon as he does, place him under arrest."

"On what charges?"

"Attempted murder!" said Janeway. "Piracy, conspiracy, terrorism, whatever else you saw him do while you were over there shining his shoes and doing his laundry. That was the whole point of this entire fucking exercise, wasn't it?"

"His crew will not react well to that, captain," said Tuvok.

"No shit," said Janeway. "Too bad we already burned that Goddamn bridge. Are you going to do it, or do I have to send one of my own men?"

"I will, Captain," said Tuvok.

"Good," said Janeway. She stomped away. Halfway to the bridge, she had to stop and lean against a door jamb until she stopped shaking. What the hell is wrong with me? she thought. She knew the answer: she was scared and exhausted and strung out and lost on the other side of the galaxy. But she had to stay awake, had to stay in command. She'd sleep when they got home.

She hurried to the bridge. Along the way, she tapped her commbadge, intending to talk to Vorick; it error-chirped and went dead. "Damn it," she said. When she reached the bridge, the first thing she did was corral a security rating. "Go down to engineering and tell Ensign Vorick we need comms back right away."

"Yes ma'am," she said, and hurried off.

"What's going on, Captain?" said Gombe. He was on his second eight hour shift in the last day. Beside him was a petty officer from the maintenece department, who'd been drafted as a backup tactical officer trainee.

"I just arrested Chakotay," said Janeway, taking her seat. "As soon as the Maquis find out, there's going to be trouble."

"I'll say," said Gombe.

"Vorick to bridge. I have restored the internal communications system."

"Thank you,Ensign," said Janeway.

"Tuvok to Janeway.

That was fast, she thought. "Janeway here. Report.[/i]

"Chakotay is already awake. I have placed him under arrest for assault. He is cooperating.

"The brig is unfit for human habitation," said Janeway. "Find an empty room somewhere and lock him in."

"Yes, ma'am.

Janeway took a deep breath. "Mr. Gombe, hail Val Jean. Yellow alert, shields up. Somebody wake Carey and Rodriguez."

#

Val Jean

"She did what?" said Torres.

"She arrested him," said Seska for the second time. "For assault on some civilian."

"That's bullshit!" said Torres. "They're arresting him for being one of us."

"Calm down," said Seska.

"Tuvok's over there," said Mohommad. "Can he rescue Chakotay?"

"I haven't been able to raise Tuvok at all," said Seska. "They might be holding him too."

B'Elana snarled and slapped her hand on a console. "Then we have to spring them both. Find them on sensors and beam them both out."

"Don't you think I already tried that?" said Seska. "Their shields are up."

Torres sprung to the tactical console. "They're only at fifty percent. The idiots still don't have a working warp drive. We can punch a hole through, then get Chakotay and Tuvok," said Torres.

"Are you crazy?" said Seska. "Even with half-shields and half-phasers, they can smash us flat. Photon torpedoes alone--"

"We'll fly in close," said Mohommad. "Get in under their guns. Photorps don't have the turning radius to hit us inside a kilometer if we're moving fast enough, and even if they did, they'd do as much damage to themselves as us."

"No!" said Seska. "Have you forgotten that the only way we're getting home is with Voyager's help?"

"They probably know how to get back already!" said Torres. "They got what they came for, and now Janeway's going to take him back to the Federation and leave us stranded here!"

Seska said nothing. Torres pressed her advantage. "Think about it. Not even Starfleet is stupid enough to sit here in hostile space with a dead warp core. The only explanation is that they must know how to get back already. Look, Janeway is a blueshirt. A science officer. She might not know shit about commanding a starship, but you know those Starfleet eggheads love figuring out how ancient alien bullshit works."

"Maybe it wasn't even an accident that Voyager followed us out here. Maybe they already knew about the Caretaker," said Mohommad. "This whole thing might have been a trap."

"Okay, enough conspiracy crap," said Seska. "There's no activity from Voyager or the Caretaker."

"How do we know what activity from the Caretaker looks like?" said Torres. "We've never seen it send anyone back."

"It does something!" snapped Seska. "Or did you skip the class at the Academy where they explained you can't move a hundred thousand tons of starship clear across the galaxy without expending energy?"

"We're getting them back!" said Torres. "Who's with me?"

Hands, claws, and tentacles went up around the bridge. Seska looked around, realized she was outvoted, and gave the order.

"Shields up, phasers online. Mohommad, get us close."

#

"They've raised shields," said Gombe. "Locking weapons."

Okay, stay calm. Remember the bridge officer's exam: a bad decision is better than no decision. "Red alert. Engineering, do we have impulse back online yet?"

"Yes ma'am, but only at thirty percent."

"They're closing in on us," said Gombe.

"Evasive maneuvers. Don't let them get too close," said Janeway.

For the first time in more than a day, Voyager's massive sublight engines rumbled to life. Janeway felt the vibrations through her seat.

"They're still closing," said Gombe. "They are faster and more maneuverable than we are."

Of course they are, she thought. 30% impulse, we're turning like a pig compared to them. She realized she was trying to postpone the inevitable. She was going to have to shoot their only allies.

"Lock phasers," said Janeway. "Target their weapons systems."

"Captain, that is a difficult shot," said Gombe. "If we targeted their engines--"

"I wasn't asking for advice!" snapped Janeway. "Target their weapons!"

"Yes ma'am."

On the viewscreen, Val Jean closed in on them.

"They're firing weapons!" said Gombe.

Val Jean blasted Voyager's ventral shields. The whole ship shook.

"Ventral shields down to 25%," said Gombe. "Bleedthrough damage to deck 15. Main deflector is offline. Captain, I can't lock their phaser power distributor."

An image formed in Janeway's head of Val Jean. She didn't know how her power grid was arranged, but it had to be something simple and robust. There was no way to take it down without destroying the entire ship. And the phasers looked to be about the same way.

"Mr. Gombe! Can you knock out their sensors?"

Beat. "Yes, ma'am."

"Do it!"

#

"Voyager is firing!"

Val Jean shook with the impact. "Their phasers are at half power," said Torres, who'd taken the tactical station. "Still raping our shields."

"Mohommad, come about and take us over their dorsal side," said Seska. "We need to hit their impulse reactors if we want to have any chance."

"Yes ma'am," said Mohommad. Val Jean cut her engines, pivoted around, and leapt to full power.

"Target their impulse engines!" said Seska. "Fire at will!"

Val Jean blasted Voyager's shields, directly at the weak spot where hot propellant from the engines passed through the shields. They got one clean hit directly on the starboard impulse engine, which flared spectacularly and died. All the lights went off on Voyager.

"Got them!" said Torres. "Their shields are--"

The lights came back on on Voyager. Val Jean took a phaser burst right in the face. The crew was thrown out of their seats.

"Report!" shouted Seska.

"They punched right through our forward shields!" said Torres. "Fuck me, they knocked out the main and the backup sensor array! I'm totally blind! I can't even get the external cameras to respond!"

"Mohommad, get us out of here!" said Seska.

"I'm blind too!"

"For the love of the Prophets, we're in space! Pick a direction, go to warp, and try not to crash into the sun! Now!"

#

"They're warping off," said Gombe. "It looks like they picked a random direction off the plane of the ecliptic."

Janeway let her breath out with a shudder. For an instant, she'd experienced something like pure, raw joy. Victory! Ancient primate instincts sweeping a lifetime of civilization aside in one burst.

But that passed, and she was left with the knowledge that her ship was now more broken than it had been before.

"Casualty report," said Janeway.

"None," said Gombe. "But engineering is reporting the starboard impulse reactor is completely destroyed and the backup badly damaged and forced into shutdown mode. We've lost half our remaining power generation and propulsion."

"How long until they can get the backup online?" said Janeway.

"Mr. Carey is reporting six weeks," said Gombe.

Janeway hung her head. I hope sparing the fucking Maquis was worth it, she thought. Now we're even deeper in it.

And then it got worse.

"Captain, I have new contacts on subspace sensors," said Gombe. "Sixteen Kazon vessels have left warp in the system Kuiper belt."

Oh, shit, thought Janeway.



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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 29 Jan) PostPosted: 2010-02-04 07:18pm
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Voyager

"Mr. Gombe, can you identify the ship types?" said Janeway.

"Fifteen are similar to the battleship Predator. One is larger. Judging by the number of sensor emitters on its hull, it appears to be some kind of surveillance or electronic warfare ship."

"They're looking for us," said Janeway. "Janeway to engineering: what's the status of our defensive systems?"

"Not good, said Carey. "I can get you thirty percent shields and phasers. Photon torpedoes are ready."

"We could hold them at bay with photon torpedoes," said Gombe. "Three full-yield shots should be enough to disable one battleship."

"What's our loadout?" said Janeway.

Gombe grimaced. "Thirty, captain."

"What will phasers do to their armor at 33%?"

"Ruin the paint," said Gombe.

"And the engines don't work," said Janeway. We can't fight, and we can't run. She looked up at the viewscreen. Planet Hell, the ugly yellow ball, was floating serenely, silent and abandoned, as it had been for ten millennia.

"Engineering, this is Janeway. How long could our shields hold up in the planet's atmosphere?"

"What altitude?

"Zero, Mr. Carey."

#

Main Engineering

Has she gone crazy? thought Carey. "Twelve hours, but that's not the biggest problem. We can't dump our internal heat into subspace because the heat dissipation system is still down. Even if the shields could block out every bit of heat from the air and ground--and they can't--we won't be able to shed our internal heat. We'll be roasting in half that time. And if the shields fail, even for an instant, we'll get crushed like a bug."

"What about the structural integrity field?

"The SIF could hold up against the pressure if the outer hull was intact, but it isn't," said Carey. "And there's no internal bulkhead or forcefield designed to withstand 90 atmospheres."

"How fast can you get the warp drive online?"

"Six hours, minimum," said Carey.

"Then we have no choice. Prepare the ship for landing. Do whatever you have to do to reinforce the shields and ensure they stay up no matter what. You have five minutes."

"Five minutes!" said Carey. "Captain, you have no idea--"

"Five minutes! Janeway out."

Rodriguez stared at Carey. "What?" snapped Carey.

"What are you going to do?" said Rodriguez.

"What do you think I'm going to do? Reroute all available power to the shield generators, and put every backup generator and battery we have on standby."

"Yes sir," said Rodriguez. Beat. "She's going to get us all killed," he said.

"Not if I have anything to say about it," said Carey.

#

"Captain, I'm detecting a subspace particle beam coming from a point source in the Kuiper belt," said Ensign Wildman, working at the bridge's makeshift Science station. "It looks like some kind of crude subspace sensor."

"That e-war ship," said Janeway. "It has to be from there. We need to take it out."

"It's guarded by fifteen Kazon battleships," said Gombe. "And we can't reach it."

"We can't, but the aeroshuttle can," said Janeway. She stood up. "Mr. Gombe, get a pilot, an engineer, a transporter operator, and as many antimatter bottles as you can carry. Get down to the aeroshuttle, start prepping it for launch. Everyone else, blue alert. We're landing in Hell."

#

Voyager descended into Planet Hell's atmosphere. They were already through the sulfuric acid clouds and could see, through heat shimmers, the ruined surface.

"We only have ten more minutes of cruising before we have to either land or return to space," warned Carey.

"Mr. Gombe, are you ready?" said Janeway.

"Yes ma'am. Aeroshuttle ready for launch in two minutes."

"Mr. Gombe, does the shuttle have a name?" said Janeway suddenly. She'd heard sending a ship without a name into battle was bad luck. She'd never believed it, but now she needed all the luck she could get.

"No ma'am."

Janeway thrummed her fingers on her armrest. "How does Earhart sound?" said Janeway.

"I like it," said Gombe.

"We'll give her a proper christening when you get back," said Janeway. She stood up and, fighting the bucking of the ship as it pushed through the thick air, walked to Wildman's science station.

"We need to find a landing spot now," she said.

"I've got one," said Wildman. "Thirty kilometers north-northeast, there's an old submarine trench that's just wide enough for us and deep enough the Kazon would have to be almost directly overhead to see us. And the best part is, it's less than a hundred kilometers from one of those towers. Hopefully our magnetic signature will be lost in the background."

"It's the best chance we've got," said Janeway. "Helm, take us down."

"Bridge, this is Earhart. Pre-launch sequence complete; we are ready for launch."

"Release the docking clamps," said Janeway. "Earhart, don't ignite your warp core until you've cleared the atmosphere. We don't want to give the Kazons any clue we're down here."

"Yes ma'am," said Gombe.

"Good luck and good hunting, Earhart," said Janeway.

#

Kazon battleship Wrath

"Nothing," said Jabin, reading the display. "No sign of Voyager on subspace sensors. If they're here, their warp core is offline."

"What of Val Jean?" said Razik. Wrath was his flagship, and he maintained a throne on its bridge.

"It's in an eccentric orbit of the star, six AUs out and well above the plane of the ecliptic."

"Is Voyager still on visual sensors?"

"Yes. Right in the same place Predator found them. But those images are five hours old. If they restarted their warp drive, they could be anywhere by now."

"None of our observation stations have detected Voyager," said Razik.

"I think we should consider the possibility our observation stations couldn't detect Voyager," said Jabin.

"Perhaps," said Razik. "But perhaps not. Dispatch scouts to inspect Ocampa to see if Voyager is still there or not."

"I obey, First Maje," said Jabin. And then: "I have heard the Halkonnians have subspace sensors which can detect realspace mass, not just warp fields. It would be nice to have those."

"After this incident is taken care of, I will make acquiring them my first priority," said Razik. "The Halkonnians are overdue for a raid anyway."

"What about Val Jean? They're undoubtedly observing us on behalf of Voyager."

"We'll never catch them with a battleship," said Razik. "And they outgun our scouts. Leave them alone for now. When we locate Voyager, Val Jean will be forced to rush to assist, and then we'll engage them both on our terms."

#

Earhart
Voyager elapsed time on the surface: 10 minutes

Lieutenant Obayana Gombe glanced at the crate full of antimatter bottles and tried to make the sour feeling in the pit of his stomach go away.

"We've cleared the atmosphere, sir," said Ensign Baytart, Voyager's senior surviving helmsman, now part of Earhart's five-man crew.

Gombe toggled the communicator. "We're ready, captain," he said.

"Good," said Janeway. "Is the relay link operating?" Her image and voice was staticky, with weird pops and whistles in the background.

"The link is working, but your signal is coming in poorly," said Gombe.

"There's an electrical storm nearby causing interference," said Janeway. "Welcome to the wonderful world of radio. Unfortunately, we can't risk a subspace transmission. Make sure you keep close to us. If you wander too far, lightspeed lag will start causing problems, too."

"Understood, Captain," said Gombe, after relaying Janeway's last order to Baytart. "Everything is ready here."

"Well," said Janeway. "No time like the present. Hail the Kazon."

#

Wrath

"Lord Razik, we are being hailed," said Wrath's communications operator. He turned to look at the First Maje directly. "It is Janeway."

"Well by all means," said Razik, "greet her."

"The signal is audio and visual," said the operator. "The video format is new to me, but...it looks like it has its own decoding instructions built into signal." The operator, who had to be a certified electrical engineer to serve on the First Maje's ship, was plainly astounded. "Stand by."

"These Federations are very clever, aren't they, Maje Jabin?" said Razik.

"Too clever by half," said Jabin.

A picture appeared on the central viewscreen, of a blue starfield encircled by two branches of some sort. "I have the signal, Lord Razik," said the comms operator.

The stars-and-branches card disappeared, replaced by an ashen-skinned Kazonoid sitting in what looked like a starship's control room. His--her?--forehead was smooth and his hair seemed to be composed of straight strands wrapped tightly about his head. He wore a simple blue tunic with a gold badge and small metallic pips on his collar.

The alien smiled. "I am Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. With whom do I have the pleasure of conversing?"

Female, then, thought Jabin. He made no attempt to contain his revulsion. The alien looked like a giant, talking Kazon fetus. Other aliens in the background shared the same appearance, with minor differences. Maybe this one is an albino, he thought, noticing a dark skinned alien sitting beside her, though that one had pointed ears, so maybe it was a different species or subspecies. He looked away; the smooth foreheads were making his skin crawl.

"I am Jal Razik, First Maje of the Kazon Ogla. It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the Ocampa system."

"I believe Jal Jabin already formally welcomed us to Kazon space," said Janeway.

"Oh dear, yes," said Razik. "You have caused me quite a bit of trouble, Captain Janeway."

Janeway's signal was poor quality. Hisses, pops, and whines contaminated the audio, and occasionally the colors of the image would invert or the picture would 'ghost'. Jabin quietly slipped over the comms operator.

"Can't you clean that up?" he said.

"I'm trying," said the operator. "It's coming from their end, though."

Jabin scowled. "What's the signal source?"

"It's coming from the planet. Low orbital altitude, though strangely the source doesn't seem to be actually orbiting."

"Voyager?"

"I can't tell, Maje Jabin."

Janeway was speaking. "Maje Jabin caused me trouble first. However, I'm willing to set aside the whole incident as a...misunderstanding."

"A misunderstanding?" hissed Jabin. "She killed--"

Razik gestured for him to keep quiet. Jabin did.

"In fact," said Janeway, "I'm even willing to compensate you for the damage to Maje Jabin's ship."

"Oh?" said Razik. Most Kazon, let alone most aliens, wouldn't have been able to read more than mild interest in Razik's voice, but Jabin, who'd known the First Maje since they were shitting their diapers, heard the surprise and excitement. Greedy fat fuck, thought Jabin, resigned. He's going to let Janeway buy her way out of her punishment. He knew it was going to end like this. He'd be lucky to see a farthing of whatever Janeway paid--Razik was going to stick him with a wrecked ship and no chance to restore his honor.

"In our part of space, several civilizations once issued currency backed by antimatter," said Janeway. "Does that sound familiar to you?"

Now Razik couldn't hide his excitement from anyone. "As a matter of fact, the Chalcernodonian crown is backed by antimatter. How ever did you know?"

"A lucky guess," said Janeway.

Neelix! thought Jabin. He checked the sensor readout. Sure enough, his warp field was active, in the L5 junk field. Picking fleas out of his ass, sorting through garbage, and humming show tunes, totally oblivious to the Kazon fleet in the system. "I'll take care of you, too," muttered Jabin.

"A lucky guess indeed," said Razik.

"I'm willing to offer the Kazon-Ogla fifty kilograms of anti-deuterium as payment for the damage inflicted to your ship."

Razik's entire face shined with avarice. Even Jabin was given pause. Fifty kilos, an absolute fortune....

"There are two conditions," said Janeway.

"Name them," said Razik.

"First, you withdraw your fleet from this system until we leave. Second, we know you've been in contact with the Caretaker in the past. We want to know every detail of that contact. Every word."

"I can send you all our files on the Caretaker right away. But leaving the system...for that, we might need something more," said Razik.

"Such as?" said Janeway.

"Such as the secret of your teleporting bombs. Or subspace sensors small enough to fit on a ship the size of Val Jean."

"I'm afraid I can't offer that," said Janeway. "The laws of my people forbid exchanging our technology."

"How unfortunate," said Razik.

"I can offer you more antimatter," said Janeway.

"How much more?"

"Another fifty kilos," said Janeway. "Fifty now, and another fifty we'll leave behind when we leave. You can leave one or two ships to monitor us, but not the entire fleet."

"How will you deliver the first fifty kilos?"

"As you have probably seen, we're out of the system. I hope you understand that after the arrival of fifteen of your battleships, we thought it might be...prudent if we left."

"An understandable precaution," said Razik.

"However, the starship USS Earhart can ferry the antimatter to you."

Several officers in the control room looked around in confusion, but Razik kept his cool. "That would be acceptable," said Razik. "Perhaps we could meet at the fifth planet?"

"We can meet you in the Kuiper belt," said Janeway.

Jabin was only half-listening to the conversation. He was looking for patterns in the static. He eased over to the comms operator again. "Have you seen interference like that before? Solar flares, perhaps?"

"I don't think it's being caused by solar interference," he said. "Look at these static spikes. That looks like nearby lightning strikes."

"An electrical storm?" said Jabin.

"That would be my guess."

"They're in a planetary atmosphere," said Jabin. "Could they...Ocampa?"

"I don't know, Maje Jabin. The pressure on the surface...but I'm no mechanical engineer. And who knows what these aliens can do?"

"Can you tell if it's a gas giant storm or a terrestrial storm?"

"Perhaps. Give me some time to analyze it."

"Quick as you can," said Jabin.

"There's no need for you to come all the way to the Kuiper belt," said Razik.

"We would hate to trouble you," said Janeway.

"It's no trouble at all," said Razik.

"I insist," said Janeway.

Razik leaned back and chuckled. "As you wish, Captain. We eagerly await Earhart's arrival."

"I will dispatch them immediately," said Janeway.

"I will give them our files on the Caretaker as soon as they arrive," said Razik.

"Excellent," said Janeway. "If we have no further business...?"

"None whatsoever."

"We'll be in contact. Janeway out." The screen went blank.

"That woman must think we're idiots," said Razik. "All ships, prepare for battle."

"What are we doing, First Maje?" said Jabin.

"They're hiding somewhere in this solar system," said Razik. "I trust you are working on that problem already?"

"Yes, First Maje."

"Good. Do you think you can discover where they're hiding without using scouts?"

Jabin looked to the comms operator. The operator indicated he could. "Yes, Maje Razik," said Jabin.

"Good. No need to spook them, then."

"What about the scouts we've already dispatched?"

"Hmm," said Razik. "Send them to pay Mr. Neelix a visit...that rattrap ship of his could use a safety inspection."

"Yes, Maje Razik," said Jabin.

"We'll wait here for Janeway's generous 'gift' to arrive. I was unaware they had a third starship in the system," he said, giving Jabin an icy glance, "so we will take care of it first. By then, we should know where Voyager is. We'll use the scouts in the inner system to keep them pinned in place, and then when the battleships arrive, we will flush them out and engage them. We will capture them if possible, but if necessary, we'll destroy them. And then, Maj Jabin, we will have a discussion with the Caretaker. I trust Predator is ready?"

"It is, my lord," said Jabin. "What about their teleporting bombs?"

"Randomly vary the power-up and firing timing on your coilguns," said Razik. "The trick depends on them predicting openings in our shields ahead of time."

"You're betting they can't teleport through shields," said Jabin.

"If they can teleport through shields, we have no chance against them no matter how many ships we bring," said Razik.

"That fact would seem to warrant caution, my lord," said Jabin.

"Ah, but Maje Jabin," said Razik, "If they could teleport through our shields, why would they be hiding?"

Jabin considered that. When he realized he had no good answer, he smiled.

"My lord," said the sensor operator, "the Spyglass is detecting a new warp field in-system, near Ocampa. Configuration unfamiliar, but similar to Val Jean. It's coming this way at ten times c."

"Half an hour, then," said Razik. "Excellent. All ships, prepare for battle."



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 4 Feb) PostPosted: 2010-02-10 01:28am
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Voyager
Total elapsed time on surface: 15 minutes

The connection with the Kazon went dead.

"We're ready, captain," said Gombe.

"Go. Try to get away from the planet on impulse and then light the warp drive. When you get there, try to get them to pass the information to you before you send any antimatter over, but if things get hot, kill them."

"Understood, ma'am," said Gombe. "Earhart out."

The connection with Earheart broke. There was silence on the bridge.

"Mister Kim, exterior camera view, please."

The main viewscreen, which had been blank, flashed on. Voyager was sitting on a flat canyon bottom. Janeway could just make out the trench walls in the murky distance, hidden by heat shimmers and dust suspended in the impossibly thick, impossibly orange air.

"We're getting fantastic data, Captain," said Wildman. "The seismic readings alone...this isn't like any class N planet I've ever seen, ma'am."

Janeway wished she could be excited. Now the only thing she heard was "seismic". "Is there any danger to us from seismic activity?"

"Not from earthquakes," she said. "We're far enough from the trench walls we're in no danger from rockslides. It looks like all the loose material has fallen already. The sediment we're resting on is dry and compact; it won't liquefy."

"What about volcanic activity?"

"We're five thousand kilometers from the mid-ocean ridge. That's where most of the active volcanoes on this planet are. The subduction zone we're in doesn't seem to have any active volcanoes associated with it...which is damn weird. Pardon me, ma'am. Plate tectonics must have frozen already, which is unheard of on class N which tipped over from M so recently."

"If tectonics have frozen, why are we getting seismic readings at all?"

"The crust is frozen, but the mantle is very hot and active. If the star didn't show every sign of being a middle-aged G3V, I would assume this was a much younger planet. And...Captain, without better two more seismometers, I can't tell for sure, but there appears to be a very hot mantle plume directly beneath that tower a hundred klicks from here."

"Did they build the tower in a caldera volcano?"

Wildman shook her head. "The topographic data doesn't look like it. The tower is standing in a river delta, so maybe river sediment buried all of it, but we have good radar data all the way down to the bedrock, and there's no sign of previous eruptions. In fact, there's no evidence of mantle plume vulcanism anywhere near here."

"Could be a new plume," said Janeway.

"It would be an odd coincidence if it was," said Wildman.

"Not if the tower builders wanted to take advantage of geothermal power."

"There are one-hundred twenty towers spaced in a perfect grid around the planet's surface," said Wildman. "The way I see it, either this tower was unique in taking advantage of geothermal energy, this planet just happens to have one-hundred twenty good geothermal sites spaced in a perfect grid around the planet, or the tower-builders made one-hundred twenty good geothermal sites."

"When we build a big project on a planet's surface, we modify different parts to take advantage of different local conditions all the time," said Janeway.

"All the tower sites are outwardly identical," said Wildman.

Janeway's head hurt. "Just keep working on it," she snapped. "Are we in any danger of an eruption?"

Wildman shook her head. "I don't think so, ma'am."

"Good. Just keep gathering data. We can analyze it when we get home."

"Yes, ma'am," said Wildman. She sounded faintly hurt. Janeway's stomach churned. Too much coffee.

Janeway squeezed her eyes closed, trying to focus through the discomfort and exhaustion. Half an hour until Earhart reached the Kazons.

#

Earhart
Voyager elapsed time on the surface: 47 minutes

"Approaching Kazon battlefleet," said Baytart.

"Drop warp," said Gombe. "Load the transporter. Keep the shields up until I say to drop them. Phasers on standby."

Earhart dropped to sublight speed sixty thousand kilometers from the Kazon battlegroup. "Their shields are up," said Gombe. "They're on their guard." He instructed the computer to highlight the ewar ship on the main viewscreen. Then he took a deep breath and hailed Jal Razik.

#

Wrath

"We are being hailed by Earhart," said the comms operator.

"Show me the ship," said Razik.

Earhart appeared on the main viewscreen. It was about the same size as a scout, with external warp nacelles mounted on what looked like wings.

"Not very intimidating, is it?" said Razik. "Answer their hails."

"They say they're ready to download information about the Caretaker."

"Tell them we don't have the subspace bandwidth to send it quickly," said Razik. "We will have to use a comms laser. Make sure they maintain a constant velocity and heading."

"They have agreed," said the operator.

"It's only a few quads," said Jabin. "They'll see through this."

"Then send them whatever," said Razik. "Sports scores, payroll reports, pornography, humorous dataweb videos. Just keep feeding them garbage until we get a firing solution."

"Yes, Maje Razik," said Jabin.

#

Earhart

"Here it comes," said the engineer. "It looks like it's encrypted, but the computer is cracking it. Standby."

Gombe gripped the sides of his chair. "Ensign Baytart, be ready to warp. Don't even wait for my command. As soon as they start powering their guns, we go to maximum warp. Get us as close to that ewar ship as you can."

"Got it!" said the engineer. "Looks like there are actual reports about their encounters with the Caretaker here. Video too, standby, generating a codec."

"Show it to me," said Gombe.

An inset appeared in the main viewscreen. A naked Kazon was being fellated by another naked Kazon.

"What a bunch of assholes," said Gombe. The computer sounded an alarm; they had just been pinged by a tracking radar.

"Power up sequence!" said Baytart. "Going to warp!"

#

Voyager

Janeway was shaken awake in her chair by Ensign Kim.

"Earhart has engaged the Kazon," he said.

A feeble squirt of adrenaline hit Janeway's brain. It woke her up, but it wouldn't last long. "On screen," she said.

#

"We have a firing solution on Earhart," said Jabin.

"Fire at will!" said Razik.

Wrath shook with the power of a full alpha strike--massive overkill for a tiny scout. Every other ship in the fleet fired, too, creating a cone of death a hundred kilometers across, with Earhart right in the middle.

What happened next was so fast Jabin had no time to warn anyone.

The subspace sensors detected a massive warp spike from Earhart and saw the ship warping faster than light to a position less than a hundred meters from the Spyglass. But the radar, infrared, and visible light sensors which controlled the guns saw two Earharts. The confusion lasted less than a tenth of a second, but it was long enough to delay the guns' reaction--no matter how fast the computers were, turret tracking motors operated at finite speed. Jabin had just enough time to process it when Earhart fired on the Spyglass.

#

Earhart's phasers ripped at the ewar ship's shields. Up close, it looked like a collection of radar dishes glued to a cylinder a third of a kilometer long. The shields, which had been designed by the Kazon to block kinetic weapons and lasers, flickered under particle beam bombardment. Sparks flew from the sensor dishes and the ship's hull.

"Our phasers are getting partial burnthrough," said the chief engineer.

"Mr. Baytart, keep us moving, full impulse. Stay as close to the ewar ship as you can." Shit, the ewar ship is unarmed, thought Gombe. No transporter bombs here unless we can knock a hole in the shield.

Baytart took these contradictory commands and pulled a maneuver that made the inertial dampers wail in agony. Gombe was thrown around in his seat.

"Hull stresses exceeding safety margins!" shouted the engineer.

"Keep moving!" said Gombe. He keyed the phaser firing buttons and kept blasting the ewar ship. "Bring us across their bow. That's where the subspace array is."

#

"They're firing some kind of particle beam weapon at the Spyglass," said Jabin. "The shields are only partially containing it, and they're doing terrific damage to the sensor arrays."

"The sublight sensors don't matter," said Razik. "Just keep them off the subspace array. All nearby ships, fire your point defense into this area," he said, his fingers dancing across a touch screen as he spoke. "Don't worry about the Spyglass; PD rounds won't penetrate its shields."

#

Earhart whipped across the bow of the ewar ship, right into a cloud of bullets. The shuttle's shields flashed continuously, rapidly eroding away. The phasers flahsed uselessly against the ship's reinforced forward shields.

"Warp out!" said Gombe. The warp drive roared for less than a second, and they were ten thousand kilometers away from the fleet.

"Microtorpedoes ready," said Gombe. "Targeting the ewar ship."

"Warping back," said Baytart.

The warp engine lit up again. Earhart fired its entire magazine of grenade-sized antimatter missiles in one burst. Earhart came to rest near the ewar ship's stern just as they hit the bow shields at warp speed. Baytart hit the impulse throttle and Earhart skimmed over the ewar's ship dorsal side, raking it with phaser fire. They passed the bow, where the shields were still fizzing and glowing, enough to block transporters but not much else. Earhart gave the ship a solid shot in the face. This time, they penetrated, splitting one of the detector's hexagonal cells before the shields recovered. More point defense bullets chewed away at Earhart. They warped off again, this time to three full light seconds away.

"Earhart to Voyager," said Gombe.

"This is Janeway."

"Captain, the subspace array is protected by heavy shields. We managed to knock them down momentarily and damage one cell, but we can't penetrate them again with what we have left. What are your orders?"

"We're not going to get another opportunity like this", she said. "Warp back to transporter range, try to goad the battleships into firing their main guns. Kill as many as you can."

"Yes, ma'am," said Gombe. "Warp to within twenty-five thousand kilometers of Wrath. Be ready to drop shields"

#

"They're back," said Jabin. "They're making an attack run on us."

"They couldn't be more obvious if they painted 'bait' on their hull," snorted Razik. "Well, let's oblige them. Target them with main batteries and fire when ready."

#

"Main guns powering up," said the engineer.

"Lower shields. Ensign Golwatt, activate automatic transport sequence."

From behind the cockpit came the whine of a transporter.

#

Ensign Golwatt had specialized in transporter operations at the Academy. She had a knack for the temperamental machines, an instinct for their operations that bought Earhart and her crew approximately ten extra seconds of life.

When the transporter beam struck the Kazon shields, the beam "bounced" and the five kilogram antimatter bottle returned to the pattern buffer, waiting to rematerialize on the platform. The only problem was, the bottle's containment field was on a five second timer, after which it would collapse, and there wouldn't be enough time to cycle the transporter again.

She did the only thing she could do. While the bottle rematerialized, she flicked up the transporter bay's containment fields. By the time it was done sparkling, the transporter's cubbyhole--located next to the ship's main airlock--was sealed from the rest of the ship. Convincing the computer to open the airlock took three seconds. She snatched the bottle off the pad just as the doors blew open, and, pushing off the deck as the air rushed out, leaped out the airlock with a bottle of death clutched to her breast. She was three kilometers clear of the shuttle when the seals fell and antimatter touched matter, vaporizing her and searing everyone in the still-unshielded Earhart with enough raw gamma rays to kill a Tyrannosaurus.

#

Obayana Gombe knew he was dead even before he heard the radiation alarm. "Voyager, this is Earhart," he said. "We have taken severe damage. We will try to complete our mission." Pause. "Tell my parents I love them." He sent Voyager a copy of all the data the Kazons had sent him, then cut the comms.

The world was starting to spin. Big dose, he thought. At least 20 grays. He'd be unconscious in minutes. He focused long enough to put a course into the computer, made the sign of the cross and prayed the isolinear chips hadn't all been fried, hit the "engage" button, and then slumped over into a coma.

The Federation starship Earhart lit her warp engines one last time. She slammed into the weakened forward shields of the Spyglass at warp 3 with forty-five kilograms of antimatter still on board. Most of it was blown back into space, but more than enough hit to turn the forward hundred meters of the Spyglass, subspace sensor and all, into molten, twisted junk.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 9 Feb) PostPosted: 2010-06-14 02:54am
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The cabin lights were low. Janeway appreciated that. She sat on the bed, legs hanging over the side. Next to her sat Chakotay. She'd insisted the armed guards stay out.

"They were waiting for it," said Janeway. "They didn't just know how to block a transporter bomb, they knew how to throw it back at us."

"How did they do it?"

"They're still analyzing the logs, but the working hypothesis is that they varied their power-up timing."

Chakotay nodded. That's what he would have done. "They're backwards, but they're not stupid," he said. "You know the difference between a tactic and a trick?"

"What's that?"

"A trick only works once."

Janeway sighed. "I killed them."

"Were they the first to die by your orders?"

She shook her head slowly. Chakotay looked puzzled. She explained. "Just before we left. Bujold asked me to send someone to the bridge while the ship was in the Badlands. I volunteered to go myself but she...didn't think my expertise matched her needs. So I flipped through my personnel files until I found someone with experience studying interstellar plasma anomalies--Lieutenant Donaldson. Maria Donaldson, twenty-six, husband and infant son back on Alpha Centauri. The first time I met her was when I told her to report to the bridge."

"And she died in the blowout," said Chakotay.

"Yes," said Janeway.

"It wasn't your fault," said Chakotay.

"I've told myself that. It doesn't seem to be making any difference."

"It never does," said Chakotay.

"How many have you lost?" said Janeway.

"Seventeen," he said.

"How do you cope with it?"

"I tell myself they died for a reason." The words hung in the air.

"Even when they didn't?"

"Gombe and the others bought us time. You said the Kazons have fallen back deeper in the Kuiper Belt, and their scouts are advancing slowly."

"A few hours at most," said Janeway.

"That's better than what we had," said Chakotay.

" We can't hide forever."

"Then let's not. Get the warp core back online and let's show them what this ship can really do."

Janeway shook her head. "There's not enough time. Carey's working as fast as he can, but if the Kazon maintain their approach pattern, they'll be here before he's finished." I waited too long, she thought. My fault. Everything's my fault.

Chakotay had an answer. "Let Torres help. She's spent her entire adult life jerry-rigging warp engines."

Janeway was about to object. Wait, she thought. What's the worst that could happen? We'll all die? She laughed, once, a short bark that she refused to explain to Chakotay. "You're right, why not?" She tapped her commbadge. "Bridge, this is Janeway. Hail Val Jean."

"They're not responding, ma'am. Their communications might be out."

"Understood," said Janeway. Oh, shit. "Oh, shit," she said.

"What?" said Chakotay.

"We knocked out their communications and their sensors. They're blind and deaf out there."

Chakotay's eyes widened. "If they Kazon go after them...Captain, I have to warn them." He seemed to think about it, and then added: "I have to bring them spare parts. If their comms aren't back up now, it's because B'Elana doesn't have the spares to fix it."

"How?"

"I'll take a shuttle."

"We can't lower the shields to let you out," said Janeway.

"We'll phase-invert the shuttle's shields; we'll pass right through Voyager's shields, like a photon torpedo."

"That's incredibly dangerous. If you leave a gap in either sheid, even for a moment..."

"The shuttlebay bulkhead is reinforced, right?" said Chakotay.

Janeway had to check a PADD to find out. "Yes," she said. "But it won't hold ninety atmospheres. Hold on a second." She tapped on the PADD, pulling some (very) rough calculations. "Any gas that enters the shuttlebay from outside will expand and cool before it hits the bulkhead. The shuttlebay is a big space with a lot of room for the gas to expand. As long as the gap in the shields isn't very large or open very long, the pressure from the outside atmosphere won't break the bulkheads." She looked up from the PADD to him. "On the other hand, it will crush the shuttlecraft like an egg."

"I'll take my chances," he said. "I will need a good pilot, though, if we run into trouble."

"I thought you could fly," she said.

"I can, but not well," he said.

"My best shuttle pilot is dead," said Janeway.

"No, he's not."

#

"You're kidding, right?" said Paris.

"No, I'm not," said Janeway. "We need your help."

Paris glared at both of them. "Why should I risk my life to help the Federation or the Maquis."

"Why don't you think about someone besides yourself for once in your sorry life?" said Chakotay.

"I did! Fat lot of good it did me."

"All right, fine," said Janeway. "We'll find someone else. Go back to sickbay."

"Tom, if you don't help me, A'shadieeyah is going to die," said Chakotay.

Paris froze halfway to the doors. He turned around. "She's on Val Jean?"

"Of course she is," said Chakotay.

"Bujold tried to use her against me...I just thought she was lying...shit! Where's the shuttle bay?"

Janeway pointed at a nearby goldshirt. "Take him to the shuttlebay. Mr. Paris, start your pre-flight checklist as soon as you get down there." She tapped her commbadge. "Mr. Carey, has the cargo been delivered yet?"

"Yes, ma'am. One Mark XXI general-purpose sensor pallet. It's been loaded onto the shuttcraft [i]Drake. Crewman Jaxz is waiting there with it."

"You're all set," said Janeway. She glanced at the door through which Paris had vanished. "Is this going to work?"

"Tom Paris is useless as a leader, as a friend, and as a human being in general," said Chakotay. "He's good at two things and two things only: saving his own skin and flying spaceships. Hopefully, I'll be back in an hour."

"That's not exactly reassuring," said Janeway. "Are you sure you don't want a different pilot?"

He shook his head. "I watched Tom Paris run an entire Cardassian wolfpack in circles for three straight days once. You fly with the Maquis, you learn how to fly in hostile territory."

"But you hate each others' guts."

"You learn to make do with what you have in the Maquis, too," said Chakotay. "Besides, I can always kill him later."

Janeway wondered how literal he was being.

"I'd better go," said Chakotay. "One more thing, though. If you don't mind, I have two pieces of advice for you."

"What are they?" she said, expecting some tactical insight that would help them if the Kazon suddenly rushed to Ocampa.

"Number one: get some sleep," he said.

"But there's so much to do," said Janeway.

"Trust your crew to do it," said Chakotay. "They're Starfleet; they can look after themselves for a few hours."

Janeway wanted to argue with him, but the moment he mentioned sleep, it was suddenly as if her mind was full of pancake syrup. She was holding off fatigue by sheer will power and running out of it fast. Voyager was, for the moment, immobile and hidden. If anything was going to go wrong, it would go wrong with or without her on the bridge.

"What's number two?" said Janeway.

"You're in command. You've been in command for hours and you'll be in command for the forseeable future. You should dress the part."

"What do you mean?"

He pointed at her chest. "Put on a red uniform."

"I'm sorry I shot you," said Janeway.

"Ithappens," said Chakotay.

They parted with a salute. Janeway started wandering in the direction of her cabin. She paused a moment to lean against the wall to rest, and was startled to wake up on the floor five minutes later, having fallen asleep standing up.

As it turned out, her cabin had taken a direct hit from a Kazon railgun shell and the entire section was vented to space. She needed to make new arrangements.

"Computer, find the nearest vacant officers' cabin and assign it to me," said Janeway.

There was a chirp and a moment later, the computer gave her a room number on the same deck. It wasn't until she got there that she realized it was Bujold's. A crazy accident or a subtle hint from the machine? She was too tired to care.

As it happened, she and Bujold had been about the same size. She took one of the former captain's uniforms out of her wardrobe and draped it over a chair. How am I going to change uniforms with my damn arm in a sling? she thought. Never mind. It could wait. "Computer, wake me in two hours," she said. She laid down on the bed, flat on her back, eyes closed. She was asleep ten seconds later.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated 14 June) PostPosted: 2010-06-14 05:01pm
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------------
"Pre-flight checklist complete. We're ready when you are, Voyager."

"Acknowledged, Drake. Stand by for launch clearance."

Paris leaned back in his seat and danced his fingers across the Okudagram.

"Do we have the right parts with us?" said Chakotay.

"Yes. I already checked," said Paris.

"Crewman.... Jaxz?" said Chakotay, taking a stab at the pronunciation. "Could you check the cargo for me?"

"I told you I inspected it already," said Paris.

"It's a Mark XXI general-purpose sensor pallet," said Jaxz. He was a short, small alien in a gold uniform, not much bigger than a human twelve year old. Paris couldn't place his species.

"I told you," said Paris. "I'm not an idiot, you know," he muttered.

"Could have fooled me," said Chakotay.

"Drake, this is shuttle control. You're cleared for launch."

"Roger Voyager," said Paris. A few more keystrokes, and Drake rises off the deck and glides into position over the launch zone.

"Matching shield frequency to Voyager," said Chakotay, tapping at his own console. There was a brief blue shimmer outside the cockpit. "Phase inverted."

"Opening shuttle bay doors." Pause. "The chief engineer would appreciate it if we could close them again as quickly as possible."

"Roger that," said Paris.

Ahead of them, the doors drew open like a curtain. A beam of hellish orange light speared Drake, widened to lay across the whole shuttlebay like a disease. Voyager's shield was visibly flashing and crackling.

Paris's finger hovered over the launch button. Neither he nor Chakotay said anything.

"Well," said Paris. "It's now or never." He jabbed the launch button and Drake hurled itself towards the shield. The shuttlebay doors were already sliding closed again.

Drake hit the shield with a bang and rattled so hard Paris thought for a moment they'd screwed up and bounced off. And then they were clear of the nacelles and rising vertically, the shuttle standing on its ass and roaring straight up, trying to clear the troposphere before the atmosphere crushed them. Drake's engines bellowed as Paris forced them through air like ocean water, drowning out the alarms and Crewman Jaxz's shouts. They cleared the canyon walls and there was nothing to see through the cockpit windows except the cloud deck. Paris glanced at the altimiter. The numbers were rising so fast he couldn't read them.

"External pressure falling!" said Paris. "Approching the lower cloud layer."

"Drake this is Voyager. What is your status?"

"Thirty kilometers and climbing, [i]Voyager
." The numbers on the external barometer and thermometer were falling. "We're clear of the danger zone." He scanned his sensors, looking for any dangerous weather. "No thunderstorms nearby. We'll clear the atmosphere in ninety seconds."

"The closest Kazon scout is six AUs from here. We're transmitting their coordinates now."

"Acknowledged," said Chakotay. To Paris: "I've got a read on Val Jean." He showed Paris the coordinates.

"It'll take at least an hour to reach them at Warp 4," said Paris. He entered the coordinates. "Engaging." The shuttle zipped away at more than 500 c.

Chakotay kept watching his sensor screen. "Shit," he said. "There's a Kazon scout vectoring right towards them."

"Will we beat them there?"

"Just barely," said Chakotay.

"Does this thing have weapons?" said Paris.

Chakotay tapped on his console. "Type four phasers," he said.

Paris snorted. "They might as well glue a dustbuster to the nacelles," he said (the origin of that nickname for the Federation's standard hand phasers was obscure).

"Kazon shields only partially block phasers," said Chakotay. "On the other hand, their armor holds up fairly well. If we do get into a fight, we'll have to aim for a soft spot."

"What are their scouts like?" said Paris.

"Thirty meters long. Fastest I've ever seen them travel is warp 7. They maneuver pretty badly at sublight; not a lot of thrust for their size."

"We can run rings around them, then," said Paris.

"They're well armed," warned Chakotay. "Their heaviest guns are forward mounted, but they've got good coverage from all angles."

"No FTL sensors?" said Paris.

Chakotay shook his head. "What's the turnaround to warp for this thing?"

"Less than a second," said Paris.

Chakotay nodded. Their strategy for dealing with any scouts, if it came down to that, was clear.

They settled down into an uncomfortable silence that dragged for fifteen minutes. Crewman Jaxz seemed content to sit in back and say nothing to the Maquis.

"So," said Chakotay, "how was prison?"

"Just great," said Paris. "Sorry you missed it."

"Is that why you were on Voyager?"

"Fuck you," said Paris. "I was protecting you guys. I led Bujold on a wild goose chase for eight hours."

"I hear they rescued you from the brig. Looks like you failed that that, too."

"You're welcome," said Paris.

"Oh, get over it," said Chakotay. "Maybe if you didn't run around with that chip on your shoulder all the time, somebody might feel sorry for you."

"That's funny coming from a guy who has such a bad temper he had to be phasered."

"You started that fight," said Chakotay.

"You deserved it," said Paris.

"Why'd you do it, Tom? Why'd you agree to help Bujold in the first place?"

"She offered me parole," said Paris. "I had a choice between another decade on New Senegal or Betazed. Which would you have taken?"

"Are you asking if I'd betray the Maquis to chase Betazed skirt? No, I wouldn't."

"Betazed skirt" made Paris think about Lieutenant Stadi for a moment. He pushed it aside; too weird to deal with now. "I didn't betray you."

"You tried to play it both ways," said Chakotay. "You wanted to help Starfleet enough to get paroled--don't try to deny it; Voyager never could have made it to the Rat's Nest without your help--but not enough to hurt your conscience, such as it is. And it blew up in your face, just like it always does."

When Paris didn't respond, Chakotay pressed on. "In five years, did you ever stop to think about why your time commanding Val Jean was such a disaster?"

"I got unlucky," said Paris. "And then you took advantage."

Chakotay sighed and shook his head. "You're still blaming other people for your mistakes," he said. "You blundered right into a trap. I told you it was a trap beforehand, and you didn't listen. And then you froze solid--three cruisers bearing down on us and you couldn't issue a single order. If I hadn't taken control, we'd all be rotting in a Cardassian prison camp now. Is it any wonder why the crew voted me the new captain?"

"That's not how it happened," said Paris.

Chakotay ignored him. "And before you blame me for you getting caught, you were welcome to stay on Val Jean as a pilot. You were the one who stormed off."

"Now you're really full of shit," said Paris. "Yeah, I was 'welcome' to stay--after you stood up on the bridge and said 'Tom Paris is incompetent to lead, incompetent to fight, and incompetent to be a Maquis, and if you don't vote for me, he's going to get us all killed'. You remember that speech?"

Now it was Chakotay's turn to say nothing.

"The vote was thirty-nine to one," said Paris. "That I wasn't competent to be a Maquis. Would you have stayed?"

"It's irrelevant," said Chakotay. "Nobody ever would have accused me of being one."

"You let a Starfleet spy into your inner circle," said Paris. "Some guerrilla you are."

"Everyone makes mistakes," said Chakotay.

"Yes, they do," said Paris. "Yours was trusting Tuvok. Mine was trusting you."

Silence descended on the shuttle again.

"Anybody want something to eat?" said Jazx.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite (updated TWICE 14 June) PostPosted: 2010-10-11 12:46pm
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Voyager elapsed surface time: two hours, twenty minutes

Drake pulled up alongside Val Jean. They were practically close enough to touch, but Val Jean had no idea they were there.

"Their sensors are still out," said Chakotay. "Janeway really did a number on them."

"Can't they look out the window and see us?" said Paris.

"I covered up all the windows with armor plate," said Chakotay. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"Well, what do we do now?" said Paris.

"Can we beam over?" said Jaxz.

"Their shields are up," said Chakotay.

"But they're very soft up front," said Paris. "I'll bet we could push this shuttle right through."

"That's insane," said Chakotay. "There's a meter and a half of clearance between the hull and the shields."

"Why don't we just shoot through them?" said Jaxz.

"They'll start randomly maneuvering to evade," said Paris. "We'll never be able to match speeds for a transport." He shook his head. "Can you believe this?"

Neither of the others said anything. Paris wondered, not for the first time, if he was having some kind of elaborate nightmare. And then, he had an idea.

"I've got it!" he said. "Chakotay, you know Morse code, right?"

"Of course," said Chakotay.

"Does anybody on board Val Jean?"

"Seska will," said Chakotay. "But we've already tried radio; they're not responding."

"Not radio. Use phaser pulses. Low power, just hot enough for them to notice. Hopefully Seska will recognize the pattern."

"Does anybody have any better ideas?" said Chakotay. Jaxz didn't, and neither did he.

"All right. I'll program the firing pattern into the computer."

#

Val Jean

Seska was so wound up the alarm caused her to jump out of her seat.

"Someone's firing phasers at us!" she said. "B'Elana, sensors!"

"Forget it!" said Torres. "They're cooked!"

Seska snarled a curse. "Mohommad, start randomly maneuvering." She checked her screen, trying to identify the attacker. Whoever they were, they were shooting again.

Something caught her eye. "Belay that, Mohommad. Hold course."

"Are you crazy?" said Torres.

"Shut up!" said Seska. "Something's not right. Whoever's shooting at us is using minimal power...there's a pattern to the pulses. Long and short pulses...that's Morse code!"

"What does it say?" said Mohommad.

"Hold on...'I am Chakotay. Lower your shields.'"

"Sure," said B'Elana. "And I'm Queen of the fucking Moon. This is a lame trick."

"There has to be some way to communicate with them," said Seska.

"Not radio, and not subspace," said Torres.

"Do the running lights still work?" said Seska.

#

"No response," said Paris.

"Yes, there is," said Chakotay. "Look at the running lights." They were flashing a pattern back at them. "'Prove your Chakotay'" he said. He grinned. "She used the wrong 'you're'. That's definitely Seska."

"How are you going to prove you're who you say you are?" said Paris.

"I'll tell her something only I would know." He glared at Paris. "Don't read over my shoulder." He typed in his message.

#

"They're responding," said Torres.

Seska decoded the message. Then she flushed crimson.

Mohommad turned around in her seat, eyebrows raised. "Really?"

"I didn't know you read Morse code," said Seska, still bright red.

"Wait, I can't. What did he say?" said Torres.

"I'll tell you later," said Mohommad.

"I'll throw you out the airlock if you do," said Seska. "That's definitely him. Lower shields."

#

"Their shields are down," said Paris.

"All right. I'll beam over with Jaxz and the sensor pallet."

"Like hell," said Paris.

"What's your problem now?"

"I want to see A'sha."

"She won't want to see you. Trust me."

"I don't care," said Paris.

"We don't have time for a reunion!" said Chakotay.

"All right, fine. You'd better beam over first, though. Who knows what Torres will do if she sees a Starfleet crewman beam over."

Chakotay shrugged. He had a point. "All right." He took his place on the shuttle's transporter pad. "Lower shields and beam me over."

"Roger. Engergizing."

#

Chakotay materialized on Val Jean's bridge. Seska cast decorum aside and hugged him. "How did you escape?"

"I didn't. Janeway let me go. She sent a peace offering."

"What?"

He tapped the commbadge he'd borrowed. "Drake, this is Chakotay. I'm ready over here."

The only response was the transporter whine and three columns of sparklies. "Oh God damn it," said Chakotay, as Crewman Jaxz, the sensor pallet, and Tom Paris materialized on the bridge.

#

"I tried to stop him!" said Jaxz as soon as he'd materialized.

"What the hell is he doing here?" said Seska.

Paris ignored them. He and A'sha had locked eyes. "Hello, A'sha," he said.

"How much did Starfleet offer you?" she said.

"Parole. I tried to protect Val Jean."

"You son of a bitch," said Torres. "You worthless traitor. I should gut you where you stand."

"Hello to you, too," said Paris.

"Enough," said Chakotay. "We don't have time for this. The Kazon are bearing down on the inner system. B'Elana, I need you to go back to Voyager and help get her engine started."

"Have they figured out how to get us home yet?" said Torres.

"No," said Chakotay. "Janeway's people are working on it. If we can hold the Kazon off, maybe they can get us out of here. The only way that's happening is if Voyager has a working warp drive."

"What about Val Jean?" said Seska.

"Crewman Jaxz and I will stay behind to install the new sensors. As soon as that's done, we're going to try to buy Voyager more time. B'Elana, can you ride back to Voyager without killing Tom?"

"Maybe," she said.

"If you kill him, you're going to have to dock with Voyager yourself. Have fun doing that at the bottom of a class N atmosphere."

"Fine," said Torres.

Tom had tuned out the conversation on the bridge. He and A'Sha locked eyes. They were dark and beautiful, just like he remembered. Unfortunately, there was no sympathy in them. She glared at him, angry. Neither of them were telepathic, but he could read her face easily enough: I didn't invite you back into my life.

So much for that. He wanted to go back to Voyager. Even an hour in a shuttle with B'Elana would be better than this.

Crewman Jaxz was already studying a schematic of Val Jean's electrical system. "Oh yes, I can install the new sensors and antennas. Very easy," he was saying.

"And if he runs into any problems, Seska and I can help," said Chakotay. "B'Elana, Tom, get back to Voyager. We don't have time to waste."

"Wait," said Seska. "One more thing. Where's Tuvok? Is he all right? Why didn't he come with you."

Chakotay didn't answer. Paris took the opportunity. "Tuvok is a Starfleet agent. That's why Voyager followed you here to begin with."

"You're lying," said A'sha.

"No, he's not," said Chakotay.

"We can't help them now!" said Torres. "If Tuvok's reporting to Starfleet, then they have enough to send all of us to prison."

There was a murmur around the bridge. "Be sensible, B'Elana," said Seska. "What's our alternative? Flying back the long way? We'll be dead in a month."

"If we get back to the Badlands, I can lose Voyager," said A'Sha. "Provided they don't have any...assistance."

"I've done my part for Starfleet already," said Paris. "I promise I won't help them."

"Are we going to trust him?" said B'Elana.

"Do we have a choice?" said Seska.

"B'Elana, go," said Chakotay. "If Voyager doesn't get its warp drive running, this is all academic."

Torres picked up a tool kit. "Fine. Let's go."

#

Drake

Voyager elapsed surface time: three hours, five minutes[/i]

B'Elana was sitting in the back of the Federation shuttlecraft, brooding, when Paris startled her by speaking up.

"So what's your story?" he said. It was the first words either of them had spoken in half an hour.

"What do you mean, 'what's my story?'"

"I don't know. How's life? How have you been?"

"Are you trying to make small talk?"

"It's not like I have anything else to do," he said.

"I don't want to talk to you," she said.

"Fine," said Paris. "I'll talk. You want to know why I helped Starfleet."

Torres grunted. What she really wanted to know was when he'd get the hint and shut up.

"I'll tell you," said Paris. "It's because they offered to help me. I was tired of digging holes in the desert, and if I helped Bujold, I wouldn't have to anymore. I figured I wouldn't find Chakotay anyway, so what's the harm?"

"You led Starfleet to the Rat's Nest. That's one of our best hiding spaces, gone."

"Oh come on," said Paris. "The Federation and the Cardassians both knew about it already. It was only a matter of time before they charted the way in from both sides. Maybe I sped that up, but not by much." He leaned his head around his seat to look at her. "You know, a little gratitude would be nice."

"Gratitude? For what?"

"If I hadn't led Voyager to the Rat's Nest, you'd be stuck out here with no help."

B'Elana laughed. "Are you kidding? Since you arrived here, Voyager broke our ship and then had to ask us to help fix theirs. Some help you've been."

"The only chance you have of getting home is with Janeway's blueshirts. Unless you think you're up to the task of figuring out inscrutable alien space stations."

"Janeway's an idiot," said Torres. "If I were commanding that ship, the warp drive would have been running hours ago."

"Starfleet isn't big on letting first-year Academy washouts command starships," said Paris.

"You're one to talk," said Torres.

"I didn't wash out, I quit," said Paris.

"Please," said Torres. "Your grades sucked, you never went to class, and you were drunk all the time. You had thirty demerits. You and your low-rent Jim Kirk act were going to be expelled. The only reason you were allowed to quit is because your daddy couldn't stand the embarrassment of seeing you kicked out of school."

"At least I didn't sleep with my instructor," said Paris. "Or my boyfriend's roomate, or half the football team."

"You really are an asshole," said Torres. "I never understood what A'sha saw in you."

Paris took time to think about his answer. "Maybe because I tried not to be an asshole to her."

"Good going," said Torres. "You know, she would have been happy never to see you again."

"I know she would have been. I wouldn't."

"Always about you," said Torres.

"I see you've been working on the angry Klingon act," said Paris, by way of changing the subject.

"I've been under stress," said Torres. "It's been a rough two weeks."

"You're not going to melt down again, are you?" he said.

"No," she said. In her mind's eye, she could see the discharge letter from Starfleet: Unfit for service...lacks emotional maturity and self-control...unrelated to Klingon physiology, despite Cadet Torres's claims...psychological treatment strongly recommended. She'd been holding together for more than a year; finished top in her class in mathematics, aced the entrance exam, had no problem with the psych screening. She'd cruised through boot camp when allegedly psychologically tougher cadets crumpled under the strain. And then she started classes, and in a few months, she'd come apart again. They promised they'd reconsider admitting her if she went through treatment and passed another psych screening. Instead, Tom Paris, who'd quit just weeks before her, recruited her into a Maquis cell.

"Fuck you, Tom," she said. The shuttle fell silent again.

After another twenty minutes of silence, Paris spoke up. "What's Chakotay going to do if captain science whiz can't get us back home?"

"How should I know?" said Torres. "Why? Are you looking for a ride?"

Paris laughed. "Are you serious? If we're taking the long way home, I'd rather do it on Voyager. Even in the state she's in."

"What the hell happened, anyway? When we got pulled through, Val Jean was shaken but not damaged."

"Why does it look like a flying pile of shit, then?"

"Watch it," said Torres. "And that's all battle damage. We were in a running gun battle with two Galors."

"I have no idea, then," said Paris. "Another mystery for science whiz Janeway to solve."

"What do you think of her?" said Torres.

"Out of her league," said Paris.

"That's what I thought, too," said Torres.

"We're approaching the planet," said Paris. "Hang on to your ass; this is going to be a rough landing. Once we're on the deck, you'd better get to engineering as fast as you can."

"Why?" she said.

#

Wrath

"It's definitely lightning," said the comms officer. "Voyager was sending the signal by radio to Earhart, not subspace."

"Which planets in the system have lightning in the atmospheres?" said Jabin.

"Ocampa itself, and all the gas planets."

"But if they were at one of the gas planets..." said Jabin.

"Right. Lightspeed lag. They must be hiding on Ocampa."

Twenty minutes later, the Kazon fleet was on the move.



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Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
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 Post subject: Re: Star Trek: Voyager--the rewrite PostPosted: 2010-10-26 02:35am
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USS Voyager
Elapsed time on the surface: four hours, nine minutes.


"Captain Janeway."

Janeway rolled over and groaned. How long had she been asleep? Not enough. "What is it, Tuvok?" she said.

"Sensors have detected the Kazon fleet moving in this direction. The advance elements will be here in sixty minutes."

"Did Paris and that Maquis make it back?"

"Miss Torres is in the engine room now. I'm led to understand she's here for the duration; Lieutenant Carey does not believe the shields will withstand another shuttle launch."

Janeway sat up. Her head was swimming. She was still so tired. The air in the cabin was hot and sticky, oppressive. Tuvok presented her a hypospray.

"From the Doctor," he said. "It will keep you alert for several hours."

"And then I pay for it, right?"

"I believe so," said Tuvok.

"Give it to me." Tuvok obliged, giving her a shot in the neck. It was as if someone had pushed an "on" button. Instantly, she felt awake and aware. But it was a thin, jittery awareness, like too much coffee, a rickety bridge over a chasm of exhaustion. She cursed herself for not sleeping more when she had a chance.

"Help me take this sling off," she said. Once it was gone, she tried moving her arm and shoulder. It was stiff and sore, but she had her full range. She pulled off her bloodstained blue tunic, took a red one out of Bujold's closet, tried it on, checked herself in the mirror.

"I think I still look like hell, Tuvok," said Janeway. She fixed her rank pips to her collar and her combadge to her chest. "Come on."

#

B'Elana Torres wanted to drool when she got her first look at Voyager's warp core. If I had a reactor like that.... Then Ensign Vorick briefed her on the warp system's state and she wanted to cry.

"What the hell have you been doing all this time?" she said.

"Making repairs to everything else that's broken on this tub," said Rodriguez, the backup chief engineer. Chief Engineer Carey was conspicuous by his absence. "And inspecting the system. The good news is, we can still get warp speed from the portside nacelle. Unfortunately, the starboard plasma injector is completely shot, so we'll have to run on one nacelle."

"Do you have a spare injector?" said Torres.

"No," said Rodriguez.

"Typical Starfleet," sneered Torres.

"The plasma injectors for an Intrepid class starship weigh twenty-six tons each," said Ensign Vorick. "It would not be practical to carry a spare, as installing it would require drydock facilities anyway."

Torres thought about the injectors on Val Jean, that were small enough for two strong men to wrestle into and out of place. If I had an engine like this..., she thought again.

"All right, what about the core itself?"

"There doesn't appear to be any cracking or spalling in the reaction chamber or the dilithium matrix," said Rodriguez. "And the antimatter injectors--"

"Forget it," said Carey. "The main antimatter constrictor valve is shot."

Torres rolled her eyes. The ACV weighed less than a kilogram and could be installed in fifteen minutes. "So replace it," she said.

"Right, I forgot. You're some dipshit Academy washout, while I'm a professional engineer, so obviously you know everything," said Carey. "I checked the cargo manifest. The spares were delivered to DS9 but they were never loaded on the ship. And we can't replicate the force field relays, so don't even ask."

Torres cursed in Klingon. Carey looked vaguely satisfied--obviously the kind of guy who preferred being right to being alive.

"Perhaps we can generate enough power with the impulse reactors to energize the warp coils," said Vorick.

"That might have worked if the Maquis hadn't blown one of them up," said Carey. "As it is, we can't generate enough electrical power with the impulse engines to cross the warp threshold, and we can't get the warp core back online. Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, we have about two hours left before this ship gets so hot we all die of heatstroke, so we can't hide down here much longer, either."

"It's such a simple part," said Torres.

For the first time, Carey seemed sympathetic. "Yeah, it is," he said. "Until it breaks and you don't have a replacement."

"Is there a spare on Val Jean?" said Rodriguez.

Torres shook her head. "I had to bypass it because the line kept choking. I control the antimatter flow from the tank end."

The three Starfleet engineers all looked appalled. "That's insane," said Carey. "If you have to shut your warp core down, you have to burn off all the antimatter in the fuel line first."

"Can we do that here?" said Rodriguez.

"It took me three days," said Torres. "Even with all the extra hands here, I don't know if you could do it."

"Well, we have to do something," said Rodriguez. He snapped his fingers and looked up. "Wait a minute. That guy Neelix--he makes his living raiding a junkyard. What if he has one?"

"What do you think the odds are that some civilization in the Delta Quadrant just so happens to use the same type of ACV as us, and that it happens to be floating in that particular junk field, and that hedgehog happens to have one?"

"Exceptionally poor," said Vorick. "However, given what we know about the Caretaker and this solar system, the odds are, the wrecks in that junkyard did not all originate from the Delta Quadrant."

Nobody said anything for a moment. Finally, Carey tapped his combadge. "Engineering to bridge."

#

"I didn't know you guys were still in the system," said Neelix. Torres, Carey, Rodriguez, and Vorick were sitting in on the call from a repeater screen in Engineering.

"We're having some mechanical problems still," said Janeway. "We were hoping you could help us out with a part."

"I'll see what I can do. What do you need?"

"We need an antimatter constrictor valve," said Carey.

Neelix frowned. "The Kazon don't leave me a lot of engine parts. I have everything on board cataloged; I'll let you go through it. Stand by."

"He's not going to have it," said Carey.

"You must be great at parties," said Torres.

A nearby computer panel *bleeped*. Neelix had transmitted his catalog over. Torres whistled; for a one-man operation, he was organized. Most of the parts had descriptions, which the computer dutifully translated, and pictures. She hoped it was indexed, too. "Computer," said Torres, "scan for any compatible ACVs."

The scan took less than a moment. "No compatible antimatter constrictor valves found," said the computer.

"Well, so much for that," said Rodriguez.

"Wait," said Torres. "Computer, find any ACVs."

Three of them flashed on the screen. One was so badly burnt she barely recognized it. The second was so alien she had to take the computer's word it was actually a constrictor.

The third was Cardassian. Torres yelped and pointed at the screen. "That one!"

Rodriguez looked. "That's a Cardassian valve."

"It'll work, though," said Torres. "I use spoon-head parts all the time."

"No it won't," said Carey. "Look at the damn connectors. We'll never get it to fit on our fuel line."

"Yes we can. If I can..." said Torres. "Captain Janeway, hail Val Jean." Oh God, please have the radio fixed.

"Hailing now," said Janeway.

"This is Chakotay. B'Elana, what's happening?"

"Chakotay, tell Seska I need my blueprint book. Transmit it to Voyager right away."

"What's going on?" said Rodriguez.

"Cardassians like to use a standard connecter design for all their antimatter lines," said Torres. "Just like the Federation."

"So?" said Carey.

"Seska's sending it over now," said Chakotay. "Stand by."

The computer *bleeped* again; Torres found a free PADD and opened the file. "Do the replicators down here work?" she said.

"Yes," said Vorick.

"Are you going to tell us what's going on or not?" said Carey.

"Shut up," said Torres. She looked around, spotted a replicator, and plugged in her PADD. A touch of a button later, and two pieces of what appeared to be finely machined brass materialized in the output tray. She held them up for the Starfleet engineers to see.

"Cardassian-to-Federation socket adapters," said Torres. "I designed them myself. They never touch the antimatter stream."

"Do they work?" said Carey. "Because if they don't and the valve leaks, it'll blow the ship apart."

"You want me to tell you how many times Val Jean's had the shit kicked out of her and these adapters have never failed? Besides, either we try these and we might die, or we sit here until the Kazon come and bomb us and we definitely die. Unless you have a better idea, this is it."

"The logic of her position seems inescapable, sir," said Vorick.

"Yeah," said Rodriguez. "I don't see any other choice."

"Engineering, what's going on down there?" said Janeway.

Carey tapped his combadge. "Captain, Neelix has the part."

#

Talaxian shuttle Baxial

Neelix cut off the channel to Voyager and started prepping his ship for warp. He was trying to figure out how much he would charge Janeway for the part--running back to Ocampa when there were angry Kazons in the system would cost a lot more than a bath. Maybe some of their guns--he'd seen a security goon carrying one. They were shaped funny and they didn't seem to have trigger guards, but he was sure they were powerful. "I wonder how much a collector would pay for one," he said. He patted the alien ACV sitting on his passenger seat.

Neelix had his course charted and his warp core warmed up. "All right," he said. He pushed the "go" button.

All the lights on the control panel went out.

"Oh hell," he said. "Blew another motivator. Knew I shouldn't have used cheap ones." At least Baxial's cabin sat above the ship's small fusion-powered warp core, for easy repair access. He pulled up the access plate, yanked out the bad part, and was reaching in his parts cabinet for a spare when somebody shot his ship.

#

Val Jean

"Looks like Torres might have fixed their engine," said Chakotay. "Turns out there was a Cardassian valve sitting on board Neelix's ship."

Seska was still trying to test and calibrate the new sensors. "That's good to hear. Do we need to...oh, shit."

"What?" said Chakotay.

"Three Kazon scouts just showed up in the junk field. They're firing. They're...I think they're broadcasting something."

"On speakers," said Chakotay.

"...of the Kazon Ogla. You're under arrest for abetting enemies of the Ogla Sect and the Grand Maj. Heave to and prepare to be boarded."

Everyone looked to Chakotay, like they always did. He didn't hesitate.

"A'sha, lay in a course, maximum warp. Battlestations."



Image
Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
X-Ray Blues

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