[personal profile] pook41
Title: Fulfilling the Prophecy  part 4
Author: Pook
Fandom: Star Trek: Voyager
Rating: R - for swearing only
Summary: For Audabee's birthday - a Macguffin driven long epic tale about our trusty crew as they return to the AQ

Character/Pairing: Janeway/Chakotay
Spoilers: None
Warnings: None
Author’s Notes: None.
Prompt Number for fic101:  list 2 - 5 - beautiful
Disclaimer: CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
Date: 13/8/07

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CHAPTER 6

 

USS Voyager, Astrometrics.

 

Icheb had gone through what Seven had done to locate the cloaked ship. They’d tried almost everything they knew using different algorithms to improve the long-range scanners but to no avail. The clocking device didn’t put out the usual chroniton, anti-proton or tachyons particles. It was a very sophisticated and advanced cloak.

 

It was frustrating but Seven and Icheb wouldn’t give up just yet. They had a few more options left and they were working through all of them systematically.

 

While a member of the Borg, Icheb had remembered an experiment from Species 509. It involved tracking a variation in subspace as a ship travelled at warp. He entered the subspace variance detection model and watched as the scanning bar slowly worked across the screen going from their present position to the just over the Klingon border, the extent of the scanning range. He couldn’t hide his disappointment when the scan got half way and still no cloaked ship.

 

“Icheb, the subspace variance wave dissipates quickly.” Seven reminded the young man, even though she felt the same frustration.

 

They spoke too soon.

 

The scan changed at a point near the Hromi cluster.

 

Seven and Icheb put the scan on the main viewer, rechecking the data then extrapolating the cloaked ship’s course. Seven nodded to the smiling Icheb. They’d done it. They’d found the captain.

 

Icheb prepared to send the data to the Helm console on the bridge.

 

“Seven to Commander Chakotay.”

 

 “Chakotay here.”

 

“Icheb has located the cloaked ship. The course has been sent to the Helm.”

 

Chakotay sat up. The first good news they’ve had. “Well done. Keep me informed. Tom, lay in the course and engage when ready. Chakotay out.”

 

~~*~~

 

On the Dawn Raider

 

 

“Captain, we’re picking up a change of course in a pair of Starfleet vessels. They’re headed our way.”

 

Tral sat up. How was that possible? The Romulans assured him that the ship couldn’t be detected. “Are you sure?”

 

Tim Cahill rechecked the data. “Yes, Sir.”

 

“Time to intercept?”

 

“Four hours.”

 

“Bring up the tactical map.” Tral watched the view screen change from the streaking stars typical of warp speed to showing the relative position of all the ships on their scanners. The scan showed the two Starfleet vessels travelling toward them. Originally, they’d been headed for Regulus. Now they could be headed for Aldebaran or for them.

 

They were close to the Hromi cluster. They could hide in the cluster hoping that the Starfleet vessels hadn’t detected them and it was a coincidence that they had changed their course. Or he could get Toral to use the three Klingon ships to take on the Starfleet vessels allowing them time to get to Qo’noS but it was unlikely that these ships would go into Federation territory no matter how much Toral paid or offered to them.

 

“Sir, I’m picking up another Starfleet vessel.”

 

“Where?”

 

“Behind us.”

 

“ID?”

 

Tim Cahill groaned. “It’s Voyager.” This mission was going to the dogs. He should’ve listened to his partner. She’d said it was too risky despite the money. They were going up against Starfleet not some over the hill civilian ship or captain.

 

“Shit!” Tral muttered under his breath. They had to hide. They couldn’t take on three Starfleet vessels. Sensors would be virtually useless in the cluster. The Hromi cluster was a haven for mercenaries and the planetary governments would turn a blind eye to them for the right amount of credits. He would make use of contacts he had on one or two of the several planets. They would hide the ship or him until the crisis was over. “Helm, get us into the Hromi cluster.”

 

“Yes, Sir.”

 

“Tral to Toral.”

 

Toral was in his quarters. He was happy. In a day, he’d be in Klingon space, travelling toward the home world and his ascension to the Chancellorship. “Yes, Tral.”

 

“I’ve changed course. I believe Starfleet can detect us. Three ships are heading our way.”

 

“What! How?”

 

“I don’t know how but I’m protecting my ship. We’re going into the Hromi cluster.”

 

Toral nearly panicked. He wanted them to continue on to Klingon space but he knew they were no match for three ships. Could he force Starfleet to stop pursuing them? He could threaten the hostages again, forcing them to back off. The Klingon decided to leave that as a last option. “All right, Tral.”

 

Denel had been listening to the exchange between the captain and Toral. He had to stop them getting to the Hromi cluster. If they reached any of those planets, it was unlikely that the qIrom taj could be protected if any one else found out about their mission. The relic could be lost or even worse fall into the hands of the unworthy. 

 

He had to move quickly. He could just blow up the ship right now but there was a chance to get the knife now but he needed help. The hostages. They were people of honour. They would help him. He took note of all the crew on the bridge before leaving the bridge to head for the cargo bay. Tral was too busy studying the tactical map to notice that Denel had slipped out.

 

Denel entered the cargo bay. He took out his scanner and set up a series of false sensor readings that would indicate that Janeway and the Bajoran were still in their cells.

 

Kathryn watched as Denel entered the bay and worked his tricorder. He didn’t say anything but she could tell that he was worried.

 

Denel turned off the force fields. He came straight to the point. “Captain, I need your help. I’m an agent of the Bax Qan Yan, the Protectors of the Sword, and I’m here to retrieve and protect the qIrom taj at all costs.”

 

Kathryn looked at the Klingon suspiciously. She hadn’t heard of the group. Denel was present when Toral and the Andorian threatened them but he appeared not to get any enjoyment out of threatening them especially Marla and her as much as the Andorian and Toral had. He had his own agenda and she wasn’t sure where they fit in it but so far, he’d treated them fairly. She thought she could trust him to a certain extent.

 

Denel quickly informed them of the secret society that had protected the true nature of the qIrom taj for centuries as well as hiding the other sacred relics from power hungry Klingon hands. It was for the good of the empire. They understood the nature of Klingon society. No one House could have possession of such power.

 

Kathryn finally understood why Toral had taken the knife. “What do you want us to do?”

 

“Captain, there are only fourteen crew on board. They won’t expect an attack from within.”

 

Kathryn looked at Tabor who nodded signalling that he was up for anything. He had been a Maquis and had plenty of experience in close combat just as she had. The only thing that worried her was that she wasn’t in the best of condition. She still couldn’t see properly out of her left eye and her shoulder was still stiff. She was confident though that when the mission started the adrenaline would make all those seemingly disappear. “Weapons?”

 

“Starfleet phasers.” He walked over to a panel in the wall and opened it, pulling out four phasers and three hyposprays. He passed them to them.

 

Kathryn checked the power level on the type IV phaser. It was fully powered. “What’s the plan?”

 

“Four crew are in engineering, four are on the bridge including the captain, and the rest are off duty.” They went through their plan, going through the details quickly.

 

Denel opened the cargo bay doors and quickly looked around. No one was usually on this deck which had the cargo bay and engineering. The crew quarters were one deck up and above that was the bridge.

 

He waved them through the door and silently they walked the door doors down to engineering. They ensured their phasers were set to stun. His tricorder indicated where the people were standing. Denel pointed out which crew they would each subdue. Tabor and Kathryn nodded. Denel held up on three fingers and counted down.

 

Denel activated the door and they rushed in.

 

Kathryn went left, her target was five metres away. Facing his panel, the human engineer was taken completely by surprise. He didn’t even move as she pressed her phaser against his neck and with her other hand she pressed the hypospray and injected the sedative, immediately rendering him unconscious. As soon as he was lying on the deck, Kathryn sprinted to the back of the room toward the engineer who was behind the warp chamber.

 

Denel came up behind the Andorian. Her antenna twitched, sensing somebody was behind her but it was too late. He injected her and she was unconscious before she hit the deck.

 

Tabor went right to the warp drive control panel. The chief engineer tried to press his combadge. Tabor had no choice but to use the back of his phaser to knock him out. He still used the hypospray to ensure that he remained unconscious.

 

Mark Schwarzer looked up from the environmental control. He thought he’d heard something. He was behind the warp chamber so he couldn’t see the others. He got up from his chair and walked toward the warp drive control panel. “Chief?” He was shocked when he saw the chief slumped on the deck and a Starfleet officer standing over him.

 

He went to press his combadge but before he’d even raised his hand Kathryn tackled him, throwing them both to the ground, and landing on the deck in a tangled mess of arms and legs. She had to stop him warning the bridge but she couldn’t risk stunning him. Internal sensors on a ship would have set off alarms on the bridge if there had been any weapons fire.

 

Schwarzer was the first to recover, getting to his feet. He tried to kick Kathryn as she got up but she saw the boot coming, deflecting the blow, and launched an attack of her own with an array of aikido punches that had him reeling backwards.

 

Denel admired the small human. She was an agile and deceptively strong warrior. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to wait until she finished the job. As the human engineer was forced backwards, he didn’t see Denel come up behind him. Grabbing him around the neck, his struggles didn’t last long as Denel injected the human with the sedative and he lay the man down on the deck.

 

Nil heard the fight behind him but continued to keep an eye on the corridor leading to engineering.

 

Kathryn bent over, hands on her thighs, breathing hard, recovering. It took a few seconds to regain control of her breathing. Her concussion had knocked her around more than she thought.

 

Denel gave themselves five minutes to get to the bridge. He set up a warp cascade failure to disable the ship and turn off the cloak. He didn’t want them to get into the Hromi cluster. In five minutes the Dawn Raider would be dead in the water.

 

Slowly, Kathryn walked over to Denel by the door.

 

Denel waved them to the door. “Come on.” There wasn’t all that much time. They had to get to bridge quickly before Captain Tral realized anything was amiss. Denel ran to the turbo lift followed by Janeway and then Tabor who kept turning around covering them.

 

The turbolift doors opened and the trio walked in. They were silent, steeling themselves for the coming minutes.

 

The doors to the turbo lift opened not at the bridge but one deck too early.

 

The Naussican watched the doors to the turbo lift open. He was angry. It was a normal state of affairs for someone of his race. He can’t remember why but he was. He grunted an acknowledgement to Denel. He walked into the lift but stopped and snarled when he saw the two Starfleet officers.

 

Denel heard the Naussican snarl. He didn’t give him a chance to do anything by stunning him. There wasn’t time to fight a Naussican who was even bigger than him. Unfortunately, he knew that an alarm would’ve sounded on the bridge by now warning Tral of phaser fire. He rolled the large unconscious alien away from the lift. Denel tried to shut the doors but Tral was smart and had quickly shut down the power to the lift as soon as the alarm sounded. “Come on. The access tubes.” They’d try getting to the bridge using the ladders between the decks.

 

As they ran past the first quarters, the door opened and an Andorian rushed out, ready for anything. He barrelled straight into Tabor, knocking him against the wall. He grunted as he grappled with the Bajoran. Denel came to Tabor’s aid.

 

Kathryn had been unceremoniously shoved aside by Tabor, protecting her, when he’d seen the blue flash of the Andorian rushing towards her. She just stopped herself from colliding with the wall but had no time to complain because she saw the orange flash of a phaser beam whiz by her ear and hit the turbo lift doors further down the corridor. She spun around, hugging the small inset that the door made in the adjacent quarters as cover before firing back down the corridor at her attackers.

 

Denel stunned the Andorian then fired down the corridor forcing their attackers to take cover, covering the captain as she pulled the dazed Bajoran to behind her.

 

Tabor shook his head. He was okay except having the breath knocked out of him. It was going to take something more than that to stop him. He was angry now. Crouching now, he leant to the side of his captain’s legs and fired down the corridor.

 

Denel looked at his companions. They were experienced at close combat. He was confident that they could move down the end of the corridor to take out the crew who were firing at them. “Captain, cover me.”

 

Kathryn understood what he was going to do. She nodded and continued to lay down fire down the corridor. Tabor was doing the same.

 

Denel sprinted the four metres to the next door well, firing as he moved, easily making it. Not wanting a repeat of the incident where the Andorian rushed out at them, he used his command code to open the door and stunned the surprised occupant. He leaned back against the doorframe and fired down the hall. “Move!”

 

Kathryn tapped Tabor on his shoulder, indicated for him to go.

 

Tabor didn’t hesitate and bolted for the next door followed then by Janeway.

 

Denel continued to fire down the hall. “Captain, the door override code is Denel alpha nine sierra bravo two.”

 

Kathryn keyed in the code then entered the room.

 

The human in the room had just woken up to the alarms. She’d retrieved her phaser and was just by the door when the captain entered the room. Kathryn was the first to react, stunning her at close range. Kathryn didn’t even wait to see her fall to the ground, turning back to the door.

 

Denel realized that Toral’s room was next. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side of the corridor. They had two rooms still to clear plus they had to get past the two men who were firing down the corridor before they could get to the bridge. Denel waved them forward to the next room while he covered them.

 

When Tabor and Janeway reached the door well, they waved to Denel. Their orange phaser beams streaked down the hall forcing the two men back inside their rooms.

 

“Captain, that’s Toral’s room. Be careful.”

 

“Right.” Kathryn would gladly wipe the smirk of the Klingon’s face but was aware that he was dangerous.

 

“I’ll go, Captain.” Tabor volunteered.

 

Suddenly the door opened, taking them all by surprise. Toral grabbed Kathryn around the throat, his other hand held the qIrom taj to her chest, dragging her by her heels inside the room and ripping the phaser out of hand, disarming her.

 

Denel and Tabor watched in shock as he dragged Kathryn to the back of the room. They couldn’t do anything about it as phaser shots had them pinned against the door well.

 

Tral’s men grew over-confident seeing the door open and the captain snatched. They leaned further into the corridor, showing more of their bodies as they tried to finish the fight.

 

Denel saw the opportunity and took it. The orange beam of his phaser slammed into the shoulder of the man. The man spun around and then collapsed at the feet of his compatriot. 

 

“Denel, stand down or she dies!” Toral yelled. He dug the dagger into Kathryn’s side, the blade easily cut through her uniform, and penetrating her skin.

 

Kathryn flinched as she felt the knife cut into her. “Don’t do it, Denel.” She groaned in pain as Toral thrust the knife a little further, trying to quieten her and succeeding.

 

Distracted, Tabor looked at Denel, making a fatal mistake.  A phaser shot hit him in the shoulder and flung him against the wall then into the corridor. He lay dead in the middle of the doorway.

 

Shocked, Kathryn could smell the burning flesh. She couldn’t take her eyes of Tabor’s body. The front of his uniform was a black and charred mess. Their phasers had been set to kill and not stun like theirs had been.

 

Denel couldn’t stun them both and he had the man firing at him down the corridor still to contend with. Toral was smart. He held Janeway in front of him. The only shot he had was a headshot that was dangerous. Any phaser shot to the head; even though it was set on stun could still cause serious damage to the captain. He couldn’t care less about Toral.

 

He had one more card up his sleeve. He could activate his code words and the ship would blow up five minutes later. He would go along with what Denel wanted, bidding his time for an opportunity.

 

“All right.” Denel stood up, dropping the phaser, hands raised in surrender.

 

“Stand down! Don’t shoot the Klingon!” Toral yelled to the man outside, trying to hide his triumph and amusement. He watched as Denel slowly stood up and crossed the hall. As Denel looked down to step over the body of Tabor, Toral quickly twisted Janeway around and he shot him. “Don’t shoot the Klingon because I want to!” Toral roared with glee. He wasn’t going to take any chances.

 

Denel fell back over Tabor’s body with a sickening thud as his head hit the doorframe.

 

Kathryn stood in a daze but grateful that her phaser was only set on stun, from what she could see and smell.

 

Toral was about to head for the bridge, when the ship lurched to a sudden halt and now more alarms blared. Both Janeway and Toral stumbled against the wall. His hand slipped and sliced deeper along her stomach.

 

Janeway winced, groaning in pain. She tried hard to stifle the pain but failed as Toral gripped her tighter; trying to stay upright. She felt the warm stickiness of fresh blood flow down her stomach. Denel’s plan to stop the engines had worked and there wouldn’t be any chance of restarting them, either warp drive or impulse, for a long time. They had thrusters only. Kathryn could only hope that Toral didn’t have any allies waiting for him and that Voyager or some other Starfleet ship would come to their rescue.

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the now stationary star patterns along with the foreboding dark purples swirls and storms that make up the Hromi cluster through the viewport. It would take several hours to get there on thrusters, she estimated.

 

Toral had seen the stationary stars as well and now he panicked. “Qu′vax!” He had one last chance. Tral had told him that three Starfleet vessels were converging on the Down Raider. He would need a distraction and he was glad that finally he’d learnt from his previous mistakes. He’d use his back up plan.

 

“Captain, we’re going for a little ride.” He forced his hand back into her throat, choking her.

 

She tried to claw at his hand but stopped when he dug the knife into her side again. It was another sharp white pain erupted from her side to add to her other ones.

 

“Don’t do anything stupid if you want that useless human commander of yours to run his soft hands over you again,” he whispered into her ear suggestively as she relaxed against his arms.

 

She shuddered when he mentioned Chakotay. His lurid tone and lingering hot breath on her neck made her tremble involuntarily adding to her fear.

 

After he escaped, it might not be bad idea to see what she was like, he thought with a suggestive smile. But he’ll have to wait until they get to Port Crea. She wasn’t unattractive like most human females. He only hoped that she wasn’t weak like most human females were.

 

Kathryn was forced out of the room toward the end of the corridor. She had no idea where Toral was taking her.

 

~~*~~

 

CHAPTER 7

 

On Voyager

 

Chakotay watched the view screen. The tactical view showed the enemy ship nearing the Hromi cluster. Voyager was catching up. B’Elanna and her team had performed yet another miracle, increasing their speed to warp 9.65 which was almost their maximum. It would be close run thing if Voyager could overtake the cloaked ship and stop them before they entered the cluster. If they did escape into the cluster, it would make sensor readings impossible and most likely allow the ship to escape.

 

There were three other Starfleet vessels closing in as well. The Dundas was still behind Voyager and the other two were coming in fast but not fast enough to reach the ship before it entered the cluster. They just weren’t fast enough. It was up to Voyager to rescue their missing captain and ensign. They were on their own. It was nothing new.

 

He held his hands on his lap, one thumb rubbing firmly against the other. He was acutely aware of the empty seat to his right. His captain, his best friend, lover, soon to be wife, and soul mate wasn’t there directing the battle as she should have been. Voyager had gone into battle without their captain before. He was confident he could handle the ship in battle. But what was different and what made him and all the crew very edgy was that he’d have to fire on the ship that she was on to disable the shields to allow Voyager to beam them off that ship.

 

To distract himself, he looked around the bridge crew. They were all busy, checking their stations, readying themselves. Were they as tense as he? Probably but they could hide it better than him by busying themselves with their stations. All he could do was rub his hand red with his thumb and watch the screen as Voyager got closer to its target. He was confident that the plan Tuvok, Tom and he had come up with would work and that he’d see Kathryn again. He just had to remain focussed on the task ahead.

 

Tom was at the helm, checking his preset manoeuvres, running a quick diagnostic to ensure he was as ready for the coming battle as he could be. He hoped it was going to be a relatively bloodless battle with the other ship seeing they were outgunned and surrender. If anything, it gave him something to do but still his thoughts drifted back to B’Elanna and Miral. Sam Wildman was looking after Miral and Naomi in sickbay, which was the safest place on the ship while B’Elanna was in Engineering, looking after her engines. They would all do what they could so Miral would get to know her godmother, Kathryn Janeway.

 

Tuvok had the ship at yellow alert. He’d been running battle drills for the last several hours as Voyager chased after the ship that held his old friend. He ensured all the phasers and torpedoes were prepared. He had developed strategies with Mr Paris to protect their stern that had been severely damaged by the Borg. Tuvok focused his mind so that he would be prepared and alert for any development.

 

Harry had run his diagnostics like the other bridge crew had. The long-range scanners were still not functioning properly but they could keep the ship that held his captain on the view screen. All he could do was to check his console and he didn’t have to wait long. He watched as the long-range sensors indicated a change in the status of the ship they were chasing. It had stopped. They were virtually dead in space. The sensors said their engines had shut down but that was all they could indicate. “Commander, the ship has stopped. They’re not moving.”

 

Chakotay could see that on the tactical screen. “How long to intercept, Tom?”

 

“Ten minutes, Sir.”

 

Battle stations, Tuvok.” Chakotay blinked as his eyes adjusted to the subdued lighting and red glow of the alert lights.

 

“Phaser and torpedoes are loaded and ready, Commander.”

 

“Harry, anything on the scanners?”

 

“No, Sir.” The still damaged scanners couldn’t penetrate their shields. They’d have to get closer.

 

Chakotay willed himself to stay still. “Can we get a visual yet?”

 

“Yes, Commander.”

 

The view screen changed to the live display. The ship grew from a tiny dot, barely recognizable as a ship, to Chakotay being able to discern the warp nacelles as the seconds passed.

 

“Approach midships, Tom.” The normal approach was from the stern but attacking the rear of the ship could mean hitting the engines. He didn’t want to risk the explosion that would more than likely cause. They’d attack the shield generators from the sides of the ship.

 

“Midships. Aye, Sir.”

 

Chakotay leaned forward, watching as the ship grew ever larger. It was still too far away to fire on it. He wondered why they’d stopped just before entering the cluster. It wouldn’t have surprised him if Kathryn was behind the ship suddenly stopping. She may have escaped and disabled the ship. Kathryn was a small female and often opponents would underestimate her but he knew better. She was intelligent, tactically brilliant, and devious at times. He smirked, remembering one example, that of the Devore and in particular, Kashyk. They’d never stood a chance matching wits with her.

 

He rubbed his chin. In a minute, he’d have to fire on the ship to disable the shields so they could beam them off. He just hoped that Kathryn wouldn’t be hurt when the Tuvok fired on the ship. They’d come so far. Together. He couldn’t wait for the next part of their journey together. He closed his eyes to offer a prayer to the Spirits, hoping the battle would end quickly and that Kathryn and Tabor would be safe.

 

He opened eyes and sighed. He was ready. Voyager was ready. Kathryn would be proud of her crew.

 

A huge blast of white light filled the view screen. It was the unmistakable pattern of a matter/anti-matter explosion. White sparks flew in all directions. The white hot angry cloud continued to grow before slowly petering out to virtual nothingness.

 

There was no sound, in space or on the bridge. Everyone was shocked. They couldn’t believe it.

 

Chakotay slumped back against his chair. He couldn’t breath. His heart stopped. He doubted if it would ever beat again. He’d just watched his love, his very life, die. Tears welled in his eyes and his hand went to his mouth, trying to stop an anguished cry escaping but he couldn’t. His voice cracked, “Oh … Kathryn.” A tear fell and ran slowly down his cheek. He didn’t bother to wipe it away. He didn’t care.

 

The shockwave reached Voyager, buffeting the ship. The shields couldn’t prevent the ship being rocked. No one cared.

 

*beep beep*

 

Harry stared at the screen, not hearing his comm. console beep. His jaw clenched and his lips trembled, trying very hard not to cry. His captain had just died in front of him. His mind went blank.

 

*beep beep*

 

Tuvok had been staring at the screen as well but reacted first to the comm. signal. Tuvok quickly checked his board. “Mr. Paris.”

 

Tom jumped when the Vulcan said his name. Like everyone else, he was in shock and incredibly sad. He’d lost his captain and saviour. He quickly wiped a tear away. “Yes, Commander?”

 

“All stop.” Tuvok was sympathetic to the crew. He was acutely aware of their loss, especially Chakotay’s. He felt it too but he had a duty to perform.

 

“All stop, Sir.” Tom brought Voyager to a stand still. He looked back to the view screen and couldn’t take his eyes of the wildly spinning bits of wreckage. Some flashing red sparks and others just grey lumps of hull.

 

“Ensign Kim, your console.”

 

Harry jolted, quickly falling back on his training. He’d mourn later. “Incoming call from the USS Yackerboom. The two Starfleet ships, the Yackerboom and the Vigoro, were still twenty minutes away.

 

Chakotay had heard Tuvok speak to Tom and Harry but it only now just registered what the Vulcan had been saying. It was his job. There would be time to mourn afterwards. The crew needed him to perform his duty. It was what Kathryn would expect of all of them. He breathed deeply, trying to make his voice calm. “Thank you, Tuvok. Scan the area. Ensign, on screen.”

 

“Captain Stanley here. Commander, we’ve just detected an anti-matter explosion.”

 

“Yes, Captain. The ship suddenly exploded. Voyager did not fire a shot.” Chakotay spoke in monotones.

 

“Fill me on what happened.”

 

“Yes, Sir.” He was analytical, devoid of emotion, almost like a Vulcan as he reported. His heart was heavy and all he could was run on autopilot. “Voyager was approaching the ship at maximum warp when…”

 

~~*~~

 

Groaning in pain, Kathryn rolled over onto her back on the floor of the escape pod.

 

Alarms were blaring. Thick smoke filled the cabin, swirling toward the back of the pod.

 

Coughing and spluttering, she struggled to open her eyes but the acrid smoke was stinging her eyes, making it difficult to keep them open. Tears welled and she tried to wipe them away but stopped as soon as she tried to move her left arm. Pain erupted as soon as she lifted her arm up. Gasping, she dropped it back down immediately and using her good hand, she wiped away the tears.

 

She hauled herself up onto her knees and then to her feet, ignoring the sharp pain in her left leg. She could feel warm blood drip down her temple. She sucked in a deep breath, forcibly expelling it to gain some control over her body and the pain that she felt. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt this battered and bruised. Leaning against the back of the chair, she looked for the fire suppression console. Her neck and head throbbed as she turned to look for the console, thankful that she didn’t have to look very far.

 

She pressed the button and waited for the system to clear the cabin.

 

When the smoke cleared, she found Toral lying at the front to the cabin. She knew he was dead just by looking at the impossible angle his head was tilted at. His dark eyes were wide open; his mouth ajar and there was almost a look of surprise on his face.

 

Ironically, the qIrom taj was lying just out of Toral’s reach.

 

She gingerly stepped over his body to get to the main console to check the integrity of the escape pod. The alarms had stopped bar one. Without looking at the console, she could hear what the alarm was about; there was a small hull breach. It must have occurred when the ship had blown up. Toral hadn’t allowed enough time to escape the blast and now he was dead and the pod badly damaged.

 

Kathryn looked for the hole, using the hissing sound as a guide. She found it just above the seat that Toral had used. It was a small hole the size of her thumb. 

 

“Warning! Warning! Life support failing,” the computer warned. “Oxygen levels are forty percent and falling.”

 

Ignoring the alarm, she looked for the pod repair kit. She couldn’t find it. She had to think of something quick and so she looked at the wreckage on the floor for something to block the hole. Everything was either too small or too big until she looked at the qIrom taj.

 

“Warning! Warning! Oxygen levels dropping,” the computer repeated. “Twenty percent and falling.”

December 2009

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