Equinox Part 2
By: Rita Fernando
Disclaimer: Ok, I'd hate to admit it but, I don't own *Lieutenant* Harry Kim, Voyager or anything in Star Trek for that matter. I do own my outta whack imagination though…
One more thing. I have no clue what so ever about the technical stuff in this story. Medical stuff, I haven't a clue. That parts about the shields and the creatures…yup, you guessed it. I haven't a clue about them either. Just a hint. So, don't go tryin' to figure it out. Just accept it and question it later.
Takes place right after Equinox part one fades out…
Forming right behind Captain Kathryn Janeway was a blue and purple alien portal. Janeway, too busy shooting down a creature was oblivious to the approaching attacker. Chakotay saw it though and yelled out a warning.
Janeway whipped around just in time to see the creature flying straight for her. There wasn't any time to shoot, or even scream. The alien careened toward the captain at full speed. Suddenly, only a meter away from its prey, the creature was shot directly on the middle of its head. The creature fell lifeless to the floor. Janeway's face held a confused expression. She looked over where the Phaser shot came from. It was coming from the OPS station. Right where Ensign Harry Kim was standing loyally with his Phaser drawn. He lowered his weapon long enough to look at he captain.
"No problem captain."
"After all this," said Janeway pausing to shoot another creature. "Remind me to put you in for a promotion."
Harry quirked a grin and nodded right before firing at another creature. This time the intended victim was Ensign Tom Paris.
Harry gave the same reply with the same results: A smile, a Phaser shot, and thanks from a fellow crewmate.
"Tuvok, can we rig up secondary Shields?" called Janeway as she noticed her tactical officer enter the bridge.
"It is possible captain." Replied the Vulcan.
Janeway tapped her commbadge. "Janeway to Torres. B'Elanna, I want priority on the secondary shields."
"Got it captain."
"Tuvok look though our sensor logs about the creatures. Find a weakness. Anything."
Chakotay jogged over to Tuvok's station. "I'll give you a hand."
"Status report Harry." Called Janeway.
"The Equinox is holding up pretty well," Harry grimaced. "With our shields."
"They're light years away by now," Said Tom.
"Along with Seven and the Holodoc." Frowned Harry. He continued with the status report. "Warp engines still intact, life support lost on decks 10, and 8. Transporters-" the ship lurched. "Now off line."
"Get them back." Ordered Janeway "If we're going to get our shields and people back, we're going to need the transporters."
"Captain, I think we found a weakness." Called out Chakotay.
Janeway bounced over to Tactical.
"It's not a major weakness, but it may help us." Said Chakotay.
"It still may prove in our favor." Countered Tuvok.
"Out with it." Growled Janeway impatiently.
Chakotay began to tell her. "The creatures turn out to be hypersensitive to-
Suddenly, a barrage of creatures ramming against Voyager's hull hit the ship. Consoles sparked, overloading with energy. A few of the unlucky ones blew out. Tactical was one of them. The station erupted in power knocking all three of its officers to the deck unconscious and as Seven would say, damaged.
"Captain!" cried out Harry as he scrambled from his station to the officer's sides. "Tom get over here!" he called just as he was kneeling down. Tom was only a nanosecond behind him. The two ensigns checked their pulses.
"They're still alive." Said Tom tensely as he opened up his medical tricorder. "Severe burns, on all of them, concussions, and broken bones." He looked up at Harry. "We've got get the to sickbay. Now."
Harry stood up already beginning to heft up Janeway's prone form. "Hendrick, Tom, come on."
Tom shook his head. "No. You're the CO. The bridge needs you." Tom didn't wait for protest. He gathered up Chakotay and slung him over his back. Hendrick took Tuvok, and Harry handed over Janeway to a crewman. The three officers entered the Turbolift and took the wounded to sickbay. Harry immediately turned on his heel and said. "Jenkins take the CONN. Kim to Engineering. How's the secondary shield coming?"
"Ugh. Almost got it. I've diverted power from all available secondary systems and there still isn't enough." Reported B'Elanna.
"Take it from stellar cartography. No need for it at the moment." Said Harry walking down to the command deck.
"Fine. Done. Stellar cartography off line and…Secondary shields online." A lighter then usual blue aura of shield went up around Voyager. The last wave of creatures penetrated though the hull but was immediately taken down by the crew's Phasers.
"Jenkins. Take us out of here. Follow the Equinox max speed available."
Harry headed for the Turbolift. "Jenkins, take the bridge. I'm going to check on casualties."
Down in sickbay, Ensign Tom Paris, or the temporarily the senior medical officer, and only one of the moment, was running around sickbay tending to the injured. Luckily, none were injured from the aliens. It paid to have most of the crew former Maquis and well-known good shots. Most of the injuries were from exploding consoles and being thrown about. The only serious injuries were the ones Chakotay, Tuvok, and Janeway sustained. Tom rattled off a medical formula to Neelix who volunteered as an assistant. "20cc's of that, ok, Neelix?"
"Yes sir." Neelix scurried off to the replicator.
Tom ran a dermal regenerator over a crewman's injury hen Harry walked over to him.
Tom glared at his friend. "Immensely." He put the regenerator away and began treating her wound with an antibiotic. "Actually, none of the casualties were serious. There were just a bunch of small ones."
"What about the Captain, Chakotay and Tuvok." Asked Harry anxiously.
Tom sighed and handed Neelix the instrument and took Harry over to the officers' biobeds.
The three senior officers looked considerably better then the way Harry saw them on the bridge. "What's the verdict, doc?"
"I managed to heal their burns and broken bones, which were plenty. Though I could heal those quick, a concussion need time to heal. And a heck of a bunch of pain killers." Said Tom running a tricorder over Tuvok. He looked up suddenly and frowned at Harry. "And don't call me doc. I don't intend on keeping this position for long."
"How long till they're back on their feet?" asked Harry.
"A few hours till they're fully conscious, a few more to strengthen, and if the doc was here, he'd be saying a day or so to totally recover." Said Tom. "Until then," he handed his tricorder to Harry. "You're making the calls…Captain Kim." Grinned Tom.
"Don't I know it." Harry rolled his eyes.
"Ensign Paris, Ensign Kim?" piped up a voice. Harry and Tom looked. It was Naomi Wildman. "Can I do anything to help? I *am* the Captain's helper."
"Why is she here?" asked Harry.
"Ensign Wildman got a sprained ankle while protecting Naomi from a creature. There's no other place for Naomi to stay, so she's here." Explained Tom. He looked at the little girl. "You could, um, make sure the patients have everything they need. Keep them happy. Tell jokes or something."
Naomi grinned. "Aye aye sir." She nodded crisply and set to work.
Harry watched her go a moment before he turned to leave himself. He handed the tricorder back to Tom. "I have to check up on engineering. Keep it up…doc."
"You too Captain." Grinned Tom as Harry walked out the door.
"Congratulations everyone." Said Captain Ransom though the PA. "Alpha Quadrant here we come."
The officers on the bridge cheered. Ensign Moral stood quietly. Ransom saw here. "Aw, come come now. Cheer up."
Gilmore stood there for a moment. "What will happen to Voyager?" she asked quietly.
"Voyager? They'll survive." Snorted Max.
"They have their hull, replicators, and a full crew, they'll survive." Said Ransom placing a hand on Marla's shoulder. He looked at her suspiciously. "You aren't planing to start a mutiny are you?"
Gilmore shook her head. "No. Of course not Rudy."
Ransom smiled. "Good." Gilmore turned and went into the Jeffries tubes. She was still afraid of Turbolifts. In the comfort of the Jeffries tubes, and from the eyes of her crewmates, Gilmore shook her head disapprovingly.
"Engineering to Ransom."
"Captain. We have a bit of a problem."
Ransom slapped a hand on a nearby console. "Damn. I knew things were too good to be true." In response to the calls he said. "Alright, spill it."
"I wasn't able to get to the Borg quick enough sir. Right before I knocked her out she destroyed what crystalline compound we had left."
"I thought we had 10 isograms."
"Janeway has them."
"Damn." Swore Ransom. "How much do we have?"
"Only 2 sir. That last one we ki- er, salvaged before we hit warp."
"That'll give us a few hours of warp at most." Muttered ransom. "Try to stretch it out."
Minutes later in Engineering, Ensign Kim walked into a furiously busy Engineering deck. In the midst of all the engineers running about he found lieutenant B'Elanna Torres with her upper half in a conduit and the other half-hanging outside. Harry tapped the heel of B'Elanna's boot. "How's it going Maquis."
"What!" B'Elanna shot upright, smacking her head on the ceiling of the conduit. Harry winced and helped out.
"Sorry, lieutenant. Status."
B'Elanna growled. "First scare me out of my skin and then ask me for a status report?" She frowned as she busily tapped at consoles while talking. "We're almost done repairing the damage to our primary hull. Warp drive is obviously operational. Weapons just got back on line." She wagged a finger at Harry. "And tell Janeway not to be makin' flyboy up there do any fancy flying up there."
Harry shook his head. "No can do Maquis. The captain, commander and Tuvok were knocked out in an explosion. Plus, Tom's working in Sickbay."
B'Elanna abruptly stopped working. "What? Who's in command then?"
B'Elanna gave Harry a stern hard look. "Good. Just don't get us all killed Starfleet." She continued working.
"When will the Equinox's power run out?"
B'Elanna tapped at the console. "Apparently they forgot some of their batteries here. They won't go very far."
"Approximately…" encouraged Harry.
"4 hours?" said B'Elanna.
"Ow, Ensign. That stings." Complained Ensign Crawford.
"Sorry." Said Tom taking the regenerator and placing it on the table. "Minor pain's the price for full recovery. If you have any problems with that ankle, call me." he looked at where her commbadge should be. It wasn't there. "Ensign, where's your commbadge?"
Crawford looked down. "Oh my. I must have dropped it on my way here." She started to get of the examination table but Tom stopped her. "No. The ankle's still weak. I'll send someone else to look for it. He glanced around sickbay. Neelix was busy with a patient, there were a few others lined up, so he couldn't go himself, the only other person there was Naomi. All she was doing was alphabetizing a container of PADDs.
Naomi bounced on over to the ensign. "Yes, Ensign Paris?"
"Do me a favor, Naomi. Could you look for Ensign Crawford's commbadge? She dropped it on her was from engineering to here."
"Aye aye sir." Said Naomi formally already heading out the door.
"Don't go into engineering though."
"Yes sir." Called Naomi back.
Naomi's head was bent low and her eyes were glued to the floor as she made her way to engineering. Like any good detective, or in this case, captain's helper, she looked high and low for the missing commbadge. She was already ¾ of the way to engineering when she spotted a flicker of gold and silver on the deck. Naomi ran and picked it up.
"Aha!" cried Naomi. She polished it against her jumper. As she turned to head to Sickbay she noticed another flicker of metal. She picked it up. It was the same size as a communicator but rectangle-ish in shape and gray and black colored. It reminded Naomi of the thing the holodoctor wore when she saw him in parties or someplace in the ship some times. She clutched it safely in her hand and ran to sickbay.
Tom closed his tricorder as he finished up his last patient. "Ok, Miranda. Try not to put too much pressure on it for a few days. Other then that, you can report back for duty."
Miranda slid off the Biobed and headed for the door. "Thanks doc!" she called.
Tom looked esperated at the ceiling. "Would every one quit calling me that?!"
Miranda was almost at the door when a small figure barged into the room almost colliding into Miranda.
"Ensign Paris! Ensign Paris! Tom!" cried Naomi. She skidded to a stop.
"What is it?" said Tom. "Calm down."
Naomi panted for breath. She handed the commbadge to Miranda. "I found the commbadge."
"Good work Naomi." Said Tom.
"That's not all." Gasped anomie. She opened her palm and placed the metal device in Tom's hand. "I found this, too."
Tom looked at the device and his eyes widened. "Damn." She examined it. "It's the holodoc's holo emitter." He rushed to a computer-input pad. He read the readouts. He gasped softly. "Paris to Kim."
"Harry, you better get down here on the double. B'Elanna too."
"What's up, buddy?"
"Just get down here, now."
As soon as Harry and B'Elanna stepped into sickbay Tom immediately placed the emitter in B'Elanna's hand. Harry looked over her shoulder.
"The doc's holoemitter." Gasped B'Elanna. "Where'd you get it? I thought it was on the Equinox."
"Apparently not." Murmured Harry. He took it from B'Elanna and placed it back on the scanning pad. "Computer, is Voyager's EMH still in the emitter's database?"
"How about the Equinox's EMH?" asked B'Elanna.
"The Equinox and Voyager EMH's memories are both in memory as well as their matrix."
The three officers looked at each other. "Activate the Voyager's EMH and his memories with the emitter." Said Tom.
"Wait! Belay that Order," cried Harry.
"The last time anyone was the EMH, he was knocking out people." Pointed out Harry. "Computer, if any of us gives the word to terminate the EMH, comply without question. Auth code gamma647kim."
"True." Agreed Tom. "Computer, now activate Voyager's EMH via emitter."
The EMH's body shimmered into view. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency." He blinked. "Where am I?"
"Doc?" said B'Elanna skeptically.
"Lieutenant?" said the Doctor puzzled. "What am I doing here?" he paced a length of floor.
"What do you remember last?" Encouraged B'Elanna.
The doctor tapped his chin. "Hmm, I remember, the last thing was…aha! I remember I was on the Equinox on an away mission. I was trying to decrypt some information. I think…yes. I came across the Equinox's EMH. I activated him and…" The doctor's eyes went wide in realization. "He attacked me!" He looked around. "How did I get here then?!"
"The Equinox EMH infiltrated Voyager by downloading himself into your emitter. He was beamed on the ship as you. He freed the Equinox crew and they fought their way back to the ship. And somehow your emitter didn't go with them." Said B'Elanna
"They got on their ship, stole our shield generator, alien creatures attacked us, hull got damaged, Equinox split with Seven and our shield generator in it, we fixed secondary shields, and we're following them now." Said Tom in a rush.
"Oh." said the doctor. He looked around sickbay. "I hope you didn't do any damage to my sickbay." He seemed satisfied until he saw the three occupied biobeds. He rushed to them with his tricorder already open. "What happened?"
"A tactical console blew up." Explained Tom. "They suffered severe concussions, minor burns and a few broken bones. I repaired what I could but the head trauma needs a few hours to heal if not a couple of days."
"Can you do anything for them doctor?" asked B'Elanna.
"Nothing that Mr. Paris has already done." Replied the doctor. "Not bad Mr. Paris. You should consider a full time career in medical." He teased.
Tom stepped back as if physically hit. He shook his head. "No way doc. Not ever."
The doctor pursed his lips. I don't suppose we have a plan of attack once we meet up with the Equinox."
Tom and B'Elanna looked at each other. Tom frowned. "Uh, Harry?"
Harry was silent for a moment in deep thought. He spoke after a couple of seconds. "Doc, you still have the memories from the other EMH, right?"
"Yes." The doctor frowned. "Unfortunately. He wasn't exactly a model doctor as yours truly. Horrible personality." B'Elanna rolled her eyes.
Harry drummed his long fingers gently on the console thinking. "I'm calling a senior staff meeting." He double tapped his commbadge. "Kim to Hamilton and Lang. Report to the briefing room for staff meeting. Kim out." Harry gestured for his companions to follow. The doctor assigned someone to look after sickbay and Naomi and followed. Out in the corridor, Tom matched strides with Harry "Whoa wait a sec Harry. Hamilton's CONN Division."
"I have an idea of what you're planning, and I don't like it. I bet it involves me being stuck in Sickbay. You need me at the CONN. The doc's back so he can take care of sickbay."
"Close but no cigar, Tom." Said Harry. You're pulling double duty." He looked at his best friend. "The doc's not going to be with us for long."
The Holodoc and Tom looked at each other. "What?!"
When the three officers and hologram reached the briefing room, Hamilton and Lang were already there. They stood uncomfortably in a corner feeling a little out of place. Junior officers didn't exactly get to go into the briefing room all that often
Harry gestured to the table. "Have a seat." The two junior officers took Harry and B'Elanna's seat. Harry stood for a second behind the head positioned seat with his hands on the back of the seat. "Weird." He whispered to himself.
"Just like the big chair, Harry." Said Tom softly as he passed him and sat in Chakotay's seat. B'Elanna sat opposite of him in Tuvok's usual seat.
Harry took his hands off the chair and placed them on the table as the Captain would. "Alright people. I think I have a plan."
"Tell all, Harry, ah, Ensign Kim." Said Tom.
"Torres, we have transporters, correct?"
"Sir!" snapped the nervous ensign.
"How long until the Equinox has to stop?"
"Another hour sir."
"Good." Harry walked a section of the room for effect. "Here's my idea. We're sending the Doc here for some recon work." Said Harry with a slight smile.
"I object!" said the doctor. "The last time I was on an away mission I was knocked out, used as a disguise and abandoned in a corridor!"
"Hold it doctor." Said Harry. "Hear this out. We beam you into the Equinox without them realizing it and you take the Equinox EMH's place. You free Seven. And-
"Do exactly what they did to us." Concluded Lang.
"More or less. Just, a little sabotage." Said Harry. "You and Seven will disengage their control over out generators so we can beam it back with you."
"How are we going to get the doc in there without them noticing?" asked B'Elanna.
"We could fire at them." Said Lang softly. "A strong Phaser shot would cause a tiny opening in their shields. We could fire and transport the doctor simultaneously."
"Good good. What else?" encouraged Harry.
"How are we going to get the shield generators out?" asked Hamilton. "I don't think a Phaser hole would be large enough to transport a generator, one person, and one emitter without complications."
"We'd have to find a way to break their shields." Said B'Elanna. "I could do it, definitely. I worked on those shields myself. The only thing is Max knows my style. He'll stop me even before I could even get a single molecule out."
"You won't be the one breaking the shields, B'Elanna." Said Harry. "I will. He barely even knows me. Plus, I bet I know a few tricks you don't."
"I doubt there's many, but it just might work, Starfleet." Agreed B'Elanna.
"Then we've got a plan." Concluded Harry smiling.
"Wait." Said Tom. "Where am I going to be?"
"Medical since I'm apparently not going to be here." Said the doctor.
"Oh no. " Tom shook his head. "No offence Hamilton, but my place is at the CONN.
"None taken sir."
Harry tried to calm his friend down. "Alright Tom. We'll make a deal. You'll be at the CONN until there's the first sign of casualties. First call for medical assistance, you're down in sickbay, got me?"
"Sounds good to me." agreed Tom.
"Hamilton, I want you to stay close to the CONN. Stay sharp on our status. Tom could be called away any moment."
"Good." Harry nodded. The only emotion his face showed was pure determination. "Dismissed."
Back at the Equinox Gilmore and Max were working in engineering trying to stretch out what energy they had and repair what they could. They worked in silence, and that bothered Max.
"Hey Gilmore. You see ma bit quiet today." He commented. She didn't respond. "What's up. You're usually full of gossip."
"That was when we were on Voyager." said Marla quietly.
Max stopped working. "Ah, so that's it."
"What?" snapped Gilmore.
"You miss Voyager."
"Would it be a crime to say yes?" asked Gilmore weakly. Max smiled and shook his head.
"No. I miss all the luxuries we had there."
"Sonic showers, warm beds, clean uniforms…" smiled Gilmore trailing off.
"Holodecks, replicators…" added Max.
"New friends and faces. I didn't have to look at any of your ugly faces for a while." Laughed Gilmore.
"Good food." Pointed out Max.
Gilmore frowned. "Um, I wouldn't say gourmet though."
Max frowned. "Leola root. Yuck."
The two grinned. Gilmore realized. "Max, please tell me you think doing this is somewhat unethical. At least a tiny bit."
Max put on a firm expression but softened seeing Gilmore's sympathetic face. "I agree that our methods are somewhat…extreme, but, we do what we have to, to get back home."
"But Voyager's been doing pretty well with out the crystals." Pointed out Gilmore.
"They're bigger. And stronger. They have more crew." Countered Max.
"But still. We're killing those creatures just to get home. I want to go home s much as anyone, but killing 63 of them for it?" Gilmore shook her head.
Max took Gilmore by the shoulders with both hands. "I don't like it either. But, we're following the captain's orders. And Rudy's definitely gonna turn tail and go back to Voyager."
"No need to." Max and Gilmore turned at the voice, startled. It was one of the engineering crewmen. "Voyager's following us." He looked at their shocked expressions. "Yes, I heard your conversation. And no, I won't tell. I feel the same way. I just…I'm loyal to the captain and that's that."
There's nothing we can do about it Gilmore." Said Max. The cap promised we'll get home, and that's what he's gonna do. At any cost."
Gilmore shook her head. "Or is it no one's willing to do anything about it."
"The Equinox is dropping out of warp." Announced Tom.
Harry stood up from the command chair. "Take us out of warp, Ensign."
"Aye." The two ships slowed to a stop.
Harry turned around to the ensign at his usual station. "Nozawa. Hail them."
"Aye sir." Nozawa worked the console for a second. "No response."
"Open channel. Who says they have to respond?" ordered Harry.
"This is Ensign Harry Kim of the USS Voyager. We demand our crewmember back and require your immediate surrender."
Captain Ransom appeared on screen. "Where's Captain Janeway?"
"Indisposed." Replied Harry. "You're dealing with me. Not the captain."
"Do you honestly think we're going to surrender?" he said coldly.
"No but it was worth a shot."
"Why don't you leave us alone." Shot the officer. "You have everything you need to get home, and then some. You don't need the shields, you apparently have another."
"It doesn't matter." Responded Harry evenly. "You deceived us, committed a inhumane act, stole our shield generators, and captured a member of our crew. No one does that to Voyager and gets away with it."
The captain smiled. "Well, there's a first for everything." The link was severed.
"They're powering up Phasers, Sir."
"Shields up, ready Phasers." He tapped his commbadge. "Kim to Torres. I'm going to need you up here." He turned back to Lang. "Give them a warning shot across the bow."
"They're firing." Announced lang. Sure enough, the shop shuddered under the shot.
Harry gripped the arms of the chair and called over his shoulder. "Fire."
Paris was busy dodging Phaser attacks at the helm when the bridge's PA system activated. "Sickbay to the bridge."
Harry's eyes snapped to the helmsman slash medical officer. "Tom."
Tom was already getting up. "Heard dat." On the way to the Turbolift Harry head his friend mumble. "Jeez, one Phaser shot and a guy's down. What's the world coming to?"
Harry paused long enough to tap his commbadge and order. "Kim to Transporter room. Is the Doc there?"
"Wait for a signal from tactical to beam over the doc's pattern to the Equinox's sickbay." Ordered Kim.
"Lang. Maximum strength Phaser beam at the weakest point. Notify transporters on my mark." Said Kim.
Lang was silent as she worked the console. "Done sir. The doctor's on the Equinox."
Harry sighed in relief.
The emitter materialized on the deck of the Equinox's sickbay. A second after transport, the doctor form appeared attached to the emitter. Meaning, face down on the floor. After a puzzled moment, he got up and dusted himself off. He looked about the unfamiliar sickbay. "Computer, what's the location of Seven of Nine."
"There is no crew member under that name."
The doctor roller his eyes impatiently. "Then are there any crewmembers on board who aren't from the Equinox?"
"Unconscious. Further information would need to be scanned in closer proximity."
The doctor shook his head and called up a schematic of the ship. Just when he had located engineering the doors to sickbay opened. "Doc? Ya on?"
The Voyager EMH quickly took the schematic off screen and walked away from the console. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency."
Gilmore stood in the middle of the deck waiting for the doctor. "Hey, when'd they turn you on."
"A short out in the circuits turned my program on." Said the doctor quickly.
Gilmore seemed to buy the response. "What are you doing here?" asked the doctor.
Gilmore held up a two-foot high cylinder. "This is the last of the creatures. Rudy wants you to prep it for christalization." She held it out uncomfortably as if she didn't want to be a part of it.
The doctor accepted it just as uncomfortably. "What is the first procedure?"
Gilmore frowned. "You should know, you developed all of them."
The doctor quickly backpedaled. "I know that. I requested you tell me which one I begin."
Gilmore seemed to be a bit suspicious. "Alright." She told him the code number of the procedure.
The doctor set the container on the table ad pretended to scan it. Off hand he said. "Is there anything else?"
"You seem preoccupied. As if you're thinking a lot about something? Should I subscribe a laxative?" said the doctor not looking at her.
Gilmore folded her arms across her chest. "Hmm, I thought we got rid of your ethical subroutine."
The doctor paused in his fake scanning. "You did. It was merely an observation."
Gilmore seemed even more suspicious. "Right."
The doctor accessed the other EMH's memories and began one of the crystallization procedures. "Hand me that hypospray."
Gilmore reached over and handed the doctor the hypo. He looked at it and saw that it was the right one. There was no way he was going to contribute to their crusade of alien killing for fuel. It wasn't or ever will be in his programming. He snapped at Gilmore. "The other hypospray."
Gilmore handed him the one next to it. "Better." He injected the container with it. The alien corpse started to inflate and ooze it's innards.
"What happened?" demanded moral.
The doctor shrugged. "You handed me an ion of the chemical." He hit the container with a holographic fist. "It's ruined. You can't crystallize it in this form."
"It wasn't my fault!" yelled Gilmore. "It's yours!"
The EMH put on a 'don't give a damn' kind of face. "I am not programmed to make mistakes."
Gilmore frowned, clearly annoyed with the EMH. "She thought for a moment. "I like you so much better with your ethical programs in place. I like it when we didn't have to kill innocent beings to get home. I liked it when our humanity was intact. I liked it when most of the crew was alive. I liked it when-" Gilmore's voice had been escalating until she had been yelling. She calmed down. She headed for a console. "That does it Damn it!"
The doctor followed her to the console. "What are you doing?"
Moral didn't look up but assumed a defensive position for fear the EMH would attack her. "I'm accessing your ethical subroutines. I'm giving you a conscious like all doctors should."
The doctor started to say something but was cut to the chase when Gilmore discovered something. She stopped tapping at the console. "You aren't in the database. You're not anywhere in the computer."
The doctor showed his palms in a non-hostile movement. "Relax."
Gilmore backed up. "Why should I? Who are you? You aren't the Doctor."
"Take it easy and I'll tell you." Said the doctor calmly. "Only if you don't call security in me."
Gilmore stopped backing up and folded her arms. "Ok, start explaining."
"I'm Voyager's EMH. I was sent here to retrieve our crewmate and our Shield generator."
The doctor showed Gilmore his mobile emitter. "This allows me to go places out side of sickbay and the Holodeck. A nifty little item."
"Does you objectives include sabotage?" asked Gilmore. She gestured to the messed up alien corpse.
Gilmore laughed. "Alright!" she grinned. "Do you need any help?"
The doctor looked suspiciously at her. "I was expecting you to yell, knock out my emitter…again…and call security on me. Apparently not."
Marla shook her head. "No. I never like what we were doing to those poor creatures. They don't deserve this. We don't deserve this. I never wanted to kill hose creatures for fuel. It was Rudy…the captain. The captain has good intentions, granted. He's willing to do anything for this crew and a ticket home for us. Anything, but, This is too steep a price. I want to go as much as anyone else, but, not on the expense of 63 lives."
The doctor thought for a moment. "You know this is mutiny."
"Good." the doctor headed for the console again. "Alright, here's the plan."
Back on Voyager, Ensign Kim, chief operations officer now temporary commanding officer of Voyager, was bouncing from station to station checking stats. "How's it going Lang?"
The female ensign shook her head. "Getting there, Sir. The Equinox isn't giving up."
"Nor do I expect them to." Said Harry. "Only fire at them when they do."
"Copy cat, sir?" asked Hamilton.
"Pretty much. Keep our attacks at a minimum. The doc and Seven are still over there. We don't want to knock them around too much." Said Harry. Out of the blue he heard a loud warning beeps from Ops station. He immediately turned to look at Ensign Kaplan who was manning his station. She gasped in shock. She wasn't one to serve bridge duty often. Harry grew curious. "What is it ensign?"
Kaplan looked up and said. "Sir. It's the creatures." She didn't elaborate. Harry frowned and rushed up to he stations. Sure enough,
"The dimensional creatures are heading for us." He announced on the behalf of the bridge crew. "They emerged for the last opening the Equinox made. They're heading for our position. They're popping in and out of our dimension like dolphins in water."
"There's over 50 of them sir." Reported Lang.
"Oh damn." Muttered Harry. He went down to the command level and took a seat in the command chair. "Kaplan. Hail them."
"Aye sir. On screen."
Ransom smile at Harry. "Ah, hello ensign."
"I don't suppose you're calling to invite us over for tea, are you?" joked Ransom. "Where's your captain?"
"None of your business." shot Harry. "As much as I'd hate to say this, but a word of warning. The creatures you've released are heading this way. A swarm of them."
"Ransom looked unbelievingly at the Ensign. "How do I know you're not bluffing?"
"Check if for yourself on your sensors." Said Harry obviously.
Ransom looked a tiny bit sheepish. They don't have sensors. Realized Harry.
"I don't believe you. It's a trick."
"Suit yourself." Said Harry. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to get kill by those things. Nor do I want any of my crewmembers to." Harry got up. 'I want to see Seven."
"What, the Borg?"
Harry glared at the captain. "Seven of nine."
"Ah, yes." Said Ransom. He rubbed his chin. "I have a special plan for her." He watched Harry frowned. 'Oh, I'm not going to hurt her. I just want some information. Borg posses a lot in information, you know?"
"I want her back, ransom." Said Harry.
"Oh, of course." Said ransom. "For a price."
"You let us go, you have her borgness back."
"I want to see Seven first." Said Harry out of the corner of his eyes he saw the shocked expressions on the bridge crew's faces.
Ransom consulted an officer out of view. "Alright. I'm a fair guy."
Harry turned around quickly ad said to Kaplan. "Prepare a message for Seven. Send it to my console."
The screen shifted from the bridge to the brig. It was Seven. Her hands were bound together by a pair of energy cuffs and she was behind a forcefield. Apparently, they didn't take chances. Seven looked up at the screen an officer showed her. "Ensign Kim."
"Seven, are you alright?"
"I am not damaged." Replied Seven.
"Just be careful, and stay alert. We'll get you out of there somehow." Harry discreetly tapped his eyebrow.
Seven looked immensely confused. After a moment, she got it. She smiled, acknowledging the clue. "Thank you, Harry."
Harry tapped his console piggy backing the message on their current connection wave to Seven's implant.
The screen flashed back to ransom. "You saw here, you going to let us go?"
"Maybe." Said Harry. 'Maybe not." He folded his arms. "It's not us you have to worry about, it's the aliens you should be concerned over." He made a cut sign to Kaplan.
"Link closed, sir."
Harry rested his elbows on his knees. He whispered to himself. "Hurry up doc.
Max was busy, or rather, preoccupied with tossing his newly replicated handball against the bulkhead. It was one of the few things he was able to bring back with him from Voyager. It was a present from the little girl he had met. Naomi and he had played a couple of games on the Holodeck before all this started. Max smiled. So far, Naomi was the only female he hasn't hit on yet. *You know,* he thought. *Gilmore was right. This isn't right. True, I wanna go home. Babes galore over there. Risa. Earth. Friends. Civilization. But, I don't like killing those things to do it. I still get nightmares every night from it. And the doc asks why I come in every night for sleeping pills. I don't know about mutiny though. Maybe if we out numbered the captain, maybe I'd join in, but…*his thoughts trailed off.
Gilmore strode into Engineering. Max immediately stowed his handball in his pocket and pretended to work. "Hi," He noticed Gilmore's relatively cheery expression on her face. "Feel better?"
Moral smiled. "Some." She leaned against the console Max was using.
"What happened? Last I saw you, you were contemplating mutiny." He grinned.
"I got a little nap. Thought things over." Said Gilmore. "Lets sweeper Rudy takes us."
Max clapped Gilmore's shoulder. "Atta girl."
Gilmore put an arm around Max's shoulder, going on her toes to do it. "Why don't you go rest, huh max. I already took the last corpse up to the Doc for crystallization. Go ahead. I'll take watch down here."
Max looked hesitant and was about to protest when a yawn escaped his lips. "I guess." He head for the Turbolift. "I'll see ya."
"Bye max." waved Gilmore as max left. As soon as he was out the door, Gilmore was at the console. She tapped her commbadge. "Gilmore to EMH."
"Wonderful. Where's Seven?"
"Uh…" Gilmore tapped at the console. "Deck 3, section 5 room 1 or AKA brig. It's guarded by 2 guards."
"Doctor, there's only a few of us left. We can't spare many people for guard duty."
"Oh. I'll contact you later. Doctor out."
The doctor was about to bolt for the sickbay door when the doors opened. He immediately froze and stated quickly. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency."
It was Max. He looked surprised at the doc's appearance at the door. "Hi doc? When'd you turn on?"
"The door activated me, you idiot." Said the doctor icily.
"Jeez, no need to get touchy." Joked Max
"Well, what are you doing here?"
"I got his headache. An' it's killing me, doc. Do you got anything for it."
"This is a sick bay you know?" said the doctor extracting a hypospray from a cabinet. He injected it into Max's neck. "There. Now get out."
Max frowned as he exited. "Jeeze, I wish we left the bedside manner protocol in there." The doors shut.
"Finally." Sighed the doctor. He rushed out the door. He made a couple wrong turns and finally made it to the brig. He spotted the one officer at the door, phase compression rifle at his side. The doctor strode up to him. He was in shock. "Doc? How? I mean, you, uh…"
The doctor showed him the emitter. " It's a little goodie I picked up on Voyager. You like?" he went all business and showed his medical case. The captain wants me to check up on our little Borg here."
The security officer nodded. He tapped in a couple codes on the door panel and admitted him into the brig. He was met by another officer. The inner officer drew her Phaser at him then looked a bit shocked. "Doc?"
The doctor frowned. "Portable holo emitter. Lets me go places." He rolled his eyes. "I need to see the captive." The outer officer nodded to the inner. The inner deactivated the forcefield letting the doctor walk in to the cell. He knelt down to the apparently sleeping Seven of nine. He gently shook her shoulder. "Seven?"
Seven groggily arose. Her eyes were slightly disoriented. "Ugh... doctor?"
The doctor ran a tricorder over her. "Hold still Seven. I need to at least pretend to examine you."
Seven shook her head slightly confused "I believe I lost consciousness. I don't know why…"
The doctor smiled. 'It's called sleeping. Don't worry about it. It's more or less just as good as regenerating."
Seven sat up and looked around. She mumbled something so that only the doctor could hear. "Harry, Ensign Kim informed me of the plan."
"Oh, good." mumbled the doctor back. "Shall we go now madam?"
Seven lifted an eyebrow at the title. "Yes"
The doctor meekly left his tricorder on the bench Seven was sitting on and motioned to let down the force field. It dropped. Walking half way though the barrier, the doctor paused. "Oh dear." He glanced back at the forgotten tricorder. "I forgot my tricorder." Seven picked up the tricorder and got up to hand it to him. When her hand was in reach, the doctor swiftly pulled her out of the cell. The guards didn't realize it till too late. Seven quickly disabled the guards. A quick jab and a Vulcan nerve pinch goes a long way, you know. The doctor lifted an eyebrow. "Done yet?"
"We must go to the shield generators." Stated Seven already out the door.
The doctor was right behind. "Lead the way."
"Creature ETA is 5 minutes, sir."
Harry groaned under his breath. "Any signs of the doc getting out of there?"
"Not yet sir."
"Damn it." Breathed Harry.
"Doctor, I thought you said you knew your way around this ship." Said Seven as she and the doctor ran along the corridors of the Equinox.
"Er, I did?"
"If you did, we would be finished with this mission and back on Voyager."
"Maybe, maybe not." Said the doctor.
Seven looked uncharacteristically harried. Wisps of hair clung around her face as they made their way around the ship. She was not happy. "We would not have gotten lost if you took a minute to study the ship's schematics."
"Yes well, " said the doctor trying to think up a defense. "Time *is* of the essence."
"I wouldn't know by our rate." Said Seven.
The doctor frowned at her. "Where did you pick up that kind of humor? I think you've been hanging around Ensign Kim too much."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Never mind." They reached a door labeled engineering. They entered. Gilmore immediately spotted them and came over. Seven looked as if she were getting ready to attack. The doctor held up a hand. "It's Alright Seven. She's on our side."
Seven seemed to accept his word. "Where are the shield generators?"
Gilmore pointed. "Over there." She showed them to an adjacent room connected to engineering. They all walked in and Seven immediately adapted to unfamiliar consoles. Gilmore began to work beside her. "We need to uninstall the generators. Trick is, how to hide it from the bridge."
Seven looked up briefly. "Do not worry about that. I've got that covered."
"You've definitely hang around Mr. Paris and Mr. Kim too much." Commented the doctor.
"As Mr. Paris would say, ha, ha." Seven worked for a moment. "I converted the force field frequency on the generator. The change will not show up on the bridge sensors. Voyager will be able to maintain a lock on it as well as us."
The doctor turned to Gilmore. "Can you contact Voyager?"
Moral frowned. "Maybe, If miss Borg here a can create a bit of interference."
"My designation is not, 'Miss Borg'." Stated Seven. "But I will create the interference.
"Good for you…Miss Borg."
"Ensign Kim!" called out Kaplan. "The creatures are a comin'!"
"Shields up! Full strength. Power up Phasers.
"Sir," called Kaplan once more. "We're receiving a narrow beam hail from the Equinox." Kaplan looked up and grinned. "Borg encryption."
"Run Borg decryption program 3gammaKim, Kaplan. It's stored on my station." Ordered Kim.
"Aye sir." She tapped a few commands. "ON screen."
Seven's face appeared on the screen. "Seven!"
"Ensign Kim. It is nice to see you again." She turned business. "We are ready. The Force field's frequency. You should be able to beam the generator out now, as well as us."
"How many is 'us'?" asked Harry.
"The doctor, I and Crewman Gilmore."
"Ah, yeah. I'll ask later," said Harry. "Stay close to the generator. It'll be easier to get a lock on you that way."
"A horde of Dimension creatures are heading this way. Prepare for turbulence." Said Harry.
"We will keep that in mind." said Seven.
"Good Luck, Sev."
Seven nodded and cut the connection.
Suddenly the ship lurched. Kim grabbed on to his seat anchoring him in place. A few others weren't so lucky. A good 5 were thrown across the bridge.
The Equinox is attacking. They're firing Phasers." reported Lag
"Target the Equinox." Ordered Harry. "Fire."
Red laser beams shot across the viewscreen and hit the Equinox. It was followed by more firepower from the Equinox.
"Keep firing at them." Called Kim. He shook his head. "Can anything else go wrong?"
"The beings are closing in." reported Kaplan.
"Spoke too soon." Mumbled Harry. Kim bit his lip. "Convert all available energy to the shields."
"Are they attacking the Equinox?"
"No sir. Apparently Voyager is blocking the being's view of the Equinox." Reported Lang.
"Hamilton. Swing Voyager aside. Give them a good view of the Equinox."
"What are you trying to do sir?" asked a junior officer nervously.
"You'll see." The aliens reached the two federation ships. Half of the fleet went for the Equinox, and the other half went to Voyager. They started their first attempt on breaking their shields.
"Temporary shields breaking down." Reported Kaplan.
"What about the Equinox?" asked Kim.
"Their shields are coming down slowly. There's small gaps in their shields."
"Kim to Torres. You better get up here Lieutenant. I want to try to beam our people back."
Lang smiled. "Oh, I get it. Let the aliens do the shield breaking down for us. Making it easier to beam them back."
"Glad you got it, ensign." Said Kim distractedly.
The Turbolift doors opened. B'Elanna charged in heading straight for the engineering console.
Kim started working next to B'Elanna. He read the reports. "The Equinox is making repairs to the shield. They're patching them up. I don't think getting though the shields and beaming them back will be easy Maquis."
"Who said it was going to be easy? B'Elanna spared a glance at Harry. "I'm going to try something. Maybe it'll let us though the shields."
"Continue firing!" ordered ransom from his seat.
"Captain!" called Noah. "They're trying to break though our shields."
"Max!" shouted ransom.
"On it cap!" called max. He tapped furiously at the panel. "He laughed. "Well, that was a good on BLT. But not good enough."
"Damn!" growled B'Elanna. "He patched the hole in the shields I was working on."
"Don't worry B'Elanna." Said Harry. "Try again."
B'Elanna hit the panel. "Damn it Harry. He'll just block my signal again."
"Just try B'Elanna."
"Fine." She tapped a key. "Let's see if he finds that one."
Max grinned. "Nice one B'Elanna. Almost didn't see that one." He countered it.
B'Elanna pounded the console with frustration once more. "Damn it!" She took a step back from the console and closed her eyes briefly. She seemed to meditate for a second before opening her eyes once more. The first thing she saw was Harry tapping furiously at the console. "What are you doing Harry?"
"Making sure he doesn't plug up the hole."
Back on the Equinox, Lieutenant Max Burke was working furiously on the console. He stared at the readouts. "What the hell was that BLT? I've never seen that trick before." He muttered.
Ransom heard him. "What's the matter max?"
"Nothin' Rudy. I got it covered." In his head he added just barely.
Harry worked the console like a mad man. His fingers were flying everywhere. Next to him was Torres. She was watching him extremely interested. Harry finally slowed down and finally came to a stop. Torres peered over his shoulder at his work. There was a hole in the Equinox's shield. Large enough to beam though and then some. She gaped at the younger officer. "How'd you do that?"
"Ever see those 20th century cartoons by Warner Brothers?" B'Elanna nodded "Ever see the ones where a character's going to get eaten by a shark and the put a stick inside the shark's mouth to keep it open? Well, same deal, except with aToms."
"You can't do that!" cried B'Elanna unbelievingly.
"Sez who?" challenged Harry.
Torres was slightly flustered. "Sez every engineer and scientist. All of the Professors at the academy. Every text book published."
"Not if you," Harry dramatically tapped a key. "Do this."
B'Elanna watched the screen understanding what the OPS officer did. "Makes sense. That one's for the books. Good job Starfleet."
Harry turned to lang. "Ensign." He said simply.
Lang understood. "Aye sir. Beaming the generators and our people back." A long second past. "I got them sir. The generator's in it's place and our people are in transporter room one and reporting to stations."
"Good work lang." Said Harry. "B'Elanna." He turned around to look at the engineer when he realized she was already at the Turbolift doors.
"Generators. Reintegrate. Bye." Was all Harry could make out before the doors shut.
"Uh, yeah." Kim blinked then said. "Status of the Equinox."
"The aliens are making their way though their hull sir." Reported a crewman. "At this rate they haven't got a chance."
"We barely have a chance if the Lieutenant doesn't get the primary shields up fast." Commented a worried ensign.
"She'll get them up." Said Harry. "I learned never to doubt the skills of lt. Torres."
"I hope you're right sir." Said the ensign doubtfully.
"Captain." called out Lang. "Whoops! Sorry, sir." She blushed. "Uh, Ensign Kim. The Equinox is engaging thrusters."
"Turning tail?" said Harry looking over at the console.
"Follow them. Match speeds."
"That's the last of them." Said Tom as he wiped away a bead so sweat. The last of his patients had just went out the door. The only ones left were the three most senior officers. A soft groaning caught Tom's attention. He looked at he bio beds and rushed to Janeway's' side.
Janeway opened her eyes and squinted into the blinding light of sickbay. She lifted a hand to shield her eyes. "Did anyone get the license pate number of the truck that hit me?"
"Yeah. The USS Equinox."
Janeway squinted at the figure. "Doctor?"
The face became clearer now. "Nope. Sorry to disappoint you captain. Just little ol' Tom Paris."
"Ugh, do tell." Groaned Chakotay also just awakening.
"The console you were standing next to exploded. You Chakotay and Tuvok were hurt in the blast.
Chakotay lifted himself into a sitting position. "Yes. I can tell." He grimaced.
Janeway sat up gingerly as well. "What's the ship's status?"
Tom filled them in on the recent events ending with the doctor's mission.
"What is the out come of the mission." Asked Tuvok who had regained consciousness in the middle of the briefing.
"Actually, I don't know." Frowned Tom. "I've been stuck down in Sickbay for the whole thing. I can see why the doc gets so annoyed."
"Finally someone who understands me." called a voice. It was the EMH. He saw the newly awaken officers. "Ah, you're awake." He smoothly pulled out a tricorder and began scanning them. "Hmm, all systems within acceptable parameters. Not quite up to par but well enough considering."
"Report doctor." Said Janeway impatiently.
"I was getting to that." Said the doctor annoyed. "Mission accomplished. The shield generator was recovered, Seven was rescued, and we even gained a new crew member."
"Who?" said Chakotay curiously.
"Me." said a voice. Marla Gilmore stepped out from behind the doctor and Seven. The doctor had insisted they come in for a brief exam before going to work.
"Ensign Gilmore?" said Chakotay.
Marla nodded. "Hope you don't mind another crewmember."
Janeway smiled. "You're always welcome." She gingerly slid off the bio bed. The doctor waved his hands in alarm.
"Oh no you don't." exclaimed the doctor. "You're styling here and resting."
"Doctor," said Chakotay also getting up. "According to Mr. Paris, we've already had over 4 hours rest. I think that's enough."
"I must agree." Said Tuvok.
The EMH sighed loudly. "If you insist. But let me at least give you a pain killer for the side affects of the concussion."
"Good enough." Said Janeway. She turned to Seven and Gilmore. "Get up to the bridge, we'll be joining you shortly.
"Yes captain." said Seven turning on her heel. Gilmore was only a step behind.
"Status of the Equinox." Called out Harry.
"They're still trying to run away from the aliens." reported lang. "They're loosing speed."
"No more alien batteries I suppose." Said Harry dryly.
The Turbolift doors opened and Seven and Gilmore entered. As soon as Seven stepped thought he grinned. "Nice to have you back Seven."
"It is nice to be back." Said Seven evenly.
Kim nodded to Gilmore. "Welcome back."
Thanks." Said Gilmore Quietly. She looked up at the viewscreen and gasped. "The Equinox." She seemed to loose all of her strength as she saw the fleeing vessel. She leaned against the railing. Seven looked at her as if debating whether or not she should say something. She didn't and went toe the engineering station. Harry noticed Gilmore clinging onto the rail liked a lifeline. He placed a hand on her shoulder. He smiled.
"Why don't you take the Science station over there with Ensign smith. It helps to keep busy."
Gilmore smiled. "Thanks sir." She went over to the station and began to indulge her self in work.
"Ensign Kim." Called Hamilton. "The Equinox is dropping to a Quarter impulse."
"Match speeds." He sat down in his, no, the command chair.
The doors opened once more and Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, and Paris got out. Kim jumped to his feet and stood ramrod straight. "Captain."
Tuvok relieved Lang, who was looking worse for wear, she had been there ever since Tuvok was out of combat. Janeway and Chakotay walked down to the lower level. "Ensign Kim." Greeted Janeway. "Did you have fun in the big chair while I was gone?"
"I wouldn't exactly call it fun." Said Harry with some humor. He went serious as Janeway and Chakotay sat down and began to look at their arm console. He nodded briefly and walked up to his station to relieve Nozawa.
"Oh and Mister Kim?" added Janeway.
Harry stopped by his console. "Yes captain?"
Harry grinned then went to reclaim his station. Tom, who was still standing near the Turbolift, clapped his shoulder. "Yeah, nice goin' Captain Kim."
"Right, Doc." The two men grinned at each other before Tom went down to shoo Hamilton from his seat.
"Captain." announced Tuvok. "The Equinox is coming to a full stop."
"Meaning, they ran out of gas." Translated Paris.
"Indeed." Replied Tuvok.
"The aliens are eating though Equinox's hull." Reported Gilmore shakily. "They'll be though with in a few minutes." She swallowed hard.
"Captain, they've stopped pursuing us." Said Harry tapping at his console.
"They've realized we're not the enemy." Said Janeway.
"Captain!" called Harry urgently. We're receiving a communication."
"The Equinox?" Questioned Janeway.
Harry frowned and looked at the readouts. "No captain. It's coming from a different dimension."
"It could only be the aliens." muttered Chakotay to Janeway. She nodded.
"Put tit though.
"Audio only." A loud screech filled the bridge. The officer winced as Harry turned the volume down.
"Get that though the Translator Ensign." Called Chakotay.
"Already doing that sir." Said Harry. "Here it is." He punched the button.
"Equinox. Surrender. You are wanted by our kind for killing our kind. We demand vengeance. Surrender and receive punishment. You will not be killed. You will be held captive for a cycle. Surrender by will or by force."
"My gosh it's mulitphasic police." quipped Tom.
Janeway stood up. "Any response from the Equinox?"
"Then I guess that was a no.," said Chakotay.
"Get me the Equinox." Ordered Janeway.
Ransom's face appeared. As messy and battered as he was, he looked at Janeway bravely. "Well, nice to know you're feeling better captain."
"Cut the pleasantries Ransom." Said Janeway. "You heard the alien's message?"
"Are you surrendering?"
"Never!" declared Rudy. "I promised to get this ship home and that's what I'll do!"
"At what expense?" demanded Janeway.
"Any." Said Rudy cryptically. He eyed Gilmore in the corner. "Ah, so that's where you went Marla. We missed you. I guess you couldn't resist a hot meal and warm bath huh?" he said coldly.
"It's not like that!" cried out Gilmore.
"One for all and all for one, you used to say." Cut in ransom. "Right."
"Rudy, it's not like that at all!"
Ransom looked away at his former crewmate and to Janeway. "We're not surrendering. Equinox out."
Janeway thumped her fist on her armrest. "Damn. He's more hardheaded then I thought."
Gilmore shook her head. "Not hardheaded, captain." she said sadly. "Dedicated."
"Report!" barked Ransom.
Max wiped the sweat out of his eyes. The life support was the first causality in the battle. "Hull, compromised. Without the shields the aliens are eating though the ship." He shook his head and reported. "We've lost 5 crewmembers already."
Ransom's face of determination fell into the face of an officer mourning for his crew. He stood up and announced, clearly regaining his confidence once more. "We're not giving up without a fight!"
Max Burke seemed to be less confidant then his commanding officer. He stood next to Ransom and said quietly. "Are you sure we aren't going about this all wrong."
Ransom's eyes snapped. "Oh no! Don't tell me you're going to join the mutiny too!"
Max quickly backpedaled then took hold of the captain's shoulders. "No no! I'm not saying that, Rudy."
"Then what are you saying." Snapped Rudy.
"Just that," Max took a deep breath. "The aliens gave a us a choice."
"Yeah! Surrender or be killed and surrender." Said Ransom dryly.
"Not killed." Pointed out Noah. "Maybe we should try to negotiate with them they clearly have the upper hand."
"Upper hand!?" cried Ransom. "We have a ship they don't. We have weapons, they don't. Or have you forgotten that?"
"No we haven't Rudy." Said Noah gently. "but, they have power to do something, we don't."
Ransom's stage darted between his XO and Science officer. He finally broke off and made a beeline for one of the consoles waiting for repair. "Everyone! Keep working. We're not giving up!"
Noah and Max exchanged worried expressions at each other before getting back to work.
"Any change in the Equinox's status?" asked Janeway.
"No captain." said Tuvok. "They are still without power and loosing life support failing."
"Can't we do anything to help them?" asked Marla.
Janeway shook her head. "No. As much as I love to, they committed their crimes against an alien species. They've killed the aliens for their own benefit, and the aliens are fighting back. They're not the good guys in this one, you understand that?"
Marla nodded. 'Yes, I do." she stared off into space. "I just wish I could do something to put an end to all this." Marla bit her quivering lip as she watched their home of 5 years being invaded by aliens. "I can't stand it" she cried out. She looked at Janeway. "Let me go back to the Equinox. Let me try to convince Rudy to surrender."
"that's suicide!" protested Paris.
""We're going to die anyway." Pointed out Marla. I'm still a part of the Equinox Crew. I followed ransom's orders so I'm just a guilty. Just let me try to talk some sense in to Rudy. He just needs to remember his humanity. Imprisonment is better then death." She frowned. 'In my opinion anyway." She stood up and walked over to Captain Janeway. "Please Captain."
Janeway stared at Gilmore for a long moment before she said. "Transporter room. Prepare to Transport Ensign Gilmore to the Equinox." She smiled at Marla. "Good luck."
Gilmore smiled. "Thank you." She jogged to the Turbolift.
Captain. There's nothing I can do," said Noah sadly. "Life-support on all decks except 4 of them are all fried. Fixing them would take at least 2 weeks."
"Warp engines a completely shot." Said Max. "It's just a blue tube of antimatter now. We'd need a month to get us at least full impulse.
"That's good considering." said Rudy optimistically.
Noah and Max looked at each other. They exchanged concerned looks. This was just going too far. "Rudy…" started off max.
"Captain!" called a Science crewmember from the communications console. Times were desperate. Officers filled what spots they could. "We're getting a hail from…it's the same frequency the alien message was on."
"Go ahead play it." Said Rudy.
"Equinox. This is your last chance to surrender peacefully. Surrender now and you will not be harmed. Do not, we will take you by force."
"NEVER!" cried out Ransom. "Cut the link ensign!"
"Yes sir." Said the ensign in a small voice. Max had enough of this.
"Damn it Rudy. Listen to you! You're scaring your own crew!" he half yelled. "You're not even thinking! Not even considering the possibilities."
"Possibilities?" exclaimed Rudy. "Live or die. Easy as that."
"No it isn't." said a soft voice. All three men looked to the sound. It was Marla Gilmore. She emerged from the Jeffries tubes.
"How did you get in here?" barked ransom.
"Transporter." Said Gilmore walking down to them. The ship's so battered it didn't even register my presence."
"Why did you bother to come back, traitor." Hissed Ransom.
"I'm not a traitor!" said Marla heatedly. "I just acted on what I believe in." She took a shaky breath. "Your priorities are all wrong Rudy."
"Keep us alive. Get us home." Said Rudy.
Max shook his head. "No. It should be: Remember your humanity. Listen to your conscience."
"Don't kill the innocent." Added Noah.
"Getting us home is a priority." Said Marla. "But, it doesn't go above all others."
Rudy studied them all. "I swore I would get the Equinox home. I swore to keep the crew alive." He said softly.
Max stepped closer to Rudy. "I know. But, the ticket home cost too much."
Rudy," Marla gently placed a hand on Rudy's arm. "Rudy, those aliens out there, they aren't the enemy. We are. We killed their kind. They want us punished for what we've done."
"We'll never get home." Said Rudy blankly.
"Never say never!" exclaimed Noah. "Those aliens never said never. Did they?"
"No." agreed Marla. "Who says we won't get home. They aren't going to kill us. We'll serve a prison term then we'll be released. Who know, after a while maybe Starfleet will come and get us." She smiled optimistically.
"Right." Piped up Noah. By then Starfleet might find a wormhole or improve warp or something and take us home," he snapped his fingers. "In no time flat."
Rudy studied their faces. "You really believe that?"
Noah, Max, and Marla looked at each other then nodded. Rudy shook his head with his eyes staring at the floor. "You're right," He admitted. "About everything." He looked up and pursed his lips. "I-I don't know how I could have…." Max placed a hand on his captain's shoulder.
"You had the right ideas, just the wrong tactics."
Just then an alarm blared. "Captain!" yelled an ensign. "The aliens got thought he hull!!! Breaches on all decks. As if it were timed, a small portal opened up near the view screen.
"Damn it!" Swore Ransom as he fumbled for the Phaser behind his command seat. Max and Noah pointed their Phasers at the creature only to find they were out of power.
"NO!" Marla screamed as she shoved Rudy to the side. The creature lunged itself at Marla immediately biting though Marla's skin. Marla gasped.
Max's eyes went wide. "Marla!" he gave a roundhouse punch at the creature knocking it off Marla and disappearing into their dimension.
Rudy got up from where he landed on the floor. he saw Marla half drained by the creature. "Marla!" he knelt by his fallen crewmate. "damn it Marla. Why'd you have to be so damn brave?"
Marla smiled weakly. She managed to gasp out a few words. "Do the right thing…Rudy." With that, Ensign Gilmore closed her eyes for the last time
Rudy max and Noah were silent for a moment paying respects. All of a sudden, Rudy announced. "I'll take full responsibility for the actions of my ship and crew. You all were under my orders I should be punished, not al of you. I'll petition to have you and the rest of the crew released."
Ransom turned to max sharply. "What do you mean, 'no'?"
Max x shook his head. "Exactly what you think. We're a crew Rudy. We'll face this together."
"This is life or death!" argued Rudy.
"So was every single moment of our lives out here." Countered Noah.
"We started this together, and we'll end this together." Said max with a grin.
"you sure?" said ransom hesitantly.
"max and Noah glanced at each other, then back at ransom. "Positive." They chorused.
"What about the rest f the crew?"
"Ask them yourselves." Max challenged.
Ransom looked into space thoughtfully before tapping his commbadge. "Ransom to the crew. Hey guys. We're, once again, in a life or death situation. All of you know the situation. If we surrender, we serve time in an alien jail for who knows how long. If we resist, we'll be attacked and executed on the spot. You guys have a choice this time. No need to follow my orders. I could either surrender myself on your behalf, since you were following my orders, thus keeping you alive definitely or probably get home. Or surrender and spent x amount of jail time and maybe get home. Your call." Rudy licked his lips and awaited the answer.
It came less then a second later.
"Rudy? This is Kathy. I'm with you."
"John here. I'm in."
"Keith to Rudy. Count me in!"
"Jim here. We started this together, we'll end this together."
"Equinox crew to the end."
"Our home is together."
After that, there was a chorus of "yeah"s and "right"s and "here-here"s.
"The crew's loyal." Said Max stating the obvious.
"Too loyal." Smirked Rudy. "give up the alpha Quadrant to possibly die with an inhumane captain."
"But you're *our8 inhumane captain." Called out someone.
Ransom's face was filled with emotion. He was nearly in tears and nearly smiling with pride. "can't say I didn't warn you." He joked lightening up the moment. He waked the length of the bridge. "Alright everyone. I'll give you 10 minutes to compose your letters, obituaries, love letters, last request, or whatever. I'll send them over to Voyager for taps." He clicked off his commbadge. He walked over to where the dedication plaque was hung and ran his fingers over the words. His fingers lingered over "U.S.S. Equinox". "Max," he called over his shoulder. "Send up the white flag."
A loud beep sounded though out the bridge. "What was that?!" called Janeway.
"the Equinox." Said Kim. "They're sending a message to the Aliens."
"What?!" Janeway leapt to her feet. "can we eavesdrop?"
Harry shook his head. "No captain. It's a tight beam transmission out to the swarm of aliens near the Equinox."
"Any idea what they're doing?" she asked over her shoulder to Chakotay.
"Remember that message the aliens sent?" he asked. Janeway nodded. "Surrender or fight. I figure they fought then they're surrendering."
"Janeway looked at Chakotay. "Ransom wouldn't. he's too hard headed to do that."
"captain Janeway." Called Tuvok. "I advise you think again." Tuvok motioned to the viewscreen.
The dimensional beings flashed into existence and attached themselves around the Equinox. In a slash of light they began to create a giant portal. Large enough to take the Equinox though.
"What the…" muttered Janeway.
Just as the Equinox was about to vanish out of their dimension, the familiar shimmer of a transporter beam appeared leaving behind the casing of a torpedo. The Equinox vanished a second after.
Janeway stared where the Equinox had been. "Tuvok. What's in that?"
Tuvok paused a second checking his console. "It is the casing of a torpedo. It is hollow. There is nothing inside it."
"Look again commander." Called out Kim looked at his console. "There's something in there. According to the sensors, there's stored computer data as well as a thin sheet of metal and a few things I can't make out.
"Tractor it." Ordered Janeway. "Maybe it'll explain something's to us."
"yes captain." sadi Tuvok. A blue beam shot out from Voyeur and reeled the capsule in.
So what's in that thing?" asked Torres. the senior staff of the Voyager was grouped together in the briefing room. Occupying the large table was the capsule The Equinox had left behind.
"Let's find out, shall we?" said Janeway. She nodded to Tuvok who scanned the torpedo briefly checking for any dangers. He closed the yricoder, obviously not finding anything and unlatched the casing door.
Chakotay took something out. It was a head set with a clear pink eyepiece. He smiled. "marla's poorman's holodeck." He reached back inside and retrieved a large stack of data chips.
Janeway took the PADD on the top. "this one's addressed to the senior staff of Voyager."
Chakota y took the chip from her and insrted it into the computer scanning slot and pressed the start button.
Ont eh Breifing room's screen appeared the face orf Captain Rudy ransom. His image smiled at tehm. "hello. By now we're probably awaiting trial in anotehr dimention." The captain laughed. "never thoght I'd say that. We're accepted the alien's 'offer'. We're going to serve the jail term and try to get back home, well, when we're released. I don't really expect you to scome after us. Wouldn't want to break the prime direcitve rihgt? I don't blame you. Save the rule bending for someotehr life or death situation." Ransome took a deep breath. "enclosed int the case is letters home from my crew. I know we've already beena handful of trouble, but, when you get hoime give these to our families. One thing though." Ransome quirked a smile. "make sure these get home before er do or the whole point of sending them home with you would be pointless."
Max stepped into the picture. "Inside should be a silver container. That holds what Dilitium crystals we have left. It's not much, but, it's the least we could do. We also put in our 'poorman's holodeck' as marla had called it. It's pretty fun. Try the modified tetris game."
Noah spoke up. "the other data chips contain all of the scientific information we've collected during the years. As well as the crew's logs. Those are to be directed to the family."
"Mine however, are to be stored in your archive." Said ransom. "might prove useful." He smiled. "well, I gues that's it. I just want you to remember, this is by our choice and our choice alone. We weren't forced into surrendering. I want the records to show we commited the crime, and we're doing the time willingly. At least we went out with a bang. Have us remembered for the immense loyalty of the crew and or bravery. Bravery, stupidity? The same thing." He turned to max. "Any last words?"
max grinned. "hey Paris. Take care of BLT for me. You don't, and I'll have my ghost haunt you."
Noah was the next to speak up. He bowed his head. "Godspeed Voyager."
Ransom nodded to the screen. "take care. This is the Equinox, signing out."
The senior staff was silent. Janeway removed the aforementioned items from the capsule. When the last of the chips were removed, Janeway pulled a heavy object from inside. It was a bronze plaque. In large letters bore the Name USS Equinox. Attached to it was an old fashioned post-it note. It read "At least the name will get home."
"damn. " remarked Tom. "comedians to the end!"
Janeway stared at the capsule. "Tuvok."
"get this case down to the torpedo bay. Might as well put it to use."
"captain." said Neelix. He stuck a spotted hand into the torpedo casing. There's one more thing in here." He pulled it out. It was a simple piece of paper. "it's addressed to you."
Curiously, Janeway took it from the moral officer. She opened it up. It held only 2 lines and a signature at the botTom. She smiled and put it in her pocket. "alright. I want repairs to the ship stepped up. Departments heads, I want a report on the progress within the next 6 hours. Mr. Kim."
"I believe you were the officer in command during the duration or the situation."
"I want a report on that as well." She looked at B'relanna. "I want those crystals integrated into our system. Seven. Download the information from the Equinox into out computer. integrate their charts with ours. Place the logs and letters with the 'to be sent when within range' files."
"consider done." Said Seven.
Janeway nodded. "Dismissed."
A few hours later, Janeway was sitting behind her ready room desk. She rubbed her temples. The door chimed.
In walked Ensign Harry Kim. "Captain" he greeted. Janeway nodded. He handed her a PADD. "Here the OPS report."
Janeway rubbed her forehead. "Give me the readers digest version."
"The condensed version."
"Uh, all repairs are going smoothly."
Janeway smiled. "Now *that's* the condensed version."
Ensign Kim cracked a tiny smile. "Will that be all captain?"
Janeway shook her head. "Not yet ensign." She held up a PADD. "I read your command report. Not bad, under the circumstances. Under any circumstances for that matter. I've placed a commendation on your record. For your ability to command and your outstanding work."
Kim blushed. 'Thank you captain. I'm honored."
Janeway stood up. "Don't thank me. You've earned it." She walked over to the the replicator and ran a hand over the controls. Her back was to Harry. "I'd say that was a record Ensign."
Harry frowned. "What is a record captain?"
Janeway looked at him. "Having a commendation from two commanding officers in one day."
As if in response, Janeway handed Harry the note she received from the capsule. "Read it."
Harry opened it up.
"Captain Ransom commanding officer of the Equinox. auth 547-beta. Commendation to Ensign Harry Kim of the Voyager. -Janeway, that kid's one heck of a commanding officer. Sure told me a thing or two. Certainly not worth an ensign's ranking…know what I mean? Signed, Ransom."
Harry looked at Janeway and blinked. "Uh, I'm honored?" he said not really knowing what words would fit.
"You should be." Replied Janeway. "It takes a lot to impress ransom." She discreetly opened up a drawer near the replicator while she spoke. "I put the commendation in your file. And I think I'm going to take his advice."
"Captain?" said Harry, his eyes slightly widening.
With one hand she opened a tiny box. Nestled inside was a brand new shiny pip. Kim's mouth dropped open slightly, but then closed. Janeway took the pip out and announced. "On this day I, Kathryn Janeway, captain of the Federation starship Voyager, here by promote Harry Kim to the rank of Full Lieutenant with all rights and responsibilities." With some grandeur, Janeway pinned the second pip to Kim's collar. "Congratulations Lieutenant."
Harry was dumbstruck for a moment. The moment past and he grinned and shook Janeway's hand. "Thank you captain."
Janeway smiled. "Like I said Harry, you earned it."
Harry's grin grew wider. He impulsively reached up to touch the shiny new pip. "As in the words of Tom, cool."
"Oh, I almost forgot." Said Harry. "Neelix is holding a party slash memorial for the Equinox crew in the mess hall. Would you like to join us? No eulogies. Just a party."
"I'd love to." Said Janeway. "Just let me finish reading these reports."
Harry nodded crispy. "Aye aye captain." He grinned. "And thank you." Janeway nodded as he left the ready room.
"What a stupid game!" Announced B'Elanna. She yanked off the "poorman's Holodeck'. "What's the point to this game?"
Tom asperatedly took his own headgear off. "It's a puzzle game. You just get rid of as many rows as you can." He looked at the other woman next to him. "What do you think, Seven?"
Seven still had her headpiece on. "It is a…challenging source of entertainment. Simplistic, but time occupying."
B'Elanna frowned. "Not my type of game." She tossed her headset on one of the mess hall tables. Streamers and a few balloons for Naomi's sake decorated the room. Neelix made sure the Equinox was remembered and not mourned.
The doors to the Mess hall opened up and Harry strode in. he was grinning ear to ear.
"Hey, what's up 'chireshire cat'?" asked Tom.
"Oh, nothing much 'Chicken platter'." Said Harry mysteriously.
"Chicken platter?" asked Seven.
"Joke." Explained Harry.
"Indeed." Seven continued playing.
"What level are you on?" asked Harry.
"12, I believe."
"What?!" cried Tom. "Go figure. I bet the Borg assimilated first time it got a federation vessel." He rolled his eyes.
"Actually." Replied Seven. "It was assimilated it when the Borg assimilated earth in another dimension."
"WHAT?!" exclaimed Tom and B'Elanna.
"Seven lifted an eyebrow. "A joke." She took the head set off.
B'Elanna shook her head and held up he headset to Harry. "Care to try?"
Harry reached for it. 'Don't mind if I do." he slipped the headset on. His hand lingered at his collar for a moment drawing Seven's attention. She blinked. "Ensign Kim?"
"I believe my optical implant is malfunctioning." Said Seven, in a teasing sort of way.
"Why do you think that?"
"An hour ago you had only one rank insignia. Now, you have two." Stated Seven.
"Well, you're optical implant isn't malfunctioning." Said Harry grinning.
Tom looked at Harry's neck. "WHAT?!?!" he cried. Grabbed Harry's shoulder and yanked him down to his and B'Elanna's eye level.
"When?" said B'Elanna also inspecting them.
"Just a few minutes ago when I delivered my report to Janeway's office."
Tom folded his arms. "I should deliver reports more often."
"congratulations ens- lieutenant." Said Seven.
"Thanks." Harry smiled. "I guess you can't always call me ensign Kim no more."
"Of course not "Ensign." Seven smiled.
Harry rolled his eyes. "you have been hanging around me and Tom too long."
"I tend to agree." Said Seven.
"Care for a drink any one?" interrupted Neelix. He held out a try of drinks. Torres, Paris and Kim took their glasses. Seven refused, remembering what happened last time she had alcohol, and opt for a glass of water.
Janeway walked in just as Neelix was preparing a toast. "To the brave crew of the Equinox!" he called.
"Here here!" chorused the crew.
"And to the newly promoted Lieutenant Kim." Added Seven.
Harry blushed as the crew's eyes all went to him. There were loud calls of "congratulations" and "Alright Harry's" and the like.
"Here here!" the crew cried.
In the back of the room, Tom Elbowed Rollins. "You owe me 10 rations."
Rollins scowled. "I know, I know."
Harry turned around as soon as her heard the conversation. "You bet on me?!"
Tom and Rollins looked at each other. Tom finally gave up looking innocent and said. "Uh, yeah."
"For how long?" Lt. Kim demanded.
"Uh, since, uh…" trailed off Tom.
"Out with it." Snapped Harry.
"You came to Voyager." Blurted Rollins. "Right after you , uh, died, then, uh, came back."
Harry slapped his forehead. "Who's in on the pool?"
Tom avoided Harry's eyes. "Uh…the whole ship, minus Tuvok, Chakotay, and the captain."
Harry slapped his forehead again. "I didn't wan t to know."
Wildman lightly punched Harry's shoulder. "Aw Harry, why didn't you wait till next week for the heroics? That was my week?"
"You know everyone was fighting for the week right after we attempted slipstream." Piped up Neelix.
"Attention everybody." Called Janeway. In her hands, she held out the Equinox's dedication plaque. "At first, I wasn't sure where to place this. Well, the mess hall is a good enough place as any." Janeway looked at the crew. "The crew of the Equinox may not get home as soon as they hoped or at all. But, at least their name will get home…when -we- get home." With that, Janeway attached the Dedication plaque to the wall, directly facing the starts.
**Fade to black**
The End!! Show credits…uh, I guess that a good enough way to end it.
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