Our saga continues...
Rating: PG, sure.
Thing to know: The time line jumps around; you start in the "present" and go to the "past." Hope that clears things up.
JetC factor: About a 5; it's not too bad.
"I am Klantio," the humanoid said upon meeting Janeway and her first officer. "You are to allow us to search your ship."
"Our doors are open," she responded cheerfully. "Poke around where ever you like; we have nothing to hide."
Klantio nodded his smooth, hairless head and walked past the captain, his group of identical soldiers in tow. Each one stood a few centimeters taller than Voyager's first officer, and appeared to be well built under their heavy armor. Klantio's left arm was slightly bent at an unnatural angle, but that was the only mark that separated him from his soldiers.
"Well he seems cheerful," Chakotay muttered as they followed the eerily similar Minatians.
Janeway half-smiled. "The nicer we are to them, the quicker this will be done," she whispered.
The Minatians traveled through most of the ship silently, scanning each member of the crew they came upon, along with everyone's quarters and wardrobes. They spent a brief amount of time in Sickbay, poking and prodding at the Doctor. Or at least trying to. It was when they reached Engineering that they slowed down.
Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres was not happy about having her work area invaded. She was not happy about having her work interrupted. In fact, B'Elanna Torres didn't like anything to happen that messed up her schedule. The fact that she had to be awake at all five hours before her normal duty shift was enough disruption for her.
When the Minatians began to look over everything, she had to resist the urge to throw them, en masse, into the warp core. She raised an eyebrow, forehead ridges moving as well, at Chakotay who shook his head slightly. Sighing, B'Elanna began explaining all of the intricacies of Voyager's warp core but was silenced by Klantio.
"My men will understand it; do not insult them by explaining it."
She shook her head, tousling the brown hair attached to it, and shrugged. "Fine then," she said, going back to work. One of the soldiers began looking over her shoulder with his squinted, almost triangular yellow eyes. "Do you mind?" The spaces between the ridges on her forehead seemed to deepen as she became more frustrated with the Minatian watchers.
"He is curious about your operating system; you will allow him to observe you," Klantio said from the catwalk. B'Elanna wondered how he had seen her altercation with his guard from where he stood but decided it was best not to question it.
Janeway nodded when B'Elanna sent her a look. "All right," the half-Klingon woman said slowly, returning to her work. She resisted the urge to shove the observers when they got in the way. Her Klingon temper had caused more problems then she liked to admit.
As they continued through the corridors of Voyager, the Minatians seemed to become more relaxed. Janeway opened the doors to cargo bay two and noticed that Seven was still in her alcove. The ship-wide announcement had not interrupted her regeneration cycle. The sound of the doors opening did however. The blonde Borg woman stepped out of her alcove and turned to face Janeway.
"Is there something you require, Captain?" she asked, giving only a brief glance to the aliens who accompanied Janeway and Chakotay.
"Nothing at all, Seven. These men are just touring the ship."
Seven looked up at the Minatians. "Species 8374. The Minatians. A violent species; they made good commando drones."
Klantio stared at Seven, eyes widening and turning to a color resembling ochre. "A Borg. You cannot pass through our space with a Borg." He was trying not to betray his fear, but he was like all the others they had brought on board who had encountered the Borg-terrified.
"I am no longer a part of the Collective," Seven stated flatly. "I pose no harm to you or your people."
Janeway nodded when Klantio gave her a dubious look. "Her neural interface has been deactivated; she cannot communicate with the Borg."
Klantio looked at his warriors. He did not want to appear paranoid in front of his subordinates. "We will have to discuss that with the Council when we return to our ship. For now, I must carefully inspect this equipment."
"Be our guests," Janeway said, forcing a cheeriness into her voice she wasn't feeling.
Seven of Nine watched with cool detachment as the Minatians examined her alcove. They asked for no explanations of the technology, but avoided stepping on to the regeneration pads. Seven busied herself with modulating her alcove so that the other members of the crew could not activate it. After the incident with Naomi Wildman being mildly electrocuted, Seven thought that
safety protocols were a wise idea.
She had warned Naomi on several occasions that if the young girl started pressing buttons on the display, she would end up getting hurt. But children have the habit of not listening to adults and so the young girl had begun pressing buttons. When Seven found the Wildman child, she had been unconscious for half an hour.
The Minatians exited the cargo bay without warning Captain or Commander, and the two senior officers had to jog to keep up. Finally, the Minatian warriors stopped, having gotten lost.
"We're done with the inspection. We will contact you once we have talked to the Council," Klantio stated flatly.
"We await your decision eagerly," Janeway said, glancing at Chakotay. He shrugged, almost imperceptibly, indicating that he was as uncertain about what their decision would be as she was.
Captain and First Officer escorted the Minatian warriors back to their shuttle in silence. Once Klantio's crew was safely in space, Chakotay turned to the captain:
"Well, that was interesting," he said as they made their way towards the Bridge.
"They certainly weren't very talkative," she said, smiling. As an after thought, she tapped her com-badge. "Mr. Paris, what's our status?"
"We're just waiting, Captain. The Minatian shuttle will dock with the cruiser in approximately ten minutes."
"Maintain position, Ensign."
Janeway sat in her quarters, looking over the crew's weekly notes. In her left hand she held a PADD full of ship's status reports and in her right she held a glass of strong brandy. The brandy was getting far more attention than the PADD was.
This was usually Chakotay's job. Or sometimes, they would go over them together during dinner. It gave both of them a chance to relax. But Chakotay was still lying in Sickbay. At least he was breathing on his own, a change from the past month. He had yet to wake up, however.
The Doctor had tried everything, but no one was willing to give up hope. Especially not Janeway.
They had been through things like this before and triumphed; she had no doubt that they would overcome this.
But she did doubt. Chakotay was so still where he lay; his skin was becoming paler. Even the tattoo marking his face seemed to be fading. It was heart wrenching to see such a strong man whither away to nothing in front of her eyes.
"Enough of this, Kathryn," she muttered to the galaxy at large and herself in particular. "You are not helping him any."
She began looking at the notes in front of her, hoping it would distract her from the ailing first officer. But her thoughts were still with him, as if she stood beside him while he lay on the bed. And following that thought, she wished she were the one on that bed, and not him. He didn't deserve this.
She was no longer reading the words on the screen. Rather, the words sat there, invading her optic nerve but never making it to her brain. It was too busy thinking and hatching ideas that would, under normal circumstances, be considered breaking and entering. Yes, that was what she would do. She hoped Chakotay would forgive her for the intrusion, but given the situation, she thought he would.
Standing slowly, she left her quarters and made her way to the Commander's, searching and eventually finding his medicine bundle. She set herself up on the floor and began to breathe, repeating the words Chakotay had taught her.
At first, there was nothing and Janeway feared she had forgotten something about the ritual, but then she felt the ship fade away around her...
The waves of the ocean hit the shore softly, sending a light mist up the dunes to where
Kathryn stood. She heard the gulls calling, but did not pay any attention to them. Instead, she searched the ground for the small lizard she had seen here before.
It took a moment to find him. But eventually he scurried up a rock, examining the captain closely.
"What is it?" the lizard asked.
"I don't know what to do about my first officer; he's ill and I am afraid he may die. I want to know how to save him."
If the lizard could have sighed, it would have. "His life rests in his own mind, not in your hands. Your friend is facing his own battle; he needs your strength, but you cannot succeed for him. His spirit guide will show him the right path."
Janeway opened her eyes quickly, having been snapped out of her trance by her spirit guide. Apparently, that was everything the little lizard felt she needed to know on the subject. Sighing, Janeway replaced the medicine bundle and returned to her quarters to think about the situation.