DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters, Paramount does, I am just using them for now. I am making no money whatsoever.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A big thanks to Quew who long ago looked at the story and said 'It's good' or something like that. And a thanks to nica for her insistence I post this and for help with story title.
This has been sitting in my old hard drive before the idea for 'A Mile' came out.. Any similarities is just that.. One reason I stopped work on this story. However as a favour to nica and to quew for the countless hours of help, I am posting and completing this.
SERIES: This is Series One of Two stories, a sequel is planned once I get the last chapters out.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Seven, what's that ahead of us? And where in Grethor did it come from?" B'Elanna Torres looked at her console and then back to the viewport and finally back to her console, trying to work out how a vessel almost twice the size of Voyager could all of a sudden appear out of nowhere. One minute the space ahead of them was clear, then a sleek streamlined ship was in front of them, not more than 10 000 kilometres away.
The only other occupant in the Delta Flyer was Seven of Nine, the Astrometric's Science Officer and resident ex-Borg. Seven was frantically inputting data on her console, her hands working at a speed B'Elanna found strangely fascinating yet disturbing all at once. "I do not know Lieutenant, it is not a design familiar to the Borg. Perhaps this will be a first contact for us." Seven glanced over at the Klingon/Human hybrid Chief Engineer, her silver implant rising in question and wondered how B'Elanna could always express herself no matter what the situation.
"Seven, I need you to keep an eye on that nebula, it is throwing off wild readings on my console. We have enough to worry about with that ship out there, we don't need an erratic nebula to discharge some lightning our way." She received a quick nod as an affirmative and continued scanning ahead.
On their way back to Voyager B'Elanna and Seven started scanning the strange nebula, it was giving off readings none of the crew had encountered and B'Elanna knew the Captain would have wanted at least some proof of their findings. The scientist in the Captain would be very happy if the two of them could have some positive results.
"Incoming message, Lieutenant Torres, audio only," Seven calmly stated. B'Elanna and Seven listened as an unknown species made their first contact.
"We interfere not, peaceful passage, younglings be well." The audio was cut and the strange ship started to move again, albeit slowly.
"Well, that was short and informative, at least it brought some excitement to an otherwise dull adventure."
B'Elanna stood and stretched her muscles; sitting at the pilot's seat for hours on end and staying in a small space vessel, alone with the Ice Queen Seven, was not her idea of a great weeks' entertainment.
The crew of two had just collected much needed resources from a nearby planet and were heading back to the Star ship USS Voyager and had, until now, had a monotonous voyage. "Seven, contact Voyager and let them know of our visitors."
As the strange vessel passed by them, a yellow beam of light invaded the cockpit, casting a ghoulish reflection on the equipment. Seven who at the time had stood up to run another diagnostic, spared a look at B'Elanna before she collapsed to the decking in an undignified heap.
As B'Elanna ran to help the Astrometric's officer she too was rendered unconscious, her hand grazing Seven's Borg-enhanced hand. Another beam of light filtered through the ship, this time a purple one, and within moments all life signs ceased to function.
Meanwhile, on the alien vessel, a very heated fight broke out with much cursing and apologies. Accusations and recriminations were tossed around like Neelix's leolo root in a crewman's stomach. It seemed the friendly ship was filled with inexperienced offspring and, in an unfortunate accident, one of the crew pressed the wrong button, thus triggering the wrong beam.
In her eagerness to rectify the error, she yet again miscalculated and used the wrong transference beam. Moctar entered the Bridge, ordering a status report on the situation, while the young Sitar bowed repeatedly, begging to fix up her mistake.
Cursing silently to herself Moctar wondered again for the countless time why she brought her niece on her ship. Taking Sitar and her secondary security officer Tolan, Moctar beamed onboard the strange alien vessel bearing the strange symbols 'USS Delta Flyer'.
Moctar was by far the tallest of the crew on board her ship, her 7 plus foot dusky brown lean frame having to bend to move about the small Flyer. Moctar was a Shellon and was Humanoid in appearance, though she was taller then most Humans and her skin was a light brown. She could change colour depending on the circumstances, while fine hair covered her body and though it looked like fur, it was not as thick.
She was a 'Live' birth and the most powerful "Trans - enetic" on her ship, and probably one of the best on her Mother planet. Her arms and legs were slighter longer and more flexible than an average Human and her six fingers and toes were marginally longer too. Her brown hair was kept close cropped and she had an eartheral quality to her. She was more than pleasant to look at and her deep brown eyes were said to have the power of seeing into the Soul of a Shellon and making them confess their darkest secrets. Beneath the calm exterior laid a cunning analytical mind hardened by war and peace. Peace was almost harder for her, for an uneasy alliance was kept and the smallest spark could ignite another war on her planet. Enemies on her homeworld hid in official offices, and behind the law, spouting rhetoric and backtalk, anything to remain cloaked and in power.
All at once, the sensors that were recording all that went on in the vessel went into overdrive, as the foreign dialect filled the cabin. Moctar was not at all impressed that her niece had screwed up for the umpteenth time; this time it had affected an unknown non-pact species, and could jeopardise the entire mission. When she'd promised her sister she would mentor her young niece as a 'Guider' in one of the fields she excelled at, she'd had no idea her patience would be tested.
All young were required to spend time on a PEC tour of space and to complete at least two passing grades before submitting to Right of Birth. Normally one field would be chosen by the caregiver, in Sitar's case her mother picked her course.
Sitar hung her head in shame, her pale brown hide covered in yellow dots, and the fine downy hair on her arms and legs standing up. All of it showed her disappointment and sorrow at her ineffectual work habit, she had shamed her caregivers and her tough proud military aunt.
Why can't I do something right, like Moctar, who is an honoured and decorated woman; she fought bravely in the Birthing War and founded two planets, all before she was 200 Turnlings. Sitar sighed at her predicament; she knew she was the family outcast, the one sent away for her prestigious aunt to fix up.
Moctar bent down to observe the new species and, though she could not detect any life signs, their energy or Havara readings were evident and strong. She didn't need her transference device to detect them, she was strong and disciplined enough without it. Moctar held her hands back, she dared not touch the two fascinating creatures for fear of contaminating their Havara's and thereby killing them.
Closing her eyes and concentrating, she opened up her mind and her now pale blue eyes - she saw the two life forms Havara's just above her head; glancing up, she smiled at the beauty of their Havara's. Pale blues, green, yellow and even peach Havara's could be detected but, what was surprising to Moctar was the red within both of their Shakras.
These two creatures have had a dark past, but the beauty and passion they had now overrode the red Havara. She frowned as she detected a disturbance within the centre of their energy and felt the shift within the air. She was suddenly hit with a surge of their remnant loose Havara and fell forward as she was inundated with the creatures' memories. Taking a moment to right herself and regain her composure, she rubbed her head and knew she would have restless sleep for some time to come.
She knew one of the shells was a Borg but the other one though it appeared to be Shelleniod was of a species not known. Even the Borg drone had a pale white complexion not seen before and hair the colour of a beautiful energy fluxworm in motion.
Only once had Moctar seen a fluxworm but it was more majestic than she had ever imagined. The whole thing had been 20 feet long with its 10 long tendrils waving about almost in some secret dance. Moctar could still recall the energy the creature had at its disposal and knew just a portion of its energy could power her vessel for 10 turnlings. Only a few Shellens had ever seen a fluxworm and to Moctar it still remained one of the most life changing occurrences of her Shelled life.
Moctar had to make a decision whether to disturb the natural order and let the shells pass onto the next phase of their life or restore their Havaras to their shells. Here in front of her was a former Borg now repatriated and part of a mysterious crew, should she show compassion and give this shell another life. The Borg were still considered an enemy to the Shellons and as such mercy was not normally granted. However she knew this to be a special case and as such needed to choose justly. And what of the other one, should she spare the darker one, and not help the drone?
Moctar already had a glimpse of the two shells previous lives and knew them to be of good Havara. But what to do, if she interfered she would face many questions once she got back to her birth planet and could possibly face severe penalties.
Looking up back at their energy readings and reviewing some of their memories she sensed a power grow within her. Moctar knew any more delays would see the strange species Havara dissipate and thus no chance of restoring them. Smiling as she had made her decision, she ordered Sitar to use the transference device to relocate the two creatures' Havaras to their shells.
Tolanar observed his T'ren in awe - he never tired of seeing the power and compassion she possessed. They were on a peaceful mission, hoping to find a new breeding ground, and their orders were to avoid other species if possible. It was not always possible to follow outdated orders when you were a lone vessel in an uncharted region of space.
Using the device and restoring the creatures could be seen as a conflict of orders and may mean Right of Birth being stripped from the participators. However, Tolanar knew his T'ren was right to restore the hapless creatures' Havaras. It was their error that caused the displacement, it was time they righted it.
He had followed his remarkable T'ren in battle during the Birthing conflict that cost many lives, and would stand by her in anything else that came their way. Making a log entry, he waited by his T'ren's side as he watched her young niece prepare for the Restoring.
Sitar concentrated and summoned all her training and genetic powers, she knew failure was not an option. She nervously placed the tiny disc the size of a coin in her hand and felt it morph and mould to her. Activating it, the device completed it conforming to the user's hand so it became a second skin. Essentially it was second skin for the disc was made from each user's own genetic DNA and from an adhesive Sitar couldn't name.
The device started to do its job of collecting the selected energy readings, giving the energy a boost of power and restoring the Havara and energy back into the shells. Never before had Sitar tried doing two shells at once, let alone a foreign species; she knew being allowed to perform this task was monumental and showed faith in her abilities. Though the device helped her with the task, it was really only a 'boost', and she needed to rely on her genetic ability.
After ten minutes of weaving the right Energy and gaining a healthy balance, Sitar could feel the creatures' Havaras fighting for survival. It was a good sign - however, it proved to be a more of a challenge for Sitar.
All of a sudden she felt another presence in her mind and felt the cool blue of her aunt's mind, giving her a much-needed mental boost. Spurred on, Sitar finished weaving all the energy and carefully proceeded to place the Havara into the shells of the creatures.
To restore someone's Havara involved not only the right genetic capabilities but also years of discipline and a patient disposition. The whole procedure was likened to spinning or weaving a complex spider web holding an electrical charge that could shift and die at any given time. Each colour requiring to be placed in right order, the web becoming more intricate and bigger as time wore on.
Sitar had heard of one Restoration taking an hour, and the toll it took on the young shell's life was enormous. The poor shell Lilon never fully recovered, her very skin turned an odd pale blue colour and her eyes remained blue even after all those years.
The other side effect had been a profound bonding with the Restoree Lector and the constant need to dissipate the large amount of energy stored within her. Lilon could power a small cooking element for a quarter Turnling just in one discharge. Rumour had it that she passed on seconds after her beloved Lector was killed in a freak accident. Sitar knew the truth behind their deaths and it was a closely guarded secret within the clans.
After another tense ten minutes, Sitar could feel her downy hair vibrate rapidly, and her blood sing as the Havara's transference was complete. Disengaging from her aunt, Sitar slumped unconscious to the decking, the sheer effort too much for her.
Moctar sensed the creatures life signs return to what was (for them) a normal balance. As Moctar touched the hands of the two life forms known as B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine, without warning, was thrown to the back of the Delta Flyer, while B'Elanna's, Seven's and Sitar's body jerked painfully upwards.
Visions of memories from the two Voyager residents flooded Moctar's mind; she witnessed and felt countless Borg assimilations and self-loathing, as well as painful rites of passage tests. Simultaneously the whole ship rocked violently to the side as the Nebula hit the tiny ship with a loose energy charge.
Tolanar watched on helplessly and knew never to touch a 'weaver' while they still had residual memories within them. It was at times a dangerous profession and only the best lived as long as Moctar. Tolanar had been beside his T'ren's side for over 40 turnlings and he still didn't know exactly how old she really was.
Some gifted 'trans -enetic's died from insanity, others simply chose to give up, that is why Tolanar found his T'ren so capable. She had conquered everything placed in her path and still choose to avoid Path. He held onto the bulkhead as the rocking stopped and the energy around the cabin dissipated.
Shaking her head and regaining some semblance of order in her mind, Moctar walked over to her niece and turned off the Transference device. The device was still turned on and, in effect, had given all four shells a cosmic mental whammy, each person receiving an overload of information from the others' minds.
Moctar didn't even want to think about all that energy that nebula had outside the ship. It had been risky doing a Restoration near a volatile nebula. Straightening the hair on her arms, Moctar double checked on the unconscious shells and ordered a tractor beam on the small vessel; she planned on getting the two creatures back to their mothership, and reunite them with their companions.
Leaning back in her clear moulded seat that allowed for her lean frame and flexible appendages, Moclar placed her long six digit fingers on her pale brown temple. The memories and feelings that had filled her mind earlier were playing havoc on her body. Her skin was pale in comparison to her normal dusk brown and she still carried some static energy in the form of her fine hair standing up from her experience on the strange vessel.
It was not uncommon to carry a large amount of displaced energy and normally one could discharge it from the body by working out while hooked to a machine called a "Dissipater" that transferred the energy. In time that same energy would be used to power machines varying from cooking appliances to birthing suites. A large number of machines on the ship were powered by the various " Trans- enetics" and it cut down on the consumption needed by a vessel as large as the Lilon.
Needing to do something and feeling the energy almost sing in her, Moctar headed to the "Energy room" and lying down on the plastic bed wrapped the plastic cuff around her right arm. Placing a small round golden plastic disc on either side of her temples, Moclar used her mind to flick the small red switch on the "Dissipater" machine.
Everything in the small round room was plastic to prevent any shorting out of electrical equipment. It was also a precaution to prevent a Tran-enetic from receiving any energy feedback. With all the energy they carried in them, especially after a Restoration, a Trans-enetic was susceptible to overheating and getting electrocuted, thus destroying anything that was metal or had an energy field in it, including other Shellons. Even without doing a Restoration, regular trips to discharge their natural energy was required. The Shellons learned the hard way in dealing with their unique gifts.
Feeling the machine kick over Moctar relaxed her body and proceeded to view the events of the day. Her memories were displayed to all who were present in the room, thankfully the only one present was her niece who was doing the same thing. Moctar insisted all Restorers recorded their thoughts and viewed any new memories after a Restoration. It was not mandatory elsewhere but on her ship, she knew it was important to go over recent events if the Restorer was to preserve a healthy mind and Havara.
Not all of her kind had the genetic ability to do what she did and not everyone had the same gifts. Some had the ability to cast their minds into the future, some had healing powers that literally brought back a Shellon from the grip of "Path's Grace." Some could move vast objects over great distances all with their minds, others had an innate skill to find shells and objects long thought lost. There were rumours that a few rare gifted ones could do it all and to many they posed some unknown perceived threat.
Moctar was a Trans-enetic and had the ability to see the shells Havara or Bio Energy and transfer or restore it back into their shell. She could not however heal a shell of a wound that would eventually kill it. Without a healer to help then her powers were only a short lived preventive. She did have healing abilities but not enough for a complete renewal.
Moctar knew she had other skills, some closely guarded, but it was her Restoration skills she most prided in and used. She knew some called her kind "Weavers", "Energy spinners", "Restorers", 'Gene - Gift', and a few other names best left alone. She preferred the term Gene -gift' or Trans-enetic' over the other names, for she saw her powers as gifts, not a curse or an abomination.
It took many years to master the skills she possessed, and she did not want her gifts to go to waste. What was the point in fighting in a war if she was restricted in using those genetic Path given gifts. Sure the life of a "Gene-gift" was not always easy, but it had its benefits and there was potential to do great many things.
She had seen too many Shellons go insane with their genetic gifts, all of them unable to erase new, often at times, painful memories and powerless to deal with their responsibilities. Most retired early, or restricted their gifts, the overload and stress too much. That was why she implemented measures on her ship to ensure no one suffered needlessly. All Gene-gifts had a support network and knew that when time came, their destiny was in the hands of the wise Path.
Until recently some Gene-gifts had been banned from practising their gifts and others had gone to great lengths to hide their true Birth Right. For a short time the Shellons looked like they would needlessly kill each other off. All the Gifted Shellons wanted was their Birth Rights intact and to proudly practise their gifts.
It was the Birthing wars that forced change and the need for exploration. This was one of the many reasons Moclar took the contract to do a PEC tour, it allowed her and her kind on the ship freedom to explore their skills unhindered and be supported by each other.
Moctar had been feeling stifled in the job she was given after the war, sure it was an honourable job, but it gave her no joy or a release for her Gene-gifts. Now on this ship surrounded by like minds she was free to pursue her full potential, and perhaps unlock Sitar's gene-gifts. Even the position of power and responsibility didn't weight her down, in fact it gave her immense pride. One day one of her clan would take over a PEC ship, she had secured them that birth Right.
Taking time to discharge the energy from her body and to review recent events, Moctar accessed her next move. Knowing the last known co-ordinates to the aliens' mother vessel Moctar needed to ensure she found the ship, and returned them safely. Standing up, she stood nearby her niece, silently addressing her in her mind.
Asking Sitar what bothered her, she received a reply that she had failed. Taking the time to sit nearby, Moctar reviewed the events with Sitar, helping her understand that mistakes were made, but they were corrected and lessons were learnt.
After a long talk, Moctar gently and quickly touched foreheads with Sitar and left the room. Very rarely did trans -enetics touch, especially foreheads, for fear of being caught in an emotional energy 'wash.' Moctar's compassion knew when to come to the fore and so she granted a touch. When she joined minds with her niece earlier, she felt Sitar's gifts and knew they were laying dormant. All it would take was a strong event like earlier or the confidence and training to let it be released.
Rubbing her head and heading to the bridge, Moctar hoped she was strong enough to brave the future that was heading their way.
Standing on the bridge Moclar watched the vessel USS Voyager become larger on the screen. It was a large space vessel though not as large as hers, and even the Lilon was small compared to some of the ships back on her motherworld. To Be Continued
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"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Space ship Voyager, we are only passing through and mean you no harm."
"I am T'ren Lila Moctar of the vessel Lilon. We harm not, we return what belongs to you."
Captain Janeway was standing on her bridge and was curious as to what this was all about. What could they have that belonged to her?
Janeway had been in her ready room drinking her morning coffee when she was interrupted by Ensign Harry Kim requesting her presence on the bridge. When she got there she was not quite prepared for the large sleek vessel looming nearby not more than 250 kilometres away on the port bow.
Ensign Kim spoke up "The ship came out of nowhere Captain, we were on course, when our sensor readings lit up our consoles and this vessel appeared. It is almost like it has a clocking device. So far it has stayed on course with us and has scanned us. It hasn't given us any indications of its intent." Harry's youthful face showed his concern and curiosity regarding the developments.
"We can only get cursory scans Captain, their shields are up, but weapons are offline." Tuvok's ever calm voice could be heard.
"Tom lay in a course and see if they follow." Ordered Janeway, and for the next ten minutes a bizarre game of follow the leader was played.
It was after Voyager had come to a stop that Janeway decided to make contact.
"May I ask what you have that belongs to us?" Janeway enquired.
"No harm intended, young shells strong, order restored. " Moctar stated.
A beam could be seen from the mysterious craft and within moments a young ensign contacted Janeway.
"Captain, you better get down here, the Delta flyer just materialised in the airbay."
The young ensign had been taking inventory when a pale blue beam filtered through the bay and the Delta flyer appeared.
Before Janeway could ask any more questions to the alien, the vessel disappeared and sensors failed to locate even a warp signature. After issuing a few orders Janeway went to the sickbay where the two still unconscious crew were.
"Are there alive?" Janeway asked the EMH as soon as the sickbay door opened. Following her was Ensign Tom Paris in the role of backing up the Doc, Tuvok and Ensign Samantha Wildman. Both ensigns had vested interests in being there.
Tom Paris was dating B'Elanna Torres and though their relationship was rocky he needed to make sure she was ok. Samantha Wildman was a close friend to Seven, almost like a sister she never had. Though Sam was hesitant at first to get close to the ex Borg, her daughter Namoi helped her see past the Borg exterior. Namoi would be beside herself if Seven was seriously harmed.
Janeway had ordered B'Elanna and Seven to go on the away team, besides needing the recourses, Janeway knew she had to do something to stop the constant antagonism between the two. She had hoped they could come to some kind of mutual understanding. But it looked like she had endangered their lives needlessly.
Everyone stayed back as the Doc scanned both of the women, and then rescan them. Though a hologram his face showed his confusion over the strange readings he was receiving from the Bio scans. The fact was, he was getting no readings, almost as if something was interferring with the scanner.
Stepping away from his patients and going through the force field he approached the Captain.
"They are fine, just sleeping." Doc handed the Captain the scanner and watched as Janeway's face showed her surprise. Janeway knew how to read the results so she was taken aback by the bio readings.
"I have double-checked and rechecked the results, and they say the same thing. Both of them are in perfect health but show alarmingly high Bio- energy readings and I can't get a proper fix on their bio scans. I should get more information once they wake up. I think we should just wait until they come round instead of using a hypo spray to wake them." Doc stated as he brought down the force field.
Janeway observed B'Elanna for a moment and then went to Seven's side to reassure herself that Seven was ok. Janeway didn't know what she would have done had Seven been killed. She had severed Seven from the Borg collective and considered her to be a surrogate daughter.
Not that she didn't think of B'Elanna as a daughter, it was just that Seven didn't have any family and was still such a babe in the woods. Placing her hand on Seven's fine alabaster face Janeway felt static electricity run through her and her hair stood on end.
Doc spoke up "I think that may have something to do with their Bio readings, B'Elanna is the same."
"Oh Kahless, what hit me?" Seven stirred, and slowly opening her eyes saw a concerned Janeway look down at her. Seven rubbed her forehead, her face marred by confusion.
"Captain, how in Gre'thor did I get here?" Janeway smiled and touching Seven's shoulder reassured her that everything was alright.
B'Elanna too stirred and found a very worried Tom Paris lean over her. "Ensign Paris, what are you doing here? Please desist from invading my personal space."
Laughing Janeway said "Well it seems you two managed to pick up a few lessons from each other."
Suddenly Seven sat up and shouted out "Oh Kahless, Seven, where is she?"
All eyes turned to Seven, including B'Elanna's. Seven looked over at B'Elanna, looked down at herself, back to B'Elanna and promptly fainted.
B'Elanna could only stare blankly, her eyebrow raised high up on her ridged forehead, and her mouth slightly open.
B'Elanna/Seven could see her body on the other bio bed and to say she was confused was an understatement.
Looking down Seven saw dark hands and touching her forehead she felt ridges of a Klingon. "Captain, we have a problem. This body is not mine." stated Seven in B'Elanna's body.
Seven's body stirred and a groan could be heard as her eyes opened. Sitting up slowly Seven, nay B'Elanna, looked over to her body then down at her pale skin. "Oh sweet Kahless in a hand basket."
To Be Continued
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