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By Widdy

Part 1

Angry bolts of red and orange lightning battered the hull of the small shuttle, as it tried desperately to make its escape from the nebula. It seemed every time it managed to reach the edge, the lightning would reach out like a huge hand and swat the shuttle like a fly and knock it off course. Inside the shuttle its two occupants where frantically trying to find some way to exit this death trap without being cooked alive.

"Lieutenant we are approaching the edge of the nebula" B'Elanna could have sworn Seven's voice sounded slightly panicked, but this was the Seven she thought and if there was one thing she was sure of it was that Seven of Nine didn't get panicked. Hell she didn't feel full stop so how in Grethor could she feel panic.

"Shields are down to 46 percent." The calm feminine voice of the computer announced.

Finally making a decision B'Elanna barked out an order. "Seven. Divert all remaining power to the aft thrusters, we're going to break free of this dammed nebula if it kills us."

"Lieutenant there is a 92 percent probability that we will be killed during your attempt to break free of this `dammed' nebula." Seven pointed out, as her hands flew over the console making the adjustments required.

B'Elanna gritted her teeth against the rising irritation she felt at Seven's little comment, while she tried to come up with a single reason why she shouldn't snap Seven's neck. "Just shut up Seven."

"Shield down to 31 percent." Stated the computer.

As they flew on bolts of lightning continued to strike the shields.

"Come on you floating piece of space junk, don't give up on me now." B'Elanna pleaded with the shuttle as it encroached on the edge of the nebula.

B'Elanna breathed a sigh of relief as they finally managed to get clear of the nebula. As she turned in her seat to get a better look at Seven, the lieutenant's anger immediately began to grow. "Kahless! Seven why didn't you tell me that nebula was like the inside of a."

Just as B'Elanna started to give Seven the verbal arse kicking of her young life the shuttle's shield failed. A bolt of lightning shot from the nebula and penetrated the hull, the lightning surged around the interior of the shuttle, bouncing off the walls and consoles it encountered before striking B'Elanna straight in the chest. Seven could only watch in a stunned silence as the lightning entered B'Elanna's body. The lieutenant's back arched, her face contorted in pain and her mouth opened in a silent scream of agony.

B'Elanna felt as though her entire body was on fire. She could almost feel her blood as it boiled in her veins, and her body was an oven cooking her internal organs. Her mind felt as though it was being ripped apart from the inside, while someone was slicing into her flesh with a laser torch. As the pain became unbearable B'Elanna welcomed oblivion as darkness washed over her.

As the lieutenant passed out her entire body began to glow the same angry red as the lightning from the nebula. Seven quickly overcame her shock and began to search for a tricorder. She found one near the rear of the shuttle, with the tricorder in hand she rushed back to the lieutenant. As Seven began to scan B'Elanna she noticed that she was not getting a clear reading; the tricorder could not penetrate the electric haze that seemed to have engulfed B'Elanna's body. Realising that she could not help the lieutenant she decided to concentrate on finding Voyager. Seven started to commence scans of the surrounding area, she located Voyager about 10 minutes away from their current position. She set a course and began to repair the comm. system; once she had it back online she hailed the ship.

"Seven of Nine to Voyager."

"This is Janeway, Seven what's wrong? We've been trying to establish communications for over 2 hours." The concern was evident in Janeway's voice even over the comm. link.

Seven could see the image of Voyager as it came into view on the shuttle's view screen. "Captain, I will explain once we are on board, but Lieutenant Torres has been severely injured. I'm requesting permission for two to beam directly to sickbay."

"Permission granted."

Seven's only thoughts as the feel of the transport over took her body were of B'Elanna.

Part 2

As they materialised on the floor of sickbay, Seven immediately began to explain the event that lead to the lieutenant's current state of health to the EMH, while he set about moving the lieutenant to a biobed. Just as the doctor was about to lift B'Elanna from the floor, the electric haze that was engulfing the lieutenant began to intensify becoming almost maroon in colour, while tendrils of the original lightning began to surge the length of B'Elanna's body tracing the contours of her form. Just then the doors to sickbay opened admitting the captain.

"Doctor Report"

"Well I really haven't had time to begin a preliminary examination, but based upon what Seven has told me of what occurred on the shuttle." He stopped mid sentence when he realised the captain wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention to him, but merely staring bug eyed at Lieutenant Torres.

With a sigh the doctor ordered the computer to transport the lieutenant to the biobed at the far end of sickbay.

Seven could see the lieutenant was severely damaged from her encounter with the lightning bolt, she was barely breathing and her burnt and scorched skin was clearly visible through the gaping hole vaporised in her uniform jacket by the lightning. Frowning Seven could not fathom how the lieutenant's chest wasn't also vaporised when the lightning impacted. Another thought that was lingering at the back of Seven's mind was that the lieutenant looked so small lying motionless upon the biobed struggling for breath. The lieutenant might constantly scream and shout at her every time she made an improvement or adjustment to `her' ship, but she was one of the few individuals onboard Voyager that did not look at her with pity in their eyes. Seven glanced at the doctor to see what he was doing to help the lieutenant, when she saw him pick up a tricorder and begin to scan B'Elanna.

"Doctor the tricorder will not work, when I attempted to scan the lieutenant onboard the shuttle I could not get a clear reading. The scan apparently could not penetrate the electric field that has engulfed the lieutenant's body."

Glaring at Seven for interrupting him he began to adjust the settings of the tricorder to penetrate the field. "Hmmm, Lieutenant Torres seems to have suffered third degree burns where the lightning struck her in the chest. There also appears to be some burning to her lungs and primary heart. Her overall body temperature has increased by a third and her liver and kidneys are inflamed. I'm detecting burning to the brain and possible bleeding. These surges of lightning that are running the length of Lieutenant Torres's body, are burning her uniform and the skin underneath. Seven I need your help in dissipating this field immediately."

Seven, sensing the need for urgency emanating from the Doctor as he moved from one side of sickbay to the other, set about finding a way to remove the electric haze.

"Captain could you monitor Lieutenant Torres' condition while Seven and myself try to come up with a solution." Asked the EMH without even looking up from the console he was currently working on.

Snapping out of her daze the captain moved to the side of the biobed B'Elanna was situated upon. "Of course Doctor."

"Janeway to the bridge. I want scans of the nebula immediately, I want to know of any and all anomalies. I want to know everything about it, send all findings here to sickbay. Janeway out." As the comm. link closed the captain returned to monitoring her chief engineer.

Idea after idea was discarded, nothing they tried seemed to be working, and B'Elanna's condition was slowly deteriorating as they tried desperately to save her.

Inside the dark oblivion of her mind B'Elanna could feel and see it pulsating and calling to her. Pulling her closer, aching with an all consuming need, a need to or for what she did not want to know. She could resist, she kept telling her self like a mantra, but there was just something about its cry that she could not ignore any longer. B'Elanna slowly began to move towards the light. As she got about three feet away she could see the outline of a humanoid figure, the same angry red colour as the lightning bolt that struck her in the shuttle. It seemed to be about 4 feet in height but lacking any gender and clear definition. As she stood there she was hit with a sudden flash of understanding that this was some kind of entity, but what in Grethor did it want with her? Before she could even begin to formulate an answer she was struck once again.

Part 3

As the entity struck B'Elanna her klingon instincts went into over drive. She began to fight this thing, which had invaded her personal sanctuary and was trying to kill her. Then as suddenly as she was struck by the lightning, she was infused with this warm and peaceful feeling. She could hear the entity, it was pleading with her to stop fighting and let them become one. Did she really want to become one with this thing? Whatever it was, and if she did could they ever separate? If there was one thing she was sure of it was that only the entity could give her the answers she wanted, and the only way to get them was to join with it. Her decision made B'Elanna stopped fighting and relaxed, the change was almost immediate as her mind merged with that of the entity. Although they where one they both kept some semblance of individuality. She could see its memories and experiences, hear its thoughts and feel what it was feeling and had felt. She cloud access anything and everything she wanted about it, as it could with her thoughts and feelings. That's when she also realised that the entity was a child.

"Doctor you should come and see this." Janeway's eyes widened as she watched B'Elanna's body begin to absorb the electric haze.

Hearing the captain's voice both Seven and the Doctor sprinted to her side. The Doctor was first to react as he picked up the modified tricorder and began to scan the lieutenant.

"There appears to be a lot of heightened brain activity but I can't get a clear reading yet. I'm going to begin to repair the damage while I have the chance, Seven could you give me a hand."

Seven welcomed the distraction handed her by the Doctor and began to help him in whatever way she could. She would occasionally glance up at B'Elanna to visually confirm that her condition was improving. When all the damage to the lieutenant's body was repaired the captain pulled Seven aside.

"Seven, what in the hell happened inside that nebula?"

Deciding that answering the captain's question was the quickest way that she could get back to the lieutenant, Seven began her explanation.

"After completing our scans upon the dilitium moon we located, the lieutenant expressed a desire to return to Voyager quickly. She ordered me to find a faster route back to Voyager and that is when I discovered the nebula. I pointed out that if we flew directly through the nebula our journey back to Voyager would be cut in half. I then commenced scans of the nebula to see if we where at risk, I discovered no risks and we altered our course. Half was through the nebula lightning began to strike the shields of the shuttle, for two hours we attempted to leave the nebula. As we finally managed to break free the shields failed and a bolt of the lightning entered the shuttle and struck the lieutenant. I repaired communications and then contacted Voyager."

"What about the scans of the nebula I ordered earlier, did they turn up anything unusual?" asked Janeway.

"No they showed identical readings to the ones we received before entering the nebula."

"Well there defiantly seems to be something off with this nebula, Seven I want you to go to the astrometrics lab. I'll have Chakotay assign an engineering crew to help you adjust the sensors to see if you can get a more in-depth scan of the nebula."

Just as Seven was about to comply, movement behind the captain caught her eye.

B'Elanna could hear the captain's conversation with Seven as she was rising out of the darkness towards consciousness. When she opened her eyes the first thing she noticed was that her vision was different, everything was softer and was shaded in various shades of red, yellow and orange. As she sat up her body felt weak but her mind was razor sharp, they had to get off the ship now.

Turning to see what had caught Seven's eye the first thing the captain noticed was that the lieutenant was awake and sitting up. She was about to lecture the Doctor about notifying her before he awakened B'Elanna, when she noticed the lieutenant's eyes. The pupils had remained black while the iris had turned blood red; those same eyes turned to regarded her with a curious yet knowing look. Janeway knew immediately that something was wrong with B'Elanna when she turned her gaze upon Seven and smiled. B'Elanna always fought with Seven, it was a know fact like the earth revolved around the sun.

"Computer, erect a level 10 force field in sickbay." The smile was wiped off B'Elanna's face the second Janeway gave the order.

"You.Will.Release.Us.We.Do.Not.Belong." B'Elanna's voice sounded strange but oddly right, it was deeper and seemed to have an echo that made every word spoken sound full and commanding.

"I'm afraid that won't be possible until you tell us who and what you are and what you have done to Lieutenant Torres."

The captain waited patently for an answer as the lieutenant climbed off the biobed and stood on the floor. It was a strange sensation, being one with the entity, experiencing new found wonder in simple acts like walking, seeing, breathing, and hearing. They just didn't have the time to quell the captain's fears, they had to leave now. As she approached the force field her body began to become engulfed in the electric field again. The others could only watch in silence as she walked through the force field like it wasn't there and out of the doors to sickbay.

Part 4

Seeing Seven sprint out of sickbay after B'Elanna snapped the captain out of her shock, she reached across her tunic and pressed her comm. badge. "Janeway to Tuvok"

"Tuvok here Captain."

"Tuvok I need you to locate Lieutenant Torres and send a security detail to detain her immediately, I'll meet you on the way. Janeway out."

"Doctor I need you to go over the scans you took of B'Elanna earlier and see if you missed anything, contact me with what you find." Shouted Janeway as she exited sickbay.

The Doctor, a bit insulted by the implication he had missed something, set about reviewing his scans.

When Seven eventually caught up with B'Elanna she was just entering the turbo lift, the first thing she noticed was that B'Elanna wasn't paying attention to her but merely gazing around the turbo lift. Seven was about to interrupt B'Elanna when she ordered the turbo lift to the shuttle bay.

She had to get off the ship it was imperative that she leave. When the turbo lift started to move she realized she wasn't alone, looking to her left she saw Seven of Nine regarding her with her usual impassive look. Gazing deeper into the eyes that seemed to have snared her she saw something she could only describe as concern, but why would Seven be concerned about her it wasn't like they where friends. They could barely tolerate each other, no scratch that she could barely tolerate Seven. Her inner ramblings where cut short when she was interrupted by the object of thoughts.

"Lieutenant I believe you should return to sickbay and have the doctor examine you."

She was being scrutinized by an unnerving soul piercing gaze and felt the need to distract the lieutenant.

As B'Elanna was about the answer the turbo lift arrived at its destination and her urgency to leave once again surfaced, she exited the turbo lift with Seven following close behind. As they came to the doors of the shuttle bay they where intercepted by the captain, Tuvok and a security detail.

"Seven of Nine step away from Lieutenant Torres."

Tuvok turned his phaser on the lieutenant and started to speak to her in measured tones. "Lieutenant Torres stop all movement and accompany us to the brig."

Regarding Tuvok for a second B'Elanna turned and headed to the doors of the shuttle bay.

"Lieutenant you have been warned." He set his phaser to stun and fired but it appeared to have no effect, nodding to the members of his security team they all fired.

The Feeling of phaser fire entering her body only served to infuriate B'Elanna, how dare that petaQ fire at them he'll pay. As she turned to face Tuvok her upper body was bombarded with shots that just pissed B'Elanna off.

Seeing the lieutenant's eyes narrow becoming almost completely consumed by the red colouring and zooming on them, the captain was about to intervene.

As she clenched her fists she could feel the power they possessed begin to surge in every cell in her body, they needed to protect themselves, they had to return. Raising her left fist B'Elanna opened her hand palm up to reveal a ball of energy that was floating an inch above. As she dropped her hand the ball of energy split into five smaller balls that shot toward the captain, Tuvok, and the security team. Before they had a chance to react the spheres where passing through their bodies rendering them unconscious. As B'Elanna raised her hand again the smaller balls merged into the original larger ball of energy and returned to her open palm and was absorbed. Sighing B'Elanna gazed sadly at the still forms of the captain and the others, turned and entered the shuttle bay.

Gazing after the lieutenant Seven quickly moved to check on the captain and the other officers. After ordering the computer to transport them to sickbay Seven gathered her courage and followed the lieutenant into the shuttle bay. She located B'Elanna by a shuttle to her left, while moving over to the shuttle Seven began to speak. "Lieutenant Torres I cannot allow you to leave Voyager, it is apparent you are no yourself."


"Then I shall accompany you on your journey."

"No." Smiling sadly at Seven she traced her finger down Seven's left cheek, as Seven's eyes rolled back into her head and she began to fall B'Elanna caught her. She picked Seven up and carried her over to the shuttle bay entrance, placed her gently on the floor and returned to the shuttle.

Taking one last look at Seven B'Elanna entered the shuttle and set a course for the nebula.

Part 5

Looking up from his station Harry began to relay the information he was currently receiving.

"Commander, the Captain, Lieutenant Tuvok and the security team sent to detain B'Elanna have just been transported to sickbay."

"Did they apprehend B'Elanna?"

"No sir, B'Elanna is currently in the shuttle bay."

Sighing Chakotay turned to face Harry, it was a safe bet that B'Elanna was involved in this somehow.

"Dispatch another security team Harry"

Just as security entered the shuttle bay Lieutenant Torres was leaving Voyager.

"Murphy to Chakotay, Commander we couldn't stop the lieutenant she had already acquired a shuttle and was leaving Voyager when we arrived. We did find Seven though, she was unconscious by the entrance, we're transporting her to sick bay now, Murphy out."

The Doctor reached for a hypospray, adjusting the dose he walked to the head of the bio bed and pressed it to Janeway's neck.

"Argh, it feels like there's a warp core breach inside my head, what happened?" Moaned the captain as she came to, the lights of sickbay temporarily blinding her. Turning her head slightly her vision was filled with the face of the doctor, flashes of what had just occurred started to fill her mind.

"It's to be expected, your body had a tremendous shock, I found traces of." the Doctor stopped when Seven of Nine materialised in sickbay.

"Good god not another one, the lieutenant certainly seems to be developing that knock out personality of hers."

Ignoring the doctor's little comment Janeway hopped off the bio bed.

"Doctor when Seven wakes up tell her she's needed on the bridge, Tuvok you're with me"

Mumbling to himself about being underappreciated the doctor set to work on waking Seven.

Arriving on the bridge the first thing Janeway noticed was the shuttle filling the view screen.

"Commander Report"

Jumping at the sudden appearance of the Captain Chakotay spun on his heel and delivered his report.

"B'Elanna managed to acquire a shuttle, she had already started the shuttle's engines and was leaving Voyager by the time security arrived. She seems to be headed in the direction of the nebula; Harry's trying to get a lock on her now."

"Mr Kim?"

Harry looked up apologetically.

"I'm sorry captain I can't get a lock, B'Elanna's blocking my attempts"

"Keep working on it Mr Kim. Tuvok I want you to target the shuttle and disable the engines, I want that shuttle stopped before it enters the nebula." Determination seeped into the captain's voice as she gazed at the view screen.

On board the shuttle B'Elanna was busy combating Harry's attempts at transport when phaser fire began to strike the shields. She felt the entity's rising panic swirl and mix with her own at the prospect that they would not make it back to the nebula. They had to make it, failure was not an option, calming herself she began to focus on strengthening the shields. She froze mid step feeling her panic and worry fade as suddenly as it had rose when she felt them, they where coming for her.

"Captain the nebula seems to be in motion and is on a collision course with the shuttle, 2 minites to impact." Said Harry not quite believing what the sensors where telling him.

"WHAT? On screen, Harry can you get a lock on B'Elanna yet?"

"Sorry captain the nebula is interfering with several systems on board, the transporters are one of them. I'm working on clearing it up."

Seven arrived on the bridge just as the nebula swallowed B'Elanna's shuttle. Space in and around the nebula started to contract and tear. Shock waves of energy started to roll towards Voyager picking up speed as they neared the ship. The whole nebula was intensifying in colour, and the constant flashes of lightning that where visible seemed to be more frequent and violent.

"Mr Paris get us clear of the shock waves." Shouted the captain grabbing hold of her command chair to steady herself as Voyager was tossed around like a bucking bronco.

Seven's face turned sheet white as the view screen was filled with a brilliant flash of white as the nebula exploded.

Part 6

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