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Losiv waited until the lieutenant's outburst had finished and she paused for breath.
"I shall answer all your questions Beylanna. We are currently situated outside of normal space time in Forever City, an interlinking dimensional plain or as we call them areas."
"So how many of these `areas' are there exactly?"
"There are an infinite number of areas. May I continue?" asked Losiv with a gentle smile.
Smiling sheepishly spoke "sure."
"This is the Guard Tower; you can see all of Forever City from this very room. The tree you and Nigh climbed was a portal or gateway to Forever City, each area has a multitude of gateways linking them."
"Are all the gateways like that? Cause I have to say, that was certainly something."
"Alas no, they are all not. They are different things, some are doorways, others are pools of liquid, clouds, stones. You get the general idea?"
"Yes, but how can you tell what is a gateway and what's not?" she asked while frowning at Losiv.
"You have to know what you are looking for. The gateways have a slightly different energy than the surround areas in which they are situated. The eyes of my species can detect slight variations in energy."
"Is that why when I was fused with Nigh, my vision was different shades or red, yellow, and orange?"
"Yes, hazardous or irregular energies or gasses are indicated by the colours blue, green, and indigo."
Tilting his head slightly to the side he continued answering B'Elanna's earlier questions. "The markings upon yours, mine and all the other beings faces you have seen are a physical manifestation of the power we possess, they also show the level and control we have over said power. As for the red flecks present within your eyes they are an after-effect of being fused with Nigh, while fused your eyes would have been the same red colouring as mine.
"Wait a minute. What do you mean after-effect?"
"It is possible and more than likely that by fusing with you Nigh has transferred part of her powers to you. I have yet to determine to what extent you have been affected by the fusion of your being with Nigh, when I know more I will inform you."
Losiv's voice softened as he noticed the lost expression on B'Elanna face. "My name is Losiv as you all ready know and I am the Guardian of Forever City"
"Earlier Nigh said something about you being the first. What exactly are you the first of?"
"I was the first of my species to evolve to a higher state, since then I have been known as the first. I wandered the universe in my energy form, until I discovered the areas. The others decided to join me here and then I became the guardian."
Tacking a deep breath Losiv then looked B'Elanna dead in the eye "returning you to your ship is not going to be simple."
Looking him dead in the eye B'Elanna began to speak "what do I have to do?"
Smiling at the fire that had just ignited within her eyes Losiv started to explain "when you awoke Beylanna you where situated within the Horizon. The Horizon is a place where normal space meets the interlinking dimensional plains, within the Horizon you can go access any of the areas. You can additionally access the nebula from the Horizon."
"What exactly happened on board the shuttle after we entered the nebula? I can't remember a single thing that happened after the impressive light show."
Nigh who had been sitting quietly at a table to the left of B'Elanna suddenly began to choke upon the drink she had been guzzling down. A little red in the face after she nearly choked to death Nigh's gaze kept darting between Losiv and B'Elanna.
"I believe...I can explain Beylanna."
Frowning at the hesitation B'Elanna began to get a sinking feeling "go on then explain what happened."
Licking her suddenly dry lips Nigh began her explanation "well when we entered the nebula we dropped the shuttle's shields and I prepared to break the connection we had established. When I was separating from you it was more difficult than I anticipated and something went wrong, I'm really not sure what. Your body was pulled along with me into the nebula, I knew you would die if exposed to the gases and energy contained within the nebula. You helped me after I hurt you and you understood my need to return to the nebula, but more importantly you became my friend so I made you like us."
"You made me energy?" B'Elanna's eyes opened wide as she questioned the entity.
"Yes" said Nigh.
Turning around B'Elanna found herself face to face with Losiv, he was looking past her at Nigh.
"As I said a short time ago returning will not be easy, when the nebula returned to the area it originated from you and all the others of my species that where contained within, where deposited within the Horizon. If they had previously possessed a corporeal form then they automatically changed to that form if not they are left in there energy form."
"Well why don't some of the entities have corporeal forms?"
"The members of my species that have corporeal forms are generally individuals who have evolved and had a body like you and myself Beylanna. The members of my species like Nigh who have no corporeal form where conceived by two entities in there energy form."
"I understand that, but why does Nigh have a body now? Why does she look like me when I was about 10?"
"Nigh is around 10 years of age that is why her corporeal form is that of a child. As for why she looks like you well that is simple, your genetic material was used to create the body so naturally she would look like you."
Rubbing her forehead ridges B'Elanna looked towards Nigh, she was sitting at table in the middle of the room, eating one the same fruits she had given B'Elanna earlier. They where not the most appealing fruit she had ever laid eyes on, being navy blue with small spikes running all over the surface but as they say looks can be deceiving. Walking over to the table B'Elanna sat down next to Nigh, the little entity pushed a glass in her direction. The glass was cylindrical about fifteen inches in height, and about five inches in width, and filled with a neon pink liquid.
Raising her hands in the direction of the beverage B'Elanna began to speak "maybe later. You where telling me how to get back to Voyager"
Running his fingers through his hair Losiv shifted his gaze towards B'Elanna "when you access the nebula via the Horizon you must be in energy form or you will die instantly. When you and myself enter the nebula.."
"You're coming with me? Why?"
Seven had been gazing at the padd in her hand for the past 5 minutes; she was pulled from her own thoughts by the voice of Lieutenant Paris.
"YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS" Tom shouted across the conference room while forcefully slamming his fist down on the table.
"Sit down Tom" when Tom didn't, Janeway fixed her gaze upon him "do I really have to repeat myself Lieutenant Paris?"
When Tom finally sat down she looked around the room, Tuvok looked as impassive as ever while Chakotay looked as tired as she felt, Tom was silently fuming and Harry wouldn't look her in the eye. The Doctor was... well the Doctor; Nelix was twiddling his thumbs, and Seven she looked like she was lost in her own little world.
"We've been in the same position for over six weeks, in that time Seven and Harry completed numerous scans of the surrounding area and pored over the data taken of the nebula and they haven't found any think new. The doctor has also reviewed his finding and they also haven't turned up anything new, and as much as I loath to say this again, I think that we should resume our course home."
"We can not leave the area, Lieutenant Torres could return at any time." While voicing her objections Seven stared the captain dead in the eye.
"I'm with Seven on this one, this is B'Elanna where talking about she wouldn't leave us" looking form face to face for support Tom continued "..so you're just going to abandon her, well I want nothing to do with it."
"This is not under discussion I don't want to leave but we can't stay here any longer Tom, ship's resources are running low and as Mr Nelix said earlier crew moral is down, we just can not stay here." Janeway sighed, this just was not sinking in, did they really think she wanted to just give up on B'Elanna?
"Lieutenant Paris there is a possibility that Lieutenant Torres is no longer alive, it is possible that she was somehow killed and her body was vaporised within the nebula. I could find no conclusive evidense that she is alive."
Glaring at Tuvok Tom was about to speak when Seven beat him to it "That is true, but there was also no evidence that Lieutenant Torres is dead, the fact that no body was found onboard the shuttle points to the conclusion that she is still alive."
"Enough you all have your orders. Dismissed." Janeway quickly rose from her seat and exited the conference room.
Tom rose from his seat and moved to follow Janeway; Chakotay reading his intentions motioned for Harry to intercept.
"Come on Tom lets go and get a drink before we have to report for our duty shifts."
Harry was positioned directly in front of the exit and Chakotay slightly to his right, seeing that he wasn't going to be allowed to continue his conversation with Janeway Paris relented.
Seven watched the whole incident with interest she shared Lieutenant Paris' wish to remain at the current location; she did not desire to abandon Lieutenant Torres. She currently required a short period of regeneration, when she had regenerated she would voice her objections to the current orders the captain had issued.
Losiv sighed, gently shaking his head while mumbling something about the impatiens of youth. "If you would wait for just a second Beylanna I will explain everything to you" pausing to see if B'Elanna would interrupt, when she didn't he cleared his throat and started from where she had interrupted him. "As I was saying when you and I enter the nebula I will start a chain reaction within the nebula that will puncture space. If you are not accompanied by an individual who knows how to cause a chain reaction then you could get lost or your life could be terminated. Really the choice is yours."
Flashing his dazzlingly white teeth at her "now that I have explained the easy part, we can begin upon the more challenging aspects of this situation."
"What the hell do you mean easy part?" gritting her teeth B'Elanna could feel her anger start to grow.
"Well, becoming energy again is the difficult part. Where as I had a life time to learn how to evolve you have only a short time. Nigh will have to force your body to evolve again it is the quickest way, but the stress and shock that your body will endure is unprecedented."
"Why do I have only a short time to evolve?"
"Time is slower here; it does not flow at the same seed as it would in normal space, for every hour you have spent here about six days have passed upon your ship." He explained gently
"How long have I been here?"
"A little over seven hours."
"Seven hours." rapidly clenching and unclenching her jaw, B'Elanna started to shake her head "I want to leave right NOW."
"As you wish."
Walking to the right side of the room Losiv laid his palm flat upon the wall, B'Elanna was almost blinded when a doorway appeared similar to the one she has passed through to enter Field of Light. The harsh contrasted from the soft warm yellow light that seemed to bounce off the walls, to the sharp white almost clinical light that was cutting into her eyes. When here eyes had finally adjusted to the new light source she noticed that Nigh was no longer sitting at the table instead she was standing next to Losiv waiting for her to join them. She slowly stood and made her way towards the entities that awaited her.
When they entered the Horizon it looked exactly as B'Elanna remembered it, pure untouched and almost spiritual. When she finally got her thoughts under control she could see that Losiv and Nigh where waiting for her upon a platform identical to the one she had awoken upon. As she stepped on the platform it immediately began to move. Losiv and Nigh didn't seem to be effected by movement of the platform as it flew down the corridor at speeds that B'Elanna was sure equalled warp 5. Sitting down as quickly as possible she could only scowl at Nigh as she shot a condescending grin her way.
"Your transition to normal space time will be difficult. Theoretically when you electrostatic discharge form the nebula as soon as you enter an oxygenated environment you should regain your normal form."
Chuckling gently he answered her question "yes it is when you will leave the nebula, in essence become a bolt of lightning."
"Oh." B'Elanna's forehead ridges became more prominent due to the frown.
Just as she was about to begin interrogating Losiv the platform began to slow and move towards the right side of the Horizon. The platform stopped all movement when if finally reached the wall.
"I have this little niggling feeling that this is gonna hurt?" B'Elanna remarked as she watched Losiv and Nigh raise there arms a little and open their palms. As they tilted there heads back they began to glow red and the physical forms became blurred. The hairs on her body began to stand on end as she looked at her hand she could see tiny bolts of lightning jumped from finger to finger. B'Elanna could also detect a faint pulsating light coming from under each eye considering she couldn't see B'Elanna suspected that it was the zig zags upon her cheeks.
Getting to her feet B'Elanna could see a faint outline of a person she guessed it was Losiv because it was bigger than the other. Tendrils of lightning snaked out from the form and began to twist turn; the more tendrils came from the form and began to twist into each other the smaller the form became. Eventually there was no form just twisting and turning lightning that had twisted into what looked like a figure eight. The other form which she thought was Nigh had also taken on this figure eight like shape. The shape reminded B'Elanna of the symbol for infinity, as she was contemplating this the smaller of the entities did something she should have seen coming, struck her right in the middle of her chest.
Seven was on duty in astrometrics when she noticed some unusual readings; she entered a series of commands into the computer and began to view the readings. Her brow slowly began to move as she read. When she had viewed all the available data Seven quickly shut down the console and exited astrometrics.
As she moved through the ship at a pace that was fast even for her, Seven thought about what she had just discovered. The anomalous readings she had discovered where almost identical to that of the nebula before it exploded. A million and one questions where running through Seven's mind, such as how had the nebula moved position, well if she was honest that particular question had been annoying her, since she had read the senior staff's reports. Ensign Kim clearly stated that the nebula was in motion and engulfed Lieutenant Torres' shuttle. Placing that thought in the back of her mind, Seven realised she had indeed arrived at the shuttle bay.
Entering the shuttle bay Seven immediately turned around and plunged the assimilation tubules in the door panel, when she had finished locking the doors and encrypting them with Borg algorithms, she disable weapons and the transporters with relative ease. Finished with her sabotage of Voyager's systems Seven opened the shuttle bay doors, entered a shuttle and left Voyager in the direction of the readings.
Harry was at his station when he noticed that the doors to the shuttle bay had been locked, then weapons had been taken off line, and then transporters had been disabled. Looking at Tuvok the raised eyebrow confirmed that weapons had indeed been disabled. He was about to inform the captain when Tuvok beat him to it.
"Captain weapons have been disabled."
"Captain transporters have also been disabled. Plus the doors to the shuttle bay have been locked using Borg algorithms ." cringing slightly as he said the last part Harry continued "... there has just been an unauthorised shuttle launch."
Looking at the captain Harry could tell she was not pleased; Chakotay however had a front row seat. Her breathing was deeper, her nostrils where flared and her hands where keeping a rather tight grip upon her command chair. He knew that she had also been avoiding any unnecessary contact with Seven since the astrometrics officer had marched into her ready room three days ago. Most of the bridge could hear raised voices... well one raised voice. Then Seven strides out as impassive as ever and took up her station, a few minutes later the captain followed and told Tom to set a coarse back to the alpha Quadrant at warp 6. He had tried to get her to talk to him about the incident but she had quite bluntly told him to mind his own business.
"Harry was Seven onboard that shuttle?" Janeway asked through clenched teeth.
Taking a few calming breaths Janeway turned to face the view screen "Harry find out where she is headed."
"Captain I am detecting anomalous reading about 5 light years from out current position, Seven seems to bee heading towards whatever it is."
"Thank you Mr Kim. Tom set a course."
"Not now Chakotay." Leaning back in her command chair Janeway stared at the View Screen.
The shuttle was just encroaching on the position where the reading where originating from, Seven was about to commence a more detailed scan when a huge wave of energy hit the small shuttle. The impact of the energy wave caused Seven to be thrown like a rag doll to the rear of the shuttle where she got up close and personal with the bulkhead.
When the darkness that had so suddenly claimed her finally faded Seven could hear the voice of the commuter as it tried to inform her of something. As she rose to her feet and moved to the front of the shuttle she found out what it was that the computer was informing her, she was once again inside the nebula. It was as she remembered except this time the shuttle was not being bombarded by bolts of lightning.
At that exact moment the shuttle was struck by lightning, it entered the shuttle and began to bounce off the bulkheads at the rear of the shuttle. There was more than one bolt of lightning but she could not tell how many, the rear of the shuttle was suddenly filled with the same red haze she remembered engulfing the lieutenant's body in sickbay. When the red haze began to dissipate Seven could make out what appeared to be three figures. When she had a clear view she could most definitely make out three figures, one was a tall and muscular humanoid male, who was gazing around the shuttle in curiosity. Lying at his feet was Lieutenant Torres, a very naked Lieutenant Torres, she appeared to be unconscious, and there were small bolts of lightning running over the surface of her body. The third figure was a small klingon hybrid child who was also naked; she was currently crouched over the lieutenant's unconscious form.
Seven moved from her position at the front of the shuttle towards Lieutenant Torres. When she reached her intended destination the child looked up, it was then Seven noticed she bore an uncanny resemblance to the lieutenant. As she reached to touch Lieutenant Torres she was stopped by the voice of the male.
"You really should not touch Beylanna until her body is once again accustom to this environment. The small bolts of lightning you can see upon the surface of her body are a defence mechanism, if you try to touch her now you would be perceived as a threat. You would be at leased rendered unconscious, and it is possible that with your cybernetic implants that you would be killed."
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