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The first thing B'Elanna noticed when she came to was that she had one killer of a headache, the second thing she noticed was that the entity was no longer a part of her. It was gone, no not gone but they where no longer one being. That she had to admit was a relief, she didn't think she could handle being permanently fused with the entity.
When she finally opened her eyes B'Elanna was immediately struck dumb, shaking her head to clear the overwhelming sense over awe that threatened to engulf her. Everything was an incandescent white, she seemed to be on a square platform and, there where two walls running parallel to each other, there was about 2 miles between each wall and the platform.
Standing up B'Elanna noticed that her clothing had been changed, and she was no longer wearing her charred and scorched uniform. Instead she was wearing a white loose fitting tunic with matching trousers and she was bare foot.
As she opened her mouth to voice her amazement the platform upon which she was standing began to move. She decided that sitting down was safer, when she almost took a nose dive off the edge of the platform when it started to move.
After about ten minutes of moving in a straight line down the endless corridor, the platform slowed to a stop. It then started to move towards the wall to her right, when the platform reached the wall an opening appeared. The scent of the grass was the fist thing that assaulted B'Elanna. When she causally looked through the opening all she could see was grass and the occasional tree.
Looking down at her feet B'Elanna could see that the platform had not stopped moving, and was slowly being integrated into the wall. After weighing up her options B'Elanna decided that stepping through the opening was much more appealing than plummeting to her death, and becoming a bloody stain on the otherwise flawless white corridor.
She sucked in a huge breath and stepped onto the grass, as she turned around to look back at the corridor she was shocked to find that it was not there anymore, just her, the grass and the trees.
"What in Grethor is going on?" B'Elanna asked as she gazed around.
Movement by one of the trees caught her eye, turning to see what it was she was struck dumb. Standing about ten feet away from her under the shade of a tree was herself, to be exact her at about ten years old. As if sensing she was being looked at the child B'Elanna turned to look at the adult and began to walk towards her. Coming to the conclusion that this was by far the strangest situation she had ever been in, B'Elanna could only stand and stare as the little clone got closer.
As the child stopped a few feet away from her, B'Elanna could see she held something in her hands. The child tilted her head to the side in thought; she smiled and then held out her hands to B'Elanna.
The voice was soft and gentle. B'Elanna smiled back at herself and looked closely at the little girl's hands. Within her hands was some sort of fruit, deciding that the older B'Elanna was not acting fast enough, the child took hold of one of her hands and pressed the fruit in to her open palm and closed her fingers around it.
The voice was stronger this time, and the child was pushing B'Elanna's hand that held the fruit up towards her mouth.
"Am I dead?" B'Elanna asked.
Ignoring B'Elanna the child repeated her earlier request for B'Elanna to eat the fruit. Glaring at her young copy B'Elanna raised the fruit to her lips and took a small bite. As she chewed the fruit she noticed it began to taste like steak. Frowning at this development she looked to herself for an explanation, after receiving an ear to ear grin she decided she probably would not be getting one anytime soon. Taking another bite of the fruit the flavour changed again, this time it was as if she was eating peppered chicken.
"What you desire, so it shall be." Said the small B'Elanna as she took adult B'Elanna's hand in her own and began to lead her towards the tree.
"Steady the helm Mr Paris." barked Janeway as she held on to her command chair in a desperate attempt to keep herself grounded.
"I'm trying Captain." shouted Tom over the sound of exploding consoles. His hands flow over the helm controls in a desperate attempt to keep Voyager steady.
As the shock waves lessened, Paris was finally able to get control over the ship.
Tuvok immediately began to give a report. "Shields are down to 35 percent and holding. Captain I have the shuttle on sensors, shields and life support are down."
"B'Elanna?" Janeway asked her voice slightly breaking.
Raising his brow at the information he was receiving, Tuvok began to speak. "I am not detecting Lieutenant Torres on board the shuttle."
Almost everyone on the bridge turned to gaze in disbelief at Tuvok.
Tom seemed to be the first one to wrap his mind around what Tuvok had just said.
"What do you mean B'Elanna's not on board the shuttle?"
Ignoring Tom's outburst the Captain turned and began questioning Harry, "Mr Kim did you get a lock on B'Elanna before the explosion?"
"No ma'am there was too much interference."
"I want to know what happened to my chief engineer people. Seven I want you and Harry to go to astrometrics, scan the surrounding area to find out as much as you can. Tom, return the ship to our original position. Chakotay assign engineering teams to get repairs underway. Tuvok you're with me. Everyone report to the conference room at 0100 hours, dismissed." Janeway then spun on her heel and headed for the turbo lift, with Tuvok close behind. Upon entering the turbo lift her shoulders sagged.
"What was that thing Tuvok? It took possession of a member of my crew; rendered several crewmen unconscious, you and I included, and escaped in a shuttle. Now I'm missing my chief engineer."
"The entity did not attack a member of the crew until it was threatened."
Turning to examine the face of her old friend Janeway contemplated his words. True the entity did not attack any of the crew until Tuvok fired upon it.
"Then what happened to Seven? She was found unconscious in the shuttle bay by a security team."
As they exited the turbo lift and began to walk down the corridor Tuvok began to answer.
"We do not know the circumstances that led to Seven of Nine's state of unconsciousness; it is illogical to make assumptions."
Any remark she would have made was halted as they entered sickbay. The image that greeted them was of the doctor hunched over one of the consoles, totally engrossed in what it was displaying he did not hear them enter.
"Doctor, have you got any idea as to what that thing was?"
Annoyed by the interruption the doctor began to give a report "As far as I can tell it was an energy based life form, it struck Lieutenant Torres in the chest and entered her body. I recorded an unusual amount of activity in the lieutenant's brain after the electric field dissipated; I have a feeling that the electric field was some sort of defence mechanism. The energy the life form consisted of and the lieutenant's brain waves became synchronized. That was just before the lieutenant regained consciousness and decided to take an unscheduled away mission."
"Doctor, I need you to report to the conference room for a senior staff meeting at 0100 hours."
"Tuvok I want you to go over the shuttle, take it apart if necessary. Seven and Harry will assist you when they have finished the scans in astrometrics."
Nodding once to Tuvok, the captain strode out of sickbay and headed to her ready room.
B'Elanna estimated that the tree her little clone had led her to was about 70 feet in height and resembled an oak, but the major difference was the leaves or rather the colour or them. Every colour she could imagine made up the leaves; it was like looking at a rainbow.
"Wow." B'Elanna voiced her amazement.
"Yes." Agreed little B'Elanna.
Turning her head to look at her child self, a million and one questions popped into B'Elannas head. She decided to ask the first one. "Who are you?"
"Your friend, we where one."
"Are you the entity?"
"Yes I am the entity."
"Where are we? And I ask again am I dead?"
Laughing the child turned her head towards B'Elanna. "This is called Field of Light. There are an infinite number of areas like this one, and no you are not dead."
"Then if I'm not dead what am I?"
Smiling at B'Elanna the child turned around and walked towards the tree and started to climb.
"HEY! Where are you going?" B'Elanna shouted after the entity.
Sighing B'Elanna began to shake her head, this was just getting stranger and stranger. B'Elanna looked up just in time to see a small head peak through the branches near the middle of the tree.
"Are you coming?" Asked the child as her head disappeared back into the tree it had just emerged from.
Taking in a huge intake of breath B'Elanna began to climb the tree. About half way up she began to hear voices, it was at this point she decided that she was officially nuts. I mean how more crazy could she possibly be, climbing a rainbow tree after herself which was actually the entity that nearly killed her. The lieutenant was brought out of her inner musings by a small hand that appeared out of thin air and grasped hold of her own hand pulling her up. Before she had a chance to think B'Elanna was standing in the middle of a city.
"This is Forever City."
The city was breath taking; the road upon which they had just emerged from looked like it was made of pure with gold. The buildings seemed to reach in every direction, and they where made of some sort of organic crystal. Gazing around at the people on the street B'Elanna noticed how different she and her little clone where. Every person had either sky blue or lilac hair colour, their eyes where the same red as the lightning from the nebula. They where a humanoid species, on average they where about 6 feet in height and slightly built. Upon their cheeks or foreheads they had markings in varying shades of red each person's markings where unique.
Looking down at her little clone again B'Elanna noticed that she seemed to have acquired the markings upon her cheeks. There was a 5 mm thick zigzag line upon each cheek running under each eye diagonally.
"Where did those markings on your face come from?" A perplexed B'Elanna asked.
"You have them also."
B'Elanna whipped her head around that fast she almost broke her own neck. Running across the street to look in a window she could only stare slack jawed at her reflection. On each cheek she had the same makings as the entity, only hers where a much darker shade of red. Tacking a closer look B'Elanna noticed her chocolate brown eyes seemed to have small blood red flecks in the iris. A smaller hand took hers and gently began to tug her away from the window.
"Losiv will explain and answer all you questions Beylanna."
Seven gazed around the conference room the senior staff had been in for over half an hour. She was contemplating her current and earlier reactions to the incident involving Lieutenant Torres. She had been concerned about the lieutenant to the point where she had offered to accompany the entity on the journey back to the nebula. What she did not understand was the other unfamiliar feeling she was experiencing.
"Seven can you tell us what happened in the shuttle bay." Janeway frowned, Seven seemed to be gazing off into space.
Composing herself Seven began to speak. "After you, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok and the security detail had been incapacitated I followed the lieutenant into the shuttle bay. She appeared to be preparing a shuttle for launch, I moved over to the shuttle and
Lieutenant Torres. When I voiced my objections to the lieutenant leaving Voyager, she clearly told me that she had to return. I then offered to accompany her but she objected, she then smiled and traced her finger down my left cheek, I then lost consciousness."
As Seven finished her explanation she watched the captain's frown slowly deepen.
"So she did not propel energy balls at you?" the captain asked.
"No, the lieutenant seemed almost sad."
"Yes Captain the lieutenant appeared sad."
Taking in this small piece of information Janeway turned Tuvok.
"Tuvok did you find anything unusual in the shuttle?"
"Upon examining the shuttle I discovered nothing apart from the clothing Lieutenant Torres was wearing when she departed Voyager."
Sighing Janeway turned towards Harry.
"Harry did you and Seven discover anything unusual?"
"Yes Captain. We found that space in and around where the nebula was situated seem to have developed micro fractures. We also discovered one of the gases found in the nebula is still present and as far as we could tell, it appears to be repairing the micro fractures."
"Repairing them? is that even possible Seven?" asked a puzzled Janeway.
"I have never encountered the gas that is repairing the micro fractures, but from the evidence it appears that it is indeed possible."
"What about the collective? Have they come across anything like the entity? Or the nebula?" asked Chakotay as he turned in her direction.
Raising an eyebrow Seven answered the commander's question. "The Borg have never encountered a life form such as the one that abducted Lieutenant Torres, nor have they encountered a nebula like the one it originated from."
"Okay has anyone got anything more to add?"
From the shaking of heads to Seven's and Tuvok's raising of eyebrows Janeway took that as a no and brought the meeting to a close. Noticing that Seven had not moved from her seat and had merely turned her chair to the face the view port.
"Seven?" her concern began to grow when Seven did not immediately answer.
"Captain, do you believe that Lieutenant Torres is dead?"
That's Seven, Janeway thought, blunt as ever, forcing a small smile on to her face Janeway answered. "No I don't think she's dead Seven. I do know that wherever she is we will find her and if we don't, you can be sure she will find her way back to us."
Nodding to Janeway Seven stood and drew herself to her full height and strode out of the conference room.
They had been walking down the golden mile as B'Elanna had taken to calling it, for at least twenty minutes when the road came to what could only be described as a skyscraper. It was made from the same crystal as the other buildings but looked so different. The other buildings in Forever City where organic, they looked as if the crystal had grown there and someone had simply carved out the interior. This building was sharp and angled, there where no windows and only one door, and four great trees stood at each corner framing the skyscraper.
"Losiv is inside." The child said while pointing to the skyscraper.
"Who is Losiv? And do I really have to go in there?" Questioned B'Elanna while glaring down at the child.
Not in the least intimidated by B'Elanna the entity merely smiled and answered B'Elanna. "Losiv was the first, and he is the guardian of Forever City. If you want the answers to your questions Beylanna you will go in there."
Taking a few deep breaths B'Elanna let the entity lead her in to the building. As they entered B'Elanna was struck by the likeness to the corridor she had awoke in, everything was white from the floors to the ceiling.
They moved through the reception of the building towards a huge staircase that could have come straight out of a gothic mansion. It was the only thing that was not white in the whole entrance and it immediately captured your attention. The stairway was made from black onyx and the railing was made from the same crystal as outside of the building. At the top of the stairway there was an elevator awaiting them.
When they entered the lift the doors automatically closed. Turning to look at her little clone B'Elanna saw that she was trying with no success to reach the numbers at the top.
Unsuccessful at holding in her laugh B'Elanna managed to choke out an offer of help.
She started to laugh harder when her clone turned around and folded her little arms over her chest and glared at her.
When B'Elanna covered the small distance she turned the entity around and picked her up and moved forward to the panel. After the child had entered a number B'Elanna put her back down and took a step back.
Sighing B'Elanna apologised "Sorry."
Rolling her eyes B'Elanna mimicked the child's early actions of folding her arms.
When they exited the lift at their destination the child began to run to a man standing at the far end of the room. Although they where quite far away B'Elanna could clearly hear their conversation.
"Losiv I have missed you."
B'Elanna could clearly hear him chuckle at the child's enthusiasm "as I have missed you Nigh." His voice was deep and melodious.
"I have brought my friend to visit you Losiv."
"Yes I am aware of that little Nigh."
When the child turned towards her, B'Elanna could see that she looked mortified "I am so, so sorry Beylanna my name is Nigh."
Losiv cleared his throat and the entity seemed to regain her usual cheery and impassive deposition "oh. Beylanna this is Losiv, Losiv this is Beylanna my friend." She announced proudly.
The first thought that entered B'Elanna's head was that this was one of the most magnificent men she had ever laid eyes upon. Losiv was the tallest of the life forms she had encountered his height in the range of 6ft 7inchs, that in itself was slightly intimidating. His hair was platinum with lilac highlights; it fell unevenly upon his brow and framed his chiselled face making it appear longer. His slightly bronzed complexion made his hair shine and appear luminous. His high and angled cheek bones appeared more pronounced because of the markings upon his cheeks. The markings where two waved lines that ran the length of his cheek bones and disappearing under the hair that fell upon his face. His eyes appeared to be a deep red the same colour she remembered the lightning from the nebula to be.
He was dressed in a white tunic that hugged the contours of his form. There were thin strips of black leather wrapped tightly around his forearms and abdomen. The trousers he was wearing where white also they where lose, comfortable and identical to the pair that B'Elanna was wearing. She also noticed that he was also bare foot.
Tearing her eyes away from her examination B'Elanna noticed that Losiv was looking at her his mouth curved into a gentle smile. The smile transformed his face; he had acquired a youthful elegance. His eyes told B'Elanna another story, they held the wisdom of ages.
"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Beylanna." Losiv spoke while bowing his head in acknowledgment.
"Yeah nice to meet you too. Where are we?" B'Elanna replied offhandedly.
"This is For."
Frustration and anger at the fact she knew very little about her current situation made the lieutenant burst. "No that's not what I mean. I know this is Forever City, but where are we? What is this place? How did I get from climbing a tree to standing in the middle of a bustling metropolis? What are these things on my face? Why do I have red in my eyes? Who and what are you? And how in Kahless name do I get back to Voyager?"
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