DISCLAIMER: Star Trek Voyager and all who sail in her belong to Paramount/Viacom and no infringement of copyright/trade marks is intended.
VIOLENCE WARNING: This story deals with captivity, please be advised that punishments are described that deal with technically induced physical pain.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Part 9: Freedom
Stardate 52918.52 (Dec 2, 2375 06:17am)
B'Elanna stretched, careful not to disturb Seven who was still asleep. She smiled as she remembered the lovemaking of the night before; they had made passionate love, eaten, and then made love again, only this time slowly, and thoroughly. Curling around Seven's back, she inhaled deeply of her lover's scent, and relaxed against her, seriously considering going back to asleep. Suddenly her eyes opened and she frowned, and her brain engaged, notifying her that it was surely past the time she usually was awakened. "Seven," she whispered, and shook the blonde gently.
"Yes," murmured the blonde sleepily.
"What time is it?" asked B'Elanna.
"It is," Seven opened her eyes, suddenly alert, "Six eighteen. We should have been wakened by this time."
"I thought it seemed late," commented B'Elanna as she slipped out of bed and grabbed a robe to cover herself. Stepping in the hallway she looked into the living area, the robot that had been a permanent fixture since their capture was not in its usual spot. She glanced into the bathroom, it was empty.
Seven came out of the bedroom, fastening her robe, she stopped beside B'Elanna, and her head tilted to the side an intent look upon her face.
B'Elanna watched her for a few seconds then took a few steps into the living area and looked around; the robot was no longer in their quarters. Turning back towards Seven she asked, "What are you listening to?"
"It would be more accurate to ask what I am not listening to. There has been a decrease of the ambient noise in our quarters." Seven answered. They were both silent for a few seconds considering what that information could mean, but both to wary after the last several months to dare to comment or speculate too openly just yet.
Cautiously B'Elanna approached the door to their quarters, but it did not open. She frowned at it for a moment before looking back at Seven, hoping the former Borg would have an idea.
Seven shook her head silently, looking indecisive.
B'Elanna began silently examining the room, but she had done this before, and then as now she had seen no obvious way to escape. She had no idea what could be going on, why the robot was not here, and why Seven would be hearing less equipment noise.
"I would like to take a bath and dress," Seven spoke up, her eyes wary and uncertain.
B'Elanna nodded, Seven had a good point that they should clean up and dress, at least that way they would be better prepared for whatever was going on. Especially since the half-Klingon could easily smell the evidence of their previous night's activities on both of them.
Twenty minutes later B'Elanna and Seven were both dressed in black, B'Elanna in her uniform, Seven in her usual loose fitting shirt and drawstring pants.
"What would you like for breakfast?" Seven asked, after they had spent a few minutes silently looking around the room.
"Breakfast?" B'Elanna repeated surprised not having expected the question. For a moment she wanted to ask Seven how she could think of food at a time like this, but then she realized from the blonde's tense face how nervous she felt. If the robots came back, if their captor were watching them right now waiting to see what they would do, it would be she that was punished.
"Something light, maybe just eggs and some fruit?" B'Elanna responded. Seven nodded silently, stepped into the kitchen area and began to prepare the meal. B'Elanna watched her for a few minutes then started setting the table. Unless some brilliant idea came to her she couldn't figure out how to get out of this room anyway, so she might as well do something useful. There was no way she could see to open the door, and the electronics they had access to were so primitive that she couldn't see any way to make a scanning device out of them. The utensils and kitchen devices that Seven was cooking with were of the same era as their fellow captives.
Waiting until the blonde was finished cooking, B'Elanna stepped up behind Seven and wrapped her arms around her lover, holding her tightly. Seven leaned back against her and lifted her face, and B'Elanna kissed her gently. "I love you," she whispered.
Seven smiled in response, "And, I love you." The blonde stayed still for a few moments more before stirring, "The eggs are getting cold, they do not taste pleasant then." Her nose crinkled in remembered distaste as she made the comment.
B'Elanna chuckled, "Let's sit down and eat."
They had just finished cleaning up from their breakfast when a voice was heard from out in the hallway. "This is Senior Inspector Cryayh of the Ilanar Law Enforcement Agency. This compound has been secured by our officers, please remain calm, all the equipment used to control the nerve inductors has been secured and removed, you are safe now. Again, please stay calm, our laws forbid the contamination of less advanced races with our technology, the doors to your quarters will remain closed until such technology is secured. We apologize, but it is necessary. A government representative and medical personnel are enroute to this location; once they arrive further information will be provided."
B'Elanna and Seven, who had turned toward the door as soon as the voice was heard, continued staring at it for a few minutes longer, until it was clear that there would be no more said, at least not at this time.
Disbelief, for a long moment that was all B'Elanna was aware of feeling, then it faded, and without volition she smiled and laughed abruptly, as the disbelief was replaced by a feeling of relief so strong she felt euphoric. Seven was looking at her wide eyed, but she ignored her love's surprise and wrapped her arms around the blonde tightly. "It's over, it's over," she murmured into blonde hair.
Seven's arms wrapped around her and the blonde held on to her tightly. After a moment she said, "I still have the devices inside me," her voice unhappy.
"I bet that's what the medical personnel are for," commented B'Elanna. Her mind started churning as she thought about the message, "They have an equivalent to our Prime Directive."
"You are correct," commented Seven after a moment. "I do not believe the Borg have encountered this race, I do not have any knowledge of any race by that name." She pulled away enough to look up into B'Elanna's face, "What will happen now?" she asked.
"I don't know," B'Elanna answered considering the question, "If this were to happen in the Federation I guess Starfleet would make sure everyone was medically healthy, try to limit contact as much as they could, and get them back to their people as quickly as possible. But I don't know what this race will do."
Stardate 52918.52 (Dec 2, 2375 09:17am - Location: Ilanar Law Enforcement Interdictor Starship)
"You don't understand Diplomat Mryayh, we cannot make any more genetic modifications to them. The technique Kryayh used is not medically approved, indeed it is forbidden for anyone to even use it. The bonds between the nucleotides in their chromosomes have been weakened; to make any further changes would weaken the bonds even more. I do not even have to run stimulations to know what would happen, the bonds will break, and the human's systems would begin to fail, and they would all die very painful deaths." Doctor Raryayh explained, her tone betraying her upset.
"You are absolutely certain there is nothing we can do?" the Diplomat asked.
"It would kill them," she restated plainly. "The only thing we can do for them is remove those nerve inducers as soon as possible. Not surprisingly, those implanted with them are not willing to believe they are safe while they know they are still inside them."
"And we know this how?" asked Diplomat Mryayh.
"We are monitoring them of course," replied the Doctor, "We weren't certain how they would respond to the information they were given, we know very little about their species, or how they react to stressful events. Almost all the data we have on them comes from the information we recovered from this compound, and I'm not willing to depend on Kryayh's or his father's analysis of them. We need to do our own observations, make sure this information is correct."
Senior Inspector Cryayh rubbed his forelegs together in agitation, "I remember when his father, Narat Kryayh, was arrested for selling technology to less advanced races. We kept a close eye Narat after that incident, but we had no idea he had already kidnapped these people. Well, except for the two he ordered kidnapped nine months ago." The Senior Inspector corrected himself, and then continued, "From what we can determine the ships were automated, they docked at this compound and waited for instructions, keeping their 'cargo' in suspension. Knowing that we were monitoring him, Narat never sent any instructions. But he did tell his son about them. After Narat died, and Trya Kryayh was certain we had ceased monitoring the family, he decided to take up where his father had left off."
"So Narat had intended to start up these 'games' but was arrested before he could," said Doctor Raryayh. "He was the one who came up with this twisted idea of psychological conditioning that they were subjected to?"
"The nerve inducers were apparently Trya's idea, his father had planned on using more physical threats to enforce their obedience. Trya was the one who designed the quarters and robots so the humans could be monitored continuously, and his rules enforced automatically." The Senior Inspector finished.
Doctor Raryayh slammed her primary legs on the floor in anger, "We don't even know enough about these humans to tell how much psychological trauma their treatment has caused, nor how to go about treating it. Thankfully, there seem to be several trained psychological councilors among them; hopefully they will be able to assist themselves. We would probably do more harm than good if we attempted to treat them."
They stood around silently for a few moments contemplating what had been said. "Well let's do what we can, determine how to safely remove those inducers, and begin the procedures to do so as quickly as possible Doctor." Diplomat Mryayh ordered.
Stardate 52935.27 (Dec 8, 2375 9:00am)
Elizabeth Janeway and Tanya Montego stood quietly together at the front of Alpha Squad's Community Room watching as it slowly filled with members from both Alpha and Beta, six hundred and two women, five hundred and thirty seven children in total, and nine more on the way. Tanya, formerly Cmdr. Tanya Montego of the United States Navy, was of Hispanic ancestry, and her partner Mary Martinez, a former registered nurse, was Hispanic as well.
B'Elanna and Seven entered the room and found a seat between Maria, and her daughters Mary and Ruth, on one side, and Amy and Lee, and their daughters Virginia and Michelle on the other. No sooner had Seven found a seat than Mary crawled over her mother and into the blonde's lap. "Hello, Mary," Seven greeted the child with a fond smile.
"The bad robots are gone," Mary informed Seven seriously.
"Yes they are," agreed Seven.
Once everyone entered Elizabeth began speaking, her voice carried by an amplification system developed the day before by B'Elanna and Seven. "I am, as most of you know, Elizabeth Janeway, Primary Leader of Alpha Squad. Tanya and I have been briefed by the Ilanar Diplomat Mryayh. We called this meeting so we could pass on the information he gave to us."
There was an exited buzz in the room for a few moments until both the leaders asked for quiet. Elizabeth continued, "From what Ilanar law enforcement officials have pieced together so far, around four hundred of our years ago, one Narat Kryayh came up with the idea of pitting groups of what he termed 'primitive races' against one another and betting on the outcome. Rather like the illegal pit bull fights of our time." An angry murmur followed this statement, even though the idea was hardly new to them. B'Elanna had not been the only one to consider the idea that they were being used in some type of contest.
Elizabeth continued after the noise died down. "He did research on several different races and decided that humans were the best choice for his purposes. Our race wasn't well known by the Ilanar, we were rather weak compared to other races he considered, but we were very adaptive and worked well together in groups. He thought with the proper motivation we would be very good at the games he was planning, and believed the fact that we seemed weak to be a bonus, as the other competitors would underestimate our chances. To build on that impression, and because he thought human women would easier to control for various reasons, he decided to use all female units."
Elizabeth paused, and her expression became grim, "As we know the ship came to Earth around the year 2000. The robots selected potential candidates according to the psychological profiles Narat had selected, and abducted them over the next twenty years. When their target number had been reached, the robots returned to this compound and awaited orders. Those orders never came because Narat had been caught trading technology to lesser advanced races. In Ilanar society it's a very serious offense, with a punishment as severe as that for murdering someone."
Elizabeth took a deep breath, "After he was released, Narat didn't dare make contact with this compound because he knew he was under surveillance by Ilanar law enforcement. He did, however, tell his son about us. When Narat died, his son, Trya Kryayh, decided to carry out his fathers plans."
Elizabeth and Tanya had to call for silence once again before Elizabeth could continue, "This next information is hard for me to tell you, everyone needs to remain calm or we will have to continue this without the children present, which I would rather not do because we would need around a hundred or so adults to watch them." She finished tersely.
B'Elanna and Seven could guess what was next, Elizabeth had told them about the meeting as they designed and built the amplification system. Remembering their shock at the news, B'Elanna shifted closer to Seven and put an arm around her waist. The brown haired, grey eyed girl sitting in her lap looked up at her curiously, and B'Elanna managed to grin at her, eliciting a grin in return. 'So many,' she thought to herself sorrowfully.
The silence in the room was uneasy, as everyone wondered what the former Alpha Squad leader was about to say. "There were one thousand three hundred and twenty women in suspended animation at the compound when he had the first group awakened. Those of us in this room now, are the only survivors." There was an appalled silence in the room as everyone struggled to contain their emotions for the sake of the children present.
Elizabeth continued quickly, wanting to get this part over. "It took him a several months to work out the details of how to accomplish the psychological conditioning his father had planned, namely to make us emotionally attached and protective of our hostages."
She paused for a second, "Many of the first set of captives attempted to escape and were killed. From the information he gathered from the first group's reactions, he refined the set of psychological characteristics he wanted. Any of the women brought from earth that did not fit his revised profile were then killed without ever being wakened. There were eight hundred and forty six women that remained alive at that point. He woke us in batches, which we already knew, and began conditioning us. The ones not here today failed the conditioning."
Elizabeth's hands were white where they griped the podium, "The Ilanar are compiling a listing of those who were killed. When it is complete Reverend Elizabeth Scott, of Alpha, and Reverend Michelle Briard, of Beta, will lead a memorial service for them."
Tanya reached over, gripped Elizabeth's shoulder and gave her a comforting look. Elizabeth nodded silently and stepped back, letting Tanya take over the briefing. "That is the extent of what we now know about why and how, we were kidnapped, and brought here. After listening to that information, I asked Diplomat Mryayh what would happen to Trya Kryayh now." No one actually said any word of anger, but the emotional temperature in the room rose by several degrees. Looking around B'Elanna could see then anger and hate she was feeling, reflected on most of the faces around her.
"Trya faces 720 counts of murder, and everyone will be happy to know that Ilanar law doesn't distinguish between advanced races, so long as the race was sentient, its all the same. 1320 counts of kidnapping, 471 counts of hostage taking, and each time he activated the pain inducers will be a separate count of assault for each of us, when we were briefed they were up to 5000 counts of assault and expected it to be several thousand more. There will be assorted other charges, that in our time would pretty much be racketeering and money laundering from what I can figure out, they're related to the illegal nature of the contests, gambling, and the attempts to hide their activities from Ilanar police. There are 546 charges for impregnating us against our will, and another 537 charges for holding the children, plus special charges for each time he hurt one of them." Tanya finally stopped and took a deep breath.
"Diplomat Mryayh is certain he will be found guilty on all charges. The b " she stopped herself, and paused for a moment. "Sorry for almost cursing with children in the room," she apologized before continuing, "He was overconfident that this place was too far away from Ilanar space for them ever to find it, so he kept meticulous records of everything he did to us. All of the data they found here has already been accepted by the court, apparently when the Ilanar say a speedy trial they mean it, it's essentially already begun. I specifically asked if he would ever get out of their jail, the answer was a definite no, there are up to 650 years of imprisonment, and that's if he's sentenced to the minimum he can get for each charge, its likely the total term will be for much longer than that. Plus they are not even done with placing all the charges against him," Tanya finished with a cold smile.
"How long do they live for?" someone called out. B'Elanna couldn't identify who it was, but it was a good question, and one Elizabeth and Tanya had asked her and Seven, as they had more experience with aliens.
"We weren't told, but Elizabeth and I discussed this with Seven and B'Elanna, as they actually have knowledge of several non-human races. They estimate from the information we were given, with how long we were left in suspended animation that the Ilanar probably live around five to six hundred years, and are most likely not even from our galaxy. When they say lesser advanced, Seven believes they mean species that can't go galaxy hopping, and those are my words not hers, she had a more extensive explanation, which included something about astrophysics and propulsion systems." Tanya qualified with a grin, "And I understood maybe ten percent of it."
The smile faded, and she continued, "We know he's fairly young, and the Ilanar assured us that they don't have a parole system, so life imprisonment will probably be the four hundred years or so until he dies of old age." She paused and an introspective look came over her face, "I'd like to think of myself as not being vindictive, I don't want to be vindictive, not even over this. He held us prisoner for anywhere from nine months to eight years, punished us for every little infraction of his rules, punished those we loved for our actions, hurt and terrified our children Four hundred years of being stuck inside a prison, not being in control of his own life anymore that sounds like justice to me. We and our children will die of old age, free, hopefully happy, and he will still be in prison, and vindictive or not, that fact gives me a great deal of satisfaction."
The sound of agreement through the room bore something of a closer resemblance to a growl than any other sound. B'Elanna understood it, and Tanya was right, knowing that the bastard would still be in jail after everyone he had hurt was long since dead, was satisfying.
Elizabeth stepped back up to the podium and motioned for silence once again. "Now to consider our futures, the Ilanar are forbidden from giving us advanced technology, but they are not forbidden from giving us technology equivalent to the level currently available on Earth. Fortunately for us, these days Earth is pretty advanced, at least to what 99.667% of us in this room lived like 350 years ago on Earth." She smirked in Seven and B'Elanna's direction.
Without even looking, B'Elanna knew that Seven was giving Elizabeth her trademark raised implant look. Unable to help herself she started chuckling softly, remembering when Seven had, in a rather indignant tone, corrected Elizabeth and quoted the percentage to her. When Seven turned, and gave her the same look she had undoubtedly given Elizabeth, the half-Klingon just smiled in return.
Elizabeth continued in a more serious tone, "We will be given a starship large enough to accommodate all of our families. Where we decide to go is something that needs to be decided among us. The Ilanar have provided us with a list of suitable planets for colonization should we choose to do so, they have also informed us that they will give us assistance if we wish to return to Earth or if we wish to find the ship B'Elanna and Seven were from, Voyager."
"For those of you who don't know, Voyager was transported to the Delta Quadrant five years ago by an alien entity against their will, and have been making their way back to Earth ever since. The last Seven and B'Elanna knew they were expecting it to take another 30 or so years to reach Earth. If we choose to join Voyager in their journey the Ilanar have informed us that they believe there is a way we could use to return to Earth in less than a year depending on Voyager's location." Elizabeth stopped speaking, and sighed.
"Unfortunately there may be some issues with us returning to Earth. As we all know we were genetically modified, and our children were as well. Our, and our children's life spans, have been increased to around 180 years; we are all healthier, and more resistant to disease. The genetics encoding our sexuality has been changed so that it will now be passed onto our offspring, all of our children will be homosexual unless we tinker with their genetic code. The same applies to our strength, quickness and intelligence, though we are not experiencing the impact of all the changes that were made, they are now hard wired into our genetic code. Even without any further genetic engineering our children are, and will be, noticeably smarter, stronger and quicker." Elizabeth paused and held up her hands for silence, as the conversation room started growing louder and alarmed, after hearing this information.
"Yes we all lived through the Eugenics Wars, we know what can happen as a result of genetic modification, but our captor wasn't interested in a group of children that would grow up and be hard to control. Our children will be nothing like those created from the Chrysalis Project, they will be no more aggressive or driven to gain power than we are. One advantage of being genetically engineered by someone from a race with several thousand more years of experience in genetics, Trya Kryayh didn't make the types of mistakes that they did, and I've had this confirmed by the Ilanar doctors that removed the nerve inducer chips and did our medical check ups. Our children will be healthy and socially well adjusted." Elizabeth assured everyone.
B'Elanna let out a sigh of relief, and felt Seven, who had tensed up when Elizabeth had started talking about the children being genetically modified, relax as well. She squeezed Seven reassuring with the arm wrapped around the blonde's waist.
Elizabeth looked uneasy, "There is one other thing that the Ilanar doctors found out from his records. Our children's pairings were planned before our impregnations, which is why they always occurred in even numbers, even if we didn't know because the mothers were in Alpha and Beta. Some genetic manipulation was done so that each pair would be," she hesitated for a moment, trying to find the right word, "suited to one another. Much as he paired each of us together based upon our personalities. Fortunately, of course, this will not apply to any future children; you can't change a parent's genetic code to ensure that type of thing."
Shocked, B'Elanna instinctively looked around for Brenda and Janice, remembering the day that Seven and Janice had been impregnated at the same time. Seven was also looking around, and when B'Elanna's eyes met those of the other couple she could see that they were looking at them as well. B'Elanna knew she should probably be outraged, but all she could think of, looking at the other couple, was that if what Elizabeth had said was the case, then her daughter would have a strikingly beautiful girlfriend with Janice and Brenda as her parents.
Elizabeth let the noise die down, "Now, how this relates to possible difficulties with returning to Earth. Bans on genetic engineering except to correct genetic defects were in place before we left Earth. They are still in effect in the Federation. There is a good chance that our children would be banned from ever serving in Starfleet or entering technical occupations like medicine."
There was an immediate upsurge of noise in the room as the women reacted to this statement. B'Elanna and Seven looked at one another in dismay.
"That is unjust, we did not choose this for our daughter," said Seven vehemently.
B'Elanna nodded, feeling something that she had thought behind her now that they were freed, helpless. "I know," she agreed.
"Ladies!" the raised voice of Tanya caught everyone's attention. "I'm not quite finished yet. That was the first issue; the second issue is that the Federation and Earth are at war with a political coalition called the Dominion from the Gamma Quadrant. It's very serious and from what little information the Ilanar have, they aren't certain the Federation can win. If we go back, we will be taking ourselves and our children into a battle zone."
Elizabeth stepped up beside her, "Before anyone gets feeling patriotic, I need to remind you, that as much as it pains me to admit it, we would be useless to them. We don't have the knowledge or training to contribute anything at all to this war. Even if they would ignore the genetic engineering we wouldn't qualify for Starfleet. The Ilanar assure us that they can design a ship that we will be able to operate, but we would be lost on a regular Starfleet vessel."
Seven and B'Elanna glanced at one another, knowing that while her statement did not apply to them, Elizabeth was correct about the other captives. Though B'Elanna did feel a sense of obligation to Voyager and the Federation she wasn't sure how she felt about the idea of taking Seven, whose reception by Starfleet was uncertain at best, and her unborn daughter into a situation where they might be in danger.
Tanya began speaking once again after Elizabeth stepped away, "We will be discussing this further with the Ilanar, they have offered to run statistical projections for us. We will compile the data on the various planets, the results the Ilanar come up with, as well as doing our own analysis of possible scenarios. With that information in hand we should be able to make a reasonable decision about our future."
The noise level in the room quieted as everyone absorbed this information. Tanya continued, "This meeting is adjourned, will the following people please meet in the Beta Squad Training Hall, Maria Rodriguez, Christina Myers, Elizabeth Scott, Janice Young, Amy Lewis, B'Elanna Torres, Seven of Nine, ."
Tanya continued rattling off names as B'Elanna and Seven glanced at each other wondering what was going on, before rising to go over to Beta's training hall as requested.
Stardate 52944.63 (Dec 11, 2375 7:00pm)
"Well we've all certainly had an interesting few days, haven't we?" Elizabeth commented. "I'd like to thank everyone for all the hard work and the thoughtful consideration you have given to the various possibilities open to us." She paused for a moment, "I know everyone already has a fair idea of what was decided, but I'd like to go over it anyway."
"We will meet up with Voyager first, see what our reception is, ask them what they think will happen if we decide to go with them back to Earth. Depending on what we find out, we will either go back to Earth or we will colonize the planet that we have selected." Elizabeth looked around the room for a moment.
"I don't know how exactly they have done it, but our starship is already in orbit, we can begin transferring up to it whenever we are ready." She held up her hands for silence as the room erupted into questions. "One thing at a time, we will need to select people for training in the various departments. We won't have enough time to learn the fine details, but we're assured by the Ilanar that it won't be necessary, we just need to know enough to plot a course and manage to get ourselves there, the ship is mostly automated. If by bad luck something does go wrong, an Ilanar ship will be accompanying us for the entire journey, and will be prepared to help if we need it. Luckily for us we have two women, B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine who are experienced in engineering and navigation, so at least someone will have an idea what they are doing," she smirked.
This information seemed to satisfy many of those who had been asking questions and the general noise level died down. "Also, the ships computers have been programmed with information on subjects from the latest methods of farming to the latest scientific and medical information, equivalent to the level of knowledge currently available on Earth. If we do choose to colonize, for whatever reason, we won't be denying ourselves or our children the knowledge they would have had access to if we had headed for Earth." Elizabeth stated calmly.
"We will assign quarters over the next few days, start training, and hopefully if nothing goes wrong we will be ready to break orbit in two weeks. The Ilanar ship will give us a lift essentially, so that we can catch up with Voyager. They have already located her about 200 light years from here." Elizabeth finished.
B'Elanna started in surprise; she hadn't heard that the Ilanar had succeeded in locating Voyager. It almost didn't seem real, after everything good and bad that had happened over the last nine months, and now they were just three or so weeks away from seeing Voyager again. A hand touched her leg and she looked over to see Seven staring at her uncertainly, a host of mixed emotions in her stormy blue eyes. She wrapped her arms around the blonde and pulled Seven into a reassuring hug. If she was having mixed emotions about seeing everyone again, she could imagine that Seven was certainly having them.
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