DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. I'm just borrowing them for a bit. When I'm done I'll put them back right where I found them, honest. No ex-drones or human/klingon hybrids were harmed in the writing of this fan fic.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The older children grinned wildly as their younger siblings were sleepily ushered off to bed. The old storyteller had a new story. This one promised to be good, as evidenced by the fact that she had insisted that the younger children be safely in their beds before beginning such a tale.
Now that the usual stories were done and the young ones were safely tucked in, it was time for the new story that the storyteller had so deliciously hinted of. With much shuffling and giggling, the older children moved forward to hear better.
"Gather close children for I have a tale to tell." began the old woman. Teresh was her name and she had been the storyteller of the Beranni clan for many years now. Just that morning she had heard this story from a frightened young Beranni, who swore it was true and that he had, in fact, seen the whole thing for himself. As she began her tale, she tried not to think too much about how all the men on that ship seemed nervous and how the commander had insisted that he speak with the elders right away.
As our people have done for generations, the raiding ship Bitach found a small asteroid to hide behind as it waited for its prey. The petrach of this ship was Mintag. Mintag was a successful raider and this time was no different. Within hours a small vessel neared the asteroid and the Bitach struck.
The energy pulse disable the small ship and rendered the occupants unconscious. They were quickly brought aboard and put in a holding cell. The small vessel was towed into the cargo bay.
Normally, it would be hours or days before prisoners would wake. Imagine Mintag's surprise when an hour later, he went to observe the prisoners and found them already awake. Not only were they awake but they were furious, at least the little one was. You see on this raid there had been only two captured. One tall and fair, the other small and dark.
The small one raged and threatened, while the tall one merely watched impassively. Mintag found this amusing. Did they not know who had captured them. Were they not aware that they were being held by the Beranni? There were none in the sector who did not know of the Beranni. None who did not fear the great warriors of the Beranni clan.
The small one rushed to the bars of the cell and holding them in her small weak looking fists shouted, "Let us out of here, now, you p'taq." then she, (for it was a she, both were female) began to shout other things that Mintag could not understand. This did not worry Mintag, for it is a common thing for our Beranni to have difficulty in understanding the more primitive languages of outsiders.
Finally the small one tired of shouting and pushed away from the bars to pace nearer the back of the cell. It was then that the taller one spoke.
"Who are you, and why have you brought us here?' she asked, as the metal adorning the skin above her eye rose perceptibly.
"I am Petrach Mintag. You are on the Beranni clan ship Bitach." he announced proudly. "You will remain here as hostages until ransom can be arranged for you." Before he could say more, the tall one turned to the small one.
"Species 1647, the Beranni. They are a race of pirates who's hierarchy is based on a clan system. They attack smaller weaker vessels and either strip the vessels of material and technology, or more usually, ransom the vessel and its crew back to their governments or families in exchange for rare metals and food supplies. I suspect that since the shuttle would be of little interest to this species, they have chosen to ransom us back to our ship." she said.
"You are well informed." Mintag said. "We have indeed decided that ransoming the two of you would be the most profitable course for us. Now, if you will give us the name of your home world we will contact them so that the ransom can be paid. If you cooperate you will be release without harm."
"If you think we'll deal with extortionists, you're in for a big surprise." the small one snorted. "In fact, I'll make you a deal Mintag. Release us right now and I won't hurt you." again she rushed to the bars, this time trying to reach through them to grab the Petrach.
Being too smart for such an obvious maneuver, Mintag had moved well out of reach so the small ones attempt was in vain. Chuckling Mintag said, "Your antics amuse me, and so you will not be punished, this time. I will speak with you again." and with that he left.
Unknown to the two females, Mintag had the cell under observation. Returning to his command station, he activated the receiving device. It was a common practice on his and any other Beranni ship. Through methods such as these, it could be learned if a hostage was perhaps worth more than the usual amount demanded. Though he learned nothing of that nature, what he did hear amused him greatly.
"....just had to go exploring." the tall one stated.
"Well what other way was there to get a little time alone." the small one grinned. "Besides, Seven there wasn't supposed to be anything around here to worry about. You know I never go looking for trouble."
"True. Though you must admit, B'Elanna, that you do seem to have a capacity to find trouble." Seven stated with a grin.
"You're so funny." B'Elanna stated with a sneer. "Let's just get ourselves out of here and back to Voyager, ok?"
"I'm sure that if we are patient the captain will find us. After all, Voyager is only three days away." Seven stated reasonably.
"This is me we're talking about Seven. I don't do patient very well." B'Elanna laughed, then growled. "I don't think I can wait for three days."
"You can. There is no need for us to cause harm to this ship or it's crew." Seven said, as she drew the smaller woman into a warm embrace.
"Ok," B'Elanna sighed, as she drew her tall lover even closer. "But only three days. If Voyager doesn't show up in three days, we leave."
"If voyager doesn't come for us in three days, we will leave," Seven agreed. "Will you promise me that you will try not to cause too much damage. After all, we are in no danger here."
Mintag laughed as he closed the connection. 'No danger' indeed. The audacity of these two to think that they could actually escape from the flagship of the Beranni. What kind of fools were these two, to actually believe they stood a chance against the best warriors of the Beranni.
"Oh well," Mintag muttered with a shrug, "at least I have the name of their ship, and their names too, odd though they are." Rising from his seat, he went to have the ransom message sent to the ship Voyager.
When he went to the cells a few hours later, the small one was once again speaking in her strange language. From the way the two were sitting so close and the tone of the words, Mintag hazzarded a guess. "You are a mated pair." he stated more than asked.
"Yeah, so?" B'Elanna sneered. She then said more in that strange language she had spoken before. At Mintags blank stare, she displayed a fierce grin, but did not repeat the words for him to understand, now knowing that he could not decipher her crude tongue.
"I had wondered why you would display such bravado. Knowing now that it is merely the efforts of one mate trying to comfort another, well..." he chuckled. Changing the subject abruptly he stated. "I have sent a message to your ship. If Voyager is three days away as you said, then we should hear an answer soon." At their suspicious look he confirmed, nodding to each in turn, "Yes, Seven, B'Elanna, you have been under observation since you arrived."
"Then you are aware that my wife has agreed to allow three days before we take matters into our own hands. I suggest you act quickly to contact our ship." Seven stated with icy calm.
Mintag laughed uproariously at this. They were two women, alone, in a holding cell, on a strange ship. And yet they actually thought they could simply leave at any time of their choosing. Little did he know the horror that was about to be unleashed. He continued to laugh as he left the cells, his own laughter drowning out sounds of B'Elanna's laughter following his retreating back.
Mintags efforts to spy on his prisoners was thwarted from that moment on, as the two conversed solely in that primitive tongue he had heard before. When he came to the cells they would speak to him but, when alone, they would use the strange language. His devices were useless now. He would learn nothing more except what they chose to tell him.
B'Elanna, the little one, would threaten and sneer at the petrach. Seven, the tall one, would alternately speak to Petrach Mintag, and calm her mate, reminding her that she had promised three days. In those three days Mintag came to know a little of the two. They said they were travelers, lost in the delta quadrant, as they called this region of space. Their only concern was to find their way home. There were things that Seven told freely. Other things she refused to answer. B'Elanna, for her part, answered nothing and sometimes berated her mate for saying too much.
Seven said they were officers aboard a star ship. Mintag knew she was lying. Who had ever heard of females having command positions aboard any ship, let alone a star ship. When she said that the smaller B'Elanna was an engineer he laughed. When she told him that this small fragile looking woman was also a warrior among her people he laughed so hard his sides hurt. Yet he continued to listen to the tall one talk. It would make an amusing tale to tell his children later, of how he captured two strange females who told the most amusing stories.
Then the third day came. He had not heard from the ship Voyager. The message had been sending continuously since that first day, yet there had not been any answer. He knew that they would try something. In a strange way, he had come to like these two a little. They were boastful, but harmless. He hoped he wouldn't have to kill them.
Going down to the cells once again, he told them that there had been no answer from their ship.
"You were warned." Seven stated sternly. "We gave you three days to contact our ship. You have not. Now, I must fulfill my agreement with my wife."
With a sad look, Mintag said, "You don't want to do that. It would be a shame to have to destroy you."
Laughing, B'Elanna approached the bars, "It's not us that has to worry about being destroyed." With a glance to her mate, she waited.
The wait was not long. Seven approached the spot where the bars extended from the wall to enclose the small cell. Making a fist, she held it to the spot on the wall behind where the control panel was. A short, sharp hissing sound was the only warning, as small filaments extended from the back of her hand and plunged into the wall. Somehow, those small tubes entered the rear of the control panel and before Mintag could react, the cell opened. As he stood there stunned, B'Elanna exited the cell and struck Mintag solidly in the temple. The woman was strong, much stronger than any humanoid had any right to be. Mintag was dead before he hit the floor.
Imagine the horror that followed.
Mintag was the only one who had been in contact with these humanoids, as was his responsibility as Petrach. Think of the reactions of the crew as these two worked their way through the ship. Those brave Beranni ran in terror as they encountered the two. Those who did find the courage to fight were quickly defeated. Tall Seven calmly disabled the locking devices and security measures that barred their way. Small B'Elanna grinned with demonic glee, as she dispatched those brave enough to face her, using only her fists.
It had never happened before. Always those humanoids that were brought onto a Beranni ship were carefully segregated from the rest of the crew. There were many that served for decades aboard the clan ships, yet had never once seen any hostage face to face. Few are authorized to have direct contact with those we prey upon. Even among those, most seek to avoid them. Yet now, B'Elanna and Seven walked through the passages of the Bitach, and none could stop them. They had promised to escape and that was exactly what they were doing. Always our prey feared us, as all prey should, yet these had no fear. It was the Beranni clansmen who knew fear this day.
Soon enough, those two stood on the bridge of the Bitach. Imagine the horror faced by those left alive. These hideous creatures were in control of their ship.
And hideous they were. Where scales should be, they had what they call hair. Of arms, they had only two. And they were bipedal, moving on stiff, jointed things called legs. And instead of a deep luscious green, their flesh had a sickly pale hue, especially Seven. Even the most premature of hatchlings had never been so pale.
Again, the strange filaments sprouted from Seven's hand. They entered the communications console and within moments she announced. "I have augmented the communications array. I am now attempting to contact Voyager."
B'Elanna for her part simply nodded as she carefully watched the surviving crew cowering at one end of the bridge. When one of the Beranni started to fidget nervously, she growled, "Don't try anything."
"Please don't eat me!" the young cadet wailed. It was his first mission and he was even more terrified than the rest.
B'Elanna grinned, showing her sharp teeth and laughed at the terrified men. They had all been thinking the same thing. Now with those sharp teeth showing, proving that they both, but especially B'Elanna, were definitely carnivores they could only hope that the end would be quick.
B'Elanna moved forward, obviously to choose who would be her meal, when Seven stopped her. Speaking in their strange language that Mintag hadn't understood and these even less experienced men would never hope to be able to understand, she calmed her mate. With a small grin and many glances to the crew, B'Elanna moved away. Obviously her mate did not want her to eat the crew, but how long could she keep her more aggressive partner at bay? As it became obvious that B'Elanna would respect her mates wishes, the crew began to fear Seven more. Though calmer, she must be the dominant partner they reasoned, or B'Elanna would not obey. If small, powerful B'Elanna, who had single handedly defeated most of the crew, were in fact the weaker partner, they had no chance. They would have to simply await their fate. They huddled more closely together, not making a sound, determined to keep themselves from attracting either womans attention.
After a small eternity, the communications panel emitted a signal. Voyager had answered them. They would arrive in six hours. Now the terror of the crew increased ten fold. With a whole ship of these vile creatures approaching, what would become of them? Would they be ransomed back to their clan? Enslaved? Eaten? Always they were the predators, never the prey. They were confused and afraid, but they had no choice. They would have to wait and hope that their deaths would be painless.
While the crew waited in terror, B'Elanna and Seven relaxed. The two women spoke at length in that odd tongue, seeming to ignore the presence of their prisoners. Yet whenever one would make the slightest sound, B'Elanna would immediately glare in their direction. They did not let that happen more than a few times. These warriors were mere broken shells. They could do nothing to prevent what was about to happen. They merely waited, feeling already dead, praying to the gods and thinking of their families.
When Voyager finally came close enough, the panel came to life again.
"Janeway to Torres." the panel chirped. The crew trembled in terror. A third one? Was there another that the Petrach had already killed? Would these humanoids seek revenge? Would their families be safe? Would the rest of their clan now have to face what they were facing?
You can imagine their relief when B'Elanna replied, "Torres here captain." Their sigh of relief was audible, as they realized that the womens Petrach had been referring to B'Elanna. Though they wondered just what rank a torres was among these ones.
It was not long before the two were ready to transport back to their ship. Now they would know just what fate awaited them. They held no hope that it would be good. They had heard what had been said. This race considered them to be the inferior ones. As they could see the massive ship in the viewing port, they knew fear. The ship was massive, easily ten times the size of their own ship. The flagship Bitach was a mere annoying flea before the might of this vessel. When, in a shimmer of sparks, more of the loathsome creatures were suddenly standing on the bridge, they knew that this species was indeed superior.
"B'Elanna, Seven, are you all right?" A short, red haired woman asked.
It was then that two males and another female moved to guard the prisoners. They could hear Seven refer to the red haired one as captain, obviously this vessels petrach. The three moved slightly away. The Beranni could only hear parts of what was said. They heard themselves referred to as annoying, easily overpowered, technologically inferior. The clansmens fear peaked as the women stopped talking and came to stand before their captives.
Captain Janeway glared at the cowering Beranni. "I understand from my people that it was your intent to ransom my officers back for a price?" she asked. From her look, they knew that lying would be unwise.
"Yes it was." a grizzled veteran answered. "We intended to get our price and return them unharmed."
"Not a very wise plan." she stated with a grin. "You're lucky B'Elanna was in a good mood. This whole thing could have been a lot worse for you."
Worse? How could anything be as bad as what they had just endured. When they saw the feral look on B'Elanna's face and Seven's small, knowing grin, they suddenly began to imagine just how much worse it could be.
"I would suggest that you limit yourselves to less dangerous pursuits in the future." Janeway said. With that she turned and ignoring the cowering clansmen, tapped a badge on her chest, uttered a short command and disappeared in the shimmer of spark that had brought her.
Seven and B'Elanna also ignored them. Seven removed whatever it was that had allowed her to contact her ship. B'Elanna found and released the controls for the cargo bay where their small vessel was stored. As soon as that was done the two turned to leave the bridge and retrieve their shuttle.
"You will remain under guard until we have removed our shuttle from your cargo bay." began Seven, indicating the Voyager crew, who were currently pointing strange weapons at them. "Once that is done, they will return to Voyager and you will be free to go." without further ado she went to the door and waited for her mate.
They could not believe it. They were to be spared. Their ordeal was almost over. In a few minutes these terrifying creatures wold be off their ship and they could go home.
Before leaving the bridge, B'Elanna approached them one last time. "The captain gives good advice." she stated. "Tell your people they need to find another way to make a living. It just isn't safe for you. Besides," she added with a sneer, "you never know when I might come back."
With that she left the bridge and moments later, the guards disappeared.
They were free. They had faced evil beyone imagining and were alive to tell the tale. Then they realized, with a dawning sense of horror, just what had happened. They were not being spared for pity's sake. They were being allowed to live merely to serve as a warning to the rest of their people.
The still shaking crew made their way home, where they told the elders of their strange tale.
"From there the story traveled, until it reached to ears of an old storyteller, who has told the story to you." The storyteller ended with a flourish, as parents began to lead their now sleepy children off to their slumber.
And so, the happily frightened children returned to their nests, while in another part of the city, elders met and carefully pored over the records of the flagship Bitach.
While children slept and dreamed of defeating delightfully scary humanoids, the adults shook with real fear, knowing what would happen if these vile, evil creatures ever decided to return.
It would be many years before another clanship would dare to launch from the Beranni homeworld.
B'Elanna and Seven are safely back onboard. What was supposed to be a honeymoon for the couple, ended instead in a confrontation with an alien species. Leave it to Seven and B'Elanna to find a race of space pirates in such a quiet sector. Fortunately, the Beranni were not a serious threat to my officers and they came out of the encounter unscathed.
They successfully overpowered the vessels crew and by the time Voyager was in range for contact, had already taken over their bridge. When we arrived, they were in full control of the alien vessel.
Regrettably, many of the reptiloid beings were killed by my chief engineer during their escape. They are much more fragile than their appearance would suggest. B'Elanna herself was unaware of this until after returning to Voyager when scans revealed the number of casualties. She was upset at first, but has quickly realized that she cannot blame herself for choosing to end what the Beranni had started.
For my part, I have decided not to contact the Beranni. Under different circumstance I would offer condolences for their losses. To do so now would be seen to condone the activities that resulted in my officers being imprisoned on their ship.
Scans have indicated the ship is heading to a small M class planet .5 light years away. We will avoid the system and any possible contact with its inhabitants..
In light of what has already happened, I feel that this is the best course of action for all. I only hope that in the future Beranni will think twice before they decide to attack another ship.
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