Starship Down
By A.P. Stacey

Chapter 3

And Within the cold depths of the interstellar void, a black vacuum that kept the true and beautiful wonders of one world and the cold dark unimaginable terrors of another within their respective boundaries it lurked, Using the oppressive blackness like some predator might use the night as a mask to prevent its true nature being revealed.

The Destroyer of Worlds;

Enemy of all free life.

It lived by several different names, though to itself it knew only one, and it knew it well. The huge shape moved silently through the gas and dust it inhabited, the light from a distant and cold sun illuminating patches of metal and tubing, it crept slowly onwards.

A titanic Sphere, drifting towards its target,

The remains of the U.S.S. Voyager.

"They look so different." Muttered B'elanna as she and Seven strolled down the darkened corridors of the Voyager slowly; taking in the new look of the ship they had spent so much time with.

"Agreed, the severe hull damage and systems failures have contributed to a significant fall in aesthetic pleasantness." Remarked the ex-Borg.

B'elanna smiled briefly at the technical reply, but couldn't remain happy for long, the situation she knew they were in did not allow it, for they had so much to overcome in terms only of survival, turning to her companion she discussed her fears.

"Seven, Voyager can't support us indefinitely, eventually the Secondary Power Grid will fail, and then we'll have nothing but Battery backup, which won't last more than a week, I don't remember seeing any suitable planets within Voyagers normal exploration range on long range sensors, But we really have to get off the ship before then.

Before the ex drone could reply the lighting in the section they stood in dimmed and flickered, prompting the computer to interrupt:

"Plasma Conduit failure Deck two section eleven Beta, Rerouting."

Seven of Nine Raised an eyebrow at the computers statement, "You are correct B'elanna, The power systems will not remain functional for long, and also as you said, there are no habitable planets within Transporter range, Our only option would seem to be a Shuttle."

"I was thinking about that, but according to Damage estimates reaching deck ten would be a nightmare, all turbo lift shafts have terminated at deck eight, The Jeffries tubes are venting into space at almost half of all junction points and the Warp Core is giving out high levels of Radiation, making transport to the surrounding decks too dangerous........." B'elanna trailed off, as she seemed to have an idea, her eyes fixed on to seven,

"Seven," B'elanna began hesitantly, "we could space walk it."

Seven looked at the diminutive Klingon with a mixture of uncertainty and trepidation, she clasped her hands behind her back and took a shuddering breath, pausing to speak-

"If it gives the highest percentage of survival, then it is our best option." She concluded logically.

"Yeah Seven, but how do you feel about it?" B'elanna asked softly.

"I will adapt to the challenge." Seven answered stubbornly, and continued onwards, signifying to the weary engineer that the conversation was closed and no longer open to debate.

Captain Kathryn Janeway, formerly of the U.S.S Voyager Huddled next to the tiny Viewing port of the S.E.E.P. and allowed her vision to focus on the myriad of other Escape pods that floated alongside her own as they slowly and painfully made their way to the rocky asteroid that held their only hope.

Her mind drifted, to the last time she had seen her ship, the last time she had stood on deck one, the feel of the synthetic and fire retardant leather underneath her hands as she sat in her moulded command chair.

The last time she had seen two of her senior officers alive.

A small tear began to form at the corner of her eye but was brushed aside with a quick jerk of a hand, She turned to survey the other huddled forms which kept company with her also, each strapped into their flight chair. Some were in a nightmare ridden sleep, as their heads bobbed slowly up and down, murmuring. Others merely stared at the hull or into space, much like her, it was the only way to keep claustrophobia at bay, the thought that they would be stuck in a cylinder not much larger than a shuttle filled her with the same rising panic. Dismissing it she refocused on the star field outside, and PADD in hand, as she attempted to work out the shortest route to the asteroid.

"Vessel Identified, Voyager, U.S.S. NCC-74656, Intrepid class Exploration Vessel, Two Life forms detected, Borg power signature detected."

"Prepare for Assimilation."

B'elanna kicked the Mess hall replicator hard, as though the sudden jolt would bring the unit back on line and deliver her food in haste.

"B'elanna, The unit is beyond repair, striking it will not reverse this." Seven commented.

"I know it just makes me feel better." Snapped the Diminutive hybrid, stomping off to behind the kitchen and beginning to root around the shelves noisily.

While she threw K'telar stew and Jumpa Pie over the counter in disgust Seven glanced through the cracked windows of the mess hall that looked out in to deep space, her enhanced vision identifying the star layout and makeup easily.

And also identifying an object lying of their port side, its makeup and colour disguising it effectively, but not totally, and Seven recognised the object, something that had haunted her being and her soul for most of her life.

Her eyes flickered closed as pain raged through her mind.

<Your family have returned Seven, Why don't you go and greet them>

The familiar loathing of the voice filled Sevens mind, its sickly sweet inclinations saturating her soul and filling her with dread.

A hard shake brought her back to reality.

"Seven, what's up?" Asked B'elanna, a hint of concern on her face.

"Outside, forty degrees port." Seven replied in a hush.

The chief engineer scanned the space in front of her, and found nothing; she squinted, struggling to pick out anything unusual. She was about to ask Seven exactly what she should be looking for when a glint attracted her attention to a horrendously familiar object.

"Oh Shit."

B'elanna had no sooner uttered the expletitive than turned and taken Seven by the hand, hauling her out of the mess hall and down the darkened corridors of deck two.

"We need to get to Engineering." Gasped B'elanna, "It's the safest place on the ship……. please don't worry seven, everything will be fine."

Seven wasn't so sure.

To Be Continued

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