Title: Your Wish is My Command Author: Jemima Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Series: VOY Part: 8/19 Rating: PG Codes: T, S, T/K, P/T, AU Summary: What if things had gone slightly differently in the first season episode "Prime Factors"? An AU story from "The Museum". Disclaimer: I took these characters from an alternate universe without copyright laws. Mwhahahaha! Acknowledgements: Thanks to my beta reader Jade for her helpful suggestions, and to Anne Rose for pointing me in the direction of some pithy Klingon expletives. Date: March 2001 Notes: At the end of Prime Factors, Tuvok finds certain crewmembers from engineering about to beam down to the planet to trade stories for technology that could transport Voyager 40,000 lightyears closer to home. In the real ep, Tuvok stops them so that he can beam down and violate the Prime Directive himself. In my AU, things go a little differently, and then more differently, and so on. Now, picture yourself back in First Season, when the Kazon were a force to be reckoned with, leola root was a fresh and dripping horror, Maquis mutinies were still on Tuvok's mind, and everyone thought Janeway was a lunatic who would get the whole crew killed in the name of her precious, yet infinitely malleable, Prime Directive...
"Stories!" Torres fumed to her companion. "They would have transported us halfway home for a few old stories from the Federation database. And that woman--" B'Elanna punched a bulkhead.
"Temper, Torres. The bulkhead is not the enemy," Seska said.
"No, the Vulcan is the enemy," B'Elanna snapped, forgetting about Janeway for the moment. "If the p'tak hadn't stopped us, we'd be 40,000 light-years closer to the DMZ right now."
"At least he didn't turn us in. He almost went down there to make the trade himself."
"'Almost' won't get us home," B'Elanna growled.
The Bajoran woman's calm annoyed the half-Klingon to no end. Seska had been the brains behind the abortive smuggling operation - back in the Maquis she'd had a temper shorter than B'Elanna's own, but now she seemed as calm as the bloodless Vulcan himself. It made no sense, unless...she had a plan.
"What are you up to, Seska?"
"I think we need to have a little chat with Chakotay."
"She stranded us out here, she's passed up several opportunities to get us home, she won't accept help from anyone--"
"Enough, Seska," Chakotay cut her off. "We all know what's been going on for the past few months."
"We're prisoners, Chakotay - even if we do get back they'll throw us in prison or worse, turn us over to the Cardassians." Torres shivered voluntarily to impress the men.
Neither Suder nor Jonas seemed to notice, but Chakotay's tone softened as he said, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, B'Elanna. It's no use worrying about it now."
"They're right, sir," Jonas spoke up. "Janeway's a miserable excuse for a Captain. We're lucky we're still alive - if we run into the Kazon or the Vidiians one more time, we're goners. I'm sure she was qualified for Federation milk-runs and spy-retrieval, but the Delta Quadrant is out of her league."
"I'm afraid that worries me as well, but we have no other options."
"We can take the ship," Suder suggested.
"There aren't even fifty of us," B'Elanna countered. "How will we run it afterwards?"
"The Starfleets will see it our way, once it's done." Jonas had no doubts on that account, but Torres did.
Suder added, "The Maquis could use a ship like this."
"Enough!" Chakotay looked glum. "I won't sink to the level of Paris or Tuvok. There will be no more betrayals."
"Not even to save our lives?" Seska said quietly.
"I gave my word, as a Maquis, to serve under Janeway."
"But she's incompetent! We'll all die out here!" Jonas protested. Suder grumbled as well, and Torres muttered, "If this were a Klingon ship..."
"If the Prophets smile on us," Seska prayed aloud, "the next aliens that attack us without provocation will take her out."
"If wishes were latinum, Seska..." Chakotay voice trailed off as he eyed the group. Finally he announced, "This conversation never happened."
Voyager's malcontents dispersed slowly.
"Seska, you look too happy to be Bajoran."
"And you look too defeated to be Klingon."
"If only Chakotay were willing to take over the ship..."
"But he is willing, B'Elanna; he said so. We just need some aliens to get Janeway out of the way."
"So what do we do, hail the Vidiians and brag about her lungs? You're out of your mind, Seska."
"No, not the Vidiians - they might plead innocence afterwards. We need fresh aliens. Let's call them 'the Sarris Dominion'."
"They'll need unique weaponry - something that will take out the shields and overload a few choice consoles, but leave no marks on the hull."
"Tuvok will see through it. We could never pull it off."
"Then Tactical goes on the list of choice consoles, right after the Captain's chair. It would be wise to take out Ops, and hard to pass up the opportunity to kill Paris at the helm..."
"We can't kill the Starfleet half of the senior staff without raising suspicions." B'Elanna didn't quite believe her own ears; had she no greater objection to mutiny and murder than the difficulty involved in covering it up?
"We can spare a few Maquis, if you insist," Seska conceded. "Jonas and Chell aren't much use--"
"No Maquis. Just Janeway and Tuvok."
"What about Paris?"
"Some other time, Seska."
B'Elanna was frozen to her console in Engineering, ostensibly running a Level 4 diagnostic on the warp core. She had a comm link open to Seska at the bridge engineering station, so the Bajoran could hear every word of her brief exchange with Chell.
"Chell to Torres."
"I finished that report you wanted. If you have any questions, I'll be on the holodeck. Chell out."
That was the sign. Chell, Jonas, Tabor and Chakotay were going to the holodeck to play dom-jot. B'Elanna eyed the chronometer. In thirteen minutes and thirty-four seconds, the Sarris Dominion would make their first and only appearance in the Delta Quadrant.
She didn't hate the Captain, but she wanted to get back to the Alpha Quadrant in one piece. Janeway was incompetent, and on Klingon vessels, incompetent captains died. In eleven more minutes, Voyager was going to be a Klingon vessel, if only briefly.
"Lieutenant, could you take a look at this relay? I think it's fried."
"Give me a few minutes to wrap up this diagnostic, Ballard, and then I'll give you a hand."
"Torres to the bridge. I'm reading a fluctuation in the main power grid." Her hands flew across the console, as though she were tracing, rather than causing, the problem.
Seska gave the countersign. "Bridge here. Can you trace it?"
"Not yet. It may be some sort of scan."
"Captain, there's an alien ship decloaking off the port bow." It was Harry's voice, but Seska's handiwork. "They're powering weapons."
"Raise shields! Evasive maneuvers!"
Torres let Paris turn the ship, but she flicked off the inertial dampeners for a moment and blew up a few consoles, including one of the unmanned mission ops stations on the bridge. As the ship rocked, she locked down the holodeck as well. There would be no heroics from Chakotay, and - she tapped the console lightly - no escape to warp, for the moment.
"I've lost helm control." That was Paris.
"Direct hit," Tuvok reported. Seska could only fool him so long. This was the risky bit of the business, but she had insisted on showing off her aliens.
"They're hailing us, Captain."
"On screen." Would those be Janeway's last words?
B'Elanna had seen this part filmed on the holodeck; she didn't need to be on the bridge to know that the aliens were ugly and green, with sharp black teeth. They were overdone - Seska was mocking the Starfleets. She was the meanest Bajoran Torres had ever heard of, never mind met.
"You have invaded the Sarris Dominion. You will be destroyed."
"We are on a peaceful mission. Please--"
"They've cut communications, Captain. I can't raise them." Poor Harry. He was so green.
"Engineering, we need helm control."
"I'm working on it," B'Elanna replied over a more official comm link. "Engineering out." But the engineer was still listening.
"Shields at sixty percent," Tuvok reported. "Captain, there is an anomalous--"
So soon? The Vulcan was good. B'Elanna slammed her hand down on her console; the ship lurched again, and she heard the sound of Tactical exploding. The Vulcan had been good, but the Maquis were better.
"Captain, I've restored helm control," B'Elanna reported, far too literally. But they were shouting up there - had they even heard her?
"Tuvok!" There, that would be her last word-- "Seska!"
Kahless, how had Seska gotten in the way?
"Where's Chakotay?" Torres heard the Captain ask.
"Commander Chakotay is trapped on the holodeck."
She could only keep this comm link open for a few more seconds before she was scheduled to fry half the power grid. Yet she hesitated; was Janeway still in the big chair, or had she taken over the ruined tactical station? She risked a look at the internal sensors - all clear.
"Paris, get us out of here."
It was time. B'Elanna fired the last shot from the Sarris - the ship lurched, the captain's console exploded, internal communications and sensors went down, shields went down, but the warp core remained online. Paris, now the ranking officer on the bridge, took Voyager to warp.
Internal communications were still out an hour later when Chakotay appeared, haggard and unkempt, in Engineering. Tom had sent a team to the holodeck to free the captain presumptive and his companions. Her once and future captain broke the bad news.
As if she didn't know.
But he didn't know, or at least, he put on a good show of ignorance. Torres sank to the floor in relief at the news - the first hard evidence she had that the coup had succeeded - and he took it for shock.
Janeway and Tuvok were dead. B'Elanna stumbled through a report - strange energy weapons, internal systems fried, warp core still up but could we stop running away now? It was dangerous to run the core without any internal sensors to monitor the field.
Without external sensors, he argued, who knew whether the Sarris were on their tail? When she answered that she was willing to take that risk, she could have sworn he looked at her strangely before he turned to leave. Maybe her eyes were playing tricks on her. Either way, she had a ship to fix.
Hours later, when the remains of Engineering were no longer smoking, B'Elanna snuck up to Sickbay to visit Seska.
"You should be in Engineering," she hissed. She didn't sound good.
"I'll get back there in a minute. I needed the walk. What happened to you?"
"I was trying to help Tuvok interpret his *anomalous* readings when the console blew." Seska sat up and glanced around the room. "How is he?"
"They haven't told you?"
"They don't know I'm conscious," the Bajoran whispered.
"Where's the Doc?"
"I shut him down after I reprogrammed him."
"He knew too much. My uniform was...non-standard. I would have died without the extra protection."
"What about Kes?"
"Kes was out playing medic. The transporters were down."
As if she didn't know.
So Chakotay became Captain. If Tuvok had lived, there might have been protests, but the next Starfleet in line for command was Paris. Not even the Starfleets wanted him in the big chair. Chakotay apologized to B'Elanna when he made Carey his first officer - to keep peace with the other half of the crew, he said.
No tears flowed as the two bodies were consigned to space. The departed had been each other's best friend, and had maintained their distance, for different reasons, from the rest of the crew. The Starfleets were in shock and the Maquis were trying not to look too happy about it. Torres examined their faces, but saw no suspicion among the Starfleets, excepting Paris, and no triumph among the Maquis, excepting Jonas and Seska.
B'Elanna kept waiting for the investigation, but no one was in charge of investigating random alien attacks in the Delta Quadrant. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. A Maquis spirit infused the crew - Chakotay paid lip-service to Starfleet regulations, but their priorities gradually changed.
People began to arrive at their duty shifts late, or early, as it pleased them, and no reprimands were issued. Voyager flew right by the choicest of anomalies, if they gave no sign of producing a wormhole or an energy source. They ignored civilizations that could provide them no advanced technology and conducted more stealth operations - beaming up a harvest from a pre-warp planet, and beaming down the appropriate payment in replicated gold, wampum, or stories.
B'Elanna had planned various accidents to eliminate the all-too-perceptive helmsman, but she'd never carried them out. She told herself knowing looks alone were no threat, and she almost believed it. Paris was more circumspect around Seska; the Bajoran's suspicions involved Lieutenant Kim instead.
"He's been at the sensor logs, B'Elanna."
"He's curious about the Sarris. We keep running into Vidiians - it's reasonable for him to worry--"
"We have to eliminate him."
"It's under control."
"It had better be."
So she'd gotten involved with Harry Kim. B'Elanna kept his free hours occupied, so he wouldn't muck about in the computer logs. Whatever suspicions he might have held were dissolved in his puppy-dog devotion to her. It wasn't as bad as she'd expected, really. The purely human side of her liked Harry and even enjoyed his company. In fact, if sacrificing all her free time and any chance she might have had to mate with someone more desirable in order to save Harry's life was love, then she loved him.
No, she didn't really love him - he just didn't deserve to die for his curiosity. And if she had to spend the next seventy years of her life suppressing her true personality and pretending to be Harry's loving girlfriend, maybe she deserved that for her crimes. After all, she wasn't attracted to anyone on Voyager, except the only man left aboard who did deserve to die: the traitor Tom Paris.
Three years later she was still staring at Lieutenant Paris.
Well, she reassured herself on the bad days - the days she came within inches of assaulting her boyfriend - at least there were no more Borg. Chakotay had left them and Species 8472 to fight it out on their own, and it had turned out to be a beautiful example of mutual annihilation. Seven of Nine told them about it afterwards, though at the time it hadn't been pretty. Voyager had barely escaped, losing Seska, Chell, Jonas, Bendera and twelve Starfleets to assimilation.
Torres was the only one left who knew the truth. Tabor hadn't been in on the plot, Suder had been killed a few years back, and Chakotay had never said a suspicious word. Even Paris didn't glare at her quite the way he used to. She ought to feel guilty, she knew, but the coup was fading from her own memory. If she thought back, she could recall slamming her hand on the console - the blow that killed Tuvok - but little else. Life went on.
They'd found Seven in a Borg debris field. B'Elanna would have hated the Doctor's pet science project but that whenever she saw her, she thought, 'There are no more Borg,' and occasionally said so to the mourning drone.
The Borg, Seven informed them, had chased Species 8472 all the way to the Alpha Quadrant. The Collective had devoted themselves to wiping out the threat from fluidic space, and the price had been all their billions of lives. Doubtless a cube or two had survived, but their ability to interlink as a Collective was lost along with the great Unimatricies, the backbone of Borg communication.
How the mighty have fallen, B'Elanna mused as she scowled at Tom and Seven. It seemed Paris wanted to get to know the Borg in the biblical sense. He'd chased every other human female in the quadrant - Seven was his last challenge, unless...
The idea that crossed Torres' mind was reprehensible, yet she couldn't deny a certain attraction to the traitor Paris. She had been watching him all-too-closely these past five years. Still, Harry scorned would again pose a threat to her. She was trapped, and would always be trapped, by that one day that seemed a lifetime ago already.
"B'Elanna, dear, sit down."
"What is it, Harry?" She was tired, but she was on perpetual girlfriend duty. She always had to be calm, sweet, polite, which made her even more tired.
"I have something to tell you."
"Can't it wait, dearest? It's been a long day - the slipstream project is giving me a headache. I hate nanoprobes."
"I've been working on the Doc's program and I discovered something."
Kahless! He knew! She'd forgotten about Seska reprogramming the EMH. No one had noticed at the time, and when Seska was around she'd been the one in charge of monitoring unusual inquiries into the Doc's program. Since she'd been assimilated, no one had watched.
"Why were you working on the EMH?" He was bored with her. He'd gone back to his investigations. Qu'vatlh! How had she let this happen?
"Oh, you know, just tinkering." Harry watched her pace back and forth across the small room. "B'Elanna, sit down."
She sat and stared at him. She couldn't bring herself to kill Harry, not after all these years. He would turn her in, Chakotay would court-martial her, Paris and Carey would vote to convict, and they'd space her, or lock her up for the next fifty years, which was worse.
"The day that Captain Janeway and Lieutenant Tuvok died, Seska was taken to sickbay. She altered the EMH's program while she was there." Harry paused, but B'Elanna kept staring at him wordlessly.
"She was covering something up, dear." He paused again, and again got no response from the pale woman. "It took me a while to figure it out. I had to unearth gelpack-echoes of deleted backups of backups of his holomatrix, but I finally found out what she didn't want us to know."
How long had he been at this? Little as she enjoyed, after several wearing years, the farce of being his girlfriend, she had prided herself on being good at it - her final Maquis undercover operation. Yet she'd failed.
"B'Elanna, Seska was a Cardassian. She had been genetically altered to look Bajoran, but when she was brought in to sickbay, the Doc--" His words were choked off by the contraction of his sweet, docile girlfriend's hands around his throat.
"QI'yaH! You lie, dog of a Starfleet!" she shouted. All she could see through the red haze in her mind was Seska's face with Cardassian features. All Seska's quiet hints and wicked grins and calculated threats fell into a neat, familiar pattern - a pattern of malice all Maquis knew from painful experience, or should have known. She had killed Janeway and Tuvok for a Cardassian!
B'Elanna's flash of insight was followed by a surge of rage and denial, during which she dropped Harry and lashed out at every movable object in the room. Her puppy-dog managed to hit his commbadge before passing out.
The security team found him on the floor among the rubble. More things in Torres' quarters had been broken than anyone would have believed were breakable, and she had to be restrained by four crewmen, one of whom sustained severe bat'leth wounds in the process.
She awoke in sickbay, with Paris, part-time medic, standing over her.
"Morning, sunshine," he said. "Sorry the EMH couldn't be here to greet you personally, but he's off-line until the damage your ex-boyfriend found has been repaired."
"Don't play coy with me, Torres. I know Harry told you about Seska - you haven't caused this kind of carnage in, oh, five years or so."
"So it's true, then," she said, ignoring the jibe.
"Yes, Seska was a Cardassian spy. She must have been from the Obsidian Order, don't you think? Just another traitor, like Tuvok, and me...and you."
B'Elanna glared at him.
"Don't worry - Harry doesn't know. He figures he's already uncovered Seska's deep, dark secret, and he's seen enough of your Klingon side to head straight for the other end of the quadrant. You're a free woman."
"Except for you."
"I suppose I shouldn't lean in too close to the helm, eh? We wouldn't want the Sarris to show up again suddenly."
"Cut the wisecracks, Paris. What do you want?"
"I want you to keep me occupied the way you've been keeping Harry occupied all these years. Give me something to keep my mind off the old sensor logs."
"I'm not up for playing nice anymore."
"Now who said anything about playing nice?"
She shrugged, and bit him in assent.