Part 31

Extra Warning: A little bit of violence between two people of opposite sexes. She started it.

Harry Kim heard Captain Janeway command Tuvok to fire upon the fleeing shuttle. He turned his eyes to his readings, waiting to see Tom pull some acrobatics and escape.

Harry didn't get to see what happened, though. For all of a sudden, he couldn't see his console.

He was vaguely aware of the floor beneath his feet surging upwards, although he didn't connect it with the fact that his console suddenly disappeared from view, nor did he know immediately that he was being violently propelled over his console.

When he realized this, he made a frantic grab for the edges of his console. His fingers brushed over the smooth ends of the console, but he couldn't get a grip on anything.

Still having no idea why he was being thrown over his station, Harry could only brace himself for the inevitable landing towards the front of the Bridge.

Land he did, jarringly despite his best efforts to absorb the blow evenly. Twinges of pain, more of shock than actual injury, went through him. The distinct unpleasantness of having the wind knocked out of him followed shortly. His head was stinging-not hurting, stinging-and there was something dripping down his forehead over on to one eyelid.

Harry felt somebody's hands on his shoulders, helping to pry him upward off the floor.

He groaned unwittingly as the set of arms pulled him into a sitting position. He opened his eyes, immediately squeezing them shut again when the liquid flowing over his eyelid got inside, then automatically brought a hand up to wipe the blood blinding his right eye away.

Keeping his hand over the one eye, Harry opened the other to look into pale concerned face of Captain Janeway. Her hair was falling out of its neat bun, indicating he wasn't the only one to have been thrown around.

She was speaking to her comm badge, he came to realize, ordering an emergency beam out to Sickbay. For him.

"No!" He put his hand on her arm. "No, I'm okay."

More or less.

Janeway cancelled the beam out, helping him to his feet. The muscles he'd bruised in landing so hard made both standing up and walking a startlingly painful experience, and he stumbled rather than walked back to his station. The cut above his eye was still bleeding, and he kept wiping it away so he could see his readings and find out what the hell had happened.

There had been some kind of explosion when Voyager tried to use its weapons, resulting in severe damage to all of Voyager's weapon capabilities. And the damage was pervasive, shields and most of the systems that had just been repaired were offline.

For such a small gash, the wound on Harry's forehead was bleeding enough for him to have to keep a hand pressed against it so he could still see.

The damage report was relayed to Janeway, as Carey from Engineering contacted the Bridge with a damage report of his own.

Tom's shuttle was completely forgotten in the midst of the delivery of such bad news, and Janeway's orders to contain the damage. And if anyone, Harry for instance, was still thinking about him, the thoughts quickly disappeared.

"Captain, Peloran vessels are approaching the border with the Maquis shuttlecraft in custody," Tuvok reported.

"Strap yourselves in, " Tom directed Sam and Naomi, purposefully leaving Torres out of the advice, hoping she'd ignore it and crack her head against something when the shuttle was hit.

The hit never came.

And as much as he would have liked to have credited his piloting skills for avoiding it, he was fairly certain he'd had nothing to do with it.

He stared out the view screen at a blaze streaming from the side of Voyager.

"Whoa," he said inadequately.

Torres was smirking gleefully. Tom didn't need to ask why.

"What happened?" asked Sam, staying in the rear.

"Voyager's been damaged." Tom shot a look at Torres. "I don't know how. Their weapons are down."

He checked his sensors again, assuring that Voyager was indeed no longer a threat. That's when he saw the Peloran fleet escorting the Maquis shuttles to the border.

"Time to get the hell out of here," he muttered under his breath.

But of course Torres was watching the sensors too. He at least expected her to order him to change course, not that he would have. Considering she was right by his shoulder watching the sensors, he didn't think she could hit him at the close range.


Her fist knocked him backward out of the helm chair and into darkness on the shuttle floor.

Chakotay watched the flames erupting from Voyager.

"This is a window of opportunity," remarked Henley pointedly, breaking the stunned silence.

"Right," Chakotay responded. He took a seat. "Do it."

"Wait, Chakotay, there's a shuttle from Voyager directly across the border heading towards us," Dalby reported

"Friend or foe?"

"I don't know." Henley leaned over Dalby's sensor readings, to his evident annoyance. Moments later, almost triumphantly, Dalby announced, " I'm reading one half-Klingon life sign, one half-Ktarian life sign, and two humans."

"Do it," Chakotay repeated.

The Peloran vessels were clearly as confused by the state Voyager was in as the Maquis had temporarily been, not reacting immediately to being fired upon by two of their three charges while the third made a desperate attempt to break free from the tractor beam, and a fourth unrelated shuttle began to cross the border, with incredibly sloppy piloting.

Immediately meaning a total of one minute fifteen seconds, before the revolt was crushed with three carefully aimed charges that knocked the three shuttles' weapons offline, and the large border patrol ship took hold of the new arrival.

And if the Pelorans were confused by that development, it was only magnified when they contacted the latest transgressor of their space. For although the shuttle answered, one could barely see two of the passengers once the screen activated.

A man and a woman were wrestling on the floor, while a second woman, looking distressed, stood directly in front of the screen trying to hold on to a bawling, struggling child.

Part 32 | Index page