Part 33

There was no immediate action after the Pelorans had so swiftly knocked the three Maquis' shuttlecraft's engines and weapons off line.

Chakotay waited patiently for the reprimand to come, but the Peloran vessels remained silent, shockingly disinterested.

The explosion that could be seen streaming from the side of Voyager was quickly diminishing in size. Dalby reported severe damage to Voyager's weapon systems, and to their shields. This information briefly provided some humor to the shuttlecraft, even if they all found themselves in pretty much an identical situation.

The shuttle containing Torres, Samantha and Naomi Wildman, and another unidentified human was in contact with the Peloran border patrol ship.

Dalby appeared to be inventing numerous new ways to use the shuttle's scanners in his efforts to find out what exactly was occurring on the other vessel.

There was an expression of anxiety, combined with determination and hints of hopefulness on Dalby's face as he worked fervently on the sensor controls. It confirmed to Chakotay that he'd been correct in judging Dalby's attachment to the Wildmans, over which he'd been musing earlier. Then, Dalby looked up triumphantly.

"I can tap into the audio of the comm system and we can hear what's going on over there," Dalby said, hands poised to go into action.

Chakotay barely started to nod and Dalby went to work.

There was a cacophony of unpleasant electronic screeches as Dalby worked to establish the link. Finally, the connection was made.

"But wrong that we have any duty to prevent it. But we will have no part in it," said an unfamiliar male voice, speaking in what had to be the very end of a sentence, that made no sense without the rest of the speech.

With that, the Pelorans severed the comm connection. Looking close to crestfallen, Dalby closed off the useless link.

"That was informative," Chakotay offered dryly.

No one seemed to appreciate the attempt at humor.

Silence again took over, with shades of despair.

Chakotay only let the silence settle for a minute, before sharply ordering everyone to stop looking depressed and hopeless and get the disabled systems back on line as soon as possible.

With limited grumbling, his Maquis went back to work.

And within seconds of the first attempt to bring their engines on line, the Border Patrol vessel contacted Chakotay's shuttle.

Henley spat a curse, ceasing her efforts with unusually violent gestures.

"Open a channel," Chakotay instructed. "And calm down," he added with annoyance to Henley.

The screen blinked from space to the previously seen interior of the Peloran border control vessel.

Chakotay adopted a serene expression, leaning back in his chair in what he hoped came off as an intact, undamaged front.

"Chakotay of the Maquis," greeted the same Peloran who had granted them access to Peloran space, what felt like a very long time ago.

It was oddly respectful way to begin what had to be a reprimand, but Chakotay simply nodded acknowledgement, waiting for him to continue.

"It has been brought to attention of the Peloran government that through assisting Voyager and returning the Maquis to their custody we may be enabling an unjust administration to continue. This was not our intent."

That was not the expected scolding, but it was a shock, to put it mildly.

The Peloran had paused, clearly awaiting a response.

Not entirely sure where this was going, or why the Peloran was suddenly being so reasonable, Chakotay nodded again and hoped he didn't look stunned.

"Do you confirm Voyager's standing?"

"Absolutely," Chakotay said. "There was a basis for our mutiny."

"Why did you not inform the Peloran government upon entrance to our territory?"

"It seemed irrelevant," Chakotay said smoothly. "It is not a practice of the Maquis to involve outsiders in our disputes. And we believed that you had sided with Voyager."

The Peloran shook his head.

"We did not intend to take sides in what now is clearly a complicated issue."

"Then is it your intention to release us?" Chakotay prompted, becoming suspicious of the Peloran's hesitation to fulfil his apparent change in heart.

"We must confirm the situation with Voyager."

"They aren't going to support anything that does not turn in their favor," Chakotay answered. "If you choose to cease your involvement, you have damaged our ships and put us at a disadvantage in any fight with Voyager. And they still hold many of us prisoner."

"There will be no fighting," the Peloran said sharply. "A resolution will be reached and you will remain in our custody and protection until then."

With that, the Peloran ended their conversation.

"What does this mean?" asked Henley softly, her brow crinkling. "They're going to ask Voyager to confess to creating the grounds for the mutiny?"

"What if we don't like their resolution?" Added Dalby, suspicion on his face.

"We get our engines and weapons back on-line right now," said Chakotay. "And then we wait for this resolution."

Waiting, surely was not the most pleasing option to the Maquis, but at the moment it was their only choice.

"And hail B'Elanna's shuttle," Chakotay ordered, for the information that B'Elanna was alive and in all likelihood responsible for the recent damage to Voyager was the best thing he'd heard all day.

Part 34 | Index page