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>> Star Trek fan fiction >> Voyager >> Assignment:Exodus

Assignment:Exodus

Stardate 55066.3
Ensign Harry Kim sat at the head ofVoyager's briefing room, a scowling Dulmur and focused Lucsley, agents for the Starfleet Department of Temporal Investigations, adjacent to him. Voyager was in Spacedock above Earth, undergoing repairs following its seven-year journey across the Delta Quadrant and with the accomplished goal of returning home. In the weeks that followed, it was one debriefing after another. So many encounters seventy-thousand light years away involving the Caretaker, the Kazon, Species 8472, the Hirogen, and the Borg.
 
Though patient in his earlier discussions with Starfleet Command, the lines and dark circles under Ensign Kim's eyes disclosed a need to be away from these gentle interrogations. He sat, hands folded on the table, a gust of confusion sweeping by. The entire senior staff had already been questioned on the subject of the Admiral Janeway from the future and her involvement in bringing everyone back to Earth. Was there something they'd missed?
 
"We wish to discuss the events which transpired on stardate 50312.5," Lucsley said, keying something into his PADD.
 
Five years ago, Captain Braxton of the twenty-ninth century Federation timeship Aeon claimed Voyager was responsible for a temporal explosion in his era that obliterated Earth's solar system, attempting to destroy the ship. The crew fought back, damaged the Aeon before both ships were absorbed into a spatial rift, and Voyager wound up in orbit around Earth in the year 1996.
 
Kim's bewilderment swelled. "I've already discuss this matter with Starfleet Command."
 
"Yes, we know, Ensign," Dulmur said. "Under those mitigating circumstances, Voyager was not charged with any temporal violations." He leaned in. "However, there is another matter which came to our attention."
 
"A much greater incident which nearly polluted the timeline," Lucsley said.
 
Ensign Kim watched their reflections bouncing off the glass, nodded. "I see."
 
"The Eugenics Wars were a major part on Earth's history in the mid-to-late 1990s. Over twenty million people died during that horrific period," Dulmur said.
 
"Over thirty million people," Lucsley said.
 
Ensign Kim unfolded his hand, placed them on his lap. "I guess it was just a matter of time before someone found out." The agents stared at him, unamused. "No pun intended."
 
"Good," Lucsley said. "We hate time jokes."
 
"We were tipped off by an algorithm in the ship's chronometer programmed not long after your visit to Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania," Dulmur said. "It sent up the metaphorical red flag."
 
Ensign Kim thought about his options. How was he going to explain his unwitting historical contribution to Captain Janeway? He'd never told her or anyone about his involvement in the final conflict of the Eugenics Wars. What would his mother say? Dulmur and Lucsley awaited his retort. Knowing he couldn't bluff his way through the rest of this questioning with the agents holding the high cards, he said, "Not long after we were greeted by a welcome message from SETI, I ordered the ship to monitor all Earth broadcasts for any mention of us..."
 
Stardate 50335.3
Ensign Kim had just returned from the briefing room when an enormous shuddering rocked the bridge. He lurched forward, fell on the deck. The vibrations from the plating shook Voyager like dice in a
cup. He grasped an armrest on the captain's chair to prop himself up. "Red alert!" Red warning lights began flashing, sirens bellowing.
 
Moments later, the shaking diminished and the ship stabilized. "What was that?" Kim asked.
 
"Our sensors are picking up some kind of transporter beam," B'elanna Torres, the ship's chief engineer, said. "It's more powerful than anything we have."
 
Could this, somehow, be the landing party returning from Los Angeles? "Any life signs?"
 
"Look for yourself, Starfleet."
 
A fuzzy, glowing blue outline appeared just in front of the helm. Quickly the outline solidified into a human male dressed in a twentieth century grey suit and tie holding a black cat against his chest. It let out a loud meow. "Yes, Isis, we are here aboard the Voyager."
 
"He had a cat?" Lucsley asked.
 
"Gary Seven," Dulmur said, looking at his partner. "Supervisor 194."
 
"Sent back in the late 1960s by unknown alien operatives to guide Earth through its most critical time in history. One of Captain James T. Kirk's seventeen recorded temporal violations occurred when he attempted to prevent Mister Seven from carrying out his initial mission involving the destruction of an orbital nuclear platform."
 
"Two policemen of that era were accidently beamed aboard the Enterprise."
 
"It was astonishing what was done to keep them from talking."
 
"A lot of money, a lot of supervision from Sector Thirty-One."
 
Kim continued.
 
He'd called for security to the bridge as Mister Seven introduced himself. "I trust you'll forgive our intrusion, Ensign Kim. We have come to ask for your assistance in an urgent matter."
 
Kim stood in a formal stance, arms behind his back. "How were you able to board this ship? There's no technology in this period capable..."
 
"I'm afraid I can't fully disclose the nature of how and why I am here, Ensign. I can tell you that due, in part, to Captain Braxton's callous decision to destroy Voyager, he has changed perhaps the most crucial of all moments in this period in Earth's history."
 
Two security officers entered the bridge, phasers at their sides. Isis let out a low mewl, arched her back. "Easy, doll. This won't help our situation or theirs."
 
"Mister Seven, I'm afraid I need more information than what you're saying. My captain, first officer, head of security and helmsman are down on Earth right now searching for a way to get us back to our own time."
 
"Which will not happen if you don't help me to complete my mission."
 
"I can't go on vagaries. For now, we'll confine you to quarters until Captain Janeway decides what to do."
 
"It may interest you to know, Ensign, that 1996 is a historical moment for Earth and that I'm here to make sure that the current anomaly is resolved."
 
Ensign Kim recalled his elementary school teachings. "The end of the Eugenics Wars?"
 
"This is correct, Ensign. I do appreciate the delicate situationVoyager is in. However, the correction to the timeline must take precedence. Getting home to your time period is at stake."
 
"B'elanna, can you raise either Captain Janeway or Commander Chakotay?
 
She pressed a few buttons on her console. "Negative."
 
Mister Seven's brows furrowed. "Our time grows short, Ensign."
 
"How can I trust you if I barely know who you are?"
 
"I realize it is a difficult decision, but I do have the best of intentions. I've dealt with Starfleet on several occasions, and I found its members highly honorable."
 
"This is ridiculous," B'elanna said. "A total stranger, along with his cat, boards our ship with super fancy transporter technology, doesn't tell us a thing about why he's here, and we're supposed to trust him? We have enough problems of our own to deal with. We have someone down on Earth who knows we're here. Who knows what is happening with the landing party." Isis squawked at her, angry at how long this was taking.
 
"If he were to do us harm, he would have done so by now," Kim said. "The fact that he knew we were here and asked for help means there is something bigger occurring than our current situation. You
have the bridge, Torres."
 
"It would be wise for you to dress in attire appropriate to the time, Ensign," Seven said.
 
"You trusted him almost immediately," Dulmur said. "You didn't investigate his background?"
"Isn't it our job to help those in need?" Kim asked. "I had to also assume we had no information on the transporter technology he used and no information on him. Later, I learned his records were classified."
 
Below an overcast late night sky, mist sheathed Kim and Mister Seven in cold bonds, but the ensign's winter coat insulated him rather well. Tall trees, clear paths and rocks covering most of their surroundings, adding a quiet eeriness to the situation. Isis shook the accumulated moisture off of her fur, meowed. "I know it's rough, but at least we are not on Rura Penthe," Seven said to her.
 
Kim blew warm air into his hand. This may not be my time, but it's good to be back on Earth, if for a short while, he thought.
 
"There's a settlement six kilometers to the west," Seven said. They followed a path leading them from the woods to a paved road, Isis cradled in her partner's chest. An aching for this long-gone period compelled Kim to take some of the strewn pebbles on the ground, but he changed his mind. Nothing, not even a microcosm of dirt, could go back to the ship.
 
"Mister Seven, can you now give me more details as to why I am here? I honored your request on good faith, now I ask you do the same for me." They turned right at a curve. The clouds gave way to a shiny crescent moon. Isis sniffed the air before settling back to her comfortable space on Seven's chest.
 
"Again, Ensign Kim, I can only tell you this involves Earth's immediate future and yours."
 
"It is difficult to trust you. How do I know you won't lead me to a crazed, murderous cult or just kill me right here and right now?"
 
"I can assure you that killing you is not my intention."
 
Behind them, the road became awash in white brightness. Red and blue lights scrambled and danced on the blacktop. Kim and Seven turned around to the sight of a police cruiser right behind them. Isis covered her face with her paw for shade.
 
"Step over to the shoulder!" an amplified voice from the cruiser said. Kim, Seven and Isis stood still. "I'm not talking to myself! I said step over to the shoulder!" They moved over to the gravel. Isis growled low in her throat.
 
The car pulled over and a man nearly as big as one of the trees got out, his face a projection of irritation. His name badge read O'Bannon. "A little late to be walking out along this road," he said, his voice hoarse, gritty.
 
"Yes, my friend and I were on our way to a camping trip, officer. Our vehicle has a flat tire," Seven said.
 
Officer O'Bannon looked over this peculiar trio. "You always take your cat camping?" Isis arched her back again, hissed. "Don't get nasty, lassie," O'Bannon said. "Let me see licenses."
 
"Umm, we left them back at the site," Kim said, gulped. He can only imagine what Captain Janeway was going to say if and when they returned. The past is the past; the future is the past. Temporal Prime Directive, so on and so forth.
 
Officer O'Bannon grinned so wide it'd cover an acre. "Well now, imagine that, gentleman." He reached for his nightstick.
 
"Hold on a moment, I happen to have our identification pieces in my coat pocket," Seven said. He put Isis down, reached inside.
 
"Take your hand out of..." Kim punched O'Bannon in the stomach before he could say anything else. "Are you serious?" He grabbed the Kim's arm, twisted into a chicken wing. Pain ignited from elbow to shoulder.
 
Isis sprang into action, leaped onto the officer's enormous leg, clawed at his pant cuff. O'Bannon howled, tried to force her off. In the midst of the chaos, Mister Seven produced a slender silver device, aimed it at the officer. A brief whir, and O'Bannon dropped to a knee. Seven gritted his teeth. He pointed again, increasing the weapon's effectiveness. This time, O'Bannon collapsed. "Enjoy a pleasant rest. When you wake up, you won't remember any of this."
 
"Are you well, Ensign?" Seven asked.
 
"Yeah, I think so," Kim said, rubbing his shoulders.
 
Car 28, what is your 10-20? Car 28, what is your 10-20?
 
"What are we going to do now?" Kim asked. "When that behemoth doesn't call in, they're going to send more police after us."
 
Seven walked over to the car, rubbed his throat, took the microphone from the CB receiver. "Dispatch, this is Car 28," he said in a dead on impression of Officer O'Bannon. "I'm out here near the campsite," he paused to search for any road sign or other indications to their location. He found none. "Six kilometers away."
 
"Very well. Dispatch clear."
 
Kim and Isis hopped in the car. "Are all of your adventures this exciting?"
 
Concern set on Seven's face. "That initial setting on my pen is designed to knock any ordinary man out. In the case of our friend Officer O'Bannon, it took two."
 
Isis made an inquisitive meow.
 
"Yes, doll, the situation is more grave than we originally assessed."
 
"What situation?" Kim asked.
 
Seven put the car in drive, sped on. "As I previously mentioned, there has been a change in the timeline, Ensign. There is already a temporal paradox, though your landing party out in Los Angeles will not feel it for some time. Even if they are successful in their mission, it may be all for not."
 
"Why can't you just tell me?"
 
Seven paused to contemplate. "What do you recall from your study of the Eugenics Wars?"
 
"It was an attempt by human scientists to improve the race through selective breeding and genetic engineering. They created a race of supermen who were mentally and physically superior to ordinary men and women. They believed superior ability bred superior ambition. Khan Noonien Singh was essentially their leader, seizing a quarter of Earth. Eventually, they were defeated, and he and over eighty of the other augments were to be tried as war criminals."
 
"That is correct, but did you know they were never brought to trial?"
 
"Because they escaped Earth on the sleeper ship S.S. Botany Bay." They passed a sign welcoming them to Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania. Buildings lined with age, weeds, and dim lights occupied both sides of the street. Kim recalled stories about these little Rust Belt towns along the Midwest and the eastern United States. "But wasn't it launched somewhere in the southwest?"
 
"It was," Seven said. "However, due to the change in history, the new location of the S.S. Botany Bay is near here. It must be launched, otherwise there will be a temporal explosion on as grand a scale as the one in Captain Braxton's twenty-ninth century."
 
"That is why you wanted me to come along?" Kim asked.
 
"Your knowledge of history is useful because my other partner...is not available...at the moment, and it will be over a hundred fifty years before humans encounter a Klingon."
 
They parked the car behind an abandoned grocery store. Above them, the sky was beginning to shed its darkness. Kim wondered if he could see Voyager with the naked eye, or if Torres was following orders to keep the ship out of tracking range. "There are augmented beings here in this town?"
 
"If the sheriff we met back on the road was any indication, we'll have to be very cautious. They're highly intelligent, if not experienced in fighting."
 
"So what is next?"
 
Seven stepped out of the car. "We search for my contact."
 
Downtown Carbon Creek was little more than a grocery store, a bar and a café;. There were a few houses framed on ramshackle wood displaying overgrown lawns, scattered trash, and other debris. Cars with bumper stickers supporting a particular presidential candidate and various political fancies were parked haphazardly along the pothole-laden road. A group of children gathered together by a rusty stop sign, armed with backpacks and plastic lunch boxes.
 
"It's amazing humanity ever got out of the twentieth century," Kim said.
 
"If we don't succeed, Ensign, they won't," Seven said. They entered the café;.
 
"Sir, we don't allow pets in here," the attendant by the cash register said.
 
Isis mewled. "Wait outside," Seven said.
 
They sat on the counter, ordered cups of coffee. "Are you guys with the surveyors?" the waitress asked.
 
"No," Kim said. "We're here on personal business."
 
"Oh, I see," the waitress said, a tad offended this stranger didn't want to advance the conversation.
 
"We're here to see..." Seven began before the door swung open, and two sheriffs as big as O'Bannon bulled their way inside.
 
"Can anyone explain what happened to Cy?" one of them, Baker, said.
 
"What, what do you mean?" one of the diners asked.
 
"He was walking along county road one, babbling like some ape." The other, Chesterton, said. He took off his sunglasses, his eyes narrow, mean. "What were you doing around four in the morning, Jeff?"
 
Jeff shrugged. "The usual, Hank."
 
"Yep, hitting that booze again."
 
Baker ordered two stacks of flapjacks and two coffees to go. "Don't forget your cookies," the waitress said, handing him a bag, a thick brick shape protruding inside on the bottom. He eyed the two strangers next to him. "You with the surveyors?"
 
"No, we're looking for Mestral," Seven said.
 
"What do you want with that freak show?" Chesterton asked. He was examining them. Their appearance in the diner just didn't feel right.
 
"We're old friends from school," Kim said.
 
"Old friends, huh?" Baker said. "You should have kept in better touch."
 
"Ain't no one seen Mestral since Armstrong landed on the moon," Chesterton said. They both laughed. "Don't forget to tip the lady."
 
Baker opened the bag, rooted around, gave the waitress a dollar bill. "See ya next time, Trace."
 
After they left, Kim asked, "Was that a bribe?"
 
"Protection insurance," Trace said, groaned. "We pay them for the privilege of living here."
 
"Why?"
 
"It's just the way things are. Have been ever since the mine shut down and those who could moved away to Timlin, Pittsburgh and all points west."
 
"They're bluffing about Mestral," Seven said. "He's the one who contacted me."
 
"Do you know where he is?" Kim asked Trace. She wiped the counter, not saying anything. "Are you afraid to tell us?"
 
"I have a six-year-old; Her name's Amy."
 
Kim knew it was useless to ask anyone else in the café;. They walked out, Isis nowhere to be found. Seven's patient expression took on a brief look of astonishment before he and Kim were both clubbed from behind.
 
Kim came to on a cold floor, a blend of urine and bleach circulating in the air, his head throbbing as though his friend Tom Paris were using it for a drum solo. Seven sat a couple feet away, his hand on the back of his neck, a dark welt bulging from his head. "Are you ok, Mister Seven?"
 
"I can't say I couldn't be better, Ensign."
 
They glanced around their surroundings. A beam of sunlight came through a tiny barred window above, dying out a quarter of the way to a jail cell door. Down the hall, someone screamed that they knew their rights. "Shut up!" The husky voice belonged to O'Bannon, and became amplified as he drew closer.
 
Seven felt around inside his coat pocket, expecting to not find his servo. He didn't. Kim would have given almost anything for a phaser. O'Bannon stared through the rusting metal bars. "Well, well, well, if it ain't my camping boys. You thought it was real cute, putting me to sleep. Well, I've got some news for you two." He cracked his large knuckles, pointed at Seven. "Your i.d. says you work for the FBI."
 
"Yes, Officer O'Bannon," Seven said.
 
"So why are you here? Not to see Mestral."
 
Seven didn't say a word.
 
O'Bannon pulled the door open, the lock popping under the strength of his hand. "Why are you here?" He grabbed Kim by the coat, threw him against the wall. "You don't talk, I kill your friend who doesn't even have an i.d."
 
"He's expendable," Seven said. Kim's mouth would've dropped open if O'Bannon's beefy arm wasn't engulfing his chin. "He's fresh from Quantico, I mean he lost his id. Do you really believe he's competent enough to be trusted with secrets?"
 
Slowly, O'Bannon put Kim down, removed the servo from his shirt pocket. "I figured out how this works, it's set to kill, wide beam. If you don't tell me why you're here, it's night-night for good for you and your pal." With the officer's back away from him, Kim placed his hand where O'Bannon's neck and shoulder met. O'Bannon screamed, fell.
 
"You learned the Vulcan neck pinch?" Seven asked.
 
 
"Our chief security officer is a Vulcan," Kim said. "Even the genetically engineered are apparently vulnerable."
 
Down the hall, a scramble of noises came from those in the other cells. The sounds of fists striking skin, the thump of clubs into stomachs. Cries and pleas of innocence and mercy. Seven picked up his servo, adjusted the settings. "We need to find Isis and Mestral at once."
 
"We can't leave the jail and not do anything," Kim said. "This is police brutality and a misuse of authority at its worst. We have to stop this."
 
"As much as I sympathize, Ensign, it will only cost us time. What you do won't matter."
 
"It will to me, Mister Seven."
 
Heavy footsteps and barking cadences loomed. Baker and Chesterton. "We may not be able to debate this topic any further," Seven said.
 
"What the hell is this crap?" Baker asked. He toed O'Bannon's shirt with his boot.
 
Seven pointed the servo towards their heads, measured a quantity to knock them both out—at least he hoped.
 
Chester slid out his nightstick just as Seven fired. He stepped back, then charged forward. A red beam wrapped both him and Baker in a flash of energy, and they, too, collapsed. Outside the cell door, a tall male with pointy eyebrows, a knit cap on his head and a humanoid woman in a two-piece outfit with dark hair stood, phaser in her hand. "It was necessary," she said.
 
"Who are they?" Kim asked.
 
"That, Ensign, is simply my cat and our contact."
 
Harry stole another glimpse. She was a black cat again, scratching her ear. "A shapeshifter?"
 
"In a manner of speaking." Seven introduced Kim to the man in the cap.
 
"Live long and prosper," Mestral said, flashing the traditional Vulcan greeting. "We haven't much time. The phaser stun will soon be wearing off." Baker and Chesterton were already stirring on the floor. The Vulcan ignited a long beam, fused the door lock to the bars.
 
Seven and Kim removed the jail door keys and weapons as Isis and Mestral walked out. "How is there a Vulcan living on Earth in 1996?" Kim asked.
 
"It was by personal choice," Seven said. "I'm afraid I can't tell the story at the moment."
 
"Why am I not surprised?"
 
In the other cells, dozens of people lay coughing, holding on to themselves or each other, stooped in corners, crying, shivering. One tugged on Kim's coat, her hand trembling. "H-Help, mister. H-H-Help us."
 
"What happened?"
 
"I asked the library to include Chicago Mobs of the Twenties for a research paper on gun control. They turned me in. Said I was conducting subversive activities!"
 
I didn't pay my tribute these cops say is a police fee...I spoke out against the mayor...They brought me in after a curfew. I'm thirty-seven, I don't need a curfew...There were other reasons, minor
infractions, one was thrown in jail for not controlling a crying baby.
 
"We were promised better lives when they came."
 
"From who?" Kim asked.
 
"The developers," the lady with the trembling hand said. "They came after the mine closed down. They bought up the land, but they did nothing with it. It's still there, trash everywhere. It smells so bad. Somebody mentioned it during a town hall meeting. She disappeared."
 
Seven, who'd been listening to the conversation, stepped forward. "We must go, Ensign. Mestral will take us to a safe place where we can plan our next move."
 
Kim grasped the bar. "We can't let them stay in here. You heard them. They're wrongfully imprisoned. They haven't had a fair trial. Nothing."
 
"Again, Ensign..."
 
"Who is to say if our mission succeeds? We might die, and these people will still be living under totalitarian rule. They have rights, liberties."
 
The lady with the trembling hand giggled. "How can we beat these guys? They have all of the weapons."
 
"But you have all of the people. They're not invincible."
 
"They killed children. Children. Anytime someone spoke up, kids would die."
 
Kim bowed his head, closed his eyes. "Disgusting."
 
Several jail cell doors opened. The healthier ones helped the injured. "Come with us," Mestral said to them. At the end of the hall, one of the sheriffs yanked the jail cell door, shouting warnings and epithets. "I am uncertain how long the door will hold."
 
Mestral's cabin was on a hill near county road one, not far from where Seven and Kim arrived. Inside, Isis sat on Mestral's lap, curled up, resembling a black tribble. A few of the escapees drank hot beverages while others sat on the floor, trying to heal themselves from the hell they'd withstood. News broadcasts came through a little portable radio on an end table. No word on the discovery of Voyager, much to the relief of Ensign Kim.
 
Inside the den, Seven reviewed information shining on Mestral's laptop. "The DY-100 sleeper ship, a plan b from the Strategic Defense Initiative in case Reagan's pet project failed. Yet another ill-conceived attempt at space-based weaponry."
 
"Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed," Kim said. "But didn't Khan obtain the ship and launch it when he knew he was going to be defeated?"
 
Seven handed Kim a stack of photographs. A bearded Khan wearing a turban and a military uniform seemingly groaning from the weight of all the medals and ribbons. Another of him posing with the key political figures of the day. Giving a speech at the United Nations. Standing with fellow soldiers after a battle. Seven then gave Kim a folder, the word classified stamped in huge red letters on the front, the CIA logo on the tab.
 
In it were papers from a project known as The Exodus Scenario. The brush wars of the last thirty years in Eastern Europe and Asia have clearly demonstrated that Khan and his collection of generals posing as scientists are vulnerable. However, their intimidation tactics prevent citizens from executing aggressive tactics to combat their autocracy...
 
Along with that report, there were troop movement sheets and one bit of information attracting Kim's attention. A group of slides showing the transport of the DY-100 moving from New Mexico to Carbon Creek. "And here is where Khan and his followers will start again," Kim said.
 
"They have no intention of launching that ship. If they manage to obtain weapons-grade plutonium, they can convert the Botany Bay into a nuclear missile. I assume their first target would be Washington, D.C."
 
Kim processed all of what he'd seen. The old story about the lady and the tiger came to mind. Witness either the restoration of the original history where Khan and his followers go into space or assist the people here in Carbon Creek. Mestral came, the portable radio in his hand. Code four-two-three...repeat code four-two-three. "I have adjusted the settings on this device to pick up police frequencies. No one can obtain scanners around here."
 
Situation?
 
A dozen escapees.
 
Code four-one...Code four-one
 
"If experience is any indication, they have requested assistance from the National Guard," Mestral said. "A secret division known as Empera Ops. They will find and murder the people we released and perhaps us in the process."
 
"We must leave immediately, Ensign," Seven said.
 
"I can't do that, Mister Seven," Kim said. "I will help these people stay and fight. The Temporal Prime Directive be damned. I won't stand by to watch a slaughter. You and your cat can sympathize with me all you wish, but the truth is that I'm a member of Starfleet. It is easy for me to live in a world where there's no want or need, no totalitarian authority, no murder of children. If I go back to Voyager, knowing I did nothing for anyone, regardless of the time period, I'm no better than those sheriffs or Khan."
 
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," Mestral said.
 
"Or the one," Seven said. "Very well." The next moves weren't spoken.
 
"You've risked your Starfleet career for something that happened nearly four hundred years ago," Dulmur said.
 
"History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous,"
Lucsley said.
 
"Captain Picard?"
 
"Correct."
 
"But this started with Captain Braxton and sending Voyager back in time," Kim said. "In a sense, I went back to correct an anomaly. Like I was predestined to go and help."
 
Lucsley set down his PADD. "We hate those scenarios. Nevertheless, you should have said no when Gary Seven asked you to go down to Earth."
 
"If I were asked again, I'd say yes."
 
Isis meowed as she and Seven drew near the closed mine. Rotting trash dancing in the light breeze provided the only sounds. "Yes, Isis, the quiet is unsettling as the smell." From the information cobbled from Mestral's work experience as a coal miner, the sleeper ship was hidden in a deep pit long stripped of its economic viability. Worn hulks of machinery lay jumbled around the entrance.
 
"Technology continues to move quicker than the human race's maturity level. Soon, however, they will be able to take one step closer to civility."
 
Sirens blotted the calmness of the woods and Mestral's cabin. Kim roused the sleeping escapees as Mestral stacked boxes near the front window. Several police cars zipped to the top of the hill.
 
"Vacate the home immediately," Baker said through a bullhorn. "You are all under arrest. Repeat. Vacate the home immediately."
 
The girl with the trembling hands took in several labored breaths. "We're going to die, aren't we?"
 
"I don't know," Kim said. "But I'd rather die standing up than going back to that jail cell."
 
"My son died because of them," she said. "He loved his gummy bears. They ripped a bag from him because they said he was fat. I raised hell." Tears fell down her scabby cheeks. "He was taken away.
 
Mestral took out several glass jars, poured generous amounts of kerosene, stuffed torn rags inside. Defense was the logical device at this point. The developers had never sat down to listen to the ideas of others. There was no such thing as infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Just the savagery not unlike his Vulcan ancestors a number of millennia ago. "It is quite displeasing that it has come to this," he said to Ensign Kim.
 
"Bravado is an outmoded concept," Kim said. "But what do we have left?" Mestral didn't answer.
 
"This is your last warning. Vacate the home immediately!"
 
Kim took one of the jars from the box, stepped outside. Rifles and chatter from the sheriffs triggered.
 
Seven followed the gravel path he'd memorized from the map Mestral had given him. The crunching under his feet broke the silence of the abandoned site. Isis scampered behind, checking every few moments for signs of anything or anyone dangerous. Seven's years of training on a remote, hidden planet prevented any excitement or nervousness. Launching the secret DY-100 sleeper was a routine assignment, no different from diffusing orbital nuclear platforms or diverting Russian and American submarines away in order to prevent the next world war. Yet experience told him nothing should be taken for granted. Isis meowed. "I know, doll. I'm worried about Ensign Kim as well. If harm comes to him, I'll certainly have a lot of explaining to do to Starfleet's Department of Temporal Investigations, not to mention his mother and Captain Janeway."
 
The path wound to the left, down a blackened slope. Flapping wings overhead knocked Seven and Isis out of their focus. A colony of bats, traveling away from the mine, destination unknown. They walked further down the deepening incline, Isis whining about how the gravel and pebbles were hurting her paws. A light ray shone from below, widening as they walked. Noises followed, stopping the two. Yelling in different languages. Hindu, Japanese, German. "Take caution," Seven said, checking to ensure his servo was in his coat pocket. They approached the bottom of the slope, leading to a pit about ten feet away and a tall, thin rocket standing upright. The DY-100 sleeper ship, the words S.S. Botany Bay emblazoned on the side just below a three-quarters boxy circle. Top secret to the
known world, a dangerous sanctuary in Gary Seven's opinion.
 
"How appropriate the name," Seven said. Isis meowed in agreement. She leapt onto Seven's shoulders right before he jumped to the lit ground below. Three guards stood at attention, AK-47s inches from their chests. They were expected according to Mestral's intel. As soon as Khan Noonien Singh awoke from his chamber, a signal would be given to release him and his eighty-four associates, so-called 'supermen'. A few meters away from the guards was a huge control box displaying a computer monitoring vital signs and the ship's readiness. There was also a launch button. Seven adjusted his servo to a wide beam maximum dosage, aimed it. A squelch. Nothing. Horror spread across his face as one of the guards ran towards them, speaking Korean, pointing his rifle.
 
Back at the cabin, Harry Kim stood in front of the grinning Sheriff Baker and his squad car. Baker's rifle pointed at the dusty road, a reminder to the ensign on who currently had the best hand in this game of brinksmanship. "You came to give up, did you?" Baker asked. "I love it when disobedient scum like you comply. It makes things so much easier."
 
"I'm not here to comply," Kim said. He swallowed. The rifle was, for the moment, ...harmless. "We don't want to fight you, but we won't go back to jail." He placed the filled jar on the ground by his feet. "I will not let you control the lives of these people. They live in a place where they should be free to make the quality of life better, to make their own decisions. History shows what happens when you repress people for so long. The Nazis, our own country."
 
Baker and the other sheriffs laughed, the noises scrambling the birds perched in a tree away. "These people can't take care of themselves. I see that all the time when I bust them. Drugs, DUI, hunting
during the wrong time of year. Do you know how many times someone's wife or girlfriend comes crying to me every time their husband or boyfriend beats on them, or so they say?"
 
"I'm not saying people shouldn't be policed, but not in the way you and your other officers are doing it," Kim said.
 
Baker lifted the ensign up over his head with one hand. "It works, doesn't it? Ever since our excellency Khan Noonien Singh informed us of his imminent arrival, we took it upon ourselves to provide protection to our citizens so that he can begin a new reign with nary a problem."
 
"Hail the Khanate!" O'Bannon said.
 
"Hail the Khanate!" the other officers said.
 
Baker sat Kim down, made a sweeping gesture at the people in the cabin. "Now why don't all of your friends come out of there and I can send the National Guard home."
Kim turned to the left, the west where Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, Tuvok and his friend Tom Paris were involved in an adventure to get them all back to the twenty-third century. They weren't going to be beamed here for a rescue operation. "Again, Officer Baker, I will not comply."
 
Baker punched Kim in the face. The hot, raw pain coursed through his jaw. "I have five times your strength" Baker said. "Don't make me hit you again. Now get your friends out of there before we do."
 
"Go to hell," Kim managed to say, despite his aches.
 
"We'll be happy to send all of you there," O'Bannon said. He made a gesture for the other sheriffs to follow him.
 
"Excuse me," someone said on the front porch. The waitress who served Seven and Kim. Trace. She held a jar of kerosene as tight as a new toy in her daughter's hands. "I have a daughter." She lit the rag with a lighter. "Amy is her name." Trace tossed her only defense towards the closest police car, and the jar shattered on the hood. A touch of flame leapt on an officer's uniform sleeve, racing up to his shoulder before he had a chance to drop and roll. A rifle went off, hit a tree followed by another jar flying towards Chesterton's head. His face burned away in seconds.
 
The Korean guard ordered Gary Seven to put his hands in the air. "I'm with the Khanate," he said in fluent Korean.
 
The guard demanded proof, identification, anything. What was a cat doing here? Isis backed away, hissed. He pulled a knife from a sheath on his legs. Koreans were known to despise felines. Isis fled to the slope. Now wasn't the time to reveal herself to this paranoid soldier. The other guards, taken by the situation, moved in closer.
 
"I'm with the Khanate," Seven said again in Korean. "I'm here to oversee final preparations for The Exodus Scenario."
 
The guard eased a little. "Where's your identification?"
 
Seven went into his coat pocket. "What is that?" Another guard, a Russian, asked, grabbing the servo from Gary's hand.
 
"It's my pen," he said in Russian. If he touches that the wrong way...
 
"I've never seen a pen like this before," the guard said.
 
"It looks like something my son uses on his computer," the third guard, another Russian, said.
 
"It was made by someone at NASA," Seven said.
 
"NASA," the Korean said. "A bunch of arrogant fools who faked the moon landing."
 
"I can assure you the moon landing was real," Seven said. He assisted Colonel Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin before they left Earth back in 1969. "Now, if we're done talking, I have some work to perform."
 
Beeping from the control panel ended the conversation as the first Russian went over to investigate. Someone was trying to get a hold of them. Three against one, odds enhanced by the possibility these were genetically enhanced soldiers, one of them holding his only weapon.
 
"Where is your vehicle?" the Korean guard asked.
 
"I couldn't bring it here, could I?" Seven said. "This is something that is, after all, unknown to most."
 
"He's a spy! He's a spy!" The first Russian guard said. "The local police just put out a call to be on the alert for him and others who escaped the jail."
 
Seven elbowed the Korean guard in the abdomen as hard as could, but, despite his alien training, the blow produced nothing. The Korean put Gary in a headlock as the second Russian guard grabbed his legs. The first Russian raised his rifle towards their intruder when Isis let out a hearty meow, jumped on the Russian's face, clawing and biting him. The other guards dropped Gary, knowing he was a lightweight, and went to rescue their mate.
 
Seven tackled the Korean to the ground, slammed his head until he couldn't move. The second Russian had ripped Isis away, choking her as paws flew in all directions. Seven grabbed the Korean's AK-47, shot the second Russian in the knees. Isis shook her black head, limped away to lick away her injuries.
 
Thank goodness she's ok,Seven thought. Life without her likely meant dullness and even more emptiness. The remaining guard, covered in scratches and tooth imprints, tried for the control panel. "Do not attempt to contact anyone," Seven said, poking the AK-47 on the first Russian's head. "I don't want to have to injure you further. It's over. This nonsense you call a Eugenics War. The human race has no need for control by those who consider themselves of superior ability. We have enormous potential. The only ambition to have now is to let mankind grow and change on its own."
 
The Russian guard swore, refused to leave. Isis howled, trotted towards him. He backed off.
 
Rifle fire mixed with shattering glass and fire as Harry Kim retreated to the cabin, nearly stumbling over a dead body, Hank from the diner. Someone else screamed, fell, tumbled down a hill. Three officers and five citizens were dead. Chesterton was no more, but neither was Trace. Inside, Mestral tended to the wounded. Kim thought to ask the Vulcan about using his phaser but realized it was a serious Temporal Prime Directive violation. Not that he'd be free and clear in this matter once he returned home. If he returned home.
 
"I'm afraid our crude weapons are dwindling," Mestral said
 
"We can't give up," Kim said. "Not now."
 
"To fight a battle we cannot win is quite illogical. We have nothing more to gain from this, Mr. Kim. I sympathize with your cause, but it is one that will be extinguished with the flames outside."
 
Kim placed his thumb and forefinger over his eyes. Why didn't he just stay aboard Voyager? The situation in Los Angeles had to be a simple walk in the park compared to this. Innocent people dead because his swagger took over his common sense. A glorious revolution just like what he'd read about during his school years. All just words of ancient lore. The reality came in the cries and pleas outside.
 
He checked the box. Three more jars left in the arsenal. "I'd better make each one of these count." A rumble occurred beyond the hill. From the porch, Kim and the survivors watched pillars of steam rise into night sky. A flash. A large steel missile moving straight up. The ooohs, the aaahs, the questions of what it was. Kim smiled. Seven and Isis did it. The S.S. Botany Bay was leaving Earth behind. History almost saved.
 
"It's over," Kim said to Baker, O' Bannon and anyone else listening. "Khan is no more."
 
A dumbfounded expression plastered both Baker and O'Bannon's faces. "It doesn't matter because you're under arrest," Baker said. He raised his rifle. "All of you. You killed three of my officers. Perfectly illegal."
 
"You will do no such thing." A tall female, dressed in green fatigues indicating she was with United States Army, approached, paper in hand. Her eyes seemed golden to Kim. Maybe it was the way the moonlight shone off of her. "Colonel Lincoln, United States Army," she said, almost purring. "You are ordered to stand down by presidential executive order. As of now, the Khanate is dissolved. You will be granted immunity only if you surrender all weapons and intelligence information." She looked at Kim, winked. His mouth dropped.
 
Baker snatched the paper from Colonel Lincoln's hand, read it.
 
"The National Guard is on their way, missy. They're under..."
 
"They've been nationalized, Sheriff Baker," she said. "If you offer any resistance, they are authorized to use force."
 
Overhead, the Botany Bay temporarily concealed the moon while Baker inventoried the situation. "You heard her," he said, sighed. "It's not our day anymore, boys." The remaining sheriffs got in their vehicles, left. The final battle of the Eugenics Wars was over.
 
"Just like that?" Dulmer said. "A forged executive order, and they just stopped?"
 
"As crazy as it sounds, they left. The records were classified for years until Starfleet got a hold of them after Captain Kirk discovered the Botany Bay drifting in space."
Lucsley reviewed all of the information of the temporal incident and Kim's statement. "You successfully lead an uprising. The Botany Bay launched as it was supposed to." He leaned closer to Kim.
 
"But what you did wasn't in the original timeline."
 
"Khanate cells were planted across Earth until World War III in the original history," Dulmur said. "However, thanks to Captain Braxton and his overzealousness, the collateral damage created many temporal paradoxes."
 
"The original records, though spotty, did indicate a time traveler from the future brought about an end to the Eugenics Wars," Lucsley said. "However, it's never been indicated who that time traveler was. Therefore, we have only circumstantial evidence, so you are not technically in violation of the Temporal Prime Directive, and have nothing to worry about."
 
"Not that Gary Seven and his associates fall within our jurisdiction."
 
Kim nodded his head.
 
"You'll have our official decision in a few weeks," Dulmur said, disappointment edging in his voice.
 
"And strictly off the record, Ensign Kim, I probably would have done the same thing," Lucsley said.
 
Stardate 55080.3
 
Harry Kim, dressed in casual attire, stood outside the cabin, still in Carbon Creek after over nearly four hundred years. It was deemed a historical point of interest years ago. A plaque by the door stated the final battle of the Eugenics Wars occurred here in the year 1996. He'd kept his experience secret, even from Tom Paris. The horror, the deaths. Seeing the bodies torched and broken on the ground. The less people in his own time knew about his obscured place in history, the better off they were.
 
"Revisiting the past?" An older, more wrinkled Gary Seven appeared. He limped as he walked. The weight of missions past bogging him down.
 
"Mister Seven," Kim said. "I'm in awe that you're still alive."
 
Seven smiled. "I'm on my final travel across time, Ensign Kim."
 
"It's Harry Kim while I'm on shore leave."
 
"I came to thank you for your assistance. In part, you continued the human race's development into maturity."
 
"I don't think we do badly these days. We continue to evolve, be something better than what we were."
 
"I, however, consider the cost of this evolution." He mentioned Spock's death and resurrection, the discovery of the Borg, the Dominion War. "Perhaps I was hasty in bringing about childhood's end."
 
"I realize the destination may be bumpy, but it's the journey that matters. It took me seven years to understand that."
 
A blue swirl emerged from behind Seven. "Perhaps you are right, Harry. My journey will now conclude. I've seen it emerge from a primitive, paranoid culture into an interstellar leader. Humanity will survive its current perils, no matter how dangerous. People like you will see to it."
 
"Indeed, Mr. Seven."
 
Seven turned to the glowing, swirling portal, walked back to whatever was waiting for him on the other side.

Read more from Voyager and Eric Polk.
Michael Wright
Voyager
Ghost Ship, Part 2
On Site


2016.06.29
Moving through the mysterious Mutara Triangle, the Voyager crew find a ship from the past! The Constitution class USS Defiant from 100 years past!

Evil Must Be Opposed.
-- Vedek Yassim,

(DS9: Rocks and Shoals)
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