|alea iacta est
Ananke had walked through fire, crawled over spikes, traipsed across searingly hot coals-or the alien equivalent-and amputated two of her own-and very lovely- fingers. Moreover, she had managed to lie quite
still as a tattoo was punctured across her overly ridged forehead. A very large, very painful tattoo that she had only gotten because it was so damned important to her heritage. She had suffered through her first mating experience calmly, restraining her temper, though her father had walked in at a pivotal point and later thrown the poor man down a ravine. He had never been seen again. She had fought animals, men, and highly bestial wild women. She had never found anyone whose punches quite rivaled the ones former Maquis and
former Starfleet Commander Chakotay threw. Picking herself off the stone floor, she wiped the blood from her lips, tasting it for Klingon measure, something her mother would have entirely disapproved of had she been present. She glared. "I hardly think *that* was necessary."
"You didn't duck." Crossing his arms, the burly and graying Indian met her gaze. She thought she detected a bit of loving amusement behind the obscurity in his eyes.
"I didn't punch you back either, though my Klingon strength could have sent you through the nearest stone wall." She challenged, crossing her own arms.
"Stop overestimating your genes and
underestimating the wits of others, An." Though his tones were gruff, Chakotay's
callused hand was gentle as he ruffled her sheen of dark hair. "Go on into
"It isn't a trip, father, its a...journey. In my entire eighteen years I have never left the planet...rarely have I left the caves. Theres an entire universe out there...you and mother lived among the stars. I have to follow my heritage. Besides...somewhere out there is home."
"You don't consider this your home?" His tones were quiet, meditative.
"Have you and mother ever?"
He didn't answer, but counterattacked. "What are you running from, Ananke?"
"I'm not running from anything."
She stopped in her pacing, frowning. "I'm running to something. To everything
you've tried to forget. I want to find them. I want to see Janeway and
Paris and the Doctor...I
"Either you've been studying more Vulcan insensitivity, or you're just generally out of your mind, Taya." He shook his head tiredly, lips twisting up in a quirky smile. "Probably both."
She smiled too, impersonally. "I'm asking Mother to go with me."
"You can hardly stop her."
His brow flared upwards, tattoo tightening.
"I'm not an ogre, Ananke. You're right, I couldn't stop her if I wanted.
Shes half Klingon. It took your mother a long time to accept that they
weren't coming back
Blunt, as always, but blunter than
usual. Ananke ducked her head, realizing that once again she had brought
out his angry side, the one he rarely showed. No amount of insipid witticism
would work now.
"Shes too *weak*." His tones rose
in frustration. "She puts every ounce of energy she has into staying alert
around you then collapses at night. She wouldn't survive a space journey."
Tone dropping, he
It was probably one of the more stupid ideas she had come up with, Ananke mused days later, standing outside the battered old shuttlecraft that had just barely gotten her father and mother here more than twenty years ago. Whatever else she had become, B'Elanna Torres was still a wonder with engineering. Shuttlecraft L'Utopie would go up once again, though her fate was, at best, questionable. No ship, small or large, had been known to safely escape the alien planets atmosphere. Ananke Taya Torres had always been one to try for firsts. Erasing her pained smile, she turned back to her parents, accepting the com badge her father held out.
"I've configured it to emit both
my and Chakotay's former codes at routine frequencies." B'Elanna told her,
dark hair blowing in the rough wind, eyes tired but glowing with determination.
"Should you come
Nodding understanding, Ananke turned to the other voyager. "Take care of her."
Chakotay smiled. "I've made a lifelong hobby of it. You should just worry about watching out for yourself. "
"She flies almost as badly as you." The observation was wry, but warm, as the patchwork little spaceship crested the horizon. Pulling her fur blanket more tightly around her thin shoulders, B'Elanna Torres turned to face her companion. He frowned.
"I thought you said that wasn't possible years ago."
A chuckle. "Yeah, well, now that I'm not stuck piecing together your wrecks, I can be more lenient." Then, softly. "Do you think she'll make it?"
"Were she anyone else, no." He glanced
down, squeezing her shoulder gently. "But for a daughter of B'Elanna Torres,
I prefer not to label anything impossible. A man gets tired of being proven
wrong after a
It was vast, infinite. She had heard
countless stories of it, of course, of the great battles and beautiful
spectre, she had seen every space slide in their limited data collection.
Seeing it in person was
Shaking her head, Ananke flipped
pressed in the instructions her mother had painstakingly recalled from
memory-for that was all most of her skills were these days, distant memories-and
put the shuttle on
Oh, hell. The signals were working,
but even had they not been, the sensors said it all. She had landed herself
in the middle of a flotilla. Throat dry, Ananke pressed one line, staring
at the screen
A faintly amused chuckle came through the line, and glancing up, she stared into the eyes of god. Well, in a sense. The awe factor was close enough, even if it wasn't exactly the person she had hoped to see.
"I'll go first. Captain Beverly Crusher of the Voyager. You have one of her former shuttles, young lady. Care to offer an explanation?"
"I..." she pursed her lips together, lost. Then, rallying, she shot out the speech she had been mentally practicing for weeks. "My name is Ananke Taya Torres. My parents are former Commander Chakotay and former Commander B'Elanna Torres. We require your assistance."
The captain looked a little shell-shocked, oddly so. Ananke eyed her nervously. Finally, the older woman cleared her throat as a lanky blond came to her side, sharing her disbelieving gaze before speaking.
"Ananke...Lt. Commander Tom Paris. B'Elanna's husband. You say that you are her daughter. That isn't possible."
"What do you mean?" She half pitied him, realizing too late how horrible a shock it would be to be in his...her mother's legal husband's...situation, faced with a child not his own. Still, he seemed less denying than genuinely confused as to her claim.
Beverly Crusher spoke for him. "It
isn't possible because Chakotay and Torres have only been missing for three
months." Then, regaining her equilibrium. "We'll beam you in. We have some
"Well?" Even through the separating glass in sickbay, it wasn't hard to hear the frustration and confusion in Captain Beverly Crusher's tones. She clearly wasn't a woman who liked being kept out of the loop. Ananke pressed closer to the door, listening.
The holographic doctor sighed and rolled his eyes. "She checks out."
Impatience snaking its way across his face, Tom Paris growled. "Try for a little more detail, Doc."
"Ananke Taya Torres, as she calls
herself, is a perfectly normal-if such a thing exists- human-Klingon hybrid.
More specifically, three-fourths human, one-fourth Klingon. DNA scans match
her perfectly with Commander Chakotay and Commander Torres. The only possibly
unusual aspect is her age. Being the intelligent soul you are, captain,
I believe that you'll agree with me that the unusual distortions the
"It says a lot." Crusher said dangerously,
frowning. "These temporal distortions-scans show that they aren't natural
phenomena, but technologically implanted. Most of the planets surface is
Beverly turned, shoulders stiff, eyes unreadable as Ananke stepped into the general sickbay. "How long did you say Chakotay and B'Elanna have been down there?"
"The shuttle crashed twenty one years
ago." The outsider looked away in discomfort. "My mother-B'Elanna-was pregnant
at the time, but the baby was lost due to crash injuries. She and my father
survived by taking shelter in the caves and falling back on basic survival
skills. I was born three years after the crash. I believe that I may be
the first person to survive a trip back through the distortions, but we
"Well, I'm the only Federation around, but I assure you that everything possible will be done." Crusher's voice had softened slightly. Turning back to Paris, she exchanged an indecipherable look with him. "Tom, prepare for a trip down. If anyone can maneuver through those distortions, its you. The Doctor and Ananke can return with you. I will follow in another craft later. And Paris, best behavior."
He raised a brow as the captain strode
out, turning to meet her gaze in faint amusement and self-castigation.
"One thing you'll learn around here, Ananke, is that Paris is always the
scapegoat. Even to
"The landing may be difficult." Rather silly thing to say, but she really wasn't accustomed to silence...the clean coldness of it was miserable.
"No need to worry, Mister Paris is a fully qualified pilot." The hologram moved to stand by her seat. "Isn't that so, Tom?"
"Thats what I hear, Doc." Paris grinned at the apparent personal joke. "Nontheless, I suggest that Ananke strap in tight and you hold on to your holographic particles. It may be a bit shaky. Going down."
B'Elanna cursed her sluggishness as she burst back through the thickly guarding vines of their cave entrance. "Chakotay! Dammmit, Chakotay! A shuttle!"
He moved out of the shadows, looking lackadaisically unhurried, much to her irritation. "Federation tag?"
"Voyager tag." She said shortly, hands on hips. "Not the L'Utopie, but one of the old ones. You'd think they'd have changed shuttles in twenty odd years."
"We should probably just be grateful that one came." He eyes crinkled in amusement. "Well, Lanna, I guess she made it."
"They've been living *here* for twenty one years?" Waving his tricorder at the caves and jungle, Tom Paris looked faintly disgusted.
"It could have been worse. I hear the prison camps up north are real gems." She smiled darkly, pressing ahead. "Don't worry, Paris, we're a self-sufficient lot."
"That explains your plea for help, right?"
She ignored the jibe, pushing through the vines. "Mother? Papa?"
Illness certainly never made a Klingon bear hug any less painful. Prying herself loose from her diminutive mothers grasp, Ananke laughed shortly. "You're stronger today."
"No, you just came home." Moving
out of the shadows, B'Elanna smiled, gaze following Chakotay's as he ruffled
his daughters hair absently. She hadn't exactly expected to see a stranger,
Tom spoke first, eyes meeting hers
briefly and then moving away. "The Doctor will want to run scans on you
before we return to Voyager. I should warn you, you've been living in a
plethora of temporal
"Whats so different, Paris?" Chakotay
moved forward into the firelight, almost completely white laced hair and
wind-deepened lines more evident than ever. Paris didn't react as badly
as Ananke had feared
"For starters, our time frames are considerably screwed. Here, you two...three...have been here for around two decades. Up there, Voyager has only been gone for three months."
"I see." Chakotay took it in stride, as he did many things, and B'Elanna only looked mildly shocked. Dismayed, more so.
"That means...the baby..."
"Turned four yesterday." His reply was terse. "We'lll have more time to go into detail later. The captain...the new one, that is... wants me to get you back to Voyager ASAP. We can't risk any more temporal MIA's. She's scouting, should be back up later. Transporters don't work so well with the energy fields, we'll have to take the shuttle up. Doc says I'm a good pilot, never fear."
"Wait a minute." Chakotay interrupted. "When we came down the first time, Harry-Ensign Kim." He added for his daughters sake. "Harry was piloting a shuttle directly behind us. Janeway was with him."
"We assumed that their shuttle was
destroyed in the battle." Tom straightened, finally meeting his eyes. "No
evidence of debris, but our sensors didn't show atmospheric descent either.
We were pretty badly
Nodding understanding, Chakotay glanced
around. "I want to get B'Elanna up to sickbay, then come back here. There
are probably a lot of temporal cracks to investigate...I wouldn't be entirely
"Just as long as this captain doesn't get caught up in one, you'll hear no argument from me." Grunting, Beverly Crusher descended from one of the natural ceiling skylights, red hair tumbling free. Landing on her feet gracefully, she smiled. "Commander Chakotay, Commander Torres...Captain Beverly Crusher."
"I thought she was a doctor." B'Elanna murmered.
"I am. War times make odd captains." Crusher smiled again. "It may be good for you, though...between the two of us, the EMH and I should be able to find a suitable cure for you, Commander Torres."
"I could do it well enough on my
own." Circling the patient, the holographic doctor waved his tricorder
with renewed vigor. "I am, of course, programmed with Doctor...my pardon,
"I found new ones."
"I was upgraded."
Chakotay exchanged looks with the rest of them before clearing his throat. "I'm sure you both have exceptional skills, but we have other issues to dwell on."
"Of course." Beverly moved forward, snapping the EMH's tricorder shut. "Later, Doctor. You activate your new piloting subroutine and take Torres up to Voyager. Commander Chakotay and I will go towards the northern prison camps to try and scope out any human prisoners, Paris, you'll take Ananke and go south. We need someone familiar with the terrain on each team."
He was peaceful.
Beverly Crusher wasn't entirely certain why the observation should surprise her. She had been among the many Starfleet alumni assigned to monitor the voyagers after their initial return from the Delta Quadrant, but had had relatively little contact with the former Maquis Chakotay. He had been Deanna Troi's territory, and the counselor had done everything and a few other things to try to lay bare the mans soul. After all, she argued, for someone with his past, the man *had* to have some demons. And those demons had to have festered during seven years in the First Officer's chair of a Starfleet ship.
Troi had turned in a frustrated and terse report stating that the Commander was fully sane and fully operational. He had been shuffled back onto Voyager with the rest of them, and they had once again set out to the Delta Quadrant, this time via the first Fleet created wormhole. Three and some odd years later Commander Chakotay, Commander Torres, Captain Janeway, and Lt. Kim had disappeared and Voyager had come limping home.
She hadn't wanted the ship. It was refitted, outdated, war-scarred, and, above all, Kathryn Janeway's. But here she was, and damned if she could figure any of it out.
He was utterly peaceful, despite
the fact that his mate had barely escaped death, the said mate's husband
was back in the picture, his daughter was apparently a raving lunatic,
his lover and former captain
She had to take pointers from him on those vision quests he had spoken to Troi about.
"Stop staring at me."
"I wasn't staring. I was...observing."
"Looked like staring to me. Rather rude, my mother taught me."
"Your mother could win a staring match any day." Paris laughed freely, pushing ahead of her through the thick foilage.
"This is ridiculous." Ananke paused. "Look, you've got a headful of things you want to say. Go ahead. I'm tough. The worst I can do is throw you to the native carnivores."
"Such comfort." Paris grabbed her
arm and tugged her forward. "Very well, kid. If you must know, I was thinking
of how much you look like your mother. Nice tattoo, though. I was thinking
of how ridiculous the whole situation is, and how I have to find a way
to bow out of your mothers life graciously before I hurt you or *my* daughter.
I was thinking that you two, you and the baby, are the real victims of
Ananke laughed shortly.
The shuttle had crashed seven years ago.
The first few days they had made
it ok, foraging in the dense jungle for food, shelter, expecting a rescue
team to come any time. The second week they had stumbled into enemy territory
and earned a one
It was unbelievable, Harry Kim thought,
absently fiddling with his latest detail assignment in order to look busy,
all the while scanning their surroundings. Nothing inordinate, a few dozen
prisoners laboring as
She worried him. After nearly three
consecutive years of torture, separation from home, friends, most people
just went crazy. Kathryn Janeway had gone inward, tightly coiled anger
waiting to explode or
And Moira. He still found it all
but impossible to think of her as his baby, and he sometimes suspected
the captain shared the difficulty. She had always been there, a thin little
wraith, but in the shadows. Maybe they had grown so repulsed by what she
represented that they had deliberately shut the emotional connection off.
Maybe it was just the knowledge that no child had ever survived the camps
Losses had to be cut quickly around here.
It didn't mean that Moira hadn't
loved them. Didn't mean that she hadn't screamed bloody murder when one
or both of them were taken for the torture, didn't mean that she hadn't
burst into tears when the
Around the sixth year she had stopped
asking for hugs, stopped crying, watched with utter detachment when they
were hurt. Finally, one night, the six year old had simply walked to the
other side of
"I wouldn't touch that if I were you."
Drawing back from the interesting cluster of vines she had been examining, Beverly Crusher glanced at her companion questioningly.
Chakotay drew closer. "Poisonous. Ananke had a run in with it around age six. Luckily, she barely brushed it. We bled the poison out. All the same, I wouldn't go around hugging the bushes, Doctor."
And as a doctor, she should have known that much about alien flora. Ignoring the unspoken rebuttal, she stepped away. "I'm surprised you were able to ward off infection."
"She was a tough little warrior. Still is." He pushed ahead.
"You've led hard lives here."
His gaze was warm, amused. "I've led harsher."
"We were Maquis. You learn to take it one day at a time."
"And the rest of the universe be damned, I suppose?" She smiled faintly.
"We have to get to the camp before
nightfall." He switched subjects abruptly. "I've scanned it from a distance
before...it'll take disrupter fire to break the initial locks and a little
fancy decoding for the rest. If
She held up her bag. "Once we lock
on, our tricorders will point a bleeping Starfleet path to them. I just
hope we don't get crushed in the melee."
It wasn't until she started calling him 'Lt' again and staging rebellions they didn't have the resources to support that Harry began to wonder if it was such a good thing.
"Do you know how to use these?" Paris held up a bundle of tools querulously.
Ananke grabbed them. "My mother taught
the basics, Paris, despite my humble origins, I assure you that I'm not
an idiot." Shaking her head, she stared around the darkened power compound.
He snorted. "With a little luck we won't have time for further investigation. You shut down the first set of reactors, I'll handle the second. Hope you have a flash light, its going to get dark in here."
"I'll walk softly and carry a big stick." She remarked.
He chuckled. "So B'Elanna did pick up on some of my anacharisms."
"We're in." Pressing through the
opening gate, Crusher thanked a few entities for the shadows, tapping her
companion on the arm to draw his attention. The alarm sirens had gone off
They were asleep. Crouching, Chakotay
stared in vague amusement at the tableu before him. Tricorder scans indicated
that Captain Kathryn Janeway and Lt Harry Kim had seen nearly a decade
pass, but he would have known even without the readings. Her face was pinched,
taunt, the lines etched more finely than ever, the rich hair liberally
entwined with silver. Harry had fared better, but there was an innate
Harry stirred first, earning a very
motherly hush hush from Crusher. Chakotay bit back a grin and whispered.
"I'd like to explain, Harry, but at the moment it would be best to just
get away from here. I can
Kim started visibly, more at the question than their presence, eyes darkening. Finally, he nodded in the negative, gently disengaging his arms from the captain as Beverly Crusher administered a sedative to the sleeping woman. "No, nothing. Lets get the hell out of here."
The four of them were gone before the riots began.
"You left her." Janeway's tones were raspy from underuse, weak, tired. Watching from the sickbay entrance, Ananke frowned.
"She hates us." The Lt's voice was
more level, but still shaky. "Bringing her back with us wouldn't erase
six years of neglect. Down there, with the distortions gone and the prisoners
creating new, free lives,
"Just not ours, right?" The former captain was crying. It was a shocking observation, for in all of her many studies on the legend, Ananke Taya Torres didn't recall any mention at all of emotional vulnerability in the woman.
"Since when have we been a family?" Kim looked slightly shocked at the verbal slap himself, but didn't take it back. Janeway merely laughed, pacing the expanse of sickbay again.
Ananke sighed, recalling the few
heated fights her parents had had in the days since their return to Voyager,
Paris' growing belligerence around all of them, Captain Crusher's all too
snippy conversations with
Home wasn't as glowing as the voyagers
had expected. Perhaps they had simply dropped the rose-colored glasses,
perhaps they had just gotten tired of digging for gold in coal. Sol system
It was with amusement that Ananke Taya Torres noted that her parents quarters adjoined not only Janeway's, but Paris' as well. Kim had his own room, but had chosen the adventure of reconnaissance runs over station life. He had apparently taken the memories of the ten year imprisonment and shoved them into the blackhole of memory, while Janeway simply moved on. Doctor turned Captain Crusher had given two months medical leave, nearly over, and soon enough Captain Kathryn Janeway would depart with the Voyager II on wartime runs. Chakotay and Torres had rallied the Maquis again, this time, however, they were on the side of Starfleet, if using less than regulation tactics. The former Borg, Seven of Nine, had stopped by DS9 periodically on her own war runs to check up on old comrades, but she never stayed long and left no promises to return.
War seemed to encompass all these
days, and showed no signs of end.