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Captain Janeway let out a yawn as her eyes grazed over Icheb's Starfleet exam essay. She was deep in her reading when the door rang out causing her to jump, “Come in!” She said after she regained her composure.

The door opened and Chakotay stepped through, carrying a bottle of Antarian Cider, “Is dinner still on?” He asked, throwing a glance to the PADD Kathryn had in her hand.

“Oh, sorry,” She sighed. She set the PADD down before crossing the room and stealing the bottle, “I had started reading Icheb’s paper and haven’t stopped since.” She walked over to the dining table and sat the bottle down, Chakotay following after her. 

“What was the paper on?”

“Captain Archer and his mission with Enterprise.” Kathryn typed a few things into the replicator before it replicated two plates of pancakes with bacon and sausage. She set it down on the table, then went back for two glasses.

“I wish I had the chance to meet him,” Chakotay said as Kathryn sat down with the glasses. As he opened the bottle and poured the cider.

“Really? I wish I could’ve met Kirk, there’s just something about him, you know.”

"A crush?" Chakotay asked, a grin on his face, Kathryn shot back a pointed look, "You do know the rumor that floated around the academy, right?"

“That he and his First Officer had something of a thing for each other?”

“Yeah.”

“Every Captain and First Officer have a sort of unbreakable relationship matched by nothing else, I mean here we are eating dinner in my quarters, I don’t do this regularly with anyone else.”

“Sure-” Tremors took over the ship. Chakotay and Kathryn’s plate of food was thrown to the floor along with their drinks and the bottle of Cider. The shaking came to a stop and Kathryn sighed looking at the mess all over her floor. 

She tapped her combadge, “Captain to the bridge, what was that?”

I,” Harry said, drawing it out, not sure what to say exactly, “Don’t know, Captain. But, whatever happened caused us to move millions of light years away, I don’t think we’re in the same galaxy anymore.

Kathryn stood up, Chakotay followed in suit, “Are we-”

"Home? I don't think so, Captain."

 

Kathryn didn't know what to say when she stepped out of the turbolift. The sight on the screen ground her movement to a halt. All she could do was just stand with a hand on her hip, her mouth hung slightly agape. 

“Harry,” She says after some time, completely dazed, she hadn't peeled her eyes from the screen, “Does… um… the sensors, do they… confirm what we’re seeing?”

“Right,” Harry says, shaking himself from the trance that the sight had put him in. He tapped the screens at his station, “These are… real. They’re not holograms, they’re not imposters, at least from what I can tell…”

“That’s really… his ship?” She asked, pointing to the ship she was referring to. She couldn’t help but stand in awe at the sight. It was just…

“Captain,” Harry said, his voice had an abrupt sense of urgency, very stark compared to the stunned daze they were all in, “We have other problems.”

“Harry?”

“The gravitational pull of the planet is pulling us into a decaying orbit.”

“If you could meet any historical figure, who would you meet?” Jadzia asked Chief O’Brien. They were sitting on the bridge of the Defiant as they were on their way out of the Gamma Quadrant. 

“Zefram Cochrane,” Miles answered without a second’s hesitation. 

“I do not believe you would like him in person,” Worf said, from his station.

“Yeah? Why is that?” 

“When me and the Enterprise met him, he tried running away from his responsibilities before completing his mission.”

“Of course!" Miles mockingly sighs, throwing his hands up in the air, "The minute I leave and the Enterprise crew is off partying with historical figures.”

“I assure you, it was anything but a party,” Worf said with a scowl.

“Who would you meet?” Jadzia asked Worf.

“Jonathan Archer.”

“Hmm,” Jadzia hummed thoughtfully, “Why?”

“He was the first human to be successful against Klingons, it would be an honor to meet him.”

“What about you, Benjamin?”

“I-” The Defiant started trembling as if someone had picked up and shook the Defiant like a salt shaker.

Captain Sisko gripped onto his armrests and winced while Major Kira was flung to the ground behind him. Jadzia hit her head against the conn, while Miles fell out of his chair.

“What was that?” Benjamin asked when the shaking stopped.

“Don’t know, sir,” Miles replied as he pulled himself back up  into his chair, “But, we’re not in the Gamma Quadrant.”

“Did we go through the wormhole?”

“No, sir. I don’t think we’re in our galaxy anymore.”

“Captain,” Jadzia said, “There are four ships out there.”

“On screen.”

“Is that…?” Jadzia whispered, just loud enough for the others to hear.

Benjamin looked to Jadzia, “What-” His voice faded out when his gaze focused in on the screen. 

“That’s not… is it?” Miles asked.

“Couldn’t be…”

“Sir!” Miles said, just reading an alert, “The Defiant is being pulled back, there’s some planet behind us and we have a decaying orbit.”

Jean-Luc sat in his ready room, book in hand. He was reading some Shakespeare story, enjoying the first moment alone he’s had in what felt like years. He let out a contented sigh as he took a sip of his tea.

“Jean-Luc!” Q exclaimed! Scaring him and causing him to jump and spill the tea all down his front side.

“Q!” Jean-Luc nearly yelled, jumping to his feet to face Q. His book fell to the floor but was left forgotten.

“No time for your silly human complaining. No time to explain either, you just need to trust me.”

Jean-Luc felt a sardonic laugh rip through him but Q didn’t give him the time to laugh, “Enterprise, within half an hour, is going to find itself crash landing on a planet, you need to prepare your ship for this.” Q started to pace as he spoke.

“Is this another one of your games?”

“Game? No this isn’t a game... far from it.”

“What is going on, Q?”

“I don’t have time to explain.” Q stopped his pacing and stood in front of Jean-Luc, invading his personal space once more, “Now go call your silly little ‘Red Alert’ and get ready, because this is going to be a bumpy ride.” Once he stopped talking the ship started shaking.

Jean-Luc was jolted to the ground, along with the Q.

When the shaking finished Jean-Luc and Q stood up. Jean-Luc eyed him, trying to decipher his features, curious if he could trust Q or not.

He must’ve decided to trust him, because he walked onto the bridge and said, “Lieutenant Worf, put the ship in Red Alert, Data, what just happened?”

“I am unsure, sir, but we are no longer in our galaxy, we are over a million light years away.”

“Q!?” Will asked, standing up from his seat, “You did this didn’t you?”

“Not this time, number one,” Q said, mocking Jean-Luc.

Jean-Luc centered himself on the bridge, Q lurking after him.

“Sir,” Data said, “There are four other federation ships out there.”

“On screen,” He said, taking a seat in the Captain’s chair. Q sat down in Will’s seat, causing Will to glare. The screen flicked on and most everyone’s mouth dropped.

“Hmm…” Jim hummed, scrunching his face, he searched Spock’s face for some answers, “36.” He was sitting with Spock and Bones in the mess hall, eating dinner.

“No… no,” Bones shakes his head, “Does he really look that young to you?” He gestured to his face, “No, I’d place him at 100.”

“That’s a little rude, Bones,” Jim replied with a tilt of the head.

“Nonsense, he’s a Vulcan, Vulcan’s can’t get offended.”

“That may be the most logical thing you’ve ever said, Dr. McCoy.”

“Thank you,” Bones nodded, but he gave a pointed glare at Spock, it was an underhanded compliment after all, “You green-blooded hobgoblin.”

“What are you guys talking about?” Uhura asked, walking up to the table with Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov. They both sat down with their dinner.

“We’re guessing Spock’s age.” Bones said.

“Well, betting, but we... don’t have anything to bet,” Jim corrected with a smile.

“I’ve got a bottle of Scotch,” Scotty offered, “We could bet for that.”

“Okay,” Jim nodded, “Are you guys okay with that?” He was met with a round of agreement.

“65.” Scotty said.

“Hmm…” Uhura hummed, “30.”

“45,” Sulu replied.

“Okay, that’s everyone,” Jim said, “Spock?”

Spock rose his eyebrow, but decided to play along, “I am-” He was cut off when Enterprise started shaking. The people in the mess hall were thrown to the ground.

“What…” Jim said, standing up and offering a hand to Spock, “was that?” Spock took his hand and pulled himself up as the others got up.

Spock opened his mouth to answer but realized that Jim’s question was rhetorical when he took off on a near-jog to the bridge. The rest of the officers all followed in suit.

The crew took their stations as they got to the bridge.

“Spock?” Jim asked as Spock looked through his viewer.

“There are four other ships out their, captain,” Spock explained.

“On screen.”

“I recognize that ship…” Jim said, pointing to the one the far left, “That was… is? Captain Archer’s Enterprise.”

“Captain!” Chekov exclaimed, “We are over a million light years away from our last position!”

“How is that possible?” Jim asked, looking over to Spock for an explanation, while he was looking through his viewer.

“Captain,” Spock said, turning around, “We have other problems, the gravitational pull of the nearest planet has us in a decaying orbit.”

“Do you ever wonder what is going to happen in the future?” Trip asks, cutting into the steak in front of him. He was enjoying dinner along with Archer and T'Pol in the Captain’s Mess, “Like will we still have Star Fleet? Or will it be replaced by something? Things like that.” 

“Well, I don’t know about Star Fleet, but when Daniels took me to the future there was something called the Federation,” Jonathan said.

“A Federation is a group of states… or in this case, probably planets. I do not believe that a Federation would replace Star Fleet, an exploration group.” T’Pol reasoned,

“Maybe they coexist.” 

“I wouldn’t know, Daniels didn’t let me learn much when we were in the 31st century.” 

“I wonder if, you know, if we are still exploring in hundreds of years.” Trip said, taking a bite out of his food.

“Humans have an avid curiosity,” T’Pol replied, she took a bite of her salad, “I’m sure you will still be exploring then.” 

“Is that a compliment?” Jonathan teased, with a smile.

“Just an observation.” 

“Well I hope your right,” Trip said, nodding towards T’Pol, “I wonder what it will be like.” But Trip didn’t have much time to speculate as the Enterprise started shaking. They were nearly flung out of their chairs, but the food flew off the table and to the ground.

Jonathan stood up after the shaking ended, “Archer to the bridge,” He said, tapping the button on the wall.

“Ensign Sato here, sir”

“What was that?”

“We don’t know, sir.”

“I’m on my way, Archer out.” He looked to T’Pol and Trip, “Would you care to join me?” But he didn’t wait for a response before he started walking out, they followed after him.

“What’s going on?” Jonathan asked as he walked onto the bridge.

“Sir, I don’t know how to explain it, but we’ve traveled over a million light years,” Travis explained. Trip and T’Pol took their stations.

“Captain,” Reed said, “There are four other vessels out there.”

“On screen.”

“Yes, sir.”

On the screen were five ships, The Enterprise, The Enterprise-D, The Defiant, and Voyager. In the far left of the corner was an M-Class planet.

“T’Pol,” Jonathan asked, turning to face her, “Do you recognize any of these ships?”

“No, Captain. But there’s another problem. Our orbit is decaying, the gravity of the planet is overpowering our engines.”

“Ma’am,” Tom said, turning back to face Kathryn, “We can’t leave orbit.” 

“Janeway to Torres,” Kathryn said, tapping her combadge.

“Torres here.”

“We need to get Voyager going a little faster, can you do that?”

“I’m giving her all she’s got, this engine won’t go any faster, Captain.”

“Are you sure?”

“I wouldn’t be telling you if I wasn’t sure, Captain.”

“Janeway out.”

“Harry, how long do you think we have?”

“I’d say about 30 minutes, captain.”

Kathryn turned to Chakotay, “Any ideas?” She asked.

“If we got rid of some of our cargo, we could get the engines pushing a little harder.” Chakotay reasoned.

“Captain, The Enterprise is hailing us,” Harry said.

“Which Enterprise?”

“Enterprise-D.”

“On screen.” The bridge of the Enterprise flashed onto the viewer.

“Captain.” Jean-Luc Picard greeted, he seemed surprised. He had stood up and Q was right next to him, “I take it your from the future.”

“What’s your Stardate, Captain?” It felt weird tagging a sentence with Captain to Kathryn. She had been a captain for seven years and she’d kind of gotten used to it.

“47980.5.”

“54920.7,” Kathryn replied, “Looks like I have you beat by about eight years.”

“It seems like we are all out of our times.”

Kathryn opened her mouth to agree, but she caught sight of Q, “Q?” Kathryn asked, jumping to her feet, ready to accuse the omnipotent being.

“Yes? Who are you?” Q whined.

“You saying you don’t know who I am?”

“I don’t have the luxury of knowing everything, Human brains are so limited.” Q sighs.

“You’re human?” Jean-Luc asked, turning to face him, “Never mind.” Jean-Luc sighs, shaking his head, deciding it was a problem for another time, he turned back to Kathryn, “You seem to be in the same predicament we are in, Captain.”

“Seems that way, Captain.”  

“Captain,” Harry said, “We are receiving another hail, from the Defiant.”

“I think this would be more efficient if all captains and first officers met somewhere,” Kathryn said, talking to Jean-Luc.

“Agreed.”

“How about we meet on Voyager?”

Jean-Luc nodded, “Who would you like to relay the news to?”

“Well, we already have a hail from the Defiant. So I’ll take the Defiant, you can take the Captain Archer and whoever is done first can talk to Captain Kirk.”

“Yes, Captain. Enterprise out.”

“Harry,” Kathryn said, looking back at him, “Put the Defiant on.”

“Captain Janeway,” Benjamin said, when Defiant’s bridge flashed on the screen, “Is Voyager alright? Where have you guys been?”

“I see you’re from the past as well.”

“Captain?”

“What’s your stardate?”

“51464.2,” Sisko answered.

“54920.7,” Janeway replied, “I’m six years in your future.”

“It would seem that way,” Benjamin said, “Do you think you could tell me about the end of the dominion war?”

“Nope, I can’t contaminate the timeline,” Kathryn said with a slight smile.

“Since when do you worry about that?” Chakotay asks a playful smile gracing over his face, Kathryn shot a glare back, but quickly turned to face Benjamin again. 

“I’ve already talked to Captain Picard, we agreed that the only way any work was going to get done was if we all met on one ship, would you be willing to join us with your first officer?”

“Yes, Sir.” Sisko said, “The Major and I will beam over immediately.”

“See you soon. Janeway out.” The screen turned off then flicked back to a view of the other ships.

“Captain, we’re getting a message from Enterprise-D.”

“Worf, could you please hail Captain Archer’s Enterprise?”

“Yes, sir.” Within seconds and their bridge was on screen. Jonathan had stood up and was now standing behind Travis.

“Captain Archer,” Jean-Luc said.

“Should I know you?”

“No, Captain.” Jean-Luc shook his head, “I don’t expect you to believe me, but we are from the future. We can explain all of it, but we need you and your first officer to transport over to Voyager.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“Well, even if we’re not, if we want to escape this orbit, we will need to put our heads together. We tried to break orbit with warp 9.9 and we couldn’t. Your engine is a warp five engine, you won’t be able to break orbit without help.”

Jonathan eyed him with suspicion and let out a sigh, “You have a good point. But we meet on my ship, on Enterprise.”

“I’ll talk to Voyager.” Jean-Luc said with a nod, “Captain Picard out.” The transmission ended and he turned back to Worf, “Send a message to Captain Janeway, tell her change of plans, tell her that Captain Archer wanted the meeting on his ship, that he didn’t entirely trust us.”

“Yes, sir,” Worf said. Worf tapped the screen a few times then stopped, “Done, Captain. Voyager replied, they acknowledged the request, they’re fine with the change of plans.”

“Good, now please hail Captain Kirk’s Enterprise.”

“Yes, sir.”

“On screen.”

“Captain Kirk,” Jean-Luc greets, “It’s an honor to meet you.”

“Forgive me, but… who are you?” Kirk asked, standing up.

“I’m Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise...Enterprise-D, I’m from your future. I’m sure you recognized Captain Archer’s ship. All of the Captain’s have decided to meet there with their first officer, to put our heads together so we can get out of this problem. Will we see you there?”

Kathryn, Chakotay, Benjamin and Kira all beamed into Jonathan’s Enterprise’s cargo bay. They met a security team, Captain Archer, and T’Pol.

“Captain Archer!” Kathryn said, walking up to him, she held out a hand, “It’s an honor.” Jonathan took her hand and shook it.

“It seems you know me, but I do not know you.”

“Captain Kathryn Janeway.” She said with a smile, she stepped back gesturing at Chakotay, “And this is my first officer, Commander Chakotay.”

“Nice to meet you,” He said to Kathryn before turning to Chakotay, holding out a hand. Chakotay took it with a smile.

“Nice to meet you as well,” Kathryn said.

Benjamin and Kira walked forward, “I’m Captain Benjamin Sisko, this is my first officer Major Kira Nerys.” They shook hands and Kira walked forward.

“You’re not human,” Jonathan commented.

“Bajoran,” Kira said.

Jonathan turned back to T’Pol, hoping she’d have some insight, but she shook her head. He turned back and shook her hand, “It feels like a first contact here.” He smiled.

They heard the sound of a transporter beam and looked behind them. Jim, Spock, Jean-Luc, Q, and Will beamed into the cargo bay. The group looked back and moved to greet each other.

“We should go around the circle and introduce ourselves, it’ll be a little quicker.” Chakotay said, “It’s what we did in the Maquis.” He smiled. Benjamin and Kira shot a glance over at Chakotay, jumping on the defensive, but didn’t say anything.

“I’ll go first.” Kathryn said, “I’m Captain Kathryn Janeway, this is Commander Chakotay, my first officer.”

“I’m Jean-Luc Picard,” He gestured to Q, “This is Q,” Then to Will, “And this is my first officer, Commander Riker.”

“I’m Captain Jim Kirk and this is my first officer Spock.”

“I am Captain Benjamin Sisko and,”

“I’m his first officer, Major Kira Nerys.”

“It seems you all know me, but I’m Captain Jonathan Archer, and this is my first officer, Sub-Commander T’Pol.”

In a short while, they found themselves sitting in the mess hall. 

“Well, I think the first thing we need to talk about is who’s in charge.” Jonathan proposed. Looking around to the Captains. 

“Star Fleet Regulation one hundred ninety-one, Article fourteen. In a combat situation involving more than one ship, command falls to the vessel with tactical superiority.” Kathryn said, almost eager to take command.

“This isn’t a combat situation, is it?” Jean-Luc said, with a sharp glance in her direction.

“Even if it was,” Kira said, standing up, “It wouldn’t be Voyager, it would be the Defiant.”

“Sit down major,” Benjamin said, grabbing her arm and pulling her back into her seat.

“I think you’d get along well with my Chief Engineer,” Kathryn said with a smile, pointing to her, “B’Elanna Torres, she shares your… passion.” Kira looked over and nodded.

“They would get along,” Chakotay replied with a nod.

“So, what does Star Fleet say about non-combat situations?” Will asked, looking over at Kathryn with a flirtatious smirk.

“I’m not sure,” Kathryn said.

“If you don’t mind,” Q said, jumping to his feet, “Your petty human squabbling could last years, can I at least explain what’s going on?”

Jonathan looked from Q to Jean-Luc who let him join then back to Q.

“Who is this?” Jim asked.

“You haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with Q?” Kathryn asked with as much sarcasm as she could.

“When have you?” Q asked, turning to her, “Never mind. I’m Q. I am, well, was part of the Q continuum. The easiest way to explain it is I am... was a God.”

“God?” T’Pol and Spock asked at the same time. They looked at each other than back towards Q.

“Basically, yes. Now, may I continue?” Q asked, “7 years ago, Jean-Luc’s time, I was chosen in my Continuum to test humanity, they are… unsatisfied with my test. They decided to test you in their own way with a challenge. I was given a choice, I could choose to not intervene or I could be turned human and… guide you through this experience. If you don’t believe me,” He snapped his fingers and nothing happened. “Your ship will crash land on this planet and your test is to see if you can leave the planet and get back home.”

“Is there anything we can do to stop the crash-landing?” Jonathan asked.

“Well… I had an idea,” Benjamin said, “If we flew and got as far as we could, we could use the tractor beam and move a ship out of here.”

“I like the idea,” Jonathan said with a nod.

“Ready to try it? We only have 20 minutes until the decay becomes critical.” Kathryn replied.

“No,” Q said, “The continuum, won’t let you out that easily. If you actually try and make headway they will make the pull of the planet even stronger and the crash will be worse. They are trying to make it so you have to face a crash landing and a survival situation.” Q shook his head.

“If that’s true then we should start beaming people to the surface,” Jim replied.

“I won’t give up without trying this option,” Kathryn said, fire catching her voice.

“The continuum won’t let you off that easily. You’re setting yourself up for an even bigger crash.”

“I have to side with Q,” Jean-Luc said, shaking his head apologetically towards Kathryn.

Benjamin looked at Kira, whispered something then turned back to the group, “I’m sorry but I with Captain Janeway, I’m not just going to tell my crew to abandon ship without attempting something.”

Jim looked to Spock then back at the rest, “I’m with… Q and Captain Picard on this one. We shouldn’t risk anything we don’t need to.”

The group turned their attention to Jonathan and T’Pol, “Looks like your decision is the tiebreaker, “ Jim said with a smile.

Jonathan turned to T’Pol and she whispered something, “Looks like we’re in agreement,” Jonathan said, “We agree with Captain Kirk. I’m not risking my crews if I don’t need to.”

“Looks like it’s decided,” Q said clapping his hands together, “We each should go back to our ships and we need to arrange for us all to beam down.

“One problem,” Jonathan said, “Our transporters aren’t able to ‘beam’ more than one person at a time, besides they’re experimental.”

“We have only 144 officers,” Kathryn said, “We could transport you after we’ve got our crew down.”

Chapter Text

“Uh,” Jim said, giving an odd eye to Benjamin Sisko, “Can you give me a minute, Spock?”

“Yes, sir,” Spock said. They were on their way back to the cargo bay to beam back to their ships. Spock walked off and talked to T’Pol, while Jim walked up to Benjamin and Kira.

“I’m not sure why, but…” Jim said when he was walking level to Benjamin, “I get the feeling that we’ve... met before.”

“Oh,” Benjamin said with a chuckle, “Do you remember dealing with the Tribbles and the Klingons?”

“Wait! You’re the lieutenant who said it was an honor to serve with me,” Jim said with a smile.

“Yes, sir,” Ben said with a smile.

“So, why were you there? Is that common in your time, time travel I mean?”

“Not really, it was more of a freak accident.”

“Oh,” Jim said with a nod before he turned to Major Kira, “I meant to ask you, is everyone on your planet that passionate?”

She narrowed her eyes, trying to decide if he was making a pass at her or not, but she must’ve decided that she wasn’t because she just nodded her head, “When you’ve gone through what we’ve gone through you learn to pack a punch.”

“What happened?” Jim asked.

“The Occupation,” She said.  

 

Chakotay walked up to Will, tapping on his shoulder, “I have to ask,” he said when Will turned his way, “Do you happen to have a twin?”

“No, well kind of, it’s a long story, why?”

“Because there was a Thomas Riker in the Maquis and when I first saw you, well, I would’ve bet that you were Thomas.”

“Oh, yeah, there was some freak accident involving two parallel universes, and well we both made it through that accident. But… uh, I don’t really like to talk about Thomas.”

 

Q walked over to Kathryn, deciding now was as good a time as any to tell her to drop her attitude towards him.

“Q,” She scowled before he could say anything..

“Okay, listen,” Q said, already done with this entire conversation, “I have no idea what your problem with me is but I have no idea who you are.”

“Do you expect me to believe that you have no involvement with this at all? Do you honestly expect me to believe that?”

“I don’t know if I should, because I don’t know who you are.” Q sighs, “And besides,” He snapped his fingers again, “I don’t have my powers, so I couldn’t be to blame for this.”

“Look, even if you haven’t met me yet, not to say that I believe you, I’ve still met you and well, I’ve already made my first impression.”

“People do change, even Q’s do. You may have ‘met’ me but you haven’t met me .”

20 minutes later and each crew found itself sitting on the large plains of what looked like a temperate terrain. They at least had time to pick a vacation spot and this was the place they chose.

Each person was allowed one suitcase, for belongings and clothes, but past that nothing else.

Most of the crew chose to watch as each ship came crashing to the planet, others opted out. It was a hard thing to watch, especially for the captains. Imagine watching your home and your ship come crashing right in front of you, literally.

But they stood strong and watched the sight unfold.

The first to come to the planet was Jonathan’s Enterprise. The crew all gathered at the front, all except the few who didn’t want to watch, one of them was Trip. He just couldn’t handle watching end in a crash, of all the things that they had gotten that ship through. The ship came in facing forward, they wanted to make sure that the engine and the warp nacelles were kept safe. It came crashing down, the farthest tip of the ship being crushed.

The next to come down was Jim’sz Enterprise, Chekov and Bones opted out this time, they left as the rest of them watched. The Defiant crashed next, but each of them stayed to watch it go. Jean-Luc’s Enterprise came down next, Geordi decided he didn’t want to see this, and to be supportive Data didn’t watch as well. In its final moments, Deanna turned away. Harry was the one to opt out when Voyager came down. When the show ended a lot of them were in tears.

 

“We need a bridge,” Benjamin said, walking up to where the Captain’s were sitting. He took a seat.

“Or an observation lounge,” Jean-Luc agreed.

“I wonder if we could meet on one of the ships?” Jonathan asked, looking at each other.

“I say we check my Enterprise, my ships got the highest crew compliment, which means we have more rooms on my Enterprise.”

“No. Voyager has the fastest engine, if anything, we should go with Voyager, it’s stronger engine will give us a better shot of leaving the planet.”

“I’m not saying we abandon Voyager, I’m saying if we have to choose a home it should be the Enterprise,” Jean-Luc said, looking around, meeting eyes with Jim, “My Enterprise.”

“What if we all go to our own ships?” Jonathan asked.

 

The crews of each ship had mixed and merged with the other crews. At first, the senior staffs tried to keep the crews separate but it didn’t exactly work that way. It all started when the two Worfs saw each other. From there all hell broke loose.

Odo had a hand on Quark’s shoulder, keeping close track of the Ferengi. He had gotten in trouble for trying to pickpocket one of Jonathan’s crew. But when the two Worf’s saw each other and Jean-Luc and Benjamin’s crew burst out in laughter and the crowd kind of circled around them, forcing them to talk, Quark saw this as the perfect time to escape, so he did. He ducked down and took off on the fastest run of his life. Odo sighed and turned into a bird to try and find him better, causing the people around him that weren’t from DS9 to panic and some started to run all over the place. Then some some one from the Jim’s Enterprise bumped into Worf and was scared, not expecting to see a Klingon in a Star Fleet uniform.

 

Kira tried to stand her ground against the every moving tide, but it’s kind of difficult when everyone is acting like animals. She clenched her fists, she didn’t like being trapped in this crowd. It all got worse when someone was shoved into her. The two came crashing to the ground and Kira was not having it.

“Get off of me,” She snapped, pushing the woman off of her.

“I didn’t choose to be thrown onto you,” B’Elanna snapped back when they both stood. They both moved away from the crowd, deciding they couldn’t hold it back any longer.

“I’m sorry,” Kira replied, “I don’t like tight places.”

“No, you’re fine, I understand. I’m B’Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer of Voyager.”

“Oh,” Kira said nodding, “I can see what… Captain Janeway was talking about.”

“Hmm?”

“Oh, during the meeting on Enterprise she said I remind her of you.”

“I do see it.” B’Elanna smiled.

“Oh, I’m Kira Nerys, the first officer on Deep Space Nine.”

 

Hoshi got separated from Travis and was lost in the crowd. She felt her chest tighten and her breathing sped up. She put a hand to her head dealing a little lightheaded.

“Are you okay?” Jadzia asked, putting a hand on her shoulder.

“Oh, um… sorry.” Hoshi said, she wanted to explain but just felt apologizing for her sever inability to handle this was better.

“Why are you apologizing?”

“I, uh, can’t handle tight spaces.” Hoshi sighed and looked away from Jadzia.

“That’s nothing to be ashamed of. I know what you mean, Tobin used to have anxiety, especially in situations like this and because of that I feel it ever so often.”

“Who’s Tobin?” Hoshi asked.

“Oh, um, I’m not Human, I’m a Trill. On my planet, some Trills choose to be joined with a Symbiont. I’m one of those joined Trills. When we are joined we get the memories and to some extent, the personalities of the symbiont’s past lives. Tobin was the second host to the Dax symbiont, which is the symbiont that I have.”

“Are the… spots a natural characteristic of Trills?” Hoshi said, running her finger where the spots would be on her face.

“Yes. I’m Jadzia Dax, but the way, I’m the science officer for the Defiant.”

“Hoshi Sato, I’m the com officer and translator for-”

“The Enterprise,” They said in unison.

“The Enterprise’s mission is studied in the academy.”

“Starfleet Academy?”

“Uhuh, you guys go onto be famous, at least to your people.”

“Really?” Hoshi smiled.

 

“Oh!” Trip said, nearly jumping, “Sorry!” He apologized immediately, “You shocked me.” He was looking at Data, trying to figure just exactly what he was.

“I am sorry for scaring you.” Data said, “I am Lieutenant Commander Data.”

“That’s an interestin’ name,” Trip said, as they shook hands, “I’m Charles Tucker III but everyone calls me Trip.”

“Nice to meet you, Trip.” Data replied.

“Nice ta meet you, too.” Trip smiled. He quirked his face in a shy way, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what are you?”

“I am an android.”

“Android?” Trip asked, “Wow, are you the only one? Or are there more Androids?”

“I have a brother, but we are the only ones that I  know of.”

“Do you think later, that I could have look at your systems?”

“Data!” Geordi said, finally catching up to him, “You’re going to let him look at your systems? I thought I was your engineer.” He wrapped an arm around his neck.

“Oh, um…” Trip started, worried he struck a chord.

“I assure you, Geordi, my relationship with Trip is nothing more than friendship.”

“I know Data, I’m just giving you a hard time,” Geordi said before he turned to face Trip, “I’m Geordi LaForge, Chief Engineer of Enterprise-D”

“I’m Charles Tucker III, but everyone calls me Trip and I’m the Chief Engineer of NX-01.”

 

“Hello,” Beverly greeted with a smile, walking up to Seven of Nine, who was content standing on the edge of the crowd.

“Hello,” Seven replied, not wanting to further the irrelevant conversation.

“I’m Beverly Crusher, from Enterprise-D, I’m their Doctor.” She said, hoping to spark a  conversation, “You are?”

“Seven of Nine, I’m the astrometrics officer on Voyager.”

“Seven of Nine?” Beverly asked, she was taken aback, “That’s, uh, a Borg designation, isn’t it?”

“You are correct.”

“Are there more borg officers in the future, or…”

“I am the only one.”

“What happened?” Seven looked up and over at her, “If you don’t mind me asking.”

“I was un-assimilated.” Seven explained.

“I hear that you guys are trapped in the Delta Quadrant, in your time anyway,” Beverly comments.

“You have heard correctly.”  

 

“Worf.” DS9’s Worf said.  

“Worf.” TNG Worf said.

“So... you.. we don’t stay on Enterprise?” TNG Worf said.

“I don’t believe that I should tell you about your future.” DS9 Worf replied.

“That is reasonable.”

“Do you think we should go by different names?” DS9 Worf asked.

“Maybe we should go by our ranks,” TNG Worf suggested.

DS9 Worf opened his mouth to reply but accidentally bumped into someone. He turned around and came face to face with Chekov.

“Oh, excuse me,” Chekov replied turning around to face DS9 Worf, “I didn’t see-” He trailed off when he noticed the head ridges on the Klingon, “You’re a, a-”

“Klingon,” DS9 Worf finished his sentence, “You are Ensign Chekov aboard the Enterprise.”

“You know me?”

“We were required to study Captain Kirk’s five-year mission in Star Fleet Academy.”

“Did you know that they originally planned for Star Fleet Headquarters to be just outside of Minsk.”

“I do not believe that is correct, but Minsk is a very good place.”

“If you don’t mind Lieutenant Commander,” TNG Worf said, “I’m going to leave now if you do not mind.”  

“I thought you said you were the only Klingon?” Chekov said, noticing the other Worf for the first time.

“Come on, we need to make a decision,” Benjamin said.

“And how are we going to do that?” Kathryn asked she shot a glance to Jean-Luc, “Some of us seem intent on disagreement.”

“How about we put it to a vote?” Jonathan threw out, deciding it was better to do this than anything else.

“I’m for that,” Jim said, sighing, at least they were almost getting somewhere.

“That’s a good idea,” Benjamin agreed.

“I open to a vote,” Jean-Luc said, turning to look over at Kathryn.

“Let’s vote.” She said.

“Okay, the options are we go to our own ships or we go to Captain Picard’s” Jonathan said, “We should go to Captain Picard’s ship, if we’re going to work together we need to be together, if there is an us and them there won’t be a team.”

“I want to go to my own ship,” Jim said.

“I say we go to one ship,” Jean-Luc replied.

“We go to our own ships,” Janeway said, sending an icy glance towards Jean-Luc. Everyone looked to Sisko with unbridled intensity.

“Captain Archer makes one hell of an argument,” Ben said with a smile, he turned to Kathryn, “I’m sorry, but if we’re going to be a team we can’t be separated. We go to Captain Picard’s Enterprise.”

“Okay,” Jean-Luc said, with a nod, “I’ve done the math and 720 people are going to have to share-”

“Wait,” Kathryn called out, “Do you have room for a Borg alcove on Enterprise?”

“What?” Jean-Luc asked, “What do you mean Borg alcove?” His eyes narrowed and his blood chilled.

“Seven of Nine, she’s my astrometrics officer, she’s an ex-drone.”

Benjamin balled his hand into fists, but otherwise, he said nothing. Jean-Luc clenched his jaw, “She’s a borg?”

“Was.” Kathryn turned even more icy, “Is that a problem?” It wasn’t a question, it was a challenge.

“No,” Jean-Luc said, but the way he spat the word out proved that it was a problem for him.

“Good,” Kathryn said, “But you still haven’t answered my question, are we going to transform your cargo bay into a Borg alcove or will she be the only one expected to stay?”

“I’ll talk to Geordi, he may be able to do something.”

“I’ll tell Seven so they can collaborate.”

“Okay,” Jonathan said, letting a tense breath out through his teeth, hoping the change of subject will defuse the situation, “Now, like I was saying, 720 people are going to have to double up and share quarters. I don’t know how you want to go about this but I feel it should be on a volunteer basis until absolutely necessary.”  

“How are we going to spread the news?” Benjamin asked, “There are over 1700 people over there.”

“Do our communicators work interchangeably?” Jim asked.

“Let me try,” Kathryn said, “Captain Janeway to Captain Kirk.” They all shushed, trying to hear Kirk’s communicator beep, but it didn’t.

“Great,” Jonathan sighed.

“Just another problem,” Jim said.

“I’ll call Geordi,” Jean-Luc said.

“How about we get B’Elanna Torres, she’ll be more familiar with all of them, she’ll know more about our communicators as well as yours,” Kathryn said, almost jumping on Jean-Luc’s words.

“Or we could bring together all of our engineers, they can work together to solve problems, instead of against each other,” Benjamin suggests.

“So!” Scotty said, to the collected crowd gathering around him, Bones, Chekov, and Spock, “We found ourselves in 1881, Tombstone Arizona, at least a copy of it. Imagine it! You have the Saloon, the Dentist’s, the Sheriff’s and even a store but only they only had the fronts of the buildings, it was like they stopped building it before they even finished. Now, it gets interesting, because everyone in the town saw Captain Kirk as Ike Clanton, Bones as Tom McLowery, Spock as Frank McLowery, Chekov was Billy Claiborne and me as Billy Clanton. The same men in the shooting at the OK Corral.” Scotty paused when he heard his communicator go off, “Hold on.” He pulled it out of his pocket and walked away.

“So we’re sitting in the Saloon,” Bones said, taking over the story, “Trying to figure out-”  

Scotty walked back over. “I’ve got to go, Kirk’s calling, I’ll be back,” Scotty said to Bones before he left.

“Okay,” Bones said with a nod, “Trying to figure out just how we are going to get out of this predicament, the original shooting at the OK Corral, well, it ended badly for us.”

“When the most beautiful lady in the entire galaxy came over and kissed me,” Chekov said, “Her name was Sylvia and-”

“Let me tell the story, Chekov,” Bones said with a smile, “Then Morgan Earp stands up quickly, flashing his gun at us, we jump up, but we realize that it isn’t worth the risk. So without moving a muscle in our hands, we sat down. He later came by, trying to take Sylvia away from Chekov, but decided it would be better to wait for the fight later that night, at five.”

“Kirk then decided that he would try to explain our situation to the Earps at the Marshal's office but they thought he was joking,” Chekov said, deciding it was his turn to tell the story. “They told him that if we didn’t leave by five that we would go through with the shootout. We tried to leave the town but the town was surrounded by a force field and we couldn’t escape. Then Bones realized that he could make a tranquilizer and Spock knew how to make a grenade.

“Then I met Sylvia outside of the store and she told me that we should turn the dance that was happening a week later into a wedding ball when Morgan Earp showed up, punching me in the face. He took Sylvia away and I stood back up and he shot me, and I woke up on Enterprise.” Chekov said.

“But to us he was dead,” Bones continued the story, “And we only had two hours left to make the grenade. With medicine from the Dentist and spare parts, we were able to design a foolproof bomb. When Kirk asked us to test it. Scotty so kindly offered to test it and we pulled the plug. It should’ve knocked him to the ground in four seconds flat but he didn’t even get a little woozy.”

“That is when I realized that it wasn’t real,” Spock said, taking over the story, “If the laws of reality didn’t apply then where we were wasn’t reality. So when it came time for the gunfight the only way to survive was to know that, without a doubt, the bullets were nothing. I was sure, but they were not, through a mind-meld I was able to prepare them for the gunfight.”

“After that, Kirk had the ability to kill Morgan Earp but he didn’t, because of that the Melkotians agreed to join the Federation.” Bones explained, “Who wants to tell the next story?”

“I think I have one!” Will said, making his way to the middle of the crowd, “How many of you guys know who Q is?”

Trip, Scotty, Geordi, Chief O’Brien and B’Elanna Torres walked up to the sitting Captains. They had been talking but stopped when they reached the captain’s collective, all falling in at attention.

“At ease,” Kathryn said, standing up, the other Captains standing up as well, “We were talking and we realized that our communicators are incompatible, we need you five to work together and change that.”

“Yes, Captain.” B’Elanna said while everyone replied with “Yes, Sir.”

“Please,” Kathryn said, “Call me ‘Captain’ when replying.”

“Yes, Captain,” They said in unison.

“Also, you can enlist the aid of anyone you think will help,” Jean-Luc said, turning to talk to Geordi specifically, “Be sure to talk to Data and anyone else you think of.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Dismissed,” Kathryn said, almost as if she was trying to fight for control of the situation. Jean-Luc shot her a quick glare.

“Okay,” Benjamin sighed, with a bitter smile, “Follow me.” Motioning to Kathryn and Jean-Luc. He walked some distance away from the group.

Kathryn and Jean-Luc glanced at each other, more with a “what’s going on look?” than one of hate. But they sighed and followed after Benjamin.

He led them away from the group before he turned around and pointed to the ground, “Sit down.”

“Excuse me?” Kathryn asked, crossing her arms.

“I will not,” Jean-Luc said.

“Sit down,” Benjamin repeated.

Kathryn narrowed her eyes, but sighed nonetheless, realizing that he wouldn’t be swayed she took a seat on the boulder in front of him, deciding it was pointless to argue with him. Jean-Luc must’ve taken her sitting down first as a challenge because he nearly jumped to the ground.

“You two are both Starfleet Captains. Act like it. You guys have been at each other’s throat since we got here and that is unacceptable. This petty one-up game will end now. Because if it doesn’t I will relieve you both of duty. And don’t even ask ‘On what grounds?’ because the way you two are acting is unbecoming of a Starfleet officer. Now, whatever problem you have between you better be resolved, now,” Benjamin snapped, his voice rising, “If we want to get anywhere we need to set good examples for our crew, otherwise we won’t be able to work through this.”

“Yes, Captain,” Kathryn said with the quirk of an eyebrow.

“Yes, Captain,” Jean-Luc replied.

“I’m going to leave and you two will work through your differences. Join the group when you can handle yourselves properly.” Benjamin said, leaving the two of them alone.

“Captain,” Kathryn sighed, urging him to start, waving a hand towards him.

He shook his head, “You first.”

She opened her mouth, but could only pass a sigh, she stared off into the horizon, the sun was almost setting, “You know, my crew we’ve been through a lot. We get stranded in the Delta Quadrant, we lose and gain so many people. We became a family over seven years. I mean we have our flaws and sometimes they really get on my nerves but we’re a family. But in one-day things have been flipped on its head. You guys are asking to partly take control of my family and well, I got defensive.”

Jean-Luc nodded, “Q has a habit of causing chaos when he visits, now is no different. I’m sorry for fighting with you. I guess I have gotten a little too used to being the Captain, I don’t like the fact that I’m having to relinquish it to others.”

Kathryn nodded, watching as the sun started setting. They stayed silent and still until the sun was finally done. She turned to Jean-Luc, “We good, Captain?”

“We’re good,” Jean-Luc replied, offering a kind smile. The walked back to camp. Most of the crew had started multiple fires, most were unsure just how cold the night was going to get.

“I suspect you two have worked things out,” Benjamin, his voice hiding a warning.

“We’ve worked it out,” Kathryn answered, giving a small smile.

“Good,” Benjamin smiled, the hidden warning leaving his voice, “While you were gone we determined that until we go to ships it would be best to set up camp. We’ve separated people by division, right now security teams, comprised of security officers from each ship. The senior officers are gathered around a fire of there, right now people are telling stories about some of their missions, last time I was over there we had just heard from T’Pol about Carbon Creek.”

They headed over to the fire and went to their respective areas. They had split up into five sections, everyone laid with their own crews.

Archer was laying on the ground, looking up into the night sky, trying to find new constellations. T’Pol sat with a blanket around her, she was staring into the fire. Hoshi sat next to her, an arm wrapped around her shoulders. Travis sat next to the fire as well. Trip and Malcolm were arguing about something petty to themselves and Dr. Phlox, who was luckily able to save all of his pets, was feeding them.

Jim was retelling some story from his first year into their five-year mission, while Spock sat next to him. Bones sat on the other side and every so often interrupted the story to add an anecdote which Spock almost always replied with illogical or that’s not how it happened. Chekov and Sulu were laying together looking at the stars why Uhura stayed warm by the fire. Scotty was able to save a bottle of Scotch and was now drinking that.

Jean-Luc sat near the fire, while Q sat uncomfortably close to him. Worf, Will, Geordi, Data, Beverly, and Deanna were able to find a deck of cards and were playing a game of poker. They were betting with rocks and, as always, Will was winning.

Benjamin was sitting close to his crew. He sat near the fire. Kira was sitting next to Jadzia but was close enough to the end of her crew that she could talk to B’Elanna. Jadzia was leaning on Worf. Odo kept a wary eye on Quark. And Julian, Garak, and Miles were sitting and talking.

Kathryn was laying down looking at the stars with Chakotay next to her. Seven and the Doctor were listening to Jim intently, taking in every word he said. Harry and Tom sat next to each other while Tuvok had already started sleeping. B’Elanna sat on the side, close to Kira.

“-I was faced with the hard facts. I had to let Edith Keeler die-”

 

Chapter Text

Harry was wandering the crowd, only pausing when he saw a familiar face, “Reg!” 

Lt. Barclay was standing away from the group, alone, sitting on a boulder outside, he looked up at the unfamiliar face as he got closer. Reg jumped to his feet, rubbing his hands together nervously. 

“Um, I, uh,... who, um, are you?” He asked, looking back down at the ground.   

“Oh, uh right, I guess you wouldn’t know who I am,” Harry said, walking up to him, “I’m Harry, part of the Voyager crew.” 

“I’m Lt. Barclay… but, but it seems you already, already know who I am.” 

“Let’s just say, you go on to do something brilliant.” Harry said, “The crew of Voyager is going to want to get to know you, you have 150 new friends.” Harry smiled encouragingly at Reg. But he glanced up with a panicked look. 

“That’s, uh, that’s a lot of people.” 

“Well, you don’t have to meet them all at once.” Harry said, “But you should get to know them. A lot of them will really like you.” 

ဝ 

“Okay, I think we’ve got it!” Geordi said. He had one of the communicators in his hand. He was sitting around a circle of engineers from every ship, Trip, Scotty, Geordi, Chief O’Brien and B’Elanna. Along with Data. 

Chief O’Brien spoke up, “So if I-” 

“Chief?” Geordi asked. 

“What?” He had been speaking in Irish. 

“You are no longer speaking English, Chief,” Data explained in Irish. 

“Strange,” Chief said. He was fluent in English, but he always chose to speak Irish, the Universal Translator would be there to pick up and translate it for others. 

“The Universal Translators must be off,” B’Elanna sighed. 

“Great,” Miles rolled his eyes, “We just did the exact opposite of our assignment.” He shook his head. 

“Hold on, did we short-circuit these UT’s, or did we-” Geordi said with a cringe. 

“Short circuit all of them?” B’Elanna finished, seeing where he was going. The group looked around them hoping to find some clue as to the state of every Universal Translator. 

“Nope, it looks like just these,” Trip says. 

“Thank god,” Geordi sighed. He held the combadge a little closer to his VISOR and proceeded to fix the UT.

“Try that, Chief.” 

He spoke in Irish, saying “Hello.” 

“The UT’s back online, let’s get back to work,” B’Elanna replied, letting out a deep breath when Chief O’Brien’s words were translated to English. 

“We should get a game of something going,” Jonathan suggested, “To keep everyone’s morale high.” 

“What game did you have in mind?” Jean-Luc asked. 

“I’m not sure.” 

“How about baseball!” Benjamin asked, nearly jumping to his feet. 

“That would be fun,” Jim asked, “But I must warn you... you guys are no match against my crew.” 

“You say that now,” Jonathan jokes.

“You have no idea what we’ve seen in the Delta Quadrant. I think you all have your hopes too high.” 

“Let’s stop talking and let our crew’s game speak for themselves,” Jean-Luc said, but the smug look on his face said it all, he had the utmost faith that his team would win it all. 

It took a bit for the baseball games to get set up. First, they had to find the equipment. Luckily, Benjamin had some equipment ready to use. Then they had to select an umpire. The obvious answer was Odo. Then they had to practice for the teams. It was decided that just for right now, only the senior officers would play, they had too many people to organize teams past that, but maybe later they would be able to include everyone.

The people who weren’t playing gathered around what they designated as the playing field. The crowd ended up splitting apart, those who cheered for one team were on one side while those who were for the second team were on the other side.

The first matchup was Jonathan’s team versus Jim’s team. 

Will Riker walked up to the front of the crowd with Benjamin. 

“Welcome to the first baseball game in the new official league: Shipwrecked,” Will said, he had Geordi turn his and Ben’s combadge into a speaker of sorts so the crowd could hear them, “The first two teams are Team Enterprise, consisting of Jim Kirk, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, Pavel Chekov, Hikaru Sulu, Nyota Uhura and Spock as pitcher,”

“Versus the NX-01’s, with Jonathan Archer, T’Pol, Charles “Trip” Tucker III, Hoshi Sato, Travis Mayweather, Malcolm Reed, and Phlox.”

“With the NX-01’s up to bat first.” 

“First up to bat is Jonathan Archer, can he hit a fast pitch from Spock?” Benjamin said.   

Jonathan let out a deep breath and walked up to the plate, rolling the bat in between his hands before squatting down and nodding to the pitcher: Spock. 

Spock threw the ball, just hitting the bottom corner of the Strike Zone. Jonathan pulled back the bat and swung hard at it. 

“Strike!” Odo called. 

“What a strong pitch from Spock!” Benjamin said, “It just barely hit the corner of the Strike Zone, a difficult pitch to hit.” 

“It looks like the NX-01’s have their work cut out for them!” Will added. 

Jonathan opened his mouth to say that it wasn’t in the Zone but decided against starting an argument with the Umpire the first second into the game. He clenched his jaw, let out a deep breath and turned back to Spock, giving him a curt nod. 

Spock threw the ball again, changing the pitch from the corner of the Zone to the middle of the Zone. Jonathan wasn’t prepared for the change and once again missed the ball. 

“Strike!” 


“If you were paying attention you would’ve noticed a slight change in where the pitch landed. It wasn’t in the corner this time like Jonathan Archer was prepared for, no it moved up. It looks like Spock is playing clever tonight.” 

 ဝ

“So, that’s how you want to play?” Jonathan whispered, smiling slightly at Spock’s cleverness.

Spock threw the ball, this time to the same place as last time, hoping the lack of pattern would throw Jonathan off. But Jonathan was ready for throw off shot. He swung the bat and felt it connect with the ball. 

He dropped the bat and took off as fast as he could towards the 1st base as the ball flew to second.

Uhura almost caught the ball, but it bounced out of her glove at the last minute, while Jonathan was halfway to the base. She leaned down, picked it up, and threw it to first basemen Chekov, at nearly the same time as Jonathan ran through first. No one knew for sure what happened so they all turned towards Odo.

“Safe!” He called out and a good portion of the crowd cheered. 

 ဝ

“Wow!” Benjamin said. 

“Wow is right, Captain,” Will replied, “Jonathan Archer was prepared that time, he knew that the ball could go anywhere and he was ready for it.” 

Jonathan smiled and looked back to see who had decided to go up next, it was Travis. He let one ball pass without swinging and then another. During the next pitch, he took a swing and shot it to the outfield. Jonathan took off to second.

Jim jumped up into the air and caught the ball and then threw it to first base before Jonathan could get back there.  

Jonathan narrowed his eyes at Jim, while he walked back to the “dugout”. Jim shrugged with a smile, “What did I say?” 

“You did good, Captain,” Hoshi said, “Don’t let them get to you.” 

“Besides, they haven’t had to bat with me as the pitcher,” Travis said, walking up to him. 

“You played?” 

“We had a league back on Horizon,” Travis said with a nod.

They looked out and saw T’Pol walk up to home plate. She’d never played baseball before, but then again, neither had Spock and look at him now. She gripped the bat tight and nodded towards Spock.  


“Next up to bat, we have T’Pol.”

“Vulcan versus Vulcan.” Will replied. 


Spock pitched the ball, she swung but missed. 

“Strike.” 

He pitched the ball again and this time T’Pol hit it. She took off on a run towards the base, but the ball bounced out. 

“Foul!” 

She walked back to the plate, picking up the bat she discarded. She let out a deep breath, going back to the batter’s box. She opened her eyes and nodded at Spock. 

He threw once more and it connected with the ball, sending it barrelling past second base. T’Pol took off on a run, paying small attention to the ball, that was hit past their last outfielder. She continued running, eventually getting back to home plate.

The crowd cheered. 


“That was a fantastic play!” Benjamin said, beaming with a wide grin, “The first home run of the day! And the first point in the game!” 
“That home run was completed by a rookie. T’Pol has never played before!” 
“If we get surprises like this throughout the rest of the games we will have a lot of fun today!”

ဝ 

“Okay, folks,” Benjamin said, “Here we are. 6-7, the bottom of the 7th inning, with two outs. It’s up to Jim to get him and Spock home. Otherwise, the NX-01’s have one the game.” 

Jim picked up the bat and walked up to the plate. 

“Okay team, make some noise!” Jonathan called to his team. 

“Hey, batter, batter, batter!” The team called out, well most of the team. Phlox was determined to not be rude to the other team and T’Pol found it illogical. 

“It looks like Jonathan Archer and the NX-01’s are pulling out all the stops during this last inning!” 

Jonathan shot a glance to T’Pol and she sighed then called out, “I do not believe you are capable of hitting the ball.” 

Jim smiled slightly at T’Pol’s comment, as it reminded him of Spock. He nodded at Travis and Travis threw the ball straight down the middle. Jim hit the ball to the outfield, just exactly where Jonathan happened to be. Jonathan reached up with his glove and grabbed the ball out of the air. His team erupted out in cheers, along with some of the crowd watching. 

Jonathan looked over at Jim, their eyes met and Jonathan shrugged with a smile, “What did I say?” 

“And there you have it! The NX-01’s have won the game!” 

ဝ 

“Okay, what’s our team name?” Jean-Luc asked. 

“Q’s Team,” Q said, jumping into the middle of the huddle. 

“The Enterprisers.” Will said, ignoring Q’s suggestion while pulling him back by the arm. 

Q yanked his arm free and wormed his way back to the middle of the huddle, “Ohh, I got it! The Q Crew!” 

Deanna sighed and pushed Q out of the circle once more. 

Q crossed his arms and sighed. He sulked away from the team, walking towards the diamond.

Jim walked away from the announcer’s station saw Q and walked up to him.

“Hey,” Jim said to Q, “Do you have your team’s name? I have to go announce.” Q turned to face him. 

“Uh…” Q wanted to be honest… but, “Yeah, we’re calling the team The Q Crew.” 

“Okay,” Jim said and turned back to the ball diamond and walked over there. While Q walked back to the group, who still haven’t decided on a name. 

“What about the A-Team?” 

“E-Team?” 

“Or D-Team…” 

Jean-Luc opened his mouth to debate the title with them but stopped when Jim Kirk’s voice boomed throughout the area. 

“The next team is The Q Crew with a team of, Jean-Luc Picard, Will Riker, Data, Geordi LaForge, Worf, Q, Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher.” 

The group looked over to Q with a strong glare, “Q!” 

“We needed a name and you hadn’t picked one.” 

“Versus,” Johnathan, called out, he was replacing Benjamin so Benjamin could get his team ready, “The Voyagers, with Kathryn Janeway, Chakotay, Harry Kim, Tom Paris, B’Elanna Torres, Tuvok, the Doctor and Seven of Nine.” 

Jean-Luc walked up to the home plate while Kathryn approached from the other side. 

“Rock, paper, scissors?” Kathryn suggests with a smile and a shrug. 

“Winner decides?”

Kathryn nodded in response and held out her hands, fist in her palm. Jean-Luc did the same. 

“Rock, paper, scissors.” They each said in unison and they each threw out two signs, Jean-Luc with paper and Kathryn with scissors. 

Kathryn grinned, “We’d like to be home.” She turned and walked over to her team’s dugout. 

“Okay, so The Q Crew versus The Voyagers. The Q Crew is up to bat and their first batter is Q,” Jonathan introduced. 

“This should be a very interesting match up, I’m sure we’re aware of the tensions between Captain Picard and Captain Janeway, I wonder if the tensions will carry over and give us a very entertaining match.” Jim supposed. 

Q took a few practice swings before nodding to Tuvok. Tuvok threw the ball, the ball hitting the middle of the Strike Zone. Q took a swing at it but swung too late and the ball bounced over the foul line before Q could even drop the bat. 

 ဝ

“Foul,” Odo called out. 

“Try swinging sooner,” Will yelled from the dugout. Q gave a sharp glance back there as he got back into his batting stance. 

He mumbled under his breath, something along the lines of: “You try swinging sooner.” When he was done Q nodded at Tuvok. 

Tuvok pitched a fastball directly for the corner. Q swung a little sooner than he did last time, but it was too soon.

“Strike!”

Q let out a deep breath, closing his eyes and clenching his jaw. 

“Remember, Q,” Jean-Luc said, “Watch the ball, follow it until it hits the bat.” Q nodded towards him then at Tuvok. 

Tuvok pitched it again. The ball came barreling towards the plate and Q let out a deep breath, swinging the bat at the ball. He hit the ball, threw the bat down and took off on the fastest run of his life towards first base. 

The ball was hit out towards third base into the outfield. The left fielder, who happened to Chakotay, ran to the ball, picked it up and threw it to first base. Seven caught the ball-

“Safe!” Odo said, causing some of the crowd to clap. 

Next up to bat was Will. Hit the ball and drove straight to first base, Q running to second base. 

ဝ 

Sometime during the 5th inning, things started heating up. There had been some back and forths between Kathryn and Jean-Luc and their teams, little snide comments, and a little trash talk. Everything had been wound up tightly for this one moment. 

Seven was being chased into third base by Jean-Luc who had the ball. Seven had made it safely to the base, but Jean-Luc didn’t really stop, colliding into Seven. She fell off the plate and was tagged. Odo called it as an ‘out’.

“That wasn’t fair!” Kathryn called out.

“Are you questioning my judgment?” Odo asked, looking over to Kathryn. 

“No,” Kathryn shook her head, “He pushed Seven off the base.” 

“You’re accusing me of foul play?” Jean-Luc asked. 

“Well,” Kathryn looked Jean-Luc dead in the eyes, “If the shoe fits.” 

Q opened his mouth to fight Kathryn, nobody was just going to insult Mon Capitaine, but someone beat him to it. 

“Excuse me?” Will said, walking in from the pitcher’s mound, “Captain Picard doesn’t cheat and I won’t let someone who doesn’t know him to make false claims against him.” 

“Will, there’s no need to get involved,” Jean-Luc said, waving him away with his hands, “I’m sure we can come to a peaceful solution.  

“Yes,” Q agreed turning to Will, “Take a page from the prime directive. There’s no reason to engage with,”  Q gave a sharp glance over at Kathryn, “Inferior life forms.”

Chakotay clenched his jaw and jumped onto the field, but Kathryn held up her hand to stop him. 

“You will not talk about Captain Janeway that way,” Seven said, taking a step towards Q. 

“Why? You think ignorance is bliss?” Q asked. That was the wrong answer. Chakotay took another step towards Q and let his fit fly, connecting with Q’s cheek.

“Hey!” Q called out, his hand jumping to his face. 

It all went downhill from there. Jean-Luc ran over to protect Q but accidentally got a punch to the jaw. Worf and Data ran forward to protect their captain while Kathryn ran over to stop Chakotay. Seeing this B’Elanna and Tom thought it meant that Kathryn was going to fight so they jumped forward to join the fight.

Worf punched Chakotay, Chakotay punched Worf back, B’Elanna punched Data, hurting her fist in the process, and Geordi literally took off at Warp Speed to protect him. Q decided why not and threw a punch and he ended up hitting Kathryn. She went from ‘let’s stop the fight’ to ‘murder’ in .003 seconds and she threw a right hook to Q. 

By now basically, everyone was fighting. This caused a huge crowd to gather around the fight and a lot of commotion. Odo ran forward to try and stop the fight when Benjamin heard of what was happening. 

Tuvok was nerve pinching people, not wanting to fully be in the action but he also wanted to defend his crew. Geordi kept throwing himself in front of his boyfriend, but Data kept moving him out of harm’s way. Deanna had made an attempt to break up the fight but was almost immediately thrown to the ground. Beverly decided that it was up to her to save Deanna and charged into the crowd of now 16 people. While in there she nearly invoked the rage of Kathryn because someone ran into her and knocked her and Kathryn down to the ground on top of each other. The Doctor had jumped into the fight with Harry and it was a train wreck. 

ဝ 

Benjamin rubbed his forehead with his hand, before pinching the bridge of his nose, as he paced in front of the two senior staffs while they stood at attention, “I have never… I can’t even... You are Starfleet officers. There is no situation that a Starfleet officer should resort to violence of this sort.” He kept passing silently, at a loss for words, hoping that the silence would speak where he couldn’t.

“Would any of you like to explain why you thought any part of this was acceptable? How any part of this was at all the correct, Starfleet choice?” Benjamin said, eyeing down each and every one officer of the senior staffs. No one said anything. 

“Until further notice, you are all demoted to acting-ensigns, dismissed.” When the staffs filed out of there Benjamin made it a point to stop both the captains. 

“I want each of you to explain what happened. No interrupting each other and no placing explicit blame on one another. You first,” Benjamin said pointing to Jean-Luc. 

“There was a disagreement over whether or not one of… Odo’s callings were fair or not. Q then called Captain Janeway an inferior life form. Her crew jumped to her defense. Seven of Nine told him to not talk about her captain that way. He said ‘Why? You think ignorance is bliss?’ and her first officer punched him across the face. I ran over there to break it up and before I knew it we had all crowded around each other fighting.” Benjamin nodded silently then turned to Kathryn.

“There was a disagreement over a call, Q insulted me and my crew jumped to my defense. Chakotay got violent and Captain Picard jumped in to stop them but Chakotay accidentally punched him and everyone jumped in.”

Benjamin eyed them both, “So, not a single member of either of your senior staffs possess the ability to defuse a conflict?” Both of the Captain’s stayed silent, not knowing what to say. 

Benjamin thought of what to say but he couldn’t think of anything else. Frankly, he had a headache and couldn’t imagine how this could actually happen. He needed time to think it over and decide what to do, “Dismissed.” 

“I’m sorry about falling onto you,” Beverly said later when she caught up to Kathryn. 

“Oh,” Kathryn said, waving her hand, “No need to apologize. Everyone was pushing one another, it was bound to happen some time.” They were walking around the countryside. 

“Well, then I’m sorry about Q.”

“I know damn well about Q’s tendencies, but I got to say it’s fantastic to be on this side of things.” 

“This side?” 

“When Q visited my ship he, well, to put it bluntly, he was very attracted to me, or at least acted like it.” 

“Hmm,” Beverly mused, “He must have a thing for Captains.”

“No…” Kathryn’s eyes widened in disbelief.

“Yeah, he is utterly infatuated with Jean-Luc.”

“I really do feel sorry for Captain Picard, then.” 

“Oh, don’t be.” 

“Hmm?”

“The senior staff and I think that Jean-Luc secretly enjoys the flirting.” 

“Are you around for the flirting?” Kathryn asks, skeptical.

“Yes, Jean-Luc isn’t a good actor. He likes to pretend that Q gets on his nerves, but let’s be real: Everytime Q comes by it seems to really take away some of his stress.” 

“Maybe, then, we’re talking about different Qs.” 

“Why?” 

“Q’s flirting is borderline, no… it’s past borderline, it’s just annoying. It’s like nail scratches on a chalkboard.”

“Well, either way, that Q isn’t here and you don’t have to worry about him.” Beverly smiles a soft smile that Kathryn returns. 

“Yeah,” Kathryn replies, “What’s it like on the Enterprise?” 

“Oh, I don’t know where to begin,” Beverly says with a reminiscent chuckle.

“Okay, at the very least can you shed some light on some rumors?” 

“Oh, no,” Beverly said in mock fear, “What have you heard?”

“I guess the most obvious one would have to be, and I hope you don’t mind me asking, are you and Captain Picard ...?”

Beverly smiled, “We aren’t,” she shook her head, “But, it’s complicated. We both are… attracted to each other, but we don’t let it go anywhere.” 

“I understand,” Kathryn nods her head, “One popular one that I’ve heard is that Data does really have emotions, he just doesn’t recognize it.” 

“Every senior officer, except Data, believes this or at least a version of it. Data says he doesn’t have emotions and Deanna can’t pick up emotions off of him. But I think that’s because he doesn’t know what he’s looking for and his emotions wouldn’t project in the same way that ours would, so that explains the first few pieces. My opinion is this, he doesn’t feel them in the same way that we feel them, but he has them.”

“Okay,” Kathryn said with a nod, “Last one: Is it…” 

ဝ 

“What are you doing alone?” Tom asked, walking up to Travis, “You’re a legend, you probably have a whole fan club out there.” 

“I’m looking for Hoshi, I lost her in the crowd.” Travis explained, “But, I can find her later, she’s probably exploring some alien cultures and languages…” He trailed off worried that he may have come off as offensive, “You are human, right?”

“Yeah,” Tom smiled. He couldn’t help the smile that crept onto his face, he was meeting a hero of his. 

“What’s your name?” 

“Tom Paris, I’m the pilot for Voyager.” 

“I’m Travis, but I’m guessing you already knew that.” 

“I did go to Starfleet Academy,” 

“I know, I’ve heard, our mission was… is studied at the Academy.”

“Like I said,” Tom said with a playful shrug, “You’re a legend.” 

“Thanks,” Travis replied with a smile.

Chapter Text

“What’s wrong?” Harry asked, “So, you have a crush, I don’t see why it’s such a big deal.”

“I’ve never liked a man before, I don’t know how to flirt with a man!” Tom said.

“I’m sure there’s no difference between flirting with a man than a woman.”

“How would you know? You’re not very skilled in either.”

Harry slapped Tom on the arm and shook his head, “I’ve been stuck in the Delta Quadrant for the past seven years, I haven’t had any chance to actually flirt.”

Tom raised an eyebrow at Harry, “Never mind that, what should I do?”

“If you are unsure about how to flirt with a man talk to someone who’s had success.”

“Like?”

“Uhh… Last I heard Lieutenant Commander Data and La Forge are in a very serious relationship and you’ve heard the rumors about Captain Kirk and Commander Spock.”

“I’m not going to walk up to Captain Kirk and ask him about his love life.”

“You’re the one who wanted advice.”

“Yeah, good advice.”

“Who knows, maybe just flirting like you usually would work.”

“When did you decided to become a doctor?” Kathryn asked.

“When I was little my grandmother used to teach me about herbalism.”

“Was she a doctor?”

“No, but she was our town’s… ‘medical practitioner’. If anyone got sick they went to her.”

“Did you spend a lot of time with her?”

“My parents were killed when I was a little kid.”

“Oh,” Kathryn said, they had stopped walking and she had lightly rested her hand on Beverly’s forearm, “I’m sorry, I didn’t…”

“You’re fine,” Beverly smiled slightly before sighing, “I’m fine… It’s been so long that I… I don’t really remember them well anymore.”

Kathryn couldn’t think of anything to say to that except, “I’m really sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize, you didn’t upset me.”

Kathryn nodded but didn’t say anything as they started walking again. It was dark out, a few minutes or so before dawn. Kathryn had woken up early, whether out of habit or discomfort she didn’t know. But she found herself walking around the area exploring, but she was always within eyesight of the camp. Before long she was joined by Beverly and they have started exploring the huge hills that were to the left of the campsite.

They scaled the hill, coming to the top of it just as the sun started to come up across the horizon.

They stood still staring at the horizon as the sun came up. They were entranced by the beauty, the colors of purple, blue and green, all fading from one to another.

Before long and the sun was finally up.

“I’ve missed this,” Beverly said.

“Hmm?”

“You don’t really see many real sunsets on a starship.”

“Yeah,” Kathryn nodded, “I’ve missed it too.”

They turned back towards camp, half of it was in the shade of the large hill the other half was in direct sunlight. Some of the people in the light had started to stir, others were already awake. In fact, all of the captains had started talking with one another. Half of the first officers were up and patrolling around to make sure nothing had happened in the night.

“We need to start heading back to the Enterprise,” Jean-Luc said, his arms crossed, staring off into the distance.

The other captains nodded.

“What if we take a handful at a time to the Enterprise, so we’re not all trying to get in one at a time,” Jonathan suggested.

“We’ll need to split up, to... divide and conquer,” Benjamin said matter-of-factly, “We know the direction of the ship, but we don’t know where, If we split up we can find it quicker.”

Jim put his hands on his hips and started talking, “We can split up by crew-”

“No,” Benjamin quickly jumped in, “We can’t have a team if we split up by crew. Besides, there is a crew complement of 1,014 for the Enterprise while the defiant has a crew of 150. We need to distribute them equally. We need to start integrating each other.”

“We should start moving by noon, Spock said that a day here is three hours shorter than one on Earth. We have less time to work with.”

“How long till noon?” Jonathan asked.

“Spock said around two hours. We need to get everyone organized and ready to go.”

“I’ll brief the senior staff,” Kathryn said, “Captain Sisko, give an announcement to the crews, you can take Captain Picard with you. Captain Kirk, Captain Archer, you guys could inventory the crates, make sure that we have everything we need and see if there would be anything in any of them that would help us find or reach the Enterprise.”

Jean-Luc tensed up slightly, but he kept his mouth shut.

“After we each complete our respective tasks we’ll meet up back here,” Jonathan said, “And figure out how we’re going to divide our crews equally.”

“Also,” Jean-Luc said, “Remember to brief them of the living situation.”

“On the living situation,” Kathryn said, “What are we going to do about Seven?”

“The Borg?” Jean-Luc asked to clarify.

“Ex-borg.” Kathryn snapped, “She needs to sleep in her Borg alcove to regenerate.”

“She’ll have to sleep at Voyager until we move it,” Jean-Luc said.

“How soon?”

“A week.”

“I’ll stay with her until she can move,” Kathryn nodded, “But this means we need to find Voyager as well.”

“We’ll use Enterprise’s sensors,” Jean-Luc said.

“Okay, it looks like we know what’s going on,” Benjamin said, “Let’s break.”

Kathryn walked to where the senior staff had set up camp. Currently, only half of the senior staffs were there. Most of the first officers were walking through the crowd to make sure no one got into a fight. The engineers were nerding over something to the side. Odo and Tuvok were talking about security on their ships and such. Harry and Data were talking about something as well. Everyone else was out socializing.

Kathryn tapped her combadge, “Captain Janeway to all senior staffs, immediately meet back up at the senior staff camp for a briefing, no need to respond to this message, Janeway out.”

Within five minutes every senior staff was sitting down in a circle waiting for Kathryn to start speaking.

“We’ve decided that we’re going to pack up and start heading for the Enterprise. We want to leave by noon. We’re going to divide everyone into groups and we’re going to start a search party for Enterprise. Also, there are only 1,020 quarters so 700 or so are going to have to share quarters. We want this to be on a volunteer basis, but I want you guys, the senior staff, um staffs, to lead by example. Any questions?”

Seven took a deep breath before starting to speak, “What about my Borg Alcove?”

“You and I will be going to Voyager to during the night, we’ll use the transporters, but first we have to find Enterprise,” Kathryn explained.

“Are we dividing by crews?” T’Pol asked.

“No, the Captains and I don’t want there to be a division amongst our people, we went them to blend as seamlessly as possible, and we don’t want to draw lines in between the crews.”

“How are we going to divide up the people?” Kira asked.

Kathryn bit her lip, not liking that someone asked a question that she didn’t have an answer for, “We don’t know yet.”

“So…” Jim sighed as he walked out of the perimeter of the camp, “You’re the man who started the Federation.”

Jonathan paused and looked over at Jim, “Am I?”

“Did I just…” Jim asked, clenching his jaw shut.

“Yeah, I’m not that far,” Jonathan replied.

“Where are you?”

“We just stopped the anti-alien movement on Earth.”

“Okay,” Jim nodded, “I won’t spoil anything else, promise.”

“How far in the future are you?” Jonathan asked as they climbed a small hill.

“Uh, about a hundred years or so.”

“What’s it like?”

“Well, that’s kind of a broad question,” Jim sighed, shrugging, “What do you want to know?”

“Do the Vulcan’s still have a huge say in Starfleet?”

“No.”

They continued on their way until they reached the crates. They had beamed the crates of food, water, and first aid down in such a rush that they didn’t have time to pick a place to plan a camp around. There were about 500 crates. Each of them filled with essentials that each ship didn’t want to be destroyed in the crash.

“Captain…” Jonathan said, a weird feeling twisting in his stomach, a feeling that had been present when he got here, but only grown stronger since, “How do we know you are who you say you are?”

Jim paused, he didn’t know what to say to that, “Captain?”

“How do I know you’re really from my future?” Jonathan asked, “For all I know, this is a Suliban trick.”

Jim thought for a minute about how he was going to answer this question, but there was a small suspicion in the back of his head that he wouldn’t be able to explain so that Jonathan knew without a shadow of a doubt that these people were real. But then again, something seemed to twitch in his own mind…

“Even if I’m not who I say I am, we have to work together if we want to survive, it doesn’t matter if this is a lie because we’re still in this together. There is nothing that I can do to convince you beyond a shadow of a doubt. We can’t start doubting the only people we have to trust.”

Jonathan clenched his jaw, thinking through his options. He looked out into the sky before looking at Jim’s deep brown eyes before letting out a deep breath.

“You’re right,” He let out a sigh, before getting to work.

“All you have to say is ‘I think you’re cute, want to go on a date?’” Harry sighed.

“No. It’s not that simple,” Tom said running a hand through his blond hair and resting it on his neck.

“Look, if you’re not going to take my advice maybe you should just stop complaining to me,” Harry said crossing his arms.

“Maybe you should give better advice than ‘talk to him’.”

“Sure, don’t talk to him and hope that he miraculously can hear your thoughts instead.”

“Shut up,” Tom sighed, “I don’t know what to do.”

“Well it’s a good thing I do,” Harry sighed, “Follow me.” He started walking in the opposite direction.

Tom narrowed his eyes but followed Harry nonetheless.

Jonathan walked up to T’Pol after getting back from the supplies.

“I know you have your doubts,” Jonathan said, letting out a quick sigh. He opened his mouth to continue speaking but was interrupted.

“The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that time travel is impossible.”  

Jonathan paused what he was going to say and just shook his head, mouth slightly agape, “ You’ve been back in time…”

“A one-time occurrence is not enough to dismiss multiple studies.”

Jonathan just looked at her once more, “You have been back in time… Twice,” Doing the same thing multiple times.

“Both in extraneous circumstances, we have not done studies to test what actually happened.”

Jonathan sighed but shook his head, “I know you have your doubts, be we have to trust them. We…” He looked up and saw Jim talking with a hand on Spock’s shoulder, “ Can trust them.”

T’Pol looked over to Jim, then to Sisko who had just shared a laugh with Jadzia, then to Jean-Luc who was smiling at Will and finally to Kathryn who was talking with Beverly and finally back to Jonathan, “Captain…”

“What choice do we have, T’Pol?” Jonathan said, “We can’t do this alone and they haven’t tried to kill us and they seem to follow the same rules and laws.”

T’Pol seemed to think over her options, before long she seemed to sigh, “You make a very logical argument.”

“Thank you.”

“It wasn’t a compliment, it was a fact.”

“Doesn’t matter, just… make sure the crew all knows that they have to trust them, I don’t want to see any problems.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“They need to understand that we can’t have a riot here.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Thank you.”

The Captains all met up at the campsite.

“I think we’re ready to go,” Kathryn said.

“Hold on,” Jim said, stepping forward, “I think we need to talk about something…” He looked over to Jonathan before back to the rest of the group, “Some people have expressed their… concerns with whether or not we’re being truthful with who we say we are. We need some… way to prove our trustworthiness or so forth.”

“You’re right,” Jean-Luc jumped in, “Captain Janeway, Captain Sisko and I know Q and we have a sort of trust in his trustlessness that you’ve never had the chance to establish. So we come into the situation knowing him, knowing what he’s capable of and knowing each other. You guys don’t have that.”

“We need some way to build the trust,” Jonathan agreed clapping his hand together.

“Team building challenge?” Kathryn asked.

Benjamin shook his head, running his hands across his jaw, “We each need to sacrifice something meaningful to each of us.”

“But the object needs to be something decided by the four other captains to make sure it’s meaningful,” Jim replied.

Kathryn scanned the horizon thoughtfully, “We could bury the objects.” The captains looked over at her, thinking over this proposition.

“It needs to be more permanent than that,” Benjamin replied, shaking his head once again, “There has to be no way for us to retrieve the items, no way to… break the trust.”

“Phase pistol,” Jonathan said quickly after.

“Is there any object off-limits?” Jean-Luc asked.

“Family photos,” Benjamin quickly jumped, he wasn’t losing his only connection to Jake and Jennifer.

Jean-Luc hesitated for a second, making sure everyone had time to think about this before asking, “Agreed?” He looked around to the others in the circle.

“Agreed,” Each captain replied simultaneously.

The first captain who had to sacrifice something was Captain Archer: they decided that they would go by year. They walked to where he kept his things from the Enterprise, returning with objects from his quarters and ready room. He had a bottle of Andorian ale, given to him by Shran, the medal from a water polo tournament from his last game on the team, and an assortment of other items and trinkets. He set them down in front of the captains and turned his back not wanting to watch as they chose what was to be destroyed.

The Captains mulled over the objects before Kathryn asked, “What’s the story behind the bottle of ale?”

Andorian ale,” Jonathan corrected, before sighing, “There is an Andorian named Shran, he’s my… my…” he couldn’t think of the right thing to say about Shran, besides, he didn’t feel close enough to any of them to say what he was really feeling, “He’s a great man, I, uh, am really close to him.”

“And this?” Benjamin asked, pointing to the medal.

The captains discussed the objects for a bit before they made up their mind. Finally deciding on on the object to be destroyed.

Benjamin picked up the ale and put it on a nearby boulder. He walked back over to Jonathan and held out his phaser, “Care to do the honors?”

Jonathan shook his head, “I’ve got my own,” he pulled out his phase pistol, clenching his teeth hard before aiming it at the ale. He took in a deep breath and shot the ale into oblivion.

In the end, Jim had to destroy a book that Spock got for him, Jean-Luc had to destroy a flute, Benjamin destroyed the baseball that sat on his desk and Kathryn destroyed a picture of the millennium gate.

Then they arranged everyone into teams. They ended up separating everyone into groups of their rank then they divided each rank into five groups, by the end they had equal teams.

They all went off in different directions. They knew the general direction that the ship was in and the few tricorders that were brought were not strong enough to give them a real direction to look for them. So they split up and took off around noon, knowing they only had about five hours until sunset.

“Hey,” Tom said, remembering from earlier, “What were you going to show me?”

“Hmm?” Harry asked.

“You know before we all split up by rank.”

“Oh, right,” Harry said, remembering his plan, “I was going to take you to go talk to Lieutenant Commander Data and LaForge, ask how they got together.”

“Really?” Tom asked, “Come on. What advice could they give?”
“You said yourself, you felt it was different flirting with a man than a woman and here is the perfect opportunity to learn,” Harry reasoned, shaking his head as he had to step over a huge log.

“I guess,” Tom dragged out his words, hesitant to agree.

“But lucky for you I have an even better idea,” Harry said, looking over to Tom with a proud smile.

“Do you?”

“Follow me, we’re going to have to walk ahead if we’re going to do this,” Harry replied before taking off on a run to get ahead.

Tom sighed, rolled his eyes, but took off after him nonetheless.

“Jim,” Spock asked, beginning to walk level to Jim, “What were you and the other captains shooting at before we divided into groups?”

“I don’t believe that everyone fully… trusts one another, so each of sacrificed something of meaning to prove our loyalty.”

“What did you sacrifice?”

“Do you... remember the book you got me on my last birthday?”

“I see.”

“Don’t be upset…”

“I am Vulcan, I do not have emotions.”

“Not even for me?” Jim asked, a slight smile creeping onto his face.

Spock eyed Jim before holding out his index and middle finger to him. Jim smiled and pressed his fingers to Spock’s. They both felt a jolt of electric love sing through their fingers.

“I believe you are aware of the answer to that question,” Spock said, his voice near monotone, but he was right, Jim knew the answer, “I will have to get you another book,” Spock continued before looking forward again.

“I’m sorry,” Beverly said, catching up to Kathryn.

“For what?”

“I heard that all the captains had to sacrifice an important object to them and I assume what you lost wasn’t fun to lose.”

“It was a picture of the millennium gate, my family had a story that one of our relatives was a leading scientist in developing it, but that story wasn’t true.”

“Was it a picture from back when it was first built?”

“Yep,” Kathryn replied.

“I’m sorry.”

“No need to be, we all destroyed very important things to us.”

“Why?”

“Some people were having trouble trusting others and Captain Sisko decided this was a quick but meaningful way to prove our trustworthiness and we all agreed.”

“I hope that the doubt dies away,” Beverly said.

“Me too.”

“I still don’t trust them,” Malcolm sighed, “Look, just because each captain destroyed something meaningful to them doesn’t mean they aren’t lying through their teeth.”

“If Captain Archer says we can trust them, then we can trust them,” Hoshi replied.

“It’s not like I’m saying that we should rebel, or anything like that, I’m just saying, let’s not blindly trust them.”

“And what if it comes to that?”

“Comes to what?”

“What if this distrust comes to rebelling?”

“It’s not like I’m jumping the gun, I’m just saying we don’t know these people, for all we know they could be Suliban!”

“Would you go against Captain Archer?”

“Look…”

“Would you go against Captain Archer?”

“I don’t know.”

Benjamin walked along in the forest, enjoying the sounds of the wildlife and the wind in the trees. He hadn’t been on a hike in some time and some part of this was enjoyable.

They had been searching for nearly three hours.

“Excuse me, Captain,” Seven of Nine said, moving to be level with Benjamin.

Benjamin clenched his jaw and felt a tightening in his chest, “Yes.” His voice was rough.

“I was wondering if I could scout ahead of the main group, my optic implant allows me to see farther-.”

“No,” Benjamin replied a little too quickly, he could feel the tension in his voice and tried to relax it, he opened his mouth to speak but Seven had already started talking.

“Would you rather me direct the group from here?”

Benjamin took in a deep breath and opened his mouth, “No, please fall back into the group.”

Seven quirked an eyebrow, “Yes, Captain.” She walked away and moved back into the group.

Something didn’t seem to sit right in Benjamin’s stomach as if something had started to claw away at his consciousness but he didn’t have time to think about it because…

“Captain Picard to all other Captains, stay where you are, we have just found Enterprise and we will beam you aboard.”

“Here you are,” Harry said, stopping before he tapped on Travis’ shoulder.

There was a mortified look on Tom’s face as Travis span around to see Tom, as Harry had got lost in the crowd.

“Yes?” Travis asked.

“I was… um… I was going to, uh, ask if you’d um… like to go for dinner sometime?” Tom spat out, closing his eyes as he asked Travis.

Travis just smiled a huge smile before responding, “Yes, that’d be nice.”

Two hours later and a majority of the systems were back on and the sun was setting. Kathryn, Seven and Jean-Luc were in the transporter room. Seven and Kathryn were on the transporter pad and Jean-Luc was at the station, getting ready to transport them over.

“Just contact the bridge when you’re ready to be transported back or if you need anything,” Jean-Luc explained, “See you in the morning.” He started pressing buttons when the door opened to the transporter room.

Benjamin walked into the room, looking over to Seven.

“Can I talk to Seven of Nine for a minute?” Benjamin asked. Seven quirked an eyebrow and looked to Kathryn as she nodded.

Seven unclasped her hands from behind her back and walked off the transporter and over to where Benjamin was standing. He walked out of the room and Seven followed after.

“I wanted to apologize for earlier. I treated you unfairly because of my experiences and you don’t deserve it. You will have a hard enough time as it is and I should not be one of the people who is making it difficult. I am sorry.”

“You are forgiven,” Seven replied, nodding curtly, “Thank you for apologizing.” Seven turned to go back into the transporter room.

“And Seven,” Benjamin added, “If you think I’m treating you unfairly, call me out on it.”

“Yes, Captain,” She replied as she walked back into the transporter room.

Chapter Text

“How’d you sleep?” Beverly asked, sitting down with Kathryn in Ten-Forward.

“That was the first time I’ve ever had to sleep in the cargo bay,” Kathryn shrugged, taking a sip from her coffee, “So, not good. I don’t like sleeping in new places.”

“Must be hard to be a captain then,” Beverly smiled.

“I never seemed to mind it before getting lost in the Delta Quadrant.”

“I can’t even imagine,” Beverly shook her head, taking a sip from her tea.

“It’s amazing, we’ve seen things you couldn’t even dream, but I would trade it in a second to go home.”

Beverly hesitated before asking, “Do you have anyone waiting for you at home?”

“Not anymore.”

“Did they…”

“Die…? No, everyone was under the impression that we were dead, not until six years later did they realize that we didn’t die, he, uh, got married while I was gone.”

“I’m sorry,” Beverly replied, putting her hand on Kathryn’s had on the table.

“It’s fine, I actually realized about a year ago that I didn’t really love him anymore.”

“That still…”

“It wasn’t as bad as it sounds,” Kathryn shook her head.

“Well,” Beverly sighed with a tilt of the head, “If it means anything, I wouldn’t leave you.” Beverly didn’t really know exactly how she meant it, whether in a romantic or friendly way, but, by the way, Kathryn beamed a little too brightly, she started to hope that Kathryn took it in a more than friendly way.

“It means the world.”

ဝ 

“Captain…” Hoshi said as Jonathan the door to his quarters slid open.

“Hoshi?” Jonathan asked with a confused look.

“The… uh… are you busy right now?” She jumped from word to word, confused where to start and what to say.

Jonathan let out a sigh, “Come on in.”

She walked into his bare quarters, he hadn’t had time to unpack and make it look like home. They were bigger and so much different than what they had on their Enterprise. She couldn’t help but look around in wonder.

“What’s wrong?” Jonathan asked as he took a seat on the side of his bed.

“I don’t think everything everyone in the crew trusts these guys,” Hoshi says as she paces, “I don’t know, but I don’t know how long they’ll keep up the niceties.”

“Who’s talking like this?”

“Captain…”

“You can’t give me a problem to fix and not tell me who’s causing it,” Jonathan replied, he had leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.

“Well, Malcolm for one.”

“Doesn’t surprise me at all…” Jonathan shook his head with a sigh, “Anyone else?”

“Not that I heard, but there are undoubtedly more,” Hoshi explained, she had calmed down and stopped pacing, but she still felt the anxiety build up in her chest.

“I know, I’ll talk with Malcolm… and the crew.”

“What’s next?” Jonathan asked the collection of captains. They were in the observation room, all sitting around the table, except Jean-Luc who was standing by the window out of habit.

It was a little disconcerting to him to look out that window and not see stars, but see trees instead.

“We need to start getting back into the hang of things, getting people back to work,” Jean-Luc said.

“Structure will pull everyone together,” Benjamin said.

“I agree, but it’s going to be difficult working with so many more people. This ship is only meant to run with a thousand people,” Kathryn sighed, arms crossed.

“If everyone only worked two days of the week we should be able to fit everyone,” Jim said.

“That’s too much down time,” Jean-Luc sighed, “We have too many people to have that much downtime. Fights will break out, we can’t risk it.” He walked back to the table, straightening out his uniform before taking a seat.

Jean-Luc sighed and thought for a second before looking over to Jonathan, realizing that he hadn’t spoken the entire time, “Captain Archer?”

Jonathan was in his own head, he wasn’t paying attention to the conversation.

“Captain?”

“Oh… um, sure, that works…”

“I something on your mind, Captain?” Benjamin asked, leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table.

“It’s probably nothing…”

“‘Probably’?” Kathryn repeated, leaning towards him.

Jonathan shifted in his seat with a sigh before leaning forward, “There are people in my crew who don’t trust you guys, one of them is on my senior staff, he’s naturally an apprehensive person, so it doesn’t surprise me, but it does worry me…” He trailed off shaking his head.

“Distrust is a natural instinct,” Jean-Luc reasoned, “I’m sure we were all a little suspicious of each other when we first arrived.”

“And even if we weren’t,” Kathryn continued, “We’re all familiar with Q, we all know when to trust him and when to not, you guys don’t have that luxury.”  

“I don’t know Q, either,” Jim said with a smile, “But I definitely know history, and your name is one of the biggest ones in the book.”

“My crew doesn’t have that,” Jonathan shook his head with a sigh, “Just faith… and I don’t think that’s going to be enough.”

“What can we do?” Jim asked.

“What if a challenge, a game even,” Benjamin said, “Where we pair up five people from each crew together and they have to go through a team building exercise together.”

“I like that,” Kathryn replied, nodding to his suggestion.

“We could arrange the teams. That way teams would be made up of people who need to learn to work together.” Jean-Luc said.

“We could put them through some sort of simulation on the holodeck,” Kathryn continued.

“Holodeck?” Jim asked.

Jean-Luc, Benjamin, and Kathryn looked at each other before looking back over to Jim and Jonathan.

“Well,” Jean-Luc sighed, “A holodeck is a room that can simulate anything by manipulating photons.”

“Like a holo-chamber,” Jonathan said.

“Holo-chamber?” Jean-Luc asked.

“We came across an alien race with a chamber pretty close to what you just described,” Jonathan explained, but his voice hid a twist of apprehension, “They called it a holo-chamber.”

Jean-Luc nodded at Jonathan before turning to Jim, “Would you like to see one?”

“A test?” Beverly asked, swirling her drink with the straw.

“I wouldn’t call it a test,” Kathryn replied.

“Your the one who said it,” Beverly teased, a smile resting on her face.

“I shouldn’t have,” Kathryn shook her head, taking another sip from her coffee, “But that’s beside the point, it’s going to be a team building challenge, to try and get the senior staffs to trust each other better.”

“That’s a good idea.”

Kathryn looked up, eyeing her with a questioning glance, “Has there been fighting?”

“No,” Beverly replied in a way that didn’t sound entirely too truthful, “But some of the crews are developing a nationalism of sorts and people are being quick to the defense of their own people.”

“Drawing lines.”

“Precisely.”

“I never really expected that to happen,” Kathryn shook her head again, “I mean, it’s Starfleet, we get ourselves into worse jams then this. I am, was, stuck in the Delta Quadrant. And we know Q. We know what Q is capable of and we know him well enough to know when he’s lying or pulling something so we have nothing to doubt. But they do, Captain Kirk and his crew have one tiny thread and that is the fact that Captain Archer is in their history books, but… Captain Archer and his crew don’t have a single thing to trust and the minute that he, himself, starts to distrust us is the minute that we lose him, it’s the minute that his crew will start a mutiny.”

Beverly half smiled, setting down her drink by its rim, she gave Kathryn a moment to think before speaking, “Do you see what happened here?”

“Hmm?”

“You’re drawing lines-”

“I am n-”

“You are,” Beverly wasn’t about to let her interrupt her point, by this point Kathryn seemed entirely enraged, “You just singled an entire crew out, saying they are the only ones who could mutiny, you drew a line between us and them and you know what happens once lines are drawn,” Beverly’s voice had an authoritative hardness to it that seemed to come from nowhere.

Kathryn took Beverly’s eye contact as a challenge, starring her in the eyes until she broke in realization. Her face burned red when the words seeped into her mind, “You’re…” Her gaze drifted to the table, “You’re right.” 
“Don’t dare them to cross a line you drew, invite them over a bridge you built,” Beverly said, her voice softening.

Kathryn looked up, meeting her eyes for a second before nodding, “Wise words.”

“I sure hope so,” Beverly smiled, before picking up her drink, “Do you know what the challenge is going to consist of?”

“It’s a surprise,” Kathryn smiled a wicked grin.

Benjamin still isn’t sure how they were able to do it, fit all senior staffs into the Observation Lounge. But he was sure of one thing, it shouldn’t have been done. Only ten people could fit at the table and currently, there were 36 people in that room.

All first officers opted to stand at the back, while the captains stood at the heads of the table. Everyone else crowded around, some sitting at the table, some standing behind them.

The room buzzed with talk and it quickly became very hot, by then most people were, at the very least, slightly agitated, and at most, seething and ready to get away from people.

“Excuse me,” Benjamin said, quickly gaining everyone’s attention and the room fell quiet, “Me and the other captains have been noticing an increase in hostilities between the crews. So, you will be divided into teams of 5, one person from each crew and you will be expected to compete in a team challenge. Whoever wins the challenge in the fastest time will get their next shift off.”

“What’s the challenge?” Kira asked.

“Well,” Kathryn jumped in with a smile on her face, “I thought everyone would appreciate the irony if the challenge was who could make a boat first after crashing on an island.”

“How are we going to do that?” Malcolm asked, tension in his jaw. He had been standing towards the back of the room before stepping forward, his arms crossing his body.

“We, uh, have this technology called a holodeck. By manipulating photons it can simulate any environment and this time we’ll turn it into a deserted island,” Kathryn explained.

“It’s similar to the holo-chamber that Trip used,” Jonathan added with a nod. Malcolm returned the nod.

“What are the teams?”

“Well,” Benjamin started, “Team 1 is T’Pol, Mr. Scott, Deanna Troi, Worf… our Worf, The Doctor, and Harry. Team 2 is Charles Tucker, Dr. McCoy, Captain Picard’s Worf, Jadzia, and Tuvok. Team 3 is Hoshi Sato, Spock, Will Riker, Julian, and Tom Paris. Team 4 is Malcolm Reed, Uhura, Data, Odo and Chakotay. Team 5 is Travis Mayweather, Chekov, Geordi LaForge, Kira, and B’Elanna Torres. Team 6 is Dr. Phlox, Sulu, Beverly Crusher, Miles and Seven Of Nine.”

“We need a team name,” Harry said, he was standing with his group in a huddle, with the other teams around them. They were each going to go to separate holodecks and start the challenge at the same time.

“A team name is a waste of time,” T’Pol replied.

“But, it’s good for the team building,” Scotty jumped in with a smile on his face.

“What name did you have in mind?” Deanna asked.

“I don’t know,” Harry sighed, he turned to the Doctor hoping he would have some ideas.

“Don’t look at me,” The Doctor says, placing a hand on his chest.

“What about ‘the Warriors’?” Worf says with his smile.

“I was thinking something more along the lines of ‘The Castaways’,” Harry replied with a smile.

“I don’t feel that is a motivating name,” Worf scowled.

“Motivation isn’t always the point of a team name,” Deanna replied, placing a hand on Worf’s arm.

“I believe we should use this time to start planning, instead of creating a team name,” T’Pol said, moving forward.

“T’Pol has a point,” The Doctor replied.

“Before we do that maybe we should introduce ourselves to each other,” Deanna says, “I’m Deanna Troi.”

“To effectively complete a challenge as a team we will need a leader,” Tuvok said when he and his team were all there, “And as I am the most logical option for that position, I will lead.”

“It’s all the same with you Vulcan’s isn’t it?” Bones sighed, throwing his hands into the air, “Logic this, logic that, even in the future.”

“You are Doctor McCoy,” Tuvok replied.

“Yes,” Bones answered, even though it wasn’t a question.

“You and Mr. Spock engaged in debate over the philosophies of logic and emotion.”

“It’s not a debate if one keeps a closed mind,” Bones scowls.

“That is very self-reflective of you.”

Bones’ face went from irritation to confusion, from confusion to realization and from realization to anger. His glaring eyes trying to bore holes into Tuvok’s head, “You green-blooded-”

“Now, Doctor,” Trip said, putting an arm up to Bones’ stomach to stop him from stepping forward. Bones turned his glare from Tuvok to Trip before calming down to just crossed arms.

“Now…” Trip said as Bones calmed down, “Let’s get to know each other.”

Hoshi smiled before talking, “Anyone here ever shipwrecked before?”

“You mean before this?” Tom asked, swirling a finger around.

“I mean with an actual boat,” Hoshi replied, rolling her eyes at Tom’s comment.

“A more logical question would be ‘Have you ever built a boat?’,” Spock said, his arms crossed at the conversation that developed in front of him.

“Well,” Hoshi shrugged, “Has anyone?”

When no one said anything Will moved his hand forward a bit and joked, “I don’t know if it helps, but, I do know how to play the trumpet.”

Everyone in the group smiled, except Spock, who raised an eyebrow.

“So, what’s the plan then?” Julian asked, “Are you going to summon a boat with your trumpet playing skills.”

“Yes,” Will deadpanned, looking straight at Julian.

“I fail to see how this banter sufficiently helps prepare us for the challenge,” Spock said, crossing his arms.

“The challenge is to bond as a team,” Will replied, “We’re bonding over jokes.”

“You should really meet Tuvok, you two would get along,” Tom sighed.

Malcolm bit his cheek and crossed his arms. He wasn’t stupid, he realized that he was most likely the reason that they were doing this. No doubt Hoshi scampered right off to Captain Archer the minute she realized how he felt. He let out a hot sigh from between teeth as the rest of his team met up.

“Hello,” Nyota says as she gets to the group, “I’m Uhura, the communications officer on the Enterprise.”

“I am Lieutenant Commander Data.”

“I’m the first officer on Voyager, call me Chakotay.”

Malcolm eyed Odo out of the corner of his eye, studying his face with detached curiosity. Odo soon realized what was happening and looked over, catching Malcolm’s gaze.

“I’m a changeling,” Odo explains, taking a step towards Malcolm.

“A what?”

“A ch-... a shapeshifter.”

“Really?” A layer of disbelief coating his words.

Odo narrowed his glare before jumping and changing into a bird in mid-air. Malcolm’s eyebrows jumped and he stepped back, his arms momentarily uncrossing. Odo flew for a few seconds, diving down to make a point before turning back into his humanoid form.

“A changeling?” Chakotay asked, eyeing him suspiciously.

“A good one, I assure you,” Odo replied.

“Are changelings common in your time?” Data asked.

“Too common,” Odo shook his head.

Kira crossed her arms and eyed the group, her original plan was to wait for someone to speak but it didn’t seem like anyone would so she stepped forward.

“I’m Kira Nerys, but call me Kira,” She looked around, making eye contact with everyone before saying, “Seeing as no one else stepped forward, I’ll take command over this team. First things, first, names.” She nodded to the only person she truly knew and that B’Elanna.

B’Elanna sighed before taking a step forward, “I’m B’Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer aboard Voyager.”

Kira nodded to the next person in line.

Chekov stepped towards the middle, “I am Pavel Chekov, Navigator on Captain Kirk’s Enterprise.”

“Geordi LaForge, Chief Engineer on this Enterprise.”

“Travis Mayweather, pilot of NX-01 Enterprise.”

“Okay,” Kira nodded, “Now, do any of you know how to build a boat?”

Miles crossed his arms, a scowl spread across his face. He tried to rest the nerves building in his stomach but they wouldn’t seem to ease. The only thing that he could reason was left to do was just watch the cause of his anxiety with careful meticulousness. So he did just that, eye Seven of Nine with both curiosity and anger.

He shifted from foot to foot as he waited for someone to start something. And before long someone did.

“Hello. For those of you who don’t know, I am Beverly Crusher, Chief Medical Officer aboard the Enterprise. I think that we should introduce each other first then get started on assigning jobs.”

“Ahh, hello,” Dr. Phlox said, with a bright smile on his face, he held out his hand for Beverly to shake, “I am also what you would call the Chief Medical Officer aboard the Enterprise, but a very different Enterprise I suppose. I am Dr. Phlox, but you can simply refer to me as either Phlox or doctor,” He looked over at Beverly and then decided to add, “But considering the people in our group, ‘doctor’ may get confusing.”

“I’ve read about you,” Beverly replied with a smile.

“I suppose you would have.”

He smiled warmly at her and replied with a nod before turning to the others and said, “Would anyone else want to introduce themselves?”

Seven could feel Miles’ eyes on her, it didn’t entirely make her uncomfortable as she was used to it, however, it made her feel as if she should just get the awkward and uncomfortable introductions over and done with, so she stepped forward. “I am Seven of Nine and you can refer to me as such. I am the astrometrics officer aboard Voyager.”

Beverly nodded at her with a kind smile before turning to the next person in the line.

“My name is Hikaru Sulu, and I am the helmsman on Kirk’s Enterprise.”

“I am Miles O’Brien, Chief Engineer on DS9 and you can call me Chief,” He seemed calmer now, but he still eyed Seven out of the corner of his eye.

“Okay then,” Beverly said with a smile to each of the team members, “You guys ready to get started?”

Within twenty minutes of the groups meeting up and getting to know one another, they had each been thrown into their holodecks on a deserted island with nothing but nature to make a boat. They were all allotted a phaser and a single tricorder and that was all.

All of the captains, before the teams started, had placed bets on which team they think would win.

Jonathan had placed money on “The Castaways” mainly because he trusted T’Pol’s leadership and also because he liked the diversity that it brought. He also bet again on the second team, not entirely realizing that the dynamic between Bones and Vulcan was bound to be a disaster.

Jean-Luc had his bet on Will’s team. He knew Will was strong enough as a leader and easy going as a person enough to work with the diversity between Julian and Tom while still being able to take the logical thoughts and opinions from Spock without much turbulence.

Jim had some difficulty deciding who to place money on, his first instinct was to go with Spock, but Spock’s team was taken. His second instinct was to go with Bones, but the minute he realized Bones was placed with a Vulcan he threw that thought into the trash. He then looked over the list again and realized that Uhura’s team, while problematic, might actually have a shot. Uhura was a talented leader in difficult situations and was well trained in matters of diplomacy, well enough to handle any tensions that the rest of the team might send her way.

Benjamin also had trouble deciding on a team to support but in the end, it came down to a very obvious answer. He knew Kira was a good leader, while she didn’t like the Starfleet type, she certainly did know how to lead when needed. He knew Geordi as an experienced engineer, and both Travis and Chekov as reportedly under-appreciated members of the crew while still being incredibly important. He hated that some people were pushed to the side, especially when they have something to add to the team. It was so clearly an underdog-like situation, he couldn’t help but support them.

Kathryn supported the last team for what she claimed as logical reasons but was probably more personal than anything, but she would never confess. Right off the bat, Kathryn was severely worried about Seven and how the others would react to having an ex-drone on their team. The only thing she could do was trust that Beverly could help stand by and support Seven during this. Which is specifically why she placed Beverly in that group. She also had faith that Beverly could step up as a leader when the time called for it and this was one of those times.

So each captain waited outside of each holodeck, with an extra crewman waiting outside of the extra team’s holodeck. Each of them carefully monitored each test to make sure not one thing went astray.

No one’s entirely sure what happened but the next thing they know is half the levels that the holodecks seem to lose their electricity, however, the holodecks are still running. But they’ve been locked out and no one can interact with the computer.

The very first person to react was Jean-Luc, who had dealt with a fair amount of holodeck problems aboard the Enterprise. He quickly pulled back the panel to the interface and started working with the wires and such, trying to figure out what had happened. He frantically messed with wires, until the panel lit up.

He let out a relieved sigh before tapping the screen, but to his surprise, it didn’t do anything. He could tap it all he wanted, and it lit up, but he couldn’t interact with it or change a thing.

He read the screen carefully, trying to gather as much information as he could. His eyes scanned the page and stopped with a tense gasp as he read the words “Safety is disengaged”.

He snapped his hand to his chest, “Engineering.”

Uhura rested her hands on her hips and sighed overlooking the view of the island. It was such a magnificent view, but they had work to do and man did she really want a day off.

She looked back over to her group, Odo and Malcolm were off to the side talking, Data was looking through the woods for useful objects along with Chakotay.

She took in a deep breath of the salty air before walking back to the group.

“Okay,” She called out waving for the others to circle up. Odo moved quickly, but Malcolm was more reluctant to join the rest of the group. Data jogged over, Chakotay quickly following him.

“We need to find materials, maybe a fallen tree that we could hollow,” Uhura said.

“Or a raft that we could tie together,” Chakotay added.

Malcolm looked out scanning the horizon and searched for something that could help the team but he froze as an idea struck his head.

“Or…” He said, a sly smile creeping on his face, “We already have what we need.” He looked straight to Odo.

Uhura followed his gaze until her eyes landed on Odo, then she gasped and realized what he was getting at, she took a step in his direction, “Do you think you could…? Well, you know… turn into a boat?”

Odo’s mouth dropped slightly, “I… uh… don’t see why not?” He looked gruffly at Malcolm before walking towards the water. He changed into a boat before their eyes.

The others looked at each other with a shrug before walking forward, placing a hand on the edge of the rowboat. Malcolm is the first to climb in.

“Hey, Geordi?” Kira called from the beach, holding out a phaser towards him, “We need this to act like a carving tool, not something that’ll cut all the way through. Do you think you could do that?” She was standing next to a huge log, that was cut around the edges. The only problem was the fact that the phaser cut all the way through the wood and couldn’t be used to hollow something.

Geordi sucked in a tense breath from between his teeth, his jaw clenching afterward, “Maybe?”

“Can you, or… should we come up with a different way?”

“Let me see the phaser and try it but think about other ways…”

“Okay,” Kira said with a nod and an encouraging smile, “You can do it.” She held out the phaser to Geordi and he took it, walking away to think it over.

Chekov sat on the beach, scanning the horizon, his eyes narrowing as he thinks he sees something. He blinks, clears his eyes and checks again. He saw the same thing again. He squinted and that’s when he saw it. He spun on his feet and took off on a jet fast run towards Kira, “Sir! Sir! Kira!”

He arrived at where she was standing with her arms crossed, panting, he put a hand on her shoulder.

“Yes, Chekov?” She said, incredibly calm in contrast to his panic.

“I think I saw sharks.”

“Sharks?”

“Yes, sharks.”

“What is a 'sharks'?”

“Oh, uh. A shark is a giant marine animal that is a carnivore and is widely known to attack people.”

“Oh, so they’re dangerous.”

“Very.”

Kira let out a sigh and put a hand to her head.

“Well, safety is still on, we should be fine.”

It took Geordi nearly an hour and a half but he was able to do it, they were able to hollow out the main body and Travis and B’Elanna were able to find a small enough log to act as a pontoon to the boat. They too were able to make it off the beach. The sharks circled the boat, however, the simulation cut before anything could happen.

T’Pol, Trip and Hoshi’s teams were able to make it off their islands without much difficulty. However, Dr. Phlox’s team encountered problems.

They had all worked together perfectly, they had built an incredibly stable boat, but…

Kathryn stood at the computer screen. Helpless. Out of control. Hopeless. She had no idea what to do, but just stand there and watch with horror.

Her knuckles turned white with how tightly she had closed her fist. She watched the movie unfold.

Beverly had skillfully led the team through boat building. They had a big enough and strong enough boat for all of them. They all boarded the boat and sailed out just passing the coral reef when the boat was hit by some animal or another. The boat tipped and sending everyone to the water.

Sulu quickly climbed back in and was able to help everyone else up, except Beverly. Who had hit her head against the side of the boat, and started bleeding.

Seven quickly reacted diving into the water. Her mind seemed to go into auto-drive, she didn’t listen to the cold or the scream. She focused only on the unconscious doctor under the waves.

Beverly’s blood had started to leak into the area around them and Seven knew they had only seconds before the sharks were on them. She picked Beverly up by the waist, kicking as fast and powerful as she could taking Beverly to the boat. She threw Beverly up as fast as she could, but something seemed to stop her from getting into the boat.

Seven looked to the side and saw what she had feared, a shark had jumped up and latched onto Beverly’s shin. By now Sulu had grabbed the phaser and shot at the shark. Seven clambered onto the boat, laying Beverly down onto the boat. Phlox got quickly to work, using his shirt to wrap the wound.

“Safeties are off,” Miles whispered worry painting on his face as he tried to row the boat forward.

They rushed against the clock, rowing and paddling the boat forward. Hoping against hope, racing against time to get out of there before Beverly was out of time.

Kathryn paced back and forth outside the operating room waiting for news. Waiting for an answer. The worried anxieties and paranoid thoughts ran rampant through her head.

She knew that Beverly was safe, that there was nothing that was putting her life at risk anymore but she couldn’t shake the feeling that she had just ten minutes earlier when she didn’t know if Beverly would live.

She was still pacing when some ensign came up and gave a report to Jean-Luc who had also been there. She could hear their voices but not their words. She was too deep in her own thoughts to know what was really happening around her. In fact the only reason she realized that Jean-Luc was there was that she heard his voice, otherwise, like everyone else who was there, she wouldn’t have known he was there.

It was to the point that she wasn’t even aware of when they stopped talking, the only reason she knew that they had stopped was that Jean-Luc had walked up to her and put a hand on her shoulder.

“They have ruled out foul play. The engineer said it was an electrical malfunction and nothing else.”

Kathryn nodded and went back to pacing.

It was about half an hour before the doors opened and the Doctor walked out. He let out a sigh before talking, “She is, and will be, fine. But before all of you just walk in there, you should know that it would be the best for her if it was just one at a time, stress isn’t good for regenerative therapy.”

Kathryn didn't wait for another word to be said before racing to Beverly. Her pace was frantic, only slowing down when she saw her. Without a word she sat down next to her and pulled her into a hug. Holding her until the anxiety and tension dissipated. 

Beverly smiled, waiting until Kathryn pulled away to start speaking, "You seem tense."

"I, uh, was worried."

"You don't need to worry, I'm fine."

Kathryn sighed, "I know," She shook her head and locked eyes with Beverly, "I just... needed a physical reminder." The world slowed to a grinding halt. Their eyes stayed connected as they slowly leaned in. 

Beverly's eyes fluttered closed as the sparks flew and butterflies sang. 

Chapter Text

Garak winced as the sound in the room spiked high. He took a sip from his Raktajino as the chaos of Ten-Forward whirled around him.

He was starting to get used to the wildness of the human race versus the Bajoran one. At first, the Bajoran’s were resentful towards Garak but as time progressed they got accustomed to him. The Bajorans on a whole were passionate but quiet, they only got loud when they felt injustice. Humans only got loud all the time. There was a stark difference between the humans and the Bajorans and it was going to take a while to get used to.

“Are all humans like this?” Garak asked with a sigh as Julian took a seat across from him.

“Only at a party,” Julian said with a chuckle.

“I will not be going to one of those.” Garak took another sip from his Raktajino.

“There usually more fun if you’re dancing.”

“I don’t dance.”

“Why not?” Julian asked with a sly smile on his face.

“Two left feet,” Garak shrugged.

“An Obsidian Order spy with two left feet? I don’t believe it.”

“Believe it or not,” Garak shrugged, “But it is true.” He picked up another bite when a group of eight crewmembers from Voyager walked up to the table.

“Hello,” Garak greeted with a smile, even though he knew this situation could go south very quick. Julian turned to see who he was talking to.

“What’s a Cardassian doing here?” Some Bajoran from the group sneered after stepping forward.

“Eating,” Garak said, lifting his food with the fork to show them.

“He meant here on this ship, on this planet,” Another person said stepping forward to back up the Bajoran.

“Because,” Julian sighed, “He’s with Starfleet, he’s-”

“They’re letting genocidal war criminals into Starfleet now?”

“He’s not a war criminal or genocidal,” Julian said.

“He’s a Cardassian,” The Bajoran said.

“Same difference,” The other one said, he placed a hand on Garak’s shoulder and pushed him.

“Hey!” Julian said, jumping to his feet, “There’s no need for that.” He stepped in between the group and Garak, who had also gotten to his feet.

“What are you going to do about it?”

In Enterprise’s mess hall Tuvok sat at a table with T’Pol, Spock, Selar, Taurik, and Vorik. On the table sat an uncompleted Kal-toh.

Jim stood behind Spock, with a hand on his shoulder, watching as they silently worked at the logic puzzle. He chuckled.

“Hmm?” Spock asked, still intently focused on the game.

“Bones would have a fit if he were in here right now,” The smile on his face widening as he imagined it.

“Indeed.”

“Are you referring to Dr. McCoy?” Tuvok asked as he moved one of the rods in the game.

“Yes,” Jim nodded.

“I had the opportunity to meet during our team challenge, he is a very… emotional man.”

“The standard for most humans,” T’Pol agreed.

“I find their emotionalism… fascinating,” Taurik replied.

“Human emotion has helped me to develop an appropriate bedside manner,” Selar commented with a nod.

“Bedside manner?” Tuvok questioned with a raised eyebrow.

“When you work alongside humans you learn to develop one,” Selar answered.

“Well, we do like a soft touch,” Jim shrugged with a smile.

The game continued to play in intensity. Tuvok so focused on the game that the beep from his combadge caused him to jump.

“Mr. Tuvok?”

Tuvok tapped his combage, “Yes?”

“A fight has broken out in uh… Ten-Forward.”

“I’m,” He paused slightly, realizing he had no idea where Ten-Forward was, “On my way.” He shot a look to Taurik, who nodded his understanding. Taurik jumped up, leading the way.

People formed a ring around what could only be described as a massacre. Two of the eight crewmen held Garak up the arms, while two others held Julian back. The leader of the gang decked Garak in the face.

“Cardassian,” He spat, wiping the back of his hand on his cheek. Garak’s blood smeared on his cheek and he wrinkled his Bajoran nose.

“Really? I’m a Cardassian?” Garak asked. The man turned back, his hand whipping around, smacking him right on the cheek.

“Shut up, Ga-” Julian tried to say but one of the men wrapped his hand around Julian’s mouth, cutting the words from his mouth.

The Bajoran pulled back his arm, about to let it fly straight for Garak’s stomach when a strong hand stopped him. His face flared when he turned back and saw Tuvok.

“Come with me, Mr. Talan.”

The captains had decided to take shifts, taking turns as captains seemed to be the best way to split the power while also having time to take a break. And it was Kathryn’s shift.

She was reclined back in the chair in her ready room… their ready room, reading a PADD. She had to constantly remind herself that the ready room wasn’t exclusively hers and some part of that made her uncomfortable. But before she could go all psychologist on herself and her problems the door to the room wooshed open.  

Benjamin stormed in, a look of anger stuck on his face. He marched straight up to her desk not stopping to even let Kathryn speak, “Eight of your crewmen attacked two of mine.”

“Oh my god,” She whispered, “Are they all right?” Her voice strengthened as she asked. She stood up, not as tall as Benjamin, but she matched his intensity with authority.

“Dr. Bashir has a black eye and a dislocated shoulder, but Garak… Garak, on the other hand, has five broken ribs, a bruised cheekbone, and a concussion.”

“What,” Kathryn paused, shocked, “What happened?”

“According to Julian, Dr. Bashir, the group of eight came up to Garak, calling out for being Cardassian, Julian stood up to protect Garak and fight started. Your men ended up restraining and hitting Garak and Julian.”

“They were Maquis, weren’t they?”

“According to Tuvok.”

“What are we going to do?” Kathryn asked.

“Well,” Benjamin deadpanned, “I don’t know what kind of ship you’re running, but on Deep Space Nine when people commit assault we detain them.”

“No, I know, I mean what are we going to do about the divide. There’s been a fight.”

“I don’t know,” He sounded as if he had lost a battle, completely at a loss as to where to go next. He pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes fluttering shut in frustration, “You’d think that we wouldn’t have problems like this, we are Starfleet after all.”

“The Maquis weren’t though, they aren’t Starfleet they haven’t gone through this. They’re just fighting for their beliefs.”

“Are you justif-”

“No. It’s not a justification, it’s an explanation.”

Benjamin sighed, leaning against the desk, and crossing his arms. He didn’t know what to do or think. So he just let the room sit in a comfortable silence as Kathryn sank back into her chair. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Julian decided to press charges.”

“Press charges?”  

“You said yourself, they’re not Starfleet Officers.”

“This is a Federation vessel, under Starfleet's command. Hell, we don’t even have any authorities.”

“Odo, he’s well versed in Federation law.”

“So are we enacting Federation law instead of…” She faded out trying to imagine how that would even work.

“For every person who isn’t a Starfleet officer,” Benjamin shrugged, “Half my crew is part of the Bajoran Militia.”

“And you haven’t had problems between them and… Garak before?”

“We did at first but it became clear that Garak wasn’t the enemy. He has even developed a good rapport with many of his Bajoran customers. And recently, he’s been helping with the war effort, our war effort, of course.”

“We’ve dealt with a single Cardassian during our time in the Delta Quadrant. And she was clearly a bad guy, we didn't have any blurry lines, nothing to test their ability to work side by side with a Cardassian,” She breathed out a sigh as the memories resurfaced, “It looks like my crew is farther back then I had thought.”

“Back when I first got to this station I had the biggest trouble with Major Kira and some of the Bajorans. They weren’t all too happy with the prospect of the Federation setting up camp over Bajor. But now… I couldn’t imagine running that station without them, or even being here without them.”

“That’s how it was between the Maquis crew and the original Voyager crew. My Chief Engineer, B’Elanna Torres, she fought with everyone over everything, but that ship couldn’t have made it as far is it did without her. And Chakotay? That man is my closest friend. I couldn’t imagine coming this far without him. And I don’t want to.”

“It’s funny, how a crew at odds can go from fighting to being a family?” Benjamin said with a smile.

“Well, when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with only 140 people to remind you of home you quickly become close with everyone,” She replied returning Benjamin’s smile.

“You look fine!” Hoshi said smiling brightly as brushed off Travis’ shoulders, “You’re gonna be great.”

They stood near the door to his quarters. Travis had spent the last hour excitedly preparing for possibly the weirdest date of his entire life. And now that he was on his way to go he felt the butterflies tingle in his stomach.

“Yeah,” His roommate said, walking up with a blanket wrapped around his shoulder, “It’ll be the best date.”

“Thanks, Pavel,” Travis smiled at Chekov who replied with a yawn. He was currently on the working the night shift as navigator for the helm which meant he slept from the time he got home till around four.

“See, even Pavel agrees, don’t be nervous,” Hoshi smiles, her mouth dropped to say something more but the door beat her to it and rang out, causing her to jump, “You got this!”

Travis took in a shaky breath through clenched teeth and a tight jaw before letting it out and walking to the door, “I’ll see you in a bit.”

“It better be longer than a bit!”

The door swooshed open to a smiling Tom holding a rose.

“I, um, got you a flower,” He said throwing his hand out.

Travis eyed the rose and notice the slight shake of his hand, before smiling at the cute gesture, “Thank you,” He reached out and gently took the rose from Tom, “I’ll go put them in water.” He swung around, causing the door to open.

Travis half expected Hoshi to still be there, patiently waiting until Travis had gotten back but she wasn’t there. His shoulders stooped, “Hoshi?”

“Travis?” She asked, walking up to him, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, Tom brought me a rose,” Travis beamed his biggest grin, handing her the rose.

“Awe.”

Travis walked back outside, joining Tom back out in the hallway.

“So,” Travis sighed, “What’s the plan for tonight? Dancing in Paris? Swimming in Risa? Dinner on the moon?”

“You’re really enjoying the holodecks?”

“They’re amazing!”

Tom glanced over at him, smiling at the awe burning in his eyes, “Well,” Tom shrugged, facing forward, “I planned a picnic and stargazing, out on the planet.”

“Don’t get enough stars at work?”

“Not anymore.”

Garak laid in the hospital bed, itching for somebody, or even something, to distract him. It was boring just sitting here in sickbay all day when he could get to work on a new project or something.

His eyes wandered the room, finally landing on a “The Never-Ending Sacrifice” that Julian had brought by earlier in the day. The PADD looked fairly unused and Garak toyed with the idea that Julian made it just for him, but the remembered that that would have been a waste of energy and that he probably already had a copy. But that thought warmed him even more than the original, to think that he cared enough to loan a personal possession.

Garak shook away the thought, he didn’t need to pick up the pesky human habit of swooning at the smallest romantic gestures. Besides, he and Julian have only just started dating, there is no need to be getting this attached.

He let out one long sigh, before snaking his hand out and snatching the PADD from the nightstand. He opened it to where he had left off. He read the first few words before his mind started to stray back to Julian.

He sighed once more and shook his head, chasing away Julian from his mind. He started the sentence again, hoping for better luck registering it this time. But it was to no avail, Julian had joined his thoughts.

“That’s it.” He dropped the PADD to the bed before jumping to his feet.

“Ah, ah, ah,” A southern draw warned, “Don’t even think about it, just climb right back up into that bed of yours and stay there.”

“I’m fine,” Garak argues, turning to look at Bones who had just walked into the room from his office.

“Really?” Bones asked, crossing his arms and walking towards him, “Your concussion says otherwise. Now I don’t know much about,” Bones looked him up and down trying to remember the words, “You Cardassians, but last I checked a concussion isn’t a good sign.”

“I’ve had many concussions before.” Garak waved his hand to dismiss the idea of further worrying.

“You have one too many and you’ll not have enough of a brain left to get another one.”

“I’ll be more careful next time,” Garak assured him and turned to move.

“Get back in that bed before I call someone to put you into it,” Bones said walking forward, “Besides, you need a check-up anyway.”

“Can I have a rain-check?”

Bones shook his head, he pointed to the bed, “Sit down.” Bones snagged the tricorder waiting on the counter. He turned the thing in hand under his scrutiny. His knowledge of the device foggy at best, in spite of Beverly’s best efforts to explain the device.

Garak dropped his head in defeat before sitting back down on the bed. He eyed Bones with a healthy suspicion as the tricorder was dragged over his torso.

Bones reached Garak’s mid stomach before the tricorder beeped, “Dammit,” He whispered, “What’s with this blasted thing.” He pulled it closer to his face, squinting in the hopes that he’d be able to see it better.

“Would you like me to take a look?” Garak offered, holding his hand out, “I am quite skilled in Federation technology.”

“Federation,” Bones repeated with a slight smile, “I’m glad to see one familiar thing here.”

“I guess it’s comforting, being in a strange new world, both from the past and the future, to see one commonality among it all,” Garak reasoned.

“It is.” Bones handed over the tricorder to Garak.

Garak took it from him, almost immediately identifying the problem, “You are holding the tricorder too close to me.”

“Too close? It’s supposed to scan you, how can it be too close?” Bones asked, ripping the device from Garak.

“From what I understand it is too close to get a wide enough range and the readings won’t entirely be accurate.”

“Oh…” Bones said quietly, he continued to run the tricorder over Garak, “Thank you.”

“You are certainly welcome.”

Bones clenched his jaw, mouth forming a hard line, hoping that if he intently focused he would be able to operate this damned device.

“So,” Bones asked after he had gotten a clear reading, deciding he hated silence just a little more than he hated small talk, “Whatta you in for?”

“A group of Maquis disliked my,” He swept his hand down his body, “Cardassian-ness and decided to use their own brand of vigilante justice.”

“I see,” Bones said.

“I’m quite used to it now though,” Garak replied with the attitude one would give during a shrug, “When you have the history of a Cardassian one learns to… adapt to your treatment.”

“What kinda history?”

“The Cardassians occupied a planet called Bajor, which led to brutal murders and oppression. We finally left Bajor and reclaimed some of our territories when a group of settlers in that territory decided to start a terrorist organization now known as the Maquis.”

“Oh,” Bones said quieter. His mind changing based on the direction of the conversation, he liked silence a little more than small talk.

“Hey,” Beverly greeted from the couch, a smile spreading on her face, as the door to her quarters opened and Kathryn walked in. They hadn’t realized what turn their relationship would take when they decided to bunk with each other, but neither of them was complaining about the living situation.

“Hey,” Kathryn sighed, her voice heavy with the weight of the fight. She crossed the room, finally collapsing to the couch.

Beverly sat the PADD down on the couch beside her and scooted closer to the woman in distress, “What’s wrong?”

“Everything.”

“Bad day?”

“Some of the Maquis from my crew, cornered and assaulted a Cardassian from Captain Sisko’s crew.”

“Wow,” Beverly said slowly, “What are you going to do?”

“Well,” Kathryn said, jabbing the air around her with a wild gesture, “I don’t know. What can we do?”

“Penalize the Maquis, harshly. Not in a cruel or brutal way, but just enough to make everyone think twice before assaulting another person.”

“I don’t know,” Kathryn sighed, shaking her head lightly, as if she wasn’t really sure ‘no’ was what she wanted to convey, “The captains are meeting tomorrow to discuss it. Something will be decided there.”

“I can’t imagine that will be fun.”

“At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Captain Sisko was a little trigger happy, Captain Archer and Captain Kirk don’t even know what a Maquis is, let alone a Cardassian. And Captain Picard, well, let’s just say, he is probably going to use this as an excuse to attack me-”

“Kathryn,” Beverly jumped, biting off the end of her sentence, she shot Kathryn a pointed look, “Jean-Luc is not looking for a reason to attack you. He may say things that you dislike or disagree with, but that doesn’t make it attacks.”

“I can tell the difference between making a point and making an attack and Captain Picard is definitely not making a point.”

“I think you’re overreacting,” Beverly replied with a shake of her head, “Besides, do you ever reply with a sharp comeback?”

Kathryn opened her mouth and paused, realizing the cleverly laid trap for her. She wrinkled her nose before replying, “Yes.”

“There you have it, you’re being just as petty as he is,” Beverly said, “ If he even is being petty.”

“He is.”

“Well, if your acting petty, no wonder.”

“I’m not.”

Beverly rolls her eyes, with an exasperated sigh, “Anyway,” Her voice shifted from a teasing to serious, “Have you ever had difficulties with the Maquis before?”

“Only when we first started. We also had something recently but it wasn’t necessarily their fault. But besides that, they’ve mixed in fine.”

“That’s rough.”

“Yeah,” Kathryn sighed, “I knew we would have some troubles but I didn’t think it would lead to a full out assault on someone.”

“Is the Cardassian okay?”

“Last I heard he was doing better.”

“Good.”

“I just,” Kathryn shrugged, “I didn’t expect that we’d have to deal with racial prejudices, at least not with any of the crews from our time. I had a feeling that we might have a problem with Captain Archer and Captain Kirk’s crew, given their relationships with Klingons but I didn’t think that our crews would have a problem. But even then,” Kathryn sighed, “I didn’t imagine anything would ever get violent.”

“I think while we’re on Kasjp we should really stop having expectations.”

“Kasjp?”

“Kasjp what we name of the planet, K for Kirk, A for Archer, S for Sisko, J for Janeway, and P for Picard.”

“Who came up with that?”

“I think it was someone on the lower decks of Jean-Luc’s Enterprise. It was in honor of you and the other Captains.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

Tom had set up the picnic date on the hillside facing the direction of the sunset. He had replicated a beautiful dinner that they had both enjoyed. After scarfing down the last bite and the sun had set they laid back, taking in the night sky. The gazed at the stars watching, one, two, three shooting stars pass by. It was a beautiful sight.

After sometime Travis got up to stretch, “Tom?”

“Yeah?” Tom asked as he shot up to see what Travis needed.

“Do you see that?” Travis threw out his hand so that he was pointing to the horizon. Tom followed the hand until his gaze landed on the band of light that stretched there.

“Yeah,” He said slowly, as it took it’s time to set in.

“That means what I think it means, right?”

“It… It means there’s a city there!”

Chapter Text

“So?” Tom said, excitement burning in his eyes, “We’ve got to do this.” He swayed from foot to foot, his gaze looking from Benjamin back to Travis, not sure who to look at. He could hardly contain his excitement.

Benjamin wrinkled his nose, as he usually did when thinking about something. He leaned forward resting his elbows on the table, folding his hands together. It wasn’t that he was opposed to the idea of exploring the civilization. But First Contact was a very touchy subject and something that not all Captains would be either prepared for or in favor of. It was rare for all five to unanimously agree to something. Not just rare, more like statistically impossible.

“Well, gentlemen,” Benjamin sighed, “You have a very interesting proposal. But I hope you realize entirely what you’re asking for. First Contact is not something I am willing to discard and knowing Captain Janeway, she might just have a very different, less strict construction of the rules, having had spent time in the Delta Quadrant.”

Tom bit his lip, “I’m sure she’ll agree.”

“We’ll still have to talk it over,” Benjamin sighed, “But in the meantime, do not be going off on your own adventures.” He darted his eyes back and forth from Travis to Tom, “And I’ll talk to the other captains… dismissed.”

A group of people had made a trip to the surface. It was a team of 10 people, T’Pol, Malcolm, Jim, Spock, Worf, Data, Kira, Odo, Chakotay, and Tuvok, to pick out a Christmas tree for Ten-Forward.

T’Pol had a lot on her mind. That was a given if you were a Vulcan experiencing an emotion. Repeatedly. She wasn’t prepared for the effects of it either. The blood coursing through her veins, her heart trying to beat its way out of her chest, the heat in her face. All of these symptoms of a… human emotion and she nearly hated herself for it. Nearly. And the worst part of it, she didn’t know what to do about it. At least, nothing definite. She had a plan. If you could call it one.

Odo and Malcolm trailed the group, Odo scanning the horizon and Malcolm brandishing a phase pistol. His arm swept the area slowly as if he was pointing towards some enemy.

“Do you enjoy carrying that weapon?” Odo asked, nodding slightly to the pistol.

Malcolm threw a glance sideways at him, before shrugging, “It’s protection.”

“Hmm,” Odo hummed.

“Why do you ask?”

“I’ve always felt that the person who is happy to carry a weapon shouldn’t be the one to carry it.”

“I’m not trigger happy,” Malcolm sighs, “But there is, of course, an adrenaline rush to having a weapon.”

“Well,” Odo continued, “Just make sure you don’t shoot one of our men.” He kept a hesitant glare on the phase pistol. Wanting to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible.

Malcolm shook his head, continuing to sweep the area. Malcolm preferred silence and intended on keeping true to that preference, however, one question nagged at his curiosity, “Are you from the Delphic Expanse or…”

“No, I’m from the Alpha Quadrant.”

“The Alpha Quadrant?”

Odo sighed, not really sure how to go about articulating this. Malcolm would have no reference to what the quadrants were anyway, “The galaxy has been divided into quadrants, I’m from the Alpha Quadrant, while Earth and Vulcan and so forth are in the Beta Quadrant.”

“Are there more than those quadrants?”

“Yes, as far as we know, there is the Delta and Gamma Quadrant.”

Malcolm nodded, resting back into silence.

T’Pol took in a deep breath, scanning the group for a specific person, finally seeing them. She weaved her way through the group, slowing down when she found them.

“Mr. Spock?” She asked, standing next to both Spock and Jim.

“Yes?” Spock asked, turning his attention to Vulcans.

“I require advice…”

“On?” Spock asked.

T’Pol weighed her words carefully, “Emotions.”

Spock raised an eyebrow, “Emotions?”

“Yes.”

“And why have you come to me for such a topic?”

“I want a Vulcan opinion,” T’Pol replied, “And… a rumor suggests that you have experience with this particular subject.”

“What rumor is this?”

“That you and Captain Kirk are in a romantic relationship.”

Jim’s head darted to the side, eyeing T’Pol with curiosity and frustration, “What did Dr. McCoy tell you?”

“That is irrelevant,” T’Pol replied, “Is the rumor false?”

Jim and Spock looked to each other, not sure how to respond to the accusation before Jim sighed, “We wanted to keep it a secret.”

“We do not want people from the future to tell us what happens in our relationship.”

“If they let what happens slip then it could harm our relationship.”

“Logical,” T’Pol replied, before remembering what this conversation was supposed to be about, “Would you be able to advise me?”

“What is the situation?”

“Okay,” Benjamin said, “It looks like we have a few things on the schedule today.” He sat at the head of the table this time, being the captain on duty. The rest of the captains sat around the other end of the table.

“First things, first,” He said, standing up, he could no longer force himself to stay seated, he liked to pace, “Is the Christmas tree ready?”

“Yes, sir,” Jim said, “We decontaminated it and ourselves, but there was some type of… poison ivy. I’ve had the team stop by sickbay to get checked for anything.”

“Have you been checked?” Benjamin asked, narrowing his eyes.

Jim tensed his jaw, “I’m fine.”

“Have you been checked?”

“No, sir.”

“That’s where I want you to go, right now,” Benjamin replied, pointing to the door.

Jim took in a deep breath, “Yes, sir.” He got up and left.

“Okay, next, Tom Paris and Travis Mayweather have discovered that there is a town out North East from here.”

“We have the sensors up?” Jean-Luc asked.

“No,” Benjamin shook his head, “They saw city lights in the distance long after the sunset.”

“Are we for sure,” Kathryn asked, “That it’s a city?”

“No, but it is a plausible answer, the answer I’m choosing to believe.”

“We should arrange a team,” Jean-Luc responded, “To investigate.”

“Are you feeling better?” Julian asked. He had an arm around Garak’s waist, just in case. He had just been released from sickbay.

“I’ve felt fine this entire time,” Garak sighed.

“Have you, now?” Julian replied sarcastically, shaking his head, “Garak. I may not be able to decipher you in most situations, but this is not one of those situations. You’re just insufferably egotistical.”

“Is that what you think?” Garak questioned, sincerity in his voice.

“Yes, Ga-” Julian and Garak collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

Garak woke up with his head on the table. He felt… different. To say the least. For one, he didn’t feel the nagging cold that he usually felt. He was warm from the shoulders down, but his neck was a little breezy. He seemed lighter than usual. The world seemed less colorful as if someone had tried to paint the rainbow with only so many colors.

He reached a hand up to his head, jumping when he felt his temple. He looked at his hands, causing him to jump more. The skin on his head was warm; and his skin? Tan. Not gray.

“What…?” He didn’t have time to think about anything, however, because the person sitting next to him woke up.

“Captain Kirk?” Hoshi Sato said, pausing when she heard her voice. She put a hand to her hand, feeling her face. She opened her mouth to ask a question, but Garak interrupted her.

“Cap- No,” Garak sighed, forgetting his predicament “I hardly believe Kirk was a Cardassian.”

“Cardassian?” Hoshi asked, “Garak?”

“I don’t presume we’ve met,” Garak said, “How do you know my name?”

“Mr. Garak, I don’t know who you’re seeing, but I am Captain Sisko,” Benjamin said.

Garak took a minute to ponder his words, not really sure what to say to that, “It would seem that we’re in the same boat then, Captain.”

“What the hell is going on?” B’Elanna said, her voice deeper than she expected, manly-er than she expected, she looked down to see herself in an Enterprise uniform. An Enterprise NX-01 Command Uniform. And much to her surprise, she didn’t feel like a woman anymore.

She looked around and saw three captains, Captain Sisko, Captain Picard, and Captain Janeway. Each too preoccupied with themselves to notice each other.

“Captain?” She asked, directing the question to Kathryn.

Kathryn looked up, “You’re seeing this too? Good. I’m sure Captain Janeway won’t be happy when she realizes who’s in here right now. She doesn’t seem to like me.”

“Captain Picard?” B’Elanna asked.

“Mon Capitaine? No,” Kathryn smirked, shaking her head, “It’s someone a little more q uirky.”

B’Elanna twisted her face in confusion, not really sure what she was getting at.

“My, my, my, Captain Archer, I thought you were smarter than that.”

“Captain Archer?” She looked down at herself, finally seeing the name tag, “That’s who you’re seeing?”

“Yes…” Kathryn replied, “Who are you?”

“Chief Engineer of Voyager, B’Elanna Torres. Who are you?”

“The one, the only, Q.”

“Q?”

Q opened his(Kathryn's) mouth to speak but was cut off by someone else talking.

“What is going on here? Why am I here?” Jean-Luc asked, fear in his rose voice. He had stood up and was standing opposite of Q.

“Who are you?” B’Elanna asked, figuring that was the most helpful question she could ask.

“I am Seven of Nine, why am I here? Why did I go unconscious.”

“Calm down, Seven,” B’Elanna said, taking a step closer to her, “It’s me B’Elanna. We’re all in the same position. Calm down. We all fell unconscious. We all woke up in someone else’s body.”

“B’Elanna?”

“I’m here.”

Seven looked over and saw Kathryn, she lit up, “Captain?” She said.

“Oh, moi?” Q replied, “I’m not Janeway. Q.”

“Q?” She asked, tensing up, remembering what he had said to Kathryn during the baseball game.

“The one the only.”

“You did this,” She threw the accusation easily.

“Please,” Q sighed, “You think I would waste my time with this parlor trick if I had my powers?”

Seven wanted to speak, but B’Elanna threw up a hand, “Don’t start this now, we have bigger problems.” Q relaxed, taking a step back. Seven held her hands behind her back, only to be startled by the lack of metal on her left hand.

“Who am I?” She asked, suddenly realizing that she no longer had implants.

“Captain Picard.”

Seven opened her mouth to state her complaints, but she was cut off by Benjamin who stood up with a hand to his head, “Captain Kirk? Wait, why do I sound-” He opened his eyes to the room full of captains.

“Captain. Oh, um, Captains? I don’t know. I’m sorry. What am I doing here?” Sisko asked, “Why does my voice sound like that?” He looked down to his hands, “Why-”

“Calm down,” B’Elanna said, outstretching a calming hand, “We’ve all went through it. We don’t know much, but we do know that people have been waking up in other’s bodies,” While she didn’t know if that was true, there was something about the calming effect of knowing you’re not the only one go through something as traumatic as this, and she was hoping to play on that, “Who are you?”

Sisko took a deep breath, “Hoshi Sato.”

“Sato,” B’Elanna replied, “I’m B’Elanna, that’s Q,” She pointed to Kathryn, then to Jean-Luc, “And that’s Seven of Nine.”

Hoshi opened her mouth to respond when Q started speaking, “So,” He said looking down at Kathryn’s body, “This is what it’s like to be a woman.”

Kira woke up to a raging headache. Confusion singing in her brain, over 2000 people screaming the same thing in her mind, well a spectrum of the same thing.

“The hell?” She said, but her own words caused a spike in the confusion, her voice was different and accented. She put a hand to her head, shocked to find a handful of soft, curly hair.

But, she didn’t have much time to think about it because the person across from her stirred.

Q groaned, putting a hand to his head.

“Q!” Kira said, knowing now just what was going on.

“Q?” Q asked not having any idea what Kira was getting at. Then he heard the voice, “Q. Q. Q? Q. Q!” His voice raising.

Kira could literally feel his confusion and disgust. Q slapped his face with both hands, hoping that they could tell him a different story, but they didn’t, “This can’t be happening.” Q pinched his arm in a pitiful attempt to wake up from this nightmare.

“I would rather die here alone, then spend a minute in this body.”

“You’re not Q,” Kira said, not sure if it was a question or an answer.

“Captain Kathryn Janeway,” Kathryn replied in Q’s voice, “And I assume you’re not Deanna Troi.”

“Major Kira Nerys,” Kira said, “Deanna is a telepathic person, I take it.”

“Betazoid.”

The first thing Jadzia saw when she came too was the blurry outline of Data, a vague silhouette. The image was distorted. Something was off, wrong. The first thing she heard was, “You are awake.” His voice on the verge of relief. The sound seemed clearer, more defined than ever before.

Data gave his approximation of a smile before leaning down to place a quick kiss on Jadzia’s lips. Jadzia raised her eyebrows, sitting up. “I don’t believe, we’ve been formally introduced, but that certainly was an interesting greeting,” Jadzia said flirtatiously, her voice different, but she hardly had the time to find out why.  

“Geordi?” Data asked confused.

Jadzia looked behind her to see if Mr. LaForge had walked into the room, turning back when she found the room completely empty, “Geordi?” She repeated.

“Geordi, are you okay?” Data asked, moving to put a hand to her head.

“I’m not Geordi, Data, I’m Jadzia Dax.

“You do not look like Jadzia Dax.”

Jadzia looked down to her own hands to see a green outline. She had figured that this view had been due to whatever caused her to go unconscious, so it hadn’t really bothered her. But something like the strain of a headache seared through her mind and on her temples. She lifted a hand up to the pain to feel the cold metal of the visor.

“I may not look like her,” Jadzia said, “But I certainly am her.”

Geordi woke up, the familiar painful lull that usually hung around his temples was gone. He felt wrong. Different. Not right. Something was off. He opened his eyes, confused. Then it hit him. The colors filling his vision, both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. He felt no physical difference, no headache or pain, but there was something about seeing this that mentally took a toll.

Now, he didn’t believe in the Christian constructs of heaven and hell, but something was eerily familiar about waking up suddenly fixed of all disabilities. So familiar, that the first thought he toyed with was that he died.

“My head,” He heard from across the table, “It… It’s so quiet.”

Geordi looked and was met with the bright face of Kira Nerys.

“What’s going on?” Geordi asked, “My voice!” He looked down confused.

“I do not know,” Kira said, gasping at her strange voice, she put a hand to her hair, “What? My hair… My voice.”

Geordi chuckled, “You think that’s bad, imagine being blind your whole life and waking up with vision.”

“Geordi?” Kira asked.

“Yes…? Who are you?”

“Deanna.”

“Thank god!” Geordi sighed, “This has been so… weird.”

“I know,” Deanna nodded, she was about to say something else, when the third person of their party started to stir.

“This should be fun!” Deanna said sarcastically, eyebrows raising. She turned to face Quark as he slowly came to.

Jean-Luc woke with a headache and a heavy feeling resting over his arms, face, neck, and torso. Before even opening his eyes, he rose a hand to his temple, his fingers brushing against the cold metal of a Borg implant.

His eyes shot open, icy cold fear stabbing through his body. It was this same, goddammed recurring nightmare. He just needed to wake up, but something told him that that wasn’t going to happen.

His breaths got quicker and more frantic. He felt panic sear through him, “No, no. No.” He just kept repeating his words, he didn’t actually listen to them, he couldn’t hear that his voice was too different, his paranoia wrapped too deeply.

Jonathan woke up next to Jean-Luc’s panic attack. His first reaction was to jump to his feet and restrain Jean-Luc. But something about him felt off, different. Strange enough for him to be taken aback.

He looked down, to find a woman’s body in a Voyager uniform, “What in the-” His voice drifting off as he realized that his voice was no longer his typical timbre, but the sound of a gruff woman’s. He wanted to delve into it but was drawn back to Jean-Luc’s panic.

Jonathan took a second to recall the name of the Borg drone standing in front of him, “Oh! Um, Seven!” He leaped to his feet, putting a hand on her shoulder.

It took some time for the words and contact to register in Jean-Luc’s head. Something about the calming nature brought him back. He just fell to the floor, resting his head on the forearms of his folded arms. Jonathan collapsed next to him. Trying to be as supportive as possible.

After some time he looked up, “I’m sorry, I just… Why does my voice sound like this?”

“I don’t know about you, but I woke up in this body. I’m not really Lieutenant Torres, I’m Captain Archer if you could believe that.”

“I think I can.”

Jim felt different. Cold different. Heavy different. Scaly different. He opened his eyes, shocked to find something he didn’t know how to explain other than new colors. New shades and new lights. The new colors overwhelming, his hand shot to his temple.

His fingers met an icy plate, causing him to freeze in confusion, “What in the-” He paused when he realized that his words weren’t in his typical tongue. His voice was a weird tone, something he couldn’t specifically pick out.

He wanted to say more but was distracted by the movement on the ground next to him. He kneeled down to the man how came around.

“Dr. Bashir, I presume?” Jim asked.

“Dr. Bashir!” Julian repeated in outrage, “I look nothing like that hu-man, I am so offended tha…” His voice faded as he heard it, “Oh! I sound like Julian!” He threw his hands in the air, clearly upset, but it was nothing compared to the frantic hysteria he reached when his hands touched his ears, “My ears. My ears! They’re small!”

Jim decided to ignore the last comment, opening his mouth, “I seem to be in the same situation, Mr…” Jim gestured, hoping Julian would say just who he was.

“Quark.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED

Chapter Text

It happened like this. Within the same ten minutes everyone single person on the Enterprise, except Data and the Doctor, woke up inside another person. A perfect concoction for a party. The bridge crew had gathered in Ten-Forward to try and sort this out.

Kira sat with Deanna, it became standard for the people who had switched bodies to sit next to each other. It was easier that way.

“Okay,” Deanna said, “Take in a deep breath and imagine a wall building up around your head.”

Kira ran a hand through the hair on her head, still slightly unnerved by the fact that it wasn’t her hair, “Okay,” She let out one small breath before bringing in as much air as she could. She imagined a brick wall being built around her. But she clenched her jaw and flared her nostrils when the emotions of the entire crew continued to bombard her.

“Hey,” Deanna said, putting a hand on Kira’s shoulder, “Calm down, it’s okay, it’s okay.”

Kira forced herself to cut through the thoughts to hear Deanna’s voice. She nodded.

“You know what,” Deanna said as something crossed her mind, “Follow me, I’ve got an idea.” She got up, grabbing Kira by the wrist and pulling her through the crowd.

“Captain?” Deanna asked, looking to the Seven-Jean-Luc duo, who had their backs to her.

“What?” He said, his voice rough, he was clearly on edge. Kira could feel his anger but it was crowded by something else, pain and trauma, he turned around in Seven’s body, “I’m-, sorry, I’m just… what do you need?” His voice considerably calmed down by then. Kira felt another emotion appear, guilt.

“Major Kira doesn’t know how to control the empath ability she now has. I want to run her through a training program on the holodeck if that’s okay with you sir.”

“Have the holodecks been repaired?” Jean-Luc asked, turning back to the Jonathan-B’Elanna group.

B’Elanna stepped slightly forward, still a little clumsy with the height difference, “Yes, they’ve been fixed.”

“Then yes, you can go, just keep your com-lines open.”

Data was frantic. Well, as frantic as an emotionless being could get. And it was to be expected, he did categorize the accidental kiss as cheating. Deep down he knew that Geordi would understand but that didn’t stop him from thinking that he did something wrong.

He had been sitting at the bar, he was waiting for the right moment when both Geordi and Jadzia were alone. And they had finally got that moment.

He stood up and walked over to Geordi and Jadzia.

Geordi’s mouth dropped when he saw Data, a small contented sigh dropping out of his mouth, “You’re so beautiful.” Jadzia’s voice was in a near whisper when he said that.

Data smiled, “Is it everything you imagined?”

“You can’t imagine what you haven’t seen.” Data walked up to him and entwined their fingers.

People say that he can’t feel emotions, but then how do you describe the electricity that races through his pathways when he sees Geordi.

But the happiness felt jaded and something like regret crossed his face.

“Jadzia,” Data began, turning to face Jadzia, “Could you please give me and Geordi a moment?” Data asked before anyone could say anything.

“Oh, you want to tell him about the… uhm…”

“Yes.”  

She nodded and let out a sharp sigh and left the area, leaving Data alone with Geordi.

“Hmm?” Geordi asked, thick strokes of worry covering his face.

“Earlier, when you woke up from the faint I was happy to see you awake so I kissed you, but I did not realize it was Jadzia and I know it was wrong, but it was an accident. Can you forgive me?”

The worry on Geordi’s face disappeared and a slight smile replaced it, “It was an honest mistake, Data, I’m not upset.”

“Okay.” It was a simple response but Geordi could tell he said it with the closest he could get to relief.

“You’re okay.”

The captain’s had eventually taken a seat, along with their counterparts. Their meeting to get anything accomplished had been hampered by a few things.

The first thing began something like this.

Kathryn tapped her foot, trying to continue talking as she eyed Q for any foul play. He was in her body after all and something about that thought unnerved her. She can remember a handful of times that Q had tried to--untastefully--seduce her. Each time was less successful than the last.

“-and if we just-” She faded off as Q put his hands on his hips, which were, consequently, Kathryn’s hips.

“Get your hands off my hips!” She snapped. Maybe it was the fact that she felt incredibly uncomfortable in someone else's body or the fact that she didn’t trust Q, but either way, it put her utterly on edge.

“These aren’t my hands,” Q quipped back, a satisfied smile on his face.

Kathryn pierced him with her gaze, but in actuality, it didn’t have the desired effect, because who would be scared of themselves? When he didn’t move a muscle she clenched her jaw, and spat out her next sentence, “Fine. I don’t want anyone’s hands touching me.”

“Bold of you to assume I want to.”

“Q!” Jean-Luc warned, his best attempt at an authoritative voice, cut through the sound in the Ten-Forward.

The second thing to happen was Q. Q had this obnoxious way of flirting with Jean-Luc that was quite distracting to everyone who hadn’t dealt with it before. Mainly because it was nonstop. Everyone from the Enterprise-D had gotten used to it, especially Jean-Luc, but there was a difference between Q flirting and Q flirting in someone else’s body. It was also awkward for Q of course because when he was flirting with Jean-Luc he was talking to Seven. So, in the end, it was just awkward for everyone.

Julian sulked in the corner of Ten-Forward. Everyone was just a little too loud and a little too tall. On top of that, he just felt uncomfortable and awkward. He rolled his head, moving a hand to his neck to rub it but instantly regretted it because it made him cringe.

“Not liking being a Ferengi?” Jadzia asked through Geordi’s voice.

Jullian looked up and saw Geordi, “Who are you?.”

“It’s Jadzia,” She took a seat across from him.

Julian sighed and shook his head, “You know what’s the worst part?”

“Hm?”

“I can feel his blood lust for money.”

Jadzia chuckled, “At least you’re not blind.”

“That’s true,” He said with a small smile.

“And Kira was switched with counselor Troi, so right now she’s got the feelings of everyone on the ship.”

“I’m sure she was severely overwhelmed by confusion.”

“Actually, Troi took her to the holodeck to go through some Betazoid training programs to help her.”

“That’s pretty bad,” He paused to take a drink from his Raktijino. He opened his mouth to talk but was caught off guard by his own voice.

“Out of all the hu-mans to have switched with it is a pity that it had to be you.” Quark awkwardly took a seat in the third seat available.

“It is much better on this side of things,” Julian said, squinting.

“Speak for yourself,” Quark whined, “Look how small my ears are now.”

“I think I’ll go find Geordi.”

“No, don’t leave me,” Julian pleaded.

“Who is that?” Quark asked him.

“It’s Jadzia.”

“Yes, please don’t leave us.”

McCoy was too irritated to enjoy the irony of his situation. In a perfect world, he would never see another Vulcan again, and maybe, but only on occasion, talk to Spock over long distance communication. He would make sure that it was cut short, just long enough for him to say hi and bye. So it was very distressful to wake up in the body of a Vulcan. Especially Spocks.

“You want to know something, Spock?” Bones asked.

“Enlighten me, doctor.”

“I hate being a Vulcan, I can’t touch anything, your hands are too sensitive! And these ears. Well, I can hear everything,” Bones complained, “I don’t want to hear everything.”

“And, on the contrary, it is severely underwhelming being you.”

“Shut up, you green-blooded hobgoblin.”

“I believe you will find this humorous, right now you are the green-blooded hobgoblin.”

Bones murmured something under his breath, before looking back down to his station. He and a few other doctors had been given permission to go to the lab to see if they could work through the problem at hand.

“Hey! I believe I have got something over here!” Dr. Phlox said through Beverly.

“I think he does!” Beverly said, the excitement clear in her voice. The doctors started huddling around each them hoping to see what was going on. Currently, the Doctor, Beverly, Phlox, Spock, and Bones.

“Who wants to try it?” Phlox asked.

“I do!” Bones yelled, jumping forward, pushing people out of the way, placing a hand on Beverly’s shoulder “Get me out of him.” He felt overcome by some strange feeling before realizing why. He yanked his hand back and shook it, “Sorry.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an expressive Vulcan,” Beverly laughed, “It’s okay, take this.” She handed him and Spock a fraction of the cure.

Spock inspected the liquid before drinking it slowly while Bones downed his like a shot. They haded their glasses back to Beverly who set them down and started cleaning them. As she started working on the second glass both Spock and Bones fell unconscious.

The cures worked. Once Spock and Bones came to Beverly and Phlox worked quickly to distribute it to the rest of the crew, making sure that everyone was able to safely fall unconscious.

Jean-Luc sat on the edge of his bed. He wasn’t doing anything, instead, he started ahead, but not at anything in particular. It was as if he was lost in a void. In an endless pit of nothing. It was easier to let his mind wander into nothingness than deal with the trauma of the day. To deal with the PTSD. He hadn’t had a night terror in so long. He had been doing better. But today, being back as a Borg made him relive everything and he didn’t know what to do.

“You going to bed soon?” Q asked, walking in from his side of the shared quarter, “The light’s a little d-” His face fell when he realized that Jean-Luc had tears in the corners of both eyes, “Are you okay? What’s wrong.”

“What?” Jean-Luc asked, stirring from the void, “Oh, I’m fine, it’s nothing.” He wiped the tears away and tried to clear the pain from his voice and figure.

Q walked up to him and took a seat on the edge of the bed, “No, you’re not fine and it’s not nothing.”

Jean-Luc looked away and down at the floor, he let out a shaky breath before shaking his head. Q patted his shoulder and let it linger, keeping what he hoped to be a reassuring pressure on Jean-Luc’s shoulder.

They sat in a moment of silence. In a painful moment of silence. In a comforting, painful, moment of silence.

“When I was in Seven of Nine today,” He began his voice tense, “It brought back everything I had worked so hard to make amends with. I had been dealing with my PTSD, I was getting better. But now I’m right back here at square one. And I know that the minute I go to sleep I’m going to have a night terror. I don’t want to have another one.” The tears came back, pricking in the corner of his eyes before spilling over, “And I don’t want to hurt myself, or you, or anyone else, but that is a risk.”

“You couldn’t hurt me,” Q replied, his lips forming a sad smile, “It’s fine, we’ll get through this together… What do I do if you have a night terror.”

“You won’t be able to wake me up,” Jean-Luc said, “So do not try to, it will only lead to you getting hurt. Stay on your side of the room, I don’t usually sleepwalk, but I have occasionally so lock the door to our quarters, okay?”

“Okay, is there anything that helps?

Jean-Luc let out a sigh as he shook his head. Q pulled him into a hug and he could feel Jean-Luc’s heartbeat through his neck. But Jean-Luc calmed down, letting out a deep breath and almost automatically his heartbeat soothed.

Q pulled away, “Here, I have an idea.” He wrapped his arms around Jean-Luc again and laid back, he expected Jean-Luc to resist but he went with the flow. Q shimmied, moving until their heads hit the pillows and he pulled the blanket over them.

“Thank you,” Jean-Luc started, sitting up, “But you could get hurt or-”

“I’m not moving,” Q said, he hadn’t sat up, but instead he kept his arms up in case that Jean-Luc would want to join him again, “And I won’t get hurt.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

Jean-Luc laid back down and relaxed.

T’Pol felt 100% uncomfortable standing outside both her and Hoshi’s quarters with a bouquet of flowers. She had talked to both Spock and Captain Kirk and according to Captain Kir, who was human, it seemed that the best way to woo someone was by a display of affection and this seemed the best way to do it. In tradition human rituals. With a ridiculous bouquet of flowers.

T’Pol let out a sigh and turned away, about to walk off before something churned in her stomach. She knew she felt feelings for Hoshi, she knew that Hoshi would love this, but on the other hand what if she hated it. What if Hoshi didn’t share her feelings.

T’Pol let out a breath and she touched the panel right next to the door and took in the deepest breath.

“Yeah?” Hoshi asked as the door started to slide open. “Who is-” She was caught off guard by the person outside her door, “T’Pol?”

“Hello,” T’Pol wasn’t comfortable with how shaky she felt or sounded, “I- uh,” She started speaking in Vulcan, finding that it was easier to explain her emotions in a language void of emotions.

Hoshi smiled widely, “Yes.” She stepped forward and took the flowers from T’Pol, before bringing her into a slightly awkward side hug.

“So,” Benjamin said, “I believe we were in the middle of an important conversation before… that happened.”

“Yes,” Kathryn replied.

“Well, then,” Benjamin said with the quirk of his head, “How do we go about the discovery of this new city?”

“First Contact is a very serious topic and I don’t believe that we are equipped with the means necessary to go about it,” Jean-Luc replied, shaking his head.

“Right, however, this is a very different circumstance, we are stranded in the middle of nowhere with only so many options, I think we have to do it,” Jim said.

“It seems that you though every situation was a ‘different circumstance’,” Jean-Luc said.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Jim asked, his eyebrow twitching upwards.

“Well, it seems you didn’t really care much about the Prime Directive, did you?” Jean-Luc replied.

“Like you’re any better,” Kathryn scoffed, “You became a god to a pre-warp civilization.”

“That was an accident! And you mean to tell me that you were perfect in the delta quadrant?”

“I was alone, it’s not like I had the Federation close enough to help me out of it!”

“If you guys don’t stop fighting I will personally see to it that you are put in the brig!” Benjamin near-yelled, “And when you are done I will put you all through the shipwreck simulation on the holodeck.”

“Now,” He said letting out a breath and his voice soothing to its normal tone, “We are in a very strange circumstance. On one hand, the Prime Directive is not something we should take lightly, but we are in the middle of nowhere and getting help from the natives might be our only choice. But we will not make a decision if we don’t get a majority vote on it.”

The bridge crew gathered around the Christmas tree. It was adorned with lights and bulbs and beneath it was a mountain of presents. They all sat in their pajamas to celebrate.

“What are we doing and why?” Q whispers to Jean-Luc.

“We’re celebrating Christmas, it’s a holiday where we get presents for each other, eat food and celebrate the holiday season. Right now we’re opening the presents.”

“Oh.”

Benjamin began passing out the presents to everyone and they all had a Merry Christmas.

Chapter Text

“They did it again!” Tommy Rine said, throwing his hands out. He let out a sigh and kicked his leg out and over the seat, keeping his chest to the back rest.

“Who did what?” Ty Langston asked, turning his head towards the sound of Tommy’s voice.

“It’s Voyager ,” Tommy replied, letting out a sigh, he flipped through the magazine, “They published an anthology with a theme of first contact.”

Ty sighed and rested his head in his hands, “Of course they did.”

“How did they learn that we were doing that?” Isaac Clark asked as he turned from his work towards the gathering conversation.

“Doesn’t matter how they did it,” Ty sighed, “It just means that we’re gonna look like copy-cats.”

“Who’s looking like copycats?” Danni Brooks asked, she set all of her stuff down at her desk before taking off her coat.

“You’re late!” Jacques Laurent called from behind a rough draft of the newest story.

“I’m sorry, my therapy session ran a little late.”

“Okay,” Jacques said, putting the draft down, he offered a smile, “Just call me next time it happens.”

“Yes, sir,” Danni nodded, “Anyway, who’s going to be looking like a copycat?”

“Us,” Tommy said, “ Voyager just published a first contact anthology.”

“Really?” Danni asked, “I spent so long on that story.”

“Yes!” Joan Park cheered, looking up after being completely hunched over her typewriter. She smiled brightly as she pulled the last paper from the machine and added it to the stack.

“Finish a story?” Danni asked, turning to Joan.

“Yeah,” Joan replied, “And it’s a good one too.”

“You say that about all of your stories, Joan,” Ty replied.

“The real question is, is it a medical thriller again?” Tommy said.

“Of course it is,” Joan said with a wide smile, “What do you expect?”

“Hard science fiction,” Quincy Dameron said, walking in with all the show of a rockstar. His suit jacket was draped over his left arm, he had sunglasses on.

“He does have a point,” Isaac said, “Hard science fiction is more enjoyable.”

“Soft science fiction is much more energetic and entertaining,” Tommy said, shaking his head, “Besides, Quincy, you don’t even write hard science fiction, you write fantasy.”

“I have my tastes,” Quincy said throwing his suit jacket down.

“We’re not going to be starting this argument again,” Jacques said, standing up from his desk, he turned towards Quincy, “Where were you?”

“Stopped by the police,” Quincy said.

“Really?” Jacques asked, unsure if he should be worried or distrustful, “What happened.”

“I’ll tell you later,” Quincy said, his voice taking on a dark tone.  

“We’ve got to stop talking about our work life,” Joan sighed resting down next to Kacey Jean.

“Why?” Kacey asked, “Do you not trust me?”

“I trust you, but I think you forget when you’re talking,” Joan replied, “How did Voyager know we were going to be doing a First Contact anthology.”

“Okay,” Kacey sighed, “You’re right it, I accidentally slipped.”

“Do they know how you found out?”

“Not that I know of,” Kacey said.

“Do you think they would care?”

“About what, the lesbian thing or the fact that your from Next Gen ?”

“Both.”

“I think Ryan would have something wrong with it,” Kacey said, “He’s had a crush on me for a while now. So I don’t know how he’d respond to the whole gay thing. But I think my friends would be more upset that you’re from Next Gen more than anything.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Kacey let out a sigh before closing her eyes and relaxing. Until something struck her mind, “Oh my god… You would not believe who I saw at a gay bar today.”

“You went to a gay bar?” Joan asked, her eyes blowing up wide, “You know how dangerous those can be.”

“I’m fine,” Kacey said, “But anyway, I saw Quincy Dameron.”

“At the gay bar?”

“Yeah.”

“Quincy Dameron?”

“Quincy Dameron.”

“Today? When?”

“Right around the time you got to work, he tried to say hi and I nearly punched him in the face.”

“I know you hate Q but he’s a clever writer and a close friend of Jacques… wait. You don’t think…?”

Kacey went into work early, deciding that she should finish up her story and hand it into Tate Turner for evaluation. She opened the door to the office and was immediately caught off guard by Michael Suzuki who was already in the office.

“You’re here early,” She said, crossing the hearth to her desk, setting down her blazer.

“I am, I read the Next Gen ’s newest anthology and it’s… cutting,” Michael, “To say the least.”

“What’s it about?”

“Illegally cloning.”

“How did they throw something like that together?”

“Time travel.”

“That is humorous, but illogical,” Tate sighed.

Michael ignored Tate and continued with his rant, “Listen to the foreword; ‘Have you ever had something stolen from you? How about copied? This is a short anthology on the ills of stealing and copying. Please enjoy- Jacques Laurent.’ Listen to that, they’re definitely talking about us.”

“It would seem so,” Tate replied, “But it makes sense to try and out sell your opponents, so we should thank Kacey.”

Kacey chuckled embarrassed, “You’re welcome.”

Ryan Cameron opened the door to the office, “Good morning, everyone.” He set his stuff down at his desk before taking a seat behind his typewriter.

“Ryan getting straight to work?” Michael joked, “That’s new.”

“I’ve got a plan.”

“Oh,” Finn Parker said, “You have a plan, what is this, a clone?” He had just walked into the office.

“So you’ve seen it then?” Michael asked.

“Seen what?” Finn said as he took threw his stuff to his desk.

“The Next Gen ’s newest magazine,” Michael answered, “It’s all about clones and the foreword is basically calling us out.”

“Well, they deserve us spying on them,” Finn said, “They’re awful writers and they’re been attacking us for a while now.”

“Opponents attack opponents, it makes sense,” Tate answered.

“You never see them attack Incredible Tales , or the Origin , or the Enterprise for that matter.” Michael leaned back crossing his arms.

Kacey opened her mouth to respond but paused when the door opened again this time it was Sam Torres.

“I’ve brought the mail,” Sam said, dropping a handful of envelops onto Tate’s desk.

“Thank you,” He put down the story he was reading through and began to flip through the mail.

“Good morning,” Allan Zimmerman said as he opened the door and joined the group, “How are you all doing?” Allan was met with all sorts of variations of good. He set his stuff down and walked over to Tate’s desk, “Do you have anything for me?”

Tate was a fierce worker but the executives in Voyager wouldn’t promote him to editor when the last one left. So instead they promoted Allan. Allan hated this so he let, Tate make the executive decisions and Allan acted as a middle man.

“Yes,” Tate said, putting the mail down, “Please take this story up to them and tell them that it is of good quality and it is good for a Time Travel issue.”

“I will,” Allan said, taking the story and turned to go take it up.

The door opened up and Sloan Evans walked in, taking a seat right next to Kacey’s desk. She said nothing as she got right to work.

“Perfectly on time, as always,” Sam said in a half chuckle.

Tate stood up, “May I have your attention, ladies and gentlemen, I have some bad news, unless we can increase the size of our audience we will be going out of business.”

“Forget about the doughnuts, Herb,” Pabst sighed, “We have more pressing matters. I’m going to make this short and simple. Some of you have heard the rumors and they’re true. Incredible Tales is going are out business, unless we can find some way to match the popularity of Galaxy .”

“How do you suppose we do that?” Benny asked, not able to help the crestfallen look on his face.

“And if we can’t,” Julius said, “What do you expect that we do?”

“It’s not like I’m going to find another job anytime soon,” Kay sighed.

“Or me,” Benny added.

“You could always submit your stories,” Albert said.

“That’s not job security,” Benny said, throwing his head back, he ran a hand over his scalp.

“Could you reenlist in the navy?” Darlene asked.

“I’m not sure,” Benny said. The room filled with silence composed of impending doom. They couldn’t help but sit in it.

“Well, if this is it,” Herb said, deciding that maybe he could lighten the mood, “You could buy good doughnuts for once.”

“What are you going to do?” Pabst asked, a conceited smile smeared across his face, “Quit like you’ve done hundreds of times before?”

“Here they go again,” Darlene said, slightly amused, as she popped a gumball into her mouth.

Jacques sighed and leaned on the edge of his desk, he had decided to stay in late to continue working, but it was a mistake. He had found a letter which was buried under a stack of paper. He knew he would have gotten to it the next day, but if he had just went home then he wouldn’t have had to read bad news this late at night.

“Dear Mr. Laurent,

We’re sorry to inform you but the amount of readers we have is not enough to finance the magazine. We will shut down Next Gen in three months if this issue isn’t rectified, thank you for a good run.

Sincerely,

Quentin Rush, Turner, and Allen.”

Jacques needed to do something and soon. He let out a sigh, before reaching for the phone on his desk. He dialed a number and let the line ring.

Jimmy Kirk smiled as he finished reading Stephen Grayson’s manuscript, “You certainly know how to plot.” He said, turning to Stephen, “I love it.”

“Thank you.”

“Who’d you model the captain after?” Jimmy asked, a smile gracing his face, “It was me, wasn’t it.”

“Maybe so,” Stephen shrugged, “Do you think this will make it in the next issue?”

“Depends,” Jimmy said, “I would love to put it in there, but with First Contact stories being… all the rage, it may cause another stir.”

Voyager and Next Gen fighting again?”

“Yep,” Jimmy nodded as the door swung open, “From what I’ve heard it looks like Voyager was being pretty slimy. I’m not getting involved but, I’m with Next Gen on this one.”

“They’re fighting again?” Kathleen asked as she crossed the room to place her things at her desk. She was followed by Haruto Ito and Dimitry Petrov. The three and joined Stephen and Jimmy at the table centered in the middle of the office.

“Yep.”

“I’m happy they never decided to target us,” Dima said, shaking his head, “They know how to fight.”

“Which one?” Jimmy asked.

“Both of them.”

The door opened again and Cam Murphy and Mark Allen walked in.

Jimmy looked up and smiled, “Morning, Mark, Cam.”

“Morning,” Cam replied back joining them at their table.

Mark would’ve responded but he was too busy reading something in hand, he took a seat at his desk and finished up the letter.

“Guys,” He said, “We’ve got some bad news.”

John Hughes, Donna Rivera, Charlie Hunter, Mieko Saito, Malcolm Brian, Anthony Rogers, and Bob Foster sat down around the biggest table at the office.

“To the Enterprise !” John said, “The first and the best!”

“The Enterprise !” The rest of the writers said, raising their glasses.

“I can’t believe that we’re going to close down,” Charlie sighed before taking a long gulp from his drink.

“What are we going to do?” Anthony asked, “What am I going to do?”

“You could go back to flying jets in the army,” Mieko said with a shrug.

“I love being a pilot, but I love science fiction more.”

“Yeah,” Malcolm said, “If this does fail then I’ll go back to England and join the Royal Navy like my father wanted.”

“I’ll probably see if I can find a job as a translator,” Mieko said.

“Do you think you’ll be able to?” Donna asked.

“If I go out West, yeah.”

“I… I’ll miss you,” Donna said. Mieko smiled, reaching over to put her hand on Donna’s.

“I’ll miss you too.”

“What’ll you do, Charlie?” Malcolm asked.

“Open up a mechanics shop,” Charlie replied.

“You not only write about robots you work with them?” Malcolm said with a slight smile.

“Yep.”

“I am going to find a job as a doctor,” Bob interjected.

“It works,” Charlie said with a smile, “We already call you ‘doc’, doc.”

“You do.”

“What about you, John?” Donna asked.

“I’m going to change the subject, we have two months and I’m not going to entertain this grim idea,” John shook his head, he paused letting the idea sink in before adding “But,” He gave a bright smile, “If I had to pick something, I’d probably get back into water polo.”

“You think you still hav-” Charlie was cut off by a ringing phone. John stood up and crossed the office to his desk picking up the phone.

“Yeah?” John asked, drowning out the slight whispering from behind him, “This is… It has been a while… I know, I heard about it this morning… Right… Okay… Yeah… I know I hate them too… Sure, I’ll be there.”

Jacques sat at the table waiting as the other writers and editors started trickling in.

“Jimmy Kirk,” Jacques said, a huge smile on his face, holding out a hand as the writer took a seat, Jimmy took it, “It’s an honor.”

“Thank you,” Jimmy said, “I hear you and Voyager are at it again.”

“If they’re going to steal then we’re going to handle it accordingly,” Jacques replied, shrugging his shoulders, “But yes, it’s the usual, but hopefully after tonight we can go back to a peaceful world.”

“Dare to dream,” John said, walking up to the group, “It’s great to see you again, Jacques, you too Jimmy.”

“Hey, John,” Jimmy said with a smile.

“Jack,” Jacques said, “We have a lot to catch up.”

“We’ll have to do that later,” John said, taking a seat in the both.

“Look at this party,” Benny joined them.

“Who are you?” Jimmy asked.

“Benny Russel,” Benny said, as he walked up to the group.

“And it’s good of you to make it,” Jacques replied.

“I love your writing,” John said, “I’m John Hughes.”

“You’re with Enterprise ,” Benny said.

“I am. I’m the editor.”

“Right,” Benny nodded, “You have a fantastic magazine.”

“Thanks,” John said, beaming.

They continued to chat as they waited until ten past the hour for the last member of this unlikely meetup.

“Kacey Jean,” Jacques said, his voice going from relaxed and jovial to rough and jaded.

“Jacques Laurent,” Kacey took a seat exactly opposite from her rival. She had a drink in hand and she took a sip from it. Her and Jacques locked eyes.

“What a nice introduction for everyone,” Benny said, hoping to lighten the mood, but it seemed useless.

“Well,” Jacques started, hesitantly breaking eye contact, “I think you all know why we’re here. If my… Intel is correct, then we’re all going out of business if we don’t bring our reader base up to match Galaxy . There is a simple way to fix this,” Jacques said, “But I’m expecting some resistance. Hear me out.”

“Instead of all five of us going out we should band together. The Next Gen is looking for new writers, and I’m sure I could convince the Quentin’s to allow a larger writing staff. We could also branch off into a full-blown publishing company.”

“You expect my staff to join you guys?” Kacey said.

“I know,” Benny said mockingly, “It’s awful that he’s asking us to work together for the sake of our careers.”

“Look,” Kacey started, “How do I know that Tate and Sloan and Sam are going to be treated right?”

“I already have two women working there,” Jacques explained, “Besides, I’m taking you seriously, aren’t I?”

“Fine, what about Tate?” Kacey asked, “You’re not a racist are you?”

“Of course not.”

“I’m not,” John said.

“And neither am I,” Jimmy added.

“Okay,” Kacey replied rather hesitantly.

“So, what do you say?”

“I like it,” Jimmy started off, “But I’ll have to talk to my staff.”

“So would I,” John added.

“I’m sure Incredible Tales will be open to this.”

They all turned their eyes on to Kacey, and she paused letting them hand over control of the situation to her, she let the silence stir their nerves, mainly just to mess with Jacques, “I’ll have to think about it.”

“How’d it go?” Quincy asked as Jacques took a seat.

“It went okay, Kacey Jean is stubborn as ever.”

“You knew that going into it,” Quincy replied smartly, he wrapped an arm around Jacques’ neck.

“But this something we can talk about later,” Jacques shook his head, “Guess what Joan asked me today.”

“Joan,” Quincy scowled, “You know I don’t like her.”

“Get over your jealousy,” Jacques said with a roll of the eyes, he brought Quincy’s hand to his mouth and placed a kiss on the knuckles, “I love you .”

“I know,” Quincy sighed, “I love you too.” He relaxed, letting his hand fall into Jacques lap, “What did Joan say?”

“She came up to me and hit it on the nose about you, me and our relationship.” Quincy could feel his heart race, his chest tightening, “But before I had a chance to panic she told me she was a lesbian too.”

“Oh,” Quincy said, the relief spreading through his chest, “Well, I guess I don’t have to be jealous of her anymore.” His embarrassment stung his face red.

“You never did in the first place,” Jacques said, exasperation very clear in his voice.

“I know she had no chance but I thought she liked you and you’re mine.”

“You’re possessive.”

“Yeah, mon amour, I am.”

Jacques chuckled and playfully shook his head, “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“So,” Jacques said to his staff, “I’ve got news.”

“Let’s hear it,” Tommy said energetically.

“And please keep an open mind,” Jacques started, “If we want any chance against Galaxy we need to get more readers and to do that we need to expand. So I thought that the staff of the Enterprise , the Origin , Incredible Tales and Voyager could join together. We could make a bigger writing staff and turn this company into a full-blown publishing company. But if we’re going to do this I want you all to agree to it. What do you think?”

Voyager ?” Tommy asked he felt his blood pressure rise as he said the word.

“They can’t be that bad,” Joan tried to reason.

` “They can’t be that good, either,” Ty said, raising his eyebrows and shoulders into an exaggerated shrug.

“How do we know they won’t turn this into a coup?” Quincy added. Honestly, he was completely on board with the idea but he loved to stir up drama.

“How would they do that?” Jacques asked, squinting his eyes and letting his jaw hang, “Look it’s either this or we all go out of business.”

“I believe that we should do it,” Isaac said, being the second person in that room to be completely reasonable.

“Well,” Ty sighs, “If Isaac believes it’s a good idea then I’ll trust him. I’m in.”

“I am too,” Quincy said.

“I’ve always been aboard,” Joan said, shrugging.

“I’m in too,” Danni said nodding her head.

They all turned their attention over to Tommy.

“Fine,” He sighed, “I’m with you.”

“We’re selling out?” Charlie asked cracking his knuckles and shaking his heads.

“Selling what?” Bob asked, creating a crack in the tensions, “Wait, no, I understand, never mind.”

“Look,” John said, “It’s not ideal, but it’s either this or we’re out of business.”

“It is a logical proposal,” Donna shrugged, still unsure what she really felt.

“I agree,” Anthony said, “I love science fiction and it’s very unlikely that I would get another job like this,” He gestured to his skin.

“And I don’t want to move to the West Coast,” Mieko sighed.

“I don’t want you to move either,” Donna said.

“I also don’t want you to move, and I do agree with John’s idea, it looks like our best case scenario,” Bob added.

“Good,” John said with an encouraging nod.

“Hold on,” Bob said, “I wasn’t finished. I was going to say, my plan was to stay here until I could no longer, and that if this didn’t pan out it was a sign to leave. I’m going to apply for a job at the hospital.”

“Doc?” Mieko said, “You’re leaving?”

“I want to pursue medicine,” Bob said, “It’s what I love.”

“I want to do that,” Charlie said, “Leave and start my own business.”

“Bob’s already been to medical school he just needs to get the job, you’d be starting fresh Charlie and without a stable income, Come with us,” Malcolm reasoned.

Charlie let out a sigh, thinking over his options, “You’re right.”

“Really?” Mark said, “That was Laurent’s proposal?”

“To a ‘t’,” Jimmy nodded.

“I don’t know, Jimmy,” Mark sighed. He turned to the group, “How do you guys feel about it?”

“It is a very reasonable offer,” Stephen nodded. He crossed his arms and leaned against a desk.

“Sure,” Mark said, “To a robot.”

“You are just upset that I am smarter than you.”

“Men,” Jimmy said, holding his hands out.

“I like it,” Cam answered.

“So do I,” Haruto said, nodding, “Plus, Stephen, you’ll be able to publish your novel where you work. You wouldn’t have to mess with an agent.”

“Yes,” Stephen said.

“Well,” Kathleen said, “I guess I’d be okay with it as long as Laurent’s old staff and Jean’s old staff aren’t constantly fighting.”

“So we’re all in agreement?” Jimmy asked.

“Wait,” Mark said, he let out a sigh and looked up before looking down again.

“Do you like it?” Stephen asked.

“As much as I hate to agree with you,” Mark started with a piercing glare at Stephen, “I have to say that it makes a really good idea.”

Jimmy opened his mouth to start a celebration but the door to the office flew open, cutting him off. Dima walked in. He had his arms wrapped around him and a bag on his back. His face was wet with tears.

“Dima?” Haruto said, jumping up to walk over to him, “What’s wrong.”

“I’m being deported,” Dima said and the tears started over again, “To Russia.”

“But you’re an American,” Jimmy said, he didn’t mean for his tone to be so angered, he knew it wouldn’t help anything but he couldn’t help it.

“I still have the heritage, they’re worried I’m a spy.” Mark walked over and pulled him into a hug.

“It’s okay,” Mark said even though he knew that he couldn’t know what was going to happen.

“Can we hide him?” Cam asked looking back to Stephen. But Stephen just shook his head.

“When are you leaving?”

“Tomorrow.”

“So this is it then,” Rossoff said, nodding, “To think we’re going out.”

“Not entirely,” Benny said, “Look, I know it’s not ideal but it’s either this or let those dogs are Galaxy win.”

Albert sighed, “I- I, I will not be joining you.”

“Al?” Julius said, turning to him, “You’re going to leave me alone with Rossoff and Pabst?”

“What about me and Benny?” Kay asked.

“We don’t fight like they do,” Benny explained.

“Well, I just got the call last night that my dad is sick,” Albert said, “An- and that it’s, it’s not looking good.”

“I’m sorry,” Benny said, offering him an empathetic smile.

“Yeah,” Julius said, crossing the office to give him a quick hug. He pulled back, “You can always come for a visit.”

“I’ll have to,” Albert said, “And I’ll bring my bongos.”

“No,” Kay jumped a mock serious look on her face.

Voyager and Next Gen fighting again, Albert’s leaving,” Quark said, shaking his head, “What next, Incredible Tales shutting down? Oh wait.”

“Come on,” Benny said, “It’ll be fine. I’m sure Pabst would love to lead the editing team on the branch off publishing, so he’ll be there and you guys can continue your doughnut fight.”

“Now,” Finn started, “This is a time of great panic so I am going to be as reasonable as I can be, but I would rather eat Sam’s hand than join with Next Gen .”

“Yes, and this is not an exaggeration, I would rather him eat my hand,” Sam said.

“So would I,” Kacey said, “But I think this is a better decision then all of us being out of a job. I think we have to do it.”

“How do we know that this isn’t a prank?” Michael asked.

“That’s a fair question,” Finn asked.

“While their concerns are… exaggerated,” Sloan started, “I do believe we should approach this deal with caution.”

“I highly doubt that Jacques is the laughing type,” Kacey replied, rolling his eyes, “In fact, I don’t think he even can smile so I think we’re safe.”

“So we’re actually doing this then,” Sam sighed.

“You guys are,” Ryan said.

“Where are you going?” Michael asked.

“My family wants me to go back to school to be a lawyer,” Ryan said, “And I can’t really say no.”

“Well,” Kacey sighed, “We’ll miss you.”

“Yeah,” Sam agreed.

“When do you leave?” Finn asked.

“The semester starts in a month.”

They held a party the next night to celebrate. It was filled with tears, cheers, and probably too many beers.

Ryan showed up for about thirty minutes for an all too hasty goodbye.

The Origins staff said goodbye to Dimitry. The staff pulled their money together to be able to afford a brand new typewriter for him to 'write stories. And letters back to them. Primarily writer letters,' as Haruto put with a smile. At 7 o'clock the police showed up to finish the deportation process.

Albert left soon after that. He got a call that his father's condition worsened and he had to leave, but not before the Incredible Tales staff could get him a little robot figurine and a new set of colorful bongos. 

Bob left late in the night. He taught Mieko how to say goodbye to a close friend in his native language before he left, but not before the Enterprise staff could get him a stethoscope with all of their signatures on it. Even Donna became teary-eyed during that goodbye.

Jacques came back to the small group of five, him, Kacey, Jimmy, Benny, and John formed. They had cornered themselves off to talk more about logistics, at least that's what Jacques and Kacey did. The other three spent the time getting to know each other.

“I’m happy you agreed to join us,” Jacques said, turning to Kacey, “It was the only way we could all survive, so thank you.”

“Yeah,” Kacey said, nodding, “My staff had a fit but it’s okay.”

“My staff was actually worried about you guys fighting,” Jimmy said.

“Yeah,” John said, “I can’t deny that I’m worried about it too.”

“I think I can keep them in line,” Benny said with a smile.

“To us,” Jacques said, holding up a slender wine glass, “And our new future.”

“To us.”

Chapter Text

It had come to the attention of the crews, and to the irritation of all of the engineers, that the Enterprise wasn't going to be an easy fix. In fact, even after stripping and salvaging the other ships they still didn't have the supplies to get the Enterprise off the ground. But the city did. Enough to repair the Enterprise 200 times at the least. And the method of obtaining those supplies had had lead to controversy.

“You want to what?” Jean-Luc started, his mouth hanging agape.

“You heard me.”

“I severely hope you didn’t use similar tactics in the Delta Quadrant,” Jean-Luc sighed, “Just because the Federation wasn’t around doesn’t mean that the world is suddenly lawless.”

“It’s not lawless,” Kathryn said, “We don’t break the Prime Directive, we get the parts we need to fix the Enterprise. Win-win.”

“You’re right it’s a win-win,” Jean-Luc nodded, “If we were a barbaric civilization that doesn’t respect the boundaries of others.”

“Okay,” Benjamin said standing up, the pained glazed-over look in his eyes was something from a horror movie, “You two follow me.”

“Would you be interested in a game of Velocity?” Malcolm asked.

“Velocity?” Odo asked. He looked up as Malcolm took a seat across from him.

“It’s a game.”

“What kind of game?”

“It’s kind of like tennis. You use a phaser to knock a frisbee-like device at your opponent. If it comes in contact with you, you lose.”

“I like phasers,” Odo said, shaking his head and looking back down to the PAD he was reading.

“They aren’t real, per se,” Malcolm said, “It’s literally made of light.”

“The holodeck?” Odo said, slightly amused, “I don’t go on the holodeck.”

“Why not?”

“I just don’t,” Odo shrugged.

“Give it a shot,” Malcolm shrugged his voice taking a hopeful turn.

“Fine.”

For some reason, Q couldn’t get used to the sound of Ten Forward. It wasn’t that the Q continuum didn’t get loud. In fact, they held parties louder than the big bang, but it was in the way that sound is expressed. And the fact that they didn’t ears to get headaches.

“Are you uncomfortable?” Data asked, his head turning to an off angle.

“I hate the loud sounds,” Q pouted crossing his arms and resting his chin on them.

“Would you like to take this lesson elsewhere?”

Q sighed and threw his head back if there was one thing he hated more than headaches it was moving. He was one lazy human, “No.”

“Okay,” Data said,  “Since you haven’t played before I believe that we should start off with the basics.”

“Okay.”

Data set a deck of cards on the table between them.

“Do you know how to shuffle?” Data asked. Q shook his head slowly, “Okay, then watch me,” Data picked up the cards and split it in two, “Split it in two and hold the two separate decks like this, then lift your thumbs up until they shuffle together.” He shuffled the deck and did it one more time for show, “Here, you try it.” He handed over the deck.

Q eyed the deck nervously, before picking it up and splitting it in half. He mimicked the way Data held the cards but when he went to shuffle them they spilled out of his hand.

“Ughh,” He scoffed, “This is stupid, I’m-”

“Very admirable for your first time,” Data said.

“Admirable? Q said a deceitfully humble smile on his face.

“You will get better,” Data said, “But it is a good start and will require practice, try again.”

Q picked up the deck and tried again, making a messy stack, but a messy shuffled stack. “Good job, please try again.”

Q did so, but the cards spilled out of his hand. Q tried once more this time doing better and then again finally catching the hang of it.

“Oh look,” Guinan said, an uncharacteristic scowl on her face, “It's the devil.”

“Hey!” Q said throwing his hands up, “Only on like 500 worlds.”

“Including mine.”

“What exactly did Q do?” Data asked.

“Me?” Q asked, “I did nothing.”

“We must have different definitions of nothing,” Guinan replied, “Look, I don't trust you and the minute you give me a reason to doubt you I will immediately go to Jean-Luc.”

“Oh, Jean-Luc?” Q said, his face going from irritation to humored, “Do tell him. Runoff to someone the second I upset you, my my my, you haven’t changed, have you?”

“Really, Q? Quinan said, “You created that timeline. I shouldn't have had to follow it. None of us should have. You could have changed it Q.”

“You know I couldn't change it.”

“You could have.”

“Inti- Guinan, whatever you're calling yourself now,” Q’s voice rose at his own mistake, standing up, “We had one job and you couldn't complete it because you let your emotions get in the way and you can't blame me for following through. Now if you can't accept it then leave, Data is trying to teach me poker.” He sat back down, looked to Data and nodded.

Data looked up to Guinan before back to Q, “Okay, the game we play is called Five Card Stud.”

“Okay,” Benjamin said getting behind the main control panel. He ushered Kathryn and Jean-Luc into the room.

“Why are we here?” Jean-Luc asked, looking around at the brig.

“This is your get-along brig. You’ll be here until you two work out your issues,” Benjamin said his face was adorned with a sarcastic smile, “And I want deep conversations… You’ll be allotted an hour for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner to get out to eat and socialize but only an hour. But until you work it out with an actual solution you'll be stuck here.”

“Okay, I’m back,” Benjamin said taking his seat. The room felt bigger without Kathryn, Jean-Luc, and the tension that the constantly added.

“Where’d they go?” Jonathan asked, unsure if he should be worried or humored.

“The brig,” Benjamin said simply.

“You put them in the brig?” Jim asked his eyebrows jumping up.

“Just until they work through their issues.”

“And what if they don't? Jim asked.

“Then our decision-making process will be a lot smaller and easier.”

“Okay, then,” Jonathan said with a smile, “I guess it's up to us to figure out how we got about first contact.”

“I really liked Captain Janeway’s plan,” Jim said, “We don't have to worry about introducing ourselves, currency or violating the prime directive.”

“Yes,” Jonathan said, “But if we get caught its game over.”

“We make it quick with a team of three or four,” Benjamin said, “If we try to meet them diplomatically we break the Prime Directive and if we try to go as traders we don't have the money we could be uncovered.”

“I don't know how I feel about this,” Jonathan said.

“Neither do I,” Benjamin said, “But if we don’t do this we might not get home.”

Odo stood outside the holodeck while Malcolm walked in as if it were Quark and was waiting to commit some (--in Quark’s case--not so) heinous crime. In his eyes holodecks were just another way to circumvent reality, to entertain a fantasy when you could immerse yourself in the world around you.

“Are you coming?” Malcolm asked, looking from inside.

He let out a sigh, “Yes.” He stepped through the door and gazed at the black and yellow box pattern that coated the room.

“Let’s hope I can remember how to do this…” Malcolm murmured to himself, “Um, computer,” he said out loud, “Velocity.”

Would you like to play a game of velocity? ” The computer asked.

“Yes.” The computer chimed and phasers materialized in the hands of both Odo and Malcolm.

“Computer, begin,” Malcolm said. A disc appeared in air and Malcolm shot it, bouncing it towards Odo.

Odo had been examining the phaser with such intensity that he hadn't noticed that Malcolm had started the game. By the time he looked up to see the disc, it was almost too late. Almost. His head became almost transparent as he created a hole the size of the disc letting it pass through him.

“Oh! That’s how you want to play,” Malcolm called out.

“It was an involuntary reaction,” Odo explained, “But I won’t do it again.”

“So,” Kathryn said with a shrug, she was sitting on the only bunk in the room, having moved there first while Jean-Luc took the floor.

“So,” He repeated.

“Looks like we’ll be here a while.”

“We don't have to be.”

“Yeah,” Kathryn said, nodding, she paused to think, “Look, I’m tired of your condescending attitude. You're ‘I’m the victim and I’ve done nothing wrong’ act has done nothing to help our situation especially when you instigate a lot of the fights.”

“So me calling you out for acting inappropriately is instigating a fight? You are a Starfleet captain and I expect you to follow the code that comes with it to a ‘T’,” He asked.

“I tried to follow the Prime Directive in the Delta Quadrant. Do you think that was easy? 80 years away from home, no way to get the supplies we need. Unless we break the Directive. You would have done the same thing.”

“I’m not just talking about the Directive. I’m talking about lots of things, one, for example, is your relationship with Doctor Crusher.”

“Oh,” Kathryn said as if she had put the puzzle together, “You’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous,” Jean-Luc said shaking his head and rolling his eyes, “Did I used to have feelings for her? Yes, but that’s not the point, the point is you're not supposed to have relationships with subordinates.”

“What about you and Q?”

“Q? He’s not my subordinate.”

“You're not going to deny it?” Kathryn asked, with the most disgusted look on her face, she looked at him filled with horror, “I was just being petty I didn't actually… Eww.”

“Wait no,” Jean-Luc said, “I don't, we’re not… there is nothing going on between me and Q, I was just pointing out that no Starfleet rule stands in the way.”

“Rule is a little- strict… it's more of a recommendation.”

“While that’s true,” Jean-Luc said, “I would remain cautious, becoming attached to people is dangerous. Those… ‘recommendations’ are there for a reason.”

“Okay,” Data said, “I think you have the basics down. If you would like, we can meet up again tomorrow at the same time to continue learning the game.”

“Okay,” Q replied with a nod. Data started picking up the cards, as Q realized that there was something that he needed to add, or felt like he needed to, “Thank you.”

“You are welcome,” Data said. He pushed the deck into its box, then he paused, “Q?”

“Yes?”

“Why are you and Guinan at odds?”

“It’s an old story,” Q said, he then dramatically closed his eyes and snapped his fingers, before realizing that he didn’t have his powers, he opened his eyes and laughed embarrassedly, “Sorry,” He put a hand to the back of his neck, “Forgot I can’t do that… Let me start again.”

“It’s an old story,” Q sighed, throwing his head back, much more flamboyantly than before, “That I’ll tell in the truest form.”

“It started when the El-Aurians and the Qs teamed up to protect the timelines. El-Aurians have long life spans and a way of charming people in ways that Q don’t have. Me and Intika, or Guinan, whatever she calls herself now-”

“Intika?” Data asked.

“Intika was her old name,” Q explained, “Now hush, let me finish the story. Me and Guinan were paired together. An El-Aurian was paired with a Q. The Q would tell them where to go, what to do and how to go about it and the El-Aurian would do so.

“Well, we had just finished up in the late 1800s, that’s actually when she first met Mon Capitaine when we had to go back to the El-Aurian system. That’s where we ran into trouble. El-Auria was at a crossroad. We could go one of two ways, we could go the right way, the way that our dimension warranted, but at a cost, it meant that her homeworld would be destroyed. But if we didn’t go that way, countless others would have died.

“Somehow, she found out what was to happen if her planet was going to continue on that path and she tried to ruin the timeline and when I stopped her she ran to her little government on El-Auria hoping that they would do something. She got in trouble and has blamed me for the Borg attack ever since.”

“Who’s on the away team?” Benjamin asked, “I’m thinking we have a team of 5.”

“One from each crew,” Jim nodded, “I like that.”

“Yeah,” Jonathan said, “I would like Hoshi Sato to go, just in case you guys need to come in contact with the natives, she's a fantastic translator.”

“Okay,” Benjamin said, “I’d like Odo to go, he’s a Changeling and could be useful.”

“You could need a doctor, I’ll send McCoy.”

“Okay, that’s three out of five, who do we take out of Captain Picard’s crew?” Jonathan asked.

“Deanna Troi,” Benjamin said, his face lighting up with the idea, “She’s a Betaziod, meaning she has empathic abilities, she’d be able to tell if someone was on their way.”

“Okay,” Jim said, “And from Janeway’s crew?”

“We need a leader,” Jonathan said, “What about her first officer, Chakotay, was it?”

“Yes,” Benjamin agreed, “I’d think he’d make a good leader for the mission. So, First Officer Chakotay, Odo, Commander Deanna Troi, Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy, and Lieutenant Commander Hoshi Sato, a fine team.”

“So,” Malcolm started through his short breaths, “Did you like it?”

“It was… enjoyable,” Odo said, almost hesitantly. They strolled down the hallway on their way to the galley.

“See,” Malcolm said, “The holodeck’s not that bad… If I was in your time I would use it non-stop.”

“I don’t know,” Odo said, “I just prefer reality to imagination, however, it was enjoyable with you.”

“Oh, um, thank you.”

Q crossed the room of the brig, walking right up to the only one in use. He planted himself, crossed his arms in a pout and said, “When are you supposed to get out of here?”

“I’m allowed an hour for dinner and I assume that it’s almost dinner time.” Jean-Luc got up and crossed the floor to the force field. He whispered, careful not to wake Kathryn, who had gotten lost in a deep nap.

“Are you going to be sleeping in here?” Q asked, his eyebrow raising.

“I believe so,” Jean-Luc said, “It doesn’t seem that Kathryn wants to talk about it.”

“About what?”

“We have to work out our “hostilities” to be allowed out.”

“Oh that’s simple,” Q said, “She’s treating you incredibly rudely, she has a problem.”

“It’s not that simple,” Jean-Luc said, “It stands to reason that I’m not helping it.”

“How?”

“Sometimes the comments that I make agitate her,” Jean-Luc said, “And while she needs to hear them, the others don’t seem to agree.”

“Well,” Q shrugged, “How are you going to sleep? You know ever since-”

“I’m aware,” Jean-Luc snapped, he paused as Kathryn stirred, “I don’t know. I don’t want there to be a big deal about my PTSD. But if I have a night terror tonight-”

“You could ask to leave,” Q said, “Who put you in here?”

“Sisko.”

“Why do you listen? Authority doesn’t really mean anything.”

“If we toss out the authoritative structure then we will descend in chaos, and what better way to lead to that than the supposed leaders disrespecting the hierarchy.”

“Fine,” Q said, “But what are you going to do, you haven’t been able to sleep at all without me next to you how are you going to make it tonight?”

“I can talk to Sisko, or,” He turned back to Kathryn, “I can talk to her.”

“We need to talk,” Jean-Luc said as Kathryn woke up

“What?” She said through a yawn looking around, “What the hel- Oh,” She said in a near-whine, “That wasn’t a nightmare.”

“It wasn’t.”

“What do you want to talk about?” She sat up and rested her back against the wall.

“Why do we fight? How are we going to stop?”

“I don’t know,” Kathryn shrugged, “We have very different outlooks… on everything. Different experiences. And I feel like we’re judging each other for it.”

“You’re not, it’s just me,” Jean-Luc said, shaking his head.

“I know,” Kathryn said, “I just didn’t want to say it was only you cause I thought you wouldn’t take it well.”

Jean-Luc offers a light chuckle, “Thanks.”

“I think,” Kathryn started talking, “That if we got to know each other better, we’d have a better working relationship. And got to know our crews together.”

“Well,” Jean-Luc said, “Maybe you can join my crew during our next game of poker.”

“Call it a date.”

“Maybe don’t,” Jean-Luc said, his eyes wide, “Considering our earlier topic.”

Kathryn chuckled, “Yeah, and you can join my group during the next movie night.”

Q walked into an empty Ten Forward, preferring it to the louder version from earlier. He walked to the bar, staying relatively silent, taking a seat in front of Guinan. She hadn’t noticed him because she was busy washing glasses.

“I’ll be right with-” She paused once she looked over her shoulder and realized who it was, “Oh, it’s you.”

“It’s been a while since we talked, Intika.”

“It’s been a while since someone used that name.”

“I figured you missed it.”

“Did you?”

“Do you?”

“Look, you know how I feel about reliving the past.”

“Well, then it’s good I’m here for a drink.”

“What’ll it be?”

“Data says you make a good Samarian Sunset.”

“Does he?” She busied herself with making it, not really paying any attention to what Q may have offered as a response.

She set the finished product in front of him and got back to work on cleaning the dishes. He watched as it changed color before bringing the straw to his lips. He took a sip and swished it around his mouth before his face turned sour, “Data was wrong.”

“Bad?”

“Yes,” He sneered. He shook his head and left his tongue out. He pushed the drink to the side, “How long have you been here?”

“I work all day.”

“I meant on the Enterprise.”

“A while,” Guinan said, she put the cup down, “After I was banished from El-Auria I had to busy myself somehow. I stayed on Qo’noS for a long time. I make a mean Chech’tluth,” She said with a chuckle, “Afterwards, I shuffled around until Captain Picard met me. I recognized him, but he didn’t recognize me and well, it turned out he had an open spot for bartender on his ship.”

“Where were you when the Borg att-”

“I had gone back El-Auria the week before it had happened,” She said, “To say hi and left. I was staying on Andoria when it did.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I know you couldn’t change it.”

“Do you?” Q asked, “Cause it seems like you still blame me.”

“I do,” Guinan says, letting out a sigh, “But I know that I shouldn’t.”

“I miss the old times.”

“So do I.”

He waited in the pleasant silence, relishing the way it finally felt peaceful between the two of them.

ဝ - Three Weeks Later

The away team beamed down right outside the town. Chakotay took out his phaser, taking the lead of the group. Odo stayed between the town and group. Deanna stood right next to Odo. Bones stood behind Chakotay with Hoshi next to him. Each of them had a phaser out, except Odo and Bones. Odo didn’t want to break his phaser rule and Bones was ready with a medical tricorder.

They finally started wandering into the outskirts of the town and so far the coast was clear. And even if it wasn’t, so far they were safe, Hoshi was conversational in their language and Julian had given each of them prosthetics so they could blend in easier.

Deanna had also started learning the culture and from what she learned she was sure that she would be able to weave them properly through any social situation that would call for it.

They were safe.

“This way,” Chakotay said, looking down to the phaser in his other hand, he took him down the side of an alley. They were hidden in the safety of the shadows.

“Okay,” Chakotay said, they had formed a circle, “You know how this works, Sato will stand guard, with Troi and Dr. McCoy while me and Odo sneak in through the top. Once in we will grab the necessary supplies.”

“Ready?” He asked, looking around the circle as they each gave him an affirmative. He nodded his head and turned to Odo.

Odo stretched up to the top of the building, keeping his feet on the ground, his feet and legs melted and turned into a platform, which Chakotay laid down on. Quickly, Odo brought Chakotay to the top of the building. He climbed up and laid down behind a half wall. Odo followed after Chakotay, taking form next to him.

Chakotay looked up, getting an actual idea of how huge the factory was. He sighed and shook his head, before pulling out his tricorder. He scanned the roof, before pointing to the Western corner, “That way.”

Odo nodded in response and started army crawling in that direction with Chakotay right behind him.

They reached the vent. It was rather small, maybe just big enough to fit Chakotay if he sucked in his stomach and thought skinny.

Chakotay made eye contact with Odo, giving a questioning turn of the head, being so close to the inside of the factory made it feel necessary to be silent.

Odo gave one curt nod and Chakotay eased his way into the vent feet first. He held out his hands and Odo grabbed them. Chakotay started sliding down slowly with the help of Odo. After seconds he was suspended halfway between the floor and the ground. Chakotay tapped Odo on the once wrist, signaling for him to stop easing him down.

He stopped in midair and started using his tricorder to do one last check for any electronic intruder detection system. And the coast seemed clear. He tapped Odo twice and he continued to be lowered down.

He got to the floor and tapped Odo three times. Odo joined him quickly.

Chakotay pointed towards the rack of needed supplies, “They’re right-” He was cut off by a whizzing through the air. And a final tick as the dart hit its mark. Chakotay collapsed to the ground.

Odo gasped, but before he could react he heard Deanna’s voice in his head, Don’t worry about him, I already told the bridge, get your combadge on the supply rack.

Odo nodded, he had lots of practice with Deanna’s voice in his head, they all did, so he wasn’t caught off guard. Instead, he ripped the combadge off his chest and slapped it onto the supply rack. Then he jumped onto Chakotay’s body, grabbing him so that he could be beamed off with the group. He didn’t even have time to hit Chakotay’s combadge before he was already being beamed up to the Enterprise.

Within seconds of rematerializing Bones jumped to Chakotay, pulling out his tricorder. He hovered it over Chakotay’s body before a steady tone screamed from it.

Bones looked up to Captain Sisko, before shaking his head and in a nervous tone he said, “He’s dead.”

Chapter Text

Kathryn couldn’t help how her jaw dropped, tears beading in the corner of her eyes. She didn’t know what to say, how to react, respond. What to tell the crew. How to do anything. 

She knew she shouldn’t be mad at the messenger, but she couldn’t help the anger that filled her when Sisko said it. She was angry because how could he be dead. She was angry because he had the guts to lie her about this. Why would he lie?

“I’ll give you some ti-”

“Can I see him?” 

Benjamin didn’t say anything but nodded, he understood what it was like to lose someone close to you. 

The atmosphere hurt. No one wanted to say anything. Each and every officer knew what it was like to lose someone. They knew how it felt so no one was compelled to make small talk. They knew the small talk was just that, small. And it did nothing ease the massive pain that the Voyager crew felt. 

The atmosphere hurt. Hurt because each officer stood in their dress uniform, something they never thought they would use here. Not like this anyway.

The pod was shut. Topped with the blue Federation flag. They couldn’t see it, but Chakotay was laid to rest in there, his eyes closed, his hair done, hands laced together resting on his stomach. It may be closed casket, but some Earth traditions never die. 

Kathryn couldn’t help the slow unsteadiness of her breaths. The fall of her footsteps echoed in her empty mind, because being numb, hearing that sound, was better than thinking about where her feet were leading her.

Kathryn could still hear the echo of his voice, still hear the last thing they talked about, still remember his smile. They had dinner right before he left. They had dinner, wine glasses, Kathryn’s burnt food, banter-filled, sweet and all. 

She remembered him asking for good luck before he left.

She remembered saying ‘you don’t need it’ as the door shut behind him. 

He needed it. Three words that echoed alongside her footsteps. 

Kathryn stood up in front of the finally seated crowd. She walked to the podium set up right next to his pod, she swept a hand over her uniform and offered a small and definitely absent smile, before her face fell again.

“You all know why I am here,” She looked over to the coffin, “Why we are here… I can’t help it, but I’m going to be crying during this and I know that’s not what Chakotay would have wanted. But, like I said, I can’t help it.”

“I’ll leave you alone,” Sisko said, once she was in the room with Chakotay.

“Thanks.” She turned away and waited for the door to close behind him before walking up to Chakotay. She knew she was going to break down during this and didn’t want to do it in front of anyone else. 

She sauntered over to him, her breath becoming more and more unsteady. Her chest heaving as she finally reached him. 

“Guess you needed that luck, huh.”

“Chakotay was a brilliant, warm, friendly, caring, kind, loving, man. So much to the point that sometimes he would, conveniently, forget Starfleet Regulations to help out his friends. His family. We all became very close on our voyage home. Closer than I think any of us wanted or wished. But we became each others family. We had to be. And Chakotay stepped up very quickly for that job. 

“In many ways, he became a father to a lost group. He mended his relationship with Tom Paris, someone who he had feuded with in the past. He helped the Maquis crew mix into ours, recognizing the importance of working together.

Kathryn put her hand on his and she was taken aback when it was uncharacteristically cold. And it only made her cry harder.

“I’m going to miss you so much… And I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.” She closed her eyes and shook her head.

  Kathryn stood at the head of the pod as the crews gathered around, standing at attention. Harry had brought his clarinet and began to play a somber peace as the pod began to move forwards. 

Chapter Text

“We just got the report back from engineering,” Jean-Luc said, his voice heavy, “We need a few more supplies.”

“Are you sure we should?” Jim asked he gave a fleeting glance over to Kathryn, who was staring out the window. She disconnected from the world like that ever since Chakotay died.

“It’s either that or we learn how to make our parts,” Jonathan said, “Which could take years.”

“I think it is worth the risk,” Jean-Luc said, “We, as Starfleet officers, know the risk of joining. And it is the only way we can get off this planet, we need to do this.”

“I agree,” Benjamin said, “We need to be more conscientious of who we pick this time.” 

“I think we should talk to our crews first, see who is willing to go,” Jonathan said, “Seeing as this mission could lead to another fatality. It should be up to the people if they want to go.”

“What if no one volunteers?” Jim asked.

“Well,” Benjamin said, “We’ll have to decide for them.”

Jean-Luc’s senior staff gathered for their usual game of poker, a tradition they tried hard to continue. All were present except Data.

“When do you think he will get here?” Will asked the group, “I’m getting a little antsy.”

“You’re just excited to win,” Deanna replied with a smile.

“Or lose,” Worf said.

“He said something about a surprise,” Geordi said, “I can usually see his surprises from a mile away but I didn’t this time, it’s making me worried.” His voice was worried, but the playful smile contradicted it. 

“I do not like surprises,” Worf huffed. 

“We know,” Beverly replied.

“We will find out in a minute,” Jean-Luc says, “In the meantime-” He was cut off guard by the door sliding open. Data walked in with Q following in his wake. 

“Q?” Will asked, slightly suspicious. 

“I’m here to join the game.”

“You play poker?” Jean-Luc asked.

“I have been teaching him in our free time,” Data said, “Q said that he wanted to impress-”

“It’s nothing,” Q shot off quickly, red flushing his face. They took a seat at the table.

“Well,” Deanna said, something akin to a knowing smile on her face, “Nice of you to join us.”

“I have to warn you,” Will said, the suspicious lilt in his voice leaving for a more relaxed tone, “I won’t go easy on you.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Q said, his eyes narrowed, unsure if Will was joking or upset.

“Before we go,” Jean-Luc interrupted the banter. His serious tone slicing through the good-natured moment. “I have an important topic to discuss with you all.” He put down the cards which he had been shuffling. “The captains and I have decided to risk another away team out to the town. Those parts a valuable and could play and huge role in our ability to get into space. I want to inform you that I will be going on the next mission.”

“Captain,” Will said, nearly jumping up, “I’ll go, you’re too important.”

“I trust that you guys can carry on without me. If I do die,” Jean-Luc said, “But I would rather risk myself than anyone of you.”

“I can’t let you do that, I’m your First Officer, and it’s my job to make sure that you are kept safe.”

“Not anymore,” Jean-Luc argued. His voice taking an agitated edge, “Your mission is to make it back to Earth, with as many people alive as possible. You can do that without me, but I cannot do that without you.”

“Captain-”

“It is final,” Jean-Luc said, “And not your decision.” He gave a sharp look to Will, stopping him from arguing any further, “The mission will be this Saturday,” Jean-Luc said, the edge leaving his voice, “And I want to talk to you all individually before Saturday, but then as a group.”

“Captain,” Data said, “It would be safer for me to go, I am not human and can not die.” Geordi looked to him, his mouth slightly open, but Data gave him a quick but pointed look.

“Data,” Jean-Luc said, “I could not let you go on good conscious knowing the risks. Besides,” He smiled, “I do not think Geordi would like me anymore if I sent you.”

“Sir-”

“I am going,” Jean-Luc said, “That is final.”

“Hey,” Beverly said, walking into her quarters. She kept her voice soft, afraid of scaring Kathryn. 

Kathryn had her back to the quarters. She was staring out her window to watch the relatively inactive forest. She had been that way since Beverly had left this morning, and as far as Beverly could tell, she hadn’t moved since.

“Have you had dinner?” Beverly asked, her voice still staying soft. She dropped the tricorder onto their table and walked up to stand next to her. 

Kathryn jumped, not realizing that Beverly had even entered their quarters. “Sorry,” She said through deep breaths, “I didn’t know you had come in.”

“You’re okay,” Beverly offered a sad smile, putting a hand on her shoulder, “I was asking if you need to eat.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“You said that yesterday,” Beverly said, “Come on, I’ll make one of your favorite foods, vegetable biryani.”

Kathryn wanted to argue, but she let out a sigh, deciding it would be easier if she went along with it. She peeled herself away from the window and moved to the table. 

Beverly pulled the dish off the replicator and set it on the table. She sat right next to Kathryn.

“Hey,” She said, placing her hands on Kathryn’s, “I know this isn’t going to be easy for you and I wanted to let you know, I’m here for you. You are going to need some time and I get that. Just remember I can get you anything you need, just let me know.”

Kathryn gave a sad and small smile, “Thanks.”

Q waited back at his and Jean-Luc’s quarters. He wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t sleep without Jean-Luc. Truth be told, he wasn’t able to sleep over these first few months. Not well anyway. But once they started going to bed in each other’s arms it all seemed easier. Jean-Luc slept well and so did he. It wasn’t anything other than that. Just two friends sleeping together to sleep better.

And the more he said it the more he felt the butterflies in his stomach. The more he felt his chest tighten when he saw Jean-Luc. He must’ve been sick. He had to be sick. Because that was the only explanation for how he reacted.

But that was beside the point. Another reason he was still up was that he needed to talk with Jean-Luc. 

The door slid open and Jean-Luc walked in, tired and overwhelmed.

“Hey,” Q said. His voice was pleasant and not an indicator of the conversation that was to come.

“Hello,” Jean-Luc said as he crossed the room. He made his way to his side of the room and started pulling out some nightclothes.

“Here, let me help.” He held out his hand and snapped his fingers. Nothing happened of course, “Oh,” He sighed, “Right… I keep forgetting that I can’t do that.”

Jean-Luc smiled a slight smile, he closed the drawers and laid the clothes out on his bed. He turned back to Q.

Q opened his mouth to say something but the sound was lost as Jean-Luc had tried to speak too. The resulting sound was a jumbled mess that left the air stilted and uncomfortable.

Q made direct eye contact with Jean-Luc, unsure of what to do in this situation. “You first,” Jean-Luc said.

“Okay,” Q said, “I was trying to say, ‘We need to talk’.”

“Oh,” Jean-Luc said. He nodded slowly before taking a seat on the bed, “I have a feeling we’re going to be here for a while.”

Q nodded quickly, but he was unsure of how long this was going to take, “Yeah.” He took a seat next to Jean-Luc, “I… um- You can’t go on the mission. You want to be a hero and show just how good of a Star Fleet Officer you really are but- you can’t go to the surface. It’s dangerous to humans. Send Worf or Data or Troi. Or anyone. I don’t care, anyone, but yourself. The crew won’t be able to function without you…”

“If the can’t function without me than I have failed as a captain.”

I can’t function without you. Q didn’t say it. And he didn’t like how the words so easily sprung to mind, how easily they nearly clawed out of his mouth. 

“What about me, then?” Q asked, “You’re the only person who knows me, who trusts me. And I can’t sleep well when you’re not here.”

“This mission isn’t a death sentence, Q.”

“That’s exactly what you and the captains thought last time and look where we are.”

“We will take more precautions this time.”

“Why didn’t you last time.”

“We took all of the precautions we thought necessary. Our sensors read the traps as operating mechanisms, we thought he was safe. But now we are aware of the traps and we will be safe.”

“I’m going from my crew,” Jonathan said kicking off the selection process. He sat at the end of a table filled with the other captains.

“Me too,” Jim said with a nod.

“I, as well,” Jean-Luc said.

“Me, too,” Benjamins said.

“And, me, too,” Kathryn said. 

“Well,” Jean-Luc said humoredly, “It would seem we all had the same idea.”

“Yes, it would,” Jonathan agreed with a smile.

“It’ll give us all a chance to get to work together more,” Benjamin said. “As I’m sure that’s something we all wanted,” He eyed Jean-Luc and Kathryn with suspicion. “We can begin working tomorrow.”

After discussing schedules for their mission they brought the meeting to a close. Three out of the five of the captains stood up and filtered out of the room.

Kathryn had stayed behind, only at the urging of Jean-Luc. They stayed in their seats as the door shut behind the rest of the captains. The room felt less full, less tense, with the captains gone.

“How are you holding up?” Jean-Luc asked. 

“Fine,” Kathryn said, her voice having an indignant lilt to it. 

“Really?” Jean-Luc said, doubt clear.

“I will be,” Kathryn said.

“It’s not easy,” Jean-Luc said, “But, talking helps.”

“You don’t know what I’m going through, none of the captains do.”

“Don’t I?” Jean-Luc asked. 

“I don’t think so.”

“Stardate: 41601.3,” Jean-Luc started. The date burned into his memory, as if he had been turning it over and over in his head. “I lost an officer,” His voice turned darker, “Tasha Yar. We tried to save her, got her back to the ship, and Beverly couldn’t do anything about it. She was so,” Tears beaded in the corner of his eyes. 

“Young and brash. She would’ve gone places. And it was my fault if I had gone about the mission any differentl-” He paused letting out a breath of air, “But you can not think of it like that.”

Kathryn didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t expecting that. And she certainly wasn’t expecting to see him get teary-eyed. 

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, you didn’t know,” Jean-Luc shook his head, “Just... don't bottle it up. Keeping the emotions in doesn’t help. And, I’m here if you need to talk about it.”

- Three Weeks Later

Q knew Jean-Luc would be waking soon, but he didn’t move at all. He wanted to preserve the moment as long as he could. 

It was funny, he was enraged that Jean-Luc had taken the mission. But there was still a part in his stomach that got that warm fuzzy feeling. He had decided those meant happiness and friendship.

He shifted slightly, slowly, cringing as he prayed that Jean-Luc didn’t stir. When he didn’t he relaxed. His right arm was supporting Jean-Luc’s head while the other wrapped around his waist. Their legs were in a tangle 

He enjoyed waking up like this. Jean-Luc in his arms, warming up his chest and front side. While the cool air of the quarters chilled his back, keeping him perfectly regulated. He enjoyed listening to Jean-Luc’s deep breaths, the way the breaths could roll into snores. How, if he held him just right, he could feel his pulse. All of the pretty things that made him human, made him alive.

For whatever reason, Q couldn’t help but admire them. 

But he couldn’t help the way his stomach twisted in knots, feeling both sick and fine at the same time. He didn’t know what to name it. Meaning it was another one of those fun human emotions that he now how to deal with.

Human emotions used to be recreational activities. Something he could indulge in for a few seconds, minutes, and zap away the minute he started to dislike it. Now, it didn’t work like that. 

Then a thought hit him in the gut, with the force of a train, what if this was the last morning he got to spend with Jean-Luc. Forever. 

What if that mission was his last.

Q pulled him closer, resting his nose on Jean-Luc’s neck. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath.

Beverly drank her tea as she watched Kathryn get ready. The nerves built in her stomach and all she could do was sit there and bounce her leg. 

Kathryn crossed from their bedroom to the table and took a seat. There was a steaming coffee, dark black, sitting right in front of her chair. 

“Thanks,” She said with a smile, as she picked it up from the table. She brought the drink to her lips, slowly taking the first sip.

“Of course,” Beverly returned the smile. But she didn’t necessarily feel the emotions associated with a smile. The nerves had started to fill her with static electricity. The twisting, and turning of her stomach.

“What do you want to do tonight?” Kathryn asked, after another sip, “Velocity’s always fun.”

“How about we focus on the mission,” Beverly said through a sigh, “Once you’re done then, yes, we can talk about a date.”

Spock held out his hand, two fingers outstretched. Jim met the two fingers, and with the brief feeling of electricity shot between them. Thoughts and emotions from each of them ran through the connection. Too shortly, Jim pulled back. 

He smiled lightly, before excusing himself, “I’m going to be late if we don’t go now.”

“Of course.”

They made their way to the door.

“I love you, Spock,” Jim said right before leaving. He wanted to say it all now before he couldn’t. Just in case it might be too late.

Spock reached for Jim’s hand, to say all he couldn’t through another connection. But Jim pulled his hand back.

“Can I hear you say it?” Jim’s voice was soft.

“I love you, too, t’hy’la.”

Jim smiled brightly, before turning towards the door. Spock followed after him, making that they stayed close enough to bump shoulders. They made their way to the transporter room.

“Jim,” Spock said, “In the event that-”

“You and Bones know what to do. We’re not going to discuss that now,” He turned to look Spock in the face, “Happy thoughts, Spock.”

Spock disliked the answer but nodded anyway.

“Captain,” Kira said, “Benjamin.” She had stopped outside his quarters, but he was unable to stop because he moved right past her. She sighed and took off after him.

“Major Kira.”

“Look,” Kira said, “If you die out there I will never forgive you.”

Benjamin smiled widely, “I don’t think I could live with myself.” His voice mocked offense.

“Hey, be serious.”

“I am,” Benjamin added, “I mean, I’m scared too. But, I would rather it was me than anyone of you guys.”

“And I’ve lived a rather full life,” Kira said, “I’m proud of my accomplishments. But, you… you- you’re the Emissary.”

“But first and foremost your captain and it’s a little too late to talk me out of this.”

“Benjamin-”

“Besides, we’ve taken more precautions. We’re going to be fine. I’ll be back before you would be able to hunt down Quark.”

“Benjamin-”

“Come on, Major, I’ll-”

“Benjamin,” Kira had raised her voice, “I’ve been trying to say good luck, and that we’ll keep a spot open for you at Vic’s tonight.”

“I don’t really-”

“Yeah, we know, like Vic’s but you’ll be coming anyway, it’ll be a party for your massive success. And Vic has been practicing all week once he heard what he was performing for. It’d be a shame to let him down.”

Benjamin gave a resigned sigh, “Okay.” But there was still a smile on his face.

Jonathan stood right outside the transporter room. T’Pol stood next to him. 

“Be safe,” T’Pol said, “Make smart decisions. Don’t risk yourself.”

“Wouldn’t it be logical to risk my life if it meant completion of the mission?” Jonathan said, playful smile residing on his face.

“Not if you’re the captain.” T’Pol replied, “You are the only one the Enterprise crew trusts and if you leave then you are risking that.”

“Nah,” Jonathan said, waving away T’Pol’s statement with a hand. 

“Excuse me?”

“You’re only saying that because you’ll miss me if I leave.”

“You are incorrect.”

“Am not.”

T’Pol glared Jonathan down, but there was no bite to her gaze. She decided to shrug, “Maybe. A very small amount.”

“Ha,” Jonathan said his eyes bright. “Told you so,” His voice fell, “I’ll be safe. You and the crew won’t have to be missing me for long.”

“Good,” T’Pol said, “Tomorrow is the next movie night. You had better be there.”

“I will.”

The senior staffs crowded around the transporter room, they sat there interspersed. Not bothering to keep themselves separated in the ways they had in the past. 

“We should celebrate this mission if it all goes well,” Uhura offered to the rather tense crowd. She hoped it would lighten the mood.

“I mean,” Julian started, “We’re going to Vic’s tonight.” He looked to Major Kira as if to ask for permission, she nodded, “You could join us if you want.”

“Vic’s?” Tuvok asked.

“Vic’s Lounge, it’s a 1960’s casino. Vic, the owner, has let us rent out the bar for the night so we can party, he and his band will be playing some jazz.” Miles explained.

“Are they looking for a trombone player?” Will asked.

“If they are, they aren’t going to find one here,” Deanna jumped on.

“Hey,” He said in faux hurt.

“This is on the holodeck,” T’Pol said as if she had just caught onto what was going on.

“Have you been on it yet?” Miles asked.

“No.”

“Really?” Miles said. “I know Vulcans get a little uptight.” He offered a little smile, but dropped it when he realized that T’Pol might not find it humorous. He licked his lips, “But I’m sure you could find a program you would enjoy.”

“I would hope.” She replied.

“The holodeck programs that I have been on, while inane, haven’t been devoid of meaning. They do offer an enjoyable time with the crew.”

“Oh,” Harry said, “Tuvok, are you being sentimental?”

“Write it down, that’s truly a rare and historical moment,” Tom added.

“Socializing with the crew improves the crew’s morale. And improves the working relationship between everyone.”

“Of course,” Tom sighed, “Just when we thought he was going to show us some emotions.”

“So,” Julian said, “If you guys want to go, we’ll be at holodeck two… right?”

“Holodeck three,” Kira corrected.

“Right, holodeck three, at 1930,” Julian corrected.

Good news all around. The away team returned with not a scratch. They didn’t set off any alarm, and was able to retrieve all of the needed components. And so the day went like this. 

Kathryn and Beverly enjoyed a pleasant lunch, then a quick game of velocity and a little yoga.

Q had, what Deanna had called, an anxiety attack. After that fun appointment, he went back to his quarters with Jean-Luc. They sat on the bed in each other’s arms. Jean-Luc hadn’t realized how worried Q was, but he now understood.

He also started fighting away some feelings he wasn’t expecting a didn’t need. Something that felt suspiciously like a crush.

Benjamin and Kira went for a game of catch at the holodeck, Kira’s treat.

Jonathan ate lunch with Trip and T’Pol.

Jim spent the day lounging with Spock.

And at the end of the day, they all met up at Vic’s. 

“So,” Kathryn said, walking up to the table. She took a seat, setting down the glass of Andorian ale, “I think I’ll take you up on your offer.” She had been thinking about this all day.

Jean-Luc turned away from Vic and his band, over the previously-empty seat across from him. Will had been sitting there but had gotten up to dance with Deanna.

“Hmm?” He hummed, her words taking a bit to register over the loud noises of the lounge. “Oh,” He said before she had a chance to repeat herself, “What do you want to talk about?” He turned in his chair to face her, setting down his mug of Earl Grey.

“I…” She paused. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to talk, it’s just… she didn’t like talking about it. She wasn’t used to it. Captain’s in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants will meet up on their shore leaves and talk about it with each other. She couldn't do that with anyone in her position, since being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. She hadn’t had to in six years, which wasn’t the best. In fact, it had made it harder now that she could talk to someone. “Does it get easier?”

“There’s a difference,” Jean-Luc remarked with a sad smile. “Between losing someone from your senior staff, who you had gotten to know. And loosing some ensign you had seen a handful of time... And I know you’re not supposed to say that, a Captain should care about every single life equally. But it isn’t like that. I care deeply about all my crew members. I would give my life to save any one of them. But you don’t get the emotional bond that you get with a senior staff member.”

“Yeah,” Kathryn sighed. Something seemed to settle in her stomach. It felt like relief.