Title: Temporality Author: D'Alaire
Summary: A "missing scenes" story for Shattered. Knowing what they're about to do, and seeing faces from her past collect to help them do it, 26 year-old Naomi Wildman sees pieces of her life on Voyager pass before her eyes.
Note: First released in February 2001, I've dusted it off and edited it again for this site. Feedback is welcome.
"The King is a good king:
But it must be as it may;
he passes some humours and careers."
(Shakespeare, Henry V)
Naomi Wildman couldn't help but smile, albeit nervously.
She had arrived in the corridor outside engineering with Icheb and waited expectantly for the others Chakotay said he and Captain Janeway would be bringing to help them get past the Kazon there. They were advised not to reveal much about the future: It wouldn't matter in the end, but it might prove to be a distraction. Curious as Naomi was to talk to them, she agreed it would be best to keep quiet.
To say that she was already a little distracted herself was an understatement, especially after seeing the two who had been lost and had meant so much to Voyager, so long ago.
The present was enough to think about, really, without their help.
Only a couple hours ago, the bridge called down to astrometrics to announce the spatial rift's appearance. As Icheb scanned it and pronounced the impossible, Naomi felt her face drain at her captain's awe-etched explanation: It was the same anomaly they had encountered seventeen years before. Moments later, Icheb pinpointed it on their sensors.
Then, as they discussed what to do about it, the captain said, "This might be a chance to find the people we lo--"
The comm died.
Icheb continued to follow the captain's last orders despite the interruption, however, and detected the chrono-kinetic surge that had struck the ship. It had come out of nowhere, had not even bumped Voyager--their Voyager. Naomi correctly guessed that it probably wasn't their "time" that had taken the hit. Agreeing, Icheb found and traced the haphazard rifts that had formed all over Voyager.
It didn't take long to count the fractures. It took longer, actually, to believe that it was happening again, and for Naomi to realize that maybe the captain, commander and Icheb were right, that maybe they could find their lost people again as well as escape the anomaly. Staring at the rift itself in the main viewscreen, they knew it was a possibility. The captain believed it could happen; he even spoke with an etching of hope. If they did very well there...
She and Icheb spent another hour scanning and trying to determine the exact nature of the temporal fractures, agreeing that they might want to investigate that part of it, see if they could manipulate the anomaly and access parts of it.
Then Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay walked through the doors.
Naomi felt her heart stop when she turned at the sound and saw the most impossible thing that might have come out of their dilemma. But it indeed had happened: Two of the people they lost had just found them.
She could hear her captain's last statement all over again...and there they were. What would he have done if he'd been there instead? With a steadying breath, she reported her and Icheb's findings to the two, wondering all the while...
"If only Seven were here," she heard herself say, even while wondering why she would wish for her, too, after as much time. Then again, maybe somewhere else on Voyager...maybe Seven and the others weren't lost, after all. Maybe they could reverse those tragedies--and not only the losses Voyager had suffered, but the time after. The fact that Chakotay and Janeway could traverse the ship made it possible. They might come up with something. Everything Naomi remembered about them told her if someone could find a solution, it'd be the woman she so fondly remembered.
"When I was little," she told Janeway, "there was nothing I wanted more than to be the assistant captain."
How she had wanted it, and how that dream had been lost to her. It shouldn't have been. Their many losses should not have happened.
A few moments later, however, watching the two leave, she wondered if it would be fair to change what happened to the surviving crew, to turn back everything they had achieved--and everything she became, too. How much would change and how much would happen anyway? Would it be right to take that chance?
No. The accident was just that--a temporal accident, a rift in space that required correction.
So bizarre to think of her known life as an error. Then again, they certainly weren't going anywhere as they were. The more she and Icheb searched for another way out, the more they knew how stuck they were.
After some time, Naomi could only shake her head at the readings. Icheb, of course, continued to work, but she simply couldn't make herself pull up the same figures yet again. They would only tell her what she already knew--that she didn't know.
When Janeway and Chakotay came again to enlist their help in restoring the latter's timeline, Naomi only needed to see Icheb's nod to keep her from asking further questions. She accepted the plan and the serum Chakotay injected without a word then followed the captain and commander though a section full of comatose people and into the turbolift.
There, she watched them both in a sort of awe, only blinking as they passed through another few fractures. She had to remember to pay attention, not lose herself in the wave of thoughts inspired by them and what they were doing. Through a section of deck eleven filled with thick, green gasses, a point of construction, and then a eventless nook just around the corner from the main entrance of Engineering, Naomi looked at Janeway's pretty, red hair, her straight-backed stride. She gazed at Commander Chakotay's gentle eyes and brief, understanding grin...
It had been so long. She hadn't forgotten, and at the same time, she almost had. Seeing them from an adult perspective alone made it so different and yet so similar...
All those times, before her, all that history yet to be, and maybe even happening again...
"You recognized the complementary base pair."
"Actually, I just found two pieces that fit together."
"You're missing the point."
"I thought the point was to finish the puzzle."
That always had been a problem with her, actually, though she didn't know it at the time--or for a long time after...