Many thanks to my betas elara ananke and archaeology!
And thank you to jewlzsheridan for the review!
Chakotay continued staring at the viewscreen, disturbed by the sight of the barren ball of rock that was once a thriving world. Part of him knew that Voyager should continue on to Bryma, and let the Think Tank figure out what had happened. Meanwhile another part of him desperately needed answers.
"What are you thinking sir?" asked Tom.
Chakotay bit his lip, trying to come to a decision.
"Get Sam and Dr. Selar up here...I want to see if we can send an away team."
"What's with the rock?" Lieutenant Samantha Wildman asked as she watched Tal Celes frantically scan the stone.
"It's a stone from the Romulan Embassy on Ronara Prime. Vorik asked us to date it."
Sam sighed. Despite being acting head of Voyager's science departments, she was still routinely kept out of the loop. It was never done maliciously, but it still got to her.
"What are we doing at Ronara Prime?"
"We received a distress call-" Selar began to explain, but was cut off by Tom's voice on the intercom.
"Lieutenant Wildman and Dr. Selar, please report to the bridge."
"I guess I'll find out," Sam sighed, leaving the lab.
As Selar stepped out onto Voyager's impressive bridge, she struggled to keep up her Vulcan facade, feeling rage bubble near the surface as she viewed the destroyed world on the viewscreen.
"Sam, Dr. Selar...Ronara Prime has been wiped out by an unknown weapon or phenomena. The planet appears to have been displaced over 900 years into the past. I'd like you to ascertain whether or not the planet is safe enough to send an away team," Chakotay explained quickly to the pair, before taking a second look.
"Dr. Selar...have we met before? You look familiar."
Selar mentally kicked herself. She had met Chakotay before, during the Q Civil War. They'd worked together a lot over the course of two days. She should have realised she'd look familiar to him, given the strong resemblance between her Human and Vulcan selves. She decided to play it safe, hoping he would not reveal her identity.
"I have served in Starfleet for many years. We may have met in passing, but I do not remember."
That explanation seemed to appease the Captain's instincts. At least, for now. But Selar could see herself requesting a transfer in order to keep her secret safe.
Chakotay flashed her a small smile. "That must be it."
Sam had already joined her counterpart at the Science Station. Billy was senior in Astrophysics, Quantum mechanics and other disciplines, while Sam was senior in Exobiology and other natural sciences. She looked shocked by the data she was seeing.
"The planet has been completely stripped of all biological components, down to the sub-atomic level?" she was incredulous. "That's impossible. We've encountered phenomena and weapons that could destroy all life down to the microbial level, but even then there were traces of organic residue."
"Indeed," Selar concurred before continuing. "Captain, I would not recommend transporting to the surface. I had a chance to review the preliminary data from Ronara Prime. While most of the structures on the planet's surface are still standing, they are now ancient. Also, even the most sterile of building materials inevitably gets compromised by insects, fungi, moss and lichens for example...Over time, these elements become key components in a building's structural integrity. Remove the biological elements, and a structure can become unstable."
Sam nodded in agreement. "Add that to the fact that we can't determine what caused this planet to die...An away team could be killed instantaneously."
Chakotay nodded solemnly. He had guessed that Wildman and Selar would not approve of an away mission, but he had to try.
"Thank you for your input. We have more raw data on Ronara here, if you'd like to work on the bridge. Tom, lay in a course for Bryma, warp eight."
Selar moved to join Wildman and Telfer in the alcove that housed the science station. She was feeling very uneasy, and hoped her Q nature would not let her down.
"How long will it take us to get to Bryma?" Chakotay asked his First Officer.
"About thirty minutes."
"Captain," Harry said as his console beeped. "We're getting an incoming transmission from Seven of Nine."
"On screen," Chakotay said, sitting in his seat.
As Seven appeared, Selar noted the worry etched on the former Borg's face.
"Hello again Captain," Seven was all business.
"You don't look too happy Seven."
"Indeed," Seven looked solemn. "I believe I have an explanation as to why Ronara was displaced in time, although I do not know how the feat was accomplished. I have been unable to share my knowledge with my colleagues, though I have given some basic information to the Doctor. I am transmitting my findings to you Chakotay. Luckily, Starfleet protocol has relaxed slightly on this matter, though you should dismiss any Ensigns and Lieutenants from your bridge before we continue this conversation."
Selar took in this information. This was a classified matter, that much was certain. Meant for Lt. Commanders and above only it seemed.
"Alright," said Chakotay. "Wildman, Telfer, Campbell, Chung...Return to duty in ten minutes...Dismissed."
Sam and Billy exchanged worried glances. Linda dutifully filed out, shrugging her shoulders at Lyssa who understandably looked perturbed. As security chief, she liked knowing exactly what was going on with Voyager at all times.
When the crewmembers left the bridge, Seven continued the conversation.
"I believe the planet was displaced in time in order to minimize the damage to this region of space."
"Go on..." Chakotay said, a note of worry in his voice.
"Omega. This planet has traces of Omega on its surface and in its crust. Whoever destroyed this world did so by constructing a weapon powered by the molecules. Someone has harnessed Omega, to devastating effect. It appears displacing the planet meant that minimal damage was caused to subspace, due to the fact the subspace fissures we have detected are 'scars' and not 'open wounds'."
"If Ronara had been destroyed right here and now, Warp-capable vessels would be aggravating any damage to subspace...However, now the fissures are stable, and no longer a threat to us." Chakotay answered.
"Indeed. I have contacted Starfleet Command. They are sending a specialist squadron to Ronara Prime. You are to continue to Bryma, and keep a lookout for Omega."
Chakotay nodded at Seven, before breaking communications.
He addressed the bridge crew. "Although the Omega Directive is common knowledge among all officers about a level six clearance, you are not permitted to discuss what we have just heard with anyone outwith this room, even if they hold clearance. Omega is on a need-to-know basis."
"I'll be in my ready room," he stated. "Tom, you have the bridge, and you can call back junior officers to the bridge when needed."
"Aye sir...Lieutenant Chung, please report to the bridge."
Selar looked around at the bridge crew, before glancing back at the work station.
The Q's greatest enemy had harnessed Omega.
This changed everything. Selar realised that there was only one person in the Andromeda Galaxy that knew of the particle.
Kathryn Elizabeth Janeway, what have you done?