Thanks to Katty008, jewelz sheridan, and Chas54 for the reviews!

And many thanks to my betas elara ananke and archaeology!

Author's Note - Janeway will be along soon, so stick with me!

Chapter Nine

Fear gripped her stomach with all it's icy might. Phoebe looked out at the amber heavens, cold and unknown. The stars barely moved, reminding her of how slowly Voyager was travelling.

Phoebe was terrified. A short while ago Chakotay had made an announcement that Voyager was once again lost. This time in the Andromeda galaxy, thanks to the female Q. The ship was crawling towards a space station to refuel.

Was this how Kathryn had felt? Phoebe wondered as her anxieties made her nauseous.

"No, Phoebe. You're concussed. You're not thinking straight. We'll be home soon." She chastised herself.

The female Q couldn't leave them out here.

Could she?

Phoebe's stomach lurched again, and she suddenly felt dizzy. She returned to sit at the table in her quarters, trying to will the fog in her mind to go away. She winced as her door chimed, sounding much louder than normal.

"Come in."

The doors opened, and Sekaya walked in.

"How's the headache?"

"Not good." Phoebe admitted, smiling slightly.

Sekaya returned the smile, sitting down opposite her.

"Thought you could use a little company."

"Thank you," Phoebe was grateful, "How are you holding up?"

"Not good, to be honest. Worried about Chakotay...If we don't manage to find a way back..."

Phoebe looked at Sekaya, "Chakotay will find it tough, but he'll get through it...and so will the rest of us."

Sekaya nodded, "I's just...He's my brother and I can't help but worry."

"Trust me, I know how you feel, especially with the unique brand of Janeway idiocy my sister utilised so often." Phoebe smirked sadly.

Sekaya smiled too, remember all the tales Chakotay had told her about Kathryn's stubbornness and dogged determination.

Naomi finished her duty shift at 17.00 hours, but now at 17.05 and on her way to her quarters, she felt like she should be doing more to help. Celes however had assured her that if she was needed, they'd call her.


She turned round to see B'Elanna Torres marching towards her, Miral stuck to her hip, looking nonplussed.

"Can I help you, ma'am?"

"Could you watch Miral for a while? Tom's in sickbay and there's a problem in engineering...I want to give Vorik a hand."

Naomi smiled before talking the calm toddler from her mother.

"What's your name?" Miral asked her.

"I'm Naomi. I'm your mom's friend Sam's daughter!"

Miral smiled cheekily.

"Naomi, all her toys are in a blue chest in my quarters. If she gets boisterous, just go in and get her Flotter doll."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Miral, honey, mommy's got to go and work, so Naomi's going to look after you for a little while."

"Where's daddy?"

"Daddy's working too...Will you be good for Naomi?"


"Good girl...see you soon."

B'Elanna smiled before heading back along the corridor.

She arrived in Engineering to pandemonium. Crewmembers darted about here and there, effecting repairs as they went.

"Vorik! Need a hand?" B'Elanna shouted above the din.

"Yes, ma'am. Your help would be most appreciated."

"I understand you've been experiencing a drain on our deuterium?"


"I've been looking over the data, and I think the deuterium is literally seeping into space at the atomic level via the Bussard collectors, and binding with the micro-nebulas surrounding us."

"Then the solution would be to seal the Bussard collectors." Vorik reasoned.

B'Elanna was suddenly unsure of her idea, "I'm not sure if I'm right."

"I have learned to trust you instincts in engineering matters, B'Elanna."

"Besides can't hurt to give it a try," smiled Teg.

Vorik nodded to Teg, "Assemble a team and work with Ms. Torres."

B'Elanna gave Vorik a small smile, "Thank you."

"No, thank you, ma'am," Vorik replied.

Twenty minutes later, the Bussard collectors were sealed, and the deuterium levels had stabilised. However, Voyager could now no longer make it to the space station, given how little fuel was left.

"Vorik to Chakotay."

"Chakotay here."

"Ms. Torres and ensign Teg have halted the deuterium leak, however, the Bussard collectors have been disabled, and we no longer have enough deuterium to make the journey to the array."

The lights on the bridge flickered as if they were agreeing with the Vulcan.

"We'll have to send a Delta Flyer," Chakotay sighed, glad that Voyager now had several of the Borg-enhanced craft onboard, "Vorik, you and I will look for a source of deuterium."

"Yes, sir."

"Harry, take Celes and try and barter for star charts and maps. Hopefully we'll be back in the Milky Way before we need them, but I'd like to be prepared if we aren't."

"We're approaching the array." Chakotay said from the helm of the Bergamo.

Voyager had seven Delta Flyer class mid-range reconnaissance shuttles, all named after Terran mountain ranges.

"Can you find anything remotely like a docking port?" Chakotay asked Harry.

"Yes sir," Harry's console beeped, "We're being hailed, audio only."

"Unidentified vessel. You are approaching the Canteni Trading post. You are welcome at our depot provided you conduct yourself in a tescheg manner."

"Tescheg?" Celes said.

"That was an automated message. The Universal translator is struggling a bit." Harry sighed, "I've forwarded the location of the docking port to your console."

Chakotay nodded, heading for the co-ordinates.

The docking procedure went perfectly, but Vorik's console beeped.

"The air pressure inside the array varies from our own...We will have to acclimatise ourselves here before disembarking."

Chakotay sighed, "Acknowledged."

"We're being hailed again." Harry remarked.

"Unidentified vessel. Why the delay in disembarking?"

"This is Captain Chakotay of the Bergamo," Chakotay said, wanting to conceal Voyager's existence, "We need to acclimatise to your array's air pressure before we leave our vessel."

"Very well, Captain...Chakotay is an unusual name. Which order is it from?"

"I'm not from around here, so you'll be unfamiliar with my...order." Chakotay adjusted to the lingo.

"Intriguing," the alien replied, "I'm Tambil Kel, of the Vatanak Co-operative. I'm head of inbound operations for day shift. We always welcome tescheg newcomers! If you need anything during your stay, do not hesitate to contact me."

"Thank you. We'll keep your offer in mind."

The alien broke off communication.

"There's that word again...Tescheg." Harry grimaced.

"They seem friendly," Celes said dispassionately.

"What's the catch?"

"We'll find out..." Chakotay looked at the pressure gauge, "in twenty minutes."