Star Trek Voyager

Old Friends

Chapter 1

Sudden Attack

The Vidian ship waited in the nebula for any ship passing by this sector. The Vidians were infected with a disease called the Phage, which was a rapid, adaptive and highly resistant disease that maimed the Vidian population. It consumed their bodies, destroying genetic codes, and cellular structures faster than the race's medical science could keep up with. Thousands died everyday and the only cure to is to replace the infected organs. They did so in a process by acquiring victims and using their organs.

The Phage disease wasn't always harming the Vidians. Before the Phage came, about two millennia ago, the Vidians were a species well known for their educators, explorers, and even more so artistic abilities. Once the Phage hits, it weakens them and much of their tasks on their home world are completed through slave labor. After a cure was unable to found alone, they decided to send out ships to search for a cure. The search resulted in harvesting victim's organs, preferably dead but in emergency a live body may be used.

The ship in the nebula had been caught in a battle with a Kazon ship and damaged. They did disable the Kazon ship though, but because of injury from the altercation, they were in desperate need for relief from the pain of the Phage. The Vidian captain sat in his chair waiting. He just looked at a preliminary report and was pleased that repairs were almost complete. Now all that was left was the warp drive. Vidians weren't the greatest engineers, but were greater physicians due to the Phage virus.

"Sir," A Vidian soldier said as he approached the Captain with a pad in his hands. "Shields are currently holding at forty-eight percent, but warp power is still offline and will be offline for another day maybe two."

"What?" The Captain snapped turning to face one of his engineers. He took a deep and painful breath, "You told me we would have warp power by today. Why don't we have it?"

"Sir this nebula we are currently stationed in," The engineer said pleading his case despite the glare he was receiving, "Our shields are weakened point zero-six percent every hour."

"I am aware of that," The Vidian captain said standing up to face his engineer, "That does not answer why we don't have warp power yet."

"Stabilizing the warp field coils have taken a lot longer than anticipated," The engineer said, "The Kazon attack did considerable damage to them."

The Vidian captain held a strong gaze at his engineer for a few moments before he sighed and return to his seat. "I want warp power by tomorrow and I don't want any excuses."

"Yes sir," The engineer said bowing briefly before quickly exiting the bridge.

A warning siren suddenly went off and the Captain turned to his ops-officer and asked, "Now what?"

"Sir there is an unidentified vessel entering the system," The ops-officer said turning to face his captain, "It doesn't register on ship's systems but it is a transport ship."

"Are we within scanning range?" The Captain asked relieved that finally something was about to happen. He knew his officers were getting restless.

"Affirmative," The ops-officer said.

"Scan the ship."

The ops-officer scanned the ship quickly and then looked at his Captain. "There are twenty-four life forms on the ship. It has minimal shielding and type two laser cannons."

"Hardly a challenge," The captain said turning his chair to face his helmsman, "Set an intercept course and prepare to fire on my mark."

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Janeway looked up at Chakotay and smiled at him watching him pour two cups of champagne. He handed one to her and raised their glasses. "To the trip home," Janeway said, "May we get there quickly and without injury."

They clinked glasses and took a sip. Janeway set her glass down and cut a slice from her chicken. She mixed it with the mash potatoes and ate it. The mixing of the chicken and mashed potatoes brought back memories of her youth. Instead of eating it like she was now though, she used to make her mother cut the chicken into tiny pieces into her mashed potatoes. She opened her eyes and saw Chakotay looking at her strangely. "What?" She asked cutting another piece of chicken, mixing it with her mashed potatoes just like before.

"I am wondering what you were just thinking a few minutes ago," Chakotay said taking another sip of water.

"I was thinking of Earth," Janeway said with an embarrassed smile. "I was thinking about when I was a young girl and how I made my mother cut up the chicken into the mashed potatoes." She paused and took a sip of water to wash down the chicken, "It was the only way I would eat it."

"Were you a picky child?" Chakotay asked cutting a piece of his chicken.

"Sometimes I could be," Janeway said setting the fork down on her plate, "But my mom made me eat it anyway. It was "either that or go to bed hungry". Janeway said imitating her mother's scolding. "Of course I would go to bed hungry complaining, but when I was hungry enough later, I would gobble it all without a complaint."

Chakotay smiled as he swallowed a forkful of mashed potatoes. "I was the pickiest child in my whole tribe," Chakotay said remembering his troubled youth, "I ate all kinds of foods, only if my mother made it. If anyone else made the food, I would never touch it."

Janeway rolled her eyes and said, "Boy you were worse than I was." She paused and mixed another chunk of chicken with her mashed potatoes making Chakotay chuckle at her again. "And now you eat everything."

"Except for Neelix's bloodworm tartare," Chakotay said with a disgusted look, "He keeps begging for me to try it, but I just can't come to it."

"You aren't the only one," Janeway said watching Chakotay pour another cup of champagne for himself and refill her half empty glass. "There are many peculiar foods that Neelix wants me to try, but just like you, I can't do it. I will though stick to his coffee."

"Tuvok to the Captain," Tuvok said through communications.

Janeway pressed her com-badge and responded, "What is it Lieutenant?"

"Sensors have detected a damaged ship approximately twenty-thousand away," Tuvok said.

"Set an intercept course warp 2," Janeway said standing up. "I will be on the bridge momentarily." Janeway paused and wiped her mouth with her handkerchief. "I am sorry Chakotay, we will have to continue this another time."

A few minutes later both Janeway and Chakotay were on the bridge. Janeway approached Harry's council and asked, "Ensign report."

"The ship doesn't register in ship's database," Harry said looking at Janeway briefly before returning his gaze at his computer screen. "The ship is badly damaged," Harry said now looking back at Janeway who saw his expression grow grim. "Captain I am picking up Vidian disrupter residue on the ship."

Janeway turned her attention toward Chakotay and said, "I want you and Tuvok to gather an away team there." She looked at him and continued, "Make it quick down there." She said as Chakotay slowly walked toward the turbo-lift. "We know the Vidians are nearby and I am not interested in harvesting any organs today."

"Yes sir," Chakotay said watching Tuvok walk toward him. They stepped into the turbo-lift. Chakotay turned to Tuvok said, "Another day in the rings of fire."

"I am not familiar with that terminology," Tuvok said looking at his first officer, "What does it mean?"

"Deck 8," Chakotay said feeling the turbo-lift immediately begin its movement. He turned to Tuvok and said, "It as a line the Maquis used quite often describing the constant threat of the Cardassians."

"What does it mean?" Tuvok asked raising an eyebrow at Chakotay.

"It pretty much means the constant danger in life," Chakotay said with a frown, not fully understanding why he was having the discussion with Tuvok. He knew Tuvok really wouldn't understand it.

"That statement is false and illogical," Tuvok said making Chakotay chuckle, "Our lives aren't persistently in danger."

The turbo-lift opened up and both walked out. They walked silently to the transporters and saw the rest of the away team. Chakotay smiled at each of the other crewmembers as he stepped on to the turbo-lift platform. He looked at the Ensign behind the council and said, "We are ready."

Chakotay felt himself grow weightless for a few seconds before rematerializing in the bridge of the alien ship. He took out his tricorder and began to scan the ship. He approached Tuvok and said, "I suggest we split up into teams of two. We will be able to cover more ground and be back on Voyager quickly," He paused and looked at Ensign Cindy Wellman before skimming the wrecked bridge. There was phaser marks covering the bridge and one of the computers were on fire. There was an alien that Chakotay didn't recognize slumped over a council blood covering its face. "Something doesn't feel right here."

Tuvok nodded and walked off the bridge with Ensign Taylor Wells following him. Chakotay looked at Ensign Cindy and said, "We will make our way to the engine room," He walked off the bridge with Cindy following closely behind.

He held out his tricorder scanning the walls of the ship as Cindy followed him with her phaser raised and ready. The walls had burn marks covering them showing their was some sort of resistance. Chakotay stepped over a wall panel that was in the middle of hall. He saw a body on the floor and approached it scanning the body. He shook his head when his scans revealed the alien was dead. In fact the alien one was missing its kidney, which wasn't unusual for a Vidian attack.

He stood up and continued walking to the engine room. Cindy looked at the corpse briefly before following Chakotay. Chakotay walked up a bit of an incline and entered the engine room. Cindy followed him in and gasped at an alien the had a massive metal coil imbedded in its head blue blood leaking on to the floor. "Gruesome," Chakotay said scanning the corpse. He saw that its liver was missing, but the rest of its limbs were intact. There was another corpse a few feet from the first that had such bad burns covering its face.

Chakotay stood up and looked at Cindy. She had a grim look on her face as she looked from the burned corpse to him. Chakotay turned and looked at another corpse slumped over a computer council next to the warp core. The computer shot out sparks making Cindy jump in fright. "Come one," Chakotay said approaching Cindy, "There isn't anything we could about these people. Let's get back to Voyager."

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Janeway sat on the bridge as she rubbed her temples trying to get some relief from the headache that she just had gotten. It had been twenty minutes since the away team beamed on to the alien ship and ever since that, she had a headache. It was probably from the fact that she had her people down on that ship, with Vidians in the vicinity. She had Harry constantly scanning the nebula for a sign of a Vidian ship, but the nebula was affecting the scans.

She sighed and wished she could just lie down. It has been three days since she had slept and her body was telling her. In fact it had been months since she had a good nights rest. Most nights, if she ever got to bed, she slept a few hours and those weren't always sleeping. She was constantly worrying about Voyager and her crew; it would cause any normal person to give a headache.

Suddenly Voyager shook violently and Janeway was thrown out of her chair. She quickly returned to her chair and said, "Harry report."

"Two Vidians ship just exited the nebula," Harry said as Voyager shook again. Sparks shot out from the computer next to Harry. "The nebula was masking them from our sensors."

"Tom evasive maneuvers," Janeway ordered clutching her armrest tightly as Voyager shook again. She heard the ship groan with every enemy attack. "Attack pattern omega."

Voyager spun around and flew on top of the larger Vidian ship as it shot a string of torpedoes. It struck the hull of the Vidian ship causing minimal damage. Voyager shook again as both Vidian ships closed in on the ship. Janeway stood up and approached Harry's council. She looked at him and said, "We need to get our people back. How long will we have to lower our shields to beam them back?"

"Harry glanced at his computer briefly and looked at Janeway. "About two seconds."

Janeway turned and faced Tom who held on to him council as Voyager shook again. "Do you think you can keep Voyager from getting hit for that long?" She asked already knowing the answer. Tom was the best pilot she had ever seen and she felt safe having him at the helm.

"Of course," Tom said.

Janeway turned and faced Harry again. "Do it," She said.

"Dropping shields," Harry said as he began to transport the away team. "I got them, raising shields."

At that moment Voyager shuddered again and a whole panel of computers exploded in the back of the bridge. "Shields down to 40 percent," Harry shouted.

Janeway walked back to her chair and sat in it clutching the armrest tightly for security. She smiled as Tuvok stepped on to the bridge, but that quickly changed when she saw Chakotay wasn't behind him. "Tuvok where is Commander Chakotay?" She asked a nervous feeling growing inside of her. "Was he injured?"

"Negative," Tuvok said looking at Janeway as he fired phasers at a Vidian ship, "Commander Chakotay and Ensign Cindy did not rematerialize with Ensign Taylor and I after we were beamed off the alien ship."

Janeway shook her head in disbelief. What happened to them? Where could they have gone? Voyager shook again and Harry said, "Captain, they are targeting our engines!" He held on to his council as Voyager shook again more sparks shooting out from another damaged computer on the bridge.

"Engineering to the bridge," B'Elanna said.

"This is the bridge," Janeway said unhappily about the situation. "What is it?"

"Captain, I am having trouble with the warp core containment," B'Elanna said as Janeway pounded her armrest angrily. She couldn't have this happen right now. She needed to get her people back from wherever they were right now. "We will have to leave or else it will blow," B'Elanna finished.

Janeway glared and exhaled heavily. She knew she would regret this remark. "B'Elanna try to find a way to prevent he warp core from exploding, Janeway out." She looked at Harry and said, "Scan all the three other ships and try to find out if Chakotay and Cindy are on those ships. We will get our people back now."