"Who is he?" Janeway asked Seven. The entire senior staff was assembled in the briefing room, and looked at Seven with various looks ranging from confusion to annoyance. The former drone responded slowly, choosing her words with great care; the Doctor (as a subject) was something she had a great many powerful opinions on, but most of those had been gleaned when she was Borg, and thus had to be sifted carefully past the general bias that situation gifted those memories.
"He did tell you the basics about himself," Seven replied matter-of-factly. "None of what he said was essentially inaccurate."
"I think I'd prefer to hear it from you, Seven," Janeway said. "A random stranger might say things to make himself sound impressive."
"The Borg encountered a life form known as 'the Doctor' over ten thousand years into the future," she began. "He was in charge of the fleet of a planet near Galactic Centre – small, minimal inhabitants. He was known as the Doctor."
"The future?" the EMH asked.
"Yes," Seven nodded. "The collective was testing its temporal equipment. The theory was that if future technology was assimilated then returned to the present, and then the collective would become more powerful – assimilate the future to conquer the past."
"The attempt failed, almost solely thanks to the individual known as the Doctor," she continued.
"He stopped the Borg? On his own?" Tom Paris said, disbelievingly.
"Essentially, yes," Seven said. "He was briefly assimilated; however, he resisted, and somehow managed to use the link to short out the Borg fleet's systems."
The senior staff glanced amongst one another, each unsure whether what they were hearing was possible.
"He destroyed them from the inside out," Seven concluded, softly. "A most impressive feat."
Captain Janeway leaned forward, thinking for a long moment, brow furrowed in confusion.
"How can this be the same person?" Janeway asked. "If it was ten thousand years in the future that the Collective encountered him…"
"The 'Time Lords', as his species referred to themselves, were the inhabitants of that world," Seven replied. "They were immensely powerful, capable of time travel, erasing entire worlds from existence, and otherwise extremely impressive feats of solar and temporal engineering, including moving planets and the creation and harnessing of black holes."
"Sounds like an impressive species," B'Elanna Torres said. "That would explain why the Borg wanted them – why bother going to a planet when you can move the planet to the Borg?"
"Precisely," Seven said. "Following the initial failure to assimilate them in the future, an attempt was made to locate them in the present." She paused for a moment, frowning slightly as if remembering something less than pleasant. "However, the world was dead."
"Dead?" the EMH put in.
"No life signs. There was no sign of a civilisation having ever been present," Seven clarified.
"So he is the last of these… 'Time Lords', as he says?" Janeway asked.
"Yes," Seven explained. "Rumour among some time travel capable species, such as the Krenim indicate a form of temporal conflict – known almost universally as the Time War – took place. It destroyed the Time Lords and their enemies, and erased them from history. Apparently, the 'Doctor' is the exception."
"The last of his species," Chakotay murmured. "I pity him; that must be such a burden to bear."
"What's he doing here?" Kim asked.
"I imagine that he is attempting to assist us," Seven said. "It appears to be his Modus Operandi as such."
"How do you know?" Janeway asked.
"He is known as an individual who is not only able but willing to interfere for the benefit of many individual beings and species," Seven replied. "The Borg have heard countless rumours – before and since – of his existence and deeds, amongst which are the saving of Tellekpadra from the Red Carnivorous Maw, the closing of the Medusa Cascade, and the burning of the Android Fleet of Galen Six."
Captain Janeway raised an eyebrow.
"Well those all sound rather… strange…" she said.
"I have visited the Medusa Cascade," Tuvok put in. "An interesting place, but I was not aware that it required 'closing'."
"It was once a powerful rift capable of annihilating the universe," Seven replied. "His sealing it may have saved the Milky Way. His exploits have been heard of by countless species – species 15543 – the Draconian Empire – know him as the Ka Faraq Gatri. Species 3356, the so called, 'Ice Warriors of Mars'…"
"Mars?" Ensign Kim put in. "You mean actual Martians?"
"They were former residents of Mars – their species relocated thousands of years before humanity discovered space travel," Seven said. She looked at the astonishment on her colleague's faces. "This was not common knowledge?" Blank faces looked back at her. "Apparently not."
"You know all this about him?" Captain Janeway asked.
"Many species know of 'The Doctor', Captain," Seven said. "If he is aiding us, then there must be some grave peril awaiting us."
"What kind of peril?" Paris asked.
"That is the question," Seven commented.
Martha looked over the Doctor's shoulder as he worked. The various buttons he was pressing were apparently touch screen based.
"Doctor?" she asked. "What was all that about exactly?"
"Tell you later," he brushed off, practically dismissing her. She bristled slightly.
"Doctor, what's going on?" Martha asked. "What's happening here? You practically dismiss that woman off of her bridge, do the ranty 'I am Mr Big' thing and then won't tell me why we're even here!"
"This is the USS Voyager," the Doctor told her sharply. "A ship stranded seventy thousand light years from Earth."
Martha looked at the crew working on the bridge.
"They're stuck?" she asked.
"They get home," the Doctor whispered. "I wanted to meet them, so I went to a reunion of the survivors. Imagine my surprise when they recognised me from the off."
"What happened?" Martha asked.
"They reminisced with me," the Doctor said, "and I didn't protest, because they told me something scary. So I looked for them, sort of – took a few detours – but I never found them until today."
"What's going to happen?" Martha asked, but right at that moment, Captain Janeway and the rest of the senior staff came out of the briefing room.
"Alright Doctor," Janeway said. "Tell me what is going on here."
"All I can tell you is that you need to go to Red Alert," the Doctor said. "Because there's something out there, something you really, really don't want to meet unprepared."
"What?" Janeway asked. At that moment, a proximity alert initiated. Tuvok checked his scans.
"A vessel is approaching," he reported. "At high warp."
"Red alert," the Doctor said, quickly, eyes widening in shock.
"Belay that, hail them," Janeway snapped. "This is my bridge," she said to the Doctor, "and no one else gives orders on it, especially not a civilian."
"Trust me," the Doctor said grimly, "they're not interested in anything you have to say. And I'm the only one who knows how to stand against them."
"What are they?" Seven asked.
"Species 044," the Doctor said grimly. Seven blanched.
"Captain, I concur with the Doctor's approach," she said. "Red alert and raising shields would be advisable."
"They're in visual range," Tuvok reported.
"On screen," Janeway ordered. A circular ship appeared on the viewscreen.
"It's armed to the teeth," Ensign Kim reported. "Missile launchers, proton cannons, phaser banks, everything."
"It's designed to kill," the Doctor said grimly. "Its sole purpose."
"What is it Doctor?" Martha asked.
"Relic of a bygone age," the Doctor replied. "I should have known we'd jumped a time track. And I should have known I'd see them again…"
"Who are species 044?" Janeway asked Seven, worry creeping into her tone.
"Extremely hostile, their assimilation would have given the Borg better adaptive shielding," Seven said. "However, they proved almost impossible to assimilate. Only thirty nine were ever taken alive, and only seventeen of those were still alive in the collective at the time of my disconnection."
"What were they called?" Tom Paris asked.
"They referred to themselves as Daleks," Seven said coldly.
"They're hailing," Ensign Kim said.
"On screen," Captain Janeway said. An image of a bridge, with dozens of travel machines like large bronze tanks gliding about, filled the screen. A larger, red coloured tank like machine filled the screen, and a blue eyestalk looked Janeway directly in the eye.
"We are the Daleks," it said, its voice an electronic screech. "Prepare to be exterminated!"