"Torres to the bridge."
Captain Janeway stood up from her chair. "Go ahead," she said.
"Captain, Ensigns Kim and Vorik are on board. They're being sent to sickbay."
Janeway breathed a sigh of relief. "Good work, B'Elanna," she said.
Lt. Cdr. Tuvok's console suddenly beeped. "Captain, sensors have detected two ships off our port stern. They are Sorathian."
"Open a channel," Janeway commanded. She waited as Tuvok pressed a few buttons on his console before speaking. "This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the starship Voyager. State your intent."
The viewscreen changed to reveal the doglike visage of a burly, black-furred Sorathian with his teeth bared. "Captain Janeway," he wheezed. "My superiors tell me you have something that belongs to us."
"That is true, Captain," she replied. "We have just finished a trade negotiation with your people for fuel-"
"I'm not talking about the deuterium, Captain," the Sorathian growled. "I'm talking about the two men you just spirited away from General Valko's facility."
Janeway paused for a moment. General Valko? Who was that? "Those two men," she said firmly, "are members of my crew. They have just been beamed aboard because I believe your General had kidnapped them and held them hostage. What do you want with them?"
"That is none of your concern, Captain," the Sorathian snarled, his voice becoming more impatient.
"It is when my men come back maimed and beaten by your superiors. I can assure you we do not work for any particular faction in your war—"
The Sorathian interrupted Janeway again. "You do now," he said. "You will transport the telepathic one to our ship...or we shall destroy yours."
Janeway exchanged a glance with Tuvok. With a nod, she signaled for Tuvok to mute the channel.
"Captain, their ships are armed with primitive phaser banks and spatial torpedoes. We have them outgunned."
"Have sensors picked up any other Sorathian ships in the vicinity?" she asked.
Tuvok tapped a few buttons on his console. "There are four others, but they are well out of range."
"But there's no knowing whether these men will signal them for aid," Janeway said. "We may have them outgunned, but they have us outnumbered." She thought for a moment.
"Should we call his bluff?" Chakotay asked.
"I'm not turning Harry or Ensign Vorik over to them," Janeway said, but Tuvok's console suddenly began to beep urgently.
"They are charging weapons," the Vulcan said.
"Raise shields! Tuvok, reopen that channel."
BOOM! People grabbed onto consoles and chairs as the bridge rocked from the impact.
"My patience is wearing thin, Captain Janeway," the Sorathian said coldly. "Give me the telepath, or I will be forced to blow holes in your ship to get him."
"I'm not surrendering members of my crew to fuel your war," Janeway said firmly.
The Sorathian captain snarled angrily, bugging his eyes and baring his huge, saber-like teeth. "So be it, Starfleet!" The viewscreen changed back to two small ships against a starfield.
"Mister Paris, prepare to go to warp," Janeway said. The ship jolted again as the Sorathian ships tried to shoot through Voyager's shields.
"Shields are holding," Tuvok said.
"Target their propulsion systems."
Voyager's phasers sliced through space and into the nearest Sorathian ship's engine. Another phaser fire knocked the other ship's nacelle clear off.
"Warp two, Mr. Paris! Now!"
"Yes ma'am!" Tom Paris tapped a few buttons on his console, steering the ship clear of the fray. Voyager disappeared in an instant as she jumped to warp.
Harry Kim's mind was swimming. In one moment, he was standing on the cliffside of what he thought was the Grand Canyon; in the next he was being yelled at by a drill instructor that looked a heck of a lot like Janeway...or was it B'Elanna? Nah, it had to be B'Elanna...who else shouted like that? "Ensign! Get your butt over here and help me with these conduits! Come on, Harry, I'm not getting any younger!"
Libby? He thought he heard his girlfriend's voice echoing over B'Elanna's. He turned to find not just Libby, but his mother and father.
"Harry, sweetheart!" Harry's mother said. "My, my, look at you! What on Earth are you dressed as?"
Harry looked down at his own clothes, which had somehow miraculously changed into what looked like a set of resplendent bejeweled robes. It was then that he noticed that he had no feet!
"Mom, where are my feet?"
"You left them behind," Tuvok said, suddenly materializing next to his parents. "On the Sorathian homeworld...they apparently wanted to eat your shoes."
"It appears they got carried away," another voice said. Harry turned to see a handful of Vulcans he had never seen before in his life.
"Who are you guys?"
"It's time to wake up, Ensign," one of the male Vulcans said. Harry watched as the Vulcans standing before him started to dissolve, like sugar in a cup of coffee...except one, who seemed to be turning into the Doctor...
It took a while for Harry to open his eyes. As his vision focused, he realized that he was lying in Sickbay, with the Emergency Medical Hologram hovering over him with a tricorder.
"Good morning Ensign," the Doctor said. "How does your head feel?"
Harry sat up. "Fine, I guess...why?"
"It appears the synaptic patterns in your brain are a bit more sluggish than usual."
"Well Doctor, the last thing I remember was getting beaten around by those dog-people. I wouldn't be surprised if I'd gotten a concussion—"
"You did suffer from a concussion, Ensign," the Doctor said. "But I was expecting you to recover much faster."
"How's Vorik doing?"
The Doctor gave Harry a confused look. "You tell me."
"The guy was hooked up to some...machine or something, last I remember."
"Yes," Harry said. "Is he okay?"
The Doctor gave Harry a once-over, and scanned him again. "Ensign Vorik is fine otherwise, but I still have to wait for Ensign Kim to wake up."
"Doc," Harry said. "I'm Ensign Kim."
The Doctor gave Harry an incredulous look. He reached up and stroked the tip of one of his holographic ears. "Do this," he said.
Harry reached up and touched his own ear. "What for—?"
Almost immediately, Harry felt something was not right with his ear. He ran his fingers up and over a pointed tip. He then reached over and did the same to his other ear.
"Doc..." He began to run his hands through his hair and over his forehead. Then it hit him. Harry immediately jumped off the biobed and ran over to the adjacent one, pulling the cover back to find...
...himself, lying unconscious.
"Ensign, you must try to keep calm."
"Is he dead?"
"No, but he is suffering from—"
"Wake him up."
"Ensign, I can't—"
"DO IT!" Harry was suddenly surprised at how forceful he sounded. "He's alive, isn't he? Wake him up."
"Ensign Vorik—I mean, Kim." The Doctor shook his head in confusion. "Ensign Ki—Vorik...is suffering from a serious concussion. If I wake him, I could damage his brain permanently. Now, if you would please, sit down and try to calm down."
Harry took a deep breath and wiped his hand through his hair again, but he could not calm down. He just couldn't! His mind was racing a mile a minute. How did this happen?
The Doctor tapped his comm badge. "Sickbay to bridge," he said, "Captain, could I see you a moment?"
Harry's heart skipped a beat. No...no, no, no. Don't drag the captain into this. Please, Doc.
A few minutes later, Captain Janeway stepped into Sickbay. "Doctor?" she said. "How are Harry and Vorik?"
"There's no easy way to put this, Captain," the Doctor said. "Ensign Kim has already revived..."
"Vorik is still unconscious."
Janeway looked over at the two figures on the biobeds. "Then why is he sitting up?"
"That, Captain, is Ensign Kim...in Vorik's body."
Harry looked nervously at Janeway. Judging by the look on her face, she was having trouble believing the Doctor. She walked over to the young ensign.
"Ensign...Kim," she said. "What was the last thing you remember before you were beamed back?"
"I went to rescue Vorik from the Sorathians. He was strapped to some chair with this..." he gestured to his head, "device strapped to his head like this. One of the Sorathians knocked me out before I could get to him."
"What did this device look like?"
"It was..." Harry thought for a moment. His memories were very cloudy, and mostly consisted of getting bashed in the head and chest. "It resembled some kind of headpiece...like a ring. There were wires that ran between it and a machine of some kind...I can't remember the rest..."
Janeway squinted at Harry. "What is your character's name on Tom's Captain Proton holoprogram?"
"Buster Kincaid, ace reporter and faithful sidekick to Captain Proton."
Janeway turned and exchanged a glance with the Doctor. "He certainly sounds like Harry Kim."
"Captain, I am Harry Kim. Something happened while we were down there. The Sorathians wanted Vorik for some kind of...experiment."
"We know," Janeway said. She then turned to the Doctor again. "Is there any way to switch their bodies back?"
"I don't know for certain, Captain," the Doctor said. "We'll have to wait for Ensign Vorik to come out of his coma to find out. He'll probably have more definitive information on this device."
"Let me know when he does," Janeway said. "As for you, Ensign, I suggest you get some rest for now."
"What am I supposed to do when I return to duty?"
Janeway paused. It felt very awkward speaking to Vorik-or actually, Harry Kim-like this. She was still having a hard time believing this young Vulcan was really her Chief of Operations. She could only imagine what Tuvok would have to say about all this...he probably would not believe it either. Considering all the things she and her crew had been through, this was not as surprising as she had expected. But seeing that she was talking to Harry in a Vulcan's body-and a Vulcan she barely knew at that-she felt very awkward. This was Harry Kim. But the Harry she knew did not have pointy ears, upswept eyebrows, and a deep, velvety voice. All of this was really throwing her off.
"Just rest for now, Ensign. That's an order," she said.