A Voyager story started after 'State of Flux', then continued after 'Maneuvers', and because I am such a slow writer a lot of things won't ever happen like this anymore, but I hope it's still a nice story to read :) If you don't know who Leena is, read my story 'Unexpected Meetings' first -this one might be a bit confusing at times, otherwise. TRUST ONCE BROKEN BY MYRANYA Janeway looked at the readings the away teams had sent up to the ship. There, that trace might mean a mineral deposit. She took another sip of Neelix's latest 'coffee'. She grimassed. Slightly better than the last batch, but it wasn't coffee. She looked back at the padd. *I wish I could go down to the planet and take a look for myself. But there is just so much to do.* As she tapped instructions for the away team on the padd, she made her decision. She enjoyed some of the hands-on science, and she did not like giving it out of her hands, but she could not give it the time it needed and deserved. Their science department was small; the nature of their mission had not required it to be large. And now here they were, in an unexplored part of the Galaxy, where there was so much for science to discover, and it always got pushed somewhere in between other assignments. Neither she, nor Chakotay, nor any of the other senior officers had time to double as a full-time science officer. They were going to be in this quadrant for a while -after almost 2 years she had to admit that much- and while they were here they had to continue their mission of exploration. In a way they had done so from the beginning, but right after their arrival in the Delta quadrant their first priorities had been repairs, energy reserves, and supplies. Although she had prepared for a long journey, she knew that deep inside she had made herself believe they would find a shortcut, and they would be home in a few months, a year, a year and a half... But it became harder and harder to believe they would be home soon, and more permanent measures had to be taken. Not only to survive for the day of tomorrow, but also to make life on board Voyager more suitable for the long-term assignment this had turned into. "So I think we should set up a full-fledged Science Department," Janeway told her senior officers at that afternoon's briefing. "I am taking suggestions for a Chief Science officer." "Leena." Janeway looked at Torres in surprise. Six months ago, her Chief Engineer had exploded when the Cardassian had been assigned to her department, and now she was suggesting her for a senior staff position? Obviously, Janeway thought, she had been too busy to keep up with what went on in the crew. "Leena?" she echoed. Torres nodded. "She's been working hard in Engineering, but it is not her department. Science is. And she is the only one on board who is working far below her former station _and_ her capabilities." Chakotay shook his head. "I do not think that is a good idea." B'Elanna looked at him. She had seen the way Chakotay looked at Leena, whether it was in Engineering, at Sandrine's, or in the mess hall. She also probably knew more about his reasons to dislike Cardassians than anyone else on the ship. She had been there when he and Seska had been lovers, back in the Alpha Quadrant. And then to find out she was a Cardassian spy... B'Elanna could understand it took him more time than anyone else on the ship to be able to trust a Cardassian again. Still, she felt like Leena was the right person for this position, and had been working hard to prove herself to the Voyager crew. She herself had been given that opportunity when she was made Chief Engineer over Carey, at the beginning of their journey. Now, Leena deserved the same chance. "Because she is a Cardassian?", she asked him. "That isn't the point." Chakotay answered immediately. *But it is*, he knew. He didn't like to admit it, even to himself, but he just could not make himself trust a Cardassian. Especially a Cardassian woman. He had fought the Cardassians with the Maquis, after his father had been killed in a Cardassian raid, but that had been war -he had killed Cardassians when he had blown one of their ships out of the sky. What Seska had pulled on him was far more personal. When Leena had come on board, he had tried to avoid her as much as possible. He had known Torres would keep an eye on her, and he had half-way expected things would not work out, that she would not stay on the ship. He did not like feeling so biased about anyone, but every time he saw the Cardassian he saw Seska. So he had avoided her. At first it had been easy, as Leena had not made many friends yet and did not spend much time in the common areas, off duty. She had spent a lot of time in Sickbay, socializing with the Doctor and Kes. After several weeks, she had started to come to Sandrine's with some others from the Engineering crew. Still, the junior officers didn't often mix with the senior officers, even at Sandrine's, and she did not play pool. After she and Kes had arranged for the Doctor to come to Sandrine's, a few weeks ago, and they'd mixed in with the bridge crew more often, he knew the distance he kept of the Cardassian had become obvious. Some day, he would have to face it and start to heal the wounds Seska had left him with. But as long as he did not have to work closely with Leena, he could put off dealing with it. "Then who do you suggest?" Janeway asked him. "There are several good people in the Science department. Jenny Delaney." Chakotay answered. Janeway studied her First Officer. While Jenny Delaney was a good officer, she was young and relatively inexperienced. Under normal circumstances, she would not be up for promotion for at least another year. Although Janeway did not know all of the details about Chakotay's relation with Seska, she knew enough to guess what the problem was. She was not going to press him here, though, with the other officers present. "I will be taking suggestions, and I will give all applications for the job full consideration. Dismissed." Janeway said. "Commander, could you stay for a minute?" she added, as Chakotay moved toward the door. *I wonder why I bothered getting up*, he thought. He had known this was coming since he could not come up with a better suggestion than Jenny Delaney. He turned and sat back down again. Janeway waited for the door to close behind the other officers before she spoke. She picked her words carefully. "I know only a part of what happened between you and Seska. I do know she hurt you on a much more personal level than anyone else on the ship. But Leena is not Seska, and you are going to have to face her sooner or later." She put a hand on his arm. "If you want to talk about it..." "No." He pulled back. Janeway started at the anger in his voice. She had seen his anger and hurt before, but then the wounds had been fresh. She felt saddened at how raw those wounds still were, months later. He saw the sadness in her eyes. He knew that she was trying to help him, not just because she needed her crew to work together, but also because she wanted to help _him_. *Then why does it only make me feel more angry?* he wondered. Janeway sighed. She did not like what she was going to say. But she had to keep the ship running, and she could only give so much room to problems of a personal nature. "I understand your anger. But I can not let it interfere with the ship's operations. I suggest you work with Leena, take her on the next away mission. See if she really is as good as B'Elanna says she is." "Is that an order?" Chakotay asked. "If I have to make it one, yes." Janeway said. She was quite definite about it, but she kept her voice low. Chakotay nodded. "Okay. Is that all?" Janeway knew it would do no good to press her First Officer further, at this time. She nodded. "Dismissed." As Chakotay left, she went over to the replicator. *I wonder how many replicator rations it's going to take before this is resolved*, she thought as she asked the computer for a cup of coffee. Two days later Voyager was in orbit around an M-class planet. Sensors had shown lots of native vegetation, some of which might well be a good addition to their food supplies. As Chakotay got ready to call a team together, Janeway shot him a look. He returned her gaze and sighed. "Mr. Kim, come with me please. Chakotay to Leena, report to transporter room one, please." As he got on the turbolift, he caught the Captain giving him a quick encouraging nod. *Why does it make me feel worse instead of better?* he thought as the turbolift took off toward the transporter room. He did not have much time to think about it, as they arrived at the transporter room. Leena came from the other side of the corridor, clipping her tricorder on her belt as she walked. Chakotay, Kim and Leena stepped onto the platform. "Energize." Chakotay said, and they felt the transporter take a hold of them. A moment later they were on the planet surface. Before they had fully materialized they knew something was wrong. The planet they had orbitted had been uninhabited, showing lush vegetation. The planet they had just landed on, however, was definitely inhabited. Not far from them buildings rose, and they could see a road running toward the city. They immediately grabbed their tricorders. A ground vehicle sped along the road, not stopping or showing any sign the driver had noticed them. Chakotay hit his combadge. "Chakotay to Voyager." Nothing. Kim and Leena tried theirs, as was procedure in such cases, but neither really expected an answer. Nor did their tricorders give them any sign of Voyager in orbit. "Where are we?" Kim voiced the question they all had. "I don't know." Chakotay looked around. "It is a class M planet. Were there any inhabited class M planets close to the system we were orbitting?" "No, sir. No class M anywhere except for the one we intended to beam down to. And there just is no way we could have missed a civilization like this one." Kim said. "Then where are we?" Chakotay wondered. Leena looked up from her tricorder. "Commander? I think we might be on the right planet after all. These plants are the ones we beamed down to collect, or at least, these readings are quite close to what the ship's sensors gathered on them. I would say that we are in the right place, but in the wrong time." Kim made a few adjustments on his tricorder. "Leena is correct, sir. Tricorder readings are showing a rapidly dissipating ion concentration. My best guess is that there was a small time rupture, and we were beamed right through it." "Is there any chance either we or Voyager could open it up again?" Chakotay asked. "Negative, sir." Leena said. "The remaining ions react with the elements in the atmosphere, eliminating any possibility of another rupture on this spot for days to come." "We will try to gather as much information as we can, and work it out later." Chakotay said. He knew that if the signs were fading, they had to get the readings before it all dissipated. They scanned he area for several minutes until everything had leveled out. Kim shivered. It was cold here, much colder than the ship's sensors had shown for the time they had intended to beam down to. Chakotay noticed. He was cold, too. He looked around. If the weather conformed to the same patterns as on most M class planets, it would get much colder at night. "We can not stay out here. It will get cold tonight. We will go to the city and see about finding some shelter." He looked them over. "I am afraid we will not be able to pass for anything but aliens, whatever they look like on this planet." He did not like to expose themselves to an alien culture, but he saw no other choice. They did not carry any supplies, as they had not expected to be on the planet for any length of time. "Still, if at all possible, we won't give any details about where we came from." he added. Kim and Leena nodded, and they started to walk toward the city. They reached the closest buildings after only about a fifteen minute's walk, but as this looked like a residential area, they kept going. The people looked humanoid, with ridges that were somewhat similar to the Kazon, but still different enough to distinguish, even from a distance. Even though they saw no other aliens, few people looked twice at them. They walked on toward the city center. Here there were shops, cafe's and other businesses. As they passed a bar, Chakotay decided to go in. They were all shivering, and they needed to get out of the cold to discuss where to go. As they entered and looked around. Chakotay cursed. "Damn. They still use money." So much for a warm drink. In the back, a group of people was playing a game not unlike pool, although the table was triangular, with five pockets spaced along the sides. One of the men sank three green balls in succession, followed by a bright yellow one, and several of the spectators cheered. Some coin changed hands. "Perhaps that could get us some money." Kim suggested, but Chakotay shook his head. He'd watched the man play, too, and knew he did not stand a chance. "I could never match that. Perhaps the Captain could, but I can't win from that guy. Besides, we'ld need something to start with." As they stood looking around, the bartender watched them uncertainly. "Are you going to watch, or are you going to order something?", he finally asked. Chakotay approached the bar. "We are not well known in these parts. Is there any place we can find shelter for the night?" The bartender looked them over again. "You don't look like the street people. Lost your money, or did you get robbed?" "We got stranded here, we had not intended to stay long." Chakotay answered. It was always best to stay as close to the truth as possible. "There's the town shelter a couple of streets over. But you really don't want to go there, with all the street people. If you've been robbed you should try the police station. It's right over on the other side of the street, about a velna further up town." With that, a few of the pool players came over to the bar, and the bartender excused himself to take their orders. Chakotay thanked him, and they went back outside. Although they had no idea what a velna was, they found the police station a little less than a kilometer from the bar. They went in. The officer at the front desk was quite friendly as he, too, looked at their clothes and decided they did not look like the 'street people' the bartender had mentioned. Still, he was of little real help. "I am sorry to hear you got stranded. The best thing to get money would be to get a job, if you can find one. The shop owners at the Promenade sometimes take people on to run errants or unload their supplies. If you have any money at all, you can go to the shelter. They charge only 2 bac a night, and they serve a warm meal for one more.", the officer told them. "I am afraid we do not have any money with us." Chakotay said. "Is there any way we can borrow some, we could pay back in a few days." The officer shook his head. "With the number of street people, no one will lend you any." He looked at their thin uniforms. "You can try to get credit at the shelter. Tell Lady Roon that officer Fanio sent you." That was all they got from the police station. They thanked the police officer, and walked to the shelter, asking for Lady Roon. The lanky man who had opened the door called her. "Lady Roon! Folks to see ye!" A big woman emerged from the back. "Whatdoyewan?", she grumbled. "We are looking for shelter for the night," Chakotay explained. "Officer Fanio sent us." Her expression softened somewhat as she heard the name. "We have no money, but he said you might give us credit." Chakotay continued. Lady Roon shook her head. "I'm sorry. If Fanio sent you I'ld help you any other time, but with this weather we are packed with people who pay up front. We might have to sent people away as is." She looked at their uniforms. "Still, you've got to get off the streets. You should try the Promenade, doing odd jobs for the store owners." "The Promenade?" Kim asked. That was the same thing officer Fabio had mentioned. "It's the covered shopping mall in the center of town. It'll be warmer there, although you can't stay there over night." They got directions from Lady Roon, and went on. As they entered the Promenade, they noticed the people wandering or sitting along the sides of the passages. Here someone sold small pieces of jewelry, there someone played an instrument somewhat like a lute. *These must be the street people*, Leena thought. Most of the people shopping did not even notice them. They tried many stores, but had no luck. "With this weather, everyone wants a job on the Promenade.", they heard many times. As they came to one of the exits of the mall, Chakotay looked through the glass doors. It was late afternoon. "I have no idea how these people measure time, or when the mall closes, but we'd better find some money fast.", he remarked. Leena looked around. She walked over to the next corner, a little farther from the entrance, and far enough from any of the street people who were making music as to not interfere with them. If they could make money with music, she sure should be able to. She just hoped her voice would hold. She hadn't sung much since she had gone to the Military Academy, and not at all for the last two years. She started with a simple song her mother had sung when she was young. Kim and Chakotay looked at each other in surprise. After a few moments, some of the passers-by slowed. They were used to the music of the street people, but Leena's songs were different. She switched between songs she had heard on Voyager, at Sandrine's or in her quarters, and songs from her native Cardassia. As more people slowed, and some even stopped to listen, Chakotay and Kim watched. "Did you know she could sing?" Chakotay asked. Kim shook his head. "We never talked about music. I told her I played the clarinet, but she never mentioned she sang. She's good, too." He looked around. "I wish I had an instrument to accompany her." Slowly, Leena started to collect money. But it had been late afternoon when she started, and after about an hour the people left, as the first stores started to close. They counted their money. "We just got enough to pay the shelter, but we won't have anything left to eat." Kim reported. A young man, one of the street people, who had watched them silently for most of the last hour, addressed them for the first time. After introducing himself as Set, he said, "You can come with me to the Pass. I've been watching you, and you don't look like ocs." *Ocs? Pass?* "The pass?" Chakotay asked. "Our hide-out. It's not warm, but we have plenty of blankets, and it's free. You can eat from that tonight and have left for breakfast tomorrow from what you've got there." The Voyager officers looked at eachother, not sure if they could trust this man. They did not look forward to spend the night outside, but neither did they look forward to going hungry. If they could find shelter and food for what little money Leena had made, that would certainly be a better choice. This Set was the first person they had met who actually offered them some real help, and they decided to take it. Chakotay nodded. "Okay. Show us the way." The man jumped up. "Alright. We'll have to hurry to hit the store before it closes." As they wanted to go into the store, a man stopped them. "You got money, Set?" "Yeah." Set answered. The man did not budge. "Well, show him." Set said. Kim showed them the coins they had collected. "Hm. No reason for all four of you to go in, though. Two of you can buy food as well as four can.", the store owner said. "I'll go." Kim said. Chakotay nodded. "We'll be right back." Set assured them. Barely a few minutes later they came out. "We got some kind of bread, vegetables for a stew, and milk from the local dairy animals. Set says it's good hot, too." Kim reported. The store owner was ready to shut his doors, so they did not stick around. They followed Set outside, where they walked quickly. It had started to snow, and the wind had picked up. Fortunately, Set's Pass was not far. Underneath a large overpass a few blocks from the Promenade was a large section which was protected on three sides from the wind, dry underneath the road above it. A group of people was gathered around a number of fires at the entrance, while further back they could see piles of matresses, blankets, and the shapes of some people sleeping. Set walked up to one of the fires and addressed a young boy. "Kee, get these people some blankets!" The boy jumped up and dug around in the back. Soon he returned with his arms full of blankets, and the Voyager officers gratefully wrapped themselves in them -it had gotten very cold. As the evening progressed, people came and went. They cooked the stew over one of the fires, and ate it with large hunks of the bread. Set had been right, they had enough left for breakfast the next morning. After they had eaten several of the street people gathered around. One of them, a man called Elah, surprised them by asking, "That you are here, does that mean they're trying to use transporters again, in the future?" "Transporters?" Chakotay asked. "You did not come here by transporter?" Elah asked. "I know you are not from here, we figured you'ld be from the future. Your clothes, the way you look, it made sense." "You have transporters to travel through time?" Chakotay asked. "No, no." Elah said. "Or, they weren't intended to. That's why they stopped using them, fifty years ago." The Voyager officers listened closely, now. Chakotay did not want to give these people too much information as to where they came from. Still, this information could be vital to their return to their own time. "So you tried to use these transporters to cross distance, but you travelled through time, instead?" Elah nodded. "Yes. Or, they did get to the place they tried to transport to, but they travelled through time, as well. From what we learn about it in our schools, they figured it was something in the atmosphere that caused time travel as a side-effect. They did not find any way to eliminate the time shift, so they finally canned the project." "Are any of these transporters still around?" Chakotay asked. Elah nodded again. "They've got one in the Museum of Science and Technology. But it does not work anymore." He looked at them. "Why are you so interested, if you did not come here from the future?" Chakotay thought hard of something to say. But he was taken by surprise again. A woman who'd been quiet up till now, sitting a little back from the others and not even introducing herself as the others had, spoke up. "You're from the past." She lapsed into silence again, but Elah had caught on. "Of course. If you had been from the future, you would have known all this.", he said. There was no use denying it. "If these transporters can take someone into the past, perhaps we can use them to get back." Kim said. "How far into the past did these transporters take your people?" Chakotay asked. "Not far. A few hours, days at the most." Elah answered. That wasn't nearly enough. Still, Chakotay wanted to see this technology. He asked Elah. "Is there any way we can get a look at this transporter?" "Sure", Elah answered. "The museum is open every day. You could see it there, but as I said, they took it off-line. They won't let you touch it or anything." Chakotay hadn't expected they would. But with his tricorder, he did not have to touch it. He could take readings just being in the room with it. He would go over there tomorrow. Now, they needed to get some rest. "We have much to do tomorrow. Let's try to get some sleep.", he suggested. Leena and Kim agreed. They had quite a few questions, but with all of the street people gathered around them, they could not talk freely. They didn't want to give away even more about their origins. Set showed them where they could sleep. "Commander, do you want to set a watch?" Kim asked. Chakotay considered. He'd thought about that, too. "You don't have to worry about ocs, here." Set said. "That's the second time you use that, what are ocs?" Chakotay asked him. "Outcasts, from other sities.", Set explained. "There's places like our Pass everywhere. We live on the streets, making money by doing odd jobs, selling things we make, making music like you do. Some of us make money in less honest ways. What people do outside, we do not care. But we need a place to sleep, and eat, and we need to feel safe here. No one here will steal from other street people. Anyone who breaks that code is cast out of any of these places. They become outcasts, and when they have no place to go, they move to another city. But they won't come here. There's always someone awake, and no stranger comes in alone." The Voyager officers nodded. It made sense. Still, they slept with their phasers and tricorders close to their bodies. The next morning they rose early. Not many people were up, just two men who talked quietly near one of the two fires that were still going. They sat down around the other fire, where they could talk. "I'm going to have a look at that transporter today." Chakotay said. He had thought about the various options. Leena had to go sing and make money, that was certain. He would have liked to take Ensign Kim along to the museum, but he did not want Leena to go off on her own. He'd also considered sending Harry to the museum alone, but although the young ensign was very bright, he lacked experience, and could easily run into trouble if he was caught gathering the information they needed. "Ensign Kim, I want you and Leena to go to the Promenade and earn money again. I will go to the museum as soon as we have enough to get in. I'll get tricorder readings and as much additional information as I can. I might be back late, so get food before you leave, and we will meet back here, tonight." Kim and Leena nodded. They ate a breakfast of bread and left-over stew, and as the stores opened, Leena was back at her post. After a few minutes, Elah showed up. He went over to Chakotay. "You planning to get a look at that transporter today?" Chakotay nodded. "Let me come with you." Elah said. Chakotay looked at him. "You'll never get near it without someone to distract the museum guards." Elah explained. "I thought you said it didn't work anymore." Chakotay said. "It doesn't, but that doesn't mean they'll let you get really close, and it'll attract attention if you show too much interest in it. Besides, it's quite a walk, I brought you a coat." Chakotay gave in. He'ld have to hide his tricorder from Elah, but he'ld have had to hide what he was doing from any museum guards, anyways, and Elah would be distracted himself while distracting the guards. The passers-by were in more of a hurry at this time of the day, on their way to work or school, and did not stop to listen to Leena, but they did notice the alien music. Soon Chakotay and Elah were on their way to the museum. Leena kept singing. After a while, Kim went off to look around. The instruments the stores carried were expensive, but he found an ingeneously made clay flute one of the street people sold elsewhere on the Promenade. He tried it out and found it well to his liking. It wasn't like having his clarinet here, but it would do. He bought it, and soon he was playing along with Leena. As the day progressed, the people who walked by took more time to listen. When they stopped that night they had quite a few bac left, after buying their food. "We can sleep at the shelter, tonight." Kim suggested. Leena shook her head. "The Pass isn't that bad, and I think we will need the money if we want to get back to Voyager. I'm eager to see what the Commander learned at the museum, but I doubt it'll be the last trip." Kim nodded. Chakotay had followed Elah to the museum. He was glad for the coat -it was quite a walk, and it was still snowing. Not surprisingly, the guard at the door wanted to see their money before even letting them into the hall with the ticket counter. Once inside, Chakotay took his time. He did not want to be too obvious about his interest in the transporter, and he took the opportunity to collect some information on the other technologies of this planet, which might also be of help in understanding the workings of the transporter. He held his tricorder underneath his coat, taking readings as he could. When he needed close-ups, Elah watched for the guards. Finally, he made his way toward the transporter. It was on the far end of a large room, and looked surprisingly similar to the earlier models of Federation transporters. Here, he definitely wanted to take some detailed readings. He told Elah so, and the alien nodded. "I'll keep him occupied." Elah said, glancing in the direction of the guard. He walked over, and asked the man a question about a piece of equipment in the next room. Chakotay listened just enough to know that the guard was still busy, but he did notice Elah asking deeper questions, displaying quite a bit of knowledge of these technologies. He quickly took his readings, and as he had collected all information he could, they left. It was still mid-afternoon. Chakotay considered going back to the Promenade, to see how Leena and Kim were doing, but he knew that there, with all the people, he would have no chance to go over the readings he had on his tricorder. He went back to the Pass with Elah. Kim and Leena came back to the Pass as the stores had closed. Chakotay was pleased to see they had done well. After they ate, they started to go over the tricorder readings. Chakotay pointed out how every transporter test had resulted in the opening of a small rip in time. Leena studied the readings closely. "There.", she said. "The rips in time do not appear to get any _larger_, but they do go further backwards in time as the distance in space increases. The testing was done at short distances and low levels of power, so the time shift was always short. But if we had enough power, and transported far enough, this could get us back." Chakotay nodded. He could notice a similar pattern. Still, he kept re-checking all of Leena's work. For some time, she tried not to notice, and worked on, bend over her tricorder. Eventually she sat back. "Okay, what is the problem?", she asked Chakotay. He'd known this was coming, but he feigned ignorance and tried to wave it off. "Nothing." For a long moment Leena considered to let is rest, but she knew they had to better work this one out now. "Permission to speak freely?", she asked. Chakotay considered saying 'no', but he knew he couldn't put it off forever. *Might as well get this over with*. "Granted." Leena took a deep breath. "Commander, you have checked on my every step. You have avoided me on Voyager, you never say a word you don't have to. A lot of people reacted that way when I came on board, but you are the only one who still does. What is your problem with me?" "Why didn't you ask someone?" Chakotay wanted to know. "I did. Several times." Leena said. "They said it was your story to tell." *I guess it is*, Chakotay thought. He sighed. "Okay then." He closed his tricorder and put it down. "You have heard about Seska, giving the replicator to the Kazon." Leena nodded. "She was part of my Maquis crew. She joined the Maquis a full six months before the mission that ended here in the Delta Quadrant. She passed as a Bajoran at the time, claiming experience from the Kohn-Ma. She came on my team, and was quick to impress me with what she knew about the Cardassian defenses. No wonder she knew all these things -she fed me just enough information to gain my interest. Soon, she started to drop by in off hours. We spent several months together, working and getting to know each other on a personal level. Or, at least I thought I got to know her." Leena listened closely. She had known it had to be something personal, from the way the other crew members had refused to tell her about it. Still, this was the first time she heard him talk about it. "A few weeks before that last mission, things got pretty hectic in the Demilitarized Zone. As we had the ship to run, I decided we could not go on having a relationship and flying the ship at the same time. Seska said she agreed, but she kept popping up, 'coincidentally' running into me everywhere." Chakotay stared into the fire. He was back in the Alpha Quadrant again, planning Maquis missions while Seska interrupted with little messages, or with what had appeared to be geaneous interest and concern for him. *Yeah, she was interested, alright* "We went on a mission, should've been simple enough. We were chased into the Badlands by a Cardassian warship. Next thing we knew, we where here in the Delta Quadrant. The Maquis vessel was destroyed, the Array blown up to keep the Kazon from controlling it, and we joined the Voyager crew." Chakotay skipped over the details as Leena knew most of this already. "I did not see much of Seska for several weeks, as we were all very busy. We had repairs to make, supplies were much lower than they are now, we were converting some area's of the ship for uses they'd never been intended for." "One morning we had beamed down to a planet to collect food and supplies when a Kazon ship arrived in the sector. The Captain ordered a beam-up, and Seska was missing. I ordered the others to return to Voyager, while I stayed behind to look for her. I found her in a cave where she claimed to be collecting mushrooms. She must have been meeting with the Kazon right there." "The Kazon saw us and fired. I was hit -now I know it wasn't the poor shooting of the Kazon which kept me alive. They just wanted to put on a good show." Chakotay paused. *No reason to go into details of the soup-fiasco* "To make a long story short, the next day we found a disabled Kazon vessel. Turned out they'd tried to install one of Voyager's food replicators, using insufficient shielding. We knew someone on board Voyager had given it to them. As Seska tried to cover her tracks, she was injured. The Doctor discovered she was not really a Bajoran." Chakotay felt his anger rise. This was the first time he had really talked about any of this. "She tried to deny she was a Cardassian, claiming she had had a Cardassian bone marrow transplant as a child. When the Doctor informed her that did not explain all of the Cardassian traces in her blood, she admitted to her heritage, but she denied being the one who had given the replicator to the Kazon." He paused. "With Tuvok, I set a trap for her, telling her we did not know where the replicator had been taken from." He paused again. "Even though I now knew she was a Cardassian, I still did not want to believe she had betrayed us. She kept up pretense as long as she could, but when she fell for the trap and knew she had been found out, she finally showed her real face. She called the Captain a fool, and me a fool for following her. 'If this were a Cardassian ship, we would be home by now.'" Chakotay quoted. Leena grimassed. She'd been in a Galor class warship when she had been pulled to the Delta Quadrant, and she knew exactly how untrue that statement was. "She beamed out of sickbay", Chakotay continued, "With a special override command she had installed. We were in no position to pursue." He paused. *If only that had been the last we had seen of her*, he thought. As he remained silent, Leena softly said. "But that wasn't all of it." Chakotay slowly shook his head. "No, it wasn't." He took a deep breath. "We knew she was with the Kazon. We heard her name mentioned, or references to her. But we did not see her again for some time. Not long before you came aboard, we ran into her again." "We were met by the Kazon. Seska used her knowledge of Voyager to board the ship and steal more equipment. I went after her, trying to stop her." Chakotay's voice was hard. "It did not work out the way I intended. Seska got her hands on me, instead." Chakotay clenched his fists. His voice was more harsh than at any other time. "As I was on the Kazon ship, Seska took some of my DNA, and used it to impregnate herself." Chakotay stopped, and stared in the fire. Nobody spoke. Leena had listened to him in utter silence. The first part of his story struck her as typical Obsidian Order tactics. Despicable, if you asked her, but typical. But this? After a long silence, Chakotay looked at her. "Now you know." Leena honestly did not know what to say. She'd known something had been going on, but this was more than she'd been able to imagine. "I'm sorry.", she said, knowing it sounded lame. "This is extreme, even for the Order." "You don't seem to like the Obsidian Order much." Chakotay observed. Leena shook her head. "Not many people do. Oh, you would never hear me say that back in the Alpha Quadrant. But the Obsidian Order has some pretty fanatic members. Especially the undercover department. Those people have to be extremists -to be surgically altered like that. I don't know the details, no one outside the Order does, but they even mess with the mind sometimes. Seska must've been a fanatic to get into that in the first place. Obviously, she's a fanatic in other things, too." "You can say that again." Chakotay said. "You know, I don't even know her real name. I had a relationship with the woman, and I don't even know who she was." It wasn't really a question, but Leena answered it anyway. "I couldn't find out even on Cardassia. Tain knows; two, three others. I'm sorry." Chakotay looked at the Cardassian sitting across from him. He did feel better now he had told this all to someone. Strange, the Captain had invited him to tell it several times, and he never could. Here, he had told it to the last person he'd wanted to tell it to this morning. Why had he been able to tell Leena what he couldn't tell Janeway? He shook his head. "No, I am sorry. I have not treated you fairly. It's just...", he took another breath, "I keep seeing her when I look at you." "It is hard to trust again once your trust has been broken." Kim jumped. Nobody had noticed the slight woman sitting down behind the Ensign. She was the same woman who'd remarked they were from the past, the previous day. Chakotay stared at her, and she studied him closely. "It is not that you can't trust Leena. You're afraid to love again. To get hurt again.", she stated. And, at his questioning look, she added, "Oh, I don't know who. Someone back where you came from." She looked at Chakotay intensely. "Yes. Definitely someone on Voyager, whereever that is." *How much had she heard?* They had definitely told these people a great deal more than they had intended, but no one had noticed the quiet woman as she sat down. Chakotay's first reaction was to deny her observation. But as he thought about it, he realised she was right. He just hadn't admitted it to himself, before. That was why he had not been able to talk to Janeway about Seska. He had tried to keep his distance, afraid of what might happen. *Afraid to get hurt again.* So instead he asked, "How do you know?" But the woman had stopped talking and was staring off as if she didn't pay any attention at all to what was going on. Set and Elah came over to the fire. Set had just heard the last question. "En passes herself off as a medium, a fortune teller. That's how she earns her money. She doesn't have any real supernatural powers, of course, but she observes people, and she listens more closely than anyone I know. She often notices things other people do not." And, taking in the scene and coming to a conclusion of his own, he added, "Sometimes she even notices things people did not know about themselves." Kim, who had remained silent during all this, closed his tricorder as the two men approached, and now was about to clip it on his belt. Chakotay stopped him. "I had not intended to, but we might as well let them in on this. They know we're not from here, they know we're from the past, and after what she just heard there's not much left. Besides, we need them to learn more about the history of this planet -I can not figure out how far in time we did travel." Set and Elah sat down. Elah looked as he had fully expected to be included in their efforts since they first walked into the Pass, just like he had shown up that morning. Chakotay felt himself wondering if perhaps these people were low-level telepaths. *They sure seem to have an uncanny feeling for what is going on* They picked up their tricorders again. Elah picked up quickly. He obviously had some scientific background, even though he now made his money doing all kinds of unschooled work, as he had told Chakotay when they walked to the Museum. "It is hard to reacon how far in time we have travelled as we have no idea what time frame we are talking about. You obviously did not originate on this planet -no really old buildings, for one thing- but it would help if we knew how long you had been here." "We colonised this world 347 years ago. We didn't have space travel at the time, and only a few FTL ships now, but we were brought here by the Tari, who have large transports. We still trade with them on occasion." "So we travelled more than 347 years." Kim mused. He checked his tricorder. "If these records are the ones showing the ion readings at the times of your experiments, we could use them to calculate it more precisely." "Between 430 and 380 years, that is as close as I get." Leena said after a while. "Were there any more of these experiments than the ones the Museum has information on?" Elah looked at the list on her tricorder. "I would think there were more." He thought about it. "The Museum would not have every single report, as some would have been quite similar. They would be at the Institute of Technology. That's where the transporter was built." "Those are the ones that might tell us what we need, if they are close to the other readings. We have to know exactly what time we came from, and find a way to go back to exactly the right time." Chakotay said. He knew it would have to come very close, indeed. If they went to a time only a little too far into the past, they risked a paradox. They would risk running into themselves, or perhaps not even beaming down at the time and place they had, as the ship's sensors would pick them up. And although he was certain the Captain would do everything she could to find them, and wouldn't leave orbit soon, she would not stay forever. Once Voyager was gone, there would be no way to travel back further in time. They would aim for one hour after their beam-down. He could only hope the Captain and B'Elanna had been able to figure out enough from the readings on their side of the time rupture not to try beaming anyone else down. Readings seemed to be far stronger and clearer on the 'far' side of the transporter beam. "They might not be open for the public. There is a library where anyone can access the Institute's records, but a lot of the details on the transporter technology is classified." Elah said. "If it is in the computer, I can probably get it out." Chakotay said. Here, his Maquis experience would help him -he had broken into some of the Federation computers back in the Alpha Quadrant, getting information on ship movements on their side of the Demilitarized Zone. Elah nodded. "I'll take you there tomorrow." As Leena and Kim could not get any closer to the exact time, without more information, they had set to working on the transporter itself. "The transporter in the Museum will get us far enough, and I can get it in working shape again, but there is no way the power grid in there will be able to handle it. Even if it is the minimum of 380 years.", Leena reported. "There wouldn't be another one, anywhere?" "The other prototypes were destroyed," Elah said. "You really think you can get that one working again?" Leena nodded. "It is really a lot like our Federation technology. So much that it could somehow be left here from our journey through this quadrant." She frowned. "Or... We _are_ 400 years in the future..." Kim picked it up. "Perhaps travel between here and the Federation is much faster!" But Chakotay shook his head. "Even if there is a way, we can't take it with us to the past." Kim sighed. He'd known that, of course, but even after two years, he hadn't really given up on finding a way to get home soon. Whatever it would be, they would have to find it in their own time. Chakotay decided to call it a day. The nights were cold, even here in the Pass, and they wouldn't gain anything by getting sick on this planet. In the morning Elah was already awake. The Institute for Technology was located on the outskirts of the city, too far to walk, but Leena and Kim had made enough money the previous day that Chakotay and Elah could take the public transportation system right from the Pass, not going to the Promenade first. At the Institute, Chakotay easily located the files he needed in the computer. He downloaded everything concerning the transporters to his tricorder, and they were back at the Pass before midday. He had not wanted to work on anything on the Institute's computer. With the additional information, he could soon pinpoint the time they had travelled. Now he set to calculating the power needed to travel the 416 years. Leena had been right -it was more than the Museum could handle. It had never been built to actually run things in there, just to exhibit them. He explained the problem to Elah and Set. "You could use a power unit like the ones used in personal air vehicles. They are light enough to be portable, and they are compatible. They pack a lot of power." Set suggested. Elah agreed that would be possible, but he wasn't sure where to get one. "Those things are expensive, though.", he remarked. "I still know a few people at one of the repair stations near the space port. I'll do some checking. I can get one for a less than a thousand." Less than a thousand. That'ld take weeks to get together, and that was if they didn't need anything else. Still, Chakotay saw they were going to need the power pack. At least with time travel it did not matter how long they spent in this period. They would be going back to an hour after they originally beamed down, taking the hour as a safety margin if their calculations would be off a bit. Well, if they were going to make money, he might as well do his part. He did not play music, but he had seen several of the street people selling hand made objects. He had learned to carve stone and wood from his father, and he decided to put that skil to use. He set out to look for some suitable pieces of material. That night, as the stores at the Promenade closed their doors, Elah suggested they go to Lady Roon's shelter to bathe and wash their clothes. The Voyager officers gladly agreed. Their uniforms were made to repell dirt, but they had been wearing them for two days straight Lady Roon remembered them. She approached Leena. "You are the one who's been singing, right?" "Yes." Leena nodded. "Why don't you come here on Ramvenday. The Promenade will be closed and many people will be in all day. I won't be able to offer you much, but you can all eat here and I won't charge you for the washing.", Lady Roon said. Leena agreed -they could use anything they could get. After they had washed up, they walked back to the Pass. Set joined them there. "I found a good power unit. They want 950 for it, but I can get it for as little as 800.", he told them. That was still a lot, considering they only made about 70 each day, and they had to eat from that, too. Still, they were going to need that power unit. It would take them several weeks to raise the funds. After dinner, Chakotay brought Kim and Leena up to date on what he had found out that day. "I found exactly how far we have to go back in time. With the power unit we can get the transporter working, but we will have to make exact calculations.", he told them. Leena took her time studying the tricorder readings. "I think I can adjust the time within minutes, but I would like to get a look at the transporter before we make the actual attempt, so I know what to expect. From what I understand, the Museum staff is not going to be cooperative in this, so we might not have much time when we do go in to make final adjustments." Chakotay nodded. He didn't like her loosing a day of income, as he really wanted to get the funds together as soon as possible, but he knew she was right. He had already planned on doing some scouting on the security of the Museum, himself. It looked as if they would have to break in at night. Fortunately, there did not seem to be a high frequency of break-ins on this planet, and most buildings did not seem to have sophisticated security systems. Chakotay did not like planning a break-in on this quiet planet, but Set and Elah had made it clear that they would not get permission to use the transporter to tamper with time, even if it was really only un-doing the tampering they had done accidentally. "Okay. Go to the Museum tomorrow, and take Set to keep the guards busy. Neither Elah or me should go again if we don't have to. And borrow some clothes from En or someone -they might notice two people in similar uniforms taking interest in the transporter." "Understood. We will go as soon as the Museum opens. I will gather all information I need, and return to the Promenade as soon as I can." Leena said. She, too, wanted to get back to Voyager as soon as possible. They had found shelter here, but it was far from warm and comfortable. Leena stood and walked over to one of the other fires, where En and a couple of other women were sitting, to arrange for clothes. Chakotay selected one of several pieces of wood he had collected earlier that day, and started carving it with a knife set had dug up for him. Kim had seen Chakotay's work before, but Leena was surprised when she returned with the clothes she needed for her mission to the Museum the next day. She was hesistant about asking the Commander about it, even after their talk yesterday evening. For some time she watched as the head of a wolf took shape under his hands. Finally, she did comment. "That is very beautiful." Chakotay looked up, surprised. "You like it?" "Yes." Leena said. She added, "I did not know you did wood carving." "I did not know you could sing." Chakotay said. Leena heard the deeper question in his words. "Cardassians have art, too. My mother was a professional singer." Chakotay reflected on that. He realised how little he knew about Cardassian society, apart from military intelligence. "On Cardassia?", he asked. Leena nodded. "Oh, she isn't famous or anything. I doubt anyone in the Federation would have heard of her even if the Cardassian society was more open. She was well liked in the regio, though." She fell silent and stared into the fire. After a while she spoke again. "I guess the Federation knows even less about Cardassian civilian life than we do about the Federation." Kim only now realised how true that statement was. He had spoken frequently with Leena over the past six months, but he had never heard her speak of her family, even when others spoke about theirs. This was the first time she mentioned anything about her life on Cardassia. "What does your father do?", he asked. "He's a civilian scientist." Leena said. And, as she had started to tell of home, she felt easier about continuing. "My mother would have liked me to stay on Cardassia, my family does not have a military history. But I looked at my father, how he got to study those things the military and the Order pre-selected for him... I knew if I wanted to get into the important work, have a chance to make some real discoveries, I would have to join up and go off planet. My father knew he only gets to work on what the military tells him to, and he understood. I don't know that my mother ever did." Chakotay had stopped carving to listen to her. "You miss them.", he said. "Yes.", Leena simply said. "We will get back, you will see them again." Kim knew he was saying it to reassure himself as much as her. But Leena shook her head slowly. "My father, perhaps. My mother... She was sick with Tenaf's Disease when I left Cardassia. There is no cure. She would not have lived more than a few months after the Stavos disappeared." "I'm sorry.", Kim said. "That is why you never sung on Voyager.", Chakotay realised. Leena nodded. "It would have been hard to explain. Too many people who never realised there even was such a thing as singing, or dancing, or painting, on Cardassia. Too many memories to want to explain it to 140 people." "Yet you did start to sing here.", Kim said. Leena shrugged. "It was the only thing I could think of. Besides, it has been two years." She said it lightly. "Time heals all wounds." "Time alone won't do it." It was Leena's turn to jump at En's voice. *Is she going to drop in on every conversation we have?*, she felt herself thinking. "Time helps, but you have to heal your own wounds. If you don't deal with them, they stay. Time can make it easier to deal with them, that is all." Leena stared into the fire and realised En was right. She would have had to talk about it eventually, to deal with it. She glanced at Chakotay, sitting across from her. Perhaps some good would come out of them getting stranded here like this. If they could get back to Voyager, of course. The next morning Leena and Set left early for the Museum. They went in, and Leena took her time scouting out the transporter and the room it was kept in. Still, she was back at midday. She was feeling pretty good, confident she could hook up a power unit and make precise adjustments without any problems. Of course, there would be no way to test their final settings; any object they would normally use to send through first would end up in the past with no way of telling if it got there, and at exactly what time. And if they were only a little bit off, they might be stranded here forever, in a time where the next ship was due in 69 years. She cut off that line of thought abruptly. The controls would allow for precise adjustment, and their calculations would just have to be correct. She had also discovered something else, and this she had to discuss with the Commander, as she did not know if it was anything they could tell Set and Elah. When the three Voyager officers walked to the Pass that night, she brought it up. "Commander, I think I know what caused the time rifts. Comparing this transporter in the Museum with the one on Voyager, I think I found a way to eliminate the effect." Chakotay looked at her. "You found what the scientists of this planet couldn't find in all this time?" "It would be really hard to find working with just one of the transporters. I don't think we could have found what exactly causes the time travel on Voyager, with the whole ship's computer at our disposal, if we didn't know about this transporter here. But the transporters are very much alike, and with the schematics of both of them, knowing they create the opposite effect, it becomes obvious." She showed Chakotay the schematics on her tricorder. "A few adjustments in the pattern particle phase beam is all it would take. Adjust it up or down until the effect is zero." Chakotay took it all in. It certainly looked as if it would work. It was as Leena had said, almost ridiculously simple when you had all the information, and almost impossible to hit upon when looking at just half the picture. The problem was, what could they do with this information. Could they tell Elah? Or was this a case of the Prime Directive? He knew that as the leader of the away team, the decision would be his. But he knew the value of discussing these kind of dilemmas with the others, and hearing their suggestions. He asked them. "On any other planet they would have had transporters for years," Leena said. "But here they might never develop them any further without help." "They aren't even native to this planet. They colonised it. So it is not like it is natural for them to live here in the first place.", Kim argued. "I say we show them our findings." Chakotay nodded. That was what he had wanted to do. He still valued his team members' opinions. The one question that remained was how this knowledge could affect their return to their own time. "If we make this knowledge public, we might not be able to get access to the transporter anymore, at least not for a very long time.", he said. "We can talk to Elah about it. He will be able to follow the technical explanation, and he can also tell us what to expect if we bring this out in the open.", Leena suggested. "Agreed.", Chakotay said. That night, they told Elah. He studied the tricorder read-outs in detail. When he spoke, his voice was calm, but his eyes glittered. "With this, we'll be able to transport safely. This will mean a great deal to our society." He looked at them and came to the same conclusion they had. "We'll have to get you guys back first, though. Once this gets in the news, you'll never be able to gain access to the one in the Museum again." "You do not think they will let us use it to get back, even with this new information?", Chakotay asked. Elah shook his head. "No, I don't think so. They are very strict about time travel, this will not change that. We've waited for fifty years for a working transporter, a few more weeks will not make a difference." Chakotay looked at the man sitting across from him. "Thank you.", he said. Elah looked at the Pass, then turned back to Chakotay. "You have a home. Just make sure you get back to it." Chakotay nodded. "I intend to." They worked hard to earn money for the power unit. They tried to think of other ways to make money, but there were not a lot of jobs to be found, and what there was was very lowly paid. Set explained the economy had been like this for years. Many people were out of work, living on the streets. When Kim asked if there was no social security or other help for people to fall back on, Set shook his head. "People have to take care of themselves. Anyone who can't hold a job in society ends up in the streets. We take care of ourselves out here, in groups like the Pass. We have a safe place to sleep where no one bothers us, it works. Maybe if it didn't work, if we did not have any place to go at all, people would help us back into the real society again." "Maybe, but I would not bet on it.", Chakotay said. "In many human societies there was no such thing as the Pass, and very little in the way of safety or shelter for the homeless, and it took till after the Bell Riots before a real solution was found." Leena nodded. "It's the same on Cardassia. We still barely help any people who do not manage to stay within the main society -we keep them out of sight so most people don't know about them." Set stared in the fire. "Our planets are not so different. If your Earth managed to take care of its people, perhaps our planet can too, some day." The day they went with Set to pick up the power unit came. They looked it over, and everything checked out. On the way back, they made another surprising discovery. The weather had been clearing up for some days, but this morning the wind had picked up and temperatures had dropped again. As they passed a cafe they went inside to warm up. They had not gone into any cafe or bar before, but with the power unit in their possession, they now had less financial concerns. Most of the names of the drinks were unfamiliar, the universal translator had no context to place the single words, and most worlds had their own concoctions people preferred. As soon as the serving lady put the cups of warm liquid on the table, Chakotay smelled the aroma. He blinked as he looked at the cup. Across the table, he noticed Ensign Kim staring at his cup, as well. Slowly he picked it up, and tasted it. "Coffee. Real coffee." He wondered how coffee had ever made it this far from the Federation. Was the Federation spread this far? Maybe crossing distances from here to the Alpha Quadrant on a regular basis? He cut off that line of thought. A coffee plant could have made it here a million other ways. Twohunderd years since the Federation was founded in his timeline, and now fourhunderd years further in the future, was plenty of time for a coffee plant to cross 70,000 light years, and who-knows-how-many hands and cultures in between. Any information about the Federation in this time line, even just whether it still existed or not, could be dangerous to know this far into the future, and he would not be able to take any information or technology back to Voyager. He could, however, take some coffee. Two days later they were preparing to leave the Pass. Set and Elah insisted on coming with them to the museum. They had prepared the power unit as far as possible without actually hooking it up to the transporter. They wore non-descript clothes, carrying their uniforms in a bag with them. While no one had looked twice at them, they did stand out too much for sneaking around. Also in the bag were Harry's clay flute, and a pack of coffee. They even carried a few young shoots for the hydroponics bay. Chakotay had no idea where Set had produced live coffee plants from, in this climate and this time of the year, and he knew that when asked, the man would name a long string of connections no one from off-world could follow. He carefully set the plastic tray holding the shoots on top of the other belongings. While at first Chakotay had tried to keep their mission to the museum silent, over the last weeks the whole Pass had found out. they all said their goodbyes, wishing them luck on their way home. Although none of the people from the Pass, not even Set and Elah, knew any details about Voyager, all knew that they, at least, had a chance to get out of the Pass and make their way home. Some they had hardly seen or spoken to in their time on the planet, others, like En and the young boy Kee who had brought them the blankets when they first arrived, they had talked to frequently, at dinner or at night around the fire, after those first days when the calculations on the transporter had been done. Chakotay looked at the small gathering, shaking hands and exchanging a few last words. Then he motioned for Harry and Leena. "Time to go." Set had arranged for a ride to the museum. A man Chakotay had never seen before had arrived in a vehicle so old Chakotay would not have thought it still moved, but he trusted Set. A few blocks from the museum they parked the car and the man drove off without a look back. Chakotay picked up the power unit with Elah, Harry carried the bag with their uniforms and supplies, while Leena and Set scouted out the way. The streets were quiet, even most of those who lived on the streets would be in shelters like the Pass at this time of the night. As they came to the back entrance of the building, Chakotay carefully openend the panel next to the door. Leena had volunteered for the job, claiming more recent engineering experience, but he had picked up a few skills as a Maquis. In less than a minute the door slid open, without a sound. They slipped inside, carefully checking each inner door for security systems as they went along. There were none -this was a peacefull planet where no one had thought a museum needed heavy security. Still, Chakotay kept watch at the back, and Set at the front entrance, while Leena, Harry and Elah hooked up the power unit and tuned the transporter. "Commander?" Chakotay twisted around. He had been concentrating on any movement or sound outside so much that Leena's voice, sounding loud through the empty halls even though she had spoken softly, startled him. "Yes, Leena?" "We are ready.", she reported. He nodded in acknowledgement. Taking one more look outside -all was quiet- he followed her into the room where the transporter stood. The ropes holding people back from touching the exhibit had been carefully curled up and laid to the side. The power unit hummed softly, and the main console of the transporter was lit up. Chakotay looked at the readings programmed on the panel. This time Leena did not comment about him checking her work, or Harry's -this was far more delicate than anything they had done before. 416 years, and if they arrived a little too late, they might find Voyager gone and themselves stranded on this planet forever, without anyone due to arrive for over 50 years. Arriving early was even worse; he did not claim to understand the details of time travel paradoxes, but he knew enough to avoid them at all cost. They had been over the calculations many times in the Pass; now every one of them was precisely entered in the console. There was no way to test if their work was correct, no way to check if any test pod they send would indeed arrive in the narrow time frame they had. Chakotay nodded at Harry and Leena. They looked tense, and he wondered if the same was reflected in his face. He made himself relax, at least on the outside. They would have to be confident in their own abilities. Set had also come in, although he still looked over his shoulder at the exhibit hall entrance, still watchful for any sound or movement. They shook hands, and said their goodbyes. Set and Elah would dismantle the transporter once they were gone. There would be no way to find out if they had made it back safely. After a few brief words of goodbye Chakotay walked over and took place on the transporter pad. Leena and Harry joined him. Elah took the controls of the transporter. "Ready when you say so", Elah said. Chakotay glanced at the two officers standing next to him and took a deep breath. "Energize." He saw more then heard Elah's last "Good luck." -0- It had all seemed routine on Voyagers bridge. Chakotay had left the bridge moments before, together with Ensign Kim, and Captain Janeway had watched as the turbolift doors closed. Sure, it was obvious he had not been happy to include Leena on the Away team, but she was confident he would overcome his difficulties with the Cardassian once he had to work with her. As the lift carried them away she had turned back from the doors and sat down in her seat. Turning on the console set between the command chairs, she had called up some routine reports -food and engineering supplies, energy usage charts... On reflection, she did not know why she hadn't gone to her readyroom to review them. Could it have been she had a feeling something would go wrong? No, that was ridiculous. She had barely made it through the first report when the call came from the transporter room. "Transporter room to the bridge" Ensign Davis' voice had been tight, and she had been instantly alert. She carefully kept the worry she felt inside of her out of her voice as she answered. "Go ahead Ensign." "Captain," the Ensign hesitated. "I've lost them." She saw Paris twist around in his seat, looking at her, and she felt Tuvok's eyes on her back. She barely registered either, though. "What happened?" She kept the worst snap out of her voice, not wanting to upset the Ensign when she needed him to think clearly. "I don't know. I beamed them down, when suddenly they were gone. I tried to reverse the beam, but the according to the console the transport was already completed.", the Ensign reported. He sounded shaken. Ensign Davis was one of the younger crew members of the ship, and, like many Ensigns, assigned to the transporter room on rotation to get experience in many different areas of shipboard operations. The kind of officer who would be on duty during a routine mission, like this one was supposed to have been. Captain Janeway gave orders without pausing to take a breath. "Tuvok, try to contact the Away team on all frequencies. Paris, check the scanners. Janeway to Engineering -B'Elanna, the Away team just disappeared while beaming down and I want to know what happened. Ensign, work with B'Elanna -we'll get them back." "Yes Captain." Ensign Davis' voice sounded stronger already. B'Elanna acknowledged, sounding as if already on the run -which she no doubt was- and Paris turned back to his console, fingers flying over the touchpad. A short look over her shoulder confirmed Tuvok, too, was working to try and raise the missing team. It did not take Tuvok and Paris long to report back. "There is no response from the Away team, Captain.", the Vulcan reported moments before Paris confirmed the sensors could find no sign of humanoid life on the surface. The new confidence she had felt when her crew responded quickly and capably to her orders threatened to slip away. She glared at the planet on the main viewscreen. The lush vegetation that had seemed beautifull only a short time ago did not look near as pretty anymore. What was it that had caused her officers to disappear? She hated not knowing, having nothing to work with or fight against. "Janeway to Engineering. B'Elanna, do you have anything yet?", she asked, even though she knew it was not long since she had first given her orders. B'Elanna surprised her though. "Captain, I was just about to call you. I can tell you what happened, but I do not know how to reverse the effect yet." "Go ahead.", Janeway said. "The planet has a specific ion particle concentration. Our transporter effect caused a rupture in time. The Away team beamed right through it.", B'Elanna explained. "Is there any chance we can open this rupture in time and beam them back?", Captain Janeway asked. "Not at this same location.", B'Elanna reported. "Besides, the way our transporters work, they would only be beamed further into the future. I will try to find a way to reverse the process, but I do not know how long that will take." "Do you have any idea how far into the future they have been transported?", Janeway asked. "I can not tell yet, Captain. Too far to wait for them -years, maybe much more. When I find out what exactly causes the time shift I will know more." That wasn't all good, but at least it was something to work with. "Good work, B'Elanna. Keep working on it. Paris, go down to Engineering and help B'Elanna." Paris quickly got up and entered the turbolift. Captain Janeway watched him go, then turned back to her console. She knew B'Elanna and the rest of the crew were working hard to find out the details of the transporter incident. She had confidence in her crew, and this was hardly the first time an Away team had been missing, but still a mixture of anger and worry flowed through her. Anger at the planet, the ion particle concentration, that had turned this routine mission into a far more dangerous one, and worry, stemming from those times when Away team members had not made it back, no matter what her crew had done to help them. She turned to her console and tried to read more of the reports, but her eyes kept darting to the planet on the main viewscreen. -0- As he materialized, Chakotay strained to take in his surroundings. Transport was instanteneous, they said, but whenever he beamed to a tense situation, whether it was into a battle, an unknown hostile location, or 400 years into the past, he was sure he could feel the time it took to materialize and be able to move again. They were standing in a large, grassy, open spot, but it was a natural open space, not made by any humanoid civilization. He hit his combadge. "Chakotay to Voyager." -0- Captain Janeway could not tell who she heard first, her First Officer calling the ship, or her Security officer's report that the sensors picked up humanoid life on the surface. She did know who she answered. "Janeway here. Commander, are you alright?" "We are fine, Captain. Glad to be back.", Chakotay's voice came back. He sounded like he meant every bit of it. "We had some transporter trouble, we will have to send a shuttle to get you. Stand by.", Janeway told him. She knew she sounded relieved, too. "We know. We have data to modify the transporters if we need any more use of them, but for now I think I prefer a shuttle.", Chakotay said. "You know?" Janeway did not try to hide the puzzlement in her voice. "Commander, where have you been?" "It's a long story. I'll tell you when we get back up to the ship.", Chakotay said. "Oh, one thing... How long have we been gone?" Janeway checked the chronometer, although she really didn't have to; she'ld glanced at it often enough. "43 minutes." On the planet surface, Harry let out a breath he hadn't noticed he was holding. "That must've been the longest 43 minutes of my life.", he said, shaking his head. And that comment triggered the tension they all three had been holding inside for all that time. Leena snickered, Chakotay looked at her and grinned, and moments later they all three laughed out loud. Up on Voyager's bridge, Captain Janeway listened to them laughing. She heard Leena make some comment and Chakotay's laugh in return -whatever had happened down there, she looked forward to hearing the report. As she turned off the comlink and walked to the briefing room to wait for them, she found that she was laughing, too.
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