All of me.
By Edward McArdle.
Five years later, Voyager ploughed its way through varying concentrations of stars. Over the time little ground had been made up in the long journey home. Each side trip to investigate a wormhole, each delay to rebuild a smashed shuttle, each time one of the crew was mutated, murdered, or fell into another dimension, only made the journey longer. Most of the crew had come to accept that they would never make it home, and it had begun to be recognised that Voyager would need to replace its aging crew with some children.
Unfortunately that was proving more difficult than might have been expected. Harry Kim and B'Elanna Torres had fallen in love, but Harry was still uneasy about being unfaithful to the girl he had left behind, whose name often escaped him after seven years, and B'Elanna was a believer in long engagements, just to be sure. Both came from strictly ethical backgrounds, so they were both 'saving themselves' for the day.
Any hanky-panky between Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay *if in fact any was occurring* had not resulted in a pregnancy. Tuvok remained faithful to the memory of his family (and in fact was the only one of the crew likely to live long enough to rejoin them), in spite of Aryon Blessic's crusade to win his heart. She was one who might have produced children, assuming her biology was compatible with someone else aboard, but she scorned the easy quests, and followed the impossible one.
It had eventuated that some pressure exerted back in the late twentieth century by a subversive organisation calling itself Gaytrek had mysteriously resulted in most of the rest of the crew all turning out to be homosexual. Kes had unfortunately missed her fertile period when she inadvertently fell into a time distortion, and came out eighteen months older. She was still alive, however, having decided that Tuvok's theory was correct.
In light of this crisis, Janeway had given Tom Paris permission to marry both the Delaney sisters, since he had found them inseparable, and could not decide between them anyway. His small family was all that had appeared so far to keep Voyager from eventual extinction.
Tuvok had started up a small school, and found some solace in raising these children, aged zero to three, in the Vulcan disciplines.
So, on this day, Janeway sat disconsolately in her command chair doing a cryptic crossword that the computer had produced, when there was a cry from Harry Kim.
"Captain, we are being hailed," he said. "It's on a Federation frequency!"
"On screen, Mister Kim," Janeway said, and Harry obediently obeyed. A lot of funny lines appeared on the viewscreen.
"What's that?" asked Janeway sharply.
"It's radio waves," replied Harry. "It's an audio signal."
Janeway held her breath for a moment. She had waited seven years for Harry to take an initiative. "You are allowed to question my orders, Mister Kim," she said through gritted teeth, "when I order you to do something silly. Put it on the audio."
"Federation ship Voyager?" came the message. "Please reply on frequency 4223 megahertz."
"4223 megahertz?" said Harry with a frown. "What do they want us to say?"
"Put me on the frequency," sighed Janeway. "Hello, anonymous caller, what do you want?"
The message was sent, but nothing else happened. After a while, Janeway tried to dismiss the incident from her mind, but she could not. Who could be calling them from here? If the Federation had discovered their whereabouts, how had they got a subspace message to them? But she got nowhere.
About a week later, Harry Kim once again had an announcement. In the intervening week they had saved a civilisation from extinction as they inadvertently violated the prime directive for the sixtieth time, had just missed a wormhole as it closed down, and had found their way back from another parallel universe, as well as being trapped in a holodeck gone mad, so the previous message had faded from memory.
"We are being hailed again, Captain," he said. "It's a small vessel which is rapidly catching us."
"Catching us?" asked Janeway in surprise. "We're doing warp 9!"
"Put it on," said Chakotay, being suitably unspecific, so that Harry had some opportunity to show initiative. He turned on the viewscreen, and a cheerful face appeared.
"That's.. that's," said Janeway, "someone we've met before. Someone human."
"It's one of Blessic's people!" exclaimed Tom Paris.
"It's Tenet Verya Terris," said the figure, mildly downcast at being forgotten, but he cheered up. "On the Secret Hunter."
"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Janeway. Then she stopped, puzzled. "How can you be here? Are we going in some sort of circle?"
"No, no!" said Verya. "Can we dock in the shuttle bay again? Which one is empty?"
"All of them," said Janeway gloomily. "We ran out of them three years ago."
There was an unwonted air of excitement as the small ship docked in the shuttle bay, and Aryon Syssal ran up to the bridge to meet the newcomer. Tenet Verya Terris was alone, it turned out, and he sat down with a welcoming drink to tell his story.
"It didn't take long at all for the Paoli empire to collapse," he said. "We captured a few of their ships and marooned the crews on unpopulated planets. We'd tell them about all the other crews who had been marooned and died, then we'd let the Paoli know where they were. After they'd been rescued, and told their story, the Paoli became so scared they virtually stopped traveling in two years, and when the planets realised it, they were doomed. We just told them to behave themselves if they wanted to stay, but some planets dealt with them rather ferociously. But the whole sector is alive again, with peoples traveling everywhere. We wanted to thank you."
"Er, but how can you thank us?" asked Janeway. "We left you behind five years ago."
"Oh, we were fascinated by your warp drive," said Tenet Verya. He turned to Torres, who had been standing quietly. "We came up with a way to increase speeds up to warp 9.9999. I think you were stuck on 9.3, weren't you?"
"We are," she said grimly.
"Come on, I'll show you what we came up with," he said, rising, and they followed him to engineering. Only Torres and Janeway understood it all, but they modified the warp coil frammistat, and transmogrified the threebles, and it worked.
"Well, Aryon Zyric," asked Tenet Verya, "do you want to come home, or stay with these gentlepeople?"
Aryon Zyric conferred with themself, and decided that five years on Voyager had been great, but they would love to see their new, free homeland, so with many tears and farewells, they joined Verya in the Silent Shadow, and flew off.
Voyager tested the new warp engines, traveled at warp 9.9999, and arrived home in two weeks to an astonished welcome. the maquis members were all forgiven, because the war with the Cardassians was forgotten. They were all too busy fighting the Borg again.
Let's go back to reality.