e mërkurë, 13 qershor 2007

Voyager: Departure


Author's Note: I don't remember much about this, except it focuses on a made-up character who somehow returns to Earth before the USS Voyager and plots to destroy them.

Voyager: Departure

Author’s Note:

While the Stardates read 52xxx, the story itself only takes into account events only until the end of the Third Season (“Scorpion Part 1”).

Prologue

Starfleet Headquarters

San Francisco, Earth

Stardate 58560.4

“Then you are telling us, Ensign Uller, that you are the only survivor of the U.S.S. Voyager that disappeared nearly eleven years ago?” Admiral Chris Horton fixed his icy blue gaze on the thirty-three year old man in the seat in the center of the room.

“Yes, sir. I was the only one able to escape before the ship was destroyed in the attack. I got into a shuttle and was picked up later by a Barbalian cruiser. In exchange for some information and Federation technology I was given one of their courier ships to return home in. The trans-warp capability of the ship knocked considerable time off my journey. However, I was able to reach the Alpha Quadrant only after discovering a wormhole. I found myself stuck behind enemy lines, until a task force arrived to help me escape. I was escorted here for debriefing,” Ensign Brad Uller replied, matching Horton’s gaze.

“Do you have any proof to back this extraordinary tale?”

“I only have the logs I made after I escaped Voyager’s destruction. Everything else was destroyed.”

“So you have nothing to corroborate this?”

“Only the word of a Federation officer, which was enough when I left the Alpha Quadrant fourteen years ago.”

“Very well, then. You’ve given us a considerable amount of information to chew on. We will resume this debriefing at 0900 hours tomorrow,” Horton announced and everyone stood to leave. Uller walked back to his room, wondering if the Federation officers really believed him.

Later that night, Horton was sitting in his office, staring at the San Francisco skyline in the early morning darkness. He was surprised when his door opened and turned to see who dared to invade his privacy at so early in the morning. “This had better be good,” he said harshly.

“Oh, it is,” a cold voice called from the shadows. The end of a phaser appeared in the light, but shadows were still cast over the visitor’s features.

Horton didn’t need to see the visitor to know who it was. “Don’t be stupid Brad, you’ll never get away with this.”

“It will work as well as assigning me to Voyager was eleven years ago.”

“You needed to be taught a lesson. You were too hungry for power, you had to learn that life takes a lot of hard work.”

“I was destined for command! I should have been assigned here or on a Galaxy-class ship, not some pathetic little scout ship in the middle of nowhere.”

“I knew that on Voyager you would learn the values of work and cooperation.”

“So you thought putting me on that little fleabag ship would discipline me?”

“Yes. I thought it would help you understand how things really work, maybe toughen you up a little.”

“Oh, it did that all right. It gave me a lot of time to think about how to pay you back. And now I know exactly how I will do it.”

“You’re crazy, Brad. Intelligence will perform a thorough investigation and find out what you did.”

“They’ll find exactly what I want them to find. They’ll find this phaser, a few molecular remnants, and a suicide note with your name on it. Poor Admiral Horton just couldn’t take the strain of the losing war against the Klingons and the Dominion. What a pity.” Uller stepped forward and sat on the edge of Horton’s desk. He motioned for Horton to stand up and then sat in his chair. Then he signaled for Horton to sit in the chair across from the desk. “Now then, there is some unfinished business to take care off first.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m going to tell you the real story of what happened on Voyager and how I got here. That way you can go to your grave knowing just how disciplined I was.” Uller leaned back in his chair, keeping the phaser leveled at Horton’s chest. Then he began telling his story.


Chapter One

U.S.S. Voyager

Delta Quadrant

Stardate 52341.8

Uller took a last look at the green planet below and saw the chances of him getting home slipping away with the planet as the Voyager went to warp. He turned to the companion at his table in the mess hall, Ensign Jan Schmidt. “So what happened this time?” He asked.

“From what I heard, the away team went to the surface to trade the goods for the warp drive upgrade, but the captain ordered them beamed back up when she found out that the people we were talking with were going to use those goods to destroy their enemies in their civil war,” Schmidt replied.

“Oh, and we wouldn’t want to interfere in their little civil war, would we?” Uller bit out sarcastically.

“What’s wrong, Brad?”

“I’m getting tired is all. I’m tired of every chance we have to get home quicker vaporizing because of some silly complication.”

“There’s nothing we can do about it. We have to follow Federation principles...”

“Federation principles be damned!” Uller hissed quietly so no one else would hear him. “We should be doing anything it takes to get home.”

“You sound like one of the Maquis, not a Federation officer.”

“They’re starting to rub off on me. Besides, they’re right.”

“So what are you going to do about it, take over the ship?” Schmidt laughed, but Uller’s face remained impassive.

“Exactly,” he replied.

“What? You can’t be serious!”

“Why not? It’s time for someone else to be put in charge, someone who will do what it takes to get us home.”

“And that would be you, right?”

“Yes, if you’ll follow me.”

“It’s not that easy, Brad...”

“I know that. If we can get just a few of us, though, we can take over and sway others to our side. I know there are other people who are tired of this. They just need someone to give them the courage to take a stand.”

Schmidt leaned back in her chair and then replied, “All right, I’ll help you. What do we need to do?”

Uller smiled and answered, “Talk to Jake in security. If we can get him and a couple others on our side we’ll be able to do it. I’ll run this past Diane in engineering. Just don’t tell anyone else, all right?”

“Sure thing,” Schmidt took off and Uller sat in his chair, sipping a drink. He knew that Ensign Jake Mathous in security had a crush for Schmidt. He would help if he thought it would win her heart. As for Ensign Diane Combwater in engineering, Uller knew that she would be all too willing to help. Lieutenant Torres had restricted her duties because she had made a mistake that had nearly gotten an away team killed. Ever since, Combwater had been seeking to get back at the engineer. Now was her chance.

Uller found Combwater in the engine room and motioned for her to meet him in the corridor outside. She nodded and asked, “What’s going on, Brad? I don’t have a lot of time to talk.”

“This is important,” Uller replied. “How would you like to be in charge of the entire engineering department?”

“I’d love to, but there’s no way Torres will just step down and let me take over.”

“Yes there is: we forcibly replace her.”

“A mutiny?”

“That’s right. I’ve got Jan on board already, and Jake should be soon. We need you to make it work, though. In exchange for your help I’ll make you chief engineer when I take over.”

Combwater smiled and replied, “Sure. Count me in. That’ll teach Torres for punishing me for her mistakes.”

“Her mistakes?” Uller asked with an eyebrow raised.

“Yeah. I wasn’t supposed to check those power conduits for the transporters, she was. She should have spotted that faulty conduit and replaced it before it overloaded.”

“Don’t worry, she’ll pay for what she did.”

“When do we get started?”

“A couple of days at least. I have to make the plan and get what we need.”

“All right. Good luck, Brad. Just tell me what you need me to do, and I’ll do it,” Combwater said and went back into the engine room. Uller smiled and went to his quarters. His shift wasn’t for a few more hours, so he had some time to plan his take-over of the ship. With the personnel he had supporting him he should be able to quickly take over all the key areas of the ship. That wouldn’t mean anything if he couldn’t keep them that way. He punched up a crew roster and thought about who else he could sway to help him.

There had to be a lot of other people getting disgruntled after five years of traveling far from home. All he had to do was to get them to see that he could deliver what Janeway couldn’t: he could get them home. If they believed that then he would be successful. If not, then he would spent the rest of the trip in the brig. That was the chance he would have to take, though.

***

Two Days Later

It had taken a lot of doing, but Uller had been able to round up fifteen people to help him and get them on the holodeck. He watched them practice the mutiny and smiled as the simulation ended for the third time that day. “Great job. Even in the worst case scenario we can pull it out,” he said and they gathered around him. “We can do anything if we just stick together and work as a team. We can even get home, if we make that our first and only priority.”

There were muffled cheers from everyone and Combwater asked, “When do we do it, Brad?”

“Jake: status on weapons?”

“I can get phasers and phaser rifles for everyone. Jonesie created an override that will give us access to the armory,” Mathous pointed to Ensign Karen Jones, a computer specialist.

“Great job, Karen. So now that we can get weapons, all we have to do is coordinate things. From the duty roster, the best chance is in three days. I’ve got Harry Kim’s shift, so I’ll be on the bridge. Diane will be in engineering and Jake will be on duty so we can take the weapons and take over the bridge and engineering. The rest of you can help us secure the ship. Jan, you’ll be in charge of pacifying sickbay. Since you’re a science officer, just say you came in to have the Doctor analyze something. Walt and Dennis, you’ll help me take care of the bridge. After we’re done, Denise will take the helm. Everyone got it?” Everyone nodded and Uller smiled. “Great. Then we’ll begin in three days at 1500 hours. Diane and Jan, make sure to get your phasers from Jake the day before. Be sure to hide them so no one sees them. The rest of you go to the armory at 1455 and Jake will distribute them.”

The group broke up and Uller was left alone in the holodeck. Everything was in place, all he had to do was execute the plan. Then he would be in charge of the ship. He hadn’t really thought about what he would do to Janeway and the others once he took over, but he would think about that once he was in command. He left the holodeck and went to the mess hall. As he ate he looked around him and wondered if anyone even suspected a mutiny were in the works. He doubted it. He had made sure that no one had told anyone who wasn’t involved. He didn’t want to take any chance that Tuvok found out what was going on and stopped him.

His heart nearly stopped when the doors opened and he saw Janeway, Kim, and Parris enter the mess hall. Kim saw him and came over. “Thanks a lot for covering my shift for me, Brad,” Kim said, referring to the day Uller had planned his mutiny. Uller was usually the third shift operations officer, but he had agreed to cover for Kim on that day.

“Sure thing, Harry. I’m always happy to help out a fellow officer,” Uller replied as cheerfully as he could, secretly savoring the moment when he would be able to stick a phaser in Kim’s face and vaporize him.

“I’ve got to go, but thanks again. You busy later?”

“Ensign Schmidt and I had some plans. Sorry,” Uller lied, dreading to spend another moment near Kim. He noticed Parris motioning Kim to hurry up. “You’d better be going.” Kim nodded and walked away. He joined the others at the table and Uller watched them for a few moments. They were talking animatedly about something. From their faces he knew that they had no idea that he planned to make Voyager his in three short days. They don’t even know who I am, he thought. But soon, they will never be able to forget me. He took a bite of his food and kept down a triumphant smile.


Chapter Two

U.S.S. Voyager

Delta Quadrant

Stardate 52346.3

1459 Hours

Uller stepped onto Voyager’s bridge unnoticed by everyone. He quickly strode from the turbolift to the ops station. He looked the station over, checking to make sure that no one was watching him. He quickly slipped his hand to his side and pulled out a black pad he had stuffed into a slit he had cut in his uniform. He lowered the pad below the station and unwrapped a phaser he had hidden in it. He magnetically attached the phaser to the bottom of his station so that no one, unless they were standing directly behind him, could see it.

He checked the time and saw that it was 1459, just one minute until the mutiny began. He hid a smile and looked around the bridge. Janeway and Chakotay were sitting in their seats below him and in the center of the bridge, Paris was at the helm in the front, Tuvok was at the tactical station, and other people were at various stations. The chronometer showed 1500 hours, time to begin.

It was only a handful of seconds later that Tuvok said, “Captain, there are reports of shots fired in engineering and sickbay...” That was as far as he got, because at that moment Uller scooped up his phaser and shot Tuvok square in the chest. The Vulcan dropped to the deck, unconscious.

“Ensign, what the hell are you doing?” Janeway shouted. Chakotay turned towards Uller and lunged at him. Uller didn’t have time to get a shot off, so he used it to smash the first officer in the side of his head and send him hurtling back to the deck.

The turbolift opened and two ensigns in security officers appeared. “About time. Stop him,” Janeway told them. The two ensigns smiled and leveled their phasers at her instead.

“Good timing, Walt, Dennis. Now, everyone gather together at the helm or we vaporize Captain Janeway,” Uller called out. Those that were still left stared at Uller in disbelief.

“Are you joking?” Paris asked.

“I’m afraid not, Tom,” Uller replied. “So leave your hands where I can see them and don’t try anything heroic.” At that, everyone knew Uller was serious and shuffled to the helm station. He smiled and then leapt over the rail and landed on the deck.

Janeway stared at him coldly and asked, “What’s this about, Ensign?”

Uller stared back at her, not letting himself be intimidated by her. “Ensign? It’s such a pity that you don’t even know who I am. See, that is the reason for this. There are a lot of us who are tired of your bumbling, your incompetence in getting us home. We put up with it as long as we could, but we’ve had enough. We’re tired of being forgotten, of sacrificing again and again to defend Federation principles and the damned Prime Directive. We’re the lower decks, the trash that you never think about when you make the really big decisions. We’re the people who make this ship run, working tirelessly to keep it functioning. We’re the people who aren’t at the senior staff meetings. We’re the ones whose fate you arbitrarily decide again and again. But no more! We are taking control of this ship, and we are going to take the first opportunity to get home that presents itself. We will still defend Federation principles, but not at the cost of languishing in this quadrant any longer than we have to. We aren’t turning our back on the Federation, instead we are upholding its virtues: freedom, individuality, resourcefulness, honor. We are taking control merely so that we can get home, back to the ones we love. We’re tired and lonely, and now we’re doing something about it.” Uller finished his impassioned speech and actually saw smiles on a couple of crewmembers at the helm station.

“That was a nice speech, Ensign, but what makes you think anyone will follow you and your little band of rebels?” Janeway hissed.

“I don’t think people will follow me, I know. I know there are a lot of people who wanted to change things, but didn’t want to feel as though they were betraying Starfleet. Well, they need worry no longer. I’ve done the hard work for them. If they join me, they aren’t betraying anything, they’re only doing what they’ve known is right.”

Janeway opened her mouth to speak, but someone from behind her said, “Ensign, you’re right. I want to follow you,” a lieutenant in a science uniform spoke up. Uller saw other heads nod in agreement and smiled.

“Still think no one will follow me?” He asked Janeway, keeping the smugness out of his voice.

Janeway glared at him angrily. “You will pay for this,” she responded.

“I think not.”

“So what happens to those of us who aren’t joining your merry band?” Paris asked sarcastically.

Uller smiled and his eyes bore straight into Janeway. “Well, you could stay on the ship with us. I’m sure that Neelix could always use some help in the kitchen...” He stopped as Janeway lost some of her self-control and slapped him across the jaw.

“This is my ship,” Janeway replied as Uller rubbed his jaw.

“It was. However, I am not a monster. I will give you a new ship. I’ll give you and your followers one of the shuttles. You can use it to find help or settle down on some other planet.”

“You...” Janeway began, but Uller cut her off.

“Now then, before I have you taken to the brig for the rest of your stay on Voyager, give me the command codes.”

“Never. I’ll destroy this ship first.”

Uller motioned to Walt and Dennis, who turned their phasers on Paris. “I hate to do this, but if you don’t give me the codes I’ll have Paris disintegrated. I will feel bad about it, but if that’s what it will take to show you I’m serious…”

Janeway looked at Tom and then nodded. “All right, I’ll give you the codes.”

Once the command codes were transferred to Uller he commanded Walt and Dennis, “Take anyone away who’s following her.” They nodded and hauled Janeway, Paris and a couple others towards the turbolift. As they did, the doors opened and a young woman exited the turbolift. “Take the helm, Denise and continue our course for the Alpha Quadrant at warp nine.”

The woman nodded and took Paris’s station. Meanwhile, Uller tapped his comm badge to check on the other mutineers. “Diane, can you hear me?” He asked.

“Sure thing, Brad. I’ve taken control of engineering. It’s surprising how pointing a phaser at a plasma conduit gets people to capitulate,” Combwater replied.

“Is Torres still alive?”

“Alive but unconscious. Sorry, Brad, I couldn’t resist hitting her.”

“Fine, just don’t kill her. Out.” He tapped it again to call Schmidt. “How’re things on your end, Jan?”

“Great. I’ve got control of sickbay and the Doctor’s portable emitter as you requested.”

“Good. Tell the Doctor that if he tries anything we’ll destroy the emitter and reinitiate his program. That should keep him in line.”

“I’ll tell him. How are things on the bridge?”

“I’m in control. Janeway and company are on their way to the brig. We’ve also got the engine room. Good work, Jan.” He called the rest of his followers and was glad to hear that they had control of every major area of the ship. Voyager was now under his complete control. He sat down in the captain’s chair and smiled. “Take your stations, everyone.” Then he leaned back in the chair and knew that finally he had achieved his destiny.


Chapter Three

U.S.S. Voyager

Delta Quadrant

Stardate 52346.8

2200 Hours

Uller stepped into sickbay with a bundle in his hands and a new uniform on his body. He saw Schmidt sitting on a biobed, keeping her phaser somewhat pointed at the Doctor as he treated a patient injured in the mutiny. “What’s that?” Schmidt asked.

“It’s a new uniform for you, Commander,” Uller replied.

“What are you talking about?”

“You’re the new first officer of Voyager. Thus, you are henceforth promoted to commander.”

“I see. I also see that you manufactured yourself a new uniform as well. So can I go change into this, Captain?”

“Sure, go ahead. I don’t think the Doctor will try anything.” Schmidt nodded and left. Uller took her place on the biobed, keeping his phaser in its holster.

The Doctor turned to him and looked over his new uniform, his eyes stopping on the four pins on his collar. “So you fancy yourself the captain of this ship, Ensign Uller?” He asked icily.

“I am the captain of this ship now, Doctor. Janeway is in the brig and the crew has accepted me as their leader.”

“I doubt they had much of a choice.”

“I don’t make anyone do anything against their will unless I have no other choice.” He stopped and took a deep breath and then continued. “I didn’t want to have to mutiny, but I couldn’t take it any longer. Janeway wasn’t getting the job of getting us home done. Someone had to take over, someone who would make getting home their first priority.”

“Someone like you?”

“Someone like me.”

“I see,” the Doctor answered, his voice still cold. “So you had no other choice but to hold be at gunpoint and take my portable emitter?”

“Look, once Janeway and the others are gone I’ll give you the emitter back. I just have to make sure you don’t try and do anything to interfere.”

“There are a wide variety of ways I could still ‘interfere’, Captain,” the Doctor spit out the last word as though it were poison. “Pray you do not find yourself in need of my care.”

“I’m sure that Commander Schmidt already told you what would happen if you do not cooperate. I will have your program reinitialized and your portable emitter destroyed.” Uller stopped and got off the biobed, pacing around sickbay for a moment. “But I don’t want to do that. I’m hoping that you’ll come to trust me as you did Captain Janeway. It may take some getting used to, but I’m sure that you can.”

“I’m certain that I can cooperate with you, however, the real question is: will I ever trust you? I don’t think that will ever happen.” The Doctor finished with his patient and then turned himself off. Uller shrugged and met Schmidt just outside sickbay.

“Shouldn’t we keep an eye on him?” She asked.

“Not right now. I’ll have to have Diane rig a camera up in there some time so that we can watch him.”

“Why don’t we just reinitialize him now?”

“It would look bad. Like it or not he’s one of the crew. Reinitializing him would be like killing him. It would upset some of the crew that is on our side.”

“So have we got all of Janeway’s followers?”

“I think so, yes. They’re all in Cargo Bay Two until we can do something else with them. The senior staff is in the brig with Walt and Dennis guarding them. I made sure to have them confiscate every comm badge, hair clip, and any other accessories to make sure that they can’t find a way to escape. The only followers not in the brig or in the cargo bay are the Doctor and Neelix, but we have them contained.”

“Why did you keep Neelix around?”

“We still need a cook. I told that weasel that if he tries anything I’ll have him and all the senior staff executed. It’s not very nice, but it should be effective.”

“Great, so we’ve got everything in hand.”

“I hope so. I’m having all the new senior officers assemble so we can get organized.” They reached the conference room and went inside. In the room were Combwater, Mathous, Denise, and Karen Jones. Everyone sat down and Uller began the meeting. “Welcome everyone. Now that we’re in control, we’ve got to figure out our plan of attack. First, Jake, is everything secure?”

The new head of security nodded and said, “We’ve scanned every Jefferies tube and crawlway on the ship. There are no hidden explosives or other devices. We have also counted all heads to make sure everyone is accounted for. This ship is completely secure.”

“Excellent. Now then, Karen, have our scans located any planets of interest?”

Jones, the new operations officer, replied, “There is a class-M planet a few light-years off-course that looks promising. Our scans weren’t able to tell us much, but it appears to be an advanced race.”

“Good. We’ll have to send a shuttle to check it out. Are you ready for a little away mission, Commander?”

“Sure, why not?” Schmidt replied.

“Good. Take Denise and have Jake assign a security officer to accompany you to this planet. We’ll remain on course at warp one until you report back. What I want you to look for is any technology that might help us on our journey. If you find anything, we’ll come and try to secure it.”

“Secure it how?” Mathous asked.

“However we can,” Uller replied. The others looked at him in surprise, but said nothing. “Now then, are all propulsion systems working properly?”

Combwater answered, “For now, yes. They should continue to hold up unless you want us to hold maximum warp for a while.”

“No need for that yet. However, I don’t want to be stuck cruising home at warp six, understood?”

“I understand, Brad. I’ll keep us a warp nine even if I have to get out and push.”

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Uller responded. “I think that takes care of anything. Denise, drop us out of warp and then get to the shuttle bay and prep a shuttle to take on that away mission. Then we’ll continue on our way.”

There was a moment and everyone began to get up and leave. Uller called after them, “You’re doing a hell of a job, by the way.” He saw a few smiles and leaned back in his chair. He hoped that the planet Jones had spoken of did contain something useful. If they found something to get everyone home faster, then the crew would be even more loyal to him. That would also make getting rid of Janeway and her lapdogs a lot easier. He stood up and went to the bridge, sinking down into the command chair. It was now his chair and he was starting to get comfortable in it. The ship dropped out of warp and then Denise left the bridge. Uller stood up and took the helm, deciding that it would be good for morale for the crew to see their new captain pitching in. Besides, the helm wasn’t a very complex system. He knew how to work it, so there was no need to call up a relief crewperson. He checked all the systems and waited for the shuttle to leave.

After five minutes of waiting he heard Schmidt’s voice say, “We’re on our way, Captain. See you later, Schmidt out.” Uller smiled and then put the ship back to warp one. If everything worked out, the crew would become his very soon.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 52350.2

Janeway and her supporters are safely locked away and I am now fully in command of Voyager. As my first act as captain I have dispatched an away team to investigate a planet that may contain technology that could help us on our way home. I am anxiously awaiting their return and hope that it will help us on our way.

Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 52350.2

I am in command of Voyager now and have been assured that Janeway and the fools that support her are unable to escape from their confines. I’ve sent Jan on an away mission to investigate a planet that could be ripe with technology that could help us. The senior staff seemed a little apprehensive when I told them we’d secure any technology however we could, but I hope that I will have their loyalty if we should have to pry any technological goodies from that planet. If not, then I’ll have to find a way to neutralize that threat. As for Janeway and the others, I have yet to decide what I’ll do with them. Shooting them out a torpedo tube would be preferable, but I could never do that. The crew would mutiny in an instant. I will have to give it more thought, but I want them gone as soon as I can. I know they’ll try to escape at some point, it would be best not to give them a chance.

Uller stopped recording and leaned back in his chair in his quarters. He gulped down the drink he had gotten from the Mess Hall, brown juice from some planet, and closed his eyes. It felt so good to finally be in command. To no longer be one of the many faceless ensigns. He was the captain, he was the leader of the ship. He knew that things weren’t going to be easy, but at least now he would be the one making the decisions. He would be the one to get Voyager home. His comm badge beeped and he slapped it, his eyes still closed. “Yes?” He asked.

“Sir, the shuttle is coming within sensor range,” Jones’s replacement said.

“Good. Full stop. Hail them when they are in communications range. I’ll be right up,” Uller was already on his feet and racing for the bridge. He knew that if the shuttle was moving at full speed it wouldn’t take them very long to get within communications range. He stepped onto the bridge and looked over at Mathous. “Are we in range yet?”

“They’re just coming into range, I’m hailing them now.”

“We’ve found something, Brad. The race on that planet is very advanced, but also very secretive. We were only able to get a few scans before they shooed us away. What do you want us to do?” Schmidt asked.

“Land and we’ll discuss your findings further. Meet me in my ready room when you come aboard,” Uller replied. Then he headed for his ready room. He had stripped the room of any of Janeway’s things, making it look rather barren. He sat down and waited. Schmidt came in and sat down. “So what did you find?”

“Weapons, propulsion systems, and ships far superior to our own. Jones accessed their computers while we were scanning. She didn’t get much, but she found a few tidbits. Of primary interest to us is their propulsion technology. They don’t have trans-warp, but with their technology we could be able to hold warp 9.9 continuously.”

“Interesting. That would help us greatly. What about their weapons?”

“They’re better than our phasers.”

“Good. Now we need a plan to procure this technology.” Uller leaned back and thought for a few moments. “How did they react to your presence?”

“After we showed up they asked us who we were and what we wanted. I explained that and they told us to leave at once. I stalled them for another minute or so, but then they brought some warships to bear on us and we had to leave. They didn’t follow us when we hit warp; they must have been content with scaring us.”

“Get me the sensor logs from the shuttle. I think I have an idea.” Schmidt nodded and left. Uller was beginning to get another idea as well, one that would get rid of Janeway and her toadies.

The door’s to Uller’s ready room hissed open and Schmidt came back. She handed him a padd that contained the sensor logs from the shuttle. Uller leaned back in his chair as he looked them over and then set them down to look at Schmidt. “I think I have an idea,” he said.

“What is it?” Schmidt asked.

“We attack one of their ships and tow it away to safety. Then we can take it apart and get what we need from it.”

“Sounds risky, but it might work. You know they’ll follow us, though. We won’t be able to fight back if we’re towing that ship.”

“You’re right. What we can do is beam over an engineering team to figure out how the thing works while we’re running. If they can activate the warp drive then we can hit maximum warp and fight back if they choose to pursue.”

“That should work. Do you think we’ll be able to figure out how to work their ships?”

“Maybe not. But if anyone’s alive, point a phaser at them and make them tell you. I’ll put you in charge of boarding the ship, Commander, to make sure that it gets done.”

“Thanks for your faith in me. When do we launch?”

“We’ll tell the others and then go in about three hours. If you could, could you get the others in here, I’ve got to discuss something with someone else.”

“Sure thing,” Schmidt nodded and left to get the senior staff together. Uller tapped his comm badge and called the engine room.

“How can I help you, Captain?” Combwater asked lightly.

“How soon can you strip a shuttle of its weapons?” Uller asked without preamble.

“I could probably have it done in three or four hours.”

“Good. I need you to strip one of the shuttle’s weapons off and disable its transporters. I don’t care which one you choose to use. Oh, and be sure to take all Federation symbols off of it as well.”

“All right. I’ll get on it right away. You got some special purpose in mind?”

Uller smiled to himself and forced down a laugh. “A very special purpose. Uller out.” He let out a low laugh and stifled it as the senior staff, minus Combwater, trickled into the room.

Uller explained his plan and Mathous frowned. “I’m not sure we’ll be able to damage one of their ships enough to disable it.”

“How effective will our weapons be against them?”

“Our phasers won’t do very much damage, but our torpedoes should be able to do something.”

“That’s what I wanted to hear. Karen, can we determine where their engine room is?”

“I can make a rough guess, but nothing concrete.”

“Take your best shot. Jake, when we get there I want you to fire a spread of torpedoes where Karen tells you to. Got it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’ll leave in three hours. That should be enough time for Karen to determine where the best place to hit them is. Dismissed.” Everyone filed out, leaving Uller alone once more. He knew that by the time the mission was set to go, the shuttle would be modified and ready for his use. He smiled and could hardly wait. He stood up and went to the replicator. “Coffee, black.” A steaming cup of coffee appeared and Uller took it. One of his first priorities would be to find a way to get more replicator rations. He hated Neelix’s food and his drinks were even worse. He sighed and sat down, looking over the sensor logs.

The alien ships were powerful, he might want to make the ship operational and keep it along as an escort. It wouldn’t hurt to have some extra firepower if they needed it along the way. Besides, they could steal technology more efficiently that way. He just hoped that Jones could find the weak spot in the ship so they could disable it. If not, then things could get ugly real quick.

***

Uller stood in the shuttle bay three hours later, a smile on his face as he patted Combwater on the back. “It’s perfect,” he said. He stared at the shuttle, all of its markings hastily painted over and knew that it was what he had wanted.

“What’s it for?” Schmidt asked. Uller had asked her to come along to see what he had in mind.

“This is Janeway and her sympathizers new home.”

“A shuttle? How are you going to fit everyone in there?”

“We’re only getting rid of her and her senior staff. Once they’re gone, the others will reciprocate. They’ll have to.”

“Yes, but isn’t this a little inhumane? We’re just abandoning them to the wilds of space.”

“It’s better than keeping them incarcerated the entire way home. Besides, they’ve got all they need to survive in there. They’ve got a replicator, a portable shelter, some other supplies. They can settle down on some uninhabited world, or they can barter the shuttle’s technology for a new ship if they want to continue to home.”

“I see,” Schmidt replied coldly.

“Trust me, they’ll be fine. And we’ll be able to carry on without the threat of any incidents.”

Schmidt was going to say something, but Combwater cut her off. “I’m glad we’re getting rid of them. It will be a hell of a lot easier for the crew to recognize us as the new leaders with them gone.”

Schmidt seemed thoughtful for a moment and smiled, “You’re right. We’ll get their full loyalty this way.”

“Now that things are settled, we have a mission. Uller to bridge. Get us underway for that planet at warp nine.”

“Aye sir,” Denise replied curtly.

“It shouldn’t take us long to get there. Now let’s just hope that things work out how we planned.”

Captain’s Log, Stardate 52350.9

We are about to engage an advanced species in order to liberate some valuable technology from them. While it may sound like piracy, we are merely doing what we have to do in order to survive. We are willing to do whatever it takes in order to get home to the ones we love. I hope that we are successful in this, our first mission under my command.

Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 52350.9

We’re about to attack an alien race and hopefully capture one of their ships in order to take the valuable technology it contains. It’s blatant piracy, but that’s just what the crew needs. They need to do something bold and daring to lift their spirits and give them hope that maybe they’ll get home someday. Besides, it will begin the process of getting out some of the gung-ho Starfleet attitude out of them. I pray we’re successful, otherwise the worms will probably go crawling back to Janeway. Of course, after we’re finished with this mission, Janeway will be left on her own and be out of my life forever.

***

“We’ve reached the planet,” Denise said and Uller smiled and turned to Jones.

“Well, what’ve you got?” He asked.

“I think I’ve found where to hit them. I’m feeding the information to Jake’s station,” Jones replied.

“Excellent. What’s their status, Jake?”

“What I think is an alien cruiser is coming towards us. We’re being hailed,” Mathous replied.

“On screen.” A black, insectoid face appeared on the screen.

“What are you doing here?” The alien growled, its voice seeming to echo into infinity.

“I’m Captain Bradford Uller of the United Federation of Planets starship Voyager. We are here on a mission of peace. We only wish to learn about your culture.”

“You are not authorized for this area. Leave at once.”

“Please, we’re only here to explore...”

“Leave!” The alien howled and broke the connection.

“Not very friendly, are they?” Uller commented dryly. “Are you ready, Jake?”

“Yes, sir,” Mathous replied enthusiastically.

Uller smiled tightly and ordered, “Fire!” Three torpedoes shot out and impacted across the midsection of the alien ship. “Status?”

Mathous’s fingers danced across his board and he looked up happily at Uller, “They appear to be disabled, sir.”

“Good. Denise, bring us around and stand-by with the tractor beam.” Uller sat down, happy with the turn of events. Just then, Voyager was hit as it began to turn. The power flicked off for a moment and then came back on. “What the hell was that?”

“A smaller alien ship is approaching,” Mathous reported.

“Why didn’t we see them?”

“I don’t know. What do we do?”

“Fire phasers first and see if that does anything. If not, launch a spread of torpedoes.”

Uller tapped his fingers on the armrest of his chair and Mathous called out, “Looks like the phasers did the job. The smaller ship looks to be adrift.”

“Good. Are we in position?”

“Yes, sir,” Denise answered.

“Engage tractor beam and get us out of here, Warp 5.” Voyager began moving quickly and Uller turned to Mathous. “Anyone in pursuit?”

“I don’t see anyone...wait. I’m reading fifteen...fifteen Borg ships in pursuit.”

“What are you talking about?”

“No, that’s twenty Kazon ships.”

“Kazon?” Uller stopped and bolted to his feet. “Jan, call the brig and see what’s going on. Jake, follow me.”

“What’s happening?” Schmidt asked.

“I think the prisoners have escaped.” Uller hurried off the bridge with Mathous in tow. They hurried to the brig and Uller had Mathous cover him with his phaser while he opened the door.

The door hissed open and Uller carefully stepped inside. The room was dark, not a good sign. “Be careful,” he whispered to Mathous. Mathous didn’t reply and when Uller turned he saw why: Mathous was lying on the deck, unconscious.

The lights came on and Uller saw Tuvok standing over Mathous with Mathous’s phaser in his hand. He turned around and saw the other prisoners staring at him. Janeway smiled and stepped forward. “It’s time to give my ship back,” she hissed.

“Not a chance,” Uller replied.

“You are being highly illogical, Ensign. Give Captain Janeway the ship back or we will be forced to use violence,” Tuvok said and Uller saw that Paris and Chakotay were also armed.

“Never!” Uller howled. He had worked too hard to get command of the ship, he wasn’t about to give it back.

“We don’t want to hurt you, Brad. Just make it easy on yourself and surrender,” Kim said gently.

“Shut up, Harry!” Uller barked.

“Looks like you’ve made your mind up,” Paris remarked. “Now which setting is stun and which is kill? I’ve been locked up in here so long I’ve forgotten.”

Uller’s eyes widened, but he fought to keep himself under control. “How did you escape?” He asked calmly.

“When the power went out Tuvok and Chakotay were able to get out and neutralize your guards,” Janeway answered. “Then they lowered the force field and B’Elanna and Harry sabotaged the sensors to draw you down here.”

“I see. And what do you hope to gain?”

“I was hoping you’d see fit to surrender the ship.”

“I won’t do it.”

“Then I guess we’ll have to kill you then,” Janeway said lightly. “Then we’ll go up to the bridge and have a chat with your first officer. Or maybe we’ll kill her too.”

“You’re bluffing. You’re too Starfleet to do that.”

Janeway looked him in the eye and smiled. “Maybe I am bluffing. Or maybe I’m so enraged after losing my ship and being cooped up in my own brig that I’m willing to do anything to get Voyager back.”

Uller stared at her for a moment and said nothing. He saw Chakotay and Paris smile as they leveled their phasers at him. He knew that he had to give in to their demands. Otherwise they’d shoot him and then go and threaten Jan and go down the line until they succeeded. He couldn’t let them hurt his crew. He was the captain, he was responsible for their lives. “All right,” he conceded. He transferred the command codes back to Janeway. “Just don’t punish any of the others. It was all my fault.”

Janeway nodded at him, her smile faded. “None of your followers will be punished, so long as they accept my authority. However, you will placed in the brig until we decide what to do with you. You’ve thrown away a great career, Ensign. You had some potential in you, but now you’ve wasted it.” She motioned for Tuvok to grab Uller, but Uller spun around and kicked Tuvok in the midsection. He punched the Vulcan in the face and ducked down as Paris and Chakotay fired at him. He scooped up Tuvok’s phaser and blindly fired at Paris and Chakotay. Then he turned and ran from the room.

He darted to the shuttle bay, knowing that he had to escape. As soon as Janeway and the others caught him they would throw him in the brig, probably forever. He wasn’t going to let that happen. He tapped him comm badge as he ran and called the bridge. “Jan, I need you to open the shuttle bay doors,” he said quickly, hearing footsteps behind him.

“Why?” Schmidt sounded perplexed, but Uller knew he didn’t have time to explain everything.

“They’ve taken the ship back. If they catch me, I don’t know what they’ll do to me.”

“You? What about us?”

“Janeway promised she won’t punish any of you. I’ve taken full responsibility, so don’t worry about it. I need to get out of here, though.”

There was silence a moment and Uller prayed Schmidt didn’t refuse. “All right, Brad, we’re opening the doors. Good luck...and good-bye. Schmidt out.” Uller reached the shuttle bay just as the ship lurched. He kept his feet and saw that the doors were opened as promised. He could hear the footsteps close by and ran to the nearest shuttle. Ironically, it was the shuttle that he had prepared for Janeway and crew. He climbed inside and started the engines as quickly as possible. Then the shuttle leapt forward and out of the shuttle bay. Uller took one last look at Voyager and couldn’t help but feel a little sad for everything that he had lost. Damn you, Janeway, he thought angrily. You’ll pay for this. Even if it took the rest of his life, Uller knew that he would make her pay for taking Voyager from him.


Epilogue

Starfleet Headquarters

San Francisco, Earth

Stardate 58561.2

“You took responsibility for something? I didn’t think you had it in you,” Horton commented, his eyes fixed on the phaser trained on him.

“I always knew it was there. Pity you didn’t see it earlier, or maybe you would have given me a better assignment,” Uller replied.

“So what happened after that?”

“After that was pretty much like I said. I flew along for a couple years until I encountered the Barbalians. I showed them some Federation technology and they let me come aboard. I managed to get them to tell me how to fly their ships, and then stole one of their courier ships. After a few more years I found the wormhole and, well, you know the rest.”

“I knew no one would ever give you a ship willingly. You know that even if you kill me, once Voyager finds the wormhole and comes back you’ll be done for.”

“Oh, I think not. See, that courier ship was loaded with explosives, some of which are still inside of it and being examined by engineering crews. The rest are at the entrance of that wormhole, ready to explode the moment Voyager gets near. If I’m lucky the explosives will take them with it, if they even get that far.”

“You monster! How could you do that to your own shipmates?”

“They aren’t my shipmates anymore. Janeway’s doomed them to a long voyage; I’m only trying to end their suffering.”

“You’re insane!”

“Maybe. Being in space away from home for almost ten years does that to a man,” Uller stopped and leaned forward in the chair. “Well, story time is over now. It’s time for you to depart, Chris.” Uller fired the phaser and Horton’s scream was cut off as he vaporized. Uller turned in his chair and stared out at the pre-dawn sky. The stars were still twinkling and he thought of Jan, Jake, and the others. They were doomed to live out the rest of their lives far from home. If he had remained in charge then maybe they all would be home by now. Instead, that fool Janeway was in command. He thought of the explosives he had placed at the wormhole and smiled. He only wished that he could be there to see the look on Janeway’s face when her ticket home was vaporized before her eyes. Yes, it would be a sight to behold.

He shook himself from his thoughts and stood up. He had a lot yet to do. He had to make sure that Horton’s “suicide” looked perfect. Then he would finish his debriefing and take whatever assignment he was given. He knew that with the Barbalian technology the Federation would have a much better chance of defeating its enemies. Then Brad Uller would be known in history as the man who had saved the Federation while Kathryn Janeway would only be footnote, a bumbling fool who lost her ship in the depths of space. The future looked bright indeed.

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