Star Trek: Voyager - The Neverending Night

Chapter 16

“We have her!” Kim shouted.

“Now Tom!” Chakotay barked. “Get us out of here.”

“I’m on it!” Paris replied, entering in new course commands into the helm.

Voyager rocketed away from the station at maximum acceleration. The alien station shuddered behind them. Erupting into a series of explosions across its hull. The plume of yellow and white energy expanded before imploding back inward. The entire station had been totally consumed, leaving a swirling white ball of energy behind. Voyager continued on its trajectory. It entered the mouth of the vortex just as it was beginning to collapse behind them.

“We’re in!” Kim shouted. “Seven hundred kilometers to the exit…six fifty…six hundred…”

Suddenly, the bridge shuddered. “I’m losing impulse power!” Paris called out.

“B’Elanna, we need more power to the engines!” Chakotay shouted to Torres.

“We don’t have it!” Torres shouted back. “All our reserves are empty, we’re running on fumes at this point!”

“Commander, the vortex is collapsing. If we do not reach the exit we will be pulled back into the Void.” Seven reported.

“B’Elanna, kill everything.” Chakotay commanded. “Shields, weapons, environmental controls, life support. Divert everything we’ve got to the engines.”

“On it!” Torres replied.

“Three hundred kilometers…two fifty…two hundred. “Kim said.

Chakotay ran up beside Paris at the helm. “Tom, can we form a stable warp field yet?”

Paris shook his head while still furiously entering in course corrections. “Not yet, we need to cross into normal space first.”

“One fifty…One hundred…almost there.” Kim continued to count.

“That’s it!” Torres shouted. “That’s all the power there is.”

Chakotay could see the exit to the vortex now. The circle at the end of the vortex began to shrink. He could see stars on the other side of it. They were close now. So very close.

“The vortex is about to collapse!” Seven reported.

“Twenty…fifteen…ten…zero!” Kim shouted.

“Warp speed, Tom!” Chakotay bellowed.

Voyager emerged from the mouth of the vortex, which was now just barely larger than Voyager itself. Voyager’s warp nacelles folded upward into place once more. With a burst of light, the vessel shot out into normal space at lightspeed.

Voyager had escaped the Void.

On the bridge everyone let out the breath they were collectively holding. Kim smiled over to Tuvok who raised his eyebrow in response. Chakotay patted Paris on the shoulder.

“Captain Proton saves the day.” B’Elanna observed from the side of the room, which elicited a hearty laugh from Paris.

At the back of the bridge, the turbolift doors opened and Captain Janeway stepped back onto the bridge. Chakotay turned around and smiled at her. “Welcome back Captain.”

Janeway gave a brief smile, but quickly buried it. “I told you not to come back for me, Commander.”

“We weren’t going to leave you there, Captain.” Paris said. “Not a chance.”

“Getting Voyager home was more important than saving me.” Janeway replied.

“What was important…” Torres started. “Was saving our Captain. You wouldn’t have left any of us behind, and we weren’t going to leave you.”

“But my decision-”

“Was the right call, Captain.” Kim interrupted. “Just as we made the right call to come back and save you. Just as you made the right call to destroy the station and the right call to destroy the Caretaker’s Array four years ago.”

“Starfleet officers put the needs of others ahead of themselves.” Seven added. “You have shown us that, and we all agree with it.”

Janeway was at a loss for words. Did they really all feel this way? Did they really all agree with the decision she made four years ago? “I…I thought you weren’t coming back for me.”

“Then you forgot the most important rule of the Alliance, Captain.” Tuvok said. “No giving up.”

Janeway couldn’t help but smile at them, the crew that had come back to save her. Lastly, she looked at Chakotay who said nothing, but had an expression on his face that seemed to say. See, I told you all along.

“Captain.” Tuvok said. “I suggest you go to sickbay. I do not wish to have to escort you again.”

Janeway waved her hand in acquiescence. “Don’t worry Tuvok, I’ll go.” Janeway turned around to reenter the turbolift, but stopped. “Actually, there is one last thing I have to take care of first.”

Janeway walked over to the side of the bridge and entered her ready room. Beneath her desk were the remains of the empty tea cup. It had fallen off and split into two pieces during the battle. Janeway reached down and scooped up the remains of the cup without hesitation. She brought it over to the replicator and activated the recycler function. The cup shimmered and dematerialized into a wisp of energy, leaving the empty alcove behind.

I should have known it would turn out this way. Janeway mused to herself, an expression of triumph crossing her face. After all, coffee is the superior caffeinated beverage.

After stopping by a nearby star system to rest and replenish their supplies, Voyager resumed course for Earth. Chakotay relaxed in his quarters, observing the familiar sight of stars zipping by outside his window. As he took off his outer uniform top and settled into his couch, the overhead comm system chimed. “Janeway to Chakotay.”

“Chakotay here.” He replied.

“Commander, meet me in holodeck one.” Janeway’s voice sounded urgent.

Chakotay picked up his uniform and threw it back on. “I’m on my way.”

Chakotay quickly made his way to the holodeck. The corridor lighting around Voyager had resumed at normal levels, providing plenty of illumination as well as leavening the crew’s mood. The holodeck doors opened as Chakotay stepped up to them and he went inside. “Is something wrong Cap-” Chakotay cut himself short at the sight. Janeway was dressed in workout regalia. The clothes were customized for her, primarily sporting the color red over black which signified the bearer as a command track officer.

In one hand Janeway held a frisbee looking device while in the other she held a hand phaser. She tossed the phaser over to Chakotay. “Something the matter Commander?” She said flippantly. “Or did I mishear you the other day when you invited me to a game of velocity?”

Chakotay smiled. “No you didn’t.” He took off his uniform top once more and set it down on the simulated bench the holodeck had created. Chakotay took a moment to stretch while Janeway configured the match parameters on a nearby PADD.

“Three matches, five games per round?” She asked.

“Sounds good to me.” Chakotay confirmed.

Janeway set down the PADD and activated the game. A simulated scoreboard appeared on the holodeck wall above them. Janeway picked up her phaser and lowered herself in a crouching position. She held the frisbee up in the air, ready to throw the first serve. “Ready?” She asked.

Chakotay crouched down on the opposite side of the room and aimed his phaser into the air. “Ready.”

Before she threw the frisbee, Janeway looked at Chakotay. “Thank you Chakotay. I realized that I never said thank you.”

Chakotay looked at her quizzically. “For what?”

“For getting me off that station.” Janeway said. “For supporting the Alliance even though you disagreed with it. For trying to get me out of my quarters.” She paused. ”For believing in me, even when I didn’t. I never said thank you and I feel like I owe it to you.”

Chakotay took in her words and smiled warmly back at her. “You don’t owe me a thing. You always have my support and I will always believe in you, no matter what…But you’re welcome.”

Janeway smiled back and raised the frisbee. She tossed it into the air and quickly shot at it with her phaser. The frisbee was sent flying toward the far wall. It ricocheted off of it and zoomed right toward Chakotay. He in turn deftly aimed his phaser and fired. The frisbee once again bounced off the far wall, this time it was Janeway’s turn to hit the flying disk. The two went back and forth for hours. They played game after game all throughout the night and well into the morning.

The End