Unhappy Returns - Part 1

halfofone's picture
Submitted by halfofone on Thu, 18/12/2008 - 12:59.

Star Trek Voyager


Part 1 - Deep Space Four

Thu, 18/12/2008 - 12:00

18 or NC17

A sequel to Unacceptable Losses. The newly returned crew of
Voyager must face up to a Federation that is not the same as they remember.
This episode carries story forward into the present but also recounts some of Voyager's earlier adventures with Captain Torres and her burgeoning relationship with Seven of Nine.

TPTB are many. In a perfect world I would be one of them but it's not and I'm not. No infringement of copyright/trade marks or other intellectual property is intended. This story was written for fun and not profit.

Warning: This story includes same sex relationships between women. If you are offended by this or it is illegal where you live or you are underage then please read no further.

Full warnings, credits and disclaimers can be found in the contents page and chapter 1.

Deep space four was a modern Starfleet base, a towering complex of docks, administration and communication facilities, science, research labs and repair installations. Several small, independent civilian cities were incorporated within its giant structures to provide the nineteen thousand Starfleet personnel with culturally contrasting places to live with their families. It hung in space, a massive horseshoe, self-sufficient and powerful, with every utility and convenience that life in the 24th century could provide, and yet it was possibly the least popular posting in Starfleet.

Most of the other deep space bases boasted at least half a dozen planets within a couple of days travel but DS4 was really in deep space, its nearest heavenly companion a dead star, five days journey at warp 8. Starfleet had recognised DS4 syndrome (or deep space cabin fever as one medical report described it) as a serious problem and made efforts to encourage non-Starfleet personnel to set up homes and businesses on the base, unfortunately without much success except for the proprietors and staff of the numerous gambling and vice clubs that spawned throughout the complex wherever any small piece of real estate became available. Starfleet command might not have approved of these seedy little establishments but reluctantly recognised their value in maintaining the morale of the troops.

B'Elanna Torres, Captain of the Starship Voyager, at least for the remainder of this day, scowled as two ensigns tumbled out into the corridor in front of her, expelled from just such a dubious establishment. Ten hours back in Starfleet space and some of her crew were in trouble already it seemed.

"Ensign Tripp," she yelled in the ear of one of the sprawling men. "Are you insane?"

The ensign sat up slowly and looked sheepish.

"I expected more of my crew" she said more moderately.

"Sir!" Ensign Tripp loudly acknowledged his captain, trying to come to attention while still on his backside.

B'Elanna narrowed her eyes. "We don't brawl with Starfleet, ensign. This is not some backwater planet on the way to nowhere."

"But Captain he insulted Voyager," explained the ensign. "He said we were a useless bunch of renegade Klingons and Borg lovers."

"And then what?" asked the captain icily.

"I told him we had survived seventeen years alone and there wasn't a ship or crew to match us in the alpha or delta quadrant."

"And?" she prompted.

"He said we weren't a crew any more and that Voyager was as good as scrap so I knocked half his teeth out." As he spoke, Ensign Tripp, Eight Bells to his friends, hauled himself to his very sizeable feet. He looked a bit uncomfortable under the captain's stony glare.

The Starfleet ensign was also coming round slowly and B'Elanna moved to offer him her hand. Bloodshot eyes took in the very old style Starfleet uniforms. "You mad Voyager bastards, you're all going to be locked up. We don't allow mongrel crews like you anymore."

B'Elanna Torres looked down at the Starfleet ensign as though examining a bug she had stepped on and withdrew her hand. The ensign cringed nervously, suddenly realising whom he had insulted. The half-Klingon captain had a reputation that had preceded her by several light years but she just turned away from him to address her errant engineer.

"Tripp. Get back to Voyager and get cleaned up. I expect every member of the crew to be ready for this evening's celebration dinner."

Eight Bells backed off reluctantly. "Yessir," he mumbled and shambled off. B'Elanna returned her attention to the ensign who was still on the ground. He was touching his swollen nose and wincing, blood trickling from his mouth. Eight Bells throws a fine punch, Captain Torres noted with some satisfaction.

"You there, crawling on the floor like a worm, get up," she ordered. The ensign scrambled to get up and away but was detained by an iron grip. "Name and ship," insisted B'Elanna, while pinioning the man's arms behind his back. When he hesitated she twisted her grip tighter. "Name and ship ensign" she repeated calmly but with unmistakable menace.

"Ensign Michael Pesci, USS Resolute."

B'Elanna dumped him roughly back to earth. "As you were Ensign. I will be speaking to your commanding officer. And if I were you, I'd keep away from any other members of my crew for the duration of our stay here; Ensign Tripp is both tolerant and gentle by comparison." B'Elanna resisted the urge to kick the cowering ensign and resumed her walking tour of the massive station.

She had been experiencing a clinging disquiet since arriving at DS4 earlier that day and this had expressed itself as bad-tempered irritability with the crew. Nika had quietly suggested that B'Elanna might like to have a look round DS4 while she, Annika, prepared Voyager for inspection by Starfleet. So far no Starfleet personnel had been allowed aboard the old ship; B'Elanna had managed to convince the station commander, a ferengi called Nog, to wait for the official welcoming party to arrive from Earth.

Another conflict with Starfleet was also stirring up the emotions of the captain: the crew of Voyager wanted to return to Earth as a functioning unit; Starfleet wanted to put their own people on Voyager as soon as possible and transport the Voyager crew back to Earth as passengers. B'Elanna had left the endlessly patient Chakotay negotiating the final return to Earth, with strict instructions not to give way to Starfleet's demands; she then set out to reconnoitre the space station.

B'Elanna concluded that she did not like DS4. It reminded her of too many of the disreputable space ports that Voyager had visited and at least some of those had exhibited a certain amount of grubby charm. DS4 was very clean, almost sterile, yet the atmosphere exuded corruption and malice. This particular corridor was apparently a major centre of R&R. Hundreds of Starfleet personnel milled up and down the wide corridor, sliding shiftily through doors with discreet view-screens previewing the delights within. The bright lighting did nothing to disperse the shady nature of much of the activity.

B'Elanna was not certain why she had such a bad feeling about this place and consequent doubts about allowing her own crew to roam the station freely. It wasn't that she was particularly disturbed by the thought of her own crew indulging in the drinking and gambling and other vices on offer. There was something else about this place. For one thing she was being followed. A human dressed in the uniform of Starfleet Medical had been tailing her since she left Voyager, pretending to look at the holographic displays outside the bars and casinos whenever she glanced his way. The security wasn't unexpected but why not just have her accompanied by a member of the station security team, a precaution she would have understood; the underhand surveillance seemed at odds with the ethical Starfleet she remembered; and there was also the general behaviour of the Starfleet personnel: she felt as though she was under a microscope, being studied by each passer-by, like an unusual and exotic insect of repellent appearance. The glances she received, ranged from cold through to hostile, and once she thought she overheard a murmured 'Borg lover' as she passed. It seemed that the views expressed by Eight-Bells' victim were not uncommon.

Then it struck her. The thing that jarred so badly. There were many species walking the corridors of DS4, a wide variety of representatives of the Alpha quadrant, yet there was no mixing: pairs, threesomes, groups, were all homogeneous.

Alerted, she began observing more carefully, and realised that the segregation extended to the establishments visited. Humans entered and left certain doors but not others; a pattern repeated by Bolians, Crepaths, Chings, Risans and any of the dozen other species she observed. Some species were conspicuous by their absence. Vulcans, of whom there had been many in Starfleet, were wholly absent; an absence she might have explained on its own - the Vulcan temperament not requiring the delights of a red light sector such as this - however she had seen no Katarians either; again, common in Starfleet, the Katarian's were great lovers of drinking and gambling; their total absence was unaccountable.

The changes in the Federation were obviously much more wide-ranging than she had imagined. B'Elanna had been disillusioned with Starfleet and the Federation when she joined the Maquis as a teenager nearly twenty years ago; seventeen years aboard Voyager, lost in the delta quadrant on a Starfleet ship, had softened her recollection of the mighty Federation. She had come to respect her Starfleet colleagues' sense of duty, their tolerance and belief in the value of diversity. It crossed her mind that perhaps the last wormhole had deposited Voyager in a mirror Universe, as had happened with one of the previous wormholes they had used. She dismissed the idea. Seven had checked each time they passed through a wormhole since and had been adamant that this universe was the correct one. Assuming that was so, then many of her crew were going to be unpleasantly surprised by the Federation they had returned to.

Someone collided with her and she felt a sharp pain in her left thigh. She grabbed her leg; there was nothing. She looked up quickly, in time to see the Starfleet medic who had been following her earlier, walking away rapidly and putting something in his pocket. Then her surroundings began to take on a blurry appearance and a loud roaring noise assailed her ears. She swayed and staggered, collapsing to her knees.

"Half-breed drunk!" exclaimed a voice near to her ear.

"Make space there, let her breathe," interrupted another voice, male this time. Someone leaned over her and through the swirling darkness she could just discern the serious face of the man who had been following her. She began to struggle but her efforts didn't last long. The full effects of whatever drug she had been injected with, overtook her and she sank into unconsciousness.

( categories: Torres/Seven )