Disclaimer: Paramount can keep Susperia and that Ocampan named Tanis. Someone show him to the nearest airlock.
Hard to believe that we'd been here ten months. So much has happened, good and bad. Lots of revelations, discoveries. It's almost hard to think of the life we left behind. Actually, we didn't leave; we were stolen from home. I've never once blamed Kathryn for destroying the Caretaker's array. She did what she felt she had to do at the time, something that had been inbred and taught to her.
There was no one to blame.
Kes' abilities mentally have been improving and building, so Tuvok has been helping her with learning mental disciplines. I have to honestly say that he is most able to help her in curbing any telepathic outbursts that could happen. Poor girl. I wonder if she knows what she's getting herself into.
Something very strange has been happening. When Kathryn talked to the Caretaker the final time, it had died and formed into . . . well, I guess the closest description I can come up with is a rock. Well, these remains suddenly started showing life signs. Very strange. Why now, after all this time?
B'Elanna and Harry have rigged a way to use the remains as a way to find the Caretaker's mate. As Kathryn put it, we're using the remains as a compass. She turned and looked at me and I couldn't help but smile. We may get home a lot sooner and I could read that thought running through her head.
Tuvok suggested a 'sporistine counter-agent' so we may be on more equal ground. Kathryn told him to get on it then looked at me. As if I would doubt her orders.
We found it. Kathryn had Paris set the course and follow the lead. I'm surprised by her confidence. I'm not that sure. After all, we'd been let down before.
We hadn't gone far when Paris picked up what appeared to be an artificial structure. Kathryn had us slow to one half-impulse and put it on screen.
I got up from my seat. "That sure looks like the Caretaker's array."
Harry said detected carbon based life forms. They were Ocampa, like Kes. Kathryn ordered full stop. Tuvok read what appeared to be weapons powering up. I ordered shields, hoping I was just being paranoid. Definitely weapons.
We were hailed. The hailer obviously didn't want us here. Kathryn tried to reason with him. Apparently, this was lost on his Ocampan ears.
"You have been warned." And he cut transmission.
We called Kes to the bridge. We told her we had found other Ocampa. It really surprised her that there were Ocampa beyond the home world, beyond our own Kes. She was absolutely zealous over the prospect.
I asked her if there were any stories about Ocampa leaving or being captured by aliens in their history. She didn't hesitate to answer no, that had never occurred, that the idea of Ocampa existing anywhere but the home world was inconceivable. Kathryn voiced that since Kes was the only Ocampa on Voyager, that perhaps she should act as an intermediary between us and those on the array.
"Gladly! What should I do?" Kes responded enthusiastically. Kathryn told her that the first step would be to arrange a meeting. She had Tuvok hail them and put Kes behind her so she wouldn't be visible. Then we brought her out. Was that guy surprised.
After exchanging some pleasantries, Kes asked if we could meet on his station. No, but he was willing to come to our ship. Kathryn apparently thought that was okay, and gave Kes a reassuring pat on the back.
We all convened in the briefing room, where the two visiting Ocampa made sound as if we raped, ravaged and pillaged every race we've been in contact with, that we're feared and called the 'ship of death'. This last one did not sit well with Kathryn.
"You've established quite a reputation. You killed the Caretaker, declared war on the Kazon, raided planets for their resources." I couldn't take any more of these false accusations.
"None of that is true. We've never attacked anyone except in self defense."
"And we did not kill the Caretaker," Tuvok added. "He died of natural causes."
All we wanted was to find the other. Kes requested to speak to Tannis alone. Kathryn complied and we all exited the briefing room.
We met in Kathryn's quarters later for dinner, with Kes, Neelix, Tuvok and Tannis. It was the first time I had ever been in her quarters and I was impressed by how they offset Kathryn from the captain. Very homey feeling.
We discussed how the Ocampa here live to be a lot older then what Kes thought a typical life span. Tannis was fourteen. His father had lived to be twenty. Neelix was all for it if it can keep Kes with us for longer then nine years. Kathryn then shifted the gears of the conversation to this Susperia, the Caretaker's mate. According to Tannis, she exists in pure sporistian energy.
I asked if she occupied our space/time continuum. Tannis didn't know. He said she came when they needed her, then offered to take us to her and meet her. For some reason, he was focusing most of his attention on Kes. She showed interest in visiting the station. He suggested her staying, permanently. I didn't have to look at Neelix to know that his 'green-eyed monster' would be making an appearance soon if Tannis' intentions weren't defined real soon.
I've heard of some real smoothies, but this Tannis was taking the cake. Something in his manner all around wasn't settling too well with me. But I wasn't going to say anything. I figured if anyone was perceptive to know if something were wrong, it would have to be Kes and Tuvok. I was reacting on gut reaction.
Kathryn interjected that Kes didn't have to decide something this important right this moment, that she should take some time. At least not at this point. We then went onto the Ocampan mental abilities, with Tannis offering to show Kes some of this 'potential'.
We arrived at the place where Susperia would meet us. Tannis asked permission to use our communications array to send a message to her. Kathryn allowed him. He sent out a subspace carrier wave, to which she should respond to within 47 hours. He then retired to his quarters, sighting that he'd know when Susperia answered.
Well, we made contact. Kathryn was very excited by this. It was in her stride. I smiled at her, she smiled at me. Harry picked up some strange plasmatic readings coming from engineering. She contacted engineering, but no one responded. Never a good sign. Tuvok ordered security to main engineering. I took over at tactical. Tuvok called us, telling us the female caretaker was here. Kathryn gave me the bridge and left.
The ship started shaking. I asked Paris what was going on. He said that we were beginning to come apart at the molecular level. I went to Red Alert and contacted Kathryn. I tried again and there was no response. We were losing structural integrity. I ordered reinforcements.
What the hell was going on?
Susperia was gone. Kathryn decided that we would still seek her. Kathryn did show her mercy.
Perhaps it is not too late for a way home.
Maybe Kathryn's mercy will have an affect on her.
Much like Kathryn's had an affect on the rest of us.
Just maybe . . .