They sat in Kathryn’s quarters, enjoying a meal. There was light discussion and many outbursts of laughing. Tuvok hailed them as they were just getting comfortable on the couch.
"Captain, there’s a vessel in this area, heading toward us fast."
"What do you make of it?" Kathryn said, looking sidelong at Chakotay.
"Captain, it’s one of ours. A ship reported missing years ago. It’s the Constitution."
"Constitution?" Chakotay mouthed. Moments later , they stepped onto the bridge. The old style vessel hung within sight, slowly creeping toward Voyager.
"This is damn peculiar." Janeway said, putting her hands on her hips. Constitution had been one of the original exploratory ships in Starfleet. One of twelve sent on five year missions to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life. It had been lost.
"Hail them." She directed toward Tuvok. "Go to yellow alert."
"Captain, according to Starfleet regulations, when communications have not been established. . ." Seven began. Chakotay cut her off curtly.
"The captain is well aware of the regulations, Seven." He said, directing a smile at Janeway.
"Yes, sir." She said.
"Captain. We’re getting a message. They say their Chamber coils are shorting out their communications system." Tuvok reported.
"Their coil emissions are normal." He said, punching up the data.
The ship still sailed toward them. Voyager had superior speed and weapons. This ship didn’t look too great. "Energize defense shields." Janeway said.
"Energizing defense shields." Tuvok intoned. Chakotay looked at his console, not wanting to believe what he was seeing.
"Captain, they’re raising shields." Chakotay said. "They’re locking phasers."
"Raise shields!" Janeway said. "Ready phasers."
The blast from Constitution ripped into Voyager. The ship shook violently. In engineering, the coolant was leaking. B’Elanna ordered her crew to get emergency breathing apparatuses.
"Who the hell are they?" Janeway asked, getting up from the floor after being tossed from her chair. "Tuvok, get those shields up!" She yelled.
"Captain, B’Elanna’s on screen." Harry said. Janeway turned to see her engineer in the midst of a massive damage.
"B’Elanna, I need power now." She said.
"I have heavy casualties down here. I’ll try to get us up, but we’re going to need a few minutes."
"We don’t have a few minutes!" Janeway yelled.
"Captain, they’re firing again." Chakotay said, louder then usual.
"Hold on!" Janeway yelled.
The bridge erupted in a midst of sparks and smoke. Janeway pushed her sleeves up her arms, then wiped at a cut on her forehead. "They knew exactly where to hit us. How did they know?"
"Captain. We’re getting a hail. They wish to offer terms of surrender." Janeway looked at Tuvok in disbelief. She turned to Chakotay who’s face said it all.
"Put it on screen." Janeway said, barely above a whisper.
"Kathryn…" Chakotay whispered.
"Do it. While we still have time." Janeway wiped again at her forehead. The next sight to assault her, was the familiar face of Maje Cullah.
"Cullah." She said.
"I’m glad you still know me. I, of course, remember you."
"What’s the meaning of this attack. We left your space years ago." Janeway said.
"Surely I’ve made my meaning clear, Captain Janeway. I’ve deprived your ship of power and when I swing around, I mean to deprive you of your life." Janeway stood in the center of the bridge and glared at the image in front of her. Cullah continued. "But, first, I wanted you to know who it was who had beaten you. Beaten the all powerful Voyager and Captain Kathryn Janeway."
"If it’s me you want, fine. I’ll have myself beamed aboard. Spare my crew and ship. Let them continue home."
Cullah smacked his hands together and rubbed them, thinking of Janeway’s words. "I’ll make you a counter proposal, Captain. Along with yourself, you bring along your first officer and something called," Cullah paused for dramatic affect. "Omega. If you comply, I’ll let your ship fly on it’s way."
"Omega? What’s that?" Janeway said, trying to sound as if she didn’t know what Cullah was talking about.
"Don’t play with me, Janeway. My finger is on the phaser control.
"Give me a minute to look up the information." Janeway said, spreading her hands in defeat.
"I’ll give you two minutes. I know how slow you females tend to think."
Janeway turned around. "Clear the bridge." She said and watched as all non essential personal left the bridge. Chakotay stood and turned his back also to the view screen.
"How did he know about Omega?" He asked.
"Keep nodding as though I’m still giving orders." Chakotay acknowledged with a nod of his head. "Chakotay, get into the historical files and find the charts on Constitutions command console. Hurry."
"The prefix code?" Chakotay asked, heading for his chair.
"It’s all we’ve got." Janeway said. Chakotay sat down and worked furiously over the console, finding the information that they needed.
"Captain, you’re trying my patience." Cullah said.
"Look, you want the information on Omega, I have to bring it up. You know where you hit us and you know that calling up the information is going to take time."
Janeway sat down and watched as Chakotay worked. She tapped her comm badge. "Tuvok, I want you to lock phasers on target."
Chakotay tapped his own. "Kathryn, Constitutions prefix code is 82309."
"I don’t understand what we’re doing?" Harry said from ops, as Chakotay came up to his station to add the necessary information.
"You must understand why things work on a starship." Chakotay said. "Each ship is given it’s own prefix code to keep an enemy from doing what we’re attempting." Harry looked between Janeway and Chakotay. Janeway stepped up beside Harry and Chakotay.
"Using our computer, we’re going to order Constitution to lower her shields." Janeway said.
"You’ve got 30 seconds, Janeway." Cullah said.
"Cullah, how do we know you’ll keep your word?" Janeway said, watching the speed and accuracy coming from Chakotay’s fingers.
"I’ve given you no word to keep, Captain. In my judgment, you simply have no alternative."
Janeway smirked and chuckled. Chakotay didn’t look up, but he knew exactly what she was thinking by that chuckle. "I see your point. Please standby to receive our transmission." Janeway tapped her comm badge. "Is everyone ready?" Silent nods went around the bridge.
"Time’s up, captain."
"Here it comes. Now, Chakotay." Chakotay punched in the number prefix and adjusted the command. Tuvok watched as shields around Constitution lowered into nothing, giving Voyager a chance to sweep in.
"Fire." Janeway ordered. Tuvok fired, then fired again. Constitution crawled off, but they knew it wouldn’t be for long.
"You did it." Paris said.
"I did nothing. I just knew something about these ships that Cullah didn’t." Janeway stepped away from Harry’s console. "In the meantime, Chakotay, let’s find out how badly we’ve been hurt."
They stepped up to the turbolift door, which had opened. Inside, Neelix and B’Elanna supported the very visibly injured Geron. Gasps ran through the bridge.
Chakotay closed his eyes in memory.