Summary: Voyager limps through alien space, pursued by a relentless enemy. With the crew split apart, stranded officers turn to each other, and suspicions arise that a traitor may be working from the inside. But fates can change in breathtaking ways.
Characters: Janeway, Paris, Chakotay, Tuvok, Kim, Torres, Kes, Neelix, EMH, Seska, Bendera, Celes, VOY crew
Codes: Janeway/Paris, Janeway/Chakotay, Kim/Torres
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Trek, including any dialogue I’ve borrowed from the series. I sincerely hope they take this as a compliment.
Notes: Book 3 of the Parallels series. Related episode: Year of Hell. Thanks to their moderately successful use of the Sikarian spatial trajector, Voyager has managed to bypass Borg space without encountering the Collective, and other events that happened in the series between Prime Factors and Year of Hell have also been bypassed. I’ve also taken some liberties with the timeline, but not as many as Annorax.
The grey-green globe of the planet designated Element K-Epsilon-105 filled the timeship’s viewscreen. As was his custom, Annorax paused to reflect upon its inhabitants, its natural and man-wrought wonders, its unique and treasured culture. He had chosen its mementoes based on study of these and was pleased that they ably represented what was soon to be lost forever. It was strange, or perhaps not strange at all, that this impending loss no longer caused him much regret.
He addressed his first officer. “Begin temporal incursion.”
Obrist nodded and his fingers began their practised dance. A beam of white light surged from the timeship’s emitters and targeted the planet’s core. Annorax watched from behind steepled fingers as the energy pulse enveloped the planet. From this distance no change was visible to the planet’s surface once the white light had passed over it and emanated into the surrounding space, but he watched the procession of data superimposed over the image on the viewscreen with satisfaction. When it was over, Obrist spoke.
“Temporal incursion is complete. All organisms and man-made objects have been eradicated.”
“Probe the continuum,” Annorax ordered. “Has our target event been achieved?”
After a moment Obrist looked up from his console. Frustration was evident in the shake of his head. “Negative. Negative target event. We have achieved a seventy-four percent reversion. I don’t understand, sir. We spent months making these calculations.”
Annorax’s composure never faltered as he turned back to the viewscreen. “Time is patient, Obrist,” he murmured, “so we must be patient with it. Eradicating a single Zahl colony wasn’t enough for a total restoration. We have to work on a larger scale.” He stood and turned to his bridge crew, addressing them all. “Take us to the Zahl homeworld. Prepare a new set of calculations. We must erase the entire species from time. Every lifeform. Every molecule.”
He heard the expected chorus of assent as he made his way across the bridge to his office. At the food dispenser he called for a cup of aminberry tea and, as was his ritual, turned to his viewport to silently toast the lost civilisation, then sat at his desk to study the data from this latest incursion. It was, indeed, the closest they had come to total reversion; an almost laudable success. Almost.
Almost was, in this as in all things, insufficient.
Annorax pulled his personal console toward him and began work on the next set of calculations.