by Rob Morris
Story Type : Speculative series ending, remixed with the finale to M*A*S*H, the episode known as 'Goodbye, Farewell, And Amen'. A series of vignettes.
Chakotay gently entered the room where Kathryn was being kept.
"Hey--are you all right?"
She turned around. Her hair was disheveled, and rage seemed to suffuse her being. Not the quiet rage of a wronged party, that she had worn for seven years. No, this was Tom-rage. Equinox-rage. Borg Queen-Rage. Nasty rage.
"Me? I'm fine. I've used my new spare time to solve Soocus's Nineteenth Theorem, and sent several strong letters of protest to the Kazon government, for them taking our ship. It'll take a while for them to reach the Kazon, but hey. A defrocked Captain has time. Or are you here to deflower me now? Because I can tell you, Chakotay, you're a little late on that front."
She was talking about everything but what had happened.
"Naomi asked after you. She'd like to see you."
Now, Janeway's eyes grew wild.
"WHY? So I can clamp my hand over her mouth, waiting for that damned patrol to pass?! So I can cut off her air supply for so long, The Doctor has to spend hours reviving her?! Tell her I'm busy reenacting the Slaughter Of The Innocents. You want to play Silas or Caspian? Because I've got dibs on Kronos. I am still The Captain."
And when she fell silent again, Chakotay left. Paris was waiting outside the cabin-turned psychiatric brig.
"How is she?"
Chakotay shook his head.
"Tom, she just lost a battle she's been fighting for seven years. She is not good."
The Second Caretaker Entity was pumelling Voyager. The Alpha Quadrant now seemed a century, rather than two years, away. Then Harry Kim took note of a sensor reading.
"Captain Chakotay! While our shields were down, someone launched Delta Flyer straight at The Array---its Captain Janeway."
Chakotay was furious. While somewhat recovered, there was no way she was ready to do this.
"Sweet Spirits Above! Somebody get a tractor beam and corral that crazy cowgirl."
Aboard the Array, Kathryn cried out.
"Show yourself--and I mean in the human form you used last time. Or are you afraid of me?"
The little girl appeared.
"I'm not afraid of...."
Janeway slapped her hard, across the face.
"I could destroy you...."
"You could. Very easily. Just the way you almost destroyed Kes's mind. Turned her against us."
The entity's mortal form showed surprise.
"Having recently had my own mind destroyed, it was easy to figure. Now, listen up. Just like last time, you want revenge for The first Caretaker's death. Well, little girl--look in the mirror. Because it was loneliness, as much as anything else, that killed him. He died because you left him!"
The entity screamed in denial.
"He brought us out here, because of you. Every one of my crew who suffered or died did so because of you. Any good we've salvaged has been our own doing. All the bad we've done--and that has been done to us is all your fault!"
Not as resilient as mind-tortured Kes, the Caretaker began to discorporate. So Janeway twisted the knife.
"We've been stalked for technology. Stalked for body parts. Subjected to ridiculous laws we couldn't even know we were breaking. Watched as countless opportunities were squandered by greedy fools. We've seen the word 'backwater' redfined about a dozen dozen times. We've been casually experimented on--tortured--watched as we became criminals and torturers. Been kept away from those we loved--and those we lost. So you take your anger---and you turn it on that person who deserves it!"
Finally, the creature died, reverting to its pyramidal form. Janeway crushed that form to powder beneath her boot.
Sickened by her need for vengeance but elated at its release, Janeway hit her badge.
"Janeway to Voyager."
"Kathryn--are you all right?"
"Depends, Mister Chakotay. Do you detect any Kazon ships about? Because I'd like to make use of this Array."
On board, Chakotay smiled, recognizing a voice he hadn't heard for a long time.
"Captain--I think we better blow it up."
When that Array was done, and its tech stripped for study, Tuvok made an exciting announcement.
"We are within extreme sensor range of an M-Class planet. Readings now confirm--it is Bajor."
Janeway activated the ship's PA system.
"Attention, all Personnel : At 1638 Hours, we entered The Alpha Quadrant the same way we left it."
She breathed in.
"OUR JOURNEY IS OVER AND WE ARE HOME!!!!"
And all over the ship, duties were neglected, and personnel were nowhere near their posts. This dereliction of duty-- was forgiven easily.
Janeway saw Tom and Belanna board the Delta Flyer--never to return.
"Are you sure this is what you both want?"
"Chancellor Martok and Ambassador Worf both saw my mother captured by The Jem'Hadar. Then, my father up and surprises everyone by returning to look for her. There are still renegade Dominion cells out there, Captain. If one of them is holding my parents---I have to find out."
Paris hugged his mentor and rescuer, briefly.
"That's the funny thing about parents. Just when you think you're sure you know them, they up and surprise you by letting you know how much they love you. His decision to support this trip---I owe him a lot of ties."
Lieutanant Kim turned to his best friend of seven years.
"Tom--a handshake just isn't gonna do it."
If Tom felt a little awkward hugging Janeway, he seemed to have no such problems with Harry.
"Goodbye, Harry. Lord knows I never met a soul I could depend on more."
Harry looked at the searching newlyweds.
"Belanna--I see all of you, and I wonder why we were all in such a rush to get back. This ship--it was home. I guess--anyplace you live is home."
Later, his precious mobile emitter gobbled up by chronally nervous Starfleet techs, the EMH said his goodbyes.
"Doctor--a waste recycling ship?"
"Yes, Captain. I intend to show Starfleet that their decision to use The EMH Mark One for ---scrubbing--- was a stupid one. The only problem is--I'll be commanding a ship full of me."
Janeway smiled lightly.
"You poor thing. You're in for it."
"Yes. But I will have an advantage. In my eidetic memory will always be a gracious, dedicated Commander to inspire me. Ladies. Ge-hentlemen."
Over her open link, Janeway heard the Doctor's arrival. Several sets of familiar voices said a familiar phrase.
"Please state the nature....."
"Oh, SHUT UP!"
Harry checked on the woman whose name and life had changed forever, when the tetryon beam that brought them home destroyed her implants and nanoprobes.
"Annika? We have to leave, now. My parents are expecting us."
"It is kind of them to invite me to stay during my period of adjustment. Harry Kim-Harry, do you still find me attractive?"
He leaned down, next to the hoverchair she would need to use for several months.
"My track record with women aside, you are a knockout. But lets take things slow, okay? Really slow."
"But what if we are meant to be, somehow?"
"If its destiny--BIG if--then resistance is futile."
Tuvok drank in the moment, as his wife's fingers touched his.
"Husband--the last I saw you, you were first donning the garb of a Maquis."
"Wife--the last I saw you, you were a baiting delusion created by a mammoth telepathic omnivore."
"Husband--that you were pleased to see me would have been quite sufficient."
Neelix watched two people walk out of his life, one squealing with delight as she ran towards a Ktarian man she had only just met.
As the man silently mouthed 'Thank You', Neelix walked away. He saw his commanding officers and dear friends.
"Captain--Commander--are they really tearing Voyager apart?"
"They want to study every phenemenon we've ever encountered. Its the only way to do it--unfortunately."
Janeway tried to cheer things up.
"Neelix--Chakotay and I will be taking over a new ship, The USS Pershing. Its purpose is exploration, as always. But its crew will be made up of those Starfleet officers who were scarred in various ways by The Dominion War."
Chakotay smiled lightly.
"They don't yet trust me with my own ship. Old prejudices. But I have managed to get some former Maquis out of prison to help us out."
Neelix felt much like he had been reborn.
"Sounds like--you might just need a morale officer. After Voyager."
On The Bridge for the last time, Janeway turned to her First Officer.
"Before we leave--let me state something completely, and unequivocally, regarding your performance aboard this ship."
She kissed him long, and deep, and hard. They remained that way for ten minutes.
"Kathryn. On the front viewer. Look!"
"Well. Isn't that just like those two?"
Dumping a tiny portion of their fuel as they went, Tom and Belanna had used their flight path to write a message, as they left. It was one word that said it all.
Writer's Note - This was, of course, the FX version, with many, many explanatory scenes cut out. ;)