Alathea entered the hangar where her ship was. There was no one around. She took a few steps.


Silence was her only answer. Her lips stretched into a smile. She was finally alone. All the engineering staff was busy helping the generation ship they had encountered recently. It had captivated everyone on Voyager, especially the Captain. The solitude in the hangar offered a welcome reprieve, and Alathea was eager to delve into the mysteries of her ship with no prying eyes or curious minds around.

Alathea frowned at the whole situation with the generation ship. The captain had never established a clear contract with the ship, just started helping without asking for anything in return. Hopefully, they would get a good deal for their efforts, considering the limited resources Voyager had.

But the entire situation was now affording her some precious alone time. Finally. The solitude in the hangar was a rare respite, a chance to focus on her own ship without the backdrop of altruistic interstellar endeavors.

Since that meeting with the captain and the staff, someone was always looking over her shoulder. She was getting antsy. Harry, B’Elanna, Borg, or any of the nameless people in yellow uniforms supervised her constantly. Alathea learned that yellow marked engineering and security. How convenient. Either the police officer or engineer observed her. And it was up to her to guess who. The captain could send the security officer, who pretended to be an engineer, to spy on her. But now, they were finally out of there, and she could stop pretending that she knew nothing. The chance to unravel her ship’s secrets without prying eyes was a welcome relief.

Alathea rushed inside her ship. The first thing on her agenda was removing that automation box. She crawled below the command panel and snipped the wires coming out of the box, one by one. She took the box in her hands and sat on the floor.

“I’m out of your reach, you old crusted witch!”

She grinned at the box, put it gently on the floor of the ship. She grabbed a hammer and started bashing the box, bending its sides, cracking its shell. Alathea let all the frustration and humiliations she had with Bene Gesserit flow through her and into that box.

“That will not repair that box.”

“Ahh.” She jumped from her sitting position, ready to fight.

But there was just Tuvok over there, standing and staring at her.

“What do you want? You’re not an engineer.”

“I need your help with the interrogation of a stowaway we caught.”

“A stowaway?”

“One of Varro’s people.”

“That’s strange. I thought you guys said they were happy with their arrangements.” Alathea grinned, letting the sarcasm tinge her tone. She had to distract him from what he saw.

Tuvok just nodded at her and headed towards the cargo bay exit. She followed him. “Ah, the joys of interrogating stowaways. Nothing like a bit of surprise company to spice up our interstellar journey. Can’t blame them for being curious.” She chuckled, hoping her humor would divert Tuvok’s attention from the peculiar scene in her ship.

They entered the small room where an unremarkable man sat at the table across from Chakotay. The man glanced at them and then continued staring at the wall. Alathea moved into a position where she could read the man’s body and face and took a deep breath, letting the truth trance go over her. She nodded to Chakotay and Tuvok, who just stared at her. They spent a few moments just locking eyes.

Finally, Chakotay waved towards the man. “So? What are you waiting for? Ask him questions.”

Alathea blinked and focused on Chakotay. He didn’t know that truth-sayers didn’t ask questions.

“That’s not how this works. You ask questions. I serve just to detect if the man lies or not.”

“He refuses to answer any,” Tuvok said.

“Well, that’s inconvenient,” Alathea remarked. “Stubborn stowaways are the worst. How about we try the classic: ‘What’s your name, and what are you doing here?’ If he doesn’t answer, we’ll get creative.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve seen a few quite bloody interrogations.” She was still observing the man, who shifted uncomfortably, expecting pain.

“We don’t do that.” Chakotay frowned.

Alathea glanced at Chakotay. He was telling the truth. “Then how can you make them talk?” She crossed her arms, and added, “A good-bad cop routine, perhaps? Or maybe some soothing good cop tactics? I’m all ears for your impressive methods.” She shot a wry smile, trying to keep the atmosphere light.

“If they refuse, we cannot,” Tuvok said, “that’s why we brought you here to help us.”

She focused on Tuvok’s unemotional face. This man was very hard to read. His control was superb, almost like the Reverend Mother. Not a single micro-expression betrayed what was going on in him. She had to give them some information. But she couldn’t show the Voice in front of them. The Bene Gesserit’s sisters didn’t do that.

“Well, Tuvok, you’ve got quite the conundrum here,” Alathea mused. “The carrot-and-stick routine doesn’t seem to work, and I’m not about to pull out a bag of tricks. How about a change of strategy? Maybe we appeal to his sense of adventure? Or we could offer him a virtual tour of our ship’s eclectic collection of snacks. Sometimes, a well-fed captive is a more talkative one, or so I’ve heard.” She grinned, trying to inject a bit of levity into the serious situation.

“Can you be serious? This is a problem.”

Alathea nodded. “Can you leave me alone with him?”

“So that you can beat him?” Chakotay said.

“No. I will not touch him. Just tell me what you wish to know.”

“How did he get on the ship, and are there more stowaways?” Tuvok said.

“Give me your word that you will not touch him.”

“I will not touch him. I give you my word.”

“Perfect. I’ll try a different approach and see if we can unravel this mystery together. A chat among friends, if you will,” Alathea suggested, giving a small smile.

Chakotay nodded, and both men left the room, leaving her alone with the Varro man. Alathea waited until the door closed, then met the eyes of the grinning man.

“GET UP.” She started with a general Voice, adjusting the modulation to match the physique of a man.

The man clenched his muscles, trying to fight it, but got up quite fast. “I will not tell you anything!”

Alathea smiled, better than expected. This brief sentence is enough for her to target the Voice.


The man whimpered, and shook, all his muscles clenched. But he couldn’t resist the Voice. “I sneaked in during the night. You don’t have guards or security systems like ours. It was easy to hide in your maintenance corridors. I’m alone for now. Others were planning to join me.” He closed his mouth as soon as he could, whimpering.

“What are you doing to me?” he yelled.

Chakotay burst into the room, ready for aggression, only to have his eyes dart from the man to Alathea.

“He sneaked in during the night because we don’t have guards. He’s alone, but others are planning to join him,” she said with a smile.

“What others?”

“Leave, and I’ll ask him.”

“Don’t leave. She is torturing me!”

“I didn’t touch him.”

Tuvok passed by Chakotay and investigated the man using his scanner. “She kept her word. She didn’t touch him.”

Chakotay nodded and headed towards the exit. The Varro man jumped at him, grabbing his sleeve. “No. You cannot leave me. She is making me speak somehow. She is using something to make me speak! Her voice gets all weird, and I have to answer. That’s torture.”

Alathea closed her eyes. So much for keeping the Voice secret.

Chakotay stopped. “What’s he talking about?”

“Another skill I have as a Bene Gesserit. We have something called the Voice that can make people do what we ask.”

Chakotay looked between Alathea and the distressed Varro man. “Voice? Like a ventriloquist?”

Alathea raised an eyebrow. “Well, not quite. It’s more of a psychological thing. A vocal persuasion, you could say.”

Chakotay smirked.“Show me.”

She shifted her gaze from Chakotay to Tuvok, nonchalantly shrugged, and addressed the Varro man with the appropriate pitch. “EXPLAIN OTHERS.”

Despite his attempts to resist, the man clenched his muscles and gripped Chakotay’s arm so tightly that Chakotay winced. The Voice, however, proved effective. “There’s a group of us who disagree with the leader’s choice to avoid contact with other species and remain in secrecy. We seek to explore the space we’re in to connect with others. The leaders are persecuting us, so we can’t.” He released Chakotay’s arm and stood with fists clenched behind his back. “And you’re in league with them, all of you, wanting to kill us all.”

“No one will kill you,” Tuvok stated.

“Yes, you will. I know your kind…”

“SILENCE,” Alathea used the Voice again. “We don’t need his opinion, just facts. Do you wish to know the names of others?”

“No. That’s Varro’s internal issue. Not ours,” Chakotay said. “You’re free, well done.”

“Will he speak again?” Tuvok asked, pointing at the trembling, silent Varro man.

“Yes, the Voice is temporary. It will soon wear off.”

Chakotay chuckled. “You have an interesting set of skills, Alathea. Might come in handy in the Delta Quadrant.”

Tuvok nodded and moved out of her way. She left the room before the Varro man started speaking again. Yes, she made Tuvok forget her smashing the box, but now they know about the Voice. Not good. Who knows what kind of punishment she can expect?


But no one came to punish her. No one came to her quarters or hangar. It was like she was forgotten. A noise filled her quarters, a very grating, loud noise. The screens in her quarters started flashing a sign that read:

“Alert, condition red.”

The sign was appropriately red. She headed towards the bridge. Leisurely at first, but this infernal noise really got on her nerves, and she picked up the pace.

As soon as she waltzed onto the bridge, Alathea could spot the reason for all the cacophony. The generation ship was doing a stellar impersonation of a collapsing souffle, and Voyager was stuck in this cosmic kitchen nightmare. Alathea resisted the urge to say, “Well, isn’t this a fine mess you’ve gotten us into?”

She grabbed the rail behind the captain, her attempt at a knowing nod almost lost in the chaos. The generation ship was in a tight spot, and someone on the bridge suggested a plan that seemed less thought-out than a spaceship made of paper mâché. The crew knew it was a terrible idea.

Alathea narrowed her eyes at the captain, fully expecting a firm rejection of the suggested plan. However, to her disbelief, Captain Janeway gave the nod! What on Earth—or, well, in the galaxy's vastness—was wrong with that woman? It seemed she was ready to throw not just herself, but the entire ship into the cosmic blender. She marveled at the Voyager crew’s uncanny ability to find themselves in predicaments that even space-faring toddlers might avoid.

Holding onto the rail behind the captain for dear life as the ship jolted, Alathea couldn’t help but ponder whether the Voyager’s crew had secretly enrolled in a “How to Attract Catastrophes 101” course. To add a dash of irony, the crew, faced with impending doom, flirted with ideas that sounded more like galaxy-sized pranks than legitimate solutions. The sheer audacity of sacrificing not only herself but everyone on the ship to aid people she had never met left Alathea both baffled and slightly impressed.

In her mind, this captain was riding a wave of extraordinary luck. And, lo and behold, the plan worked! The generation ship disintegrated without causing further harm to Voyager or claiming any lives. Alathea couldn’t help but glance at the main screen, observing a few segments of the disintegrated ship nonchalantly floating around Voyager. Maybe luck had a soft spot for the audacious.

Alathea grinned, half-expecting the Captain to embark now on a scavenger hunt, collecting parts one by one to meticulously reassemble the once-monolithic generation ship. However, the Captain merely exchanged some curious words with the Varro and cut off communication.

“And now you’ll stop helping them?” Alathea inquired.

“What do you mean? We'll stick around for a bit, but they no longer have a dire need for help.”

Alathea waved her arm dismissively. “But all those rebellious parts, they need to be gathered up so they can piece the ship back together as it was.”

Captain tilted her head. “Why do you think so?”

Alathea stared at her. How could she not understand the inherent danger of rebellions? They often destroyed societies, and the leaders of rebellions frequently became the very tyrants they initially opposed. That’s why revolutions were called revolutions. But she refrained from voicing these thoughts. What was there to be said?

Instead, Alathea shrugged. “I was going by what would be normal in the Empire. You’re doing things differently.”

Captain smiled at her. “Seems like we have a lot to learn about each other.”


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