Alathea's admission

Alathea found herself at the window facing the planet. In this orbit, the view was a bit hazy; the planet appearing blurred. As the Voyager engaged the warp drive, the planet vanished from sight. Alathea nodded to herself and headed towards the Captain’s ready room.

She knew that after this ordeal, the Captain would retreat to her ready room to sift through the data collected from this enigmatic planet entangled in different times. Reflecting on the events she had witnessed, Alathea realized that a majority of the Voyager’s adventures had resulted in positive experiences, a good deed leading to another in return. Perhaps there was something to that Starfleet philosophy after all.

“Alathea! What can I do for you?” Captain interrupted Alathea’s thoughts.

She smiled at the captain and took a seat on the sectional without an invitation. “Do we always get the responses we’re expecting?”

“What do you mean?” Captain inquired.

“Since I’ve been on Voyager, you approach everyone as if they are good and honorable, and most of the time, they behave that way. In all my lives in the Empire, I never saw that. Everyone there was a treacherous, selfish bastard.”

Captain laughed. “So, what’s your theory?”

“I don’t know. I’m telling you, in the Empire, someone like you would end up being used up, an empty shell tossed to the side of the road. And no one would think poorly of those who did that to you; it would be expected. But you...” Alathea gestured toward the Captain. “...somehow, you manage to make other creatures, beings who have never met you before, treat you exactly as you think of them—as a good person. So what’s going on? I know there’s no magic, but somehow, you manage to invoke goodness in others?”

Captain nodded, “It does seem like magic, doesn’t it?” She smiled and set down the pad she was holding. “Did the Empire ever study Game Theory?”

“What’s that?” Alathea asked.

“Ah, it’s the study of what intelligent creatures would do in different circumstances. It started by analyzing various games, hence the name. You know, who would make what move in a game and what moves are the best overall for the best outcome.”

“No, I never heard about such a study in the Empire. And it sounds silly, like a waste of time—studying games.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” Captain laughed. “But it’s not silly. According to Game Theory, the best course of action is to start with the initial generous move. Those are then often reciprocated with similar generous moves.”

“But not always,” Alathea added.

“No, not always. The Vadwaurs are the latest example of a non-reciprocal move.”

“So, what do you do then? I mean, I know what you did with the Vadwaurs, but I’d like to know what your Game Theory says you should do.”

“Punish them with tit for tat,” Captain replied.

Alathea blinked. “Really? But then tit for tat will just continue.”

“Yes, until you make a generous move again.”

“And is that applicable only to humans?”

“No, it was applicable to any intelligence. Most of the early models were done with rudimentary AI.”

Alathea stared at the floor in front of her. “And the Empire never tried to investigate something like that. We studied how to manipulate humans, but nothing about other kinds of intelligence.”

“That always interested me. How come you guys never met other aliens? The universe is full of them.”

“We met the Borg.”

“But they’re the only ones. How did you avoid others?”

“I honestly do not know. But I do know now that it would not be good for Voyager to bump into the Empire,” Alathea admitted, lifting her head to meet the Captain’s eyes. “Maybe it’s for the best that I cannot fix my ship.”

She was aware that this revelation left her vulnerable to the captain. The original agreement was that she would assist the Captain until she fixed her ship. But she had to admit, sooner or later, that she couldn’t fix it.

“Is that what you came here to tell me?” Captain asked.

Alathea shrugged.

“I know that you’ve been struggling with repairs and running in circles for months now. It wasn’t hard to conclude. I don’t mind if you stay on the ship as long as you wish,” Captain reassured her.

Alathea relaxed, surprised at the tension in her muscles. “Thank you.”

“But Seven did make some progress with your ship. You should go and check what she’s doing in holodeck 1.”

Alathea stared at the Captain. “Yes, she was coming and asking me about the engine and said she is making a simulation.”

“She made great progress. Go and check.”


“Observe,” Seven said and flipped the switch in Alathea’s ship. A familiar hum started, and Alathea inspected the control panel. All the correct lights lit up.

“I couldn’t simulate the effect of the Holtzman drive because I have no idea what happens. But all engine parts are working, including the one that burned out.”

“But that’s just a simulated part,” Alathea pointed out.

“Yes, it is. That part is regulating the flow of energy, something like an emergency switch-off. If too much energy passes through, it burns out and, in turn, protects the rest of the engine.”

“But I can’t put a simulated part in the engine,” Alathea remarked.

“I will create the correct part once we establish how much power is supposed to pass through the engine. We should run a series of simulations here and see what energy levels are safe for the engine.”

“And how do you do that?” Alathea asked.

“By running simulations repeatedly.”

Alathea nodded and looked around. They were in the holodeck, in the simulation of her ship that Seven had created. She touched the wall. It seemed real.

“How come this is so real?”

“You’ve used the holodeck before for exercises. It’s the same principle,” Seven explained.

“But I didn’t realize that it can be used for repairs and testing. I thought it was mostly used for exercises and sex.”

“Yes, unfortunately, that’s what most crew members use it for. But it can be used for practical stuff like we’re doing now.”

Alathea looked at Seven. “I didn’t peg you as a prude.”

“What do you mean?”

“Didn’t you use it for sex?”

Seven blushed. “Of course not.”

“Remember, you’re talking to the truth-sayer.”

Seven turned her head, focusing on the ship’s floor. “Yes,” her answer was barely audible.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. That’s private, and you were just satisfying a natural need. All of us have it,” Alathea grinned, enjoying Seven’s discomfort.

Seven was helping her, and she was being unfair to her. Alathea stared at her and changed the topic. “This is excellent work, Seven. Thank you.”

“Yes. Your ship will be soon fixed, and you will be free to go.”

“Yes, I will be free to go,” Alathea repeated, fighting a sudden pang in her chest. Part of her didn’t wish to leave. She was starting to like this crew and their acceptance of oddities and different people. No one judged her here, no one treated her as less than.


Popular posts from this blog


First Contact

The Map