The captain summoned Alathea, who found herself reluctantly stationed near the med bay doors. She stood just far enough to outwit their automatic opening mechanism. Saving the captain and keeping her word had its perks, but Alathea couldn’t shake the feeling that she had inadvertently joined the “Borg Disobedience Club,” a not-so-exclusive group.

Summoning her courage, Alathea approached the med bay doors, which surrendered to her presence. Captain Janeway lay on the farthest bed, a medley of Borg components being delicately extracted by the doctor. Chakotay, the dutiful sidekick, stood by her side, ready for whatever absurdity the universe had cooked up this time.

“Chakotay told me you contacted the Empire,” the captain stated, raising a curious eyebrow.

Alathea nodded. “Yes.”

“Did you find anything we could use as payment for the Empire’s services?”

“Oh, absolutely. I’ve got a couple of goodies up my sleeve. First, we could offer the innovative technology of my dinky little ship as payment. It’s from the future, after all. Second, we can sweeten the deal by throwing in the Vulcan method for dealing with mind melds gone haywire. The Bene Gesserit will be over the moon with these new techniques.”

The captain seemed satisfied. “That seems plenty.”

“It would be plenty if we dealt with an honorable person.”

The captain raised an eyebrow. “What are the chances of that?”

Alathea shrugged, a mischievous glint in her eye. “Well, in the galaxy's vastness, I’d say the odds are about as good as finding a Klingon poet.”

Captain chuckled, and Chakotay flashed a grin.

“Based on military tactics used by the legendary fighter Beli, the whitewashed ones I learned from history, he is a monster.” Alathea continued.

“Is there a way to avoid him?”

“Maybe. Icheb and Borg know Bene Gesserit's robes. The Borg even called me a witch.”

“True. But why would they call you a witch?” Chakotay asked.

Alathea shrugged. “It’s something that people in the Empire do. They don’t like our abilities. But the main point is that Borg saw the Bene Gesserit. Meaning there might be a Bene Gesserit sister with Beli.”

“I see that. Bene Gesserit is manipulating them.” Captain nodded.

“Anyway, there is a Bene Gesserit with Beli, probably the one who will deliver the son – a baby destined to become the new emperor. If we get to her, we might strike an honest deal. But there’s not much info about her in history, except that she died in childbirth. And that’s very peculiar information.”

“Why would that be strange?” the captain inquired.

“Bene Gesserit can control every muscle in their body. I can do that too. There’s no way I would kick the bucket during delivery.”

“But that Bene Gesserit did,” the captain noted with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, which makes me believe that there wasn’t any real Bene Gesserit. Just a woman pretending to be one,” Alathea suggested, glancing toward the isolation bed. “A lie like that would match other information I have about Beli. The Borg might have obtained information about Bene Gesserit from people they assimilated from the Empire.”

“We need to make sure that you do not die,” the captain asserted.

Alathea locked eyes with the captain. “We need to make sure that Beli doesn’t take Voyager as a war trophy or endanger Earth. I’m not that important.”

“You are; don’t sell yourself short,” the captain insisted.

The doctor suddenly appeared, interrupting the conversation. “You are tiring her. You have to leave.”

Alathea didn’t waste a moment. She nodded and practically sprinted outside. Keeping her word and helping the captain and Voyager was her priority. Her significance seemed inconsequential.

The door opened and closed swiftly, shutting behind her before she reached the end of the corridor.

“Wait!” Chakotay’s voice echoed after her.

She stopped and watched as he caught up with her. “I need explanations.”

“I know,” Alathea replied, bracing herself for the questions to come.

“Well, start,” Chakotay demanded, crossing his arms.

Alathea stared at the corridor floor, preparing herself for the inevitable explanation. After all, she had set this chain of events in motion with her manipulations. But it was necessary, especially when faced with Chakotay’s questionable decisions.

“When I first came on board, I was dismissive of you and your society. Mostly because I knew what would happen to you in ten thousand years.”

“And that would be?” Chakotay asked, curiosity etched on his face.

They halted in front of the turbo lift. Alathea focused on his expression, preparing for his reaction to the unvarnished truth. “I was created in my society to free humans on Terra from enslavement by the machine. The machine had them, will have them, all connected to some kind of virtual reality, while the machine used their bodies for long-term memory storage. It’s quite sad, really. The head of my order orchestrated the entire project as a present to the Emperor.”

“Did you do it?” Chakotay asked, his eyes narrowing with suspicion.

“Of course. All those genetic manipulations that the doctor noticed on me were the result of careful planning of a ghola capable of performing the task. That ghola is me. Bene Gesserit rarely leaves things to chance. Everything is planned, and there are plans within plans. As a rather scary illustration, the database of my ship contains a detailed description of the message I sent to the Empire and our situation here. Although the description states that I am being held prisoner.”

“You are not a prisoner,” Chakotay pointed out.

“No, I’m not,” Alathea admitted with a smirk. “But it illustrates nicely what Imperial historians think about you. That’s another problem we will have to contend with.”

Chakotay frowned. “So what happened with Terra? Did you do it? Did you free them?”

“I made machine slavery stop. But I have to tell you, in the time I lived in, there was no Borg anymore. Borg was destroyed around ten thousand years before my birth.”

“Why are you mentioning Borg?”

“Empire hates cyborgs and computers. It sees them as pure damnation. You use both. You have a former Borg on your ship. We are playing with fire here.”

“Yes, Katharine told me as much. It’s not the first time. We’ll be fine.”

“Maybe,” Alathea conceded with a thoughtful expression.

“Tell me, how is it possible that your Mother Superior knows what kind of message you sent? Records are never that perfect, especially after thousands of years of distortions. How would she know?”

“In the Empire, we have a substance called Melange that, in the Bene Gesserit, awakens genetic memories. This means a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother remembers everything her female ancestors went through. It’s possible that Mother Superior had an ancestor who lived in this time, and that we will meet that ancestor. Perhaps the very woman who pretends to be a Bene Gesserit.”

“Do you have those memories?”

“No. I’m a ghola.”

“What does that really mean? You never explained.”

Alathea squinted at him. She had explained this before, and he was in the room. What was his deal? “I’m cloned from the cells of a dead person. I remember my original life and instances of me being a ghola before this one. But that’s it.”

“And clones get killed in the Empire.”

“Yes. At least, they will be in eight thousand years. Right now, they are not killed.”

“So when the Empire comes here, you will not be killed. But Captain was talking about your death.”

“Yes. Records show that I got killed on the highliner during the transport through the wormhole back to the Empire. The way the text explained it seemed like the wormhole would collapse and damage the Highliner.”

“So, you are part of some plan. Are those plans within the plans you were mentioning in the med bay?” Chakotay asked.

“Yes. I cannot escape the manipulation of the Mother Superior, even now, even here.”

“We will do our best to protect you.”

Alathea laughed. “Chakotay, even people you will meet now, the people who are ten thousand years behind me in evolution are still more advanced than any of your crew members. I will have to protect you.”

“Then, we should both work on helping each other,” Chakotay suggested.

Alathea blinked rapidly, trying to chase away tears from her eyes. She knew she would do her best to help these people. They deserve it.


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