Beli hurried toward the Captain, halting abruptly when he stood mere inches from her. “Is this what you call honor?” he spat, his voice dripping with accusation. “You’ve been deceiving me all along.”

Captain Janeway maintained her steady demeanor, unmoved by Beli’s aggressive closeness. “Well, it seems we’re both operating with a healthy dose of skepticism,” she commented, her tone measured. “Just so we’re clear, I’ve already instructed Voyager to depart the area as soon as your Highliner jumped. I understand your concerns but rest assured, my priority is the safety of my crew.”

Beli fixed his gaze upon her before stepping back, a derisive laugh escaping his lips. “It grieves me you doubt the integrity of a noble-born,” he remarked, his tone laced with sarcasm. “We are raised to embody honor. But I suppose in your world, such principles hold no sway. I’m curious how you treat your own nobility.”

“We have no aristocrats. We cut their heads off centuries ago.”

Beli narrowed his eyes at her. “Truly barbaric,” he muttered disdainfully.

Captain Janeway offered a nonchalant shrug in response. “Your thoughts on the matter are duly noted,” she replied coolly. “However, if obtaining the future emperor is your objective, then it’s in our best interest to finalize these negotiations.”

“What more is there to negotiate?” he exclaimed, spreading his hands dramatically.

“Let’s lay out the procedure,” Captain Janeway began, adopting a businesslike tone.


Captain Janeway’s smile was a blend of diplomacy and reassurance. “I appreciate your willingness to compromise,” she acknowledged. “You, your concubine, and two members of your crew will be welcomed aboard Voyager as our guests until the embryo is securely implanted and Voyager safely traverses the Alpha Quadrant.”

“That is utterly unacceptable,” Beli declared, his voice firm and unwavering.

Captain shrugged.

Beli’s fists clenched as he fixed a steely gaze on the captain. “That’s not negotiation; it’s blackmail,”

Captain Janeway’s demeanor shifted, her frustration simmering beneath the surface. “Let’s cut to the chase,” she declared, her tone tinged with irritation. “You accuse me of deceit, yet you fail to see the bigger picture. If you won’t honor our agreement willingly, then I’ll ensure you do so by any means necessary.”

“Because you will cut my head off if I do not behave.”

The Captain casually brushed off Beli’s remark, as though it were nothing more than a pesky insect buzzing around. Meanwhile, Beli recoiled, his confusion palpable as he struggled to comprehend the Captain’s nonchalant response. Alathea fought back a grin; it was like watching a cat trying to herd ducks. Clearly, Beli was out of his depth when faced with a Star Trek captain who refused to play by the Empire’s rulebook.

“Why would I even consider your presence aboard my vessel?”Beli spat out.

Captain Janeway’s voice held a steely edge as she countered, “Let’s be clear: I’m not about to let your trigger-happy soldiers wreak havoc, especially not after witnessing the aftermath of your encounters with Borg cubes.”

“Borg didn’t request departure clearance,” Beli retorted, his tone tinged with frustration.


He tilted his head, studying the captain intently. “Perhaps you ought to consult Alathea on the finer points of finesse,”

Captain Janeway offered a dismissive shrug. “Why?” she replied. “I have no intention of engaging in deceit or manipulation.”

“I harbor no intention of stepping foot aboard your vessel,” Beli asserted firmly, his tone resolute.

“Very well,” Captain Janeway responded coolly. “If that’s your decision, then so be it. The deal is off.”

“Is that all?” Beli countered, his voice laced with defiance. “If the deal is nullified, what’s to prevent me from ending you here and now?”

“Your ambition. There’s no denying you need me to secure your heir,” Captain Janeway stated calmly, her tone unruffled by the manipulative tactics.

“I could extract cells from her,” Beli gestured toward Alathea, “and create another ghola,” he proposed, his tone calculating.

Captain Janeway’s demeanor shifted subtly as she leaned forward, a knowing grin playing at the corners of her lips. “Ah, but that would upset the delicate balance of your timeline, wouldn’t it?” she remarked, her tone carrying a hint of triumph. “You see, I’m aware of certain details, thanks to the information that Mother Superior from our timeline graciously provided to Alathea’s ship. It’s been quite the enlightening read.”

“Then you understand that your entire planet will inevitably succumb to servitude under the dominion of machines,” Beli asserted, drawing closer to her with a sneer of contempt.

“Machines, Aristocrats, where’s the difference?”

Beli scrutinized her for a prolonged moment, a myriad of emotions—confusion, anger, and pity—flitting across his features. “You are a madwoman,” he finally declared, his voice filled with a mixture of disbelief and disdain.

Captain Janeway responded evenly, her tone unwavering. “It seems we’re both bound by circumstances beyond our control.”

“I’ll only set foot on your ship during the transition, and by then, the child had better be prepared,” Beli declared sternly, his tone leaving no room for negotiation.

“Agreed,” Captain Janeway replied, her tone firm. “The embryo will be formed upon our return to the ship, and implanted into women of our choosing during the transition.”

“My Lord, no embryo can endure such efforts,” Suk Doctor asserted with an air of certainty.

“We possess methods to sustain the embryo’s viability. I wouldn’t state it otherwise,” Captain Janeway declared, her gaze piercing as she locked eyes with the Suk Doctor.

“Fine. I concur,” Beli replied, his tone curt and final.

Captain Janeway rose from her seat with purpose. “Very well,” she announced. “Alathea and I will retrieve Voyager.”

“What? Both of you are departing? That was not part of the plan,” Beli exclaimed.

“It’s evident that our ships lack the propulsion to match Voyager’s speed,” Captain Janeway remarked, her tone patient as she explained the obvious situation to Beli. “It makes the most sense for Alathea and me to personally retrieve Voyager.”

Beli leaped to his feet. “This is unacceptable. How can I trust that you won’t deceive me?”

“I’m not you. So far, I haven’t been the one breaking every promise made,” Captain Janeway retorted, her patience wearing thin with the narcissistic accusations. “That’s been your track record, not mine. Stop projecting.”

“Stop what?”

Alathea cleared her throat and grinned. “What she means is, don’t assume she’ll behave as you do. That’s projection,”

Beli chuckled darkly. “I wish she’d react the same as me, but alas, she won’t. Cursed human, cursed woman, and to add insult to injury, utterly mad,” he muttered bitterly.

Captain Janeway tilted her head slightly, a hint of incredulity in her expression. “And yet, here we are,” she responded coolly. “Actions speak louder than words, and your actions thus far have not aligned with those virtues.”I will keep my word.”

“Your word holds no weight!” Beli retorted sharply

“That’s your problem.”

“Well, I find that unacceptable,” Beli replied curtly, his tone indicating his displeasure.


Beli fell silent, his gaze locked onto the captain. Menthat approached him and whispered something into his ear, their conversation stretching on for several moments.“Mentat and Suk Doctor will accompany you,” Beli declared.

Captain shrugged.

“You’ll need to allow them some time to make the necessary preparations,” Beli added.

Another shrug from Captain was the only answer. 

Beli pointed directly at Alathea. “And she will remain here,” he stated firmly, his gaze unwavering.

“No deal.”

“Remember, your life is in my hands!”

Alathea rolled her eyes, unable to contain her exasperation. “Can’t you see? She’s braver than you’ll ever be.”

Beli lunged toward her. “Silence! You... ghola,” he spat out the word with contempt, his anger barely contained.

“Your recent behavior serves as a prime example,” Captain Janeway remarked, gesturing toward Beli. “Given your actions, it’s clear that leaving Alathea behind is not an option. Your hospitality is lacking in many aspects.”

“I refuse to be left with nothing” Beli snarled, and before Alathea could react, he swiftly withdrew the knife from the decorative scabbard at his waist and seized her arm.

With a swift twist, Alathea utilized all her training from the Bene Desert, nearly breaking free from Beli’s grasp. However, before she could fully escape, Beli’s hand shifted from her arm to her hand, and with a swift, brutal motion, he severed one of her fingers.

Turning abruptly, he thrust the severed finger towards the Suk Doctor. “Take care of this,” he commanded coldly, his actions devoid of remorse.

In a swift and instinctive movement, the Captain lunged towards Alathea, tearing pieces of her own clothing to fashion makeshift bandages. With practiced efficiency, she assisted Alathea in wrapping them securely around the stump where her finger used to be, staunching the flow of blood as best she could.

“You truly are insane, aiding a ghola,” he said, a note of disbelief in his voice, almost on the verge of laughter.

Captain’s voice edged with anger, though she struggled to maintain her composure. “See, that’s another reason I can’t trust you,” she began, her tone clipped. “Your unnecessary cruelty towards those around you speaks volumes. And let me guess, it doesn’t silence those demons in your head, does it? The ones that whisper you’re inadequate and flawed. Each act of cruelty only proves them right, doesn’t it? That there’s something wrong with you, and that’s why you’re an albino.” Her words were laced with controlled fury, a deliberate effort to contain her anger despite the provocation.

Beli lunged toward the captain, brandishing the knife in a threatening stance.

“Sire, please, both of them are crucial for establishing the empire,” both Suk Doctor and Menthat interjected almost simultaneously.

“Disregard her provocation,” Menthat urged. “She’s attempting to provoke a reaction to prevent the establishment of the Empire.”

Beli trembled for a moment, then straightened up, offering a smile to the captain. Slowly, he sheathed his knife. “My advisors and I need to confer. You’ll remain here until we conclude, and then you may depart.”

With that, he turned on his heel and stormed out of the room, closely followed by Menthat.

Suk Doctor tossed something towards them. “It’s a coagulant. It will help stop the bleeding. I need her alive for the time being.”


Popular posts from this blog


First Contact

The Map