It felt like she was drifting in a fog, drifting in and out of consciousness, her eyes, correction, one eye finally focusing on her surroundings. She found herself in a cell onboard the highliner, one of those close to the hull, barely heated. Gingerly, she moved her limbs, assessing the damage. The moment the shuttle had landed inside the highliner, Duke’s men had seized her for interrogation.

No jump yet. There was no doubt in her mind; she was certain. It would not go unnoticed by her. She took a deep breath and readied herself for the unknown, waiting patiently. Slowly, she moved her limbs, battling through the pain. Even breathing hurt. They must have broken her ribs. Beli watched as they beat her, that same grin plastered on his face. Could the doctor be right? Could it be possible that he wouldn’t be so monstrous if he had been raised with true love and respect? The kind they had on Voyager.

She rolled onto her side; the pain shooting through her. But the pain seemed to be everywhere. Carefully, she took a breath and assessed her body. Yes, a broken rib, only one. The rest were mostly bruises, a cracked bone in her left forearm. Not too bad. She could still execute the plan. She could still reach that shuttle and detonate it inside the wormhole, just as Seven had shown her. Overloading the propulsion system.

There was only one engine working; the Empire had damaged the other one. But it would still function. It had to. It was ingrained in the history of the Empire — the mother of Leto III died from injuries sustained because of a collapsed passage. Well, Alathea would be the one to trigger that collapse.

And there it was, the familiar sensation of distortion, a blink of an eye where it felt like all her organs jumped in and out of her body. A jump. It was more pronounced now, with all her injuries. It was actually painful. She shouldn’t worry. Of course, she would notice it. Only the dead wouldn’t feel this. She smiled.

“Look, she’s looking forward to you,” a female voice said.

Alathea hadn’t heard them approaching. She glanced at them. Only two guards this time. And one was female. Good. She moved slowly, moaning.

“Wait, I’ll give you a reason to moan,” the male guard rumbled.

Alathea could see a bulge where his genitals were. Good, he wasn’t thinking clearly. The only problem would be the female guard.

She relaxed her muscles, preparing to fight, feeling adrenaline wash away her pain. Both guards came in, and the woman moved towards her head to grab her. Alathea allowed her to do so, using her own inertia to slam her face against her knees, flipping her over and throwing her on top of the male guard.

“Hey!” his cry was short.

Alathea jumped up and used the Vulcan nerve pinch on both of them. Then she stood still, listening for any signs that the guard’s cry had alerted others. In the distance, there was only laughter. She smiled and approached the female guard. Her face was bloody and swollen. The woman had the same color and texture of hair as Alathea. She could stand in for her. If she stayed quiet.

Alathea swiftly grabbed the woman’s head and, in one quick movement, twisted her neck, breaking it. She quickly stripped down to her underwear and put on the guard’s clothing. Carefully, she arranged the woman’s body by the door, facing away from it. Yes, her face was bashed in, but her head was larger than Alathea’s. Someone observant would easily notice that it wasn’t her.

She turned towards the male guard, who was still unconscious. Squatting down beside him, Alathea used a combination of the mind meld and Bene Gesserit techniques to read his mind, extracting all the information she needed. Starting with the guards’ names, Rah and Mar. They were stationed next to the wormhole entrance. Soldiers had received orders to prepare for battle against the Borg, who were attacking fiercely, attempting to reach the wormhole themselves. Had Seven already communicated directions to the Borg? The highliner had to enter the wormhole. Knowing Beli, he would likely leave all his soldiers here to fight, solely focused on ensuring his escape. He had his “baby” now, so who cared about anyone else?

Claxons sounded the alarm. It was time to report to battle stations.

“Hey, you two! Come on,” a voice bellowed from the distance.

Alathea cleared her throat and adjusted her voice to mimic the female guard as closely as possible. She had only heard one sentence from her, so it would be tricky.

“In a minute. Rah is almost done,” she replied, hoping her imitation was convincing.

“Rah, you son of a bitch, just hurry. We have to go,” the voice outside snapped impatiently.

“In a minute.”

“Damn you both. I’m not waiting. I’m going. You’ll be punished.”

Alathea heard the door slam shut in the distance. Good. She touched the guard’s face again, this time forcefully entering his mind and scrambling it. She did everything wrong with the mind meld, inducing madness. Killing him was out of the question; a corpse would raise suspicions. She dragged him out of the cell and locked it, peering inside. The corpse resembled her. Good. It would buy her a few days before it stank. The cells were cold enough to delay the process.

Rah had been kind enough to provide her with the full blueprint of the prison ship and several routes to the hangar. Alathea grinned and made her way towards the guardroom. When gathering to fight for her lord, Mar was expected to wear a helmet. Alathea put one on and began jogging towards the hangar area.

No one stopped her. Everyone assumed she had been sent with an urgent message. Why else would she be running? She reached the hangar without encountering any problems.



She concealed herself in the Voyager shuttle, keeping away from the cockpit windows and listening to the chatter of the soldiers as they prepared to fly out and engage the Borg. The Borg were pressing their attack hard, determined to reach the wormhole.

“This is your lord speaking,” Beli’s voice resonated through the small radio device she had gained with the guard's uniform. “We must prevent the Borg from entering the wormhole. Their objective is to reach the heart of the empire and aid the treacherous Duncan forces in enslaving humanity once more. We must fight for our freedom, ensuring that our children grow up in peace, liberated from the tyranny of machines.”

Alathea shook her head ruefully. The Empire had successfully wielded the specter of machines as a boogeyman for so long that it was a wonder no one had ever questioned it. Not even her. That is until she had the chance to meet the crew of the Voyager.

As the military chatter continued to fill the channel, the massive highliner deployed smaller fighters into the surrounding space, inching closer to the looming wormhole. Alathea knew that there would be no visible indication of the wormhole’s entrance, save for the loss of communication signals. She cautiously positioned herself on all fours, carefully peering out of the shuttle windows.

Alathea surveyed the empty hangar, noting only a few stray military flyers near the massive hangar door. Satisfied that she was alone, she crawled over to the computer console and activated it.

“Computer, scan the surrounding area for life forms,” she commanded.

“There are no life forms within a 500-meter radius,” the computer replied.

“Thank you,” Alathea acknowledged, before rising to her feet and settling into the pilot’s seat. Positioned directly in front of her shuttle was her little one-seater ship, which was the same vessel that she had used to arrive in this universe.

“Computer, do we have enough power to activate the tractor beam?” she inquired, her mind already planning.


With a smile spreading across her face, Alathea ignited the shuttle’s engines. Perhaps she could indeed survive this ordeal. Simultaneously, the chatter on the Empire military channel abruptly ceased as the highliner entered the wormhole. Alathea glanced towards the slowly closing hangar door just as Beli rushed to enter the wormhole, refusing to wait for the door to close. Lucky for her.

Grinning triumphantly, Alathea activated the shuttle’s engine, using the tractor beam to seize her old ship, and rushed towards the hangar door closing at the glacial speeds. She slipped out of the hangar with the room to spare. No alarms went off.

She exited into the wormhole. Alathea watched as the highliner moved further and further away, so slow that it seemed to stay in place. She had no clue how deep they were in the wormhole. The exit was not visible on either side.

As Alathea’s fingers hovered over the controls, doubt crept into her mind like an unwelcome intruder. The image of her unborn child flashed before her, filling her with a pang of uncertainty. What if this decision cost her baby’s life?

She cast a fleeting glance back at the retreating highliner, now disappearing faster than she had expected, tears blurring her vision. The weight of the decision bore down on her, yet the thought of subjecting her child to life under a monster like Beli fueled her determination.

With resolve hardening in her heart, she made her choice. With a steady hand, she continued the sequence Seven taught her and pressed execute.

“Warning, engine overload is imminent. Please evacuate.” The computer started repeating. 

Alathea released the tractor beam, watching with a mixture of relief and apprehension as her little one-seater ship tumbled away toward the Voyager’s universe entrance. With a sense of urgency, she sprinted to the transporter and activated it, bracing herself for the disorienting sensation of transport.

As the flashes of the transporter cleared, Alathea quickly surveyed her surroundings. She found herself back in her little one-seater ship, her hands instinctively moving to the cockpit controls. Activating the thrusters, she propelled the ship towards the Voyager’s universe entrance with determination in her heart.

She knew she had to rely solely on thrusters. Activating Holtzman's drive in a wormhole might whisk her to who knows which universe. Yet, there was only one universe she desired to reach, and she would do whatever it took to get there.

Alathea didn’t see the explosion; she only felt it—a sudden jolt of acceleration that rocked her little ship. With quick reflexes, she turned the scanners towards the rear, recording the event before the increasing G-forces threatened to overwhelm her senses.

As the forces intensified, darkness closed in around her, and Alathea succumbed to unconsciousness, her last conscious act ensuring that her ship’s sensors captured the crucial moment.


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