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                   Fire In The Sky
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      Page Eight

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Roy DeSoto looked up as Johnny Gage shed all his gear right next
to him. "Johnny? I heard. How are you doing?" he asked, working
swiftly over Old Roy to assess his other injuries.

"I'm weird. If I was smoke konked, why don't I have a headache?"
Gage asked. "Chet doesn't have one either."

"Don't question it, the fire g*ds were merciful." DeSoto joked.

"How's he doing?" Gage asked, watching the two other medics with
Roy, running in I.V.s and performing other critical care on Old Roy.

"Probably a compressed brain stem. His EKG's sliding downward
and his pressure's decompensating."

"Is he gonna code? An F?" Johnny asked.

"Yeah. That's why we're not moving him out." DeSoto said sadly.
"But... we're going to try everything anyway when it happens." he

"Anybody find out who he is yet?" Kelly asked, shedding his air
bottle with a clunk to await his turn for a vitals check. He was
sympathetic, trying to make out the crushed cheek bones that
made the man's features distorted and unrecognizable.

"Nope. He doesn't have any I.D. on him." Roy replied. "All we
know is that he came out of that fire, like a bat out of H*ll."

"He was alone." Gage replied. "Chet and I didn't find anybody
else in there." Then he crouched by Old Roy, and softly
took his hand. "Want me to help out?"

"Yeah." DeSoto nodded. "Let's give him that one chance to
live, all right?"

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Tom Paris was standing by Janeway and the full away team when he felt
a wet nudge against one of his legs. He looked down, and so did
the others on the away team. "Oh, Boot? What are you doing here, boy?
Don't your crewmates know you snuck in a ride yet?" he joked,
crouching down and rubbing the dog's head affectionately.

"Who's this sweet thing?" Janeway said, petting Boot vigorously as
only a dog lover could.

"That dog who wouldn't help." Tom replied ruefully.

But then, Boot opened his mouth and out dropped the doctor's
holoemitter onto the sidewalk. Paris scooped it up. "Well I'll be.
Thanks, Boot. It looks like you came through after all."

"Good boy." Chakotay crooned. Patting the dog's side loudly
with affectionate smacks.

Tuvok just raised an eyebrow.

Paris took Boot by the face and went nose to nose with him.
"See you around the cosmos sometime, kid. Now get back
to your crewmates." he said, holding the doctor's holoemitter tightly,
gratefully. "They probably need you."

Boot whined and licked Tom's face once. Then he trotted
off to go sit by Captain Stanley across the street, who welcomed
him with a pat or two of surprise.

Then Paris looked at Janeway. "At least we'll have opera to listen
to every night." he said, hefting up the doctor's program significantly.

Janeway smiled and the tiny group from Voyager huddled a little
closer together in bonding as they called their friend, the EMH,
back into existence.

"Please state the nature of---"
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BEEEPPPPPPP! went Old Roy's EKG monitor.

"V-fib!" Gage called out, double checking the man's
carotid and not feeling one. He started instant CPR
while his partner and the other paramedics geared up
to work what they knew was a final cardiac arrest.

Across the street, Janeway tensed. "They're going to use it."
she said, of the defibrillator, to Boothby. "We have to stop it.
They'll start another plasma fire!"

Boothby grabbed her arm. "There are too many watching. You
cannot change the action about to take place. They'll know
something's not right. Trust me."

Janeway turned to take in Boothby's eyes fully. She almost
understood something crucial, but then, it was gone.

"Clear!" shouted Gage as he placed the gelled paddles
over Old Roy's blackened chest. He thumbed the triggers.

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A burst of green plasma exploded out from the defibrillator paddles
and enveloped Gage, Young Roy and Old Roy, concealing them completely
in its searing energies in an instant, like a giant burning green body bag.

Time slowed, congealed, then stopped for everybody in the time

All except for the Voyager crew.

Chakotay began to walk forward, drawn by a force he didn't fight.
He left his captain's side and then knelt by the burning plasma fire.
He reached out a hand, and then, he was pulled inside of it.

"No! What's he doing? He'll be destroyed." Janeway shouted.

"It's his destiny.." Boothby told her, holding her arms to keep
her from running after her first officer.

Around them, time began to flow again. And when it did, the fire
at the museum, was gone. Only the telltale faint marks of a minor
roof fire remained with a single curl of white smoke.

The EMH lifted a medical tricorder and started scanning the green
globe. "They don't see it. None of them. They can't see the plasma

"I knew they wouldn't." said Boothby.
"Don't worry. They'll get out okay." Boothby told Janeway, Tuvok
and Tom with confidence.

"I'm still reading only one individual inside the plasma fire." the holodoc
reported urgently.

"Chakotay!" Janeway shouted, finally unable to resist

It got the attention of Captain Stanley. "Ma'am? Did you
say something?" he asked from across the street, startled.

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"Don't do anything. He's self correcting!" Boothby said in
her ear, his voice filled with surprised self discovery.

"What?" sputtered Kathryn.

Janeway looked around desperately, trying to believe.

"They are together. Chakotay, Johnny Gage, and both Roys,
I feel it in my bones, Kathryn." the caretaker said again, kindly,
touching her arm softly. "Don't react."

Kathryn waved off Hank. "Nothing Captain. Just a little excited."
she lied. "I've... never seen anything like this before."

Captain Stanley nodded in understanding and turned back to his
work of directing the scene for fire cleanup. For him, time had

"I don't understand." said the EMH, about the whole conversation.

Boothby grinned.
"Doctor, earlier you said it yourself. There were no signs of Johnny
Gage's blood transfusions in Chakotay. That's because they were already
one and the same in blood. Johnny is destined to be a part of Chakotay in
our time through the genes. They are already merged."

"His ancestor!" Janeway celebrated.

"Yep. And this is now Johnny Gage's home timeline. The real 1976." Boothby
told her, pointing to the intently focusing paramedic. "Everything will want to right
itself around him." he promised. "I've seen this kind of effect before,
around a man named James T. Kirk."

Janeway just gave Boothby a look about her most favorite historical

"Well it's true. I was there." the caretaker shrugged. "And Old Roy
apart from New Roy is a mistake that'll iron out. Mark my words. I've found
that the universe will always rebalance itself eventually."


Inside the green fire of limbo, Chakotay sat cross legged
in front of his prayer bundle with a hand resting lightly on his
meditation inducer. "Achoyeemoya... I am far from the land of my
forefathers.. I am far from the bones of my people.. give us, two
souls, the courage to face this joining so we may know how
to feel our best friend, once again in our hearts."

Johnny Gage, in a trance, sitting opposite to Chakotay, began
to shout. "Roy? Come back to me... I want you to start breathing
again. I want you to live!" he screamed. "But I can't reach you!"

The green plasma exploded, filling their world with lurid fire.

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It was two weeks ago, in 1976, real time.

"See that?" Boothby said, as Gage knelt by the younger, still unconscious
Roy that the female paramedic trainee, Karen Overstreet, had just saved
at the house fire with the defibrillator paddles.

"He's breathing on his own." said Karen to Johnny Gage.

The heartbeat on the monitor starting beating a little stronger
when Johnny touched his partner's chest softly while he listened to it with
a stethoscope. Gage sighed in relief at the sound of warm breath and
hung his head to hide his emotions.

"Yes." replied Kathryn.

Boothby smiled and swept out a significant hand for Janeway and her
crewmates who were watching the rescue, too. "Gage's the anchor here.
Like the old Roy was inside the museum. I see that clearly now. I don't
know how I've never noticed him before. He's a special.." he grinned.

"He is me." Chakotay told Boothby. "Maybe that had something to
do with it."

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"I don't usually work backwards, Commander. They like me to work forwards
most of the time." the caretaker scowled. "Oh, and another thing. This."
and he snapped his fingers.

Gently, unseen by the Station 51 crew or the witnesses to the house fire,
the escape pod touched softly down on the lawn near Station 51's fire

"Boothby. I thought the pod had to be destroyed. You let me go on
thinking that?" Janeway gasped, shocked and angry.

"That was your final test, Kathryn. To see if you would sacrifice
yourself and your crew, to save Earth." Boothby said, with no emotion.

"You have no right to--"

"I have every right. I'm under orders, same as you." Boothby smiled.
"Do you really think I stop testing my cadets after they've attained the
rank I see that's good for them, captain?" he added.

Janeway began to smile, hugely. "Then we were never really in
any danger. This whole time."

"Nope." said Boothby, stooping by a bush. He handed Janeway another
peach colored rose.

Janeway smacked him with her flower. Hard. Right across the shoulder.

"Voyager's fine, Kathryn. They're waiting for you on the other side
of Halley's wormhole." said the caretaker.
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"But--" she started to ask about shortening their long journey.

But Boothby just shook his head. "Go home to your ship. You'll get your
most fervent wish, Kathryn. You just have to work at it a little more."

Then he turned and gave them all a tiny little bow, tipping his straw hat
forward to get the sun out of his eyes. "Until we meet again,... Admiral."
Boothby joked. "No one died here. It was all just... an echo..o....o.....o."

The last impression the Voyager crew had of Boothby, was the sight of
the immense Nexus ribbon, descending rapidly, to sweep him away
from 1976 Earth.  

"Come on, people." Janeway said, when it was gone. Her eyes teared up
as she watched Roy DeSoto finally open his own eyes for the first time since
his accident, to see his beloved crewmates circled worriedly around him.
"Let's go home."

A minute later, the escape pod was rising into the afternoon sky under
stealth mode, heading for the burning comet that was a fire in the sky.

Almost out of sight, around the corner of Engine 51, someone was watching
their departure.

In the wind they left behind, Boot whined, a soft farewell.


Fire In The Sky

Janet Katz and Patti Keiper 2010.

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