Image of aniall4shipsscreen.gif Image of anikirktribblefromabove.gif
Image of anitinylcarsgrid.gif

Image of spla3a3a.gif Image of twinkle.gif
Image of twinkle.gif Image of spla3a3a.gif

Image of aniscottyjeffriestube.gif

Image of computertextscroll.gif
        Page Two
Image of computertextscroll.gif

Image of anicavalrybattle.gif
Image of aninextgenshipfire.gif


The air crackled in blue sunlit chill off the gleaming hull of
the Batai. Three sienna parkas milled around just outside her exit
hatch. Geordi grinned, blowing out a steamy breath in sheer
pleasure. ::This winter world is comparatively mild.:: he thought
, checking his scanning tricorder held in one thickly gloved hand.
::Only minus three degrees C. Not even cold enough for envirosuits.::
The erstwhile navigator gave an affectionate pat to the little ship's
side, "And I thought I couldn't do it. It's not every day I get to
pilot a shuttle fully blind."  

Dr. Crusher, too, was studying her tricorder for lifesign
readings in the immediate area. She was
sardonic, "We're here." then, under her breath, "..minus some
paint." Louder she encouraged both Geordi and the new captain with
them, "Luckily, the rendevous ship will come looking for us." She
shifted her line of sight and aimed her scanner at Geordi's
position, "How's the signal now?" she asked.

"Gone at the moment. It's been quiet ever since we landed." He read
an indicator, "No signs of higher life other than isolated pockets
of greenery for three kilometers around."

Captain Janeway leaned on the shuttle, testing the depth of the
snow about her feet. It felt deliciously familiar.:: It's like,...Indiana
in January.:: Then she thought for a moment, surprised,
"Photosynthesizing plants? Here?  I thought Endicor III was
sub alpine all year round."

"It is." Geordi crouched over an ice dome full of delicate mossy
fronds. "But they're here now." He sighed, and stood once more,
"Invitation sent. Invitation answered." His comment sounded
small in the surrounding stillness. "Now, only if
we knew where the party was."

"We'll wait." decided Janeway. "I have a feeling we aren't alone
here. Put out a hail over the universal translator." Kathryn
studied the horizon and the frozen waist high fossils of trees
jutting from the glacial ice, "Maybe we'll ring the doorbell."

Dr. Crusher spoke from the ground, "Captain." she said
thoughtfully, "I'd like to get a plant sample for analysis." She
pointed to Geordi's entombed snow ferns, "These weren't here
during the last topological surveys. Further analysis might
reveal some clues we aren't aware of yet."

"Do it." Janeway nodded, "I'll get the doctor to help you." Kathryn
pulled out the augmented datapad from her field pack and toggled
its main switch. The holographic EMH shimmered into view with one
hand grasping empty air like the phaser it once held,"...shut me
down like a...Captain!  You're better!...At least, I hope so."
He cleared his throat. But that failed to hide the anger in his
voice, "These two hooligans tried to hold me prisoner behind a
forcefield that--"

"I'm well aware of what transpired, doctor. Thank you. But let me
get you up to date. We're back in the Alpha Quadrant. That's
definite now.  But the ship is...." her face twisted in painful
memory, "missing... " She took a breath, "These two hooligans, as
you so call them, went through a lot of trouble to save my life and
your holoprogram." and then she smiled.

The hologram waxed sheepish. He put down the hand that no longer
contained a fully charged weapon, "Oh. In that case." He turned
to the wary two watching him, "Thank you for rescuing myself and
Captain Janeway. Its seems to me that your treatment of the
captain's injuries appear to have been adequate."

Beverly snorted, "Adequate?  ADEQUATE?! After fifteen years of
medical practice..Captain, " she waved a hand at Janeway, "I
mean no disrespect, but do we really have to listen to this
this...this--" She pointed at the doctor.

"Tactless, overbearing overstimulated pile of isolinear chips?
I'm afraid so." interceded Kathryn. "His lab skills are beyond
reproach. Don't worry. He'll grow on you." She chuckled.
"Doctor, see what you can do to help Dr. Crusher here get a few
samples of those icebound plants over there. They seem to have
made a miraculous appearance since the last planetary sweep of
this sector."

The hologram sputtered for a few seconds then was distracted
when Geordi began studying his holomatrix with his visored
vision, "Amazing.. So he's an Alpha One series, huh.. and
still in medicinal practice."

Geordi paced away planning their search route.

The EMH leaned into Janeway, "Wh..what did he mean by that?"

The captain shrugged, and pointed downward with a finger over
the tricorder she was using to measure the primary's blue
light intensity scale.

He bent to work, rolling his eyes.

Kathryn nodded her approval of him, "Sorry doctor, but I
am just as much in the dark here as you are about all of
this, and LaForge and the doctor are too, apparently. Try
to be patient for a little while, huh? Some answers are
bound to materialize very soon. They always do."
She set a glove on the doctor's shoulder and gave it a
squeeze. The EMH returned a half smile.

Then Janeway turned to Geordi, "Mr. LaForge."

"Yes, maam." he answered crisply.

His reply was a shock to Kathryn. That acknowledgement had
sounded just like Tom Paris's. His presence whispered in her
mind. She suddenly felt the loss of her crew acutely.

Kathryn missed Chakotay's quiet strength and Tuvok's calm
guidance. The new urge she had felt growing inside of her
to see Earth and the people she knew there, was sullied of
any joy. ::They could all be dead right now.::she
reasoned, ::And here I am still very much alive.. What cosmic
irony, a ship's captain, sole survivor.::
She swallowed the tight knot in her throat. ::Before I know
any rest or comfort. I will know the final fate of my ship's
family..I owe them that answer at the very least.::

Straightening, she shook off her melancholy, "Run a complete
surface scan of the area on shuttle's sensors. Even if we
can't find that distress signal itself, the equipment it
was generated from might be detectable now. It's not as if the
surface ground's a mecca for metal ores." She sealed her
tricorder and pocketed it.

"I'll get right on it." The engineer disappeared inside
the Batai.


Four cups of coffee later, elbow deep in lab apparatus, Janeway
and the two doctors had made some progress. Several of the
Endicoriian plants were lined up in test tubes to thaw. The
hologram's critical eye was magnified through on tube's solute
as he peered closely at the bits of green showing through
the ice, "It's cellulitic DNA shows signs of bilitrium

Captain Janeway strained free a memory, "Similar to those
tropical plants on Argyle Major, I assume."

The doctor raised his eyebrows, "Excellent recall, Captain.
That's exactly right. Although how an Amazonian species type
is viable on this world remains a mystery. Now, all that
remains is spectral bioanalysis."

Dr. Crusher looked up from her computer screen, "We'll have
those results in a few minutes."

Janeway crossed her arms together. She was pleased, "Good
work, doctors. Now if only--"

A triumphant hoot kissed their ears from the sensor station.
Janeway and Crusher were amused as they joined Geordi at
his side. His shout had confused the hologram, "Are you
all right, lieutenant commander?" he asked.

Geordi spun around in his chair, "Never better, doc!" he
chuckled eagerly, "I got something!"

Dr. Crusher leaned in closer, studying his data, "You've
found the signal's source?"

"Not..exactly." the engineer answered, "I've been tracking
areas of land showing significant temperature elevations.
Look here." He pointed to a bright red cluster
on the softer blues and purples of the LCARS display.
"New pockets of botanical life seem to be forming in
a linear pattern half a kilometer from here." he concluded.

Janeway wanted to know more but she didn't want to dampen
the young man's enthusiasm one bit. He was much like Harry
Kim in that respect, "Huh. No chance of thermal vents
freeing them with volcanic activity?"

"None. Volcanic activity is nonexistent on Endicor. No
riparian hot springs to speak of." Geordi replied.
"The fact that there are lower plant forms here now
is impossible.."

Kathryn considered the possibilities,"Geologic
formations warmed by the sun or mechanized heat signatures?"

"Neither." noted Dr. Crusher suddenly, she let out the
breath she was holding. "These are footprints. I'm sure
of it. I've seen these kinds of traces before on a polar
rescue mission. We tracked survivors through their body
heat trails left behind in the snow."

Captain Janeway wanted conformation of that theory, fast.
"Scan those coordinates. Life signs?"  She suppressed an
irrational hope that they had somehow found surviving
Voyager crew members out there.

"I can't tell anything. Look." Geordi pointed to a new
flare on the monitor, "These are new changes. Ambient
ground temperature just rose fifty degrees C."

The hologram doctor scoffed, "That's impossible! It would
take weeks for that to happen. And only then, in a growing
season. Which, I might add, has never occurred on this
planet before. Well, except for the few seasons which
grew this dead forest."

Captain Janeway held up a hand, "Doctor, I appreciate
your insightful commentary but debating the issue here
isn't the answer. We have to just find another way to  
find out the truth and we're going to work at it until
we get it, is that clear?"

"Very." the doc replied.

"But..." Janeway held up an index finger, "If you have
any theories regarding this phenomena.."

The hologram drew up tall, "I have none for the moment.
But, captain, I assure you that I cannot fail to have
this crew's best interests at heart. Even if I have to
stew vegetables with the best of them." He held up a
tube of heated samples with a pair of thongs.

Janeway bit her lip, trying to keep a straight face.
"Fine.. so... we have to get over there somehow,
discreetly. I don't want much of a disturbance
until we see just what we're dealing with. There just
may be an alien race that cannot be picked up on our bio
scans. And there's no definite machinery
that leaves a possible prewarp civilization. Taking the
shuttle's out." She rubbed her face, "Other options?"

Geordi shrugged, "I can rig the site to site transporters
to trace where the newest heat sources are forming.. We
can beam under cover to that spot by using portable
pattern enhancers. The computer could coordinate..."

Captain Janeway had already found her phaser and her
parka, "Let's go everyone."

The hologram made for the transporter pad but Janeway
stopped him, "I'm sorry doctor. Only room enough for
three. I'd like you to stay here and finish the

The doctor rolled his eyes, "Of course." he sighed,
"Leave all the dirty work for the hologram. He won't
mind. He's not real." he stabbed a computer control
oblivious to Crusher's wincing at his very real appearing
simulation of hurt feelings, "I'm picking up a low
grade anti-lepton field emanating from the bedrock
at the beam in site. It might further interfere with
your tricorder scans."

Geordi angled his head, "All the better we get in
closer for a look see." He said, tapping his visor
with emphasis. He began handing out the metallic arm
bands necessary for the coming transport, "Doc." he
called out.

"Hmm?" the EMH replied.

Geordi pointed ceilingward, "Try to get along with
the computer, huh? I'm putting it on surveillance
mode. Computer, full alert status."

Captain Janeway completed her prechecks of their pack
equipment, "Ready?"

Dr. Crusher hugged her medkit, "Ready..." She just wanted
to get on with things. Not knowing a situation didn't sit
well with her at all.

Geordi noticed a questioning glance from Janeway, "We'll
be back in twenty five minutes. I've rigged the computer
to pull us home automatically." he volunteered.

Janeway nodded in satisfaction, "Energize." she ordered.
The three officers sparkled into golden pillars of light
and transferred out of the tiny shuttle's cabin.

Alone, the hologram doctor eyed the room nervously,
"Computer.." he addressed it. It warbled in reply
and he stated, "This is the emergency medical
holographic program speaking." He swallowed, "Let's
set a few ground rules, shall we? Never, I repeat,
never activate a containment field so close around
my holomatrix again. I don't think my hairline
will ever be the same again." He put a hand to his
head, measuring, "It feels like it's receded by a full
three centimeters."

The computer emitted a single dry bleep at him without
saying a word.


The woods by the frozen plain were stark. But they echoed
a pure energy song. Three spots of burnt orange resolved
themselves from the air and began to move.

"Bingo! Footprints!" Geordi visor saw them clearly outlined
in the blue star's sapphire daylight, "And they're headed
off that way!" He pointed into the thicker trees.

"Let's follow them." Janeway gestured.

Dr. Crusher was halted by an insistent bioflag on her
scanner. "Captain! Geordi! Over here." She was crouched
over smatterings of red on a knee high rock face. The
substance appeared to have been recently frozen. "I'm
reading alien DNA. This is blood. It's only been
oxygenated for a few minutes."

Geordi and Janeway drew their phasers. They all
stood, in a protective circle, searching the woods
with their eyes. Dr. Crusher intently passed her
tricorder round them completely, checking the
landscape thoroughly, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing.."
she said.


Geordi was frank, " I wish I had some clues here. Is
this an innocent accident or was someone wounded in an
attack?" he said, gesturing to the blood on the stone.
His frustration was apparent.

"Easy Mr.LaForge." Janeway cautioned him, "Sooner or
later, we'll find out. Let's just plan on a course of
action and go from there." She turned and headed for
the footprints, "Forget about these," she said,
brandishing her phaser, "If we are being watched, I
don't want to appear hostile. Enable the universal
translator on your combadges. We'll try to reach
someone that way."  Kathryn tapped hers twice while
she walked, "Whoever it is who's bleeding can't be
far away. There's a lot of it on that rockface."

Dr. Crusher called out once her insignia was set to
passive translate like Janeway's. She called out,
"Is anybody here?  We know you're hurt. We came to
help you!"

But there was no reply from the trees.

They kept  moving along the broken, irregular
line of steps in the snow, shouting as they went.

Janeway joined in with Crusher, "We need to find
where you are. Shout if you can hear us!"

Her echo died away in the chill brightness. But
the shuttle group was no longer alone; the lavender
eyes of the special child regarded the away team in
fear. Ariel was hiding under a thick clump of
trees. ::Oh no! The strangers have found the
Guardian's trail.::  She knew she had to get
around them undetected in order to give her teacher
the energy she had found to make him well again.
She carefully prevented the sunlight from glinting
off the pyramid she clutched even tighter at
the sight of the humans. She sank lower into the
snow. Her fanning hair made her almost invisible
against the frost.

The searchers stopped only a few meters away from
Ariel's niche. The tiny unicorn girl was amazed she
could understand the speakings coming from their

"Is the universal translator working?" Dr. Crusher
frowned to Geordi.

He tapped his tricorder and then his badge, "Clear as
a bell." Then he checked the chronometer on his wrist.
"We've got twenty minutes left this sweep before the
autobeam back."  Then he let out an exasperated sigh,
"And still no detectable life sign readings."

Janeway didn't look up from the path they were
following. "We're just going to have to reset the
transporter pad timer and come back when time runs
out, that's all." she said moving on.

Ariel froze stock still when the captain's foot nearly
stepped on her. But her mind and body blending was
firm. She was not detected.  She watched the three
move away at a near run, pointing their devices
along the scarlet line of the Guardian's heart
fluid dotting along the way.

Image of anidatalaughinglong.gif
Click Data for a music change. :)
Music takes a few minutes to download.


The away team had gone nearly to the bottom of the valley
when Geordi doubled over, clutching his head. Steam was rising
into the cold from his sweaty features and he groaned, "Ugh!
Damn!" He nearly fell. Reflexively, Crusher and the captain
caught him.

Beverly asked, "The visor signal again?" She held him
steady while he shook his head to clear it. She saw that
he wasn't as near to fainting as he had been the first
time the signal began..yet.

Geordi straightened up, getting a handle on the mental and
visual noise in his mind. "Yeah. Only this time it feels
like somebody's drilling home with a subsonic transmitter."

Dr. Crusher was worried. Geordi's brain signature was
levelling off into abnormal stress patterns,
"Let's get you back to the shuttle."

"Nah, I'm all right. We'll get pulled back there soon
enough anyway. I think I got a handle on it already, I
am beginning to learn how to tone it down."

Janeway gave him a doubtful look, "Lieutenant Commander.."
she warned.

"Listen, " Geordi insisted, "We've got to find this guy
and stop this signalling. Knocking me out isn't going to
solve my problem. I can still help search. Might even
be better to have me here to point the way." he gestured
over a rise, "It's louder that way.."  And he broke out
of Beverly's grip, stumbling a little on the trail.

Captain Janeway turned to Dr. Crusher, "Is he at risk if
we stay out here longer?"

"I don't think so. His vitals are stable." she replied.

"Then let's wait until recall." She gestured to proceed


It was only a minute later when the bundled engineer halted
in his tracks and the two women almost bumped into him,
"Wait a minute. The footprints. They're gone!"

Crusher and Janeway were stunned. The way ahead was only
unbroken snow. Kathryn's patience was greatly shortened,
"I don't understand this. There's no other way out of the

Crusher pushed back her hood, "He must've doubled back."

Geordi disagreed, "He couldn't have. Our tricorders
would've picked up the higher infrared trace and alerted

Dr. Crusher looked up into the trees, "Unless he had a
means to fly away. We don't know what his species is
capable of doing yet."

Captain Janeway was listening to the two Enterprise
officers' discussion only halfway. She broadened their
line of thinking inside her own thoughts. ::This signal
of Geordi's seems to defy all of our standard equipment
scans easily. The only accepting device is the engineer's
personal visor. Hmm. Perhaps we can try a more sophisticated

She tapped her combadge causing LaForge and Crusher to fall
silent in curiosity, =^=Janeway to the Batai. Doctor, do you
read me?=^=

In the shuttle's cabin, the hologram straightened from his
work, "Yes, captain. Loud and clear. Is there a medical

=^=Sorry to disappoint you. But I do require your services
in another manner. Do me a favor. Beam yourself to our
coordinates but remember to bring your program housing
datapadd along too. An inconvenience, I know but..=^=

"I understand the reason for bringing it along.
My holoemitter wasn't needed with us on Voyager's holodeck
before we ended up here in the Alpha Quadrant, so naturally,
I don't have it now. We'll just have to muddle through with
my holo testing padd. I'll be there in seventeen seconds."
the EMH finished for her.

=^=We'll be expecting you.=^=

The doctor thought for a moment before he stepped up onto
the transporter disk behind the lab tables he had set up.

He snatched up a medkit for the lieutenant commander from
the wall clip, "Computer. One to beam to the away team's
coordinates. Energize."  

He shimmered into light beams.

The holodoc appeared in moments at Captain Janeway's side.
She greeted him warmly, "Glad you could join us. I wasn't
positive how far a Type VI shuttle could project your
holomatrix through that pad."

Geordi piped up, "Three thousand kilometers, captain."

She looked at the young man with amusement.

"Uh.. I've been doing equations to drown out the visor
pulses and that equation just happened to be one of
them." he said.

Janeway smiled and nodded, "Thanks."
She crouched down into the snow over a footprint that
hadn't been stepped in by one of the away team. She
pointed to it, "Doctor, what do you see?"

The EMH looked toward the ground to where she
indicated. He looked up almost right away, "I'm
afraid I don't understand."

Dr. Crusher and Geordi watched this exchange with

Janeway shrugged, "Feel free to interpret. In any way
you'd like." Kathryn invited.

The hologram scratched his unreal head and spoke, "I
see..compressed snow in the shape of a humanoid footprint."

"Captain, what are y--" Geordi began.

She gestured mildly for him to wait a moment.

The hologram twitched, "....and traces of charged tachyon
particle decay."

Kathryn's heart leaped, "The same experimental energy that
we were testing on Voyager's holodeck with the EMH before
the ship..."  She couldn't finish her words.

Geordi spoke to give her a moment to handle her emotions.
"But why didn't my visor detect that?" He stood up, looking
back the way they had come.

"Ah.." the holodoc elucidated, "You're forgetting the anti-
lepton field I found emanating from the rocks in this region.
Such a field would reduce your visor's effectiveness and
mask certain biosignature frequencies." He smile was smug.

"No wonder I hardly detected the DNA in those blood stains."
Beverly sighed.

"And why we probably aren't reading any alien lifesigns to
go along with them." Geordi added. "But the doc's input
matrice is uneffected. That was good thinking , captain.
We can track our man now through the tachyon particles
where they lead even though the wind covered up the


Ariel gasped. ::These people are closer to finding us because
of this new man made of light. I have to stop them! Now.::

She closed her lilac eyes.


Down in the valley, Geordi craned his head, looking up,
"What's that noise?"

Janeway and the others moved by his side. There was only
the quiet sound of the wind through the icy treetops.
"I don't hear anything."  She glanced at the EMH, "Doctor?"

The holodoctor shook his head in the negative.

LaForge began sweating and he moaned as the cacophony rose
into a teeth wrenching whine inside his head. Then he knew
what it was. "Freeze!  Everyone!  That humming. I know that

"Geordi, we don't h--" Dr. Crusher began.

LaForge looked down by their feet. "Bombs!  In clear
casings! They're all around us!"

His companions whirled in place in alarm without moving their
feet. Seeing nothing odd was visible, Janeway readjusted her
tricorder scans. Her proximity scan continued to show normal.
"Mr. LaForge. Explain. I don't see anything wr--"

Dr. Crusher tossed her head slightly to the EMH and then
again at Geordi. Together, they stepped towards him. "Geordi.
Let us help--"

The engineer yelled in panic, "Don't move! Either one of you.
There's one by your feet and it's set to blow!" ::What is
the matter here? I can see the heat surging off of these things.
There's four of them. Why can't anyone else see them?::

Dr. Crusher glanced again at her boots. ::Only snow. What th-?::

The EMH was also baffled, "I also see nothing wrong here. " He
turned addressing Beverly, "Doctor. He is clearly hallucinating.
The Batai will lock onto us in two minutes, seven seconds. I
suggest we--"

Just then, the holodoc winked out. Janeway barely caught the
doctor's program padd he had been carrying before it hit the
ground, "nghhh!" she said, lurching forward.  

Then, from the corner of her eye, she saw Geordi was in desperate
motion, towards her. She heard his urgent shout. "It's gonna

Suddenly, Janeway was pushed, hard by him, off the path.
Rolling downhill, she fought for her feet in the slippery snow.
Meters away, Geordi had also tackled Dr. Crusher away
from the narrow trail, "Run!!" he shouted at them,
"They're going to go any sec--!!"


  ~             ~

Captain Janeway's world was suddenly gone. It was if a great gush of
warmth had lifted her up and took the weight from her body. She
was ...floating.  Kathryn opened her eyes and saw only a strange
rainbow mist surrounding her, coaxing and sweet.   She hugged the
only solid thing she could feel, the doctor's data padd close to
her chest and just breathed. Her mind was completely free. The
overwhelming joy she felt flooded into every nook and cranny
of her being. It was only slightly tinged with fear when she realized that
she was no longer on the planet. She was somewhere else entirely.
Pleasant images nursed her spirit. She had closed her eyes
once more when her heartbeat unexpectedly began to quiet.

The Voyager captain winked out.

~                 ~




 Geordi saw that Captain Janeway had vanished into thin air. ::
It's that gold flash of light again. The one Dr. Crusher and I
saw just before we beamed the captain on board.::  He struggled
to his feet, going to the last place he had seen her. "Stay down
Beverly!!"  He found one of the bombs where the Voyager captain
had been, "This isn't happening. Captain!  Where are you?!"

The bomb exploded in his face.


Captain Janeway came to little by little. She was on her
back and totally warm. Blearily, she could just make out a
pair of tiny lavender eyes above her own. ::What a beautiful
shade..::she thought. ::They are almost me.::
Kathryn felt a tug and something she was holding was pulled
out of her hands. ::Those....eyes... They're the eyes of
a child,..aren't they?::  

Sighing, Janeway felt herself slip back into darkness.


The land was silent in the valley. The blue sun had fled behind
green clouds and the frigid air was heavy.  But the eternal
snow field was no longer completely unbroken. The still forms
of Geordi and Dr. Crusher lay in a small patch of steaming, living
earth, devoid of ice. New alien plants there steamed
slowly, filling the air with a spicy fog.  They awoke, their
parka sleeves rustling in the vivid green grass.

Dr. Crusher coughed, lifting her head. She didn't sweep away the hair
that was in her eyes. Her voice was slurred, "Whaa?" She was dimly
aware that she was on her stomach. And the air was beginning to strangle
her subtly. She was completely numb, not knowing where she was or why.

Spasming with pins and needles, her hand struck a soft downy

She knew who the prone form next to her was.  "Geord-??"  

LaForge stirred to consciousness as well, face up. The buzzing sky
made him wince behind his visor. "Is that you, Be-Bev?" He
could not remember her whole first name.  Nor the fact that they
were missing a third member to the group.

"I'm O.-- hey.." He started to look around, "Something's.........wrong."
He started to gag in deep nausea, but couldn't find the strength to
roll over to clear his mouth.

Beverly noticed, too, choking slightly, "Bad ai--. Got to get.."
She pulled Geordi by the back of his parka collar until they were
both well out over the snowpack once more.   She managed to get
him onto his side just before she herself vomited.   She watched as
he was ill, too, resting her face on the cool ice in relief, not
caring when her skin adhered to it.  
The clenching numbness receded but the fog in her mind remained,
eating at her memory.  She concentrated on her breathing,
half listening to Geordi's labored gasps as well with some trained
part of her but then she began to drift in and out.


Geordi stirred again a minute later. He was still slightly
sick and a strange confusion held his thinking in a vise's grip.
He rested, focusing his visor's sight on a fossilized
tree branch above him.

Soon his head made a little sense, "Wh--What happened?" He sat up,
almost flopping back down again. His arms were weak as water.
"Beverl--"  he said looking to the woman he knew near him.

She was still on her stomach, her head down but she spoke, "What?
How did-- How did we?"

Geordi squinted his pounding eyes and groaned, "I'm ...I'm not sure.
You..wanted us to...move away from..."
He pointed over to the eerily rainbow fogging clearing a short
distance away.."over there.. You"  The ferns there
waved in a breeze. A curl of sweetened fog reached him from the
growing place and  his breath was stolen from him.
Geordi pulled himself further away from the area quickly until the
artic cold burned his throat once more. Breaths came easier soon
after. "Come..on--"

Dr. Crusher followed suit but more slowly. Rising off the ground,
she felt something bite visciously into her left side when she slipped
on the ice beneath her. She grabbed at it and held up a wet phaser,
backwards, with its muzzle pointed at her chest. "Whaa?"

Blinking and coughing, Geordi croaked, "Where did you get th--?"

Dr. Crusher looked at the curving object of silver and black
without comprehension. Then she remembered who they were
searching for out in the snow. "I fell on it. Geordi...
Maybe it's his..." she gasped. She tossed the thing to

His coordination was off and he missed his catch. He had to
use both trembling hands to pick up the phaser again.
He looked down, noticing the same object in his belt. "No, this
this...thing is ours. I'm wearing one."  ::His?  OH. The one
we have to find. My god.. Where?::

Dr. Crusher moaned, "He's hurt." She hugged her medkit closer
to herself. "We haven't much all. This snow could
kill him out there if we can't fi--"

"I know." Geordi said in weary resignation. He studied the
phaser in his hands. The image of it fuzzed in his sight
and what it was fled him. He guessed. "Maybe this is his
transmitter. We could call him, T-tell him we're coming.."
He unknowingly held the muzzle towards his face, "If I could
just figure out how to turn it on.." His finger started to
depress the firing mechanism, "by this button...thing."

Another of the crystalline bombs materialized a foot away from
Beverly's foot. Geordi shouted and dropped the phaser, "Not
another one! We've got to get OUT of here!!"

Together, muzzy doctor and engineer staggered to their feet,
lurching horribly. But their coordination was as bad as their
memory. They fell to the ground again. Geordi raged in
his helplessness, "Go!! G--"

Dr. Crusher stared at him, "I don't understand. There's

A cataclysmic explosion ripped the air.

Geordi flung Beverly away from it as far as he could but they
both found themselves tumbling into a new patch of misting
ivys.  Blackness laughed at them.

Time felt like taffy when Geordi stirred out of his
choking stupor. He struggled to his knees to an incessant
whine that was familar. It was coming from a device he knew!
It was an open tricorder on lifescan. All the readings
were red. And it lay right next to a silent Dr. Crusher.

Geordi understood the readings like a jolt of lightning.
"No!  Beverly!"

He had rolled her onto her back and had both hands on
the medkit when a transporter effect took hold. Geordi,
Dr. Crusher, and the medkit disappeared... but in his
haste, one of the signal enhancer armbands, was
knocked off and left behind in the torn snowfield.


The firm grip of materialization released Geordi
and his burden on the shuttle's floor.

##Auto transport complete.##

The engineer was flat on his back, groaning.

The tricorder on the carpeting was still
sounding shrill warning. Muzzy, Geordi struggled
to turn off his back, "Bever--Breathe!"

She lay near him, unmoving.

The computer bleeped, ##Detecting high stress voice
pattern. Do you require medical assistance?##

Geordi remembered, "Compu-- Biob--!"

The computer, still in its preset surveillance mode,
slid into a self analysis, ##Two occupants. Human.
Oxygen inundation initiated.... Biobed activated.##

A light over a long bench at the back of the shuttle
craft turned on. A panel recessed into the wall activated
and began to glow.

Geordi heard its ready tone. He breathed great gulps of
air, still struggling to turn over, feeling himself half
paralyzed. ::Think. Move! Or she's gonna die!!::

He heaved to one side and his legs hit the lab specimen
table the EMH had set out. The plant filled test tubes
fell to the floor and shattered, their thawed contents
splashing onto the carpeting, releasing their strange

A new wave of dizziness gripped Geordi.

The computer chimed once again, ##Occupant life signs
critical. Life support standing by. Transport immediately.##

Then the answer dawned on Geordi's foggy mind, "Tr--Transporter!"
He glanced Dr. Crusher's left arm for the reassuring pattern
enhancer, "Execut--"  He stopped in horror. Beverly's armband
was missing. "Belay tha-- order!!"

Geordi began to fight a growing weight in his awareness, "Come
on. Reach!" he told himself. Straining, he flopped one hand
to his upper arm and ripped off his own arm band. He
tossed it into the air and it landed on Dr. Crusher's
back, "Computer! Priority med-transport. One to life
support biobed. Immediate. Energize!!"

He log rolled out of range as the sparkles of transport took
her. Dr. Crusher materialized onto the medical couch. Geordi
dragged himself hand over hand to her side and lowered the life
support unit down over her torso.

The computer, after a long string of electronic notes,
spoke ##Life support initiated. Vital signs.....stabilized.##

Beverly began to breathe.

Exhausted beyond consciousness, Geordi emitted a huge sigh
and passed out.


Ariel had found her Guardian again soon after the strangers had
been silenced. His heart's fluid no longer oozed from his arm
wound. She helped him to the bluish fire as best as she could
as night fell over the wood.

Her small hot offering of food much revived him but he spoke
little. Until he saw the strange woman lying at the edge of
the of the firelight, "Ariel. Who is that?"

The unicorn child flinched and her button horn's light dimmed,
she was suddenly shy, "She's not one of THEM, Guardian. I
checked. They're still in their...Continuum." she said with
disgust. "But this one has a man of light who knows things
about you."

The Guardian cradled his slowly healing arm wound. He was glad
the strange female wasn't awake. He could see her silver
armaments from where he was sitting still on her belt. He
was too tired to run any more. "Show me this man of light.."
he whispered to his charge, nestling his lips into her
white hair.

The small child scrambled over to a cache in the rocks and
she unburied a small flat, metal object. "He is in here."
she sniffed, brushing away the milky hair from her face.
"I saw the leading woman do this to get him out."
She pushed a control gently, without activating it, "I used
distance touch on it to put him back."

He put Ariel on his lap, keeping Captain Janeway within his
line of sight, "Clever thinking. Now.....why is this woman
over there not awake? Hmm?" ::I have to be careful. This
rare child is rapidly becoming more dangerous before her

"I brought her to Paradise." she said, feeding a stick
to the flames.

A cold shock gripped the Guardian. ::Ariel has gotten
through the dimensional barriers already?.::

The girl was oblivious to her teacher's reaction. "She
was happy there. But she couldn't stay. Her light got all
wrong and almost left her." She stretched and he felt her
press a squarish silver box into his hands. "I found this
with the false man."  

Inside, the Guardian found devices the same color as
the unconscious woman's armaments. He set it aside
cautiously. Seconds later, he trembled as another abnormal
spasm gripped him. Something beyond the Change was
happening to him that he didn't understand. It was tied
to Ariel's doing somehow. But exactly how eluded him as
easily as smoke on the wind.

He decided to find out about the newly arrived strangers.
"Ariel.." he whispered into her ear as she melted an icicle
with the power of her mind. "Don't be frightened. I am
freeing the man made of light."

Ariel stiffened, and her tiny hands covered his lips, "No yet." Her lilac eyes filled with tears. "I--I
have something.." she said eagerly, "Something you need."
She drew the small thing she had found from the pocket in
her robe. "I-I want to give you..this."

Even before it was in his hands, the Guardian felt her
gift's presence like a healing balm. He held the pyramid
against his cheek, reveling in its delicacy.

It was a sliver of...home itself. The merest shred of
Paradise but enough to sate his very soul.  This time,
he could not question her. For this time, it was HIS deliverance.

Something that was grossly wrong seemed, touched,
the object. The long borne ache in his arm and soul
began to recede.

The Guardian did not feel Ariel reach over and call the
man made of light.


"...get him sedated and...Hello?" The hologram EMH noticed
the old man and the child lost in their hug immediately.

Then he saw his main priority, "Captain!" He didn't like
Janeway's lack of response to his shout one bit. "Excuse
me." he said politely, extricating his medkit from the
ground next to the Guardian's hand.  

The doctor made his way over to Kathryn as quickly as he
could in the straightest line he could travel and the
camp fire did little to stop him.

"Captain.." he called out, feeling for the pulse at
her throat and the movement of air between her lips.
Two seconds later, his bioprobe gave results.

She was in a protective state. ::Deeply unconscious.
Her neural tissues are still showing signs of temporal
displacement. And her vitals are near coma levels
from the cold. I wonder what happened to her parka?::

The EMH spoke up, "I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from
sending unknown humanoids like us out of this particular
dimension. It does more harm than good. We're not Q you

The old man whirled at the name of his pursuers. He placed
Ariel protectively behind him forcefully. His voice held
real strength behind it now, "What do you know about THEM?!"

The doctor didn't miss a beat and brought out a neural
stimulator and began passing its beams over Captain
Janeway's head. He smiled when he glanced at his tricorder.
::The worst of the displacement symptoms are being
counteracted. The odd energy signature in her body cells
is rapidly dispersing. A little triox should get good
circulation back now.::  He injected the hypospray
at her inner wrist and the EMH began to warm Janeway
by rubbing her arms and legs to encourage blood flow. He
addressed his alien companions with a frown, "I only
know what my captain has chosen to share with me. Once,
for example, Q tried to seduce her into having offspring
by him to end some.....silly little war with his people."
The EMH leaned over and snatched the Guardian's abandoned
cloak up and covered Janeway snugly.
"Although why anyone would think such a baby would have that
ability at such a tender age is beyond me."

Ariel's posture and stance changed and she scrambled
over to the captain's side. Her tiny face was filled with
empathy and caring. The little girl timidly touched
Janeway's cheek, "She has been like me then.." The little
child met the doctor's eyes in sympathy, "Helpless before
the Q.."

The doctor chortled, "Well I wouldn't say it in exactly that
way. The captain is rarely ....helpless before anyone." The
EMH sat Kathryn up, cradling her in his arms and carried her
nearer to the fire. Once there, he set her down and resumed
his warming treatment until her skin was pink and warm to
the touch.  ::Good. She's out of her hypothermia.::  

The holodoc placed his last hypo down into the kit. Accidently,
his eye fell on the phaser in Janeway's belt.

The Guardian saw the movement. In a flash, he held the doctor's
augmented datapadd over the flames, "Tell me something, man
made of light. Could your essence survive without this
device to govern it?" His features hardened, "I'll allow
no one to harm the child.."

Wisely, the doctor moved his hands away from his patient. "Like
you I am here only to protect my crewmate. My advance on the phaser
was unintentional. But as yet, I have no assurances that she is out
of danger.... from you two." he said significantly.

"Guardian." Ariel said with solemn maturity, "Too many people have
been harmed today and I am at fault for all of it." She took the
holopadd from his hands and gave it to the EMH.  In a blink,
she mindsent the phaser into the doctor's palm and oriented
it so that it pointed to her own head. "Here." she said.
"I am not afraid if you use this on me after what I did to
your captain." And she bowed her tiny head.

The doctor's response was curt but kind, "Young lady, I am
not accustomed to taking lives for vengeance. I am
programmed to save them." And he tossed the phaser away into
the darkness, "As for your concern over the captain's health..."
he looked down.

Kathryn's eyes were just opening. Ariel gave a joyful cry and
knelt by her head, peering into her face.


Janeway's first awareness came quickly. ::Those eyes are here
again. Those wonderful lilac eyes I saw in limbo. I feel....
like ...anything is possible inside them.::  Then she blinked,
shifting her gaze to the doctor's face. Full consciousness
returned,"You found the alien.." she said to the EMH, smiling
slightly in relief.

The hologram sighed, "I wish I could take the credit for it. But did...carrying me." He said hefting
up his datapadd. "Ariel here was curious about my holographic
nature but didn't quite understand it. So I assume she had
to bring us both here by the means she and the Guardian usually
travel to their campsite until she figured out where my
holomatrix was situated." the doctor grinned.

Kathryn sat up, feeling completely whole for the first time
in a long while. She regarded the child with wonder, brushing
a strand of hair away from Ariel's horn. "Are you all right?"
she asked softly, smiling as a mother would. "We've been
trying to find you. Your call for help was seen by one of
my crewma--" She broke off casting her eyes around the campsite.
"Doctor, have you seen any of the away team?"

Moments after Captain Janeway asked the question, she felt Ariel
shrinking away from her touch ; curling in on herself mentally.

The EMH answered, "Not since we were discussing Mr. LaForge's
worsening condition."  

Again Janeway saw the unicorn child wince at the answer.
::What is wrong here?:: she wondered.

The holodoc was oblivious, "Bombs indeed...Of all the things
to hallucinate about.." he went on.

Janeway spoke quickly, "Doctor those devices were real, even
though we couldn't see them. I saw one detonate just before
I was....somehow...carried here. I remember floating.. I think."

Ariel whimpered. The Guardian drew up on her arm sharply, "Child!
You haven't been summoning the still point, have you?"

The little girl looked very lost under his angry scowl.

Captain Janeway blanched, "Still point? Was that where I was?"

The doctor spoke, "Captain?" He wanted clarification of her
experience to add to his knowledge of her current condition.

"It was a kind of.....juxtaposition between places...It was warm
and summer... And the air was....spicy.." she
paused, a dread filling her, "Those heat pockets we saw forming
vegetation on the shuttle's sensors.." She turned to the
Guardian,.."They're intrusions of this still point into our space?"

"Correct captain." The Guardian turned away from her, distraught.
"Oh, Ariel." he said squatting down in front of her, "What have
you done?  Paradise must not be here.  Ever.  In this region, the
point is chaotic and harms all that is living." He turned to the
two Starfleet officers, "I'm sorry about your unexpected
transference there, captain. It could have killed you easily..I..
Soon... the still point will be my home...but.."

Ariel withdrew and hid in the Guardian's robes.

Click the logo below
to go to Page Three. :)
Image of vlamainpageillustration.jpg

Image of aninextgenshipfire.gif
<BGSOUND src="onewhoistornbyunknown.mp3" LOOP=INFINITE>