Waking up

Imagine being on the Voyager after escaping the aliens who abducted you. You set course to earth together with Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Harry and Seven. Icheb gets a crush on you. Neelix teaches you how to cook. The doctor sees you as his personal psychologist. Tom and B’Ellanna are having a furious marriage.
But your abductors come back to claim you as their property.
(_Stardate 54400 – 54470; Season 7, episode 10 – 13)

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8. Plasma problems

Stardate 54406.8, May 29th, 2377, around noon.
Quickly after Chakotay had entered the infirmary with a second degree burning, the doctor had changed to his professional modus. He grabbed his supplies and ordered Chakotay to sit down.
“What happened?”
“There was a plasma surcharge on the bridge. B’Elanna is trying to fix it, but since these incidents are happening over the entire ship she thinks the problem is intern.”
“So I may get more patients soon?”
“Yes, and it’s becoming worse.”
They looked very worried. Not being able to locate a problem was annoying when on earth. When in space, it could easily become fatally.
“The ‘slugs’ must have destroyed a pipe when piercing through the walls. All our self-diagnostic scanners broke when they attacked. It will take a few more hours.”
The doctor was ready with Chakotay’s hand, when suddenly three others entered. Harry Kim and another crewman were supporting a severely injured Vulcan. His chest was burned, he pronounced, moaning at the same time: “That may be too late, the warp core may have been overheated by that time. The cooling systems shut down just now, I was trying to fix them.”
They helped the man on a bed. Now, everybody looked even more worried.
“Scanning the ship manually isn’t effective enough…” Harry pondered in a stressed tone.
“Let me scan the ship, then,” I suggested.
Two more people entered the infirmary. The doctor gave a sign to Chakotay and the commander gently guided me outside. He let me lead the way and Harry followed in our footsteps.
“The source of the perturbations is unknown; they occur on all the plasma lines on the ship,” Harry informed us.
We proceeded our way and more and more incidents happened around us. In the distance, I heard people screaming orders at each other. Everyone was running, but there was no panic.
Then, I stopped in my tracks and held up Chakotay and Harry with my arms wide open. The panel of a door in front of us exploded. The two jumped back, shaken. I stood my ground and turned around.
“This whole deck is going to blow soon. The leek is somewhere… there,” I pointed to my right above me, “it’s the main line following this panels energy flow.”
“Commander, I know which one she means. I’m going!” Harry said. He enthusiastically ran away.
“Be careful!” I shouted to wish him luck. I knew he could fix it before the whole deck would resemble a firework party.
“Lin, we have to go to the machine room,” Chakotay said. I nodded and we started running. In the meantime, he announced over the intercom to evacuate the deck.
But the closer we got to the machine room, the worse the explosions were. I helped to locate two more major leeks, but there were so many.
People with injuries had to pull back. Chakotay held me close to him and I continued scanning the walls.
“There’s another one…” I started to say. There was a huge explosion in the distance. We stopped and listened. Chakotay gasped: “The machine room.”
He shot off and I followed him. Soon, everybody was running in all directions. I couldn’t keep up and got behind. That’s how I bumped in to B’Elanna. She was also on her way to the machine room.
“Lin! Good to see you! You’re exactly what I need to save this ship!”
She held me by the arm, showed me her scanner, “the damages get worse, as if something is triggering them, like a cascade! You see the pattern?”
My eyes became bigger. We understood what was going on.
“His energy isn’t compatible and he’s dying,” I started explaining.
“Can we get it out of the system?”
“I can.”
“Where will it go next?” she asked in a rush.
“He has already tried to get in the warp core, the cooling systems got damaged. He will try again.”
“Or it already has…”
Our eyes crossed and we set off as fast as we could.
The doors to the machine room were already open. Most of the computers had already exploded. Chakotay was here, giving orders, jumping from one panel to the other. Sparks of plasma rained down everywhere like little snowflakes.
“Shut everything down!” B’Elanna yelled. Her  order was followed immediately.
“Only life support and emergency systems will stay on. This ship has to black out, now! Captain, did you copy that?”
Captain Janeway answered over the communicator: “Do what you have to do, Lieutenant.”
All lights went down. The room became dark.

And I? I could feel his presence, a wounded dog, scared in the corner of its cage. He was here. I got closer to him and closed my eyes. He knew I was here too; he needed me.
“Lin! Watch out!” I heard Chakotay yell behind me.
I didn’t open my eyes, because now I could see the slug hovering in front of me. The pattern of his skin fluctuated, the lines changed as he pushed himself forwards. Very slowly.
I opened my eyes, but didn’t move.
“Hi there. Are you hungry?” I simply asked. It jumped back at the sound of my voice. So I gently raised my hand.
“No more poison. I can power you up, okay? But then you’ll have to do what I want…”
He came closer, scanning my hand. He had decided to trust me.
Now, I slowly moved to one of the panels and searched for an output point. I found a spot and connected with my free hand. The energy of the system flew into my body. I didn’t like the feeling of the static energy tingling my limbs.
The whole crew, Chakotay and B’Elanna, they were looking at me as if I were mad. There was no salt now, I had to solve it my way.
The slug floated closer, curious about my movements. Then, it softly touched my hand, not injecting venomous slimes, but connecting our systems. He absorbed the energy that I was converting for him like a thirsty butterfly. Now, thanks to my genes, the energy was compatible and he was charged up.

“Is there a room where we can keep him?” I asked and quickly added, “he’s not dangerous anymore. He’ll only listen to me now.”
I saw Chakotay smiling.
“We’ll arrange something for your pet-slug.”

Not much later, an emergency meeting took place and I had to explain the situation of the slug.
“So,” the captain resumed, “ this creature was wounded and was left behind by the others. It had to heel its wounds, so started looking for compatible energy on this ship and caused thereby a cascade of explosions when trying to reach the warp core.”
“Correct,” Tuvok said, “our internal scanners aren’t fixed, so it could roam around undisturbed.”
“Luckily,” Chakotay picked up,” B’Elanna found out just in time. The warp core will be fine.”
“But it was very close,” B’Elanna continued, “we can’t afford another… outbreak.”
“The slug follows my orders now, it won’t leave that room unless I say so.”
Captain Janeway nodded in approval: “You can make it do whatever you want?”
“Yes, he is connected with my energy. His previous owner has completely faded away.”
“Good… Alright, lieutenant Paris, set a course to that asteroid field. We are going to take cover and repair the ship. Then, we’ll have to prepare for battle. They sent their track dogs and know where we are now. I’m not going home without Lin, is that clear?”
“Ay, Captain.”
Everybody jumped up and went to his post. I felt so grateful and guilty at the same time. These people were going to work so much overtime for me. 

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