(Admiral Janeway is 24 years older than Captain Janeway in the final episode of Voyager putting her quite close to 70, so I don't really think that it was stressed enough in the real Endgame how impossible it was that Janeway still seemed so full of life when she was so close to death. Did I go overboard? Certainly.)
Blowing up the Shuttle was a mistake last time. What was that idiot thinking? Dealing with temporal twins does sound a lot like olden days schizophrenia. The Admiral pulled her shuttle around to the rear end of Equinox and casually penetrated it. Kathryn didn’t even need to use her LCARS to control her little ship any more, but if she wasn’t fondling the controls as if something might go wrong that her brain implant couldn’t deal with might happen at any moment, then what’s she supposed to do with her hands?
Like it was gliding on butter, her shuttle pulls into a resting stop before an entourage of 20 security goldshirts lead by Max Burke waiting to see if space gods were still built of stern stuff. The Shuttle bay was a standard design for this era, which couldn’t help but tap a little nostalgia. The music must be faced. Kathryn thinks the door open. Hell. This Starship even smelled like Voyager. It had never been part of the plan to impersonate Q. but considering how grim all this was, one has to find laughs were she can. And really, it’s not like she wasn’t already busted: What does God need with a Shuttle craft?
Although That git Ransom was skulking. It was in his character to run or hide at the closest opportunity. He’s a wet paper bag. Anyway, Burke was the real strength on the ship, it’s just a pity that that strength was channeled into driving such a selfish and regrettable agenda… Black Kettle syndrome here? The difference between herself and Burke however was that he was a loser with no endgame, but Ironballs here knew exactly how to score the winning touchdown. It’s amazing how many of these sports analogies survived after the extinction of the sports that generated them, but in so long as Tennis prevailed and thrived humanity was worth saving.
Her plan had been to kick Burke in the nuts ten times and send him to the Brig. He’s an untrustworthy cad. But there must be something worthwhile, afterall B’Elanna did spend a couple months sleeping with him… Although if that degerate calls her “Kiwi Juice” again, BANG POW, SHAZAM: Right in the nuts. But doesn’t that just mean that he needs more help to be a good man than Ransom who really needs some lessons in being a man period. Where the hell was he? This isintollerable! Serious if I was a Q, I would be throwing thunderbolts about now Kathy seethed… Half the crew dies in the first week who have nothing to do with 5 years from now. Half the crew is completely innocent.
The Admiral puts one of her gnarled hooves on the deck plate to the Shuttle bay from a ship of nightmares.
And then the other boot.
She’s aboard Equinox.
It’s time to sparkle.
Janeway clears her throat, straightens her spine, then says “I’m assuming command of this ship. Got a problem with that?”
This shuttle bay, was maybe a third the size of what she had aboard Voyager, hell, they didn’t even have a shuttle fabricator, when Equinox lost its shuttle compliment, that’s it, they’re done. Well not really, it wouldn’t be too hard to build their own shuttle fabricator, it’s just annoying to replicate thousands of working parts from the food and beverage replicators. At least Voyager’s holodecks could be reconditioned into massive replicators which helped keep their basics and wares in stock… Equinox didn’t have holodecks. No wonder they all went insane in the original timeline.
Burke, tricorder in hand rather than a type 6 phaser “So you’re not a Q?”
“I almost slept with one, but that hardly puts me on his Christmas card list.”
“You’re taking over?”
“Look at my collar.”
“Anyone can replicate a uniform.”
“In that case, this would be a damn stupid uniform to replicate, it’s thirty years out of date.”
“What can you tell us about where we are and why we’re here?”
“And you’re here to rescue us?”
“After a fashion.”
“After a fashion?”
“After a fashion.”
“We need to understand this situation before we make any rash decisions or promises.”
“Why are you fighting me on this? Don’t you want to go home?”
“For all I know this if random emergency psychological test by Starfleet Security to examine how effective this crew maintains discipline in an indiscernible situation. 9 times out of ten in such a practice scenario, you would eventually be found out to be shape changing alien with a taste for human flesh and blood.”
“Not exactly the trusting sort.”
‘Trust but verify.”
“This is real.”
“There are various regulations about ceding command of a starship to… An unknown
power, and frankly none of us are in the mood to surrender just yet or recognize an unverified possibly illegal order from...”
Why am I having to deal with the b-team Janeway’s internal monologue rages? This is exhausting. “Look kid, I’m an Admiral, you’re a lieutenant, its not very complicated. Get with the program or I’m stepping on your face, and moving up the chain of command.”
“Do you think I’m the type of man that responds to threats?”
“No, I think you’re the sort of man that uses women and children as human shields.”
This is not the Max Burke she remembers, he hasn’t been driven into dark places by outrageous circumstances, yet even if he’s still a hero of the Federation, this potential villain still has a short rope so Kathryn understands why she shouldn’t push him, but she just can’t help it, because she doesn’t like him, even if there are Twenty men, 15 men and 5 women, ludicrously armed ready to blast anything on Max Burke’s word. She’s from the future, why the hell hasn’t any one invented personal shields?
Max, slaps his tricorder, blinks and thinks about what the stupid little machine was stuttering about. “You’re reeking in chronotons.”
“I’m here to rescue you.” She’s summoning her I am taller than you voice. Something short people save for special occasions like any day ending in the letter “Y”.
Burke isn’t actually armed. Officers give orders. They point at stuff that goes boom. “Starfleet regulations insist that I put you in stasis and hand you over to the Department of Temporal Investigations at the first opportunity. I don’t know who you are or if I should trust you, and I don’t want to hurt you but you are categorically in no position to order anyone to do anything, and frankly sweetheart, who says that we need to be rescued?”
“Don’t dig your own grave Burke.“
“Are you threatening me?”
“You’re an idiot.”
“You’re not going to take my ship.”
“It’s not your Ship.” Kathryn finds new depths to menace from.
“She’s right, it’s mine.” There from the shadows to the rear of the Admiral’s view cometh the villain of another story.
This changes the field.
Kathryn doesn’t like being surrounded like a hole in a doughnut, but what other less than hospitable treatment should she expect after brazenly launching herself into an enemy mine, relying on pomp and arrogance to smash the opposition into well behaved little minions. Of course if after 54 years in Starfleet Kathryn needed a better plan A, then she’d probably be breathing dirt by now. Although, it would certainly help if there weren’t so many antiquated phaser rifles pointed at her head, but they were mostly probably set to stun. Hopefully set to stun.
“Admiral Kathryn Janeway.” She strikes her hand out for someone, hopefully this vessels Captain, to shake.
Rudy is barely 40. Blonde, tall and strong enough. Well almost strong enough. A child. A child living in a childlike age of innocence and mirth. Handsome in a weathered, I’ve just seen a ghost sort of way, and there was something about his voice, it’s not that I’m calling him a child again but his voice didn’t quite completely break during puberty that his range is somewhat in drift. He doesn’t meet her handshake, which is never a good sign.
“Not a Q then.”
“He, over there, he already sai… My helmsman once forced me to watch an old movie that suggested that I should always say that I am a god if someone asks if I am a god.”
“What’s a movie?”
Kathryn doesn’t know if that makes her feel old or sure that this man is a putz.
“Captain Ransom, I am from the future, my ship is from the future, I know all about the future, and if you don’t do everything I say to control the breach in the timeline I am causing to save you, none of you will ever be born. It’s a simple matter of life and death, the fate of the Federation and the universe et all. I’m a good woman, who just wants to do the right thing… If you’re smart you’ll help me help you.”
“Legally speaking Max over there was right about locking you up, and calling me an idiot isn’t likely to change my mind.”
Janeways palm instinctually finds her face. “The fate of the Earth, time fracturing, a Borg Civil War, multiple invasion’s from other realities, an unforgivable erosion of moral character. Genocide! If you don’t follow my orders precisely you will die ashamed of your entire life and ridiculed by historians forever.”
“That’s all fine and dandy, but I’ve met time travelers before. You’re a selfish bunch. Personal agendas with a clear list of what you’re willing to sacrifice, sell out or send up the river to make sure that whatever hiccup upstream in the timeline has turned sour, you can iron it out. I’ve been listening to you “Admiral” and I factually do not believe that you see my crew as much anything but disposable warm bodies you feel justified to throw at some meat grinder crusade.”
Good lord, who is this man? This is not the Rudolph Ransom she met 20 years ago. “Really?”
“I am not expendable, my crew is not expendable this ship is not expendable.”
“I’m not playing with nickels and dimes here.”
“You’re speaking gibberish.” Captain Ransom gestures to his security team that it’s time to stop listening to the mad woman, and now time to tie up the madwoman and further more lock her the hell up. If it takes too long to sort out a stasis pod, he might have to consider marooning her on a nearby planet, Captain Ransom muses, rather than risk this contrarian futurian somehow raising a mutiny with her nay saying balk about an impending doom.
There are hands, huge hands that can cup beach balls reaching for Kathryn’s liberty “Left to your own devices ½ your crew is going to be dead in a week.” She’s been nicked. Janeway is practically floating since the men holding her by her shoulders are not letting her feet touch the ground. This doesn’t make any sense? Last time, when “an” Admiral Janeway Approached her and talked about saving Seven of Nine and getting the crew home, it just seemed so simple and elegant to capitulate to such a wise and sensible woman even if as it turned out that she was lying through her teeth about so many things. It should be easier convincing a moral bankrupt like Ransom to play ball. Not just because he’s man, but because he’s a coward willing to do anything to survive no matter how reprehensible. God help her if she’s locked up when the Krowtonan Guard start culling the… Good lord, Kathy wonders, this better not be damn predestination Paradox and ransom always met me and then pretended that it hadn’t happened in 5 years time so that I would still head bac… Time travel gives me a head ache.
“Good to know. Doesn’t change a lick. Max, take her to the Brig, I want damage reports and triage statistics in half an hour, so I can get to sorting this mess out.”