First Councillor’s Office, Municipal Building, Ocampa City
Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant
Daggin didn’t know what, but he knew something had happened. He had received a telepathic message from Kes, saying that they needed to meet on the planet, so he had agreed. The inhabitants of the city were still wary after the Kazon attack, so the plazas and walkways were still quiet, the citizens opting to remain indoors—just in case the Kazon returned.
As he awaited her arrival, he tried to see to the duties and tasks that filled his day, but he couldn’t quite focus. His memory dwelt on Linnis, the young woman he had met on the Great Plaza as he’d seen his people to the shelters. There was something about her that was familiar but he couldn’t quite figure out what, but her spirit was virile and refreshing—especially after so long as a bureaucrat seeing to the fears and wishes of a complacent population. A small smile tugged at his lips, but he quickly shook it off after all she was barely one and he was almost six and a half—old enough to be her father.
Suddenly the space just before his desk was filled with light for a moment, quickly replaced by the forms of Kes, Tanis and two other Ocampa he hadn’t been introduced to. With their arrival he stood up to greet them, making sure to keep his private thoughts to himself. Tanis looked a little tired, but that wasn’t surprising after what he and his people had endured in orbit and all the repair work they would need to do. Kes on the other hand continued to age with every time he met her, if he didn’t know better he’d have said she was pushing ten. Despite her advanced years, there was an air of peace to her now, as though a burden had been taken off of her shoulders.
“Hello Daggin,” she said, a soft smile tugging at her wrinkled lips.
“Kes, Tanis. Is everything alright? Have the Kazon returned?”
Tanis shook his head. “Our sensors are clear—it looks like they’ve gotten the message and are keeping their distance.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, he allowed his body to relax slightly. “So what’s this about then?”
Tanis looked from him to Kes and back again. “You’ll have to ask her.”
Both men looked at the frail woman, whose smile grew a little more. Before Daggin could ask her anything there was another pulse of light and his office disappeared, replaced with darkness.
“What? Where? Kes?” he asked, feeling his body tense up again. A chill ran down his spin, wherever they were it was colder than the city, whilst the air was clean—he couldn’t detected a single smell.
“It’s alright,” Kes told them, her voice echoing. A moment later the room illuminated slowly, allowing his eyes to adjust.
They were in some kind of control room, it was long and narrow, the pristine metal shimmered in the light. Looking around he took in the vast array of display screens and instrument panels, and all the chairs that faced outwards. By no means an expert in design, from what Daggin knew of the Kazon, the room seemed too beautiful to belong to them—he guessed they weren’t on one of their ships. His next assumption was that it was on Tanis’ station, but the look of curiosity and awe on his face told Daggin this was a strange place to him too.
“Where are we?” he asked his old friend.
“This is an Ocampan ship,” she told them.
She smiled. “Despite what we have been told by others, our race was once quite advanced. Before the Warming, we were once capable of space flight—though lacked faster-than-light technology. Our people had planned to travel to the stars onboard this vessel.”
“A generational ship,” Tanis remarked, looking around once again.
“Yes. But then the Warming occurred, too fast for our people to react to, so when the Caretaker and his mate came offering their help the Ocampa took it. Over time, we forgot our history and what we were once capable of,” she looked around the control room, “and this ship was buried under sand.”
“How do you know this?” Daggin asked, trying to wrap his head around a past he knew nothing about.
“Susperia showed me.”
“She’s returned?” Tanis asked at the same moment Daggin asked, “Who is Susperia?”
“She was the Caretaker’s mate, the one who took Tanis’ ancestors away from Ocampa,” she explained to him, then looked at Tanis with a hint of remorse. “I’m afraid that she has gone, Tanis. I don’t know where.”
He rested a hand on her shoulder, a look of concern in his eyes. “Are you alright?”
Kes nodded. “Yes. She shared with me the knowledge of this ship before she left.”
“Why?” Tanis probed.
“Because she wanted to help give our people the best chance for survival,” she told them, moving towards the front of the room, where there was a single seat in the middle of the deck, above the others.
“I don’t understand,” Daggin admitted. “How is this ship supposed to help?”
Kes turned to face them. “The Ocampa have to leave. Not just this planet or this sector, but the entire quadrant. The Kazon have been frightened off for now, but they’ll come back, and if not them then another aggressive race. This whole region is filled with dangerous species, all of which would either enslave of kill the Ocampa if given the chance.
“I know of a place where our people could find peace and support,” she told them, the faint smile returning to her lips. “However it will take a lot of work and sacrifices to make this work.”
“Kes, what you’re asking is too much,” Daggin protested. “There are those in the city who still believe that the Caretaker will return and things will go back to the way they are, they would never consider leaving.”
“Daggin, our world is dead and our people will follow it shortly. What little power reserves you have left will run out and after that happens there is no light, or heat, or nutritional supplements. Do you have a way of generating your own energy?”
He knew she was right. The Ocampa had been totally reliant on the Caretaker for everything, including their power. Before he had gone they had built up a reserve to last them five years, and through a conservation scheme it had lasted a little longer but they were only a few months away from being powerless, and had no viable means of generating their own—at least not in time and not at the level they would need.
“We don’t, but this is our home. Where would we go?”
“Do you remember the crew of Voyager
? I lived and worked beside them for three years, Daggin. I know that they would help us however they could.”
Tanis interjected. “But they are from the other side of the galaxy. How would you expect to get there?”
“You’re station is just like the Caretaker’s, it may have the technology we will need,” Daggin noticed a flicker ghost over her eyes, something he couldn’t quite identify and was gone as quickly as it appeared. “I read up on all the information Voyager
had gathered on the Caretaker and his technology, I know what I am looking for and should be able to get it working.
“However, this is a sacrifice your people will have to make, Tanis. The station won’t be able to make the journey, so your people will have to relocate to a ship.”
Though he looked ready to argue the point, they both saw the sincerity in her face. Daggin knew her well enough to know that she had thought this through, and her experiences out in space made her better qualified to know just what was waiting for them.
“How many people can this ship hold?” Daggin asked.
“In total, around one hundred and fifty thousand.”
“That’s only around half our population,” he stated. “Are there other ships we can use?”
“Not here,” she admitted then looked upwards, “but there are eight in orbit.”
“Even filling those ships to capacity, it wouldn’t be enough,” Tanis pointed out.
“Then we will need to find more. There are many places we can procure large ships from, so long as they are structurally intact they will do.”
“How do we go about buying ships? We have nothing to trade,” Daggin asked.
“The cormaline gives us more than enough to barter with, we can either use what the Kazon mined or sell the mining rights. Either way we have more than enough to secure enough ships for our purpose.”
Daggin couldn’t believe just how thoroughly she’d thought out the idea, which led him to suspect that had been her plan ever since she had returned home. It was ambitious (or insane, he wasn’t quite sure) but with their time running out and no other solutions in mind there wasn’t much more they could do. A quick look at Tanis and he knew the other man felt the same way, even with the help of the station, finding a way to keep the city going would take time and their resources weren’t infinite.
Slowly, he nodded. “I will tell our people, so that they can decide for themselves what they want to do.”
“As will I,” Tanis added.
Kes gave them both a sad smile. “Thank you. I’ll start running checks on this ship, make sure it’s fully functional.”
Before they could say anything more, he felt the light envelop him again and was once again alone in his office. He had no idea how he was going to put this to the Ocampa in the city, it would be something the divided them, from those who wanted to escape from the dying city, to those who were adamant that they would be saved once the Caretaker returned. However it was a decision they all needed to make for themselves, it wasn’t one he could make on their behalf as he still wasn’t sure on what Kes had in mind. It was a mammoth task ahead of them, and there was something about Kes’ manner that told him they would have to move quickly.
“I’d better get started,” he mused to himself.