Written by  on March 5, 2000 

Breakdown Cover

Stardate 213657.4 (Fri 17 Jan 2375): Voyager helps a generational ship of Varro repair their warp drive. Based upon the television episode “The Disease.”

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Varro Generational Ship
Kim’s Quarters
Stardate 213657.4
17 January 2375 0313 hrs

"Papa! Papa!"

Harry Kim awoke with a start, his limbs flailing in an instinctive panic. The bedroom in his quarters was dark, illuminated only by the soft, green glow of Seven of Nine’s regeneration alcove, which crackled with electricity beside the bed.

Seven stirred in the bed beside Kim, asleep. She moaned, her head shaking from side to side.

"Papa!" Seven cried again. Kim gently shook her shoulder, waking her.

Seven’s eyes fluttered open, confused. "Shh," Kim whispered. "It’s OK. You were having a nightmare." Seven sat up and embraced Kim. He put his arms around her, holding her tight. Seven rested her head on Kim’s shoulder, and he felt the warm moistness of her tears against his bare skin. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.

"It—it was my papa," Seven whispered, pulling a few inches away from Kim. "We were aboard the Raven. The men… the drones came, and dragged my mama and papa away and I hid from them. I thought they couldn’t find me, but they did. The one that found me…" Seven sobbed. "He was my papa."

"It wasn’t real," Kim said. "It was a nightmare. We don’t even know what happened to him after he was assimilated."

"I do," Seven said. "You know the Borg Queen tried to reassimilate me on Stardate 213609. What I haven’t told you is that one of the drones with her was my father. He was also aboard her ship when it was destroyed in the transwarp conduit. He’s dead."

Kim hugged Seven tightly to him once more, and she began to weep again. "God, Seven," he whispered. "I didn’t know. I’m so sorry."

Captain’s Log, Stardate 213659.2
After two weeks, we’re close to repairing the Varro’s warp drive. I’m starting to think they’d rather give up warp travel than accept help from strangers.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Varro Generational Ship
Stardate 213659.2
17 January 2375 1847 hrs

"Friendly people," Ensign Tom Paris muttered sarcastically as he and Ensign Harry Kim stepped into Voyager‘s corridors from the transporter room.

"They’ve had a lot of bad experiences with other species," Kim said.

"Speaking of bad experiences," Paris said, "what happened to Tal? She seemed pretty down when you two came to help B’Elanna and me."

"She came on to me," Kim said, sighing, "while we were working on the manifolds in Segment twenty-two. I explained that I’m already seeing Seven, but I’ve got to admit, I was tempted."

"I wouldn’t let Seven hear that," Paris said. "How’s she doing, anyhow?"

"Better," Kim said. "She was pretty shaken up by her run-in with the Borg Queen and her father…"

"Her father?" Paris interrupted.

"It’s not something she likes to talk about," Kim explained. "When the Queen was trying to coerce her into rejoining the Collective, she brought out the drone that used to be Seven’s father."

"Oh my God," Paris said. "I had no idea."

"Neither did I," Kim admitted, "until she woke me up while she was having a nightmare about it. It was the first time I’ve ever seen her crying." He paused, then continued. "I’m making a special dinner for us tonight. I even convinced Neelix to let me use the kitchen."

"I hope everything turns out okay," Paris said. "Well, I’m due back on the bridge." He turned and headed toward the turbolift as Kim made his way to his quarters.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Varro Generational Ship
Astrometrics Lab
Stardate 213660.7
18 January 2375 0831 hrs

"Kind of puts a Borg cube to shame, doesn’t it?" Kim asked Seven conversationally the next morning, indicating the computer- generated representation of the Varro ship and Voyager on the main screen in Astrometrics.

"The vessel’s technology is impressive," Seven admitted, "but its construction is haphazard."

"I guess they sort of improvised as they went along," Kim said.

"You have been working closely with a Varro woman for two weeks," Seven said after a short pause.

"Her name’s Tal," Kim said.

"Are you attracted to her?" Seven asked.

"Seven, are you jealous?" Kim asked, grinning.

"You have not answered my question," Seven said.

"Don’t worry," Kim said. "She won’t come between us."

"Good," Seven said. Kim grinned. "What have the two of you been doing together?"

"Nothing," Kim said quickly.

"You are lying to me," Seven said accusingly.

"Really," Kim said, "we aren’t doing anything. We’re just working on the repairs."

"Your respiration has increased," Seven observed. "Your pulse is erratic. You are exhibiting a fear response. These symptoms do not indicate a normal situation."

"Seven, you have to trust me," Kim said. "Nothing inappropriate is happening between me and Tal."

"I will accept your explanation," Seven said after a brief pause, "pending further evidence to support or contradict it."

"Tom was asking about you yesterday," he said after a moment.

"Indeed," Seven said, looking at Kim playfully. "Are you jealous?"

"No!" Kim exclaimed, unprepared for the attack. "That wasn’t fair, Seven."

"Expecting the universe to treat you fairly because you’re a good person," Seven said, "is like expecting a bull not to charge you because you’re a vegetarian."

Kim looked at Seven, confused. "Where’d you hear that?"

Seven’s mood soured. "My," she said, "my papa used to say that."

Kim put his arm around Seven’s waist. "Are you OK?" he asked.

"I will recover," Seven said, her tone saying otherwise.

"Do you want to take a break?" Kim asked.

"I believe that would be acceptable," Seven said softly.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Varro Generational Ship
Stardate 213660.8
18 January 2375 0915 hrs

Neelix stepped from the turbolift doors, hurrying to catch up to the dark-skinned Vulcan chief of Security, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok.

"Commander!" Neelix called. "I wanted to share a few security concerns. A few days ago, I noticed some mess hall supplies had disappeared: liquid nutriments, emergency rations… nothing to warrant a red alert, but… I took the liberty of investigating on my own, and look at this." Neelix handed Tuvok a PADD, which the Vulcan took dispassionately.

"Unauthorized use of the mess hall replicators is hardly a felony," Tuvok said dismissively.

"It wasn’t just unauthorized," Neelix argued. Tuvok glanced back at the PADD. "Someone accessed the ship’s environmental controls from that station." Neelix pointed out the relevant passage on the PADD’s display.

"Life support was routed to Jefferies tube G33, Deck Fifteen," Tuvok observed.

"Isn’t that section normally uninhabited?" Neelix asked, knowing he now had Tuvok’s undivided attention.

"Whoever did this encoded the procedure so it wouldn’t be detected," Tuvok said, lowering the PADD. The pair walked off, headed for Deck Fifteen.

Inside the Jefferies tube, a floor hatch opened. Tuvok climbed into the tube, shining his wrist-mounted light around, searching for intruders. The lights came to rest upon a pile of protien bars in a blanket. Tuvok kneeled beside the evidence, picking up one of the bars. He inspected it, shining his light on the ordinary- looking item.

"It appears we have intruders," Tuvok said as Neelix kneeled beside him and picked up a small, metallic object.

"It looks like a Varro scanning device," Neelix said. Tuvok took a tricorder from his belt and scanned the area.

"Breathable oxygen is confined to this chamber," Tuvok said. "And the area immediately behind this hatch." The pair looked at the hatch in question. "Stand back," Tuvok said.

Tuvok drew his phaser and made his way to the hatch, keeping the weapon trained on his target. He worked the controls, and the panel opened. A young Varro man was curled up within the small compartment, his knees to his chest. The man gasped. Tuvok looked at Neelix, and they both look at the Varro man.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Varro Generational Ship
Interrogation Room
Stardate 213660.9
18 January 2375 1008 hrs

The young Varro man was seated at a table in the security offices, looking straight ahead. The blankets, protien bars, scanning device and a drink container were arranged on the table before him. Tuvok stood to the man’s right, while Chakotay paced behind him.

"Welcome aboard," Chakotay said. "Normally, we’d like to know something about our guests before we invite them to join us." He stopped, standing between Tuvok and the Varro. "Care to tell us how you got here?"

"Through a docking port," the Varro said.

"Your entry," Tuvok said, "would have triggered an intruder alert."

"Your technology is easy to circumvent," the man said. "It doesn’t matter how I got here." He looked at Chakotay. "I’m not going back."

"That remains to be seen," Chakotay said. "You haven’t explained your reasons for leaving the generation ship."

"I’m not a criminal, if that’s what you think," the man said. "If you leave me at the next inhabited system, I’ll manage from there."

"Your next stop is the brig," Chakotay said, "unless you answer my questions."

The man paused, considering Chakotay’s words. "I came aboard four days ago," he finally said, "with one of the work details."

"Why?" Chakotay asked.

"Our ship’s not the paradise our leaders make it out to be," the man said. "There are thousands of us who feel like prisoners, and… others who…" He trailed off, his suspicions rising.

"Continue," Tuvok said.

"There are," the man said cautiously, "rumors of a… movement. People who want to leave the ship. Some of them are willing to take violent action."

"Can you be more specific?" Tuvok asked.

"This is a trick," the man said, his demeanor changing drastically.

"A… trick?" Tuvok asked, Chakotay glancing at him.

"You’re trying to get me to expose the movement," the man said. "Our leaders put you up to this."

"On the contrary," Tuvok said. "We haven’t even told them we found you."

"You’re lying," the man said, looking straight ahead once more.

"I don’t have time for a debate," Chakotay interrupted. "You asked for asylum, fine. I’ll consider it. But only if you answer my questions. What movement?"

When the man didn’t answer, Chakotay said to Tuvok, "Contact the Varro authorities. Let them know we’ve… found one of their people. And take him to the brig."

Tuvok walked behind Chakotay to the man, who got up, walked toward the door, then turned and faced Chakotay.

"You can tell the authorities," the man said, "that I’m not the only one. There are hundreds more like me." The man continued through the door, followed by Tuvok, who shared a look with Chakotay.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Docked to the Varro Generational Ship
Janeway’s Quarters
Stardate 213662.0
18 January 2375 1918 hrs

Janeway sat at the table in her quarters with Chakotay, their dinner arranged before them.

"I’d like to find out," Chakotay said, "if there are more stowaways aboard. Perhaps we could run a shipwide scan, particularly in the uninhabited areas."

"They might have anticipated that," Janeway said between bites, "and set up a shield or some kind of interference. A physical search might be more productive, assuming there are even any other stowaways aboard at all."

"This movement of theirs concerns me," Chakotay said. "If there are as many of them as our guest claims, then it could be a problem for us if they try to seize the ship."

"Can we even assume that’s their goal?" Janeway asked. "I think it’s more likely they have another plan, considering—"

"Kim to Janeway," the voice of Harry Kim interrupted over the comm system.

"Janeway here," she sighed, tapping her communicator.

"Captain, could you join us in Astrometrics?" Kim asked. "We’ve found something you and Jippeq might find interesting."

"On my way," Janeway said, rising from her chair as she cut the signal. Looking to Chakotay, she said, "We’ll have to finish this conversation later, I’m afraid." She turned and exited her quarters.

Janeway and the Varro representative to Voyager, Jippeq, entered the Astrometrics lab, having been called mysteriously by Seven of Nine, Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Torres.

"Captain," Kim said.

"What have you got?" Janeway asked. Kim, Seven and Torres looked toward the main viewscreen in Astrometrics, and Janeway and Jippeq stood behind them.

"We’ve detected microfractures in one of Voyager‘s docking ports," Torres said.

"Microfractures," Jippeq observed. "That’s the same problem we’ve been having."

"A coincidence?" Janeway asked, not believing the possibility herself, but knowing it must be considered.

"We had suspicions it wasn’t," Kim said. "Seven confirmed them."

"Observe," Seven said, keying in a command to the computer. A crystalline-looking object with four spindly legs, bobbing up and down rhytmically appeared on the screen. "Silicon-based parasites which feed on duranium alloys. Apparently, they began replicating on the Varro ship’s hull several months ago, and then migrated to Voyager."

"We analyzed them and found artificial gene sequences," Torres said. "The parasites are synthetic."

"They may have been created," Seven said to Jippeq, "by someone aboard your vessel."

"Sabotage?" Jippeq asked incredulously. "I don’t believe it."

"Perhaps not everyone is content to be in your Collective," Seven said harshly.

Jippeq looked grimly at the display for a long while, then said, "I will have our computers searched. If whoever is responsible for this is on our vessel, we’ll find them."

"Seven," Kim said as he and Seven of Nine exited the Astrometrics lab several minutes later, "we need to talk about us."

"You are having an illicit affair with that Varro female," Seven said bitterly. "You are terminating our affiliation."

"No," Kim said, shocked. "There’s nothing happening between us. Her name’s Tal, and what gave you the idea there was?"

"The two of you," Seven said, "would spend a great deal of time together, in seclusion, on the Varro ship. You do not discuss what you do together, and have become particularly evasive and unsettled when I mention her."

"Seven," Kim said, stopping, "I didn’t mention anything because what we we’re doing is extremely dull. We were inspecting fuel manifolds, for crying out loud!"

"Then why do you react in such a nervous manner when she is mentioned?" Seven asked.

Kim sighed, knowing there was no way to defuse the situation without being totally honest. "She came on to me," he said.

"’Came on to you’?" Seven echoed, not understanding the reference.

"She propositioned me, more or less," Kim said.

"And you complied," Seven said distastefully.

"No, I didn’t," Kim said. "I told her that I was already involved with you, and that I wouldn’t do anything to risk that."

"Then why," Seven asked, "did you not tell me about that when I would inquire about your days with her?"

"I was embarrassed," Kim admitted. "I was tempted by her offer, and I was ashamed that I could entertain such thoughts even briefly. I didn’t want you to know. I wasn’t sure if you’d understand. In the future, I won’t keep any secrets from you."

"See that you do not," Seven said, and the two continued down the corridor.

"Why were you so sure I was going to leave you for her?" Kim asked as they continued down the corridor.

"It is a truth in my life," Seven began, "that I lose everyone I care for. My parents were taken from me by the Borg. I was taken from the Borg by Voyager. One was killed saving Voyager from the Borg. I do not wish to lose you, too."

The two stopped in front of the turbolift doors.

"Seven," Kim said, "you’re not going to lose me."

"Janeway to Kim," the captain’s voice issued over the comm system.

"Kim here, captain," he said, tapping his communicator.

"Join me in my ready room, Mr. Kim," Janeway said.

"Aye, captain," Kim said. "On my way." The line went dead.

"Ensign, have a seat," Janeway said, indicating the couch under the forward-facing windows in her ready room.

"They’ve found the person who they think is responsible for designing the parasites," Janeway said as they sat on the couch. "It’s Tal." Kim stared at Janeway in stunned silence. "You know her better than anyone on this ship," she continued, "so I want you to be present at her interrogation in a few minutes. But before you do, I want it on the record: are you involved in this in any way?"

Kim looked at his commanding officer for a moment, hurt that she felt the need to ask at all, then said earnestly, "I understand why you need to ask that, and the answer is no."

"I’ll take you at your word, ensign," Janeway said, "but if it should come out that you are involved, there will be hell to pay."

"It won’t," Kim assured her.

"Good," Janeway said. "Let’s not keep Jippeq waiting."

Jippeq stalked around the briefing room table, a Varro guard at the door, with Janeway, Tuvok and Kim eyeing Tal. "There’s no point in lying," Jippeq said. "We found a schematic for the parasite on your personal database. You realize this could destroy our ship, our home?"

"To some of us," Tal said, "it’s more like a prison."

"So you’ve resorted to sabotage," Jippeq said, then indicated Kim. "Did he help you?"

"We simply worked together on the repairs," Tal said. "He had nothing to do with our movement."

"Movement?" Kim asked, confused.

"Tell them," Tal said to Jippeq.

"It’s none of their concern," Jippeq said.

"You want our help," Janeway said, "you’ll need to explain."

"She’s referring to a small group of dissidents," Jippeq said.

"It’s not a small group," Tal said. "There are hundreds of us."

"What are you trying to achieve?" Janeway asked.

"Our freedom," Tal said. "The right to live as we choose. To go where we choose."

"How will you accomplish that," Tuvok asked, "if your vessel is destroyed?"

"We’re not trying to destroy it," Tal replied. "We’re trying to dismantle it. The parasites weren’t placed randomly. They’re targeting the linkages between segments. Each segment will become its own ship. People can decide whether to go or stay."

"You’re destroying the work of every generation that came before you!" Jippeq spat. "Our ship isn’t just a collection of modules. It’s an expression of unity, tradition. For the sake of our history we must respect the rights of—"

"Of the majority," Tal interrupted.

"Yes," Jippeq agreed.

"What about the rights of the minority?" Tal asked.

"Tal," Janeway began, "if those segments come apart, there could be decompressive explosions… most likely casualties. Is that what you want?" Tal remained silent, her expression speaking volumes – she didn’t want to see anyone hurt. "You know more about the parasites than we do. You could help us."

"Captain," Jippeq objected, "she’s a criminal."

"And maybe your only chance of stopping a catastrophe," Janeway countered. She turned to Tal. "Set up a data-link with Voyager. We’ll do what we can from our end."

Tal paused, unsure of what to do. Finally, she looked to Janeway. "I’ll help you slow down the parasites so you can evacuate the segments in danger… nothing more."

"Let’s get started," Jippeq said, his tone hostile.

Tal and Jippeq left the room. Janeway turned to Tuvok, nodded, and he left as well. Janeway and Kim made their way to the bridge and took their places. Minutes later, the ship rocked from an explosion. The alert klaxon sounded, the lights darkened and the red alert indicators began blinking.

"I’m detecting structural breaches on the Varro ship," Kim said.

"Their shields are weakening," Tuvok reported.

"One of the junctions is about to decompress," Kim said.

"Onscreen," Janeway ordered. The viewscreen changed to show several pieces of the Varro ship’s exoskeleton blow off the main superstructure. One of the pieces struck Voyager, lighting the shield bubble.

Chakotay flinched as an explosion from the ceiling behind his left shoulder showered him in sparks from the feedback as Voyager shuddered from the impact.

"Mr. Paris," Janeway said, "release the docking clamps. Back us away."

Paris entered the commands, but the systems didn’t respond. "Docking controls are off-line," he said. "I can’t break us free."

Voyager shuddered again as a floor panel erupted in sparks. Janeway and Chakotay fell into their seats. Janeway watched the viewscreen as set after set of support beams were blown away on the Varro ship, striking Voyager‘s shields and causing more explosions on the bridge.

"Their shields are continuing to weaken," Tuvok said. "The superstructure will collapse in less than three minutes."

"If that happens while we’re still docked…" Chakotay began, but was interrupted by the shudder of another impact.

"Keep trying to break free," Janeway ordered, then taps her comm badge. "Janeway to Varro control room. What’s your status?"

"Tal was able to slow the parasites’ growth with a polaron surge," Jippeq’s voice answered over the comm link, "but the junctions are still destabilizing."

"How much longer until you have evacuated the affected areas?" Janeway asked.

"We need another two minutes at least," Tal’s voice answered.

"I’ve got the docking controls back online," Paris said.

"Initiate decompression sequence," Chakotay ordered.

"Wait," Kim said. "If we stay where we are and extend Voyager‘s structural integrity field around the Varro ship, we could buy them another minute or two. They could finish the evacuation."

"However," Tuvok interjected, "if an explosion occurs while both ships are inside the field, neither vessel will survive."

"We can do it, captain," Kim said.

"Keep us where we are," Janeway said. "Janeway to Engineering."

"Torres here," the chief engineer’s voice came over the comm system.

"Divert all available power to the integrity field," Janeway said, "and extend it around the Varro ship."

"Understood," Torres’ voice said.

In the Varro control room, sparks and debris flew as explosions rocked the ship. "Voyager is reinforcing our shields," Tal said. "Surprising, isn’t it? A ship of outsiders, risking their lives to save ours."

"They’re… unusual people," Jippeq admitted.

"Or maybe the galaxy isn’t as hostile as you think," Tal retorted, then turned to her console. "All junctions clear." Jippeq does nothing. "What are you waiting for? Tell Voyager to move away!"

"I’m initiating another polaron surge," Jippeq said. "We can destroy these parasites."

"It’s too late!" Tal exclaimed. "You’ll only destroy Voyager along with our ship! Let them go. Let us go." Jippeq stood aside. "Tal to Voyager. The evacuation’s complete. Disengage your structural field and move to a safe distance."

On Voyager‘s bridge, Paris looked to Janeway. She nodded, and he turned back to his console. "Releasing docking clamps," Paris said. Voyager undocked, and pulled away as the Varro ship broke into its component modules, which also pulled away from the carnage.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 213662.4
Most of the Varro have opted to stay together, traveling in separate ships. But the dissident group has been granted permission to break away and find their own path. We wish them luck.

U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Astrometrics Lab
Stardate 213664.9
19 January 2375 1515 hrs

"Seven," Kim said as he entered the Astrometrics lab with Lieutenant Dan Phillips, a Challenger survivor who had also been assigned to work in the lab.

"Harry," Seven acknowledged, then glanced at Phillips. "My duty shift is not complete for another forty-five minutes. You are extremely early."

"Nope, he’s right on time," Kim said with a grin. "He volunteered to take over the rest of your shift so we can spend some more time together."

"Indeed," Seven said. "Thank you, lieutenant."

"No problem, Seven," Phillips said. "You two kids go and have a good time."

"Kids?" Seven asked Kim as they stepped into the corridor. "Harry, we are nearly the same subjective age as Lieutenant Phillips. Why would he refer to us as children?"

"He was making a joke, Seven," Kim said. "It’s not important. I’ve got something special planned for us this evening."

"Indeed," Seven said. "Is this to make up for causing me to believe that you were having an illicit affair with that Varro female?"

"For the last time, Seven," Kim said, "her name’s Tal. And yes, that’s part of why we’re going to the holodeck. I think we need to determine what went wrong in the last few days, so we can try and avoid making the same mistakes in the future."

"That is an acceptable course of action," Seven said. "Let us not delay."


Category : K/7Version 2.0Voyager


One Response

  1. Administrator says:

    Previous feedback received:

    Harro de Jong (05 Mar 2000)
    I like this story. A much more acceptable turn of events than "The Disease" was, with a few nice continuity touches (mentioning Seven’s father, and a Challenger crewmember), too.

    Jarhead (06 Mar 2000)
    I thought I’d get my two cents in about your rewrite.

    It’s just right. Now it would have made a much better episode than the original "Disease".

    Lesa L. (11 Mar 2000)
    Everything flowed well and I’m looking forward to your next story.

    Summer (11 Mar 2000)
    What a difference a few scenes make. I really liked the revised version of "Breakdown," Jeffrey… The added scenes that you included gives your story more of an emotional punch.

    Daniel Yum (11 Mar 2000)
    I like our resident perfectionist Mr. Harlan’s version of "The Disease" very much as well. Only if TPTB would learn…

    Thomas Lee (20 Mar 2000)
    "Breakdown" was the story that "The Disease" could — and should — have been. Read full review

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