Stardate 214475.0 (Thurs 13 Nov 2375): Captain Janeway is dead. So are Tuvok, Tom Paris and Seven of Nine, killed while fleeing the Borg Queen in a transwarp conduit from Unimatrix 01. The Doctor’s program was irreparably damaged when the Delta Flyer was destroyed by the Queen’s vessel. But, could the Harry Kim of this timeline be the one whom Kes has been searching for these past months? Only to add to her uncertainty, they are joined by yet another Harry Kim—a man who is lost, adrift between the timelines, searching for his own home. He has been tortured, experimented on, and worse, yet his heart also calls to Kes, who knows some of what he has been through. When the time comes, can Kes make the choice between two Harry Kims?
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
13 August 2375 0853 hrs
The Starship Voyager waited in deep space, motionless, for the return of the Delta Flyer. The smaller craft had departed with several of the senior staff members—Captain Janeway, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Ensign Paris and the Doctor—on a mission into the heart of Borg space to rescue Seven of Nine from the Borg Queen. On the bridge, the tension was palpable.
"I’m picking up transwarp signatures," Ensign Harry Kim called from the Ops station at the rear of the bridge. Chakotay, standing in front of his chair at the heart of the bridge, turned to him. "Thirty thousand kilometers off our port bow," he continued.
"Battle stations," Chakotay ordered. The bridge lighting darkened, and the alert klaxon sounded.
There was a flash of green light, and the Delta Flyer began to emerge from the conduit. Suddenly, there was a blinding flash from the conduit’s threshold. When the glare subsided, the Flyer was nowhere to be seen.
"What the hell just happened?" Chakotay demanded.
"The conduit destablized," Harry said, reading his instruments in horror. "The… the Flyer‘s been destroyed."
"Life signs?" Chakotay asked.
"I’m not reading any," Harry replied. "Sir, I’m picking up Borg signatures. Lots of them."
"Source?" Chakotay asked.
"The conduit!" Harry responded.
"I thought it collapsed," Chakotay said.
"So did I," Harry admitted.
"Stand by weapons," Chakotay ordered.
There was another blinding flash from the conduit’s threshold, but more like the earlier explosion than the Flyer‘s comparatively less spectacular exit. Instead of the invincible Borg vessel they’d expected, the bridge crew watched in shock as a massive cloud of debris exited into normal space.
Captain’s Log, Stardate 213620.2
Commander Chakotay recording. After recovering the debris of the Delta Flyer and the Borg vessel that destroyed it, memorial services were held for Captain Janeway, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, and Ensign Paris. The Doctor’s mobile emitter was also located, but it was damaged in the explosion, and his program irreparably corrupted.
I’ve taken command of Voyager following the captain’s death, and have named Lieutenant Commander Everett Dyson, whom we rescued from the wreckage of the Challenger a few months ago, as my first officer. Lieutenant Ayala has taken over as chief of security, and I’ve awarded Ensign Kim a brevet promotion to lieutenant and named him my second officer. Dr. Danielle Marcus, also from the Challenger, has taken over in sickbay, and Lieutenant Baytart has stepped into Mr. Paris’ seat as helmsman.
We managed to salvage the transwarp coils from both the Flyer and the Borg ship, and between them we were able to travel an additional twenty thousand light years before they gave out, leaving us a good fifteen years closer to home.
Two years later…
Captain’s log, Stardate 215475.0
An unexpected face from the past has reentered our lives. Sort of. During lunch, Kes appeared in the mess hall. She claims to be from another timeline. Dr. Marcus is examining her in sickbay; maybe she can find some evidence to support our visitor’s claim.
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
22 June 2377 1231 hrs
"Looks like you’re right," Danielle Marcus said, brushing a lock of her wavy blonde hair aside as she read the information from the console at the foot of sickbay’s main biobed. "Two lungs, abnormally long lifespan for an Ocampan, an odd variation in the quantum signature of your body’s cells… You’re definitely not from around here."
"I explained it when I first arrived on board," Kes replied. "I’m from another timeline."
"It’s not the first time we’ve heard that story," Danielle said. "We just wanted to make sure you were really who and what you said. We had an… unpleasant run-in with another Kes not too long ago."
Kes nodded. She’d heard this story before. "I’ve been wondering," she said, "how did you lose the Doctor?"
"About two years ago," Danielle began sadly, "during an incident with the Borg. He was on the Delta Flyer with Captain Janeway, Tuvok, Tom Paris and Seven of Nine when it was destroyed by the Borg Queen. There weren’t any survivors, and his emitter was damaged in the explosion."
"I’m sorry," Kes said.
"Harry and B’Elanna took it pretty hard," Danielle continued. "He’d been dating Seven, and she was involved with Tom." She paused introspectively for a moment, then straightened and continued, "Well, we’re done down here. Captain Chakotay wanted to see you in his ready room as soon as possible."
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
22 June 2377 1247 hrs
"Enter," Chakotay’s voice issued from the speaker imbedded in the panel at the ready room door on the bridge. The double doors hissed apart, and Kes stepped inside. Just as the doors closed behind her, Kes turned sharply around in shock.
Yes, Harry Kim was still on the bridge at the Ops station in a red- shirted uniform like those worn by the rest of the crew in this timeline. But seated across the desk from the gold-shirted Chakotay was… Harry Kim. It was unmistakably the same person, but the second Harry was wearing the black uniform jumpsuit with gold shoulders that she’d seen in so many other timelines.
"Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, Kes," Chakotay said warmly from his seat behind the curved desk. "You’re not the only one here from another timeline. I’d like you to meet Ensign Harry Kim, of another Starship Voyager. He arrived here about two days ago."
"We found some schematics for what we named the transdimensional relocator, or TDR, in some alien ruins," the other Harry Kim explained. "It was supposed to be able to return me to my original timeline, but it was damaged in the first timeline we visited. When I activated it to return home, it sent me to a random timeline. I’ve been jumping around aimlessly for almost a year now, hoping that I’ll be lucky enough to get back home."
"So," Chakotay began, turning his attention to Kes, "how did you come to start travelling across timelines?"
"Well," Kes answered, "it seems that I’m evolving into a Q."
Chakotay and Harry both stared at her, not sure if she was serious, or if they should start laughing hysterically.
"Are," Chakotay began uncertainly, "are you serious?"
Kes almost chuckled. "Very," she replied.
"How did you find that out?" Harry asked.
"Q told me a few months ago," Kes said. "Well, actually, his son told me."
It took all of Chakotay and Harry’s willpower not to gape at a woman whom they remembered from their own timelines as the Doctor’s quiet, unassuming assistant.
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
26 June 2377 1323 hrs
Kes sat in the near-empty mess hall, an empty cup on the table before her. Her concentration on the object was so intense, she didn’t hear the doors hiss open, nor did she sense the mind of the alternate Harry Kim as he stepped through the entry.
Before Harry could say a word in greeting to his fellow timeline- traveler, his voice caught in his throat in shock and surprise. The empty cup was now floating in mid-air above the table in front of Kes. Granted, he’d seen a great deal of unusual and, often, flat-out bizarre things, particularly in the last seven years, but to see something like this coming from someone he considered a friend—even if they really hadn’t actually met until a few days ago —was still a jarring experience.
"Wow," Harry muttered, awe-struck. The cup clattered to the tabletop and Kes spun, her concentration shattered. "Sorry," he said. "I didn’t mean to startle you."
"It’s all right," Kes said. "I was just getting in some practice with my abilities."
"Mind if I join you?" Harry asked.
"Please," Kes replied, gesturing to the seat across the table from hers.
A brief silence passed between them before Kim began, "I was wondering… does this timeline’s history get to you as much as it does to me?"
"A little," Kes admitted. "It’s very strange to see this ship without Captain Janeway or the others, especially since I just saw her alive and well only a few days ago."
"That’s exactly what I mean," Harry admitted. "Sure, some of the timelines I’ve been to have been pretty radical so far; macrocosms everywhere and not a single crewman in sight, people who I knew as my friends conducting experiments on me… Even as long as I’ve been doing this now, it’s still a lot to take in every time."
"One of the timelines I visited, the Borg were assimilating the ship as I arrived," Kes said sadly. "Another, Captain Janeway had been revealed as the head of a sabotage ring on Voyager. I know the feeling. At least I think I’m finally getting a little control over which timelines I jump to."
"Lucky for you," Harry said. "I don’t have any control at all. How do you jump, anyhow? I’d imagine it’s linked to your… evolution, but how do you do it?"
"I just think about leaving, and I do," Kes said. "When I first started, I was jumping pretty randomly, too, since I just thought about ‘Voyager‘ and jumped to another timeline’s Voyager. Now I can think about conditions or people for something more specific, and find myself in a timeline that matches those criteria." Suddenly, her head perked up as though someone had just called her name from across the room, and she looked expectantly at the doorway that Harry had just passed through moments earlier.
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"Neelix and Ha–," Kes began, but stopped herself. "I mean, Neelix and your counterpart from this timeline are about to walk into the room." And at that moment, the doors parted and the two people in question did just that.
"That’s amazing," Harry said to Kes, once more awe-struck with her abilities.
"No," Kes said wryly, "that’s telepathy." Harry chuckled as the newcomers approached the table.
"Would it be all right," Neelix began, "if we joined you?"
"Sure," Harry replied. "That is, if it’s all right with you, Kes."
Kes smiled and nodded, and Neelix and this timeline’s Harry Kim sat down at the table—Harry making an obvious effort to sit next to Kes rather than his own extradimensional counterpart.
The alternate Harry looked at his counterpart from this timeline appraisingly, then said, "You know what the first thing I noticed about this timeline was, Kes? The uniforms. In my timeline, Starfleet abandoned that design more than a century ago, and switched engineering and ship’s services from red to gold—and vice versa for command—almost twenty years back."
"The uniforms from my timeline were much different," Kes commented. "Where I come from, Starfleet officers wear heavy red jackets over color-coded turtlenecks, and there’s more than just three division colors."
"Huh," the alternate Harry said. "They used to wear something like that in my timeline, too. They switched to it after getting rid of the uniform that replaced that one." He pointed to his counterpart. "That style stayed in service for nearly a century, in my timeline."
"That sounds bizarre," this timeline’s Harry said. "How could anyone keep track of who was in Starfleet or not? When you keep changing the uniforms every few years, you’d think it would get a little confusing."
"Maybe," the alternate Harry admitted. "But at least the general styles stayed fairly constant, with only the rare radical changes."
As the conversation continued, Kes noticed this timeline’s Harry and his counterpart both begin to relax around her. They traded anecdotes, compared the similarities and differences of their respective timelines, and even managed to reminisce on similar events among their three timelines. Kes noted that, despite his sorrow over the loss of Seven of Nine two years earlier, this timeline’s Harry had come to grips with his situation, and his life had moved on. Maybe, she thought, just maybe this timeline was the one she’d been searching for.
But, then again, there was also his counterpart. Their personalities were very similar, of course, given their near-identical backgrounds up until about two years ago. And unlike this timeline’s Lieutenant Kim, the alternate Ensign Kim shared something with Kes that no one she’d ever met before had: he, too, knew what it was like to drift, lost among the timelines, looking for home.
Kes didn’t want to rush things. If she pushed too hard, she might inadvertently drive away one or both of them, and destroy the very thing she sought. With that in mind, she smiled and excused herself from the table and the impromptu conversation that had grown around her. She walked into the corridor and made her way back to her quarters.
As the next few hours passed, Kes repeatedly debated with herself the merits of approaching one or both of the Harry Kims on this Voyager now as opposed to later. Back and forth the arguments in her head went, and, ultimately, she chose to take a chance. She reached out with her mind, and felt this timeline’s Harry was not only still awake, but roaming the corridors of the ship, apparently restless.
She slipped out of her quarters and quickly came to a point a few meters down the corridor from him. She saw him turn a corner, but stopped short of doing so herself when she saw him ringing the chime at B’Elanna Torres’ quarters. She waited, peering discreetly around the corner in the otherwise deserted corridor, and watched. B’Elanna, wearing only a nightgown, answered the door.
"Harry!" she exclaimed, apparently not expecting him. "What are you doing here?"
"I couldn’t sleep," he admitted. "I… I thought I’d stop by and see you."
To Kes’ surprise, B’Elanna wrapped her arms around Harry’s neck, then began lightly biting on his earlobe. "I missed you too," B’Elanna said.
Harry wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her more tightly to him, and began to bite at her neck with passion. The pair stepped as one into B’Elanna’s quarters, and the doors slid shut behind them.
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
27 June 2377 1434 hrs
"Kes," the alternate Harry Kim said as he approached the Ocampan in the corridor moments after she had left her quarters. "Just the person I’ve been looking for."
"Hi, Harry," Kes replied in greeting. "How are you?"
"Not bad," Harry admitted. "I was wondering, how long are you planning to stay in this timeline?"
"I’m not sure," Kes admitted. "Why do you ask?"
"I’ve been thinking," Harry said. "Maybe we could team up. You said you’re not looking for a specific timeline, just one that ‘felt right.’ I am looking for a specific timeline. My TDR has been jumping me around more or less at random, but you said you could control your jumps. Maybe if we stayed together and I told you more about my timeline, you could help me get home. And maybe, when we got there, it would ‘feel right’ to you."
Before Kes could respond to this serendipitous turn of events, she suddenly felt a very unusual sensation. She looked at Harry in confusion, and a moment later a rip in the fabric of spacetime opened up in the corridor before them.
"Oh, god," Harry breathed. "Not them." He turned to Kes and grabbed her by the arm. "Run!" he yelled, and began to drag her in his wake toward the nearest turbolift. Just as the lift doors closed, Kes saw a huge arachnid form step through the rift.
"Bridge," Harry commanded the lift, and a moment later it began to move upward.
"Intruder alert," Ayala said from his position at the Tactical station on the bridge. "Deck Four. Security teams investigate and report."
The turbolift doors parted and Harry and Kes stepped onto the bridge as Chakotay asked, "What’s going on down there?"
"Spider aliens," Harry said as he approached his counterpart from this timeline at the Ops station.
"’Spider aliens?’" this timeline’s Harry Kim echoed.
"That’s what I’ve been calling them," the alternate Harry said. "They’re an arachnid race from another timeline. In my timeline, their counterparts were long dead; it was in their planet’s ruins that we found the schematics for the TDRs. When this group learned about me, they weren’t pleased. They’ve been hunting me for months."
"Why didn’t you mention them before?" Chakotay asked sharply. "If you’d given us some warning, we would have been ready for this."
"I’m sorry about that," the alternate Harry replied. "I don’t usually stay anywhere this long, so it’s rarely been a problem."
"I’ll handle them," Kes announced.
"What?" Ayala asked in shock. "By yourself? No way, Kes. Let my people handle this."
"I can handle them," Kes replied. "I’ve already started."
Ayala looked at a message from the security team on-site that was scrolling across the panel in front of him. "Unbelievable," he breathed, then looked up to address Chakotay. "Captain… the intruders… they’re apparently frozen in place, and completely disoriented."
"Is that your doing?" Chakotay asked Kes.
"Yes," she said. "I’ve disoriented them with my telepathy, and I’m telekinetically holding them in place." She turned to look at the time-traveling Harry, and said, "You should go. I’ll take care of our ‘guests,’ then I’ll follow you to whatever timeline you end up in and make sure you’re safe."
Harry looked at her seriously, then reached down to the TDR he kept constantly attached to his forearm and pressed a button. A moment later, he vanished. Kes turned, and made her way back across the bridge and into the waiting turbolift.
Kes found the security team standing a few meters away from several of what the now-departed Harry had called "spider aliens." The creatures, most assuredly arachnid in origin, stood stock still in the center of the corridor. Kes purposefully stepped past the security detail and slowly, but with certainty, approached the intruders.
You’re confused, she began to "say" to them with her telepathy. You can’t move. I’ve done this to you, to prevent you from hurting anyone. I want you to leave this timeline, and I want you to call off your pursuit of the human.
Never! an alien voice retorted in her head. He has desecrated the home of our deceased others! He has stolen technology that does not belong to him!
You will do as I’ve asked, Kes replied. You’ve seen only a fraction of what I can do; you don’t want to make me angry.
We will not harm any from this reality, the voice said. But do not interfere with our quarrel with this… human. Another rip in spacetime opened behind the intruders.
"Look out," one of the security guards warned. But instead of more arachnids pouring through, the group in the corridor stepped through and vanished.
Did they already know which timeline Harry had jumped to? Kes wondered. There was no time for good-byes. If the arachnids had followed Harry, he was in grave danger. If they hadn’t, and were, instead, regrouping until they determined his current whereabouts, it was still better to be safe than sorry.
And, with that, Kes’ moment of truth had arrived. She concentrated on her recent memory of him from the bridge just before he jumped to another timeline, and willed herself to join him.
There was the now-familiar burst of light and sound, and Kes found herself in a small, dark room that she didn’t recognize. She turned, and saw Harry. He was bound to a chair, bruised, bloodied, and unconscious.
Without warning, she felt an impossibly strong hand grip the base of her neck at the shoulder, cutting off the arterial flow to her brain. The last thought that crossed her mind before falling unconscious was that she never even sensed the mind of her attacker.
As Kes slumped to the ground, unconscious from his neck pinch, Tuvok, first officer of the Imperial Starship Voyager, looked down at her youthful features.
"Fascinating," he said, simply.
To be continued…