Stardate 54491.4 (Wed 19 Nov 2375): The Mirror Universe. To many, there is but one. But as Kes has just learned, there are as many variant timelines of the Mirror Universe as there are of her own. In a universe where the Terran Empire never fell, and the I.S.S. Voyager was pulled to the Delta Quadrant while chasing a group of Maquis rebels allied with the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, Kes must rescue the Harry Kim of another universe, whom she followed to this nightmare reality, from a torturous interrogation at the hands of Voyager first officer Tuvok. But another consideration has entered the picture: another version of herself, nearing the end of her Ocampan lifespan and bound in slavery aboard the starship. Can Kes save both of them before she, too, falls victim to the scourge of the spaceways, Kathryn Janeway?
28 June 2377 1136 hrs
Kes’ eyes slowly began to open, and her eyes struggled to adjust to the dark lighting in which she now found herself immersed. She looked around, and realized that she was laying on a bed in someone’s quarters, surrounded by both the familiar and the strange. And she wasn’t alone.
As her eyes continued to adjust, she turned to the sound of someone breathing next to her in the bed. It was an older woman, with flowing silver hair, curled up in a peaceful sleep. Her back was to Kes, so her identity remained a mystery, and Kes debated waking her.
She moved to the end of the bed and looked around the room once more. It looked very much like Tuvok’s quarters aboard many of the Voyagers she’d encountered. There were ceremonial candle arrangements which he often used in his meditations, but there were also a number of differences. Displayed on the far wall near the doorway leading to the corridor outside was a pair of crossed Vulcan lirpa. On the small table near the couch, where the Tuvok she knew kept his Kal-toh set, there was instead the bust of a Vulcan man with whom she was not familiar, an ancient helmet carved atop his head.
The bedsheets rustled behind her, and Kes turned to see the room’s other occupant sitting up in the bed.
"Who—who are you?" the older woman asked fearfully.
Kes recognized the woman instantly. It was her own counterpart from this timeline, now an aging, seven-year-old woman.
"I’m you," Kes said. "I’ve come here from another timeline."
"How is that possible?" the older Kes asked.
"We Ocampans have many untapped abilities," Kes explained. "I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of our ancestors’ mental powers, which led you to the surface, to Neelix, and ultimately to Voyager."
The older Kes choked back a sob. "I should never have defied the Caretaker," she whispered.
"What?" Kes asked, shocked to hear her own counterpart say such a thing. "Why?"
"As soon as I reached the surface," Kes’ older self explained, "I was captured and enslaved by the Kazon. Neelix managed to rescue me as he’d promised, with the unwitting help of Voyager‘s crew, but when they had finished slaughtering the Kazon, Tuvok killed Neelix for tricking them. They would have killed me, too, but Tuvok was intrigued by me, and took me as a kind of… pet. I’ve been here ever since."
Kes was stunned. This was nothing like the behavior she’d seen from her friends’ counterparts in any of the other timelines she’d visited. She recalled reading something about a "Mirror Universe" that a few Starfleet personnel from her own universe had encountered, and it dawned on her that, perhaps, she was there as well.
"Voyager was following a Maquis ship in my timeline," Kes began. "Do the Maquis exist here as well?"
The older Kes nodded. "They’re a group of rebels backed by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, who seek to overthrow the Empire."
"What happened to Chakotay and his crew?" Kes asked.
"They were killed," the older Kes said. "Captain Janeway left timed charges on the Caretaker’s Array, set to detonate as soon as Voyager was returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Once the ship was back, all but a few of the rebels were locked in the shuttlebay. The bay doors were opened, and they were blown out into space."
"What about those who weren’t?" Kes asked.
"Captain Janeway took Chakotay as a trophy," Kes’ counterpart replied. "She made him watch as his crew died, then gave his Alliance contact, B’Elanna, to Tom Paris as a gift for successfully infiltrating Chakotay’s ship."
28 June 2377 1158 hrs
Ensign Harry Kim looked up, his lower lip swollen and bleeding, his left eye blackened. He was in a hard metal chair in the center of a darkened room, his arms secured tightly behind him. Directly in front of him was the man responsible for his current state: Tuvok.
In his own timeline, Harry considered the dark-skinned Vulcan to be a friend, but this Tuvok was nothing like the man he knew.
Harry briefly considered the other, surface differences of this timeline. Tuvok’s uniform was outwardly similar to his own Starfleet jumpsuit, but with minor differences. The turtleneck under the uniform was black rather than gray, and was accompanied by a set of black gloves. And most damning of all, and the most definitive proof Harry had seen of what timeline he was in, was the design of this universe’s communicator pin. Rather than the familiar Starfleet arrowhead, it was a stylized representation of Earth, bisected by a sword. It was the symbol of the Terran Empire in the Mirror Universe.
"Do not make me ask again," Tuvok sneered. Another difference in this timeline, Harry decided, was that Vulcans apparently didn’t suppress their emotions like in his own timeline. Surak’s teachings never took hold, so it was entirely possible the Romulans never split off from the Vulcans in the first place.
"Kim, Harry," he replied. "Ensign, United Federation of Planets Starfleet. Service number –"
"Your will is strong," Tuvok said, interrupting the only answer Harry had given him since his interrogation had begun. He raised a hand to strike Harry once again. "We shall see how long that will last."
28 June 2377 1347 hrs
"Help me save him," Kes implored her older self. "When I first arrived in this timeline, I saw Harry tied to a chair, unconscious. I don’t want anything to happen to him."
"What can we possibly do?" the older Kes asked.
"I told you that we Ocampans have many untapped abilities," Kes replied. "I’m only beginning to learn how to use them all, but I know each one of us has the power to eliminate this entire ship single-handedly."
"How is that possible?" the older Kes asked.
"In my timeline," Kes explained, "Tuvok taught me how to explore my abilities. Two years ago, I discovered a new level of reality,something below the subatomic. My powers became so great that I had to leave Voyager until I could control them. I’ve been trying to find my way home ever since." She looked into her counterpart’s eyes. "One of the side-effects of these abilities is the power to alter my corporeal body. My lifespan is now at least as long as a human’s. I can take you with me when I leave for another timeline, and teach you how to use these powers." The older Kes nodded. "Come on. We’ve got to save Harry first."
The older Kes reached out and grabbed her younger counterpart’s arm. "Chakotay and B’Elanna," she urged. "Can you take them with you as well? They deserve better than the fate they have here."
28 June 2377 1353 hrs
"It’s good to see you, B’Elanna," Chakotay said warmly as the onetime engineer and Alliance representative crawled into the room from the Jefferies tube hatch.
"I missed you too, Chakotay," she said, then kissed him passionately. "You’re the only thing that keeps me going anymore."
Their embrace ended the instant they heard the doors to the corridor hiss open. B’Elanna dove behind the bed, making her way toward the Jefferies tube hatch.
"I thought she wasn’t due to leave the bridge for at least another two hours," B’Elanna hissed.
"Quiet," Chakotay snapped.
Neither of them was prepared for what came next, however. Instead of Captain Kathryn Janeway, they saw two small Ocampan women. Both were Kes, but one looked several years younger than the Kes they were familiar with.
"Kes?" Chakotay asked, stunned.
B’Elanna poked her head up from behind the bed. "What the hell is going on here?" she asked.
"That’s a long story," the younger Kes replied. "We’re here to rescue you, but first we have to save Harry."
"Harry?" B’Elanna asked. "Harry Kim? What, did that ice queen Hansen finally decide she didn’t need him anymore? Good riddance."
"I’m from another timeline," Kes explained. "I came to this timeline with Harry Kim. He’s being interrogated by Tuvok as we speak. I have to save him, and I’m willing to take you with us when we leave this timeline."
"You?" B’Elanna asked disbelievingly. "What can you do?"
"You’d be surprised," Kes answered. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back for a moment. In her mind’s eye, she could see Harry, sagging in exhaustion in his chair. Tuvok stood over him, then backhanded him across his face.
Kes reached out with her mind, and Tuvok froze in place. He bore a shocked expression as the deckplates around him rippled, then exploded under his feet. The blast picked him up and he flew into the air. He crashed into the bulkhead on the far side of the room, then slumped to the deck, unconscious. Kes opened her eyes, and looked at the others in the room with her.
"Tuvok is unconscious," Kes said. "He was alone with Harry, but it won’t be long before someone notices. We have to go now."
The group stepped quickly into the corridor. Kes took the lead, with her older counterpart following closely behind her. Not far behind them were a very nervous Chakotay and B’Elanna. It wasn’t long before someone decided to challenge them.
"Stop right there," said a wary young ensign as he trained his phaser on them.
"We don’t have time for this," Chakotay said as he stepped forward, but Kes held out an arm, stopping him.
"Step aside," Kes told the ensign. "I don’t want to hurt anyone."
The ensign nearly laughed in her face, but never got the chance to give a retort when he suddenly flew down the hall. As the group began making their way down the corridor once again, a group of security guards rounded the corner. They noticed the unconscious body of the ensign, and drew their phasers.
Kes wasted no time. Before Chakotay or B’Elanna could even react, the bulkheads on either side of the corridor around the security team exploded, sending flame and shrapnel flying into the helpless guards.
28 June 2377 1359 hrs
"I should have known," growled Captain Kathryn Janeway as she stared across the corridor at Kes and the others. She stood as a living barricade in front of the doors to the interrogation room where Harry was being held, flanked by her second officer, Lieutenant Harry Kim, and her science officer, Lieutenant Annika Hansen. "I’ve been good to you, Chakotay. I let you live when my superiors wanted your head. I gave you food, shelter… me. I thought we had something special."
"There was never anything between us," Chakotay spat in return. "You destroyed my life; you and everyone like you when the Empire destroyed my homeworld for helping the Maquis. I despise you, Kathryn Janeway."
"Stand aside, captain," Kes said evenly.
"Show some respect, you Ocampan bitch!" Harry’s counterpart sneered. He looked over to Annika with a smug grin. His lover, Kes realized.
"Do you really think she loves you?" Kes asked him, indicating the statuesque blonde. "She’s using you. She’s only planning to stay with you as long as it’s advantageous for her. She’d turn you over to the wolves in a heartbeat if it served her purposes."
"Shut up!" he screamed. He charged the young Ocampan, but before he got more than a few feet from his position, he suddenly found himself hanging in midair, his feet pointing to the ceiling. Kes gestured with her left arm, and he flew down the corridor, tumbling to the deck almost a dozen meters away.
Annika moved as if to charge her as well, but suddenly froze in place. Kes stepped up to face her, and looked straight into her eyes.
"My, my," Kes said. "You do have some secrets, don’t you? You’ve been holding him back from getting that captaincy he wants so dearly. You’re terrified of him becoming a captain."
"If he were to become a captain," Annika replied through clenched teeth, "that would make me the captain’s woman. I don’t want that… I must be the captain!"
"How selfish," Kes said sadly. "He really does care for you, too."
Chakotay held a phaser he’d pulled from one of the unconscious guards to Janeway’s head. He looked to Kes, and nodded for her to continue into the interrogation room. She nodded grimly in return, and stepped through the doors, her counterpart and B’Elanna close behind.
"And now it’s just the two of us, Kathryn," Chakotay said after the others had filed through the doors.
"If you’re going to kill me," Janeway said, "do it now and be done with it."
"Oh, I’m not going to kill you," Chakotay said. "Killing you would be letting you off too easily for what you’ve done. I’d already set my plan into motion before Kes had even offered to take me with her. I was willing to die at your hands to finally get my revenge, but now I’ll be able to live my life, knowing that I destroyed yours, just as you destroyed mine."
"You’re bluffing," Janeway breathed, but her uncertain tone spoke volumes.
"I sent a message to your superiors this morning," Chakotay said. "After all this time, I know everything, and now, so do they."
"What are you talking about?" Janeway demanded.
"The truth about your father’s death," Chakotay said, "and your own links to the Alliance. The real reasons why you let B’Elanna and myself live." Janeway’s face paled. "If I’d just killed you, you’d die a hero. But this way… your entire family is tainted. I’m sure you’re familiar with the Empire’s penalty for treason."
There was a blood-curdling scream from inside the interrogation room. Chakotay relaxed his aim and rushed into the room, leaving a mortified Kathryn Janeway in his wake. Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw as he stepped into the interrogation room.
The air smelled like overcooked meat. B’Elanna and Kes were busy disengaging Harry’s restraints, and the elder Kes was standing over something curled up on the floor, her tightly-clenched fists causing her fingernails to dig into the palms of her hands. Upon further inspection, Chakotay realized that the elder Kes was in fact standing over Tuvok’s body. In a fit of rage for the past seven years, she let loose her powers and had literally cooked him to death.
"It’s time," Kes said, putting a hand on her counterpart’s shoulder. And with a burst of light and sound, the five vanished.