Dani was so excited to actually be on an official away mission. Even if it was only to collect dilithium samples. Even though her mother, and later, her father, had assured her they were serious about it, Dani still hadn’t believed it until she had dematerialized on the transporter pad with Tom, B’Elanna, and Seven.
The away team materialized on the rocky, dry planet surface. The four members of the team, including Dani, pulled our their tricorders and started scanning the area. Kathryn had decided to let Dani participate as an active member of the team, carrying a tricorder and a phaser. She thought it would make her feel as important to the mission as the rest of the team, and it would provide her with good experience working with a team.
“This way,” B’Elanna said, leading the away team into a nearby cave.
On Voyager’s bridge, Kathryn shifted nervously in her seat and crossed her legs. It wasn’t two minutes before she shifted again, crossing and uncrossing her legs. There was no denying it – Capt. Kathryn Janeway was nervous. And with good reason. Her only daughter was on her first away mission. She was only 18. Maybe this was too soon for her. Maybe this had been a mistake…
Kathryn uncrossed her legs and tapped her left foot repeatedly on the floor. When that didn’t satisfy her, she stood. Chakotay looked up at her. She took a few steps toward the view screen, stopped, and turned back to her chai, walking back to it.
Chakotay stood. He had to put an end to this. Kathryn turned again. She was about to walk back to the view screen when Chakotay grabbed her arm and stepped close to her. She looked up at him and sighed.
“I know, I know,” Kathryn said. “It’s just so hard. I should’ve at least sent a security team with them.”
“Why? To protect them from the rocks?” Chakotay quipped. “The dilithium?”
Kathryn knew that Chakotay was only speaking the truth. “Kathryn, they’ll be fine,” Chakotay assured her. She looked up at him and sighed. “Now, come, and sit down.” Chakotay escorted Kathryn back to her seat.
Chakotay’s words had calmed Kathryn somewhat, however nothing would put her completely at ease, not even hearing from Dani, herself, that she was okay. That reminded her – B’Elanna should’ve reported back to her on what they’d found by now. Before the thought had even left her mind, Kathryn’s comm badge chirped.
“Torres to Janeway,” B’Elanna’s voice drifted from the comm badge.
Kathryn stood, bringing her hand to the brooch resting on her chest. “Janeway here,” she said. “Go ahead.”
“Captain, we’ve located the dilithium deposits,” B’Elanna said. “They’re in a cave a few meters from our landing site.”
“When do you think we’ll be able to send excavation crews down, Lt.?” Kathryn asked.
“Oh, immediately, Captain,” B’Elanna replied optimistically.
“Good work, B’Elanna,” Kathryn praised. Despite her overwhelming concern for her daughter, she resisted the urge to ask about Dani. “Janeway out.” Kathryn looked down at Chakotay. He was silent, but his eyes were saying, “I told you so.”
B’Elanna turned to her team. It was time to go. “We just got the okay from the Captain,” she announced. “She’s sending evacuation crews down.”
“There must be enough dilithium down here to last at least a year,” Tom remarked.
B’Elanna snapped her tricorder shut. She was about to announce that they should get back to the shuttle when a troop of Kazon warriors stormed into the cave. In one swift motion, Tom drew his phaser and fired. The phaser blast hit one of the Amazon squarely in the chest, knocking him to the ground.
“Captain, I’m picking up phaser discharge readings from below the surface!” Harry reported from the ops station.
Kathryn stood and looked at the young ensign. She tapped her comm badge. “Janeway to Torres. B’Elanna, what’s going on down there?”
“Captain, we’ve got Kazon down here!” B’Elanna was shouting over the phaser fire.
“Where the hell did they come from?” Kathryn asked, addressing no one in particular. She looked at Harry again. “Why didn’t our sensors pick them up?”
“I don’t know, Captain,” Harry replied.
“Are sensors picking up any Kazon ships now?” Chakotay asked.
“No,” was Harry’s bewildered reply.
“Can you get a lock on our team?” Kathryn waited while Harry worked frantically trying to find any kind of way out of this sudden mess.
“There’s too much interference from the planet’s upper atmosphere,” Harry said.
Kathryn heart was starting to race now. “Can you compensate?” she asked.
“I can try.”
Kathryn activated her comm badge again. “Janeway to Torres.”
“Torres here,” B’Elanna replied.
“Harry’s going to try to get a lock on you. How long do you think you can hold them off?”
Below the planet’s surface, B’Elanna fired her phaser from behind the boulder she was using for cover.
“I don’t know!” B’Elanna shouted, replying to the Captain’s question. “Not very long!” She fired again. Then she turned around and pressed her back against the rock. She stole a glance at Dani. She’d almost forgotten that the girl had come along. Dani was holding her own with the Kazon, firing her phaser at them and doing very well. ‘Way to go, Dani,’ B’Elanna thought. She felt a phaser blast shoot past her head, and she turned back to continue the impromptu battle.
Kathryn paced the area in front of hers and Chakotay’s chairs. There was nothing she could do until Harry got a transporter lock on the team. But what if he didn’t get a lock? What then? Would they be able to hold the Kazon off until she could send re-enforcements? What if-
“Captain, I have a lock!” Harry announced. Kathryn stopped pacing and turned to Harry.
“Get them out of there, Mr. Kim!” Kathryn commanded. Harry was already in the process before she even finished giving the command.
B’Elanna, Tom, Seven, and Dani all watched in horror as the number of Kazon warriors doubled. All of them had their weapons raised and pointed at the Voyager away team. B’Elanna looked back at Tom, Dani, and Seven. Dani – she was so young. And she was facing this with so much courage. She didn’t look scared at all. That was one trait Chakotay and the Captain had definitely passed on to her.
B’Elanna took a deep breath, turned around, and prepared to fire. The away team might not win, but they could at least try. Just then, the room started to fade into the blue particles of a transporter beam. They were being beamed out!
“Got ’em, Captain!” Harry exclaimed. He looked from his console at the Captain with a smile on his face. Kathryn breathed a big sigh of relief. She heard Chakotay do the same.
The blue transporter beam particles faded to the safe confines of Voyager’s transporter room.
“Oh, thank God,” Tom exhaled as he stepped off the transporter pad. Seven stepped off next. Then B’Elanna. “That was a little close for comfort,” Tom said.
B’Elanna stopped walking. Something wasn’t right. It seemed like someone was…missing. She looked at Tom and Seven, and then back at the now-empty transporter pad. It hit her like a lightening bolt. She hit her comm badge.
“Captain, we have a problem!”
Dani looked around the cave. The rest of the away team was gone! She was alone!
“Drop your weapon, now!” one of the Kazon ordered. Dani didn’t have any choice. She was hopelessly outnumbered. She slowly stood, tossing her weapon to the ground.
Kathryn looked at Chakotay with disbelief upon hearing the dreadful news. Chakotay had a similar look on his face. Kathryn had sat down, but she was now back on her feet.
“Harry,” she said. She watched the young man work frantically at his station. He shook his head.
“I can’t get her,” he said. He continued working anyway. “Getting them the first time was a miracle in itself.” He suddenly stopped working.
“What is it, Mr. Kim?” Kathryn asked. Harry hesitated a few moments before looking at Kathryn. “Mr. Kim?”
“I’ve lost her signal completely,” Harry said, finally looking up from his console.
Kathryn felt as if the wind had just been knocked from her. Her daughter was now in the hands of those Kazon vultures.