by E. L. Zimmerman
"Paris to Ishanti," the Zell ensign heard through her comm badge. With meticulous precision, she and Geiger had completed their assignment of compromising the Voyager's intricate comm-link sub-processors and transceiver interfaces. Satisfied with their handiwork, they crawled back from the communication network, moving with ease through the ship's Jefferies tubes.
"Ishanti here, Tom."
"We have a slight problem."
Ishanti felt a trickle of sweat of her brow, although she could never remember being heat-sensitive in the Jefferies tubes before. Quickly, she stopped crawling, reached up, and wiped the tiny droplets away.
"What kind of problem?" she asked.
"A slight one," he swore. "It seems that our friend Harry may not be supporting the cause after all."
"What do you mean?"
"I caught him speaking with Captain Janeway."
'No!' Ishanti screamed in her mind.
She wouldn't be denied her future. Not here. Not now. Not when they were so close to the final stages. From what she had heard, Rintella was perfect, a paradise untouched by the Delta Quadrant's Kazon madness they seemingly couldn't escape.
She would have her way.
She would see that Voyager's crew colonized Rintella ... if it was the death of her.
"Did he send a complete message?" she asked, again brushing the beads of sweat from her forehead.
"No," Paris replied. "I shunted communications power in Transporter Room Two, causing his board's comm circuits to overload. But ... he undoubtedly knows we're on to him, and, obviously, he's on to us. I think it'd be in all of our best interests to accelerate our agenda."
"Understood," she agreed.
"Where are you?" Tom asked.
"I'm with Geiger now. We placed the last vocal inhibitor in the communications relays and the corresponding subsystems," she explained. "The ability to jam all intra-ship and ship-to-shore dialogue processed through Voyager's primary and back-up comm system is now available."
"What do you suggest, Ishanti?"
Bitterly, she declared, "I suggest that you synchronize and activate the inhibitors."
"Agreed," Tom said. "I'll get right to it after we finish this exchange."
"Good thinking. Geiger and I are making our way back to Engineering," she admitted. "We should be there shortly."
There was a brief pause over the communications line.
"Think you can handle B'Elanna on your own?" Tom finally asked.
Pulling her phaser from her beltline, Ishanti adjusted the setting to stun. "I think that's affirmative, 'Captain' Paris," she answered his challenge.
"'Captain Paris,'" he repeated. "That does have a nice ring to it."
"We'll secure Engineering," she assured him. "You'll know we have once the warp core is offline. That'll be our signal. That'll mean we're ready."
"Good luck," Paris said, and Ishanti swore to herself that she heard a subtle taunt in his intonation.
"Are you kidding?" Ishanti asked. "How much trouble can one half-human-half-Klingon be?"