stranger1

STRANGER FROM THE PAST – ACT ONE
by Darrell Dumas
ACT ONE

FADE IN:

07 INT. SICK BAY

The Doctor runs his tricorder over the surface of the capsule sitting on one of the beds, humming quietly… he furrows his brow at the readout he sees.

DOCTOR
Hmm…Interesting…

JANEWAY
(Walking in, Chakotay behind her) OK, Doctor, what have you found?

DOCTOR
Well, I must say, it’s quite a piece of technology. All the original Torpedo components were removed and replaced with sensor banks and power cells, as well as this device (pointing to a small control panel on top of the capsule)…

JANEWAY
(Impatiently) What does it do?

The Doctor seems a bit insulted –

DOCTOR
Well… According to these scans, it’s a Cryogenesis pod, built to keep a single life form in a state of suspended animation.

Janeway and Chakotay look amazed –

CHAKOTAY
You mean that this pod could contain a lifeform born in the 23rd century?

DOCTOR
Hardly. (Turns back to continue scanning the pod) The capsule’s technology is much more recent. I’ve managed to calculate it to be about thirty years old. (Turns back to Janeway and Chakotay) There’s just one problem.

JANEWAY
What’s that?

DOCTOR
The pod won’t open. The computer equipment that was built into it is highly encrypted. There’s virtually no way I could…

The pod begins to beep loudly, urgently… the Doctor hurries over to the panel above the portal, and then quickly runs his tricorder over the pod.

DOCTOR
(Urgently, with anticipation) The temperature is rising. It looks like our friend will be coming out after all.

Immediately the Doctor begins to curiously tap the panel, pokily, as if he isn’t sure what he is doing…the capsule is still beeping urgently.

DOCTOR
(Looking up from the panel) The pod is going to open! Quickly! Lower the force field and help me here!

Janeway taps at a console. The force field lowers, and she, Chakotay and the Doctor move to the side of the pod as several clicks emit from it and a seam appears along the side.

DOCTOR
(With groaning effort) Push!

Janeway, Chakotay and the Doctor push at the pod, and slowly the top swings upward, revealing, with a hiss of steam, the body of a human boy, no older than fifteen, still half frozen in the Cryo Ice. Slowly the ice melts away, leaving the body lying cold, stiff and pale, inside the pod.

DOCTOR
Help me get him onto the bed here.

The three pick the boy up out of the capsule and lie him down on a bed as the Doctor hurriedly starts scanning him. Janeway re-raises the force field.

DOCTOR
His vital signs are returning to normal. (Turning to Janeway) He’s unfreezing.

JANEWAY
He’s only a child. What reason would he have to be put into cryogenesis?

DOCTOR
I’m not sure.

CHAKOTAY
What about that Borg signature we detected?

The Doctor then scans the boy again, and stares curiously at the results…

DOCTOR
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen!

JANEWAY
What is it?

DOCTOR
It’s some type of cranial implant, and it is Borg technology, but… I don’t understand. (Hands the Tricorder to Janeway, who looks over it) I’ve never seen this in any Borg Drone before.

At that moment, Seven of Nine stumbles into Sick Bay, almost blindly, constantly losing her footing, one hand covering her face, the other groping about in front of her… The three turn to look at her.

JANEWAY
Seven? (Hurrying over to help her walk to one of the beds and sit down) What’s wrong?

SEVEN
(Breathing unevenly) I am…dizzy…highly disoriented…re…received a…signal…

DOCTOR
(Scanning Seven, slightly worried) You’re receiving some kind of signal through your cranial transmitter that’s disrupting your neural functions. Here…(Gives her a hypospray on the neck) this is a neural supplement. It should subside the disruption. Feel better?

Seven stands up from her sitting position on the bed –

SEVEN
(Breathing evenly) Better…no longer disoriented…

DOCTOR
Good. But what could have emitted that kind of signal?…

CHAKOTAY
Him (Pointing to the boy lying on the bed).

Janeway, Seven and the Doctor turn to him –

JANEWAY
How do you know that?

CHAKOTAY
Look at this (Indicating the reading on the tricorder in his hand). The implant in his head is emitting some kind of powerful transmission on a Borg frequency every full second. My assumption is it was designed to manipulate Borg drones in some way… I’m not sure exactly how.

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SEVEN
May I (Indicating the tricorder)?

Janeway and Chakotay turn to Seven, who had walked up behind them unnoticed. Chakotay hands the tricorder to Seven, and she looks at it –

SEVEN
The device is Borg technology, but not in it’s entirety. Several critical components are Federation devices. (Turning to Janeway) I assume this was a device created partially from Borg technology to manipulate Borg drones in defense against assimilation.

JANEWAY
An anti-Borg implant of sorts.

The Doctor injects a hypospray into the child’s neck… his frozen condition has ebbed away considerably…

CHAKOTAY
But what about those other components? There are other parts in it that aren’t relative to the transmitter at all. Can you identify what they do?

SEVEN
No. These devices are unlike anything I have ever seen. I am not sure what they are used for.

DOCTOR
Pardon me for intruding, but I believe our guest’s life signs have stabilized. He should wake up any moment now.

At that moment, the boy begins to stir, almost noiselessly… his eyes flicker, and then open. For a few seconds, they glance around the room… then he sits up and looks at the four figures staring at him… seemingly seeking out the right one…

PAXTON
(To Janeway) Captain?

JANEWAY
Yes.

PAXTON
(Sounding bland, as if rehearsed) My name is Mark Paxton. I must apologize for any intrusion I may have made on your behalf, but it was necessary to evacuate my home planet of Itares before the Cardassians began their invasion. Because my parents were away from home at the time of the attack, I was unable to achieve clearance on the evacuation shuttles that were leaving the planet. As such, I was forced to find my own way of leaving, and so I constructed this (indicating the Cryo pod) and launched myself from orbit, in the hope that, after a few months, I would be intercepted by a Federation vessel, as I have been now. I require nothing more than safe passage to Earth.

Janeway, Chakotay, the Doctor and Seven stare at him, confused –

JANEWAY
I-I’m sorry… are you speaking of the Cardassian war?

PAXTON
(Somewhat surprised) Yes. What other war would it be?

Janeway looks to Seven, the Doctor and Chakotay, each returning a confirming glance, and then returns her gaze to Paxton –

JANEWAY
Forgive me. Allow us to introduce ourselves. I’m Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager. This is my First Officer Chakotay (Indicating Chakotay, who nods solemnly), our holographic EMH (Indicating the Doctor, who smiles and nods warmly), and our complimentary ex-Borg crewmember, Seven Of Nine (Indicating Seven, who sets her head approvingly).

Paxton stiffens at the mention of Seven’s name, and Seven notices –

SEVEN
I assure you that I am no longer under the influence of the Borg collective. I am entirely an individual. You may rest assured.

Paxton relaxes slightly —

JANEWAY
Mr. Paxton, to get to the point. We are not who you intended us to be. The Cardassian war ended twenty-five years ago. We now reside in the Delta Quadrant, on the other side of the galaxy. Voyager was swept here, 70,000 light years from Earth, by an unknown anomaly called the Caretaker, and for the last five years, we have been traveling home. We found you just today in orbit around a Class I planetoid at the heart of a Class III nebula. We don’t know how long you were there.

Paxton’s face is etched in total disbelief –

PAXTON
I…I-I, ah…

In a flash, Paxton leaps off the bed and plants himself in front of a console on his Cryo pod. Immediately he begins tapping at the console, wildly, excitedly… then, after a moment, he stops and slowly looks up –

PAXTON
You’re right…you’re telling the truth. I’ve been drifting in space for twenty-five years…

JANEWAY
I’m sorry this had to happen to you, Mr. Paxton, but I’m afraid we need some answers now.

PAXTON
(Looking at Janeway) This has to do with my implant, doesn’t it?

JANEWAY
Is it designed to manipulate Borg drones as we assumed? And if it is, is that all it is capable of, or can it do more than we managed to discover?

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PAXTON
(Walking towards Janeway) I assure you captain, It’s…

Paxton then bumps into the force field surrounding him and his pod –

PAXTON
What the…

JANEWAY
A minor safety precaution.

PAXTON
Oh. Well, anyway, I assure you, captain, (Beginning to sound slightly fake) it’s designed entirely for defense against the Borg. Nothing of it will be a threat to you.

Janeway relaxes ever so slightly at this –

JANEWAY
OK, then. It just so turns out, though, that Seven here (Indicating Seven) still retains eighteen percent of her Borg implants, so your device took a strong effect on her. Do you have a way of deactivating it?

PAXTON
Oh, yes, of course.

Paxton then pulls back his right ear and moves a strand of hair away to reveal a tiny electronic terminal on his head. He holds his finger on it for a few seconds, closing his eyes, seeming to be thinking deeply, and then it beeps in acknowledgement.

PAXTON
There. It won’t bother her again.

SEVEN
Thank you.

JANEWAY
Then, seeing as this young man is as human as everybody else on this starship, (Janeway lowers the force field and walks toward Mark, hand outstretched, a small smile on her face) welcome aboard Voyager, Mr. Paxton.

A boyish grin lighting his face, Paxton takes Janeway’s outstretched hand and shakes it warmly.

PAXTON
I can’t thank you enough, Captain Janeway! And, please, call me Mark.

Janeway’s smile trembles for a short moment –

JANEWAY
Don’t mention it… Mark. Ensign (Motioning to a man tapping at a nearby console), show this young man to a vacant set of quarters. (Turning back to Paxton) Replicate any furnishings you want to, and contact me if you need anything. I’ll stop by later with a commbadge for you.

PAXTON
You certainly are hospitable…

JANEWAY
We try to make everyone feel at home here.

PAXTON
Thanks again captain!

Paxton and the Ensign walk out of Sick Bay, and when the doors have closed, Chakotay turns to Janeway –

CHAKOTAY
Captain, are you sure this is a good idea? There have been numerous occasions where certain ‘visitors’ we allowed on board turned out to be traitorous in the end…

JANEWAY
I know, Chakotay, I know. I’m not sure whether or not to trust him either, especially since he didn’t tell us what those other components in his implant were for. But Starfleet regulations state that we should always help those in need… Besides, he is human after all…

CHAKOTAY
He’s also a civilian. How do you suppose he got hold of a Torpedo capsule, especially an empty one?

JANEWAY
He was trying to save his own skin. Ah (Holding up her hand to stop Chakotay from speaking). We’ll keep him under constant observation. If he does anything suspicious, we’ll take action. But right now, he’s a legal resident of Voyager.

CHAKOTAY
(Sounding strained) Yes, Captain.

The doors to sick bay open, and Neelix comes walking in, with excitement in his movement –

NEELIX
(Excitedly) There you are, Captain! I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while now…I’d like to request permission for a Crew Recreational Activity.

JANEWAY
(Smiling) Is this another one of your potlucks? Because if it is, I’m not too sure I want to show up with another of my replicator’s disaster experiments…

NEELIX
No, no, this is going to be different. You see this is going to be a talent show, in which any crewmember on Voyager may display their talents in competition for a golden trophy! And we can have some crewmembers working with others, or some doing their talents solo, or…

JANEWAY
(Chuckling warmly, Chakotay smiling with her) I think we get the picture Neelix. Permission granted.

NEELIX
(Almost overwhelmed with excitement) Oh, thank you captain! This is going to be fantastic!

Neelix hurries out of Sick Bay excitedly –

DOCTOR
A talent show! Well, this might give me a chance to really put my (Adjusting his collar) less appreciated skills to some use.

Janeway and Chakotay laugh at this, and then Chakotay turns to Janeway –

CHAKOTAY
Well, I guess I’d better go search for a talent I can use. I’ll be in the mess hall if you need me.

With that, Chakotay exits Sick Bay, going to the left as he exits, and Janeway behind him, turning to the right as she exits.

FADE OUT.

Next Chapter
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