The Son of Voyager

Part 2: The Return

© 2002-2015 by MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

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Chapter 12

As the group walked into the transporter room, Dohn hesitantly said, "I don't want to go with you."

Janeway looked at Kel curiously, waiting for the translation.

Rather than translate, Kel asked, "Why not?"

"I am afraid that if I return home that I might change my mind and choose to remain." Dohn said quietly.

"Is that really a bad thing?" Kel asked curiously, then noticed that his father had moved behind him and was checking on Angel.

"My time as a slave of the Kazons has opened my eyes to horrors that I could not have imagined before. Returning to the place of my childhood and having the chance to return to a life where the elders make all the choices for me and I can live without concern may be too strong of a lure for me to resist. I know that if I am to be free to grow, I must not return there." Dohn said with difficulty.

Kel nodded and said, "If that is your choice, then it will be so. I will tell the captain."

"Let me have her." Paris said gently from behind Kel.

After a moment to get the carrier off his back, Kel turned to see his father looking at Angel with peace and love in his eyes.

"Kel? What's going on?" Janeway asked curiously.

"Oh. Um, Dohn doesn't want to go down to the planet with us. Is that okay?" Kel asked quickly.

"That's fine. Dalby, have you located the Ocampan caves yet?" Janeway asked casually.

"Yes, but they're shielded. We can't transport in." Dalby said in concentration.

"Let me see." Janeway said, as she moved to Dalby's side.

"There are intermittent gaps at the edge of the shielding underground, but I don't see any way of beaming anyone in. They're just too brief and random, it would be too dangerous with this equipment." Dalby said seriously.

"The field modulation looks familiar, can you pull up the frequency?" Janeway asked, as she looked at the display.

Dalby worked the controls and finally brought up a display of the wave modulation of the shields.

"It's a Federation signature." Janeway said, with a small nod of confirmation.

"So you think someone from Voyager put this shield up?" Paris asked curiously as he took a step closer.

"No. The equipment isn't Federation technology, but the configuration of the shields is a standard pattern. They must have stabilized the shielding before they left so the Ocampans would be protected." Janeway said in thought.

"Does that mean you know how to get us through the shields?" Kel asked quietly.

"Maybe. Let me try something." Janeway said, as she nudged Dalby out of the way and started keying in a series of commands.

"The command code override?" Paris asked as he watched her work.

"If I'm right, my mother would have put the command code protocol in place as a failsafe." Janeway said, then pressed the final button to run her new series of instructions.

"You did it. No wonder you're the captain." Dalby said in an impressed voice.

Janeway smiled at the statement, then said, "It helps to have the memories of my mother."

"Who is going down first?" Paris asked as he looked at the group who were all watching silently.

"I am, and I'll need Kel to translate for me. I don't trust our communicator translators yet. Everyone else can wait here until I've had a chance to talk to the elders." Janeway said as she started walking toward the transport chamber.

Kel noticed that H'Ree was staying close to his side, never more than an arm's length away.

"Aunt Janeway, can H'Ree come with us too?" Kel asked quietly.

Janeway saw the look of anxiety in the younger boy's eyes then nodded her acceptance.

"Come on H'Ree, let's go talk to the elders." Kel said with a gentle smile at the boy.

H'Ree smiled and walked with Kel to join Janeway in the transport chamber.


* * * * *

Janeway, Kel and H'Ree looked around the large open hall that seemed to be like a town square.

The Ocampan people stopped in their tracks at the sight of the first strangers to visit in a year, and stared in wonder.

"Would you please summon the elders? We need to talk to them." Kel asked seriously.

Three or four of the Ocampans turned to look away for a moment and were obviously communicating telepathically with the elders.

"They'll be here in a minute." Kel said quietly to Janeway.

"Who are you?" A woman asked from near the front of the growing crowd of people.

"This is Janeway. She is the captain of a ship in orbit of this planet." Kel said seriously.

"Another Janeway? How nice." A man said as he walked through the crowd.

Janeway was surprised by his speaking English, but hid it quickly and responded, "I take it that you've met my mother."

"Oh, that was your mother? Well isn't that wonderful. Please, come and be welcomed. Tell me what brings you here." The man said pleasantly as he indicated for the group to walk with him.

"Toscat, Janeway and her crew have rescued a small group of our people from the Kazons. We are here to ask if they will be allowed to return." Kel said in a voice that was cold and barely respectful.

"You speak their language?" Toscat said with a disapproving look.

"As do you." Kel said defiantly, as he held Toscat's gaze.

"I am an elder, I am permitted to use such techniques when it is warranted." Toscat said firmly.

"I am no longer one of your people, so I am free to choose what I believe is right and wrong." Kel said without wavering.

"Gentlemen, please. I doubt that you'll resolve your philosophical differences today. Can we turn our attention back to the matter at hand?" Janeway asked seriously.

Toscat glared at Kel for a moment longer, then turned to Janeway and smiled as he said, "Yes. Of course. Please tell me what you propose."

"There are seven of your people who have chosen to return to you if you will accept them." Janeway said in a controlled voice.

"Six." Kel corrected.

Janeway glanced at Kel, then nodded and said, "That's right, six. Will you allow them to return?"

Toscat glanced at Kel and H'Ree for a moment, then replied, "It depends on whether they can agree to live by our laws. We cannot tolerate disharmony among our people, it will lead to our ruin."

"You exile anyone who disagrees with you. How can you believe that you're always right? The people have the right to be heard and have some control over the decisions that are being made." Kel said in an increasing voice.

Janeway put a hand on Kel's shoulder and said, "Kel. You're with us now, you can let it go."

Kel looked up at Janeway, then reluctantly nodded.

"Is this one of those who would return?" Toscat asked as he looked at H'Ree curiously.

"No. H'Ree will be leaving with me." Kel said firmly.

"I just wanted to see this place. My mother took me away from here right after I was born and I wanted to see where she came from." H'Ree said quietly.

"I brought Kel with me in case I needed him to translate for me, our translation devices aren't very dependable. Your people are ready to transport down if they are welcomed." Janeway said diplomatically.

"Bring them. If they will agree to live by our laws, they will be welcomed to return." Toscat said as his expression became composed once again.

Janeway tapped the communicator badge on her chest, then said, "Janeway to transporter room."

After a few seconds of delay a voice responded, "This is Paris."

"Start transporting down those who wish to return to the Ocampan colony." Janeway said professionally.

"Yes captain." Paris said immediately and a moment later three shimmering columns appeared.

* * * * *

"Marrah." Toscat said with a delighted smile.

"Father." Marrah said with joy as she ran to hug him.

Kel felt a strange tugging at his mind and turned to see a man looking at him with a sense of urgency.

"Come on H'Ree, I don't think they need us." Kel said quietly and started walking toward the man.

"You're Kel aren't you? The youngest person ever exiled from the colony." The man asked quietly.

"Yes. I think I remember you. Aren't you elder Daggin?" Kel asked uncertainly.

"That's right. Have you heard anything from Kes?" Daggin asked desperately.

"I'm not sure I remember her." Kel said uncertainly.

"She's much like you are. Very strong willed and outspoken in her beliefs. She left with the starship called Voyager." Daggin said quickly.

"That's the ship that we're going to try to catch up to." Kel said with a smile.

"Oh, that's good to know. Here, take this and keep it with you. When you find her, give it to her." Daggin said and handed a cloth bundle to Kel.

"Of course. I'll be happy to." Kel said seriously.

"Thank you. These aliens, are they treating you well? Is there anything you need?" Daggin asked quietly.

"They're treating me fine. I don't need anything but, um... there is one thing. Is there any way that H'Ree can learn the common language of the Humans without using the forbidden techniques? I think it would make things easier for him." Kel said as he looked at H'Ree with concern.

"Allow me." Daggin said gently, then turned to H'Ree and said, "Do you remember in your early training when you were told that the elders would sometimes bestow a gift of knowledge?"

H'Ree shook his head and said, "I wasn't taught much about the Ocampan beliefs. My mother took me away from here just after I was born. She didn't want me to grow up the way she did."

Daggin nodded then said, "I'm going to give you the Federation common language. This is not a violation of any law, it is a gift of knowledge from the elders."

H'Ree felt a brief touch of something in his mind and looked at Daggin curiously.

"It is done." Daggin said gently.

"Wow. That was easy. You mean that's the big bad forbidden thing that everyone is so worried about?" H'Ree asked in confusion.

Daggin smiled and said, "Yes. But there is a reason that the technique is forbidden. It's very important that you not use it."

"What is the reason? No one ever explained that to me. They just said that it was forbidden." Kel asked curiously.

Daggin looked around, then sent to Kel and H'Ree telepathically, {To speak with our minds is no different from speaking with our voices and is not forbidden. But to exchange raw knowledge or experiences with another is a very powerful technique that can easily become addictive. You can lose yourself in the experience and allow your body to become weak and die without realizing it. Entire families have been lost when they secretly engaged in this practice. The forbiddance is in place to protect you from a very powerful and dangerous thing. Even the elders have to use the ability with the utmost discretion.}

Kel thought for a moment, then said, {I understand. I had always thought that it was another way of keeping us ignorant and weak so we wouldn't question the elders. Why don't you tell people this?}

{We have found that it is better to simply tell people that it is forbidden than to try to explain the dangers. Too many have thought they had the strength of will to indulge in the practice, but became addicted before they were aware of it.} Daggin said seriously.

{What about Dohn? Is there some way we can give him the language without making him do the forbidden thing?} H'Ree asked with concern.

{Dohn? The child of Thoran?} Daggin asked cautiously.

{I don't know who his parents are, but he's on our ship. He was afraid that if he came down he would be tempted to give up what he believes and stay with you.} Kel said frankly.

{Then it's probably best that he is going with you. His beliefs would most likely resurface in time and he would end up being unhappy here. Let me give you something for him Kel.} Daggin said, then concentrated.

Kel felt something unfamiliar... a wrapped package in his mind that was much like the bundle that he held in his hands.

{This is a package containing the language of the Federation people. You can give it to Dohn without using a forbidden technique. When he opens it, he will know their language.} Daggin said gently.

{Thank you Daggin. If you were head elder instead of Toscat, I might choose to stay here.} Kel said quietly.

{No Kel, you wouldn't. Though I choose to express myself differently, I hold the same beliefs to be true that Toscat does. You couldn't be happy living by our rules. Go out into the universe with my blessing and live free... both of you.} Daggin said then straightened and looked toward Toscat.

{Thank you. We will.} Kel said respectfully.

"Your people are ready to depart." Daggin said with his voice.

"Thank you Daggin. I always thought that the elders were only interested in controlling our people and keeping them ignorant. Now I understand that you're just doing what you believe is best to keep them safe." Kel said seriously.

"That's right Kel. It saddens us when we have to send someone away, but we cannot allow a rebellion among our people. The colony is too fragile. It couldn't survive." Daggin said quietly.

"I think I understand." Kel said carefully.

"We do our best to protect the individuals as well as the community. It is unfortunate that such decisions sometimes have to be made." Daggin said, then looked across the courtyard at Toscat again.

"Your captain is ready to leave now. Give Kes my best wishes if you see her. It was nice to meet you H'Ree. Go in peace." Daggin said with a gentle smile at the boy.

"Yeah. Thanks. It was nice to meet you too. I guess my mom was wrong. All the elders aren't weenies." H'Ree said frankly.

Daggin gave a full, honest laugh, then gestured to indicate for them to return to Janeway and Toscat.

* * * * *

"I suppose that everything is settled here. Are you and your little friend sure that you don't want to stay here?" Janeway asked Kel quietly.

"I'm sure, how about you H'Ree?" Kel asked gently, certain that he knew the answer.

"I want to go with you and live free just like my mom wanted me to." H'Ree said happily.

"Who was your mother?" Toscat asked cautiously.

"She was Shalah. And she left here because she wanted me to grow up without you telling me how to live my life." H'Ree said firmly.

"I remember her. She was an angry and defiant woman. It seems that you're a lot like her." Toscat said with a look of mild disgust.

"And you're a weenie." H'Ree said sharply, then looked up at Kel and Janeway with question.

"H'Ree, come here and stand here beside me." Janeway said as she tried to restrain her smile.

"Good luck on your quest Janeway." Toscat said, turning his full attention to her, doing his best to ignore H'Ree.

"Thank you. And good luck to all of you." Janeway said, then tapped her comm badge and said, "Janeway to transporter room."

After the three second delay, she continued, "Three to beam up."

"On your command." Dalby's voice said professionally over the comm.


* * * * *

As the transporter beam cleared, Kel noticed that Dohn was standing exactly where he had been when they left.

"I take it all went as you expected?" Paris asked with a note of concern in his voice.

"Yes. All of the others swore to live by the laws of the Ocampan elders so that they could remain." Janeway said, not sounding particularly happy.

"Then it's probably for the best." Paris said with resignation.

Janeway nodded as she stepped out of the transporter chamber. As she walked toward the door she said, "I'll feel a lot better once we've left this system far behind us."

"Agreed." Paris said seriously.

"I can take care of Angel while you're piloting the ship." Kel said quickly.

Paris smiled and said, "Thank you son. Why don't you take your new friends to our cabin where they can get cleaned up and we'll work on getting them quarters when your dad and I go off duty."

"Okay." Kel said happily, then remembered the bundle that he was carrying.

Kel turned to H'Ree and asked, "Will you hold this for me so I can get Angel?"

H'Ree nodded and accepted the bundle.

Kel took the child carrier and fastened it to his back, then watched as Janeway and Paris left the room.

"Come on Dohn. I've got a surprise for you." Kel said happily as he led the way.

Dohn looked at Kel curiously, then silently followed.

* * * * *

The trio of boys walked into Kel's cabin in silence.

Kel took Angel off his back and unfastened the straps that were holding her in the carrier.

"I think I might have made a mistake." Dohn said quietly.

As Kel picked up his sister, he noticed an unmistakable aroma and said, "Come into the next room with me and tell me why."

Dohn followed Kel as he walked into his fathers' room and went about the business of changing his sister's diaper.

"I've chosen to live among aliens. I've turned my back on my family and the traditions of my people." Dohn said despondently.

"You've chosen to live free. If you want, you can still follow the traditions of the Ocampa." Kel said as he efficiently removed the soiled diaper and dropped it in the covered pail beside the changing table.

"But... what kind of life can I have here among these aliens?" Dohn asked as tears began to well up in his eyes.

"You can have whatever kind of life you choose. I know it's scary, but it can be a really good thing. I promise." Kel said as he quickly cleaned his sister's tiny bottom.

"Dohn. You aren't alone." H'Ree said as he looked up at the older boy who was almost a man.

After a moment, Dohn finally looked down at H'Ree with question.

"Kel and I are here so you're not the only Ocampan on the ship." H'Ree said honestly.

"That's right. And these are really good people of all different species. We're just like them because all of them are different." Kel said as he expertly fastened Angel's new diaper into place.

"But what am I supposed to do now?" Dohn asked in a lost voice.

"Right now you and H'Ree are going to take a shower." Kel said as he picked up Angel and held her against his chest.

"Shower?" H'Ree and Dohn asked simultaneously.

"Yeah. You aren't going to believe it." Kel said and led the way to a second door in the bedroom.

Dohn and H'Ree shared a look, then followed Kel into the next room.

* * * * *

"You need to take off your clothes." Kel said seriously.

"For what? You never said I'd have to do that kind of stuff if I stayed here." H'Ree asked with an expression of panic.

Kel understood his apprehension and quietly said, "It's just to get clean. Don't worry H'Ree, no one on this ship will do anything like that to you."

Dohn hesitantly started to unbutton the blue shirt that he had been wearing, trying to look brave.

"When you take your clothes off, drop them in that box by the door. It's a device that cleans clothing. It's called a fresher." Kel said seriously.

Once Dohn had the shirt off, he walked to the fresher and dropped it in.

"Good. Now the rest of it. Take off everything, then get into that cubicle." Kel said and pointed at the enclosure at the far end of the room.

"What is it going to do?" H'Ree asked as he pulled his shirt off over his head.

"You wouldn't believe it if I told you." Kel said with a chuckle.

As Dohn removed his pants, he noticed that Kel was looking at his naked body.

Dohn slowly turned away as his posture seemed to wilt.

"You don't need to hide yourself Dohn, I have the same scars that you do. It's nothing to be ashamed of." Kel said honestly.

"Me too." H'Ree said as he continued to remove his clothing with no trace of his former hesitance.

Dohn didn't answer, but instead walked into the cubicle that Kel had indicated.

H'Ree dropped the last of his clothes into the fresher, then walked across the room, not at all concerned if Kel was looking at him or not.

As soon as they were both in the shower stall, Kel stood in the doorway and said, "Do you see that control? Up is more, down is less, left is hotter, right is colder. When you're ready, raise the control up to begin."

H'Ree reached out for the control, then looked at Dohn to see if he was going to raise any objection.

Hesitantly, H'Ree pushed the control upward and a fine mist of water started to spray from a nozzle at the top of the stall.

"It's water!" Dohn said with shock and put his face in front of the nozzle to drink the water quickly.

Kel thought about stopping him, but then remembered his own amazement at his first shower and decided to let Dohn and H'Ree just enjoy the experience.

"Let me have some!" H'Ree said urgently as he moved under Dohn to catch the dribbles that were running off his chin.

"Remember, up is more." Kel called into the stall with a smile, then stepped back and closed the door to keep the water from spraying out.

Kel heard the flow of water increase and stood smiling as he held his sister to his chest.

"Too hot!" H'Ree said with a squeak.

"Sorry." Dohn said a moment later.

* * * * *

When Kel decided that they were probably over the wonder of the seemingly unlimited water he knocked on the shower stall door and said, "If you'll turn off the water for a second, I'll tell you about the next part."

"There's more?" H'Ree asked with excitement.

Kel chuckled and said, "Oh yeah. Do you remember why you're in here?"

The water stopped, then H'Ree opened the door and looked at Kel with question.

"To get clean. Do you see that nozzle on the wall over there? Press the top of it and it will dispense a cleansing agent. You can rub it over your hair and body to clean you, then when you're done, you can turn the water on again to rinse it off." Kel said carefully.

"Won't that foul the water? Shouldn't it be saved?" Dohn asked with concern.

"No. These people have the technology to reclaim the water and restore it to purity. This is how they clean themselves." Kel said with a smile.

H'Ree pressed the top of the nozzle and a large squirt of foam dispensed into his waiting hand.

"Oh, and don't get that stuff in your eyes or mouth. It will burn your eyes and it tastes really bad." Kel said seriously.

H'Ree nodded, then started spreading the soap on his body.

"Does it burn?" Dohn asked with concern.

"No. It doesn't feel like anything." H'Ree said carefully, trying to understand the point of what he was doing.

"You'll notice the difference when you rinse off. You'll be clean." Kel said with a smile.

"It smells funny, kinda nice." H'Ree said cautiously.

Kel smiled as he closed the door again, then turned his attention to his sister in his arms.

* * * * *

"How do you feel?" Kel asked when the shower stall door finally opened again.

"Wet." H'Ree said with a joyful giggle.

Kel handed him a towel and said, "This will help."

H'Ree looked at the towel for a moment, then started dabbing it against his skin and found that it was absorbing the water.

Dohn stood in the shower stall doorway looking uncertain of what to do next.

Kel smiled, then handed Dohn a towel.

H'Ree was having fun drying himself and absently said, "When you told us to take off our clothes I thought you were going to make us do those things the Kazons made us do."

Kel turned his full attention to H'Ree and said, "No. No one on this ship will ever make you do anything like that. But if you or Dohn find someone that you really like and wanted to do something like that someday... then it would be okay. But it would be your choice."

Dohn had stopped all motion and looked at Kel with uncertainty.

"It's not something you need to worry about today." Kel said with an assuring smile.

Dohn hesitantly nodded and began to dry himself again.

"Oh, I forgot. Daggin gave me a gift for you." Kel said with a smile.

"Daggin? The elder?" Dohn asked with concern.

"Yeah. H'Ree asked if there was some way that you could learn the common language of the Federation people without using forbidden techniques. So Daggin gave me a mental... like a package kind of thing to give to you. When you open it, you'll know the language and you won't have to do anything forbidden." Kel said happily.

"You did that for me H'Ree?" Dohn asked cautiously.

"Yeah. I didn't want you to live here and not be able to talk to people." H'Ree said with a smile, then handed his towel to Kel.

"Your clothes should be clean now. You can get them out of the fresher and put them on." Kel said as he laid the towel aside.

H'Ree walked to the fresher and lifted the lid to peek inside.

"Wow! They're all flat and clean and folded into squares! How did it do that?" H'Ree asked with amazement as he pulled out his t-shirt and short pants.

Kel chuckled and said, "I have no idea. It just does it."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:
Hey that was a pretty quick update, wasn't it?

Well Daggin seemed to be a little more reasonable to deal with than Toscat. I don't like Toscat one little bit. This is really a good story and I can see a lot of potential to it. As I think I have said before, "Please hurry up and bring us another chapter," or something like that.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher