Iron Bonds

Act 4

Physically, back on the surface…

The leader pulls himself back to reality.

Kes gets off his leg and backs away far enough to let him march over to the ladder of beings.

Even their leader knows it’s been enough. The leader shouts, “enough!”

The arguing stops before more damage follows.

The beings on top are more than startled by the sudden awakened state of their leader. The whole ladder topples down: With the beings making it up unconscious or slightly stunned.

More calmly now… The leader reasons, “they don’t sound or think like other carbon based life.”

Tuvok realizes, “you mean you can sense our thoughts?”

They all nod in a rather eerie unison.

Chakotay figures, “just when I thought this couldn’t get any more creepy.”

Not seeming to think it really matters one way or another… The leader sighs.

He explains, “there was a time when we were much like yourselves: With ships, weapons, and computers. But, when we realized that everything decays and grows old… We turned to transplants: Making everything more and more metallic and crystalline with every passing generation. Cutting off all the more useless areas from the rich and delivering the more useful areas to the poor. Brains near dead distributed to enhance the nervous system with enough neurological resistance. We can sense emotions. But, nothing as intense as the blindly emotional thoughts of most carbon based life.”

Kind of fascinated… Kes puts it more simply, “you mean…all of you have lived for thousands of years with radioactive mineral organs? Doesn’t that start to get uncomfortable after a few years?”

A second being faintly chuckles, “not as uncomfortable as sticking in the first of them. Sadly…not all of us made it through the first generation. Some died. Some just went mad. But, everyone that survived is a living testament of revolutionary surgery.”

Chakotay looks plenty uncomfortable: All too fairly reminded of the Vidiians.

Tuvok though is the same stoically mannered drill sergeant as he usually is, and so does not so much as convey the Vulcan impression of glaring at these metallic crystalline compound beings.

A third being figures admittedly, “ok, ok! They’re explorers: Not conquerors. But…for centuries…they’ve been the only ones. What do we do with them?”

The leader reasons, “let them go back. Maybe even spare some weaker Dilithium that we wouldn’t bother eating anyway.”

More than a little anxious to beam off… Chakotay figures, “that actually sounds more than fair.”

The second being adds, “hear, hear.”

Some careless shrugs and a few heated arguments rock the surface like little earthquakes. But, it fairly quickly dies down.

A fourth being questions, “true. Maybe they are peaceful carbon based life. But…what if they bring more carbon based life that is intent on harvesting our food?”

The leader raises a hand to silence any more arguing that might arise.

He reasons, “this…”

Kes introduces herself, “Kes.”

The leader faintly nods, “yes. Kes seems to be the ambassador for this carbon based crew…and a fairly good one.”

Quite amused by the idea… Kes just implies, “more or less. But, fair enough. Continue.”

With some grinded minerals coming down from his rock like chin, the leader nods. He continues, “thank you. Surely we can come to a agreement?”

Kes wonders, “which is?”

The leader supposes, “if your carbon based crew agrees to leave us be and keep the knowledge of us buried…then we will let you and your ship go.”

Kes reasons, “sounds fair. What do you think, Tuvok?”

Tuvok says, “that would be most logical. Perhaps we can prepare a beacon to help keep other carbon based life away.” Chakotay adds, “good thinking, Tuvok.”

He hails Voyager on combadge, “Chakotay to Voyager.”

Captain Janeway concludes, “it’s good to hear something. Are you all right?”

Chakotay explains, “we’re fine.”

A little more than a little uncertain… Captain Janeway answers, “that’s good news, Commander. Is the away team ready to beam up?”

Chakotay figures, “we’re ready. Three to beam up.”

The away team beams off the surface, and back onto Voyager.

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