Part Four - 41 - Kala

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   "Ito Min-Hee's journal, entry 961. Kala can fly the Forebears' ships we found in the Unknown. I don't know why and how, but she can. I should not be surprised anymore. With that crew, all I thought I knew is always turned upside-down. We seem to be living outside of the realm of probabilities. Everything just...happens. The Forebears...I've seen ruins before, hidden in Ushus' territories. We had a different name for them. They were a thing of the past, traces of a civilization long-dead, incredible but irrelevant in our present. But now that Kala can fly their ships, I'm not sure we can call them irrelevant anymore. Things are happening and I can't make sense of any of it. But it's okay. We are okay and hopeful, that's all that matters. I don't need to understand it to welcome it."

When Kala crossed the temporary wormhole she had expected a fight. But what she got was chaos and debris. It took her a few seconds to make sense of any of it. Who she should target, who she should protect. But then she saw the lightning bolt on the side of a few ships and recognized them to be the rebels, using what they thought was her symbol. They had come in great numbers to fight alongside her.

She opened the line to the Voyager via the device they left her. She hadn't spoken to her friends for three weeks. Three long weeks left alone in the Unknown, training with the alien technology. It had reminded her of her years on R-607 after all the scientists died. It was an experience she was not eager to relive again.

She pushed aside her longing and asked: "Voyager, do you read me?" Silence. "Voyager, it's Kala."

After a few seconds, Rudra's voice echoed. "Yes, Lightning Sprite. Happy to hear your voice."

Kala let out a sigh of relief. In the chaos, she could not recognize the Voyager. Rebel ships were flying everywhere, fighting Ushus, Expansers, and Europans. But they were here. They were still flying.

Then Allan took over. "Kala! Our shield is dead, we are sitting like ducks in a minefield."

Oh no. "I'm coming. Is everyone all right?"

"We don't know. We got hit and lost some compartments," said Allan.

Kala swallowed slowly. This had been her fear, that she would arrive too late. They had synchronized the time but they didn't know how long crossing the temporary wormhole would take. Like any other gate, the results varied. Time and space seemed to be irrelevant during a crossing. She looked at her clock. 34 minutes. She had missed 34 minutes of the battle. No wonder it was all plunged in chaos. She swore.

Kala felt a few impacts over her ship, through the connection. Some of the three nations' ships were finally starting to fire at the weird vessel that had appeared out of nowhere. But as long as energy was running along the black alien material, the hull was invincible.

"Voyager, give me your position," she said.

They did, and finally, she found them in the chaos. Such a small ship, drifting between fights. One of their propulsors was damaged but Jessie seemed to make the most of it. Some Expansers were right on their tail and Kala didn't hesitate.

Time for payback.

She gave pursuit too. All the closest ships gave way, as even the battleships and cruisers were dwarfed by the alien vessel. Then she activated the first Forebears' weapon at her disposition. She launched three small spheres of light that flew right to the enemy ships. When the spheres hit, their targets got slowly pulled apart by a wave of energy. Piece by piece. Panel by panel. It was strangely peaceful to witness. No big explosions, no debris violently hurtling through space. Just the energy slowly sliding between matter and pushing. Kala tried not to think about what it did to the humans inside those ships.

A huge Ushu cruiser started firing with all they had at her. Hundreds of canons aiming for her hull. She felt each hit, like pricks over her skin. The energy of the alien ship just devoured the impacts. She marveled at the quiet efficiency of such technology. Kala decided to use the second weapon. One that took a lot of energy, but considering the size of the cruiser, she thought it might be worth it. She aimed and screamed. A light beam exploded out of the Forebears' ship, going straight for the Ushu cruiser. It went straight through the hull like butter and escaped from the opposite side, melting everything on its way. Not long after, what must have been the flux core of the ship exploded, like the cruiser's last breath before death.

More ships turned their canons toward her now, all allies in the face of the new threat. Kala welcomed the attention, sending back her regards. Now that she had made a good show of what her new ride was capable of, some of the three nations' ships were trying to flee. The rebels were giving chase.

Allan was joyfully shouting over the line as they all fell under her wrath. "That's what you get! You wanted Kala? Here she is!"

But then his laughs turned into sudden screams. Kala's eyes shot open by reflex. She closed them again and focused instead on the virtual map inside her head. She saw the Voyager drifting away with velocity, missing a part of her hull. One of the last battleships had targeted it on their way to escape.

She heard Rudra's voice echoing in the background of the line, "We need to evacuate! The flux generator is compromised!"

Jessie was screaming that she could stay and fly the ship while they escaped. From the flow of insults coming from the captain, Kala knew he would have none of it.

Kala wanted to fly to them, she wanted to help. But she knew she couldn't, this alien ship, for all its technology, could not sustain human lives. It was just a machine of war, not one for life. She bit down her panic and aimed an energy beam to the cruiser instead. Just like her other targets, it exploded with flair.

She felt a tug in the back of her mind. She looked and found the ship's energy running low. The energy level had been humongous when she started on Lasa, so she hadn't' been worried. But now it was depleting faster than anticipated.

It will have to do, she thought, teeth grinding.

Then turned her deadly attention toward fighters that were engaged with some rebel ships.

As her crew and the rebels left the Voyager's bridge, the line went silent.

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