Disclaimer - Paramount own them. Hmm.
I apologise in advance that this isn't a KJ story, that it is - in fact - about one the characters they give so much time to on the show. But hey, I had the idea and I had to use it! ;)
Who should take the entire blame for this? The Kashyk list, obviously. But J K Rowling has a lot to answer for…(and I still haven't read any of those bloody books).
Rated PG-13 for a little bit of swearing.
Ah, the indignity of it.
I imagine you've suffered through some emotional times in your lifetime. Something dreadfully embarrassing, something particularly heart-wrenching, something that you will never, ever forget because of the emotional impact.
Well, hologram or not, so have I. A hundred times over.
It was after the Captain became involved with that Devore Inspector, Kashyk. He and his toady little minions acted as if they owned sickbay when they searched it and the rest of the ship - the room felt dirty every time they left.
Then, of course, he faked his defection, but the Captain called his bluff (in a brilliant little manoeuvre, if you ask me) and that was it. That was it. We were sure they were going to leave.
You see, Kashyk had predicted her betrayal to his betrayal. He hadn't underestimated her after all.
So they stayed. Not especially long I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, but well…to me, it seemed like an entire lifetime. Which it was, really.
We eventually got rid of them after about a month, involving several wonderful things that I did. But…well…I'll admit it. I do like to complain a little, and I feel like after everything that's happened - that did happen - that it's my right to tell you exactly what happened. Exactly what I know.
And you'll realise. You'll realise all the terrible things that happened to me, all the terrible things I had to do…but you'll never fully understand.
You've never had to suffer the indignity of being a goat.
The thing about goats is that they're shorter than everyone else. Oh, I'm sure that in their natural habitat there are no particularly tall or short goats, but in comparison to humanoids, who - let's face it - were almost the only people I came into contact with, I was comparatively a lot shorter.
So I can be forgiven for thinking when I materialised that something was wrong with my programme, and I had materialised on my hands on knees. In my confusion I tried to stand up but with more than a hint of dread realised I couldn't. I couldn't stand, I couldn't move, I couldn't even blink. I couldn't move at all.
And then I noticed someone's legs. Being trapped in that position I couldn't see anything more than their legs, but I didn't need to for much longer. The door to sickbay (yes sickbay, this was definitely sickbay - I had the carpet memorised) swished open and a second set of legs strolled confidently in. None of the legs in the room that I could see appeared to be clad in a Starfleet uniform. I had a terrible feeling, an awful inkling…
There was that voice. That annoyingly smug voice. Kashyk. He was the one who had just walked in, and he continued speaking. I tried to say something but - of course - nothing came out. Even my mouth was forced shut.
"What was it you wanted to see me about? And what is that thing?"
Prax - quiet, obedient, loyal, ignorant Prax - responded. "That 'thing' is what I wanted to see you about sir. I've been looking through the Federation database and found myself quite intrigued by this creature that can be found on the humans home planet, Earth. I took it upon myself to alter the parameters on the hologram, and, well…"
"Prax…" Kashyk's voice was filled with warmth and fondness. "If you wanted another pet, why didn't you just say so?"
A pet? I was starting to feel quite anxious. Very anxious. Very, very-
"You don't mind, sir?" He actually sounded quite anxious himself.
"Why of course not!" His superior chortled. "You have left the medical files intact though, haven't you? They could be invaluable."
"Of course sir. I've simply changed the physical parameters and removed the personality. All the medical information we want will be right there when we need to access it."
Now this was very interesting. If Prax thought I was in fact just a…whatever I was…then I could be useful. Not that I'm not always useful you understand, but in this kind of situation it's for the best if you can blend in. If they think they don't have to worry about you.
Kashyk spoke again. "He's a little still, isn't he?"
Prax immediately moved out my sight range and pressed some buttons. "Not for much longer, sir."
After several beeps I could suddenly feel my body, and…my inner, unacknowledged suspicion was correct. I wasn't bent over. I was at my full height. And, as I craned my neck back to look up at the two men who were smiling down at me, I felt decidedly inferior. In fact, the only thing I could think was that I hoped I still didn't have that bald patch.
I moved my legs, experimentally. They worked. I moved my body, a little. That worked. I opened my mouth to say something.
Had it been possible I probably would have fainted.
Kashyk chuckled, amused at the noise. "What is this type of animal called, Prax?"
"A goat, sir."
Well that confirmed it. I briefly wondered if it were possible for a goat to commit suicide.
"A goat? Hmm. And do you have a specific name for him?"
Prax considered the question. I did my best to look 'cute' (although how I was trying to do that considering this was the first time I'd ever been a goat, I don't know) because I didn't want to be lumbered with a stupid name. And, when I thought about it, this was the first time someone had given me a name in a very long time. I wanted a nice one.
I was too busy thinking about my name that I almost missed the fact that he was telling Kashyk that he'd been looking through a list of Earth names, and had chosen one:
Colin? COLIN the GOAT?
What kind of name was that?!
Of course I couldn't show them my dissatisfaction, couldn't take any chance that they might see something on my new goaty face. Did goats have expressions? How would I know?
I did the only thing I could. I played along.
I wagged my stumpy little tail.
Prax - actually showing emotion - smiled, bent down, and patted me on the head.
It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?
I thought the fact that I was a goat was undignified enough, but then Prax put a collar on me. We'd go for walks several times a day throughout the ship, always taking the same route. Start on deck two (he'd appropriated the quarters normally designated for the first officer), catch a turbolift down to deck eleven, take a stroll through engineering and then, eventually, through the rest of the ship; the mess hall, walking by the holodecks, popping into astrometrics on occasion.
Not once did I see a member of the Voyager crew. Through subtle surveillance, i.e., pretending to graze at the carpet whenever someone looked at me (Note: carpet fluff does NOT taste nice), I soon discovered that they were being held together in the cargo bay. And, most of the time, they were anaesthetised.
Well, I'm a doctor. I knew how to counteract that. I just didn't know how. Being a goat was extremely inconvenient.
I also managed to pick up the fact that Voyager was headed back towards the Devore home world, flanked by two Devore warships.
The crew was trapped, the ship was out classed, and I was a goat.
It wasn't one of my better days.
But I kept my spirits up, knowing that Prax would find any sudden despondency unusual behaviour. I baaahed pathetically when he talked to me, wagged my little tail when it would please him, I even…I even…licked his toes.
I'm sure I can still taste them, you know. I shall have to have a word with B'Elanna…
He took me everywhere with him when he was off duty, which thankfully meant that the more we went out together, the more I learned about the command structure of the ship, who worked where, what they did. I didn't have a plan yet, but I was learning. Observing.
Some of the men took quite a fondness to me. Some had pets at home that they missed, some wanted companionship (there was quite a bit of argument over who should own me as there was only the one mobile emitter, but Kashyk stepped in and no one ever questioned Prax's right again). I even heard some of them say they liked me because I was cute (See! My cute face was working! Who knew? I've always had an affinity with animals…or I always thought I would if I actually came across any).
Of course, when he was working I was usually left alone in his quarters for hours at a time. I spent as much time as I could investigating his quarters, ferreting about in every nook and cranny, looking for ways out. But I couldn't do much. I was quite limited in exactly what I could touch thanks to my body design, but even if I could move a lot I didn't want him to know, didn't want him to see anything obvious.
So, I was careful. I loosened the odd panel where I could, moved things to where I thought they'd be more convenient, but because I didn't want to him realise it was these specific things, I moved other objects too. He used to return to his quarters after finishing his shift, expecting things to be moved. He admitted to me one night when I was forced to get under the covers with him (a nightmare I'll never fully share with anyone), that he thought my little hobby was 'very sweet'.
I really, really despise the quiet ones.
Thankfully, after about two weeks he took my leash off. Apparently I was now trusted not to run off and stay by his side. Even more amazingly, his quarters weren't locked during his shift. My baaahing, tail-wagging and toe-licking had paid off: I was free to roam.
The goat was about to turn.
First stop: cargo bay.
Getting off of deck two was easy. Getting off on deck eight wasn't. I simply got on the turbolift when someone else did, but being a goat I couldn't tell them my destination. I spent over an hour in the turbolift, waiting for someone to get off at deck eight. I had gotten pretty good at using my hooves to move things, but I couldn't reach the controls so it was a case of sit and wait.
Eventually, the one called Prezin got on the turbolift. He was the one who brought me a plate of food every evening (it didn't seem to matter to the dimwit that I was a hologram), but his affection now paid off. He stopped the turbolift at every floor until he reached the one I wanted. At deck eight I scampered off and baaahed appreciatively, when in fact I was saying "You're an imbecile and I hope you get injured a freak incident involving yoghurt." Prezin simply laughed and waved goodbye.
Alone now, I made my way towards the cargo bays. I couldn't imagine that they were holding the entire crew in one cargo bay, and sure enough there were guards posted on both doors as I calmly trotted by, head held high. They smirked. Probably at me more than with me, but they'd get their comeuppance later. I'd make sure of that.
Fortunately, a chance was about to present itself. As I turned the corner I heard rapid footsteps behind me and I quickly turned - thankful that everyone ignored me - and watched as Kashyk stampeded up to the doors to the cargo bay. Holding a hypospray he faced a guard and gave him an instruction I paid great interest to:
"I need the engineer. Get her now."
Nodding, the guard unlocked the door and carefully looked in. So did I. Everyone was still, lying on the floor. Apparently having been made immune to the anaesthetising gas, the guard moved in and within the next minute had dragged B'Elanna - still unconscious - into the corridor. Once the doors were locked again, Kashyk injected B'Elanna with the hypospray.
The effect was immediate. In moments her eyes were blinking open, but I knew she was still fighting the grogginess invading her body. That didn't stop her from trying to fight when she saw who was bent over her. Yelling, she struck out at him, but he easily backed away as the guard grabbed her.
"Now, now, Ms Torres," the Inspector warned. "If you don't co-operate my men have orders to kill your boyfriend. Or would you prefer little Naomi Wildman?"
"You bastard," She spat, literally.
"I'll take that as a yes. If you'll follow me, please."
Naturally, I did just as he suggested.
I hitched a ride with them in the turbolift. B'Elanna was so engrossed in her hatred that she didn't even seem to notice me and Kashyk and the guard that came with him didn't seem to care.
Even as a goat no one noticed me.
We exited the lift in engineering. Apparently there was some kind of problem that only B'Elanna's expertise could solve.
"My men are good," Kashyk explained "But you've worked with this ship for many years - I know how attached you engineers get to your warp cores, and bio-neural gel packs…how you know all the little quirks. Fix this. And if you do anything, anything at all that effects the engineering systems in any way other than they're supposed to, I'll order the execution of Mr Paris."
She glared at him, still looking as if she felt half-asleep. I felt happy. Kashyk had said it himself - nothing that affects the engineering systems. I couldn't help it; I laughed.
Naturally, it came out as a baaah.
Naturally, that was the moment B'Elanna noticed me.
"What is that?"
"It's a goat, Ms Torres, don't you recognise it?"
"Yes I recognise it, but why is it on the ship? And why is it wearing the Doctor's mobile emitter?"
"It used to be the Doctor, but-"
B'Elanna butted in. "You turned the Doctor into a goat?"
Finally. Someone who sounded as indignant as I felt.
Kashyk simply continued. "Prax wanted a pet. I let him have one."
"I don't believe this…" She murmured, staring at me, agape.
"Yes, well believe this," Kashyk warned, indicating the overly large weapon the guard was holding. "Get to work. And be careful."
Words to take to heart. B'Elanna growled softly, but set about working.
So did I.
I sidled up next to her as she worked, hoping that no one would try to make me leave. Kashyk left, so it was me, B'Elanna, the guard, and the Devore engineering staff.
Sneaking a look behind me, I spoke.
Blinking, B'Elanna paused her work and looked at me. Slowly, she smirked. "Too bad it's not really you, Doctor. Maybe you'd be able to help."
"Baaah," I repeated.
She stared at me and whispered, frowning. "Nod your head if you can understand me."
Eyes widening, she quickly fixed her attention back on the console, not wanting to draw attention. Amid bleeps she continued to whisper. "If you really are who I think you are…I'm going to try to help. No doubt they'll look closely at the engineering systems when I'm done, and most of the other systems. Hopefully they won't think your programme is particularly important and won't have noticed any changes I may have made…the next time you're alone, try to change what you look like. Bah twice if you understand."
Growling for effect, B'Elanna turned to the guard. "Look, could you get rid of that goat?! It's really putting me off."
An engineering officer escorted me out through the double doors. B'Elanna surreptitiously stared at me until I could no longer be seen.
Patting me on the rear, the engineering officer - Metax or Petax or something - another one who took a liking to me, told me to scarper (or words to that effect).
Again, I did.
Panting (Do goats pant? And why should I pant anyway? I'm a hologram!) I rushed out of the turbolift - trying to ignore the Devore who had the fascination with my tail - and headed for Prax's quarters. The doors parted obediently and after a quick survey of the area I confirmed that no one was there.
Trotting into the bathroom I stopped and did exactly what B'Elanna told me to do. I tried to change what I looked like. There was no slow change, no metamorphosis from one thing to the next; it just happened.
One moment I was staring at a drawer. The next, I was staring at the mirror above the wash basin. There I was. There was me! I was me! Me! I looked just the same - handsome as ever. Still regretfully bald, but there was my face, my eyes, my whole body. I was my full height!
"I've missed you so much!" I told the mirror, and it was my voice! My own voice! No baahing or other animal sounds; it was the melodious quality that was my voice. It was all I could do not to hug myself and - if I'm honest - I did end up hugging myself a bit.
But, the only way this gift was going to come in useful was if I could change back and forth at will. So, could I become the goat again?
In less than a second I had. Baahing happily I bounded about the room, then changed back to the Doctor and stretched my legs. It felt SO good.
The doors to the room swished open.
Mid-leap I changed back into the goat and landed on the bed in an undignified lump.
Prax walked into the bedroom, smiling. "There you are! I hear you've taken quite a tour of the ship today. Did you enjoy yourself?"
I baahed because he was expecting it. I thumped my little tail against the bed. Sitting down next to me, he stroked my head.
"I'm just on my lunch break, but I thought I'd pay you a visit." Moving further onto the bed, he pulled off his boots and lifted his feet up. "There you go, Colin. You know what to do."
Staring at his feet, it was all I could do not to sniff in distaste.
Okay, so things were looking up. I could change back to the Doctor anytime I wanted to, and I'd finally be able to do something really useful…but still, I had to lick this mans feet. When the time came, he was going to get some serious payback.
From then on, it was pretty much plain sailing. The only real problems were making sure that no one was around to see me as the Doctor. Getting to the environmental controls wasn't a problem; emptying the cargo bays of gas and flooding the rest of the ship was.
It was only when someone's back was turned that I could become the Doctor, make the changes, and quickly turn back into the goat, just in case.
The Devore behind me collapsed to the floor. Trotting out into the corridor, I was glad to see the same thing happening to everyone else. Changing back to the Doctor, I again returned to the environmental controls and flooded the cargo bays with a compound that would quickly revive everyone. Then, accessing the transporter controls I beamed the best security members to my location. The guards outside the cargo bays - immune to the gas - would still have to be dealt with.
I'll admit it - I was clever. I was able to make sure that the section where the guards were stationed wasn't flooded with gas. I didn't want them to hear the sound of the gas emerging and get suspicious. If all was going well, they'd have no idea anything at all was going on.
A woozy Tuvok and his security team quickly loaded up with weapons and we headed for deck eight.
While we were in the turbolift I changed back into the goat.
Tuvok said one word.
I'm sure you know what it was.
When the guards saw Colin the Goat happily trotting towards them, I'm sure they never suspected a thing. The truth is, I don't think I've ever been prouder of the moment I used my inappropriate charms to distract them, and I felt a distinct sense of satisfaction when they were phasered and hit the deck with pleasing thumps.
Tuvok looked down at me. "Nicely done."
I wiggled my goaty eyebrows.
So, that's it. That's just about all of my story. We unlocked the cargo bay doors, set the crew free, retook the ship, exchanged a little fire with the unsuspecting and unshielded Devore ships, transported the Devore back to said ships, and then - as Mr Paris puts it - we got the hell out of dodge.
I'm completely my old self now. No more changing into goats for me. But I did ask one favour from the Captain and one favour from B'Elanna, one thing I wanted to do before we transported the Devore off…
My feet had never been so disgustingly smelly before. In fact, they had never smelled at all before. And, after Prax had finished, they'd never been so clean.
I do so love the quiet ones.
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