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Summary: A crewman has an old score to settle with his Captain and ‘punishes’
her by making her experience a catalogue of injuries she must pass off
as accidents. With a bomb in place on board, he ensures her silence.
Can Chakotay and Tuvok figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.
ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN.
By KAT LADY.
Within a week, Kathryn was back in sickbay, having ‘fallen’ and cut her head while trying to check some relays. The Doctor had tutted to himself as he ran his dermal regenerator over the deep cut Kathryn had known her own efforts would have failed with.
“You’ve managed to break your collarbone as well Captain, you really are going to have to take better care of yourself.” Kathryn had simply shot him a glare which shut him up instantly. When she returned to her quarters, she had let her tears go.
He’d been waiting for her in her quarters this time and had beamed them both to an empty storeroom near engineering. Within seconds, he had grabbed Kathryn by the hair and propelled her across the room, smashing the side of her head off the wall. She had heard her collarbone crack also, off the corner of the wall and Kathryn had slumped to the ground, holding her head and neck then tried to stand. His foot on her back had forced her down.
“Stay down bitch. I’ll tell you when to get up.” His laughter was quiet so as not to alert the crew working just feet away. Within minutes, he beamed them both back to her quarters and made her wait another fifteen minutes before leaving her to report to sickbay.
Over the next week, Kathryn spent every spare moment she had checking through the ship’s database and records and going over her own personal logs as she continued and now re-doubled her efforts to trace this mad man. She had started almost immediately after their first meeting and had kept everything very low profile but now she felt more urgency about her search, knowing that he would now probably learn of her efforts but she was determined to risk it. She scanned the logs of all her previous missions and racked her memory for anything which might tie in with the little her tormentor had told her. She had no date line to work within and so she started at the beginning of her career up to the time she’d taken command of Voyager. From what little he’d said, she assumed that she had been in command in some way, maybe not as a Captain but with crew working under her. She drew up a list of incidents where crew had been lost either directly or indirectly around her but even though the list was short, she knew it would be impossible to pinpoint one in particular. All of them had left family behind and only one on the list of ten she was left with had not had brothers.
Kathryn sat back and rubbed her eyes thinking of the ten. She remembered all their faces well and they visited her dreams occasionally. She tried to narrow the list of names further by separating those who had been lost while she had been a Captain and now was left with six names. One of those had been a woman so she concentrated on the five names remaining. She checked Voyager crew names against the names of everyone who had ever served under her and been killed or even injured but none matched and she knew it was most likely now that someone on board was using a false name. She also had to consider the fact that the story she had been told was either a complete lie or altered in some way to throw her off the scent. She thought about his comment regarding the bomb and his reference to Maquis training. Something nagged at the back of her mind about that though, something about his manner and movements, something that suggested Starfleet more than Maquis but no clear thought would form around the basic notion. She made a list of the skills he seemed to possess, transporters, computers, medical knowledge, surveillance, assembling the device, but these ‘talents’ while rare enough in one person, were not unheard of and she knew that many aboard were capable of them, that a lot of them had learned more out here than they ever had at the academy.
Two hours later, she was no nearer to any answers and eventually left it. She knew this man would probably find out what she had been doing, that he seemed to know her every move and so she kept a log of everything on a padd hidden away in her ready room. She worked on it while she sorted ship’s business and hoped that if he was watching her in any way, that one padd would look the same as another and he wouldn’t suspect.
Four nights later she got her answer as to whether he was watching as well as listening. As Kathryn slept, Ensign Alan Menzies beamed himself to his Captain’s quarters and stood watching the sleeping woman before him. He leaned over her and studied her face then quickly pressed a hypo to her neck. Kathryn stirred for a moment and was then quiet as the sedative dose entered her blood stream. Menzies worked quickly and took some cord from the bag he carried. He pulled the blanket back from her body and tied her ankles to the foot of the bed then each wrist to the headboard. He took some tape and pressed it securely over Kathryn’s mouth then pressed another hypo to her neck and waited.
Kathryn came to quickly but was groggy. Within seconds her mind cleared as she took in her situation and was instantly alert. She pulled at the cords binding her to the bed and watched him laugh at her terror. She raised her head slightly and saw that he had removed the blanket from her and that her nightgown was now up around her hips. Kathryn fought to hide her fear as the masked man before her trailed a hand up her leg.
“Time for another lesson Captain.” Kathryn fought the tears she felt coming to her eyes and failed. “I’m going to enjoy this one.” He stood slowly from the side of the bed and turned away from her. When he turned back, she saw he held a square shaped item in his hand, once more padded. He leaned over her and ran his hands over her ribcage and smiled at her.
“I don’t know how you’re going to pull this one off or explain it. Guess you’ll just have to put up with the pain. That hologram would be very suspicious if you reported this.” Without warning, he raised his arm and brought the heavy object down on Kathryn’s ribs. She tried to scream out as pain exploded within her and she felt her ribs crack. She pulled desperately at the restraints, her body trying to rise off the bed and heard his laughter through the fog of pain that consumed her. She fought to get air into her lungs through her nose and when he saw this, he reached down and ripped the tape from her mouth, replacing it with his hand for a moment.
“If you scream, you’ll alert Chakotay next door. We don’t want that now do we?” Kathryn stared tearfully at him and managed to shake her head slightly. He removed his hand and Kathryn gulped in air, trying to be quiet with her cries which she had no control over.
“I’ll leave you a small osteo regenerator which will help a little. Use it and keep this quiet.” Kathryn managed to nod. “You’ve been a bad girl you know. I saw you trying to trace me and my brother through the computer and I won’t have that Captain. You have to learn to take your punishment for what you did so no more searching now.” Kathryn nodded slowly as he stood and turned away slowly. He pressed another hypo to her neck and Kathryn felt the effects almost immediately.
“That’s a muscle relaxant. I’ll let you lie here in pain for the rest of the night. You have to be punished for trying to trace me, as well as for our original deal. It’ll wear off by morning and you can try and treat yourself then.” He stood and cut the cords from her wrists and ankles. “Have a good night Captain.” With an order to the computer, he was gone.
Kathryn lay helpless and in agony for the rest of the night, unable to move. By early morning, she felt the drug wearing off and managed to painfully slide off the bed. She made it to the bathroom and studied her reflection in the mirror. She saw the pain show on her features and slowly raised her nightgown to check her ribs. Heavy bruising was already forming and she closed her eyes from the sight for a moment. She then set to work and ran the two regenerators over the area, hoping that the bones would fuse in some way. She also treated the marks which she had on her wrists and ankles from pulling against the cords. The bruising slowly faded but the pain remained. Kathryn managed to dress carefully then feigning a bad headache, called the Doctor for a painkiller. He seemed hesitant at first but finally sent the hypo to her replicator. Within minutes the pain lessened to a tolerable level and Kathryn forced herself to the bridge for what she knew would be one of the longest shifts of her life.
Chakotay noticed immediately that something seemed wrong and saw the way Kathryn moved stiffly and carefully. Her face warned him off saying anything and having embarrassed himself before, he left the matter alone. When she seemed to improve over the next two days, he let it go but filed it away in his mind.
It was another five weeks before Kathryn heard from her attacker again, five weeks in which she didn’t sleep well and had to force food into her body. She lost weight and knew that Chakotay and others on the bridge had noticed. Before Chakotay had a chance to tackle her about it again, her next ‘punishment’ was meted out. This time he ordered her to the holodeck, having booked the time there in her name when he knew she would be off duty. Kathryn arrived on time, terrified not to and found him waiting for her. Within minutes, she knew what this ‘accident’ would involve.
He sat in a small clearing in a woodland setting, a campfire burning before him. As soon as Kathryn appeared, he stood and walked to her then pulled her towards the fire. He pushed her to the ground and leaned down, withdrawing a burning log from the fire. He calmly ordered her to remove her jacket and push her sleeves up. Terrified of what was to come but more afraid of refusing, Kathryn had obeyed. The agony that followed as he held the flame to her arms repeatedly eventually caused her to pass out. Within minutes, he had pressed a stimulant to her neck in the form of a hypospray and brought her back to endure the pain. Waiting over half an hour again, he sat and watched her suffer, laughing to himself but not speaking directly to her as he enjoyed the results of his work. Eventually he beamed her back to her quarters where Kathryn fought to heal the burns on her arms, knowing she could never come up with a reasonable or believable excuse for the Doctor. Using the hypospray she had gotten from the Doctor on the night he had mended her broken arm and which she hadn’t used, got her through.
Next day on the bridge, she was again physically and emotionally drained and Chakotay wasted no time in letting her know his mind.
“Kathryn, I’ve had enough. I can’t keep quiet any longer.” She had glared at him, warning him with her eyes to keep away but he didn’t take the hint. “Look at yourself, you’ve lost weight, you’re pale and tired all the time, you shut yourself off from everyone including me and… God Kathryn, what the hell is it? We’re good friends or at least, we used to be. Lately you’ve just shut me out completely…” Kathryn reared up on him and donned her Captain’s mask.
“Commander, I’ll thank you to keep your opinions to yourself and mind your own business. Dismissed.” If she expected him to obey her, she was mistaken.
“No way Kathryn, not this time. I want an answer and I want it now…” Kathryn steeled herself to hurt him, knowing it was for his own good.
“Commander, would you prefer I call Tuvok in here and have you relieved of duty? It can happen that way if you prefer.” She stared him out and his temper snapped.
“Damn you woman, you just can’t stand to need anyone. I’ve watched you for weeks now and I don’t like what I see. Half the time it’s almost as if you’re afraid of something…” Kathryn’s temper matched his now.
“Get out of here now Commander or I will have you hauled to the brig. Take a big hint and butt out of my private life, out of what is no concern of yours.” It broke her heart to see the hurt her words caused him but she had no choice. Glaring back at her, he held her eyes for a minute and when she equalled it, he turned and stormed out. That night, the voice she hated filled her quarters and congratulated her on her wonderful performance.
Over the next weeks, Kathryn managed to stay away from Chakotay as much as possible. Her tormentor visited her four more times in her quarters during that time, always late at night when she was alone and each time inflicted small injuries on her, ones she could always manage to heal herself. On one occasion, he stamped on her toes, breaking two of them and on another, he broke three of her fingers. Each time, he made her wait in pain before letting her try and heal the injuries. He seemed to relish watching her in pain, waiting to see how much she could take.
Kathryn spent her days now avoiding Chakotay and her nights fearing the appearance of her tormentor. There was nowhere on the ship now where she felt safe.
Kathryn’s next major ‘accident’ occurred on shore leave three weeks later. She had been exploring with Naomi when the child’s mother had called her for lunch. Kathryn had wandered off a bit and barely stifled her scream when the figure had jumped out in front of her. The sun had been shining directly into her eyes obscuring her vision and she immediately obeyed the order to lower her head and turn around. She scanned the area before her but no one else was around and she cursed herself for believing she would be safe on the surface, that he wouldn’t dare try anything off the ship. She felt a hand on her arm steering her forward and they walked for a few minutes, coming to a drop down into a small valley. She knew he was scanning the area with a tricorder, watching for any crewmembers who might disturb them. Without warning Kathryn was pushed to her knees and told to keep her head down.
“Ankle and wrist I think and whatever else you pick up.” It was the same voice Kathryn heard in her nightmares now. Unable to stop herself, she screamed out as something hard came down across her left ankle and her hand went to the source of the pain immediately. She was then pulled by her other arm, forcing her into a lying position and another blow was aimed for her right wrist with a further explosion of pain. Kathryn screamed out again when his boot connected hard with her face and she knew immediately that her jaw had been broken. He laughed down at her as she cried out, blood spilling from her mouth and nose and then calmly stamped on her head. On the verge of losing consciousness, she felt herself kicked towards the edge of the ravine. With her good hand, she tried desperately to grab a hold of something to stop herself going over but another kick pushed her over and she felt herself falling. What followed was just a pain filled blur.
Kathryn became aware of someone shouting her name and tried to open her eyes. She immediately remembered what had happened and tried to recall the fall and landing but nothing came to her. She forced her eyes to stay open and then Harry Kim’s face was looking down at her and then B’Elanna. She made out words here and there but she could feel the blackness crowding in on her and eventually gave in to it.
When she came round in sickbay, Chakotay’s concerned face was staring down at her. She closed her eyes against the pain which pounded in her head and felt the hiss of a hypospray against her neck. As the pain in her head eased, she met Chakotay’s eyes and saw the worry there.
“What…how long…?” He stared at her and answered slowly.
“You’ve been here for four days…” He saw her nod her understanding but couldn’t read her eyes as she looked away quickly and closed her eyes. “Kathryn, what happened? How on earth did you fall? What were you thinking of?” Kathryn slowly opened her eyes and squinted against the light. She licked her dry lips and used the action as cover while she thought of what to say.
“I’m… I remember walking…seeing a valley…what happened?” Throwing the question back at Chakotay was all she could think to do.
“You fell down the side of a ravine. Don’t you remember the fall?” She watched him as he sat beside her and turned to see the face of the Doctor staring at her.
“I’m not sure…I don’t remember a fall…I think Harry and B’Elanna were there or…I don’t know…I was with Naomi before but…” The Doctor stepped forward.
“All right Captain, it’ll probably come back to you. You broke your ankle and wrist and received a nasty head wound as well which fractured your skull. You also broke your jaw and cracked some vertebrae but I’ve taken care of all the damage. You’ll be stiff and sore for a few days and that headache will return. I want to keep you here for another night just to be safe so no arguments.” Kathryn nodded and didn’t object at which the Doctor looked shocked. Chakotay studied her closely.
“Kathryn, are you sure you don’t remember how this happened? It’s not like you to be so careless. You could have killed yourself…” He stopped immediately, the thought not something he ever wanted to consider but he was determined she understand the seriousness of what had happened. The Doctor stepped in.
“Commander, rest is what she needs now. I’m sure it’ll all come back to her later.” Chakotay just nodded and stood up.
“Of course Doctor. Kathryn, get some rest. You’ll be all right and that’s what matters.” He smiled down at her then left.
Chakotay sat in his quarters and tried to remember everything about Kathryn’s behaviour over the last weeks and months. Something nagged at him but wouldn’t show itself in his mind. He thought of the injuries she had received and something in his gut told him that something wasn’t right, that there was more going on than he was seeing but he also realized that in their situation, it wasn’t all that unusual. Eventually tiredness and the knowledge that he had the early shift won over his thoughts and he lay down and was asleep within minutes.
Kathryn was allowed to return to her quarters the next evening but she felt terrified in the one place that had always been her sanctuary. She knew she’d be all right for a few days at least, that he wouldn’t risk attacking her again so soon, at least physically. More and more now, she saw signs that he had been in her quarters or her ready room and was letting her know that he had free access to her life. Items were often moved or her clothes left out, silent and deadly warnings to her. He had taken to appearing in her quarters at odd hours and just punching her or cutting her, leaving her to deal with the small injury on her own.
Kathryn became a wonderful actress over the next weeks but found she couldn’t relax at all with anyone. She alienated herself from every member of the crew, even the senior staff in case they suspected anything. She was aware of Chakotay watching her more closely and avoided him as best she could but he was determined to try once more with her.
“Kathryn, we talk about this now and no arguments. I want to get to the bottom of this once and for all. We can talk from the brig if you like when you put me there.” Kathryn ignored him. “This act won’t work any more. I’ve watched you closely and I don’t like what I see. Sometimes I see fear in you which I find hard to believe. It’s controlled but it’s there, just like when the ship or crew are in danger.” Kathryn’s head snapped up and he stopped and drew in a deep breath. “You’ve also become…all these accidents lately…it’s like you’ve become totally reckless, don’t care about your own safety…” Kathryn cut him off and stood, controlling herself well.
“Commander, get out and take your wild fantasies with you. I have work to do and if you haven’t enough to keep you better occupied, I’ll provide plenty for you.” Not waiting for him to reply, she left her own ready room and avoided him for the rest of the day.
Next day, now about six weeks after her ‘accident’ on shore leave, Kathryn was working in the Jeffries tubes above engineering, determined to avoid Chakotay again, when her attacker appeared before her.
“I saw you were alone here Captain and it was just too good an opportunity to pass up. You weren’t very good yesterday with our friend, didn’t convince him at all. You’ve been failing more and more there so you deserve another punishment. Maybe this one will wake you up a bit.” Kathryn knew her fear showed and saw him relish it. He grabbed her and forced her down then pressed her into a lying position on the floor. Without further words, his hand clamped tightly over her mouth and he pulled the same object from a bag he carried which he had used to break her ribs.
“Legs this time my dear.” Kathryn tried to scream as the heavy object smashed against her right thigh and then her left. She heard the bones break but her scream stayed in her own throat as he held her down, his knee in her chest and his hand over her face almost suffocating her. As the pain washed over her, she was aware of him pushing her and felt herself falling and this time her scream could be heard. Her body, like a rag doll, fell several decks and she crashed to the floor below. All she remembered after that was the concerned faces of Chakotay and B’Elanna leaning over her and hearing them call for help. A blanket of blackness had then descended over her.
Alan Menzies made a quick getaway, pulling his mask off as he went. He could still hear Kathryn’s scream in his ears as she had fallen and he laughed to himself. He vaguely wondered if he had gone too far this time, taken too big a risk, but the satisfaction he had gotten from the incident was enough to override any doubts. He scanned the corridor beyond the hatch of the Jeffries tube he was in and when he was satisfied that the coast was clear, exited quickly and made his way back to his quarters. Hiding his ‘work equipment’ quickly, he sat and enjoyed the sensation of revenge that washed over him.
“The bitch screamed good David and you should have heard the crash she made at the bottom. With any luck, she’s already dead.” He laughed to himself and spoke with his long dead brother. Speaking the name of David sobered him and he lay back on his bed and remembered.
His thoughts brought him back to the day his family had received the news of the death of Ensign David Cooper, eldest son of five children and who had carried the hopes and dreams of his family on his shoulders. David had entered Starfleet straight from school and the second eldest son Alan, had joined him two years later. The brothers had never shared classes or assignments but they never lost touch for more than a week at a time, the distances of space not enough to keep them apart for long. Alan remembered how proud their parents had been, having two sons following in the footsteps of their Admiral father, the three younger girls never showing an interest in a career other than that of wife and mother. His parents had never minded the lack of career ambition their daughters showed, knowing that the family tradition would be carried on by their two sons.
When David had been killed, all that had fallen apart and despite still having a son living, they behaved as if their world had come to an end. Within a year, both parents were dead, their mother first, her body no longer fighting the cancer which had been well under control before that. Admiral Cooper had simply let go after the death of his wife and with his daughters settled and married, had simply drifted off to sleep one night to never waken again.
Within a month of his father’s death and with his sisters living their own lives, Alan had quit Starfleet, never satisfied with the explanation the family had been given regarding the death of David Cooper. Alan found himself wandering for some months, finished in his mind with Starfleet but in their opinion, only on an official leave of absence on compassionate grounds.
Within a further two months, Alan had unearthed the story behind his brother’s death but due to fragmentary information, never got the full story and the logs regarding the mission David had lost his life on, had been sealed. Alan had learned that David had died on a routine exploration mission, under the leadership of Captain Kathryn Janeway and in his mind, she had failed to protect her crew. What he never knew was the fact that the disastrous mission had been down to one person and that person had been David Cooper himself. Having failed to adhere to the strict guidelines for away missions and ignoring his orders, David had stormed ahead without proper reconnaissance of the area before him and had led his team into a Cardassian trap. It had only been due to the bravery and quick thinking of their Captain, that no more were lost. David Cooper had taken two young female Ensigns with him to death but due to the fact that his father had been a high ranking Admiral, the files pertaining to the incident were sealed and the matter was quietly closed. The families of the other two lost, never questioned the official statement that they had walked into a trap, completely unforeseen, and that no one was to blame. What Alan would never know was the fact that his parents had known the truth and it was this which had caused them to give up on life and not just the death of their first born. When he learned of the cover up and sealed files, he assumed it was to protect an incompetent Captain Janeway and not to spare the Cooper family.
Alan Cooper had returned to Starfleet for one reason only, to avenge his brother’s death and the deaths of his parents. At his insistence that he be allowed to change his name, citing it as a painful reminder and a hindrance in future life, Starfleet had readily agreed and he became Alan Menzies, taking his mother’s maiden name. Time had passed and the matter was left in the past. When Alan Menzies had put in for a post on board Voyager, the team handing out assignments had had no knowledge of the history of the man before them, his work record all they saw. When it was noted in certain circles later, no one at Headquarters ever thought to inform Voyager’s Captain that the brother of someone who had died under her command had changed his name and requested a position on her ship. It had been for this reason, that Kathryn Janeway had been unable to trace the man who was responsible for tearing her life and possibly her ship apart.
Chakotay had been in Engineering overseeing some work details when Kathryn’s scream had been heard. He had locked eyes with B’Elanna for a second and then they had both run in the direction of the sound. Chakotay had requested Kathryn’s location from the computer and within a minute they had found her. His breath had stopped in his chest when he saw her, blood pooling beneath her head, and as her eyes had met his briefly before closing, he had cried out her name. B’Elanna at least had been thinking straight and within seconds, they had all beamed to sickbay.
As he sat beside her now and watched the rise and fall of her chest, he remembered the Doctor’s words. “Commander, she apparently fell several decks. I have no way of knowing how this happened but her injuries were quite severe. Both her legs were broken and there was massive internal bleeding and spinal injuries. There were also extensive head injuries.” Chakotay had looked at the Hologram, silently asking the question that mattered most to him. “I’ve controlled the internal bleeding and the spinal injuries and the breaks to her legs have also been healed. Her head injuries were the worst and she’s still unconscious. I believe however, that she will make a full recovery. I can tell you she was very lucky.” Chakotay had simply gripped the Doctor’s arm and thanked him. He had been too preoccupied with worrying about Kathryn to notice that the Doctor appeared to be holding something back from him.
It was two days before Kathryn regained consciousness and when she opened her eyes, Chakotay’s face filled her vision, accompanied by his gentle smile.
“Hey you.” He saw the flash of fear that crossed her eyes and quickly set about reassuring her. “Kathryn, it’s all right. You’re in sickbay but you’ll be fine. You fell in the Jeffries tube. Do you remember that?” Kathryn had nodded slowly and closed her eyes quickly in case he read her emotions. She felt him caressing her hand and opened her eyes again.
“How bad…?” He kept stroking her hand.
“You had a nasty head wound and some internal bleeding but the Doc’s taken care of that.” He saw she waited for him to go on as if she knew there was more and he continued. “You also had some spinal injuries which he healed and you broke both your legs but you’ll be fine with plenty of rest.” He smiled softly and then saw a look cross her face but couldn’t read it. “Kathryn…?” She closed her eyes again.
“I’m fine…it’s just…” Chakotay touched her face and she looked at him, trying desperately to hide how she felt.
“You’re not fine. Kathryn what is it?” She managed a small smile.
“Nothing…I…just remember…falling…and…I saw you before…I passed out…” Tears filled her eyes and he leaned closer.
“Kathryn, it’s all right. You’re safe now. It’s going to be all right.” Kathryn managed to keep her smile and nod, wishing desperately that he could be right but knowing that things would never be all right again. Suddenly they were interrupted by the Doctor.
“Pardon the intrusion Commander but I need to check my patient.” Chakotay nodded and stood back, something about Kathryn’s behaviour bothering him. He watched as the Medic completed his scans and check up and pressed a hypo to her neck and frowned as the Doctor moved away and motioned his head towards his office. Chakotay looked at Kathryn again and saw that she was having trouble keeping her eyes open. He moved back to her and stroked her hair, understanding now that the Doctor had sedated her.
“Kathryn, try and get some sleep. I’ll be back later.” He saw a brief look of panic cross her eyes but still she nodded. Within a minute, she was asleep, her body deciding the matter.
Alan Menzies had been listening in on the conversation in sickbay and had heard every word. He smiled to himself, satisfied that he had Kathryn under control. He relaxed and switched off the commlink to sickbay he had secretly installed and lay back, satisfied that all was going according to his plan.
ON TO PART THREE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.