|Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager. I don’t. Only borrowing
them. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Summary: Finally home, Necheyev shows the full extent of her hate for Kathryn
and presents her with a deal. Either she goes to prison or Chakotay
and the crew do. Forced to announce her wish to retire and reclaim
her old life, Kathryn is sent into a living hell, leaving behind a very
hurt and angry Chakotay and crew, who have no idea of the sacrifice
their Captain has made for them. By the time they find out, it may
already be too late.
WARNING: This story contains graphic material of a violent and sexual nature.
AND I WILL LEAD YOU HOME.
By KAT LADY.
Chakotay stood and surveyed the stretch of land before him and smiled sadly to himself. The view from his piece of land to the far ridge was magnificent and he knew this was where he would settle. It was the perfect place for a home, even if no one else would share that home with him.
He looked back at the semi-built house and shook his head, knowing it wasn’t bad for a few weeks work. He smiled as he thought of all the help he had received with the building, the entire community coming together to work with him and then a surge of pain went through him. He had always imagined bringing a wife to a home like this, raising kids and working with his hands. That dream seemed shattered now and he pushed it aside but a stray thought remained. *Kathryn would have loved all this… *
He walked away now, knowing that by the end of a further few weeks, this house would be a home, ready to invite him in.
True to their word, Chakotay’s remaining family on Dorvan and his friends had the house finished in just under three weeks. He stood back in amazement as he looked at the log cabin, all modern facilities already installed, even a large bathtub. He had cried as he had installed the tub himself, thinking back to happier times and knowing that it was those memories that had made him put this tub in place.
His cousin Taymar had been the only one who understood the significance of the tub and who had been witness to his tears.
“Chakotay…I can’t help but think you have another reason for installing this bath…other than the memories you spoke of…” Chakotay had looked up surprised.
“I told you…I got to like a bath myself…” Taymar had merely smiled knowingly.
“You still hope that someday she might come? Still hope somewhere inside you that she will see this one day and share it with you? My cousin…there is only pain in those dreams…” Chakotay had stood up quickly.
“I don’t think that…” The older man had simply smiled.
“I didn’t say you thought it…I said you hoped it…” Their eyes had met and the truth had been seen. “You will however, only let go of those hopes and dreams when you are ready to do so…” Chakotay had just sighed.
“I’m past the anger and the pain that came from that…” The other man had simply nodded his head.
“I know you are. You’re not past the other pain though…or the dreams… You forgive her for the pain she caused you…but the pain of losing her…the pain of the love you still carry for her…that has yet to leave you…and I sometimes wonder if it ever will…”
Chakotay shook his head now and smiled. His cousin was too wise, too seeing. He smiled at him now, lost among a group of children and adults, all eating and drinking in celebration of the completion of their work. The same thought came to him. *Kathryn, you would have loved this… * He chased it away and went to join his family and friends.
Kathryn had no idea of how long she had been in the prison now. She went through the motions of each day, doing whatever she could to avoid notice. She watched other prisoners in the adjoining fields and noticed that some of them watched her and the women who worked alongside her now. She noticed somehow, that they wore different prison uniforms but dismissed it from her mind. She didn’t want to think about anything anymore, no matter how trivial. She sucked in the air, hoping to calm the constant nausea in her stomach and went back to work. She looked at her arms as she dug the ground and it hit her suddenly how thin they were. She knew she’d lost a drastic amount of weight since coming to this place and just shook her head. *With luck, I’ll just fade away… *
Slowly over the next weeks, Kathryn's mind slowly started to come back to her more and more as an acceptance settled over her. She thought about her previous life now occasionally, praying that her crew and Chakotay were happy somewhere. She wondered just how much of her daily life was reported back to Necheyev and somehow knew that every move she made and every action made against her was reported and found she didn’t care anymore. She was too tired to think about her hate for this woman anymore. Days passed one like the next, attacks coming from some of the other women still, although not on the scale that they had been. Whether or not the guards intervened, depended on how bored they were. Outside of all that, Kathryn went through all the motions of eating when food was given to her, despite the constant nausea which she lived with, drinking the water she was passed, working when she was in the fields and sleeping when she was in her cell. Nothing else existed. She still tried in some way to defend herself when the other women jumped on her but it was more out of instinct than anything else as the constant attacks wore her down, physically and emotionally, the injuries she received rarely treated. When the occasional guard visited at night, lying there and letting it happen also became instinct.
Events then took a different turn about three months into her sentence, although Kathryn had no idea of how long she had been there. The guards in the field were playing some kind of card game, ignoring their prisoners for the most part, all of them knowing there was nowhere for them to run anyway, and that they wouldn’t get far in their half-starved state either way.
Kathryn was working away, trying to exhaust her body and mind, when one of the women approached her.
“You Starfleet whore…you killed my brother…” Kathryn glanced around her and then towards the guards. She saw they weren’t watching.
“I killed no one…” Her voice sounded strange to her from misuse. She tried working on, to ignore this woman. Suddenly the spade was torn from her hands.
“I said you killed him…” Kathryn looked towards the guards again and saw that this time they were watching with mild interest.
“Look…just let me work…I killed no one…I don’t want a fight…” The woman leered at her.
“Well too bad Starfleet…although a fight wasn’t what I had in mind…” Kathryn saw the makeshift knife a second too late. She felt it, as it sliced into the flesh of her side before being pulled out again, the woman moving away immediately. Kathryn clutched at the wound as she fell to her knees, seeing the spread of blood over the light colour of the material which made up her uniform.
“Oh God…” Her breathing changed to panting as pain washed over her and she felt the warmth of her own blood on her hands. She looked up to find a guard in front of her, throwing his hands up and shouting at the other women.
“For God’s sake ladies…couldn’t you have just beaten the shit out of her again…? You’re making work for me here…” Kathryn heard the women laugh and saw that the guard was unconcerned about her injury, only annoyed that his rest had been disturbed. “Now I’m gonna have to drag the bitch back to the block…” He kept to his word, pulling Kathryn to her feet and dragging her alongside him as she cried out in agony. By the time they reached her cell, she was almost unconscious.
“You get to stay here for the rest of the day…nice stunt to get off work by the way…” Kathryn still pressed down on the knife wound as she lay sprawled on her cot.
“Please…help…” All she got in answer was laughter.
“Oh shut up and stop moaning…it’s nothing… If it gets infected…we might do something… Just shut up and stay there…” With that he slammed the door closed and switched off the light.
Kathryn spent the night in agony, nausea and dizziness washing over her in waves. She cried that night for the first time in weeks, as the pain wore her down. She knew she was passing in and out of consciousness but had no concept of how long she had been lying there.
At some stage, one of the guards came to check on her and tossed a few rags at her, telling her to clean herself up, and that she was lucky, as she wouldn’t have to work that day. Kathryn tried to clean the wound as best she could, crying quietly with the pain. She eased herself back onto the bunk then and used the rest of the rags to make a bandage and padding of sorts and vaguely wondered how she hadn’t bled to death yet. Eventually she passed out again.
Kathryn was left in her cell all the following day also, before someone came and stitched her wound. She was given nothing for the pain and no anaesthetic while the crude stitches were put in place. Within a few hours, she was pulled back to work, despite how weak she was from blood loss. She fought the pain as best she could but was incapable of doing much and the guards ignored her for the most part, only occasionally hitting her across the knuckles when they passed.
Three days passed like this before the next attack came, Kathryn totally incapable of defending herself in any way. She lay on the ground as fists and kicks rained in on her, before the guards decided enough damage had been done. This time, they left her lying where she had fallen until the evening when she was dragged back to her cell.
And so she lay there where the guards had shoved her down, biting down on her fist to avoid crying out. The memories and nightmare images still passed through her mind until she finally let the darkness consume her.
Tom smiled at B’Elanna as he planted the last of the small shrubs. She threw her eyes up and laughed at him.
“You’re just so proud of yourself, aren’t you? You’d think you were the first man to ever plant a garden.” Tom pouted.
“It’s my first garden…sorry love…” He walked over to his wife and stroked her face, a puppy dog expression on his face. “It’s our first garden…” B’Elanna laughed and shook her head.
“Maybe you should have stayed with Starfleet. Their Diplomatic Corp. sure could have used you…” She smiled as he leaned in to kiss her. “Get off. You’re all dirty and sweaty…” Tom nuzzled her neck.
“Some women like their men that way…” B’Elanna just smiled to herself and leaned her head to the side, allowing him more access. Suddenly she saw a man standing watching them and jumped. “Tom…?” Tom just nuzzled deeper. “Tom… Stop it. There’s someone…” Tom looked up at her with a leer in place but turned when he saw that she was looking over his shoulder, her face serious. He turned around and studied the smiling man who was watching them before recognition dawned.
“Jason? Jason Clarke? It can’t be…” The stranger just smiled more.
“Hello Tommy…how’s life been…or do I even need to ask…?” Tom shook his head and moved slowly to the man.
“I don’t believe it…Jason…good God man…” No more words were spoken as the two men embraced and howled at each other, leaving B’Elanna standing behind them, totally bewildered. Tom finally broke the bear hug and turned to his wife.
“Honey, this is Jason…Jason Clarke…an old and very good buddy…” B’Elanna smiled now and reached out her hand, only to be grabbed and hugged. When Jason let her go, she stood back and gave him a lop-sided grin.
“So I see… Can I ask how you two know each other? I’ve never heard your name…” Jason gave a stern frown and looked at Tom.
“Been keeping secrets from the little lady?” He held a hand up at the glare he got from B’Elanna. “Sorry…bad choice of words…from the…?” Tom laughed.
“The wife…Jason, this is my wife, B’Elanna Torres Paris, the love of my life…” Jason gave a mock salute then looked at Tom.
“I thought pool was the love of your life?” This earned him a playful punch from Tom.
“That was in the bad old days…before this beautiful creature found me and saved me from myself…” B’Elanna smiled and nodded.
“And don’t you forget it buster…” She smiled at Jason. “I have some cold lemonade inside or there’s beer if you two would prefer that…?” She nodded her head as their eyes lit up. “Did I even need to ask?”
B’Elanna entered the back garden and handed Tom and Jason two cold beers. She smiled as she watched the easy way they talked with each other, as if they had seen each other only the day before.
“So how do you two know each other then…?” Tom looked up and smiled at his wife, his face taking on a slightly serious look now.
“Jason was with me at the penal colony in New Zealand. He was a member of the…” He looked at the man beside him who nodded his permission. “He was a member of the Ravens…” B’Elanna looked shocked.
“I’ve heard of them. They were very like the Maquis, in fact almost the same, just different causes but the same fight. My God Jason…” She shook her head. “Has Tom told you…?” She saw her husband shake his head and Jason frowned. B’Elanna smiled.
“You’re looking at a former member of the Maquis here…” Jason looked shocked now and then his face broke into a huge grin.
“Well done Tommy…you know how to pick a good woman then…” He smiled at them both and an instant friendship was born between the three of them. Tom smiled and nodded.
“So what’s been happening with you then…?” Jason shrugged.
“Only got out recently…been getting settled…a job…apartment…that kind of thing…making a new life… I mean the old one’s gone…that’s for sure…” He smiled at them both but saw shock on their faces.
“You were there the same time as Tom and only just got out…? What…? Sorry. I shouldn’t ask…” B’Elanna blushed at her own question. Jason just smiled and shook his head.
“B’Elanna, it’s OK. I’ve no secrets from Tommy Boy here…” B’Elanna shook her head at the name. “I was in for a lot longer simply because of what I did and who I was… Starfleet needed examples…some there more than most…” He took another drink of his beer and explained.
“Look, I didn’t ever kill anyone. I did wreck havoc on Starfleet though and when they caught up with me, they were determined to make a good example of me. They didn’t manage to catch many of us Ravens. Weren’t that many of us to catch. Anyway, I think they’d have given me life if they could have. As it was, ten years was the maximum sentence they could impose and they made sure I served every last minute of that.” He frowned when he saw the look of anger on their faces, especially B’Elanna’s. “What is it?” B’Elanna shook her head.
“Starfleet isn’t exactly a curse word around here but… You tell him Tom…I’m gonna make some dinner…” Tom nodded and watched her go.
“Like you, she lost a lot of good friends in the Maquis. Starfleet will never really be forgiven. You know how it is.” Jason nodded.
“I know well. I hope I didn’t upset her too much…” Tom smiled and shook his head.
“It’s a little more than that…” He went on to tell his old friend about everything that had happened since they had last seen each other and about the Maquis. He was just finishing up when B’Elanna returned, carrying a tray of dishes. She caught the last of Jason’s sentence.
“She just walked away like that? After all you’d all been through together…?” B’Elanna laughed.
“Actually Jason, we’re not quite as mad at her as we used to be, although it is still a sore point. We have a good life here and that’s all that matters to us now. We don’t really talk about her that much anymore. She hurt us too much, although even that is fading. Actually, it’s Chakotay I still worry about…” Jason looked up quickly.
“Is that THE Chakotay? The Maquis leader?” They both nodded. Jason shook his head. “That man is a legend. How do you know him?” Tom filled him in on the rest of the story. Jason was amazed.
“Wow. I can’t believe you know him and I certainly can’t believe Starfleet let him go. Who’s in charge there now? Necheyev must have popped her clogs I guess…” He didn’t miss the look which passed between Tom and B’Elanna. “What now?” Tom told him, filling in any last gaps in the story. Jason sat back with his beer.
“Wow again. That woman…Alynna Necheyev…” He shook his head. “She’s the one who made sure I served my time. Made it hard too for a while. This was after you left. Finally she seemed to forget about me. I guess she had bigger fish to fry and just lost interest. I was sure my last lap would be the worst when I heard they were sending me to The Farm but it wasn’t…” Tom looked puzzled.
“The farm? Where’s that?” Jason laughed.
“Not so much where as what. I’m surprised you never heard of it. Still, it was a little after your time…” He took a long drink of beer and leaned forward. “Let me tell you about ‘The Farm’ then. It’s upstate from here…in the countryside…way out. It’s Necheyev’s little playground…well part of it anyway. I mean, it’s a proper ‘correctional facility’ as they call it. It’s just that part of it is…well the story goes that some people can disappear into there, if other people want them to disappear. I’m sure you follow me.” They both nodded. B’Elanna spoke her mind.
“So Starfleet are involved in this? The almighty Starfleet…?” Jason held up a hand.
“You’ve got it wrong B’Elanna. Starfleet itself probably doesn’t even know that the part I’m talking about exists. I’m just saying that certain people do know.” Tom nodded and laughed.
“You mean Necheyev rules it all…?” Jason didn’t answer at first and just raised an eyebrow. They got his meaning through. “Look guys, a lot of that is speculation…until you’re there and you see and hear things. Oh, my stint there wasn’t that bad. I was actually in the trusted, open end of the prison. Near the end of my time and all that.” He smiled softly. “I didn’t forget you Tommy or how you helped me in New Zealand…” He told B’Elanna how Tom had saved his life in a fight with another prisoner. “Tommy got the knife off the guy and broke his arm. They never came near either of us again after that…” The two men laughed at the memory. Finally Jason went on.
“I’d have been in contact and come to see you sooner, only I had to get settled first. As I said, a job, place to live. I’m still catching up with the outside world too and it took some time to find you. I didn’t know about Voyager and all that...only heard recently. They didn’t exactly give us access to the media in there.” He smiled. “That must have been some party…?” He frowned when they laughed, the sound mocking.
“Oh yeah…all of one press conference…?” Tom shook his head bitterly and told Jason about the famous ‘homecoming’. He stood up and went to a cabinet, taking out several holoimages. “Here. That’s all the news that’s fit to print.” He sat down again and watched his old friend scan through the images, nodding to himself and smiling occasionally.
“I recognize Chakotay and you two of course, even that bitch Necheyev.” He frowned now. “I know her too…I think…she’s…” He shook his head. “Naw…yeah…yeah…but…” B’Elanna stood up and moved to him, sitting on the arm of the chair. She saw Jason’s finger point at Kathryn. She laughed.
“Well of course you know her. That’s the famous Captain Kathryn Janeway. Everyone knows her. Probably would know her more if she’d stuck around…” She laughed bitterly and then frowned as Jason continued to study the picture before him.
“No…no…I mean…I told you…I didn’t know about this…didn’t see any of it in there…didn’t know about it all…no access to media for the last ten years in fact… No…I know her from somewhere else…maybe a little different looking…I mean the uniform and all changes her here but…I know her…and it would have to have been the penal colony…up at The Farm…” Tom laughed.
“I seriously doubt she was there…” Jason looked up.
“Where else could it have been?” Tom shook his head.
“Jason…it couldn’t have been her…unless… Was she visiting someone? Is that it or was she there as a visiting dignitary…?” He shook his head then. “No…not that either…she retired…she couldn’t… Jason, are you sure…? It couldn’t have been her…” He looked up and saw B’Elanna’s doubtful look too, then looked back at Jason, who sat shaking his head.
“It was there…I know it was…and she wasn’t a visitor…” He was quiet for a moment. “It’s coming back to me slowly…but she was there…I know it…and she was a prisoner…I just can’t remember where…what section…” Tom leaned forward now.
“Jason…she would either have been there as a visitor or in an official capacity…except that she retired…so that leaves a visitor…if it was her at all…” Jason shook his head firmly.
“I’m telling you Tommy…it was her…and she was in a prison uniform…” He stabbed his finger on the holoimage to make his point. Tom looked at B’Elanna whose face was a picture of concentration as she made her way to her chair again. Finally she spoke.
“So that’s where she went. This tells me one thing only. She had to be there undercover. I guess it also tells us that she never really left Starfleet after all. This has to be Section 31 or something.” She bit down hard on her lip. “Maybe she was with them all along…” Tom laughed and shook his head.
“Oh come on love, no way to that. She’d be useless to Section 31 stuck out in the Delta Quadrant…” B’Elanna laughed.
“We didn’t exactly plan on being out there, you know. She just got caught up in it the same way we did…” Tom shook his head.
“No…I don’t buy that… Besides, she’d been a Captain for a while and they never work like that. I’m not sure I buy her joining with them when we got back either… I mean what…? She suddenly gets recruited by them the minute she touches down on Earth again? No…” He looked over at Jason and saw his eyes register something. “What is it Jason?” The other man nodded his head.
“I remember. She was a prisoner and she was over in the next fields…working there…yeah…I remember now…she was alone for a long time…working alone…except for the guards of course…I remember now…and she was a solitary…in solitary confinement…because I remember the different uniform…so that blows your Section 31 theory… Someone undercover would never be a solitary…they’d be in the main prison population…” Tom and B’Elanna were both shaking their heads in disbelief. Jason wasn’t finished though as more came back to him.
“She was there and I remember her… I didn’t see her for a while then, cause I was moved to another duty and then when I came back she was with the hard labour detail…other women…though why a solitary on hard labour was in with others I don’t know…but she was most definitely a solitary confinement prisoner because of the uniform. It’s lighter in colour than all the others…and she was definitely on hard labour…there from dawn to dusk…every day…even before she was put in with the others…” He shook his head at his old and new friend.
“Look I know it sounds crazy and you think I’m wrong here and I admit…she was in the next field but I see good and I never, never, forget a face. Couldn’t afford to in my line…” He smiled at B’Elanna and saw that she understood. “Look, I remember her because she had a few run-ins with the other women…jumped by them a few times…wasn’t too good at defending herself though…she went down easily… You don’t exactly keep your strength up in there…unless you’re in with the guards in some way…giving them what they want…you know what I mean…” He laughed cynically. “The guards let it happen of course…even in our section. They rarely stopped the fights. They took bets, enjoyed them. I had her down as an informer or assumed this was payback for something. That happens a lot as you know Tommy…” Tom just nodded. “Anyway, the guards always stand back…let it happen…either for their own amusement or for a bribe…” He rubbed at his face. “She was beaten by the other women a few times, as far as I saw and heard…” He was quiet now as they all digested everything they had spoken of. Finally Tom broke the silence.
“It can’t be…God…how…why…I don’t understand…? Jason, are you 100% sure of this…that it was really her…?” Jason nodded his head.
“I feel sure…I am sure…but… Look, I’m not that important anymore…not seen as a threat…” He shook his head. “I can go back…visit…it’s no risk… I’ll talk to a friend of mine still in there…see what I can find out… I could show him a holoimage…see if he agrees with me…check it out…” Tom and B’Elanna looked at each other and nodded. Tom turned back to Jason.
“You’re sure this isn’t any risk to you…?” Jason smiled slightly and shook his head.
“It’s no risk and besides…I owe you big time Tommy Boy…”
When Jason had left, Tom and B’Elanna sat quietly for over an hour, trying to get their heads around everything they had learned. B’Elanna stroked the back of her husband’s hand.
“You think I should call Chakotay? Let him know about this?” Tom sighed deeply.
“Maybe…I don’t know… All this is still a pretty painful subject with him…” B’Elanna nodded her head.
“I know it is but… Tom, if it is her… oh God…we’ll have been so wrong…” Tom shook his head again, his mind confused.
“Maybe we’d be better waiting to see what Jason finds out…” B’Elanna shook her head quickly.
“And if it is…we’d have wasted time… Tom, if he knows now…he can try and get here… The travel time between here and Dorvan isn’t as long as it used to be… He could be here by tomorrow… oh God…I just know there’s something going on here…Jason was so sure and… He was right about being in a Resistance Movement… You learn pretty quickly never to forget a face. It could well mean your life…” Tom bit his lip and looked up at her.
“I know Jason’s right in one way…and yet…it sounds too incredible to be true and yet…” He shook his head sadly. “Maybe I’m just clutching at straws, looking for something that will tell me there was a good reason for what she did or why she walked away…I guess I still can’t buy it that she just left like that…” B’Elanna squeezed his hand and smiled sadly.
“Underneath it all, I don’t think any of us could…yet that would be better than this…” She sighed deeply and thought a moment. “I’m gonna call him…I have to…” Tom nodded, giving his silent approval.
Kathryn tried to keep her breathing as shallow as she could but her mind kept wandering. The darkness of the cell confused her but she couldn’t think about it as the pain washed over her in waves. She shivered one minute and sweated the next, the words of her prayer whispering past her lips constantly.
“Please God…take me…let me die…please…oh God…please…let me die…” She licked at lips that were sore and dry. “Please God…take me…” She moved her head slightly, even that small movement sending fresh waves of pain through her.
Suddenly the light came on again and she cried out, trying to squeeze her eyes closed against the painful glare. She heard movement and managed to pry her eyelids open slightly, a little more tolerant of the light now. She barely recognized the men standing over her as guards.
“Please…help me…pain…” She was unsure if she’d even spoken. “Oh God…let me die…” The sound of laughter filtered through to her tired mind as small cries passed her lips.
“Can’t see this one lasting long…” Laughter again but only from the one who had spoken. The guard looked at his companion. “What’s wrong with you Gates?” The other guard shook his head.
“Shouldn’t we get someone…? A medic or…?” The older guard laughed again.
“Why bother? She’s had it…” He almost growled. “You’d better toughen up if you want to continue working here. I’ve been watching you Gates…no taste for the game of us against them… You never even want to have a quick fuck with them. There’s something seriously wrong with you…” Gates looked away from the pitiful sight before him.
“Look Chambers, I just want to do my job… It just doesn’t seem right…the rest of it… Look at her…” He finally glanced back at the woman on the cot. “Surely she deserves…” Chambers laughed.
“She’s a criminal…a serious one if our Admiral friend sent her to us… She deserves nothing. Besides, we’ve got free licence with the likes of her…the Admiral said so…told us we had free rein with them… Once they come here, we report back to her about everything…but if they die…she couldn’t care less…probably celebrates…” He turned away from the cot. “Come on…the game’s on soon…leave her…” The younger man barely nodded. He turned away from the sight in front of him, not wanting to see any more. He still heard her whispers though and grew curious.
“What’s she saying…?” He moved to the other side of the cot and leaned down. He faintly heard Kathryn's whispers. “She’s praying…I think. ‘Please God…let me die’… Come on Chambers…we should do something…she’s a human being…” The other guard just laughed again.
“Sod her…the game’s more important…I’ll check her later…” Gates started to move away, knowing there was little he could do. The apathy of this place was getting in on him. He looked up then when he heard Chambers shout and saw him jump. He looked down then and saw that Kathryn's hand was weakly trying to grasp the man’s trouser leg.
“Get off me you dirty whore.” Chambers pulled away easily and Gates saw him draw his baton. Before he even registered the movement, the older guard had swung the weapon and smashed Kathryn across the head with it, sending her head snapping to the side. She didn’t move anymore and a silence now filled the small cell.
“Oh shit man, what have you done…?” Gates moved back to the cot and looked down at their prisoner. He reached down and touched her face. “I think you killed her… God…why did you do that…? She was just trying…” Chambers appeared shocked for a second than pulled himself together.
“Ah so what. She said she wanted to die. She just got her wish. She should think herself lucky. Now she hasn’t any pain…come on…the game will have started…” He turned and walked away then looked back when the younger man didn’t follow. “Gates, get a move on…leave her…” He saw the young guard feeling for a pulse. “Well…is she dead?” Gates shook his head.
“She’s still alive…we should…” Chambers stared at him with venom in his eyes.
“We don’t report this, have you got that?” His meaning wasn’t hard to miss. “Now leave her and let her sleep it off. She’ll have a hell of a headache when she wakes up. Come on, let’s watch the game…” He shook his head. “Gates, the game…” There was menace in his voice which the younger man heard only too well. He got the message and moved away, knowing he had little choice.
“All right…we’ll check her later…” The older man laughed.
“Yeah…we’ll check her later…whatever…” He laughed and switched off the light as they left, his mind already on the bet he had placed earlier in the day on this game.
Chakotay stood looking out into the garden through the French windows in Tom and B’Elanna’s house and held his glass tightly. He turned now when Tom came into the room, bringing coffee and looked down at his wife, trying to read her expression. She just shook her head.
“I don’t believe all this…can’t…and yet…” Chakotay turned back into the room, his face a mask of pain and tiredness. “Part of me just can’t believe this could happen, tells me it hasn’t happened and that your friend is mistaken…I mean no one has that kind of power and yet…” He sighed deeply and sat down. “I also know that it’s the sort of thing, the kind of sacrifice, that the Kathryn I knew would make…” He put his glass on the table before him and rubbed at his face.
“I always found it too hard to believe we all just got off like that…was so sure Necheyev of all people would have wanted our heads…” Tom sat down also and looked at the weary man before him. He hadn’t been on Earth for more than an hour, having travelled non-stop from Dorvan to get there. He’d left within minutes of receiving B’Elanna’s sub-space message.
“Chakotay, we’ll know more when Jason gets back. He should be here soon.” He used the waiting time then to fill his former First Officer in on everything they had spoken of the previous day. When he finished speaking, he saw that the big man had tears rolling down his face.
“To think of her…like that…in there… Oh God…Kathryn…I’m so sorry…” He leaned back and rubbed his face, appearing surprised at the wetness he found there. He shook his head, not caring that he had cried in front of his friends. “I couldn’t ever let her go…from inside me, you know?” He smiled when he saw that they already knew that. “It hurt like hell, what she did. She just walked away, no goodbye, no explanation, and it was like a knife in my heart. And yet, I prefer that to the thought that this now could be the truth of what happened. I’d take my suffering over hers any day.” B’Elanna reached over and grasped his arm, just as the door chime went. Tom jumped up.
“That has to be Jason…” He ran for the door and returned a minute later with his old friend. “Jason, this is Chakotay…” Jason managed a smile and reached out to take the hand that was offered to him.
“Chakotay, it’s a real honour. You’re a living legend…” Chakotay managed a small smile.
“I’m not sure about that. I knew of your people. Tom told me. Sorry we never got together. Might have made a bigger dent…” He shook his head. “Have you news?” Jason looked a little nervous as he nodded and sat down. He drew in a deep breath before speaking and by that very action, told them what they needed to know.
“It’s her. She’s there. My friend…he’s even more sure than I was...has seen more of her…” He watched as Chakotay’s head fell to his chest and he groaned.
“Oh God…Kathryn…” Tom saw the look of pain and shock on his wife’s face, knowing his own matched it. He forced himself to try and think straight now though.
“Right…oh God…what do we do now…? Jason…?” Jason nodded.
“If you have any friends in high places…I suggest you call them… You need to get her out of there now…” Chakotay’s head snapped up.
“She’s that bad?” Jason nodded.
“There have been developments since I was there… Sorry… that sounds…” He sighed and shook his head.
“I’ll tell you everything I know and I’m sorry…this will be painful…” They nodded for him to continue and he saw them try to harden themselves, prepare in any way for what they would hear. Jason nodded again.
“It was easy to get back in, visit my friend. I told him about yesterday and quietly showed him the holoimage you gave me and he confirmed it, recognized her immediately, despite what life in there has done to her…” He looked up, his eyes apologizing for him. “Anyway, he remembered the fights also, the ones where she was attacked by the others…the guards’ treatment of her…” He reached over and poured himself some coffee, needing to hold the cup to occupy his hands.
“He told me that…that there was another…incident if you like…four or five days ago…he thinks…” He took a drink. “It’s not easy to keep track of time in there…” They nodded their understanding to him when he looked at them. “She was attacked again…” He closed his eyes a moment then looked into his cup. “She was stabbed…by one of the women…” Chakotay cried out as his hand flew to his mouth. Tom reached for his wife’s hand when she did the same. “Sorry…I know this is hard…” He forced himself on.
“He was nearby when that happened…next field… He saw it and heard it all. One of the women had come over to her…said something about ‘you killed my brother’. The guards just looked on. Nothing new there. This other woman stabbed her then…makeshift knife…anyone can make them in there…usually a piece of old metal…rusty… My friend said she fell to her knees…holding herself…he even saw the blood…” He couldn’t look at his friends. “The guard…one of them…eventually came over…said something like ‘ladies, couldn’t you have just beaten the shit out of her again…you’re making work for me…I’ll have to get the bitch back to the block now’. They’re not exactly caring in there.” He glanced up then away, not wanting to see the pain his words were causing.
“He said the guard dragged her away…that she was barely able to stand…was crying out…” He ran a finger around the rim of the cup he held. “He didn’t see her for a while after that…thought perhaps she had died…” He sighed, not needing to see the faces before him. He heard B’Elanna’s quiet sobbing. “They don’t do much about medical treatment in that part of The Farm…” He looked up and met Chakotay’s eyes, knowing the look on the big man’s face would stay with him for a long time.
“He didn’t see her for a while and then she was back…barely able to stand according to him…and then…” He swirled his coffee. “She was set on again…two days or so ago…couldn’t defend herself…obviously very weak from the other… He said she could hardly stand, yet alone fight back… She took quite a beating…” He cleared his throat. “They beat her to the ground…fists and kicks…and the guards just left her lying there afterwards when they’d finished with her…” He shook his head, gripping the cup tightly. “She was taken back at the end of the day…he thinks she was semi-conscious… He hasn’t seen her since… Oh God…I’m sorry…sorry I had to tell you this…” He lowered his head, listening to the crying around him. He snapped his head up then when he heard a noise and saw that Chakotay had jumped up.
“We go there now…get her…pray she’s still…” He couldn’t finish the thought, much less the sentence. Jason leaned forward.
“Chakotay, you don’t understand. You’ll need someone in authority to get her out of there.” Chakotay turned on him.
“This is Kathryn Janeway we’re talking about…when they know that…” Jason shook his head and almost laughed.
“Chakotay, even if her guards know that, it won’t matter to them and they probably do know. If Necheyev was the one who sent her there, you can bet it won’t matter. Look, in there you lose all identity, all rights as a human being. You’re not even a name, just a number. You’re nothing. You cease to exist. Especially in that section. You just don’t matter anymore. Even in the other sections, your existence is base, surviving a day at a time. In that section where she is, it’s more like surviving an hour at a time, until you just lose all will to live…” Chakotay clenched his hands into fists.
“No…not Kathryn Janeway…” Jason shook his head, trying to get his point across.
“Yes…everyone… The system in there grinds you down. Who you were no longer matters. You just don’t get it. In there, she’s not Captain Janeway or even plain Kathryn Janeway. She’s prisoner number…whatever…and that even gets lost after a while…” Chakotay wound his fingers in his hair. Tom jumped up.
“If that’s what we need…” He left the room and returned a few minutes later. “Dad’s on his way…we’ll get the authority if that’s what it takes.”
Owen Paris arrived quickly, then sat and listened, his rage silently growing as the story unfolded before him. Finally he cleared his throat.
“This changes things…” They all frowned and Chakotay jumped up.
“Admiral Paris…” The old man smiled sadly.
“Owen please…” Chakotay barely nodded.
“Owen… Look…we need to move now…I don’t care what it changes…Kathryn needs…” The old man looked up sharply.
“You think I don’t know that son? Look, I’ll tell you this and I shouldn’t.” He sighed deeply. “Necheyev has been under investigation for some time now. This will blow it right open…” He shook his head. “You’re right though. We need to move now. Jason however, is also right. I need to make a few quick calls first and get some authority behind us…” He stood quickly. “Give me five minutes…”
Fifteen minutes later, they stood outside the The Farm, an emergency transport taking them there. Admiral Paris held several padds in his hand, the authority of Starfleet behind him. They marched to the front gate and were admitted, an armed guard with them.
Amid shouts of protest and some confusion, they finally entered Block N as they learned it was known. Admiral Paris stood arguing with some guards who denied all knowledge of a prisoner named Janeway. Chakotay caught sight of a young guard standing off at the back of their group and gripped Owen’s arm.
“Do you know where she is?” The young man looked nervous. Owen Paris took over.
“Come on son, tell us what you know. It’ll go easier on you…” One of the other guards jumped forward.
“He knows nothing. He’s new here…” Chakotay ignored the man and moved to the nervous guard.
“You know, don’t you?” The young man faintly nodded his head then looked up with a look of fear on his face when the other guard roared at him.
“Gates, you son of a bitch…you traitor…” He shut up instantly when Owen Paris backhanded him across the face, shocked at his own actions. Chakotay spoke softly.
“Just take us to her son, you’ll be safe…I promise you that…” He forced a smile to his face. “Gates, is it?” The man nodded. “I’m Chakotay…just take us to her…it’ll be fine…” The man shook himself and nodded.
“This way…I think you’ll need a medic or someone…” His eyes showed his fear and Chakotay looked back to see the members of their own security detail calling for back-up and medical assistance. Owen Paris spoke to them.
“Get Voyager’s EMH…he knows her medical history better…and get more men here…all this closes down now…” They nodded.
Chakotay, along with Owen Paris, Tom and B’Elanna, followed the young guard. The damp and cold of the place seeped into them and the stench made them want to gag. They came to a corridor with several metal doors and waited as Gates opened one of them. Chakotay started into the room before he saw that there was complete darkness inside. Instantly the light came on and he moved inside. What he saw almost stopped his heart in his chest.
“Oh sweet God…Kathryn…” He was at her side in two strides and reached out hesitantly to touch her face. His eyes took in everything, how thin she was, the rags she wore, the injuries he could see. He saw blood matting her hair to the side of her head, dried blood on her uniform and fresher blood around the site of what he knew had to be the stab wound. He saw the cuts, bruises and swellings which littered her face and body and how pale she was, a film of sweat on her face. A thin trickle of blood escaped her nose and another one from her mouth.
“Kathryn…Kathryn…” He couldn’t believe that this skeletal and abused creature lying before him was his Kathryn. He touched her face and was shocked by the heat from her skin, as she burned with fever.. He looked up tearfully. “Tom…?”
Tom was scanning Kathryn when the Doctor arrived, using the tricorder he had brought with him, and moved aside quickly. They whispered together for a minute and Chakotay watched as Voyager’s former EMH went into action, barely controlling his rage.
“I’ll need a transport in a minute…I need to try and stabilize her first…she’s…” He looked up quickly at the deep worry on the faces before him and decided to be honest.
“Our first concern is the head injury…” Chakotay saw the Medic move Kathryn's head and saw that there was blood on the pillow which was trickling from her ear. Gates moved forward quietly.
“She was…was hit across the side of the head…a heavy blow…a baton… She was barely conscious before that…” He kept his head down, not able to look anyone in the eye. The Doctor barely acknowledged the words.
“One of her pupils is fixed and dilated…blown…indicating that there’s a blood clot which has formed…haemorrhaging on the brain… We need to move fast… The rest…injuries…infections…” He didn’t continue as he worked at a frantic pace. Chakotay just stood back with the others, almost afraid to breathe. Tears poured down his face as he felt B’Elanna holding him and crying beside him. He gripped her hand on his arm, needing the contact. “Right…let’s go…” The beam of the transporter took them, taking Chakotay to what would be the longest and most agonizing wait of his life.
It was ten hours before the Doctor came to them. Chakotay jumped up, seeing him before Tom or B’Elanna did. The Medic said nothing and just sat down, motioning for Chakotay to do the same. His face was grim.
“I’ll tell you all this as quickly as I can. First off, she only just came through the surgery, which is a miracle in itself. She is however, in a coma and I can’t say if or when she’ll come out of it.” He looked up at the three people before him, the closest to family he had, along with the woman whose life he had battled to save for the past ten hours. “I’m sorry I haven’t got better news…” Chakotay shook his head and closed his eyes, fighting for control until he heard the rest of what he knew the Doctor would tell them.
“Just say what needs to be said…” He opened his eyes and looked at the Doctor, who nodded his understanding.
“OK but it’s not…” He sighed, a habit he had picked up. “The blow to her head was delivered with considerable force. It’s a miracle it didn’t kill her immediately, particularly in her weakened state. It fractured her skull and caused massive haemorrhaging on the brain and a large blood clot had formed. I’ve taken care of all this but it was a long and tough fight…and…the coma is mainly a result of that injury and swelling to the brain, but not on its own.” He paused a moment. “The stab wound…several days old and badly infected. There was damage internally from the knife or whatever was used…something dirty and rusty I’d guess…we barely got her in time to ward off tetanus… It had been stitched…in a very crude manner I might add…and this added to the infection. This…this infection is now widespread along with…” He shook his head. “There was further infection from…other…injuries…” He stood quickly.
“She was burning with fever from the infections but I’ve managed to bring that under control. Her temperature was extremely high but is coming down and her blood pressure barely registered but is coming back up with transfusions of blood and fluids. Her other injuries, some old, some newer… There were broken ribs, an arm…internal bleeding and bruising…the external injuries you saw…from beatings…” He walked to the window and stared out. “She’s deficient in almost every vitamin and mineral…half starved…badly dehydrated…dangerously under weight…” He took a moment and then turned back into the room. “I think you get the picture…and that’s just the physical side of it…God only knows what her emotional injuries will be…” He shook his head, seemingly regretting his words. When he looked at Chakotay and the others, he found only Chakotay staring at him, B’Elanna with her head down crying and Tom trying to comfort her. Chakotay just stood and motioned to the Doctor to follow him outside.
“Infection…other injuries…emotional injuries…?” Chakotay stared hard at the Medic. “You said a lot in there but I think there’s also a lot you didn’t say. This is just between the two of us…so talk…” The Doctor nodded his head.
“Do I really need to…?” He was trying to make his words as gentle as possible. Chakotay just closed his eyes and turned towards the wall. The Doctor saw him fight to control the rage which already showed itself.
“She was…?” He struggled to breath. “More than once…?” He finally opened his eyes and turned to look at the Doctor.
“I’m sorry…yes… I’d say it was…” He shook his head. “I’m sorry but…” Chakotay ground his teeth together.
“Part of her daily existence…isn’t that what you’re trying to say…?” He stared hard at the Doctor and saw the hologram nod sadly.
“I wish I could tell you differently Chakotay…” He shook his head again. “For now…all I can do is treat what I can…and…” Chakotay banged the back of his head off the wall.
“Yeah I know…pray to God she comes back to us…” He looked sadly at the Doctor.
“One part of me…I think I expected…the prisons I knew of… I thought here though…but still… I think I tried to prepare myself for this…hoped I was wrong…” He didn’t have the words and tried to shut them off. “One step at a time…?” The Doctor nodded sadly.
“That’s all we can do…” He looked down at his feet a moment. “Look, give them a while to get her settled and then you can see her…” Chakotay nodded and rubbed a hand over his eyes. “Chakotay, she will live…” The big man nodded slowly.
“Yeah…I know… I just pray it’s not the way she is now… She’d never want that…”
Chakotay spent the rest of the night sitting with Kathryn, whispering softly to her. The nurses came and went, checking her readings and he usually managed a small smile for them, grateful for their dedication and caring.
The following morning, he sat with Tom and B’Elanna and listened to Tom’s father explain the events of the night.
“Necheyev was arrested at dawn. She seemed annoyed at first and then acted as if it was nothing. She’s being held at Headquarters.” Chakotay forced his anger down.
“It was her?” Owen shook his head.
“We’re sure of it. We just need to prove it all. They’ll be investigating for a while yet but with what we already have…it’s likely that she’ll stand trial. This goes far deeper than just Kathryn…” Chakotay shook his head in disbelief.
“Why wasn’t she stopped before all this? How did they ever let her get this much power?” The old Admiral shook his head, not having an easy answer.
“As much as I hate to say it, the woman was smart. She paid well for the services and the silence she bought. I think Starfleet also thought something like this was impossible. I wish I had easy answers for you, but I don’t. She always had the right answer, if anyone ever questioned her.” He hesitated a moment before speaking on. “Kathryn wasn’t the first sent there…” Chakotay stood up quickly. “Our teams stayed on after you left…found others there…” He sighed deeply. “If it’s any comfort to you…the whole house of cards has fallen…” Chakotay turned to Owen.
“It’s no comfort but I guess it helps a little to know that no other poor soul will go through this and yet… God, what about Kathryn…and the others you spoke of…who’s going to undo all that…?” He slapped the wall. “I just want to wring that bitch’s neck…” Owen nodded sadly.
“You’re not the only one son. Look, for now…all you can do is be here for Kathryn… I’ll get back to you…keep in close contact…” He stood stiffly, his age showing ten times more than it had the previous day. “How is she today?” Chakotay rubbed at his temples.
“The same… her…her injuries…are healing…but the…she’s still in the coma…we just don’t know when or if…” Owen nodded sadly.
“She’s a real fighter…always was…” He smiled sadly, memories of the woman who had been like a daughter to him, flashing across his mind. “She’ll fight back, I know she will…” Chakotay nodded, trying to accept the older man’s words, desperately wanting to believe them. “I’ll see you later…” He turned and left.
Kathryn's physical condition improved greatly over the next two days but she remained in a deep coma, showing no signs of waking from it. Chakotay slept for short periods, knowing Tom or B’Elanna were sitting with her in his place but he found it very difficult to shut his mind off from the dreadful images it conjured up. Finally, Owen Paris returned to see them and took them to a side room in the hospital to speak with them, inviting the Doctor along also.
“I asked you all to be here because there have been developments.” He took a moment to collect his thoughts.
“To say there have been developments, sounds like an understatement actually. Things have moved at a phenomenal rate.” He sighed and sat down, facing the four people in front of him.
“Right, I don’t mean to sound all businesslike but these are the facts and they have to be dealt with.” Chakotay merely nodded, the others never taking their eyes of Owen’s face.
“Necheyev will stand trial in two days time. Starfleet wants this to move fast. The evidence against her in Kathryn's case and many others has just piled up. Once she was arrested and word got out…well it seems as if they’re lining up to give evidence against her. I know most of them are only doing this to try and protect themselves and basically I don’t care if it means we get Necheyev. ” He rubbed a hand across his face.
“They all want to turn State’s Evidence. I guess anything to avoid prosecution themselves. They’re terrified to be tied in with her or seen as connected to her in any way. Probably afraid that any future or present career will be tarnished…protecting their own miserable reputations… However…” He held up a hand when he saw the objections coming. “It won’t work… It won’t go like that, you have my word. They might help to lessen their sentences slightly if they co-operate but they won’t escape justice. One or two might get off a lot lighter but that’s all…namely that young guard Gates and another guard who worked at Headquarters, but they won’t escape either. They could have done something and they know it. I get the feeling though, with Gates and the guard from HQ, that no court can punish them as much as their own consciences will…” Chakotay shook his head.
“What guard at Headquarters…?” Owen shook his head.
“I don’t have all the details. He was there when you first got home. Guarded Kathryn then and overheard a lot. I believe some of it involves the deal Necheyev made with Kathryn…I don’t have all the details. It’ll all come out though at the trial. The guards at the prison are even starting to turn against each other.” He shook his head and laughed cynically then grew serious again.
“The first part of this trial will cover Kathryn's case because it’s the most recent but it could be a long affair, covering every charge against that woman so it could well take weeks…” Chakotay stood and walked to the window. “Chakotay, you’ll have to give evidence, you know that. We all will. You’ll only have to be there for that though. You won’t have to sit through the rest…” Chakotay turned quickly.
“No…I’ll be there. I know I don’t want to hear it but I do want to sit there every day and watch that bitch go down for what she did. I owe that to Kathryn…” B’Elanna sighed and shook her head sadly.
“Chakotay…you don’t want to put yourself through that…hearing of…well…the beatings…please my friend…” Chakotay looked at Owen.
“You’ve investigated everything?” The old man nodded. “And the Doctor here will also be giving evidence…full evidence…?” Again he nodded and they locked eyes. “So you know too…?” Owen nodded sadly and dropped his head.
“Everything will come out Chakotay, I’m sorry for that. That’s why I don’t want you sitting through it all. I know you know what… Hearing it in evidence will be a lot harder though…” Chakotay tried to control his anger.
“It’s the thought of that bitch hearing it all…laughing to herself…” Owen Paris nodded sadly.
“She apparently knew it all anyway…had regular reports sent to her…” He nodded in understanding at the anger he saw on Chakotay’s face. “Just console yourself with the thought of her taking Kathryn's place when all this is over…” Chakotay laughed at that.
“What…? In some civilized prison somewhere…? All amenities offered…? There’s no justice in that…” Owen Paris shook his head.
“I know…but I also know that losing the power she has…the position…that’ll kill her…she thrived on it…” Chakotay shook his head.
“It still…to think of her sitting there…listening to details of what she…every sordid detail…” He glanced at Tom and B’Elanna then away, then back at them. He shook his head at their puzzled expressions.
“You’ll hear it at the trial anyway.” He punched the wall. “Those bastards… they…raped her…ongoing…like fucking Cardassia all over again…” B’Elanna cried out and jumped up, running to Chakotay. She pulled him into her arms.
“Oh God Chak…I’m so sorry…” He let himself be held and looked at Tom over B’Elanna’s shoulder. He saw the man crying.
ON TO PART THREE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.