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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.
Word had spread quickly about the trial as details of what had happened leaked out. By the day before the trial, every crewmember from Voyager was there. Chakotay met with them all, listening to them pour out their feelings of guilt and pain as they tried to apologize in any way for ever doubting her. Chakotay tried to offer comfort where he could. He heard from them how they had been hurt and angry at first but had quickly tried to move past that, to try and understand how their Captain might have needed to move on, easily forgiving her because of the love and respect they had always had for her.
The morning before the trial, Chakotay then sat with Kathryn for a long time, before leaving for the court. Owen Paris took him aside just before they went in.
“Gates, the young guard…?” Chakotay nodded. “We’ve had to drop the charges against him…” Owen held up his hand to continue. “We had no choice. He’s ridden with guilt as it is anyway. Look, his life has been threatened. He won’t be safe unless we can place him with a new identity when all this is over. We need his testimony more than anyone’s.” Chakotay sighed and nodded his understanding. “Chakotay, it’s a small price to pay…”
Chakotay sat and watched Necheyev as she was brought into the court. She didn’t look at anyone but she exuded an air of cockiness about her. It took every ounce of strength Chakotay had, not to jump the barrier and smash her face in. He looked around and quickly saw that everyone else with him looked the same. ‘If looks could kill’ entered his mind. He watched as the Judicial Panel entered and stood with everyone else until they were seated, and then watched amazed as Necheyev smiled sweetly at the Judges. He then smiled to himself as her smile faded with the glare she received in return.
Chakotay and the others sat quietly as the Prosecution team outlined their case. He listened as the charges against Necheyev were read out, for a catalogue of abuses committed by her. The Senior Judge looked down at the main Prosecutor.
“I understand that the victim in the first part of this case is unable to attend?” The Prosecutor nodded.
“Yes Your Honour. Kathryn Janeway remains in a deep coma at Starfleet Medical.” The Judge nodded and Chakotay saw the smirk on the face of Necheyev. “However, the medical evidence we shall present will speak for her only too clearly.” Necheyev seemed unbothered by that. “We shall also be calling several witnesses who will also speak on her behalf…” Chakotay listened as the long list of witnesses who would give evidence against Necheyev was read out and saw the smirk fall from her face. He watched in satisfaction as he saw Necheyev lose more and more of her self-assurance, knowing she was beaten, even before the trial began. Even her counsel didn’t object. The rest of the day was taken up with establishing the order of the witnesses.
Chakotay chatted with a few of the crew after the first day of the trial was over, making arrangements for someone to always be with Kathryn while he was in court. He then returned to the hospital, where he spent the rest of that evening sitting with Kathryn as she slept on, oblivious to everything around her. He found himself wondering if it was a blessing.
Next day, the trial began properly and the following two weeks would be the hardest of Chakotay’s life. He sat and listened, trying desperately to keep his emotions in check and mentally prepare himself for what lay ahead. He listened as the Judge spoke first.
“I know this is a trial but for the purpose of hearing evidence in this case, I will ask the Prosecutor and Defender to refrain from objecting. There isn’t a jury here to impress. This panel is quite capable of discerning what is important and what is not. We can also separate fact from conjecture. Each of you will simply question your witness and cross-examination can take place afterwards. Please do not interrupt each other.” The two men nodded and then the Prosecutor called his first witness.
“I call Ensign Malcolm Roberts to the stand…” Chakotay looked at the young man who took his seat in the witness box and drew in a deep breath. He heard him state his full name and rank for the record.
“You are attached to the Security Detail at Starfleet Headquarters and have been assigned there for the past two years. Is that correct?” Ensign Roberts appeared very nervous.
“That is correct.” The Prosecutor smiled.
“And you were serving there when Voyager returned home and while Captain Kathryn Janeway was being held there?” He got the same answer. “Now I know you made a full written statement but can you now tell this court what transpired during those weeks and what you heard?” The young man nodded and cleared his throat.
“It was my duty to bring Captain Janeway to her debriefing session in the morning about 08.00 hours and return her to her room in the evening. That was usually about 19.00 or 20.00 hours. I also brought lunch to her and her evening meals in her room.” The Prosecutor nodded.
“Were they not longer hours than usual when debriefing someone?” The man nodded his head.
“In all my time there, I’ve never known longer hours. Most of the other Officers there have never heard of it either.” The Prosecutor made a note.
“Did you ever speak with her?” Ensign Roberts seemed uncertain. “Ensign, you are not going to get into any trouble here. You won’t go on report if you merely answered her if she said ‘good morning’ to you…” The young man smiled.
“Sorry…I’m nervous…never been in court before…” He drew in a deep breath and returned the smile he received from the Prosecutor. “Well, she often spoke to me. Never anything serious. I mean she was never any trouble, a real lady if you know what I mean.” Chakotay smiled at that.
“She always asked how I was and said good morning and good evening. She thanked me, every time I brought her. Sometimes, she’d ask about the weather and was the sun shining. She always seemed tired and sad too. I think she badly wanted to see the sun again.” He smiled nervously. “She never got out of there… I mean the room where she was all day was artificially lit and her cell…sorry room…was the same and it was always dark when she got back there anyway.” The Prosecutor frowned.
“Why do you call it a ‘cell’?” The man appeared nervous again.
“Sorry Sir…that slipped out…it’s just what…some of the Officers…private talk between us…the room was so small…we called it that…sorry Sir…” The Prosecutor shook his head.
“Nothing to be sorry about Ensign.” He studied a padd in his hand. “Can you tell me about the last days there?” The Ensign nodded.
“It was about four weeks in all…the time she was there. Same thing day in and day out. She was worn out. I saw it with her. Didn’t walk the same way even. She still made an effort to talk to me though. I think she was very lonely. My opinion anyway.” He was getting a little more confident. “Anyway, the last day…the one you need to know about…” The Prosecutor nodded and the man before him blushed.
“Right. You said I wouldn’t get into trouble for all this…?” The Prosecutor shook his head.
“Ensign, we need to know what you heard. Nothing will happen to you, I assure you of that.” Ensign Roberts seemed happy with that and cleared his throat again. Not once had he looked at Necheyev. Chakotay looked over at Owen Paris who gave an apologetic smile, silently telling him that they had had no choice but to let the young man off in return for his evidence. Chakotay knew that the young guard had merely been doing his job anyway.
“Well, I brought her to the interview room as I always did. She smiled at me as usual, said good morning and all that and asked how I was. She seemed very tired and worn down, pale even. I know she lost weight during that month. I mean they’d grilled her for weeks now… and I heard the others say it was all on Necheyev’s orders…” He stopped and smiled, embarrassed at himself for getting carried away.
“Sorry. She just struck me as too worn down to fight anymore. My opinion again. Anyway, I brought her in again that day and I knew already that the usual four guys who usually interrogated her…my word…weren’t there. I’d heard them before…endless questions…every word examined. The door isn’t that thick…” He blushed deeply.
“This day…the last day I brought her there… Well I knew it was only Admiral Necheyev who was in there. Captain Janeway seemed a bit surprised but she said nothing. I closed the door and it was quiet for a long time. Then I heard the Admiral talking.” The Prosecutor smiled and came over to the witness box.
“Now I know you didn’t mean to hear but you said the door wasn’t that thick, that you could hear?” The man smiled slightly and nodded.
“Yeah…well I was seated right beside it…” He smiled and blushed at the same time then grew serious.
“What I heard. Well, I heard the Admiral say the meeting was off the record…that there would be no proof of it and that she had a deal for the Captain.” The Prosecutor nodded but said nothing. “I heard her say she hated the Captain…to her face…something about all Janeways being a thorn in her side but that she only had one to deal with now.” Chakotay’s eyes were like daggers into Necheyev’s back. “She said that the Captain probably thought she was Starfleet’s golden girl but that she was in charge now and how that must have shocked the pants off the Captain…Sorry…her words…” The Prosecutor barely smiled.
“Then I heard her say…and none of it was nice…that it probably didn’t take much to get the…the pants…off her…that she’d probably… ‘whored her way home’…” The young man shook his head. “She said she must have done the same on the ship…that race and gender probably wouldn’t have mattered to her.” He took a drink of water at this stage. Chakotay had his hands balled into fists.
“Then…she talked about shuttles…about the Captain’s family not having any luck with them…something about this one being more messy to clean up…cause it was on land. I only found out later that the Captain’s mother and sister had been killed in a shuttle and her father too years before.” The Ensign let his disgust show. Chakotay barely kept himself in his seat. He didn’t need to look at Tom and B’Elanna beside him. He briefly thought back to how they had all comforted Kathryn when the news had been received by her on Voyager about the deaths in her family.
“After that she spoke of the Maquis. I remember her laughing on and off through all this by the way. Anyway, she said…the Admiral that is…that the fate of the ‘Maquis scum’ was in her hands and how she had the power to send them all to prison or even a Cardassian one, especially the leader Chakotay…” The Ensign briefly met Chakotay’s eyes. “I heard her say something about the Captain probably ‘screwing’ him too and a remark about ‘sleeping with the enemy’. I then heard the Captain speaking, asking what she wanted and that she wasn’t going to play power games with her.” He took another drink, his throat sounding dry now.
“I heard Necheyev say…” He didn’t seem to notice that he had dropped the title. “I know you never screwed him…I read your private logs… The Captain got angry at that…said she had no right… That was when I heard Necheyev tell the Captain that she owned her body and soul, that her ass belonged to her…pardon my language…” Chakotay sat and tried to control his breathing.
“The Captain must have jumped up or something cause I heard Necheyev tell her to sit down… ‘sit down bitch’…that’s what she said. She said that Chakotay’s fate and the fate of the others was in her hands and in turn then, the Captain’s fate too. The fate of the ‘traitor bastards’…excuse me again…was in her hands and only the Captain could save them. I heard that well. That’s what she said.” The Prosecutor smiled to himself and glanced over at the Defender. The man didn’t return the look.
“Then I heard her say ‘I want your pain and suffering and to get rid of you’ something like that…maybe her exact words…that whichever way the Captain chose, she’d get it. She said she had the power to do it, that the Captain could walk free but wouldn’t have any life…that she’d make sure of it…no job…nothing…that she’d lose everything…and that her crew would all go to jail…all of them…Starfleet and Maquis…and that their kids would go to homes…” The young man swallowed and allowed some anger to show. “She told the Captain that she’d die a sad, lonely and empty woman…would have nothing…had nothing as it was anyway…and would have ruined lives…but that she’d done that already.” He sighed deeply.
“She then said she could go to jail in their place and that she’d still die sad and lonely. She said there was a ‘proviso’… that was the word she used…and that was that no one would know…that she’d serve ten years but know her crew were living on and happy…ten years in maximum security…hard labour…solitary confinement…that’s what she said…” He shook his head and licked his lips, taking another drink.
“I heard the Captain say something about ‘they’ll fight you’ and Necheyev saying no one would know…that the Captain would make a statement that she’d written herself…that Necheyev had written…and that the crew would believe she’d just abandoned them…walked away…and she said she knew how hurt Chakotay would be but so what…and then she said…” He hesitated and looked towards Chakotay then away. “She said she had read the Captain’s logs and where in them, she had said she…that she…loved Chakotay…but had never told him…” Chakotay squeezed his eyes tightly closed and felt B’Elanna’s hand on his. He squeezed it back, drawing comfort from it. He only opened his eyes when the Ensign continued.
“I heard the Captain ask Necheyev why she hated her so much and the answer was… ‘for me to know’…or something. Then the Captain told her she wouldn’t get away with it…that Starfleet would find out…and Necheyev shouted…that she was Starfleet… ‘I am Starfleet, you stupid little bitch’ I remember that well.” Chakotay saw the hard glint in the eyes of the Judge and his fellow members on the panel.
“She said more about…that there was enough in the Captain’s logs and her personal ones…to send them all to prison but that she’d be happy with just the Captain. I heard her tell the Captain that she’d disappear to prison and that she’d be satisfied each day to know of her suffering. She said that they’d all hate her…all hate the Captain…and that Chakotay would marry ‘a nice piece of ass’ who’d give him the kids the Captain hoped would have been hers…that they’d all marry and have kids…but the Captain would never have that…and that she’d pray for death…that she…Necheyev…could and would do what she had said…” He sat and shook his head. Chakotay sat and fought the wash of pain which almost consumed him.
“She called me in then…and I jumped…I jumped I can tell you…thought she’d know I’d been listening…” He looked up, embarrassed but angry. “She said to me…her exact words…cause I remember them well… ‘Take this back to it’s cell…I’ll see it in two hours’… I’d heard her tell the Captain that she’d give her time…” He closed his eyes and shook his head. “I couldn’t look at her as I walked her back and that was the first time she didn’t talk to me. She only said ‘thanks’ when I opened the door for her. I really wanted to say something to her…I don’t know what…I didn’t anyway…” The court was completely silent.
“I took her back in two hours and…I knew her decision…knew by her…guess I knew from before even…but now…something was gone from her…and I could tell she’d been crying…” He sighed deeply. “I listened more carefully this time. I don’t apologize for that. I heard Necheyev talk about the statement and heard the Captain ask how would she know that Necheyev would keep her word. She told her there would be a press conference and that the Captain would make a statement…that’s what I was talking about earlier…and that after the press conference…that she’d sign the pardons. She said the Captain was to read the prepared statement only but not to look at anyone.” Chakotay sat, barely holding himself in his seat. He felt B’Elanna’s nails dig into his arm but didn’t stop her. The Prosecutor asked a few more questions and seemed satisfied with the answers.
“Just to clarify, Ensign Roberts. To explain how you remember all this so well…” Roberts smiled slightly.
“I’m known for my memory…ask anyone. Had training for it even. Besides, I’ve had a long time to think about all this and I have to say, it stayed with me. I won’t forget all this in a hurry.” The Prosecutor nodded.
“You were also on duty after the press conference?” Roberts nodded.
“I led them to a side office and waited outside. I couldn’t really hear anything there but Necheyev came out alone. I only heard one thing. Necheyev told the Captain that now her ‘descent into hell’ would begin. I didn’t see Captain Janeway again cause she never came out of that room…beamed somewhere I guess. I’ll always remember the look on Necheyev’s face though. She was grinning from ear to ear and the look in her eyes…I won’t forget that. Pure evil it was…” Only now did Roberts look at Necheyev and hold her eyes. Necheyev looked away first, giving Chakotay a small feeling of satisfaction.
Chakotay sat in the hospital restaurant and sipped at the cold tea before him. He had returned to the hospital directly from the court and had sat with Kathryn for nearly four hours. Sam Wildman sat with her now while he took a break. He shook his head and stared over at B’Elanna.
“God B’El, I can’t believe the sacrifice she made for us…and that…that…thing…I just want to wring her neck…only that’d be too quick…” B’Elanna reached over and squeezed his hand.
“That’s her all over…you know that. God…how did we ever doubt her…?” She shut up quickly, knowing this was a subject none of them wanted to talk about. “Sorry…I know…” Chakotay shook his head.
“It’s OK. We did and that guilt will take a long time to go away.” He was quiet for a long time and then leaned back in his chair. “I’m not going tomorrow. It’s mainly staff who worked with Necheyev at the time…not directly related to Kathryn. There will be some days like that. I’d rather be with her here. I hate leaving her.” B’Elanna nodded her understanding. Needing to change the subject but keep talking, she refilled her glass of water.
“That Ensign Roberts…he was great…a great witness…” Chakotay smiled a little.
“I was sure the cross examination would unravel him a bit but he was great all right. Never wavered from his story… God though, it was so hard to hear…and then Kathryn's logs…how she said she loved me…” He couldn’t say more. B’Elanna sipped at her glass.
“Did you really not know that?” He shrugged.
“I guess I did…hoped more…thought maybe I was seeing what I wanted to see…but then with what happened after we got back… I still feel so bad about all that…how I doubted her…oh shit…enough of this…I can’t deal with this yet… I love her…she loves me I guess… All I want to do now is see that bitch put away and get Kathryn back…I’ll sort the rest later…”
Chakotay spent all day with Kathryn, reading to her and rubbing and exercising her arms and legs the way the nurses showed him, in order to keep her muscles working. The staff were so used to him there now, they included him in all their patient’s care. The Doctor tried his best to explain that there was no way to predict how coma worked and that they had no choice but to wait and see. He delighted though, in the news that she was gaining a little weight.
Owen Paris called by in the evening to report that staff in Necheyev’s office had been giving evidence all day, most of it extremely damning to the Admiral.
“She’s in it up to her eyes. The evidence that came out there today…” He smiled. “Sorry Chakotay, I know you don’t need this…” Chakotay rubbed Kathryn's arm and shook his head.
“No…I like hearing how that bitch is going to be brought down… It makes me feel better…” Owen shook his head.
“It was certainly a very satisfying day for me and some of my colleagues. Well worth it.” He hesitated. “Chakotay…you know… I mean…tomorrow is mainly more of the same…and you don’t have to be there…but the day after…” Chakotay nodded and stood up, gently placing Kathryn's arm across her body.
“I know…the prison guards…I’m dreading that…don’t know how I’ll get through it… Gates is first?” Owen Paris nodded.
“We thought it best…apart from needing to get him to safety…it’ll establish the truth of it all…before the others speak…make them think…” Chakotay looked out the window, watching strangers go about their lives.
“Oh I’ll get through it…I’ve good friends around me…” He smiled back at the old man and nodded, including him in that circle.
Two days later, Chakotay sat stiffly in the courtroom. He had spent the previous day with Kathryn also, doing as he always did of late, talking and reading to her and generally helping the nurses with her day to day care. Her fever was almost gone and her temperature was almost back to normal, the infections under control at last. Even her blood pressure was back to what it should have been. He missed her dreadfully when he was away from her but he knew he needed to be here today, despite wanting to run for the door every other second. He sat up now and tried to smile at those around him without success but saw that they understood. B’Elanna took his hand and held on tightly.
“You are Officer Gates of Weymouth Prison, more commonly known as The Farm?” The young guard nodded, trying to ignore the hateful stares of his former colleagues. The Prosecutor spoke again.
“I’ll make a statement to the court at this time. Officer Gates was serving as a guard in the prison at the time of Captain Janeway’s removal from that facility and was also there when she arrived. He has volunteered to give evidence at this trial and as a result, his life has been threatened. Before that time, while still agreeing to give that same evidence, he knew he would also stand trial for various offences. The charges against him have only been withdrawn because his life has been seriously threatened. He will be given a new identity and placed in the witness protection program immediately following his evidence. That is the only reason he has been granted immunity. He agreed to testify even when those charges were facing him. The Defence knows of this and accepts it.” He looked to the Judge now who nodded his acceptance of the situation.
“Officer Gates, you have given a written statement of the evidence you will give here today. Can you now please tell this court what you witnessed from the time Captain Kathryn Janeway arrived at the prison up until her last day there…?” Gates nodded and swallowed loudly. He looked only at the Prosecutor.
“I was on duty the day she arrived…” He cleared his throat and tried to speak a little louder. “I’d been there about three months…had worked at other correctional facilities before that. This was different through. For the first two months, I worked in the open prison…that’s where people near the end of their time are…and I worked there with short termers…prisoners who had only been sentenced to a few years at most…” He sniffed. “The month before…before Captain Janeway arrived…though I never knew her title or first name…and only heard the name Janeway that first day…well the month before she arrived…I was moved to this section.” He licked at his lips.
“She arrived…usual way from what I had heard and then seen in my month there…beamed in…” He reached for his water and drank deeply. “We were waiting for her and I was near the end of my shift so I wasn’t involved with her…just waiting for the last half hour to pass… Well she arrived as I said…and two of them grabbed her…dragged her to the next room… They were rough but not too much…before they checked that is…” He coughed a little. “They asked her to confirm her name and she did…and that was it…” He looked up at the Prosecutor. “Once they knew for sure… I remember one of them…there were four…all standing watching… One of them told her to strip…” Chakotay tried to swallow when he felt his throat start to close and gripped the edge of his chair.
“She stood there…couldn’t or didn’t understand or believe…shocked I think… Of course, when she didn’t move at once…two of them grabbed her. The other two cut the uniform off her…told her it was the last time she would ever wear it…called her a whore…” He lowered his head, not once looking out over the court. After a few moments, he continued.
“They stripped her…pushed her to the table…a lot of lewd comments…and then they…they strip searched her…rough…it’s about hurting and humiliating…” He grabbed for his glass and drank deeply again. Chakotay fought for control, knowing this was nothing compared to what he would hear. B’Elanna was holding onto him, Tom holding onto her.
“After that…she was dragged to the shower…and they threw the powder over her… It’s for disinfectant…but it burns the skin…smells…and she got it in her eyes and mouth. She stood under the shower…freezing water…and I remember her trying to wash it from her face…” He stopped again and no one hurried him.
“They threw a uniform at her…which she quickly put on…rags mainly they are…and then they took her to her cell…pushed her in…a hard shove… I remember seeing her…she fell…hit the floor hard…and I saw her bang her head on the stone floor… After that they turned the lights off and left her there… It’s pitch black in those cells with the lights off……there’s a small vent they can open sometimes but…that’s usually at night…and then the only light is from the search lights…but mainly it’s black…and the rats come…” He shook his head and leaned back, taking time to compose himself.
“My shift ended and I left and when I got back the next morning…they hadn’t been near her…told me that…no food or water…I checked and saw that she was lying on the cot…must have found it in the dark…could see her from the light from the small door panel…” He cleared his throat and shook his head.
“The next time they went near her was an hour or so later… to give her the treatment…at least that’s what they call it…” He drank some more and refilled his glass.
“They have this drink…give it to all new prisoners… They drink it because they’ve been given nothing else and the thirst they have by that time is bad… So they put on the light…and opened the panel…placed the cup on the small ledge. I saw her…she came to the door…squinting from the light… It’s very bright after being in the dark for so long… So anyway…they gave her the drink…and one of the others had spit in it…they do that… and I saw her look at it…and she saw it…the spit…scooped it out… never saw that before…most don’t notice… I mean the guards spit in the prisoners’ drinks a lot…not just here…and in this section… This was Section N…which I learned stood for Necheyev…the guards name for it…don’t know its real name…but anyway…the drink…she drank it and they were watching her…waiting… and she drank it quickly…thirsty I suppose…and then I heard her…was almost waiting for it…knew what was coming…” He lifted his glass again and studied the liquid before drinking, as if suddenly afraid of it.
“She cried out…dropped the cup…fell to her knees holding her stomach…barely made it to the toilet bowl…and then she was sick…very sick…and then the rest kicked in… The drink you see…they say it’s used to clean the prisoners out… and it’s to make them sick and a strong…a strong laxative…” He coughed again. “They watched her for the next hour…jeering and taunting her…cheering…taking her dignity…” He stopped and shook his head. “I watched…I’m ashamed of that…on and off…” He swallowed and blinked. “An hour or so later…she crawled to her bunk…exhausted…and they left her alone after that…” Chakotay kept his head down, trying to hide the tears which fell from his eyes. He heard muffled crying all around him and knew he wasn’t alone. B’Elanna was letting Tom hug her and trying to hold onto Chakotay at the same time. Gates finally went on.
“Later on…they went in and hosed the place down…the stench…it was…and they put disinfectant on the floor…” He paused. “Then they turned the hose of her on the cot…left her…gave her another uniform later…made her change in front of them and change the cot blanket…hosed her again later on in the corner…” He stopped now and took a few minutes.
“Officer Gates, can you continue…?” The young guard nodded.
“Yeah…it’s just…with her friends here…” The Prosecutor turned to the Judge.
“Your Honour, the next evidence we shall hear is very graphic… Perhaps if anyone wants to leave at this point…” The Judge nodded.
“Ladies and gentlemen…I understand the next evidence you shall hear is harrowing to say the least. Perhaps some of you might wish to leave at this point…? If you do, please do so now…” No one moved. A voice from the back spoke up, a young woman.
“We’re here for Kathryn Janeway… Nothing can change our love and respect for her…Got that Necheyev…?” Several loud shouts of agreement followed this as Chakotay shook his head. He looked at Tom and B’Elanna and nodded, seeing their tears match his own. When he looked back, he got a brief glimpse of Necheyev as she looked behind her. For the first time, we saw a glimpse of fear on her face. It gave him strength.
“Order please.” The Chief Judge banged his gavel. Silence followed slowly. “Very well. Mr Prosecutor, you may proceed…” The man nodded then motioned for Gates to continue.
“I’m sorry for what I have to say now…I swear I had no part in it but I didn’t do anything about it either…” He held himself together when someone shouted to him.
“Snitch…traitor…scum…” The Judge banged his gavel again and turned to a court guard.
“Arrest that man in the white shirt there for contempt of court… That’ll stop this…” Five minutes later, no sound was heard as Gates continued.
“Please understand that I didn’t witness all of this thank God.” He drank again. “Three of them…one senior guard…Rawlings his name is…and two others…Jenkins and Williams… They went to her cell… I guessed what for when I saw them going there…knew it happened…hadn’t seen it before though…” He rubbed at his face.
“I saw them enter the cell…they left the door open…and I heard Rawlings say… ‘what have we here…a gift of fresh meat from our Admiral friend’… they always called new prisoners ‘fresh meat’ …and he asked if she’d been ‘treated well’…something like that and…then he said ‘good…can’t have her getting it too easy’…” He cleared his throat once more, a nervous habit at this stage. “He asked then if she’d been hosed down and they told him she’d been cleaned ‘inside and out’. They all laughed. Then I heard Rawlings say ‘good…she’s ready for us then’.” He stopped for a minute and swallowed loudly.
“Two of them…Jenkins and Williams closed over the door but the panel was open…and I saw them grab her… She’d jumped up off the cot…knew what was coming…” Muffled sobs echoed around the courtroom but no other sound.
“I saw her…saw the terror on her face…saw her fight them…but she was weak…from before…I think she’d only been fed once…” He drew in a ragged breath. “I heard one of them say ‘front or back’…and Rawlings said ‘on her back at first…let her see what she can expect from now on…” He cleared his throat once more, his head down. “They held her down…pinned her…and Rawlings…I saw him tear the uniform off her…then…I heard him say ‘shut up you stupid bitch…you better get used to this’…and then…then…she was crying and screaming…still struggling…begging them not to…and he…he…held her legs down…and he…he raped her…and I looked away…she screamed very loudly then…and I couldn’t look…and it went quiet then…and I looked and they were…all three of them…taking turns…pulling her around…turning her over…but she didn’t cry or scream anymore…wasn’t fighting anymore…I’m sorry…please…I can’t…” He lowered his head and sobbed. The Judge leaned over.
“Officer Gates, would you prefer if we took a short recess at this point? If you can’t go on…” Gates looked up, tears in his eyes and shook his head.
“No…I want to go on… This is haunting me….I want it over with…” The Judge nodded for him to continue. He took a few more moments, a deep drink and then continued.
“Afterwards…they just left her there…a long time…no clothes…and it was…” He drew in several deep breaths and cleared his throat again. “It was like that for…for days…nearly a week…” He still didn’t look out over the court. “They came all the time…came and went…two or three at a time…even four…occasionally one alone…knowing she wouldn’t fight…and I saw her…how she just lay there…not there at all really…and her body…bites and cuts…bruises and scratches…just lying there naked and scarred…and I… It was my job sometimes…with another guard…to wash her down…and she never moved…just lay there and let us…her eyes either closed or when they were open…a deadness in them… Maybe she thought we were there for the same…but we washed her and then left…and it went on…and I’m so sorry…so sorry…should have done something…said something…” He dropped his head for several moments. Finally he lifted it again and forced himself on.
“It slowed down then…less of them…I guess the novelty had worn off…or because she didn’t fight them…and this was used…used to break the prisoners…and it worked…always worked… I heard someone say once…one of the guards…that ‘the meat wasn’t fresh anymore’…” He reached for his water again.
“They finally gave her another uniform…I brought it with another guard… She just put it on…understood us…and then lay down again… After that…they sent her to the fields…told her she was there for hard labour…” He nodded to himself, seemingly lost in memories for a moment.
“They kept her alone for a while…working…under the sun all day…little to drink…and they hit her a lot… I was there and saw this…because when she and the others were taken from the cells…we had to go with them to the fields…the cells empty you see… Later then they moved her to work with the others…other women…also hard labour. I can remember one of the guards telling the other women that this was the ‘Starfleet bitch’ they’d heard about…that she was a ‘weak nobody whore’ and a ‘lousy fuck’…I’m sorry… Anyway I think the guards knew what would happen…part of the plan really…something else to report… ” The Prosecutor frowned and asked what that meant.
“They reported back to the Admiral…I heard them…every detail…heard her name constantly…” The Prosecutor nodded and motioned for him to continue.
“It wasn’t long before the other women had a go…and they did… Attacked her a lot…beat her up…and the guards stood back and let her. God forgive me, I stood back too…did nothing…was afraid to…and then…then…” He shook his head and closed his eyes a moment.
“One day…one of the guards called a halt to the fight…she always tried to fight back but rarely could you see…and this day…the guard…he…Collins I think his name was… Well…he stopped it and took over…beat her to the ground…punched her in the face and then… Oh God…right there…in the field…in front of them all…” He shook his head again, his tears showing. “He just…raped her…right there…with the others…the guards…even the women…all cheering…and again she didn’t fight…I think she was starting to and then just gave up…just let it happen…and then… I’ll never forget it… She…when he finished… She pulled herself up…pulled her uniform down and stood slowly…stiffly…and went back to work…said nothing…and the cheering stopped… but later on… The attacks were fewer after that day… I’ll never forget that…” He dropped his head again and played with his glass.
Chakotay’s knuckles were white with the grip he had on his chair. He was vaguely aware of B’Elanna’s nails digging into his arm and knew she was unaware of it. He let his tears fall, listening to the crying all around him, fighting the agony that crushed him. Gates spoke on.
“It went on the same…day in and day out…even some nights…the guards still sometimes going to her…taking…but she never fought…probably just took her mind out of it or something…and then… There was this day…and the guards were playing cards…ignoring the women… There was nowhere for them to run anyway… One of the women came over to her…to…Janeway…and I heard her say something about her brother being killed…I didn’t get it all… Suddenly she stabbed her…then walked away… I saw her fall to her knees…clutching herself…blood everywhere… and a guard…Nelson I think…went over. He was annoyed…asked the women why they didn’t just beat her up instead…they were making work for him. He dragged her back to the block…and she could barely stand…almost unconscious… I didn’t see her again until the next day…” He sniffed loudly and went on.
“They didn’t treat the stab wound…left her…and she was in agony…and again I did nothing… I think someone stitched it later…but I didn’t see that… A few days later…days when she was just left there…barely fed…they dragged her back to the fields. She wasn’t capable of working…barely able to stand…and she seemed flushed…very weak… And then there was another beating…one of the worst… I saw that from across the field. They knocked her down…fists and feet…and she didn’t get up…and they left her there…until the evening…then dragged her back… She wasn’t ever in the fields again after that…” The Prosecutor leaned forward.
“Can you tell us about the last days there?” Gates nodded.
“I was on duty on the block for the last days…her last days there… They left her…threw her on the cot…left her there… I often heard her crying in the dark…muffled… I don’t know if they gave her food and water those last days…but she didn’t move…yet she was conscious… The last day…” He covered his face with the hands and shook his head then looked up a little.
“I went to the cell with one of the guards…Chambers…that was his name…and I heard her…still conscious… ‘please help me…pain…’ whispered something like that… Chambers just laughed… She hadn’t moved at all…still lying on the cot… Then Chambers said that he couldn’t see her lasting long…I guess I seemed shocked to him…cause he asked me what was wrong with me… I remember saying we should get a medic and he laughed at that…said ‘why bother…she’s had it…’ He told me I needed to toughen up if I wanted to go on working there, that he’d been watching me and that I had no taste for the ‘game of us against them’ …that’s what he called it. Then he said…” He looked up slowly. “It’s not a nice word…maybe I shouldn’t say…” He seemed to think a moment. “I think I already said it….sorry…from before…” The Prosecutor looked to the Judge who nodded and then nodded his own head.
“We need to hear your evidence Officer Gates. Please just repeat exactly what was said to you.” Gates nodded but seemed reluctant.
“OK…it was…and I’m sorry for before… He said to me… ‘you never even want…a quick…fuck’…” He shook his head. “Sorry…his words… He then told me there was something seriously wrong with me.” He took another drink, emptying the glass.
“I told him it didn’t seem right to leave her like that. His answer to that was that she was a criminal and a serious one at that if the Admiral sent her. He said they had free licence…free rein…with her and that the Admiral had said so. He said that the prisoners came…they reported back and that if they died…the Admiral wouldn’t care…would probably celebrate. He then said that the game was on and to leave her…” There was stunned silence in the court. If Necheyev felt the states of hate directed at her, she didn’t let on.
“As we were leaving, I heard her whisper…couldn’t make it out. I went over and leaned down.” He shook his head sadly. “She was praying … praying… ‘please God…let me die…’ over and over… That got to me. I said we had to do something…couldn’t let her die…that she was a human being. Chambers answer to that was ‘sod her…the game’s more important…we’ll check later…’ I couldn’t believe it…” He refilled his glass but didn’t drink.
“She touched his leg…reaching out…and he jumped. I heard him say ‘get off you dirty whore’ and then he…sweet God…he just pulled his baton and smashed her across the head… It was like slow motion… I mean I heard the sound…saw her head snap to the side…and then…nothing…the force of that blow… Oh God…I thought he’d killed her straight out…and I remember shouting…asking him what he’d done…that I thought he’d killed her. He just said ‘So what? She wanted to die. Now she hasn’t any pain.’ I couldn’t believe anyone could be that cold… ‘Come on…the game is on…get a move on…’ That’s what he said next. I remember feeling for a pulse and couldn’t believe it when I found one…but it was faint…and I saw the blood on her head…and I shouted that she was still alive…that we should… He cut me off…got angry…said that we don’t report this and had I got that. ‘Let her sleep it off’…He just didn’t care…wanted only to watch the game…said we’d check her later… And I went with him…just as bad as he was…and then a while later…the others came…the man Chakotay and a team…an Admiral and some others…and I showed them where she was… Chambers called me a traitor…something like that…but I showed them…said they’d need a medic…and after that…it was crazy…people everywhere…” When he finished speaking, not a sound was heard in the court except for muffled crying. Finally the Judge broke the silence.
“Cross examination?” He looked down at Necheyev’s Defence Counsel who shook his head. He knew better than to doubt this witness. “Very well. I would suggest we adjourn for the day. This court will re-adjourn at 09.00 tomorrow.” No one disagreed.
Tom and B’Elanna had to guide Chakotay out of the court. He stared around him, as if not knowing where he was. He saw the pain and sadness on the faces of the crew around him and was grateful for the hands which reached over to him and gripped him for a moment, the silent messages of support understood. Their tears matched his own.
Tom led him and his wife back to the hospital and into a quiet side room then fetched strong coffee for the three of them.
“Sweet God…how did she survive all that…? Oh Kathryn…oh God love…” B’Elanna was trying to comfort him, in bad need of comfort herself. Tom handed them the coffee, knowing they needed the small distraction. They then sat in silence for almost half an hour, before Chakotay jumped up and left the room.
Some time later, they found him in Kathryn's room, lying beside her on the bed, holding her to him, whispering the same words to her over and over. “I’m sorry…forgive me…I didn’t know…I’m so sorry…”
They left him there, asking the Doc to keep an eye on him. Tom then took his wife home.
“This is just shock at the moment. This is the stage where it’s just too fresh to deal with. It’ll sink in later but we’ll all be there for each other.” B’Elanna nodded, just wanting to get home and close the door on the world.
The next day was taken up with hearing testimony from the other guards. Most tried to deny any involvement or knowledge of the matters Officer Gates had spoken of, but they constantly tripped themselves up and in the end, a few of them sat and admitted their guilt. They were arrested as soon as they left the witness box. Each one of them named the other guards as being involved, thereby incriminating each other, so that by the end of the day, each guard present was placed under arrest and informed of the charges he would face. Even those who hadn’t been called, found Security Officers at their doors that evening, arrest being immediate and charges filed against them within the hour.
Several women from the prison were also brought to the stand and within minutes of the Prosecutor questioning them, they broke down and admitted their part in everything. Some emerged as victims in their own right, telling their stories of how they had no option but to sleep with the guards in order to stay alive and gain a few extra rations. They spoke of being given little choice but to do as they were told and attack Kathryn. In each case, their original sentences were added to but they at least had the knowledge that the time they would serve, would at least be under a far more humane system.
Owen Paris visited Chakotay in the hospital that evening, reporting to him on the day’s events.
“Did I miss anything?” Chakotay’s face was grim but his words dripped with sarcasm. He hadn’t been able to face the courtroom that day and had sat with Kathryn instead.
“The guards we had named gave evidence and tried to lie their way out of everything. They failed. Each one blamed the others and they turned against each other then, incriminated each other. They’ve all been arrested and charged. They’ll be very old men when they get out, if they get out at all. You have to remember, Kathryn's is just the first case to be heard. There are others…so many other offences we haven’t charged them with yet…most likely some counts of murder also… Chambers by the way…the guard who struck her with the baton…he’s been arrested also and charged with attempted murder… Rawlings, Jenkins, Williams and others have been charged with…rape… Collins also…the one in the field…” He gave them both a few minutes and then told Chakotay about the women prisoners who had also given evidence. Chakotay shook his head and paced the room.
“I can understand the women a little better but I still can’t forgive them… The guards though…God I want to string them all up…and that…thing…Necheyev… How in the name of God did she get away with it…?” Owen Paris shook his head.
“I wish I had the answer to that. There have been people like her throughout history, who committed atrocities against humanity to varying degrees…and they got away with it for a time… Remember Hitler during Earth’s Second World War?” Chakotay nodded.
“I just thought in this day and age…” Owen Paris stood also and led Chakotay to a chair.
“Son, as long as evil lives in man, this will continue. Humans will always have a dark side to their soul and thank God most of us control it or never use it. There will always be some though…” Chakotay sighed deeply and nodded.
“I know…I do understand… I guess I’m just talking and asking as a way to avoid thinking about the details… I’m just grasping at things…I don’t know…” Owen patted his back.
“Are you up to attending tomorrow? The Doctor…?” Chakotay actually laughed.
“God Owen…it can’t get any worse… Yeah…I’ll be there… We all will. The crew have made sure that there’s always someone there.” He shook his head and smiled. “They say they want someone there all the time to piss Necheyev off and to get to her. I think it’s working. She seemed rattled when Louise Parker shouted out the other day…” Owen smiled at the memory.
“I knew her father…same head strong, fiery blood in the veins…”
ON TO PART FOUR.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.