Disclaimer:  Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager.  I don’t.  Only borrowing                 
                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC 17.  Kids go play elsewhere.  Contains adult material.

Summary:     When Chakotay and his away team are convicted without trial,
                      Kathryn makes the ultimate sacrifice and takes their punishment for
                      them.  Can she survive?



The silence in the room was profound but Kathryn didn’t flinch.

“Captain, we have the right people.  You forget the witnesses…” Kathryn interrupted the Official. 

“The people you have in custody were simply under my orders.  I am ultimately responsible for my crew.  Surely you have the same practices here.  You said yourself, as an Official you are bound by your laws, well Voyager works the same way.  On my ship, I am the law and my people are bound to me.  Everything comes back to me.  What they do, I am responsible for.  If you want your lawbreaker, she’s standing in front of you.”  Tuvok broke in immediately.

“Captain, you…” Kathryn didn’t look at him but kept her eyes on the Official. 

“Tuvok, quiet.” 

“Captain..”  Kathryn faced him briefly. 

“Tuvok, I am your Captain.  You will obey my orders.”  She looked back at the Official. 

“Is this acceptable to you?”  The Official stood up. 

“This will need to be discussed.  Would you please wait outside?”  Kathryn stood her ground. 

“I would also like to request something.  I would like to see my people.”  The Official nodded. 

“That can be arranged while you wait.  They are still awaiting processing.  Nothing was done until your arrival.”  He motioned for Kathryn and Tuvok to leave the room.  “Someone will show you the way.”

Once outside the room, Tuvok could hold himself back no longer. 

“Captain Janeway, you can’t do this.  The Commander and the others would never forgive me for letting you…  Captain, please think about this.  We’ll find another way around this.”  Kathryn looked at him.

“Tuvok, what I said in there stands.  I am your Captain, their Captain and in the end THE Captain.  What I say goes and this is my decision.  Chakotay and the others broke no law but these Officials must have their pound of flesh.  I will give them what they want and then we can be on our way.  This is my final word on this and Tuvok, you will follow these orders, no questions asked.  This can’t be a democracy.  I have the final say.” 

Tuvok could see he would not budge her on this matter.  Before he could say anything more, a guard appeared before them and announced that he was there to show them the way to the cells.  As they followed him, Kathryn warned Tuvok not to speak of this matter to the others until they had to know.  He knew better than to disobey her.

The minute she laid eyes on Chakotay, her heart skipped a beat.  She knew she loved him with all her heart and this gave her the courage she now needed, if the Officials agreed with her request.  She quickly ascertained that all four of her crew were all right. 

“We’ve been treated well.” Chakotay informed her. 

“Captain I’m sorry, we’re sorry for all this.  We had no idea that we were breaking a law.  We were just laughing, having a good time.  We did nothing.”  Kathryn came over to him, determined to keep things on a professional level.  She had to be strong for them. 

“Commander, I know you did nothing wrong.  You, none of you have anything to be sorry for.  Please, don’t worry.  We’ll have this mess sorted out quickly.”

Samantha Wildman came over to Kathryn. 

“Captain, it was down to me.  I was feeling homesick.  The Commander just put his arm around me and told a joke to try and cheer me up.  We were just laughing at his joke… There was nothing more to it than that.” 

“Ensign, no one is to blame.  Now please, I told you all, we’ll have you out of here in no time.” 

Kathryn looked around at them all.  Tom and B’Elanna were sitting in the far corner of the cell.  B’Elanna looked ready to kill someone and Tom just looked resigned.  He’d been in this position before, in a cell.

Tuvok had not spoken during all this time and Chakotay noticed this.  He also noticed the way he almost appeared to be standing to attention.  He knew suddenly in his gut that something had gone on between him and Kathryn but couldn’t put his finger on it.  Tuvok looked as if he had received a dressing down for something but Chakotay couldn’t imagine what could have brought about anything like that at a time like this.

A noise behind them caught everyone’s attention and Kathryn turned to see the Official she had spoken with in the office.  He looked directly at her. 

“Captain, your request has been accepted.  You’ll need to come with me now.  Please also bring your personal witness.”  Kathryn walked up to him. 

“What personal witness?  I don’t understand.  Surely my crew can return to the ship now.”  The Official motioned to a guard nearby, who came up behind Kathryn and took her arm. 

“Captain, as the originally accused, your crewmembers must witness the punishment.  During your holding time and your processing, you must have a personal witness with you at all times.  This is the law where there is a single lawbreaker.  In the case of your crew, they would have been witnesses for each other.  Please, come with me now and bring your witness.” 

The Official pulled Kathryn’s comm. badge off her uniform and slipped it into a pouch, which hung at this waist.

Chakotay was getting a very bad feeling about all this and it started to dawn on him just what had transpired between Kathryn and Tuvok.  He pushed forward. 

“What’s going on here?  Kathryn tell me, what’s happening?”  Kathryn turned to look at him. 

“Chakotay, there’s nothing to worry about…”  The Official broke across her. 

“Your Captain is taking your punishment for you, as is her right.  As she pointed out, you are all under her direct orders and she has the final responsibility.  This is acceptable to us.  She will receive the punishment.  Now Captain, please, who is your witness?  We really can’t stand here all day.”  Chakotay shouted out. 

“No Kathryn, you can’t do this.  I won’t let you.”  He pushed towards the Official. 

“Look, I’m guilty as charged.  I’m the one you should punish.  I told the joke and put my arm around that woman there.  It’s all down to me.  Leave her out of this.”  The Official started to walk away from him. 

“Your Captain has the final say.  It has been decided and accepted.  There is nothing further to say on the matter.”

At this stage, the others pushed forward with their objections but Kathryn shouted above them. 

“I am your Captain and you will obey my orders.  That is final and nothing more is going to be said about it.  Tuvok, see them outside and any more objections or disobeying of orders and you see that that person spends some time in the brig.” 

She turned away from them before her failing courage could show on her face.  Chakotay knew his hands were tied in this matter, that there was no changing Kathryn’s mind so he quickly stepped forward.  He knew he couldn’t stop her when her mind was made up but he’d be damned if he’d let her go through this alone.  He jumped in front of the Official. 

“I’m her witness.”  Kathryn started to object but he stopped her with a glare. 

“Kathryn, don’t even think of it” then he looked down at the floor. 

He couldn’t look at her or his own courage would fail him.  He needed to be strong for her now.  He turned to Tuvok and whispered to him as Kathryn was led away. 

“I know you tried but when her mind is made up, we’ll always fail. Get the others outside now and try to alert the Doctor.  Tell him to be ready for her, and Tuvok, pray to whoever you pray to…”   He heard the Official call him and gripped Tuvok’s arm.  No further words were necessary and the Vulcan nodded in silent empathy.

Chakotay followed as Kathryn was led to a small cell on the other side of the building from the one where they had been held.  The guard, now joined by a second, was being rough enough with her as they both dragged her along.  Chakotay started to object to the Official but was cut off. 

“Your Captain is no longer an honoured visitor.  She is a criminal and will be treated accordingly.  You are here merely as a witness but if you wish to join her…” Kathryn spoke now and pleaded with him. 

“Chakotay please, for me, just let’s get this over and done with, please don’t make this harder.  I don’t need to be worrying about you as well.”    Chakotay just nodded at her, his throat refusing to cooperate with him when he tried to speak.

They entered a small, dark and damp cell with only a table in the centre and a pile of what resembled straw in the corner.  Kathryn was shoved into the centre of the room as the Official followed with Chakotay.  She caught her balance quickly, refusing to show her growing fear and waning courage, as much for Chakotay’s sake as for the Official and the guards.  She thought sadly of the way this day had started out, the hopes she had had for the future but quickly pushed these thoughts aside.  She needed all her concentration and energy to get through the next few hours.

“Everything is now in order.  The witness is present and therefore processing can begin.”  The Official walked slowly up to Kathryn and looked down at her. 

“You are Captain Kathryn Janeway – Federation Starship Voyager.  You have pleaded guilty to the aforementioned crimes and accept your punishment.  You have your witness and are satisfied with that choice.  Is this correct?”  Kathryn nodded her head and spoke one word, without looking at the Official.


Chakotay was determined to make Kathryn look at him, hoping he could give her a focus to get her through this but she kept her eyes to the floor.  She knew if she looked at him, it could break her and she was determined to get through this with as much dignity as she could.  She didn’t want him to see her like this, to see her go through this, but she knew it was unavoidable, certainly with the lashing.  She knew they would all witness that and she silently prayed for courage to get through it.  As much as she hated to admit it to herself, his presence was helping her and she knew he was to all intents and purposes, going through this with her in every way he could.  She needed to let him know in some way that he was helping her and so she finally raised her eyes to his and gave him a faint smile.  There was silent understanding and love in the gaze they shared and she felt a little more at peace with what was about to happen.

Chakotay was grateful she had finally met his eyes.  He needed to feel he was doing something for her, helping in some way, easing the terrible burden to some extent.  He wished beyond all hope that he could take her place. 

“Focus on me, love.  I’m here.”  It was all he could say and she nodded her understanding. 

Kathryn suddenly felt her fear come back full force as the guards approached her and one went to each arm.  She suddenly remembered the message she had recorded for Chakotay.  She had a bad feeling about all of this and needed to let him know about the message. 

“Chakotay, I gave my overnight bag to Ensign Goldman to put in my quarters.  There’s a message for you…I recorded for you.  If…find it, OK”   She scared him with this.

“Kathryn, it’s going to be all right.  Later you can tell me yourself, once the Doctor has you healed and…” 

“Enough talk.  Processing must begin.  The witness will stand in the corner.”   The Official showed his impatience.  A third guard had entered the cell and kept his weapon trained on Chakotay.

The Official walked up to Kathryn and pulled a knife from his belt. 

“Processing will begin now.”  Kathryn was terrified now and it showed.  Chakotay shouted to her. 

“Kathryn, look at me, keep looking at me.”  She locked eyes with him and tried to lose herself in the dark pools.

The Official proceeded to slice through her uniform while the two guards held her firmly.  His face was bland almost as if he was filling in a report.  He sliced through her jumpsuit shredding it and threw the remains towards the far corner.  He continued to slice through her polo neck and tank.  He then leaned down and removed her boots and socks.  When he had this achieved he moved back up her body and cut through her bra and finally her panties.  Kathryn tried her best to control her fears but her tears still showed.  She kept her eyes locked with Chakotay and he held her tightly with his own eyes.

Suddenly Kathryn was pushed forward and forced towards the table, causing her to lose her contact with Chakotay.  Her arms were pulled out to the sides and the Official ran his hands roughly over her, around her breasts, checked inside her mouth, even going through her hair.  There was still that bland look in his eyes, almost boredom and Kathryn suddenly realized that there was nothing sexual about what he was doing to her from his point of view and in a small way this helped.  She could see from him that as far as he was concerned, he was simply doing his job.  She saw from his expression that searching her was just another part of his day. 

She was then pushed forward across the table and forced down over it.  She felt the Official run his hands down her back, presumably feeling for anything which might have been hidden under her skin and she knew what would follow next.

With her face down she was unable to see Chakotay but she felt his presence and his reassurance none the less.  She managed to turn her head to the side, away from him, not wanting him to see her face for this ultimate humiliation and hoped he understood.

Chakotay also knew what was coming next for Kathryn and felt as helpless as he ever had.  Involuntarily he jumped forward but the guard stopped him, pointing a weapon into his face. He prayed for her to get through this and when he saw her turn her head away, he understood.  He knew the shame and humiliation she must be feeling but he wished she would let him help her in the only way he could.  He could say more with his eyes than with his words.  He refused to look at her naked body.  He would only ever do that with her permission.

The Official stood to the side of Kathryn and snapped gloves onto his hands.  He ignored her and didn’t even look at her.  She knew somewhere in her mind that if he had wanted to, he could have made a display for her of putting on the gloves, letting her know what he planned, but he appeared as unconcerned with her as ever.

He passed out of her line of vision and she felt him behind her.  She closed her eyes and tried to shut out what was to follow.  She felt one of his hands on her buttocks and felt his foot urging her legs apart. 

“Please spread your legs” was all he said. 

Kathryn felt tears build behind her closed eyes but she obeyed and tried her best to move her legs, despite the edge of the table cutting into her abdomen.  The guards had her arms pulled up over her head keeping her tightly against the table.  She felt the Official use one hand to spread her and then suddenly she felt his fingers roughly enter her.  She tried not to cry out but it was useless.  She was tight as it had been a long time for her.  The Official took his time as he prodded and felt around inside her and he wasn’t being too gentle either.  Kathryn felt her tears escape through her tightly closed eyelids and then suddenly heard Chakotay’s voice calling softly to her. 

“You’re with me, Kathryn, nothing can harm you ever.  I’m here love, just stay with me.”  

She tried to focus on his voice and ignore the violation she was suffering.  The Official seemed satisfied that she was hiding nothing there and she felt him withdraw his hand.  A dull ache remained and she knew with certainty that it would soon be joined by another.  She felt the Official use one hand to spread her buttocks and then insert a finger, then two onto her tight rectum.  This time she screamed out as pain shot up through her and he again felt around inside her.  Again it was Chakotay’s voice she tried to focus on and she could hear the tears and pain in his voice, as he tried to control what he was feeling, to be there for her.  The Official withdraw his hand and snapped off the gloves. 

“She’s clean” was all he said. 

The guards pulled her up from the table and Kathryn sagged against them as pain shot up through her, her tears streaming down her face.  She tried to stop them, not wanting the guards and the Official to see how they had hurt her, but it was a losing battle.  They let her slip to the floor and she just lay there.  She could cope with the pain but not the humiliation.  She couldn’t meet Chakotay’s eyes despite him calling to her to look at him.  She didn’t want him to see this, her humiliation and shame but the love and concern in his voice eventually carried through to her and she raised her head and looked directly at him.  He took away all the pain and shame with three words and one look. 

“I love you” was all he said and his look spoke volumes.

The Official approached her and handed her what appeared to be a dress of some sort with a tie belt attached.

“Put this on now” he told her and she grabbed it gratefully and quickly slipped it on over her head. 

The guards pulled her up again and the Official pulled the garment down the rest of the way and tied the belt in place.  He then unclipped a phial from his belt and removed the stopper.  While the guards held her firmly, the Official grabbed her face and forced the top of the phial between her lips and poured the contents down her throat, holding her head back to ensure she swallowed the bitter liquid.

“Swallow this”

Kathryn heard the order but was so unprepared for this new assault that the liquid had already slipped down her throat.  She coughed and gagged and heard Chakotay shout at the Official, demanding to know what they had given her.  He received no answer.  The guards still held her tightly and Kathryn could feel the drug starting to have an effect on her, making her dizzy.  She had no idea what they had given her and prayed it was some form of painkiller.

“Processing is complete.  Take her outside.”  The Official walked off, motioning to Chakotay to follow but he hung back. 

“There can be no physical contact at this time” was all he as told.

Chakotay still hung back until the guards started to pull Kathryn from the cell and down the corridor.  He knew the main square where the lashing would take place was just outside and he quickly looked at Kathryn to try and gauge her condition.  She suddenly appeared more alert but seemed unaware of this fact and Chakotay suddenly felt a cold fist grip at him.   There was something about her eyes that reminded him of something and suddenly his brain snapped to attention as he remembered seeing that look before.  He remembered the Cardassians giving their prisoners drugs to keep them conscious longer, to prolong their pain and suffering.  The drugs heightened awareness and stimulated the pain centres and he knew that what Kathryn had been forced to swallow was a similar drug.  He watched helpless as she was pulled outside, managing to walk almost on her own now and he knew for certain that the drug was working.

He followed them out, calling to Kathryn all the time, telling her he was there for her and that it would soon be over and suddenly realized he was trying to convince himself as much as her.  His eyes took a minute to adjust to the light and then he saw Tuvok and the others over to the side of a wooden wall.  He locked eyes with Tuvok and knew the Vulcan understood.  A guard came up behind Chakotay and ushered him towards the other crew and Tuvok.  As he approached them, he saw the pain in all their eyes, alongside pity and he knew Kathryn would never want anyone’s pity.  He stood beside Tuvok and spoke softly to him. 

“Tuvok, did you contact the Doctor?” 

“I’m afraid not, Commander.  They took my comm badge after you and the Captain were taken and told us we would get them all after…later.”  Chakotay looked at Tuvok.  Tuvok spoke again, almost hesitating. 

“It was bad?” 

Chakotay looked away for a second then back at him.  This was Kathryn’s oldest friend on board Voyager. 

“Yeh Tuvok, it was bad.  What I’m most worried about is the drug they gave her.  I think it was similar to something the Cardassians used.  It heightens awareness, increases pain..” 

“I am aware of this kind of drug.  If I’m correct, it’s effects last for several hours and there is nothing that can be given to counteract it’s effects.”  Chakotay looked away. 

“That’s what I thought…”

His anger and fear permitted him to say no more and then he heard the Official reading the notification of the crime and the punishment to the crowd.  Guards approached Chakotay and the others, making sure they watched the spectacle about to occur.

They watched helpless as Kathryn was dragged towards the wooden wall and pushed into it face first.  The guards then grabbed her arms, pushing them above her head and forced her wrists into rope type bindings already attached to the wall.  One of the guards walked around to the back of the wall to tighten the ropes, while the others held her in place.  Chakotay noticed the ropes tightening around her wrists, cutting into her skin and he saw her inner fight not to cry out.

The Official came up to Kathryn and tore the material of the garment down her back, exposing the pale skin there and Chakotay sickeningly realised that this garment had actually been designed for this very purpose, to expose the back but not anything else.   He could see Kathryn’s panic and fear and watched amazed as he realized that she was trying to mentally prepare herself for what was to come but he knew that she would fail.  He prayed for her to pass out quickly but also knew that this prayer would be futile because of the drug.  At this moment in time, he wanted to murder every last one of these bastards but he forced himself to concentrate on the woman before him and on being there for her.

The Official stepped back and nodded to a guard who had just come out of a side door, leather type whip in hand.  Chakotay groaned when he saw it.  It had several straps tied together to the effect that each lash would be like several whips landing together.

He called to Kathryn again, trying in a vain attempt to help her in some way.  She met his eyes and for a moment only the two of them existed.  The guard raised the whip and Chakotay was aware of B’Elanna and Sam Wildman crying.  Almost in slow motion he saw the whip come down on Kathryn’s back and then her scream pierced the air, tearing through him almost as if the whip had struck him.  At that moment, his contact with her was broken as her face contorted in agony.  He heard a strange sound and realized it was his own scream and then Tuvok was gripping his arm. 

“Stay strong, Commander.  That’s all you can do for her now and she’s going to need that.”

Chakotay felt other hands grip him and realized that Tom, B’Elanna and Sam were all holding him, needing comfort almost as much as he did.  He wanted to look away as the whip came down on her back a second time and again her scream came but the guards were prodding them, making sure that every last lash would be witnessed by them and suddenly Chakotay wondered who was being punished the most.

Kathryn had held Chakotay’s eyes for as long as she could, not sure if she was drawing comfort for herself or trying to pass some semblance of comfort on to him.  She tried to tell herself she wouldn’t cry out but as she felt the whip strike across her back, raw agony shot through every part of her and she heard her own scream come.  She felt as if she had fallen backwards into a fire. 

She used her last ounce of strength and her last rational thought, to turn her face into the wall.  She couldn’t let him see her face for this and didn’t want to see his either.  She knew she had enough pain to deal with without seeing his.  She felt the whip some down on her back a second time and again, against her will, her scream came.  It registered with her that she was biting through her lower lip and she tasted her own blood but there was no room in her mind for the pain from this, only the agony of the torture being inflicted on her back.

Chakotay tried to keep count of the number of times the whip came down but all he could hear was Kathryn’s agonised scream, almost continuous.  He then noticed that her scream was not as loud as it had been and quickly surmised that this was because her voice was failing her.  He felt Tuvok grip his arm and tell him that there was only one more to go and he was thankful for the Vulcan’s painful detachment from what was happening, knowing that he was more useful in this situation than any of them.  He also knew that Tuvok, despite his apparent lack of emotion had in fact felt every cry of pain from Kathryn as much as they had. 

He watched with tears streaming down his face as the whip came down on Kathryn’s back for the last time and saw that the only thing holding her up was the tight rope binding her wrists to the wall and he saw the blood there, running down her arms, where the rope had eaten into her slim wrists with her struggle against it.  Finally he forced himself to look at her back and the sight of it almost caused him to collapse.  Blood poured down her, soaking the remains of the garment and ran freely down the back of her legs, pooling on the ground beneath her.  He realized that the Official was standing in front of them, telling them they could take her now and not to come back.  His panic to get to Kathryn was probably the only thing that stopped him killing the bastard.  He was at her side in seconds, screaming at the guards to release her wrists, the others with him.

As carefully as he could, he put his arms around her chest and stomach, trying his best to avoid her back, Tuvok gently taking hold of her hips as they lowered her to the ground.  Tuvok stood up and demanded the return of the comm badges and then ordered an immediate beam out to sickbay.