Kathryn Janeway smiled down at the young girl who skipped alongside her. She loved being with the child but was always tinged with a deep sadness at the same time, that Naomi was not her own daughter. She delighted in the fact that the girl trusted her so much and was only too willing to hold hands as they strolled in the sunshine on the planet where the entire crew was enjoying shoreleave.
This was the Captain's fourth visit to the planet named Storia but it was the first time she'd been free of negotiations and meetings and could enjoy herself and it felt good to be out of uniform. She planned to take the following day with Chakotay, sneak off for a few hours with the man she'd finally allowed into her life, but today she'd promised Naomi Wildman that she'd show her the markets and introduce her to something she told her she'd learn to love as she grew to be a woman – shopping.
Kathryn and Naomi strolled between the brightly coloured stalls of the large marketplace, chatting away and admiring the many items which caught their eye. They laughed and joked together and played a game of 'guess the object's use' with some of the stranger wares on sale.
As Naomi took her time selecting some perfume as a gift for her mother, Kathryn gazed around them, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of what seemed to her a flourishing society. She thought back to the trade negotiations of the previous days and remembered how relieved she'd been that all their meetings had gone so smoothly. The planet they were on was welcoming and seemed peaceful and thriving and made a change from a lot of the worlds they'd visited in recent months. As Kathryn watched Naomi make up her mind, she wished that there were more chances for the child to experience outings like this. Despite the large adopted family she had on board Voyager and the opportunities offered by the holodeck, it was no substitute for real life.
Naomi tapped her captain lightly on the arm and held the ornate bottle up to her for inspection. Kathryn inhaled the scent and nodded her approval. "Honey, your Mom is going to love that and when she's used it all, she'll always have a beautiful perfume bottle to use time and again." A big smile crossed the girl's face with this information, the idea of a double-sided present not having occurred to her.
"Are you going to buy a present for Commander Chakotay?" Naomi smiled and then caught herself. "Opps, I'm not supposed to say that…" A brief look of fright crossed the child's features but vanished quickly when Kathryn shook her head and laughed.
"Naomi, it's all right, honey. Everyone knows the commander and I are in love, even though I was the last one to know it." Kathryn smiled and stroked Naomi's hair, marvelling at the fact that even a month ago, the thought of having this conversation would have been unimaginable. She couldn't even believe she would have admitted it to herself privately, much less to anyone else. "Come on, let's see if we can find something for the man who has everything." They meandered off through the market, unaware of the figure watching their every move.
The man in question sat on the bridge twiddling his thumbs, bored beyond words. They were maintaining a steady orbit around the planet and nothing demanded his attention, not even Tom Paris and his jokes, the pilot being off on shoreleave himself with a certain Engineer.
Chakotay checked the time again, counting off the minutes until his shift finished and he would see Kathryn again for dinner. He was still amazed at the fact that she'd finally opened her life up to him and cared nothing that the entire crew now knew they were an official couple. His mind skipped happily down memory lane and he sighed contentedly. Not a bad way to fill the hours.
Kathryn stood perusing some polished stones on a small stall, racking her brains for what to buy Chakotay. She admitted she knew little about what she was looking at but the colours and patterns on the stones attracted her. She wondered if Chakotay could perhaps carve them if they didn't appeal to him in their present state. She turned to ask Naomi for her opinion and a flash of fright crossed her when she couldn't see the girl. Her eyes scanned the crowds milling around her and then she heaved a sigh of relief when she spotted the girl talking to a tall, well-built man at the end of the row of stalls. The stones forgotten, Kathryn made her way to where the pair were and with a smile on her face, called out to the child, making a mental note to warn her of the dangers of wandering off.
"Naomi, you scared the life out of me. I couldn't find you…." The smile vanished from Kathryn's face when the saw the frightened expression on the face of her young charge. Her eyes quickly took in the alien's hand tightly gripping Naomi's shoulder and the phaser like device he held, just covered by his cloak.
"Just what the hell is this? Let her go this minute. You…" Out of nowhere, a hand reached out and snatched Kathryn's comm badge from her dress and she saw that Naomi's was missing also.
"Captain Janeway, I would advise you to cooperate with me. You really don't want to be responsible for the blood of this child spilling over the streets of this market, now do you?" Kathryn stood still, her mind racing over the situation. The tall alien held her comm badge in his hand, enabling her to understand his words through the universal translator but still outside her reach for her to call for transport. With his phaser pointed directly at Naomi's head, she knew rushing the man could prove a fatal mistake and so Kathryn simply nodded her head.
"Good, that's settled. Now ladies, if you will both please come with me. Captain, if you wouldn't mind going first." He turned his back to the crowds who were mainly unaware of the small group anyway and let Kathryn see the weapon again.
Kathryn reached her hand down to the terrified child and smiled softly. "It'll be all right, honey. We'll be fine…" Suddenly she was shoved in the back.
"Let's go now. Enough of this." Kathryn walked slowly, checking constantly that their captor and Naomi were behind her and followed the directions she was given. After walking for perhaps twenty minutes, they came to some parkland and Kathryn tried to remember as many landmarks as she could. She was directed into an opening in some rocks and then they walked for perhaps another five minutes through a tunnelling system before coming to another opening with a metal door.
"Get inside." Kathryn ducked inside the manmade doorway and turned quickly as their captor entered behind her, his hand still tightly holding Naomi by the shoulder. Without warning, he shoved the young girl towards a cot against the wall and when Kathryn went to her, he pulled the metal door closed behind them.
When she saw that Naomi was unhurt, Kathryn stood and moved slowly towards the man. She saw that he was fairly heavy and a good four inches taller than her. She knew that he was Storian, bearing the unusual mottled green colouring on his skin and the faint ridges at the sides of his face but his reason for taking them remained a mystery.
"Why have you taken us like this? What is it you want? We've done nothing…" Kathryn knew that as long as her comm badge was in his pocket, he could understand her. The alien approached her quickly and grasped her wrist then slid his arm around Kathryn's waist, drawing her tightly to him and pulling her own arm behind her back.
His voice was a whisper. "I ask the questions around here, Captain. Your job is to do exactly as you're told." He pushed his face into Kathryn's neck, nuzzling and biting at her. A surge of panic shot through her as she realized what he was doing and immediately her thoughts were for the young child in the room with them. She felt his other hand go to her breast and one of his knees press between her legs.
"Please… please… the child… don't… not in front of her… you can have anything you want…" He pulled back slowly and studied the woman in his grip, his hand moving from her breast to her face and he pulled at her cheeks and lips.
"Oh, I know I can, Captain, I know I can." Kathryn fought to hide the tears she felt starting and then she was propelled backwards, landing on the cot beside Naomi. "When I get back, we can continue this." Without a further word on his part, the alien left them, the heavy metal door slamming behind him and the sound of a lock clicking into place.
Kathryn immediately pulled Naomi into her arms, whispering soothing words to the child, reassuring her as best she could. The girl managed to control her tears and she pulled back and looked at her captain.
"Captain, what was he trying to do? He was hurting you…" Kathryn ran her hands over Naomi's hair and shook her head.
"Oh honey, he was just trying to scare me a little, that's all. We'll get out of here, I promise you. Trust me?" The child nodded and Kathryn hugged her again. "Well, at least we have light. Let's see what we can find." Naomi nodded eagerly, suddenly having something else to concentrate on helping her.
After a quick search of the room, they found a metal bar and Kathryn thought it might be strong enough to try and pry open the door to their prison. Making sure Naomi stayed well back behind her, she used all her strength to try and lever the door. Just as she thought she'd fail and the door would never give, a faint groaning sounded and Kathryn pulled harder. Eventually she gained some purchase and to her delight, it started to give, opening a little at a time. Kathryn quickly dropped the bar and called to Naomi to help her pull across the heavy door.
The door opened slowly and then a little faster, only to reveal their captor standing on the other side. Naomi jumped back in fright and Kathryn's hands flew to her mouth. He stepped inside, slamming the heavy metal behind him and shoved Naomi to the ground before turning on Kathryn herself. Kathryn's eyes flew to the girl on the floor, checking she was unhurt and then she looked to the alien advancing on her. He grabbed her quickly, pushing her backwards towards the cot, his fist hitting the side of her head and face repeatedly, holding her in place with his other hand. He screamed at her as he pushed her onto the cot on her back and kneeling over her, continued hitting her, words pouring from his mouth she had no hope of understanding. As quickly as he'd started on her, he got off her and Kathryn just lay there in pain and shock, her hands covering her face as she lost her battle with her tears.
"Damn you to hell…" Kathryn fought to control her tears and she heard their captor muttering to himself and then small hands on her and looked to see Naomi kneeling beside her, stroking her arm.
"I'm all right, honey, really I am…." Kathryn battled with herself, knowing she needed to show strength for the young girl. Naomi sat up on the side of the cot and studied her captain, blood pouring from her nose and lip. She pulled the pocket from her dress, the material ripping easily, and as gently as she could, tried to clean the blood from Kathryn's face, the gesture bringing Kathryn's tears back.
Kathryn lay on her side on the bed when Naomi had cleaned her face as best she could and held the child to her. They watched the alien work with a box he had on the table on the other side of the small room.
"What do you want for us? What are we worth?" He jerked his head up as if he'd forgotten they were there.
"That's my business." He grunted to himself and resumed working on his project.
"I think we have a right to know…." The man's fist slammed down on the table, causing the items there to rattle.
"You have no rights. Now shut up and let me work. Maybe next time, I'll use the girl for a punch bag." His eyes met Kathryn's and a silent threat was passed and understood. Kathryn lowered her eyes first, letting him know she agreed.
After perhaps fifteen minutes, their captor stood and lifted the box he'd been working on and placed it into a bag. He turned and studied the woman and girl in front of him before speaking.
"You asked so I'll tell you. I'm a freedom fighter, that simple. We have men in prison here and we need them out. I can trade you two for weapons which will help my people gain their freedom, maybe even exchange you for some of my comrades. That's all there is to it." Kathryn stared at him and felt Naomi's eyes on her, knowing the girl understood little of what had been said.
"What has that got to do with us? We're strangers to your world, have no part in all this…" His laugh met Kathryn's ears.
"Oh Captain, don't be so naïve. I know your ship is supplying weapons to the Government here. Don't play the innocent with me…" Kathryn swung her legs over the side of the cot.
"Voyager never trades in weapons. We have a rule we follow, the Prime Directive, that forbids us getting involved in any…" The Storian was going to hear none of it.
"Whatever, Captain. You can speak like that for all eternity. Now listen, I have to go out and make arrangements, get things up and running. This…" He held up the bag for them to see. "This is an explosive device which I'm going to hang on the door there and I'll arm it from the outside. Any more attempts like that last one and you two will be in a million little pieces. Do you understand me?" He smiled at the horrified look on Kathryn's face, Naomi picking up on it and looking scared.
"Oh God…please… you can't… you can't leave us here with that…" Kathryn's hand covered her mouth and she looked down at the young girl who had ultimate trust in her. She stood slowly and walked towards their captor. "Look, I give you my word. We won't try and…"
He held the bag up in her face. "No, you won't. Oh don't worry, Captain, it's quite safe as long as you don't tamper with it." With this, he walked to the door and attached the small bag to the inside handle. "There's water over there if you want it." He then opened the door and walked out, closing it again behind him and they both heard a series of clicks as the device was activated.
Kathryn looked around her and found several canisters containing what tasted like fresh water. Using this to cover the fact that her thoughts were swirling, she got them both a drink, having tasted and tested it herself first. She then sat with Naomi and hugged the girl tightly, telling her once more that they'd get out of this.
"I promise you, Naomi. I'll get you back to your mother. Whatever it takes, whatever the cost, I'll get you home safe and sound. I give you my word on that." Kathryn could not have known just how dear that cost would be to her.
Chakotay heaved his stiff body out of his chair and stretched. His shift was just over and he'd never been happier to see the end of a working day. He smiled to himself knowing that Kathryn would be back shortly, probably carrying a sleeping child in her arms, young Naomi by now exhausted. His face grew serious a minute when he thought of the relationship between the woman and girl and he knew how Kathryn yearned for a child of her own. Many times, he'd seen the sadness on his captain's face as she'd watched Samantha Wildman play with her daughter and it pained him deeply. Maybe now she had a chance to find that blissful happiness for herself and Chakotay knew there'd never be any other woman he'd rather share that with. Tonight, perhaps over dinner, he'd bring up the subject and see her reaction. The smile came back to his face and he turned to hand command over to Tuvok but before he got the words out, they were hailed from the surface.
Voyager's First Officer sat in the captain's Ready Room and closed his eyes a moment. His mind still had trouble understanding what the last two hours had thrown at them. He opened his eyes and stared at the Vulcan sitting across from him.
"Just how this hell did this happen?" He'd asked the question many times but there still was no answer to it. Tuvok watched calmly as Chakotay stood and paced again, almost wearing a hole in the carpet.
"Commander, the Storian Authorities are most apologetic. They know the identity of this man and they are searching for him now. There are only so many places he can have taken them."
Chakotay stopped his pacing and rubbed his hands over his face. "A bloody mad man, living in the past."
Tuvok nodded. "He was a member of the Resistance which seized power here over ten years ago. Apparently, on occasions, he believes the war is still ongoing. Their top doctors have treated him and each time they release him, he appears cured. There really is very little they can do to hold him."
Chakotay sat on the sofa and sighed deeply. "I remember hearing of cases like this during Earth's Second World War. Japanese soldiers on small islands who were found years later, still believing the war was on. Others suffered from what they called 'shell shock', heard things. It was never as bad as this though. Have they no idea….?"
Tuvok shook his head. "There were many hideouts the Resistance used during that time. Most people have long forgotten the war or where they hid. Many others are dead."
Chakotay just shook his head. "Can't they alert the public to be on the lookout for him? Haven't they got media services? Isn't there…"
Tuvok stood and came over to join his commander on the sofa, a rare gesture of support. "Most people are at work at present. They have media bulletins in the evening time. There will be full information given then. In the meantime, they keep searching."
Chakotay stood again and stared out the window, down at a planet that held the woman he loved and a young child he cared deeply for. "He sent a list of demands?"
Tuvok sighed. "Weapons, release of prisoners, demands that we stop supplying the Government…"
Chakotay turned to look back into the room. "Can't they go along with him, give him the 'prisoners'? I mean, these people would be free now…could play along…"
Tuvok looked at the distraught man before him. "Some are. The rest however, are dead. Most were killed in the fighting at the time. Commander, this man lives in the past. There is nothing rational about him and yet by the very nature of his delusions, he can also be extremely rational and therefore most dangerous. I believe it is best to let the Government here try and find him first. It is their territory and they know this situation better than we ever could. They even have some men who fought alongside him, who knew his way of thinking, who are helping with the searches."
Chakotay shook his head. "You're right, as usual." He saw the Vulcan raise his eyebrow and smiled, barely. "How's Sam taking things?"
The Vulcan looked down at the floor a moment. "She's extremely upset, to say the least. She has, however, the utmost confidence in the captain and in this crew."
Chakotay nodded. "I'll call by and see her anyway." Needing to escape from the room where Kathryn spent so much of her time, he almost ran out the door.
Kathryn lay back on the cot and held Naomi to her. They talked constantly, Naomi delighted to be speaking to her captain in this way, learning about her life and childhood, and Kathryn using the conversation to keep the young girl's mind off their situation. Sometimes they were quiet for short periods and during these times, Kathryn planned and thought, desperate to find any way to get this girl back to her mother.
"Naomi? Honey, are you awake?"
The young girl moved in Kathryn's arms. "I'm awake, Captain. I won't fall asleep on you." A yawn followed this and Kathryn smiled despite the gravity of their situation.
"Honey, listen to me now. I have to talk ship's business with you. This is captain and captain's assistant's stuff, OK?"
Naomi was instantly alert. "Yes, Ma'am." The child sat up and her face was deadly serious. Kathryn fought to keep her own face straight but the thought of what she needed to get over to the child sobered her.
"Naomi, I need you to listen to me very carefully now. Take in every word I say and remember it all." The small head nodded. "When he comes back or at some other time, if there's a chance for you to get out that door and run, I want you to take off like the wind, do you understand me?"
The girl's eyes grew huge. "Leave you here? Abandon the captain? I can't…"
Kathryn hugged the child to her. "Naomi, I'm giving you a direct order and you MUST follow that order. If I can distract him in any way, I want…I need you to get out of here and get help. Try and find a Security Officer and get in touch with the ship. Naomi, you have to do this. Please promise me…" Tears flowed from the child's eyes but she nodded her agreement then threw her arms around Kathryn's neck. Kathryn fought her own tears and hardened herself.
"Listen, honey, I need to go over the way out with you. Can you remember how we got here?" Naomi nodded her head and described the route they'd taken to the tunnels and into the room where they were now. Her attention to detail amazed Kathryn, the child having noticed some things that Kathryn herself hadn't seen.
"Oh honey, that's so good. You're better than I am at this. You'll have my job before I know it." This earned her a smile and she hugged the girl again. "When I give you the signal or nod to you or even if you see a chance on your own, you go. I'll be fine." Kathryn saw the child's tears start again and hardened her voice. "Naomi, you have to follow orders. We all do, no matter how hard they are. I need you to get help if you can and send that help back here. Tell them where I am and then get back to your mother. Do you understand all that?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Kathryn watched as Naomi dried her eyes and nodded.
"Good girl." They slipped into silence again, Kathryn praying that they'd get a chance to put their plan into action.
Brel Reedol, freedom fighter, made his way slowly through the market, now almost deserted and kept his face well covered. Everywhere he looked, he saw snipers taking up position and in between, his own men taking them out. They would win this war, he felt sure of it, and now with his hostages, he could bargain for much needed weapons and perhaps get some of their men freed.
The noise of the weapons discharge all around him made him hurry towards the old park and he kept his body pressed closely to the wall. He heard a noise behind him and turned back, the small animal which ran across his path taking on the form of one of his men. "Good for you, Daal, go to it." Brel caught himself and whispered more softly. "Go men, get them all."
He turned back and made his way into the park, his foot catching on one of the many tree roots which grew above the ground. He fell heavily, his head hitting a stone on the ground and with lightening agility was back on his feet, seeking the enemy in the darkness, the one who'd failed to keep him down. His hand went to his face and he felt something warm and wet on his hand. "Is that all you can throw at me? Cowards. You won't find me." He laughed quietly to himself and entered the tunnels to get back to his hostages.
The cut on Reedol's head was bleeding and flowed into his eye as he came to the metal door. At the last minute, he remembered to deactivate his bomb and then he pulled open the door.
Kathryn sat up immediately when she heard the series of clicks that told her the device was being made safe. She watched as the door opened and their captor came through the door. She saw the cut on his head at once and noticed that he was somewhat confused. Kathryn held Naomi's hand as they watched the alien man stumble into the room, the door behind him forgotten for the moment. Kathryn looked quickly at the young girl beside her and squeezed her hand tightly, telling her that this was their chance.
"Watch for the right minute, honey." Kathryn whispered quietly to Naomi and saw her nod slowly. As their captor moved towards the table, Kathryn stood up and moved to him. She saw his head come up and his eyes pass over her.
"Please…you're hurt…just let me help…" He seemed confused for a minute and then just nodded his head. Kathryn gently took his arm and led him over to where the canisters of water were. She saw him glance back at Naomi a few times, checking on the girl and noticed that he was starting to lose the state of disorientation which he'd had about him at first.
"Have you a piece of cloth? Something I can clean this with?" Kathryn kept her voice soft. He pointed to some pieces of fabric on the edge of a small bench and Kathryn reached for them and dipped them in the water. As gently as she could, she placed one hand on the side of his face and dabbed at the cut which still bled a little. As she cleaned the area, she tried turning him so his back was to the door and spoke softly to him, telling him she was making sure there was no dirt in the cut.
Kathryn was aware of the man's eyes watching her face and made herself concentrate on cleaning around his wound. She felt his arm go around her waist and forced herself to look into his eyes and smile. Taking what he saw as encouragement, he leaned his face down into Kathryn's neck and started kissing her. Kathryn dropped her head onto his shoulder, her hand caressing there and looked towards Naomi. She saw the girl half standing up from the bed and jerked her eyes towards the door, telling her to move.
Kathryn suddenly let out a grunt of pain as she felt the alien's teeth bite at her neck. His head came up and he looked into her eyes again and once more, Kathryn forced a smile and ran her hand down his face. He made to look behind him again and Kathryn did the first thing that came into her mind. Using both hands she tore open his shirt and then grabbed his head and kissed him, fighting down the nausea that rose within her. Suddenly both his hands were on her and she felt him tearing at the front of her dress, the light fabric giving way easily. Her captor pulled back slightly and Kathryn was afraid he'd try and look behind him again and see Naomi almost halfway to the door so she pulled at his shirt again, one hand reaching for his groin and to what she hoped was the right place for his race.
Kathryn's eyes dropped for a moment to the man's chest and her breath caught in her throat. She watched horrified as two tendrils exited his nipples and made their way towards her own body. She saw, almost in slow motion, his hands rip her bra open and the tendrils reach for her own nipples. Kathryn fought the urge to scream and run with everything that was in her as the green tendrils attached themselves to her nipples, clamping down painfully on them and tightening on her and she cried out as she felt agonizing pin pricks spread throughout her breasts. Her eyes suddenly locked on Naomi and she saw the horrified look on the face of the young girl as she witnessed what was happening. Kathryn tried to block the view the child had and freed a hand to wave her towards the door and saw that she understood.
Kathryn's attention was again brought back to the man pressing against her and she felt his hand pull the skirt of her dress up and grip at her panties. He ripped them away in a second and pressed her back against the table. As his knees pushed between her legs and he pulled her dress out of the way then went to free himself, Kathryn fought desperately with herself not to struggle or fight against what was happening to her, knowing now she had to go through with this in order to give Naomi time to get free of the tunnels. Kathryn had no expectations of surviving this, knowing that when Naomi's disappearance was discovered, he'd most likely kill her. For now, all she could do was buy the girl as much time as she could.
Kathryn felt the man press himself to her, forcing her legs open wider and then something large pushed against her and she was being shoved further back on the table. She caught a last glimpse of Naomi, at the door by now and the look of shock and terror on the child's face broke Kathryn's heart but also gave her strength to face what was about to happen. She used every last ounce of courage she had to smile at the child and nod at her just as she felt the man above her thrust painfully into her. Naomi disappeared from the door and ran just as Kathryn's scream filled the small room, as white-hot agony spread throughout her lower body.
Kathryn fell back across the table as the alien gripped her hips tightly and rammed himself repeatedly in and out of her. Pain racked her entire body as the tendrils still attached to her breasts dug into her soft flesh and his large penis tore at her. She felt more tendrils attach themselves to her around her clitoris and then something enter her anus but her mind couldn't focus to think about anything other than the pain. She forced herself to count, trying to gauge how much time was passing, desperate to hang on until she felt Naomi had a chance to at least escape from the parkland area and find help. Suddenly she felt him begin to falter and then he shuddered before falling over her and she felt his ejaculation fill her. Only now did Kathryn let her tears come as she prayed that Naomi was now safe.
Naomi ran blindly down the tunnels, her captain's scream following her and she stopped for a second but when silence followed, she ran again, her tears almost blinding her. She wiped at her eyes and tried to stop her sobbing. "Always obey the captain's orders. Always obey the captain's orders." The young child used the words to push herself on, repeating them over and over, fuelling herself with them. She knew everything depended on her getting help now and she tried to remember prayers her mother had taught her but only Kathryn Janeway's scream and her words about obeying orders stayed with the girl.
Finally she saw lights and burst out into the park. She kept running, despite falling over unknown objects in the darkness and pushed herself forward. Even though everything looked different at night, Naomi was able to pick out the landmarks she'd noticed in the daylight and she ran on. When she came to the market, memories of her shopping trip with her captain came back to her but they felt as sad as the marketplace looked now, deserted and dark.
Suddenly she saw two men, weapons over their shoulders, walking through the empty stalls and she stopped, desperately pulling air into her lungs. She saw that they looked like the Security Officers on the ship and knew she had no choice but to trust them. Using the little energy she had left, she ran towards them, crying out that the captain was hurt and needed them.
Kathryn lay on the table, tears pouring from her eyes and tried to control her breathing. She was aware of her captor looking down at her and felt the tendrils leave her body and then he was pulling her up into a sitting position on the table and pain ripped through her again. She saw him look around the room now and search for Naomi then notice the open door.
"You evil traitor." His fist came across Kathryn's face and knocked her off the table to the floor but he pulled her back to her feet immediately.
"Trick me like that, would you? You're nothing but a cheap whore. Well, I'll find the girl and then I'll give her the same treatment." He saw the fear on Kathryn's face but also the determination not to let him succeed. He pulled back from her but Kathryn grabbed for him, buying every last second she could.
"Whore's like you have to be brought down, Captain." Kathryn didn't see him reach into his pocket and bring out a long spike. He pulled Kathryn into his arms and bit at her neck again. "They have to be brought down…"
Suddenly Kathryn felt an agonizing pain at her side as the spike was driven deeply into her body and she grunted in pain and shock. She knew immediately she'd been stabbed and slumped against the body holding her, her hands gripping him tightly as she felt the sharp object being twisted in her. Her words were barely heard by him.
"Oh my God….Oh Chakotay…." Kathryn felt herself slide down his body to the floor and fall away from him. Her hand went to her side in a desperate attempt to stem the flow of blood she could feel leaving the wound. She saw the man above her wipe the spike on his sleeve and heard him laugh.
"That's how you bring them down, Captain. That's how you bring them down." His face blurred then as Kathryn felt herself lose consciousness. She vaguely felt his foot push against her head, checking to see if she was alive and her head rolled to the side, her eyes closed. His footsteps leaving was the last thing she heard.
When word reached the ship that Naomi had been found, Chakotay and a team beamed down to the surface immediately. When they entered the offices where the child was being looked after, Naomi jumped up immediately and ran into her mother's arms sobbing her heart out.
"Mom, tell them. Tell them we have to hurry. He was hurting the captain. Please…."
Samantha hugged her daughter tightly to her, relief flowing through her. "I will, sweetie, I will. We'll find her."
Within minutes, Chakotay, Tuvok and their team left the Security Station, the Doctor with them. A strong Security detail of Storians accompanied them. Naomi led the way with her mother, refusing to be left behind and Chakotay knew they had no choice but to bring the child with them, desperately needing her directions, despite the excellent detailed information she'd already provided them with. The Storian Security Chief nodded his understanding, stating that he knew the area the girl spoke of. As they headed out, Chakotay prayed silently that they wouldn't be too late.
Reedol ran through the tunnels desperately searching for his escaped captive but the girl was nowhere in sight. He cursed loudly at how wrong everything had gone but blamed the woman he'd left lying in a pool of her own blood. Screaming loudly at the walls, he turned and made his way back to the small room, determined to take out his anger on the Captain he still held. Even if she was dead, he would still smash her head open.
Kathryn came around to agonising pain and fought to focus her eyes. She knew she was bleeding badly but tried to pull herself towards the door, crying breathlessly in agony. She prayed Naomi had made it out of the tunnels and had found help, giving no thought to herself, knowing that the safety of the young girl was all that mattered. Inch by inch, she eased herself painfully towards the exit, not sure of why but some survival instinct inside her urging her on. After what seemed like hours, she made it to the door and using some boxes there, managed to pull herself to her knees. She cried out in pain constantly but pushed herself on, eventually managing to get to her feet, a scream leaving her lips. She pressed a hand tightly over the wound at her side and felt her blood warm and sticky between her fingers. Using the wall for support, she pushed herself forward, one hand unconsciously closing her dress over herself.
Stopping every few seconds, Kathryn slowly made her way towards where she knew the entrance to the tunnel was. She knew she'd little hope of making it and when she looked behind her, saw that she'd only managed to travel a few feet. When she turned back, a scream tore from her throat when the figure of her captor suddenly loomed in front of her. Before she knew it, he was on her, forcing her to the ground, his hands going for her throat. Kathryn screamed out in rage and pain, desperately trying to fight him, a strength coming from deep within her she didn't know she had. The thought came to her that there was no sign of Naomi and that with him here, he wasn't looking for the child. They rolled on the ground but Kathryn was no match for him and then he was straddling her, his hands tightening around her throat, cutting off her air as he banged her head painfully off the ground. Kathryn's hands fought his at first and then trashed around her, searching for anything she could use as a weapon and her fingers brushed a stone. She desperately clawed for it and managed to grasp it then swung her hand up, connecting the stone with the side of the man's head. She heard him cry out and felt him lean back off her but nothing more. Kathryn watched horrified as she saw him bring his own hand up, clutching the spike again and her mind registered his hand dropping towards her. Suddenly an explosion of pain tore across her chest as the spike sank into her and Kathryn screamed out again. She felt the weapon ripped from her, her body jerking up with it and then his hands were back at her throat. Her head slammed to the side and her eyes made out the spike lying beside them, her own blood coating it. With superhuman strength, she reached for it and closed her fingers around it. Time slowed then as Kathryn watched her own hand rise and saw it ram the long spike into the throat of the man above her and she almost felt as if she were standing back watching someone else as revulsion and horror washed over her. She felt his hands leave her neck and saw them reach to his own, a gurgling sound coming from him as his fingers clawed at the object embedded in his windpipe. He staggered to his feet still clutching at his throat and then fell forward, face down on the hard ground, the spike driven deeply into his body. Kathryn watched almost in a trance as his body spasmed several times and was then still. With her mind in turmoil and her body in deep shock, she managed to roll onto her side, desperately clawing her way along the ground, not knowing where she was heading, just that some instinct was forcing her on. She was going in the opposite direction for the exit but was unaware of this as she inched her way along, the tunnel getting darker. Chakotay's face in her mind drove her on and it was only the massive blood loss that stopped her and she lost consciousness, her hand stretched forward, reaching for something which wasn't there.
With tears pouring down her small face, Naomi Wildman tightly gripped her mother's hand and pointed with her other hand to the opening in the rock. She had run the entire way to the parkland, the others trying to keep up with her. The child knew her job was still unfinished and would remain so until her captain was safely back aboard Voyager.
"There, in there. It's a long tunnel. The captain said about five minutes but she walked slow…" Chakotay nodded and made for the entrance, the area well-lit now with high powered lanterns the Storians had brought with them. Naomi let go of her mother's hand and ran for the entrance, disappearing inside as Sam called after her. Voyager's First Officer made a grab for the small figure but missed as it flew past him. Shouting to the others and grabbing a lantern, he quickly followed.
Within two minutes they came to the door of the room and Chakotay stopped dead for a second when he heard Naomi's scream. He ran to the child, his heart in his mouth and saw what had caused her reaction. One of the Storian guards kicked at the figure on the ground and then leaned down and turned it over. The open-eyed stare of the dead man met them, the handle of a weapon sticking out of his throat and blood covering his neck and chest. Chakotay pulled Naomi away and passed her to her mother but Naomi dashed into the room instead and Chakotay followed. He saw the child in the centre of the small space, tears running freely down her face as she looked horrified at the pool of blood on the floor and the trail which led to the door.
"Where is she? She was here. I left her…" Sam had joined them in the room and closed her eyes, trying to shut out images of her daughter being held here and what she must have gone through. Naomi took off again and dashed back into the tunnel. More Storian guards had joined them now and the area was well lit. Almost immediately the child's eyes picked up on the fresh trail of blood, Chakotay seeing it at the same moment. Calling to Sam to take Naomi and making sure she had a tight grip on the child this time, he followed the blood trail deeper into the tunnel and within a minute saw Kathryn lying face down, unmoving, just ahead of them.
Holding his breath, Chakotay ran to Kathryn's side, the Doctor with him and reached out his hand to her. "Kathryn…please God…." He was pushed to the side as the Doctor moved in and then Tom was there and they were gently turning her over. Chakotay cried out when he saw the amount of blood which soaked the dress she wore and covered her chest and neck and down her side.
"She's barely alive. Give me a minute then let's get her back to the ship…" Chakotay saw the Doctor and Tom work over their captain, instruments and hyposprays changing hands and being used. Within a minute, a stretcher had arrived and Kathryn was gently placed on it and carried to the entrance where she could be beamed back to sickbay. The short distance seemed an eternity to Chakotay and he prayed the whole way.
Chakotay paced the Doctor's office the entire three hours Kathryn was in surgery. He'd allowed Naomi to stay long enough to be checked over and then 'ordered' her back to her quarters with her mother, satisfied that the sedative Tom had administered would work within ten minutes. When the Doctor finally returned to his office, Chakotay turned to him, the desperation on his face asking all his questions for him.
"She'll live but it was very close, too close for my liking." The Medic nodded to the man before him to sit. "What I believe was the first stab wound, the one to her side, damaged her kidney and liver and caused massive internal haemorrhaging. By the entry site, I'd say the weapon used was twisted around. How she managed to move at all… The second wound, to her chest, barely missed the heart. Both wounds… Commander, I can honestly tell you it's a miracle she didn't bleed to death. How she crawled the distance she did… I mean much longer and…" The Doctor lowered his head, not needing to state the obvious.
"She'll be all right though… I mean with time… a full recovery…?" Chakotay's eyes pleaded for reassurance.
The Doctor gave it to him with a nod of his head. "She's still unconscious. That much blood loss and the body goes into shock. She's receiving transfusions still. She also suffered a concussion. There's a wound on the back of her head and there's bruising around her throat and what looks like a bite. I'd say he tried to strangle her. There were also some facial injuries but they weren't too serious."
Chakotay shut his eyes and shook his head. "How long will she be unconscious?"
The Doctor finally looked at the worn out man before him. "I can't say but she will regain consciousness. Basically, it'll be when she's ready to come back to us. The human body knows better than I ever will." Chakotay stood slowly and rubbed his hands over his face, trying to wash away all that had happened. The EMH stood also. "Commander, sit with her a while and then get some rest yourself. I've to meet with the Storian doctor who last treated…" He didn't continue and read the look on Chakotay's face well. "Just as well he's already dead."
Chakotay sat with Kathryn for over two hours, talking quietly to her and stroking her arm and face. Finally, he stood and kissed her forehead softly.
"Rest now, Kathryn, everything's all right. I'll be back later." He walked slowly to the door and looked back at her, lying so still and pale and sent a prayer of thanks to any Deity listening. Exhausted, he returned to his quarters and slept for the next six hours.
Having checked on Kathryn when he awoke and found her still unconscious, Chakotay called by to see how Naomi was doing. He knew the Doctor had been by also to check on the child but he wanted to talk to her himself. Sam's face when she opened the door showed her lack of sleep.
"Come in, Commander. Sorry, I'm a bit of a mess."
Chakotay smiled softly. "Did you get any sleep?"
The Ensign smiled guiltily. "Not much. I just kept watching her. I was afraid if I fell asleep, she'd be gone when I… Sorry, that's silly I know…"
Chakotay gripped her shoulder. "Sam, it's called being a parent and it's nothing to be sorry about. How is she?"
Sam shrugged her shoulders. "Not talking too much. She keeps asking about the captain. The Doctor said it would be good for her to talk about what happened but…"
Chakotay nodded. "I agree and she will in her own time. Can I see her?"
Sam waved him towards the child's bedroom and followed him in. As soon as they entered, Naomi jumped up in bed. "Commander, is the captain all right? Is she…? Can I…?"
Chakotay smiled and reached for the girl then sat and hugged her to him. "Naomi, the captain is fine. I give you my word on that. She's asleep at the moment though." He saw the worry slowly fall from the small face to be replaced by tears. "Honey, what is it? I promise you, she's fine…"
The little girl shook her head. "No…I know…but…I…I…"
Chakotay rubbed a thumb over her small cheek and kissed her head. "What is it, honey? You can talk to us, you know that." He saw Sam sit quietly on a chair in the corner and waited for the child to open up to them.
"I left her, abandoned the captain…"
Chakotay hugged her tighter. "Naomi, you did what the Captain told you to do. If you hadn't got out, we'd never have found you. You did the right thing." He saw that the girl accepted his words but he knew she'd feel guilty for quite some time. "Honey, sometimes we have orders we don't like but we have to follow them. In the end, the captain knows best and we always do what she says. Can you understand that?"
He saw the small head nod. "But he was hurting her real bad and I ran. I know she said to run but…and I heard her scream when he pushed at her…"
Chakotay frowned. "Honey, what did you see?" The thought that the child had witnessed her captain being stabbed sickened him.
"When he pushed her… and…and the things stuck on her…" Chakotay frowned and exchanged a look with Sam and she nodded, telling him it was all right to go on, that this needed to come out.
"Naomi, can you tell me about all that happened?" Big, sad eyes met his and she nodded. She reached for her stuffed toy from the bed and played with it, gaining a comfort from the toy as she spoke. Chakotay kept a tight arm around her.
"We were… I bought perfume for Mom in a pretty bottle and the captain told me it would still be good…the bottle I mean…when the perfume was gone…but I dropped it when the man came… I'm sorry, Mom…" She looked to her mother and Sam just smiled.
"It's all right, sweetheart. We can get another one. I know I'd have loved it anyway."
The child dropped her head again. "I asked the captain if she was going to buy you a present…but I remembered I wasn't to say about that…" She looked up into Chakotay's face. "Captain Janeway told me it was all right to say, that you were in love together…" Chakotay fought to hold his own tears back and just nodded. "We went to buy you something…for the man…" She stopped and thought hard. "The man who…had everything…" A small smile came to her face a moment and then disappeared. Chakotay bit his lip.
"I moved and I know I'm not supposed to do that and then the man was there and he took my badge and he had a phaser and pinched my shoulder." A small hand came up to show where. "The captain saw and came over and she looked afraid at first and he took her badge but she told me it was all right and then the man told us to walk." She hugged the toy to her.
"I watched all the places we passed and later the captain said I was good at that, that I'd have her job…" She smiled at them both and saw them smile back. Then her smile vanished again.
"I was afraid of him and the tunnel was dark. He made the captain walk in front and…then we went into the room and he shoved me onto the bed." Chakotay saw the worry and shock on Sam's face.
"The captain ran over to me and then went to the man, and she asked him why he had taken us. He was mean and I didn't like him." Chakotay stroked her hair, silently telling her she was going well.
"He grabbed her arm and pulled it behind her and pulled her at him…like a hug but not nice…and he was…I don't know…I think smelling her neck…his face was there…" She pointed to her own neck and Chakotay felt a stab of fear build in him and risked a glance at Sam and saw the same with her. "All right, honey, you're doing good." He gave the toy a rub so he didn't have to look at the child for a minute until he controlled his expression. "What else?"
"The captain said…something like…the child…not in front of her…and she told him…I think that he… could have anything…I don't remember it right…" Chakotay kept the false smile on his face.
"He said he knew and he pinched her face. He threw her onto the bed then…" Chakotay felt his hands wanting to make fists but controlled it. He felt Sam tense but kept his eyes in Naomi.
"She hugged me and…said nice things…and he went away then…" Chakotay let out the breath he hadn't known he was holding and looked across at the girl's mother and saw the relief there.
Naomi looked at him. "I helped then. We looked around the room and found a piece of metal and the Captain used it to open the door…" Suddenly her tears came back. "He was outside when we opened the door and he was angry. He shoved me onto the floor and hurt the Captain…" Sam rushed over to her daughter and rubbed her leg but Naomi was determined to tell them what had happened.
"He hit her and hit her and pushed her on the bed and kept hitting her for ages…and then I tore my pocket off and wiped her face cause she was bleeding and crying…her nose and mouth…"
Naomi was crying and Sam and Chakotay hugged her. "You did real good honey. Momma's so proud of you."
The child smiled softly. "He told us about the war and showed us a..a..bomb… He put it on the door and said it would blow us into millions of bits?" She looked to the adults to confirm she had the right word and they nodded, each hiding their anger well.
"When he went away this time, the captain told me we had to talk ship's business, just between captain and captain's assistant and she gave me my orders…about trying to run and said I was to run and…she'd dis..dis.. distruct…" Once more she looked to the adults.
"Distract? Was that it?" Chakotay was fighting a ball of fear in his guts.
The child nodded. "Uh huh. We heard him coming back but he was cut…on his head…and he didn't look at us and the door was open. The captain squeezed my hand and told me to 'watch for the right minute'. I tried to do good."
The adults smiled at her and Chakotay kissed the top of her head again. "You did real good, honey, and you're doing great now."
The girl leaned into him and they saw her frown as she picked at the fur on her toy. "The captain was nice to him…said she'd help him…clean his cut… He gave her cloth and water and she wiped his face. I saw her move him round so he wasn't looking at me and I moved real slow. The captain talked to him and I saw him hug her…" She pulled harder at the fur on her bear.
"I was sure he'd look at me and I was afraid but the captain kept his head turned and…" She frowned again and they saw tears balance on her eyelids. Chakotay tightened his hold on the child and Sam stroked her leg.
"I don't know what it all was…some I did…" She pulled at the ears of the toy. "I saw him smell her neck again and she cried like he hurt her and then she looked at me and told me with her eyes to run and then he went to look at me again and I saw the captain kissing him and she tore his shirt then he tore her dress and her… I don't know the name but my Mom wears it…" Her small hand moved across her chest and Sam just nodded. The girl's tears ran down her face now and Chakotay felt Sam's other hand grip his free hand.
"I saw them…the things…green long things and they stuck in the captain and she cried… They stuck here…" She pointed at her mother, at Sam's breasts. Chakotay felt the hand gripping him tighten.
"I was nearly at the door but I stopped…and I saw him…he put his hand under the captain's dress and pulled her panties off…and I couldn't see his hand…" Chakotay barely controlled his breathing. "He pushed her at the table…pushed and pushed…and the captain saw me…and I was so afraid but she just smiled at me but she looked scared too…and then he kind of lifted her and pushed her real hard and I ran and I heard her…I heard her and she screamed real loud and I stopped for a minute and there wasn't any more sounds and I ran and ran…and I cried and I…then I was in the park and I fell sometimes but I ran and then I saw the market and two men…with rifles like here on the ship and I ran to them and told them the captain was hurt…" The young girl was shaking at this stage and Chakotay turned away to hide his face and fought himself for control, telling himself to hang on just a bit longer. He looked at Sam and saw that she was doing the same and he felt her nails dig into his hand painfully.
"The men took me to a room and called the ship but they wouldn't come with me and I told them and told them that the captain was being hurt but they waited and then you came and we went and found her and I… I saw the blood and …" She turned her tear stained face up to Chakotay. "Is she really all right? Really, really all right?"
Chakotay nodded and pulled the child into a tight embrace. "She's going to be fine, honey. I promise you." He spoke the words meaning so much more than the child would understand from them. With the little girl turned from his face he let his tears fall and then Sam was hugging him too and they rocked together for several minutes, Chakotay needing the support as much as Naomi. When he controlled himself, he lifted the girl off his knee.
"Tell you what. I'll take you to see the captain and then you can get some more sleep. Is that a deal?" The small head nodded and hugged him again.
When Chakotay entered sickbay, Naomi in his arms and Sam at his side, the Doctor frowned at the sight before him.
"We just needed to see the captain before getting some sleep." The two men exchanged a look of understanding and the Doctor led the way to the biobed where Kathryn lay.
"She's asleep, Naomi. I gave her some medicine to make her sleep better so she'll probably be asleep for a while. She's fine though, you can see that."
Naomi squirmed in Chakotay's arms and he let her down. "Can I touch her?" The frightened eyes looked to the Medic and he nodded. "She's warm." She sounded surprised and the Doctor smiled.
"Well, of course she is. No one goes cold in my sickbay." The child smiled at this then leaned over and kissed the side of her captain's face.
"I'm glad you're all right, Captain. I have to go asleep too but I'll see you later. I did what you told me." At this even the Doctor nearly had tears in his eyes.
As Sam led her daughter away from Kathryn, Chakotay briefly filled the Doctor in on what had happened and the Doctor passed another sedative to Sam on her way out.
"I'll see you later, honey. Get some sleep, OK? Make sure your Mom does too." Chakotay forced the smile on his face and then met Sam's eyes. The look between them spoke of so much but mostly there was love and support from the woman to him and he nodded his thanks. He turned then and entered the Doctor's office and dropped into a chair in front of the hologram. Keeping his eyes on the floor, he gave the medic an overview of what Naomi had told them. Finally, he looked up.
"You knew already." It was a statement and he saw the Doctor nod.
"I thought you had enough to deal with, that there was time enough later…" The Medic saw the pain in Chakotay's eyes. "I spoke with the authorities and one of their doctors earlier." He pointed to two comm badges on the desk beside him. "These were recovered…" He took a moment. "Are you sure you want to know this?"
Chakotay closed his eyes a moment then looked the Doctor square in the eyes. "No, I don't want to know but I need to. Can you understand that?"
The EMH nodded his understanding. "I spoke with the doctor who treated Brel Reedol, that was his name by the way." He saw that Chakotay didn't give a damn. "Most of it was what we already knew about him, still believing the war was on and so on. He could be fine for months and then just snap. He'd never hurt anyone before though, mainly hearing battle sounds, that kind of thing. They've no answers as to why he snapped this time. He just did." Chakotay stood, then thought better of it and sat again.
"What Naomi saw…what she said…" He couldn't go on.
The Doctor nodded. "It happened. Their bodies…the males…thin tendrils from the male's chest attach themselves to the female…like needles digging in… Their woman are, of course, able for this… Commander, do you really want this…"
The man in front of him nodded. "It's as I said…not want but need to…"
The Doctor rubbed his head a moment then continued. He saw the pain his words were causing but forced himself on. "Pene…penetration would have been extremely painful. Their…their males…are…larger…and…" Chakotay had dropped his head. "Here also there are tendrils…they attach and enter…in front of and behind…the anal and clitoral… Commander…" Chakotay was almost pulling his hair out. "Commander, I've healed her…repaired the damage…some tearing and bleeding…puncture wounds… Commander, please…"
Chakotay finally looked up. "Will she be all right? I mean, physically?"
The Doctor nodded his assurance. "She's fine now and I've made sure there will be no... She won't be pregnant. Commander, I…I have to tell you…she wasn't…didn't…there were no other injuries relating to…"
Chakotay's face broke into a strange grimace and he stood. "I know, Doc, she wasn't forced and she didn't fight it. In a court of law it wouldn't count as rape. Well, in my book it was. It's the same thing. She did something to protect that child, the ultimate sacrifice. She'd never have wanted that in any other circumstances so I call that rape. You can call it whatever the hell you like…" He stared directly at the Doctor, daring him to dispute his words.
"I agree with you, Commander. I feel I know the captain well and I know what she'd do for her crew but especially a child. She'd give her life and I believe that is exactly what she believed she would be doing. Later on, she's going to have to deal with this and I can tell you I'd prefer her thinking your way in order to deal with it than the way I believe she'll see it. However, one step at a time. First, let's get her sorted out physically." The men shared a look which spoke volumes. Both knew there was a long road ahead.
When Kathryn regained consciousness the following night, Chakotay's face was the first thing to meet her eyes. He saw her confusion and quickly explained.
"Easy, love. Naomi's safe and we found you. You're going to be just fine." He saw her nod slightly and swallow but her eyes were guarded as he saw her remember everything. He reached down and lifted her hand into his, rubbing her small hand between his two large ones but she seemed almost limp. The Doctor's slight cough behind him got his attention and he put her hand back beside her and stepped away. "Best let the Doc check you. I'll be back." Once again she just barely nodded.
"Well, Captain, I'm happy to say all your injuries are healing nicely and you should be up and about within another two days. Young Naomi is fine too." The Doctor was carefully gauging her reaction.
"Naomi? She's…she's really OK?"
The Doctor smiled. "Captain, I give you my word. She's just fine. She was upset by it all, of course, and worried about her captain but that will pass." He saw the woman lying before him absorb all this and knew she was going to say more and so he waited. He saw tears start in her eyes.
"I take it…that…you know…about…" Her eyes turned to look at the Medic and he nodded. "Naomi…she saw some…"
The Doctor patted her shoulder. "Captain, she saw some but basically she didn't understand, just that you were hurt but she'll be fine."
Kathryn looked away again for a minute then back. "Chakotay…he…he knows too…?" Her tears spilled over and once more the Doctor nodded. Kathryn turned away then. "Just as well… I'd have told him anyway…easier this way…" She swallowed and sniffed and the Medic leaned over her.
"Captain, he's not…"
Kathryn cut him off. "Please, can I have a sedative? I want to sleep now. Please, Doctor…" Against his better judgement, he nodded agreement, knowing this was not the time.
"Just this once, Captain…" He pressed a hypo to her neck and saw it take effect almost immediately. Finally, he turned to Chakotay and saw the pain on his face. "I take it you heard all that?"
The First Officer nodded, tears forming in his own eyes. "Yeah, I heard. Look Doc, you've done your job. Mine starts now." He nodded to the Doctor and left sickbay.
Chakotay forced himself to eat in the messhall, needing people around him but when he entered, Neelix was just going off duty and the only diner was B'Elanna. The Talaxian stayed to fix something for his commander then bid him a goodnight, passing on his good wishes to the captain. B'Elanna waved Chakotay over and pointed to the empty seat in front of her.
"Take the weight off, old man. You look as if you need to."
Chakotay shook his head and smiled. "Less of the old man and are you saying I'm fat?" He got a crooked smile in answer.
"So how's the captain doing?" Chakotay saw it was a serious question, a lot unsaid under the words.
"She's…doing fine actually. All injuries healed. She came around earlier and the Doc gave her a sedative to help her sleep so… she's asleep now." He shook his napkin out and picked up his fork.
"That bad, huh?" He stopped with his fork in mid-air. "Oh, come on, Chakotay, we all know what she did for Naomi and I don't mean the stabbing. Did you think it wouldn't get out?" The Engineer saw an annoyed look cross her friend's face. "Chakotay, it's not what you think. God man, there's nothing but total respect for her."
Chakotay dropped his fork. "How did…?"
B'Elanna smiled softly at him. "The search party, the Sporian Authorities, medical and transporter staff, Naomi, take your pick. It's a small ship. Chakotay, people saw the state she was in. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to hurt you. They saw and heard Naomi, what she said on the planet and things she's said since. She says things and doesn't think as she's only a child but means no harm. We just put two and two together. God, do you really think for one second we'd ever think badly of her? She made that kind of sacrifice for Naomi, let that… Chakotay, we're all here for her. I can safely take it you are too?" One look at his face told her what she needed to know. "Sorry, stupid question. That's a foregone conclusion. Just know that we're all here for you too." Chakotay reached across the table and squeezed her hand then picked up his fork and began to eat, tears blurring the mess on his plate.
Chakotay was sitting beside Kathryn's bed early the next morning when she woke up. She was groggy from the sedative and took a minute to focus on him. He moved over to her.
"Morning, love. Doc says you can either stay here another two days or return to your quarters today, provided you have a nurse with you and that's me. Take your pick." He saw his plan failing and Kathryn just looked away.
"I guess the Doctor knows best. I'd better stay here…" She closed her eyes again and within minutes he knew she was asleep.
"Denial to the last." Chakotay looked up to see the Doctor standing beside him. "Well, she said that I know best and I say she'd be better off in her quarters with you as her nurse so that's what it's going to be."
Chakotay smiled at the Medic. "She'll eventually terminate your program for this, you know that."
The Doctor shrugged his shoulders and arranged for the transport. "She can try."
Kathryn slept for about four hours and Chakotay just sat in a chair beside her bed and studied her, taking the time to think about the coming days and weeks. When she woke up, he watched her confusion at her surroundings and then finally her eyes fell on him.
"You were the one who said the Doctor knew best. He decided here was best so you can take it out on him." Chakotay smiled at her but received nothing in return. "You can take a shower if you feel up to it but either way, I have orders to make you eat. Any preference?" She still just stared at him. "OK, I'll decide." He walked off into the other room.
After a few minutes, he heard movement in the bedroom and then the sound of the water shower. After a long time, when he felt sure she most have washed herself away, he heard the water switch off then replicated some lunch for them both and waited for Kathryn to join him. She seemed nervous with him and they ate in silence with Chakotay trying to act normal but he constantly felt Kathryn's eyes on him yet whenever he raised his head, she quickly looked away. Finally, he made small talk until their meal was finished then replicated a coffee for Kathryn and tea for himself. He watched as she sipped the hot liquid and waited to see how long it would be before she finally spoke. Within five minutes, he got his answer as Kathryn turned and studied him for a time and then spoke.
"Chakotay, why are you here? Why all the pampering?"
He just smiled at her, his dimples showing. "Because you've been through a terrible time and you need a nurse and because I love you. Why on earth do you have to ask?" He saw he'd thrown her and she quickly let the matter drop.
Over the next three days, Chakotay did most of the talking, letting Kathryn choose her own time to talk to him about what had happened. For her part, she answered him when he spoke to her but never started a conversation herself. He left her for short periods of time to check on ship's business but was always back within half an hour.
Chakotay saw something build up in her and waited for it to boil over. On the evening of the third day, it did just that. They were sitting on the sofa, idle conversation dried up when Kathryn almost growled and turned on Chakotay.
"Chakotay, why the hell are you really here? Does the Doctor not trust me on my own?"
Chakotay drew in a deep breath and exhaled loudly. "Well, to use your words, Kathryn, why the hell do YOU think I'm here?" He saw a flash of anger cross her face but it was gone quickly. "Do you really think I'm only here because the Doctor told me to be?" Suddenly he saw her face soften and become devoid of any emotion.
"I don't know. You know…" He saw her bite at her lip. "You know…I know you do…so why…how can you want…seem to…bring yourself to be…" She turned to him and he saw tears start in her eyes.
"What do I know? Kathryn, what? How can I want? Bring myself to what? Kathryn, talk to me. What are you trying to say? You've been avoiding talking to me for three days now." He controlled his voice, keeping it as soft as possible and saw her shake her head.
Chakotay sat forward. "I don't know, Kathryn, how can I? I'm not a telepath, can't read your mind. You have to tell me." He saw her grow frustrated but he was determined to get her to open up about all this.
"You know what…what I did…with…with…him…"
Chakotay decided to ease up. "No, Kathryn, I don't. I do know what happened to you. There's a big difference." Her eyes flew to his face but he couldn't read her.
After a minute, she looked away and her eyes looked all around the room, anywhere but at the man in front of her. "You know and you won't or can't… Chakotay, I think I'd prefer to be alone…please… The Doctor said… Please just go." Chakotay studied her a minute, wondering if it would be better to leave things alone for a while, work at it slowly.
Finally, he stood and made for the door. "All right, Kathryn, I'll go. I'm sorry."
Her words faintly reached him. "I'm sorry too. I'm sorry it couldn't work out. I'm sorry I ruined it all."
Chakotay turned, a puzzled look on his face and stared directly at her. "Excuse me? I think you're ahead of me here. I'm sorry because you won't talk to me but you seem to be ending our relationship. Have I got that right?" He was starting to get angry and she knew it.
"I ruined it…"
He shook his head at her. "Ruined what exactly, Kathryn?"
Her stock answer of the evening came to him again. "It…us…you KNOW. Chakotay, please…just leave…" Kathryn dropped her eyes to the carpet.
After a minute Chakotay gave in and walked back to the doors. Just before he reached the sensors which would open them, he stopped, a rage starting in him. "No, no, no, no. No, Kathryn, I'm not walking out on this, not walking away from it. I'm not letting you back out of this one."
He saw her head snap up, a mixture of anger and fear on her face. She jumped up from the sofa and rage replaced both emotions as she screamed at him. "Chakotay, go. Get out and leave me. You know what I did, know about my betrayal of you."
Chakotay was shocked and rooted to the spot but his mind still worked. "Kathryn Janeway, what in God's name are you talking about? What betrayal?"
She wasn't listening to him and went on. "How can you want to touch me, be in the same room? How can you want to be near me? How…?"
Suddenly he advanced on her and she backed off but he was quicker and he grabbed her shoulders and shoved her onto the sofa. "Right now, you shut up and listen to me. I wanted to go easy on you but I can see that won't work. Sweet God, Kathryn, I can't believe I'm hearing this from you, especially from you." He saw her look at him in an almost timid way but he was past caring.
"Kathryn, I'm going to have to hurt you with what I say and I'll have to be totally blunt because you seem to be the only one who doesn't understand all this. I'll talk and you shut up, OK?" He saw her nod slowly, her eyes never leaving his. "Right. This is not about what you LET HIM do, or anything even like that. This is about what HAPPENED to you. Did you want it to happen? No, you didn't." He stared at her as she shook her head. "Kathryn, for such an intelligent woman you can be incredibly stupid at times. You didn't want it so that makes it rape." He saw her flinch at the use of the word.
"Kathryn, it was rape. I know it, the Doctor knows it, the entire ship knows it and the planet below us knows it." He saw the shock on her face. "Yes, Kathryn, they all know what happened to you, how you saved Naomi. In fact, even Naomi herself knows it to some extent. Now have you got that?" He saw her tears start but she shook her head.
"I…I…let him…made sure he did…and I'm so sorry…what I did to you…betrayed…cheated on you…"
Chakotay exploded and reached for her, pulling her to her feet and he saw her terror. "Kathryn, you were bloody well raped. At the end of the day, it was not what you wanted and therefore against your will. That is rape. Now I know how hard that is to deal with but it's better than what you're trying to make this. You can call it anything you like and maybe you're thinking like this for my sake but I know what happened. Even a young child can see you didn't want to be there, that you wanted to get away. She understands more than you think. If she can see it, why in God's name can't you?" He shook her and saw her tears fall and he gently pushed her back down on the sofa.
"Kathryn, stop torturing yourself. You feel responsible and as usual you don the sackcloth and ashes and flog yourself. I love you too much to let you do that anymore and I know you love me but know this, Kathryn. I'm here to stay. I'm so sorry for what happened but without sounding hard and uncaring, it makes no difference to how I feel about you or your body. Can you understand that? I'll always want you and I'll never NOT want to touch you. The only thing stopping me touching you right now is the fact that I believe you're not emotionally ready for that." He saw her shoulders shake and small sobs escaped her.
"Kathryn, how many times have we made love? I mean, I don't know, I didn't count them but each one was as special as the others. If you really believe this would make a difference to me, if you can think that, then you hurt me deeply. Bottom line here, Kathryn. I love you and always will." Kathryn's hand flew to her mouth and she sobbed loudly. In her eyes, Chakotay saw behind her tears and he finally saw understanding and her love for him. Within seconds she held her arms open to him and he saw a fear that the chance she was taking now would be refused but he fell to his knees in front of her and into her outstretched arms then felt them close around him.
Chakotay hugged Kathryn tightly to him, feeling her heart pound in her chest. He felt her pull back and he looked deeply to her eyes. Not knowing how it started, they were suddenly kissing passionately. Chakotay broke away for a second and held her face between his hands.
"Kathryn, are you sure? I love you, want you more than anything but you have to want this. If it's too soon…" His answer came as she pulled his lips back to hers and a fire erupted between them. "Kathryn, you have to guide me, tell me if I'm hurting you…" Kathryn was beyond that though.
Chakotay would never really understand where the passion came from that night but a raw animalistic lust existed between them alongside their love, and later he would think of it as a re-claiming of each other, a need to undo, a need to reaffirm what was.
He was aware of them falling to the floor, all rational thought long gone, hands everywhere, tearing at each other's clothes, touching every inch of skin available. He was lying over her and surging into her one minute, the next she was on top, impaling herself on him and then they were on their sides and he was thrusting into her as they came together explosively.
Chakotay was aware of being awake the next morning before he opened his eyes and knew instinctively that Kathryn was already awake in his arms. He could feel her eyes studying him and was ready when he finally opened his. What he saw in her eyes was what he expected. He saw her fear that he'd regret the night before, that it had only been about lust and sex, that he'd leave her.
"Morning, love." He stretched and then raised his hand and brushed her hair back from her face and saw some of her fear abate. "How about next time we try and make it to the bed or at least get there to sleep afterwards? I'm getting too old for hard floors even with Starfleet's finest carpets on them." As he saw his words accepted, he saw her fear finally leave and she smiled at him.
"Thank you for last night, for understanding and making me see…. I know I was terrible with you, what I said and everything. I just didn't know how to deal with it, how you'd feel. I hadn't thought about it, didn't expect to have to face it…" Her words shocked him to the core when he realized what she meant.
"Oh God, Kathryn, you didn't plan on surviving, did you? You really didn't expect to get out of that?" He saw a sadness cross her eyes. "When did you think that….?"
She looked at him and bit her lip. "From the time I thought of the plan I expected that, believed it would be a suicide mission if you like. When he left the door open and I went over to him, I knew then what I had to do to keep him was seeing Naomi leave. I also knew at that moment that once he saw she'd gone, that he'd kill me. I believed then for sure that I'd die."
Chakotay's arms tightened around her and he squeezed his eyes tightly shut then pulled her to him. "Oh God, love, I so very nearly lost you. Without you I couldn't…" Suddenly it was Kathryn comforting him and he welcomed it.
"Chakotay, I had to, had to save her. She's a child, only a little girl. She's our future, what we have to protect." Chakotay nodded, afraid to speak in case he broke down. He stayed silent as Kathryn opened up to him, cleansing herself. "While he was… I just tried to count…keep the time…give her as much time as possible…tried to think that way and not about…him and what he was…or the pain…" She stopped and drew in a deep breath. "When…after it…when he saw she'd gone… He was so angry and I knew what was coming. I knew…and I tried to stop him going after her…anything to give her time…and he said…he said he'd…do the same with her… Chakotay…to a child…he… I had to stop him…and he pulled me to him again and then… Oh God, I felt it…didn't see it coming…but I felt it when he stabbed me and I remember falling and seeing your face…and I knew that was it…that there was nothing more I could do…that all I could hope for was that she'd made it…" Chakotay hugged her close and let her get it all out.
"When I came around… God, the pain but… I don't know why but I still had to try and stop him…and I managed to stand and move and…then he was there again and we fought and I remember…his hands and…my throat…strangling me and… I fought him but…then I saw him raise his hand and I saw the spike and…it was like slow motion or… I saw it and then I felt it…like an explosion in my chest… I remember his hands around my throat again and…then I was holding the spike and pushing it into him… It's a blur really. I watched his body shake and prayed he was dead. It was horrible but… After that it's… I only know there was your face in my mind and a need to move but where… I remember crawling and I didn't know where…only that I was seeing you and I reached for you…and then…then nothing…" Kathryn cried bitterly as Chakotay held her.
"When we found you… God, love…I was so afraid…" He pulled her face back so he could see her eyes. "Your hand was stretched forward…like you were reaching for something…" He kissed her forehead. "You reach for me now, love, because I'm here for you always." Kathryn did just that and they embraced fiercely, each crying away all the pain.
"Kathryn, look… about…what I said to you… You just think what you need to… I know I said rape and I see it that way but… Kathryn, you use whatever makes it easier for you. Just know that it's not between us, that nothing can come between us…"
She nodded and sniffed. "You're right…and I know you're… I guess I just have to think of it as something I had to do and try and put it behind me…put it into perspective any way I can…" He smiled gently at her. "I just want to put it behind me and forget and with you… I was so afraid I'd lose you…"
Chakotay slowly shook his head. "You can never do that. I'm here for the full trip. What's between us has nothing…has no relation to what happened. What we have is love…emotional and physical. That was…just a physical bodily function. It was nothing." He saw her smile and he kissed her. "It's over, love. Finished and gone. We're all that matters now." Chakotay kissed her again then got up and lifted her and carried her to bed. They hugged each other tightly and fell into a dreamless and healing sleep.
Over the next two weeks, Chakotay saw the old Kathryn emerge slowly. He watched her when Naomi came to visit and knew that seeing the child playing and laughing was the best medicine for her. He marvelled with Sam at how quickly the girl bounced back and at the resilience of the child and he saw this rub off on Kathryn. A deep friendship developed also between Kathryn and the child's mother and Chakotay welcomed it. As he saw it, they had a daughter in common now.
Within another week Kathryn was back on duty and found facing everyone was easier than she thought it would have been. All she got from her crew were smiles and good wishes and silent expressions of support and respect. Nothing was spoken of directly and Kathryn was grateful for that but each knew the other knew and more was said with silence than words could ever have expressed.
Within two months, Voyager appeared back to normal but Chakotay noticed Kathryn a little quieter than she had been and planned on talking to her about it. When she failed to turn up for the bridge the next morning, he fretted and grew more worried when the computer informed him that she was in sickbay. When he called her, she informed him that she just needed to speak with the Doctor about something and he let it go but his mind refused to.
Kathryn entered sickbay and waited in the Doctor's office until he'd finished healing a burn a young Ensign from Engineering had received. Finally, he joined her and indicated for her to sit.
"Captain, what can I do for you?" He saw the worry clearly on her face.
"Doctor, I…I needed to ask… When you treated me…after…did you…?" The Medic leaned forward. "Did you make sure…that there wouldn't be…any…as a result of what…"
The Doctor nodded, reading what she couldn't say. "Did I make sure you wouldn't be pregnant from it?" He saw her nod slowly. "Captain, I took care of that. I assure you there was no chance of anything like that. Why do you ask?" He saw relief on her face followed by a sheepish smile and then worry again.
"You're sure? There's no way…?"
The Doctor stood and moved around his desk to her. "There is no way, Captain. I assure you." She smiled again and he guessed why she was here. "Do you want me to run some scans for you?" She just nodded and followed him as he led her to a biobed. After a few minutes, he closed his tricorder and smiled at her.
"Captain, you are indeed pregnant. I'd say about… nearly six weeks. And I can tell you that…well, we're talking one hundred percent human. I can see that even at this early stage." He smiled again as Kathryn's face lit up. "Congratulations, Captain, and now while I hate to burst this bubble, I'm going to give you the usual lecture. No coffee, no late nights, no… Oh what the hell, you know this speech better than I do. Now, I also have to tell you that…"
Kathryn swung herself into a sitting position and grinned. "I will, Doc. I give you my word. This is too important."
At that moment, Chakotay burst through the doors and took in the scene before him. "Sorry…I was just worried…and I didn't believe…" When he saw Kathryn on the bed and the Doctor holding the tricorder, he panicked. "Kathryn, are you all right? What's going on? What's…?"
The Doctor threw his eyes up and looked to his captain who nodded her permission. "Commander, kindly control yourself in my sickbay. Now first off, congratulations and secondly, if you're going to be a father, you'd better learn to act accordingly. Good day to you both. I have work to do." He smiled as he saw Chakotay's jaw literally drop and placed a finger under his chin as he passed, closing the man's mouth.
"Kathryn? Are you really…?" He just got a tearful, happy smile in answer and he swept her into his arms and twirled her around then panicked again and put her down. "Oh God, I'm sorry. Are you all right?"
Her laughter rang around sickbay. "Chakotay, I'm fine. I won't break." She grew serious. "Are you really all right with this?" His grin answered her question. "I'm sorry I didn't say anything but I had to be sure first, that I was and that it wasn't from…"
He understood immediately and hugged her. "I'm over the moon, honey. Oh God, Kathryn, a baby…for us…"
Kathryn stroked his face. "Our child, our own child, our future…what we do it all for…" They kissed and hugged, both of them crying tears of happiness.
Chakotay pulled back a little and stared deeply into her eyes, memorizing the moment for all time. "Kathryn Janeway, I love you. I love both of you."
A slight cough behind them caused them to break apart and the Doctor's head poked around his office doorway. "Actually, that should be 'all three of you'. Sorry, didn't mean to eavesdrop." The head disappeared again.
This time, no one was there to close their mouths.