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 Kathryn refuses to trade technology, she and Chakotay are held 
                     captive and subjected to brutal assaults.  Dealing with the aftermath
                     almost destroys them.  Is their new relationship strong enough?





Tuvok waited patiently as the Doctor finished his treatments.  As he entered his office, Tuvok stood up.  He had never seen the Doctor so serious before.  There was no glibness or impatience and  Tuvok sensed great sadness in the Hologram and also barely controlled rage.  They both sat and the Doctor began his report. 

“I am telling you this only because you are acting Captain and will be for some time I believe.” The Doctor looked straight at Tuvok.  “Firstly the Commander and the Captain, as I’m sure you saw, were both subjected to brutal physical and sexual assaults.”  The EMH looked down at his hands. 
“I could be on-line for a million years and I will never understand this…how any one could do this…”   Tuvok sat silently and let him continue.  

“The Commander has less serious injuries than the Captain.  He was beaten yes, and sustained lacerations to the face and body, which I have healed.  There were also some broken ribs and severe bruising…He was lucky enough with the beating… had he not been as well built and fit as he is …  His other injuries, those of a…sexual nature…tearing…. I have also healed them.  The Commander is in a state of shock and has, in his mind, retreated to a safe place for him.  He basically has blocked everything out.  I believe he was however, conscious throughout and if the Captain and he were in the same room…it may well come back some day…you understand I have little experience of counselling…I’m not programmed…it was the Commander himself who did that…” 

Tuvok had never seen the Doctor look more upset or helpless.  “Doctor, the Captain, what is her condition…?” 

The Doctor looked at Tuvok with actual pain in his expression.  “The Captain…the Captain…she…as I said, she has more serious injuries.  She was aware to some extent when she arrived here…of her surroundings…she… she was also beaten quite severely…she has a fractured skull, a broken nose, split lip, lacerations and bruising all over her body, both her wrists are broken, her left collarbone, several ribs, one of which punctured a lung, severe internal bleeding…”  The Doctor slammed his padd down.  “I’m sorry Commander… Excuse me… there is severe bruising on her inner thighs…there are…here are also numerous cuts, scratches and bites on her body, especially around…around her…  breasts and inner thighs…the internal injuries… the ones of a sexual nature, they…they…” 

Tuvok waited for the Doctor to collect himself.  He felt the stirrings of rare emotions in himself, rage being the strongest. 

“There is severe…. tearing inside…her vaginal walls and anal…she… she was brutally… raped, vaginally and anally…the cuts…the tearing is…considerable.  I don’t know if I will be able to repair it all…there is damage to the neck of her womb… children…in the future…I don’t know…it also appears as if…the…the semen was acidic in nature…there was a lot of… burning… there is also some evidence that she was… penetrated with some object.”  The doctor couldn’t continue. 

“You have her sedated at present…?”

“Yes…she was in so much pain…physical pain…the other pain has still to some…” 

“The Commander, has he not similar injuries…?”  Tuvok asked.

“From what I can see, they were…assaulted… by different…”  the doctor didn’t continue. 

Tuvok rose from his chair.  “Thank you Doctor, please keep me informed of any changes…”

The doctor looked at Tuvok.  He could see the effect this was having on him.  He could see emotion in the Vulcan and the look they shared said a lot.  When Tuvok left the Doctor’s office, he had a strange look on his face.  He looked like a man with a mission.  He slapped his comm badge.  “Tuvok to Paris and Torres.  Please meet me in the Captain’s ready room in ten minutes.”

The Doctor stayed on line all night, monitoring the Captain and the Commander.  Chakotay was doing physically well and could probably be released in a day or so.  The Captain was a different matter.  She had lost so much blood and she had come through her surgery only just, giving the doctor quite a few scares.  Her heart had stopped a few times but seemed to be all right now.  It had been a struggle to stop the internal bleeding.  The Doctor gazed down at an unconscious Kathryn. 
“This is only the first battle Captain”  he told her.   “I hope you are strong enough for the war.”

Next morning, Kathryn continued to fight for her life.  Chakotay had regained consciousness but seemed unaware of his surroundings.  There was in fact a part of his mind that was registering everything that was going on around him, but his conscious mind refused to cooperate.  His mind could not take what it had seen happen to Kathryn.  It refused to see her struggle for life on the bed beside him.  Her screams had not been real, her reaching out to him, none of it real.  Where he was now was quiet and peaceful and nothing bad could happen there.  The few times during the day when there had been a crisis with Kathryn and they had nearly lost her, they were not real.  That was a bad dream and this safe place was reality.  His relationship with Kathryn hadn’t happened or that had been a dream also.  Better to stay in the safe place.

The next day, Chakotay was released from sickbay but he barely registered that Kathryn was still lying there unconscious, still fighting.  She was simply asleep and she would be fine. 

Over the next few days, Kathryn slowly gained strength.  Chakotay never came near sickbay or her.  He simply stayed in his quarters and rested.  B’Elanna visited him and tried talking to him, but all he would talk about was ship’s business.  He knew what had happened to him and knew Kathryn had seen it all and he didn’t want anyone’s pity.  He would work through this on his own.  B’Elanna, his oldest friend was unable to help him.  In his mind, there had been a chance of a relationship with Kathryn, but nothing had come of it and now it never would.

Kathryn eventually regained consciousness.  When she opened her eyes, the Doctor was there.  The first thing she asked about was Chakotay so the Doctor informed her of his progress.  She seemed happy enough with that but she refused to talk about what had happened with her and the Doctor didn’t want to push it yet. 

After another two days, she allowed her to return to her own quarters, with strict orders to rest.  He would continue to monitor her from sickbay and for once, she didn’t object.  Several more days passed this way, Chakotay in his quarters and Kathryn in hers.

Finally the Doctor suggested to Chakotay that he was physically ready to return to work, that it might be good for him in fact.  Chakotay didn’t object and returned to duty the following day.  He acted as if nothing had changed and even Tuvok was worried about him, in as much as a Vulcan worried.  Tuvok had the same worries about his old friend.  When he visited Kathryn, she seemed subdued, but physically seemed to be recovering well.  When the Doctor was with her for a check-up, he finally brought up the subject in a roundabout way but Kathryn hardly registered any emotion. 

“Doctor, I know you mean well, but believe me, I am aware of everything that happened to me.  I will deal with it in my own way and in my own time.  I am not in denial.  I have read your report on the Commander and I can see that he is in denial to a large extent.  That is not me.  Time will heal.  I want to help him get through this, if he’ll let me.  That will be the best therapy for me.  If I concentrate on helping him, I will also be helping myself.  Would you not agree that is best?” 

“Yes, it could help but Captain, firstly you should not have been reading reports, and also I know you are not sleeping and when you do, I know about your nightmares…”

“Surely that is to be expected, Doctor…”

“Yes, it is, just…”   The Doctor had never seen a better showing of Kathryn’s ‘Captain’s mask’.  It registered with him that Kathryn was doing some denying of her own. 

“Then trust me.  It will pass and I will deal with it.”

The Doctor let it go.  There was nothing else he could say or do. He knew Kathryn was suppressing her emotions and in a way putting off dealing with what had happened.  He also doubted if the Commander would want her help.

Kathryn was going stir crazy in her quarters the following evening, so she decided to take a short walk around the ship.  She knew only the Doctor and Tuvok knew what had happened to them and so she didn’t worry about meeting any crew members and having to see their pity for her.  It came to her that embarrassment was a part of all this, that if no one knew what had happened, then she could deal with it better. 

In the back of her mind, she wondered if she would bump into Chakotay.  She hadn’t been to see him yet on the doctor’s advice, but she desperately wanted to see him.  She badly missed him.  She was also a bit afraid to see him,  afraid that he would blame her for what had happened, that she would only serve as a reminder to him.  What effect would it have on him?   He hadn’t tried to see her either.  Maybe he thought she needed time or maybe he just needed the time to himself.  Kathryn already blamed herself for all that had occurred, knowing that if she had listened to him more, maybe none of this would have happened.

There was a part of Kathryn that was amazed that she wanted Chakotay with her so much.  She had thought she would never want another man near her ever again but she knew that all men, and especially Chakotay, were not monsters.  She thought of her father, of Justin and Mark and the type of men they had been.  She thought of her male crew, of Kim and Paris and Tuvok and knew that these men would rather have killed themselves than ever do anything to hurt another living being in that way.

She knew what rape was about and knew it had little to do with sex.  That had been proved to her in a matter of seconds when Gaalot had locked eyes with her just before raping her.  She had seen how the pain and fear she had shown were what had driven him more than the thought of the sexual act.

Kathryn knew also that she had built a wall around herself in an effort to keep out the terrifying memories of what had been done to her.  She knew she was acting like the ostrich with its head in the sand but she also could not face the memories and the horrors of everything just yet.  She was dealing with it bit by bit, telling herself that she could cope with this because it had saved Chakotay even more pain.  She felt dirty constantly and seemed to spend hours in the shower, the water pouring down over her body, the temperature as hot as she could stand it, in some desperate effort to wash away the feeling of those hands on her body.  She still felt them on her skin and even after almost scouring her skin off in the shower, that feeling remained.    

Kathryn limped along the corridor as she was still in some pain and considerable discomfort.  As she rounded a corner, as if by her own thoughts, she came face to face with Chakotay.  They both stopped and looked at each other.  He simply nodded at her.  “Good to see you up and about again Captain”  was all he said and continued on his way. 

Kathryn couldn’t believe the encounter and stood stock still for several minutes after he had gone. 
Later in her quarters, she thought about her meeting with Chakotay.  Had he just been trying to protect her or had he really shut everything out?  She eventually spoke with the Doctor and he again explained that Chakotay was in denial, refusing to accept what had happened, even though in some part of his mind, he knew exactly what had happened, as he had been conscious the whole time.  He just was not acknowledging it. 

The Doctor tried his best to explain that while Chakotay knew about the events, he was refusing to think about them.  Kathryn thanked the Doctor and returned to her quarters.  She would try again with him.  At least she knew that he had been aware in some considerable way of all that had happened to them both.  What she didn’t understand was the fact that he had been refusing to acknowledge what he had seen happen to her, or as the Doctor suggested, was refusing to think about it.

Later that evening, when she knew he was in his quarters, she decided to call on him.  She hoped he was still awake.  If he was anything like her he was, as Kathryn hadn’t had a full nights sleep since the rescue, and when she did eventually fall asleep, she was plagued with nightmares.  She believed that the only way through all of this was for her and Chakotay to help each other.  After several rings on his door, there was still no answer.  “Computer, locate Commander Chakotay.”  “Commander Chakotay is in his quarters.”  Damn.  Should she use her security override or leave him?  She decided to leave him for the moment. 

That night, Kathryn’s nightmares were worse than usual.  This time when she woke up the Doctor was standing over her. 

“Captain, security was called.  Your screams were heard all over the place.”  Kathryn sat up, a film of sweat covering her body.  “I’m sorry Doctor, I hope I didn’t wake anyone.” 

“That’s not important, you are” the Doctor replied.  “Captain, this can’t go on.  You have not had a full night’s sleep for two weeks now, yet you want to go back to duty and I can’t let you in this state.  How would you get through a shift, when you have not had a night’s sleep?” 

“The same way I get through my days at present” she answered him.  “I need to work, call it therapy.”  The Doctor reluctantly agreed with her. 

“Try one day, and we’ll see how it goes.”

When the Doctor had left, Kathryn lay back on her bed.  Her screams had alerted security, yet Chakotay had not come to her.  There was a time when he would have come running if he had heard her stub her toe. 

Two days later, Kathryn was back on the bridge.  As she sat in her command chair, she felt like crying.  Chakotay sat beside her, apparently engrossed in some report or other.  She thought of the last time they had sat together on the bridge, a few short weeks ago.  How different were their lives then.  She glanced at her First Officer, sure he could feel her looking at him.  There was a time he would have felt her presence on the same deck. 

She shifted in her chair.  She was still very sore and sitting for too long was painful.  If Chakotay noticed, he didn’t let on.  Kathryn escaped to her ready room.  “Commander you have the bridge.”
She got a very professional sounding “Aye Captain.”  He didn’t even look up from his padd. 

Once in her ready room, with the door firmly closed behind her, Kathryn gave way to her tears.  Had he no idea how much he was hurting her?  He had to have some idea.  Deep down he knew what had happened to her.  Maybe that was it.  He knew and couldn’t stand to look at her any more as she repulsed him and was now damaged goods.  Maybe he did blame her and looking at her only reminded him of the pain he had suffered, pain he felt she was the cause of.

Her tears started afresh and she sank to the floor in a heap.  That bastard not only took her body, he took away her whole life and her peace of mind and the only love she would ever want.  She still loved Chakotay.  It didn’t matter to her what had happened to him, she didn’t feel any differently about him, didn’t love him less. 

Obviously he felt differently about her.  Maybe it was true that it was worse for this to happen to a woman.  Chakotay seemed to think so.  Why couldn’t he even look at her?  Was it that he didn’t want her anymore, because of what had been done to her or was it that she reminded him of what had happened to him?  Either way, he was making his feelings very clear.  She knew she couldn’t get through this without him.  He was the only thing that kept her going.  She felt dead inside and he was the only one who could provide the spark that would re-ignite everything.

Over the next week, Chakotay continued to hurt Kathryn at every opportunity.  She was sure now it was because he couldn’t stand to look at her any more and finally she had had enough.  They had to at least work together damn it, but she also hoped in some way that she could rescue something.  She knew she didn’t want to go on if that were not possible.  Even a friendship of sorts would be better than nothing.  She went to his quarters that night and when he refused to open his door, she used her security override this time.  His quarters were in darkness and when her eyes adjusted to the light or lack of it, she saw him on the floor in the corner, just sitting there. 

“Chakotay.....” she whispered to him.  

He looked up at her briefly.  “Captain, I’m off duty.  Whatever it is can wait until the morning.”  He stood up slowly and walked away from her.  “These are my private quarters”  he told her almost in a monotone voice. 

“Chakotay, please don’t shut me out like this…I’m only trying to help, to be there for you…”   Kathryn was almost begging.  

Chakotay turned on her, still not meeting her eyes.  “Dammit woman, can’t you leave me alone.  Can’t you see I don’t need your bloody pity”  he spat back at her. 

Kathryn stepped back as if he had struck her.  A blow would have been less painful and she felt her tears start.  “Chakotay, please…it’s not pity.  I love you.  You know that.  This happened to both of us.  What we had before…” 

“We had nothing before, and anything you think we had before is soiled and dirty.  It means nothing now.  Can’t you understand that?  We work together and that’s all.  All previous bets are off.  It is impossible to feel anything for a ruin.”  He turned away from her. 

Kathryn thought for a moment she was having a heart attack, the pain in her chest got so bad.  She did repulse him.  She stumbled out of his quarters, blinded by her tears.  He turned as she left, something pulling at his heart but he ignored it.  She would get over this.  She was better off without him.  No woman would ever want him again and he would never want any woman again either.  The act of sex was dirty, had nothing to do with love anymore.   How could she even stand to look at him?   He lay down on his bed and fell into a restless sleep. 

Kathryn stumbled into her quarters.  He hated her, couldn’t even look at her any more.  She was dirty to him, a ruin, as he had called it.  She couldn’t remember feeling this bad ever before. Her quarters seemed completely empty to her.  There was nothing of her here and she knew that their emptiness reflected how she felt.  She knew now that while she had prayed for death while Gaalot raped her, a death had occurred.  Everything important to her had died, even her spirit.  The ghost left behind in this case was the body and not the soul and the only one with the power of re-birth didn’t want to know.  She stumbled into her bedroom and fell across the bed where she eventually cried herself into a fitful sleep, once again filled with terrible nightmares.

Next day on duty, Chakotay continued to ignore her, only speaking to reply to an order or an inquiry from a crewmember.  B’Elanna was working on the bridge that day and watched the strain between her two friends.  She didn’t know what had happened to them while they were abducted but she was determined to sort that pair out, believing that nothing could be that bad.

When their shift was over, Chakotay was out of his chair like lightening, before Kathryn even had a chance to stand, which required some effort on her part.  Tuvok noticed how stiffly she moved, all of the crew did, all except Chakotay.  Tuvok was concerned about her.  Surely she should be more improved physically at this stage?  Speaking in a low voice as she passed, he asked “Captain, do you require any assistance?” 

She looked at him with such sadness on her face.  “Only if you can turn back time Tuvok.  I’m sorry, no I’ll be fine.  I’m just a little tired.”   She gave her old friend a small smile and entered the turbo lift, to head back to her quarters for another endless night.

B’Elanna was set on her course of action.  She rang at Chakotay’s quarters, but got no answer.  She was just leaving when he turned the corner.  He nodded at her and entered his quarters.  Just as the door was closing, B’Elanna pushed in behind him. 

“What is it?” he asked her, his voice weary. 

“We are going to talk, whether you like it or not Chakotay.  I’m not leaving until you finally open up to me.  I saw the way you and the Captain were today.  The same way you both have been for a while now, so talk.” 

Chakotay turned away from her. “There is nothing to talk about.” 

“Oh yes there is.  You’re hurting.  The Captain is hurting.  Can’t you two heal together” she insisted.  He turned and glared at her. 

“Has she said something to you…?”  B’Elanna was shocked at the venom in his voice. 

“No, she hasn’t.  She hasn’t said more than two words to anyone recently and that has been work.  Why?  Chakotay, what’s going on?  What happened down there?  Tell me please” she implored him. 

Chakotay seemed to sag.  “What we had is gone, it’s over, now do you understand?  It was lost on that planet.” 

B’Elanna gestured for him to sit and then sat beside him.  She put her hand on his arm but he jerked back. She looked confused.  “Chakotay…”she started.

“Just leave it please.  We have a friendship.  You don’t want it ruined too” he whispered at her. 

“Chakotay, nothing could ruin our friendship, you know that…” 

“Do you want to lay a bet on that?” he answered her.  She reached out again and touched his arm, gripping tight this time.  “Don’t pull away from me, please.  Whatever it is, you can talk to me.  You know that.” 

She finally seemed to get through to him.  Gods, he really needed to talk.  A long silence followed and she allowed it.  When he finally spoke, his voice was thick with emotion.  “They took it all away.  Everything we could have had.  They ruined it.”

“What was ruined?” she asked.

“Us, what could have been…” he choked.  B’Elanna let him steady himself and continue.  After another long silence, he turned to her and looked her in the eyes.

“You won’t hate me, will you?”

“I could never hate you.”   She moved her other hand over and took one of his in hers.  This time he didn’t try and pull away.

“They… they…”   He took a deep breath.  “They…raped…me…in front of…her…”   He couldn’t say her name.  It was the first time he had even been able to use the word ‘rape’.

B’Elanna was deeply shocked.  She could not believe what she had just heard.  She decided not to say anything at this time.  Experience had taught her to keep silent until he had finished.  Back in her Academy days, she had had a girl friend who had been raped.  She remembered how she had reacted, how she had needed strength not pity.  Chakotay was grateful for her reaction. 

“Do you have any idea what that did to me… in front of her… how could she ever look at me again?…I see her pity… that’s the last thing I want… what kind of relationship could we ever have?…I’ll never again be able to…be with anyone…” all this came out in a rush. 

Finally he was silent.  B’Elanna did the only thing she could.  She put her arms around him.  She heard his tears start and held him for a long time until they had passed.  When he seemed more at ease, she finally spoke. 

“Chakotay…this may not be what you want to hear, but I’m sure the Captain is hurting badly also.  She loves you.  If she was the one who had been raped, would you love her less?” 

“No, of course not…” his voice sounded raw.  B’Elanna pushed on.

“Did you see the Maquis women any differently, the ones who were…taken by the Cardassians…?”

“No, you know I didn’t, but…”

“Well then, I’m sure the Captain just wants to be there for you.  Let her in and let her help” she told him. 

“I can’t.  Not yet anyway.  It’s too soon.  I can’t come to terms with this myself yet.  I’m not ready to deal with her as well.”  B’Elanna understood. 

“You and she have never…?” she asked softly. 

“No, and now we never will” he answered in a harsh voice.  

B’Elanna still thought he was wrong but he had to set his own pace.  She stayed with him, talking to him and comforting him as best she could for another few hours.  When she had to leave, he seemed a little more settled. 

“Thanks friend” he said, touching her arm. “I feel a little more at peace.  Talking to a friend has helped a lot.” 

Next day Kathryn was on the bridge on her own.  Chakotay had decided to work elsewhere and she knew he was avoiding her.  She felt terrible.  She hadn’t slept again last night and was feeling very ill.   “All this is getting to me” she thought.  She felt her forehead.  She was hot.  “Probably a cold or something coming on.”  

Kathryn had tried to lose herself in reports the previous evening but had failed miserably.  Words had jumped off the padds at her constantly, any four letter word, any word with similar spelling, any combination of the letters of the one word she couldn’t even think. 

She seemed to ache all over.  She dismissed it and tried to absorb herself in work.  There was a senior staff meeting later and she had to be ready for it.  Tuvok kept glancing at her as he noticed how pale she looked and when he thought about it, she had not looked well for the last two or three days and had appeared to grow paler.  He would quietly suggest a visit to the Doctor.

Chakotay finally appeared on the bridge feeling he couldn’t put it off forever.  He glanced briefly at Kathryn and vaguely registered how pale and ill she looked.   “Working too hard again” was his explanation to himself.  This time she didn’t look at him.  “Good.  Finally getting the message”  he thought.

Kathryn excused herself and went to her ready room.  God, she felt bad.  She tried lying down for a while on her sofa but it didn’t help.  Suddenly she felt so ill, she barely made it to her bathroom where she was sick for several minutes.  She washed her face, again noticing her temperature. 
“I’ll see the Doctor later” she thought.  She had a meeting to prepare for and had no time at the moment.  It registered in her mind that she had felt bad for a few days now, but the upset about Chakotay had overshadowed everything.  Later.  Later she would see the Doctor.  Now the meeting. 

Everyone was eventually settled around the table for the meeting.  Neelix offered the Captain her usual coffee, but she declined and the little Talaxian was very surprised to say the least.  Everyone except Chakotay and Tuvok seemed shocked by their Captain’s appearance.  She looked so pale, ill and tired.  Chakotay didn’t look at her once and  B’Elanna noticed this.  She also noticed a concerned look on Tuvok’s face which was unusual, and as a result, she found herself worrying more.  Had Chakotay told her everything?  This seemed more than the Captain just taking everything badly.  She looked physically ill. 

Kathryn started the meeting, speaking in a lower and weaker voice than usual.  Ensign Kim started making his report and  B’Elanna noticed Chakotay glance up at Kathryn once then look back to his own report.  B’Elanna watched Kathryn closely.  There was something very wrong.  She seemed to be holding her stomach, as if in pain.  She hardly seemed aware of her surroundings and appeared to have grown even paler.  Suddenly Kathryn groaned and leaned over the table. Her face, when she looked up was pale and clammy.  Almost in a whisper, she dismissed the meeting.  “I’m sorry people, I feel a bit unwell.  Can we continue later?” 

Everyone filed out of the room except B’Elanna.  She watched as Kathryn again groaned and doubled over.  She still appeared to be trying to hold her stomach and also had her other hand between her legs.  She saw Kathryn move her hand and stare at it in shock.  The hand, which had been between her legs, was covered with blood.  B’Elanna was rooted to the spot with shock for a second and then she went into action.  She ran to Kathryn and caught her just before she slumped out of her chair to the floor.  She eased her back in the chair and looked towards the door.  Chakotay stood there staring.  B’Elanna shouted at him to get the Doctor up here but still he stared.  She slapped her hand against her comm badge and called for help.  She then used her own hand to try and slow the massive flow of blood.  Kathryn seemed unaware of anything.  She continued to moan and almost cry, obviously in great pain.  Her hand fell to the side, blood dripping off her fingers.  Almost immediately the Doctor appeared and went into action.  He called for an immediate transport to sickbay, B’Elanna with them.

Once in sickbay, B’Elanna helped the Doctor get an almost unconscious Kathryn onto one of the biobeds.  The doctor appeared almost frantic as he scanned her.   “You’ll have to help me, there is no-one else at the moment” he said to a very worried B’Elanna.  She just nodded, not taking her eyes off Kathryn.  “Quickly, before she bleeds to death.” 

B’Elanna helped the doctor as much as she could.  “Her internal injuries have ruptured again and she…she’s pregnant.  I don’t understand how this didn’t show up before…” the doctor stared in disbelief at his tricorder. “She is suffering a… miscarriage.” 

B’Elanna was shocked at the doctor’s words.  “A miscarriage… I don’t understand… Chakotay said he and she never…”   The doctor wasn’t really listening to her.  “The alien DNA of the fetus is reacting badly with her…we’ll have to terminate.”  Shock slammed into B’Elanna like a tree trunk. 

“Alien DNA…had Kathryn also been…? Was she raped also? Surely Chakotay would have known…”    The Doctor snapped her out of it.  “Quickly, we have little time”. 

Over the next hour, B’Elanna and the Doctor worked frantically to save Kathryn’s life.  B’Elanna was almost submissive as she followed the Doctor’s orders as best she could.  Finally they got the bleeding under control but it was a very weakened Kathryn who lay before them. 

“We’ve done all we can.  The fetus was already dead”  the Doctor said, with despair in his voice.  He looked at B’Elanna.  “If you pray, do it now.” 

“She was raped too…” B’Elanna whispered.  “Chakotay never said… when we talked… I knew she had been beaten… I thought that was why she was in sickbay before…but not this…please not this…not her too…” 

“The Commander is blocking out a lot, I’m afraid.  The Captain needs him so much but…” his voice trailed off. 

“I just don’t believe it.” B’Elanna said. “How could he block out something like that.  He’s supposed to love her, be there for her…” She sank into a chair.  The Doctor walked slowly over to her. 

“I have to tell you Lieutenant, you can’t say anything to him about this, you know.”   She stared up at him in disbelief.

“What?…I’ll bloody kill him…” 

“The Commander has his own problems to deal with.  He is dealing with them the only way he can.  If that means blocking them out, that is his way.” 

B’Elanna didn’t like it, but eventually agreed.  She had been working in sickbay and was bound by the ethics code.  There was nothing she could do.  She couldn’t even try and help Kathryn later, if there was a later.  She couldn’t speak of any of this outside of these walls.  She felt so helpless.

By next day, the Doctor had managed to stabilize Kathryn’s condition.  He was watching her closely.  When she awakened, again his was the first face she saw but his expression was grim.  He explained as gently as he could that she had been pregnant by the attack and that her body had rejected the fetus because of the different chemistry.  Kathryn was physically sick.  As the doctor helped clean her up, he delayed telling her of his other findings.  “How much more bad news can she take?” he wondered. 

Very gently, as she had to know this, he explained that a toxin had been released into her system by the dead fetus.  It appeared to be attacking all her systems.  He explained that he was working round the clock to find a treatment. 

Kathryn just stared at him, showing no emotion.  Finally she asked.  “So far, you… you have not found a treatment…what does that mean…tell me straight, please…” 

“I’m afraid… that it means” the Doctor looked away, then back at her.  He gently laid a hand on her arm.  “It means, that unless I can find an antidote soon…” 

Kathryn finished for him. “That I will die.”  There was an acceptance in her voice the Doctor didn’t like.  “How long?” she asked “and will it be painful…?” she couldn’t continue. 

“About a week, and yes… I’m sorry Captain…it will be painful” he told her as gently as he could. 

Kathryn just closed her eyes. “Chakotay is well, there’s nothing…he wasn’t affected in any way…caught anything…?”  The Doctor couldn’t believe he was still her first concern.  “He is fine” he answered.  

“Good” she whispered. “Doctor, if you don’t mind… I should like to be alone for a while…” 

“Of course, Captain.  Call if you need…anything.”  He turned and left.

Kathryn lay back on the biobed and let her tears come.  Gaalot had murdered her.  He just made it a long, slow and painful murder.  He had after all killed her body along with everything else.  Kathryn had never wished death to another creature in her life, but she wished it now.  All she wanted at this moment was Chakotay, for him to put his arms around her and tell her everything would be all right.  That was not to be.  She could even accept this death better if she had him with her, but he was lost to her, murdered also in a different way.

Later that evening, she asked the Doctor to allow her back to her quarters.  He was reluctant but agreed eventually.  He didn’t want her alone but couldn’t force anyone on her if she wanted her privacy.  She explained to him that she would need to prepare.  There was still a ship to run and other people to consider.  The Doctor knew he would never know anyone so brave again.  He couldn’t believe how she was accepting all this.  She seemed to just give in and he had a bad feeling it would be less than a week before...

Back in her quarters, Kathryn tuned everything else out.  She was going to die.  That bastard had seen to that.  What he couldn’t do was control how she used her remaining time and the time and place of that death.  She set about re-writing her will and handing over command.  No one would know of all this until after she was gone but it had to be done.  Her calmness surprised her.  She suddenly realized that maybe there was a hidden blessing here.  Life without Chakotay was no life at all and if he wasn’t with her, she didn’t want to be here either.

The Doctor was checking in with her every half hour and she tried to reassure him.  He informed her that he was still working on the antidote and that there was always hope, but Kathryn knew herself that there was none.

Kathryn actually reported for duty the next morning.  Tuvok kept watching her.  He couldn’t put his finger on it but knew something was wrong, very wrong.  B’Elanna was hanging around the bridge a lot also, keeping an eye on her. Many times Kathryn had fled to her ready room, hurt and almost in tears at Chakotay’s coolness and lack of interest in her.  Once there, the tears had flowed freely, then she would reappear on the bridge, and she would be composed again.  Tuvok could see through the act, as could B’Elanna.  They shared many a knowing but helpless look.  Neither knew what they could do.  Towards the end of her shift, Kathryn passed the bridge to Chakotay, who had hardly glanced at her all day.

Kathryn made her way around the ship, calling in to each department and speaking with a lot of the crew.  Many were surprised to see her, wondering if this was some kind of inspection.  She was looking at them in a strange way.  Eventually she made her way back to her quarters.  She still had a few letters to write.  When she entered her quarters, Kathryn stood in the middle of the room for several minutes, just looking around her.  Not much to show for her life.  She stayed in her uniform and set about writing her letters.  She wanted to do this the old fashioned way, but she would also back them up on padds.  There were letters to her mother, her sister, even Mark.  Then the crew.  She wrote to Tuvok, her oldest friend, B’Elanna, Paris and Kim, even Neelix and the Doctor.  She would say all she had never managed to say before. 

Finally she wrote a long letter to Chakotay.  She poured her soul out to him.  She begged his understanding and forgiveness.  She told him she understood how he felt about her, but that she still loved him with all her heart and soul.  If there was an afterlife, she would continue her love for him.  By the time she was finished, she was worn out, physically and emotionally.  She was already starting to experience the pain the doctor had warned her about, but did her best to ignore it.  She couldn’t seem to stop her tears.  She arranged everything neatly on her desk, along with Voyager business and slowly stood up.  Only one last thing to do. 

Kathryn entered sickbay quietly.  Good, there was no sign of the Doctor.  She got what she needed and was just about to leave when the Hologram appeared.  “Good evening Captain, did you need something?  Are you feeling all right?”  He was surprised to see her and also concerned. 

“I’m fine doctor.  I was just going to ask you for something to help me sleep” Kathryn told him. 

“Of course Captain.  I’ll get you a hypospray right away.”  He moved away and returned with the hypospray.  “Are you sure there is nothing else?  Do you require anything for…pain?” 

“No, that will be fine.  Thank you doctor, I’ll see you in the morning” and with that she turned and left.  The doctor continued to look after her, worried.  Just then a new patient entered and his thoughts switched to them.

Kathryn returned to her quarters.  She hated deceiving the Doctor but she had no choice.  This had to be done right.  She called Tuvok and told him she did not want to be disturbed unless there was a dire emergency.  She told him the Doctor had given her a sedative for the night and that she was going to try and get a good night’s sleep.  Tuvok seemed relieved at this.  She needed sleep and had obviously been to see the Medic.  His worries lessened a little and he wished her a good night.

Kathryn finally entered her bedroom.  She had hung her uniform neatly in her press and now changed into her nightdress.  She had taken a long shower and she brushed her hair out.  She went back into the other room and re-checked all her letters and padds.  She checked her computer screen and when she was satisfied that all was in order, returned to her bedroom and sat on her bed. 

She played with the hypospray for a while and studied the others she had taken from sickbay.  Her tears started again.  “How has it all ended like this?” she cried to herself. 

She lay back on her bed and looked at the holoimage she had of Chakotay.  He didn’t know she had it but she wanted his face to be the last thing she saw.  “Come on Kathryn, pull yourself together.  This has to be done.  Just like going asleep, just no more pain” she told herself. 

Slowly she emptied the hyposprays into her body then lay back and just stared at the image of the man she knew she would love for all eternity.  “I’m so sorry to do this to you.  It’s for the best.  You’re better off without me” she whispered to the image. 

She could feel the drugs starting to work and felt herself slip away.  Her hand, holding one of the empty hyposprays slipped softly onto the bed.  Her other hand held the picture of Chakotay across her chest.  Her last clear thought before the darkness came.

“Chakotay, I’ll always love you.”