|Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Star Trek Voyager. I don’t. Only borrowing
them. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Summary: With problems on a professional level between her and Chakotay
and her life feeling totally empty, Kathryn spirals into a deep
depression until she feels there is only one way out.
WARNING: This story deals with the subject of depression and suicide.
Deep angst. If you are upset by such matters, please do not read.
ONE SHORT SLEEP PAST…
By KAT LADY.
Chakotay leaned back in his seat on the Flyer and stretched. B’Elanna looked over at him and laughed.
“Getting too old for all this work, old man?” He shot her a glare wrapped in a smile.
“Watch it Torres, I’m still your Commanding Officer.” She feigned horror.
“Oh yes Sir, certainly Sir….” They laughed together and then were quiet. Finally B’Elanna broke the silence.
“Chakotay, I know you won’t want to hear this but…” She looked towards him and saw that he knew what she was going to speak about. “I’m really worried about her…” He sighed deeply and turned around in his seat.
“I know you are and to be honest, so am I.” He shook his head. “I can’t stop thinking about it…” He saw her puzzled look and went on, telling her about the scene in Kathryn’s ready room just before he left. “There was something…I can’t tie it down but…something about her…” He twisted his fingers together. “You know what I mean when I say that…well…when you love someone…” He looked into the Klingon’s face and smiled shyly. “Yeh I still love the damn woman…anyway…when you love someone…you develop a kind of…sixth sense about them…do you know what I mean…?” B’Elanna smiled and made a slight course adjustment.
“I can read Tom Paris like a book, I know that. If there’s even the slightest thing about him that’s out of sync, I see it…” Chakotay smiled, actually pitying the young pilot, then grew serious again.
“There was just something about the way she said it… I mean she hasn’t spoken to me outside of ship’s business for weeks, months even… why suddenly now…?” B’Elanna shrugged.
“Maybe it’s her way of breaking the ice.” Chakotay thought about that but shook his head.
“No…it was more than that… There’s something more going on with her… Oh I know she’s been very withdrawn lately, her mind not really on the job… even the Doctor questioned me about her the other day…said he hadn’t seen her in a few weeks… I mean I know she keeps to herself but…” B’Elanna swung round in her chair, her pregnancy clearly showing.
“Withdrawn…? Chakotay, are we talking about the same woman here?” Chakotay stared at her, surprised at her raised voice. “That woman has been practically a recluse for the past…I don’t know how long… she looks like hell…tired…half starved…you constantly have to repeat things to her…and if you so much as try and ask if she’s all right you get the stock answer of ‘dismissed’…she’s anxious…fidgety… indecisive… she’s no interest in anything anymore or anyone for that matter…and the crew sees it…she’s depressed…has no confidence about herself…getting home just doesn’t seem to matter anymore…I could go on all night…” Chakotay sat back in his chair and let his mind skim through images of his Captain over the past weeks. They were scenes he knew but he hadn’t really looked at them.
“B’El, what are you saying? I agree that she’s seemed down whenever I saw her, which hasn’t been that much. I’ve tended to keep out of her way as much as I can. You think she’s depressed enough that she needs to see the Doctor?” He was worried now. B’Elanna dropped her eyes for a moment, unable to meet his. “B’Elanna?” She looked up slowly.
“Yeh…I think she’s that depressed…maybe more…” She looked away quickly but Chakotay leaned over and grabbed her arm.
“What the hell do you mean by that?” She pulled her arm back from his grip.
“I don’t know what I mean.” Chakotay wasn’t going to let it go though.
“You started this so spit it out.” She looked back at him.
“I just think she needs help…I think she’s seriously depressed. Ever since…” She didn’t say any more and Chakotay continued for her.
“Ever since Boran space… B’Elanna I know what I said about all that, what happened between her and me, but as regards the ship… she made a mistake but we came through it… “ The Engineer shook her head.
“Chakotay, no one blames her for that. It’s in the past. I mean since then…from the time we got out of it… You said yourself she pulled right back from you… I don’t know… I think she believes she made a big mistake and now she’s taking all the blame and guilt that goes with it and heaping it upon herself. She’s probably questioning every decision she ever made, if I know her. What I do know is I can’t stand to see her so unhappy… and she is… I think she’s in a lot of pain…” She shook her head again, now at a loss for what more to say. Chakotay lowered his head.
“I’ve been no help to her. Oh I tried a few times but she always just backed off…” He sighed deeply and turned back to the view screen, as if an answer might suddenly appear before him. He smiled softly as he made out Voyager in the distance. “Well we’re home now…” He looked sadly over at his friend. “I’ll talk to her…try at least…have a word with the Doc even…” B’Elanna smiled and nodded.
“I do think she needs that…” She reached out and took his hand. “It’ll be all right…” He just nodded, turning his attention to the controls and hailed the ship.
Kathryn stood in the centre of the small cabin the Ranoseans had provided for her and looked around. It was warm and cosy, a log fire burning in the grate. She shivered slightly as she listened to the storm outside, building up by the minute. She had only just managed to contact Tuvok and assure him that she was fine and had made it to the surface safely before communications had been cut. The Prefect had then beamed her to her home for the night, using their own transporters.
She made her way to the small kitchen area and made herself a cup of strong tea, having brought the leaves with her, a blend Chakotay had introduced her to. She took her cup over to the small coffee table and stared at the side of the fireplace. She almost cried when she saw the wooden bathtub sitting there. She squeezed her eyes closed until she felt it safe to open them again. Eventually she sat and pulled out the contents of her bag, the tea having been on top. Knowing there was no one around, she didn’t bother pulling the curtains and quickly changed out of her uniform into shorts and a tee shirt then slipped a robe on over them, a pair of slippers on her feet. Discarding her uniform and the now empty bag, she picked up the other items she had brought and took her tea over to the fire and sat on the rug, her back to a large armchair.
Chakotay reported to the bridge first, once he had taken care of his cargo of Dilithium. He hadn’t expected to see Kathryn on the bridge and made for her ready room. Tuvok called his attention.
“Commander, if I could have a word in your office please…” Chakotay frowned and nodded. Once inside he stood and waited for the doors to close.
“Tuvok, I need to report to the Captain. Can you make this quick?” Something on the Security Officer’s face bothered him.
“Sir, I have to inform you that the Captain is not on board.” Chakotay stepped forward.
“Where is she then? Was she needed on the surface?” Tuvok shook his head.
“She informed me about two hours ago that she was taking shore leave and would be back in the morning.” Chakotay raised his eyebrows, doing a good imitation of Tuvok.
“Excuse me? Kathryn took leave without a phaser pointed at her or an all out threatened mutiny? Are we speaking of the same Captain here?” Tuvok didn’t laugh and Chakotay wouldn’t have expected it. The silence that followed unnerved him though. “OK Tuvok, out with it… You’re scaring me. That’s the nearest I’ve ever seen to a worried look on your face.” Tuvok didn’t blink.
“She simply informed me that she needed a ‘break’ and was taking the night on the surface and had spoken with the Prefect who was arranging accommodation for her. I advised her to wait until you returned but there was the storm…” Chakotay shook his head and half laughed.
“You’re losing me now…” Tuvok continued.
“There is a surface storm on the planet, an electrical storm. The Prefect called to advise us of it. It has rendered all communications, sensors and transporters useless. The Captain wanted to beam down before the storm moved in and called me from the surface to let me know she had arrived safely. There were still crewmembers on the planet who had already applied for permission to stay the night. This storm is only expected to last approximately twelve to fourteen hours. They are apparently quite common here at this time of year. I have run scans with what sensors we do have and it checks out. It is a natural phenomenon.” Chakotay shook his head.
“You had thought it wasn’t…?” Tuvok merely shrugged.
“It is my duty to check out everything…” Chakotay actually smiled and turned to look out the view port.
“So you’re happy with the storm, the Captain arrived safely and the remaining crew on leave are fine. I don’t see the problem. We just wait it out. I’ll wait until the morning to see the Captain when she arrives back. I need to speak with her.” He hesitated a moment. “Tuvok, have you noticed her…well lately…she’s been…” He turned back and saw that Tuvok had moved towards him.
“That’s what I wanted to speak to you about Commander. It’s not the storm which worries me. The Captain taking leave at this time does however…which ties in with what I believe you’re going to say…” Chakotay drew in a deep breath.
“Tuvok, you’re scaring me again… Just what’s bothering you…?” The Vulcan looked down at the floor a moment.
“In your language, in human terms, I’d call it a hunch.” Chakotay smiled softly.
“I didn’t think you believed in hunches…” Tuvok merely shrugged again.
“Where the Captain is concerned, I’ve learned to depend on many things in order to second guess her.” Chakotay nodded his understanding. He knew that feeling well. “It’s something about her timing, even her manner. She refused to wait for your return, despite the fact that it would leave both of you off the ship. She beamed down just before the storm, knowing it would last until morning, refusing to call the others back, which I can accept. I contacted them and informed them by the way and they all returned to the ship just before the storm hit. The Captain insisted on taking this leave, appeared extremely anxious to get away when I questioned her, nervous almost. She knew well in advance about the storm moving in, from the time she had spoken to the Prefect…” Chakotay nodded, a deep frown on his face. He remembered the call coming in. “She knew about the storm long before I did, delayed telling me about it until she was ready to leave. We now have no way to contact her.” Chakotay moved around his desk but didn’t sit. Tuvok went on. “Another thing bothers me. She claimed she needed some time alone. That is not leave for her when all she has done of late is spend all her time off duty on her own over the past months.” Chakotay played with a padd on the desk, his mind racing.
“All right, off the record here…” He looked up and saw the Vulcan nod his agreement. “B’Elanna thinks Kathryn is depressed, depressed enough to need medical help… I’m beginning to agree with her…” Tuvok barely nodded.
“I would concur with that. Even since we escaped the Boran area of space, she has become withdrawn and, as you say, depressed. She is not herself. She has shut herself away and appears constantly tired. Her attention is not what it was, her concentration, her…” Chakotay held up his hand.
“I know Tuvok. I’ve seen it but… Let’s just say B’Elanna pointed it out more clearly to me earlier. You think I should go down after her and speak with her?” Tuvok seemed to think a moment.
“That would be my recommendation. In as much as I worry, I am very concerned about the Captain at this moment. Unfortunately we cannot transport through the storm and as I’ve stated, communications are down.” Chakotay came out from behind his desk and sat on the edge of it.
“You really are worried about her, aren’t you? I don’t know. I’m starting to panic now myself. Why didn’t I look more closely earlier…?” He rubbed a hand over his face. “Could I get a shuttle down there?” Tuvok considered this.
“You might get down but I doubt you would be able to return to the ship until morning. The storm is increasing in intensity. You would also be stranded there. However, at least someone would be with her…” Chakotay’s head snapped up.
“You don’t think she should be alone? God Tuvok, you’re starting to sound like B’Elanna…” His mind raced.
“Commander, I’m merely saying that I don’t think it’s good for her to be alone, especially in her state of mind. Strange things happen when you’re alone like that in the night and you feel depressed. The ghosts of the past tend to visit, accusing you of things your guilt conjures up. The dark side of the mind eclipses the light.” Chakotay ran his hands through his hair, his mind made up now.
“Right, I’ll take the Flyer…” Tuvok coughed slightly.
“Might I suggest you take Mr. Paris with you.” Chakotay almost laughed.
“You don’t trust me with a shuttle, do you?” Tuvok shook his head.
“I just believe it would be more prudent if he were to go with you. Besides, you know the protocol. All away teams must be comprised of two members.” Chakotay nodded.
“OK let’s go.” He was out the door with Tuvok at his heels before the words were out of his mouth.
Kathryn came back to the present from her mind’s wanderings and forced herself to concentrate on what she had to do. First, she opened the bottle of vodka she had brought with her and put it down beside her. She then opened the bottle of pills, separating two from the rest and just stared at them a moment. She had done her research well, intending for this to work. She knew that most drugs taken in excess caused vomiting and in order to avoid that, she had learned that by taking one or two anti-histamine tablets first, the kind used for travel sickness or hay fever, she could avoid this. She knew this needed to be done on an empty stomach and laughed slightly, thinking that her stomach was usually like that these days. She also learned that only some of the tablets should be taken whole, the rest crushed or dissolved so they worked at the same time. Taking alcohol with them, aided the dissolving process. She had even worked out the exact number of painkilling tablets to take, knowing too many could also cause vomiting, even with the anti-histamines. She laughed to herself again. “God Kathryn, ever the scientist…”
She stood slowly and made her way to the small kitchen where she crushed the tablets and fetched a glass for herself. On her way back to her place at the fire, she set the water running for the bath and stood staring at it for a moment, before dragging her mind back to the present. She sat once more and studied the tablets and powder she now had and then without further thought, swallowed the lot, washing it down with neat vodka. She resisted the impulse to gag on the taste, forcing herself to swallow the mix which she prayed would bring oblivion. She sniffed loudly and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, knowing she had to get this right, that if she didn’t, she’d have liver and kidney failure to deal with, possibly internal bleeding, followed by a slow and painful death, most likely over a two week period, despite what modern medicine could do.
She sat quietly for some time, staring at a few pills she had dropped on the rug and debated taking them too but instead found herself turning back to the fire, watching the flames die down and almost added another log. “You won’t need it, you stupid fool…” Tears poured from her eyes and she rubbed at them angrily. She was starting to feel the effects of the vodka and the pills and stood slowly, unsteady on her feet. She slipped out of her robe and kicked off her slippers, then bent down and grabbed the bottle. She refilled her glass and picked up the small knife and shakily made her way to the tub. It was almost full now and she turned off the flow of water. She drank deeply again and once more refilled her glass then placed the bottle at her feet. Sitting her drink on the small table beside the tub, she climbed into the water, the temperature not too hot and sank down, a wave of nausea and dizziness passing over her.
Kathryn looked down at her body in the water and squeezed her eyes closed a moment to clear her vision. It felt strange to be wearing clothing in the bath but somewhere in her mind, she knew she didn’t want to be found naked when she was dead. Some small part of her still cared about that. She reached to the side and took another deep swallow of her drink, some of the liquid spilling down her chin. She set the glass back and turned her attention to the small blade she held and studied it for several minutes as she blinked back her tears. Taking the pills and the drink hadn’t been too bad but she hesitated now, knowing this bit would cause her pain.
“Nothing compared to what’s inside…” She started crying again and forced herself to control her emotions for just a few more minutes. “Come on…you can do this…there’s no other way…you have to be sure…” As if watching someone else, hands not her own, she saw the blade cut across her wrist, a thin red line at first and then a flow of blood. Before she could change her mind, she placed the knife in the hand of the wrist she had just cut and winced as she drew it across her other wrist and watched the process repeat itself. She watched the blood drip from the cuts for a few seconds then threw the knife out the side of the tub. She felt her head fall to the side and caught herself, forcing her wrists below the water. She hissed in pain as the water covered the cuts and bit her lip. She now became fascinated as she watched the blood flow more quickly, aided by the water as it turned a shade of light pink then darker.
She quickly grew used to the stinging pain in her wrists as the water continued to darken with her blood, making odd patterns. She watched them as a strange sound filled her ears and she felt her eyelids begin to droop. She dropped her head back against the tub and stared at the ceiling, watching the light of the fire play across it, strange shapes chasing each other.
“No going back now…” She smiled sadly to herself and for a few brief seconds, she panicked, asking herself what the hell she’d just done but she forced the thoughts from her mind, finding it easier now to just go with the sleepiness she felt coming over her. She knew there was no way to call for help anyway, even if she had wanted to and that had been one of the reasons she had asked for somewhere out of the way, in case she had changed her mind or backed out of her own deal with herself. The sound in her ears grew louder, almost a buzzing noise and she felt sick but made herself swallow, determined to keep the tablets inside her. She moved her head to the side, another strong wave of dizziness taking her, as her head rolled, taking control from her. She forced her eyes open and let them wander around the room one last time, smiling at the cosy glow the fire created.
“There are worse places…worse ways…” Her speech was slurred and she heard it. She struggled to understand how she felt, thinking of times when she had been drunk and finding this not unlike those times. She let her head roll back again, strange thoughts coming to her as she felt what strength she had leave her body. “Wonder if Daddy will come…be him this time…” Her thoughts began scattering and different images came to her, scenes from her childhood, half forgotten memories, times onboard Voyager. “When it was good…” She couldn’t understand her own words now but she heard them in her head. “Oh Chakotay…I’m so sorry…my friend…so sorry…I never told you…I do love you…” She found she could only think now, her words coming out only as a slight whisper.
The room seemed darker now. “The fire going out…maybe me…” She laughed to herself, a faint sound like a hum passing her lips. “Maybe it’s me going out…” She dropped her head back and closed her eyes. “No more pain…” As her blood flowed from her veins and the pills took hold, heralding the end, Kathryn felt a peace descend over her. She lay still now, the only movement a few stray tears which rolled slowly down her face, dropping into the mix of blood and water. As her world closed in around her, Kathryn Janeway slipped away without even being conscious of it.
ON TO PART THREE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.
RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.