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

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     This story is based around the events in Repression.  After Thiro’s

                      control has been broken, the crew try to return to normal, unaware

                      that their Captain is keeping a terrible secret in order to protect them.

                   

WARNING:   This story contains graphic material of a violent and sexual nature.







TAKE MY HAND AND WALK WITH ME.

By KAT LADY.

PART ONE.



                                   

Kathryn paced back and forth, the pain she felt inside, growing all the time as her mind continued to feed her images which she wanted to shut out.

“How can I have a nightmare while wide awake?”  She whispered the question to herself, no one else there to hear her or answer her.  She felt tears prickling her eyes again and forced herself to sit.  “Oh God…what’s happening to us all…?”  She blinked the tears back and looked around her, shaking her head sadly.  “How…?  Why…?”  The dull grey walls of the brig refused to answer her.

Eventually she forced herself to sit back on the bunk, trying to think straight.  She brought her knees up and hugged them, seeking some semblance of comfort in a gesture which had helped her as a child by making her feel secure.  Now it mocked her, her mind telling her it made her look weak and afraid.  Despite this though, she found herself just hugging more tightly. 

She thought back over the past few days and sighed deeply.  A few days ago, when things had been normal on board Voyager or as normal as it got out here.  Then the attacks had begun and all because of one man.  A man who was 35,000 light years away.  Thiro Anaydis.  Kathryn finally succumbed and let the memories rush at her.

Taybor had been first.  Found in a coma on the holodeck.  Others followed quickly and the reason had been found.  Tuvok.  The seeds planted seven years in the past and forced into growth through a data stream for reasons they would probably never completely understand.  “This is a holy time.  The time of awakening.  Return to that dark place from which all life springs.  Pog Tem Far – Batonay.”

It scared Kathryn Janeway more than she would ever admit.  Something beyond her control.  How can you fight what you can’t see or understand?  She lay her head down on her knees, feeling the dampness from her tears seep through the fabric covering them.

They had all awakened from the comas and appeared fine but everything had changed.  Chakotay’s words still echoed in her mind, stinging deeply as she relived it all.

^^^^^^^^^^

“Maybe someone on YOUR crew couldn’t put the past behind them…”  The words hit hard and she knew the hurt was showing in her eyes.

“MY crew…?”  He at least had the grace to look apologetic.

“OUR crew…”  The correction didn’t help.  The damage was done.


^^^^^^^^^^

She had been so concerned about Tuvok, spending her time with him, feeling that was where she could best get answers and control the situation she felt spinning out of control all around her.  So she learned about Tuvok’s letter, the message hidden in the data stream to him.  Chakotay recognized the stranger’s face and told her of Thiro Anaydis, the Bajoran Vedic, the Maquis from counter intelligence who experimented with mind control to recruit agents.  She discovered how he had been thrown out as a fanatic but understood now that his work had continued.  Leaving Chakotay and Seven to continue working, she had returned to Tuvok, concentrating on him again, hearing now of Thiro’s plan to awaken the Maquis and pass on his instructions.  When Tuvok had hailed Chakotay and repeated the words she had come to hate, the ones which sent a shiver through her, she had somehow known, sensed, that everything was about to change for all time.

Chakotay hadn’t answered her when she tried to contact him, fuelling the fear inside.  While she remained with Tuvok, her First Officer was awakening others, taking over the bridge, controlling her ship, sending B'Elanna to take Engineering.  When Kathryn had hailed the bridge, again receiving no response, her fear had doubled.  Then the corridor and the phaser blast behind her, spinning around to see Chakotay, his phaser pointed at her, eyes belonging to a stranger, certainly not the kind and loving man she had come to know.

“What the hell are you doing?”  It took some effort to control the timbre of her voice and appear in command.

“I think it’s obvious.  I’m taking control of your ship.”  YOUR ship.  Drawing the battle lines.  “Within the hour, all Starfleet personnel will be locked in their quarters.  Step back in the brig, Kathryn.”  Somehow the use of her name sounded like an insult, denying her any importance.

She felt the hurt and the pain grip her, refusing to believe this of the man before her.  Yet she knew it wasn’t really him, couldn’t be him.  Her eyes searched his face for any trace of the man of even an hour ago and found none.

“What’s Thiro done to you…?”  Her hurt showed, her voice softer.  It didn’t even dent the demeanour of the man before her.

“He’s simply helped us remember who we are.  We’re Maquis.  We’ve always been Maquis.”  Even on their first meeting, he hadn’t been like this, hadn’t sounded this hostile.  Kathryn tried to draw on the woman who she had been then also.

“The rebellion ended three years ago.  You know that.”  He moved towards her.

“In the Alpha Quadrant, maybe.  Not on this ship.”  He took her arm, a firm grip and moved her back towards the brig.  As they walked, B'Elanna’s voice filled the air, hailing him.

“Go ahead.”  There was a coldness and a hardness in his voice she had never heard before.

“Deck Eleven is secure.”  B'Elanna controlled also.  Chipping away more of the small piece of hope she still had.

“Acknowledged.”  He let go of her arm, knowing she wouldn’t be foolish enough to try anything, wouldn’t risk her crew.  They entered the brig and even to the end, she tried to reason with him, even with his phaser still pointed at her.

“We’re 35,000 light years from Earth, Chakotay.”  No time for rank.  She knew that it wouldn’t help, tried to appeal to her friend.  “No one here even knows about the Maquis.  It doesn’t make sense.  There’s nothing you can accomplish.”  He barely seemed to hear her.

“As long as we exist, so does the rebellion.”  The party line.  Programmed.  She tried a last pleading effort.

“That’s Thiro talking.  He was unstable.  You said so yourself.”  Another ex-Maquis moved her towards the cell.

“We have no intention of hurting any of you.”  No emotion in his voice.  She turned to face Tuvok then, locking eyes with him, trying to ascertain if he was still loyal to her.

“Your orders, Captain?”  He was looking at Chakotay and Kathryn’s last hope died.

“Take your station.”  She met Chakotay’s eyes and knew her emotions were there to be read.  She barely registered Tuvok leaving the brig, then heard the security barrier activate.  She was trapped and helpless on her own ship, all control gone.  She watched them leave then dropped her head, ignoring the security guard left behind.


^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn came back to herself and wiped her face across her knees, unable to release her hold on her legs.  She cursed herself now for spending so much time with Tuvok, despite her desperate need for his answers.  While she had been with him, concerned for him, she hadn’t considered the others, hadn’t seen the threat to them.  In her mind now, she had failed in her duty to protect her crew.  She let the self-recriminating tears fall and found herself trembling again as she remembered only a few hours ago in her ready room.  HIS ready room now.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn was escorted to her ready room by the same security guard who had taken watch over her in the brig.  She tried to remember his name and felt guilty when she couldn’t.  She looked to Chakotay first, his face still devoid of any trace of the man who had been, and saw that he was wearing his old Maquis uniform again.  She tore her eyes from him and saw Tuvok, also dressed in Maquis uniform.  Another stab of the knife.  Despite the compression rifle at her back, she tried her best to appear in control.  They all knew it was only for show. 

”Consider this a test of your loyalty.”  Her eyes snapped back to Chakotay as she saw him hand Tuvok a phaser and a stab of fear ran through her as he took it.  The smell of alcohol in the air reached her nostrils and she suddenly wondered how much they had been drinking. 

There was a slight smile on Chakotay’s face, nothing warm about it, as Tuvok took the phaser.

“You said you wouldn’t hurt anyone…”  She fought to keep her voice controlled but her fear sounded and she knew it.  She knew how dangerous this was, but there was no way out of it.  She was trapped.  Her eyes snapped back to Tuvok, pleading with him.

“You’re in control of your actions.  Not Chakotay.  Not Thiro.”  He seemed not to hear her.

“Tuvok…?”  Chakotay’s voice was calm.  Time seemed to stop then and Kathryn felt the blood almost freeze in her veins as Tuvok raised the phaser and aimed it at her.  She waited for her life to flash before her eyes, yet nothing happened.  All she felt was pain and betrayal.  It couldn’t end like this.  All the dangers they had faced out here, only to be murdered by one of her own.  She searched for some shread of dignity and found it for just a moment.  Then it deserted her and fear returned.

“Don’t do this…”  Her eyes locked on Tuvok’s face as he aimed at her head.  She heard the faint fizzle of the phaser as it refused to fire and her heart almost stopped.  She stared as her old friend calmly handed the phaser back to Chakotay, his voice cool.

“This phaser is defective.”  She watched as Chakotay took the phaser and re-holstered it, nodding at Tuvok, obviously pleased with the Vulcan and his loyalty.  For Kathryn, something inside her died.  Chakotay’s voice snapped her out of it.

“Take her back to the brig.”  He spoke to the guard who had escorted her into the ready room without looking in his direction.  Kathryn felt the prod of the rifle in her back and went to move.  Chakotay’s voice stopped them both.

“No.  Wait.”  Kathryn met his eyes as he moved towards her.  “This isn’t right at all.”  He was right in front of her now and met her eyes, staring her out.  Kathryn refused to look away.  Suddenly he stepped back a little and let his eyes travel down to her neck.  He smiled and reached a hand up to her collar, stroking over the pips there.

“You don’t need these anymore…”  He popped them from her collar, letting them fall to the floor, his face breaking into a small smile.  He moved back a little more and slapped his commbadge.  “Chakotay to Torres.  Report to my ready room.  I have a little job for you.”  Kathryn was too hurt now to feel fear.  She summoned what was left of her waning courage and forced her tears to stay away.  She turned when she heard the door, watching her chief engineer enter the ready room, her uniform also replaced.  Kathryn just dropped her head, not wanting to see anymore.

“Captain…?”  Chakotay laughed when Kathryn's head came up.

“She means me…Haven’t you got it yet…?  You’re no longer the Captain of this ship.  I’m in command now…”  Kathryn barely met his eyes, then looked away.  She listened as they all laughed.

“B'Elanna, take ‘Kathryn’ here to her old quarters…my quarters now…and make sure she dresses appropriately for her new position…”  Kathryn's head snapped up and she met his eyes, saw the hate there.  “Get her out of that uniform…strip her of it and get her into civvies.  She’s no longer a Starfleet Captain and should look the part of the civilian she is now.  She’s not a Captain anymore and has no right to a Captain’s uniform.  Put her in a dress or something.”  B'Elanna barely nodded and moved to Kathryn, taking her arm in a firm grip.  Kathryn kept her eyes locked with Chakotay’s as long as she could.

“Get her out of here and when she’s changed, take her back to the brig…”  He turned his back on her then.  Kathryn lowered her head and squeezed her eyes shut, letting herself be led from the room.


^^^^^^^^^^

B'Elanna waited beside her the entire time, allowing her no privacy, not taking any chances with her prisoner.  She watched as Kathryn changed out of her uniform, having grabbed a dress from her closet and thrown it at her former Captain. 

“Put that on…and these…”  She reached down and grabbed a pair of soft pumps from the bottom of the closet.  “Can’t have you wearing hard shoes now, can we?  You might try and kick someone…”  The woman before Kathryn was a stranger to her now, showing glimpses of the one who had stood on the bridge that first day.  Even then though, she had been under her own control.  “Come on…hurry up.  I’ve work to do.  I’ve a lot of people to transport…”  Her laughter sounded empty, controlled.  Kathryn took a last look around her quarters, as if trying to memorize her home of the last seven years, the place where she had always felt safe.  B'Elanna seemed to read her thoughts.

“Come on, ‘Kathryn’.  The brig is your new home for now and then some nice little M-Class planet.  You’d better get used to it.  Personally, I think it’s too good for you all…”  Kathryn just lowered her head and moved forward.  B'Elanna’s words barely penetrated the pain she already felt.


^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn sat rocking herself now.  Pain filled her, gripping her chest and moving across her shoulders and down her arms.  She rubbed at the top of her arms, wondering how emotional pain and hurt could always manifest itself as physical.

Suddenly she stopped rocking, as her mind seemed to clear, leaving just one question remaining.  Why did she hurt so much?  Yes, she felt betrayed but she knew her crew, the ones who had been Maquis, were under a control they couldn’t fight.  What she should feel was anger, a deep rage at Thiro, the lunatic in another Quadrant still trying to act out his evil ideals.  She searched inside herself, finding some of that anger, but mostly it was overshadowed by the pain and hurt she felt.  She closed her eyes quickly and lay her head down again.

“It’s because you care about them…  That’s why it hurts so much…”  She began her rocking again, hugging her legs tighter.  “How did you ever let them get this close to you?  You knew better.  The rules are there for a reason…”  She whispered her words and let the tears fall again, tasting their saltiness as they slipped between her lips.  She licked at her lips now and sniffed quietly.  Chakotay’s face filled her mind, the biggest hurt of all.  The answer came to her unasked question, one she knew, yet she still tried to deny it.  His actions hurt the most for one reason only.  She cared about him more than anyone else.  She loved him.

A slight sound caught her attention and her head jerked up quickly.  She found herself staring at her guard, an amused smile on his face, one which didn’t hide the hate clearly written there, hate which had been resurrected and put there by Thiro.

“Taken your toy away from you, have they?  Poor little Starfleet…”  His tone and expression mocked her and she looked away quickly, knowing it was too late to hide her tears from this man.  “Nice to see the tough Captain…sorry EX Captain…crying like a little girl…shows how weak you really are…”  His laughter grated on her as she turned away from him.  He wasn’t through with his fun though.

“Never mind.  You’ll soon be on a nice little planet somewhere.  Then you can play at Captain again and order your poor fools around.  It kills you, doesn’t it?  Not being able to control everything around you?  No wonder you’re all alone.  No one would put up with you…”  Kathryn just lowered her head to her arms and refused to look at him.  Eventually he tired of his game when he couldn’t get any response from her.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn jerked awake and groaned.  Her neck and shoulders were stiff and sore from having fallen asleep in a sitting position.  She tried to shake the grogginess from her mind and wondered how long she’d been out.  She stretched her legs and arms out and blinked several times to clear her vision, then rubbed at her eyes, feeling them gritty. 

She sat forward onto the edge of the bunk and looked out through the security barrier.  Her guard was seated with his feet propped up, reading from a padd.  Kathryn suddenly realized that the lights in the brig were lower than the ones outside and pushed herself into a standing position, her body protesting at the movement.  She watched the young man for a moment, seeing that he hadn’t noticed or heard her moving.

“Engineering.  That’s where he works.  Jen…Jenkins…?  Yes, Jenkins…something with a P.  Peter.”  It came to her now.  She remembered he was good at sports, especially athletics.  Peter Jenkins.  She cleared her throat but still he didn’t move, all his concentration on the padd in his hands.

“Ensign Jenkins…Peter…?”  He started and dropped his feet immediately, the padd falling from his hands.  He jumped up quickly, cursing under his breath.

“What do you want, Janeway?”  The harshness in his voice was alien to her ears.  She remembered him as a softly spoken young man.

“Please…what time is it?  How long have I been here?”  He walked over to her slowly, laughing all the way.

“Why should I tell you anything?  In a hurry to get to your new home?”  Kathryn felt an urge to snap back at him but she swallowed it quickly.  It galled her to pretend so politely.

“I fell asleep.  I just wondered how long it had been…”  She watched him as he looked her up and down.

“Well, I don’t see any harm in telling you that.  You’ve been back here about six hours.”  He laughed again.  “You haven’t had any visitors in that time, if that’s what you’re worried about.  Your crew mates are all locked down in quarters and no one else is remotely interested in you.”  Kathryn just shook her head, fighting to hold herself together.

“Please…could I have something to drink…eat perhaps…?  I haven’t had anything since yesterday…”  She shivered involuntarily and hugged herself, the light dress she wore giving her no warmth.  “Perhaps a blanket also…?”  She forced herself to act almost submissively, something telling her not to anger him in any way, his mental state under Thiro’s control being impossible to predict.

“What the hell do you think this is?  A hotel?”  Kathryn shook her head slowly.

“No…please…  I’m just a bit cold...hungry.  Peter…”  He snapped at her suddenly.

“Don’t you dare use my name…”  Kathryn held up a hand.

“Please…I’m sorry…  What do you want me to call you?”  His answer was swift, his voice angry.

“You call me nothing.  You shouldn’t even be talking to me…”  Kathryn lowered her head.

“I’m sorry.  I’m just asking for the same rights as any prisoner…”  She hoped acting this way would calm him down a little.  She risked glancing up at him but saw that it hadn’t, his expression if anything, a little harder now.

“Tell you what…you can call me ‘Sir’.”  Kathryn swallowed to control her impulse to snap back and barely nodded.  “As to food or a blanket…how about you beg me for them…”  Kathryn stared at him now, her eyes widening.

“What…?”  His hard stare returned hers, then he laughed, a cynical, hard sound.

“That should be ‘what, Sir?’  Yeah…that’s it.  Get down on your knees and beg me…  Go on, Starfleet.  I’d really enjoy that.”  Kathryn turned away quickly.

“You can’t do this.  I want to see Chakotay…”  He moved towards her, his face a mask of hate.

“Too bad, bitch, because I’m all you’re getting.  He has more important things to worry about…like HIS ship…”  He laughed again.  “Now go on, beg me…”  Kathryn narrowed her eyes.

“Forget it.  I’ll manage.”  She moved back to the bunk and sat down again, keeping her face turned away from him.  She heard his laughter.

“Have it your way.  You’ll change your mind.”  She glanced up to see his back to her and watched as he returned to his chair, picking up his padd again and continuing to read. 

^^^^^^^^^^

It took Kathryn some time, time she had no way of measuring, to realize that it had gotten colder and she hugged her arms around herself.  She had fallen asleep again and it suddenly clicked with her that the cold only seemed to be affecting her and not Jenkins, as she looked out and saw him sitting comfortably in his chair.  She knew then that he had obviously tampered with the environmental controls to the brig, controlling the temperature on her side of the security barrier. 

At this stage, her stomach almost hurt with hunger and her throat felt drier than she ever remembered.  She licked at her lips to try and moisten them, but even her mouth was dry.  She had spent so much time the day before worrying about Tuvok and trying to help him, that she had neglected to take care of her own basic needs, like eating or drinking.  She tried to remember the last time she had eaten anything and shook her head when she realized that coffee and a small piece of fruit for breakfast the previous day was the answer to that.

Kathryn fought her body as long as she could, the thought of begging this man for anything, unthinkable to her.  In the end though, she knew she had no choice, as common sense began to win out.  She held out for what she gauged to be another hour or so, before she felt her resolve give way completely.  She couldn’t fight anything, if she was too weak to even stand.  She had to believe that this would end and she was determined to be there to see that end.  That meant keeping herself alive, no matter what it took and if it took acting like a weakling, so be it.  She’d survive that.  Humiliation, at least, didn’t kill but starvation and dehydration did. 

Kathryn stood shakily and approached the security barrier, finding herself unsteady on her feet.  She looked over at Jenkins and realized that he was already watching her, a cruel smirk on his face.

“Feeling more cooperative now?”  He swung his legs down and stood up, sauntering over to her.  “Well, go on then…down on your knees, bitch…”  Kathryn saw that this time, Jenkins had his phaser pointed at her, using it as a silent threat.  She closed her eyes a moment and took a deep breath, telling herself that all this was Thiro’s doing, not the man before her.  She opened her eyes slowly, only to meet his mocking face.  Slowly she dropped to her knees.

“What do you want me to say?”  She whispered the words as he laughed, clearly enjoying himself.

“Now be nice, Janeway.  Say ‘please Sir, may I have some food and water?’ and then ask me the same way for a blanket…”  Kathryn gritted her teeth for a moment.  Even kneeling, she felt light headed.

“Please SIR, may I have something to eat and some water?”  The words almost choked her and she didn’t look at him, but at a spot on the floor in front of her.  His voice almost hissed at her and she looked up quickly.

“Not good enough.  Look me in the eye and beg for it…”  Kathryn balled her hands into fists, feeling her nails dig into her palms.  She stared into his eyes, desperately trying to control her emotions.

“Please Sir, may I have something to eat and some water?  Also a blanket?”  He laughed loudly.

“That wasn’t so hard now, was it?”  Kathryn looked away as anger and humiliation fought their way to the surface.  She saw that he read her well.  He studied her for a few minutes and then smiled evilly. 

“I’ll see what I can do…  Stay on your knees…”   He turned away quickly and headed to the door, where she heard him whispering to someone she couldn’t see.  Jenkins remained at the door, glancing back at her occasionally then turned his attention to the corridor again.  She watched as he took a plate and cup from hands which were attached to arms covered with Maquis clothing.  Jenkins placed the items on the console beside him and then took a blanket the hands also held out.  He whispered something else and then nodded.  Finally he made his way towards Kathryn again.

“Get up and sit down there on the bunk…well back…”   She nodded silently and obeyed, taking a minute to steady herself as she stood, earning a laugh from her jailor.  She then moved back to the bunk before sitting well back on the small cot, determined not to alarm him in any way.  She knew she wouldn’t get far, even if she made a run for it, her own weakness too much of a hindrance and then of course, the fact that there was someone else obviously out in the corridor.  She also had no doubt that he’d shoot her before she even reached the door.  She watched closely as Jenkins lowered the barrier and set the cup and plate down on the floor, just inside the entrance.  He then threw a thin blanket at her before re-activating the security barrier.

“Anything else Madam would like?”  Kathryn reached for the blanket, pulling it around her shoulders and shook her head.

“Thank you.”  He barely nodded as she made her way over to the small meal he had given her.  She picked up the plate and cup and walked back to the bunk, sitting down slowly, placing the plate beside her.  She sipped from the cup.  Water only and stale tasting.  What she wouldn’t give for coffee.  She looked at the plate then, seeing a mix of something, almost a paste.  Not thinking about it, she scooped some between her fingers and ate.  There was no way they’d trust her with eating utensils.  She hid her soft smile.  She’d trained them all too well.

When Kathryn had finished, she leaned back against the wall, trying to get some warmth from the thin blanket.  She jumped as her guard’s voice broke through her thoughts.

“You finished?”  She looked up at him and nodded.

“Yes.  Thank you…”  She picked up the empty plate and cup and stood up. 

“Stay there.”  She nodded her obedience and stayed where she was.  She watched him closely as he lowered the force field and stepped into the brig, using a small handheld control to raise it again.  He walked towards her slowly, never taking his eyes off her.  Suddenly he held out his hand and pointed to the bed. 

“Put them down there…”  He stopped and waited until she placed the plate and cup on the bed then backed off.  Keeping his eyes on her the entire time, he crossed to the bed and picked them up, holding both items in his left hand, along with the hand held control.

“Aren’t you scared?  About where you’re going?”  Kathryn wasn’t sure what way to answer him and remained quiet, which seemed to anger him suddenly.  He crossed to her quickly and before she knew what was happening, had punched her in the face, sending her to the floor.

“Starfleet bitch.  You answer me when I ask you something…”  He glared down at her on the floor, as she held a hand to her cheek in complete shock.  She fought to control the anger she felt rising within her.

“What do you want me to say?  Yes, I’m scared.  You’re all under the control of something I can’t fight.  What do you want…?”  He moved on her again and she shut up.

“Get on your feet.”  The raw hate in his voice frightened her as she struggled to get up, her foot catching on the blanket.  Finally, she managed it and stood shakily before backing away a little.

“Thank you for the meal and the drink…”  She threw him with her words and saw him appear almost confused for a moment.  It didn’t last long.

“Don’t try and trick me with that Starfleet psychology shit…  You hate me as much as I hate you…”  Kathryn's eyes were steady on him.

“I don’t hate you.  You’re a member of my crew and I care about you all.  You’re not yourself.  Thiro has you all controlled…”  It was the wrong thing to say and she saw him advance on her, dropping the cup and plate on the floor.

“Lying bitch…”  He laid into her, hitting her around the head and into the ribs and stomach.  Kathryn immediately fell to the floor, crying out and rolling into a ball to try and protect herself.  She felt him kick at her a few times along her back and arms, before pulling back.  She waited for more but nothing happened.

“Get up…and don’t give me any more trouble…”  She felt his hands on her as he pulled her up and threw her onto the cot.  She watched as he picked up the plate and cup, deactivated the barrier and walked out.  He looked back at her with a look of pure hatred in his eyes and re-activated the force field.

“Don’t make me come back and give you more of the same.  I’ve had just about enough of you…”  Kathryn just lay as still as she could, forcing her tears to hold back until he’d gone.  He turned away then, cursing her under his breath and disappeared from her view.

Kathryn felt her tears start and painfully rolled over on the cot, so she was facing the wall.  She pulled the thin blanket around herself, covering her head and let the tears fall, fighting her pain as well as her despair.  With something at least in her stomach and her thirst quenched a little, she eventually cried herself into a fitful sleep.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn wasn’t sure what woke her as her eyes snapped open.  She found herself staring at the grey wall of the brig and swallowed, her throat dry again.  She licked at her lips and sniffed, her nose feeling blocked from her earlier crying, as if from a cold.  She lay still for another moment, sensing something she couldn’t name and then turned her head slowly, groaning as a throbbing pain accompanied the movement.  She turned fully then when she saw the looming figure of Peter Jenkins standing over her, leering down at her.

Despite her body’s painful protests, she rolled over and tried to sit up.  Her nose quickly picked up the smell of alcohol in the air and she clutched the blanket to her chest.  Even in the dim lighting of the brig, she could see a glazed look in his eyes as he continued to just stare at her, his mouth twisted into a crooked grin.  In an attempt to control the situation, Kathryn spoke first.

“Have we arrived?”  Her voice shook badly, despite her best efforts to control it and she sounded hoarse.  Jenkins didn’t answer her as he continued to run his eyes over her and Kathryn felt a fear build in her.  She tried to sit up again, her body one large ache and a groan escaped her lips.  The sound seemed to snap him out of his study and he dropped to sit on the side of the cot.

Kathryn forced herself to control her rising panic, gripping the blanket even more tightly, as she tried to move away from him.  His hand shot out and gripped her shoulder, pressing her down.

“Where do you think you’re going…?”  His speech was slurred and his eyes seemed to have some trouble focusing on her.  Kathryn twisted under his vice-like grip.

“Please…you’re hurting me…”  Her voice sounded alien to her, soft and frightened.  He moved a little closer to her now and took a tight hold of the blanket, ripping it from her grasp quickly.  “Now…that’s better…”  He moved closer again, leaning over her, as his other hand pressed down on her other shoulder.

“Let me go…please…”  Kathryn struggled weakly under his strong grip, trying to get out from under him, to no avail.  Her fight only seemed to spur him on as he moved over her again.

“Now don’t do that…  Be nice…”  He leaned over her and lowered his face to hers, the smell of alcohol heavy on his breath.  His intentions now only too clear, Kathryn struggled fiercely against him, earning herself a painful smack across her already bruised cheek.  She felt him lower his body over hers, his legs pinning hers down, as his hands captured her wrists and held them down over her head.  “Shhhh…don’t fight this now…behave yourself…”  Kathryn cried out, still fighting him.

“No…oh God…please don’t do this…  Peter…please…this isn’t you….”  Her words were lost on him and she felt his knees press between her legs, her dress having ridden up her thighs during her sleep and from her struggle.  She felt him shift his grip, one of his strong hands holding both her wrists now, with little effort on his part.

“Stop fighting me…you’ll only get hurt more…”  His free hand covered her mouth, as he stared down at her.  “You should thank me…”  He seemed to take great delight in the tears he saw forming in Kathryn's eyes.  “I mean…who else would bother with you…who else would ever want to touch you…the almighty, untouchable Captain?  I’ve news for you…  To everyone, you’re the cold bitch who sits on the bridge…the sad, lonely old woman who has no one.  You’re not a real woman…not a woman at all.  You’re completely asexual…a machine.  You’re already dead.”  He laughed evilly. 

“Jeez, I’m about to commit a sin.  I’ll be guilty of necrophilia…  I’ll be fucking a dead woman…”  He laughed again and removed his hand from her mouth, ignoring the tears which fell from Kathryn's eyes.  His words hurt her as much as his physical actions and she felt something die inside her. 

With his hand removed from her mouth, Kathryn knew she should scream for help, at least try to but she didn’t.  His words filled her mind, taking over all else as her tears continued.  If the man above her saw this, he didn’t show it, seeming to just accept her sudden lack of struggle.

Somehow though, instinct kicked in and she began to fight him again, firing him up without knowing it.  She felt his other hand drop to her throat, where he pressed down and squeezed hard.  Kathryn struggled for breath, as he cut her air off, leaving her light headed and gasping when he finally removed his hand.  In this state now, weakened physically and emotionally and almost completely disorientated, she was no trouble to him.  She felt him lean off her a little, one hand still holding her wrists above her head.  She felt his other hand popping the buttons of her dress open and pushing her bra up, exposing her breasts to him.  She felt him sucking and biting at her, the stubble of his chin grazing her skin. 

Kathryn vaguely wondered if she was going into shock as the assault continued.  This couldn’t be happening, not on her own ship.  His hand dropped then, pushing the skirt of her dress aside, tearing her panties away.  She still struggled weakly but it was a moot gesture.  He settled between her already parted legs and freed himself, pushing against her opening, before his hand came back up and covered her mouth again, pressing down hard.  Kathryn tried one last burst of struggle, but it was useless.  With a cruel, unforgiving thrust, he entered her, penetrating her deeply, tearing at her soft, dry tissue and ripping her open. 

Kathryn screamed against his hand as a raw agony consumed her, increasing with the repetition of his thrusts.  She felt herself stretching around him, tearing to accommodate his invasion, the dry friction adding more and more pain to what already existed.  Left with no choice but to endure, Kathryn closed her eyes and for the first time in years, prayed.  She prayed for the torture to end, for the agony to cease, to just survive it. 

He didn’t take long and she vaguely heard him groan in her ear, just as she felt him shudder within her, his ejaculation easing his final brutal thrusts as he slammed himself against her.  She found herself gasping for air once more, as he became a dead weight on her, then rolled himself off, standing shakily before tucking himself away. 

Her body lay as he had left it, her legs open and her arms above her head, still feeling his grip and weight on her.  Kathryn managed to open her eyes a moment and saw him staring down at her, knowing she lay completely exposed to him, but unable to find the strength to do anything about it. 

For a moment, he looked confused as he stared down at the sight of the broken woman before him and she thought she saw some semblance of internal struggle taking place, before being replaced once more with his scornful grin.

“That wasn’t so bad now, was it…?  You probably didn’t feel a thing though, did you?”  He bent down and retrieved the blanket from the floor and tossed it at her.  Without another word, he turned and left, aware enough to re-activate the security barrier once more.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn lay in pain and shock for some time, unable to function on even the most basic level.  Tears scalded her face, the only outward sign of life from her.  Eventually her survival instinct kicked in again and she tried to move, pain racking her body.  Taking each small movement slowly and one at a time, she eventually managed to sit up, biting down heavily on her lip to avoid crying out.  Her mind slowly began to work with her again, kick starting out of its shock to function once more. 

Finally, Kathryn managed to get herself into a sitting position on the edge of the cot, one hand holding her abdomen in some effort to ease her pain, while the other held the thin blanket over herself, trying to cover her body in some way.  Knowing that ‘Kathryn’ was unable to cope with this, she sought out ‘the Captain’, using that persona to get through this.  Thoughts of Chakotay filled her mind for a moment, needing him more than she had ever needed another human being in her entire life.  And then another thought crowded that one out for just a moment.  Would Chakotay as the man he was now, also be capable of this?  She pictured him on the bridge at this moment, wearing the uniform of the enemy, in control of her ship, issuing orders that would lead to her and her remaining crew being left behind and abandoned on some desolate planet, never to see home again.  Her mind felt unable to deal with the question, yet alone the answer, but somehow, her heart knew.  In her heart, she knew that if or when this was all over, the Chakotay she knew would be racked with guilt, unable to cope with the knowledge of the actions of them all.  It would kill him to know what one of his crew had done to her.  And so in that moment, as she sat there in pain, struggling to cope with the deep trauma of what had just happened to her, she
made her decision.  Chakotay must never find out.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn managed to get to her feet on the third attempt and took a moment to steady herself.  She looked out through the force field, only to find Peter Jenkins staring at her.  Summoning all the strength she had, she managed to steady her voice.

“Peter…please…”  The cruel expression was gone but hate remained.  He still moved a little closer though.

“What do you want?”  His voice seemed less harsh.  Kathryn drew in a deep breath.  She could do this, had to do this.

“If anyone finds out…”  She gasped as a sharp pain crossed her stomach and then grunted.

“No one will care…  Do you think I’m afraid because of what I did…?”  There was just a trace of doubt in his words.  “Maybe I shouldn’t have but…”  He seemed confused for just a moment and then the cruelty returned.  “What do you want…?”  Kathryn still held herself tightly.

“You can’t take that chance.  No one can know.  Please Peter…I need some painkiller and a dermal regenerator…”  He laughed at her and went to turn away but her voice stopped him.

“Why take the risk…?  What harm would it do…?”  Some of the wisdom of her words seemed to penetrate his mind and he turned, staring hard at her.

“Maybe…”  Without another word, he left the brig, leaving Kathryn to sag against the wall, desperate to stay on her feet.  Several minutes later, he returned, carrying a small regenerator and a hypo.

“Stand back…”  He didn’t wait for her to try and move, seeing for himself that she seemed incapable of moving at that moment and was no threat.  He lowered the barrier and tossed the items onto the cot then re-activated it.  Without another word, he turned his back on her.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn sat painfully on the edge of the cot, her back to Jenkins and pressed the hypo to her neck.  Almost immediately, her pain eased and she breathed a little more easily.  She fought her tears as she worked the dermal regenerator over her bruises, along her ribs and on her wrists and forced her mind to almost shut down, concentrating only on what she was doing.

As she worked, she had no idea that Tuvok was working on Chakotay, performing the mind meld that would restore the Maquis terrorist to the gentle First Officer they all knew, before they re-took the bridge together.  She eased herself forward a little, noting blood smeared on her upper thighs and closed her eyes.  She looked around in search of her panties and saw them on the floor beside her.  She leaned down, hissing in pain and retrieved them, easing them back on, tying them where they had been torn.  She drew in a few deep breaths, willing the remaining pain away, then slipped the top of her dress off, still keeping the blanket around her shoulders, hiding her body from Jenkins, whose eyes she knew watched her.  She quickly took her bra off and replaced her dress, then folded the bra and slipped it into her panties, needing something to soak up the bleeding which wouldn’t seem to stop.

Kathryn turned her head slowly and saw Jenkins watching her, a strange look in his eyes.  She looked away from him quickly and fixed her dress as best she could then picked up the regenerator, one hand feeling at her face to try and heal any bruising there, trying to work without a mirror.  She was just finished healing her lip, cut from where she had bitten down on it, and was attempting to heal the bruise she knew must be on her cheek and jaw, when she heard voices
behind her, instantly recognizing Chakotay’s and Tuvok’s, as they disarmed Peter Jenkins.  Without thinking, she slipped the dermal regenerator and hypospray under the mattress and pulled the blanket tightly around her.  Chakotay’s voice reached her ears, soft and hesitant.

“Kathryn…Captain…”  She turned her head slightly, keeping the bruised side of her face from him and forced her expression to appear neutral.  Her eyes met his and she saw everything she had feared written there.  Pain and guilt covered his features as his eyes met hers.  She turned away and drew in a deep shuddering breath and stood slowly, ignoring the pain she still felt, determined that he wouldn’t see it.  She turned to face him, grateful that the lights in the brig were still low. 

“I thought you might like your ship back…”  His small attempt at humour didn’t hide his real feelings and he barely managed to hold her eyes.

“I take it the mutiny is over…?  No more rebellion?”  She fought to keep any emotion from her voice.  Part of her wanted to lash out, the rest just wanted to fall into his arms and cry.  She did neither.  She watched his face carefully.

“It took another mind meld with Tuvok…but I’m fine.”  She nodded and looked behind him, seeing her Security Officer melding with Jenkins.  She knew she needed to get out of there quickly.

“I see…”  She moved painfully to the edge of the brig and waited, hoping he wouldn’t notice how stiffly she walked.  Chakotay saw her looking towards Tuvok as he melded with Jenkins and his voice was soft when he spoke.

“Tuvok’s job was a little easier with me…”  She turned her eyes to him now, seeing his pain, but trying to harden herself to it.  “He said I was apparently weakening already.  We believe it was the memory of seeing you here, knowing you were here and it was getting to me…  He sensed that in the meld…”  His pain was even evident in his voice and she knew he was clutching desperately to any hold available to secure him to what had been between them before all the madness.  Kathryn just stared at him.

“Too bad it didn’t work a bit earlier…”  She instantly regretted her slip of the tongue but her emotions were so raw at this moment.  She saw its effect on her friend as his eyes widened.

“What…?”  She shook her head quickly.

“Nothing…”  She turned her head away and looked behind her, still hiding her face.  Suddenly she saw the crumpled sheet covering the cot and noticed some stains there.  She stepped back quickly and pulled it from its folds, forcing her emotions down as she pulled it around her.  Chakotay watched her, his expression sad.

“Are you cold…?”  Kathryn quickly shook her head and moved back to the edge of the brig.  She tried to hide her emotions behind righteous anger.

“If you’d be so kind…?”  She waited and watched as he shook himself and quickly lowered the security barrier.  As Kathryn went to move past him, he suddenly caught her arm.

“What’s that on your face…?”  She heard the concern in his voice and tried to pull away, hiding her face from him.  She could see Jenkins beginning to come back to himself and knew she needed to get away.

“It’s nothing…”  Chakotay wasn’t put off that easily though and moved around in front of her, taking her chin in his hand and raising her face to his.

“If it’s nothing, why are you trying to hide it…?  Let me see…”  He looked at her face closely.  “Kathryn, where did you get this bruise?  Did one of us do this…?”  Kathryn pulled away quickly.

“I said it’s nothing.  I fell…that’s all…”  Chakotay refused to let her arm go.

“Kathryn, please…  what happened….?”  She saw Tuvok look at her now also and pulled her mask into place tightly.

“Commander…”  Hiding behind rank seemed the best thing.  “I fell in the brig and hit my face.  I woke up and forgot where I was with the lights down.”  She fixed him with a cold stare.  “I’m not exactly used to waking up in the brig.”  Her last words were cold and hard and she knew she’d hurt him but she couldn’t let him know the truth.  She looked towards Tuvok and saw the look of horror on the face of Peter Jenkins as he stood beside the Vulcan and began to remember.  She knew she had to act quickly.

“Now, I take it I’m the Captain again and that this is my ship once more…that I have it back?”  Chakotay nodded but his face showed his hurt and pain.  “Good.  You’re not in charge anymore and you don’t give orders to me.  I ask the questions…not you.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my ship…”  She looked away from her friend, before she saw even more hurt there.  His voice when he spoke was a whisper.

“Aye, Captain…”  She looked at Tuvok quickly, needing to know that he was all right, chancing the brief delay it would take to ask.

“Tuvok, are you all right?”  He nodded.

“I’m in control again, Captain,”  She heard Chakotay’s soft voice behind her.

“Whatever you said to him…it worked…”  She knew how bad he felt, heard it in his voice and turned to him, offering the only crumb she could.

“It’s good to have you back, Commander…”  She looked away quickly from the sad brown eyes, feeling her emotions threaten a mutiny of their own.  She went to move away and saw him cross to Jenkins, speaking to the confused young man.

“Ensign Jenkins, I need your report…”  Kathryn turned quickly, a panic rising in her.

“That will do later…”  She glanced at the young Ensign for just a moment.  “Get all crew who were affected by this to sickbay and have the Doctor check them over…”   When no one moved, she hardened her voice even more.  “That means IMMEDIATELY.  If your memories are back, I assume you still remember how to take and obey orders…”  Even Tuvok seemed to shrink under her glare.

“Aye, Captain…”  She heard the three of them answer softly together as she turned to Chakotay.  “As to those involved in making reports, I can give my own orders where that is concerned.  You’ve done my job for long enough.”  She cried inside, hating having to be so cruel to him, but knew she had to keep him from the truth at any cost.  “As one who was involved, I would prefer you stay away from this.  I’ll handle this myself and take care of the debriefings.  You speak to no one.  That means all of you.  Is that understood?”  She had to look away quickly at the look of hurt on Chakotay’s face, knowing that he felt she didn’t trust him.  She continued to hide behind the Captain.

“Right.  Get those involved to the Doctor…that includes you Commander Chakotay and you Tuvok…  Take Jenkins with you…”  She kept her eyes to the floor, unable to look at the man who had hurt her so much.  It took all her strength to just say his name.  “After that,  I want you to check over all systems and get a report to me by the morning.”  She stopped suddenly.  “What time is it now…?”  She realized she had no idea of how much time had passed since everything had fallen apart.  Tuvok answered her.

“It is already morning, Captain.  The time is approximately 03:30.”  Kathryn cut him off by raising her hand.

“Very well…by 16:00 then.  Dismissed.”  She turned away, desperate to leave.   Chakotay followed her and spoke quietly to her.

“Kathryn…please…we need to talk about this…”  She pulled her arm from his gentle grip, seeing more hurt cloud his eyes.

“Report to the Doctor…get some sleep and have your report to me by 16:00.  Goodnight, Commander…”  She walked away, holding herself stiffly and biting back her pain.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay watched his Captain and friend walk stiffly down the corridor, the blanket and crumpled sheet covering her thin shoulders.  He saw the way she held herself, but put it down to anger rather than pain.  Her face filled his mind, the bruising on her cheek in particular and he shook his head, trying to get his mind to work.  Something didn’t fit and yet why would she need to lie…?  His musings were interrupted by Tuvok and Jenkins, the Ensign appearing confused still.

“Commander, I would suggest we follow the Captain’s orders and report to sickbay.  After that, we can complete our work and write up our reports.”  Chakotay’s head snapped around and he nodded slowly.

“Right…yes…”  His legs began walking towards sickbay, his mind not even thinking about it.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn passed through the corridors, nodding to crewmembers, giving her best Captain’s act, silently reassuring them all that she was fine and that everything was back to normal.  It was easy to pick out the former Maquis, the ones who found it difficult to meet her eyes.  She managed to hold out until she reached her quarters and the doors slid closed behind her.  She then stumbled to her bed and lay down on her side, careful to avoid causing herself any more pain.  As she lay there in the semi darkness, she finally let her tears fall full force.  She sobbed into her pillow, physical and emotional pain engulfing her as her hands gripped the bedclothes beneath her.

“God damn you to hell, Thiro.  I hope you burn there…”  She cried bitterly for about twenty minutes, before she forced herself to stop.  She then sat up on the edge of the bed and wiped at her face.

“That’s the last of it, Kathryn.  No more tears on this.  You’ve shown enough weakness to last you a year…”  She pulled herself up and went to the bathroom, stripping off every item of clothing she wore.  Padding across the bedroom and into the living room, she recycled everything, including the blanket and sheet, and made her way back to the bathroom, where she spent the next half hour under a hot water shower, crying once more, despite her earlier promise to herself and tried to ignore the stinging pain between her legs.  She watched her blood mix with the water as it flowed away and cried even harder. 

Pulling herself from the shower at last, she stood in front of the mirror and examined herself.  Bruising was still evident on her ribs, back and arms and she opened a drawer and took out her own dermal regenerator, making sure she did the job right this time, having more time to work now.  She spent the next half hour healing everything she could, even trying to heal the tears she knew she had inside her.  What she couldn’t reach, would have to heal in its own time.  She sighed and shook her head sadly.  “Thanks to your booster, at least you won’t get pregnant…”  She almost broke down again before she drew in a deep breath and regained her control.  She replicated an old-fashioned style sanitary towel, knowing the modern day tampons wouldn’t do and would only hurt her.  She dressed quickly, slipping the pad inside her panties.  She reached
back into the drawer and pulled out a painkilling hypo, one of many she kept hidden with her private medical supplies, and injected herself with it. 

Stepping back into the bedroom, she looked around and saw that everything was as she had left it.  Chakotay obviously hadn’t used her quarters after all.  Forcing her mind to the present, she took her old uniform and recycled that also, replicating herself a new one, along with four new pips.  When she finally felt ready, she studied her reflection in the mirror and sighed sadly.  She looked as she had the previous morning when she had prepared for her day, not knowing what was to come.

Kathryn stared hard into her own eyes, moving closer to the mirror, studying her face closely.  There was a hardness there now and she knew her eyes showed her pain.

“It’s over, Captain.  Get back to work.  You’ve a job to do so get on with it.  He can’t know.  It would kill him to know.  Put it behind you.  You can be strong enough.”  With a last look at herself, she turned and left her quarters, her mask more firmly in place than it had ever been before.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn's first stop was the bridge, satisfying herself that the ship was running smoothly and everything was in order.  Despite forcing her mind to almost close down to all but business matters, a sudden thought struck her and she handed the bridge over to the young Lieutenant who was on duty and almost ran for the turbo lift. 

Kathryn stood outside the brig now and took several deep breaths, forcing her legs to move her forward.  Checking again that no one was around, she stepped inside and closed her eyes as she saw the crumpled state of the cot, the bottom sheet pulled from its folds and creased.  Telling herself she was strong, that she could do this, had to do this, she opened her eyes and moved forward, her hand searching under the mattress until she found the hypo and dermal regenerator she had hidden there earlier.  She jumped now when she heard Chakotay’s voice behind her.

“Miss the place already…?”  Her shocked expression wiped the slight smile from his face immediately.  “I’m sorry.  That wasn’t…  Bad joke and bad timing…”  Kathryn stood quickly, hiding the two items behind her back.

“I thought I ordered you to sickbay, Commander…”  Chakotay’s face fell.

“Doc’s already cleared me.  I was starting my rounds…”  Kathryn barely nodded and brushed past him.

“As you were then…”  Before he could utter another word, she was gone. 

^^^^^^^^^^

Over the next four hours, Kathryn toured her ship, talking to and reassuring everyone she came across.  She checked on Tom Paris and made sure he was healing well after being stunned by Chakotay, taking a report from the Doctor also who informed her that there would be no after-effects from the control, that it was completely broken now and that all those involved were fully back to themselves.  Relieved by that news, she moved on and spoke quietly with every Starfleet crewmember she came across, reassuring them that it was all behind them now, making sure they didn’t blame their former Maquis crewmates for what had happened. 

She deliberately sought out the ex-Maquis, taking more time with them, telling them over and over that they had never been at fault for the events of the last days.  She watched as they hung onto her every word, desperate for absolution from their Captain. 


Finally she sought out B'Elanna, only to find the Klingon in Engineering, taking out her anger on a piece of conduit as she cursed and grunted to get it back in place.  She jumped and her face fell when she saw her Captain leaning over her.

“B'Elanna, please…”  The Engineer stood up slowly.

“Captain, I’m so sorry…I wish so much that…”  She looked up tearfully as Kathryn laid a gentle hand on her arm.

“B'Elanna, I’ll say to you what I’ve said to everyone else.  You were not at fault here.  You’re not to blame in any way.  Thiro controlled all this.  The only blame here lies with him.  That said, it’s over now and we get back to normal.  We put this behind us.  If we let it stay with us, he’s still controlling us all.  It’s over.  Everything is fine again…”  B'Elanna nodded tearfully.

“I want to believe that but…”  She looked around her.  “It all looks the same but I’m not and I don’t think I ever will be again.  We all feel like that…the ones who…  His control is gone but a part of him is still with me…”  Her eyes pleaded for understanding and Kathryn swallowed and nodded.

“I understand…”  B'Elanna shook her head.

“Do you really?  Can you honestly tell me that you’ll be able to put what happened to you in the last day or so away for good?  I don’t think so…”  She saw Kathryn pale before her eyes.  “Oh Captain…are you all right?  I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to sound so angry…it’s just…”  Kathryn quickly regained her composure.

“B'Elanna, I’m fine.  I’m very tired and I need to eat something but I’m fine.”  She smiled, trying to show what she hoped was reassurance.  “Look, I know it will take us all some time to move past this, but we will, because we have to.  The best way to do that is to get back to normal…back to our routine…as quickly as possible.  I’ll take everyone’s report by 16:00 and talk with you all privately.  Outside of that, it’s back to business as usual.  That’s the best way to beat this.”  B'Elanna smiled sadly.

“I know you’re right and I’ll try…really I will.”  She kept her eyes down for a moment and then looked up at her Captain.  “You’re a wonderful person, Captain.  If I was in your shoes, I’d have spaced us all.”  Kathryn allowed herself a genuine smile for the first time.

“Who’d run the ship then…?”  The two women shared a private smile, speaking of the beginning of the recovery of their friendship.  B'Elanna surprised Kathryn then when she leaned in and hugged her.

“Thank you.  For understanding and for being so…for being you…”  She pulled back, both their eyes awash with tears.  “Starfleet can’t be all bad, I guess.”  Kathryn frowned slightly.  “They know how to make good Captains…”  They both laughed through their tears. 

“Just remember that when I’m ordering you to get me warp six and the engines are dead or when the plasma manifolds need cleaning or when…”  She didn’t finish and they both laughed.  Kathryn squeezed her hand tightly.

“It’s over, B'Elanna.  Let it stay in the past where it belongs.  We’re family on this ship.  Nothing can break that bond for long…  Don’t ever forget that…”  She knew she was trying to convince herself more than the woman before her. 

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn's last port of call before trying to rest, was to Peter Jenkins.  She returned to her quarters first and took another painkiller, mentally preparing herself for the visit.  She had checked with the computer and learned that he had been released from sickbay, having been given the all clear, along with every other crewmember.

She stood outside his door now, taking deep breaths, praying for what she needed to get through this.  Finally she rang his chime and heard his voice calling for admittance.  She steeled herself and entered.

Peter Jenkins was sitting on the floor in the corner of his living room with the lights low.  He jumped up immediately when he saw his Captain and backed away from her.

“Cap…Captain…please go…leave…you shouldn’t…shouldn’t…be here…  I was… thought…thought you were…security…”  He couldn’t meet her eyes as she forced herself to move further into the room.

“Why were you expecting security?  Who have you told?”  Kathryn forced her voice to sound calm.  He met her eyes fleetingly.

“I spoke to no one…but surely you did…  I deserve…”  Kathryn closed her eyes a moment, trying to steady her nerves.  When she opened them, she looked around for a chair.

“Ensign Jenkins, please sit down.  We need to speak about this…”  He barely nodded and took a chair well away from her.  Kathryn remained standing. 

“I haven’t spoken to anyone and I don’t intend to.  What…”  She swallowed.  “What happened…is over…  It’s not important…”  Peter’s head snapped up.

“Not important?  Captain, I…I…what I did…I…”  Kathryn shook her head quickly.

“Please don’t say the word.  I’m not ready for that…”  She instantly regretted her own words, the brief loss of her tenuous control.  She closed her eyes again and drew in several deep breaths, preparing to speak the words she had rehearsed earlier.

“Ensign Jenkins…listen carefully to me now.  I’m speaking to you at this moment as your Captain so hear me well.”  She forced herself to meet his eyes, instantly seeing that the man before her was not the same man who had been in the brig with her.  This man was frightened, filled with guilt and remorse, pained beyond reason at the knowledge and memory of his own actions and it helped her to see that.  She moved to sit across from him and held his eyes.

“I’m not important here.  Nor are you.  There’s a far bigger picture here.”  She heard her voice strengthen as she spoke on and drew inner strength from it. 

“This crew was divided once before…at the start of this journey.  It took a lot of hard work and effort on everyone’s part to unite us all into one crew…one family…to be able to live and work together.  It took courage and a strong will to leave the past behind, but we did it.”  She watched as his eyes remained on her face now.

“I won’t stand by now and see all that destroyed.  What has happened the last few days has threatened everything we worked for and everything we achieved.  Everything we ALL achieved, not just the ex-Maquis.”  She stood now, needing to pace, to move.

“I’ve been walking around this ship for the past four hours or so, and you know what I see?”  She looked back at him and saw him shake his head.  “I look around and I see walls being rebuilt, damage being repaired, friendships and relationships being mended…even this soon…”  She had to look away at that, thinking of Chakotay and how she had had to hurt him.  She wondered briefly if their friendship would survive all this.  She turned back to Peter Jenkins now.

“I won’t let anything stop that.  This ship and this crew come first.  I will not let Thiro succeed.  If we let this continue on now, we’ll be doing his work for him.”  Peter seemed to find his voice and a little courage to use it.

“This was different…”  Kathryn cut him off.

“No…”  Peter refused to let her speak.

“Yes.”  He stood and saw her move back a little from him and wanted to cry.  “I  won’t hurt you, Captain.”  Kathryn cursed herself.

“I know you won’t.  I’m sorry…”  Peter held his hand up.

“I understand.  You’ve every reason to believe…”  They stared at each other for a moment until Kathryn spoke.

“Peter…”  He seemed to snap out of it.

“Captain, this is different and you know it.  I can’t ever forget what I did and there’s no way you’ll ever forget…  I need to try and explain to you…to deal with this…understand how I could have done that…why I did…”  He dragged his hands through his fair hair.  “I need to say how sorry I am…beg your forgiveness.  We have to talk about this.  We need to…”  Kathryn was twisting her fingers together and cut him off.

“Well, I can’t…”  She stopped and lowered her head.  “You deal with this alone in your own way…as I will…  I can’t talk about it…”  Peter shook his head and looked around him.

“Captain, I hurt you very badly…what I did…the cruel things I said…”  Kathryn's raised voice made him jump.

“Stop it…”  Seeming shocked at her own outburst, she closed her eyes a moment to regain control.  When she opened them again, she looked at the man before her.  “I can’t…”  Peter shook his head sadly. 

“I have to tell Commander Chakotay…”  Kathryn seemed to panic at that and she moved forward, Peter stepping back this time as if afraid.

“Leave Chakotay out of this…”  She stopped, shocked at the strength of her own words.

“Captain, he has to know…”  Kathryn moved forward again.

“No.  He has enough guilt of his own to deal with over all this…”  Her eyes pleaded with him and he saw the truth of all the rumours there.

“That’s the main reason for this.  It’s for him.  You really love him, don’t you…?”  He stopped suddenly, shocked.  “Captain, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…”  Kathryn either ignored him or didn’t quite hear him.

“We bury this here and now…never speak of it again…”  The Captain quickly took control again.  “Thiro caused us all to suffer.  We’re all victims.  We bury this and if I have to make that an order, I will.  We’ll just have to live with it.  I’ll just have to learn to live with it and so will you.  You weren’t yourself.  None of you were…you’re not to blame…”  She looked around the room a moment, not really seeing anything.  Peter’s voice broke the silence.

“Captain, how can I make you understand that letting this go only makes me feel worse.”  Kathryn met his eyes and saw that they were awash with tears, the man’s pain almost corporeal.  “I need you to punish me for this…for what I did…”  He sighed deeply and moved from one foot to the other.

“We’ll see each other every day…most days anyway…  I can’t live with that and I don’t for one moment believe that you can either.”  He looked deeply into her eyes.  “Captain, you’re one strong woman…one very strong person…but no one is that strong…”  Kathryn allowed some anger to show, knowing it was mostly pain and fear disguised.

“You need to be punished?”  Her voice rose and she saw him nod.  “Well, think on this.  You said this is hard….?”  Again he nodded.  “Then think of that as your punishment.  You have to live with this every day and keep it quiet.  That’s your punishment.”  They stared at each other for almost a full minute, Kathryn's eyes daring him to argue back.  Still too upset and filled with guilt, Peter Jenkins finally nodded.

“I’ll try but…”  Kathryn moved a little closer to him, forcing herself to do it.

“You’ll do more than try, Ensign.  You’ll do it.  This ends here and now.  It never happened and we never speak of it again.  Is that understood?”  Once again he nodded, but he couldn’t meet her eyes for long.  With that, Kathryn turned and fled his quarters, almost running back to her own.

^^^^^^^^^^




ON TO PART TWO.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.



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