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

                     them. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Rating:          NC17.

Summary:     When a trading mission to a misogynistic world goes disastrously

                      wrong, the away team members are left to pick up the pieces.

                      Despite being back on board Voyager, the threat still looms.

                      Can Kathryn and Chakotay ever put their lives back together?



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




              The idea for this story came from Betrayed by Crusher.  Many thanks for her  

              permission to use it.

              Check out her stories at http://www.geocities.com/believe1013/





THE DEAREST AND THE BEST.


PART ONE.



Chakotay sat uneasily in his chair and risked a sideways glance at his Captain, not knowing whether to laugh or be nervous by the barely controlled expression of anger on her face.  He forced his eyes forward again, before she caught him watching her and tried to focus on the words of the Ularian Ambassador, as he droned on and on about the conditions which had to be met before any trade between Ular and Voyager could be undertaken.

While half his mind took in the long-winded speech of the alien, the other half studied the room in which they sat.  Kathryn and four other women from the ship, B'Elanna included, were the only females present and as a result, stood out.  The Ambassador was surrounded by male attendants, the only Ularian females Chakotay had seen so far, having been quickly dismissed once they had served their ‘master’ and his guests with refreshments.  The fact that their faces had been covered, had not been missed by any of the crew.  He let his eyes scan the room, the long table and high backed chairs the only furnishing and the light being provided by small windows high up in the rough stone walls.  What resembled tapestries, hung from the same walls, depicting scenes of previous battles, where members of the Ularian race tore others limb from limb, in images of blood and gore. 

Chakotay looked once more at his Captain and the other women from Voyager, knowing how uneasily all this sat with them.  He had been informed that ‘his females’ were not permitted to sit at the table with their male counterparts, but were required to sit back from them.  They had also
been required to dress according to local custom, their bodies well covered with loose robes and a form of scarf on their heads.  They were at least allowed to show their faces and attend these meetings, the only concessions permitted to them as visitors.  The Ularian women would never have been allowed to show their faces, especially those who were mated.  Their only purpose, according to the Ularian leader, was work and child bearing.  Chakotay had actually been proud of Kathryn and especially B'Elanna, when they had managed to accept these terms, without causing a full-scale riot.   For now, he forced his mind to concentrate on the matter at hand.

When Ambassador Brolar finished speaking, he rose quickly, his arrogance assuming that no one would question his words, and with a snap of his fingers, left the room, his gesture ensuring that his entourage was right behind him.  Chakotay sighed with relief and turned slowly to look at Kathryn, knowing what was coming.

“The damned cheek…”  Her words weren’t loud but he could hear how indignant she was.  He saw however, how she understood that they had little choice in the matter.  This government refused to deal with females directly or even indirectly, but Voyager was in dire need of supplies and at this moment, the supplies came first and Chakotay saw that Kathryn knew that only too well.

“Am I supposed to be grateful that he at least allows us mere females to tag along behind you superior males…?”  Chakotay did his best to keep a straight face but was rapidly losing the battle, a fact which only seemed to irk his Captain more.  He watched as she nodded to the others, silently telling them that they were dismissed and he watched them leave, seeing B'Elanna’s struggle to hold her tongue until they were out of earshot.

“This is his world and we’re the visitors Kathryn.  We’re lucky to have won the concession of having women here at all.  Besides, you said it yourself.  Voyager badly needs these supplies.  It’s only for a few days…”  Kathryn nodded reluctantly as they stood and slowly let a tiny smile invade her features.

“You’re probably enjoying this.”  He bit his lip to keep his laugh from bubbling to the surface.  Kathryn smiled a little herself and shook her head.  “Tom’s certainly trying to make the most of it although B'Elanna isn’t letting him away with it…”  Chakotay gave up trying to hold his laughter back.

“I actually pity Tom when B'Elanna gets him back on Voyager.  He’ll pay big time…”  Kathryn allowed herself a small laugh.

“I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that one…”  Chakotay’s eyes widened.

“Really Captain, are you telling me you have some voyeuristic tendencies I know nothing of…?”  Kathryn laughed and slapped his arm.

“Watch it, Commander…”  Chakotay gave her a mock stern look.

“Now woman, remember your place…”  He yelped when she smacked his arm again.  “Watch it.  I might just have to report you to Ambassador Brolar and let him deal with you.  I mean really.  An inferior female daring to strike a superior male…”  He barely jumped back in time to avoid another smack and stopped suddenly when he saw an Ularian male attendant watching them closely.  He moved back to Kathryn now and took her arm.

“Just play along with me.  We’re being watched…”  Kathryn nodded quietly but whispered just loud enough for Chakotay to hear.

“Just you wait until we get back to Voyager.  Tom isn’t the only one who’ll need the Doctor…”  Chakotay groaned softly.

“Oh God, I can’t wait…”  They both nodded curtly to the attendant as they passed and returned to the small cabin like structure they had been issued with for their stay.  The building was on the outskirts of the city, well away from the lights and noise of the main population and they enjoyed the peace and quiet.  Kathryn in particular could never wait to get back to their cabin and strip off the restrictive robes and scarf the women had to wear and knew B'Elanna and the others felt the same way.  They were cumbersome, hot, and damned uncomfortable. 

The rest of the away team had been issued with similar accommodation to that of their Captain and Commander, near enough to each other for contact but far enough away to ensure privacy for each set of occupants.  Kathryn sat quietly now on the bed in their cabin while Chakotay took a shower and let her mind wander.  It had been almost two months now since she had finally let him into her life and just over a month since she had let him into her bed and she hadn’t regretted her decision for one second.  She smiled softly to herself as memories flitted across her mind of their time together, tinged with an element of sadness that she hadn’t gone to him a lot sooner.  Her thoughts then switched to their present situation.

Voyager had been running low on many vital supplies when they came across Ular and within seconds of being hailed by the Ularian authorities, Kathryn had understood that problems lay ahead, the Official on the viewscreen refusing immediately to deal with any female and demanding to speak with the highest ranking male Officer instead.  Forcing herself to stay calm, Kathryn had stood back a little and let Chakotay take over with First Contact.  From that time on, she had been permitted to attend negotiations, but only as a silent observer and she knew how hard they had had to fight for this concession.  Tom accompanied them, along with B'Elanna, whose knowledge and expertise were vital but they were reduced to communicating through messages on padds, the women denied the right to speak in the presence of the male Officials.  Kathryn had watched with well hidden annoyance and occasionally some humour, as B'Elanna had struggled to contain her temper. 

Their away team was also comprised of Harry Kim, Joe Carey and Ensign Gary Cole from Engineering, along with Megan Delaney, Sam Wildman and Ensign Janice Porter who was taking care of checking all their foodstuffs.  Kathryn would have preferred to have had Neelix with them, but the Talaxian was confined to his bed for the next week with a virus and Ensign Porter who worked closely with him was the next best for the job. 

Kathryn  smiled to herself as she thought of how they looked, five men with what appeared to be their female attendants in tow.  Despite the slight honour of the situation, she felt worried also and shook her head slowly, just wanting this mission over with.

Their hosts had insisted that the away team remain on the surface while negotiations were taking place and the rooms had been provided for them, each ‘couple’ being paired off.  Kathryn was fine about sharing with Chakotay, comfortable now with the crew knowing of their relationship and while she knew that Tom and B'Elanna would have shared rooms anyway, she was well aware that the others were uncomfortable with the arrangements.

She shook her head and smiled at the memory of the terror filled look on Harry Kim’s face when he learned that he had been given a cabin with Megan Delaney.  Megan had simply taken everything in her stride, appearing not to mind in the least, while Joe and Sam had seemed embarrassed yet a little eager at the opportunity.  Kathryn smiled again to herself, knowing her suspicions regarding this couple were being proved correct.  Gary Cole and Janice Porter had simply blushed deeply but had made no comment, their Starfleet training winning out over their personal feelings.   The Ularians had simply expected that their male visitors would and should have a female to fill their bed at night.

Chakotay emerged now from the bathroom, a towel draped around his waist, droplets of water still dotting his shoulders and back after his shower.  He smiled as he studied his Captain and lover as she sat on the bed, her head down as she played with some loose hairs caught within the hairbrush she held.  He moved over to her slowly and sat down on the bed beside her.

“Are you all right?  You look light years away…”  She blinked and came out of her reverie, offering a small smile in his direction.

“Sorry, love…just thinking about this whole situation.  I can’t shake off a feeling of…  I don’t know what I feel…just…”  Chakotay took the brush from her hands and turned her slightly, stroking her hair before brushing it for her, knowing he was running the bristles through her hair for his own enjoyment more than anything else.  He was capable of sitting for hours brushing out her hair, feeling the silky strands through his fingers.

“Look, Kathryn, we’ve only two more days of this then we’ll be on our way again.  I know they make you very uncomfortable but we’ve been through this before.  We’ve come across other societies like this…”  Kathryn sighed and barely nodded, savouring the sensations of the man she loved running his fingers and the brush through her hair.  If she wasn’t careful, she’d fall asleep like this.

“I know we have but…  and it’s not just their misogynistic attitudes that bother me…or the way they treat their own women.  God, they cover them up and treat them as if they barely exist.  They serve and provide their children and don’t exist outside of that.”  She sighed deeply and drew patterns on the bed cover with her fingers.  “I guess I just feel there’s something more…more sinister here…  I mean the way they watch us so closely…like earlier…that aide…and I don’t like the hostility I feel from them every time they look at me and the other women… especially me and B'Elanna… as if there’s something more I just haven’t put my finger on…”  Chakotay stilled his hands a moment and nodded thoughtfully.

“I know what you mean.  Look, we’ll just have to be careful for the next two days…maybe even just a day if things keep going as well as they have been with negotiations…  Sam, Megan and Janice are fine…aren’t drawing any attention…”  Kathryn smiled and turned back to face him.

“That’s because they haven’t a relationship to hide.  It’s a lot harder for B’Elanna and me.  Megan, Janice and Sam are also used to…  I don’t mean this in a bad way but they’re used to taking orders from Harry or Joe…and…”  Chakotay nodded his understanding and smiled.

“I know what you’re trying to say.  They’re subordinates on the ship and that carries on here.  Well with the exception of Gary who’s equal in rank to Janice but…”  He held his hand up when she went to speak.  “Kathryn, I know what you mean.  There’s nothing but respect there from these men for any crewmember, the women no different than the men but at the end of the day, Harry and Joe are higher in rank.  That’s just the fact of the matter and it’s bound to show in some way.  Technically, that’s just the way it is and the way we have to play it up for these people, until we get what we want and can get out of here.  I know it’s above the call of duty asking them to share quarters but it’s what’s expected here and like the old saying goes, ‘when in Rome’…”  Kathryn sighed deeply and nodded, knowing they had no other choice.

“I’m well aware that B'Elanna and I are drawing more attention from them.  I guess we just appear stronger.  As you said, I know it’s a fallout from the command structure on Voyager.  We’re trying to play it down but it’s not easy to be someone you’re not.”  She shook her head and sighed.  “I just hope we can get this all settled tomorrow.  With any luck, we can be out of here by the next day.  I’d prefer to leave as soon as we conclude our business but…”  Chakotay blew out a breath.

“I know.  They have this lavish dinner in celebration of good business or whatever they call it…  After tonight, we’ll have one more night on this planet and then we’re gone.  I’d have preferred to leave immediately after the banquet too but it’s considered bad manners to do that.”  He smiled, trying to lighten the mood.  “Besides, another night of passion on shore leave with the woman I love isn’t too much of a strain.  At least in this cabin, we can be ourselves and you can boss me around….”  He expected Kathryn to laugh but instead saw a worried and serious look on her face and his smile altered quickly to a frown.  “Kathryn…?”  She shook her head slightly, her voice
low and hesitant.

“I don’t ever…make you feel…well…”  Chakotay’s frown grew deeper and he leaned back a little from her.  “I know I’m your Captain but when we’re alone…off duty…”  She hesitated a moment and stared deeply into his eyes, a worried look in them.  “Do I boss you around or ever make you feel…less…or…?”  Chakotay shook his head, understanding her now.

“That was a joke.  Kathryn, listen to me.  On duty, you’re my Captain.  That was established already and that’s the way it works.  I have no problems with that and never have had any.  You know that.  I acknowledged you as Captain the first day…”  He saw her nod but she still seemed unsure.

“I know that…but…  I mean with us…off duty…  I don’t pull rank or use my position…”  Chakotay stroked her face and hair.

“Kathryn Janeway, you never make me feel less than what I am…  In fact, you make me feel more than I ever believed I could be.  You don’t ever diminish my belief in myself…as a man or as an Officer…  We’re equals when we’re together and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  On duty, you’re my Captain and I’ll always follow your orders, even when I disagree…”  He smiled slightly.  “When it’s just Kathryn and Chakotay, I would never want us to be anything other than equal in everything we do and say.  You have never made me feel otherwise and I love you for that.  Our ranks have always stayed outside the door when it’s just us.  Even before we got together…when we were just friends…that still stood.”  His face was serious now, getting the truth of his words across to her and he saw her smile and nod, accepting that truth.  He smiled now.  “However, in bed… maybe I like to be commanded there too sometimes…”  She saw his desire and surrendered her serious look.

“Oh really?  Well…there are times I don’t mind being commanded there either.  After a long day of being Captain…it’s nice to have someone else give the orders…”  Chakotay raised an eyebrow.

“Oh I see…well in that case…”  Kathryn screamed as he jumped on her and pinned her to the bed, his body hard against hers.  “Prepare to be commanded then Captain…”  He smiled down at her, his desire showing clearly in more ways than one.  Kathryn leered up at him.

“Well come on then superior male…take me…”  He didn’t need to be told twice.

^^^^^^^^^^

Negotiations went smoothly the next day, Brolar and the other Officials dealing swiftly with Chakotay and the other men, while they totally ignored Kathryn and the women.  On the odd occasion when Chakotay needed to check something with Kathryn, the Officials didn’t even try to hide their disgust that any male would seek the permission or input of a female on any matter.  Kathryn and the other women were well aware of the looks they received from Brolar and the Ularian males but held their emotions well in check.

By the end of the day, all business had been taken care of to the satisfaction of all parties and the negotiations were declared a success by Brolar.  He gave them curt instructions about the banquet which would take place that evening and promised that all supplies would be aboard Voyager before that time.  With this, he immediately left the room.

“Thank God that’s all finally over.”  Kathryn leaned back in her chair and rubbed the back of her neck, trying to ignore the feelings that stirred inside her as a result of the look on Chakotay’s face as he watched her.  She hid her smile and knew that within minutes of entering the privacy of their rooms, a satisfying neck rub would come her way.  She also knew what it would lead to.  She briefly wondered how he could even begin to find her attractive at this moment though, barely able to see any part of her.  She shut her train of thought off and spoke to her crewmembers.  “Right, that’s all dealt with.  Now we just need to get through this evening.  Relax until then.”

They all nodded their agreement and returned to their cabins.

^^^^^^^^^^

Just before they left for the celebration dinner that evening, Kathryn checked in with Tuvok, and ascertained that all supplies had been beamed aboard Voyager.  Satisfied with all matters relating to their trade, she informed the Vulcan that they would return to the ship early the next morning and closed the link.

“I feel better with Tuvok remaining on Voyager and knowing that all our supplies are onboard takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.  Once we get through this damned banquet, I’ll feel a bit better but I don’t think I’ll really relax until we break orbit and get on our way again.”  Chakotay nodded as he helped her with the fasteners on the back of the restrictive robe she was required to wear.

“This time tomorrow, you’ll wonder why you ever worried about any of it…”  She lifted her hand and covered one of his which rested on her shoulder.

“I hope you’re right.  I just still can’t shake this feeling…”  She gripped his hand a little tighter and drew in a deep breath.  “Come on, let’s just get this over with…”  She stood and turned into his arms, letting her lips brush his.

“Now, Kathryn…that’s not the way to get us moving out of here…”  He leaned in closer and trailed his lips down her neck through the fabric covering her, Kathryn dropping her head back and letting a slight moan escape her lips.  With superhuman strength, she pulled back.

“I know…I know.  Oh God…I just want to stay here and…”  Chakotay pulled back too. 

“Come on…let’s go.  We’ll never get out of here otherwise…”  Holding hands, they left the cabin and made their way out.

^^^^^^^^^^

Voyager’s away team gasped as they entered the lavish banqueting hall and witnessed the opulent spread which had been laid on to celebrate the conclusion of their negotiations.  Kathryn let her eyes scan the room, immediately noticing the lack of women in attendance, even as escorts.  Eventually she noticed a small group in the far corner of the hall and shook her head, wondering if they were there to serve, be watched or were part of the ‘entertainment’ later on for the Ularian male attendees.

They had all noticed the marked lack of Ularian females in evidence during their negotiations, except those who brought refreshments into the room where they met for business.  These women had always kept their heads well down and backed out of the room as quickly and quietly as possible, once they had set their trays down.  During the few times they had been on the streets of the capital city, the women they saw seemed to stay hidden in the shadows, pulling their female children along with them, while their male offspring walked arrogantly ahead of them, superiority being inbred into them at an early age.  Kathryn had been shocked to witness the insolent way these young boys addressed their mothers.

As she stood back a little from Chakotay now to avoid attracting attention, she noticed the other women on the team following her lead.  She looked back towards the far corner of the hall and shook her head sadly at the group of Ularian women huddled together, their heads down, not daring to make eye contact with any of the men present.  As she looked around her more closely, she then noticed a few women who mingled through the crowd, passing out drinks, but saw that they had their faces covered for the evening and closed her eyes a moment, an attempt to control her anger.

She opened her eyes again as she felt a hand on her arm and looked up to see Chakotay smiling down at her.  He leaned down and whispered quietly to her.

“Only a few more hours of this…three or four at the most…”  She smiled back at him and nodded her head.

“You read me too well…”  She looked round quickly as she caught Brolar approach them from the corner of her eye and looked down.  She knew well now that looking him directly in the eye was considered an insult.  They were close to leaving this world and all supplies were already onboard.  She wasn’t going to jeopardize their deal now.  She turned and looked to B'Elanna, sending her a tacit warning.  The young Klingon woman nodded her head slightly, letting her Captain know that she was trying her best. 

“Ahhh Commander Chakotay, welcome to you and your…people…”  Brolar smiled falsely and met eyes with only the men in the group, ignoring Kathryn and the women.  “I do hope you enjoy your evening and that the meal will be to your satisfaction.”  He hesitated a moment and let his eyes scan the women now, looking through them more than at them.  “Perhaps a little later, I could speak with you and your men alone.  It’s simply a tradition to acknowledge a negotiation well handled, an exchange of gratitude.  I’m sure your females won’t mind waiting for you here.”  He looked at Kathryn with a deep disgust.  Chakotay looked at Kathryn and met her eyes.  She barely nodded but saw that her exchange with her First Officer hadn’t gone unnoticed by the Ularian leader.  He didn’t even try and hide the contempt he felt.

“Of course, Ambassador…”  Brolar swept a hand in the air, changing his expression quickly.

“Excellent…  Well, eat now and enjoy the entertainment.  I’ll find you later and then you can all retire for the evening and be on your way in the morning.”  His eyes swept over Kathryn again and she felt herself shiver at the look in his eyes as they raked across her body.  Within seconds, he had moved away.

“What was that about?”  Chakotay looked at his Captain and saw how uncomfortable she was. 

“I’m not sure.  I just want to get this whole thing over with.  The sooner we leave here the better….”

Chakotay, Tom and the other men were seated at one table in the large hall, while Kathryn and the women were seated at a separate table a bit back from them.  The Ularians unease with this wasn’t missed by anyone.  They were making a sacrifice and wanted the fact well known.  The food was adequate to their taste buds and Kathryn concentrated on her food and quiet conversation with B'Elanna and Sam who sat each side of her.  They spoke softly and discussed mundane matters, making small talk to pass the time.  Once Brolar stood at the end of the meal, attendants rushed forward to clear the large tables and drinks were served.  Kathryn heaved a sign of relief as Ularian women, their faces still covered, hastily cleared the table in front of her and placed a drink in front of all Voyager’s women.  Kathryn eyed the glass and waited until Tom came over and scanned the liquid for her and the others, just as he had done with their meal.  He nodded quickly that it was safe and returned to Chakotay and the others.  Kathryn sipped her drink, a not unpleasant flavour resembling blackcurrant and sat back, her mind ticking off the minutes at this stage, rather than the hours.

For the rest of the evening, the hall remained packed with Ularian males, massing in small groups, discussing trade and business, while Kathryn and her small group remained sitting.  The only Ularian females present now were those who rushed around refilling glasses.  Kathryn saw that Chakotay and the other men were constantly engaged in conversation with Brolar and other senior Officials but he always glanced over at her at regular intervals, his gentle smile reassuring her that she was in his thoughts constantly.  She also saw that this wasn’t unnoticed by Brolar and his men.

Finally towards the end of the evening, Brolar motioned for Chakotay and the men of Voyager’s away team to join him in a side room for the exchange of gratitude.  Chakotay glanced at his Captain and she nodded her understanding.  She caught sight of Brolar’s expression at the exchange and felt a cold sliver of something run through her.  She looked away quickly and took a drink.  ‘Only another hour or so…’  She repeated her words in her mind like a mantra.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay sat with Tom and Harry on one long couch, Joe and Gary on another.  Brolar droned on about how successful their trade had been and raised his glass, indicating that Voyager’s men should join him in a toast.  Chakotay noticed immediately that his drink tasted somewhat different and smiled at Brolar.

“Pardon me, Ambassador, but is this the same drink we had outside?  I was sure…”  Brolar smiled politely.

“It is a slightly different blend to what you ingested earlier…”  Tom leaned forward now.

“Ambassador, I really should have scanned it.  I explained before how sometimes…”  He was cut off as Brolar stood and smiled down at him.

“I assure you that it will not harm you in any way.  The ingredients are quite safe.  No different from what you drank earlier.  I’ve merely added a little something to enhance it…”  Chakotay grew instantly worried and looked up quickly.

“Ambassador, I must insist…”  Suddenly a wave of dizziness washed over him and he looked to the others, seeing that the drink was having the same effect on them.  “What was in…?”  His tongue felt three times its normal size in his mouth and he forced his head up to see Brolar approach him.  He meant to try and stand but instead felt himself fall back against the back of the couch and saw that the others were similarly affected.  Brolar’s voice seemed to fill his mind as if amplified.

“You are excuses for males.  You let your weak and inferior females rule you.  No more.  What I have given you now is a gift.”  His words swan around in Chakotay’s mind, blocking out all else and he was vaguely aware of some of Brolar’s men behind them, pressing something to their heads.  He felt a slight stinging and grunted as a tightening sensation filled his head.  The voice droned on, filling his mind.

“You let that female Captain…that arrogant bitch…control your every thought…”  Chakotay was vaguely aware of a hand on his shoulder.  “She controls you like a child, telling you what to do and when to do it.  You have no spine.  You need to teach her what her place is…  Show her who is really in control…”  Chakotay’s head rolled to the side as the voice continued.  “And you…”  He registered the leader leaning over Tom now.  “Letting that female order you about…  Well no more…  Enough of this.  I will show you the true way for males to be…”  Chakotay fought to keep his eyes open but it was a losing battle.  The voice continued on, invading his mind completely, taking every ounce of his will with it.  He felt another sting to the back of his neck and moaned.  After that, everything felt like it was happening to someone else before he slipped away into darkness.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn was growing impatient as she waited with B'Elanna and the others for the men to return.  She fought to ignore the hostile stares they received from the Ularian males and tried to keep her eyes down on the table in front of her or at B'Elanna and the others, seeing the concern she felt mirrored in their eyes also.  To her it seemed that almost half an hour had passed and she was growing more and more anxious.  Her drink was replaced and she grabbed at it, wanting something to occupy her hands.  Suddenly she spotted Chakotay and Tom exit a room at the far
side of the great hall, followed quickly by Harry, Joe Carey and Gary Cole.  Letting out a deep sigh of relief, her eyes followed their progress across the floor, as they chatted amicably with Brolar and several other Ularian males.  Kathryn leaned slightly sideways to B'Elanna and whispered to her Engineer.

“About time.  I was getting worried…”  B'Elanna whispered back to her, her voice barely concealing a growl.

“I was too.  I’ll make that fool pay for this waiting and worrying…”  Kathryn allowed a small smile on her lips.

“Just wait until we’re back on Voyager before you do anything.  We’ve one night left on this planet.  I just want this visit over and done with.  You have my full permission to make him pay big time after that.”  B'Elanna smiled at that.

“Thank you, Captain.  I’ll remind Tom that I have that ‘full permission’ when I wipe the floor with him.”  They laughed together as their men finally made their way over to them.  Kathryn finished off her drink and stood to join them. 

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn studied Chakotay closely as they made their way back to their accommodation after their final farewells with Brolar and his men.  As per custom, Kathryn and the other women had stood back and refrained from speaking or making eye contact.  Chakotay hadn’t spoken since leaving the grand hall and Kathryn remained quiet, giving him time to himself, assuming that he was tired and knowing he would speak when he was ready, but a strange feeling still disturbed her, a sense that something wasn’t quite right.  They had been the last to leave, Chakotay speaking longer with Brolar than anyone else and she had noticed that his manner had seemed a little more confident with the alien leader than it had been before, as if they shared a secret or something. 

They had already bid goodnight to the other members of the away team over twenty minutes before and now they walked slowly back to their cabin, Chakotay having stated that he needed the air and the exercise.  There had been something in his voice though that was different and Kathryn had simply nodded her agreement.  She watched him now as he walked slightly ahead of her, his head down and his thoughts his own.  One part of her wondered if perhaps he was wary of being watched and was keeping the act up for any unseen eyes which might be spying on them and yet that strange feeling still nagged at her, refusing to let go.

They finally entered their cabin and Kathryn relaxed as she closed the door behind her, stripping off the robes she wore, her body feeling cooler already.  From outside, she had been able to make out lights on in the other cabins, where Tom and B'Elanna and the others were staying, and knew that they had all made it back well before she and Chakotay had.  She smiled softly now as she watched him, his back to her and she leaned back against the door.

“Alone at last.  Thank God that’s all over with.  By morning we’ll be on our way.”  He didn’t answer her and she thought he might not have heard her.  “Chakotay…?  Did you hear me…?”  His answer was short.

“I heard you…”  He still didn’t turn to look at her.  Instead he made his way to the bathroom.  “Make some tea…”  Kathryn watched his back as he entered the bathroom and closed the door behind him.  She shook her head slightly.

“Don’t say please, whatever you do…  I’m tired too you know…”  She pushed herself away from the door and quickly changed into her nightgown and robe, leaving her commbadge on the table.  She then went over to the replicator, or what passed for one on this planet and ordered tea before she sat and waited for Chakotay to join her.  As she sipped at her own beverage, she heard the shower running and watched the bathroom door, trying to dismiss the nagging feeling in the pit of
her stomach that something just wasn’t right.  She wondered for a moment if she had upset him in some way earlier in the evening but dismissed that.  They had barely had a chance to speak so there was nothing in that.

Within ten minutes, she heard the water switch off and a few minutes after that, the door opened as Chakotay emerged wearing his dressing gown over his boxer shorts, tying his robe as he went.

“Where’s that tea…?”  Once again his voice was clipped.  Kathryn stared at him.

“It’s there…”  She pointed to the table in front of her.  “It’s probably cold now.  You didn’t say you were taking a shower and whatever happened to ‘please’?”  She watched as he sipped the tea and saw a disgusted look cross his face.

“It’s cold…  Make more…”  Kathryn stared hard at him.

“Of course it’s cold.  You took ages in there.  What did you expect?  And don’t talk to me like that…”  She jumped in shock as Chakotay threw the cup at her, narrowly missing her head, cool tea spilling everywhere and the cup shattering on the floor.  Kathryn jumped up in shock.

“What the hell…  Chakotay…?”  Her face was a mixture of shock and anger.  “How dare you.  What’s wrong with you…?”  She got no further.  Chakotay was on her before she registered his movement.  His hands went to her shoulders as he stared down into her face and Kathryn actually found herself shrinking under his glare.

“Don’t you dare…ever…speak to me like that again…  Do you understand me…?”  His voice was menacing as he shook her roughly and Kathryn was rooted to the spot at the venom in his voice.

“What’s wrong with you?  What happened to you with Brolar…?”  His hands gripped her shoulders more tightly now, his fingers digging into her, hurting her, as he pushed her back against the wall.

“Don’t question me woman.  You’re not commanding me now.  Just remember that outside of our duty, I’m the man…”  Kathryn felt a stab of fear go through her.

“Chakotay, something’s wrong here.  Please let me take you back to Voyager to see the Doc…”  He pulled her away from the wall and then slammed her back against the hard surface, knocking the wind out of her.

“So you can try and control me again?  I don’t think so.  It’s about time you damned well learned your place and I know just where that is.  Under my control.”  Kathryn stared in horror at the man looming over her.

“Chakotay, this isn’t you.  What did he do to you?  Please love…you’re hurting me…”  He tightened his grip on her again as tears began to fill her eyes.

“They showed me how to be the man that I should be.  Not the mouse you try and make me.”  She struggled against him and her thoughts flew to the others.

“Oh God…he did this to you all…  What about the others…?  I’ve got to check on them…   Chakotay, let me go…”  He easily controlled her struggles and laughed down at her.

“You’re not going anywhere.  Now shut up and obey me…”  Kathryn pushed hard against him, knowing she had to get away.  She wasn’t thinking of herself or her own safety, but only of Chakotay and the others.

“Let me go.  Chakotay, you’re not yourself…”  She felt one of his hands release her a split second before his fist came down on her face, causing her to see stars.  She fell back against the wall in
deep shock, one hand going to her face, massaging her stinging and throbbing cheek.  Tears instantly filled her eyes, more with emotional pain than physical.  Chakotay just stared hard at her.

“Don’t you dare answer me back.  We’re not on the ship now.”  Kathryn felt her fear rising, trying desperately to force it down in order to think straight.  Was this what B'Elanna and the other women were going through at this moment?  She lowered her eyes from the sight of the man above her and slid down the wall.  She didn’t want to see him like this, this stranger replacing the loving and gentle man she loved. 

Kathryn cried out now as she felt herself being pulled to her feet and found herself staring into dead eyes, the brown orbs she knew so well filled with nothing she recognized.  She felt him shake her roughly.

“You need to know your place in my life and be taught how to behave.  You kept me waiting long enough.  You have your duty so perform it…”  He pulled at her, dragging her towards him.  Kathryn shook her head, her thoughts swirling in her mind, as tears poured down her face.

“Chakotay, please…this isn’t you…  Please hear me…please love…”  Her words might as well have been silent.  His face didn’t change as she began to struggle against him again but it was useless.  Each renewed struggle only earned her another smack in the face and she now tasted blood in her mouth, knowing he had split her lip.  She felt him drag her towards the bed, his hands already pulling at her robe and cried out as she realized his intent.

“Oh God Chakotay no…please no.  Don’t do this.  Not to us…please….”  She fought him harder than ever, not afraid of what he would do to her but of what the act would do to them both, with the knowledge of it later on.

^^^^^^^^^^ 

Voyager’s EMH shook his head as he scanned his patient and studied the readings before him.

“And you say he just turned on you?”  B'Elanna nodded, her arms folded as she tried to hide her tears.

“I don’t understand…  It just wasn’t Tom…not the man I know…”  The Doctor looked up now and tried a small smile.

“What else?  I need to know all the details…”  B'Elanna nodded, trying to calm herself in order to focus and get her thoughts straight.  There was no sign of the Engineer the Medic normally knew, only a confused and frightened woman, worried about the man she loved.

“They were gone…the men…from the hall…for about half an hour.  Something to do with an ‘exchange of gratitude’ with that Brolar and his men.  The Captain was getting impatient and so was I.  The others too.  They finally came back and we said our farewells.  Well the men did.  Us mere females weren’t allowed to speak.”  Her disgust showed for a moment and a spark of anger along with it.  She shook her head sadly now as she remembered.

“Tom was quiet on the way home.”  She thought a moment.  “So were the others in fact…but I didn’t think much of it.  Assumed they were as tired as we were.  Just wanted to get back to the ship and be on our way.  I’d had enough of Ular and I know the other women felt the same way, even the men…”  Her voice trailed off a moment.  “Tom was quiet all the way back as I said and then…  When we got into the cabin, I told him I wanted a shower.  It’s so hot with those damned robes on.  He suddenly changed and started shouting at me, telling me he would go first as he was the man, that I needed to know my place…  He got so angry and…  I don’t know.  I saw a man I didn’t know…  Tom just became this complete stranger to me.  He kept shouting at me…verbally abusive like I’ve never heard him before…and then…then…he hit me…”  She looked up, tears in her eyes and saw the look of shock on the face of the EMH. 

“He hit you…?  Tom?”  She nodded and pointed to the side of her head. 

“He tried to hit me again, pull me towards the door.  Said something about me knowing my place.  I think for a minute he was going to throw me out but then seemed to change his mind and tried to push me towards the bed…  Said something about my ‘wifely duty’…  I fought back…”  The Doctor nodded, knowing that few men would be a match for the physical strength of the woman before him.  He saw her let her tears fall freely now.  “I knocked him out…couldn’t think of what else to do.  I knew something was very wrong…”  She fought her tears and looked down at the floor.  “What’s the matter with him Doc?  Something is very wrong…”  She looked up quickly.  “What’s wrong with him?  Why did he act like that…?”  Her eyes and voice pleaded for answers, something to help her understand how the man she knew could turn on her so suddenly.  The Doctor shook his head and checked his readings again before pressing a hypo to Tom’s neck.

“I don’t know if I have all the answers for you.  I’m detecting a drug in his system and I’ve just administered something to counteract it.  There are some puncture wounds at the base of his skull also.  I’m assuming that some device was used to stimulate his brain but I just don’t know.  What I can tell you is that he’ll be fine.  I’ve sedated him for the moment.  Perhaps he’ll be able to tell us more when he wakes up.”  He smiled slightly at the look of relief on B'Elanna’s face.  “A mild concussion and he’ll have a hell of a headache in the morning…”  He watched the tough Klingon woman stare down at her husband with tears in her eyes.  Finally she nodded and took a few moments to calm her breathing.  She then looked up suddenly. 

“Oh God…the others.  Do you think they’re all right…?  If this was done to Tom, it must have been done to the others too.  What about…?”  The Medic suddenly seemed to get on her wavelength and immediately slapped his commbadge.

“Doctor to Commander Tuvok…please report to sickbay.”  He watched B'Elanna now as she stood with her back to him, knowing the emotional pain she was in, as she tried to control what she was feeling.  He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and felt her shiver.

“Ms. Torres, I can’t answer your questions right now but I’m worried too…”  He shook his head, having nothing further to offer by way of comfort.  He quickly treated her bruises while they waited for Tuvok.

^^^^^^^^^^

Tuvok stood and listened to everything B'Elanna and the Doctor told him, nothing showing on his face.  As soon as they finished speaking, he went into action.

“I would suggest we recall the rest of the away team…”  Before he even finished speaking, they were hailed by Megan Delaney, the tears in her voice clear for all to hear.  Within five minutes,  a distraught and confused Harry Kim was mildly sedated on a biobed, his aggression plain to see.

“Why couldn’t you just do as you were told…?”  He glared at a weeping Megan, her eye already swelling from the blow the man before her had inflicted on her just minutes earlier.  Tuvok and B'Elanna watched as the Doctor scanned his new patient and then looked up at them.

“The readings are the same.  The same drug in his system, although not as high as with Mr. Paris.  There is also the same evidence of puncture marks at the base of the head…as if something was applied there…some device…  I can’t speculate more without further investigation…  It’s like they’ve been manipulated in some way…from what you’ve said and what I’ve found…  I just can’t say at this moment.  I’ll need to know more first…  At least I have something that counteracts this drug and causes it to dissipate quickly …”  He pressed a hypo to Harry’s neck and saw his aggression fade, to be replaced by a deep confusion.  


“I told her…I…  Why did I?”  He stared at those around him, the emotions warring with each other on his face but the confusion winning out.  “How did I get here?  I was…?”  He looked at Megan.  “You were…”  The Doctor shook his head and pressed a sedative to the young Ensign’s neck, watching it take effect immediately.  He lowered the young man to the biobed as Megan sobbed quietly.  The Doctor shook his head.

“I’d prefer to let the drug work its own way out first, before he tries to understand what’s happened to him…”  As he spoke, Sam Wildman contacted the ship and had Joe Carey beamed back, her story almost verbatim.  She stood holding her wrist.  A few minutes after that, Janice Porter had Gary Cole beamed to the Doctor’s care, her story different from the others.  For some reason, Gary had taken his rage out on himself, leaving a very frightened Ensign Porter to get help for him.  B'Elanna turned to Tuvok now with a look of fear on her face and went to speak but saw by his expression that he had already anticipated her words.  Without a word to anyone, he tried hailing his Captain and Commander.  There was no reply.  B'Elanna let her panic show yet tried desperately to control it.

“Maybe they’re all right.  We all left first…  They were still there…  If we hurry…”  Tuvok ignored her, his calmness controlling the situation.

“Can you leave your patients Doctor?”  The Medic nodded as he pressed hypos to their necks, sedating them all.  None of them had missed the sense of urgency in the Vulcan’s voice.

“They’ll be fine.  The doses with Mr. Carey and Mr. Cole are low too.  Mr. Paris has the highest.”  He turned now and ran the dermal regenerator over Megan’s eye, smiling comfortingly at the young woman.  He then moved to heal the deep bruises which were forming on Sam Wildman’s wrist.  “I’ve sedated the men and they’ll sleep until morning.  I’ll hail Ensign Myers and she can monitor them until we return.”  He administered sedatives to Sam, Janice and Megan and ordered them to return to their quarters for rest.  With that done, the three of them beamed down to the planet, unsure of what they would find.

^^^^^^^^^^

Kathryn fought Chakotay with everything that she had, but she was no match for his strength.

“Stop fighting me.  You know your place…”  She struggled fiercely against him, tears pouring down her face, as they crashed against furniture.  She vaguely heard items smashing to the floor.

“Please Chakotay, don’t do this.  Don’t destroy what we have…”  Her words didn’t reach him as he smacked her across the face again and threw her down onto the bed.  He was on her immediately, pulling at her clothes and grabbing her wrists, pinning them above her head.  She felt his other hand at her breasts, squeezing painfully and then moving down to pull at the hem of her nightdress. 

Kathryn realized that the more she struggled against him, the more injuries she was getting and suddenly gave up, accepting now that there was no way she could fight what was about to happen.  Sensing her lack of struggle, Chakotay let go of her wrists and leaned back off her, pulling and tearing at her nightgown and robe before ripping her panties away.  His hands on her were rough and bruising, as his knees pressed between her legs.

“Open your damned legs…spread them…”  His voice was alien to her as his fingers dug into the tender flesh of her thighs.  Kathryn obeyed meekly, as sobs tore through her.  She felt him hot and hard against her and cried out to him.

“Chakotay, please don’t do this…  I beg you…  I love you…  Please don’t…  You’ll hurt me…I’m not ready…”  He didn’t seem to hear her at all and just tore into her, ignoring her scream of pain.  She felt herself tearing as he rammed himself home.  His thrusts were relentless, pushing
the breath from her with each powerful plunging, the friction inside her increasing the agony with each movement he made.  His hands still mauled her body as he took her forcefully, his grunts and moans in competition with her cries.  Finally he pulled out and leaned back, then flipped her over onto her stomach like a rag doll, climbing back onto her and forcing his way inside her again.  Kathryn continued to cry and scream out, despite her best efforts not to, but he ignored her as he ravished her for his own ends, scratching and biting at her.  Once more he pulled out and roughly tossed her over onto her back, entering her again and continuing with his attack.  Kathryn fought to breathe as the torture went on and on, pain coursing through her, but throughout it all, she never once felt any hate for the man who was doing this to her.  This was Chakotay, the man she loved and someone else had made him to do this to her.  This wasn’t him.  She stared into the dead and glazed eyes above her, recognizing nothing of the man she loved within their depths.  A whisper repeated from her lips now.

“We’ll get through this…we love each other…it’ll be all right…”  She felt him falter now, knowing it was nearly over and she prayed that they would survive this, not her but they.  He thrust brutally against her one final time, filling her and emptying himself inside her, his fluid easing the stinging agony she felt.  As he fell over her, crushing her, she whispered tearfully to him.

“We’ll survive this…I still love you…it’ll be all right…it’s not your fault…”  Her hands came up to stroke his hair but her words were wasted on him.

Unable to breath, she pushed hard against him and he suddenly moved, slipping out of her, his fluid running from her.  Pain racked her lower body but she managed to ease herself out from under him, knowing she had to get help for him.  Not for one minute, did she think of her own injuries.  She twisted herself away from him and tried to stand up, as shooting pains tore up through her.  She cried out and as if she had suddenly alerted him to her presence, he made a grab at her.

“Get back here you whore…I’m not finished with you…”  His words cut into her as she pulled away from him.  She managed to stand and tried to move as he lunged at her, falling to the floor in his effort but managing to grab her ankle.  Kathryn crashed to the floor beside him, her head smashing painfully off the table close to the bed.  Lights exploded inside her head and she lay there for a moment before some survival instinct kicked in.  She pulled herself up, kicking his hold off her ankle and made for the door, his voice roaring insults after her.  She pulled the door open and ran into the night, not knowing where she was headed, blood pouring from her head wound into her eyes and down her face.

Kathryn was only aware of running and pain.  Her vision was getting blurred and her thinking became more unclear as the minutes passed.  Her bare feet throbbed painfully and spasms consumed her lower body.  She remembered her commbadge a moment and went to slap it, only to find that she wasn’t wearing it.  She looked around her and barely saw that she was in a field of some kind.  Agony continued to assault her entire body and a wave of dizziness and nausea washed over.  Her head felt ready to explode and what little light there was began to fade as she felt herself falling.  After that, she knew nothing.

^^^^^^^^^^

B'Elanna was letting hate and anger control her now, depending on these familiar emotions to keep her going and deal with the ones she couldn’t understand.  She was ahead of Tuvok and the Doctor as they entered the cabin which had been shared by their Captain and Commander.  The scene before them stopped them in their tracks for a moment. 

B'Elanna shook her head as she saw the upturned furniture and smashed dishes.  It was obvious to anyone that a fierce struggle had taken place in this room.  She saw Chakotay now, lying on the floor, almost unconscious and rushed to him.  Tuvok helped her sit the big man up against the bed and let the Doctor go to work.  B'Elanna then saw the crumpled state of the bedclothes and the
blood smears on the cover and knew what had happened, even before she saw her Captain’s torn underwear lying on the floor.  She picked the item up and looked quickly at Tuvok and saw that he also knew.  She turned away and her eye caught sight of a commbadge on the table.  She looked over at Chakotay then saw his uniform on a chair, his commbadge still attached to it.   

“We have to find her…but without this…”  Tuvok nodded grimly and contacted the ship, ordering a scan of their location to trace the Captain, using her bio signature.  A grown was heard then and they turned to see Chakotay starting to come back to himself.  His eyes were unfocused for a moment as the Doctor pressed another hypo to his neck.

“I’ve administered the same agent I used with the others to counter the effects of the drug they were all given, a little more in this case.  That was a second dose.  As with Mr. Paris, the level of whatever they were given is much higher with the Commander.  In fact, it’s even higher still for some reason.  Now as I said before, I believe their brains were stimulated in some way to act with that drug.  One probably can’t work without the other.  I just don’t know yet.”  He scanned his patient.  “The drug is dissipating now.  He’ll be more lucid in a few minutes.  I won’t sedate him yet.”  Tuvok nodded and leaned down to his Commanding Officer.

“Commander Chakotay, can you hear me?  Can you understand what has happened and where you are?”  He saw the confusion in the eyes before him.

“What…?  Where am I…?  Kathryn…?  Where’s Kathryn…?”  He tried to sit up and looked around him.

“Commander, take it easy.  What do you remember?”  Chakotay shook his head as if trying to clear his mind.

“I don’t…”  He looked around him and saw the devastation of the room.  “What happened here?  Where’s Kathryn…?”  Tuvok gripped his arm.

“Commander, we don’t know.  We are attempting to locate her at this moment.”  B'Elanna helped Tuvok as Chakotay tried to sit up suddenly.

“We have to find her.  Where is she?  What happened…?”  A wave of dizziness washed over him but he fought it.  The Doctor leaned over and pressed another hypo to his neck.  

“That’s a mild sedative…to calm him a little…”  Chakotay tried to get loose of the hands which tried to hold him.

“Kathryn… Where is she?  Where is she?”  B'Elanna leaned into his line of vision.

“Chakotay, we don’t know but we’ll find her.  We found her commbadge here.  We were hoping you might know…”   His eyes flew to those of his old friend.

“What happened to us?  Why can’t I remember…?”  His eyes slowly surveyed the room now and saw the upturned furniture and smashed plates.  “Did someone or something attack us?  Oh God…is she all right?  Why can’t I…?”  He struggled to stand and managed to get upright with some help.  He continued to look around the room but what he was seeing wasn’t registering with him in detail.  They watched as he fought fiercely with the fog in his mind.  B'Elanna gripped his hands tightly, shaking him a little to make him look at her.

“We’ll find her first…  She’ll be fine…  I know she will…”  She saw him still fighting his confusion.

“Where is she?  Where did she go…?  Did someone take her?”  He stared back at her.  He tried to move towards the door.  “I have to find her.  She could be hurt…”  Tuvok gripped his arm tightly.

“Commander, listen to me.  We will find her.  I have Voyager scanning for her using her bio signature…”  He seemed to hesitate before continuing as if deciding how much information to divulge to his Commanding Officer in his present state of mind.  “However, we need to find her before we alert the Ularian authorities…”  Chakotay stared at him, panic starting to take over from his confusion now.  Just then, Voyager hailed the Vulcan and relayed a set of coordinates which he downloaded to his tricorder.  “I have her location.  We must go now.”  Chakotay nodded and made for the door, B'Elanna supporting him.  Tuvok’s voice stopped them.  “Commander, it would be best if you returned to the ship and let us…”  Chakotay was alert enough to understand.

“No way…I’m going with you.  Kathryn needs me…”  They didn’t have time to argue and Tuvok merely nodded, conceding immediately.  His eyes met B'Elanna’s, understanding passing between them.

Tuvok led the way, following the directions to the coordinates on his tricorder.  Chakotay pushed himself on, despite how his head felt, his desperation to find Kathryn never once slowing them down.  It took them about ten minutes before they saw her, lying face down and deadly still in a field, her torn clothing blowing in the cool night breeze.  Chakotay immediately pulled from B'Elanna’s grip on him and ran to her, dropping to his knees at her side.

“Oh God…Kathryn…what happened to you?  Who did this…?”  The Doctor pushed him out of the way and gently turned his Captain over.  Chakotay cried out when he saw her face, blood covering one side of it, but not hiding the bruising and swelling already evident, nor her split lip.  Some part of his mind registered the bruising already forming on her chest and thighs, along with her torn clothing.  It even took in the smears of blood on her thighs but his brain wasn’t ready to process what it saw.

“Please God…Kathryn…”  B'Elanna held him tightly to her.  They watched the Doctor scan her and nod to Tuvok.

“We need to get her back to the ship now.”  Tuvok nodded and arranged the transport.  Within a minute they were back in sickbay.

^^^^^^^^^^

Chakotay stood and let B'Elanna hold him up as he watched the Doctor go to work.  He looked around him in confusion as he saw Tom and the others lying on the other beds.

“What happened down there…?  Why can’t I remember…?”  He seemed like a hurt little boy as he looked into B'Elanna’s eyes.  She smiled gently and led him to a chair.

“We’re not sure.  Look Chakotay, she’ll be fine…  We’ll worry about the rest later…”  She could see him becoming more alert, odd things slipping back into place.

“I remember the dinner…and Brolar…”  He felt B'Elanna stiffen beside him and looked up at her.  “Was he…?”  B'Elanna gave him a tired smile of reassurance.

“Chakotay, just take it easy.  The Captain will be…”  He shook her arm off his as he struggled with the fog in his brain.

“What am I not remembering…?  Someone hurt Kathryn and I can’t remember…”  He sat rocking himself back and forth for some time, trying to force his mind to some kind of order.  Relieved not to have to answer him, B'Elanna just sat quietly beside him, holding him to her. 

An hour passed in this way, Chakotay making the odd sound in his throat, his eyes reflecting a spark of memory for a moment, before something seemed to extinguish it.  He looked up now when he heard the doors to sickbay open and saw Tuvok enter.  As if in tandem, the Doctor came out from behind the privacy screen where he had been working on his Captain and Chakotay was
aware enough to realize that the Doctor must have hailed the Vulcan and requested his presence.  He looked up now at the Medic, his eyes demanding answers.

“Commander, I’d prefer to do this in my office.  I also need to treat you.”  Chakotay shook his head.

“I need to know if Kathryn is all right first…  To hell with me…”  The Doctor nodded and smiled slightly.

“The Captain will be just fine.  I assure you…  She’ll sleep for the rest of the night.  Once I’ve treated you, you can see her then.”  Chakotay reluctantly seemed to accept this and stood slowly, still unsteady on his feet.  He allowed B'Elanna’s assistance.

He sat now in the Doctor’s enclosed office and stared at the desk in front of him.  He felt the Medic inject two hypos to his neck and rubbed the area for a moment.

“Why can’t I remember what happened?  What did happen?”  His mind was clearing a little more and he looked to Tuvok first and then the others, demanding answers.  Tuvok looked to the Doctor and nodded.  The Medic then sat behind his desk, a hypo containing a strong sedative close by his hand.  He had a feeling he would need it.

“Commander, I’ll explain what I know and I’m aware that this will be hard but please try and stay calm.”  Chakotay eyed him with a growing fear in the pit of his stomach.  “I take it you remember being at the dinner tonight…?”  Chakotay barely nodded.

“I remember that and then…Brolar took us to another room…something about an expression of gratitude for a good negotiation and…”  His voice trailed off.  “It’s not clear after that…  I didn’t drink much…yet…”  He looked up.  I can’t remember…but maybe…”  His head snapped up.  “The others…Tom and…they were with me…”  He looked out over the sickbay quickly.  “Why are they here?  What happened to them?  What the hell is going on…?”  The tone of his voice was rising and the Doctor held up a hand.

“Commander, please try and stay calm.  I know this is very confusing and most likely frightening also…”  Chakotay shook his head and wrung his hands together.

“I have…  They’re not images or memories…more like…feelings…impressions…but I can’t…”  He looked up now, a light in his eyes like a sudden memory.  “A drink…he gave us a drink…different…and his voice…saying something…”  He looked around him, confused again.  “Where did that suddenly come from…?”  The Doctor shook his head sadly.

“What I gave you is countering a drug you had in your system.  That drug was also found in Tom and the others…  The doses you and Tom received were higher though…yours the highest of all…which might explain why it’s taking you longer to recall things…”  He watched the man before him digest this information. 

“We were drugged?  Was it them…?  Brolar and…?”  He was getting angry now.  “Was Kathryn given this also?  B'Elanna…?”  He looked up at the woman beside him, seeing the answer for himself.  “If you weren’t…”  He looked at Tuvok now.  “Where are the others?  Sam and Megan…Janice…?”  The Doctor coughed slightly.

“They are in their quarters… They’ll be fine.  You all will…”  Chakotay was starting to grow frustrated now on top of his anger but fought it.

“Look, just tell me what the hell happened down there.  I have a right to know…”  He watched the three before him exchange guarded looks and saw the Medic nod permission to Tuvok.  Chakotay turned his eyes to the Vulcan, his glare demanding the truth.



“Commander, we cannot be sure of exactly what transpired while you were in the side room with Ambassador Brolar and the others.  We can only deduce that you were all drugged and manipulated or brainwashing in some way.  By all of you, I mean the men.  There was the drug the Doctor spoke of in your blood streams and also puncture marks at the base of your skulls.”  The Vulcan seemed uncomfortable for the first time in Chakotay’s memory.

“The first I knew of this was when the Doctor hailed me and called me to sickbay.  Ms. Torres had transported back to the ship with Mr. Paris.”  Chakotay looked briefly at B'Elanna but she wasn’t meeting his eyes.  “Upon the return to their cabin, Mr. Paris had grown aggressive and attacked her.  He struck her before she managed to render him unconscious.”  Chakotay shook his head in disbelief as his eyes flew to B'Elanna.  She looked at him this time and he saw her tears.

“Tom attacked you…?  He’d never…  Why?”  He stared at nothing now, fighting his groggy thoughts.  He tried to control the fear growing in him and forced his breathing to calm down.  “The others…?”  He was terrified suddenly of where this was all going.  He looked to Tuvok again.

“Mr. Kim also attacked Ms. Delaney.  He struck her on the side of the face.  Mr. Carey caused some bruising to Ms. Wildman’s wrist.  Mr. Cole injured himself for some reason.  Nothing serious with any of them.”  Chakotay knew he was going into shock but fought it.  Fear and dread like nothing he had ever known before was crawling through him. 

“They were all drugged or something and attacked those with them…”  He reached out and gripped the desk in front of him.  “I was drugged too…and Kathryn…  Kathryn was with me…”   He looked up at Tuvok now, his eyes filled with the deepest pain as he met the Vulcan’s eyes.  His voice was barely a whisper.

“I did it…it was me…wasn’t it…?  I hurt her…I hurt Kathryn…did that to her…oh God…”  He felt B'Elanna’s arms come around him but nothing would comfort him now.   “Oh God no…please say I didn’t…please…”  He stared deeply at Tuvok, his eyes begging the man before him to end this nightmare, tell him he was wrong, that it hadn’t happened.  B'Elanna hugged him tighter.

“Chakotay, listen to me now.  It wasn’t you…  It wasn’t Tom…  You weren’t yourselves…weren’t responsible…”  He pulled away from her roughly and jumped up.

“Who was it then…?”  She wasn’t taking this and let him know it.  She used her anger to try and get him to see the truth, to lay the blame where it belonged.

“You were manipulated and drugged, just like the others were.  That bastard did this to you…to us all…  It wasn’t you…”  She reached out to him and grabbed him.  She shook him, almost rattling his teeth, knowing it was what he needed.  She watched in fear as more memories started to clear in his mind.

“What else did I do to her?  I was obviously the worst…  What else…?”  No one answered at first and then the Doctor moved towards them.

“Commander, you saw her.  It looked a lot worse than it was.  She’s fine and will be fine.  Look, come and see for yourself…”  Chakotay pressed himself back against the wall of the small office, more and more memories coming to him now as the Doctor’s treatment continued to work.  He shrugged B'Elanna’s arms off him.

“I remember…it was…”  He shook his head, images rushing at him.  “You found me…the room…furniture…things smashed…”  His eyes were filled with pain and horror and he let his tears fall.  He held a hand out in front of him to ward off the Doctor as he moved towards him again.  “I did that…must have…”  Flashes of memory now came back to him.  Kathryn struggling
against him, him hitting her, pulling at her, screaming at her.  He groaned in pain.  “Oh God… I threw something at her…tea or…  then I grabbed her…hit her…her face…then I…oh God…”  He began to sink to the floor.  “Nooo…please no…Kathryn…”  More images poured in on him and his eyes flew back to B'Elanna’s face, his eyes wild with pain and horror.  “You were there…the place a mess…I saw you…after…and you were holding something…”  He fought his mind and his eyes dropped to her hand.  “Her…you were holding her…her panties…torn… there was blood…the bed…a mess…oh sweet God…Nooooooo… please no…please say I didn’t…I couldn’t…please…”  He fought B'Elanna’s hands on him.  “The field…her clothes…torn…bruises…blood… on her thighs… I remember…”  He sat, pressed painfully against the wall, as more and more scenes came at him, each one another piece of evidence which was damning him for all eternity. 

“Oh God…just take me…please just take me.  Don’t let me have done that…not to her…not her…please…no….”  B'Elanna’s heart broke as she watched him but she hardened herself.  She moved to him now and grabbed his arm roughly. 

“Chakotay…”  He wasn’t hearing her.

“I…hurt her…took…forced…”  B'Elanna shook him again.  Another, rougher shake.

“Chakotay…”  No response.  The memories assaulted him.

“I forced her…she fought me…then…then stopped…and she was crying…so hard…and I hurt her…badly…  and she let me…didn’t fight anymore… couldn’t stop me… her tears…  and then after…she tried to run away from me…and I grabbed her ankle…and she…”  He gasped in air.  “The table…there was blood there… she fell…hit her head…smashed off it…I heard…so loud…”  He fell back on his heels.  “What I said to her…so ugly…and she ran…I don’t know…”  Tuvok looked to the Doctor.

“Doctor…?”  The Medic nodded to Tuvok and leaned over with the sedative but Chakotay’s hand reached out to stop him.

“Commander, as Lieutenant Torres stated, you were not in control of your actions.  Please just let me give you something for now…”  Chakotay shook his head.

“I’ve no right but…please…can I just see her for a moment…someone with me…I don’t trust myself…then you can do what you want with me…”  The Doctor sighed and nodded.

“Of course Commander, I’ll take you to see her…”  He helped the big man to his feet and together with B'Elanna, led him behind the screen to where Kathryn lay.  Chakotay cried out when he saw her, tears falling freely down his face.  He made his way slowly to the side of the biobed and stared down at her.  Traces of bruises still marred her pale face.

“Kathryn…I’m so sorry…so sorry…”  He went to reach out his hand then pulled back, terrified to touch her.  “How bad…?”  He looked up at the Doctor.  “How bad is she?  Tell me please.  I want the truth…”  The medic seemed to consider for a moment and then answered.

“The facial injuries…they were easily taken care of.  There was a fracture to her jaw and cheekbone but I’ve healed those…her nose broken…also healed…”  He saw the pain his words were causing.  “Commander…the bruising you see will fade quickly.  Most of it has already gone, the cuts too…her lip…”  Chakotay barely nodded.

“Go on…”  The Doctor sighed deeply, an old habit now.

“She was lucky with the head injury…from the table when she fell…”  Chakotay looked up, his eyes almost dead.

“She didn’t fall…it was me…”  The Medic shook his head.

“Commander please…  Her head injury wasn’t too serious.  There was a deep laceration and a small amount of internal bleeding on the brain along with some swelling…and a hairline fracture to the skull…  There’s some concussion but…”  Chakotay stared at him.

“Not serious…?  You say she was lucky…?  Don’t you mean she was lucky I didn’t damned well kill her?”  The Doctor shook his head, losing his patience now.

“Listen to me now, Commander Chakotay.  I know you have a lot of guilt and pain.  That’s understandable but you have to accept that this wasn’t your fault.  Consider this too.  Those men out there…”  He pointed behind him.  “They’ll also have to face what you’re facing now.  They were drugged and brain washed in the same way as you were…  Do you blame them?  Do you see B'Elanna blaming Tom for this?  No you don’t, and you can’t blame yourself either.  What happened was beyond the control of any of you…”  Chakotay went deadly still, his voice low.

“What other injuries were there…”  The Doctor went to turn away but Chakotay stopped him.  “Please…”  The Medic turned back.

“Some tearing and bruising…a little haemorrhaging…nothing more…all easily healed…”  He looked up now into the pain filled eyes of the man before him.  “She’ll be fine and you’ll be fine.  You’re both strong people.  You’ll move past this.  You all will.”  Chakotay shook his head and laughed, a cynical sound.

“Some tearing and bruising…haemorrhaging…”  He stood back from the bed.  “You just told me that the others would have to face what I’m facing, isn’t that right?”  His voice was rising as he backed away.  The Doctor nodded.  “Well, you’re wrong.  All easily healed?  I don’t think so.  Maybe you have heal the physical but…  There’s a big difference here.  I…”  He looked down at Kathryn, tears blinding him.  “I beat her…almost killed her…I raped her for God’s sake…”  His voice rose more and his head snapped up.  “I raped her…do you understand that…?  I destroyed her…everything about her…all that was good and pure…all that was between us…”  He fell back against another bed behind him.  “Oh God…this can’t be real…it’s a bad dream…a nightmare…”  The raw pain in his voice and eyes was almost corporeal.  B'Elanna ran to him.

“Chakotay, the Captain knows it wasn’t your fault.  She loves you.  I love Tom and know he wasn’t to blame for this.  The Captain will be the same…”  She reached for him but he pulled back.

“How can you say that?  Did Tom rape you?”  She shook her head, her own tears falling now. 

“He would have…was programmed if you like, to do that…it wasn’t his fault…”  Chakotay laughed.

“Of course he didn’t, because you were strong enough to stop him.  Look at her…”  He swung his arm towards where Kathryn lay.  “She hadn’t a hope against me.  She couldn’t have stopped me…couldn’t have protected herself…didn’t stand a chance…”  He let his tears fall and didn’t seem to notice them.  “I beat the shit out of her…verbally…physically… sexually…assaulted her…terrorized her…and then I raped her…nearly killed her…”  He fell to his knees.  “I deserve to die…”  He rocked back and forth, gasping for air.  Suddenly he began heaving, just as the Doctor placed a bowl under him.  Chakotay vomited into it, until there was nothing left in his stomach.  Finally he rolled onto his side on the floor.

“Tuvok…”  The Vulcan stepped forward.  “Put me in the brig…I’m not safe…please…lock me away…where I can’t hurt anyone else…”  Voyager’s Security Officer looked to the Doctor and nodded.  The Medic leaned down and placed another hypo to Chakotay’s neck, administering a strong sedative, which worked immediately.  They watched as the large man on the floor immediately lost consciousness.

“I’ll have him beamed to his quarters for the moment.  I’ll speak with him in the morning.”  He turned to the Doctor now.  “When do you expect the others to regain consciousness and also the Captain?”  The Medic shook his head.

“They should sleep until early morning.  By then, the drug will be completely out of their systems.  Mr. Paris had the highest dose of the four of them but even still, he’ll be back to himself by the time they all wake up.  The Commander will be out of it for a lot longer.  That was a very strong sedative I just gave him but his mind will be his own again when he wakes.  You can see my treatment was already working very well.”  He looked at Tuvok with a look of sadness on his face.  “I wasn’t totally honest with the Commander about the Captain…”  He saw the worried look on B'Elanna’s face, Tuvok’s expression changing a little also.  “Her concussion is more serious than I led him to believe.  I can’t actually say when she’ll regain consciousness.  She took a severe blow to the head and lost a lot of blood.”  B'Elanna turned away a moment and shook her head then looked back at Tuvok, waiting for him to ask the question.

“You do believe that she will make a full recovery though…”  It wasn’t phrased as a question, more as a hope, and the Doctor nodded.

“She will.  I can’t say when she’ll come back to us but she will regain consciousness.  It’s just a matter of when her body is ready…”  They both watched the Vulcan carefully before B'Elanna spoke.

“You’re in command now Tuvok.  What are you going to do about that bastard?”  The Klingon woman didn’t mince her words.  Ordinarily she would have expected a reprimand for her lack of protocol but as she watched this man stare down at the woman who was more than just his Captain, she knew one wouldn’t be forthcoming.

“As a male,  I can speak my mind and register my ‘deep disgust and anger’ but there is little that we can do.  We are one ship against their entire fleet, which is also capable of far greater speeds than Voyager.  They also have cloaking technology.”  He looked at B'Elanna and saw her anger but also her reluctant acceptance of their situation.  “I understand your feelings Ms. Torres but…”  B'Elanna cut him off.

“I know, I know.  I want to go down there and shove his outdated, misogynistic attitudes where the sun don’t shine just before I slit his throat but I’m not suicidal either.  I want to get their women to rise up in revolt and slay every last one of them.”  She punched the empty bed.  “I’m bloody angry, beyond that even, but I also want to live and I want Tom to live and everyone on this ship.  I also know that the best way to beat a pig like that is to move past what he tried to do and render his evil plan void.  I know myself and the Captain…know the other women will move past this.  It’ll be hardest on the Captain…I know that…”  She looked at the woman lying on the bed, a woman who had become one of her best friends.  “She’ll get over this…move past it.  I know that, because like me, she loves her man.  Love will get us through this.”  She shook her head and sighed.  “It’s them I worry about.  The men.  Tom and in particular, Chakotay.  You saw him tonight…”  Tuvok and the Doctor nodded.

“Let’s deal with this as we go then.”  The Doctor arranged to have Chakotay beamed to his quarters.  “I believe he’s better there than in sickbay.  I want someone to be there for him though when he wakes…”  B'Elanna looked up and smiled.

“I’d be best for that job.  I can grab some sleep while he’s out of it.  He might talk to me more too…”  The Doctor nodded his acceptance.  Tuvok agreed also.

“I’d better go and deal with this matter.  As soon as I’ve spoken with the Ambassador…”  He almost spit the word out.  “When I’ve spoken with him, we can be on our way then.  The sooner we break orbit and leave this planet, the better for everyone concerned.”  They all agreed, wanting to just put this night behind them and praying that they would be able to.

^^^^^^^^^^



ON TO PART TWO.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX ONE.



RETURN TO STORY INDEX TWO.




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