Author: CallHerVictor PM
After Admiral Janeway is killed, Captain Chakotay and crew attempt to move on. But when Seven and Icheb's lives are threatened, it will take all of them to stop a race powerful enough to destroy the Borg. Can a ghost from the past lend a hand? (J/C with some tastefully done C/7 in the early chapters.)Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Chakotay & K. Janeway - Chapters: 21 - Words: 45,487 - Reviews: 70 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 07-15-12 - Published: 03-02-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7889817
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I don't think we'd be doing this if Data hadn't just…"
Will still wouldn't say it. Whether the wound was too fresh or 'die' didn't seem to apply to an artificial life form in his mind, Deanna didn't know. In truth, she tried to tell herself Data had never lived, but her logic fell apart hundreds of memories they'd shared. Poker games and plays. Dinners and late evening discussing art, music, history. Seeing him dance at the O'Brian's wedding and sing at their own. Deanna couldn't help but think Data had been the only one among them who had lived at all.
"Imazdi?" Will asked. "Are you listening?"
"Hmm? Oh. Sorry."
He crossed the room, peeling off his uniform jacket before settling beside her on the couch. He eased her feet into his lap, kneading his thumbs into the ball of her foot. Deanna felt her body begin to relax and she stretched herself against the couch.
"What would you do to get him back?" she asked suddenly.
Will didn't answer right away because the truth unsettled him a bit. He was at the place in his grief where the universe without Data seemed a shade darker. So, he could think of many things. Alter time, change history, go back to a place where Shinzon was a child in the Romulan mines and bash him in the head with a rock.
"Any number of questionable things," Will said evenly.
Deanna nodded. "Me, too." She sat up. "Harry and the Voyager crew have suffered a profound loss. In a way, I empathize with them. But Admiral Janeway wasn't just their captain or their friend, she embodied Starfleet. She was the personification of home, even after they made it back to the Alpha quadrant. Did you know she visited them all, personally, once a year? Wherever they were, whatever post they'd taken, she'd go to make sure they were doing well or of they needed anything."
Deanna watched the smile spreading from the corner of Will's mouth and felt the warm laughter growing as a memory spilled to the front of his thoughts. "That's Kathryn, all right."
"You knew her," Deanna said, more as a startled realization than a question. Though she knew Will's requisite history, she'd never considered he might have been in command school at the same time as Janeway. Then, Deanna knew something else about her husband's history in the academy and her surprise quickly faded to a frown. "How well did you know her?"
Will laughed and shrugged guiltily. "We had one date."
Her hand shot out, smacking his shoulder a little harder than could be considered playful. "All this time I've been working with the Voyager crew and you never told me that!"
"I didn't know her, really."
"Well enough to date her."
"One date which went terribly. She didn't even finish her first drink, something about a paper she had to write. It was kind of a joke to be honest. She wasn't exactly well known for her social skills."
Though his tone was playful, Deanna felt the regret that lingered beneath the surface, coupled with a bit of shame.
"Will?" she pressed.
Sensing his defeat was imminent; he sighed and leaned over his knees. "I've told you about Ensign Cockburn before."
Deanna's face fell further. She knew Cockburn from many stories in Will's youth. She knew he had a nasty temper, a flare for drama, and he courted women with the idea it was a privilege to be with him. It was a small victory, but Cockburn had been thrown out of Starfleet a few years after he graduated for 'failure to assimilate,' which was a bureaucratic way of saying he was more trouble than he was worth.
"He and I had a bit of a bet going on who could get Kathryn, well… you know… "
"I didn't say I was proud of it." Will wrung his hands together. "Cockburn chose Kathryn for me, probably for all the reason she graduated the top of our class. She lived with a couple of Vulcans, she never went out. He called her the 'class prude'."
Will stretched and coiled into the couch, pulling Deanna against him. "I took her to the Cosmic Café, ordered a few drinks, and watched her fidget for about fifteen minutes. Then, she blew me off. It was kind of attractive. Not many women did that to me in those days."
A knowing smile passed over Deanna's face and she snuggled deeper into his arms. "I wish I would have had the chance to get to know her."
"You still may."
Deanna stared into the star field ripping by their windows. Even at maximum warp they'd be behind Voyager and the fleet by two hours. Given what little she knew about the Cailier, Deanna understood two hours might mean Earth wouldn't even be there when they arrived. And neither would Janeway.
Kathryn missed a lot of things – eating, sleeping, thinking without constant interruption. Her night with Chakotay weighed heavy on her mind. In retrospect it was a selfish thing to do, to stay with him, love him, lure him to into thinking there was more than a slim chance that she would survive any of this. Most of all, it was her own self-interest that had lead the Illerians to Voyager at all.
Maybe if she'd been more careful with her thoughts, less obsessed with their careers, their futures, she would have found in death what she was lacking in life – peace. Instead, the tanwa-seynorral's first introduction to Voyager was through her memories of them. It now knew them the way she knew them. Where it first frightened now it enraged her. They were her family, her crew. The same ones for whom she'd gone to godforsaken Borg ship. For whom she'd died. She'd be damned if someone else were going to exploit that.
She remembered a story her mother told her as a child, about a greedy dog who had found a big bone. He walked along a river bank and stopped to look at the dog on the other side. Seeing that dog also had a big bone, the greedy dog lunged to take it, but only fell into the water, got wet, and lost his own bone.
The tanwa-seynorral stirred. In the white space of her mind, it rose to face her but had no face at all.
What is this – dog?
"It's an animal, from Earth, where we're headed," she said then added smugly. "Maybe you'll see one."
Your anger is unpredictable. It makes you difficult to understand.
"My anger is justifiable. You're planning to kill to members of my crew!"
They are not members of your crew. You, we have come to understand, no longer have a crew.
"That's not the point."
They possess the Queen's code. They will be destroyed.
"Yes, I recall."
We will return you to Earth once we have collected all artifacts containing–
"The code, yes. I know. Don't worry, Starfleet won't stand in your way. They're too afraid of you."
As they should be.
For a minute, Kathryn thought the tanwa-seynorral was receding, leaving her to her own thoughts, then it turned on her again. But you are not.
"Afraid of you?" she asked, but immediately understood. "No. I'm not."
We believe you. You believe that you are… dead… already.
If their plane of existence could be met with a gesture, Kathryn would have spread her hands wide. "I've got nothing left to lose."
We wish to re-open negotiations.
"What else does the Federation have that you want?"
We do not wish to open negotiations with the Federation. We wish to re-open negotiations with you.
"What could I possibly have that you aren't already in control of?"
The answer hit her, hard. Were she corporeal or had breath, it would have left her. Instead, the anger split and redoubled, and she screamed into the abyss.
"No! Leave him alone!"