Disclaimer: This doesn't belong to me. It belongs to all sorts of rich famous star trek owning people who are not me.

Author's note: Eight months ago, I promised you guys a sequel to Continuing Journey and here's the sequel at long last. If I get reviews for this chapter, I'll write much faster, trust me. Anyway, I hope someone enjoys this atleast.

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Kathryn Janeway sighed and paced her ready room. Today's shift was passing by with terrible slowness. The monotony of the past few days was beginning to get to her. After a brief but boring tour of duty in the Alpha Quadrant, Voyager and her crew had been assigned to lead the exploratory mission to the Gamma Quadrant. It was their duty to follow up on the findings and contacts started by Commander Elias Vaughn of Deep Space Nine.

It had been an eerie sense of de ja vu for some of Voyager's original Starfleet crew, when they had departed from Deep Space 9. Kathryn hoped that it wouldn't prove to be a bad omen of some sort. Pulling off one impossible feat in a lifetime was more than enough for her. She laughed, wishing Chakotay could hear her thoughts. He had always maintained that she thrived on, and strived for the, impossible. If nothing else had come from Voyager's seven year journey, though, she was overjoyed with her relationship with her former first officer.

They hadn't thought Starfleet would approve of or allow their marriage, especially with Chakotay's background and some of her own questionable decisions, reflected on their records. However, with Kathryn's promotion to the admiralty and her heroine status, Starfleet had allowed it, especially after the marriage of the Captain and first officer of the Titan, Will Riker and Deanna Troi had set a precedence.

They had been overjoyed. Ending their personal relationship for their careers had not even been an option; Kathryn had been fully prepared to leave Starfleet if it was necessary. She had spent seven years in the Delta Quadrant trying to deny her feelings for the sake of her Voyager family, but she refused to allow it to interfere any longer.

Her reflective musing was interrupted as her comm. badge chirped at her. "Bridge to Admiral Janeway."

Tapping her comm. badge swiftly and reflexively she replied, "Janeway here." She had yet to grow accustomed to her new rank. Whenever someone referred to Admiral Janeway she still looked over her shoulder for her father.

"Admiral," said Chakotay, "I thought you'd like to know that we've just received a planetary distress signal."

Well she had hoped for something happier to occupy her, but this would do. "Thank you, Captain," she answered formally, "Janeway out." She walked energetically onto the bridge, scanning the familiar faces of her senior officers as she walked down to the center chair. Glancing between Chakotay and Tuvok she said, "Report."

"We were cruising at full impulse, Admiral," Chakotay said formally, "to investigate an unusual binary star system, when we received this distress call." Glancing up at opps., where Harry stood, he said easily, "Play it please, Lt. Kim."

"Yes, Captain," he replied, manipulating his console to comply. The crew had yet to adjust to their new captain, not that they disliked Chakotay as Captain, but they were too ingrained in saying, "Yes, Captain," to easily revert to "Yes sir." It was an easy way to tell members of Voyager's old combined crew from the new Starfleet additions.

The neutral voice of the universal translator flooded the bridge as the picture of a humanoid with large gray eyes and vaguely reptilian features appeared on the view screen. "I am Otel, representative of a benevolent race. We call ourselves the Iapha."

"Seems a little chatty for a distress call," muttered Tom from his post at the helm. She ignored his comment as she continued to listen.

"Our world of peace and unity is being torn apart by rebelling dissidents. We call upon the civilized races of the galaxy to come to our aid. We seek a neutral third party to act as mediators. We aren't a rich race, but we offer the hospitality or our world and our eternal favor. Please," and even in the being's alien eyes, Kathryn could see his desperation, "help our world. Do not leave us to a violent end."

The Admiral leaned back thoughtfully in her chair as the recorded message flickered off. Still looking thoughtful she glanced up at Tom, "Distance to the Iaphan planet, Mr. Paris?"

"Twelve standard hours at warp five, C_Admiral."

"Continue on course, Tom," she said ignoring his slip and rising out of her seat. "Tuvok, you have the bridge, Captain?"

Chakotay had already risen and was following her easily into the ready room. Turning to face Chakotay, once the doors slid shut, she asked, "What do you think Chakotay?" There were few people's opinions that she valued like Chakotay's. He was her husband and her best friend, but he had been her first officer much longer and his judgment had proven to be wise and intuitive through the years.

"It could be a genuine cry for help, an advanced race seeking outside help to take care of its own problems."

"But," said Kathryn, "It could also be a trap. In a violent quadrant like this one, showing weakness can be fatal. They could be luring us in to capture us."

"This isn't the Delta Quadrant, Kathryn," he said dropping the formality in private, "Voyager doesn't have a reputation to precede it and races seeking revenge for supposed misdeeds... yet. What reason would they have for trapping us?" He asked logically.

It was one of the best things about their relationship, the ability to examine a problem from all angles. "I can't walk away from a situation where we could have helped, possibly even saving lives from what the being said."

Chakotay smiled and she realized he had known what her decision would be the entire time. She shot a venomless version of her death glare at Chakotay and marched past him back out to the bridge. Sometimes she hated the fact that he knew her so well, at times it seemed that he knew her better than she knew herself. "Mr. Paris, set course for the Iaphan planet, Warp five."

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Chakotay walked slowly down the long corridor towards the quarters he shared with Kathryn. He hadn't envied Kathryn's position as Captain and had in fact almost turned down the promotion until he realized the opportunities it presented. It had been a hard won and controversial promotion though, pulled off by some of the most powerful of Starfleet's Admirals in an effort not to loose his wife, their newest golden girl.

The hassles he was facing now as the captain made him wish he hadn't accepted it at all. He had managed to convince Kathryn to take some time off before they reached Iapha Prime, while he finished up the details of the mission. Now that he was finally done, they had a comfortable dinner and_

Something slammed into him with considerable momentum, throwing him out of his thoughts as he took a step back to get his balance. He looked up quickly and wasn't terribly surprised when he saw the nine year old, blonde half-Ktarian girl sprawled on the floor in front of him.

"Naomi," he questioned, "Are you all right?" He crouched down next to the girl and offered her a hand to help her up.

"I'm sorry, Captain," the little girl said quickly.

"It's okay, Naomi," he said soothingly, as he looked more closely at her. It had been almost two years since he had seen her. Samantha Wildman had easily decided to stay aboard Voyager, but she had left Naomi with her husband up until this mission. It was of a more long term nature and despite the possible dangers of the mission, Sam had decided to bring Naomi with her because she didn't want to spend a long time away from her daughter.

It was clear though, that Naomi thrived on starships and Chakotay was sure that like her mentor, Admiral Janeway, she would never be content with settling down on a planet for a long period of time. She had traveled too far and seen too many things in her young life, more than most adult beings experienced in lifetimes, to be content to give up life among the stars.

However, at that particular moment, Chakotay thought, a planet would have suited Naomi better than sprinting through the corridors of a starship. "Naomi," he said with a hint of rebuke in his voice, "You know better than to run through the corridors. Save it for the holodeck, okay?"

"Yes, Captain," she said meekly, but Chakotay could almost see the girl's agitation return.

"Okay, you can go, Naomi," he said, knowing she was probably late for something, "but don't be late for our lessons tomorrow afternoon."

"Yes, Captain," she repeated as she quickly started walking away.

Chakotay hid a smile as he resumed walking. Naomi would be running again by the time she hit the next corridor. Finally he stopped in front of his shared quarters and punched in his personal access codes. Looking around for Kathryn, he saw her curled up on the couch, a cup of coffee in one hand and a padd in the other.

"Have you already eaten," he asked rhetorically. If nothing else Kathryn Janeway was notorious for the fact that she didn't take care of herself, a typical dedicated Starfleet Captain.

To Chakotay's surprise she said, "I wasn't sure when you would be back and I was hungry so I went ahead. The replicator's waiting for your command. It's programmed for your favorite."

Warily Chakotay walked towards the replicator, something was the matter, here. That something had to do with his wife, Kathryn was never this domestic-well programming a replicator wasn't exactly domestic but for Kathryn it was- and when she acted like this something was troubling her.

Waiting until his meal appeared, he was rather hungry after all, he walked over to Kathryn and sat down next to her on the sofa. She looked up from her padd and suddenly smiled at him brilliantly. All thoughts of his food disappeared as she leaned in to kiss him.

Her melancholy returned though, as they pulled apart. Putting a bite of food in his mouth, Chakotay took advantage of the moment of silence to study her. To the untrained eye, she looked fine, but after nine years, Chakotay could read her better than that. The little crow's feet at her temple that only showed up when she was tense and the tired look in her eyes suggested that she had a headache, was most likely tense and worried, probably about the upcoming mission.

Laying a hand on her shoulder gently, he waited until she looked up. "What's the matter, Kathryn?" He gently began massaging her tension filled shoulders as she considered her answer. He could feel her begin to relax as the tension melted out of her muscles.

"I'm worried about this mission, Chakotay," she said as she snuggled closer to him. Kathryn Janeway might be a fiercely independent and capable woman, but he was her strength and her support.

"What about this situation is worrying you so much? We've negotiated situations a hundred times worse and lived to tell the tale. You're the only person in the galaxy that's gotten the best of a deal with the Borg and eventually brought them to their knees. Kathryn, you can do this. I and the rest of Voyager's crew," he added with confidence, "are all behind you. This is nothing compared to traveling 70,000 light-years in seven years."

She looked up at him, a half smile flickering across her face as she held a hand up to affectionately caress his cheek. "What would I do without you," she asked rhetorically. "I love you," she murmured as they closed the distance between them with a kiss.

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The next morning she was the confident and in control Admiral that everyone expected, her inner demons once again beaten back. She held a briefing only hours before they would reach the planet. The task force that she led included five other starships. At the moment only two of the ships were with Voyager, the other three were away dealing with trade negotiations, scientific phenomena and first contacts. The other two captains, however were included in the briefing as well as Voyager's senior staff.

"Captain L'prock, Captain Elster, welcome aboard Voyager." She greeted the middle aged Vulcan woman appropriately and then offered her hand to the other captain. "You know Captain Chakotay," she said instinctively gesturing to her left where she knew he would be. "Lt. Commander Tuvok, the first officer. B'Elanna Torres my Chief engineer and Tom Paris, my helmsman. Harry Kim at opps." She looked around the room, finally finding Seven. "This is my specialist Seven of Nine. The Doctor won't be joining us today. Please have a seat," she finished gesturing to the seats around the conference table.

Once everyone was seated, she turned to look at Harry and Seven. At her orders they had compiled a presentation on the Iaphans. "What have you found," she asked.

Harry rose and flipped on the screen where a picture flickered to life. "The Iaphans are reptilian like species of humanoids who haven't ventured into space despite having the technology to do so. They possess the knowledge for warp flight, but they resist putting it to use. As far as we can tell they see no need for new technologies. They're content where they are and see no need to venture off their world."

"However, their culture has recently been under going internal turmoil," continued Seven where Harry stopped. "A faction of dissidents has arisen that claims the government is not as benevolent as they seem. The dissidents have been rebelling against the government, violently. They have neither the knowledge nor the inclination to resist. It appears to be a legitimate call for aid."

"Thank you, Seven, Harry." She turned back to the others. "Captains L'Prock, Elster, I will be leading the negotiations and the first contact mission to the planet. Captain Chakotay, Lt. Paris and a security team will accompany me. I'm leaving Commander Tuvok in charge of Voyager while we're down on the planet. I would like you Captain L'Prock to remain in high orbit around the planet in case these beings aren't as benevolent as they seem. Captain Elster, for the same reason, I would like your ship to take up a position in the outer solar system."

"Yes, Admiral," replied Elster and to her surprise the Vulcan captain didn't have any objections either.

"Very well," she said, "if no one else has any questions, shall we return to our posts?" Question though it may have seemed to be, it was taken as the order it was meant to be.

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Three hours later, the transporter released them into a momentary haze that temporarily obscured their first impressions of the Iaphan world. When it cleared though, Kathryn wasn't surprised to hear Chakotay's gasp of shock. Her husband was a deeply spiritual man with great respect and appreciation for nature. For him the surprising natural beauty of Iapha would be an intoxicating experience. She made a mental note to inquire about possible shore leave for her crew. They would love this planet and it would be an excellent place to spend time with Chakotay. A picnic, maybe...

She pushed that and all other extraneous thoughts aside to focus on the mission in front of her. She sized up the alien beings that made up the delegation that approached them. The species average height seemed to be from what she could tell, quite impressive. No doubt it would have intimidated another person of her stature, but she had learned long ago not to judge an unfamiliar species by their appearance or allow them to intimidate her.

"I'm Admiral Kathryn Janeway and this is the Captain of my starship, Chakotay. We came in response to the distress call this planet issued."

The Iaphan, when he spoke had a low, soothing melodic voice that strangely intrigued her. "We thank you for your presence on our world. On my people's behalf let me welcome you."

The being, who soon introduced himself as the first minister of the planet continued his welcome/thank you speech, but she noticed as he spoke his eyestalks constantly drifted towards Chakotay. It wasn't unusual for people to stare at him, in her experience. He was a striking man, but there was something else in this being's gaze, something that worried Kathryn beyond any logical possibility and made her want to beam back up to Voyager and get as far away from the planet as possible.

She dismissed the feeling though as they were led into a large conference room which was cordoned off into two obvious sections. Although the groups of Iaphans weren't visually distinct from one another, the edgy tension in the room separated them easily.

Kathryn stifled an internal groan. This was shaping up into a headache inducing mission, despite the promise of the beautiful locale. Taking a central seat at the enormous table with Chakotay sitting beside her, she launched into what would turn into endless hours of discussion. No matter how much she heard, though she couldn't shake her feelings of unease concerning these people and this place.

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Later that night, when they returned to their quarters, their usual conversation was mixed with talk of the day's negotiations. Walking to the replicator, she ordered herself her usual black coffee.

"Do you want something," she asked Chakotay as he walked by.

"Just some of Tuvok's Vulcan tea, please." The Iaphans offered hospitality had been genuine and the feast quite elaborate.

"Vulcan tea #28 with honey," she added knowing from experience how he liked his tea. She set it beside him as she walked over to the couch.

Settling down on it, Kathryn took a sip of her coffee and reached down to pull off the boots she always wore and sometimes despised. "What did you think of the situation," she asked, seeking his opinion.

"I think as a whole they're a peaceful people, but the government is led by a few corrupt individuals."

She stopped massaging her feet and looked up in surprise. It was rare that Chakotay's intuitive assessment of a situation differed so radically from her own. Usually it was what needed to be done about the situation that brought about their disagreements.

Chakotay had finally looked up from what he was working on, noticing after a moment Kathryn's silence. "What did you think, Kathryn?" He asked with a mocking edge in his voice that shocked her.

It was a tone of voice that she would much more readily expect from her fiery Klingon Chief Engineer. But not even B'Elanna had spoken to her with such a malicious edge in years. Something had to be bothering Chakotay more than she had noticed, or he had cared to admit. That in itself was unusual though. After seven years of lying about their feelings for one another and the consequences it had brought, the couple shared emotions and problems quickly so they wouldn't linger and become festering resentments.

"What's the matter, Chakotay?" She asked quietly, walking up behind him and wrapping her arms around him. To her further surprise, he stiffened at her touch and stepped out of her embrace.

"Something has to be the matter with me, if I disagree with you, Kathryn?" He demanded icily, his voice rising with anger as he spoke.

She took a step back. This conversation was taking a quick turn into an argument and if there was anyone who could ignite her temper, it was Chakotay. Tonight, though, she wasn't interested in fighting, especially with Chakotay. In fact, she had hoped to spend the evening curled up in his comforting, loving arms, making up for lost time.

She sighed and turned to walk away, "We can talk later, Chakotay, when we've calmed down. I don't want to argue about this." Her head jerked up in anger though, when she felt him grab her arm none too gently to stop her from leaving.

"I'm not arguing about this, Kathryn. I should have known better than to tell you what I thought. I should have known you wouldn't listen. You've never cared about rebellions."

Glaring at him, she snapped, "How dare you. You know that's not true." It had been a long day and her patience was gone. "Besides," she added, "are you sure those aren't your Maquis sympathies talking."

He laughed bitterly, "And here I thought you trusted my judgment, Kathryn. I guess I should have known better."

Now she was really getting angry. It was one of the few down sides to knowing someone so well, knowing the exact things to say to totally infuriate them. "That's never been an issue, from when we first met. I made you my first officer almost immediately."

"Is that why you were always trusting Tuvok more than me, then? I seem to recall several incidents when that happened."

"Of course, I trust you, Chakotay," she said with exhaustion. "This is your problem. You seem to take offense at every little thing I say tonight."

"If you don't know what my problem is Kathryn, maybe you don't know me as well as you thought."

It was spoken with a deliberate cruelty that she had never seen in Chakotay before, especially directed at her. This whole conversation had gone so badly and she was baffled by his arguments and totally surprised by his uncharacteristic actions.

"You know what Chakotay, maybe you're right." Kathryn knew she should stop talking now, before the pain she was feeling made her say something she didn't mean and would regret later, but she just couldn't seem to stop talking. "If I'm so wrong about you maybe you should just leave. Go find one of your blonde bimbos."

It was a low blow and she knew it. The moment she said it, she wished she had never even thought it, but it was too late. She watched horrified at herself as his face contorted in anger. Everything around her seemed horribly slow and detached as Chakotay stepped forward, his arm raised. As it fell towards her, she didn't flinch or even move away. Chakotay had never laid a hand on her that way. He simply wasn't that kind of man. No matter how angry he was he would never do something like that. She trusted him implicitly.

His hand froze a centimeter from her face. "Spirits, Kathryn."

She could see his whole body shaking and the horrified look of self- loathing on his face. He reached one shaky hand up to caress her cheek. "I'm so sorry, Kathryn." He murmured and then fled from their quarters.

"Chakotay," she called out finally, released from her frozen shock, but it was too late, her husband was gone.

I know that Chakotay is very out of character in this chapter, but there is a reason for it that comes up in later chapters. It involves a ticked off Borg Queen, time-travel, nanoprobes and the furtherance of J/C everywhere.

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Coming up next, we have all sorts of fun stuff. Stick around the ride is just starting. Please leave a review and let me know what you think of Chakotay's highly unusual behavior.