Disclaimer: Yikes, I'm really starting to hate these things. I own none of this and I'm not certain but I think trek actually belongs to Paramount. Anyways whoever it belongs to is not me.

Author's note: Okay, I come groveling to you for the lateness of this chapter. The only thing I can say was that while it has been two months since I last updated, again, at least it hasn't been longer. I had a very hard time writing this chapter, so please forgive me. Sorry. *author ducks out quickly and runs and hides*

Kathryn Janeway: Sorry this first part isn't exactly a happy fic, but stick with it. No promises though.

Joe: *Wince* Sorry, I'll try to update sooner this time, but no guarantees. Really I do not do this on purpose, guys.

Shadow 39: Well I'm slightly scared put at long last, here's you "more please." Hope you enjoy it.

Annie: Well I can't say why yet, 'cause that would defeat the whole point of the story, but I hope that eventually that will be answered.

Raven Sage: Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I hope you like this part as much and seriously I will try to update sooner next time.

"Admiral Janeway, I regret to inform you of the death of Captain Chakotay."

It was a sentence that Kathryn Janeway had heard in her nightmares for years, but had never truly imagined would happen. She stood, frozen and silent for a long moment before she walked unseeingly past the Doctor. When she reached Chakotay's side, she almost called the Doctor a liar.

His handsome face was unmarred and he looked the same as he had a hundred times before in their married life, as if he were sleeping and not...Her mind froze and shied away at the thought. A tear slid down her cheek as she ran her fingers over the features she had loved so much. She leaned over and kissed Chakotay gently on the lips.

The Sickbay doors hissed loudly open and Tom Paris strode calmly in. "Admiral," he said loudly wearing his usual cheery smile.

She didn't acknowledge Tom or Seven, as the former drone pulled him aside to gently break the news to him, showing more perception and humanity than many people would have given her credit for.

Kathryn was a scientist at heart and she had only begun to share some of Chakotay's deep rooted spirituality. She stared at the man who had been her first officer, her best friend and her husband and said for the last time the words that had defined so much of the last decade of her life. "I love you, Chakotay."

With an incredible force of will she tore her eyes away from his inert form. Head bowed and partially obscured from view, she only looked up once, pinning the Doctor with her gaze.

"Admiral," he spoke up quietly, but stopped immediately as she raised her hand as if to ward off his comment and demand his silence.

"Find out what happened to him, Doctor." Without making eye contact or speaking to anyone else, she slipped out of Sickbay, leaving the people behind her frozen, in her wake.

Heaving a sigh that he didn't need, the Doctor was the first to move. Slowly, he walked back towards his assistants. There were details that had to be attended to now, even beyond the Admiral's orders. She was after all, in no condition to be taking care of them herself. The Admiral was a woman of strong emotions. Most of the time that benefited her greatly, at this moment, though, it would be hurting her greatly.

He watched silently, trying to be invisible as Tom awkwardly approached Chakotay. The lieutenant stared at him, almost in disbelief, for a long minute. Finally he whispered so quietly that only the Doctor's enhanced senses could have heard it, "I wasn't always one of your fans, Big Guy, but I owe you so much. I wouldn't have made it back to the Alpha quadrant if you hadn't done everything that you did for me."

Even the Doctor, who had watched Tom change and grow as a person, was surprised at him. Tom Paris had certainly grown since he had come aboard Voyager as an angry young man, and a traitor who Janeway had been forced to physically separate from Chakotay during their first confrontation.

"I'll watch out for B'Elanna," he added, his voice now sounding tight, as if he were holding back tears. "She won't take this well, Chakotay. She's going to be so mad at you." He turned away sharply and exited Sickbay with the thud of booted feet. The news that he had to deliver to his wife now was not good and it would not be pleasant.

Seven stepped toward him now, from where she had been unobtrusively standing. She came to stand beside the Doctor and looked down on the man who had at one time claimed a piece of her heart. Without a word, she leaned over a placed a gentle kiss on his forehead.

"These circumstances are as Admiral Janeway pointed out, of an unnatural nature, yet the emotional ramifications are no different." Several silent tears slid down her cheek, but unlike a regular woman she made no move to stop her tears. At last she said, her tone matter of fact as ever but not without a strong edge of grief, "It is right to grieve for a friend who will be so dearly missed."

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She was numb, nothingness personified. It was slowly killing her, certainly to slow for her tastes. It would all be all right if they would just LEAVE HER ALONE. It was the only thing that roused any passion in her these days, her desire to be left alone. The only oblivion she could find or accept anymore was that of sleep, the golden oblivion of dreams where Chakotay was still alive, where Chakotay could still hold her in his arms and kiss her and seem to make the universe fall away from them. She had been strong, confident and unstoppable, but he had been her foundation and her anchor.

She could stand without him. After all she had done that for all of the years of her life before she met him, but the truth was, she simply didn't want to. For the first time in her life Kathryn Janeway didn't care. She no longer fought, strived and put every ounce of her strength into righting the galaxies wrongs because for her there was no reason to.

She groaned and buried her head underneath her pillow, seeking to block the sound of Tuvok's steady knocking or Tom's respectful pleading out, and snuggle her face down into the pillow underneath it, Chakotay's pillow. His scent still lingered in the fabric and like a highly addictive drug it was the only thing that could offer her even marginal comfort and put her into the dream filled sleep that she craved.

Kathryn had almost succeeded in gaining the poor substitute for what she had dearly wanted when it was ripped from her, literally. With surprising force, the pillows were ripped away from her and the room was filled with blinding light. She didn't even scream with rage as she might once have. She simply rolled away from the light and threw an arm up to cover her face.

"No," the word wasn't defiant, but clear and firm. "You won't do this. You're too afraid to even try to go on living."

The covers of the bed were ripped roughly away from her. Those words had always been one of the easiest ways to get to Kathryn Janeway. Telling her not to do something or that it was impossible was the quickest and surest way to ensure that she would do just that. Some small part of her, the part that had been dying more everyday since He died responded to that calm ultimatum with anger. She rose to face her persecutor and forcefully drive them out of their-her, quarters if necessary and barely made it to a standing position before she was headed back towards the floor.

A pair of strong hands caught her before she hit and lowered her gently to a sitting position, leaning against her bed. Still almost blinded by the light, she squinted her eyes closed and hoped that whoever it was would disappear.

"Here," the voice had returned and as Kathryn's vision cleared she saw a mug of steaming coffee coming towards her. The cup was warm against her skin as B'Elanna pressed it gently to her hand. As B'Elanna let go, she almost dropped it from lack of strength, but didn't bother to yelp in pain as it burned her skin.

B'Elanna was there a moment later, wiping the hot liquid away. "Sorry about that, Admiral," she said respectfully and then guided the cup to her commanding officer's lips and let her take a few small uninterested sips, before she lowered it again. "The crew's worried about you," she said, lowering herself to the floor beside her Admiral. "You haven't left your quarters in two weeks."

Kathryn looked at her hazily, tying to muster the anger and determination to Death Glare B'Elanna out of her room. B'Elanna didn't even flinch. She had every respect for the Admiral, but she refused to be intimidated by her now. "Tuvock's been running the ship, but the crew needs to see you. They just lost their Captain and for a lot of Voyager's original combined crew, their friend and confidant for the past eight years."

She looked over at B'Elanna and this time she saw the determination in B'Elanna's eyes falter as she saw the complete lack of interest in the Admiral's eyes. "So you're saying that you want me to put the good of my crew first."

"Yes. I am. Admiral for seven years you were the determination, the strength, the will and the heart that carried this ship towards home, but Chakotay was the soul of Voyager."

Kathryn looked as if she hadn't heard a word that B'Elanna had said. She stared through her, instead, seeing something, or more importantly someone else. "And I spent those same seven years, totally mindlessly dedicated to my crew. My mindless devotion, putting what I thought was best for my crew before me, it was seven precious years that Chakotay and I could have had together."

B'Elanna looked down. There was no denying at least the partial truth of the Admiral's words. "Admiral," she started slowly, "I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. I don't even want to think about something like this happening to Tom, but you should know that you have the support of your entire crew." She pushed herself to her feet and started toward the door. She paused and turned back to face her commanding officer. "I thought you might want to know that the Doctor has information about what happened to Chakotay."

For a moment B'Elanna felt a flicker of hope as she saw a look of interest touch the Admiral's eyes, but it was destroyed when she said blandly, "Dismissed, Lieutenant."

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After B'Elanna left it was almost an hour before she could bring herself to move. The coffee had turned cold in her hand and she weaved slightly on her feet as she stood. Simply getting to her feet had been a major accomplishment, but now she had to make a choice, probably one of the hardest choices of her life. It would be so easy to give in right now, to let go and fall back onto the bed, to seek the comfortable haven it represented. After all, if the reality wasn't possible, surely the illusion was just as good. In that moment she almost gave in. Her balance betrayed her and she started to list towards the bed.

Just before she fell she caught herself at the last instant, catching site of a picture on a dresser across the room. Chakotay smiled back at her from the photo with an arm wrapped around her in the picture. It was a fairly recent shot of them that had been taken at a formal reception, but for once she had dispensed with the formality that they typically showed one another in public. The photographer had captured them in rare unguarded moment and she had treasured the photo since then. For a moment she felt a surge of happiness, but it was quickly followed by a wave of gut wrenching grief.

Something about Chakotay in the photo, though reminded her of the way he had always seemed to give her strength and support, despite whatever situation they were in at the time. She gave her head a minute shake and then took a resolute if slow step away from the bed and towards the shower. It was the harder of her two choices and she had almost given up, but something in her still refused to give in. Once again Chakotay had inspired her to continue even if it was without him.She resolutely pushed that thought away and concentrated on getting her weakened body to functioning strength.

Two hours later, after a shower, a clean uniform and a decent meal, Kathryn almost felt normal again, as long as she ignored the constant pressing weight of grief that was always haunting her thoughts, ready to leap back to the forefront of her thoughts. She took a deep breath as she stood in front of the door. She let it out quickly and with the next breath, Admiral Janeway returned.

She was no longer a grieving woman, she was a Starfleet Admiral with all of the authority and confidence that position implied. She stepped through the door and walked steadily down the corridor. She even managed nods of acknowledgement for the few passing crewmen. Her face was like stone as she stepped into the turbolift. She didn't relax or even shift impatiently as she requested deck five. She stepped out of the turbolift and walked evenly towards her destination.

Without a hint of hesitation or at least any that anyone on Voyager would be capable of recognizing, she stepped forward. The doors hissed open and she strode over into Sickbay. She forced herself not to look over at the biobed where she had last seen Chakotay or to show the exhaustion she was suddenly feeling, even after such a short walk. Summoning the determination of will that had first made her a Captain and now an Admiral, she forced herself not to give in to her exhaustion.

"Doctor," she called out in a firm voice. Usually she would have taken the effort to find him, but today, she wasn't sure that she could have at the moment.

"Admiral," the Doctor appeared almost instantly in his office doorway. Most people would have said that the hologram couldn't truly feel emotion much less display them, but she could see so much in his eyes. She saw his grief, but she also saw the brief spark of joy in his eyes. No doubt he was relieved that she seemed to be better. "B'Elanna said that you had the report I had asked for," she queried him.

She could hardly believe the sound of her own voice. It was distant and impersonal. If an unknowing person had walked past they would have assumed that she was asking for something innocuous like the monthly Sickbay readiness evaluation, not the results of the investigation into her husband, a man who had been dead for less than two weeks.

The Doctor's face was instantly serious. He glanced around Sickbay and then said quietly, "The report is in my office." It was probably the first time since the Doctor's program had been running that he hadn't immediately volunteered information or bombarded her with his brilliant discoveries on whatever the subject was the moment she walked into Sickbay.

She followed him into his office and steadily accepted the datapad he handed her. She held it in her hand for a moment before she could bring herself to look at it. She stared blankly at the PADD for a moment. Normally she would have scanned through it quickly and saved the minute details for later. She didn't though. She didn't think she could bear to read about him as a cold impersonal fact, or hear Chakotay referred to as "the subject."

Carefully as if she might break something unseen but incredibly fragile, she sat the PADD down on his desk. "Why don't you tell me what that says, Doctor."

The Doctor looked almost hesitant for a moment and slightly reluctant to begin to speak. "Captain Chakotay's condition was not a result of natural causes." He started slowly.

"What?" she exclaimed. If this was a result of foul play or an attack of some kind...It wasn't something she had thought of yet and the possibility that more people, more of her crew could be in danger from this, whatever this was, hadn't occurred to her until now.

If she found out something or someone was responsible for Chakotay's death, they would pay. She would see to it.

"Admiral," the Doctor's voice cut into her thoughts. He seemed to be about to ask her if she was all right, but stopped himself. Perhaps her realized the absurdity of the question or maybe he was afraid of her answer, either way he said carefully, "Are you ready for the rest of my report?"

Not trusting what she would say if she opened her mouth, she nodded. The Doctor immediately took up his report. "After hearing several reports of the Captain's unusual behavior previously in that day, I suspected that something else was behind his condition." Despite the identity of the victim the Doctor's voice seemed to grow more and more enthused as he spoke. He was, she reminded herself, after all a medical hologram at his core, solving medical problems was what her did best, what he was programmed for. "My first routine scans didn't show anything out of the ordinary, but then I began to systematically run all scans.."

"Doctor," she cut in raising a hand. She wasn't interested in all of the technical how's and why's, "The point," she reminded him firmly. He nodded and she could almost see him switch mental gears. He moved over to the nearest console, punching in a series of keys. He stepped back just a second later.

"Do you recognize this, Admiral?" He asked momentarily.

She glanced at the image on the screen, expecting the Doctor's question to be rhetorical and almost flinched when she looked at it. She did recognize it. It was an image she had seen, blown up on a screen like this far too many times in the past decade. An enlarged image of a basic Borg nanoprobe was an all too familiar sight. Controlling her instinctive reaction was harder than it should have been in her current emotional state, but she still managed it with an ease that most people couldn't have commanded.

She appeared to study it for a moment longer before she turned her gaze back up to the expectant Doctor. "What does this have to do with Ch-the Captain?" She stumbled over his name, finally settling on the more formal Captain.

The Doctor seemed taken a back for a moment, as if suddenly realizing that he had gotten ahead of himself. "I found these in Captain Chakotay's blood." The Admiral met his eyes sharply, "Chakotay was being assimilated?" The question was out of her mouth almost before she knew it. "Doctor are you saying that there are Borg here," she was already rising to her feet, her hand over her comm. badge, ready to march to the bridge.

"Admiral," he said quickly, "This isn't a new infection." That halted her immediately. "As far as I know, Admiral, there are no Borg down on the Iapha or here on Voyager. Based on my estimation, Captain Chakotay was infected by the nanoprobes, slightly more than a decade ago."

For the moment at least, her grief had been pushed to the back of her mind. It was a constant that she couldn't and almost didn't want to escape. Right now, she was puzzled by what the Doctor had said. Usually after a person was infected with Borg nanoprobes, it took less than a minute for signs of Borg technology to appear. She should know, she thought with an edge of ironic bitterness. It seemed impossible that Borg nanoprobes could have lasted for ten years in Chakotay's bloodstream without even the slightest hint of their existence being seen, or the Doctor detecting them for that matter. Chakotay, like everyone else had been subjected to routine physicals.

"Explain," she said curtly, not caring that she had been sharper with the Doctor than she should have.

"I was uncertain when I saw those," the Doctor admitted, "Even in all of my vast knowledge and experience, I'd never heard of Borg nanoprobes like those lasting so long. So I asked Seven of Nine to assist me." He paused, cocking his head slightly to the side, "The results of our scans were puzzling to her as well. It appears that the nanoprobes were modified from their original form."

"Modified," she questioned him intently, "Some non-Borg species..." She paused for a second waiting to see if the first part of her speculation was correct. He nodded, "Modified Borg nanoprobes." She considered that. "How were the nanoprobes modified?"

The Doctor's face fell slightly and he said gravely, "They would have only been activated when their host was in certain environments. The nanoprobes affected several different functions within the body, but all of them would have resulted in a severe change of attitude or personality on Captain Chakotay's part."

This time she couldn't stifle a gasp. She was a Starfleet Admiral, but she was also a wife. She swallowed and looked back down at the magnified image. "Did Seven have any thoughts on who could have modified those nanoprobes and infected Captain Chakotay with them?"

Now it was the Doctor's turn to assume a puzzled expression. He nodded, "Yes, Ma'am, she seemed surprised by what she found, but she was also adamant about not telling me. She informed me that the knowledge was classified and asked me not to show it to anyone but you."

Kathryn almost growled in frustration. Chakotay was dead, she didn't care about petty obstacles. "Janeway to Seven of Nine," she said, tapping her comm. link a moment before.

"Yes, Admiral," Seven replied almost instantaneously.

Now it was the Admiral's turn to pause, despite her frustration, she chose her words with care. "You consulted the Doctor about a matter he was working on and he said that you would have the rest of the report for me. Could you join us in Sickbay?" It might have been couched in the form of a request, but it was without a doubt, an order.

"I'm on my way, Admiral," Seven responded easily, sounding unperturbed as some of rest of the crew might have. "Seven of Nine out."

Ten minutes had passed by the time that Seven reached Sickbay. If she was in better health, Kathryn would have spent that time pacing, but she wasn't sure her body could sustain her nervous energy and she certainly didn't want to pass out in front of the Doctor.

Once Seven approached them, the Admiral watched her expectantly. Seven acknowledged her quietly, "Admrial," she shot an almost apologetic look at the Doctor, that years or even a few months ago would have surprised Kathryn, coming from Seven. Now, though she had gotten used to the new freer emotions that Seven showed around the Doctor.

"Doctor, if I could have a private word with the Admiral?" She asked formally.

The Doctor, though clearly not happy, nodded. "I'll be glowering at incompetent ensigns," he said testily as he exited.

The two women watched him walk away and then Kathrny turned to Seven. "The Doctor said you thought you might know who was responsible for modifying and planting the nanoprobes?"

Seven nodded. "That is correct. I have only seen technology modified in a similar manner once before. Admiral, I believe that Section 31 was responsible for this."

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