FIVE YEARS LATER
Kathryn sat ramrod straight in the waiting chair, resisting the urge to run her fingers under the collar of her uniform. Trevor sat next to her, barely keeping his seat. He'd been fidgeting since they walked in and were asked to wait. He'd examined the plant on the corner table, adjusted the buttons on his suit, picked at his fingernails, and found a short loose string on the seam of the chair to pull. In short, his anxious antics were causing her nerves to fray.
"Will you sit still," she muttered out of the corner of her mouth.
He glared at her mutinously but folded his hands in his lap and sat back.
It was a relief for both of them when, minutes later, the doors to the main office opened and the secretary called for them. They both stood, and Kathryn glanced at her brother. He met her eye, already appearing calmer, and tapped the PADD he carried. She gave him a quick nod and knew exactly how he felt.
They were finally taking action.
Walking into the opulent office, Kathryn saw three people waiting for them. She had only expected two, but she raised her hand in the traditional Vulcan salute. "Madam President, we come to serve."
Federation President Mir'cha returned the salute. "Your service honors us." She then extended her hand to Kathryn. "Admiral Janeway, it pleases me to make your acquaintance. Your accomplishments over the years have been extraordinary."
"Thank you, Madam President." The brief handshake had been a much more personal greeting than she'd ever expected from a president or a Vulcan, and she recognized it for the genuine gesture it conveyed. She motioned to her right. "May I introduce my brother, Trevor Janeway?"
He smartly kept his hands at his sides, not expecting or insinuating he should receive the same level of informality. "Madam President."
She inclined her head slightly, acknowledging his greeting before indicating the two people waiting behind her. "I do not believe you require introductions, but as requested, my Chief of Staff, Fleet Admiral Nechayev."
Kathryn gave the other woman a genuine smile. She'd gotten along quite well with Alynna Nechayev the past couple of years. Despite the horror stories she'd always heard, she found Nechayev to have a wicked sense of humor. "Admiral. Good to see you again."
Not knowing yet what the meeting was to be about, Alynna only gave Janeway a tight smile in return. She gestured to the man standing beside her. "My aide, Captain William Jones."
Kathryn exchanged a look with Trevor then addressed Nechayev. "Forgive me for asking, Admiral, but could you have your aide wait outside?"
Whatever leeway Nechayev had been willing to extend, Kathryn knew she had just used it all up. The President simply raised an eyebrow at the request, but after only a brief hesitation, Nechayev ordered Jones to wait outside. After his departure, before the ensuing silence could build too much, the President indicated they should all be seated. "Now, Admiral Janeway, what was it you wished to speak about?"
"I wanted to bring to your attention the presence of a covert military organization operating within Federation space that poses a distinct threat to our way of life." She paused, seeing the President exchange a look with her Chief of Staff. "Specifically, they endanger our right to life, liberty, and the very ideals on which the Federation was founded."
Nechayev shifted slightly. "These are serious accusations. I assume you have proof that warrants such claims."
Kathryn heard what Nechayev wasn't saying. "I assure you, Admiral, today's meeting is necessary. This threat is insidious and has burrowed its way into the highest levels of our society."
"Continue, Admiral." Mir'cha steepled her fingers in front of her. "We are listening."
"Five years ago, I gave an interview during which I discussed the three years I was missing. My captivity and mistreatment at the hands of others. During that interview, I named a group called the Naro'q Suh as the responsible party." She took a moment to steel herself. "I lied."
Nechayev's face did not betray her emotions, but she held Kathryn's gaze. "There were Starfleet operations conducted based on that information."
"I know," she said. "I apologize for the duplicity, but it was necessary."
"Why?" the President asked.
"Madam President, you have not held this office long, but you have been in politics and around Starfleet for the past thirty years."
"Yes. What does that have to do with this discussion?"
"Have you ever heard of Section 31?"
Nechayev scoffed openly and sat back in her chair. "They're just a rumor, a story for cadets to whisper about. They don't actually exist."
"Actually, they do exist," Kathryn countered and then delivered her bombshell. "I'm one of their agents."
"And so is your aide, Captain William Jones," Trevor supplied, joining the conversation. He slid the PADD he'd been carrying across the table to Nechayev. "This is a list of agents that we've identified over the past five years. You'll notice there are quite a few names on there. Some that I'm sure you'll recognize."
She scrolled through the list, looking up in alarm. "Henry Madison? The Secretary of Energy?" With a glance, she handed the PADD over to the President. "How did you come by this information? What proof do you have?"
"The Enterprise is scheduled to break orbit tomorrow at 1400 hours to begin a survey mission of a nebulous cluster," Kathryn said and waited for a nod of acknowledgment from the senior admiral. "However, they will actually be leaving at 1000 hours ferrying a diplomatic envoy to Cardassia. An envoy that will be presenting terms for agricultural support to the Cardassians to help with their continuing rebuilding efforts."
"That is not common knowledge," Nechayev said through gritted teeth.
"No, but your aide, Captain Jones, dictated the orders on your behalf to Captain Picard," Trevor explained. "He then passed a second copy of those orders to Kathryn."
The President put the PADD down. "Why did he pass them to you?"
"Because I am one of the senior ranking officers within Starfleet who is also an agent of 31. My role includes acting as a liaison between Starfleet and the agent on the Federation Council. The information I pass to them helps them decide how to place their agents for possible missions." She paused. "If you check the Enterprise's crew roster, you will notice a very late addition of a lieutenant to the security section. The addition was made shortly after I passed on the information concerning the mission."
"No way 31 misses an opportunity to send an agent to Cardassia," Trevor commented, "and you can bet he'll be on the rotation of people who go down to the planet's surface."
The President regarded them both carefully. "And you have information like this on all the people you've named in your file?"
"No one was listed that we weren't completely sure about," Kathryn assured her.
"But there are others you aren't sure about?" Nechayev asked.
"Their network is…extensive."
Mir'cha got to her feet, motioning for all of them to remain seated. With her hands draped behind her back, she circled the seating area in silent contemplation. "Admiral Janeway, your accusations are troubling, and I wish to discuss them further. However, there is one thing I must know before we continue." She stopped her movement and faced Kathryn squarely. "What is your purpose in bringing this information to my attention?"
It was a question she had been expecting. "Eight years ago, Section 31 was the group that kidnapped me. I was physically and mentally tortured by them. My very identity was stripped from me. I was forced to endure their assaults for six months."
"To what end?" Nechayev asked. "What did they want?"
"Their expectations for me were two-fold, but ultimately they wanted to mold me into one of their own."
"They succeeded then?" Mir'cha asked. "By your own admission, you are, indeed, an agent."
Kathryn shook her head. "No. I never became one of them. Five years ago, when I joined them at my own behest, it was for one purpose and one purpose only. To bring 31 to justice." Her chin came up and she felt the familiar burn in her gut at the thought of their many atrocious acts. "They act independently without provocation or oversight. They claim they are doing what is necessary, but their end results do not justify their means. They must be stopped. This single purpose is what brought me here today, Madam President."
A chime sounded in the office, and the secretary that had shown Kathryn and Trevor inside appeared in the doorway. "Madam President, your next appointment has arrived."
President Mir'cha studied Kathryn's face for what felt like an eternity before responding to her assistant. "Cancel it. Clear my schedule for the next two hours."
"Yes, ma'am." The secretary disappeared from the doorway as quickly as she'd entered, apparently accustomed to changing the President's schedule on short notice.
Mir'cha reclaimed her seat, her hands folding serenely in her lap as she sat back. "Tell me everything and please…start at the beginning."
"I hate time travel," Trevor complained, rubbing his hand over his face.
Stepping off the transporter pad and throwing her overnight bag onto the couch, Kathryn frowned at him. "What?"
He squinted at the afternoon sun streaming in the windows. "It gives me a headache."
"Trevor, we transported from France to Indiana and crossed a couple of time zones. I'd hardly compare that to time travel."
"Have I already experienced five pm to ten pm today? Yes. Am I about to experience them again? Yes." Shoving her bag out of his way, he slumped onto the couch. "That's time travel."
"Actually, it's called jet lag," Chakotay said, entering the study. "I thought I heard the sound of sibling rivalry."
Trevor watched miserably as his sister crossed the room and kissed her husband hello. When the greeting passed the thirty second mark, he got to his feet, muttering sullenly, "Get a room."
Keeping his arm wrapped around her, Chakotay pulled back. "We will…just as soon as all the munchkins are out from under foot." He nudged Kathryn. "You asked me to remind you when you got back, Megan's bridal shower is coming up this weekend."
She dropped her head against his chest. "I completely forgot." She looked up at him expectantly. "I don't suppose you–"
He winked at her. "B'Elanna is picking up something from the both of us today."
"How did you manage to convince her to do that?"
Chakotay winced. "Miral has been here all day."
Trevor's head snapped around. "You mean Miral has been around my Alyssa all day? Where's Jenny?"
Chakotay thought the younger man sounded almost panicked. "She went with B'Elanna to go shopping for Megan."
Trevor groaned and dropped his head into his hands. "I'm never going to get any sleep tonight."
"Sure you will. Those two have been running around all day," Chakotay said even as he rubbed Kathryn's back cajolingly. "And please keep that in mind when you see the wreck that we used to lovingly refer to as our living room."
"I can't believe Jenny left her here," Trevor groused just as a trilled alarm went off and all three adults looked at the panel near the study door. Trevor read it first and sighed heavily, "Back door. I'll go get them."
"That's only the thousandth time today that's gone off," Chakotay said, absently resetting the code. "What's he so upset about?"
"Miral usually teaches Alyssa bad habits like fighting or hunting or growling," Kathryn murmured against his chest, still leaning into him. "But honestly, after today, I don't think sleep will be a problem for me."
He looked down at her, studying her more closely. "Was it that bad?"
"No, not really." She shrugged. "It went about as well as could be expected. They listened at least."
"That was about as much as we could expect from this meeting."
Kathryn nodded. "There was a complication though. Alynna's aide was there, Captain Jones."
Chakotay frowned. "But isn't he–"
"Yes, he is," she said, rubbing the back of her neck with one hand. "I had to request that he wait outside."
He pushed her hand away and began kneading the tightened muscles himself. "How'd he take it?"
"Not well," she managed, thinking about the dark look Jones gave her on his way out, "but there wasn't much he could do about it."
Chakotay considered that for a moment. "And by now he's probably already reported to the Section that you were there this afternoon."
She felt her muscles relaxing and her forehead bumped against his chest. "Yep."
"They'll know it was you that exposed their secrets."
Kathryn shrugged. "It wouldn't have taken much for them to figure that out anyway. Hopefully, they'll be a bit preoccupied with saving their own asses for the time being."
"In other words, we're in no more danger than we usually are."
From the living room, they heard the sound of glass breaking and the alarm panel near the door began sounding a shrill beep. Kathryn's head snapped up and they both froze, hearts momentarily stopping in fear of the possibility–
"Sorry," Trevor's voice echoed down the hallway followed by the sound of two girls giggling. Kathryn closed her eyes in relief as Chakotay reached out a hand and reset the alarm panel once again.
"Do you think…I made a mistake?"
Chakotay barely heard her whispered question. "A mistake about what?"
"Everything," Kathryn said wearily. "Is it always going to be like this for us? Hiding behind alarms? Jumping at every little noise? Having to be on constant alert?"
He gently lifted her chin until her eyes met his. "No. What you did today was the first step to ensure that we don't have to live our lives that way. You've done everything you can to make sure we'll be free from this threat once and for all."
"We," she corrected him after a minute. "We've done everything we can. There's no way I did this on my own."
"Okay. We," he agreed easily. "And in a few years, when it's our daughter breaking the window, the only thing we'll be worried about…is replacing the window."
It was amazing how much she liked the sound of that. "Our daughter, huh?"
Chakotay grinned. "It could be our son, but I tend to think our daughter will be more dangerous than our well-behaved son."
"Dangerous?" she asked, smiling and enjoying the hell out of seeing his dimples deepen the longer he grinned at her. "You think our daughter will be dangerous?"
He nodded, attempting to keep his expression very serious. "Only because she'll take after you."
"I'm not dangerous."
"Well, you did phaser me…"
She arched an eyebrow at him.
"And that was after you had drugged me."
She smiled tightly and pushed away from him. "Why don't we go see how Trevor is doing?"
"And then you robbed me while I was unconscious," Chakotay continued mercilessly.
"I'm leaving now," she said, turning towards the door.
He caught her by the arm, easily trapping her up against the wall with his body.
"No you aren't." His mouth descending on hers sealed off her protests, something she allowed with more enthusiasm than he'd initially expected. She drew him in, her tongue meeting him halfway and more than eager to engage in the kind of dueling he was seeking with it.
Then she pulled back, nipped his lower lip almost sharply, something she did only when she meant it, was after more than harmless diversion, and he became keenly aware of the fullness of her chest pressed against him, of the bottom of her thigh resting in his palm, somehow hooked around his waist.
He also heard the distinct sounds of a dog barking in the other room. They didn't even have a dog. But they would have an audience before long if they tried to continue this.
Which she damned well knew, too.
"You are…dangerous," he groaned, releasing his grip on her leg, feeling her slowly slide it down until her foot was safely on the floor again.
Her hand rested against his chest, and she could feel how fast his heart was racing. "That's what I've been told." She looked up at him slyly, rubbing her thumb over his lip to catch the rouge traces she'd smeared there. "Is that a bad thing?"
"No." He dropped his head until the tips of their noses touched. "In fact…I kind of like it."
"That bodes well for our future," she said, "because I don't plan on changing anytime soon."
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
There was another crash from the front of the house and Kathryn smiled wryly. "Do you think our daughter will be as wild as those two?"
"She'll have Tom and Trevor as uncles," he told her. "What do you think?"
"And B'Elanna as an aunt," she realized. "Do you think we'll survive?"
He gave her a hug. "We've been through worse."
The alarm went off again, and suddenly the house was filled with the sound of B'Elanna cursing in Klingon.
Kathryn winced. "Are you sure about that?"
One of the little girls started wailing.
"We could escape out the window," Chakotay suggested.
Kathryn looked at it and thought about that moment five years ago when she had almost done just that. How different her life would've been today if she had. She grabbed Chakotay's hand and headed for the door instead. "No…I'd rather see what the future holds."
~ The End ~
It's been a fun ride and I just want to say thank you to all those readers out there who stayed with me! I hope you enjoyed it. And an extra special thank you to all those people who reviewed. The process itself is fun but your feedback really makes it even better. Thank you so much!