Author's Note: After five (!) years, the saga that was "Apocrypha" and "Star of the County Down" has come to an end! I still can't believe that what started out as my little device to get Janeway and Chakotay together turned into this winding tale of government conspiracies and betrayal. If you enjoyed these stories, please keep an eye out as there may be more to come in the future! Much love, Dana

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Fleet Admiral O'Shaughnessy stood surrounded by his trusted advisors, and awaited the arrival of a person who had become very special to him indeed.

He was expecting her to enter clumsily, looking horribly disheveled, pale, and disoriented. He was expecting her to ask immediately to sit down. Maybe she would even ask for a glass of water. He would enjoy pouring one for her.

"Admiral O'Shaughnessy, Kathryn Janeway to see you."

The edges of his thin mouth curled in a smile.

"Send her in right away, Janine."

"Yes sir."

In a moment, the double doors slid apart, and the woman who entered his office did not look in the least the way he had expected. She was impeccably dressed, in her newly reinstated Starfleet uniform and Captain's pips. She walked with a quick, self-assured stride, and her long auburn hair was pulled back in a tight bun. Her face was not pale at all. In truth, one might have said she looked positively radiant.

"Captain."

"Admiral O'Shaughnessy, good morning."

He struggled to find his bearings, catching momentarily the nystagmus-plagued eye of Admiral Montoya.

"Won't you sit down. I…. I trust that you and Commander Chakotay find your new officer's quarters adequate?"

She sat down before him and gave him a bright smile. "Yes, thank you, I think we'll be quite comfortable. I have to say, though, that I was surprised at how quickly you managed to reinstate Commander Chakotay's commission."

"It's a funny story, actually," said O'Shaughnessy, joining her at the table but keeping his eyes on Montoya. "It seems that Starfleet had the wrong man all along. The crimes Commander Chakotay was accused of were in point of fact committed by a John Balthasar, a former officer with a grudge, it would seem. You can rest assured he won't be heard from again."

Only then did he fix Captain Janeway with his dark eyes, devoid of mercy.

"How convenient that he was apprehended," she said neatly.

"Yes. Captain, I must say I'm gratified to know that you've accepted your commission, and I trust that we can put this Apocrypha business to rest."

"Oh yes, Admiral," replied Captain Janeway. "I spoke with my doctor, and apparently I had been suffering from some degree of post-traumatic stress since my return from Voyager. That may have precipitated my participation in an organization such as Apocrypha."

"Everyone makes mistakes, Captain, even the best of us. Just so long as your space-racing days are behind you."

"You won't have to worry about that, Admiral," she said rather cheerily. "As far as I know, Apocrypha no longer exists. Alpha Walker has been entirely evacuated, and there is no trace of the Apocrypha crew, nor its vessels."

There was a long silence, during which Admiral O'Shaughnessy's gaze travelled sharply from one member of his team, to the next. Montoya nearly took a step forward, but O'Shaughnessy's stare stopped him cold.

"Is that so," he stated flatly.

"Yes, sir," said Captain Janeway. "Apocrypha is a thing of the past."

She studied him, he felt, with an off-putting manner that betrayed nothing and demanded everything.

"Well," he said curtly, "that is a tremendous relief to us all. Welcome back to the family, Captain."

He shook her hand, masking, as far as he could, his great disgust.

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Kathryn listened for the click of the doors behind her before she relaxed, and allowed herself to breathe.

As she walked confidently out of the office, a small smile played on her face.

For she had seen, in the countenance of Admiral Derek O'Shaughnessy, exactly what she had desired to see.

Fear.

THE END