I liked "State of Flux," but I thought the ending scene with Tuvok was ill-advised at best. The whole episode was about trust and betrayal. The last scene is one of the most important scenes of any teleplay, and that scene focused on the betrayal. This alternate scene focuses on the re-establishment of trust. Incidentally, this was the first bit of fanfic I ever wrote - first bit of fiction, actually.
AFTER "STATE OF FLUX"
by Laura Williams
Janeway exited the turbolift and headed for her quarters, anticipating a hot shower, clean clothes, and a night of carousing at Sandrine's with her senior officers. She needed the diversion desperately - between the Kazon and Seska's betrayal, the day had left her on edge. A couple of stiff drinks and a round of pool, and she might just be able to put the whole thing behind her. But first that hot shower...
She paused at the door to Chakotay's quarters, musing. If she had found the day trying, what must he be feeling? He'd been less than communicative toward the end of the watch, and she'd missed him at dinner - and Chakotay was usually not one to miss a meal. On a hunch, she pressed the door buzzer. Waited. Pressed it again. She was on the verge of giving up and moving on when the door slid open, allowing her inside.
Suddenly feeling awkward, she hesitated in the doorway, realizing she'd never actually been in Chakotay's quarters. The door closed behind her, shutting off the corridor light, and she found herself squinting in the dimness. The room was Spartan - there were no personal effects, beyond the medicine bundle she recognized and a few assorted stones and carvings. Most of his wordly belongings had been destroyed when he sacrificed his ship to the Kazon. Janeway's heart suddenly went out to him. These few odds and ends represented all he had left in the universe, while her own quarters were cluttered with pictures, mementoes, assorted trinkets she'd collected over the years, all serving as reminders of home for her.
But Chakotay had nothing. It must be doubly hard for him to stay grounded, so far removed as he was from his homeland, the "bones of his ancestors," and nothing left to help him remember. Silently she chastised herself for again failing to consider his feelings. She'd spent many hours over the last month making the other Maquis part of her crew, ensuring their comfort and accepting them aboard the Voyager. But not once had she considered his needs. She resolved to do so in the future.
She looked up from her reverie to find him silhouetted in the starlight streaming in from the window. He stood with his back to her, but he had twisted his head around to peer at her over his shoulder, a slightly amused expression on his face. She had the distinct impression he had been watching her for some time, and blushed involuntarily.
"Captain? Something I can do for you?"
She stepped more fully into the room and attempted to disguise her awkwardness. "No, no. Just thought I'd stop by. See how you were feeling."
His amusement melted into puzzlement. "The phaser blast I took was minor. I feel fine."
"That's not what I meant."
He turned abruptly back toward the stars, but not before she saw his lips press together in a thin, tight line. "Really. I'm fine."
"In that case... Everyone's meeting at Sandrine's in half an hour. Join us for a round of pool?"
He moved toward his desk, not meeting her gaze. "I don't think so. I've got a lot of paperwork to do." He picked up a padd, forced a smile. "Funny, this is one of the reasons I left Starfleet - "
"Chakotay. We're 70,000 light years from Starfleet Headquarters. I don't think anyone aboard this ship will notice if you file your report a few hours late."
He finally met her gaze, hiding his smile - a real one, this time. "Not even the Captain?"
She smirked. "The Captain hasn't written a report in over a month."
"Still, I - "
"You can't hide behind paperwork for the next 75 years, Chakotay. I won't let you." His eyes widened in surprise. "It's at times like this I wish we had a counselor aboard," she continued. "Up to now, you've been filling that role rather well. But who's going to play counselor when you need to talk?"
He cocked his head to one side, regarding her with interest. "What makes you think I need to talk?"
"Hunch." Without asking his permission, she sank down in the chair opposite his desk. "I volunteer to listen. So talk." He hesitated for a moment, staring down at her. His face never moved, but Janeway could see the battle being fought behind his brown eyes as he weighed the benefits of opening up to her against the cost of keeping his feelings bottled inside. He came to a resolution, sighed, and fell heavily into the other chair.
"All right - Counselor. I don't even know where to start." One hand rose to rub his temple. "I feel like I should have seen it coming."
"Seska, you mean?"
"Seska, Tuvok, Paris... I should seen them all coming."
"How? You had no way of knowing - "
He cut her off with a word in a language she did not recognize. "That's no excuse. I was too quick to trust them. I was naive, I thought the cause was so right that no one could possibly want to work against it. I was too much the idealist..." He shook his head slowly. "I joined the Maquis for one reason only - to protect the home of my people. I wasn't looking for a fight, I had no great grudge to settle with Starfleet or the Federation. I simply felt it was the right thing to do. And the entire time I was working for the Maquis, I had one primary goal - to complete my operations with the minimum number of casualties on both sides. I never wanted to hurt anyone." His eyes filled with unspoken pain. "And now I have to wonder: How many lives did I endanger by trusting too soon? How many people are dead because of the secrets Seska gave to the Cardassians - secrets I gave her willingly?"
Janeway leaned forward slightly, moved by the depth of his feeling. "In your position, I would probably be asking myself the same questions. But I don't think you can start second-guessing yourself like this - "
He leaned forward too, slapping his palms flat on the desk between them, almost spitting his words. "Seska and Tuvok got by me - who's to say there aren't more? Maybe there's another traitor on this ship right now - maybe someone even collaborated with the Caretaker to bring us here. Knowing that, how am I supposed to trust anyone again? How can I continue without constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering who will plunge the next knife into my back?"
She raised her chin in defiance of his words. "I can't answer that, Chakotay. But I can tell you one thing for certain. There are two people aboard this ship you who you can trust unequivocally and without reservation." She paused, seeing that she had his full attention. When she spoke again, her voice had softened to an almost gentle tone. "The first one is you."
Chakotay blinked in surprise. "What do you mean by that?"
"You can't blame yourself for Seska and Tuvok. You simply could not have known they would betray you. You have got to trust yourself. Trust your instincts, Chakotay. They're good instincts - no matter what Tuvok says." She cocked her head to one side and smiled ruefully. "Starfleet lost a fine officer the day you joined the Maquis."
He relaxed slightly. "All right. I can trust me. So who is this second person? And don't tell me it's Tuvok, because -"
She shook her head. "I wouldn't ask you to do that, not yet. In time, perhaps, but not yet." She took a long breath, considering her words carefully. "No, the second person...is me."
He stood up so suddenly his chair rocked back, almost toppled over completely. "You! Trust the person who was ready to blast me out of space not long ago? Trust the person who would turn me over to Federation authorities if she had the chance?"
Janeway let him pace off his anger before continuing. "Whether we get back to the Alpha Quadrant tomorrow or next week or 75 years from now, I intend to recommend that the charges against all of you be dropped, and I will push to make it stick. It may not seem like much, but I can guarantee you I will do at least that." She watched his emotions slowly cool and noted, not for the first time, how surprisingly agile he was, how gracefully he carried his large frame, and how deeply it affected her. One of these days, she would have to explore that feeling more fully. Not now, perhaps not even soon, but someday.
She rose and crossed the room in a few short steps, stopping barely a meter away from him. "We're in this together, Chakotay. We have been from the start. I may have known you for only a short time, but I can already say that I trust you implicitly, with my ship and my crew. And my life. I hope that someday you find me worthy of the same trust."
Again she watched a storm of suppressed emotions cross his face, and noted idly that reading him was almost as hard as reading Tuvok. But she had no doubt that with practice she would be able to read him just as easily.
He finally relented and smiled, though as usual it was fleeting. She caught her breath at the sight of straight white teeth and boyish dimples, and wondered why he habitually hid the expression away. It stripped years away from his face and exposed a warm personality, even the "twisted sense of humor" B'Elanna had once hinted at.
He met her eyes. "I suppose trust has to begin somewhere, doesn't it?"
She nodded once, tersely. "You bet it does." She turned toward the corridor and grasped him by the elbow, intending to drag him to Sandrine's by force if necessary. "Now come with me."
He covered her hand with his own and she turned back, surprised. "Captain - Kathryn. Thank you."
He chuckled softly, letting the smile surface again. "Just - thank you."
This time the smile stayed and spread to her own face. She squeezed his arm with affection and let her hand fall away, let the moment pass. "Now let's go teach Tom Paris a lesson, shall we?"
He followed her out into the corridor, still smiling.