Disclaimers: They don't belong to me, but the more stories we write about them the longer they stay relevant.
Warnings: I don't think this story quite crosses into M territory, but it comes close a time or two so avert your eyes if/when you feel the need.
Notes: I'm posting in parts, but fear not, the story is finished with the ink still drying on the ending. The plan is to post daily as I incorporate tweaks and last minute changes until the whole thing is posted.
Many many thanks to Quantumsilver for once again being a fabulous beta. I couldn't do it without you! However, all mistakes are mine since I played with it after your efforts.
Not Quite Random by Cheshire
Janeway took a step forward feeling the rocks grind beneath her boot and sink further into the dirt. The remains of trees and upturned earth around her still smoldered from weapons fire, obscuring her vision. Her hand clenched tighter around the grip of the phaser rifle. She knew there was someone there. Even as her eyes watered from the smoke, she desperately tried to see her opponent in the darkness, but boulders and downed trees with their roots upturned blocked her at every avenue.
Her entire patrol wiped out. Picked off one at a time, until only she remained. They'd fought back and killed at least three of the spoonheads themselves, but now she was alone. The fact that she too hadn't been brought down by a long distance shot probably meant they wanted to take her alive. And if that was the case, that meant they had to be closing in on her. Circling her as though she was prey.
But she'd be damned if she was going to be anyone's prey.
The muscle in her right forearm was starting to cramp, and she forced herself to momentarily relax the stranglehold she had on the rifle. The bumps of the grip were practically embedded in her palm, she held it so tightly. She heard movement to her right, and she threw herself back against the boulder she'd been inching past. Her pulse raced, and she swallowed tightly as she tried to breathe quietly and not give away her position.
Sweat from her left palm trickled down her wrist, stinging the abrasions she already had there. Her grip on the rifle's barrel was becoming slick, and she cautiously knelt down. Her eyes flicked around her surroundings again. Still nothing. She dropped her hand to the dirt at her feet and felt it coat her sweaty palm and then immediately brushed the excess off on her pants leg before returning her grip to the rifle. She stood, feeling the protest in her knees, and began to move forward again, keeping her back to the boulder.
"This is taking too long."
Janeway heard the voice but ignored it. It didn't belong. It wasn't Cardassian, and it made no difference to her current circumstances. She continued to slide forward, clearing the protection of the boulder, and finding herself faced with more destroyed jungle. She had to get through it to make it back to her base camp.
Small rocks skittered down to her from the top of the boulder and she whirled, bringing the phaser up as a heavy weight crashed into her from above, slamming her to the ground. The bastard had been above her! She squeezed the trigger on the rifle and saw the bright orange line flare harmlessly into the trees even as the heavy weight that had fallen on her pinned the weapon down to her chest.
Rocks were digging into her back, and all she could see was the leer of the Cardassian straddling her. His bone white face was entirely too close to hers as he used his formidable weight to push even closer to her. Janeway shifted her grip on the rifle's barrel and pushed out with it, managing to create some distance between them. Her arms were shaking with the exertion, but she dug her boots into the destroyed ground and twisted her hips, throwing off the Cardassian's weight.
He rolled with it, snarling, and dragging her with him as they both held onto the rifle. She landed on top of him this time.
A smile flitted across his features. "Sorry Starfleet, but I prefer my women to be under me."
He let go of the rifle with one hand, curled it into a fist, and slammed it into her ribs. Janeway grunted but managed to crush the rifle down against his neck. His fist crashed into her twice more before he brought his hand back to the rifle, pushing back against her grip. He barred his teeth and then bucked his hips forward, pushing her forward and off balance so that she was further over his head. Bringing his knees up, he forced her completely past his shoulder.
Janeway absorbed the hit and rolled over him, maintaining her precarious hold on the rifle as she did, trying to regain her footing before he did. He moved faster, slamming into her once again before she could right herself, and they crashed further into the trees, arms and legs fighting for any advantage they could. The energy from the rifle flared again, and this time Janeway felt it singe her hair and burn perilously close to her neck. The damned thing was pointed more at her than it was at him. She growled with exertion, trying to wrench it and herself away from him.
And then the rifle flew from her hands and a knee slammed into her chest, knocking the breath from her. No longer able to completely comprehend her movements, Janeway scrambled backwards, feeling her legs slip through the Cardassian's steely grip. She kicked out and felt her boot make contact as his head snapped backwards. Moving as fast as she could, she created more space between the two of them.
She managed to take a single breath into her aching lungs before he was on her again. With no rifle between them, his chest slammed full force into her face, stunning her as his suffocating weight pushed her further into the ground. He was fighting with her hands and managed to trap them above her head, laying his entire body against hers. Blood dripped from his face onto hers as one of his knees insinuated itself between her thighs.
The Cardassian brought his knee up, grinding it against her, and even though she'd half expected it, Janeway couldn't help but yell in frightened frustration. He laughed. Her heels dug again into the dirt, desperately trying to find purchase in the chewed-up ground as he easily held both of her hands with only one of his while the other moved in between their meshed bodies. She struggled madly, twisting as much as she could against him, refusing to let this happen. He continued to laugh at her pitiful struggles even as he raised his hips slightly so his roaming hand could have access to her waist.
One of her hands slipped free from his grip. She raised her knee to the outside of his waist, feeling him laugh as her movements ground him further against her. Her free hand reached for her boot. The knife concealed there slid easily from its sheath, and she wrapped her hand around the hilt for all she was worth. Looking into his face for the first time, she saw the moment of confusion in his eyes when she stopped struggling.
And then she sunk the knife into his neck all the way to the hilt. His mouth opened in a small "oh" and his hands immediately went to the wound that was now gushing blood onto both of them. Never letting go of the weapon, she dragged it through thick cartilage as she wriggled away from him, pulling herself and the blade free. He slumped to the ground, still gasping for air and twitching slightly as his muscles tried desperately to get the air and blood they needed.
Lieutenant Kathryn Janeway got unsteadily to her feet and looked down on him, watching as the life slowly left him.
"Yes!" a voice cried out exuberantly. "You are…intoxicating!"
Captain Kathryn Janeway felt her knees hit a solid surface, and the present came crashing back to her. The cold air of the room filled her lungs as she gasped at the recollection of over fifteen years ago. Still feeling dazed, she looked up to see the dark-haired alien from the market rejoicing. He turned and saw her watching him.
His eyes blazed with a ferocity she hadn't been expecting. "Thank you, Captain." He returned to her side, and she felt hands dig into her arms, restraining her movements. "The memories from you and your crew are going to make me a very wealthy man."
She blinked, still trying to make sense of the situation. "What…what just happened?"
"Yes," he nodded and placed his hands on both sides of her face, ignoring her attempts to shake him off. "Yes, Captain, show me what happened next."