This is a short story I've been working on recently that encompasses two of my favourite fandoms, Doctor Who and Star Trek:Voyager. I know crossovers are not every one's cup of tea but if you want a bit of drama, romance and space battles then please read on.
As usual nothing belongs to me and I am making no money from the publication of this story.
This story is set in the recognisable Star Trek universe but I do draw on aspects from Doctor Who in the story also. The story is set directly after Coda in series three of Voyager and after The Silence in the Library double bill in Doctor Who series four.
Please review as I always love to hear my readers' thoughts.A Bump in the Road
'Being close and being clever ain't like being true. I don't need to, I would never hide a thing from you, like some.'- Not While I'm Around, Sweeney Todd.
It had been his fault. That was what Kathryn deduced when presented with the situation before her and she was sticking to it, truth and dimpled amusement on the face of the man before her be damned. So it had been she who had been too distracted by the scent of the rose she had absently carried with her from her quarters to notice him step out of his own as she passed but he had given her said rose the night before so it really had been his fault. Still she knew she would have to step back from the strong hands that currently held her against falling and tell him as such.
"Clearly you before coffee is a dangerous combination," said Chakotay, steadying his captain on her feet, "I should have Tuvok make avoiding you before breakfast a key point of security."
"Your humour is not appreciated Commander," said Kathryn though she failed to keep her own amusement from her face, "Its your fault anyway."
Chakotay crossed his arms over his chest, "And just how did you come to that deduction?" he said, glad to see her smiling after the turmoil she had passed through only a day and a half before.
"I was distracted by your gift," she said waving the now somewhat crushed rose for emphasis, "Combine that with the copious amounts of champagne you insisted I consume last night..."
"If I recall correctly, the champagne was your idea," said Chakotay.
"But as my moral compass you are required to keep me on the straight and narrow."
Chakotay laughed, "Probably best not to trust a former Marquis as you moral compass, Kathryn," he said.
She smiled warmly up at him, "Oh I don't know, I could do worse," she said, "Join me for breakfast? I'm braving Neelix's cooking this morning."
"Cheating death has left you feeling invincible?"
Kathryn frowned up at him, "The replicator decided it didn't like me again."
Chakotay fell into easy step beside her as they headed towards the mess hall, "Things do that when you hit them," he said, "Was the coffee wrong or did it simply refuse to further fund your habit?"
"I swear you and it are in league with one another."
"Any arrangements between myself and the appliances are strictly confidential," said Chakotay, "I'll ask B'Elanna to take a look at it for you."
Kathryn smiled, "Thank you," she said, "And thank you for last night too, I felt so much better afterwards."
"Anytime, I've saved the Lake George program so we can access it again whenever we want, though I may need to make a few amendments to the boat."
"You always need to be building something," she said, "I thought it was a very nice little boat."
"Little being the key word there," said Chakotay, "Especially when you decided on a little moonlight doze, you kick like a mule."
"So that's why you were passed out beyond all communication when I woke up?" said Kathryn, "Just resting my eyes?That was old when my mother was using it."
Chakotay laughed, "Alright you caught me," he said, "You can hardly blame me though, what with you keeping me awake and making me worry about you for so long."
Kathryn paused, laying a hand just below his comm.-badge, "I'm sorry I worried you. Thank God you, Tuvok and the Doctor didn't give up on me."
"We weren't giving you up without a fight and neither were you it seems," he said, covering her hand with his own, "Thank you for fighting, I don't know what I...we would have done."
Tears sprung to her eyes but she shook them back, hating and loving the raw pain in the eyes of the man before her, "Now don't get like that," she said before she allowed herself a small smile, "You don't think I'm letting you get your hands on my ship that easily do you?"
Chakotay shook his head, matching her smile but his eyes remained serious, "Even Voyager would mean little to me without you in it," he said, boldly raising her hand to his lips and pressing a kiss to the back of it, "Kathryn..."
All words and emotion were lost as they found themselves flung against the nearest bulkhead, the ship lurching violently to the side. Kathryn pushed quickly back to standing, steadying herself against her first officer as she slapped her comm.-badge.
"Janeway to Bridge. Report!" she said.
"We collided with something Captain but sensors are struggling to get a lock on what," came Harry's voice in response, "I just got here myself but looking at the sensor reports whatever it was came out of nowhere."
"Find out what you can Ensign, we're on our way. Janeway out," she said, ending the transmission, "I'm afraid we'll have to take a rain-check on breakfast Commander."
"You're meant to be taking it easy," called Chakotay as the captain headed swiftly towards the lifts.
"Coddle me later," she called back, "Hustle mister."
The journey to the Bridge was thankfully swift and the ship seemed to have settled once more, no more bangs or bumps throwing her crew from wall to wall. Kathryn took comfort from the fact that they at least weren't being fired on but she would not be happy until she knew what they had hit and what damage it had done to the hull. The lift finally slid open and she was glad to see all her most trusted personnel already in attendance despite the flashing lights of the red alert surrounding them.
"Report!" she called before she had even stepped passed the lift doors, Chakotay leaving her side as he headed towards his own station.
"I still can't get a sensor lock on what we hit but I can get it on visual," said Harry.
"On screen," she said taking her customary seat and fixing her gaze on the wide view screen.
Her eyes narrowed as she took in the odd sight before her, space its usual black and dotted with the white light of distant stars but spinning not far from their nose was a strange blue box, far smaller then even one of their two-man shuttles.
"Could it be some sort of Borg Cube?" she said.
"Readings do not suggest that the vessel has any connection with Borg technology that is familiar to the Federation," came Tuvok's measured voice from behind her.
"If it's even a vessel at all," said Kathryn, "I want a closer look, magnify."
The image grew closer, the odd blue box still spinning whilst the light atop it flashed in regular intervals. Lights shone from translucent panes on its hull, hinting at life inside but the thought of it sustaining such life seemed barely plausible.
"Curious thing," she said softly, "Harry are you getting any readings at all?"
"There's a lot of distortion but...wait a minute, two life signs Captain," said the young ensign, "One I can't identify, it could be a species native to the Delta Quadrant but the other is unmistakable."
"One of the life signs is human, Captain."
"Are you quite sure Mister Kim?" said Kathryn getting to her feet, "Open a channel."
"Channel open Captain but I don't know if they can hear us."
"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager to the...blue vessel, can you hear me?"
There was a brief crackle of subspace but no response. Kathryn sighed, rubbing her temples before she tried once more.
"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway..."
"Yes I got you the first time, give me a minute," came the response before a more muffled conversation crackled over to them, "Donna hold that down and for goodness sakes don't let go of it."
"What's wrong with the bloody thing now?" came a woman's voice, filled with exasperation.
"Well something dropped us out of the vortex early and then we got hit by something far bigger than us," said the male voice once more, "Now hold that down and stop whining."
"Some space ship Space Man!"
"Hang about. Did you say you were Captain Janeway?"
Kathryn shared a concerned look with her First Officer as she was brought back into the conversation, "Yes."
"The Captain Janeway? Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager, Intrepid Class? Youngest ever woman to captain a Federation starship and only Captain to ever successfully negotiate an alliance with the Marquis?"
Kathryn's frown deepened, "I guess that would be me, yes."
"Aww but you're brilliant you are! Absolutely brilliant," came the man's voice once more, "Is, oh what was his name, fellow with a tattoo… Chakotay, that's the one, Commander Chakotay is he with you too?"
"Right here," said Chakotay, coming to his Captain's side.
"Legend! I feel like a kid meeting all his heroes. USS Voyager brilliant! That must mean we're a lot further away from where we intended to go. Don't you lot call it the Delta quadrant?"
"Yes we call it that," said Kathryn, "What do you call it?"
"Back of ruddy beyond," came the voice.
"Doctor! This bloody ship is spitting sparks!"
"Well hold the green button down."
"What green button?"
"That one there!"
"On the other side of the console, who am I, Inspector bloody Gadget?" came the female voice, "Stop fawning over that bird you're speaking to and stop us spinning, I'm gonna hurl!"
"Not on my ship you're not," he said, "Captain Janeway, been great chatting but we're having a few problems here."
"Is there anything we can assist you with? It's our ship that seems to have caused the damage," said Kathryn, "I can have you transported to our shuttle bay to give you a chance to make repairs."
"Thank you though I wouldn't transport us if I were you, my ship would throw your systems out for weeks. If you could tractor us in then you won't sustain any damage," came the response, "Tell your crew to scan the ship, you'll find we're not armed so no need to meet us in the shuttle bay with the full arsenal on display."
"We'll take that on advisement," said Kathryn, "Janeway out."
She waited until she heard the link to the other ship sever before she turned her attention to those around her, "Lieutenant Tuvok, scan for weapons. If they're clear Mister Kim, tractor them to the shuttle bay. I want a full security detail down there before they have a chance to open the doors. I'll meet them down there."
"Captain, perhaps its best we ascertain the nature of these travellers before you meet them face to face," said Chakotay, stilling her with a hand, "He seems to know an awful lot about us."
"All the more reason we get to the bottom of this quickly," said Kathryn, "One of those two on the ship is human and I want to know how they got this far away from the Alpha quadrant and how they intend to get back."
"Let me come with you."
"Very well," said Kathryn, "Tuvok, I want you there too. Mister Paris you have the Bridge. Mister Kim maintain scans, if any more blue boxes pop up I want to know about them."
"Aye Captain," came the dual response as she led her other crewmembers to the turbo-lift.
"Captain may I suggest we proceed with caution when it comes to our newest guests," said Tuvok, "As the Commander has already stated, the male of the duo appears to know a lot of information about the two of you that would not be commonly known throughout the Delta quadrant. We may find we are dealing with someone of telepathic ability."
"I had already thought that myself," said Kathryn, "But there was something about the way he spoke. He sounded so excited to speak to us and I doubt, if he is indeed from Earth, that we are yet legends, more like a tragedy."
"He certainly didn't say anything about being glad to find us," said Chakotay, "And I'm sure any vessel from the Alpha quadrant would want to find us for glory if not reward. Starfleet may well have offered a reward for information about the ship if they believe you were taken by either the Marquis or the Cardassians."
"We have yet to ascertain whether or not he may be of the Marquis or in the employ of the Cardassians," said Tuvok, "They would not be so willing to reveal their intentions straight away as any Federation ship would."
Kathryn placed a hand on her First Officer's arm she felt him bristle beside her, "Let's save the supposition until we have a little more information gentlemen."
"That wasn't a Marquis ship," said Chakotay quietly.
"That remains to be seen Commander."
"I have a feeling we're all going to be wrong," said Kathryn, knowing how often her two most trusted companions found it necessary to cross swords, "One of them is human though, we have to have hope in that."
The doors to the turbo lift opened to reveal the shuttle bay with the main security detail already in place, the blue box they had seen on the view screen now stood real and tangible before them, the light atop it no longer flashing. Kathryn took a step towards it, aware of Tuvok and another of her security team flanking her on instinct. She frowned as she took in the painted blue wood, the ancient looking door and the sheer miniscule nature of the vessel that had no right being any form of inter-stellar transportation.
"Police Public Call Box," she read, "What do you suppose that means then?"
"Some form of military enforcement agency perhaps," said Tuvok, "Readings as yet are inconclusive as to the nature of the vessel."
The Captain took another tentative step forward before she stopped, the ship before her creaking before the front of it opened, voices echoing out from within.
"Why are they pointing telly remotes at us?" came the female's shrill tones.
"They're not remotes they're phasers, standard Starfleet issue if I'm not mistaken," said the male, "Now are you going to be nice or shall I leave you inside?"
"You are not leaving me in here on my own!"
"Blimey you can shout," said the male, "Don't go making a scene."
Kathryn stood her ground as the owner of the voice was revealed to her. The man was fairly young in appearance with a shock of dark hair sticking up every which way on his head and brown eyes that looked as capable of a wounded look as any puppy. His clothes were decidedly odd, a brown pinstripe suit underneath a long fawn coat while his feet were clad in simple gym shoes. He smiled manically as he regarded them, stepping aside the let his companion out of the box also. The woman was older by a few years or more, red haired and wearing a scowl though it was directed more at her friend than at those around her.
"Welcome to Voyager Mister..."
"Doctor," said the man.
"Just the Doctor and this is Donna," he said, "No need to introduce you though. Captain Janeway, bloody marvellous, you're an absolute legend."
Kathryn waved her security team down as the man hurried towards her and pumped her hand with far more enthusiasm than was necessary. She opened her mouth to speak but was cut off by the Doctor once more.
"I have to say you're shorter than your picture at Starfleet would have had you. What are you, five-two without the boots? Tiny but they say the best things come in small packages," he said before he gave her a cheeky wink, "They definitely were right in the books though, you're just a little bit foxy Kathryn Janeway."
Kathryn failed to contain the blush that came to her cheeks but demurred with the grace brought by years of command, "Thank you...Doctor, I..."
"And this is Voyager. Intrepid class, first ship of the Federation fleet to incorporate bio-neural technology, though of course by the time you lot make it back to Earth this ship is definitely, definitely, definitely one of a kind. Probably one of the best ships you come up with ever, sustainable warp drive, a fully functional exploration vessel," said the Doctor, looking for all the world like a kid in a sweet shop, "Seeking out new life and new civilisations and splitting your infinitives along the way. You lot are simply brilliant!"
"Doctor! Doctor!" called his companion, "How about letting the lady get a word in edgeways anyway? He's been like this ever since he started talking to you."
The Doctor had the decency to look abashed, releasing the captain's hand and stepping back, "Sorry, I've got a bit of a gob on me this time around and well, hero worship, what can I say?" he said, "Its a pleasure to meet you at last."
"And how do you know so much about us that it is indeed a pleasure, as you put it, to meet us?" said Tuvok.
"Lieutenant Tuvok I presume?" said the Doctor, "Vulcans, love 'em. You're a fascinating race, you take emotional suppression to an entirely knew level, you even make my people look like amateurs."
"And who exactly are your people, Doctor?" said Kathryn, glancing at the tri-corder in the hand of the ensign beside her, "Our scans don't recognise you."
"Oh I'm a bit unique me," said the Doctor.
"And clearly not from the Alpha quadrant," said Tuvok.
The Doctor grinned, "I love you Federation types, all those wonderful straight lines across space, everything broken up into quadrants but then again what do you expect when you throw a bunch of mad Yanks into a starship and let them loose on the galaxy? Bloody brilliant lot you are," he said, "I'm not from the Alpha quadrant no, nor am I from this charming little suburb you managed to get yourself flung into. I told my lot years and years ago they should have dealt with those Caretakers but would they interfere, oh no and here you lot are, learning things your lot weren't supposed to find out about for another century at least."
"And who are your lot Doctor?" said Chakotay, the edge clear in his voice.
"You won't have heard of us and you won't ever meet another person like me, I promise you that," said the Doctor, "But I promise I'm not a threat, I'm an explorer just like you. I'm just passing through."
Donna finally left the side of their small ship and nudged her companion aside, "He talks in riddles all the time," she said taking the captain's hand and shaking it with more control than the Doctor had displayed, "Donna Noble."
"Nice to meet you," said Kathryn, "You're human?"
"Well I was last time I checked," she said, "You look as though you've seen a ghost love."
"The crew of Voyager are a long way from home Donna," said the Doctor, "You're the first human they've seen who isn't a member of the crew for...judging by the apparent ages, two and a half years, am I right?"
"We've been out of Federation space for two years and seven months," said Kathryn, "But how did you..."
"Know that?" said the Doctor, "You're still wearing your hair long."
Kathryn's hand went unbidden to the hair that hung in a tail at the back of her neck, "I cut it."
"You do," said the Doctor with a smile, "It suits you shorter though."
"How do you know so much about us?" said Chakotay, "You refer to us as though we're the past tense. Are you from the future?"
The Doctor grinned, "The future, the past, every other bit in between," he said, "Time as you perceive it isn't the same to me. I do know what happens to you though, well what should happen to you but time isn't always a straight line. You could say I was from the future if you need to define time in that fashion."
"Then you can tell us, can't you Doctor, you can tell us what happens to us?" said Kathryn.
The Doctor shook his head, "You already know the answer to that Captain," he said, "But let's just say that the journey is brilliant."
Kathryn smiled in resignation, "I thought as much," she said, "You're quite an enigma."
"I've been called worse," said the Doctor, "Much worse and mainly from her."
"That's because you're a useless Martian," said Donna, "We're meant to be on Jupiter and instead we're here and the TARDIS is still spitting sparks."
"TARDIS?" said Kathryn.
"That," said Donna jerking her thumb behind her at the blue box, "His space ship."
The Doctor smiled at the look that fell across the face of the woman before him, "Fancy a tour Captain?"
"With all due respect Doctor there doesn't appear to be an awful lot to tour," said Kathryn, before diplomacy took over once more, "But seeing as you offered, I'm certainly intrigued to know how a structure that appears to be little more than wood is capable of supporting life in space."
"Then by all means, after you," said the Doctor with a showy bow towards the door, "Perhaps the Commander and Lieutenant would like to join us in case I try to abduct you."
"If you know me as well as you proclaim Doctor you'll know that I can handle myself," said Kathryn as she stepped towards the blue box.
"Just as well as I know that neither Tuvok nor Chakotay are ever happy to have you out of their sight in any event that may prove dangerous," said the Doctor, "Keep up fellas."
They reached the doors and Kathryn laid a hand on the wooden exterior, feeling little more than a faint hum beneath her fingers but already anticipating that there was more to the ship before her than met the eye. The Doctor reached passed her, pushing a rudimentary key into a small lock in the woodwork and unlatching the door. He pushed it open for her before stepping back and Kathryn heard the satisfied half laugh as she gasped at the sight before her.
"Step inside Kathryn," he said at her back, "Step into the impossible."
She tentatively put one foot in front off the other, her boots echoing on the metal grating of the ramp that lead her into the impossible cavernous room beyond. She'd barely passed the threshold before she reached behind her, dragging her First Officer by the front of his uniform into the room beside her.
"Chakotay, tell me what you see," she said desperately.
"Its impossible," he said before he stepped back out of the ship, Kathryn at his heels as the pair of them circled the blue box that stood in their shuttle bay, barely a metre squared as it stood before them with no spatial displacement in evidence.
"Does every person you invite in there do that?" said Donna from the side lines, an amused smiled on her face as she watched the customary dance of wonder she knew she too had once managed.
"Pretty much yeah," said the Doctor.
"How?" said Kathryn as she stopped once more in the doorway, "A holographic projection?"
The Doctor shook his head, "Every inch is real," he said.
She climbed the ramp once more, running her hand along the support railing as she found herself on the grated deck. The central console was copper and gold, alien even to her eyes and supporting a great column that stretched high into the arched ceiling. Coral like structures supported the roof, free of the harsh often-clinical lines she had grown used to aboard her own beloved ship. The whole room was bathed in a faint green glow that made her feel as though she was submerged in water, in the belly of some great beast as it dove beneath the waves.
"This is...this is..." she faltered, running her hands over the console before her, "Amazing."
She jumped back as the console emitted a shrill string of whistles and beeps before sparks shot across the room the opposite side to where she stood. She placed a hand back when the ship quieted.
"It's damaged," she said quietly.
"Something went wrong and we dropped out of the vortex too soon," said the Doctor, "Right in front of your ship. The nudge did very little damage but something needs fixing all the same, I haven't had a chance to find out what yet."
"The vortex?" said Kathryn.
"Its how we get about," said the Doctor, "Well how the TARDIS gets about, we just tag along for the ride."
"TARDIS? Is that what the ship is called?" said Kathryn.
The Doctor nodded, "Its what I call her, she may have another name but she seems quite content with that. It stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, T,A,R,D,I,S."
"Time?" said Kathryn, with a smile, "So you are a time traveller then?"
"Oh yes," said the Doctor.
"You're not Federation so who are you, tell me Doctor please?" she said, awe still on her face as she circled the console.
"You won't have heard of me, I'm not on the Federation database," said the Doctor.
"I'm a Time Lord," he said, "I'm the last of the Time Lords and this is the last TARDIS in existence. Not many people get to see it."
"Well I'm honoured Doctor," said Kathryn, "This is truly a remarkable ship."
"When it's working," said Donna from the door, "Which isn't very often these days. We were meant to be at some amusement park on Jupiter in the fifty-first Century but instead we're here in..."
"The twenty-fourth," said the Doctor, tugging on his ear, "A bit of a miscalculation."
"Just a bit," said Donna, "My mum in the car without her sat-nav has a better sense of direction than you Space Boy!"
"Chakotay look at this," said Kathryn as their two guests continued to banter back and forth, "What do you think it all means?"
Chakotay bent to look at the monitor before on the console before them, perplexed by the swirling, interlocking circles that appeared on the screen, "Perhaps some sort of schematic for the ship, it all looks fairly erratic."
"I'm half convinced I'm going to wake up and have to forswear champagne for the rest of my life because of the dreams it gives me," she said, "Either that or I'm hallucinating due to coffee depravation."
"Ah yes the famous coffee habit," came the Doctor's voice behind them, "That's pretty legendary too. Donna, do you reckon you could throw together a pot of that stuff we picked up in Columbia last week?"
"What am I your servant?" said the redhead before she huffed, "You'll only be talking alien stuff anyway."
"She's brilliant she is," said the Doctor as Donna headed deeper into the ship. He hopped up onto the suspended chair before the console and patted the cushion beside him, "Sit yourself down then, that little human brain of yours is full of questions. I can hear the cogs turning from here."
Kathryn took a seat beside him, her feet dangling before her and bringing the Doctor's first comment about her height to mind but she swiftly dismissed it.
"You joining us?" said the Doctor as he flashed a smile across the room to Chakotay, "Plenty of space if we bunch up like sardines."
"I'm fine here, thank you Doctor," he said, unease clear in his voice.
"Your First Officer doesn't trust me Captain," said the Doctor, in a mock whisper, "And neither does your faithful Lieutenant over there. I think they still think I'm a big bad alien fit to take you away but rest assured boys I've got no wish to go for a spin in the Janeway blender set on decimate, she's got half the Delta quadrant trembling already I'm sure."
"Even so, Doctor," said Tuvok, "If you have as much knowledge of the Federation as you profess, and of us in particular, you will be aware that it will take significant progress before we take you at your word being that we cannot identify either you or your ship."
"I'd think all the less of you if you didn't take such precautions Lieutenant," said the Doctor with a smile, "But I'm confident I can win your trust. Now then Captain, question one."
"How does it work?" said Kathryn, looking up at the glowing column before her.
"The TARDIS uses the time vortex, which you lot have yet to discover, she's connected to it and she can travel on the waves from place to place and time to time," said the Doctor.
Kathryn smiled, "You call your ship 'she' too," she said.
"That's because she is a she, the TARDIS is female."
"I fail to see how a collection of pieces of technology, manufactured by your race, could have any specific gender other than one imposed by the imagination of her creators," said Tuvok.
"The TARDIS is alive," said the Doctor, "She wasn't made, she was grown. She is fully sentient, a living organism that lived in harmony with my people for millennia upon millennia and now she is the last of her kind as I am the last of mine."
"How did your people die Doctor?" said Kathryn, feeling a sadness radiate not just from the man beside her but from the ship around her too.
"There was a war and I was the only survivor," he said before he forced a smile, "But it was a long time ago."
"But you're alone in the universe," said Kathryn, "The last."
"I'd hardly say I was alone right now," said the Doctor, "I've met you and I hope to meet more of your crew and I've got Donna and with her gob there's no chance of ever feeling like you're alone."
"Here, why did I just here my name mentioned?" said Donna, navigating her way down the stairs behind them while she precariously balanced a tray on her hands.
"I was asking the Captain her if she was up for having a passenger seeing as I'm such a disappointment to you," said the Doctor.
Donna grinned, "Not a chance space man," she said before she cut her eyes across the room at Chakotay, "But if she's got another couple of them going spare I might be persuaded."
Kathryn laughed at the expression on her First Officer's face, "It seems you have a fan Commander," she said before her attention was taken by the steaming cup of coffee the Doctor placed in her hands, "As do you now Doctor."
"I aim to please Captain," he said brightly, "And you'll have to forgive Donna, Commander, she's product of her generation. Seek new life and dance."
"I take it by generation you are inferring that your colleague is not a product of Earth's current society," said Tuvok.
"Not if you all talk like that I'm not," said Donna bluntly, "I'm a twenty-first century girl and proud of it. And I'm not his colleague."
"No, colleague would imply that you worked for your living," said the Doctor earning himself a punch on the arm as he jumped off the seat to take a cup of Donna's coffee to Chakotay and Tuvok, both declining the offer before he returned to his seat, "I met Donna on her wedding day a few years ago..."
"You abducted me on my wedding day, Space Boy," said Donna.
"If you recall that wasn't my fault," said the Doctor.
"Never is," said Donna.
"Are you going to let me finish the story?"
Kathryn laughed, "If you're not colleagues then are we to assume you're..."
"Not a couple," said Donna, holding up a hand, "So not a couple. He's my best mate and I'm his."
"I stand corrected," said Kathryn in amusement as the two before her shared a look of disgust at any other relationship between them, "Please go on."
"Picking up Donna was no accident and it soon alerted me to something far more sinister occurring on Earth. As soon as I..."
"We discovered what was going on, I set about putting it right, with Donna's help. The details are unimportant. As thanks I offered to let her travel with me..."
"But if Donna is from the twenty-first century then that was when Earth was pre-warp, formal first contact with an alien race wasn't made until years later," said Chakotay.
"I've never been into 'formal' first contact Commander," said the Doctor, "Being that Donna had already been onboard my ship I could hardly hide my origins from her. I asked her to come with me, to see time and space as a reward for her assistance but she turned me down."
"I was an idiot," said Donna with a frown, "But after the Doctor left I realised there was so much more to the world. I started investigating all those alien sightings by people, weird things happening, I always thought it was just nutters making stuff up but the harder I looked the more real it became."
"We met again by chance and the rest, as they say, is history," said the Doctor, "She puts up with me, I put up with her and we see the wonders of this brilliant universe together. We're explorers, just like you."
"I can't believe someone from the twenty-first century has travelled so far," said Kathryn, "Not consciously anyway."
"The Thirty-Sevens?" said the Doctor, "You were quite taken with meeting Amelia Earhart if I remember rightly."
"How did you...?"
"Same way I know everything else Captain, you're quite a writer," he said.
"I write a book?" said Kathryn, "When?"
"When you're older," said the Doctor, "It becomes one of the leading authorities on the Delta quadrant, they even study it at the Academy but don't let it go to your head just yet."
Kathryn blinked back the tears that welled in her eyes, "So Voyager gets home?"
"Oh yes," said the Doctor, "You get her home."
"I get her home," said Kathryn, before her face broke into a smile, "I get her home."
The Doctor grinned, "Now who looks like a kid at Christmas," he said, "It won't be easy Kathryn, that much I can assure you of and you have a long way to go yet but you get there and you become legend."
"However hard it is, I'll face it, we'll face it because we're getting home," she said, blue eyes flashing with determination before she jumped down to her feet, "Now then Doctor, you've let me see your ship though I still have hundreds of questions but its only right that I let you see Voyager. Would you care for the grand tour?"
"We'd be honoured Captain," said the Doctor getting to his feet also and offering her his arm, "If you would lead on."
Donna bounded over to Chakotay as the Captain led the Doctor from the TARDIS, Tuvok stepping in behind them, "Don't worry," she said in a conspiratorial whisper, "He's harmless, to people he likes anyway. Now then, are we going to follow them or am I leaving you here?"
"I guess we'd better follow them," said Chakotay, "Miss..."
"Donna, mate. Just call me Donna," she said.
"Very well then, Donna," said Chakotay, letting her precede him, "After you."
"What was your name again?" she said as they left the TARDIS, the doors shutting behind them as they followed the other three, the Doctor already rattling on at a hundred miles and hour before they even reached the doors to the shuttle bay. The remainder of the security personnel were already disbanding, leaving their Captain and Security Officer to guide the newest guests around the ship.
"Chakotay," he said looking down and seeing her confused frown, "My roots are what you would call Native American."
"Mine are Chiswick," said Donna, receiving an equally confused look in return, "London, England."
"So what's twenty-first century London like?" said Chakotay, "I've only ever seen the old film images they showed us at the Academy."
"Why do you think I upped sticks to travel with Space Boy over there?" said Donna, "London is boring and dull and there's no spaceships for miles...most of the time anyway. I used to think it was great though."
"One of our Bridge crew will be very pleased to meet you," said Chakotay, "He has a passion for all things from your era, drives us to distraction most of the time. He loves old fashioned cars."
"My Grandad's the same with old war planes, he goes bonkers for them, drives my Mum up the wall," said Donna.
"Donna come and look at this," called the Doctor ahead of them.
"Excuse me," said Donna politely before she headed towards her friend, who was already head and shoulders inside a panel in the wall, "What have you found?"
The Doctor reached up and dragged her down to his level, pointing out a pouch of blue liquid that hung in the chamber beyond, "Bio-neural gel pack technology, Voyager was the first Federation ship to use them," he said, "Really creative stuff."
"And what is Bio-neurotic technology?" said Donna.
"Living tissue conductors, the ship is almost as alive as the TARDIS," he said happily before he scooted back out of the chamber, "Amazing stuff Captain, it really is."
"Thank you Doctor," said Kathryn, "Though I can hardly take credit for its use, Voyager was already fully equipped when I took command."
"You always were too modest," said the Doctor reaching into his pocket and pulling out a slim device, he held it up to Tuvok with a grin, "Here, you can scan that with a tri-corder, make sure its not a weapon before I use it."
The Vulcan took the device and held it close to the tri-corder in his hand, "You are correct Doctor, this is not a weapon," he said, "With the Captain's permission you may utilise the device with no ill effects to Voyager or her crew."
"And just what is this device Doctor?" said Kathryn taking it from Tuvok's hand.
"Sonic screwdriver," he said proudly.
"A sonic screwdriver?" said Kathryn, crouching down beside him as Donna huffed something about nerds before getting to her feet once more.
The Doctor nodded, "Nifty hey, I whipped it together one day when I was bored and it has its uses," he said, "I can have it function like one of your tri-corders, it'll let me have a better look at the gel pack, if I'm allowed."
"Go ahead," said Kathryn, watching as the sonic screwdriver glowed blue and one end and proceeded to emit a low resonance hum.
The Doctor ran the beam over the gel packs, the resonance altering now and then, "Such complex, beautiful work," he said, "You have vision, all of you in the Federation. Considering the war like nature of half the species you've stuffed together under that collective, humans numbering amongst the worst too, it's amazing what you can pull off when you actually cooperate with each other. First warp drive and now this. Speaking of warp drive..."
"Would you like to see the engine room Doctor?" said Kathryn.
"I thought you'd never ask," he said happily getting to his feet once more and helping her replace the panel, "Lead on."
"Bridge to the Captain."
"Go ahead Mister Kim," said the Captain, waving Chakotay to her side so he too could better hear the conversation.
"I've run the scans several times now, no signs of any other blue boxes," said Harry.
"I doubt we'll run into any more Mister Kim," said Kathryn, "Return to usual scanning mode and maintain course. Commander Chakotay and I are going to remain with our guests for the time being but I'm sending Lieutenant Tuvok back to you. Tell Mister Paris that the Lieutenant will have the Bridge on his return."
"Janeway out," she said, tapping her comm.-badge, "Lieutenant, if you would return to the Bridge, make sure those two boys have been behaving themselves up there."
"May I remind you Captain that Starfleet protocol insists that..."
Kathryn held up her hand, "I'm well aware of the protocols," she said, "Doctor, am I right in assuming you will need to make repairs to your ship before you can be on your way."
"Aye Captain," said the Doctor cheekily.
"And how long would you estimate those repairs will take?"
"A day or so from what I can tell."
"Then may I officially welcome you as guests aboard Voyager," she said, "There Lieutenant, Starfleet protocol only necessitates that visitors be accompanied at all times by security personnel prior to a formal invitation from the Captain to remain as guests aboard. Commander Chakotay and I will continue the tour from here."
"Aye Captain," said Tuvok, swiftly coming to attention.
"Dismissed Lieutenant," said Kathryn with a smile as he headed towards the turbo lift, "Now then Doctor, Miss Noble shall we continue with our tour?"
The Doctor and Donna happily followed the command team through the corridors of the ship, pausing now and then whenever they passed an area of interest, though the Doctor was more enamoured with what he saw than Donna. She kept hold of his arm though, marvelling more at the stars outside than the technology inside the ship, as they were lead around the lower decks.
"Its all very formal around here," whispered Donna as a young woman with blue shoulders to her uniform rather than the red of the people leading them, snapped to attention at the sight of her captain.
"Starfleet runs its ships as the Royal Navy once ran its battleships, there's a strong command structure and Captain Janeway is at its head," said the Doctor in equally low tones, "Of course they are having to be even more reliant on it out here, they're so far away from communications range from Federation Space so all they have to get them through it what they learnt back home. Janeway's crew is particularly unique as well due to the fact that some of them are actually Marquis."
"What's a Marquis? Another lot of aliens?" said Donna.
"The Marquis were a collection of freedom fighters in the Alpha quadrant, quite separate from the Federation," said the Doctor, "Voyager's original mission was to seek out and capture a Marquis vessel in an area the Federation call the Badlands but both ships were pulled into the Delta quadrant by a being calling itself the Caretaker. Commander Chakotay used to be Captain of the Marquis vessel but after it was destroyed he became First Officer to Captain Janeway, her subordinate."
"My colleague," said Kathryn as she turned to face them, "And I'm grateful for him."
The Doctor continued unabashed, "Any differences they had however were swiftly put aside and their combined efforts have kept Voyager and her crew safe these passed two and a half years and will continue to do so until she reaches home," he said, "You two end up one of the most famous command teams in Federation history, up there with Kirk and Spock."
Kathryn shared a smile with the man beside her, "We try our best," she said, "So long as he keeps me in coffee we get along."
"Do I detect a little on board romance there then?" said Donna before she frowned as the Doctor slapped a hand over his eyes, "What?"
"We're friends, Miss Noble, nothing more," said Kathryn, turning to the door and keying in an entry code, "Commander, after you."
The Doctor grabbed Donna's arm before she could follow the pair in, "Tread on egg shells around that issue Donna," he whispered in her ear.
"Why? They clearly fancy each other," she said.
"That maybe so but right now they aren't acting on it," he said, "The timeline may have something in store for them but the balance is delicate so stay off the subject, understand."
"Aye Captain," said Donna sarcastically as Kathryn appeared back around the door.
"Are you joining us?"
"Of course, just coming," said the Doctor, "After you Donna."
They stepped into the bustling room and even Donna's eyes lit up at the sight before her, "It almost looks like the TARDIS when she's got a mood on," she said as they headed towards the central hub of the room and the column with its swirling blue lights.
"That's a warp drive engine," said the Doctor, "Completely different power source to the TARDIS but one of mankind's greatest inventions. This enabled the human race to really embrace interstellar travel, in a ship this size you could leave earth and be on Mars in about four minutes without even trying the engines."
"Voyager can do it in three," said Kathryn, "She's the first ship in the fleet to be equipped with a Class Nine Warp drive."
"Sustainable impulse power even on low fuel and the ship can travel over warp five for long periods of time without damaging subspace," said the Doctor, guiding Donna around the column, "The power comes from a matter/anti-matter reaction. Voyager can reach a maximum warp of nine point nine seven five. Which in relative terms is pretty damn quick."
"Pretty damn quick doesn't cover half of it," came a voice to their right.
"May I present our chief engineer, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres," said Kathryn, "B'Elanna this is Donna Noble and the Doctor, they'll be staying on Voyager for a couple of days."
"Pleased to meet you," said B'Elanna shaking first Donna's hand and then the Doctor's, frowning as he kept hold of it.
"B'Elanna Torres, now you're just one success story after another," he said.
The half Klingon looked over his shoulder at her command team, her eyebrow cocked in question, "Is this guy for real?"
"Oh you're always so suspicious but look at you," said the Doctor, "Academy drop out but now a front runner in field engineering, one of the greatest ships created by the Federation at your fingertips and one of the most trusted members of Voyager's crew."
"Long story," said Chakotay, "Don't be too surprised if he already knows what you had for breakfast two days from now."
"B'Elanna, would you give the Doctor and Donna a tour of engineering, please," said Kathryn, "Commander can I have a word?"
The Doctor and Donna were led around to the warp engine by a rather bemused B'Elanna as Kathryn stepped out of earshot from the rest of her crew, Chakotay following her. She ensured no one was listening in before she stood toe to toe with him.
"Is there a problem Commander?" she said.
"I just think we're taking too much of the Doctor's story on face value," said Chakotay, "He appears from nowhere, without a name or any indication of how he gleaned the information he knows about us and you invite him to stay without any investigation whatsoever. For all we know within an hour we'll find ourselves stuffed into that impossible blue box of his and pushed out into space."
Kathryn folded her arms over her chest, "As Captain it is my decision who does and does not receive leave to remain aboard this ship," she said.
"And as your First Officer and more importantly as your friend it is my job to question that decision when I believe it may put the crew and the ship in jeopardy," said Chakotay, "We don't know this man Captain, we don't even know what his species is, and haven't we had enough grief caused to us by people from the future already."
"Braxton was openly hostile the second we encountered him," said Kathryn, "I share your confusion and your concerns but if the Doctor and Donna know so much about us we need to find out how and why and I think the closer we keep them for the moment the better."
Chakotay frowned, "And this has nothing to do with him calling you the brilliant Kathryn Janeway?" he said.
Kathryn's expression darkened, "I don't lead my crew on the basis of flattery Commander," she said, "If I did Mister Paris would have been in your chair months ago. The Doctor and Donna will remain onboard until such time as their ship is repaired or I receive any information that leads me to believe that they are a threat to us. If you are not in support of that decision then your opinion is duly noted but I would ask you to keep that opinion to yourself, don't have me make it an order."
Any response was thwarted as Donna's shrill tones echoed throughout engineering, "Well sor-ry forehead girl!" she cried.
"No Donna don't," said the Doctor, quickly shoving his friend behind him and away from the clearly irate engineer before them, "Lieutenant Torres, B'Elanna, she's..."
"Loud mouthed, arrogant..."
"Who are you calling arrogant?" cried Donna, "Swaggering round here going on about some space man's wet dream."
"Donna that's enough," said the Doctor.
"Is there a problem here?" said Kathryn, hurrying to the scene, glad when Chakotay quickly crossed to B'Elanna and took hold of her arm.
"A misunderstanding Captain," said the Doctor.
"A misunderstanding? Captain she called me..."
"I heard Lieutenant," said Kathryn quickly, fearing B'Elanna's temper would boil over should the comment be repeated, "Doctor I didn't request a circus. I don't appreciate guests on my ship upsetting members of my crew."
"Donna," said the Doctor.
"What?" said Donna, scowling at her friend's look before she sighed, "I'm sorry."
"B'Elanna?" said Kathryn.
"Apology accepted," said B'Elanna tightly, tugging her arm out of Chakotay's grip, "I didn't realise that you'd never encountered warp technology before."
"I think Captain a detailed tour might be something we reserve for later, technology isn't exactly Donna's favourite subject," said the Doctor.
"Well how about I take Miss Noble to the mess hall and introduce her to Neelix, he could show her the holodeck while you continue a more detailed tour with the Doctor, Captain?" said Chakotay.
Kathryn frowned, trying to fathom his words of encouragement towards a tour when he'd been speaking against it moments before, "Very well, so long as that's acceptable to you Doctor," she said.
"If Donna's happy I'm happy," he said, turning to his friend, "Go and enjoy yourself, I'll poke around here and meet you later."
"Will you be alright?" said Donna.
"I've taken care of myself for nine hundred years Donna."
"Nine hundred years?" said Kathryn.
"Time Lord," said Doctor as though it offered an explanation for everything.
"You're nine hundred years old?" said Kathryn.
"Give or take a few years," he said with a boyish grin, "I know I look good on it."
"Modest he isn't," said Donna, "Shall I meet you at the TARDIS later?"
"I'll find you," said the Doctor.
"If communication is going to be an issue," said Kathryn heading to a nearby storage cupboard and taking out two small gold badges matching those that all the crew wore, "You can use these."
"What are they?" said Donna as the Doctor took one and pinned it to the front of her blouse.
"Communicators," said the Doctor, "Tap it, ask for me and we can talk."
"There may be a slight problem there Captain," said B'Elanna, "We already have someone on the system being recognised as the Doctor."
"Good point," said Kathryn, "Doctor is there any name we can use as a suffix to make communications easier."
"I suppose for the communicators you can use Smith as a suffix if you like," said the Doctor reluctantly, "But please, just Doctor for anything else."
"Very well, B'Elanna can you see that everything is sorted for them," said Kathryn as the Doctor pinned his own badge to his lapel.
"Aye Captain," came the response as Donna fussed with the placement of her badge.
"Don't be too long being all alien over everything," she said before she hugged the Doctor tightly, "I'll see you later."
"Behave yourself," said the Doctor with mock warning, "Be nice to the natives."
"Miss Noble?" said Chakotay indicating the doors ahead of them, "If you'd come with me."
Donna gave her friend a look that spoke volumes before she took hold of the commander's arm, "Love to," she said, laughing at her own words as she let him lead her from the room.
"An interesting woman your friend, Doctor," said Kathryn, "The twenty-first century is quite removed from our lives here I suppose, this sort of thing must be fairly daunting for her."
"Oh Donna isn't easily daunted," said the Doctor, "But she's hardly one to get excited over a warp drive. She'll be quite happy to spend an hour or two making eyes at your First Officer or any other eligible bachelor you have on board."
Kathryn laughed, "Perhaps we should have warned Chakotay."
"He's a big lad, I'm sure he can take care of himself," said the Doctor, "Now then, one thing I never understood was how you managed to keep your anti-matter so well contained on this ship, could I have a look?"
"So long as you promise to tell me more about your own ship later on," said Kathryn, "And how it is you can travel so easily through time."
The Doctor held out his hand, beaming as she shook it, "I believe we have a deal there Captain."
Chakotay was glad Neelix had taken a liking to their newest guest's passion for all things recreational, allowing him the perfect opportunity to slip away from her frightening, all be it enthusiastic, clutches. His fears over the threat the two unidentified visitors posed had lessened somewhat in talking to Donna, the woman clearly no more than a twenty-first century girl hitch-hiking with an alien she had met by chance. The whole concept took a leap of faith on Chakotay's part but history was dotted with tales of alien abductions and sightings long before formal first contact had been made and the beginnings of the Federation had sprung up in the Alpha quadrant and the honesty in her countenance was enough to placate him for a time. Her tales of her journeys with the Doctor that she had rattled off as they had toured still had him fearing the presence of the Time Lord aboard the ship however, wondering at the trust his Captain usually withheld until she was proved utterly correct in offering it.
He had always admired her rationale, her professionalism when it came to dealing with races they met in the Delta quadrant but it almost seemed as though a few well placed words of flattery and the impossible dimensions of the ship currently sitting in Voyager's shuttle bay had dazzled her into forgetting some of her most basic methods of operation. He knew she acted often on gut instinct and she had asked him to respect her decision, knowing he would do so, but he knew also that he would undertake as much research as he could once his duty shift had ended to find any reference of the Doctor and his TARDIS in the records of Earth history.
Assured that Neelix had Donna completely engrossed he considered returning to the Bridge but then his thoughts strayed once more onto the Captain and the tour she was no doubt still undertaking with the Doctor and tapped his comm.-badge.
"Chakotay to Janeway."
"Go ahead Commander."
"Miss Noble is with Neelix now, he's going to show her the holodeck and introduce her to some of the crew at lunch," said Chakotay, "Would you like me to rejoin you and the Doctor?"
"That won't be necessary Commander," said Kathryn, "The Doctor is currently in discussion with our doctor so I have a feeling we may be a while here. Return to the Bridge and we'll see you there shortly. Let me know if there is anything to report."
Chakotay wanted to insist that he join them anyway but knew to contradict her order would only put her out of sorts with him and they needed to keep a tight knit command team in case his fears over their new guest proved accurate, "Aye Captain," he said.
"Thank you Commander," said Kathryn, her voice far softer than she used when she was in issuing commands, "I will talk to you as soon as we return to the Bridge. Janeway out."
Chakotay allowed himself a small smile, Kathryn's words letting him know that his fears had not been entirely dismissed by her and that she would give him the chance to voice them when they were alone. He turned towards the nearest turbo-lift and stepped inside, calling out instructions to the Bridge before listening to the whirr of Voyager's motors and the low hum of her engines in the silence. He arrived on the Bridge sooner than he would have liked, the peace of the empty turbo-lift giving him time to think on the surreal morning that had passed, but he stepped out with the air of command expected by Voyager's Bridge staff.
"Commander on the Bridge," came Tuvok's voice as he stepped out.
"Report," he said, heading to the Captain's chair in her absence.
"Scans show nothing of concern Commander," said Harry from the Operations station, "No more blue boxes."
"I have a feeling that the TARDIS is one of a kind," said Chakotay.
"TARDIS sir?" said Harry.
"That's what the Doctor calls his ship," he said, "Maintain scans Ensign. We're running low on supplies for the mess hall and I'm afraid Neelix is beginning to lament the stock levels of leola root so we need to find an M Class planet to restock, though I shan't hold it against you if it suffers a deficiency of Mister Neelix's favourite ingredient."
Harry laughed, "Aye sir."
"Mister Paris what is our current speed?"
"Warp three sir," said Tom, "Nothing but a straight course ahead of us for a good few hundred light years."
"Take us to warp four and maintain our current course."
"Commander, may I enquire as to the status of our two passengers?" said Tuvok.
"Miss Noble is under Neelix's watchful eye and the Doctor is still with the Captain though I believe they intend to come to the Bridge fairly soon," said Chakotay.
"Is it true that she's from the twenty-first century?" said Tom.
"I see the rumour mill is as fast as ever," said Chakotay, "Yes, Mister Paris, if her story is true Miss Noble is from the twenty-first century."
"But how did she end up all the way out here?" said Harry.
"Your guess is as good as mine Ensign," said Chakotay, "Perhaps the Captain will have more luck establishing the whys and wherefores of their appearance in the Delta quadrant."
"Maybe they have the technology to get us home."
"A possibility Mister Kim but it would be foolish to put any hope into such a supposition until we know more about our guests," said Tuvok, "Even if the Doctor did have the technology to transport Voyager back to the Alpha quadrant he may not be willing to share it with us or it may indeed not be compatible with the ship itself as we have learnt previously."
Chakotay turned in his seat to see Harry frown, knowing how keenly the young man felt the absence from home, often more so than the rest of them, "The Captain will do what she can to get us back Harry," he said, "If the Doctor can help us then she'll get what she can."
Harry smiled but said nothing, turning his attention back to his station.
Silence descended on the Bridge, all staff at their allotted tasks as Voyager sped unhindered through the Delta quadrant, quiet areas of space a blessing that allowed them to cut through the light years between them and home. Chakotay turned his attention to his own screen, never comfortable with the odd angle whenever he took the Captain's chair but knowing protocol would not have him relinquish it until the Captain herself returned to the Bridge. Several reports flashed up requiring his attention and he quickly downloaded them onto a PADD to save his neck from the small screen between the chairs.
He'd completed one and was halfway through the second when the doors to the turbo-lift hissed open and Tuvok announced the Captain. Chakotay got to his feet, trying to contain his frown as he saw her arm in arm with the Doctor as they stepped out onto the Bridge.
"And here we have it," she said, clearly continuing on their conversation, "At ease everyone."
"This is beautiful," said the Doctor, "I saw the schematic of course but it doesn't do this place justice."
"If I could introduce you to some of our senior officers Doctor," said Kathryn, "Lieutenant Tuvok you have already met, he's my chief tactical officer and over here we have Ensign Harry Kim, my Operations officer."
The Doctor swiftly took the younger man's hand, "Harry Kim, a pleasure to meet you," he said, "How's the clarinet practice coming?"
"Its...going well," said Harry, "How did you..."
"The Doctor knows of Voyager's journeys through the Delta quadrant as history Mister Kim," said Kathryn, "In fact I think he knows more about us than we do."
"Perhaps," said the Doctor as he manoeuvred himself behind Harry's station, "This ship really was state of the art when it was launched wasn't it, no wonder you ran away with it to the Delta quadrant Captain."
Kathryn looked downcast but swiftly replaced the look with the mask of her captaincy, "I wouldn't refer to the accident that brought us here as such Doctor," she said, "I'm only glad we have a ship as capable as Voyager to bring us home."
The Doctor cocked his head in question, before he smiled and pointed the sonic screwdriver at the console before him, "Your long range sensors are a little out of sync though," he said, "Probably due to the bump we had earlier, I doubt the TARDIS had shaken off all the residual energy from the vortex, so it was bound to cause a glitch somewhere."
The sonic screwdriver buzzed and the console beeped seemingly in annoyance at the unfamiliar technology being worked upon it before the screens lit up all the brighter.
"There now, restored the original settings and increased their efficiency by ten percent," said the Doctor, "A little thank you for the tour."
"Mister Kim?" said Kathryn as the Doctor returned to her side.
"He's right Captain, the sensors are working at above optimum capacity but using five percent less of the required power output," said Harry, "How did you do that Doctor?"
The Doctor turned the sonic screwdriver in an arch before returning it to his pocket, "A bit of jiggery-pokery, I'm good at that," he said, "They can't teach that at the Academy."
Kathryn smiled, "Before you bamboozle Mister Kim any further Doctor," she said leading him to the stairs, "Might I introduce you to Lieutenant Paris, probably our best pilot."
"No probably about it," said the Doctor shaking Tom's hand as he got to his feet, "The first human ever to achieve warp ten, infinite velocity...or is that not meant to be mentioned in mixed company?"
Kathryn blushed crimson but it was Tom who answered, "I'm not sure I know what you mean Doctor," he said, realising with horror that he'd said entirely the wrong thing when the Doctor appeared disinclined to spare the Captain's blushes.
"You know, you two, evolving, propagating a new species," said the Doctor, "The kids do great by the way, they evolve into a very sophisticated race though the scales are never all that pretty, for an attractive pair your kids..."
"Captain," came Chakotay's voice over her shoulder, "I have a report that requires your attention."
Kathryn turned sharply on her heel, heading swiftly too him and taking the PADD from his hand, "Thank you Commander," she said, her eyes bent on the small screen, "If you could introduce the Doctor to the rest of the Bridge staff, I'll give this my attention in my ready room. You have the Bridge."
"Aye Captain," he said as she hurried across the room, the door sliding open and shut quickly as she hurried inside, "Doctor, shall we continue?"
The Doctor looked over to the Ready Room door and then back up at the Commander, "Was it something I said?" he said, before he winced, "Is she a little sensitive about the whole baby thing?"
Chakotay shot him a dark look, "Perhaps some discretion would be advisable Doctor," he said, "The crew may not appreciate you sharing with everyone what you know about them. Now, shall we continue?"
The Doctor looked over to the Ready Room door with a frown, "I think I'd better go and rebuild some bridges."
"Unless the Captain sends for you I would suggest you remain on the Bridge, Doctor," said Tuvok.
"And leave her to fester over it," he said, "Not a chance."
He was already several steps away when Chakotay went to hold him back and at the Ready Room door in moments, ringing the bell and waiting until the Captain's call came for him to enter. Chakotay waited for the man to be sent back out with a flea in his ear but the door remained closed behind the pair and slowly he sat back down in the Captain's chair. Minutes passed by and the tension on the Bridge was almost palpable, all of them waiting for the reappearance of either of them but only apparent silence came from the adjoining room. The sound of laughter moments later startled them all, the Captain's laugh as clear as that of the Doctor and a rare sound on the ship let alone on the Bridge.
"It seems the Doctor's comments are forgotten," said Tuvok from his station.
"So it does," said Chakotay, turning his attention to his console with as much nonchalance as he could manage, "Ensign Kim, is there anything on the scans we should be concerned about?"
"No sir," he said, "We have a clear run ahead."
"Any sign of any M class planets we could restock from?"
"There are no systems within sensor range Commander."
Chakotay sat back in his chair with a quiet sigh. Though he hated when Voyager and her crew were in danger he found himself wanting something to occur that would cause concern just to have an excuse to go to the Captain or call her out, her laughter more worrying than even her shouting would have been from beyond. Resigned to waiting until she called on him he pulled up the duty rosters for the following week, hoping to distract himself enough from wondering what was being discussed behind closed doors.
Kathryn glanced at the chronometer on her desk and gasped in shock as she realised the alpha shift was due to end in ten minutes and she had been sequestered away in her ready room for the entirety of it. The Doctor sat on the raised platform, watching the stars race by outside while he clutched a cup of Vulcan spiced tea. She had retired to her desk to pull up one of her previous log entries in the hope of jogging her own memory of a minor race they had brief dealings with several months before that seemed to intrigue the Doctor but stopped short as she saw the time. They had spoken for hours on both their histories, Kathryn intrigued by the Doctor's tales of his life as a Time Lord although the question of his own people's demise did nothing but bring a sadness to his eyes and a swift change of subject. She hadn't pressed him, happily instead telling him of her days in the Academy and the studies of the theory of time travel that she had experienced.
The Doctor of course had disproved most of the theories that her own people had developed but assured her that one day they would discover the secrets that allowed him the freedom of time. She had digressed onto their own experience of time travel and he had lamented that they had only had a chance to experience Los Angeles in the nineteen-nineties when there were so many more interesting time periods they could have discovered. Kathryn found herself intrigued by the boyish countenance of the man before her, his knowledge and the look in his eyes the only thing that proved to her he was older than he looked. Despite her upbringing, her need to distrust and question until she had proof, she found herself ready and able to trust him. Knowing he could in some way help her and her crew find a way home.
"I never particularly liked this part of space, far too militant for my tastes, but it's quite pretty when it's quiet," said the Doctor, pulling Kathryn from her reverie.
"Some of the places we have been were beautiful," she said, returning to the sofas that lined the viewing window, "Much as I miss home some of the experiences we've had here have been worthwhile, we've learnt a lot."
"You're certainly at the forefront of the Federation's exploration program," said the Doctor, "You'd be foolish to regret the experiences you have here."
Kathryn sighed, "I don't regret the experiences, only that we had no choice in coming here," she said, "So many people torn away from their families."
"Life does that to people whether they are dragged into the Delta quadrant or not," said the Doctor, getting to his feet and offering her his hand, "How about we continue this over dinner?"
Kathryn took his hand almost on instinct, his grip reassuring rather than alien to her, "I think I'd like that though I'd better warn you about our cook, he has a slight affinity for something called Leola root which, well..."
"I love leola root," said the Doctor, "Boiled up properly you can't even taste the mildew."
Kathryn grimaced, "Please tell me you're joking?"
The Doctor smiled, "Of course I am, its filthy stuff," he said, "I'll have to rely on you to direct me to the non-leola root delicacies of your mess hall."
"My pleasure," she said, leading him to the door and dropping his hand in favour of taking his arm as they stepped out onto the Bridge.
The beta shift were already taking over their stations from the alpha shift and she greeted them all, introducing the Doctor as she went, the rumour mill clearly having forewarned her crew of the nature of their guest as they tried to get him to prove his ability to offer up information about their lives that wasn't known on official registers. The Doctor didn't disappoint and even Kathryn found the pastime diverting as she waited for the handover to be completed. The Doctor too enjoyed the celebrity that had clearly over run the ship, always happy to speak with people he had read about in his time on Earth. He did however notice the one person not taken with the scene, realising with a cross between amusement and concern as Chakotay's eyes failed to leave the Captain's hand where it still clutched the his arm, clearly believing there was a rival to his affections on board.
"Well then, shall we go to the mess hall Doctor, beat the crowds?" said Kathryn as the shift settled in.
"By all means," said the Doctor, "Will you be joining us Commander?"
"If I won't be intruding," he said, clearly using all his restraint not to make the comment sound petulant.
"Not at all," said the Doctor, "More the merrier. We might find Donna along the way and then we can make it a foursome and who can resist one of those."
Kathryn swatted him playfully, "You're going to be nothing but trouble, I can tell," she said.
"I never disappoint," said the Doctor.
"Reminds me of Q," said Chakotay as the three of them headed towards the turbo-lift.
The Doctor shuddered, "I have as little to do with the Continuum as possible."
"So do we, unfortunately the Continuum seem to want more to do with us," said Kathryn before calling out the deck for the mess hall.
"Oh yes I remember, you did have several dealings with Q prior to this date didn't you?"
"And none of them were particularly enjoyable," said Kathryn.
"Aww come on," said the Doctor, "What girl doesn't mind her workplace being filled with roses now and then? You should take a leaf out of Q's book Commander, make the lady smile a little more."
"I would trust Commander Chakotay to show a little more restraint if he wanted to make me happy," said Kathryn, "And a well written crew report suits me far better than roses any day, though sometimes..."
"Well don't go dying on me again if you want flowers Captain," said the Commander, "Just tell me."
Kathryn laughed, "I'll make a point of it Commander."
The Doctor smiled though his eyes were cast to his shoes, "I had friend like you once," he said, "She was jeopardy friendly too."
"Jeopardy friendly?" said Chakotay, finally brightening in the Doctor's presence, "That definitely suits the Captain."
"Hey, watch it mister," said Kathryn, "Do you want to spend the evening in the brig?"
"Don't worry, she didn't much like it when I called her it either," said the Doctor.
"You sound sad when you talk about her," said Kathryn trying to catch his gaze.
The Doctor looked up with a too bright smile, "It was a long time ago."
"Well with nine hundred years behind you I guess there's a lot that's a long time ago," she said, "How do you look like that after that long I don't know, two years in and I've more greys than I can count."
The Doctor peered at her elegantly styled hair, "Where?" he said, "You look fabulous and you know it. I always thought the Starfleet uniform did wonders for the female form."
Kathryn laughed, "Now I know you're on the charm offensive," she said, "Either that or you need your sight tested."
"Can you blame me?" he said, "I get to have dinner with the famous Captain Janeway, and if I'm nice to you I might just end up in your book."
Kathryn linked her arm through his, "Surely you already know whether you end up in my book Doctor," she said.
"Maybe, maybe not," said the Doctor, "Time travel's a wonderful thing. What'll really get you later is whether or not I knew Voyager would blind side the TARDIS when we popped out of the vortex."
"Did you?" said Kathryn.
"That would be telling now wouldn't it?" said the Doctor.
"I hardly believe you would risk your ship Doctor, Voyager is much bigger than the TARDIS," said Chakotay.
"Maybe I knew you wouldn't do me much damage," said the Doctor before he patted Kathryn's hand on his arm, "And I needed an excuse to meet you."
Kathryn failed to notice Chakotay's frown, instead covering the Doctor's hand with her free one, "Well engineered or not I'm very glad we got to meet you," she said, "Those we've previously met with ability to travel through time have been less than talkative about their experiences."
The Doctor smiled down at her as the turbo-lift doors opened and they stepped out into the corridors of the ship, "Well I've been told I've got a bit of a gob on me," he said, "And humans are cute when they're curious, you're such a brilliant race."
"Being charming again Doctor," said Kathryn as she led them to the mess hall, turning only as she heard another voice calling out.
"Chakotay!" called B'Elanna as she hurried down to meet them, "Are you free? I need a partner for hover ball doubles. Tom has insisted on teaching Donna and they've issued a challenge; I said I'd ask if you were up for it."
Chakotay looked between B'Elanna and the Captain before he frowned, "I had already made arrangements with the Captain and the Doctor."
"Arrangements that can easily be changed Commander," said Kathryn, "Don't let us keep you but go easy on poor Miss Noble, I doubt Tom is the best teacher and up against the two of you puts them both at a disadvantage."
"Oh don't worry too much about Donna," said the Doctor, "She can hold her own that one. She scares even me sometimes."
"Well then, seems you have a partner B'Elanna," said Chakotay, slipping an arm around the younger woman's shoulders, "I'll see you both in the morning I'm sure."
"Goodnight," said Kathryn, to his back as he swiftly turned and left with B'Elanna.
The Doctor felt the slight tension in her hand and he saw the tightening in the Commander's shoulders at the sound of her voice but neither seemed to acknowledge the clear desire to stay side by side throughout the evening. He waited until B'Elanna and Chakotay had turned the corner before he turned back towards the mess hall, the Captain snapping her attention back to him and quickly putting a smile on her face.
"Looks like it's just you and me Doctor," she said as they stepped into the busy hall, dinner service already underway.
"Heart of the ship?" said the Doctor, looking around at the gathered crew members, all seeming relaxed as they talked over trays of either prepared or replicated food.
"Definitely the heart of the gossip," said the Captain, acknowledging those of her crew who greeted her though there was a far less formal air than appeared anywhere else in the ship.
She led him over to the queue by Neelix's station, handing him a tray with a smile.
"And now the joys of Delta quadrant cuisine?" said the Doctor.
"We're on rations for the replicators, we can't spare the energy," said Kathryn, "We've learnt to make do and I tend to save mine for more important requirements."
"I suppose the entire crew hold coffee in high regard," said the Doctor, nudging her as she blushed, "Don't worry, I have a bit of a thing for tea this time around, early exposure resulted in a fixation."
"This time around?" said Kathryn.
"Long story," said the Doctor as they reached the station and stuck out his hand to the Talaxian behind, "You must be Mister Neelix."
Neelix shook his hand vigorously, "Indeed I am sir and you must be the Doctor. I must admit I have been looking forward to meeting you; everyone has been talking about you and Miss Noble. She's a lovely woman, twenty-first century she says, absolutely amazing."
The Doctor's smile broadened at the alien's enthusiasm, "Well at least I know one set of people who gave Voyager a warm welcome," he said, "Its a pleasure to meet you Neelix. What would you suggest for someone who hasn't visited the Delta quadrant in at least three centuries?"
Kathryn hid a smile as Neelix puffed up to begin a long diatribe on the delicacies before him. The Doctor indulged the Talaxian before him, kindness in his expression even though Kathryn was sure he was as bored as she after the first five dishes had been deconstructed before him. Finally Neelix finished his promotion, beaming at the attention he'd received and brightening even further when the Doctor accepted his offer of leola root stew. Kathryn politely refused the same, selecting instead one of the safer options before her and then following the Doctor to one of the unoccupied tables.
"I thought you said you didn't like leola root," she said, taking a seat opposite him.
"I hate leola root," said the Doctor, "But I couldn't upset him and I guess I must be a bit of a masochist."
Kathryn smiled, "You should have been a diplomat Doctor."
"I was for a while, on my home world, before the TARDIS and I decided time and space were far more interesting," he said, "I guess being a Starfleet captain relies on twenty-four hour diplomacy."
"Unfortunately so at times, especially with such a small ship and a close knit crew," said Kathryn with a sigh, "Tensions can boil over but we all have to work together if we have any hope of getting home in one piece."
The Doctor offered her a sad smile, "You left Deep Space Nine a captain and found yourself a counsellor, mother, sister and wife to an entire crew," he said, "I don't envy you that."
Kathryn raised the back of her hand to her cheek, shocked at the blush she was sure was forming there, "I'd hardly say I became a wife Doctor, quite the opposite in fact," she said, "I..."
The Doctor covered her free hand with his own, "You find Kathryn is hidden more and more and the Captain is who you are," he said, understanding clear in his voice.
Kathryn grew far more interested in the food on her plate, pushing it around with her fork, "I...I have to..." she said faltering, "They need me to get them home and if some of me gets left behind then that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."
"Is that a sacrifice they've asked of you?" said the Doctor, "If I went to your crew now and said that Kathryn Janeway, not the Captain, was dying so they could go home, would they be happy about it?"
Kathryn was silent, her expression pained before she shook it off, forcing her captain's mask back into place, "Now then Doctor, I swear all this talk about me is your way of avoiding talking about yourself," she said, "I'm curious being as you well know and I am dying to know the whole story of how you and Miss Noble ended up in the Delta quadrant when you were aiming for Jupiter."
The Doctor indulged her; seeing that she was throwing up the boundaries that she clearly used to protect the self she was forced to forget when she was commanding her stranded crew. They talked long after they had finished dinner and the number of people in the mess hall had thinned to only a few stragglers. Kathryn was inquisitive and wonderfully bright, talk of technology she had yet to even comprehend of meeting her scientific mind and being easily understood without the need for complex descriptions. The Doctor however could see the sadness in her, all the more poignant whenever he used her first name rather than her title.
"A day ago I wouldn't have believed time travel as you describe it could even be possible," she said as they sat in the dim lights of the now empty mess hall, "But hearing you talk of it, it sounds almost ridiculously simple."
"How it sounds is slightly different to reality, as you can imagine after Tom Paris' experiences with the shuttle," said the Doctor, this time sparing the blushes of the woman before him, "There is so much to be considered and it does take the Federation a long while to achieve time travel safely. I only make it sound simple because I was born to a race that had been utilising it for generations."
Kathryn smiled, "Its beyond my comprehension that there could have ever been such a powerful force in the universe that we had no contact with."
"You will find the universe is far bigger than even the quadrants as the Federation understands them," said the Doctor, "My people were private, secretive, and we didn't get involved with other races. I was a renegade for the fact that I got involved with some of the people I met, there was so much I wanted to know about the universe."
"A natural born explorer. I know how you feel, as a child all I wanted was the stars," said Kathryn her gaze wandering to the endless space outside the window, sadness once more taking her eyes, "Guess I got my wish. I wanted to explore but the Federation, space as I understood it, it was safe. Starfleet on the end of a comm., ships ready to come to our aid if we ever found trouble. Now we're alone, alone and against so much. Be careful what you wish for, I never understood what that really meant before."
"Its alright to be scared Kathryn," said the Doctor, "All the great explorers are, nothing is discovered without risk. I know you didn't ask for this but look at what you've learned, what you can take back to the Federation and you will get back. You've had good times out here haven't you?"
"Some of the most wonderful times," said Kathryn, "Experiences I could never regret but I worry about the crew, about how many of us will get home, how many I have to lose. We've become a family and I love every single person and every time one of them is hurt or worse, it's as though I dealt the blow myself."
"I know how you feel," said the Doctor, "Completely but they worry about you too Kathryn, one in particular especially, so much so that I will not be trusted until I'm well away from you."
Kathryn laughed lightly, "Tuvok doesn't trust anyone, that's why he's the best security officer I could possibly have."
The Doctor gave her a knowing look, "I think we both know that Tuvok's trust is not what I need to be earning," he said, "I trust the Sky Spirits will advise that I am not a threat either to his Captain or to Kathryn."
Kathryn blushed, "Chakotay is overprotective, as any good First Officer would be."
"He cares greatly about you."
"And I about him," said Kathryn honestly, "Without his counsel and his friendship I don't think we'd have come this far. The one decision I will never regret is asking him, and his crew, to join with us."
"Your Command Team will be noted in history, a case study for many a young Academy student," said the Doctor, "A Marquis and a Starfleet Captain, far from Federation space and defying Starfleet convention."
They both looked up as the doors ahead slid open, Tom coming through the doorway, still dressed in his hover ball clothes and looking more than a little frazzled.
"What's she done to you?" said the Doctor with a laugh, "I swear Donna should come with a health warning."
Tom smiled brightly, "Donna's been fine, she's a great girl," he said, "But the fact that she has half the crew in a limbo competition on the holodeck is quite amusing."
"I thought you were playing hover ball," said Kathryn.
"We were until the Commander decided he was having an early night," said Tom, "But his game was as miserable as he was anyway, that's why we opened up the resort. Donna took to it immediately."
"The resort?" said the Doctor.
"A holo-programme," said Kathryn, "A beach resort, the crew like to relax there."
"Donna would be in her element then," said the Doctor.
"I said I'd come and see if you two wanted to join us," said Tom, "Most of the crew are there and Neelix has got some fantastic drinks behind the bar."
"What do you say Captain," said the Doctor, "Do you fancy a night on the tiles?"
Kathryn sighed and shook her head, "Thank you but no, I think I'll call it a night," she said, "You go ahead though, enjoy your stay with us. Perhaps you could let me see more of the workings of the TARDIS in the morning?"
"It would be my pleasure," said the Doctor, "Shall we say seven in the shuttle bay?"
"You've got yourself a date," said Kathryn, her cheeks colouring as he squeezed her hand before getting to her feet, "Make sure things don't get too rowdy Mister Paris, I expect everyone bright eyed and bushy tailed on duty tomorrow morning."
"Yes Ma'am," said Tom, leading the Doctor to the door, "Goodnight Captain."
"Goodnight Tom," she said, "Goodnight Doctor."
The Doctor paused at the door and smiled back at her, "Goodnight Kathryn," he said, deliberately annunciating her name.
Kathryn offered a smile in return, draining her last cup of coffee when the pair had disappeared from sight before she got to her feet and headed out of the mess hall. She rubbed her neck as she trudged the corridors, the day finally catching up with her and reminding her that she had been allowed back on light duties alone. She shook away the thought of why, not wanting to face the memories of her repeated death and resurrection that she had been forced to go through. She reached her quarters, pausing by the door and looking over to the one next to her, wondering if her First Officer was still awake but she quickly abandoned the thought of calling on him and tapped in the codes for her own entrance.
Her quarters were dark but the starlight from outside offered her enough light to see by and she crossed to her bedroom almost on instinct, happily tugged off her jacket as she went, pulling off her communicator and resting it on her bed stand before tossing the jacket in the recycler.
"Computer, activate bathtub," she said to the empty room.
"Activated," came the usual affirmative and Kathryn heard the water begin to run in the small bathroom beyond.
She swiftly removed the rest of her clothes, setting the pips from her collar on her dresser and unfastening her hair, running her fingers through it to remove the tangles she'd acquired over the day. Grabbing her communicator she headed into the bathroom, setting it on the side beside her as she sank into the welcoming heat of the water. The stress of the day quickly dissipated and she let her mind wonder onto the strangeness of their new arrivals, smiling as she thought of the Doctor's seemingly indominatable spirit, his love for his life amongst the stars. She wondered if she and her crew would ever end up as he did, happily nomadic in the far reaches of space but she knew so long as Earth existed they would strive for it however much Voyager appeared to be home.
It was only the chirruping of her comm.-badge that roused her, belatedly realising as she slipped beneath the water and resurfaced with a splutter that she had been dozing off in the bath. She heard the end of the name of the person who was calling her but recognised the voice from the single syllable alone.
"Go ahead Chakotay," she said, realising how drowned her voice sounded after her unexpected dive.
"I'm sorry Captain, did I wake you?"
Kathryn coughed, "Not at all, in fact I think you just saved me from drowning myself," she said, "I fell asleep in the tub."
Silence answered her briefly though she could almost swear she heard a hitch in the sound of his breathing.
"Was there something you wanted Commander?" she said, cringing as she realised the image that was probably in his head and how poorly the question could be misinterpreted.
"I have some information I thought might interest you Captain," came the well-measured response, "But I'm sure it can wait until morning if I'm disturbing you."
Kathryn smiled, "If I had to pick someone to be disturbed by Chakotay..." she said letting the rest of the statement hang, "Give me a few moments and come round, let yourself in."
"I'll be around in ten," came the response before the link broke.
Kathryn hauled herself from the tub, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around herself as she squeezed the excess water from her hair. She was glad she had elected comfort rather than femininity in her nightwear that week, pulling the soft grey sweatpants and singlet from their hook and slipping them on before fastening a robe over them. When she had first taken command she would never have dreamed of meeting with any of her crew in her nightwear but since her time with Chakotay when they had been stranded together for so many weeks she found herself easily relaxed in her attire around him. She combed out her hair before fastening it in a plait down her back, not bothering to dry it. She peered in the mirror and toyed with the idea of applying at least a little lipstick but abandoned it as the bell to her quarters rang, Chakotay ever the gentleman as he alerted her to his presence before the door slid open.
"Kathryn?" he called out before he called for low illumination in her living area.
"I'll be right out," she called back, "See if you can get my replicator to like you. If it behaves I'll have a coffee, black."
"At this time of night?"
Kathryn left the bathroom and leaned in the doorway that separated her bedroom from her living space, "Whose Captain?" she said, smiling as he looked up from the replicator, a cup of her favourite beverage already in his hand.
"I didn't realise it was a pyjama party," he said as she crossed the floor to join him.
"Well when you will insist on these late night meetings Commander," she said, taking the coffee from his hand and heading to the sofa, hearing him request his more favoured tea before he joined her, "Thanks for the save by the way."
Chakotay shook his head, "The Doctor was right about you, jeopardy friendly," he said, "What if I hadn't called you? You need to be careful taking baths so late at night, you've scared us enough for one week Kathryn."
"I'm sorry," she said, "Guess I didn't realise how tired I was."
"And here's me disturbing your rest even further," he said, setting down the PADD he was carrying on the coffee table before them.
Kathryn reached out and lay a hand on his arm, "I asked you to come," she said, "You're not disturbing me. What was it you wanted to tell me?"
Chakotay reached for the PADD once more and set down his tea, "Do you promise to read it all and to keep an open mind before you come to any decisions?" he said.
Kathryn's eyes narrowed, "Now you have me worried," she said reaching for the PADD only to have it taken out of her reach.
"Promise me Kathryn," said Chakotay.
She glared but then sighed as she realised she was not going to win by looks alone, "Very well, I promise," she said snatching the PADD, "But this is tantamount to insubordination Commander."
"My apologies Captain," he said before his voice grew softer, "I only want you to keep an open mind."
Kathryn turned her attention to the PADD, knowing Chakotay was watching every expression on her face as she did so. The file was various snippets of compiled data from sources she would very rarely see in a Starfleet report, none of them Federation approved and yet available with enough digging through the ship's database. The subject matter left her in little surprise, Chakotay's worry about the Doctor clearly having inspired the archaeologist in him and had had him digging for information rather than artefacts since they had parted. The PADD before her made for grim reading but she pressed on, finishing the report but holding it for moments in silence.
"I'm sorry Kathryn but I had to know," said Chakotay, "I know you trust him and that the evidence is hardly substantiated and is old but you needed to see it."
"All those disasters, he was there?" she said, her voice slightly breathless.
Chakotay nodded, "Him, the TARDIS, others sometimes mentioned by name or just referred to as a colleague or a companion," he said, "He arrives prior to or during such horrific events and then vanishes without a trace, no one really knowing who he is."
"Perhaps..." Kathryn began, reaching a hand to her throat as she felt her voice constrict, "Perhaps he went there to help. Some of the events seem to have been caused by others, perhaps he knew and went to save as many as he could."
"I wish I could believe that," said Chakotay covering her hand with his own, "He's dangerous Kathryn."
Kathryn got to her feet, pacing the carpet, "These sources, like you say, are unsubstantiated and many of them compiled long before formal first contact between humans and aliens were made," she said, "They could be bias, for so long the governments of Earth dismissed the likelihood of life from other worlds, perhaps they perceived the Doctor to be a threat and painted him as such."
"Even those who did not recognise him as alien speak of him with caution," said Chakotay, "And look at the descriptions, in one he is described as being in his sixties with white hair, in another as shabbily dressed with an accent from what was Northern England, now we see him as a man barely in his thirties with brown eyes rather than blue. His appearance changes every time he appears in the records almost."
Kathryn was silent as she scrolled through the information before her once more, "This is all very disturbing Chakotay," she said, "But...but the man I met today, I can't believe him capable of this."
"On the surface neither could I and I appreciate what you say about the validity of the sources but we can't ignore this," he said, "For all he says about Voyager getting home, it could just be an elaborate plot. His knowledge of us, it puts us at ease in a way, he knows us but then he knows how to manipulate us too. You're a wonderful Captain, Kathryn but you're so curious and at times that can be your weakness. I know time travel fascinates you, there's nothing to say that the Doctor doesn't know that too."
Kathryn sighed, closing her eyes as she wrapped her arms around her middle. She was silent and Chakotay left her to her thoughts, knowing his input would be asked for if it was required. She finally opened her eyes and crossed to him, setting the PADD on the table before she crouched down before him, placing her hands on his knees.
"Chakotay," she said, "What do I do? My head says one thing but my gut says another. I know I should be marching down there with a phaser in my hand and order him off this ship but for some reason, for some strange, ridiculous reason I trust him. I can't ignore that, if I do it would almost make a lie of everything we have here."
"You'll have to explain that one for me Kathryn?" said Chakotay.
She reached up and took his face in her hands, "Once upon a time I read report after report about a renegade Marquis leader called Chakotay, who I knew for a fact I couldn't trust," she said, "Reason told me I should have left him and his crew to cope alone with the Kazon but my gut told me that me that I needed him. If I'd listened to my head Chakotay you and I would have parted ways and I doubt Voyager or her crew would have survived. What do I do?"
Chakotay took her hands, folding them in his, "I don't know," he said, "Because I trust your instincts but I also trust my own and I feel like this man will bring us nothing but bad luck. Keep a security detail on alert and sleep on it, or we walk down there right now and ask him to leave. The choice is yours."
"What did your spirit guide say?" said Kathryn, "I know you, you would have spoken to her before coming to me."
Chakotay managed a half smile, "Since when did Captain Janeway put much stock in the spirit world?"
"Since my First Officer made me realise how much it meant to him." she said, "If you want to share what she said, then I'm listening."
"Trust Kathryn," he said before he smiled, "And I do. Whatever you choose I'm behind you, all the way."
"Thank you," she said, sitting beside him on the couch once more and picking up the PADD, "I want to speak him, challenge him but I need to have my wits about me."
"You're going to sleep on it then?"
Kathryn nodded, "I'll talk to him in the morning. If after that I'm still not happy then he goes."
Chakotay got to his feet, "Then its time I left you to sleep," he said as she followed suit, "Thank you for keeping an open mind."
"Thank you for keeping an eye on me," said Kathryn following him to the door, "Goodnight."
"Goodnight Kathryn," he said offering her a familiar warm smile before he let the door slide shut between them.
Kathryn turned back to her rooms and ordered down the illumination. She picked up the PADD and headed towards her bedroom, knowing that it would be a long while until she got to sleep.
A/N: Please leave a little review. See you in a week.