Chapter 2: Cathexis
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or its characters. Some dialogue is directly from the episode and is not of my own creation. I do not make any money from this story just writing from pure enjoyment of seeing J/C together.
A/N: Thank you for the reviews on the first chapter, I really appreciate it. It gives me more motivation to continue. I had this chapter mostly finished but finals and graduating college took up my time. I hope to keep chapter postings more regular. This next chapter picks up about 5 months after the last chapter in the episode Cathexis. Thank you again for reading.
After Seska's recent beytrail, Chakotay's headspace was really amiss. He felt he was constantly being betrayed and manipulated. First, Tuvok when he infiltrated his Maquis ship. Then Seska, even thinking of the name, sent daggers to Chakotay's heart. Chakotay didn't know who to trust or if he should trust again. The chime to his office rang. Chakotay was grateful to whoever it was to take him from his darkening thoughts.
"Enter", Chakotay called.
Captain Janeway entered and Chakotay immediately stood at attention, stuffing down his feelings that were coming to the surface.
"At ease", Janeway paused, seeing beyond his put together facade, "At ease Chakotay".
'Chakotay', He was taken aback that the captain would use his first name. He let down his walls as he let a small half smile appear across his face. He was starting to like the way she over pronounced his name and at the gentleness she used saying it. He knew she was worried about him. The last few weeks have been one let down after another and he started to distance himself from the crew when he was not obligated to by duty.
First was the lost chance to get home through a wormhole to the alpha quadrant. That turned out to be a wormhole 20 years before Voyager was launched. The next Seska betrayed them, revealing she was really a Cardassian disguised as a Bajoran. She furthered the betrayal by beaming off the ship to a Kazon vessel. Before she left she had to say in front of the captain that she was a fool and so was Chakotay to follow her. That angered him. It angered him for many different reasons. He was angry at the disrespect Seska had towards a woman he started to form a bond with. A good person whom he'd protect with his entire being. A woman who was determined and driven to get the crew home and complete the impossible and he wanted to do everything in his power to make those dreams a reality. He channeled every part of his will to not reach out and strangle Seska. At that moment he realized he never loved Seska. He would never want to be physically violent towards someone he loved. It was all a ruse and he was truly a fool.
What completely shattered him was when she said "I can't imagine how I ever loved you." That was a phrase that echoed in his mind over and over. Chakotay was still licking his wounds over the heartbreak Seska caused. He wasn't able to reach out to his animal guide and his emotions were clouding his concentration. "Talk to your animal guide and figure it out", Seska's traitorous voice rang through his mind. Anger and hurt began to build up in him.
"I just wanted to stop by and see how you were holding up after what happened these past few weeks", Janeway said knowing she might be on the edge of overstepping, "Neelix noticed you were feeling down and wanted to cheer you up but I decided it would be best if I came instead".
He was staying away from the mess hall and taking his meals in his office or his quarters. Katheryn knew Chakotay was going through a dark time and, besides B'elanna, he didn't really have anyone to confide in. Chaoktay was a person that the former maquis crew looked up to and Katheryn knew that being in that high position left you with little to none to confide in.
Chakotay was appreciative. Mr. Neelix was very overbearing at times and he didn't think he could conjure the patience to deal with the folk songs or the 'comfort' he would push on him or thought he needed.
Chakotay's wound up and pensive state began to relax, "Well I appreciate that you came. Don't know how singing folk songs could cure what ails me".
"Well, I would suggest talking to a ship's counselor if we had one. I thought B'elanna would be of help but I talked to her after she left your office and I assume it didn't go well", Janeway said, taking a seat at the front of his desk.
"No it didn't", He replied shortly.
"I guess you are stuck with me", Katheryn paused, taking a breath, " I'd like to see us as friends Chakotay, I want you to have someone to confide in. If you are willing, I'd like to be there. It's a long journey and can be lonely higher in the chain of command. It's best if we don't stand alone. It's best if we work as a team."
"I'd like that Captain", Chakotay responded, feeling a wave of warmth wash over him and feed into a handsome smile.
Chakotay's smile soon faded back to its previously pensive state when thinking back to the root of his inner turmoil. Katheryn reached her delicate and slender hand across Chakotay's desk and delicately put her hand over his to give him some comfort. She hated to see him suffer like this. She gave him a onceover and saw how drained he looked. His eyes looked sunken in and darker than usual as if his soul left his body but more likely from lack of sleep. Chakotay received comfort and sighed releasing the tension from his shoulders.
"While I can't say that it's comparable, Seska betrayed me too. She got through every part of security on this ship and I truly feel like a fool as Seska pointed out before leaving. I can't believe I wasn't able to see through her deception, or that the Doctor wasn't able to get a blood sample earlier. I should have been more-" Katheryn was interrupted by Chakotay lightly squeezing her hand.
"You are definitely not a fool Captain, Seska fooled us all, I am the fool to have ever trusted her and lo-", Chakotay said, holding back tears and raw emotion stopping him from speaking.
Katheryn leaned forward and placed a hand on his shoulder. Thumb slowly running slow circles.
Pushing back the lump in his throat and looking down, not willing to admit it aloud said, "I honestly don't know if I can trust again. I seem to be so naive to let the wool be pulled over my eyes."
"Well", Katheryn paused, pulling together some courage, "I can counter that argument by saying that you are definitely not naive. You are one of the wisest officers I've had the honor to serve with. You have shown me insights that have been crucial to our survival out here in the delta quadrant. It's those solutions that I would have never come up with myself. You're a valuable member of OUR crew. I hope you can trust me. I have no hidden agenda. We are a team and we both run this ship together. We will be serving as a team for a long time. I always have the best intentions in mind for you. Could you say the same Chakotay?"
Chakotay quickly responded without a second thought, "Of course captain!"
Janeway gave the arm still on his shoulder a squeeze as a thanks, "Now, have you talked to your animal guide lately".
Chakotay was surprised by the reminder that she was starting to get to know him so well. She knew how much his culture and its practices meant to him.
"No", He said with an exasperated sigh, "after these past few weeks I haven't been able to reach out to my guide"
"How come? Is she not willing to meet with you?" Katheryn asked; concerned.
Half chuckle and smile escaped from his handsome lips, "No, it's really due to me. When I am in a highly emotional state, I find it really hard to focus and go on a spirit walk. I honestly find that ironic."
"How come?" Katheryn asked, moving her hand to rest under her chin a ear to ear smile graced her features showing her interest. She loved to learn more about his culture.
Chakotay took note of how relaxed and beautiful she looked and the genuine interest in what he had to say, "It's at our highest and most emotionally charged that we need the guidance of our animal guides," he responded.
"Well, how can I help? I've meditated with Tuvok and on the Vulcan homeworld for diplomatic missions. Maybe there's something I can do. I don't know if I'm overstepping. I know that shared spirit walks can be viewed as something that's very personal."
It was at that moment that Chakotay started to really care for Katheryn. She hated to see him in this emotionally shattered state and tried to do everything in her power to deliver him from this darkness he was sinking into. He never knew he could be so accepted for his beliefs. Chakotay started to like this developing closeness to his captain and wanted to get to know her better.
"If you are willing to help, how could I say no. Maybe that's what I need…" Chakotay said trailing off.
They both moved to the sofa under the viewport in his office and Katheryn sat down on the floor as she did before in her ready room. Chakotay reached for his medicine bundle that was sitting on a shelf and moved to sit beside her.
"Tuvok to Captain Janeway"
Janeway met Chakotay's eyes and pursed her lips together in a wordless apology. Chakotay made a silent acknowledgement with an underlying amount of disappointment.
"Janeway here", She replied trying to not have her emotions be so transparent.
"Please report to the bridge. We have a ship approaching on long range sensors"
"Chakotay and I will be right there, Janeway out".
Katheryn looked to Chakotay revealing the disappointment on her features, "Ready to get to work Commander?"
He replied matching her tone, "I guess so Captain".
With a gentle pat on Chakotay's shoulder, they both rose from the couch and made their way to the bridge. Upon entering the bridge, Tuvok and Ensign Kim reported that a ship of a species called the llidarians wanted to discuss trade options on their home world. Wanting to conserve power usage, Janeway assigned Commander Chakotay and Tuvok on a mission to complete trade negotiations on the llidarians homeworld and try to take detailed readings of the region on their way back. Janeway chose Commander Chakotay for the mission on a professional level to give him experience in trade negotiations that they were very likely to do often on their journey. On a personal level, some time away from the ship to process Seska's betrayal. Janeway also chose Tuvok to go as well because he was head of security and could keep the commander safe if anything dangerous should arise and because he could be of some help to Chakotay if he decided to open up.
Two days passed and Chakotay reported that trades with the llidarians went well and that Tuvok and he were on their way back to the ship. Janeway was relieved that they were making it back to the ship without incident. She also felt fortunate that Voyager was able to get some extra energy reserves. With the extra energy, they would be able to use the replicators more often and offer the crew extra rations. While Chakotay was away Janeway decided to build her own medicine bundle. If she was going to go on a spirit walk with Chakotay, she wanted to be fully prepared. She sat at her desk and looked at the database of Chakotay's people. She saw that the information was in agreement with what Chakotay had said earlier; she needed three things that were of importance to her to ground her and guide her on her journey. It was a big decision to make. There were a lot of things that Katheryn loved and found important. There was also a footnote that a person who grew up in a tribe would build a medicine bundle over the course of their life and add and take out these three symbols as they deemed necessary. After reading this footnote Katheryn wondered if Chakotay ever had all three grounding symbols. The last she saw of his medicine bundle he only had two.
After a long time sitting at her desk thinking of what grounded her she initially thought of her father. He was a driving force in her earlier life. He was the whole reason she decided to join starfleet. When he and her fiance, Justin, drowned on their test piloting mission, Janeway didn't know if she could survive the loss of them. She decided to add a vial of sand replicated to symbolize the beach her family would visit on summer vacations and the beach just to the left of the pier Justin proposed to her at. She found the peace calming and grounding. It was the location that she found herself in her first spirit walk. Janeway took a pause thinking about her medicine bundle. She felt conflicted.
Was she really buying into a faith? Katheryn never really had religion, but always had a faith in science and in truth. It was something her father instilled in her at a young age. Stopping herself from going any deeper into the deep recesses of her mind, she kept her thoughts to one simple fact. She was exploring this for Chakotay. He needed her support and she found his culture interesting. From a scientific perspective she saw this as an anthropological ethnography study. She would immerse herself in his culture to learn about Chakotay.
"Bridge to Captain Janeway." Ensign Kim called over the comm.
"Go ahead, Mister Kim." Janeway replied.
"I've got Commander Chakotay and Mister Tuvok's shuttlecraft on long range sensors, but they're not responding to our hail. The shuttle's been badly damaged. I'm reading multiple hull fractures." Ensign Kim reported.
"Life signs?" Janeway asked abruptly with concern and fear showing in her voice.
"Two, but they're very faint."
"Beam them to Sickbay as soon as they're in range. I'm on my way." Janeway said, rising from her desk and dressing into her uniform quickly.
As Janeway briskly walked down to sickbay all she could think about was Tuvok and Chakotay. Tuvok was one of her closest and oldest friends. She didn't know what she would do if something happened to him. Chakotay, the man she was sent to capture on behalf of the federation about 5 months ago, was starting to have an emotional hold on her as well. She wasn't sure what she would do if either didn't survive. She mentally stopped herself and knowing if she continued on this path her judgment would become clouded. She needed to be strong for the worst, especially for her crew.
She briskly walked into sickbay and her eyes met with Tuvok's unconscious form lying on a biobed. She looked to her left and saw that the Doctor was working on Chakotay blocking him from her view. She decided to stay out of the Doctor's way and went over to her long time friend and placed a soft touch to the side of Tuvok's cheek and went to inspect him herself. On the left side of Tuvok's cheek Janeway could see snaking burn marks that might have been from electricity running through his body. It looked like lightning strike victims that she saw at her time serving as a volunteer at starfleet medical in Indiana. Kes took over her investigations. Katheryn moved to the Doctor who was still working on Chakotay.
"They've each taken a blast to the head by some kind of energy discharge", the Doctor started to explain, "I need a Cardiostimulator Kes."
Janeway stayed silent, slowly taking in this new information and slipping into command mode to protect herself from her emotions in case their condition turned for the worst. Her gaze drifted to Tuvok not liking the look of the energy blast on his face.
The Doctor responded to his captain's silent question, "Mister Tuvok has a serious concussion, but it's nothing I can't handle. As for Commander Chakotay, all of the bioneural energy has been extracted from his brain."
Shocked, Janeway was taken aback, her blue eyes began to widen in shock, "Extracted?"
"Yes. From the looks of it, someone drained the energy from every single axon and dendrite right down to the synapses. I can keep his heart beating and I can keep him breathing, but other than that there's nothing I can do. He's brain dead."
Katheryn Janeway was in utter shock. Greif started to wash over her. How could she lead her crew without Chakotay? Was he really gone forever? He had supported her so much since being in the Delta Quadrant. She was really looking forward to developing a closer friendship with him. He did so much for her on a professional level. He was responsible for bringing the 2 crews, maquis and starfleet, together. How will the crew react to this news? She stopped her thoughts in its tracks once more. A shining glimmer of hope slowly came into her mind. What if we can get Chakotay back we need to get more information from the nebula to aid the Doctor in his investigations.
After holding a bridge crew meeting in sickbay and determining, with the help of Tom and B'elanna's neural scans, there was a non-corporeal alien aboard the ship; Janeway transferred all command codes to the Doctor. They found the alien seemed to only affect organic beings and was using the crew with high levels of access to the ship to change course away from the nebula. She wondered if the alien had taken over her consciousness and she looked for any gaps in her memory. There didn't seem to be any, and she wanted to keep it that way. Janeway felt as though she was flailing in the wind and had no ideas of how to get Voyager out of this problem. One thing she did know is that she needed B'elanna to get the warp engines up and running.
"Lieutenant Torres, I recommend you head to engineering and start getting the warp core back online. I will meet you there in an hour and we can see if we can get it back up ahead of schedule" Janeway commanded.
"Aye, Captain", B'elanna nodded her head and left the sickbay.
Kes entered sickbay and approached Janeway with Lieutenant Tuvok standing behind her , "Captain, I heard what's happened. I think you're right. There is an alien presence here, I've been sensing something unusual all day. I don't know how to describe it, but I know there's something here."
"Do you know where?" Janeway asked Kes.
"No, just that it's on the ship." Kes said, expressing frustration at the lacking of her newly developing abilities.
"Captain, Kes's telepathic abilities are undisciplined. If I could initiate a Vulcan mind-meld with her, I may be able to help her focus those abilities to detect the alien more accurately", Tuvok proposed.
Janeway looked to Kes, about to ask for her consent to a mindmeld and if she was comfortable with a mind meld.
As if Kes knew what Janeway was going to ask she responded, "I'm willing to do that."
"Very well. Proceed, Mister Tuvok", Janeway said, nodding in approval.
Tuvok and Kes both nodded to each other and to the Captain and left sickbay. As they left the Doctor started walking to his office, "I will be in my office if you need me Captain".
Katheryn took a chair from the side of the medical station and lifted it. She put it down at the head of Chakotay's bedside and she took a seat. Janeway's attention was taken from Chakotay to the wheel that was mounted above his head. Looks like B'elanna set this up before the meeting. Chakotay had told Katheryn in the past that he had taught B'elanna how to heal him if he ever became incapacitated. Katheryn was glad that Chakotay had such a close, familial relationship in his life. Janeway wished she had her support person by her side but right now he was brain dead.
Knowing the Doctor was out of earshot Katheryn lowered her head to Chakotay's ear, "Comman-", She paused, "...Chakotay…if you can hear me just know that we…I need you. I need you at my side. Some strange things have been happening since you've been gone. I wish I had your wisdom. You're my sounding board you know. I never thought -"
Katheryn felt as if someone was standing behind her and she instinctively grabbed her phaser protecting herself, and Chakotay's vulnerable state.
"Katheryn" a familiar disembodied voice called.
She turned around and no one was there. She turned back to Chakotay and was startled to see a she-wolf slowly padding over to Chakotay. Katheryn pointed the phaser at the wolf, wanting to protect the immobile Chakotay. The wolf winned at him in a somber tone. She submissively laid down at the foot of the bed and curled up obediently. Katheryn started to lower her phaser, somehow intuitively knowing the wolf was no danger. Katheryn's attention was brought to her shoulder and she saw something green slowly making its way down her uniform covered arm. It continued until it rested on Chakotay's bare shoulder that Katheryn's hand was protectively resting on. She realized it was the same tokay gecko from her visions a few months ago. If she could see her guide, this must mean that she was spirit walking. How could she do that without the aid of the akoona.
They cool gray she-wolf lifted her somber head and wined at something behind Katheryn. She turned to what the wolf was gesturing towards and saw that smoke was filling half of sickbay.
"Computer, activate emergency fire suppression systems," Katheryn called out without reply from the computer.
The smoke cleared and a large male figure appeared out of the smoke. He held a spear in his hand. Katheryn's starfleet training took over and automatically put a hand on her phaser once more. The man had a bronze complexion and wore animal skins. He didn't seem to notice that she was there and was stalking an unseen prey. Katheryn let go of her phaser and moved closer to Chakotay keeping a wary eye on the man and a protective arm on Chakotay's bare shoulder.
The warrior continued to stalk its unseen target. His eyes widened when he seemed to locate who he was looking for. He paused, and held his spear up, aimed, and threw it to attack an unknown enemy. He looked terrified, as if he missed. He became desperate and started to throw stones that he found around him at the unseen threat and he retreated; running backwards. The warrior then fell into a struggle with an invisible enemy and was able to push his attacker away and ran to safety, fading from sight. Indistinguishable shouting and calling was able to be heard from the opposite end of the smoke from where the warrior faded off from.
"Stay away!", the disembodied voice from earlier calls out, "It isn't safe, turn away from here".
A small group of similar complexion and dress come out from the smoke and they keep calling for someone. A snarl comes out of a cave and the invisible creature starts to chase the group.
"No!" Janeway shouts and takes her hand off Chakotay's shoulder and runs to protect the people searching for their lost warrior.
"Captain", Janeway is shaken awake by the Doctor that is scanning her with a medical tricorder.
"Doctor, how long was I out for?", He lowered his tricorder in relief.
"I'd say less than a half hour", He replied curtly, "when we get this situation figured out I recommend shore leave or relaxation Captain you seem to be not getting adequate rest".
Katheryn rolled her eyes and sighed in relief she was not taken over by the alien. This was not the first time the Doctor has told her she needed to take some time for herself and rest but how could she?
"I'm glad it wasn't the alien. Just because I gave you my command codes doesn't mean you can order me around Doctor", She stated, standing and putting a protesting hand on her hip.
The Doctor flipped his tricorder closed and walked off mumbling something about how starship captains are the worst patients.
Katheryn got up from the chair she must have fallen asleep in and took one last forlorn look at her friend and left sickbay to aid B'elanna in fixing the warp core.
In engineering, Janeway and Lieutenant Torres were close to getting the warp core back online. B'elanna just needed to run one last diagnostic. Janeway thought back to Chakotay in sickbay; she really wished he could be here now. I'm sure he'd be proud of all the crew, starfleet and maquis, effort to get him back. Janeway quickly glanced around the room, most of the engineering crew was out of ear shot or at the upper level station.
"I saw what you did for Chakotay in sickbay B'elanna…"
"You did captain?" B'elanna replied sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck.
"I'm sure Chakotay would have appreciated it", Katheryn said tenderly.
She knew that Chakotay being brain dead was affecting Torres the most. She was like a sister to Chakotay; always seeing Chakotay as a role model. Katheryn wished she knew the history between Torres and Chakotay. She wished she knew more about him. It might be something she will never get.
"Thank you captain, that means alot to me", Torres replied, a small warm smile appearing across her lips.
"I have a question to ask of you", Janeway began, "I know your experiences with spirit walks has been limited, and it feels crazy to ask, but have you ever been reached out to in visions or dreams?"
"Well Chakotay always told me that a spirit walk was similar to dreaming because your soul leaves your body and goes on a journey. That's what I was doing with the medicine wheel. Trying to show him the way home. I haven't been contacted by my guide again since I tried to kill it. I always remember hearing bits and pieces of Chakotay's dreams when we were back on the Val Jean…" B'elanna trailed off wondering what the captain experienced but knew it was not in good taste to ask. She knew guides can be easily frightened off.
"Thank you B'elanna."
Once the warp core was up and running again, Janeway was looking at ships logs and the changes of course with the presence of the alien. She really couldn't figure out its motives. It was as if it had split personalities or it couldn't make up its mind. One moment they were headed towards the nebula and the other it was trying to keep them away.
Her ready room chimed and Tuvok entered. He reported his findings of Kes and his attack stating that Kes was not hit by an energy burst like he and Chakotay had but was physically assaulted. Janeway was taken aback from this revelation. Had Tuvok assaulted her? Was it really him or the Alien? She began to feel weary of her security chief and tried to tamp down the feeling of paranoia that washed over her. To settle her weariness she wanted to confirm with the doctor the state of Kes. She might find details that could help.
"Janeway to Sickbay. Computer, activate Emergency Medical Holographic System."
"Unable to comply. The EMH programme has been disabled."
"Disabled? By whom?"
Janeway turned to her office computer and reviewed the Doctors program files herself, "The Doctor's initialisation routine has been locked out. It's encrypted. I can't reactivate the programme."
"It appears the lockout originated somewhere above deck four." Tuvok mused.
"Why would someone deactivate the Doctor?" Janeway asked, her suspicions growing.
"The Doctor does hold the command codes to Voyager." Tuvok logically responded.
"Yes, but once he was deactivated the codes automatically reverted back to me."
"If we assume the alien could not take over the holographic doctor, then logically it would try to force the command codes back into a humanoid host."
Some of the non-corporeal being's motives suddenly dawned on Janeway, "Me. It's too dangerous for one person to retain the command codes at this point. I suggest we divide my command protocols into two code groupings."
"A sensible precaution." Tuvok replied
"You would be the reasonable choice to hold the second grouping, if there's any such thing as a reasonable choice right now. The alien could occupy either one of us at any time." Janeway said, not really trusting that the alien was not occupying Tuvok right now.
"But presumably not both of us at the same time." Tuvok added as the captain stood.
"I'll tell the bridge crew the plan. We'll all have to act as checks and balances for each other." she said, exiting her ready room to the bridge and thinking she really wished she had Chakotay's support and input in this situation.
To settle her mind she thought to herself 'what would Chakotay do?' 'What would Chakotay say about this situation'.
"Katheryn", a shudder rang through her body as if someone whispered at the back of her neck.
Janeway entered the bridge gaining the attention of the crew, "I want you all to be aware of something that has happened, something I must assume was due to the alien. The Doctor has been deactivated, and we can't get him back online. I have decided to divide my command protocols."
Suddenly Katheryn's vision blurred as if she was about to faint and she felt herself slip into darkness.
"Katheryn", Chakotay's called out distantly, "Im here".
Katheryn awoke in sickbay feeling a warm hand on her shoulder. She couldn't explain it, but she felt Chakotay's presence and that he was near. She opened her eyes expecting to meet her commander's warm brown eyes and was instead met by blue eyes of Tom Paris holding a tricorder scanning her.
"Mr. Paris, was I taken over by the alien?"
"It seems so captain, I see that the memory anagrams are abnormal like my scans", Tom replied.
"Will I make a full recovery?" Janeway joked.
"Well I don't have access to the equipment to regenerate the fracture in your wrist so I will have to wrap it up and use the dermal regenerator to heal the subdermal bruising".
"Thank you, Mister Paris. I feel better already.", Janeway quipped, trying to reassure the lieutenant.
After meeting with B'elanna in engineering, she knew that the nebula was responsible for Chakotay's brain death. She now understood the alien's motives, it wanted to take the ship to the nebula. She also found that Tuvok, under the control of the alien or not, fabricated the damaged logs and deleted it himself. Janeway was growing weary of Tuvok and wanted to make sure that she was on the bridge with him in case the alien took his consciousness.
Entering the bridge Janeway was continuing to ponder why there was a push and pull of heading towards the nebula and away from it. Knowing that there was no other ship that attacked Tuvok and Chakotay Janeway went along with Tuvok's narrative.
"Mister Tuvok, can you locate the ion trail of the alien ship that attacked you?" Janeway questioned.
"I believe so." Tuvok replied, sending the flight path to the Ops station, " Mister Kim, lay in that course. Shields are at maximum, Captain. All preparations for entering the nebula are complete."
Tom entered the bridge and revealed to the captain and the bridge crew that Kes was indeed assaulted but it was from a vulcan neck pinch. Janeway turned her eyes to Tuvok scanning him to see if the alien was in control. Tuvok seemed to be normal but Janeway had a bad feeling. There was something about the dream she had in sickbay, the family that went searching for a lost warrior, it could be a message of some sort. She made sure to not act only on the basis of a spirit walk and decided to be more cautious.
"What bandwidth are you on?" She questioned Tuvok.
"I'm using a multiphasic scan. If you examine the alpha K band, you will see it."
"He's lying", a familiar voice warned in the back of her mind.
"Yes, here it is. A very interesting ion trail. There's no sign of any subspace distortions in its wake. According to these readings, it's a ship without engines. You're lying, Tuvok. There is no alien ship, and there never was. We're not going inside that nebula until we get some answers", Janeway stated standing her ground.
Tuvok attempted to convince the bridge officers that she had been taken over and to resume course into the nebula. Ensign Kim stayed loyal to his captain and did not follow Tuvoks orders. Tuvok was able to take control of the bridge holding a phaser and gathered the bridge crew into a close group near the engineering station and threatened to shoot with a wide dispersal beam if they resisted.
Janeway felt the ship veer to one side as they entered the nebula. Fear for the wellbeing of her crew making its way to the surface of her mind. She let her captain's mask fall back onto her features and tried to reason with the alien. As the alien stated his intentions and that he was navigating the ship to feed his people, the Komar, the ship lurched forward.
"The warp core has been ejected", Lieutenant Durst reported leaning back from the engineering station.
Torres called the bridge to report that she was taken over by the alien and ejected the warp core. There was a collective inhale of shock mixed with confusion. It then dawned on Katheryn, the chief engineer was not capable of ejecting the warp core a command code needed to be used. The only command codes that would be able to eject the warp core were her's, Tuvok's, and Chakotay's.
"Ensign Kim try to see who's command codes authorized the ejection of the warp core" Janeway whispered to Harry.
Harry pulled back from the station in shock "Captain the codes used to eject the core was Chakotay's…How would the alien be in two places at once unless there's two…but how would it know the Commander's codes?"
"The alien in Tuvok wants us in that nebula, but there's another presence that's been trying to keep us out. It doesn't make sense, unless it's Chakotay and he knows we'll be in danger if we go into the nebula."
"But he's in Sickbay. He's brain dead." Ensign Kim questioned confusion displaying his young features.
"Maybe not. Maybe his neural energy was displaced somehow and he's able to move from person to person", Janeway mused.
Janway knew then that the dream she had at Chakotay's bedside was a warning to not go into the nebula. She started to wonder who sent that to her. Chakotay? Or her animal guide? That was something she would have to find out later. All she knew was she needed to take Chakotay's lead and distract the alien in Tuvok's body. The magneton scan could work but it needed to be coordinated just right. Janeway motioned with her eyes the command console and to Tuvok and nodded at Harry and Tom to initiate the silent plan.
Janeway was able to activate the magneton scan and stun the alien as Tom and Harry tackled Tuvok taking his phaser. The alien was visible and left Tuvok and disappeared through a bulkhead. Harry moved to his station and the crew followed. Tom pulled out a tricorder and scanned Tuvok for any brain damage. Tom looked up from Tuvok and saw a figure near the captain and before he could say anything it disappeared.
With the help of Commander Chakotay they were able to navigate out of the nebula and Harry excused himself to sickbay to work on getting the doctors program up and running.
After getting a safe distance away from the nebula, The doctor continued his effort to integrate the consciousness of Commander Chakotay back into his body. Katheryn updated B'elanna every hour on the hour with the reports she received from the Doctor. Katheryn decided to bury herself in her work and try not to worry about Chakotay. She was working on her report of the nebula and the non-corporeal aliens they encountered when she received a call from the Doctor.
"Doctor to Captain Janeway…"
Katheryn nearly launched herself from her seat in anticipation, "Janeway here…".
"I am about to attempt to wake Commander Chakotay, please report to sickbay"
"I'm on my way Doctor..", Katheryn's eyes shined from the hopeful news.
On the way to sickbay, Janeway called Torres over the comm and asked her to join her in sickbay.
Janeway and Torres both rushed to the bedside of Chakotay.
Nearly breathing down the holographic doctor's neck as he applied his treatment to Chakotay, Janeway asked, "Did it work?"
The Doctor glanced at the monitor on the biobed and looked with annoyance at the two officers peering over him, "It appears so."
Chakotay was starting to regain control of the movements and the feel of being in his body again. He could hear muffled voices, the humm of the ship at impulse, and the smell of the sterile environment of sickbay. He was content with himself that he accomplished saving the ship and they found his consciousness. He then felt the presence of the Captain and B'elanna.
"Commander. Can you hear me?", the Doctor said, trying to wake Chakotay.
Chakotay winced at the bright lights of the sickbay and saw the trio looking down at him, "Yes. I'm a little dizzy, but I think I'm all here."
B'elanna met Chakotay's eyes in amazement, "How did you manage to reintegrate his consciousness?", she questioned the EMH.
"It involved three neural transceivers, two cortical stimulators and fifty gigaquads of computer memory. I would be happy to take you through the process, but it would take at least ten hours to explain it all to you. Needless to say, it was a remarkable procedure. I would consider writing a paper about it if there were a convenient forum in which to publish it." , the Doctor said, proud of himself.
Janeway slowly made her way to the biobed trying to control her emotions. The joy and relief of seeing her friend again. She put her warm hands on Chakotay's cool bare shoulder.
"What happened, Commander?", she said softly, trying to keep her voice even.
"After the attack on the shuttle, I had the sensation of floating above my own body. I thought I was dead.", Chakotay paused, feeling the confusion from recalling the events of the shuttle.
"And when the shuttle returned to Voyager you were still disembodied?", Janeway added.
"Yes. I couldn't speak, I couldn't touch anything. But then I found if I concentrated on someone who was in the room with me, I could share their consciousness. It aided the connection to the host if I knew them more on a personal level. That's why I was able to inhabit most of the bridge crew and Torres. At first, I could only do little things with the host's body. Push buttons, work a console. As time went on, it became easier to do more." Chakotay paused remembering more about his experiences and smiled, "I'm sorry I had to knock you around, Tuvok."
"No apology is necessary.", Tuvok responded with an eyebrow raised.
Janeway sighed and shook her head.
With both hands on Chakotay's shoulder like Janeway had done before alone with him in sickbay, she leaned forward and gently said, "Good job, Commander, and welcome back."
"To be honest, I feel like I never left."
Janeway looked down at Chakotay and gave him one of the most genuine smiles and gave his shoulder one last pat and said, "I hope to see you back on the bridge soon but if your up for it, I'd like to have a debriefing in a few days"
Chakotay briefly looked away and gave a lopsided smile, "Of course captain by all means, it's quite the story to tell".
Janeway stood in her ready room pacing back and forth with some anxiety. When Chakotay inhabited her body, what exactly did he experience? Katheryn felt slightly exposed and vulnerable. She wanted to control what Chakotay knew about her for now, it seemed that if anyone got too close to her they died.
She wanted to hear directly from Chakotay about his experiences of being non-corporeal. Maybe she could get some answers from him about these dreams she was experiencing. She didn't know if these dreams had to do with him directly or if she was growing closer to her animal guide. She was interrupted by the chime of her ready room.
"Come in", Janeway called.
Chakotay calmly stepped in through the ready room doors. Janeway met his eyes as his calm washed over her.
"Commander, good to see you on your feet, have a seat and we can go over your report."
Chakotay made his way to the upper level of the ready room that Janeway was gesturing to and took a seat. Janeway padded over to the replicator and ordered a coffee.
"Can I get you anything from the replicator, Commander?"
"Elderberry tea please", Chakotay requested.
Janeway came to the couch with both beverages in her hand and took a seat next to Chakotay. She was careful to set the tea gently down by Chakotay and began, "So, your report about your experience with the Komar was very clear but I wanted to know more about your personal experience".
Chakotay looked away from gazing out of the viewport to the Captain with amusement, "You're wondering if I was able to read your mind Captain."
Janeway flushed slightly and looked down feeling slightly exposed, "Well, yes actually. It's a funny experience having your first officer in your mind".
"Well, I wasn't exactly in your mind…"
"Oh?" Janeway encouraged him to continue.
"I was able to push the consciousness of the host to the back of their mind, like with you on the bridge I could feel your anxiety and weariness of Tuvok and I placed myself behind you and called for you and I was suddenly, in the driver's seat, of your body and could move you. Sorry about your hand again I didn't know your body's strength.", he said, reaching for the hand and knuckles he broke.
Janeway let out a small laugh, "Nothing a visit to sickbay could fix".
"I promise I didn't have access to your mind but I did hear one thing while I took control".
"And what was that?" Janeway responded with some anxiety.
"That you wished I was there and that you needed me"
Chakotay saw and experienced more with her while floating about the ship. He saw her at his bedside. He heard everything she said to his lifeless body. He saw his guide watch over the two of them and an amphibian creature at his shoulder. Something he had to discuss with his animal guide at a later time. At risk of embarrassing her further, he decided to keep this to himself for now. When joining the crew, he never knew the closeness and affection he'd grow for its Captain.
A/N: Thank you for reading. Next episode the next chapter will cover will be in Season 2. Either Initiations 2x02 or Maneuvers 2x11. Please consider leaving a review. This is my first fanfiction after reading J/C fanfiction for at least 8 years and building up the courage to write. I'd love the feedback. Also, I have a spotify playlist for Janeway, Chakotay, and playlist for their ship. Let me know if you want me to post the link to it.