Chapter 9: The Wedding
B’Elanna called softly from the door of the bedroom. “Kathryn?” Captain? Time to rise and shine. You’re getting married today.”
After a few moments, she received a very sleep reply, “B’Elanna, you know I’m not as young as I used to be, and I’m sleeping for two now, you know?”
Her response made B’Elanna chuckle a bit, “Uh, Kathryn, I think the saying goes that you are eating, not sleeping, for two.”
“Well, whoever said that…was not having to eat Neelix’s cooking!”
The laughter from both women filled the room at this comment. “Be that as it may, Kathryn, you really have to get up now and start getting ready. You don’t want to keep Chakotay waiting do you?”
A moment later Kathryn was standing at the doorway, still looking drowsy but very serious as she responded to the young woman’s last comment, “No, B’Elanna, he’s waited long enough. To this day, I still don’t understand his patience with me…with us.”
B’Elanna looked at her with a look of disbelief, “It’s very simple. He loves you.”
Kathryn considered her words, “I’ve never known love like that before.”
“That’s why they call it a ‘once in a lifetime’ kind of thing. Now, seriously, Captain you have to get ready.”
“Yes ma’am, Lieutenant. I’ll see to that right now.” Kathryn teased as she turned away, giving a mock salute in B’Elanna’s direction.
“That’s better but you will need to work on that salute Starfleet would not approve.”
Just before stepping into the bathroom, Janeway turned back and with a large grin replied, “I’m certain that there are many things I’m going to do today that Starfleet would not approve of.”
She was inside the bathroom before B’Elanna could respond, so she made her response to the empty room, “Well, Starfleet doesn’t know everything despite what they may think.”
About an hour later
Kathryn emerged from the bathroom in her robe. She called out for B’Elanna but didn’t receive a reply. She assumed that she was getting ready as well. She let the robe drop to the floor as she stood in front of the full length mirror in her room. She studied her profile carefully. Her frame was small, but strong. A lifetime of training and conditioning with Starfleet had allowed the years to be kind to her. Her hands ran along the contours of her face revealing firm, soft skin that had a healthy glow. She realized that may, in part, be due to her pregnancy; however, she had always had bright, youthful skin. Her crossed arms continued their path down her shoulders and arms revealing a muscular frame. She critically observed her breasts, now covered and supported with white lace, and noted they were fuller due again to the pregnancy, but still not bad for a woman of her age. Finally her hands came to rest on her ever-growing stomach. Despite having to rely primarily on Neelix’s culinary efforts for her sustenance, the child seemed to be growing at an acceptable rate; and, along with it, her stomach.
She gently caressed the child through the layer of satin from her slip as she spoke softly, “Well, little one, today we become a real family.” She felt a flutter in response.
Kathryn quickly pulled her hand back as she was startled by the movement. She was just shy of five months and the doctor had told her that she would soon begin to feel the baby move; but up until this moment, it had all seemed like theory and science, not reality.
She cautiously put her hand back on her stomach to see if she could feel it again. After a few moments, a soft voice called from the doorway, “Are you alright, Captain? Is everything ok with the baby?”
B’Elanna had returned, fully dressed and arrived to find her Captain standing in front of a mirror with her hands on her stomach with an expectant look on her face. Kathryn looked in her direction with awe on her face, “Oh B’Elanna, the baby just kicked me a few moments ago. I’m afraid I got so excited and distracted with that, I completely forgot about dressing. My apologies.”
B’Elanna crossed the room towards her until she was standing right next to Kathryn. Her excitement matched Kathryn’s, “May I?” she asked as she held out her hand towards the baby.
Kathryn realized at that moment just how close she and B’Elanna had grown over the past years; and, how much of a family they had all become out here in the Delta Quadrant. For starters, on no other ship would it be considered proper for a crew member or officer to be in the Captain’s private quarters, much less her bedroom, especially when she wasn’t fully dressed. Of course, Kathryn had decided long ago, that her crew and ship was not your typical Starfleet issue. And, much to her surprise and disbelief, she had come to accept and even enjoy that fact. The second reason was that she knew how uncomfortable B’Elanna historically was with tender exchanges such as this. As a result, she felt honored that she felt comfortable enough with her as a Captain and friend that she would ask. “Of course, B’Elanna.” She took her hand in hers and placed it on her abdomen where she had felt the tiny kick.
B’Elanna spoke softly to the child, “Hello little one. We are all excited about your arrival. You should know up front that you are incredibly blessed you have two of the best parents that can be found in any quadrant.” Both women smiled as they felt a tiny flutter in response.
“Thank you for sharing that with me, Kathryn.”
“You’re welcome. Now I suppose…”
The softness in B’Elanna’s face left momentarily as she went into full Maid of Honor mode, “You suppose correctly, Captain. You have to get dressed now and we have to beam over to Holodeck One where Naomi will be waiting most anxiously for you I’m sure.”
Kathryn laughed at that thought Naomi had been so excited to be the flower girl. She had been counting down the days and had regularly consulted with the Captain on what her role would consist of and what her duties would be. She was certain that Naomi had arisen early that morning and had been driving her mother, Samantha, crazy since that time. “I’m sure you’re right, B’Elanna. So are you going to help me get in this beautiful dress or are you just going to continue to issue orders to your Captain?”
B’Elanna laughed as she went to retrieve the dress from the closet, “Any chance I could do both?”
Kathryn smiled as she issued her warning, “I don’t think so, Lieutenant.” She touched her affectionately on the shoulder as she brought the dress and lowered it for her to step into. “Thank you, B’Elanna…for everything.”
B’Elanna raised the dress up and slipped the halter portion over her neck before making the final adjustments. She stepped back to allow Kathryn a view in the mirror and to get a full length view herself, “Absolutely beautiful, Kathryn.” She paused for a moment for effect before finishing, “Poor Chakotay won’t know what hit him.”
Kathryn’s smile lit up the room as she felt a myriad of emotions and pride about the man she was going to be sharing her life with flooded into her thoughts. She swallowed hard a couple times to keep the emotions and tears at bay, at least for now. “Damn hormones…” she thought before turning to B’Elanna, “Ok, my ever efficient maid of honor…let’s do this.”
“Aye Aye Captain. Computer. Site to site transport for two from the Captain’s quarters to Holodeck One.”
The computer’s voice responded, “Commencing transport.”
With those words, the two women faded into a shimmer of blue light.
A few seconds later they reappeared in Holodeck One which had been designated as “Bride Central” by the wedding planners (i.e. Tom and B’Elanna) while the couple’s quarters had been allotted for Chakotay, Tom, Tuvok, and Icheb. As there was a shortage of young men the appropriate age on board Voyager to serve as the ring bearer, Icheb had graciously accepted the role. He had privately mentioned to Seven that he thought the concept of having one person to carry flowers and one to carry the rings was an inefficient use of personnel as Naomi could have easily carried both. To her credit, however, Seven had done some research and explained the human concept of tradition to him. After reassuring him that no one would feel that he was taking place in an inefficient and irrelevant role, he agreed to fill the position.
B’Elanna had been right. Naomi was figuratively bouncing off the walls with excitement at seeing her Captain dressed in her gown and receiving the final touches to her hair and makeup. B’Elanna dispensed the flowers to everyone and then touched her COM badge that doubled as a broach on her outfit as did Kathryn and Naomi’s (even on an occasion such as this, everyone still followed this Starfleet protocol).
“B’Elanna to Tom.”
“Tom here. Please tell me the Captain is ready to go. I’m not sure how much longer I can contain the Chief here.”
B’Elanna smiled as she could well imagine how difficult Tom’s task had been that morning, “We’re set to engage, Flyboy. Just make sure all the cameras are set and ready to go for the rest of the crew.”
“Yes ma’am! Thank you for that encouraging news. I’ll check the monitors and then will get Chakotay and everyone else in place. I’ll let you know as soon as the preflight checklist is complete and we’ll be ready for takeoff. Tom out.” He began to run a few tests double checking with crewmen in other areas of the ship to ensure they could witness the ceremony even if they couldn’t be there in person. As smart a ship that Voyager was, she still needed some personnel to ensure she operated efficiently.
As they waited for Tom’s okay to begin the ceremony, Kathryn began to get nervous as well. “B’Elanna can’t you tell me now what the setting is for the wedding? I mean I’d like to know if I will be walking into a church or a forest or….whatever…”
B’Elanna couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tease her a bit, “What difference does it make? The point is that at the end of whatever aisle you walk down, Chakotay will be waiting for you.”
Kathryn was in no mood to be teased, “The point is, Lieutenant, I’d like to know. Isn’t that reason enough.”
B’Elanna fought the urge to laugh and say no, but she wisely fought the urge and took on a more sympathetic tone, “Yes, it is. However, I’m afraid I don’t know.”
Kathryn cocked her eyebrow in disbelief, “You mean, Lieutenant, that I am to believe that Chakotay did not share that information with you?”
“My guess is that he knew you would try to cajole or command it out of me, so he just didn’t tell me.” B’Elanna offered, mostly because she suspected that he knew his wife to be and knew she would do exactly that.
Kathryn seemed to consider this for a moment, and then sighed. “It appears he does know me very, very well.”
B’Elanna sensed the change in her Captain’s mood and decided to lighten the atmosphere considerably touching Kathryn’s stomach and saying, “Apparently he does!”
Everyone laughed, including Naomi, although she wasn’t exactly sure what was so funny. She decided that if the other women thought it funny, she should to.
B’Elanna was saved from Kathryn’s rebuttal by Tom’s voice cutting into the air, “We’re ready when she is.”
She tapped her badge in response, “Perfect timing, flyboy. We’re on our way.”
The doors of “Bride Central” opened and Naomi and B’Elanna made their way to the door of Holodeck One. Kathryn was left alone to wait for Tom to escort her. She tried to remain calm, but it seemed that it was taking an eternity for Tom to come and get her. She knew it was only a few moments actually; but it seemed as though she had been waiting a lifetime for this moment.
She inhaled sharply as the door opened and Tom stood there, looking very handsome. He whistled low as he walked over to her, “Kathryn you look beautiful.”
She felt a blush creep onto her cheeks; she wasn’t use to those types of compliments. “Thank you, Tom.”
He extended his arm, “Shall we?”
Her nervousness faded away as she took his arm and smiled brightly, “I thought you’d never ask!”
They stood before the doors of the holodeck. He turned slightly and asked, “Ready?”
She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, “Yes. Yes, I am.”
They took a step forward and the doors of the holodeck opened. Harry’s clarinet provided a love sonnet for her to be escorted to the waiting Chakotay. She opened her eyes and saw New Earth before her. She should have known Chakotay would have chosen the place that he first publicly declared his love for her. The details were perfect. She could even see their little cabin off in the distance. He had chosen a clearing by the river where they had enjoyed some wonderful picnics.
She couldn’t help herself; tears began to well up in her eyes. Damn hormones. She made a mental note to speak to the Doctor about giving her something to help control them. She forced herself back to the present and looked lovingly at her crew no their crew that had gathered to watch the culmination of many betting pools over the past few years. She smiled lovingly at them as she saw the care and admiration that she knew she felt for each of them reflected in their eyes for her.
She finally turned her attention to Chakotay. B’Elanna had been right his mouth was hanging open and the depth of his love was clearly showing in his eyes. Once her eyes found his, they didn’t wander again. They were locked together in a world just as they had been on New Earth that first time when no one else existed but the two of them. Her movements stopped along with the music as Tom guided her to her appointed position.
Tuvok’s voice cut through the silence. “My fellow crewmembers my friends, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of two of our family in the sacred union of matrimony. If anyone knows cause why these two should not be joined, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
Tom had thought about cracking a joke about how Tuvok must be kidding as they had all been pulling for this for years now, but opted to stay in the Captain’s good graces and, for once, keep his mouth shut. The look B’Elanna gave him from across the “aisle” told him he had made the right decision.
Satisfied that no one objected, Tuvok continued, “Who gives this woman to this man?”
Tom turned to face Kathryn. His eyes reflected devotion, admiration, and even a type of love for the woman who stood before him. The woman who took a chance on him, saw through all of his arrogance, and gave him a second chance on life when no one, not even his father, was interested in doing so. He turned to Tuvok and solemnly spoke, “Her crew and I do.” He leaned towards her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before placing her hand in Chakotay’s. “Take good care of her Chief.”
“I promise, Tom. Thank you.”
As Tom took his place next to B’Elanna, Kathryn handed her bouquet of miniature roses and baby’s breath to Naomi to hold.
“The couple has written their own vows and will exchange them now.”
Chakotay began first, “You have been my enemy, my Captain, my friend, my lover, and now my soul mate. You have brought this angry warrior the peace that he thought had eluded him forever. And today, I renew my vow that I made to you once before here on New Earth to stand beside you and do whatever is necessary to lighten your burdens. And while I know that the path that lies ahead of us on our journey will not be an easy one, I also know that with you by my side, it will be a most memorable one.”
Tears were flowing freely from every eye at this point, well every eye except Tuvok’s. However, he did seem as emotional as a Vulcan could get under the circumstances. His deep voice resounded throughout the quiet clearing, “And now, Kathryn.”
She fought to gain her composure for a moment and realized, belatedly, that she should have insisted that she go first. She took a deep breath and began, “I’ve always been a woman of science. It seems that Starfleet and space have been all I’ve ever known. There has been little room for love in my life; and, to be honest, the few times I’ve allowed it to be a part of my life; it has been very painful for me. As a result, I closed that side of myself off. But the first time I saw you on that view screen larger than life, something inside of me began to change. It wasn’t a quick change…”
A muffled voice from the crew said just loud enough for those around them to hear, “Amen…”
She smiled in response, “I admit a painfully slow change; but the point is that I did come around. You are the most diligent, patient man I have ever met. You know me better than I know myself; and, more importantly, you know how to handle me. You are my perfect compliment…you complete me. Without you by my side, I am but a shadow of my true self. I cannot promise you an easy journey for we both know that would be a lie; but, as you so eloquently stated, I do promise a memorable one.”
Chakotay’s removed his hand from Kathryn’s long enough to use his thumb to wipe away some of the tears that had fallen down her face. He had to fight the urge to kiss them away as he knew Tuvok would be less than pleased that he did not follow the agreed upon protocols. Those damn protocols had certainly gotten in his way more than once since arriving on Voyager! He focused back on Kathryn as he heard Tuvok begin to speak again.
“The rings please.”
Icheb handed the respective rings to his commanding officers. Chakotay slipped the ring on Kathryn’s finger, “My lover, my soul mate, my friend. For now and all of eternity.”
Kathryn repeated the words as she slipped the ring onto his finger, “My lover, my soul mate, my friend. For now and all of eternity.”
“By the power vested in me by the Starfleet Federation of Planets, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife. May you and your children live long and prosper. I believe human tradition allows you to now kiss your bride.”
“Finally!” Chakotay uttered before cupping Kathryn’s face in his hands and leaning down to kiss her. Their kiss was heated and passionate as they felt as though they had been separated for days. The rest of the world melted away as she felt his lips on hers. Her arms went around his neck and his went to the small of her back, pulling her even closer.
The catcalls from the crew were enough to break the spell and they separated both grinning widely. Tom let another low whistle along with his first wisecrack of the ceremony slip out, “Is it hot in here? Or is it them!”
Tuvok once again interrupted before things could get out of hand, “My friends, I present to you…” He struggled for a moment not sure how to refer to them as he was not aware of a last name for Chakotay and wasn’t sure that they both should be referred to as a Janeway. So he used true Vulcan logic and said, “Your newly married command team.”
Janeway winked at her friend and then turned with Chakotay to face the cheers of their elated crew. Chakotay offered his arm, “Shall we, Mrs. Command team?”
She laughed and took his arm, “We shall.”
With that, the couple made their way to the back of the meadow to where a table with traditional wedding cake and punch were waiting (Neelix had treated he insisted as it was ‘tradition”) to begin their new life together.
Chapter 10: A “Do-Over”
The festivities had passed very quickly that day. Kathryn found the quiet she was surrounded by after everyone had left a little disconcerting. All of the adrenalin of the past few days had seeped out of her system and she was feeling rather tired. She felt the comfort of two strong arms encircle her from behind, “Are you reading for the honeymoon, my love?”
“Hmm I thought it would never get here. So where are we going?”
He took her hand and led her over to the “cabin” that had been their home during their stay on New Earth, “Right here.”
She turned to look at him, “Chakotay, are you sure? The last time we were here…well, I’m sure it didn’t end up the way either of us had planned.”
He pulled her into a warm embrace, “Which is exactly why we need to try again. Do it the way it was supposed to be done. I know there are some wrongs that I want to make right kind of like an old-fashioned ‘do-over’.”
She smiled up into those beautiful dark eyes, “Such as?”
“Well, first of all this time I plan on being in that bathtub I made WITH you! No more watching and lusting from a distance.”
Her eyebrow crooked up in traditional Janeway fashion, “Lusting, hmm? I’m pretty sure that lusting after your Captain is definitely against Starfleet regulations.”
He pulled her close again and his mouth claimed hers in a searing kiss as his hands moved lower to pull her body flush with his. When he finally broke the kiss, she was breathless. “If you’ll remember, my love, you were not technically my captain at the time.”
Her eyes had clouded with desire as she answered him, “I stand corrected, Commander. Now that we have that clarified, I would like my husband to whisk me across the threshold to begin our married life together.”
“First things, first…I believe my wife needs a long, hot soak in the tub.”
She leaned in to his broad chest, enjoying the feel of strong arms around her. “You know what, Chakotay? For once…you’ll get no argument out of me!”
She felt the rumble in chest from his laughter and then his deep voice, “I think I’m going to like this whole marriage thing…seems to take the fight right out of you.”
She smiled against him, “Don’t get too used to it, Chakotay you just caught me in a moment’s weakness it won’t happen again.”
He lifted her chin and kissed her again, “I wouldn’t have you any other way, my love. Now, let’s get that bath ready.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, you were right…THIS is much better…the backrest alone is far more comfortable than before.”
Chakotay smiled as Kathryn leaned back into him in the warm water. His arms were on either side with his hands gently caressing her stomach. He gently kissed her neck, “Now that’s twice in one day…first, no argument and now, I’m right…I should have brought you here again a long, long time ago.”
Her low, throaty laughter sent waves of desire through him and his body responded. He nuzzled her neck, “Shall we go inside?”
She turned to kiss him fully, her body pressing into his leaving no room for misinterpretation of what she wanted, “Yes…let’s…”
A few hours later, the loud screech of a monkey outside the door woke the sleeping couple. Kathryn sat up with a start, “What the…?!”
“That sounds like this planet’s equivalent of the early warning system…there must be a storm approaching…”
Kathryn scrambled out of bed and pulled her robe on, “Why in the world would you program a storm? Are you crazy?”
Chakotay just smiled as they made their way to the main room and took up residence under the shelter of the table.
The storm raged outside while the couple huddled under the table…doing their best to avoid falling dishes and paintings…Kathryn was scared…she had never liked storms, but she felt safer this time with Chakotay’s arms around her.
The storm finally subsided and she turned in his embrace, “So you want to tell me what that was all about?”
He shifted them so he was settled over her, pinning her gently to the floor, “That, my dear…” he kissed her fully, “…was about doing this right. I should’ve made love to you that day…taken advantage of you! Lucky for you, I’m a gentleman…”
She laughed as she pushed him and rolled over so she was now straddling him, “Well, lucky for you…I’m not always a lady!”
His laughter joined hers before claiming her mouth in a kiss, “Oh yes…I am a VERY lucky man…I’ve always enjoyed serving under you!”
“If you’re such a gentleman, why don’t you help me off the floor? First you take unfair advantage of a pregnant woman and now you expect her to get up by herself?”
He extended his hand to her, “Well, I know how you like to be independent and self-sufficient…”
“That’s an order, Commander!”
He pulled her to her feet and they made their way back to the bedroom. Once settled in, she asked, “So what do you think…a boy or girl?”
“Definitely a girl…with fiery red hair and blue eyes, just like her mother.”
Kathryn smiled into the night, “Or a son…with the dark, caring eyes of his father.”
“There’s no use arguing with me, Kathryn she’s a girl. I know these things…”
“I think I’m in a better position to know this, Chakotay…you can’t ALWAYS be right. I’m having a boy…and that’s that.”
He chuckled and pulled her closer to him as his arm closed possessively over the place where his child was growing, “Let’s sleep on it and see what happens.”
The events of the day and their activities from the evening had taken its toll, “Agreed…see you in the morning…”
Their eyes closed so quickly neither noticed the snap of the fingers or the bright light that followed…
Chakotay returned to the cabin in the morning with some fresh fruit to find Kathryn sitting in the bed with a far away look, “Are you alright, Kathryn?”
“I had a…dream…no more than that…it was a nightmare…”
“You want to talk about it?” He offered as he sat down next to her and offered the fruit.
She continued to stare off into space, “It was disturbing, Chakotay.”
“Would it help if I told you I had a bad dream as well?”
This got her attention, “Really?”
“OK, I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. You first, though…Captain’s prerogative.” She grinned.
“I was hunting dear with my father which was very unusual as I normally refused to do that. We had cornered a dear and I looked up to my father to see who was going to shoot it…but my father wasn’t there, it was an alien I had never seen before.”
That perked her interest up, “There was an alien in your dream?”
He could see her analytical wheels begin to turn, “Shall I call the Bridge or would you like to?”
“Oh Chakotay, I’m so sorry. I know we promised…but…”
“But this is not something the Command team can ignore…even if it is their honeymoon.” He got up and located her comm. badge and handed it to her.
“Bridge…this is the Captain.”
“Tuvok here, Captain. How may we be of assistance?”
She tried to fight back a lopsided grin, “Well the Commander and I have everything well in hand…” She could have sworn she heard muffled laughter coming from someone on the bridge….probably Paris, “Actually, we have a question which may seem very strange at first.”
She exchanged a glance with Chakotay and fought to keep the humor out of her voice, “Has anything unusual happened with the crew or ship since yesterday?”
“Ensign Kim has not reported for duty and Mr. Paris was late. He cited a bad dream with an alien as the reason for his tardiness.”
They heard a muffled, “Thanks a lot, Tuvok…” from the Conn area.
She looked at Chakotay, “That’s not like, Harry.”
Chakotay hit his comm. badge, “Chakotay to Kim.”
There was no response, Janeway was concerned, “Computer locate Ensign Kim.”
“Ensign Kim is in his quarters.”
“Tuvok, meet me at Harry’s quarters. Chakotay please assemble the rest of the senior staff I want to find out if these aliens you, Tom and I saw in our dreams have anything to do with this.”
“I really am sorry.”
“Hey we’ll always have last night…” he laughed.
“Oh that was a bad cliché…and I promise, as soon as we find out what’s going on with Harry and these aliens, we’ll pick up right where we left off.” She promised as she struggled to get into her uniform.
“I’ll hold you to that! What’s wrong?”
She stopped her struggle for a moment, “I could swear that this uniform was not this tight just a day or so ago.” She turned to view her profile in the mirror, “Chakotay! I KNOW I was not this big yesterday.”
“Well, you are getting further along…this is to be expected…isn’t it?” He now seemed a little unsure; she did seem to have blossomed overnight.
“Well…yes, but this seems a bit…excessive. Honestly, I don’t know…this IS my first child, you know.”
He moved to embrace her and then offer assistance with her uniform, “Mine too. As soon as we get to the bottom of this alien dream problem, we’ll go see the Doctor, ok?”
“Okay…and thanks for the help.” The worried expression was replaced by the Captain’s mask and she was off to find out about Harry. Chakotay understood her better now, though, and knew she was still worried, but she was able to compartmentalize that fear until there was ample time and opportunity to confront it again. It may not be the best way for Kathryn…but it suited the Captain well.
After being unable to wake Harry in his quarters and learning that several members of the crew had been transported to sickbay, she was drilling the Doctor for answers, “Are they comatose?”
“Not exactly…they appear to be in a hyper-rem state. I’ve tried every conventional method I can think of to wake them…from drugs to direct cortical stimulation…and nothing works.” The Doctor explained.
“Do you have any idea what’s causing this?”
“Scans haven’t detected anything…they are simply…asleep.”
“I’d say this is a pretty good bet that this is somehow related to the alien in our dreams.”
“Any progress on identifying our visitor?”
“Not yet, but I have everyone working on it. In the meantime, what’s your recommendation?”
“Large doses of imenazine.”
“I thought you said drugs weren’t working?” She asked.
“Not for them…for everyone else. Until I can determine what is going on, I suggest they do not go to sleep.”
“Will it be safe…for me? Under the circumstances, I mean?” She gestured to the baby.
“You won’t be able to have as much as everyone else…but I’ll monitor you carefully. I promise I won’t let anything adverse happen to you or the child.” There was almost a touch of paternal sentiment to his tone.
“Thank you, Doctor I appreciate your diligence. When all of this is over, would you mind just doing a quick scan on the baby to make sure everything is alright? I’m probably just being nervous, but I’d feel more at ease.”
“Certainly. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must check on my patients.”
“Of course, Doctor.”
Several hours later, they had agreed on the physical aspects of the alien and Chakotay had convinced both Kathryn and the Captain to allow him to use lucid dreaming to try to contact the alien.
They were now in sickbay and Kathryn smiled at Chakotay and touched him gently on the chest as she was so fond of doing…even before he became her husband, “Pleasant dreams.” Was all she said, but her eyes conveyed her concern about this course of action.
He smiled reassuringly at her before starting the ritual to enter into the dream state, “Akoochemoya…I am far from the sacred places of my grandfathers…far from the bones of my people. I seek to sleep to meet the one who has visited us in our dreams.”
It was several tense filled moments later before he woke up, Kathryn was relieved and showed him how happy she was to have him back during the turbolift ride to the bridge. Somehow Chakotay managed to “brief” her on what had happened and what they needed to do before they stepped on the bridge.
“Tuvok scan for a six planet system should be less than a parsec from here.”
“I have located it.”
“Tom lay in a course.”
They made their way to the planet system and, as the alien had advised, the crew started to wake up. The victory was short lived however when the ship came under attack.
“Red Alert all hands to battle stations.”
“They’re coming around for another pass.” Paris advised.
“Auxiliary power to the shields! Return fire!”
“No damage to the alien ship we can’t penetrate their shields.” Chakotay indicated after viewing the results of their weapons discharge.
“Arm photon torpedoes…we seem to have a knack for provoking strangers these days. Fire.”
“I’ve lost power to the torpedo launcher…there seems to be a drain on our power.”
Then the alien appeared on the view screen and things went from bad to worse…
Before they could do anything, they were all being held captive by the aliens. While trying to plan an escape, Chakotay noticed the moon in a view screen and realized that he was still asleep. He tapped his hand three times to bring himself out of the dream.
“Commander Chakotay! You’re awake.”
“Are you sure?
“Yes…but I’m afraid you’re the only one. After you entered your lucid dream, everyone began falling asleep one my one.”
“Alright for now…but asleep.”
“How long was I out?”
“That long?!” He consulted some scans the Doctor showed him, “So we’re all sharing a communal dream. We have to find where these aliens are in the waking world, so I can deal with them on our terms rather than theirs.
“Collective unconsciousness,” Seven explained.
“You mean we’re all sharing the same dream?” B’Elanna asked.
“It is possible.” Tuvok confirmed.
“This is all fascinating…but unless we have proof to the contrary, we have to treat this like an invasion.”
Tom walked up and advised he had been able to get a Jeffries tube open. Half of the senior staff distracted the guards while Kathryn, B’Elanna and Tuvok went to engineering to try to get main power back online.
It only took a moment before B’Elanna was successful, “That was easy…”
The computer’s cold voice sounded, “Warp core breach in 30 seconds…”
Janeway added, “A little too easy…eject the core!”
Flying fingers made the unsuccessful attempt, “It won’t eject, Captain…we have to get out of here!” B’Elanna shouted.
Kathryn followed slowly, her thoughts spoken out loud, “I don’t understand why you can’t eject the core…something’s not right.” A realization hit her and she turned to head back towards engineering.
“Captain! You must hurry.” Tuvok called out.
“You’ll be killed!” B’Elanna shouted.
“I think I’m on to something…you two go!”
“That’s an order…”
“Warp core breach in 5…4…3…2..1” The explosion was loud and B’Elanna’s heart stopped…Chakotay was going to KILL her for letting the Captain do something so stupid.
The door opened and an unharmed Kathryn Janeway stepped through. There was sarcasm in her voice as she said, “Either I’ve become impervious to anti-matter explosions…or we’re still dreaming.”
Meanwhile Chakotay and the Doctor located the sleeping place of the aliens. Chakotay beamed down to try to disable the generator that was providing the catalyst for the dream state, “Doctor, I want you to go to the Bridge.”
“I’m giving you an order. Go to the Bridge and target my comm. signal with a photon torpedo.”
“You’re delirious. You’re asking me to incinerate you!” The Doctor was not pleased with the turn of events.
“Not just me…these aliens...and their transmitter too. But only if you don’t hear from me in five minutes! Understood?”
Realizing there was no other way to end this, the Doctor agreed, “Aye sir.”
He woke up the alien and pointed a phaser at him, “Tell me how to deactivate this transmitter or I start shooting.”
The alien didn’t’ speak…so Chakotay continued, “I’ll give you five seconds…5, 4, 3, 2…” before he could finish he fell asleep and joined the rest of the crew in the dream state.
Janeway wasn’t sure she was relieved or worried that he appeared behind her, “Chakotay!”
He shot her a reassuring glance, but moved to face the alien.
“Who’s going to help you now, Captain?” The alien asked.
“I found your cavern and your people I’m there right now in the waking world. It’s all going to be destroyed in less than two minutes unless you deactivate that transmitter.”
“If you are there, you will be killed too. I think you’re lying.”
“Oh believe me…if I don’t contact my ship, both of us are going to die in our sleep.”
The look on his face indicated he was fully prepared to die for his ship…he avoided looking at Kathryn; he couldn’t bear to see the look on her face right now. The Captain would understand that this was necessary…Kathryn would be less accommodating. Fortunately, the alien believed him as well and complied with the request…the nightmare was over for all of them.
“Chakotay if you ever do anything like that again!!” She said it in a teasing voice, but he knew she had been worried. “I don’t know what I would do without you…what we…would do without you!”
They were making their way to sickbay to visit the Doctor. “Would you like to talk about you testing your theory during a warp core breach?” He admonished.
Realizing he had her, “Touche’; but I still don’t want you to do anything like that ever again.”
“As long as you agree to the same.”
They both nodded their head in agreement even though they both know they would do what was necessary to protect the crew and each other…even if it meant their own lives. They entered sickbay.
“Ah Captain, Commander…I’ve been expecting you. I’m ready to conduct the scan you requested.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” Kathryn offered as she climbed onto the biobed.
He began the scan, “Was there a cause for your concern? Did you have any symptoms that concerned you?”
“Well, it seems rather silly right now; but…well, my stomach seemed to grow…significantly almost overnight.”
Now Chakotay was very worried, “What Doctor…what is it?”
“Well, I can’t explain it…but it appears that…Captain…”
“What Doctor?!! What is it?”
He straightened and looked at her directly, “You are pregnant with twins…one boy and one girl.”