REFLECTIONS
                                                                   PART10


                                         UNDUE INFLUENCE


Rated  PG
          


“Why did you do that?”  She asked as soon as they entered their quarters.

“What?”  Her question, coming after a long silence, confused him.

“Why did you say I wanted the job?” 

“Don’t you?”

“I told you I haven’t decided—I don’t….”

“You haven’t decided to accept it.  I know that, but you do want it—don’t you?”

“Chakotay,  I told you –I won’t decide anything until you do.”

“I know that.”  He laughed at her stern expression.  “Kat, I know you’re trying to leave me some options here—it’s OK”  He held her by her upper arms, looking down at her. “There are plenty of options on micron prime.  If you haven’t figured it out yet---I’ll be happy where ever you are.” 

“You’re impossible.”  She shook her head.

“So you keep telling me.” He pulled her close and kissed the top of her head.  “I’m gonna grab a shower before we go to Sandrine’s.”

“I think I’ll join you.”

“What?” He moved her back to see her face.

“Is your stomach full?”

“Yes—we just finished dinner—Why?”

“You don’t want to make decisions, you admit you have only two primary concerns and  you’ve already been fed.”   She smiled and took his hand, he followed.

     They arrived at Sandrine’s a full two hours later, the game was already in progress.  After getting themselves drinks they join the group around the pool table.  Tom was finishing up a shot, he handed off his cue and  joined them.

“I take it the fight is over.”  Tom gave them his customary smirk. 

“What fight?”

“No- no –you are late enough, you will not use me as an excuse to make up again—god we’ll never play .”

“Glad to see you could make it”   B’Elanna laughed.  “Kathryn you and I are partners in the next match—‘cause I’m tired of losing, let them lose.”

“Well, look who came up for air.”  Jenny took her seat.   “Didn’t anyone ever tell you, you’re not newly weds anymore?”

“You’re an inspiration, Old man.”  Harry slapped his back. “ Hope I have your stamina when I’m your age.”

“Wish you had it now.”  Jenny quipped.

“Hey, all I was trying to do was take a shower.”  He chuckled.  “Can I help it if she can’t keep her hands off me?”

“Wasn’t always like that.”  Tom handed B’Elanna back the cue. “Don’t knock it.”

“No, it certainly took long enough.”  Chakotay laughed.  “She had to get assimilated before she appreciated me.”

“And as I recall, it nearly all fell apart---almost before it got started”  B’Elanna rejoined them.

“Yes, I should have known better.”  Kathryn shook her head.  “I finally admit my feelings and what does he do?  Something sweet and romantic?” She stood behind his chair, placing her hands on his shoulders. “No, not him---he leads a mutiny!”

“That was not my fault!”  He lifted one of her hands, kissing it.  “You know I love you.”

“That somehow didn’t mean much when you threw me in the brig.”

“So harsh Kat, I merely walked you there.” He chuckled.

“Yea-- I remember.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     What was at first assumed to be random attacks on crewmembers, was beginning to  follow a line of demarcation that the Captain thought had been erased long ago.   As it took shape and became more evident, old tensions began to rise.  The former Maquis, the apparent target of the attacks, were ordered to arm themselves and to always work in pairs, in an effort to ward off any further incidents.  In the end the effort only severed to provide a stronger base for the pending mutiny. 

   After Tuvok implicated himself in the attacks, the Captain and Seven discovered a subliminal message embedded in the letter Tuvok had received from his son.  Chakotay identified the sender as a fanatical maquis supporter named Teero.  It was discovered that Teero had used a sophisticated form of mind control on Tuvok seven years ago and this message was designed to activate it.  Under it’s influence   Tuvok had attacked and performed mind melds on the former Maquis.  The Captain was helping Tuvok meditate and control Teero’s influence, when he suddenly hailed Chakotay and relayed Teero’s coded message.   Unable to learn the significance of this message from Tuvok, the Captain hailed Chakotay.

    When  Chakotay didn’t answer her hail the Captain left Tuvok in the brig and went in search of her first officer.  She didn’t have far to go.    At the sound of phaser fire, behind her,  she turned to see Chakotay and Ensign Bender headed in her direction –phasers drawn.

“What the hell are you doing?”  She questioned Chakotay as he approached.

“I think it’s obvious.”  He pointed his phaser at her.  “I’m taking control of your ship.  Within the hour all Starfleet personnel will be locked in their quarters.”  He jerked his head and waved the phaser at her.  “Step back in the brig Kathryn.”

“What has Teero done to you?” 

“He simply helped us remember who we are.  We’re Maquis----we’ve always been Maquis.”

“The rebellion ended three years ago—you know that.”

“In the alpha quadrant maybe—not on this ship.”  He grabbed her arm and began walking toward the brig.

“Torres to Chakotay”

“Go ahead”

“Deck 11 is secure.”

“Acknowledged.”  He guided the Captain around the last corner to the brig.

“We’re thirty-five thousand light years from earth, Chakotay.”  She turned toward him.  “No one out here even knows about the Maquis---It doesn’t make sense, there’s nothing you can accomplish.” 

“As long as we exist, so does the rebellion.”  Still pointing the phaser in her direction, he nodded to the guard, who pushed her toward the brig.

“That’s Teero talking—he was unstable, you said so yourself.”  She entered the brig coming face to face with Tuvok.

“We have no intention of hurting any of you.”  He stood outside the brig watching as she as Tuvok eyed each other, then Tuvok turned to Chakotay.

“Your orders, Captain?”

“Take you station.”  Chakotay ordered Tuvok.

      The Captain watched as her two top officers walked out together, leaving her a prisoner in her own brig.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Now Kat wasn’t I the perfect gentleman.”

“A perfect gentleman does not lead a mutiny, he certainly does not point a phaser at his Captain and lover and then throw her in the brig.”  She arched an eyebrow as she leaned over his shoulder.  “He does not make promises and then renege on them.”

“At least he didn’t shoot you.  Like he did me and Harry.”  Tom  put in.

“No he tried to have Tuvok do it for him.”

“I did not ---I knew…”

“Please—the way I remember it…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

         In the hours that followed, the remaining Starfleet crew were locked down, their stations covered by former Maquis.  B’Elanna scanned for and located a suitable M class on which to locate the newest “Federation colony”.  They were preparing to enter orbit when Chakotay ordered Tuvok to join him in the ready room.


“You wished to see me Captain?” 

“You can drop the formalities.  This is a Maquis ship now.”  He handed Tuvok a glass.  “Vulcan brandy—thought we would have a drink to celebrate.”

“A fitting gesture.”

“To awakening.”  Chakotay raised his glass in toast.

“Awakenings.”

“There are still twenty three of our former comrades, who aren’t with us yet.  I was hoping you would be able to help persuade them.”

“I am prepared to mind meld with the remaining Maquis to convey Teero’s instructions.”

“It would be nice to have my old crew back.”  He walked away.  “You’ve been a big help to us Tuvok.”  He turned back to look at him.  “But I can’t forget what happened seven years ago—you have a history of betraying the Maquis.”

“It will not happen again.”

“We have a small crew—I have to be able to trust everyone, especially my tactical officer.” They studied each other, Chakotay hit his comm badge.  “Bring her in.”

     The doors slid back and the Captain entered at phaser point.  She examined each of them and watched unflinching as Chakotay handed his phaser to Tuvok.

“I’ll consider this a test of your loyalty---It’s set to kill.”

“You said you wouldn’t hurt anyone.”  She leveled her glare at Chakotay, he returned it.  Tuvok placed his glass on the table.  “You’re in control of your actions—not Chakotay—not Teero.”  She locked her eyes with Tuvok.  “Don’t do this.”

   Her eyes never left his as he raised the phaser and fired.  Only when the phaser failed to fire did her stance waver. 

“This phaser is defective.”  Tuvok calmly turned to Chakotay.

“Take her back to the brig.”  Chakotay nodded and the Captain was led out the door followed by the additional guards.  “You pass—now we have tactical issues to review.  I want to reroute all weapons control through my command console…” 

   Tuvok stepped up behind him and administered a Vulcan neck pinch, then proceeded with a second mind meld—to reverse the effects of the first.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I gave your ship back didn’t I?”

“Yes you did, and I tried to understand, that it wasn’t your fault.”  She smiled and shook her head.  “It wasn’t easy for any of us was it?”

“Hell no, he shot me and my new wife imprisoned me, threatened to dump me on some deserted M class—even knowing they were acting under foreign influence –it was damn hard.” Tom laughed as he put his arm around B’Elanna’s shoulders. 

“Ya know ---we laugh about it now and thank the spirits we can...” Chakotay took her hand.  “But for a time there I thought that Teero had cost me you---I was more frightened than I have ever been.”

“Me too.”  She kissed his head.  “I wasn’t sure we could make it and the worse thing was I knew it wasn’t your fault—or mine”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      After Chakotay released the Captain, he and Tuvok set about correcting the damage done by his previous mind melds with the former maquis.  The crew was released and returned to duty and the Captain was in full command of her ship again, but all was certainly not right in their universe.  People were edgy and uncertain, frightened at how easily they had been manipulated.    To ease some of the tension a get-together was quickly planned and the crew was invited to the holodeck for a viewing of Tom’s twentieth century 3D monster movie. 

     Chakotay sat with some of the former Maquis and the Captain asked Tuvok to join her.  Although they could have presented logical reasons for their actions and they would have been valid—they were also avoiding being together.  It was a sign of the upcoming trouble and it didn’t go unnoticed, nor did it provide the crew, with any of the much need comfort they sought.  It was common knowledge that the Command team was an official couple now and this was immediately recognized for what it was-- a giant step backwards—both professionally and personally.

    For the next week it seemed that one or the other was always busy with a project, a crew member or some other “important” duty.  The Commander avoided the ready room and the Captain avoided the bridge, the only time they spent together was in briefings or some other equally public forum. This time ‘apart’ only served to heighten the tension between them and in turn among the crew.

    It probably was contrived, the Captain had been meeting with B’Elanna in the ready room, she had some problems with several crewmen and they called in the Commander for assistance. It took them a while to iron everything out, but they found a workable solution.  It was only a matter of minutes later that B’Elanna was called back to engineering, leaving the command team alone, for the first time in days, in the ready room.


“Well if that is all, Captain.”  Chakotay stood before her desk, waiting to be dismissed.  “I’ll return to the
bridge.”

“No Commander.”  She looked up at him, after a long uncomfortable silence.  “That is not all.”  She came around to stand in front of him.  “Chakotay…”  She took in his expression, his formal stance.  “You didn’t come home.”

“I didn’t think you wanted me there.”  He remained still only his expression in his eyes gave away his pain.

“And I didn’t think you wanted to be there.”  She put her arms around his waist and dropped her head to his chest.  “I love you.”

“Kath..”  He wrapped his arm around her.  “I’m sorry----I don’t know how to fix this.”

“I don’t either—but if we don’t try something soon, it will be too late.”  Her voice betrayed the tears she was desperately holding back.

   They stood there holding on, neither wanting to let go, neither having the magic answer they needed.   Finally the comm made the decision for them.

“Seven of Nine to the Captain.”

“Yes Seven.”  She raised her head and watched him as she spoke.

“Captain I require you assistance in Astrometrics.”

“On my way.  Janeway out.”  She stepped back from him.  “Will you come -----to my quarters after shift?”

“I’d like that.”  He still held her eyes.

“Well—I better take care of Seven.”  She smiled.  “I’ll see you in a little while.”

  She didn’t spend much time with Seven and honestly she really wasn’t very helpful—her mind was elsewhere.  It only took Seven a few minutes to recognize that the Captain was not herself and even Seven did not find it necessary to ask why.  Seven made a few inquiries and politely let the Captain off the hook, she doubted the Captain had the presence of mind to even notice.

   She made her way back to her quarters, shift would end in less than half an hour she decided to wait there.  She changed into more comfortable clothes and tried to imagine how they would fix it this time.
It was closer to an hour when he rang the chime.

“Come in.”  She called as she crossed toward the door.  “Hi.”

“Hi.”  He stopped for a moment before bending to kiss her cheek.

“Can I get you something?”  She moved back toward the couch.

“No thanks, nothing.”  He followed and took the seat next to her.

“This is ridiculous.”  She shook her head.  “It shouldn’t be this hard to be with you.” 

“Kathryn..”  He took her hand.  “I’m sorry---I’ve let you down ---again.”

“No---it’s not like that, its hard to describe.”  She hesitated.  “Tell me---tell me what upsets you about it ---what you think is bothering me?”

“Kathryn, I staged a mutiny—I took over your ship, put you in the brig-----told Tuvok…”  He looked away from her.  “I told Tuvok to kill you.”

“Chakotay---look at me, please.”  She touched his face as he turned toward her.  “Your mind was being manipulated you were under Teero’s influence—you didn’t just get this crazy idea and act on it.”

“That doesn’t matter—I still behaved that way.  Betrayed you and all the trust you placed in me.”

“I can understand what you did—taking the ship, putting the enemy captain in the brig –even testing Tuvok.”

“How can you say that---I ordered him to kill you.”

“No you didn’t--- oh you wanted us both to believe that.”  She gave a nervous laugh.  “And you were quite convincing---believe me.  I believed you---for a minute there I ---I actually thought…”  She took a deep breath.  “I thought I was going to die.”  She looked up at the tears in his eyes.

“Spirits, you must hate me---what that had to feel like…”

“I was scared ….”

“You just stood there and looked at us---I ordered him to kill you and you –you never even flinched---god..”

Oh – I was scared----I certainly am not ready to die---especially…...”  Her voice trailed off, as she tried to hold back her own tears.

“Especially by my hand?”

“Yes..”  It was barely a whisper.  She lowered her head to regain her composure before looking up at him again.  “But you knew—you had no intention of hurting me—you knew the phaser wouldn’t fire.  You were merely testing him ---doing what you had to do.  If you were going to run this ship with such a small crew you needed to have complete trust in all of them—especially your chief tactical officer.  Quite honestly, in your place I might have done the same.”   

“You make it sound almost reasonable.”

“It was---given the circumstance.  I’m not saying I feel good about it—in fact, I hate that it happened and at that moment ---I even hated you----- I’m just telling you that I understand it.  I understand the Maquis Captain having to secure the Starfleet Captain---put her in the brig….”

“But…?” 

“Yes --- but---- but you called me- Kathryn.”  She looked away, then back.  “It’s probably silly but, in my mind, that changed everything, that made it personal.”

“That never even occurred to me---I was just trying to emphasize that I was now the Captain.”  He paused.  “Somehow and-- this certainly doesn’t help----It wasn’t even part of my consciousness that we even had a personal relationship.”  

“I see---it helps explain it---but you’re right, it doesn’t make me feel better.”  She took hold of his hands.  “We can’t change this, what I think we have to do is try to put it behind us.”

‘How?  How can we just ignore this?   Then what?---wait till the next time –some one or something decides to manipulate me.”    He tugged his hands away, but she hung on to one.  “I can’t forget that this happened---how can you?”

“I can’t and I don’t expect you to—just to learn to deal with it.  If we let this tear us apart than Teero wins.  This wasn’t your fault and it wasn’t mine—.”

“I know that—it’s just—I still feel responsible.” He ran one hand through his hair.  “Kathryn, how many times can we do this?”

“I don’t know.” She moved in closer and placed her head on his shoulder.  “Hopefully---as many as we need to.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“If you two hadn’t been able to deal with this we might never have made it home.”  Harry  shook his head. “Your relationship has always been more important to this ship than the warp core.”

“And that was just what they needed---personal relationships are hard enough to sustain and within the confines of this small ship almost impossible.—nothing like a little more pressure.”  B’Elanna glanced around the table.  “You all know how hard it is to live together and work together and almost never be more than eight or ten decks apart.”

“I sure do.”  Tom’s smile didn’t cover the truth of his statement.  “I don’t know how you two did it cause that little incident almost ended our marriage.”

“It certainly ended the ‘honeymoon.”  B’Elanna laughed.  “And I didn’t even shoot him or order anyone to shoot him.”

“You did knock me on my ass, trap me behind a force field and threaten to dump me on a deserted M class.”

“Well, yea, but –hell that wasn’t anything I hadn’t done before.”  She laughed.  “Or for that matter—since.”

“It wasn’t easy and it came back to haunt us more than once.”  Chakotay glanced at her before continuing, she just smiled  “A few months down the road, she started having nightmares.  Consciously we understood and accepted what happened but the unconscious is another thing entirely.”

“I never knew that---did you?”  B’Elanna poked Tom, who just shook his head.

“We didn’t want anyone to know---things were going well, we didn’t want to stir it up again.”  Kathryn took his hand.  “In fact only the two of us –Tuvok and the doctor knew.”

“Doc knew and didn’t tell?”  Tom was shocked   “I never saw anything in your files.”

“It’s there---but I don’t think even you can find it.  Remember that accident Chakotay and Tuvok had playing velocity?” 

“No—not really.”  Tom looked to the others

“Chakotay wound up in sickbay—severe phaser burns from a malfunction in the holodeck safeties?”

“Yea, I remember.”  B’Elanna tried to make the connection.  “I had a team searching for what went wrong—never did figure out how that happened.”

“That was because it didn’t happen on the holodeck.”  Kathryn stared at the stunned and confused faces around her. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Outwardly the ship was back to normal, the crew had settled back into their normal routines, and the command team shared the Captain’s quarters again.  It wasn’t until a few months after the ‘mutiny’, when the Captain began to truly relax, that the nightmares hit.  At first they were mild, just enough to cause her to toss and turn waking Chakotay with her thrashing , but not always herself.  Often she didn’t even remember having dreamt at all.

    After about a week of restless sleep, they got worse.  Chakotay woke to her screams as she thrashed violently in their bed kicking and crying out.  He was able to quiet her, holding her until she woke and this time she remembered  hazy parts of  the dream.  She knew enough to know it concerned the ‘mutiny’ and  her loss of control.  As the weeks passed she tried to push it from her mind, a few time she woke him, but he was always able to calm her and they would sleep peacefully the rest of the night.

One night when her  violent moves woke him, he reached out to hold her and she jammed her elbow into his side and sprang from the bed.  She glared at him, like a dazed and frightened animal.

“Kathryn, come back..”  He reached out to her and she backed away.  “Kathryn, it’s  OK..”  He sat on the side of the bed.  “Kat…”  He stopped when he looked up into her phaser, for a tense few moments they stared at each other and then she fired.

     The blast knocked him back across the bed, stunning him.  She came forward and fired again.  On the bridge Tuvok received the warning—‘phaser fire in the Captain’s quarters’.  He immediately hailed her, then tried the commander, receiving no answer from either of them, he handed off the bridge and transported directly to the living area.  Cautiously, he checked the area and then entered the bedroom.

“Captain.”  He stepped forward quietly, extending his hand toward her phaser.  “Captain, hand me your phaser.”  She looked up from the body on the bed, taking a minute to comprehend what he said, then handed him the phaser.  “Emergency medical beam out—beam the Commander to sickbay.”  He came around the bed toward her.  “Captain?”

“Tuvok?” She looked puzzled, then frightened.  “Where’s Chakotay---What’s wrong?”

“Captain are you alright?”

“Tuvok—what happened?”   She look around, running her hands through her hair, she sat on the bed.  “I was sleeping---dreaming, the mutiny and I -----OHMYGOD—Tuvok?”  When she turned to him her eyes told him she knew what she had done.

“He’s in sickbay, get dressed and I’ll take you.”  Tuvok turned and left the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You shot him?!”  Tom sat with his mouth open. 

“Yes, luckily the phaser was on stun  or Tuvok would be bringing this ship home, with you as his first officer.”

“Wow, no wonder I couldn’t find anything wrong with the safeties, I was looking on the holodeck not in your bedroom.”  B’Elanna tried to laugh off the uneasy feeling this revelation gave her.  “How did you ever work that out?”

“It wasn’t easy, first I had to convince her that she didn’t belong in the brig.  She kept insisting Tuvok arrest her.”  He shook his head.  “Fortunately, Tuvok agreed with me.  It took a long time and neither of us slept too soundly for a while.”

“Hell I would never have slept with her again…..”  Harry looked at Kathryn.  “No offense—but god!”

“Ahh Harry it’s not so bad—she only tried to kill me once, with a weapon anyway.  Hell it’s worth it.”  He laughed. 

“Seriously, this will probably come out at some point when we get back…”  Kathryn explained

“Fleet wouldn’t do anything ---would they?”  B’Elanna  was suddenly concerned for her friend.

“No, in fact they already know—they have all the logs—they know pretty much everything that ever happened on this ship.”  Kathryn assured them.  “We settled this with them a long time ago---we will all be fine.  But I’m glad you are aware of it –just in case it comes up.”

“Hell Chakotay, and I thought living with B’E was tough---you win, at least she never shot me.”  Tom slapped Chakotay on the back.  “We can sure pick ‘em.”

“Lets not go there again—I don’t care to discuss any of my other--- choices.”  Chakotay shook his head.  “Not tonight.”

“We don’t have time tonight to discuss your women.”  Kathryn stood.  “Come on we have a wedding tomorrow---would be nice if we were awake for it.”

“Better listen to her---she still has a phaser.”  B’Elanna grabbed Tom’s arm.  “I always knew I didn’t want to piss her off.”

“Yea like you never did that,  I can remember…”

“Enough, we can pick on B’Elanna tomorrow---after the wedding.  I’m going to bed.”  She looked at Chakotay, still sitting in the chair.  “Coming?”

“Yes Ma’am.”  He shrugged.  “It’s safer this way.”  He ducked the slap she directed at him.

“See why Tuvok thought I was justified?”  Kathryn looked back at the ladies.

“No argument here.”  B’Elanna laughed.  “See you tomorrow.”

      
TBC


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