A PART OF YOUR LIFE YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT
A J/C Star Trek:VOYAGER FanFic based on the season 7 episode Shattered
By Polomare
January 2008 * 13,500 Words * Rated PG or T


Fab Fiddle By Camryn



Author’s Note: The following is a software patch for the Star Trek Voyager Episode Shattered. It repairs the damage done by the insidious Trojan Horse Virus JCNegativo.VOY, suspected to have been authored by B&B. It infected the storyline in post production and unfortunately the damage was not detected until after the episode aired. Please download and install to upgrade your memory files.

Disclaimer: Paramount, you may own these characters, but if you come after me, I'll just change all their names slightly like The Doctor did in Author, Author and YOU'LL NEVER PROVE A THING! MUWAHAHAHAAAAA!

If you would like a large print version of this story, or you would like to choose a black or white background for the text, feel free to visit my fanfiction.net page: http://www.fanfiction.net/~polomare It's also a great place to leave anonymous feedback, if you don't want to email me directly :-)


Jump To Chapter . . .
1. Icheb & Naomi
2. Your Intelligence File
3. Just Another Day At The Office
4. A Tale Of Two Janeways
5. A Date With Delta Earth Destiny
6. All You Need Is A Pet Borg
7. Could You Please Repeat The Question?
8. Don't You Just Hate It When That Happens?
9. Oh, Game On!
10. The Den Of The Lioness . . .


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          Her eyelids shot open like window shades.  All the events of the past day came rushing back at her like a hot wind.
          Anomaly.   Danger.   Maquis.   Chronometric particles.   Shattered time.   Inoculations.   The last one made her heart stop.   Delta Earth.   She really wished she hadn't found out about that one.

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


Icheb sat in the mess hall staring at the three dimensional display PADD before him. Well, staring through it is more accurate. Several more PADDs some active, some not were scattered on the dining table around him. The quiet musings of a thin after-lunchtime crowd provided just the kind of white noise Icheb thought he needed to filter out the distractions in his mind. He had promised the chief engineer he would have his analysis of the field strength of the new proposed experimental warp core casing by o’ nine hundred tomorrow morning. However, after re-reading the same beta test statistics for the third time and realizing he couldn’t remember what he had just read well enough to formulate a conclusion, he allowed himself to recline back in his chair and stare out the window instead of pressing on.

She was so pretty. He wasn’t successful at keeping her out of his thoughts completely. Maybe if he allowed himself the indulgence of a little fantasy it would clear his mind enough that he could continue fresh. His commbadge chirped. “Lieutenant Wildman to Commander Icheb”

Amazing. It was as if she was summoned by his very thoughts. He cleared his throat. “Go ahead”

“Are you busy? I’m having a little trouble with the resolution on the Astrometrics visual interface. I thought re-aligning the optical display relays would do the trick, but that only clears it for a second and then they go out of phase again. I think there is a short in one of the anodyne circuits. Can you help me track it down?”

“I’ll be right there,-” He almost called her Naomi, but caught himself. “Icheb out”

Sometimes he hated the sound of his own name. He wished he had both a surname and a given name like most of the human members of the crew. Last names were for formal relationships, first names for personal. Inviting someone to use your first name meant inviting them into a closer relationship. No such luck here. He had a surname, of course, but when the truth came to light of what his parents had bred him to be, he didn’t feel they deserved to be paid the honor of his using it. After all, Commander Chakotay had only one name and he had always gotten along fine. Icheb concluded if a single nomenclature was good enough for someone of the Commander‘s stature, then it was good enough for him.

He lingered a moment longer. He had to pull himself together. A relationship beyond what they already had could be dangerous. Icheb chided himself. Here they didn’t even have a romance, it was all in his mind, and he was already hopelessly distracted. Think of the safety of the crew. The ship. The senior staff needed him to be at his best “. . . and the term “Senior” has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years, hasn’t it?” Icheb allowed himself a little chuckle. As he looked around the room it was immediately apparent that there were many more gray heads then dark. No doubt about it, Voyager’s gallant crew was aging. Except for Neelix. Apparently Talaxians don’t gray with age, their hair gets thinner, shorter and more erect.

Icheb couldn’t be sure, but out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw Neelix staring at him. No doubt wondering why he had told Naomi he was on his way and here, three minutes later, he was sitting still. That was enough to finally get him moving.

He pushed the buttons on the PADDs that were active, their 3-dimensional holographic displays folded flat and de-illuminated. As he stood he gathered them into a neat stack that required both hands to carry and he pushed the chair under the table with his foot.



The dual doors of astrometrics obediently granted Icheb access at his approach. The sight before him caused a flash of their early years together on Voyager to fly into his mind. “Help me find a green piece that looks like Tuvok’s ear, would you?”

There was Naomi, sitting cross legged on the floor surrounded by piles and piles of innard components clearly taken from the astrometrics user interface console. The access panel sat to one side and a bundle of fiber optic cable spilled out the opening and on to the floor. Squinting into a transdata array node held in her hand, Naomi was too absorbed in applying the microcaliper tool to notice him standing in the doorway.

An uncomfortable wave of indecision washed over Icheb. The memory of a jigsaw puzzle they had completed together so long ago seemed to encapsulate everything that was wrong with his pursuing a romantic relationship with her. He was twice her age when they first met. The age difference was less pronounced now, of course- but still, he was older than her. He had been her teacher, her tutor. . . perhaps in a moment of self-flattery he could even say he was her mentor. She probably thought of him as a father figure of sorts, or maybe a big brother. And on top of all that, he was her superior officer no less. He let out a quiet breath.

He couldn’t stand there forever. Sooner or later she’d look up and catch him staring at her. Icheb decided he needed a witty remark to announce his entrance. The doors closed behind him as he stepped forward.

“I did not realize Astrometrics was scheduled for demolition today.”

Her sparkling eyes flashed up at him and her look of concentration phased into a wry smile. “There you are. I was about to send out a search party.”

His momentary composure was lost again. “Yes, I- there was, I needed to get down some of my thoughts. Just finishing up a report. Took longer than expected. Sorry”

Like the consummate Starfleet professional Naomi had trained to be all of her life, she proceeded to file a concise report to her superior officer. “I ran a full diagnostic. Nothing’s wrong with the Astrometrics array itself, and the computer core is clearly processing the sensor data correctly. The images display properly on the auxiliary monitors, they’re just not getting to the main screen.”

Icheb saw what she meant. Duplicate ghost images of astronomical bodies polluted the clarity of the main viewer.

“I’ve ruled out everything easy.” Her head in her hands, Naomi looked forlornly at the arrangement of components around her. “It must be the optical cable lattice in the wall behind the viewer.”

“There’s hundreds of feet of cable back there!” Icheb had a talent for stating the obvious. “It would take unknown hours to examine every inch of it for a weakness that may not be visible to the naked eye.”

“I know. There is, however, another solution.” The look on her face let Icheb know he wouldn’t like what she had in mind. “We could just assume the whole lattice is bad. Rip out everything and start over. It would be a lot quicker then painstakingly chasing down a phantom short or an invisible weak connection.”

“That would also be a lot more costly. Replicating that much polydivinite would use a tremendous amount of resources. I don’t know if I can authorize it at this time.”

She let out a sigh. “I thought you’d say that. I’ll get started on examining the cable. Inch by painful little inch” She flashed him one of her famous smiles so he knew she was disappointed but not without understanding of the situation.

“I’ll help you of course.” Icheb’s analytical mind sprung into action. He folded his arms across his chest and raised a curled finger to his chin. “Polydivinite is heat sensitive, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“What happens when it does overheat?”

“It becomes semi-liquid,” she couldn‘t see where he was going with this line of questioning. “but I don’t think the cable was damaged by overheating. The thermal insulators are working properly. I think it’s all that shaking we all suffered through when Voyager got trapped in that explosive asteroid field last week.”

Icheb tried to lead her along his path of thinking. “When the heat source is removed poly-d returns to it’s original state. It‘s molecular structure is unchanged. It transmits optical information just as well as before.”

Naomi’s eyes brightened as her brain wrapped around the idea. “If we could apply the right amount of heat to the lattice it might melt just enough to fill in any gaps in connections that vibrated loose. When it cools, it may very well have glued itself back together!” She snapped her fingers and pointed at him. “Icheb, you’re a genius!”

They worked well together. Taking into account the mass, individual cable diameter and overall square footage of the optical lattice, Icheb easily calculated the temperature necessary to sufficiently heat the material to achieve their goal. Naomi quickly devised a delivery system through the bioneural circuitry. They turned off the main screen to allow the polydivinite to cool while they kneeled down to work on reconstructing the user interface console.

“I sure hope you remember where all this stuff goes. Be a shame to fix the viewscreen and then not be able to use it because the interface is mysteriously inoperable.” He teased.

“Relax, I always was good at jigsaw puzzles, remember?”

Her reference to something that took place so long ago and yet was so fresh in his own mind surprised him for a moment. Then he marveled at how much they thought alike.

Working in such close quarters they brushed up against each other repeatedly. Icheb liked the excuse to be within smelling distance of her wonderfully fragrant hair.

Naomi leaned in to the right of the opening as far as she could go. Her voice straining a little from the effort. “Ok, now I’ve just got to reconnect the transdata node to the underside of the tactile interface and I think. . . we’re done.”

Icheb leaned in behind her as close as he dare and took a long indulgent breath of her fabulous hair.

Naomi’s arms dropped suddenly to the floor of the console. She cocked her head over her left shoulder at him. “Did you just smell my hair?” she asked incredulously.

Icheb drew back in fear. “No” He shook his head in the negative so vigorously his lower lip wagged.

“Oh.” the demanding note of her voice was gone as she writhed her way out from under the console and popped back up to a standing position. He followed her. Cautiously.

“Shame, as I just replicated a new shampoo this morning. It’s a recipe of keenaberry and lavender I’ve never tried before.” She pulled her own ponytail around to her face and took a deep breath. “I love the fragrance.” She tossed her hair back over her shoulder enticingly. Icheb’s stomach did a flip flop.

“May I?”

“May you what?” Again the sideways glance over her left shoulder.

“Smell your hair.”

A satisfied smile crept across her face and she turned back to the console interface and began pushing buttons.

Icheb stood frozen. Unsure of what to do. A moment passed. When he didn’t move, Naomi encouraged. “Well, I didn’t say no.”

That’s all he needed to hear. He cupped both his hands as if to drink from a flowing fountain and brought the full bundle of reddish gold locks up to his face. He inhaled with a satisfied hum. “Intoxicating”

“I told you, it’s the unique blend of keena-”

“No” he interrupted. “I wasn’t referring to the shampoo. I was referring to you.”

He gently set her ponytail around the right side of her neck. He placed his open palms on the tops of her shoulders and stepped forward so their bodies were just barely touching. A delicate tendon bulged out from under her ear and ran down her neck until it disappeared under her collar. He traced his nose just millimeters from her neck and breathed deeply. She rolled her head to one side to allow him better access. “Oh, Icheb” she whispered. His heart leapt at the pleasure in her voice. He was bathed in relief to know she didn’t reject him.


In what may not have been the all-time worst timing in Starfleet history, but must certainly have ranked in the top ten, Voyager picked just that moment to find herself in the grips of a crisis. A low rumbling vibration spreading through the deck plating was their only warning of the violent lurch to come. Naomi threw both her arms onto the console to brace herself. Icheb’s left arm also found the console and instinctively his right arm went around her waist. The room went completely dark. An EPS conduit in the ceiling ruptured. Showering sparks provided momentary illumination. Then darkness again. A silent red alert went up and the menacing ruby glow only accentuated the appearance of worry as they searched each other’s faces in between seconds of darkness for an explanation as to what was happening. Low-level emergency lighting kicked in. One by one power flickered back to the auxiliary consoles.

“Icheb to bridge, report” Static.

“Icheb to engineering, status!” More static.

Naomi tried her commbadge, “This is Lieutenant Wildman to anyone who can hear me, please respond.” Nothing.

In full officer mode, Naomi got to work. “Rebooting the astrometrics array.”

Icheb crossed the floor to access a LCARS screen that was reporting ship’s functions. He read out a litany of damage. “Environmental controls are fluctuating. Some kind of energy surge is circumnavigating the ship. EPS conduits are malfunctioning everywhere. Warp drive is off line. There’s evidence that there was some kind of explosion in engineering.” He turned from his screen to look at her “I better get down there.”

“Wait!”

“What?”

“Astrometrics is back online.”

Icheb looked up at the main screen. Any satisfaction he got from seeing the screen was once again operating at full resolution was quickly overshadowed by the gravity of the monstrous electrostatic anomaly off their port bow. “What is it?”

“I don’t know, but the chronometric readings are off the scale. Whatever it is, it’s part of Voyager now. The energy surge it threw at us isn’t dissipating. It’s laced throughout the ship like a vein in a leaf. I’m detecting temporal displacement on all decks. Internal chronometers are showing wildly varying dates and times. There are clear cut barriers between time zones dissecting the ship . . . and according to these readings . . .” Naomi double checked her calculations “There’s a barrier just outside the doors to astrometrics.”

Icheb looked at her, then back at the screen. He picked up one of the PADDs he had brought with him from the mess hall. He walked slowly toward the doors.

“Icheb!” She couldn’t hide the concern in her voice.

The doors opened but Icheb didn’t proceed. Everything looked ok in the hallway. A little too ok Icheb thought. There wasn’t even a red alert outside as there continued to be in Astrometrics. He bowed his head as close to the opening as he dare to try to see further down the hall. Nothing of note. He tossed the PADD out the door. They watched as the atmosphere rippled around it and it vanished in mid air. He looked back at Naomi. “Yeah, I’m not going anywhere for awhile.”

The relief on her face was unmistakable.


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


Captain Janeway cautiously appraised this strange and presumptuous man who had just burst into her life. His story of being from the future, victim of a random space shattering anomaly, on a mission to save her ship from temporal destruction . . . so absurd. Yet here she was in the turbolift, willingly standing next to a Maquis criminal, letting him lead the way to a lab that wasn’t even listed on Voyager’s schematics, but supposedly exists in some future time frame somewhere. It was all she could do to keep from rolling her eyes at the insanity of it all. No matter. She was still the captain and she was determined to remain in control of the situation. And if she was going to do that, she needed information. The silence wasn’t serving her. Time to break it.

“So tell me, why are we going to this. . . astrometrics?”

“It has temporal sensors that can help us map the ship, see how many time frames we’re dealing with.”

Remembering that Chakotay had said earlier that Harry Kim designed the Astrometrics Lab, she found it difficult to reconcile what she just heard. “Are you telling me Ensign Kim invented temporal sensing technology?”

“No” he said with a laugh. Then turned to deliver a deadpan look. “We have a pet Borg for that.”

Pet Borg? Janeway’s complaint was put on hold by the opening of the turbolift doors and Chakotay’s prompt exit. Wondering if he was kidding, she followed him with a raised eyebrow and an extra note of suspicion all the way to the doors of the lab.


Janeway was momentarily wowed by the sight before her. Astrometrics was certainly living up to Chakotay’s description. She was so impressed with the resolution of the floor to ceiling viewer, she really didn’t even notice the two officers posted there until one of them addressed her.

“Captain?” Janeway detected a note of disbelief mingled with fascination in the young lieutenant’s voice. She didn’t know why, but she felt the need to comfort this woman. As kindly as she could: “I’m sorry Lieutenant. I don’t recognize you.”

“It’s me,” her voice shaking slightly “Naomi Wildman.”

Chakotay had his own curiosity to satisfy. “Are you Icheb?”

“Yes. . .” extremely hesitant, “how did you get through the temporal barriers?”

“We have The Doctor to thank for that. We were inoculated with a chronometric particle infused serum.”

Some of us against our will. Janeway wanted to blurt out something sarcastic, but kept it to herself. She was enjoying Mr. Chakotay’s apparent confusion at the circumstances in this situation. This was the first locale they had visited where he didn’t seem to have first hand information of what was to come. Aha. This is a time frame that is future even to him.

She could stand the officers’ dumbfounded looks no longer. “Something tells me you weren’t expecting to see us.”

The commander: “No ma’am.”

The lieutenant: “You both died.”

The commander again: “Seventeen years ago.”

Janeway and Chakotay shared a sideways look of shock. She was disturbed by this information, sure; but Chakotay. . . she saw a flash of deep pain in his eyes that she knew no one, not even a hardened Maquis, could fake. That grief was unmistakably meant for her. And in that moment, for the first time since he strode onto her bridge, she immediately believed everything he had told her. She completely and totally trusted him. This man is here to save my life.

Neither that revelation, nor the news of her impending death, did anything to dampen her diplomatic wit. “Well, now that the pleasantries are over, what can you two tell us about the anomaly that is affecting my ship?”

Janeway was pleased to see these two young future officers of hers regain their composure so readily and proceed to provide a useful and thoroughly informative report on the situation. They learned enough about the damage to space time to give them an idea of where to go next.

“Well, then Mr. Chakotay. Lead the way to the cargo bay.”


The sound of Astrometrics’ doors swooshing shut behind Voyager’s legendary command team seemed to leave a surreal echo in the now silent lab. Naomi and Icheb stood facing one another, each looking for confirmation in the other’s eyes that what they had both just experienced wasn’t a dream. Naomi’s eyes glassed over. Icheb’s heart was stabbed with a fresh wave of mourning for their fallen captain and first officer. They needed to comfort each other, but they didn’t know how. Finally, it was Naomi who found the perfect words. “It’s really good to know that some where, some time, some how - they’re still fighting for us.”

Icheb nodded in agreement. “We should have known Captain Janeway wouldn’t let a little thing like death stop her.”

A sobbing laugh burst out of Naomi as she wiped her eyes and Icheb pulled her close. Resting his chin on top of her head, they shared a long, comforting hug.


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


Chakotay hadn’t spoken since they left astrometrics. As much as she wanted to work more information out of him, she sensed he was still somewhat shaken by the news they received regarding their ultimate fate, so she permitted the silence to continue. “You both died seventeen years ago.” The weirdness of it just hit her. It sounded like they died together, which would of course point to some sort of accident, not natural causes. She couldn’t help but wonder under what circumstances she and this future first officer of hers would be in a situation where an accident would claim both their lives. Obviously the vessel was still intact and flying in that time frame, so it‘s not as if the ship experienced catastrophic warp core failure or crashed on a planet. She didn’t know how long ago seventeen years was from their perspective, but she suddenly had an overwhelming urge to run back to astrometrics and ask the computer for the stardate. Thankfully, Chakotay interrupted her self-destructive line of thought.

“Well. . . that was eerie.”

Janeway snaked her body around into a posture of feigned condescension, arching an eyebrow for dramatic effect. “Oh, you think you’re having an eerie day?”

He looked back as they were walking to reveal a relaxing smile spreading across his face. Janeway couldn’t help but think he looked into her eyes just a moment longer than was necessary to convey his point. “I’m sorry. Look at me-” In what she could tell was a totally natural movement for him, he reached back with his right hand and took her left in his. “-one glimpse of my future and it’s rattled me to the core. Here, you’ve seen nothing but future timeframes since I pulled you off the bridge, and you’re taking it like another day at the office.” Janeway tried not to stiffen at the unexpected contact. Too late. He detected it and released her hand immediately. Not making a big deal out of it, he waved his arm at the open turbolift doors with a flourish, inviting her to enter first.

There it is again. she thought. That unrequited familiarity he had displayed several times since his first appearance on the bridge. He had called her Kathryn. What kind of first officer addresses his captain that way in a crisis situation? The seed of an idea began to incubate in her mind. Maybe this wasn’t presumptuousness on his part after all, from his perspective they really were that familiar with each other. That there could be such an important part of her life she knew nothing about frightened her. Refusing to explore the thought further, she forced herself to make conversation. “So, why are we looking for this Seven person in the cargo bay?”

“She spent a lot of time there.”

“Working?”

“Regenerating.”



The visit to Voyager’s very own Borg farm proved fruitful, but Janeway just had to ask, “Are you telling me that female drone is going to become a permanent member of my crew?”

“Don’t worry. There comes a time when she stops trying to assimilate us all. . .” he cleared his throat “eventually.”

Ignoring the “eventually” part Janeway decided to make light of it. “Why do I get the feeling this is one pet that’s not so easy to housebreak?”

They shared an easy laugh. That -and the fact that they were now armed with a promising plan to restore Voyager to temporal alignment- kept the tone of their conversation light all the way to sickbay.

Unfortunately, sickbay is where the lightheartedness ended for Janeway. “I didn’t realize you were programmed to be so versatile.” Janeway addressed the Doctor as he made some final adjustments to the belt that carried the chronoton inoculations for the bioneural gel packs and the specially replicated hypospray that could withstand the effects of the temporal barriers.

“Well, when you’re thrown into the deep end of the galaxy and left running for as long as I have, it helps to develop a few extra subroutines.”

“Just how long have you been running?”

The Doctor responded plainly, “Almost three years. Since our original doctor was killed.”

“Killed? How?”

“In the incident that stranded us here in the Delta -”

“DOCTOR!” Chakotay couldn’t stop him fast enough. “The Temporal Prime Directive, remember?”

Janeway’s blood ran cold. She locked eyes on Chakotay and didn’t hear what the holographic doctor said as he excused himself from the room. “The Delta Quadrant?” she demanded. “Is that what he was about to say?”

Chakotay did a lousy job of trying to distract her from the truth. “Ready?”

Janeway rolled her jaw. It was too much information for her to process. Suddenly she wanted to be alone to deal with what she had just learned.

“I’ll take the upper decks, you take the lower.”

“I don’t think splitting up is a good idea-”

Janeway wouldn’t let him finish “We’ll get the job done faster.”

“-we have no way of communicating if something goes wrong” he continued, unswayed by her interruption. “I know a lot more about what’s out there than you do. I’m your first officer and it’s my duty to protect you. It may take a little longer, but we should go together.”

You’re not my first officer YET. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from spitting that at him. “Fine. Lead the way commander” She didn’t wholly succeed in keeping the biting tone out of her voice.



The news that they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant helped some things make sense. Others it just made worse. It helped explain why the man she had been ordered to capture and return for trial ended up being her first officer. Obviously, their crews are forced to work together after they become stranded. It also explained the Maquis rank bar on his collar. If he had been recommissioned by Starfleet, he would wear the standard pips. What it didn’t explain is how he could recount her own best advice back to her just when she needed to hear it most. Furthermore, it didn’t explain why he could recite her favorite passage from Dante’s Inferno. In what was yet another very curious piece of news about her future, Janeway was deeply surprised to discover who was currently in possession of the book her fiancé had given her as an engagement gift. That doesn’t mean anything. She insisted to herself. I only loaned it to him. It’s a long trip. No doubt everyone is running out of things to read.

The whirlwind tour of Voyager’s, and ultimately Janeway’s, future continued. A macrovirus on deck 7. A megalomaniac in a monochromatic environment on deck 4. An angry hybrid Klingon in the transporter room. A triage unit from Chakotay’s time frame in the mess hall. A leprechaun of an alien who had entirely more faith in her as a captain than she felt she deserved offered her coffee. . . and just the way she likes it no less.

“Oh, Tuvok, no. . .” The first truly familiar face she had seen since this ordeal began was dying in her arms. “Mr. Paris!” The medic ran over, scanning with the tricorder as he came. Janeway searched Lt. Paris’ eyes for hope. He shook his head helplessly and she knew he could offer none.

That nearly broke her. In a dazed stupor, she didn’t even realize she had let Chakotay lead her from the mess hall and into a turbolift. A furious determination rose within her and her focus was immediately back. “I can’t let this happen,” her voice shaking with emotion “not again.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Voyager getting stranded, all these deaths, this entire future. It’s my fault. I’ve got to do something to change it.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Maybe we can find a way to modify 7 of 9’s plan, put Voyager into temporal sync with my time frame.” Her eyes pleaded with him to agree.

“Captain” Obvious disagreement.

Undaunted, she continued to make her case. “Now that I know what’s going to happen I could avoid getting trapped in the Delta Quadrant in the first place.”

“Halt turbolift” he was desperate to slow her downward spiral. “Seven’s plan is dangerous enough, trying to alter it is too risky!”

“It’s worth the risk!” she spoke with far more volume than was necessary for the confines of the turbolift.

“If Seven’s idea works Tuvok and those other crewmen will be fine.” His frustration matched hers.

“They’ll still be stuck in the Delta Quadrant. If a temporal anomaly doesn’t kill them something else will. The Borg, telepathic pitcher plants, macroviruses.” She gestured wildly. “The Delta Quadrant is a death trap!”

“What about the Temporal Prime Directive?”

“To hell with it.”

Chakotay tilted his head in surprise at what he just heard. He struggled to find a way to convey his disapproval. “I’m beginning to wonder if I’m not just in a different time frame, but an alternate universe.”

“Just what is that supposed to mean?” She crossed her arms defensively.

“The Kathryn Janeway I know would never would never risk polluting the integrity of the time line based on such spotty information.”

“Well, the KATHRYN Janeway you know isn’t here. CAPTAIN Janeway is aghast at the future fate of her crew. From what I‘ve seen these people will thank me for doing away with this time line.”

Chakotay sensed there was something more going on in her mind than just the issue at hand.

Janeway waited for him to respond. He said nothing. He just searched her face with those damned dark eyes of his. “Well! Say something!”

Quieter now. “With all due respect, Captain. I know you better than you know yourself.”

She guffawed. He continued.

“I’ve got seven years on you. And I’d like to think. . . I’d hope. . . if you knew what your life is going to be like, you wouldn’t trade those seven years for the promise of a cushy life in the Alpha Quadrant.” He leaned in uncomfortably close, his voice barely above a whisper. “And even if you could look at it and decide it’s not what you wanted, what about the futures of all those whose personal lives you‘d be changing?”

Janeway turned away from him to stare at the wall. She let her arms fall to her sides. “I only want to make their lives better, safer, more. . . fulfilling.”

“I know! That’s what I love -” he stopped short, rethinking his words. “That’s what makes you such a good captain. You’d do anything for your crew, even die for them. But in this case you don’t have enough information to make an informed decision. All you’ve seen is bits and pieces.”

That’s what I love about you. He didn’t need to say it, Janeway heard it echo in the turbolift as clear as day. She lowered her voice to match his. “Just what is it that I am missing?” The implied possibilities made her heart stop.

Chakotay sensed that the air around them had become too intense. He pulled away from her and paced around what little room the turbolift allowed. “It’s not what, it’s who. People like Seven of Nine, a Borg drone who will become a member of this crew after you help her recover her humanity. Or Tom Paris a former convict, who will be our pilot, chief medic and a husband to B'Elanna Torres.”

“That angry woman I just met?” His animated speech helped dilute the tension. She was able to look him in the eye again.

“She’s going to be your chief engineer. Two crews. Maquis and Starfleet are going to become one.” He interlaced his fingers to further the point. “And they’ll make as a big a mark on the Delta Quadrant as it’ll make on them. By protecting people like the Ocampans, curing diseases, encouraging peace. Children like Naomi and Icheb are going to grow up on this ship and call it home. And we’ll all be following a captain who sets a course for Earth and never stops believing that we’ll get there.”

His eyes backed up his words. Softened by his impassioned plea, she could argue no longer.

Suddenly coy, “Are you going to be lecturing me like this for the next seven years?”

A devilish grin took over his face. “You can count on it.”

“Well, then. You’re right. I certainly wouldn’t want to miss that. Computer, resume turbolift.”


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


Chakotay watched Kathryn talk to the Doctor from across Sickbay while he repacked both of their belts with several more doses of freshly replicated chronoton serum. Their conversation seemed harmless enough. For the moment at least, this younger version of his captain seemed more interested in the technical minutia of how this hologram was performing his medical duties than finding out more potentially dangerous information about her future. The only gel packs they hadn’t inoculated yet in preparation for exposing the ship to the warp core-induced chronometric surge were in Engineering. Unfortunately, Engineering was currently experiencing the time when Seska had firmly entrenched herself in command of Voyager. Seska. His blood boiled at her very name. He was so blinded by his anger for her he couldn’t even begin to imagine a way they were going to subdue her and her henchmen so the inoculations could be completed. It was Kathryn who came up with the idea of inoculating more of their people to help put the odds in their favor. It was such an obvious solution he couldn’t believe he didn’t think of it himself. I knew there was a good reason to bring her along, he thought with a smile. He was done packing the belts, but couldn’t yet bring himself to interrupt the scene before him. He marveled at how she never missed a chance to satisfy her scientific curiosity. Here, it manifested itself in her exploration of what was a novelty to her, this new EMH. She was a younger, happier Kathryn, not yet burdened by the weight of restoring Voyager and it’s crew to their families in the Alpha Quadrant. Not shadowed by the guilt of stranding them there. Not hardened by one too many encounters with hostile, unwelcoming species.

This Kathryn seemed, at times, almost unsure of herself. He noted that witnessing Tuvok’s death rattled her. The threat to throw the Temporal Prime Directive out the window still shocked him. Definitely not the woman I know. He thought back to the first time he had seen her appear on the viewscreen of his Maquis ship after she tracked him down. She looked larger than life, confident, noble, unshakable and not to be denied. She seemed to embody the full force of Starfleet Command itself. Was she absolutely sure things were going to be done her way? Or was it all a masterful act? The Kathryn before him was only hours younger than the Kathryn he remembered from seven years ago and yet in the turbolift he thought he sensed in her an uncharacteristic indecision, confusion, and possibly, fear. Or was it something else?

He suddenly realized that she realized he was staring at her.

“Commander?”

He tried to cover. “Ready?”

She turned back to the Doctor. “Well, it’s been nice chatting with you.”


When they were safely in the hall, Chakotay spoke. “I’ve got an idea about the next phase of our plan.” She indicated her attention with a nod of the head so he continued. “I’ll go to Astrometrics and brief Naomi and Icheb and if they want to help, inoculate them. You go to the bridge and recruit Harry.”

He saw a question mark cross her face. “You mean split up?”

“Uh huh.”

“But you were formerly so adamant that we stay together. Why the change of heart? Aren’t you afraid I’ll run into a big bad scary future and not know what to do with myself?” Her voice had just a hint of playful sarcasm as she fluttered her fingertips in the air for effect.

Arriving at the turbolift door, he pushed the entry button and motioned for her to go inside. The serious look on his face made the questioning look on hers grow deeper as she circled around him to enter the lift. He used the palms of his hands to rest his full weight on both sides of the turbolift entry door frame and leaned in toward her as far as he could. He mustered what he hoped was a reassuring smile, considering he was plagued by the emotional weight of what he was about to do. “The bridge is your timeframe. How much trouble could you get in? I suppose I should add - go straight there. DON’T get sidetracked. Computer: Bridge!”

The closing turbolift doors just missed him as he pushed himself out of the way, leaving her no chance to respond.


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


Chakotay stared at the closed doors, momentarily unable to move. The ghost image of Kathryn standing there with a questioning look on her face lingered on his retinas. The fake smile melted off his lips and the anxiety he had kept at bay suddenly bubbled to the surface. His legs felt like lead. He had to get to astrometrics but he dreaded what the room held for him. He wondered about the adult Naomi and Icheb that were waiting there for him. They didn’t look that old. Naomi, her mid 20’s at most. . . Icheb, early 30’s maybe? Trying to guess their precise age didn’t matter. Any way you look at it, their age minus seventeen years is some scary math. Chakotay estimated that their labeled year of death had to be very close to his own time frame. Dangerously close. He must have sleepwalked to the Astrometrics Lab, because the next thing he knew he was hearing the sound of the automatic doors swishing open in front of him. As expected, Icheb and Naomi were dutifully attending their stations. They looked over their shoulders at him.

“Commander!” Icheb said with pleasant surprise.

“We didn’t know if we’d see you again!” Naomi chimed in.

They both walked eagerly forward, greeting him like school age children greet a father who’s just returned from a long business trip.

Donning the role of their commanding officer, Chakotay successfully disguised his anxiety. He set about the business of updating them as to the current situation and their plan to restore Voyager to temporal alignment. He didn’t even need to ask if they were willing to be inoculated and come help fight the Kazon, as they volunteered.

Chakotay turned to Naomi, “There’s just one more thing I need help with.” Naomi looked ready to please. “I need help calculating the precise field strength the warp core needs to reach so I can generate a significantly strong enough chronometric surge. If I remember correctly, you were quite the math whiz when you were a little girl, weren’t you?” His flattery was intentional. Naomi blushed. “I think I can help you with that. Just give me a few minutes to run the calculations.”

Chakotay really just needed her to be distracted. He herded Icheb over to an ops station across astrometrics, hoping Naomi would continue to concentrate on her work and ignore their conversation.

“There’s just one more thing I need from you.” he tried to convey the deep importance of what he was about to ask with a steady stare into Icheb’s eyes.

“Anything, commander.”

“I just need to know. . . all I want to. . . I have to. . . find out-”

"Yes, commander.” Icheb was worried now.

“I need to know how.

Icheb thought about stalling by asking the commander for a clarification, but he knew what information he was seeking. “You mean, how did you and the Captain die?”

Chakotay held his breath. All he could manage was a stiff nod in the affirmative.

Icheb hesitated, trying to find the right words as his own painful memories of that tragic day threatened to flood his mind. “The Captain died saving the ship and the lives of her crew. You died trying to save her. Does it really matter how?”


Icheb’s words pounded painfully in Chakotay’s ears. Icheb was right, of course. Not to mention he was hypocritically trampling the very directive he had just chastised Kathryn for threatening to ignore. He wondered seriously if he should take him up on his offer to withdraw the question. “I guess all I really want to know is; was there anything I could have done differently? Could I have prevented it? Was there another way. . .”

They both heard sniffling behind them which made them turn around. Chakotay was sorry to see Naomi standing there, her hand covering her face, tears rolling down her cheeks. Obviously his ploy to keep her busy failed. Icheb tried to be comforting. “Oh, Naomi.”

She peered through her fingers at them. “I’m sorry, I know it’s not very professional of me.” She tried to straighten herself up. “To see you standing there Commander, it just brings it all back, you know? I remember it like it was yesterday. I mean, we buried you both in space, in the same pod...” her voice trailed off as she was overcome again.

Chakotay felt suddenly dizzy, or nauseous, or both. He put out his hand to steady himself on the console. The image of their ashen gray bodies laying side by side in a coffin perpetually circulating the cold vast vacuum of space almost made him gag.

Icheb detected Chakotay’s horror at it all, and he tried to explain in a quiet voice, “It’s what those closest to you felt you both would have wanted.”

Chakotay didn’t want to offend anyone, but he felt he just had to set the record straight. “I can’t speak for the Captain, but I would have preferred to have been buried beneath the soil of a planet . . .” He swallowed hard, his voice broke as he continued. “. . . or perhaps even have been kept in stasis and buried at home once we returned to the Alpha Quadrant.”

Icheb and Naomi shared a look. Icheb was hesitant. “That- wasn’t an option.”

“Why not?”

Again, the knowing look between them. Chakotay became aware there was something they weren’t telling him.

It was Naomi who finally spoke. “Voyager’s no longer en route to the Alpha Quadrant.”

Chakotay didn’t know how much more shocking news he could take. He walked a few paces away from them and looked disbelievingly up at the main screen. “But there’s a course plotted, you’re in space.” He pointed behind him as he looked away from the viewer.

“Yes, but we are only using Voyager to shuttle some neighboring miners from a moon they are finished mining back to their home planet. Their ships are small. It would have taken them months to break camp and remove all of their equipment and structures from the surface. With Voyager manned by a skeleton crew, it will only take two trips. In exchange they are giving us a generous supply of very highly refined galacite, more than we could hope to come across in years.”

Naomi‘s information only served to confuse Chakotay further. “Skeleton crew? Where’s everybody else?”

“At home. On Delta Earth.”

Chakotay’s thought formed a coarse whisper that barely escaped his lips, “You’ve settled on a planet.”

Both Icheb and Naomi knew that their former command team would be deeply disappointed to learn they had given up the fight for Alpha Earth. Icheb tried to paint an understandable picture of why the choice was made to abandon the mission Captain Janeway had set for them so long ago. “Voyager was severely damaged in the incident that killed you both. So damaged, the outer hull barely survived the crash landing on the closest M Class we could find. We knew we were looking at months of round the clock repair work. In reality, it ended up taking a full year to get Voyager space worthy again. In that time, people became comfortable with their new, though intended to be temporary, home. In the beginning, much of Voyager was unlivable. People built shelters on the surface. Neelix domesticated some local livestock and started farming. Groups of people fanned out on extended expeditions to explore the surface. A town square of sorts sprung up around the base of Voyager’s resting spot. Chell built a restaurant and people brought items of value they found to trade with others in a market of sorts. Harry Kim and the KimTones started holding weekly music concerts in the shadow of Voyager‘s saucer section. Before we knew it, we weren’t just a base of operations for the repair effort, we were a full blown town.”

Chakotay soaked all this in. Icheb painted a thorough picture. “But when the ship was ultimately repaired, why not resume course for the real Earth?” Chakotay hoped his words didn’t sting too much, he tried to soften them by adding, “The new, deeper sense of community you had established could surely have been maintained on Voyager.”

Naomi added her perspective. “The day to re-christen Voyager came. We were all so excited to get back into space, or so I thought. Attachments had formed to the new planet and the Alpha Quadrant seemed so far away. When you and the Captain died, a little bit of your collective drive, your determination to get us there died with you. People couldn’t envision the trip without the two of you at the helm. Some began to doubt we’d ever be successful. Alpha Earth was no longer viewed as a certainty, but a vague future possibility. It was a future people were no longer willing to sacrifice the present for. They had all put so much effort into building this new home, many of them found they just didn’t have the strength to continue the journey.”

Icheb picked up the story from there. “There was great debate of course, the decision didn’t come lightly. Tuvok, Seven of Nine and a small group threatened to take the ship and leave the others behind. But eventually everyone agreed it was best to stay together, regardless of where home might be. There was a degree of guilt at not fulfilling our mission. In fact, I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t feel like we had betrayed you both in some way somehow. But like Naomi said, many of the adults just didn’t have the emotional strength to press on.”


Icheb’s use of the word adults reminded Chakotay that they were only children when they witnessed all this. The thought just dawned on him, that despite the Starfleet uniforms they both proudly wore testifying to the contrary, neither of the two officers standing before him were born in the Alpha Quadrant. They had never even been there. It would make sense they would take the decision to settle in the Delta Quadrant the easiest.

A disturbing parallel was forming in his mind. He had been desperate to prevent Kathryn from changing his future aboard Voyager because it was the life he had come to know and love. And yet here he was, just hours later, plotting to take these people’s lives away from them. Had he and the Captain not been killed, surely they would still be en route to the Alpha Quadrant. But who is he to say his vision of the future is any better for them?

Naomi interrupted his rambling thoughts. “Sometimes, when we take Voyager on one of these little trips, and I walk onto the bridge, I catch a glimpse of Icheb sitting in your old command chair and for just a heartbeat, I think it’s you, Commander. I look at the Captain’s empty chair, and I think I can still see her sitting there, bravely commanding Voyager into the unknown. And I get a little dose of her strength, her courage and her wisdom. It gives me just enough to continue for another day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m deeply grateful for the full life we’ve all built together on Delta Earth, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish you and Captain Janeway were still alive and that we were all still barreling boldly towards the Alpha Quadrant.”

And he had his answer. Tears were welling and he feared he would break down if he delayed any further. He set down two doses of serum and the hypospray on top of the console with a definitive smack. “Inoculate yourselves. You know what to do.” and with that, Chakotay left astrometrics and that version of the future behind forever.


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


“THERE you are!” Janeway’s voice startled Chakotay. He fumbled the vial of serum he had been absent-mindedly fingering under his chin and had to catch it against his chest to prevent it from falling to the ground. “I’ve been looking all over for you, and here I find you just down the hall from Astrometrics. What have you been doing all this time?”

Chakotay scrambled to clear the computer interface wall display of the information he was studying. He reset the screen to the standard Voyager schematic. “Just some, eh, last minute calculations. I want to make sure the warp field strength is strong enough.”

Janeway knew he wasn’t telling her the truth. She saw him reading future ship’s sensor logs before he deleted them. So he’s just as curious about his future as I am about mine. I didn’t exactly follow his advice to go directly to the bridge either. Janeway decided in the interest of it not becoming a discussion, that she’d let it go. “Well, when Mr. Kim & I returned to sickbay and you weren’t there, I decided to bring a freshly replicated med kit back to the mess hall and see if they needed any help. Everyone was stable. So I asked Mr. Paris if he would like to be a part of our little insurrection and he eagerly agreed.”

"Ah, good call. He and Harry have always worked well together. Or, rather, they will work well together in the future. Or I mean, I’m sure they will work together fine today-” Chakotay was becoming exasperated.

Janeway raised a flat hand accompanied by a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, I gave up trying to keep my tenses straight about an hour ago.”

And just like that, the easiness between them returned. It seemed so natural now, like they had worked together for a lifetime. And after sneaking into her future quarters and doing a text search of her personal logs for mentions of Chakotay’s name, she came to understand that she had known him for a lifetime, she just didn’t remember it yet.


The female Borg in the cargo bay and the Maquis in the transporter room had been surprisingly easy to recruit. No doubt, not being able to move outside their confined timeframes for what was now several hours had something to do with their compliance. Everything was in place. Their plan was in motion. Janeway watched from the relative safety of the upper level of engineering, concealed by that timeframe, while Chakotay negotiated with Seska below. Seska had played cat and mouse with him for several minutes, but Janeway’s sixth sense told her the situation was about to go bad. Giving the order with the decisiveness of someone born to command, she signaled Harry and Tom to intervene. “Do it!”

They replied in stereo “Yes, ma’am!”

She watched just long enough to see their superhero leaps from overhead easily overcome the unsuspecting Kazon they had aimed for below. Then she went straight for the personnel lift. Once on the ground floor Paris tossed her a weapon from a recently disarmed Kazon. More of their people poured out of their hiding places. Icheb kept one Kazon busy while Naomi rigged a console overload to provide further cover.

Chakotay immediately started to correct the erroneous calculations Seska had entered in the vain attempt to bring Voyager into temporal sync with her time frame. Janeway noted that Torres disarmed her Kazon foe as if it were so much child’s play. Success! Janeway thought to herself. Or not. Janeway had made the rookie mistake of turning her back on what she thought was an incapacitated Seska. She felt Seska’s arm around her neck and the cold metal muzzle of a Kazon weapon pressed mercilessly into her temple. “Drop your weapons!” Seska’s bellowed order froze everyone in their tracks. It only took her Kazon ghouls a moment to pull themselves together and recover their weapons from the Starfleet ambush team.

Seska caught on quick. “Very clever Chakotay, inoculating them with your serum.” she seethed. “Now it’s time to inoculate my people so we can have access to the rest of the ship.”

“Don’t listen to her Chakotay.” The Captain was trying to be brave, but her defiance only made Seska twist the weapon deeper into her skull and Chakotay could see the pain in her eyes. Scenarios flew through his mind like bullets. Maybe this is fate. Maybe Icheb was right. It doesn’t matter how we die, it’s just our time. Seska kills Kathryn. I rush her, Seska’s henchmen kill me. Maybe there is no more future for us.

“I won’t do that.” he tried to stall Seska for time so he could think.

Impatient hatred smoldered in Seska‘s eyes “Then you just lost your captain!”


Seven of Nine decides that the Collective doesn’t have time for this anymore. There is a battle in fluidic space that needs tending to. Fourteen pounds of pressure applied to the Cardassian female’s esophageal region will be enough to subdue her. Eighteen pounds would terminate her. Hmm.

No one in engineering saw Seven’s swift justice coming, but one solution is as good as another, so no one complained.

The human female designated Janeway chose to use primitive verbal communication to convey thanks for dispatching the problem humanoid.

Apparently, those who exist outside the Collective need reminded: “Gratitude is irrelevant.”


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


With the offending Kazon restrained in a locked Jeffries tube, Engineering was finally clear to inoculate the remaining gel packs and prepare the warp core to emit the chronometric pulse.

In full starship captain mode, Janeway gave a rousing motivational speech; thanking them, wishing them luck and reminding them of what to expect. “We should all return to our sections. After Chakotay initiates the warp pulse, he should find himself back at the moment Voyager encountered the chronokinetic surge in his timeframe. He’s only going to have a few seconds to reset the deflector polarity, hopefully preventing Voyager from attracting the surge in the first place. Remember, If the timeline is restored, the rest of us should have no memory of what’s happened here because. . . well, it never happened. If the time line isn’t restored. . .” she spun around to shoot Chakotay a look of lighthearted blame “I’ll see you all back here in about five minutes.” A few obligatory snickers circulated the group. Janeway raised a hand to indicate she was now being serious. “But I’m laboring under the assumption that it will be successful. So I’d like to thank you now, for putting your doubts aside and helping me put mine aside as well. Good luck to each of you.”

The room began to clear out, and just as easily, Janeway shed her cloak of captainhood. “Mind if I ask you one last question?”

“Will I have to break the temporal prime directive to answer it?” Chakotay wondered if he should be nervous.

“Maybe just a little.” She was totally out of character. He couldn’t help but think she had suddenly taken on the persona of a school girl asking a boy for a date to the prom. Maybe I should take a closer look at that alternate universe theory I had earlier.

“For two people who started off as enemies,” she stared down at her nervously twiddling thumbs. “-it seems we get to know each other pretty well. So I’ve been wondering . . . just how close do we get?”

The question shocked Chakotay speechless. She rolled her eyes up to meet his in a searching gaze, and it was then that it dawned on him. That’s the look I saw in the turbolift.

So here it is. Seven years of trials and triumphs, tribulations and celebrations, near death experiences and new lives forged- interspersed with precious few stolen glances and very rare moments of emotional intimacy- all boiled down to one blunt question. Maybe she wasn’t the squirming schoolgirl after all. Her demeanor may well have been skillfully calculated to disguise the seriousness of a question that was no doubt hard for her to ask, but she knew would be even harder for him to answer.

He opened his mouth to say something, but snapped it shut again.

In all those years, they had never been able to cross that invisible barrier. But here, a Kathryn he technically hadn’t even met yet, detected, or perhaps longed, for something more.

He longed too, but oh how to put it into words.

She took his delay to mean the answer was something she didn’t want to hear. “Oh, I see. . . Well, no need to answer.” Somewhat crestfallen, she turned to walk away. “Suppose I’ll find out soon enough.”

“Oh hell, Kathryn.” His words made her spin back around. “Ok, only because if the pulse works, you won’t remember this, and if it doesn’t, well then we’ll probably both be dead.” Like a Vulcan in full-blown pon farr he grabbed her face in his hands and brought her lips to his. Her eyes wide in surprise, her lips pursed shut, this was not a kiss she could enjoy. But he persisted. She melted. Lips mingled and tongues introduced themselves. He could taste her and she could taste him. And for one long, loud heartbeat it was wonderful. But reality calls. Slowly, reluctantly he pulled away from her and opened his eyes to appraise her reaction. She stood momentarily frozen with her eyelids still shut. Then she remembered to take a breath and it reanimated her.

The pleasure she felt from the kiss was quickly being replaced by shock at what she had just participated in. “Well, I never! I don’t think. . . You’ve got a lot of. . .” She backed, slowly, clumsily away from him towards the exit. “Oh ho ho, oh no!” she wagged a finger at him accusingly. “You are not going to get away with that!” Despite the fact that engineering’s doors opened at her backwards approach, she still managed to back into the door frame. Chakotay couldn’t help but be entertained by her flustered state. His silly ear to ear grin just exasperated her further. She tried to regroup herself and with defiant dignity she declared “I WILL BE ON THE BRIDGE!” and then stalked off down the hall.

Feeling none too pleased with himself, Chakotay returned to the Engineering console behind him and started to enter the first set of command sequences when he heard the unmistakable sound of Starfleet issue boots hitting metal deckplate. His head snapped up. Paris. Chakotay completely forgot Tom had gone to the upper level to secure the Kazon weapons in the storage locker. And he chooses now to jump down off the access ladder.

“Well, well, well.” Paris gloated as he swaggered over.

Chakotay rolled his eyes and braced himself for the smartass comment he knew was coming.

Paris folded his arms in a self-satisfied way across his chest. “You know, in seven long years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Captain Janeway at such a loss for words.”

Chakotay pretended to be engrossed in his calculations.

Tom lowered his voice and leaned in close “Good job, old man.”

Chakotay flicked an eye of acknowledgement up at him, but wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of a verbal reply. That might have been a mistake, because the Lieutenant just used his lack of objection as an invitation to launch into what could quite possibly be the worst Kathryn Janeway impersonation ever. Paris put one hand on his hip and reached up with his other to straighten a pretend bun of hair. He altered his voice to be obliquely feminine and with great melodrama, pausing at every word for emphasis “I . . . will be. . . in the. . . MESS HALL!” He drew an imaginary cloak around his shoulders and with nose pointed skyward, sashayed out of Engineering.

Chakotay shook his head in disgust. “Ok, now I really have to get back to my time frame” he said to himself with mock renewed determination “If for no other reason than to beat the crap out of Paris.”


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


Naomi regarded the jigsaw puzzle pieces spread on the floor around her with suspicion. It had been several minutes since she had found a piece that fit and she was beginning to get frustrated. Maybe I can’t find the piece I need because the Borg kid stole some of the pieces. She looked up at Icheb to see if she could detect any hint of subterfuge on his part. She saw none. . . but then she saw something else she couldn’t identify. She squinted her eyes at him.

“What is it, Naomi?”

“I. . . you look different.” her words were soaked with confusion.

“Different? Explain.”

Naomi closed her eyes and shook her head. “Forget it.” Her interest renewed in the puzzle. “Help me find a green piece that looks like Tuvok’s ear, will you?”

He answered by lecturing her that the purpose of this exercise wasn’t about finding shapes that fit together, but recognizing complimentary base pairs in the human genome represented in the puzzle’s picture. . . yeah, blah blah blah Naomi thought. He continued to talk while she fanned her hand out over the scattered pieces as if to feel which piece was the one she needed. She stopped in mid wave to study her arm and hand. My hand is so small, my arm is so short. A contradictory image floated to the surface of her mind. A larger, longer arm. With long fingers and long nails polished the way mom does them. Naomi bent her neck to look down at her body. I’m so tiny all of the sudden. She searched the walls of the cargo bay as if they would hold an answer to the rush of deeper emotion she wasn’t quite old enough to grasp. She had a fresh memory of talking to Captain Janeway and Mr. Chakotay, but she hadn’t seen them recently so she didn’t understand where this memory was coming from. But it felt important. And the Captain looked different. Her hair was swept up away from her face. Captain Janeway always wears her hair down.

Icheb was oblivious to her internal crisis as he continued to ramble about genetics.

Maybe it was because she was so young and her brain had so few memory engrams to cloud the recent experience. Maybe it was because she was part Ktarian and her brain was wired differently. Or maybe it was just random order. . . but whatever the reason. . . Naomi Wildman was the first of the inoculated to begin to suspect that there was a part of their lives they knew nothing about.


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


Voyager had rumbled ominously, but Janeway could feel through her captain’s chair that the vibration was dissipating. The ship’s systems interface reported that the deflector dish had been overloaded with an intentional power surge authorized by the Chief Engineer. Janeway waited for a report from someone as to what had just happened. When none came, she went after the information. “Janeway to Engineering, report!”

“Yes, Captain” B’Elanna’s voice seemed somewhat stressed. Not knowing exactly what the situation was, Janeway tried to keep the edge out of her words so as not to add any further burden to whatever it was they were dealing with in Engineering. “B’Elanna, PLEASE” she scooped her hand in the air in a questioning gesture “tell me why you just burned out the deflector dish.”

Chakotay’s voice came over the comm. “Actually, I ordered her to do it.”

Her annoyance was no longer hidden. “Why?!”

“Trust me, it was better than the alternative.”

“Which was, WHAT, exactly?”

“I’ll tell you all about it in person. We need to finish our dinner. I’ll meet you back in your quarters in 10 or 15 minutes. I just need to go to Astrometrics to run some temporal scans and then I’ll be right there.”

“Temporal scans, why?”

Chakotay detected the sudden alert in her voice. “Don’t worry, it’s just a precaution. Chakotay out.”

Janeway wasn’t used to being dismissed. Nor was she used to discussing her private dinner plans in front of the bridge crew. Somewhat peeved, she cocked her head to one side, slapped her hands down on the arm rests of her chair and heaved herself back into a standing position. She turned around to lock eyes on Tuvok. Pointing a commanding finger at him as she made her way up the far steps to the bridge turbolift, she ordered “You’ll contact me immediately if there is so much as a blip on sensors.”

Tuvok, stoically obedient as always, “Yes, captain.”

That’s more like it. I am, after all, still the captain around here.


And with the closing of the turbolift doors behind her, she began to question even that. A profound sense of déjà vu’ permeated her entire being. Every cell in her body seemed to vibrate with agitation. It was so intense it took her breath away and she thought she might loose consciousness. Reaching out for the handrail, she was about to call sickbay and declare a medical emergency when the sensation ebbed.

Then a new problem. A hard pressure on her right temple. She lifted a hand to probe the area with her fingertips. Do I have a bruise there? Her mind wandered back to that time years ago when Seska had taken her hostage in Engineering and pressed a weapon to her head. Wait a minute. Seska never held me hostage in Engineering.

Nebulous memories danced around the periphery of conscious thought. A memory came in the form of such a fragile vapor, she feared if she grabbed at it, it would dissipate like so much fog. So she stood absolutely motionless, drawing on Vulcan technique that Tuvok had shared. She stilled her mind and let the thought float towards her on a sea of glass. Chakotay here in the turbolift. They were arguing. About what? There was pain in his eyes. Respect. Fear for her life. Love. Oh God, what did I do to him now? Then he kissed her. Did that really happen? Reliving every pulse pounding second of the sensory overloading moment, it was the answer that decrypted every other elusive memory that threatened to drive her mad by staying just out of her grasp.

Her eyelids shot open like window shades. All the events of the past day came rushing back at her like a hot wind.

Anomaly. Danger. Maquis. Chronometric particles. Shattered time. Inoculations. The last one made her heart stop. Delta Earth. She really wished she hadn’t found out about that one.

The turbolift doors opened too soon for her to make sense of these revelations. She walked, catatonic, towards her quarters. Her doors barely opened in time to accommodate her forward march. She couldn’t find the couch fast enough. She began to digest what she now knew by reordering the memories into their proper sequence.

So it worked, she mused. The fractures in space time have been repaired. Everything is back to the way it is supposed to be. Or is it? How would she know? If time had been altered, her memories would reflect the altered state. She would have no basis for comparison to prove or disprove their genuineness. She tried to wrap her mind around it logically. She has no memory of Chakotay’s appearance on her bridge in the Alpha Quadrant before today. She remembers it now as if it had always happened. But she knew she didn’t remember it yesterday. So his interference seven years ago didn’t actually affect any decisions henceforth. Obviously, she still followed him into the Badlands, and here they all are. She let out a ragged breath. So this time line is pure, she concluded.

But her temporal paradox induced headache was not yet ready to subside. Why, then, did she remember anything of the time lines that never happened? We knew Chakotay’s memories would remain intact because everything took place in his actual timeline, but that doesn’t explain my retention of those same memories. She thought back to the last time someone claimed memories of a timeline that never occurred. Kes. She told them all a fantastic story of a future where the Doctor had attempted to lengthen her brief Ocampan lifespan with a chronometric particle infused serum. The idea was to try to keep Kes’ aging body temporally static. Her memories of an as-yet unproven timeline began at the moment the doctor inoculated her at a future date.

Janeway dove for the tricorder sitting on her coffee table. She scanned her brain. There you are you little devils. Chronoton particles had fused with her neural net. In much the same way the Doctor had used them to force Chakotay’s diversively aged body back into temporal alignment, those same particles, no doubt harboring the alternate memories, had settled into every cell of her body. They were now grafted into her brain, apparently, for life.

The door chimed. Only her eyes moved toward the door. He thought I wouldn’t remember . . . Oh, Game On. She stuffed the tricorder behind a couch cushion and carefully rearranged her countenance into one of naivety. “Come.”


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


Chakotay held his breath as Kathryn’s door slid open in front of him. There she was sitting on her couch safe and sound. An odd relief washed over him and he finally felt he could give himself permission to breathe. His tense muscles unclenched as he strode easily into her welcoming quarters. He aimed for the chair juxtaposed to her position on the couch. “Chakotay” She caught him in mid-sit. She dipped her head to her left and patted the couch cushion next to her. He couldn’t quite decipher the smile on her face. He was prepared for an interrogation about the damage to the deflector dish, but he didn’t expect the questioning to take place under such close scrutiny.

He circled the coffee table and sat down next to her, carefully. He went to cross his left leg over his right, but then realized that would put his foot into her personal space, so he abandoned that idea halfway. Then rather obviously, crossed his right over his left. Next, he started the all-important task of brushing imaginary lint off his pant leg.

Janeway rolled over on to her left side, propping her head up on curled fingers. She twisted her legs together and absent mindedly rubbed her hand down her thigh while she studied his face for a good, long moment. Chakotay shot her a sideways glance. He couldn’t help but think she looked like a lioness surveying her pride. The image was kind of . . . arousing.

“So, tell me what would have happened had you not turned our deflector dish into a lighting rod?”

He wanted to look her in the eye, but at this distance, he was afraid his eyes would tell her everything. “Well, the Temporal Prime Directive prohibits me from going into detail-”

“Convenient.” Oops. The word escaped her lips before she could catch it.

Chakotay, clearly puzzled, “What?”

She pursed her lips and shook her head to try to indicate the comment was meaningless. “Nothing, go on.” A full blown smile was threatening to erupt and it was all she could do to keep it under control.

“. . . well, suffice it to say, it was a wild ride. It’ll all be in my report tomorrow. That is, anything that doesn’t expressly threaten the integrity of future timelines, of course.”

“A wild ride? Really? Well, I’m sure it was nothing you couldn’t handle. In fact, I’m sure for you it was just another day at the office, hmm?” Her eyes were dancing with mischievousness.

Just another day at the office. That sounds familiar. He shot her another sideways look and realized she had snuck in even closer to him. He could feel her breathing now. The hair on the back of his neck wasn't the only thing that stiffened.

"Come on Chakotay,” her voice got lower with each sentence. “Isn’t there anything you can tell me about your little adventure?” whispering seductively now “Isn’t there anything you’d like to share?“

Chakotay sunk deeper into the couch, frightened by her advance. The image of Janeway as Lioness sprung to his mind again. He recalled footage he saw somewhere of a Great Cat swatting at subdued prey to make sure it was safe to devour. As if mirroring his thoughts she reached her hand up to his chest and curled her fingers around the v-neck in his uniform. That only served to show them both just how hard his heart was beating. He closed his eyes to try to still his emotions. “Kath-”

His words were stopped by her lips on his. It was a light, teasing kiss. She suckled his lower lip for just a second longer than he thought he could take. Then she let him go. His paralyzing apprehension at her strange behavior turned to a comforting realization. She knows.

He looked up at her hair line and then down at her lips, taking in her whole beautiful face. A rare treat to enjoy at such a close distance. He barely managed to whisper the question “How do you know?”

“Oh, I can’t tell you that.” she said with a dismissive shake of the head.

“Why not?” his voice stronger now.

Oozing smugness. “Temporal Prime Directive.”

Chirp. “Tuvok to Janeway.”

Without missing a beat, Janeway rolled off of him and put on her best captain’s voice. “Janeway here.” Quite a feat, considering her fingertips were still dancing across the back of his neck, drawing circles in his hairline and driving him absolutely mad.

“There’s a khenometric particle fountain 60,000 KM off our port bow. I just wanted to let you know I’ve altered course to investigate.”

The stroking fingers stopped. Janeway’s eyes turned to stone. Chakotay’s throat constricted. Their heads snapped to face each other. Both knew what this meant, but neither knew that the other knew.

“Why did you do that?” she almost hissed the question at Tuvok.

“It was my understanding that you wanted to investigate phenomenons of this nature.”

Chakotay wondered if he imagined the surprise he heard in Tuvok’s voice.

“Well I don’t!” Her voice became deep and grave. “Give that particle fountain a wide berth, that’s an order.” Janeway was leaning forward now, her forearms propped on her knees, her hands clasped. “When will the deflector be back on line?”

“Engineering reports that it will be fully operational within the hour.”

“Good. When that happens, I want you to set a course for the Alpha Quadrant at maximum warp for the rest of the night. Don’t look left, don’t look right. Understood?”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Janeway out.”

Chakotay watched her slump back against the couch. She covered her forehead with her hand and sighed. They sat there in silence for a minute, maybe two.

What Chakotay could never know is that she ran into Billy Telfer and Tal Celes on her little detour to her future quarters to check her logs. And after convincing them that she was not the walking, talking ghost of Kathryn Janeway - which, Janeway noted with some consternation, was entirely more difficult than it should have been considering she was dealing with two commissioned Starfleet officers - they sadly shared with her the graphic history lesson that was Delta Earth.

What Janeway could never know is how relieved Chakotay was to not have to lie to her about why they shouldn’t investigate the particle fountain. To not have to plead with her to stay away from it. To not have to divulge what he knew. Individually, unspoken, they could handle it. They could file it away on a neat little shelf in the back of their minds and forget it ever happened. If they discussed it collectively, it would become too real. It would hang a foreboding shadow over every minute of their future lives together. An accusation that they had cheated their fate and played God with history.

He wasn’t forced to break the Temporal Prime Directive this time, but unfortunately, she was. It pained him deeply to know it was yet another straw added to her camel’s back of burdens. He reached for her hand and took it in his. She straightened up her posture and was the one to break the silence. She tried to put a light spin on it. “Well, you know, you’ve seen one khenometric particle fountain, and you’ve seen them all.”

“Oh, I agree.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her knuckles. His eyes never left hers.

“Well, now, where were we?”

He answered by turning her hand over and kissing her palm and then her wrist. Janeway felt a stirring inside her. It was one thing when she was teasing him earlier and it was just so much child’s play, but now it was getting serious.

“Can we do this?”

“What?”

“Can we keep this off the bridge? Can we really be Kathryn and Chakotay here, and the Captain and the First Officer there? Can we keep our feelings separate from our duties?”

“I’ve been doing that for seven years.”

“Oh, you beautiful man” Janeway rolled her head back to try to reabsorb some tears that had welled. “And you can promise me you’ll do that for the next seven years?” she had to keep her voice low to prevent it from breaking.

“For the next seventy. . . Or however long it takes to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. I’m at your disposal Kathryn. I always have been. I always will be. If all you need is a First Officer, I can be just that. If all you want is for me to stand by your side and help you run this ship as efficiently and safely as possible to get our people back than that’s who I’ll be for you. But if you want more, I can be that too. I love you Kathryn. . .” he questioned whether he should go on. But seven years of putting one’s desires on hold had a funny way of causing one to abandon all rules of decorum and etiquette. This time, it was his turn to move in close for the kill. His voice deepened. “I want you. I want to possess you. I want to crawl all over your body and taste every inch of your skin. I want to make you scream my name.”

Janeway’s pupils dilated and her mouth dropped open slightly. Her senses heightened and skin ached to be stroked. She felt a quickening inside her. The powerful imagery was arousing. The possibilities tantalizing. The need was building.

“So, what. . . you only act on these desires during alternate timelines?”

With no warning, he snatched her comm badge off her chest and threw it across the room. His too.

“Not anymore.”

In one fluid motion he stood over her, grabbed her around the waist and threw her to the other side of the couch. Her surprised shriek of delight morphed into a deep, sexy laugh. His body lorded over hers. “You know, I just might swallow you whole.”

Kathryn granted him permission with her eyes.

“You know, I just might let you.”


The familiar sound of the great mechanisms that fold Voyager’s nacelles into warp position are humming through the bulkheads of every deck. Deflector harmonics begin to rotate at a fever pitch. The engine core pulses and Voyager screams into high warp. The outer hull contracts and the acoustical atmosphere inside the ship alters to reflect their velocity. Pinpoint stars outside the windows flare into streaks of light. Janeway and Chakotay didn’t need to open their eyes to detect this. Voyager is on its way home.



~ The End ~




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