Disclaimer:  The characters and dialogue specific to the episode ‘Resistance’ belong to Paramount.  My version of events belongs to me.

Rating:  PG

Notes:  An a/u episode addition to ‘Resistance’, with a twist.  The story will make more sense if the reader is familiar with the episode.
 

 GRIEVING

By Mary S.
 
 

           The Mokra guards, Augris at their head, burst into the tunnel where Janeway and Caylem were searching for Ralkana.    “Stop!” roared Augris.   “Drop your weapons and turn around slowly!”

           ‘Caught like rats in a sewer,’ thought Janeway, as she obeyed, letting her phaser fall to the stone floor.   Raising her hands, she revolved on her heel to face her captor.    Behind her, Tuvok and B’Elanna Torres also dropped their weapons, the clatter unnaturally loud in the sudden silence.

            Slowly, Augris sauntered close to the captain before pushing her into a chair.   “Well, well, I’ve been searching the city for you when here you were, right under my nose.”  His gaze fell on the old man.   “You got much further this time, Caylem.”   Moving to lean against the wall, he explained conversationally, “Every so often, he goes on one of his ‘missions’ to rescue his wife.   She died twelve years ago.”

           “Noo!” screamed Caylem, falling to his knees.

           Ignoring him, Augris continued, “His daughter was shot a few years later in the tunnels.   Each time we catch him, we turn him loose, as an example to others about what happens to those who join the resistance.”

           Again, Caylem howled in anguish, as Augris glanced down contemptuously.  “Now you’ve dragged this poor woman into your snare as well.   You never learn, do you?”

           Whimpering, Caylem hesitated, his hands fumbling briefly in his clothing before he jumped to his feet with a large knife in his hand.    With a yell of pure fury, he leaped for Augris, thrusting his weapon before him.   In seconds, he’d landed on the surprised magistrate, driving the knife deep into his chest.

           As the guards raised their weapons, trying to get a clear shot, Janeway dived to the floor, attempting to retrieve her phaser.   Grasping it firmly, she rolled to the side as one guard swung around to fire at her, just missing her head.    From her position prone on her back, she gripped the phaser tightly and fired, knocking the guard off his feet with the force of the blast.   Swinging about, she aimed her weapon at Augris, who, despite his injury, had his hands around Caylem’s throat, choking him into unconsciousness.   Desperately, she tried to get a clear shot as Augris began to force Caylem down towards the floor.   Her finger tightened on the trigger, aiming for his head.  There!  Pressing down firmly, she fired – just as Caylem found the strength to shove hard against his captor’s grip, pushing him back out of the line of fire.

           The shot aimed for Augris instead hit Caylem squarely in the back of his head.  Silently, he crumpled, dead before he hit the floor.

           Losing his balance, Augris also fell, collapsing in a heap against the wall, dead like the man whom he’d tormented for so long.

           Frozen in horror, Janeway could only climb slowly to her feet and stare at the two corpses in front of her, unable to believe what she’d just done.

           With the sudden death of the magistrate, the remaining guards hesitated, unsure what to do.   At the sight of a phaser in Tuvok’s hand, they retreated, melting away into the tunnels.   In less than a minute, Janeway was alone with her two officers.

           Only a few seconds later, Tom Paris dashed into view, leading a rescue team.  “Captain!” he shouted with relief. “Thank goodness we found you!  Are you all right?”  His eyes flitted around, taking in Tuvok and Torres, both staring silently at Janeway.   In a much quieter voice, he continued, “We can beam up to the ship whenever you’re ready.”

           With a visible effort, she straightened before turning to hand him the phaser.  “I’m ready now, Mr. Paris.”   Her voice was low, with the quality of ground glass.

           As he took the phaser, he tapped his combadge.   “Paris to Voyager.   Six to beam up.”

           A second later, they dematerialized, leaving the scene of carnage to glimmer in the glow of the burning torches.
 

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           As soon as the away team was transported to the ship, Janeway ordered Voyager to resume a course for the Alpha Quadrant at warp seven, soon leaving the Mokra far behind.    Holding her emotions under iron control, she then went through the standard routine of a returning away team, including a visit to sickbay.   When the doctor attempted to defuse the tense atmosphere with a few sarcastic remarks, she snapped at him, telling him to hurry up and finish, and be damned quick about it.

           Subdued, the doctor kept a careful silence as he ran the last of his scans, speaking only to tell her she was fine and could leave.

           Without a word, she hopped off the biobed and was through the door in a flash.

           “Sickbay to Commander Chakotay,” hailed the doctor.
 
           “Chakotay here.  What is it, Doctor?”

           “I thought I should warn you that I’ve just released the captain with a clean bill of health….” His voice trailed off ominously, at odds with his words.

           Chakotay knew there was more.   “And?”

           “Something must have gone wrong on that planet, Commander, because, while she was here, the only time she spoke was to take my head off for a couple of innocent remarks.”   The doctor definitely sounded aggrieved.  “I thought I should tell you,” he added.

           ‘Captain on the warpath!’ thought Chakotay, although he remained silent.  ‘Great! On top of everything else.’   Aloud, he replied, “Thank you, Doctor, I’ll bear it in mind.   Chakotay out.”

           A few seconds later, when the turbolift doors opened to allow the captain to step onto the bridge, one quick glance at her expression showed Chakotay the doctor hadn’t exaggerated.   Her face was set in hard lines, her lips clenched together in a grimace.

           “Commander,” she spoke in a tight voice, “I’ll be in my ready room.  You have the bridge.”   Without breaking stride, she trotted down the steps to disappear into her sanctuary.

           Chakotay’s eyes remained focused on the door as he debated whether to go in and try to find out what had happened.   The doctor was right about one thing – something else had gone wrong on the mission besides the capture of Torres and Tuvok.

           A minute later, Tom Paris appeared, his face set in almost identical grim lines as he made his way to the helm.

           Without stopping to consider his actions, Chakotay rose from his chair.   “Tom,” he called, “I’d like a word with you, please.  Harry, you have the bridge.”   He stepped towards the briefing room as he spoke.

           “Aye, sir,” replied Harry Kim, his eyes remaining fixed on his friend even as he moved toward the command chair.

           Reluctantly, Paris followed Chakotay, knowing what the commander was going to ask and not at all sure how he should answer.   Obviously, the captain had not seen fit to fill in her first officer on what had transpired with the Mokra.  Would he be breaking a confidence if he related what he’d been told by B’Elanna, who had been so distraught she had blurted out what she’d seen before she realized what she was saying?  And yet he knew it was most unlikely Janeway would discuss it with anyone – she was very much the sort of captain who always presented a controlled façade; however, this time, he wasn’t so sure that was a good idea.   She needed to talk it out with someone, to let out all those emotions that he’d seen bubbling dangerously near the surface of her control.   And who better to go to than the first officer?  Especially this first officer, who obviously cared deeply for her.  As he made his way behind Chakotay into the briefing room, Tom had no idea what he should do.  Coming to a halt as the door slid shut behind him, he unconsciously adopted a parade rest stance.

           Noting the tension radiating from Paris, Chakotay’s concerns ratcheted up a notch.   Something was very wrong, he was sure of it.   “What happened down there, Tom?” he began without preamble.

           “By the time we found the captain and Tuvok and Torres, the Mokra magistrate was dying and the guards had disappeared.   In effect, they had rescued themselves and there was nothing for us to do but accompany them back to the ship.”  Tom hoped his bare bones account would satisfy the commander.

           It didn’t.

           Chakotay seized on the death of Augris.   “Who killed the magistrate, do you know?”

           Breathing a slight sigh of relief that he could answer truthfully, Paris replied, “No sir, I didn’t see it happen.”

           “How did he die?  Was he shot with a phaser?”

           “No, he was knifed.”

           “Knifed!” exclaimed Chakotay.   “Then the captain didn’t kill him?”

           “I don’t know for certain but I wouldn’t think so.   She was standing several feet away.”  Tom opened his mouth as if to add more detail, then apparently thought better of it, closing it firmly.

           His action wasn’t lost on Chakotay.   “There’s more, isn’t there?  Come on, Tom, I need to know what happened.”  His voice took on an exasperated tone.  “The captain is obviously upset, out of all proportion to what appears to have taken place.”

           Biting his lip, Tom looked down for a moment, before his gaze came up to lock onto Chakotay’s eyes.   “Sir, I think it would be better if you asked her.”

           Sighing slightly, Chakotay nodded.   He could understand very well the loyalty that prohibited Paris from discussing Janeway’s actions any further.   Obviously, whatever had occurred had caused intense personal discomfort to her – a fact confirmed by Paris’ refusal to say any more.  “Okay, Tom, fair enough.  Dismissed.”

           Relieved to escape so easily, Tom started for the door before turning around.  “Chakotay?  Try to get her to talk….   It was pretty bad down there….”  Without another word, he hurried back to the bridge.

           Chakotay followed more slowly, his thoughts in turmoil as he resumed his seat.   Getting Kathryn Janeway to talk when she didn’t want to was a well-nigh impossible task, but somehow he was going to have to find a way.   Maybe after dinner, when they were both off-duty….
 

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           Later that evening, after determining the captain had retired to her quarters during the dinner hour, Chakotay decided now was as good a time as any to confront her.    In order to get her to open up, he needed the element of surprise on his side.   Once she had her guard up, he’d never be able to get through to her.   Striding down the corridor on deck three, he debated the best method of attack.   Should he come straight out and demand to know what had upset her so much, or would he fare better if he came at the problem from an oblique angle, in an effort to catch her off-guard?   Perhaps it would be best to see what mood she was in before coming to any decision.

           Ringing her door chime, he waited for the door to open.   When nothing happened, he rang again, reasoning that perhaps she was in the bathroom.   However, when he still received no response, he didn’t hesitate, entering a command override.  The computer had confirmed she was in there and awake.  Apparently, a head-on confrontation would be the method he’d have to use.

           The door slid open to show her living room in darkness, the only light coming through the viewport from the stars flying by at warp.

           “Kathryn?” he murmured softly, as he stepped in far enough to allow the door to close.    For several seconds, he couldn’t make out more than dim shapes until his eyes adjusted and he heard a slight gasp.   Slowly moving further into the room, he worked his way toward the sound until he rounded a big easy chair to find his captain sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall dividing this room from her bedroom.   Her knees were drawn up to her chin, her hands wrapped tightly around them, her head down.   Twisted through her fingers was some kind of chain.

           “Computer!” ordered Chakotay, “lights at twenty-five percent.”
 
           At the sound of his voice and the increased illumination, Janeway’s head snapped up to stare at him in consternation.    “Wh…what are you doing here?” she mumbled weakly.

           Moving to her side, Chakotay fell to his knees and reached to cover her hands.   “Captain, what is it?   Please!  Tell me why you’re so upset!”

           “No…I…I can’t, I…”  She tried to scramble to her feet, but he held her down, knowing if she got up now, the command barriers would slam into place and he’d never know what was hurting her so dreadfully.

           “Kathryn,” he dared to whisper her name, even though she had never given him permission to use it.  “Tell me.   What happened with the Mokra?  Did the magistrate harm you?  Tom said he’d been knifed and was dead.   Did you kill him? Or was it Tuvok or Torres?  Please, you can’t keep this bottled up.”

           At his words about the death of Augris, the captain gave a little gasp and covered her face, the chain dangling down.   “I shot him,” she muttered in a voice so low he could hardly hear her.

           “But Tom said he’d been knifed!   Did you shoot him first?  And if you did, who stabbed him?”

           “No, you don’t understand!” she retorted, her mouth twisting with the effort to rein in her emotions.  “I shot Caylem!   That poor man!   He’d had so much sorrow and misery in his life, and yet he put everything aside to help me.   And what did I do?!”  In a low voice filled with pain and self-loathing, she whispered, “I killed him!”
 
           Completely at a loss, Chakotay stared at her.   There had to be more to the story than that.  Where to begin…?   “Kathryn, who was Caylem?”

           At first, she seemed not to hear him, but when he repeated his question, holding her still to force her to concentrate on his words, she began to speak.    Her voice was hesitant at first, as she fought to maintain some semblance of control.    “Caylem was an old man, who believed…that I…was his daughter, Ralkana.  During the fight when the Mokra arrested Tuvok and B’Elanna, I was wounded.  In the confusion of the moment, Caylem dragged me away to safety.  He took me to his home, just a single room – he didn’t have much.   There, he cared for me until I recovered.”  Her voice dropped in shame.  “I didn’t understand at first, when he called me Ralkana.  I…I couldn’t convince him I wasn’t his daughter, I wasn’t very…patient with his…delusions.”

           Chakotay could well believe that.  Kathryn Janeway had never been noted for patience.

           The chain glimmered dully in the dim light, catching her attention, and she held it up to show him.  “He gave me this necklace, telling me that he’d kept it for me, that it had been my mother’s but I should have it now.”  Her voice ended in a stifled sob, which, again, she managed to choke down.

           After a moment to regain her composure, Janeway continued more easily, anxious to make Chakotay understand Caylem’s role.    “He and his wife had both been members of the resistance until the day she was caught and imprisoned.   He was convinced it was his fault that she’d been captured.  After that, he devoted himself to raising his daughter and writing letters to his wife.   How they lived, I don’t know.   Based on what I saw, certainly not very well.   Several times, he tried to break into the prison to free his wife, but each time he was caught and sent on his way.    He’d lost his grip on reality, you see.   His wife died, apparently not long after she was sent to prison, but he couldn’t accept that.   He continued to try to set her free.  Augris said the Mokra used Caylem as an example to the rest of the population of what would happen to anyone who joined the resistance.”

           The hand holding the chain went to her mouth, as she fought back tears in order to continue.   “He wouldn’t leave me!   When I discovered a way to get into the prison, he followed me; he wouldn’t go back outside to safety.   He insisted we were a team and he could help.   When we found Tuvok and Torres, who had already managed to escape from their cell, he begged me to help him search for his wife.   I didn’t realize…I thought she was alive, he seemed so lucid and I thought….”  Again, she had to stop, her face twisting with the effort to keep talking.  “Within minutes, we were surrounded and our weapons seized.   That was when I learned Caylem’s wife had died twelve years before.   As for his daughter, whom he loved so much…she was shot in the prison tunnels several years ago, while trying to rescue her mother.”  Taking a deep breath, Janeway paused, attempting to calm herself enough to finish.

           Unconsciously, Chakotay’s hands tightened on her shoulders.   “Go on.   What happened?”

           “Caylem screamed that she wasn’t dead, she was alive.   Augris just stood there, taunting him that now his actions had condemned me to death as well.   At that, Caylem went completely mad.  At some point, he’d picked up a knife and he attacked Augris, stabbing him in the chest before he had a chance to react.   However, even though he’d suffered a mortal wound, Augris still had enough strength to wrap his fingers around Caylem’s neck, strangling him.

           “In the meantime, I had grabbed a phaser off the floor and aimed it, trying to get a clear shot.   At first, I couldn’t, Caylem was in the way, but then Augris forced him down and I fired – just as Caylem broke his hold and leaped up, pushing Augris out of the line of fire.   The shot I fired hit Caylem instead and killed him instantly.”   Her hands came up to cover her face as she collapsed shuddering against the wall, breaking his grasp.
 
           Briefly, Chakotay debated what to do.   Her head was turned away from him and he wasn’t sure if she would appreciate physical comfort.   This was a new side of Kathryn Janeway, one he’d never even gotten a hint of up to now.  She was always so strong, always in control, no matter how dire their circumstances. He found it hard to believe that an old man had breached her defenses so completely, when no one else had even gotten close.   And yet – obviously, it had happened.

           Another stifled sob caught his attention and he knew that, captain or not, right now she was a woman in terrible pain.   His heart went out to her.  Even if it was a breach of command protocol, he couldn’t allow her to suffer alone without trying to help.

           Reaching for her, he pulled her into his arms, rocking her back and forth as she buried her face in his chest.   Over and over, he whispered soothing words to her, telling her it was an accident, that of course she hadn’t meant to kill her benefactor.

           For several minutes, she remained silent, but her hands clutching desperately at his jacket told Chakotay how deeply she was hurting.    Finally, with a heavy sigh, she relaxed her grip, although she didn’t change her position.

           Very relieved that his captain was willing to accept his solace, Chakotay eased down to settle more comfortably on the floor, shifting her to rest on his lap, secure in his embrace.     A tickle against his chest made him look down to see her fingers holding up the necklace.

           As he watched, Janeway lifted her head slightly, her eyes fixed on it.  “What do I do, Chakotay?” she murmured.   “How can I expiate the guilt?”

           Bending his head slightly, he gently kissed her hair.   “Give yourself time, Kathryn.”

           Twisting to look up at him, she asked.  “You mean as in ‘time heals everything’?”

           “Yes.”

           She shook her head, her gaze going back to the necklace.   “I don’t think that will happen this time.”   Abruptly, her fingers closed tightly around the chain.   “All the reasons in the universe won’t change the fact that I killed him.”

           Chakotay had no answer for her.  Instead, he wrapped his arms a little more tightly around her.   “Then hold on to me until you can forgive yourself.”

           Her head fell forward against his chest as her arms slid around him.   Comforted by his embrace, after a little while her weary body relaxed into sleep.

           Chakotay remained still, content to hold her for as long as she needed him.    As he sat there in the silent room, his face turned toward the viewport, he reflected on what she’d told him and he wished that somehow, he might have met Caylem, even perhaps gotten to know him a little bit.

           Over the past year and a half, since their tumultuous arrival in the Delta Quadrant when he had joined this captain in her quest for home, increasingly he had realized that here was someone who fit with him perfectly on every level.    She was his match, his equal, his – dare he say it? – his soul mate.   He wanted, indeed needed, to know her, to understand her, on a level far more profound than was normal for a captain and first officer.   But she was very reserved and aloof, believing she must hold herself apart from the crew.   Although they had become friends through working closely together, Chakotay felt frustrated that every attempt he made to reach out to her on a personal level was gently but firmly rebuffed.   And yet, an old man, mentally unstable by the sound of it, had penetrated her defenses completely in only a day or so.    How had he done it?  What had he learned about her that Chakotay had yet to discover?   He would never know.

           Bending forward slightly, he nuzzled his nose gently in her hair, breathing in her scent before letting his head fall back to rest against the wall.   He closed his eyes, relishing the feel of her warm weight in his arms.   ‘Maybe all I can do is protect you from harm, console you in your grief and help to carry your burdens’, he thought. ‘Maybe, if I love you, it will be enough.’
 

The End

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