Disclaimer: Assorted characters from both Voyager and Deep Space Nine belong to Paramount – what I’ve done with them is mine.

Rating:  PG-13

Notes:  This is version 2 of my original outline ‘Maquis’.  Version 1 eventually became ‘Would You Serve Under Me?’   Like that story, this one is dedicated to KJ, who, when asked which version she liked better, stated flatly, “both”.  Well, KJ, here you are.   Hope you like it.  Although it is J/C, there is a lot more Janeway than Chakotay, for reasons which will become obvious.  And, as always, thanks to Shayenne, who once again has worked her magic.
 
 

By Mary S.
 
 
 

Part 1:  October, 2371

           Striding through the corridors of her ship, Kathryn Janeway felt a gush of pride surge through her.   Finally, she had reached the pinnacle of success – command of her own ship.  And not just any ship, but Voyager – newly launched, state-of-the-art, pride of the Fleet.   As she walked, her hand brushed along one wall, delighting in the solid feel of the tritanium hull.   What a beauty this vessel was – sleek, streamlined, with an ovoid bow perfectly designed to push through deep space at a sustained speed of warp 9.975.

           Reaching the turbolift, Janeway quickly rode up to the bridge, received a brief status report, then retreated to the sanctuary of her ready room.   Time to go over her orders and make sure everything was ready.    Activating her computer, she brought up first a star chart of the region near the Badlands, then a Starfleet Intelligence file on the planet Badrin before settling back to refresh her memory on its history.

           Badrin:  a nondescript town on a backwater planet of the same name, located between the Bajoran colony of Prophet’s Landing and the Badlands.

           Like Prophet’s Landing, it was originally settled centuries ago by a roving band of Bajorans, but there the similarity ends.    Badrin is a bleak planet, bereft of nearly all natural resources except one.  Large deposits of eisilium, an extremely rare mineral valued throughout the quadrant, were discovered underneath the barren hills.  The Bajoran colonists constructed an elaborate mining system, with a complex series of tunnels that eventually crisscrossed beneath the hills to such an extent that occasionally one of them collapsed.  For several hundred years, the inhabitants of Badrin lived well, the eisilium mines supporting a comfortable, if not exactly luxurious lifestyle.

           And then the ore began to run out.

           As the mines closed one by one, the settlers sank into ever-deepening poverty.   Those who could left to seek their fortunes elsewhere.  Those who could not were forced to stay, eking out a miserable existence from the one mine still operating.

           With the departure of most of its people, the face of Badrin society changed.  Various disreputable looking members of a number of different species started to appear, slipping in surreptitiously, then firmly ensconcing themselves in whatever abandoned structure they could find.  With hardly any civil authority left, Badrin soon developed a reputation where anything was possible.   The last remnants of the original colonists fled from the city into the hills as lawless elements, the dregs of innumerable planets, took control.  The rule of law was abandoned in favour of a laissez-faire attitude which allowed every kind of transaction, legal and otherwise.

           Continuing hostilities between the Federation and Cardassia established Badrin as a kind of trading post, a place where, for the right price, anything might be obtained.   Despite the truce declared in 2367, followed three years later by the formal treaty, Badrin has remained one of the best places in the region to secure prohibited goods as well as learn the latest information.   The rise of the Maquis in response to growing Cardassian aggression has only increased Badrin’s importance.   In the never-ending search for weapons and supplies, the Maquis pay frequent visits to the planet.

           Closing down the terminal, Janeway sat back in her chair, recalling recent events.

           “The Maquis pay frequent visits to the planet”, had written some unknown bureaucrat in his report, as he compiled information from various sources.

           The thought ran through her head that the Maquis certainly had done that.  As a result, they had drawn the attention of Starfleet, which in turn led directly to her current orders.

           In early September, planning had gotten underway for a sortie to Badrin in the hope that a surprise attack might net the Federation some Maquis rebels, maybe even an entire ship along with its crew.  She, Kathryn Janeway, was ordered to lead the raid.  As well as the obvious mission of taking Maquis prisoners, she was instructed by Starfleet Intelligence to retrieve Lieutenant Tuvok, her chief of security, who had spent the previous three months as an undercover agent in a Maquis cell led by a former Starfleet officer, Chakotay.    Intelligence was most anxious not only to gather the latest information on the Maquis but also to learn Tuvok’s overall impression of the state of the resistance.  The previous year, many officers in Starfleet had been convinced the movement was on the verge of collapse and yet, somehow, it had survived and even gained in strength.  Intelligence had badly underestimated the popularity of the Maquis and, in an effort to avoid another such mistake, needed to learn the most up-to-date information possible before formulating a long-range policy to deal with it.    Tuvok was generally considered to be the best chance of acquiring that information, and Janeway was told to get him out at all costs.

           A trap had been set to lure Chakotay’s ship, the Liberty, to Badrin, the bait a large cache of recently stolen Federation weapons.  Now, Voyager was hidden in a nearby asteroid belt while Janeway, accompanied by ten security officers, prepared to take a large shuttle to the city.
 

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           Night was falling when Chakotay, B’Elanna Torres and Tuvok transported down to Badrin.    The message relayed to them had specified they could meet their contact in a bar named The Spider’s Web.   Inside, they glanced around before moving to a table on the opposite side of the room where they had a clear view of the door.

           When the Maquis arrived, Janeway’s team was already in place, waiting for them.  She hesitated only until she was certain they had entered the bar before ordering her people to move in.

           Abruptly slamming open the door, she charged in at the head of her detail.  “Everyone stay where they are!” she bellowed.  “Anyone who moves will be phasered!”   Although small in stature, the authority in her voice left no one in any doubt that she would do exactly what she said.  Stepping to one side, she waited as the lieutenant in charge of the team began to check identification.   As her eyes roamed across the room, her gaze fell on a black-haired man sitting against the opposite wall with a young woman and Tuvok.   Realizing that the man must be Chakotay, she studied him carefully.

           Almost immediately, and much to her surprise, Janeway felt herself drawn to him by a pull so strong she had to consciously force her feet  not to move.  ‘This is ridiculous!’ she chastised herself furiously.  ‘He’s the enemy!’  And yet, there was something about him, something tugging forcefully on her emotions.  Disturbed and intrigued at the same time, she let her eyes wander slowly across his face, noting the broad forehead and strong cheekbones, the slightly crooked nose, and the beautifully curved mouth, so incongruous in a man of strength…yet, it suited him perfectly.

           As if feeling Janeway’s intense stare, Chakotay suddenly turned his head to gaze directly at her.

           Realizing her heart was fluttering in a most uncaptainly fashion, Janeway forced herself to look aside.  However, even as she did, she noticed Chakotay start to rise to his feet.  Her mouth tightened as anticipation warred with duty.  ‘He’s the enemy,’ she reminded herself again, ‘focus on that and ignore everything else.’

           Across the bar, Chakotay’s thoughts were running along very similar lines.  When he’d first felt the Starfleet captain’s eyes on him, he’d had every intention of returning her stare with defiance.    But as his gaze raked over her, his expression changed, his hard glare softening to something close to wonder.  Despite the distance separating them, there was an instant connection.  She felt it, too; he could see it in her face, her expression one of puzzled surprise.

           ‘She’s Starfleet,’ he tried to remind himself.   ‘She represents everything you abhor…and yet, there’s something about her….’   Like one possessed, Chakotay began to get up from his chair, wanting to move closer to her, to discover if what he was seeing was really true.

           Suddenly, with a brilliant flash of light and a loud bang, an incendiary grenade exploded at one side of the room near the door.    Immediately, the bar erupted in flames as the furnishings caught fire and began to blaze.   Terror-stricken, everyone jumped up, screaming frantically, which added to the din.  Then, as the flames roared higher, spreading rapidly, there began a  mad stampede towards the rear exit.

           Beside him, Chakotay felt Tuvok leap forward in a seeming attempt to reach the captain, who was lying crumpled on the floor.   Apparently, she had been thrown against the doorframe by the force of the blast.

           Grabbing Torres’ arm, Chakotay pulled her behind him, leading her around the bar toward the back door.   As he moved, he glanced back briefly, his eyes searching the chaos behind him.   Smoke was filling the room, making his eyes water, but for a second, he thought he spotted Tuvok near the captain.   A moment later, however, several men crashed through, blocking his view.  When he could see again, he caught a glimpse of someone grasping the Vulcan’s arms, dragging his limp body toward the front entrance.  The thought flashed through Chakotay’s mind that Tuvok must have been trampled.  Peering more closely into the increasing smoke, he could just make out the captain, still lying in the same spot, alone.

           For a split second, he froze, then pushed Torres in front of him, yelling at her to go ahead, he would follow in a minute.   She started to protest but he gave her a hard shove, propelling her forward into the crowd struggling frantically to get out.

           Turning around, Chakotay fought his way through the throng until he reached a clear spot.  From there, he could see the flames snaking across the floor, perilously close to the captain.  Quickly, he dashed across the room and scooped her up, then threw her over his shoulder, before turning to follow the last few stragglers.

           With the fire licking at his heels, he scrambled frantically between overturned tables and chairs, some of which were already starting to burn.    Diving around the bar, he hurtled out the open door behind it and into the black night.

           From out of the darkness, Torres appeared, clutching his arm in a grip of steel as she nearly dragged him down the narrow alley.   “There’s Starfleet all over the place!  Come this way!” she hissed in his ear.  “We have to get back to the ship!”   As they started to race away from the burning building, she realized there was no one behind him.   “Where’s Tuvok?” she managed to gasp.

           “I don’t know,” he panted.  “I think he got trampled because I saw someone pulling him out the front door.  He wasn’t there when I left and I was the last one out alive.”

           She didn’t bother to reply, knowing that Tuvok was quite capable of looking after himself.

           Running as fast as they dared, they dodged through a maze of dimly lit narrow roads and lanes until eventually they reached a wider street.  Here was a scene of mass confusion with people dashing back and forth, demanding information or shouting out the latest rumours.

           “B’Elanna!” yelled Chakotay.   “Stop here!”

           At first, Torres seemed not to hear but with a sharp tug, Chakotay got  her attention.    Her eyes widened as she finally noticed the unconscious figure draped over his shoulder, but before she could speak, he was hailing the Liberty.

           “Chakotay to Liberty!  Two for emergency beamout!”

           In the chaos surrounding them, no one noticed when, a moment later, they disappeared in a transporter beam.

           “Chakotay!” exclaimed B’Elanna as they rematerialized on the Liberty.   “What the hell are you doing?!   Kidnapping a Starfleet officer?!   A captain, no less!” she added, spotting the four pips on Janeway’s collar.   “You’ve gone crazy!   What’s gotten into you?”

           Although he was wondering himself what he’d been thinking, Chakotay wasn’t about to admit to anyone that he’d acted on impulse.   “If I hadn’t picked her up, she would have burned to death!   You were there, B’Elanna, you saw how fast that fire was spreading!  And I certainly couldn’t leave her in the middle of the road in all that uproar!  Most likely she would have been run over by someone within five minutes.”

           Shaking her head, B’Elanna realized there was no point in pursuing Chakotay’s motives.  Instead, she cut to the chase.   “What are you going to do with her?”

           “Right now, I’m going to put her in my cabin until she regains consciousness.”  As he spoke, he turned on his heel and headed into the corridor.  “Get below, B’Ela, I want to try to find Tuvok and then break orbit immediately.   There’s nothing for us here.”  He glanced at his burden.   “We can take her to Bajor and leave her there where she’ll be looked after.”  Hesitating a moment, he added diffidently, “In the meantime, it might be better if you didn’t mention she’s aboard – I don’t want anyone here upset by her presence.”

           Torres gave him a very hard stare before nodding, as she correctly interpreted his request.   There were some among the crew who had good cause to hate the Federation, and no telling what they might do if they found a Starfleet officer aboard.   “Sure, Chakotay, I’ll keep quiet.”

           “Thanks.”   He hurried down the empty corridor to the turbolift, grateful that no one was around.   His luck held and he managed to gain his quarters without anyone seeing him.  After depositing Janeway carefully on his bed, he headed for the bridge and contacted the transporter room.   “Dalby,” he ordered, “locate Tuvok’s communicator and beam it aboard.   Hopefully, he’s still got it on him.”

           However, a minute later, Dalby reported that the communicator had arrived by itself.

           Damn!   In the chaos on the planet below, it could well take days to locate the Vulcan.   Cardassian warships were known to pay regular visits here, hunting for Maquis – he didn’t dare wait and risk capture of his ship.   For a moment longer, he sat still, weighing all the factors before coming to a decision.   He would have to abandon Tuvok and hope he survived.  Taking the helm, he opened intraship communications.  “All hands, we’re breaking orbit and heading for Bajor!”

           His announcement was met with loud cheers.   Most Bajorans were sympathetic to the Maquis and a stop there would allow the crew to rest for a little while and put aside the war.

           A few minutes later, the Liberty slipped out of orbit at impulse, hoping to escape detection by whatever enemies might be lurking nearby.   However, within half an hour, sensors were picking up the warp signature of a Cardassian warship on a parallel heading.

           “Are they aware of us?” asked Chakotay anxiously.

           There was a moment’s silence before Ayala, replacing the missing Tuvok at the science station, replied.  “Looks like it.   They’re altering course to intercept.”

           “How long?”

           “Twenty minutes, maybe a little more.”  Ayala’s voice remained steady.   The Liberty had faced this threat many times before and so far, had always managed to survive.

           Biting his lip, Chakotay contemplated his options.   They’d have to make a run for it – the question was where?    Bringing up the navigational charts on his console, he examined their position.   ‘With a little luck, we could make it to the Badlands,’ he thought.   A further moment of study confirmed his analysis.  ‘There’s nothing closer that will effectively shield us.’

           Abruptly, he made his decision.   “All hands, this is Chakotay.   We’ve picked up a Cardassian warship on an intercept course.   I’m afraid our little jaunt to Bajor will have to wait.    We’ll head to the Badlands and hope we can make it before they catch up with us.  Chakotay out.”

           A moment later, he paged engineering.   “B’Elanna, I’m going to need every scrap of power you can feed to the engines.  We’ll have to run at maximum warp in order to have any chance at all of escape.”

           “Okay, Chakotay, we’ll do our best.   I’m shutting down everything but essential systems, weapons and shields.   Torres out.”

           Even before she finished speaking, Chakotay’s hands were dancing across the console.   The Liberty leaped to warp, then rapidly increased speed to maximum in a desperate attempt to outrun the Cardassians.

           Apparently, their maneuver caught their enemy by surprise, as it was nearly thirty seconds before the warship engaged its warp drive.

           But then, the chase was on.

           Desperately, Chakotay pushed his small ship as hard as he dared, but the Cardassians steadily gained on him.

           “Torres to bridge!” came B’Elanna’s desperate shout after nearly an hour.  “Chakotay, the core is redlining; it’s going to overload very soon if we don’t slow down!”

           “Can you hold it together just a little longer?   We’re nearly there!”

           Before she could answer, the entire vessel shook as a phaser shot impacted the shields.   Seconds later, a second and then a third struck, causing one of the consoles to suddenly spark and short out.

           “Aft shields are starting to fail,” reported Ayala.  “One more hit there and we’ll lose them.”

           “I can see the edge of the Badlands!” announced Chakotay.  “If we can just hang on…a few minutes more….”

           A mighty bang shook the bridge as the Liberty abruptly fell out of warp.

           “What happened?!” shouted Chakotay.  “Engineering…!”

           “Aft shields are gone,” reported Ayala.

           “We’ve lost warp drive!” B’Elanna shouted at the same time.   “I’m trying to stabilize the impulse engines…!”

           Throwing the Liberty into a steep dive that strained the inertial dampers, Chakotay struggled to push the ship closer to the safety of the plasma storms.

           A phaser bolt shot past the port bow, just missing the hull.

           Pulling up out of the dive, Chakotay weaved and dodged this way and that, trying every maneuver he knew to hold off the Cardassians.   One more shot, and the Liberty and her crew would be so much space dust.  By some miracle, he was able to continue to evade a direct hit, although several shots came very close, just grazing the ship and nearly sending her spinning out of control.

           “B’Elanna!” he yelled into the comm system.  “I’m losing impulse…!”

           Before she could reply, Ayala called out.  “Entering the Badlands. Watch where you’re going, Chakotay, there’s a storm right in front of us!”

           As he finished speaking, Chakotay dove for the nearest plasma field, jerking the ship to the side at the last minute, barely avoiding a snaking tendril of deadly energy.

           Now powered solely by thrusters, the Liberty flew deeper into the storm, while behind them, the Cardassians fired one last desperate shot.   But instead of hitting the fleeing ship, it ignited a stream of plasma, which enveloped the warship, causing it to explode.

           With a heartfelt sigh of relief, Chakotay slid the little ship out of the plasma field and away from the storm.   For the moment, they were safe.

           “Bridge to Engineering.”

           “Torres here, Chakotay.   I trust that you’ve finished trying to demolish the engines, for now anyway.”

           Chuckling at her sarcasm, he replied.   “For the moment, B’Ela.   So how are they doing?”

           “Warp drive is down until we can get to a base; I haven’t got the parts we need to repair it.   I’m trying to bring impulse back online but it’s going to take close to an hour.    So, don’t cross warp trails with any more Cardassians in the near future, okay?”

           “Okay, B’Elanna, I promise.    We’re heading for the main base now.  The sooner impulse is up and running, the sooner we’ll get there.”

           “Understood.  Torres out.”

           Standing up to stretch tense muscles, Chakotay suddenly remembered their passenger.   In all the commotion accompanying their flight from the Cardassians, he’d completely forgotten about the Starfleet captain currently ensconced in his quarters.

           “Mike, take the con,” he ordered abruptly.  “I’m going below for a while.”

           “Sure,” replied Ayala, moving to the helm.

           Before checking on the captain, however, Chakotay decided he should make a quick tour of the Liberty.   His people were well used to making repairs on the run, but he’d learned long ago that a word of encouragement here and there worked wonders for their morale.   However, his tour took more time than he’d anticipated.

           The various repair teams all had specific problems to be addressed; in addition, Torres went into a detailed explanation about why it was taking longer than expected to bring the engines back online.

           As a result, it was close to an hour before he was finally able to return to his quarters.   When he opened the door, he discovered the captain, still unconscious, lying where he’d left her on his bed.

           Her face seemed somewhat flushed and she moaned softly as she tossed her head restlessly.

           Concerned, he scanned her with the tricorder.   Sure enough, she had a severe concussion, maybe some brain damage as well, although without a medical tricorder, he couldn’t be sure.  Dampening a soft cloth, he carefully wiped her face and hands, before loosening her clothing and pulling off her boots.

           Again, she groaned, louder this time, her body twisting as her hands gripped the blanket covering the bed.

           “Easy, Captain,” murmured Chakotay, hoping the sound of his voice might calm her.  “Don’t toss about so much.   You’re safe here, no one will harm you.   Just relax and take it easy.”

           Over and over, he repeated the words until gradually she began to quiet, her fingers relaxing their grip as her body settled into a more natural sleep.

           Relieved, he pulled the blanket over her, before sitting down in the only chair and stretching out his legs.    His eyes methodically examined her features, noting the firm chin, aristocratic cheekbones, and thin-lipped mouth.     Slowly, his gaze swept over her slim form under the blanket – she certainly wasn’t very big.   But then he remembered her voice, ringing with authority in the bar.    She might be a small woman, but there was nothing small about her personality – ‘forceful’ would best describe the brief glimpse he’d had before the grenade exploded.

           His mind wandered a bit, recalling the strange pull he’d felt towards her when he realized she was staring at him.   Well aware that a captain, even one in the Maquis, should avoid entanglements with his crew, he was usually quite reserved around women, B’Elanna being the sole exception.    Never had he behaved as aggressively as he’d been about to do in the bar.    Shaking his head in wonder at his own odd behaviour, he returned his gaze to the woman before him.   What was it about her?   Why had he felt so drawn to her almost the instant he saw her?     He didn’t know.   And really, he told himself, the whole idea was downright foolish.    ‘She’s a Starfleet captain,’ he reminded himself for the umpteenth time.   ‘She doesn’t have any use for me beyond putting me in her brig.   I have to let go of this…whatever it is.   I have to let go of her.’

           That thought caused so much anguish as to become almost a physical pain.   ‘I can’t!   I can’t let her go!   I need her!”   Growing agitated, he clenched his fists, muttering aloud.   “What is the matter with me?!   It’s as if she’s bewitched me!”

           His thoughts churning around in his head, he sat there for quite some time before the captain started to toss and turn once more.    This time, his voice appeared to have no effect on her.   Worried, he debated what to do.   Kurt Bendera was the ship’s so-called medic, although his skills were quite rudimentary.   Nevertheless, he knew more than Chakotay.

           Moving to the comm panel, he paged him.   “Chakotay to Bendera.”

           After a few seconds, Bendera replied, in a slightly muffled tone.  “I’m here, Chakotay, what do you need?”

           “Can you come to my quarters?”

           “Sure, be right there.   Bendera out.”

           Within five minutes, Kurt was at the door.  “So what did you want to see me about….?”   His voice trailed off as he stepped into the cabin and spotted the occupant of the bed.   For a moment, he stared in astonishment before turning to Chakotay.   “Who’s this?!”

           “She’s a Starfleet captain – ”

           Chakotay got no further before Bendera interrupted him.   “Are you crazy?!   What’s she doing here?!   Did you kidnap her?!”

           “Of course not!” retorted Chakotay disgustedly. “I carried her out of that bar on Badrin before she burned to death!   When the grenade exploded, she was thrown against something, maybe the wall, and knocked out.   I think Tuvok tried to get to her, but it looked as if he got trampled before he could reach her.   I could hardly see anything in the smoke but I’m pretty sure I saw someone dragging him toward the door.   Anyhow, I couldn’t just leave her there to burn, so I went back and got her.”

           Bendera looked unconvinced.  “Why didn’t you put her down somewhere outside, where Starfleet could find her?”

           Chakotay grimaced.  “You weren’t there, Kurt!   It was mass confusion with people running all over the place, screaming hysterically.   She would have been trampled within seconds, before anyone could find her.   And we didn’t have time to look for a safer spot or we would have been captured ourselves.”  His voice softened as he looked at the unconscious woman.  “I had to do something quickly – it seemed that bringing her here was the best solution.   I thought we could get her to Bajor and leave her there, but that alternative’s gone.”  Taking a deep breath, he glanced up.   “I’m worried about her, Kurt, she doesn’t look good at all.”   For a moment, he fell silent before continuing.  “And there’s the crew as well.  Some of them aren’t going to take kindly to the fact we have a Starfleet captain on board, no matter how badly injured she is.   I’m afraid, at the very least, they’ll want to hold her for ransom.”

           Kurt’s eyes were focused on his friend, hearing what Chakotay wasn’t saying.    Many of the crew hated the Federation just as much as Cardassia – they might well demand that, as a Starfleet officer, she should be tried and executed for supposed Federation crimes against their home worlds.   They certainly wouldn’t accept her presence in Chakotay’s quarters.

           “Well, let’s see how she is first.”  Kurt reached for the tricorder and carefully scanned the unconscious woman.    When he finished, he looked up, his expression resigned.   “It doesn’t look good, man.   She’s got a bad concussion and probably some kind of brain injury as well.    Her heart rate is fluctuating and her pulse is thready.    I don’t think she’s going to make it.”   His eyes returned to study her face.   “Too bad – she looks like an interesting woman.   Pretty, too.”

           Following Bendera’s gaze, Chakotay nodded before frowning in concentration.

           Watching the change of expressions on his friend’s face, Kurt began to get a very nasty feeling.   “Hey man, you’re not going to do something stupid, are you?”

           But Chakotay’s attention was focused on the captain and he didn’t answer.

           Getting no reply, Bendera got to his feet and walked out.

           Staring down at the bed, Chakotay didn’t even hear him leave or the door close behind him.    His entire attention was centered on the woman before him as he wondered what he was going to do.
 

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           Early the following morning, the Liberty finally reached the planetoid where the Maquis base was located.

           Having stayed up all night with the Starfleet captain, Chakotay was feeling very tired and looking forward to a bit of downtime.    However, as soon as the ship had settled into orbit, he received a message from one of the other captains that a meeting was scheduled almost immediately to hear about the Liberty’s most recent foray as well as plan the next raid.   Following a quick meal, he beamed down to the main base, a series of natural caves which had been enlarged to use both as a base of operations for the Maquis as well as a repair depot of sorts for their overworked ships.

           Unfortunately, he had to report that the supply of weapons he’d hoped to find on Badrin had actually led to a Starfleet trap, which he and Torres had barely escaped.    Unsure of how the news of a Starfleet captain in their midst would be received, Chakotay decided to remain silent about her presence on his ship.  There was no way of knowing whether the other captains might decide to forcibly remove her from his ship and hold her hostage.  Since most of his own crew had remained unaware of her presence, he didn’t think it likely anyone else would discover her, in the short term, anyway.

           As he had been unable to procure any arms, with the present acute shortage of weapons, the captains found themselves unable to devise any kind of plan for attack.   Very quickly, the meeting turned into a discussion on ways and means of acquiring armaments as well as other supplies.  After a lengthy debate, it was agreed to suspend raiding for the time being until ships could be repaired and a new source of weapons discovered.

           Exhausted, Chakotay returned to the Liberty at the conclusion of the meeting and headed immediately to engineering to tell Torres that, for once, she had time to make as many repairs as she could find parts for.

           Grinning in anticipation, she promised that by the time she’d finished, he wouldn’t recognize his ship.

           “Do whatever you like, B’Elanna,” he declared wearily, “as long as she can outrun the Cardassians, that’s all I ask.”

           “I’ll have her running rings around any Galor-class warship,” boasted Torres, “you’ll see.”   Her voice dropped.   “Have you decided what to do about the captain?”

           His brow furrowed as he shook his head.  “No, I’m going to check on her now.”

           “You can’t keep her a secret indefinitely, Chakotay.”

           “I know, B’Ela,” he sighed, his voice close to cracking with exhaustion.  “I know.”  Turning, he moved toward the door, his gait much slower than his usual brisk step.

           Biting her lip, B’Elanna watched him with concern until the door slid closed behind him.   However, she knew there was nothing she could do to help.   Best to get to work on the ship – the sooner the Liberty was in fighting trim once more, the better for all of them.

           Trudging into his quarters, Chakotay moved to the captain’s side, studying her face carefully.   A tricorder scan confirmed his suspicions – she was definitely worse.    “I can’t do anything for you here,” he muttered to her in frustration, “we don’t have the equipment, medicines, not even a proper medical tricorder.   But, if I don’t find a way to help you, you’ll die.   What am I going to do?”

           Her eyelids fluttered weakly and she moaned; for a moment, he thought she was regaining consciousness, but her eyes stayed closed.

           “I don’t even know your name and yet, I feel such a bond with you, such a connection,” he continued aloud. “How can that be?   Somehow, it seems as if I’ve been waiting my whole life for you.   And you sensed it, too, I know you did, I could see it on your face.  For one moment, there was no Starfleet, no Maquis, just us.”   Reaching down, he gently stroked her cheek.  “I wish…I wish we had met under different circumstances.”

           Again, she groaned softly, as though in pain.

           “Easy now,” he soothed.  “Try to relax.”

           As it had the day before, his voice seemed to calm her, as her head settled into the pillow.   However, within minutes, she was moaning again, twisting in obvious discomfort, and this time Chakotay couldn’t quiet her down.

           “What do I do, Captain?   I can’t let you die.”  He sighed heavily, knowing deep down that only one course of action would save her life.   Rising to his feet, he moved to the comm panel on the wall.

           “Chakotay to Torres.”

           “Torres here.”

           “There are several old shuttles down at the base.   Find the oldest one and prepare it for launch.   Since we’re stuck here, I might as well do a little reconnaissance.”

           For several seconds, there was silence on the comm line before she replied.   “Chakotay, does this have something to do with…?”

           He cut her off abruptly.  “Just do it, B’Elanna.”

           Again, she hesitated briefly.   “Sure, Chakotay.  I’ll let you know when it’s ready.”

           “Thanks.  Chakotay out.”
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           It was nearly an hour later before B’Elanna paged him to announce the shuttle was ready.

           Chakotay had done everything he could to prepare the captain for their journey, collecting a full hypospray and making sure the modified tricorder was attached to his belt.    Wrapping a blanket around her, he picked her up carefully, then, to avoid being seen, asked Torres for a site-to-site transport to the shuttle.   Moments later, together with his burden, he dissolved in the transporter beam.

           As he moved to the front of the small vessel, the captain stirred, apparently roused by the motion.    Her eyes slowly opened and she turned her head, obviously trying to determine where she was.    “What’s going on?” she whispered weakly, her voice hoarse.   “Where am I?”

           “Easy, Captain,” replied Chakotay, “you were badly hurt in the bar on Badrin.   I’m trying to get you to a place where your injuries can be tended.”  As he settled her into the copilot’s seat, he continued soothingly.   “Don’t worry, no one’s going to harm you.”

           Even in a whisper, her voice rang with authority as she demanded answers.   “Tell me what you’re doing.”

           He continued to secure her in the chair as he answered.   “I’ll explain everything in a few minutes, but let’s get underway first, okay?”  His eyes slid to hers and he held her gaze, trying to project confidence and trust.

           After a moment, she nodded slightly, and leaned back into her seat.

           Quickly taking his own seat, Chakotay powered up the engine, then hailed the Liberty.   “Chakotay to Ayala.”

           “Ayala here.”

           “I’m going out to look around for a bit, Mike.   You have the bridge until I get back.   And tell Torres I expect her to be finished by the time I return.”

           There was a chuckle in reply.   “Sure, Chakotay, I’ll tell her.  Otherwise, she’ll be tinkering with those engines for the next year.”

           He answered with a chuckle of his own.   “You got it, Mike.   See you in a day or so.   Chakotay out.”

           As he cut the comm link, he lifted off from the base and engaged impulse drive.    In seconds, he was clear of the planetoid and setting a course for Bajor.   Turning to face the captain, he opened his mouth to start explaining the situation before realizing she had lapsed into unconsciousness once more.   Sighing, he faced forward, hoping she would be able to hold on until he could get her to a doctor and proper medical care.
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           Two days later, Chakotay approached Deep Space Nine.

           Originally, he had planned to take the captain to a hospital on Bajor.   However, since the planet was still recovering from fifty years of Cardassian occupation, the medical facilities there were somewhat rudimentary.     Since they’d left the Badlands, her condition had gradually worsened to the point where he knew he’d have to bring her to a Starfleet medical facility, even though the risk of capture would increase considerably.

           Twice during their journey, she’d regained consciousness for brief periods.   Each time, he’d given her a bit of water, enough to ease her thirst, but no more than that.  As well, the second time, he was able to carry on a short conversation with her, long enough to reassure her that he was seeking help and to learn that her name was Kathryn Janeway.

           “My mission was to capture you and as many of your crew as we could,” she chuckled sardonically, “but it ended up the other way around.  You captured me.”

           Chakotay had laughed at that, but before he could retort in kind, her eyes slid closed and she faded back into unconsciousness again.

           “Hang on, Kathryn Janeway,” he muttered desperately.  “Just hang on until I can get you there.”

              Now, as he neared the station hanging in the blackness of space, he debated the best method of approach.   There were several moons nearby, he noticed.   Perhaps, he could hide the shuttle in the shadow of one of them until a larger vessel appeared.  Then, he could slide in behind it, tucked in its wake until he was close enough to beam Janeway onto the station.

           Time was of the essence, however – he couldn’t wait long.

           Luckily, soon after he placed his little ship close to the nearest moon, a big freighter appeared.   Slipping out from concealment, he flew the shuttle directly underneath the larger ship so he was screened by its sensor shadow.    As they neared the station, he was able to scan the interior until he located the infirmary.   Quickly, he slid out of his seat and unfastened Janeway from hers, then laid her down on the floor of the shuttle.

           Diving back into his chair, he set the coordinates and locked onto her.   Moments later, she disappeared in the transporter beam.   ‘Time to go,’ he told himself.  He could do no more for her.

           As the freighter prepared to dock, he slipped away, dodging around one pylon and below another before heading back to his hiding spot.   After several minutes, with no signs of pursuit, he breathed a sigh of relief and set a course for the far side of Bajor.

           On arrival, he waited until dark before landing the shuttle in a secluded area where there were few inhabitants.    After cutting power and darkening all lights, he remained inside watching for nearly half an hour until he was sure no one had followed him.   Only then did he open the hatch and step outside, breathing deeply, filling his lungs with fresh air.

           For several minutes, he wandered around the shuttle, checking the hull, then set a perimeter alarm and pulled out a bedroll.   Tonight he would sleep in the open, as he had so often during his boyhood on Dorvan Five.
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           For nearly a full day, Chakotay remained where he’d landed, enjoying the feel of solid ground under his feet.   By late afternoon, he was reminding himself that he should be heading back to the Badlands; his crew would be concerned at his continued absence.

           ‘And what about Kathryn Janeway?’ whispered his treacherous heart.  ‘You know you want to find out what’s happened to her.’

           ‘No,’ declared his head firmly.  ‘You’ve done all you can for her.   It’s time to go.   Now!’

           ‘But don’t you want to know how she is?  Shouldn’t you at least see if she’s still alive?!’

           His heart won.  Succumbing to temptation, praying he wasn’t making a huge mistake, he decided to detour by Deep Space Nine first on his way back to the Maquis.   Hopefully, the gods of chance would be kind and not let him be caught.
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           Meanwhile, on the space station, Doctor Bashir, the chief medical officer, had been very startled by the sudden appearance in his infirmary of an unknown Starfleet captain, unconscious and obviously gravely ill.    Quickly, he alerted Commander Sisko, the senior Starfleet officer on Deep Space Nine, of his unexpected patient before setting about to examine her.   By the time Sisko and Odo, the chief of security, hurried in a few minutes later, he was able to give them a preliminary report.

           “This woman has suffered a serious brain injury,” began Bashir.   “From what I’ve been able to discover so far, it occurred several days ago, perhaps even a week.   As to who she is, or where she came from, I don’t know.   However, since it would appear she is a Starfleet officer, a DNA scan should establish her identity.”

           “That won’t be necessary, Doctor, I know she is,” replied Sisko sadly.   “Her name is Kathryn Janeway.   She stopped here briefly two weeks ago.”  Glancing at Odo, he continued.  “She’s the captain of Voyager.”

           Although her identity meant nothing to Bashir, it obviously did to Odo.   Moving closer to the biobed, he examined the captain closely, before stepping back again and addressing Bashir.   “Besides the injury to her brain, has she suffered any other injuries?” he asked abruptly.

           “Not really,” replied the doctor.  “There are some faded bruises around her left ribcage and hip, as if she’d fallen hard, but other than those – nothing.  Why do you ask?”

           For a moment, Odo remained silent.   “We have reason to believe she was abducted by the Maquis.   She was involved in an operation on Badrin to capture the renegade Chakotay, but the bar where she led a security team was fire-bombed just after they entered.   In the confusion, she disappeared, and despite exhaustive searches, no trace of her could be found.   The only conclusion her crew could come to was that the Maquis had taken her, possibly as a hostage.”   His eyes returned speculatively to Janeway.  “But that would now appear to be erroneous.”

           “Based on what you’ve learned so far, Doctor,” cut in Sisko, “what’s your prognosis?”

           “Well, at the moment, it’s hard to say.   I’ve managed to stabilize her condition but I’ll need to run several tests before I can make a definite diagnosis.   Look at it this way, Commander, she’s still alive, and considering the extent of her injury, that’s something of a miracle in itself.”  His face softened.  “Whether or not she was abducted by the Maquis, whoever brought her here has saved her life.   Without treatment, she wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”

           Staring down at the biobed, Sisko pondered the facts.  “We need to discover how she got here.   That’s the first thing.   Maybe then, we’ll be able to figure out the rest of the story.”  He turned to Odo.  “Constable, work with Dax.   I want a report as soon as possible.   I’ve got a hunch that whoever brought her here is going to come back to check on her, and if they do….”   His voice trailed off.

           “You think it was a Maquis?”  Bashir was surprised.

           “I think it’s a good possibility.   She certainly didn’t get here by herself, did she?”

           “No,” replied the doctor.  “There’s no way she would have been able to pilot any sort of craft herself.”

           “Then someone else did and I want to know who it is.”  Sisko began to turn for the door, then paused.   “And Doctor, I want to be informed as soon as she regains consciousness.  Understood?”

           “Aye, sir.”  Bashir was already bending over his patient.

           “She should have an interesting story to tell, don’t you think, Constable?” remarked Sisko, as he and Odo left the infirmary.

           “Indeed.”  Odo glanced back briefly.  “And hopefully, we’ll hear it soon.  However, in the meantime, I’ll get to work on learning how she arrived.”
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           Several hours later, Doctor Bashir straightened from his hunched position over the biobed where Janeway lay.   Stretching his arms, he tried to work the kinks out of his back and shoulders.   It had been delicate work, rebuilding several of her neural pathways and repairing the damage caused by the impact of her head on something very hard, possibly a wall or floor.   However, he was satisfied that she would make a full recovery, thanks in no small part to her mysterious benefactor who had delivered her to the station.  “You’re a lucky lady, Captain,” he muttered as he checked the diagnostic panel behind the biobed.  “Another hour and it would have been too late.  I wonder if you know who it was….”

           Moving to his desk to begin his log, he remembered to contact Sisko.  “She’ll be fine, Commander,” he reported in a pleased tone.  “Although how much she’ll remember, I don’t know.   From the gravity of her injury, I expect she was unconscious most of the time from the moment she suffered it.”

           “Understood, Doctor, and thank you,” replied Sisko.  “And you’ll call me when she wakes.”

           “Certainly, sir, but that won’t be for some time yet.  She’s sleeping now and I have no intention of rousing her.”  Bashir’s tone was firm.

           “Very well.  Sisko out.”

           Just as the connection broke, the commander’s combadge chirped again.   “Odo to Sisko.   I think we’ve found something.”

           “On my way.”

           Quickly, Sisko rounded his desk, heading out the door and down the steps into the ops centre where Dax and Odo were examining a still image taken from a security system mounted on an upper pylon.  As he approached, Dax stepped back to allow him room to see.

           “If you look here,” began Odo, pointing to a dark shadow barely visible in the larger shadow of one of the lower pylons, “you can see what would appear to be a small vessel, such as a shuttle.   The time frame places it just about exactly when Captain Janeway appeared in the infirmary.”

           Sisko frowned.  “Can you enhance the image?”

           “Not very much,” replied Dax.  “Whether intentionally or not, the pilot was able to avoid being seen by every other camera on the station.   This was the only one that picked up the ship at all.”

           Studying the indistinct image more closely, Sisko was momentarily silent before answering.  “It’s the sort of flying a Maquis pilot would do, isn’t it?”

           “That thought did cross our minds,” replied Dax.

           Straightening up, Sisko turned to face the other two.   “I want you to keep a sharp eye peeled for anything suspicious, whether it’s a small ship or someone coming from Bajor who seems a little odd.   Anything!”

           Dax nodded and turned to her console.

           “I’ll alert my people,” promised Odo, “and make sure they run extra checks of every stranger arriving on the station.”

           “Very good, Constable,” replied Sisko.   “I’ll be in my office.”
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           Shortly after lunch the following day, Doctor Bashir was able to page Commander Sisko to inform him Captain Janeway was awake and anxious to see him.

           Hurriedly, Sisko made his way to the infirmary; maybe now, he would finally get some answers.    He arrived to find the captain not only conscious but eager to be released from Bashir’s care.

           Janeway might be small physically, but as Bashir was quickly discovering, she had a forceful personality and a will of iron.   “I’m fine, Doctor,” she informed him firmly.  “You’ve done a wonderful job patching me up, for which I’m very grateful, but now I want to leave.   Surely there must be guest quarters I could use until my ship can come for me.”

           Grinning, Sisko moved forward, interrupting them.   “I think we can find you something, Captain, as soon as the good doctor says you may go.”
He quirked an eyebrow at Bashir.

           The doctor conceded the captain could be released to rest in quarters.  “But no work of any kind,” he added firmly, “or else you’ll find yourself right back here –  behind a forcefield, if necessary!”

           Now that she knew she was escaping, Janeway was all smiles.  “I assure you, Doctor, I will follow your instructions to the letter,” she promised.

           “Very well.   But I’ll be along later this evening to see how you’re doing and I want you back here tomorrow morning for a complete checkup.  And if, at any time, you get a headache, even a slight twinge, you’re to return immediately.  I mean it, Captain.”

           “Yessir!” She saluted cheerfully, before sliding off the biobed.  “Where can I get dressed?”

           Bashir handed over her uniform before indicating a change room nearby.

           When she reappeared, she thanked him again before taking Sisko’s arm.  “Well, Commander, lead the way.”

           As they walked slowly down the corridor to the turbolift, Sisko began the conversation casually.   “I’m glad you’ve made such a quick recovery, Captain Janeway.   The doctor was very concerned when you first arrived in such an…unusual fashion, you might say.”

           She quirked an eyebrow at him.  “Oh?  And what sort of fashion was that, Commander Sisko?”

           “You appeared in the infirmary, seemingly out of nowhere.  Obviously, you were transported from somewhere, but we have been unable to definitely confirm what ship brought you here.   Would you be able to shed any light on that?”

           Frowning, Janeway gazed at the floor in concentration.   “I don’t remember very much,” she began in response, “mostly disconnected images.”

           Entering the lift, Sisko called for the deck containing guest quarters.   In a moment, the door opened to show a long corridor in front of them, gradually curving out of sight.

           Taking a deep breath, Janeway grasped Sisko’s arm a bit tighter.

           “Are you all right?” he asked in concern, realizing she might not be as recovered as she’d seemed in the infirmary.

           “I’m fine,” she replied automatically, before adding with a small grimace.  “But I’ll be glad to sit down.”

           Stopping before a door, he keyed in a code.  “Here we are then.”   He ushered her inside and got her settled on a couch before moving to the replicator.   “Can I get you anything?”

           “A cup of coffee would be wonderful!” she replied fervently.   “And maybe a glass of water as well.  I’m feeling a bit lightheaded.”

           Bringing both items to the table beside the couch, he paused, unsure whether he should continue his questions, before deciding he could easily come back later.    “I’m going to leave you now, Captain,” he announced.  “I hope you’ll get some rest as the doctor suggested.  I want to talk to you some more about your experiences; if you’re up to it, perhaps you could join my son and I for dinner this evening.”

           “Thank you, Commander, that is most kind of you.   However, if you don’t mind, could I have a rain check?   Don’t tell the doctor, but I’m feeling rather tired right now, and I think I’d like to rest for a while.  Could we make it tomorrow night instead?”

           “Of course.  In the meantime, if there’s anything you need that you can’t get from the replicator, please contact me at once.”

           Reaching for the water, Janeway nodded.   “Thanks, I’ll do that.”

           When Sisko had gone, she sipped slowly at the glass of water, reflecting on all she could remember of events since the disastrous raid on Badrin.   She had been telling the truth when she said she didn’t recall very much.  Indeed, the only clear memory she had was on the shuttle talking to Chakotay, when he’d explained he was bringing her here for medical treatment.

           Something in Sisko’s eyes had alerted her to the fact that his questions were far less innocuous than they seemed.   There had been an intensity there out of all proportion to his casual tone of voice.    She remembered hearing how, a year earlier, Sisko had been betrayed by one of his oldest friends, Commander Cal Hudson, who had actually been working for the Maquis.    Sisko would have no love for members of the resistance, she was sure, especially those who had formerly served in Starfleet.    Chakotay’s good deed in bringing her here would probably count for very little in Sisko’s estimation.

           At the thought of the Maquis captain, she lay back against the cushions, reflecting on the strange connection between them.   She was a practical woman, a scientist, not given to overpowering emotional experiences.   Her few love affairs had been conducted sensibly, with a certain degree of comfort on both sides.   She’d never been one to be swept off her feet….   So what had happened on Badrin?  Why had she been so drawn to this man as soon as she saw him?   None of it made any sense, and yet she couldn’t deny what she felt.   From the moment her eyes met his, she’d known he was destined to become a part of her life.

           Sighing, she pondered her conundrum.   She was a Starfleet officer, duty bound to uphold the laws of the Federation, not to fall in love with one of its enemies.  Putting down the glass, she picked up the coffee cup, inhaling the scent of good, strong Colombian brew, letting the fumes soothe her tired brain.   Somehow, before dinner tomorrow night, she’d have to decide just how much she was going to tell Commander Sisko.
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           While Captain Janeway puzzled over her mixed emotions, Chakotay was working his way back to Deep Space Nine.   Having flown his shuttle to an auxiliary spaceport where the authorities were known to be sympathetic to the Maquis, he’d left it there and taken public transport to the main spaceport which serviced the space station.   Along the way, he acquired some cheap goods as well as a large cloak, all designed to make him appear to be an itinerant trader, the sort of nondescript person who could be found all over the Alpha Quadrant.  As well, he’d picked up a jar of concealing makeup, which served to effectively hide his tattoo.

           A DNA scan would reveal his true identity at once; however, he was counting on losing himself in the hordes of peddlers and travelers that moved constantly back and forth to the station.    With any luck, he could slip through security, discover Janeway’s location, see for himself that she was all right and be gone before anyone else was aware he was there.   That the captain herself might betray him never crossed his mind, and if it had, he would have dismissed it at once.   There was a deep and immutable bond between them that transcended any considerations of duty – he knew he would be safe with her.

           His plan worked just as he’d hoped and by the day following Janeway’s release to guest quarters, Chakotay was on board the daily transport to the station.   Crowded in between several others, similarly attired, he remained silent as conversation flowed back and forth in a desultory manner over his head.

           When he heard the announcement of their impending arrival, he made sure to stick close to a group preparing to disembark together.

           He felt a gentle bump as the ship docked, followed by the rumble of the two airlocks opening.  Rising to his feet, he stumbled slightly as the crowd pushed forward.    As he followed the others onto the station, several security officers stopped each person to wave an electronic wand over them, obviously searching for weapons.   Chakotay thanked his lucky stars he’d left his phaser behind.

           “What’s your business here?” demanded the officer closest to him.

           “I’m with them,” replied Chakotay submissively, gesturing to the group ahead of him.  “We’re trying to see what we can trade….”   Letting his voice trail off, he hoped the officer wouldn’t ask more specific questions.  As he paused, the man behind bumped into him, obviously pushed forward by the burgeoning crowd still coming off the transport.

           The officer glanced at him once more, then nodded.  “Away you go, then.”

           Quickly, Chakotay caught up to the group ahead of him, then, at the first opportunity, slipped aside.   A quick check of a public directory showed him the location of the infirmary.   Wasting no time, he hurried directly to it, but on arrival, was disappointed to find it empty.   For a moment, he paused, trying to decide how he might learn Janeway’s location.  Had she left already? Or, his throat caught, had she died?!    No, he would have known, he was sure of it.

           While he stood hesitantly in the open doorway, a Starfleet officer suddenly appeared in front of him.   “Hello, I’m Doctor Bashir.   Is there something I can help you with?”

           Desperately, Chakotay tried to think of some plausible excuse.  “I, uh, no, I was just looking for a friend of mine, but obviously sh…he isn’t here.   I thought he’d been injured in a bar fight last night, but I guess I was mistaken.”   He shrugged deprecatingly.  “I was kind of drunk at the time, so it’s all a bit hazy.”

           Suddenly intent, Bashir peered at him closely, but Chakotay held his ground, careful to keep his expression rather stupid.   The doctor nodded and glanced behind him at the biobeds.   “Well, as you can see, the place is empty.  And no one was in here last night, either.   Maybe your friend treated himself.    Do you know where he’s staying?  What’s his name?”  Bashir accessed a roster of the occupants of guest quarters, then looked around expectantly.

           Moving forward to stand beside him, Chakotay squinted at the list carefully.   There she was – Janeway, K.  Quickly, he noted the cabin number, then peered myopically at every name before shaking his head.   “His name is Darma Tran but I don’t see it there.   I thought he was going to stay here for several more days but maybe he went back to Bajor.”  Sidling towards the door, he mumbled, “Thanks, Doc, guess I made a trip for nothing.”

           Bashir was already turning away.   “No problem.  Hope you find him.”

           “Yeah.”   A minute later, Chakotay was out the door, shuffling down the hall to the main promenade.   He continued to maintain the pretense of an itinerant loafer until he was sure no one was watching, then slid behind a large pillar before heading for the nearest turbolift.

           Moments later, he was standing outside Janeway’s quarters.
 

                                         =^= =^= =^= =^= =^= =^=
 

           Inside, Kathryn was propped against one of the viewports, staring vacantly into space as she tried yet again to recall her time with the Maquis.   She had told Commander Sisko the truth when she said she remembered very little.    Really, the only clear memories she had were two brief conversations with Chakotay on the shuttle, when he had tried to reassure her that he was seeking help.   She could definitely identify her benefactor, but other than that, she knew nothing.   And yet, a gut feeling told her that even that scrap of information might prove dangerous to him.

           While still trying to make up her mind, the door chime sounded in the stillness, startling her.   “It’s probably the doctor, checking up on me,” she muttered to the empty room, as she turned around, calling for the door to open.

           However, instead of Doctor Bashir, a large, cloaked figure stood in the entrance.   “Don’t be afraid,” came a male voice from the depths of a hood pulled forward.   “I won’t hurt you.”

           By the time the voice had stopped speaking, Kathryn had recognized it.   “Chakotay!” she whispered, horrified.   Quickly, she hurried forward to grasp the edge of his cloak and pull him in, allowing the door to slide closed.  “What are you doing here?!”

           Tossing back the hood, he gazed down at her, drinking in her features.   “I had to find out how you were,” he explained.  “I couldn’t leave until I knew if you were all right.”   His eyes were riveted to hers, until she felt herself drowning in his stare.

           “I’m fine, thanks to you,” she replied softly.   “You saved my life.  I don’t know how I can ever repay you….”   Her voice wavered as she saw him dismiss her words.

           “You’re alive,” he murmured, “that’s repayment enough.”  Moving a step forward, his hands came up to grasp her arms.   “I feel so drawn to you, and I don’t understand why.”

           Kathryn’s hands slid over his chest.  “I feel the same.   From the moment I saw you in that bar on Badrin, I’ve felt such an incredible connection to you.   It makes no sense, and yet, it’s too powerful to dismiss.”

           Chakotay bent his head, letting his mouth hover just above hers. “Perhaps you’re an enchantress because it feels like you’ve cast some sort of spell over me.”

           “If that’s true,” whispered Kathryn against his lips, “then you’re as much of an enchanter as I am.”

           Closing the last gap between them, his lips brushed across hers very lightly, just the merest caress.

           Moaning deep in her throat, she stretched up enough to deepen the kiss just as the door chime sounded again.

           Gasping in surprise, they remained still for a second, staring at each other in consternation, before Chakotay gently loosened his hold.    “You have to answer it,” he smiled ruefully.

           Eyes huge, she stared at him in trepidation.   “I don’t want to,” came her desperate reply.

           Turning her towards the door, he gave her a little push, as the chime rang again.   “But you have to,” he repeated.

           Sighing once, she straightened, stiffening her spine.   “Enter.”

           The door slid open to reveal Commander Sisko, Odo and several security officers.

           “Sorry to disturb you, Captain,” began Sisko.  “DNA scans indicate there’s a Maquis rebel named Chakotay on the station.   I became concerned for your safety in case he was the one who brought you here.   With your permission, I’d like to search your quarters.”

           Although Sisko’s tone remained respectful, there was no question in his listeners’ minds that he wouldn’t take no for an answer.   Whether Janeway liked it or not, her quarters would be searched.

           Chakotay stepped forward from the entrance to the bedroom.   “There’s no need to bother the captain further.   I’ll give myself up.  She doesn’t know who I am,” he continued, using her horrified gasp to try to convince Sisko she had no knowledge of his presence.  By the skeptical look on the other’s face, he suspected he wasn’t very successful.

           The commander stared at him intently.  “Are you the person who brought her here?”  At Chakotay’s nod, Sisko continued.   “Why did you come back?”

           “I wanted to know if she had recovered from her injuries,” he shrugged.

           “You must have known coming here could well cost you your freedom.”

           “I knew.”

           Glancing at Odo, Sisko gave the order.  “Arrest him.”

           Reluctantly, Odo stepped forward.   “Hold out your hands, please.”  As he snapped on restraints, he intoned.  “Captain Chakotay, I hereby place you under arrest for crimes against an ally of the Federation, namely Cardassia.”

           Although up to that moment, she’d made no sound, at his words, Kathryn couldn’t suppress a small gasp of horror.

           Turning his head, Chakotay smiled sadly at her, then moved to follow Odo and the others into the corridor.

           A moment later, the door slid closed, leaving Janeway alone once more.
 

   End Part 1                                                                                                            Part 2
 

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