Disclaimer: Still and always, Paramount’s

Rating:  PG-13

Notes:  This story refers to the sixth season episode “Good Shepherd” and uses one of the characters from it. 

 

 ONE LOST, ONE GAINED
 

By Mary S.
 
 

           In the seventh year of their long journey home, the command team of Voyager finally broke through the last barriers between them, and began an intimate relationship.  No one was quite sure just when or how it had happened, but not long after the ship was fractured into numerous time zones, the crew became aware that the captain and commander were now a couple in every way.

           Approval was instant and unanimous – “about time!” being the most common exclamation.  Although discreet at first, by the end of a month, the commander had moved his belongings to the captain’s quarters and was openly living with her.  Both were so obviously happy that not even the most cynical could begrudge them their joy.  And once they made it clear that there would be no alteration in their professional relationship, everyone soon accepted their changed circumstances.  Life continued on.

           One of the captain’s favourite exercises was an occasional excursion down to deck 15, to the plasma relay room, to visit Crewman Mortimer Harren.  Mr. Harren was one of the three, and certainly the most prickly, ‘lost sheep’ whom she had taken under her wing the previous year.  And although the other two, Billy Telfer and Tal Celes, had integrated nicely into the crew, with a little encouragement, Mr. Harren obstinately continued to remain on the outside – a loner.  Since Mohammed wouldn’t come to the mountain, she reasoned, the mountain must travel down to the lower decks.

           She found that she enjoyed these expeditions far more than she had expected.  Mr. Harren had a keen, inquiring mind and he loved nothing better than to show it off in a good debate, liberally sprinkled with obscure scientific references.  In truth, only the captain, herself a proficient scientist, was able to keep up with him.

           Chakotay had asked her several times what on earth she found so interesting down there, but she replied that she liked to exercise her debating muscles, and Mr. Harren certainly proved a worthy opponent.  Besides, if she didn’t maintain a connection with him, no one else would.

           For his part, Mortimer Harren, despite his cynical façade, was actually flattered that the captain would come and visit him.  He enjoyed their verbal skirmishes, making no effort to hold back out of deference for her rank.  He was not in awe of her captaincy, but had a high regard for her intelligence.  He knew how busy she had to be, and appreciated that she would, nevertheless, find time for him.

           Of course, he never told her or indicated in any way just how much he enjoyed her company.  But she knew.

         ______________________________________________________
 

           It was another slow day on the bridge when Captain Janeway remarked to her first officer, as she rose from her chair and stretched, that she rather thought she would go for a stroll.  He grinned up at her knowingly.

           “Down to deck 15?”

           “Could be.”

           “Give Mr. Harren my regards.”

           “I’ll do that.  You have the bridge.”

           She entered the turbolift but instead of 15, called for deck 5.  A few minutes later, she entered sickbay and activated the EMH.

           “Captain?” queried the doctor.  “What can I do for you?”

           “I would like you to run a few scans, check me over.” 

           His eyebrows rose, and he muttered,  “Well, this is a first.  You coming to me.  Is there anything in particular I should be looking for?”

           “Just – run the scans, Doctor.  Without the commentary.”

           He subsided and did as she requested, without saying anything more beyond the occasional ‘hmmm’, until suddenly, he stopped with a grunt of surprise.  He passed the tricorder over her midsection again, stared at the results, then closed it with something of a snap.

           “I suspect, Captain, that you already know what I’m about to tell you.”

           She looked up apprehensively.  “Then it’s true?”

           “Yes.  You’re pregnant, about ten weeks along, I would say.  Have you had any symptoms beyond the obvious?”

           “Just a sort of malaise – not sick, but not really well, either.  And very tired.  I thought at first it was because,” she hesitated, then went on, “because of my ‘altered living arrangements’.”

           The doctor interpreted that to mean because Chakotay had moved into her quarters.  Although sorely tempted, he forebore making any sarcastic remarks, knowing they would not be appreciated.

           “How are you feeling now?” he asked instead.

            “Fine – today.”

           “Your health is good for someone of your age, in her first pregnancy.  I’ll set up a dietary regimen for you and a list of requirements to ensure a healthy child.  You will need plenty of rest, no working extra shifts – and no coffee.”

           Her face fell.  “None?!  Not even one cup a day?!”

           “None,” he replied sternly.  “And I’ll know if you cheat, so don’t.”  He paused to let that sink in, before continuing.  “I’ll want to see you every week for the next little while; we may be able to increase the intervals to two weeks in the second trimester, then back to weekly visits in the third.”

           “Yes, Doctor.”  She actually sounded meek. 

           “Is there anything else, Captain?”

           “Just one thing.  The commander doesn’t know yet – I want to surprise him, so please don’t tell anyone.  When we’re ready, we’ll announce it to the crew.”

           “Certainly, Captain.   And I’ll encode your medical files so that no one can access them surreptitiously.”  She knew he meant Tom Paris, who occasionally still displayed a streak of mischief, despite his marriage and impending fatherhood.

           “Thank you, Doctor.  I appreciate that.”  She got off the biobed, taking the padd.  “I’ll come in next week.”

           She had started for the door, when he called to her.  “And Captain?  Congratulations!”  She gave him a smile of thanks and strode out, head high, confident as always, every inch the captain.  The doctor smiled fondly after her.

           Captain and crewman had just gotten comfortably settled into another debate on abstract theories when a fleet of several small fighter craft appeared out of nowhere, sweeping in at full throttle, weapons firing.  Voyager rocked and bounced with the force of several direct hits before the shields came up automatically.  Fortunately, their firepower was not enough to cause lethal damage with just one round, but they did wreak significant havoc, the three lowest decks taking the brunt of the attack.

           On deck 15, Janeway and Harren were thrown to the floor as pieces of bulkhead, consoles and various other equipment were flung on top of them, burying them both.  Harren was the first to come ‘round.

           Dazed and muddled, he couldn’t think at first where he was.  Gradually, his senses cleared and he realized that the ship was yet again staring disaster in the face.  He wondered vaguely what trick the captain had up her sleeve this time – captain!  Oh no!  She was here – somewhere.

           He shouldered aside debris, feeling around frantically with his hands.  Emergency lighting had come on, but it was very dim; he could barely make out shapes.  His cozy domain had been shattered, leaving an unrecognizable mess.

           Venturing a little farther, his left hand suddenly encountered a warm body.  That must be her.  He inched closer, feeling carefully – leg, hip – he couldn’t reach any higher as a fallen beam blocked his way.  It lay right across her middle, pinning her in place.  He tapped her leg to determine if she was conscious, calling her at the same time.

           “Captain?  Captain?!”  more urgently.  Nothing.  He tried again.  “Captain!!”  That got a faint moan.  Good, she was coming to.

           “Captain!  Wake up!”

           “Wha….?  Where…..?”  Silence again.

           He remembered his commbadge and tapped it hurriedly, only to be met with static.  He tried again, to make sure – silence.

           “Captain!  You have to wake up!  You have to help me!”  He was starting to get really frightened, terrified that she was dying and he couldn’t contact anyone.  He decided to try to reach the door, but as he began to scramble over the wreckage, it shifted enough to completely block access.  And the jeffries tube was beside it.  He couldn’t get to that, either.  Damn!

           ‘All right’, he began to work it out, ‘they’ll come looking for us.  The best thing is to try to free the captain, see how badly she’s hurt’.   He knelt down beside Janeway again, feeling the beam this time, trying to decide if he could shift it.  Hmm.  Probably not, but he might be able to lift it enough for her to wriggle out.  If she was conscious.  If she could move.

           He was opening his mouth to call her again when the ship plummeted, then rolled.  The beam tilted, he grabbed her legs and pulled back as hard as he could, freeing her from its grasp.  Just in time, too, as Voyager rolled back and it crashed down again.  But by then, he had her clear.

           He ran his hands over her hair – no blood, but she could have a concussion.  He called her again.  This time, she came to, groaning in pain.

           “Where….are….we?” she mumbled weakly.

           “We’re on deck 15, Captain.  You were trapped under some wreckage, but the ship tilted enough that I was able to pull you out.  How do you feel?”

           There was a pause before she answered.  “Very sore….hurts….” her voice faded.

           “Can you tell me where it hurts?”

           Her back arched suddenly as she cried out in agony.  Her hands clutched at her abdomen and she screamed again, then fainted.

           Harren was close to panic.  He tried to rouse her again, to no avail.  Frightened, flustered at not knowing what to do, he became angry and started yelling at her.

           “Damn you, Captain!  You’ve done it again, haven’t you!  Landed us in another mess!  And I can’t help you, I don’t know what’s wrong!  Talk to me, dammit!  Tell me what to do!!”

           She interrupted him in mid-rant, crying out again.  “No!  Oh, no please!”  He could hear the fear in her voice, which made his blood run cold, then felt her hand against his leg.  “Please,” she whispered now, “please help me.  I’m losing the baby.”

           Baby?!  Oh god!!

           “Wh…what should I do?” he stammered, trying to hang onto a scrap of sanity.

           “I….need you to find out what’s happening,” she answered in a rush, teeth gritted against the pain.  “I’m….sorry.”

           That last phrase brought him out of himself.  Suddenly, he felt strangely calm.  His captain needed help; he would provide it as best he could.  He opened her trousers and eased them, together with her underwear, down over her hips, trying not to hurt her.  She groaned slightly, but made no other sound.  His eyes had become more accustomed to the dim light, and he could see well enough to make out her torso.  Very carefully, he spread her legs, feeling her muscles tense.

           “Easy, Captain, try to relax.  I know it hurts.”

           “Can you…..see anything?”

           “Not really.  Just a hell of a lot of blood.”

           He placed his hand right at the junction of her legs, trying to determine how much she was bleeding.  It wasn’t a torrent, but he could feel a steady trickle.

           He glanced around, trying to find something he could use to raise her hips – there! The back of a chair!  That would do.  He lifted her carefully and slid it under her buttocks.

           “I’m hoping to slow down the loss of blood, Captain, by elevating your lower body.”  He tugged her pants back up.  “I know they’re a mess, but we’ve got to try to keep you warm.”

           “Thank…..you.”  He could hear the thready note.  Damn!  She’s going into shock.  He stripped off his uniform, placing the jacket and trousers over her, and rolling up the turtleneck to make a pillow.  He tried to recall where the medkit was, then remembered – in the corridor.  Big help!  He took her hands in his, rubbing them, trying to think what else he could do to warm her.

           “Captain!” he called to her.  “Come on, Captain!  You have to stay with me!  You have to stay awake!  Captain!!”

           She mumbled unintelligibly, then groaned. 

           “Come on, Captain!  Come back to me!  Wake up!”  He chafed her hands harder.

           She groaned again, then muttered, “The ship?  Where….?”

           “That’s it, Captain.  Wake up.  The ship was attacked or something – I don’t know!  We’re stuck down here.  I can’t raise anyone on the commbadge.”

           “I…..I…..ohh!”  He could hear her taking deep breaths.

           “Are you with me now?  Can you talk to me?” he asked anxiously.

           “Ye….yes, I….think so.  You talk.”

           “All right.  But you have to stay awake.  Promise?”

           “Yes.”  Her voice was a bit stronger.

           So Mr. Harren began to talk.  He regaled her with his life history, his Starfleet career in which he had managed to avoid serving in deep space until Voyager, his hopes and disappointments.  He expounded on every one of his five doctoral theses, checking periodically to make sure she was still awake.  Eventually, he got around to discussing the ship, how he feigned an air of disdain to hide the fact he really didn’t know how to make friends.  And he told her how much he looked forward to her visits and how flattered he was that she would make time for him.  She whispered then how much she enjoyed them, too.

           He could hear the strain in her voice, and asked how bad the pain was now.  She replied that it was better – it had become a dull ache, a marginal improvement over the sharp, tearing stabs she had experienced earlier.  Her breath caught, and he heard her trying to swallow her tears.  He took her hand again, patting it awkwardly and told her how sorry he was about the baby.  She answered that she was sorry too – she had never even had a chance to tell Chakotay, and now she’d lost it.

           She turned her head away but he could make out the sounds of her sobbing softly.  “You go right ahead and cry, Captain.  I won’t say anything to anyone, and I won’t think less of you either.  You’re the best and bravest captain anyone has ever had.”

           “Thank you, Mr. Harren,” she managed to get out, and rubbed her eyes furiously with her free hand.

           They subsided into silence, each wondering how much longer it would be before someone found them.

        _____________________________________________________
 

           Meanwhile, on the bridge, Commander Chakotay had his hands full trying to outwit their opponents.  A lucky shot early in the battle had disabled one fighter, sending it careering out of control into another, causing both to explode.  The remainder had backed off after that, apparently realizing that their prey had more bite than they had supposed.

           First reports indicated that the lower decks had taken the worst damage.  Several small fractures in the outer hull on decks 13 and 14 were detected; emergency forcefields were holding for the moment, but would not last much longer.  B’Elanna had to get her repair teams down there to patch them before they got any bigger and the fields collapsed.

           The news got worse.  Transporters – offline.  Turbolifts – offline.  No communications below deck 12.  And until the hull fractures were properly sealed, they didn’t dare go to warp.  If the warp bubble were to collapse, the ship, in its present weakened state, would not be able to stand the stress. 

           Chakotay debated whether to send someone down to deck 15 but in the end, accepted that he could spare no one.  As well, the sensor grid had been disrupted, and information about the condition of the ship’s underside was spotty at best.  Without communications of any kind, they didn’t know what to expect.  He tried to put aside his fears for Kathryn to concentrate on the job at hand, but they kept gnawing away at the back of his mind.

           His attention was yanked back to the viewscreen.

           “Commander!” shouted Harry.  “They’ve encircled us!  They’re coming at us from all sides!”

           “Tom!” yelled Chakotay, but got no further as Paris plunged Voyager straight down in a vertical drop of five thousand meters, then rolled the ship before bringing it around to open fire.  His quick reflexes saved them all.

           The fighters, unable to pull up in time as their quarry disappeared, dodged frantically, trying to avoid colliding with each other.  Several were unsuccessful, and by the time the remainder had reorganized, Voyager was waiting.  Chakotay ordered full phasers to be fired at will.  The few survivors vanished as quickly as they had first appeared.  The bridge crew held its collective breath, until Harry reported he couldn’t see any sign of them.

           “Maintain red alert!” ordered the commander.  “Damage reports!”

           Tuvok began the litany.  “Shields are at fifty-five percent.  Phasers are recharging.  Photon torpedoes are fully armed.”

           Harry continued.  “Transporters, and turbolifts are still down.  No communications below deck 12.  Internal and external sensors on the underside of the ship are erratic.  B’Elanna’s team has repaired three of the hull fractures, with two larger and several smaller ones to go.  She says these are temporary patches only.  They’ll hold for now, but we will need to find a fully equipped spacedock or set down somewhere to repair them properly.”

           “Casualties?”

           Tuvok again.  “The doctor reports that there have been numerous injuries but most are not too serious.  However, he could use some help.”  He added, “And of course, we have no idea what has happened to the crew below deck 12.”

           Chakotay started to the helm.  “Give me your report, Tom, then get down to sickbay.  I’ll take over.”

           “Yes, sir.  Warp engines and impulse are online.  We can go to warp as soon as engineering gives the word.”

           “Good.  Thanks.  Now, off you go.”  He slid into the helmsman’s seat.

           “Oh, and Tom?” he called as the pilot reached the lift.  “Check around for the captain, would you?”  He tried to keep his voice level, but everyone heard the worried tone underneath.

           “Sure, Commander.  I’ll let you know.”

           A few minutes later, Tom paged the bridge to report that she wasn’t in sickbay, and that no one had seen any sign of her.  Chakotay debated with himself before asking Neelix to try to get down to the lowest deck.  At the last second, he suggested that Icheb go with him.

         ____________________________________________________
 

           Half an hour later, B’Elanna finally reported the news they had all been waiting for – the hull was sufficiently repaired to allow the ship to go to warp.  With a sigh of relief, Chakotay engaged the engines.  Mindful of the fragile state of the hull, he kept speed down to warp four.  He hoped it would be enough to escape their tormentors, although Harry had detected no further sign of them.

           Another quarter hour passed before B’Elanna again called the bridge to announce some turbolifts were functioning, although not below deck 12.

           “What about communications?” demanded Chakotay.  “We still can’t raise anyone on deck 15.”

           “I’m getting to it,” she replied irritably.  “One thing at a time.”

           Chakotay exploded, all the pent-up worry and fear lacing his voice with fury.  “Well, get to it NOW, Lieutenant!  Top priority!  Forget the damned lifts!”

           There was a moment’s shocked silence, broken by her suddenly submissive voice.  “Yes, sir.  Sorry, sir.”

           He took a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart.  “Sorry, B’Ella.  I….it’s just….we can’t find the captain.  She was going down there when we were attacked.”  He said no more, but they all understood.

           “I’ll get on it myself, Chakotay.  And don’t worry.  We’ll find her.”

           Not long after, Icheb called in from deck 12 to report that he and Neelix had managed to reach deck 15 only to find it a shambles.  There was wreckage and debris everywhere; it would take quite some time to clear a passage through to plasma relay.  Chakotay told him to wait where he was, that he was sending several more crewmembers to help.

           Another twenty minutes passed before some communications were re-established.  They were full of static at first before Harry was able to route enough power to clear them up.

           By now, Chakotay was nearly frantic with worry.  Ever since the initial attack, his insides had been in turmoil.  He knew something had happened to Kathryn, he just knew it.  As time passed, and there was no word of her, his nerves made him feel ready to jump out of his skin.  He tried very hard to sit still, but finally had to call a replacement officer to the helm so he could at least walk the bridge.

           Back and forth, back and forth he paced.  Eventually, Tuvok suggested that, as he was quite capable of coordinating repairs, would the commander like to join the search team.  He hesitated, then agreed, hurrying to the lift.  The entire bridge crew breathed a sigh of relief.

           Chakotay reached deck 15 just as a shout went up from one of the searchers.

           “I found …..!  They’re ……” yelled an unidentified voice, echoing through the shattered walls.  Chakotay eased his way forward, climbing over, under, around the mountains of debris, careful not to dislodge the more precariously balanced piles.  His heart was in his mouth, pulse racing; he was having trouble breathing.  ‘Please let her be alive, please!’ he prayed. 

           Before he could work up the nerve to ask, someone else shouted out, “ Couldn’t hear you!  Are they alive?”

           “Yes!” came the reply, “but the captain’s badly injured.”

           Oh no!  Chakotay frantically pushed his way through, shoving aside the others, finally able to crawl into the space where she was lying, very still, face white, Harren beside her whispering encouragement.

           The latter looked up at the commander’s precipitate arrival, then raised his voice to get her attention.

           “Captain, they’re here!  The commander has come to get you out!”

           Chakotay heard a faint moan, and, realizing she was conscious, worked his way to her side.  He took her hand, rubbing it, then bent close to her ear.

           “I’m here, Kathryn.  Hang on.  We’ll get you out.  Hang on to me.”

           He looked up at Harren.  “How bad are her injuries?”

           The man looked around helplessly, flustered, not knowing what to say.  The captain nudged him with her free hand to get his attention, and whispered, “Tell him”, before collapsing into semi-consciousness.  Harren found Chakotay’s face.  “She’s had a miscarriage, Commander.”

           The latter stared at him, stunned into silence.  He looked down at his captain, his lover, and tears started to fall.  He longed to cradle her close to him, but knew he must not move her.  Miscarriage!  Of a baby he didn’t know existed!  Oh Kathryn!  He tried to stifle his sobs until he felt Harren’s hand on his shoulder, and glanced up to see the man’s face full of sympathy.

           “I’m sorry.  I wish I could have done something to help her save the baby.”

           “You did all you could,” answered Chakotay, voice choking.

           At that moment, his commbadge chirped – finally, communications were restored.  Immediately, he paged B’Elanna to find out if transporters were  operational.  Her reply was uncertain.

           “B’Elanna, the captain is badly hurt!  We have to get her to sickbay and I don’t want to move her if I don’t have to.  She’s lost a lot of blood.”

           “All right, Chakotay.  Let me try rerouting the power relays.  I….might be able….to get you just enough for one transport.  There!  This is one time only.  If it doesn’t work, I can’t do it again.  We’ll burn out a lot of relays as it is.”

           “Understood.  Can you lock on to her comm signal?”

           “No.  I can’t get a solid fix – it must have been damaged.”

           He put his own commbadge on her chest.  “Then lock on to mine.  Energize.”

           The captain’s body shimmered away, leaving a great pool of blood on the floor.  He stared at it, wondering how she could still be alive.  He shook himself, then grabbed Harren’s arm.  “Come on.  Let’s get out of here.”

           Together, they clambered through the debris, collecting the rescue team as they went.  Up three decks they climbed through the jeffries tubes, emerging on deck 12, exhausted and very dirty.  A few minutes later, they arrived in sickbay where Chakotay had a chance to really take in Harren’s appearance. 

           The man was filthy, hair and skin covered in dust, bleeding here and there from cuts on his arms.  He was clad only in T-shirt and undershorts, which were liberally covered in the captain’s blood.

           Both men looked to the biobed over which the doctor and Tom were labouring frantically.  They stood silently, not wishing to distract either from what was clearly a life and death struggle.  The monitor’s beeping was the only clue they had that Kathryn Janeway was still alive.

           After what seemed forever, the doctor straightened.  “There.  She’s stable – for the moment.”  He glanced around, his eye falling on the two men by the door.  “It’s touch and go, Commander, but for now, she’s alive.”  He stopped, staring at Harren.

           “Crewman Harren, is that you?!  Good lord!  Go get yourself cleaned up, then come back and I’ll tend to those cuts – unless all that blood is yours?”
 

           “No, Doc, it’s the captain’s.  Thanks.”  He nodded to Chakotay and left.

           The commander moved forward to the biobed.  She looked so small and fragile, face still ashen, eyes closed.  He took her hands in his, grasping them tightly.  Tom brought over a stool for him, then retreated to tidy up, letting him have a bit of privacy. 

           He came back in a few minutes and sat down on her other side.  “You forget, don’t you, just how petite she is.  She always seems so formidable, you begin to think she’s ten feet tall – until times like this.”

           Chakotay nodded, not trusting himself to speak.  Tom went on.  “He saved her life, you know – Harren.  If he hadn’t elevated her hips to slow the bleeding, she would have bled to death down there.”  He paused.  “Did you know she was pregnant?”

           Chakotay shook his head, trying to fight back the tears.  Despite his efforts, several fell onto the blanket covering her.  Tom stood and came around the bed.  “Do you want me to get B’Elanna?”

           “No,” he managed to choke out.  “She has too much to do.”  He took a ragged breath.  “Will you tell Tuvok to keep command – unless we run into more trouble. I’d like to stay here for a while.”

           Tom’s hand patted his shoulder.  “Sure.  I’ll tell him.  She’ll be okay.  She’s a fighter.”  He headed for the door, calling to the doctor that he was returning to the bridge.  Chakotay continued to sit beside Kathryn, mourning the loss of their child.
 
 

           By the next morning, the crew was relieved to learn that the captain was out of danger and would make a full recovery.  To add to the good news, B’Elanna reported that the ship could utilize full warp power – within reason and provided the patches on the hull were carefully monitored.
 
           After checking bridge status, and confirming that all other crewmembers had been accounted for, Chakotay departed for sickbay, arms laden with padds.  He had decided that he could work there as easily as in his office and, at the same time, keep Kathryn up-to-date on the state of her ship without actually letting her do anything.  The doctor approved, remarking that the commander’s manipulative skills were taking on Machiavellian overtones.  Chakotay just grinned slyly – he knew his captain well.

           However, she surprised him by making no real effort to usurp any of the padds, content to listen to his verbal summaries.   He surmised that either she still was feeling very weak, or something was preying on her mind.  He had a pretty good idea just what the ‘something’ was.

           “Kathryn, want to talk about it?”  His tone was so warm and full of love, that she found herself starting to cry, and unable to stop.

           “Chakotay!” she wailed between sobs.  Desperate to comfort her, he climbed onto the biobed, lay down and held her gently, soothing her and kissing her hair.

           “It hurts – so much!”

           “I know, love, I know.  Let it out, all of it,” he repeated over and over again. Finally, she calmed down enough to talk.

           “I’m sorry, so sorry.  If I could have just done something, anything….”  She looked up at him then.  “I was so looking forward to telling you.”

           He stared down at her, trying to find the words he needed.  “Kathryn, as bad as this is, and as much as it hurts, I keep telling myself it could have been so much worse.  You’re still alive and we’re still together.  We’ll get through this, I promise.”

           She reached up a hand, brushing it across his face.  “I love you.”

           He bent and kissed her forehead, then swung off the biobed and sat down in the chair again.  “Why don’t you try to sleep while I work on these?”

           “All right, but before I do, could you call Mr. Harren to come here?  I’d like to thank him.”

           “Of course.”

           Ten minutes later, Crewman Harren stepped tentatively into sickbay.  He looked around, spotting the commander talking quietly to the captain.  He started to retreat, not wanting to interrupt, but Chakotay heard him and beckoned him over.

           “Mr. Harren,” the captain’s voice was weak, a far cry from her usual forceful tones, “I wanted to thank you for all you did for me yesterday.  Without you, I would have died.”

           “Captain, really I….”

           Chakotay cut in.  “I want to thank you, too.  While I’m sorry we lost the baby, I am very grateful to have the captain.”  He looked him full in the eye.  “I owe you a debt, Mr. Harren, a big one, which I may not ever be able to repay.”

           “Commander, I….”  He pulled himself together.  “I’m glad I was there to help.”  He looked at her, then paraphrased Tal Celes.  “A crew does not abandon its captain.  I could do nothing less.”

           She smiled warmly then.  “I was thinking that, when I’m well enough, I would like to resume our visits – if you’re agreeable, that is.”

           His face broke into a huge grin.  “I would like that very much, Captain. I’ll look forward to it.”  He nodded at Chakotay and took his leave.

           “You know, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen him smile.”
 
 

Postscript:
 

           A few weeks later, on a slow day, as Voyager headed steadily toward the Alpha Quadrant, the captain rose, turned the bridge over to the commander and announced she was going down to deck 15.

           “Have a good time,” he called to her as she reached the turbolift.  “Give my regards to Mr. Harren.”

           “I will.”
 

    THE END 
 

 EMAIL RETURN  TO INDEX