Disclaimer: Even after all these years, I still own nothing. I just enjoy playing in the sandbox.

Notes: Huge thanks to Quantumsilver for continuing to beta for me even when I continue to make mistakes that I should really know better than to do by now. That being said, I've done some rewriting in this since QS had it so any and all mistakes are definitely mine. Have no fear, the story is finished. I'll be posting in parts, but I will not leave you without an ending.

Warnings: I think by the time you finish reading the little intro  chapter to the story, you'll have a good idea of whether or not it is going to be your cup of tea. Violence, angst, and torture will ensue.

An Education by Cheshire

She knelt between the two posts, beaten but not yet destroyed. Not completely. Her arms hung limply from the short chains, but she was still managing to keep her upper body from collapsing completely. If she'd been forced to stand for this proceeding…well, she was glad she didn't have to.

"Do you confess?"

Breathing was an effort and her throat had dried out hours ago, but she could still offer a defiant glare and a croak of an answer. "No."

He smiled, pleased with her answer. It allowed him to continue doing exactly what he wanted to do.

"Very well." He turned back to the assembled crowd. A dozen or so witnesses compelled to be there. "The prisoner maintains her innocence despite overwhelming evidence proving otherwise. Despite repeated attempts at reconciliation, she claims ignorance. Ignorance is unacceptable. She must receive education."

There were more than a few gasps and a slight murmur rippled through the assembled crowd. He held up a hand, seeming to placate the people. "I know." He put a hand to his chest. "I don't like it anymore than you do, but she must be taught. As one of your elected leaders, I chose to take on that responsibility, and unfortunate though it may be, I will not shirk my duty."

"Ask her again!" a voice shouted from the crowd. "Just to be sure."

There were several shouts of encouragement, and he nodded magnanimously. "Of course." Giving his back to the crowd, he took a knee in front of her, his gloved hand lifting her chin and smoothing sweat soaked hair away from her face. "Well?" he asked, cupping her jaw with his hand. "For the sake of my people, will you give up these claims of ignorance and help me protect them by telling us everything you know?"

"I don't know anything," she growled, jerking her chin from his grasp.

His eyes glittered darkly, promising pain. "I'm sorry you feel that way."

She scoffed at his platitude. "No, you're not."

"You're right; I'm not." He regained his feet and addressed the crowd. "She refuses to recant. We have no choice. I have no choice." He gestured to the guards. "Remove her to the education center. We shall begin immediately."


Ch. 1

The ache in her neck was finally starting to diminish. Whatever weapon they'd shot her with that first day in the market had been more destructive than any phaser. Waking up had been painful, not only because of an ache in her head, but any movement of her neck had stretched the wound, shooting needles of pain down into her shoulder. Between her own sweat and whatever filth she'd accumulated from the street and her cell, it had only taken a day for the site to become infected.

She'd felt the fever settling in, heat climbing up her neck, wrapping her skull with hot white cotton. She'd barely been able to keep her eyes open and her responses to their questions had become slurred. That more than anything had prompted them to provide medical treatment.

Between the fever and the treatment she'd received so far at the hands of the Mokra, she'd completely lost her sense of how much time had passed. She felt punchy, like she did when she'd been on the bridge for too many hours with no sleep and too much coffee. If she had to guess, she'd say that three days, maybe four, had passed since she'd been taken into custody. If Neelix hadn't made it back to Voyager with the tellurium…

Thankfully, he'd already gone back inside to finish the deal when the fighting had broken out on the street. She'd seen Tuvok phaser one black helmeted guard, and B'Elanna had been easily holding her own in a fist fight…that was the last thing Janeway could remember clearly. B'Elanna knocking a guard's chin back, and then her own world had exploded in searing white pain. Collapsing as she had, she didn't know the fate of her officers or her ship.

She'd wanted to ask, to demand answers, but there was no real way to do that without potentially making the situation worse for her officers or ship. Up to this point, the Mokra hadn't mentioned them by name and neither had she. Not that she thought they'd answer her questions anyway. It had been made clear early on that they were the ones that would be asking the questions not her.

So far they hadn't liked her answers, and she'd received more than a few hits and kicks. One spot over her right kidney was particularly tender. She was sure it was nothing that the EMH couldn't fix, but given her current state of affairs, she wasn't sure when she'd be seeing him again. Although the sterile room she currently sat in appeared to be no different than the other interrogation rooms they had trod her through, she had a feeling they were really going to get down to business now.

The room was comprised of blank walls, a simple table, two chairs, and a single source of light; the main difference she noticed with this room was that it had two doors instead of just one. The door leading from the justice hall that she'd just left was in front of her and there was another door currently at her back. Now that she'd been sentenced to the 'education center', she guessed that she'd know soon enough where the door behind her led.

The justice hall door opened and he walked into the room, Third Magistrate Augris of the Mokra Order. His customary two guards flanked him on either side. "That was quite the performance you gave them today. I couldn't have asked for better." He threw a rectangular lump of what looked like oats and seeds on the table. "You might as well eat while we cover the formalities."

She eyed it warily, but then reached for it, her aching fingers trembling slightly as they grasped it. He snapped his fingers at one of the guards. Reluctantly, the guard took a liquid-filled cube from a pouch on his belt and put it on the table for her. She accepted it, thankful that it was one of the cubes and not a cup like she'd been offered occasionally, less chance that it had been fouled.

"Good." Augris took a seat and opened a ledger book on the desk. "You've been fed and watered so I'd say that counts as being treated fairly." He checked off an item. "I'm going to ask you a series of questions. You will answer 'yes' or 'no', and these answers will be recorded as your official responses to be reevaluated for correction at a later time. Do you understand?"

God, she was tired. As she had already answered them more than a dozen times, she knew exactly which questions he was going to ask. The food and checklist was new, though, and a bit worrisome if she was being honest.

"Do you understand?" he repeated.


The door behind her opened, and two guards dressed in the black Mokra Order uniforms walked in, taking position behind her on either side. The last bite of grain stuck in her throat as moist air carrying the scent of rust followed them into the room, permeating the sterile environment.

"Question one. Are you a member of the Resistance?"

She swallowed. "No."

"Question two. Do you assist the Resistance?"


"Question three. Have you reported to the proper authorities what you know about the Resistance?"

The questions were supposed to be answered with one word. There was no allowance for explanation. This point had been reiterated to her every time they reached this question, and she braced herself for the blow she was about to receive. "I don't know-"

Before she could say another syllable, electric current arced through her body, seizing her muscles, burning across her synapses as her jaw ground shut and her wrists jerked involuntarily against the cuffs locking them together. After a long, drawn-out minute, the guard at her left removed the baton from her side, releasing her from the current. She slumped in the chair, falling over the table, panting in relief.

"The prisoner will answer with a response of 'yes' or 'no' only. Any other response will be treated as defiance against the Mokra Order. Repeated defiance will be treated as an admission of guilt. Do you understand?"

Sweat had broken out across her forehead. That jolt had been more than double the strength of the jolts she'd been treated to before. The cuff on her wrist clinked against the table as her arm had a residual spasm. Slowly, she managed to raise her head to look at Augris. She supposed the look he gave her could be considered a smile, but it reminded her more of a wolf that had just found dinner.

"Now do you understand, Janeway?"

"Yes," she managed.

"Question three. Have you reported to the proper authorities what you know about the Resistance?"

She cast a wary glance to her side and remained silent. If she said no, she was guilty. If she said yes, as she had tried before, they demanded to know specific instances that would be verified. As she had never been on the planet before, there were no instances on record that could be verified, which made her a liar and modified the yes into an admission of guilt.

"Silence will be treated as an admission of guilt," Augris informed her, reminding her. He waited for another moment then made a notation in his book when she remained silent. "Question four. Are you a Resistance sympathizer?"


"Question five. Upon release from this facility, will you conduct yourself as an educated citizen and report any and all Resistance activity to the proper authorities?"

"You have no-"

The guard moved at her side to deliver a jolt, but Augris held up a hand, staying the guard's motion. She'd flinched and he'd seen it. "You have something you wish to say?"

Janeway moistened her dry lips. "You have no intention of ever letting me leave this facility."

It wasn't a comforting thought, and based on what she'd been told, repeatedly, it wasn't true. But she knew. Deep down in her gut, every instinct she had about Augris screamed that he was going to kill her before he would ever release her.

He smiled again. "That's not entirely true," he argued. "It's quite possible that eventually I will allow you to leave this facility. Your statement, however, while not entirely incorrect, is not a yes or no answer."

He dropped his hand and the current burned through her again, bucking her body completely out of the chair and onto the floor, where she continued to twitch even after the guard had stepped away. Somewhere, far away, she heard a chair scrape against the floor and a shadow loomed over her, blocking out the singular overhead light.

"Continued defiance is an admission of guilt. Based on your responses today, we have sufficient reason to believe that you are a member of the Resistance. Subversives must be educated before rejoining our society. You will be given the full course of indoctrination. Reevaluation of your loyalties will be conducted in six months time. If at that time, we have not recorded sufficient behavioral changes, further sentencing will be considered." He looked to the guards. "She's all yours."


Ch. 2

The acrid stench of mixed chemicals burned her nose when she entered the small room. A single Alsaurian waited for her, the tools of his trade spread out over a table and a rolling cart of trays. She glanced over them but didn't immediately recognize anything. One of the guards that had brought her to the room stepped up to her side.

"Take off your shirt."

She looked at him, gauging his expression. He did not have the professional blank look she'd become accustomed to seeing in the Mokra officers. He looked amused, and she heard a snicker of laughter behind her.

"Take it off, or I'll do it for you," he said, withdrawing a knife from a sheath at his belt.

Between the beatings and the interrogations, they hadn't been treating her well, but this was the first order that felt sexually threatening. She glanced again at the Alsaurian, his tools, and the waist-high rack that stood in front of him. Her pulse raced at the suddenly added danger and she considered her options. The small room was incredibly confined, and with the Alsaurian, the guard at her side, and the second guard that had escorted her likely standing in the doorway, the room was downright crowded. There was no room to maneuver and she knew that any fight in here would be over before it began.

But damn if she wouldn't try.

She heard the guard behind her shift his weight and she tensed. Nose, throat, groin. Worked on most species she'd come across. She balled her hands into fists.

The Alsaurian noticed and shook his head, mouthed the word 'don't'. Janeway hesitated; the guard at her side smiled and reached for her.

"All right," she said, holding him off as she reached for the bottom hem of her shirt. Tugging it over her head, she saw the Alsaurian turn and give her his back. Either he was being considerate of her forced nudity, or she had just made a huge mistake by trusting him.

Her bun of steel hadn't lasted past the first day of questioning, and now her long hair hung loose, tickling the bare skin of her back. She held the shirt in her fist down by her side, enduring the guard's interested stare, before he finally grabbed her upper arm and guided her towards the rack across from the Alsaurian.

He pushed her onto it, face down. She barely managed to turn her head to the side in time to avoid smashing her nose as he restrained one arm and then the other. She felt another set of hands secure a strap over her waist and lock her ankles against the bottom edge of the rack. She had a moment of vertigo as the guards swung the rack to a standing position. Her view of the Alsaurian busying himself with his tools was replaced with a view of the wall as they repositioned the rack.

A fist wrapped in her tangled hair, pulling her head back at an awkward painful angle. She heard a click and the scent of scorched hair began to fill the room. Within a few moments, her head was released from the pull against it. She felt an irrational pang of sorrow deep in her chest as hair no longer than her chin fell forward, brushing loosely against skin.

She heard the guard chuckle behind her and knew he was probably holding up her hair like some damned trophy. She was glad she couldn't see him. It was ridiculous that with her back now bared to the room she felt more exposed than she had when she'd whipped her shirt off.

"She's all yours, Etcher," one of the guards said from the doorway. "We'll be in the hall if she gives you any trouble."

The etcher, as the guards called him, waited until the door closed before speaking to her. "This will not be a pleasant experience for you, but I assure you, that if you had fought them, it would be worse."

Janeway heard him moving behind her, rolling what sounded like one of the tool carts closer to her. She hated not being able to see what was going on. "Who are you? Can you help me?"

He snorted. "It would be a mistake to think I can help you," he said and wiped a wet rag across her shoulders and down her back. The cool liquid stung the small cuts and abrasions she had collected over the past several days as it rolled down her back and soaked into the waistband of her pants. "I'm no one."

"What are you going to do to me?" she asked, flinching when he swiped another rag over her back. It smelled like fingernail polish and left her skin cold.

"It's my job to give you your prisoner intake number."

She thought she finally understood some of the tools she'd seen. "A tattoo?"

"No," he said and rubbed a rougher dry rag across her shoulder blades. "A tattoo can be removed. Mokra prisoners get their numbers etched into bone."

Janeway's mouth went dry, and she heard him pick up a tool from the cart. She heard two clicks followed by a steady hiss; she tensed. A strong metallic scent flooded her nostrils as she felt an ice cold probe touch her shoulder blade. It didn't stay cold.

The etcher moved the tool in a downward curve and the cold trail it left in its path turned to fire. A cry of pain escaped through clenched teeth as the fire seemed to melt through skin and muscle, working its way down to bone where it could sear itself into permanence.

"You took that well," the Alsaurian muttered as he finished what she assumed was the first numeral. "Try to stay still, or it will only get worse."

She didn't want to imagine how it could be worse and forced herself to freeze in place. It took a great deal of control to stay still and even her conscious effort was barely enough. By the third number, she was trembling against the onslaught, and the etcher had to continually blot her back where he was working to soak up her sweat.

As he finished the fourth numeral, she heard the door open. She almost sighed in relief when she heard him click the machine off. Even knowing it was likely only a temporary reprieve, some of the tension left her body until she heard his voice.

"How is it going?" Augris asked, circling past the etcher and into Janeway's line of sight. Even in such a state of defeat, she glared at him.

"Halfway done, sir," the etcher answered.

If Augris hadn't been watching her so closely, she would have sighed with relief. Before the etcher had started, she'd had no idea how many numbers comprised a prisoner intake number. After he'd started, she hadn't had the strength to ask.

Augris inspected the handiwork, rubbing his finger along the fresh wounds, eliciting a grunt of pain from her. His gloved hand trailed lower down her back, his palm flattening in the area over her kidney as he increased pressure against her. She flinched away from the contact as much as the restraints allowed. She hadn't been able to see it herself, but she knew it must be a dark shade of bruised blue. The kicks had landed in that spot with unerring accuracy.

He removed his hand, gesturing to the etcher. "Continue."

Janeway ground her molars together as the etcher began the fifth numeral. Augris watched her silently, his hungry gaze taking in her every reaction. She jerked involuntarily when the sixth numeral was started, shutting her eyes as the Alsaurian hit muscle that was already inflamed from injury. When she felt her hair move, she opened her eyes to see Augris fingering several of the short, loose strands.

"Such a pity," he said, letting them fall through his fingers. He sighed and opened a small book that he was carrying. "From today forward you will be Prisoner 98473351," he informed her. "Short of removing the bone it is etched into, you will live with this number for the rest of your life, however long or short that may be."

She'd just have to see about that. Even if the EMH couldn't get it off her bone, she'd at least have it erased from her skin and never have to see it.

Augris didn't seem to mind that she made no response to his proclamation, settling himself on a stool in front of her. "When I first took this post, we only needed four numerals to catalogue our prisoners, but the subversives are like a plague. They try to consume everything that is good in our world, corrupting so many innocent people like yourself, duping them into believing the lie."

Her back spasmed as the etcher began carving the eighth number into her flesh. "You're the lie," she panted.

She saw Augris glance at the etcher, but the man hadn't even paused in his work. Apparently, he knew better than to acknowledge he'd heard anything. Augris sighed anyway, continuing his show as a man working for the people. "And that is precisely why we must insure you are educated."

The tool behind her shut off. "All done, sir," the etcher reported.

Janeway took in a trembling breath and tried to relax her hands from the fists she'd had them clenched into. She felt as though someone had laid a red hot iron blade across her shoulder blades and held it there. The melting heat from the last three numbers was distinct and still sinking in, but the first few wounds had become indiscernible from each other forming a long, branded line.

Augris stood, once again inspecting the work. "Nicely done." He nodded. "Now, insert the tracker."

The small moment of relief she'd felt was replaced with a new sense of dread, one that was compounded by the etcher's hesitation.


She saw the flash of annoyance on Augris' face and knew the etcher had erred. "You are trained in the procedure, aren't you?"

"O-of course, sir," the etcher stuttered, "but she's…awake, sir, and I don't have-"

"Are you questioning my order?"

"N-no, sir."

Janeway closed her eyes. She knew nothing good would come from this exchange.

"Then make the preparations," Augris ordered coldly. He retook his seat in front of Janeway, his irritated gaze still on the etcher. "You've just lost half of your rations for the next month."

"Yes, sir," the etcher responded.

With a look of disgust, Augris returned his attention to Janeway. "The worst pain an Alsaurian will ever suffer is to have their falsa broken." He fingered the exposed bone over his nose. "I'm told the second worst pain is, when out of necessity, we are forced to install a tracker in them."

Even without seeing, she could feel the etcher situate himself behind her. Three cold metal barbs pressed against her rib cage on the right side.

"Since you don't have a falsa,"Augris said, tracing his finger down Janeway's nose, "you'll have to let me know how this rates."

Augris nodded at the etcher. The etcher leaned all his body weight against her and triggered the device digging into her side.


Ch. 3

Her throat still burned. She'd screamed it raw. The spot where they'd inserted the tracker was still sore to the touch, and that bruise was definitely a vibrant red and purple. It had been…well, she was no longer sure of how long it had been, days at least.

Guards came and went. Sometimes she noticed when they left, sometimes she didn't. Exhaustion chewed at her every moment. The ache and tremble of fatigue was heaped upon already-abused muscles. Every step she took was painful, and yet she had to continue taking them. Anytime she stopped, it was worse.

The guards were there to encourage and educate her. Or so they claimed. They did keep her moving, but it was hardly under positive reinforcement. She had several particularly tender spots that they had learned quickly and now aimed for when prodding her along. Her right kidney and left thigh were prime targets for eliciting grunts of pain. They'd only managed to hit the tracker site once, that had been more than enough to send her to a knee, and she kept her right arm tucked protectively over it after that. Consequently, her right elbow was starting to swell from the strikes it was taking.

Hitting her as she passed, aiming for spots that would elicit the most reaction from her was the only amusement the guards had. She, at least, understood that. The monotony of their task had to be mind-numbing. How long could you watch a person stumble around a room and not lose interest? If she didn't have to concentrate on mundane things like putting one foot in front of the other, she'd be bored out of her mind, too. As it was, it was taking all her will power to remain upright.

Will power and thoughts of rescue. She knew now that Voyager was still flying and that B'Elanna and Tuvok were with her. It had been the only good news she'd heard since that day in the street when Neelix had showed her the tellurium. Of course, the news hadn't been intended for her ears, but on her second day in the room the guards had gotten edgier, hitting her harder, whispering nervously to each other when they thought she couldn't hear them. Apparently, there'd been an escape from the prison, the first ever. The two alien prisoners had disappeared in a stream of blue and white light.

It had taken a lot of self-control to not react to the news, but it meant everything to her. It meant Neelix had gotten back with the tellurium. It meant B'Elanna and Tuvok were safe, and Voyager was still flying which meant she just had to hold on long enough for her crew to find her.

Augris wasn't making it easy. As delighted as she'd been at the news, he'd been the complete opposite. He'd beat her into unconsciousness. He probably wouldn't have if she hadn't smiled at him after the first punch, but as soon as she had, he'd known. Known that somehow she'd heard the news. Her beating hadn't been the only consequence; she hadn't seen the same two whispering guards since.

Considerable time had passed since that day. Days. A week. Which would mean her total time of captivity was nearing two weeks? She shook her head; she didn't think it had been a week yet, probably not even five days...but she couldn't be sure. She wasn't even entirely sure the news of Voyager had come on her second day. It could have just been at the end of a really long first day. She had no way to mark time; food, water, and rest had become precious commodities offered in small doses at inconsistent times. She hadn't gone completely without any of them, but the concept wasn't far off.

And anytime that it wasn't a special moment of rest, she was forced to be up on her feet, circling the room, continually moving. Allegedly, she was learning. More accurately, she was being broken down. Fatigue was an old but effective way to manipulate someone, and 'old ways' seemed to be what the Education Center was all about. The place had a much more primitive feel to it than her earlier prison. There were no force fields or manufactured walls – just heavy doors and massive locks. It was old and the sense of permanence it inspired was hard to ignore.

The smooth stone walls were particularly dry and dusty. Outside the three water cubes they'd allowed her since she'd been brought into the room, she didn't think there was a single drop of moisture in the place. She had the impression this particular room hadn't been used for much of anything in quite some time. Her presence had already left its mark. A clean swath had been created in the dust all along the walls from where she'd trailed a hand or rubbed a shoulder along them as she made her circuits. Mostly, the wall was the only thing that kept her from falling over.

"Five-one," a guard called to her from across the room. "Break."

She'd looked up when he'd spoken. Five-one. It galled her to acknowledge the designation they'd given her, but she welcomed the respite, sliding down the wall until she was sitting on the floor. She forced herself to stay awake long enough to briefly massage her calf muscles. They were like rocks attached to wooden pegs for all the feeling she had in them. The pain would be even worse when she had to move again, but it'd wake her up. Unfortunately.

Something fell across her forehead, leaving a trail that itched as it passed. It was quickly followed by another something, something wet, drops were falling on her, and she gasped back into consciousness to find Augris sitting in a chair next to her, dropping water on her head. She swiped at the wet spot on her head and stiffened into a sitting position, sliding up against the wall, trying not to react to the cramping muscles in her legs. He flipped the dribbling water cube into her lap. She held out for only a brief second before picking it up and sucking its cool, wet contents into her mouth.

"This cell was meant to hold ten to fifteen men for as long as they needed to be housed here," he said, conversationally. "On occasion, though, it held as many as seventy for much shorter periods of time."

He looked at her, but she said nothing.

"The guards tell me you don't know your name."

Janeway's gaze flicked to the guard standing sentry beside him. "I know my name."

"So, you do speak? I was worried you had perhaps lost your voice on your intake day," he commented. She swallowed, feeling the still-tender tissues of the back of her throat. He leaned back in his chair. "Since you claim to know it, why don't you tell me your name?"

The corner of her mouth quirked upwards. She wasn't so far gone yet to know what he was playing at. "That's against the rules."

Augris turned in his chair to eye the guard. "Is this true? Have you been telling her it's against the rules to say her name?"

"Of course not, Magistrate. That would serve no purpose."

"Then she's lying?"

"She is." The guard brandished the shock wand at his side and stepped forward. "She knows the penalty for lying."

Augris held up his hand, halting the guard. "Allow me to clarify before we take further action. It may be that her species does not have the mental capacity to retain multiple numerals." He turned back to her. "Your designation, or name, is Prisoner 98473351. To simplify matters, we shall address you by the last two numerals. Five-one."

She toyed with the water cube in her hands, staring silently at both of them.

"Now tell me." Augris leaned forward. "What is your name?"


"Continued silence will be considered defiance," the guard said, moving forward, the shock wand buzzing with unreleased current.

Augris held him off again. "Five-one. That is the designation you will answer with when asked your name," he told her, never taking his eyes off her. "Now, if you continue to defy us, we will have to move to more persuasive methods of education." He paused, knowing full well she understood every word he said. "What's your name, prisoner?"

She took the last sip of water in the capsule, tilting her head back to let it drip into her mouth. Setting it aside, finally, she took a breath and answered. "My name is Kathryn Janeway."

The shock hit the bare sole of her foot, traveling instantaneously up the rest of her body, sending her muscles into blinding spasms. Her teeth clicked together, and she barely felt the brunt of the floor impact her shoulder as she slid uncontrollably to the ground. The guard continued to hold the wand in place until a grinding scream of pain tore from her throat past her clenched teeth.

Even after the wand had been removed, her body twitched. Augris leaned over her, his face filling her vision. "So much unnecessary pain." He moved a lock of hair out of her face. "But you will learn. You will learn everything I need you to know."

He straightened, pulling his jacket into its proper place. "Let's bring in the trough. Put her in it and make sure she's strapped down tight. I'll begin in an hour."


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