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Story Notes:

I know the show and characters belong to CBS Paramount but I like to improve their lot in life.


Thank you to Elem for the Beta



Being Strong

By Crusher


Voyager’s First Officer stalked back and forth in front of the window that looked out onto a beautifully manicured courtyard of the Atal governmental complex, but he did not notice the flowers or the birds flying about.  He was focused on the building opposite, where Captain Janeway had been taken three hours ago.


Two security officers from the away team stood on the far side of the room watching him pace, no doubt silently wondering if he was going to wear a hole through the floor and fall through or jump out the window to try to retrieve the Captain.


Finally, Mike Ayala looked at his fellow security officer and sighed before taking a few steps towards Chakotay.  




Chakotay stop pacing long enough to scowl at Ayala and give a low dangerous growl. 


Mike stepped back quickly allowing Chakotay to continue his stalking but he wasn’t deterred, “Chakotay, you tried to talk the Captain out of it, but you know once she’s decided on a course of action there is no changing her mind,” he argued only to receive a dangerous glare.


Thirty minutes later Chakotay stopped pacing when he saw the door to the building open and the Captain step out with Dacan and his aide. He watched as they moved across the courtyard and scanned Janeway from head to toe but did not see anything in her movement or face to tell of her experience.  The group reentered the room a few minutes later to resume their seats at the table.


“We can now finish the talks,” Dacan announced.


Chakotay tried to catch the Captain’s eye but she was focused on the documents in front of her. He listened as she spoke to see if he could sense anything that might be wrong.


Janeway raised her eyes and said in her usual firm tone, “Now, Dacan, before we left the room you mentioned that you might have the parts we need for the engines.”  


“Yes, our ships are similar and with a few modifications we might be able to help you,” the Supply Minister replied.


The negotiations went on for three hours until finally both sides were happy.


“Thank you, Captain,” Dacan said as he stood up and reached across the table extending his hand.  “It is an honor to work with such a strong leader and your crew should be proud,” he stated while shaking the Captain’s hand.


“Thank you, Dacan; it was an honor to work with you too.  I’ll have Neelix and Lieutenant Torres contact you to coordinate the transfer of the food supplies and parts,” Captain Janeway finished.


“Very well, Captain,’ Dacan said.  “I was just going to have lunch; will you and your attendants join me?”


Chakotay noticed a slight freeze in Kathryn’s movements before accepting the invitation.  Dacan led the group out of the conference room and down the hall.  He explained the different portraits as the group moved along.


“Sir,” called Dacan’s aide stopping the group before they exited the building.


“Yes,” Dacan questioned as he stepped over to the young man.


After a short conversation, Dacan turned to the Voyager group. 


“I’m so sorry, Captain Janeway but I have a problem on the north continent that needs to be dealt with immediately; maybe before you leave Atal we can share a meal,” Dacan declared before leaving. From beside him, Chakotay heard the slight rush of air escape from Janeway and as she continued out the door for the beam out site followed by her security team, he wondered what had caused her to hold her breath.


When they reached the beam out site, the Captain called for transport and a few seconds later the familiar walls of Voyager formed around them.  Chakotay stepped off the transport pad waiting for the order from Janeway that he should go with her to her Ready Room where he would receive a lecture on protocol, but realized the Captain was not beside him. 


He spun around to find the Captain still on the pad.  He watched, in horror as the color drained from her face. She whispered, “Chakotay,” and started to fall. 


Leaping back up onto the transporter to catch her before she could hit the floor, he yelled over his shoulder for an emergency transport to Sickbay. The Captain lost consciousness as they disappeared in a blue shimmer.


“Tom!” Chakotay shouted as they appeared in the middle of Sickbay.  The EMH program had been down for a week and Tom was doing his best to cover until repairs were completed to the Doctor’s program.


“What happened?” The young man asked as they settled the Captain on the bio-bed. 


“I’m not sure, she collapsed right after transport was complete,” Chakotay explained as he stepped back while the diagnostic arms closed around Kathryn’s prone body.


Tom studied the readings as a look of shock spread across his face and his fist slammed down on the control panel retracting the arms of the medical scanner.


“Tom what’s wrong?” Chakotay questioned as the Captain started to moan in pain.


“Chakotay, help me flip her onto her stomach, most of the damage is on her back,” Tom directed just as B’Elanna entered Sickbay.  “B’E, we could use your help.” The young medic requested as B’Elanna approached the bed; she froze for a moment when she saw the Captain lying there.


“Okay, as carefully as possible, we need to turn her over. Chakotay slip your hands under her shoulders.  B’E grab her legs and I will take the middle.  It’s going to hurt, but we need to move her,” Tom warned.  “On three. One....two....three,” and as quickly as possible they turned her.


Kathryn cried out in pain.


“B’E, pass me something to cut off her uniform,” Tom asked as he looked up at Chakotay.  “The back of her arms and shoulders are covered in lesions; what happened down there?”

“I don’t know,” Chakotay shouted. “She met with Dacan alone - without me or security.”


B’Elanna handed Tom the requested instrument then she moved to Chakotay’s side.  “Relax, Chakotay, Tom just needs to know anything that might help the Captain.”


 “I know, B’El, and I’m sorry, Tom. I wish I knew, but she refused to let us accompany her.”


Tom nodded as he bent over the Captain, quickly cutting down the middle of her jacket and turtleneck. As they carefully peeled the garments off her arms, gasps rang out as they saw the Captain’s arms covered in neat cuts from the top of her shoulder to her elbows.


The three of them froze in shock until a pain filled voice choked out, “Chakotay.”


“Kathryn,” the big man said as he knelt by her head so she could see him.  “You’re in Sickbay and Tom’s trying to help.  Kathryn, can you tell us what they did to you?”


“Test for leaders,” she whispered.  “All candidates....have to endure....the tattooing.”


“God, Kathryn,” he cried.  “And then you finished the meeting.”


“Part....of the....test,” the Captain finally finished.


“Captain, did they give you any drugs,” Tom questioned.


“No,” came her labored answer.


Chakotay reached out and grasped her hand giving it a gentle squeeze before receiving a weak squeeze in return.


“Captain, I’m going to give you something for pain as well as a mild sedative,” Tom explained.  “So I can heal these wounds.”


“No! ....you can’t....heal.... ,” the Captain struggled to explain as Tom gave her an injection. 


Chakotay watched her face relax as the pain eased.


She took a few deep breaths before continuing, “If they check, those marks need to be there or we’ll lose the supplies.”


“Kathryn, you can’t leave them there,” Chakotay tried to argue.


“Chakotay, if I let Tom heal them and they find out, they’ll withdraw their offer and it means I went through all that pain for nothing,” Kathryn explained.  “Please don’t fight me on this.”


The thought of her leaving those wounds and what she had gone through was half killing him, but he relented as her eyes silently pleaded with him.  “Okay, but at least let Tom clean the wounds and make sure there’s no infection,” he conceded.


Kathryn nodded her agreement.


“Tom, B’Elanna, I need the two of you to promise that you will never tell anyone what happened here today. No one else needs to know about this,” the Captain requested as she looked at them unyieldingly.


They nodded their agreement.




Kathryn woke in Sickbay a bit later to find Chakotay sitting beside her.


“Hi, how are you feeling?”


“A little stiff but otherwise, okay,” she replied as she rose from the bed but he could see her wince in pain.


Tom left the Doctor’s office as the Captain started to get off the bed.  “One moment, Captain, I haven’t released you from Sickbay yet.”


“Tom, I have to get to the bridge in case Dacan contacts me,” she argued.


“Just give me a moment to scan you to make sure that everything is okay and administer pain medication,” Tom admonished.


“Fine, you can scan but no pain meds,” the Captain stated holding her hand up to stop any protests.  “If Dacan scans me I don’t want him to find the medication in my system.  I should have stopped you before you administered the earlier dose; I just hope it will be out of my system before we meet.  The whole purpose of the ceremony is to see if I can handle pain. Thank you, Tom,” the Captain said by way of dismissal once the scan was completed.


“Kathryn, you can’t allow yourself to go through all that pain for the next two days,” Chakotay argued.  


Kathryn waited until Tom was in the Doctor’s office and unable to hear them.


“Chakotay,” she started in a commanding tone.  “Dacan explained to me that in order to assume a position of power his people have to go through this ceremony.  If you do not cry out when the priest etches the sharp blade across the back and top of your arms and legs, you are granted a position of power as leader.  The moment Dacan heard we had no such test he put the possibility of trade on hold until I underwent the ritual, but it’s not over until we leave orbit.”


‘We don’t need the supplies that badly,” he argued.


 “Yes, we do and you know it,” she retorted curtly.  “We won’t make it much further if we don’t get these supplies.”


“We’ll make do until we can find another way. The crew would agree with me,” Chakotay said.


“But as I told you, the crew won’t know, and besides, Commander, it’s my duty to do whatever is necessary for the good of the ship and crew,” the Captain stated firmly.


“Kathryn, you have to drop this guilt you feel over the crew and ship being in the Delta Quadrant,” Chakotay said just as decisively.


“It was my decision that left us here,” she reminded him and he could hear the sadness in her voice.


“You might have made the decision but we all agreed,” he started but saw her reaction.  “Okay, most of us, but the others agreed after spending time with Kes.”


“And just as it was my decision then, this is my decision now, Commander,” the Captain snapped. 


Chakotay became angry at her tone.  “Fine, Captain, if you will excuse me, I’ll go see if B’Elanna needs help,” and with that he spun on his heel and walked out of Sickbay.


Kathryn bowed her head; she hated when she pulled rank on Chakotay and hoped he would understand.


However, over the next few days she realized she had pushed him away.  The next day when Dacan had called to have the delayed lunch, she asked Chakotay to attend with her but his answer was short and cold.


“B’Elanna has asked for my help with the repairs,” Chakotay answered not looking up from the PADD he was reading.  “My input’s not needed down on the planet.”


“Fine,” Kathryn answered quietly as she headed for the turbo lift.  She knew she should call him on his insubordinate tone but if she were honest with herself, she felt she deserved it.  Secondly, she did not have the strength for another confrontation with him.  Maybe once they left orbit things would improve between them.


Unfortunately, her relationship with Chakotay did not improve, even after her injuries were healed.  Kathryn wasn’t sure how she’d gotten through those two days without Chakotay’s strong support but knowing in the end the ship and crew would get what was needed made it bearable.




Week’s later things were no better between the command team and the Kathryn had taken to spending most of her Bridge time in her Ready Room.  She was deep in thought when her door chimed and automatically called for her visitor to enter.    


“I have those reports you were waiting for, Captain,” came her second in command’s quiet voice.


Without looking up, she pointed to the corner of her desk.  “Leave them there, Commander. I look at them next, thank you.”


Continuing to work on her console, she realized that Chakotay was still standing beside her desk.  Slowly looking up, she was greeted by a warm smile.


“Was there something else, Commander?” 


“I was wondering if you had plans for dinner.”  He tentatively asked.


“I was going to work on those reports,” Janeway said as she pointed at the PADDs Chakotay had just left on her desk.


“I gave you a condensed overview of B’Elanna and Seven’s reports and surprisingly, Tuvok’s report is short so you could probably finish them this afternoon,” Chakotay explained as the dimples appeared.  “Harry and the Doctor’s reports you could read while I prepared dinner.”


The Captain looked at him for a moment then a smile broke across her face.  “Sounds like a plan, what time?”


“How about nineteen hundred hours? That will give you time to change if you want to.” Chakotay suggested. 


“Definitely sounds like a plan, and I’ll bring the wine,” Kathryn added as her crooked smile appeared.


“I’ll see you later then,” Chakotay said as he headed out the door.


“Later,’ Kathryn answered as she picked up the next PADD.


The door slid shut behind him and she smiled.


The End

Chapter End Notes:
Got the idea for the tattooing from an Oprah show on things women do to look beautiful the world over and just modified it for the story
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