The Strength of One Voice
The Captain entered the Brig and spoke quietly to Ayala as she placed a PADD on the console. Moving closer to the cell, she could hear the drone talking to herself.
“One. One. My designation is Seven of Nine, but the others are gone. Designations are no longer relevant. I am - one.”
“Yes, you are,” Janeway confirmed.
“But I cannot function this way. Alone,” the drone implored.
“You're not alone. I'm willing to help you,” The Captain promised.
“If that's true, you won't do this to me. Take me back to my own kind,” Seven of Nine demanded as a fire built in her.
“You are with your own kind. Humans,” Janeway corrected as she stepped back to the console to pick up the PADD and reached for the controls...
“I don't remember being human. I don't know what it is to be human,” the young woman cried plaintively as she noticed the Captain’s movement. “What are you doing?”
“I'm coming in,” the Captain informed her as the field dropped.
“I'll kill you,” the Borg stated with a deadly edge.
“I don't think you will,” Janeway replied simply as she held up the PADD. “Do you remember her? Her name was Annika Hansen. She was born on stardate 25479 at the Tendara Colony. There's still a lot we don't know about her. Did she have any siblings? Who were her friends? Where did she go to school? What was her favourite colour?” The Captain questioned as she stopped in front of Seven showing her the screen with the image of a young blonde girl.
“Irrelevant! Take me back to the Borg,” Seven shouted as if the image reignited the fight in her.
“I can't do that,” the Captain stated simply.
“So quiet,” Seven mumbled as she returned to her earlier mantra. “One voice.”
“One voice can be stronger than a thousand voices. Your mind is independent now, with its own unique identity,” the Captain encouraged as she moved closer, still holding the PADD out to the young woman.
“You are forcing that identity upon me. It's not mine,” the young Borg shouted with deadly venom entering her voice.
“Oh, yes it is. I'm just giving you back what was stolen from you. The existence you were denied, the child who never had a chance, that life is yours to live now.” Janeway explained as she readjusted the PADD.
“Don't want that life.” Seven whined.
“It's what you are. Don't resist it.” Janeway attempted but was stopped by a roar of “No” as Seven swung to knock the PADD away and ended up striking the Captain a painful blow.
Dragging the now deflated Borg to the bunk the Captain kept her back to Ayala as she took deep breaths trying her best to ignore the pain.
“Captain?” Ayala moved toward the two women.
But she stopped him with a, “It’s okay, Lieutenant.”
How she was able to say those words without the Security guard hearing her pain she would never know. Talking to the now defeated Borg, the Captain finally rose and exited the brig stopping momentarily to raise the security filed.
“Captain, are you sure you‘re all right?” Ayala asked as he took in her pale complexion.
“Yes, thank you, Lieutenant,” Kathryn answered as she gave him a big smile. “She just winded me for a minute but I’m fine. Call me if she has any problems.”
“Yes, Captain,” Ayala responded as he watched her walk very slowly out of the Brig.
Moving to the console, he put a call in.
Chakotay had been on the bridge trying to go over reports but was unable to focus on them so he’d moved to his office. The run-in with the Borg and the near loss of the Captain kept turning over in his head so when the call came in, he welcomed the interruption. Turning to his console, he activated the screen to be greeted by a very serious looking Ayala.
“What can I do for you, Lieutenant?” Voyager’s First Officer asked.
“Commander, can we talk off the record?” he asked and received a nod. “The Captain was just here talking to the Borg. She entered the cell and ended up being hit by the drone. I asked her if she was okay and she said she was fine but I’m not so sure about that. She took a pretty good hit to the arm.”
“Thanks, Mike, I’ll check on her,” Chakotay promised as he closed the channel.
Sitting for a moment to calm himself, he tried to decide what he wanted to do first. If he were perfectly honest with himself, all he wanted to do was make sure Kathryn was okay. But he was also sorely tempted to space the Borg, then return to the Captain and kiss some sense into the woman.
Well aware that a couple of those options were beyond the realm of possibility, he satisfied himself with checking on the Captain.
“Computer, locate Captain Janeway,” and I bet it’s not Sickbay he thought.
“The Captain is in her quarters,” came the expected response.
“Of course, she is,” he muttered as he rose from his desk.
“Please re state the question,” the computer requested.
“Never mind,” Chakotay grumbled as he left his office.
Heading for the turbolift, Chakotay tried to form a plan of attack. He knew he would have to be careful how he approached her. If she was hurt he would have to force her to admit it or she would try to look after herself.
Leaving the turbolift, Chakotay walked down the hall towards the Captain’s quarters. His hand reached for the panel so he could ring for entrance but he stopped the movement as he thought for a moment. Rethinking his plan, Chakotay put in his override and entered.
Stopping for a minute once the doors closed, Chakotay did a quick survey of the living room but there was no sign of Kathryn. A noise coming from her bedroom alerted him that she was there or in her bathroom.
A moment of indecision washed over him and he started to turn for the door when he heard her cry out. He quickly entered the Captain’s bedroom and seeing that she wasn’t there, he moved to the bathroom. Without thinking of the consequences, he keyed open the door.
Chakotay froze at the image before him. Kathryn was sitting on the side of her tub with her tank top pulled up to just below her shoulders. Tears slipped down her cheeks and beads of sweat dotted her forehead.
He knelt in front of her. “Kathryn,” he said quietly not wanting to startle her.
“Chakotay,” she mumbled. “I guess Ayala told you.”
“Yes,” he replied honestly. “Why didn’t you go to Sickbay?”
“Thought I could take care of it myself,” she nodded towards various pieces of medical equipment on the vanity.
Moving so he could get a better look at her right side, Chakotay’s breath caught at the sight. A large bruise covered her arm from above her elbow to almost to her wrist. Another bruise was evident on her ribs, smaller but no doubt just as painful.
“Kathryn, you need the Doctor,” Chakotay said as he looked at the bruises.
“No,” she said with a firm voice or at least her best try at it.
“Why not?” Chakotay asked astounded.
“I don’t want the crew to know,” Kathryn said with laboured breathing but she could see the question in Chakotay’s eyes. “The crew would hold this against her.”
Nodding his head Chakotay was forced to agree that the crew would not be happy about the newest crew member hurting the Captain.
“You could have called me,” he said sounding a little offended that she hadn’t.
“You spaced the other drones for threatening the ship, I wasn’t sure how you would react to this.” She bit her lip as doubt entered her tone.
“You’re damned right I would have spaced her,” he said firmly. “And the crew would be right behind me,” he started and then stopped as he realized that his reaction was what she was trying to avoid.
“Please, Chakotay it’s going to be hard enough for her to integrate. I don’t want to add the crew’s hostility to the mix.”
Looking into her pleading eyes, he knew he couldn’t deny her request but he wasn’t above a little blackmail.
“Okay, we won’t go to Sickbay, I’ll get the Doctor to come here instead,” Chakotay explained as he helped her stand.
“But,” Kathryn started as a wave of pain hit and she cried out again.
“Sorry, let’s get you to your bed,” Chakotay said as they walked slowly. “Chakotay to the Doctor,” he called once the Captain was on her bed.
“Doctor here, Commander.” The acerbic tone of the hologram that made Chakotay smile.
“I was wondering, if you’re not too busy, could we talk about your proposal for the exercise program for the crew?” Chakotay smiled as he heard a few people in the background groan. “I’m with the Captain now and I was trying to explain it but I think you would do a much better job.”
“I’ll be there soon, Commander, I’m just finishing in Engineering,” the Doctor prattled on. “Lieutenant Carey was a little clumsy in a Jeffries tube. I’ll drop off my equipment on my way up to see you.”
“Doctor, come straight to the Captain’s quarters, she has a meeting shortly,” Chakotay explained as he watched the woman in question move.
The small movement caused her a great deal of pain and she bit down on her lip to stop herself from screaming out.
“Fine, Commander, I should be there in a couple of minutes, Doctor out.”
And once the channel closed the Captain let out a long groan.
“Hang on, Kathryn; the Doctor will be here shortly,” Chakotay encouraged.
“Maybe I should send her back to the collective,” Kathryn mumbled.
“What?” Chakotay asked as he leaned a little closer to hear her.
“I might be taking on more than I can handle this time and I’m asking too much of the crew,” Kathryn said with a bit of uncertainty entering her voice.
“Kathryn, if anyone can make this work, you can,” Chakotay told her as he gently grasped her chin to make her look at him. “You took on a Maquis crew that couldn’t stand Starfleet. You gave us a chance just like you’ll give the drone. You have a talent for making people trust and want to work with you. You have a giving heart and it’s one of the things I love about you.”
Chakotay froze when he realized what he had said.
“I,” he started but was interrupted by the Doctor’s voice from the living room.
“Hello, Captain, Commander?”
“In here, Doctor,” Chakotay replied as he rose from the side of the bed.
The Doctor walked into the room and when he saw the Captain on the bed, he was beside her in an instant, pulling his tricorder from his bag.
“What’s happened?” The hologram demanded as he scanned the Captain.
“The drone struck the Captain,” Chakotay answered.
“Captain, I need to take you to Sickbay so I can treat your injuries,” the Doctor explained as he gave her a hypo.
“No, Doctor. I need you to work here,” the Captain interrupted.
“But Captain I can do a faster and more thorough job in Sickbay,” he replied horrified at being asked to do an inadequate job.
“Doctor, if I go to Sickbay, the crew will quickly find out that I have been hurt and who is responsible and she is going to have a hard enough time fitting in. Please do the best you can and in a day or two, I’ll stop by complaining of a headache and you can clean up the rest.”
“Fine, Captain, I’ll do what I can,” he said grudgingly as he scanned her. “You have three broken ribs and a fractured radius.”
“I’ll be back,” Chakotay said quickly before leaving the room.
“This is going to take a bit of time, Captain since I don’t have the correct equipment here,” the Doctor explained. “And even though I’ve given you some pain meds you will still feel some discomfort.”
“Don’t worry about it, Doctor,” the Captain said.
---- ^ ^ ^ ---------
Hours later Chakotay rang the door of the Captain’s quarters. He’d been to speak to Ayala and made him promise not to say anything to anyone about the incident in the Brig between the Captain and drone.
The talk took only a few minutes and he could have returned to the Captain ten minutes after he’d left, but his admission kept echoing in his head. Chakotay still couldn’t believe that he had blurted it out the way he had and after putting off the inevitable, he decided he had to bite the bullet, as Tom Paris would say, and face the woman.
“Come,” was called out as the doors opened.
Entering he found the Captain sitting at the dining table with a bowl of what he assumed was soup and a plate of bread.
“I’m sorry, I’ll come back,” Chakotay tried but she wouldn’t hear of it.
“No, Chakotay, come and join me,” Kathryn encouraged. “I’m just having some chicken soup; would like some?”
“Yes, thank you, that would be nice,” he replied glad that she wasn’t going to call him on the carpet for his comment.
Kathryn rose and got a bowl of soup for him and he smiled as she placed mushroom soup in front of him. The fact that she remembered that he preferred mushroom above all other soups was another thing he loved about her. He froze again as the thought sprang into his head but Kathryn interrupted the mental butt kicking he was giving himself.
“I’m assuming you spoke to Ayala,” Kathryn asked as she passed him the plate of bread.
“Yes, and he promised not to say a word,” Chakotay said as he accepted the bread. “How are you feeling?”
“A little stiff and sore but much better than when you first saw me,” Kathryn explained as she tore a piece of bread in half and dipped it into the soup.
They continued to eat and chatted about various things. Chakotay relaxed realizing that Kathryn was going to ignore the whole incident.
“Thank you, I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I smelled the soup,” Chakotay said with a chuckle as he wiped his mouth with the napkin.
“You’re welcome,” she answered as she reached for the empty bowls but Chakotay was up and took them both before she could. While he recycled the dishes, Kathryn moved to the cabinet behind her, and retrieved a bottle and two glasses.
She placed the glasses on the table and tried to open the bottle but her arm was still weak so Chakotay took it from her.
“Interesting colour,” Chakotay commented as he poured the murky grey liquid into each glass.
“Don’t let the colour fool you,” Kathryn commented, as she smelled the drink.
Chakotay mirrored her action and caught the scent of a spicy fruit that he remembered from his childhood.
“You’ll be interested to know that what I smell is my Mom’s caramel brownies,” Kathryn explained. “But you probably smell something else, right?”
And he nodded, surprised that she’d known that.
“A couple of months ago when we were on Balcour Six, the Minister of Trade gave me the bottle. He explained that the liquor would smell different for each drinker, taking on a favourite scent from one’s memory. It is alcoholic though, and has a pretty good kick.”
“It reminds me of a fruit from my childhood that I loved,” Chakotay told her with a smile.
“Shall we toast?” Kathryn asked and Chakotay agreed. “You go ahead then,” Kathryn encouraged.
“Hmm, how about, to fond memories of childhood?” Chakotay offered, and they drank. “Very nice, it has a very light taste considering how thick the liquid is.”
“Yes, it does,” Kathryn said as a crooked grin appeared. “And for my toast,” Kathryn started as she raised her glass. “Let’s toast to the things you love about me but, of course, you’ll have to tell me more.”
Chakotay stared at her, not believing what he was hearing.
“Or would you like me to tell you something I love about you? Chakotay, are you okay?”
“Yes, I think so. I’m just wondering if that small amount of alcohol is causing hallucinations or if you really just said that.”
“I promise, I really did,” she started to say as he took the glass out of her hand and placed both on the table before turning back to pull her into his arms.
“We’ll talk later, for now I’ll show you,” he promised as he pulled her into a deep kiss.