¤ Parts can be as long or as short as you choose to write them - be it 2 lines, or a few thousand words. It is completely up to you.
¤ You will have 3 days to write your part. However, if you want to write, but can't manage in the 3 days then simply let us know (offlist is best), and you can have a week to write; after a week it will move on to the next person regardless so that we can keep the story going and you'll have to wait until the next time round to write again.
¤ If at any time you don't want to write the next part or don't have time to write then just pass it on to the next person. You can then write again next turn.
¤ Once we get to the last person we'll go round again and again, until we come to a suitable end, so we can keep going for as long as we want.
¤ Most importantly, have fun!
The order of writers is:
Laura ¤ email@example.com
Holly ¤ firstname.lastname@example.org
Taya ¤ MIScully@home.com
Katie ¤ KatieEMacGee@aol.com
Carissa ¤ email@example.com
Pam ¤ firstname.lastname@example.org
Bec ¤ CoffeeNut47@aol.com
SaRa ¤ CountryChick4077@aol.com
Jo ¤ Menaryj@AOL.com
Tara ¤ email@example.com
Zanza ¤ firstname.lastname@example.org
AsZe ¤ email@example.com
Akot ¤ firstname.lastname@example.org
Celestia ¤ email@example.com
~¤~ Laura ~¤~
Kathryn looked across the table at the man sitting opposite her and smiled at him, earning herself a dimpled smile in return. Dressed casually in a pair of khaki pants and a loose brown shirt, he was leaning back in the chair, his arms resting along the arms of the chair, his hands dangling from the ends. He looked calm, peaceful and very relaxed. Kathryn rose to her feet, using the arms of the chair as leverage and put both plates and the empty dish into the reclaimator and then ordered two coffees from the replicator. She took the mugs from the alcove and turned back to Chakotay, who was very much enjoying the view.
Kathryn was dressed in a simple ankle-length navy skirt and a loose blue shirt. The blue of her shirt enhanced the deep blue of her eyes, eyes that Chakotay could loose himself in if he wasn't careful. Her attire was not at all fancy, but Chakotay thought she looked stunning. Then again, Chakotay always thought she looked stunning.
"Would you care to move over to the living area?" She waved the coffee cups about in the air, then gestured towards the couch and two armchairs in the middle of her quarters.
"Too much effort," was the response.
"Big comfy armchair, fluffy pillows, coffee," Kathryn tried to lure him over.
"But I'll have to move, Kathryn."
"Ok then, you stay there, and I'll go sit in the big, soft, comfortable armchair," she spoke slowly and luxuriously. "And, I get two cups of coffee now too." She grinned.
"Can't have that, you'll never sleep!" Chakotay pushed his large frame up and out of the chair, walked slowly over to the living area and promptly sank into one of the armchairs.
Kathryn joined him handed him his coffee and sat down in the other, kicking off her sandals and curling her legs up beneath herself. Kathryn was sorely tempted to go and sit on the arm of his chair, or to curl up on his lap; and she was shocked to find herself preparing to stand again and move over to where he sat. She forced herself to settle back into the chair and brought the mug to her lips, preparing to take that first delicious sip. She breathed in deeply, inhaling the mouth-watering aroma, savouring the smell of strong black coffee.
"Tuvok to Janeway."
Kathryn withdrew the cup from her lips and sighed, gazing mournfully at the precious nectar. She looked over at Chakotay was grinning at her sorrowful reaction, although, she noticed, he also looked less than pleased that their evening had been interrupted.
She sat leaned forwards and placed her mug on the table in front of her and tapped her commbadge, then she rested her elbows on her knees and clasped her hands together. "Janeway here, Tuvok. This had better be good."
Tuvok seemed unaffected by Kathryn's harsh tone. "Your presence is required urgently on the bridge, Captain."
Kathryn sighed. "We'll be right there, Janeway out."
Kathryn glanced over at Chakotay. "So much for comfy armchairs. Why do these thing always happen in the middle of dinner?"
Chakotay got to his feet and shrugged. "I'll go change, and see you in a minute."
"Don't bother. Tuvok said it was urgent, we should just go. Besides, if it's not urgent then we won't be there long enough for it to matter anyway."
"I like your logic," he said with a smile, extending a gentlemanly hand to Kathryn and pulling her up. He dropped her hand again almost immediately and gestured towards the door. "After you, Captain, Ma'am," he said with a small incline of his head.
"Why thank you, kind Sir," she said with a laugh. She picked up her mug of coffee from the table and took a sip, but she didn't replace the cup. "I'm not going to let this get cold," she told Chakotay seriously, seeing his bemused expression.
"God forbid!" He laughed as they exited Kathryn's quarters and headed for bridge.
He still had a smile on his face when they stepped out of the turbolift and onto the bridge a few moments later.
"Report," Kathryn demanded of her tactical officer.
"There is a fleet of ships heading towards us. Scans indicate that they are travelling at Warp 8; they appear to be quite an advanced race, their weaponry is sophisticated, and their ships are large," Tuvok reported calmly. "Captain, I believe that Voyager would prevail in a fire fight against two of these ships, however the fleet appears to be of a much larger magnitude."
"How far away are they?" Kathryn asked as she descended to the command level.
Tuvok returned to his station and checked the readouts. "Given their current speed and location relative to ours, we should engage them in 6 minutes."
"Why did we not detect them before now?" Kathryn asked.
"They just appeared, Ma'am," Ensign Peter Harnet spoke up. The young man had been manning tactical for Beta shift. "I had checked the sensors only a few seconds before, and the screen was clear, then suddenly my console beeped, and they were... there, like they appeared out of nowhere."
"Could be cloaking technology," Kathryn mused, "There might be more out there that we just can't see." She turned to Tuvok. "Can we out run them?"
"I do not believe so, Captain."
Kathryn looked over at Chakotay. Their eyes locked. "Battlestations," she commanded. Immediately the lighting level dropped and the red lighting began to flash on and off in indication of the ships status.
Both Captain and First Officer slid into their chairs, eyes never breaking contact. Kathryn crossed her legs and then leaned over to Chakotay. "At least I'm going to go down with a cup of coffee in my hand and looking pretty."
"I intend to win this battle, Kathryn."
"So do I," Kathryn admitted. "I just wanted to say that."
Chakotay laughed suddenly drawing the attention of everyone on the bridge. Kathryn sat back properly in her chair, the picture of innocence and took a sip of coffee.
"I'll get you for that," Chakotay whispered.
"I look forward to it." Kathryn was feeling dangerous.
"They might not want a fire fight, you know."
"True, but I'm not taking any chances, a large fleet of large advanced ships - it's a very threatening way to go about making first contact."
"We are being hailed, Captain," Tuvok reported.
Kathryn rose swiftly to her feet. "On screen." Chakotay, as always, rose with her, standing behind and to her right, offering silent support.
An alien face appeared the viewscreen but said nothing, simply staring at them, scrutinising them.
"I'm Captain Kathryn Jan-" Kathryn started.
"Not important," he stared at them a moment longer then tapped a few commands into the console in front of him and then he turned and spoke to someone behind him. His words could not be heard so Kathryn concluded that he had muted the communication - no point in trying to introduce herself again.
After a few moments the alien turned back to face the viewscreen and tapped at his console once more. "We require your... assistance," he drawled.
"How can we hel-" Kathryn was cut off once again.
"SILENCE!" the alien bellowed, punching at his console with his stubby fingers, a gleam in his eye.
Suddenly both Captain and Commander disappear from the Bridge in a shimmer of red light and the viewscreen went dead.
~¤~ Holly ~¤~
Kathryn and Chakotay materialized on the alien ship. Before either of them could react, they found themselves staring at several members of this new species, each of which had a phaser like object trained on the duo.
"Captain," the alien said, motioning towards a door to her left.
She looked at Chakotay, and then back at the alien.
"What do you..." she began, but as previously, was cut off.
"I will explain," the alien answered arrogantly. He started towards the door, motioning to his security team to have the captain and commander follow.
Kathryn and Chakotay were seated next to each other, across from their kidnapper.
"As stated before, we need your help," the alien stated.
~¤~ Taya ~¤~
"You keep saying that," Kathryn said.
The alien just glared at her.
Kathryn leaned her elbows on the table in front of her. "Look, we can't help you if you don't tell us what the problem is."
The alien looked up, behind Kathryn and Chakotay, at someone who came in the room. Kathryn and Chakotay turned around in their chairs to see an alien female walk through the entrance way. She wore something akin to a robe around her and she moved more gracefully then the other aliens. She walked around the table and sat next to the alien that had kidnapped them. She sat there just looking at Kathryn and Chakotay.
"These are the people you have chosen to help us?" she finally demanded of the male next to her. "They're... small, and weak!" She got up angrily and walked out of the room.
The male followed her out. "But... Your Majesty...."
Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other.
~¤~ Katie ~¤~
"Your majesty?" Kathryn whispered. "What are we going to do?" She looked at Chakotay.
"I don't know but I hope Tuvok finds us, soon. I have a feeling this isn't going to be good," Chakotay said.
"You're not the only one."
~¤~ Carissa ~¤~
"Be quiet!" one of the aliens yelled at them surprisingly. Kathryn jumped up in fear, which made Chakotay instinctively wrap his arms around her, in an effort to protect her.
Kathryn gasped suddenly from the close contact. She wasn’t expecting it to happen. She tried to look like it hadn't affected her, but was failing miserably.
Another alien entered the room and spoke coldly, "You will come with me. You will help us," pointing an ugly looking finger right at Kathryn. He gestured to another alien that entered the room to grab her.
Kathryn tried to get the aliens away from her, but they over powered her. They weren't happy with her trying to avoid them. They ended up dragging her to the door. Kathryn didn’t like that and yelled out, "Chakotay!" before vanishing behind the doors.
~¤~ Pam ~¤~
Chakotay felt anger swell inside him, and with a roar dived towards the door through which they had dragged Kathryn. There were only two guards in the room, and they barely had time to register what had happened before they fell unconscious to the floor. They carried only simple phaser-like weapons, but Chakotay wasn't in the position to be fussy.
His best chance at defeating these mysterious aliens would have to be the element of surprise. There was also a double-edged knife inside one of their pouches, so he pocketed it quickly and headed to the huge gilded doors, his heart pounding.
Just then, the silence was shattered by a piercing scream. Kathryn!
He burst through the doors, eyes ablaze and weapon held at the ready. Whoever had dared to hurt his Kathryn wouldn't live to see the sunset!
The room was huge, and heavily decorated. There was a throne at the far end, upon which the female 'Majesty' was sitting. There were over a dozen armed guards in the room also, standing parallel to the throne in a defensive position. The most disturbing thing of all, however, was Kathryn.
They had her strapped down on a marble dais, naked and weeping. Her back was a raw red, and her face was contorted in rage as well as agony.
One of the guards, a tall smirking fellow with a scar in place of his left eye, was standing above her, a whip held back mid-swing. There was a moment of silence as their leader assessed the situation, then: "Seize this intruder! How dare you interrupt out little...conversation."
The guards lurched forward, and drew their phaser-like weapons.
"No you fools, I want him alive!" she barked, and they sullenly obeyed.
Chakotay considered his options. He was clearly out-numbered, as well as out-gunned - these guards had more advanced rifles - and besides all that Kathryn was in no shape for out-running them.
I can't just give up, he thought to himself. Look what they've done to her!
With this in mind, he let in the torrent of rage which threatened to engulf him. The guards may have had numbers and weapons on their sides, but they didn't have love. Kathryn needed him, and that was that.
Phaser-fire crashed down on the guards like fatal hail-stones, but eventually Chakotay was forced to admit defeat - the weapon was out of ammo. Out of fifteen guards, only three were left, and they approached him cautiously, their weapons trained on his head.
"Bring him to me!" commanded the female on the throne.
"Yes, Dweia," chorused the guards, and proceeded to do so. Chakotay struggled in their grasp, but was soon on his knees before her.
"Do you think you have accomplished anything by this? I can have those guards replaced within minutes."
"Why are you doing this?" he demanded. "We haven't done anything to warrant this kind of treatment, and would have gladly helped if you had just asked instead of taking us prisoner and torturing our Captain!"
"Are you finished?" she said sarcastically. "What we need is information, Commander, and so far your Captain has refused to divulge it."
"I told you already, I DON'T KNOW!" Kathryn yelled half-heartedly. She tried to sit up, but was immediately pushed back down by the tall one-eyed guard. Chakotay growled and stepped forward.
"Enough!" snapped Dweia. "I do not wish to debate this all day. Bheid, release her. She can barely stand, let alone fight. I suggest you loosen her tongue, Commander, else you shall find my patience will run out rather quickly. I do not tolerate stubbornness."
With that, Kathryn was hauled to her feet, and one of the guards thrust a blanket towards her. Chakotay wrapped it around her shivering form, and watched as Dweia exited the throne room, Bheid close on her heels.
"Move," grunted another guard, and prodded them in the direction of the door. Chakotay helped Kathryn along, and eventually they reached what looked disturbingly like a jail cell. It was cold and dark, neglected by sunlight and devoid of comfort. The guards tossed them inside without hesitation, locking the heavy door afterwards. Soon they were alone.
"Kathryn, I'm so sorry..." he began.
~¤~ Bec ~¤~
"Don't be sorry," Kathryn said softly. Her tone lacked the strength he was accustomed to hearing in Kathryn's voice, a cause for immediate concern.
The silence around them grew imposing. Kathryn listened to the empty silence, her ears searching for any sounds from the aliens. Talk, the beeping from a console, the opening of a door, but there was nothing.
The only sound in the darkness was Chakotay's breathing. Her own was quieter, Kathryn was too aware of the silence to break it with the own sound of her breathing. She controlled it, the exhaling of air making little noise.
Kathryn, leant against Chakotay's chest, could tell immediately when he took a deep breath, and sensed, correctly, that he was about to talk.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Chakotay asked gently. His warm breath tickled the back of her neck, sending shivers down her spine. Had it not been for their current situation, she would have enjoyed the sensation, taking it as one of their regular small acts of flirtation.
Kathryn sighed. "I don't know," she admitted. "It wasn't anything much, Chakotay... they just kept asking me over and over... and I didn't know..."
She began to shake again. The incident of the interrogation had brought back too many painful memories of her time amongst the Cardassians and various other alien races she had encountered that had questioned her for information.
Chakotay wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close to him. The gesture was comforting, Kathryn felt herself relaxing slightly into the embrace.
~¤~ SaRa ~¤~
Chakotay began to rub her back, hoping to make her relax more, but he felt her suddenly go tense. "Kathryn?"
She bit her lip and blinked a few times to fight back tears. "Hurts," she managed.
~¤~ Jo ~¤~
He pulled her closer to him. "I know Kathryn. You just try to get some sleep... I'm going to get you back to Voyager as soon as I can."
"No," she whispered. "Captain... must... strong."
"Shh, Kathryn. Just go to sleep... don't worry about Voyager." Slowly, she slipped into a fitful sleep, leaving Chakotay alone with his thoughts. His mind kept racing through all the possibilities, and to tell the truth, he was terrified. He tried to fill his mind with nice thoughts, but it was useless.
"NO!" Kathryn suddenly yelled in her sleep. "No! Cardassians... make them go..." she slowly started to cry, and ran his hand down her hair.
"I'm here, Kathryn... there aren't any Cardassians here. Calm down, I'm here for you." Gradually, she quietened down. Once again, he was left with all the terrible thoughts. He made himself think of her, of everything he loved about her. Loved about her. He'd loved her for so long, but he wasn't sure if she returned his love. What would he do if anything happened to her? He couldn't carry on if the worst happened.
~¤~ Tara ~¤~
Kathryn awoke slowly to pain and the cold. She moaned slightly as she tried to move. She sighed as she noticed Chakotay's arms wrapped around her. She badly needed to move, the stiffness was becoming sore, but she didn't want to wake him.
She decided she could bare it a little longer. She had faced worse, even worse than yesterday. And she had overcome it. She had survived. What didn't kill her, made her stronger and despite the pain that reminded her of yesterday, she felt stronger.
She turned her head slightly so she could see Chakotay's face. Concern, fear, uncertainty, a fusion of too many emotions were scarring his sleeping face. He looked so still, yet she knew on the inside everything was raging. She ached to see it all gone, to see his calming smile, his warm eyes but she feared she never would. What if they never got out of this?
She felt her chest constrict and instinctively snuggled closer into Chakotay. Her eyes travelled along the cold, sterile cell they were in, wondering if they would ever know anything but these walls and the pain beyond them again. She shook her head, angry with herself. They would get out of this. She had been in worse situations. So had Voyager.
Voyager. Her body flinched as images of the large fleet of powerful ships looming toward her ship flashed behind her eyes. Would they have attacked Voyager? Would Voyager have attacked them after they had kidnapped her and Chakotay? Would Voyager have survived? Tuvok said himself...
She took a ragged breath, shaken by the thought that Voyager might be no more. Tuvok... all her friends, her crew, they could all be dead. But wouldn't she have felt something, if Voyager had been attacking? If they had gotten the chance that was. There was also the possibility that the ship they were presently on had left the battle to it's sister ships.
Kathryn frowned. The possibilities were becoming maddening! But she had nothing to do but think. Perhaps she should use it for a more productive route. Like getting the hell out of the cell she was in.
She felt Chakotay take a deep breath and she turned to see his eyes fluttering open.
"Kathryn..." he whispered groggily. She managed a smile. His arms slipped from around her as he tried to sit up straight, no doubt feeling stiffer than she had - after all, she had been basically using him as a pillow. She felt the absence of his arms take a little of her strength with them, but she really did need to move.
"Are you okay?" she asked as she moved away from him, flexing her sore muscles.
"Fine," he answered, not really interested in how he felt. He was looking at her intently, studying her.
"How are you?" he asked softly.
"A little sore, but better," she assured him. "Stronger," she added firmly. He smiled a little, not sure whether to believe her or not.
"Has there been anyone -" His question was cut off by the sound of the door opening. They scrambled to their feet instantly. Chakotay stepped in front of Kathryn immediately. If they wanted her, they would have to go through him.
Kathryn noticed what he was doing. She appreciated the gesture but she was not about to show any more weakness to these people. She pulled the blanket tightly around her and stepped beyond her human shield. Chakotay gave her a shocked stare that turned to anger. She could see the familiar 'don't be such a stubborn fool' look in his eyes. She ignored it and looked to the door.
~¤~ AsZe ~¤~
Kathryn waited for her eyes to get accustomed to the bright world behind the door as she looked to see who had come.
A young woman, maybe even still a child, clad in a long green robe, appeared in the opening.
She was definitely not a member of the same species that had kidnapped them, her features much softer, her skin creamy, pale in comparison with the aliens' dark complexion. Her wavy, jet-black hair reached mid-back and fell down on her shoulders freely. A pair of kind, green eyes gazed at Kathryn from under a fringe and Kathryn had a sense of déjà vu, the girl before her reminding her of her young elfin friend, even though at first glance, the two had little in common.
The alien smiled slightly, but had a pained look on her face as she addressed Kathryn.
"I've brought you some food." Only now did Janeway notice the large tray in her hands, several dishes, covered by bowls placed on it. "I hope you'll like it."
Kathryn immediately recognised the girl as a potential source of information. She walked up closer to her, Chakotay following her.
"Thank you, ...?" Since Kathryn's hands were busy holding her blanket, Chakotay took the tray and set it down on the floor next to them.
"Rienna." The alien supplied and smiled sadly once again. She nodded slightly to the two officers before leaving the small prison. Janeway was about to look at Chakotay when the girl returned, a bucket and clean cloth in one hand and a little box in the other. She stepped up to Chakotay and handed both to him, then looked in his eyes. "They hurt your lady badly and her injuries have not been treated. There is some medicine in this box, but first her wounds must be cleansed."
Chakotay understood and nodded. "Thank you, Rienna."
As the man laid the things he had received next to their food, taking care not to dirty the cloth, Rienna stepped back to the door, then turned to look at Kathryn again. "I'm sorry they've treated you like this. They... It's their way, however brutal it is. But they speak the truth, even if their deeds say otherwise. They need you."
"What do they need us for, Rienna?" Janeway asked, hoping to get some information.
An unpleasant, sneering voice came from the other side of the door. "Hurry up. Bheid wants to see you." The sudden, though brief, change in the girl, didn't go unnoticed by the two, but they decided not to inquire about the 'meeting'. It seemed painful enough for her as it was.
"I have to go." Rienna said quietly, her voice faltering a bit. "I- I'm sorry." Then she looked up one last time at the Commander. "Take care of your lady."
And with that, she left the prison room and the doors closed once again, leaving the twosome in complete darkness. They both stood where they had when Rienna had left them for a moment.
Finally, Kathryn turned to Chakotay, pulling her blanket even closer. Her voice was quiet when she spoke. "I'll need some help with those wounds, Chakotay."
The man nodded silently and crouched by the box. Opening it, he found some medicine. He picked up a small bottle of what looked like alcohol, obviously put there for cleaning the wounds on Kathryn's back.
Chakotay looked back at Kathryn as he set the bottle down and took the cloth instead, glad it was clean. "You'll have to sit down." She complied, turning her back to him. "And you should probably let me see your back too, Kathryn." He added, quietly.
Kathryn nodded and turned the blanket around her until the middle of it was in front of her. She held onto the blanket before her as she felt the cool air connect with her bare back.
"Spirits, Kathryn." Chakotay breathed as he saw the raw marks on her delicate skin. He dampened the cloth and touched it to her back. Kathryn drew in a sudden breath and Chakotay lay a comforting hand on her shoulder, the other continuing to gently clean the wounds. "I know it hurts, Kathryn, but I have to do this."
"I... I know, Chakotay." She was trying to be brave, but the pain didn't let her speak normally.
Finally, the man had finished with the water and had somehow managed to be gentle with the alcoholic substance. Having done everything he could to help Kathryn, he put the medicinal equipment away.
Kathryn was about to cover her back again with the blanket when something appeared in front of her, hanging from Chakotay's hand. A brown material something.
"Chakotay?" she queried.
"Put on my shirt, Kathryn. You'll still need the blanket, but you'll be warmer and you won't have your hands immobilised all the time."
Kathryn complied silently, taking the shirt and putting it on when Chakotay had turned his back to her.
~¤~ Akot ~¤~
About an hour later, they couldn't quite be sure of the flow of time cut off from the world as they were, two guards appeared in the doorway and escorted them to another room. This one just as dark and intimidating, but obviously some sort of office. Kathryn and Chakotay looked at each other, wondering what was next. They were surprised to see the guards leave the room as Bheid entered.
"You are foolish to try and hide information from Dweia," he said.
Chakotay's face darkened. "And you were foolish to send the guards away. How do you know we won't attack you?"
Bheid smiled, a strange grotesque smile that seemed out of place on his alien face. "Do you really think I'm that stupid? Try to reach me."
Hesitantly, Chakotay walked forward, one hand extended. He yelped as it came into contact with a forcefield.
"It's set quite low at the moment," said Bheid smugly, "But I urge you not to try that again."
Chakotay returned to Kathryn's side.
Bheid's face was once again serious. "You will tell me what we want to know, or you will pay another visit to Dweia."
"But we don't -" began Chakotay.
Bheid's face was angry. "Enough lies!" The rate at which his emotions changed alarmed the pair from Voyager. The alien was completely unpredictable.
They stood in silence for a long moment.
"How can we tell you what we don't know?" replied Kathryn quietly, more pleadingly than she would have liked.
Bheid snorted in disgust and summoned the guards back in. "Dweia will see you now."
~¤~ Celestia ~¤~
Suddenly, the doors opened with a loud 'swoosh'. Kathryn shivered involuntarily, thinking of her previous meeting with Dweia. Chakotay shifted protectively closer to her.
But it was not a group of guards which entered the doors screaming and crying. It was Rienna, her green robe in shreds and her black hair matted to her pale face with sweat. Kathryn stifled a gasp at the sight of the small girl.
"You know you're not supposed to be here, child," said Bheid quietly, without a trace of gentleness. "What is it?"
Rienna stood in the doorway panting. "Dweia--dead--attacked--couldn't stop them...." The girl fell to the floor, her efforts exhausting her. Kathryn and Chakotay both went to her side, moving as if with one mind.
Bheid had fallen into his chair, his shock apparent on his face. He pressed a button on the wall. "Bridge-what's going on?"
Kathryn wasn't paying attention. She wiped some of the sweat off Rienna's face with the sleeve of Chakotay's shirt. The girl's eyes opened slowly and she winked at them. "Go!" she whispered urgently. "This is your chance--some of my people have prepared a shuttle for you." She handed Chakotay a PADD-like object. "It's a map--quickly! Protect your lady!"
~¤~ Laura ~¤~
Kathryn hesitated briefly, she couldn't help but wonder if this was another trick, but her doubt quickly vanished. Why bring secret medical supplies to them, to her, only to spring another trap. A quick glance at Chakotay told her that they were on the same wavelength - that they had the same doubts but they simply couldn't afford not to take the opportunity presented to them.
They ran. Chakotay clutched the map tightly in one hand, and grasped Kathryn's small hand in the other, pulling her along. They were through the door before Bheid even realised they were gone.
"After them!" Bheid roared, his voice carrying well down the corridors, a pretty good indication of just how angry he was. "Seize them! Get them back! They are our only chance!" And was that a hint of desperation Kathryn could hear in his voice?
She pushed the thought out of her mind, concentrating on escaping. She couldn't afford to be sidetracked; she needed to focus all of her energy on getting out of here if they had even a slim hope of succeeding.
As if to prove her point, she stumbled, falling to her knees and jarring her already painful back. "Ow!" she hissed between clenched teeth, already pushing herself back to her feet. She felt Chakotay's hand take her elbow to help her up, the cool metal of the map pressing against her arm even through his shirt she wore.
She was about to thank him, but the words died on her lips. She could hear footsteps, many footsteps, running footsteps, getting faster, louder, closer. She saw an opening in the wall up ahead, and evidently Chakotay had seen it to, because she found herself pulled towards it swiftly. There was barely room for the two of them to stand there, but they managed. Chakotay's back to the wall, and Kathryn's back against Chakotay in turn, one arm wrapped tightly around her waist, the other wrapped across her shoulders, holding her securely against his chest.
Despite herself, Kathryn couldn't help but notice the steady rise and fall of Chakotay's chest, the rapid beat of his heart, his musky scent, his warm body solid behind her, his arms wrapped around her, making her feel safe, even in this hostile situation, his breath tickling her ear. Through it all, Kathryn could feel pain, intense pain that brought tears to her eyes. The wounds on her back were still raw, and they hurt; god, did they hurt.
"Kathryn, I'm sorry," Kathryn felt his voice brush past her ear rather than heard it, but she knew what he had said nonetheless. She nodded almost imperceptibly, letting him know that she knew that it had to be done - it was that or death; and that she forgave... that there was nothing to forgive.
The footsteps were upon them now, pounding past in a relentless wave of soldiers, heavily protected with full body armour and armed to the teeth with nasty looking weapons. They both breathed in and pressed themselves further back as if they could simply melt into the wall.
When eventually the soldiers past, Chakotay let out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding until that moment, and loosened his grip on Kathryn, although he didn't let go of her completely. She turned in his arms to look up at him, and he could see the pain in her eyes, saw one tear escape and slide unbidden down her face. He brought one hand up to cup her jaw, and rubbed his thumb softly over her cheek to wipe the moisture away. "Kathryn, I am so...."
Kathryn touched a gentle finger to his lips to silence him. "Shush, Chakotay," she whispered, coaxing the map from his fingers and studying it carefully. She pointed to a small area in the centre of the device. "We must be about here," she theorised. "I figure we were being held in that room; and so it makes sense from the scale and the rough path we took that we are here now." She had traced the one finger - a finger with a grazed knuckle and a torn nail.
"I'd agree with that," Chakotay told her softly. "That looks like a control room," he pointed to another large room, "But it's likely to be heavily guarded, and they'll have been alerted of our escape. It's also quite a way away. As much as I hate to say it, Kathryn, heading for the exit seems to be the only viable option if we want to actually get out of here."
Kathryn tried to keep her expression guarded, but he knew her to well. She could tell she wasn't exactly happy about it, but he could also tell that she had come to that same conclusion unaided. She took a deep breath and stepped out of his arms, a mask of steely determination on her face. She slid closer to the corridor and looked quickly up and down before ducking back into the small alcove. "The coast is clear. Let's go."
~¤~ Holly ~¤~
Glancing at the padd one last time, they slowly slipped out of their hiding place. Looking back down the corridor they had come from, they hurriedly turned down the corridor perpendicular to their current one.
"Let me see the padd," Chakotay whispered, taking it from Kathryn. Carefully walking and reading at the same time, Chakotay tried to formulate a route.
Coming to the end of the corridor, they looked down the intersecting one.
"Which way?" Kathryn asked.
"Uh, right, no, left... I think," Chakotay mumbled, turning the padd upside down and back again.
"For goodness sake, Chakotay," Kathryn told him, trying to stop the smile that was creeping up on her due to the confused look on his face.
Grabbing the padd from him, she glanced at it and pulled him in her direction. "Right."
~¤~ Taya ~¤~
"Men and maps just don't mix," Kathryn said under her breath and she pulled Chakotay down the corridor with her.
"What?" Chakotay asked not quite hearing what she said. Something about men and maps.
"Nothing," Kathryn said as they came to another intersecting corridor.
Kathryn looked down at the map in her hands and then looked up, and then back at the map again. "Left," she said.
They walked down the corridor for no more then 30 seconds when Kathryn stopped.
"What's the matter?" Chakotay asked grabbing her by the arm.
"Something's not right, Chakotay. According to this map we should be in their transporter room. I don't understand..." her sentence was interrupted by the floor under them suddenly shaking causing them to fall into the wall.
Chakotay landed on Kathryn and was pinning her to the wall, holding her arm and her waist. After the shaking stopped, Kathryn and Chakotay felt the slight tingle of a transporter begin.
~¤~ Carissa ~¤~
After a few seconds, they rematerialised in a dark and smelly room. Chakotay's grip started to tighten around Kathryn's waist, but a gasp of pain emanated from her and he relaxed his grip slightly.
Looking around to try to get some idea where exactly they were, Chakotay saw a set of red eyes glowing a few meters away.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
~¤~ Pam ~¤~
Chakotay wondered if perhaps this was a test of sorts, and decided that enough was enough. They didn't have time for this - Kathryn was hurt. He scrambled upright, and took a step forwards.
"Look, I don't know who the hell you think you are, but-"
Kathryn forced her head to rise against its wishes, and squinted in the darkness. The temporary illumination from the eyes had vanished, leaving her defenceless and blind, her heart pounding like a thousand drums of war. The air was stale, and stung her eyes as she tried desperately to locate her first officer in the damp chamber. The cold was starting to lie to her, telling her to sleep, that everything would be okay if she just closed her eyes and forgot.
But she couldn't.
Not because she didn't want to, but because a part of her knew that something wasn't right, and she had to find him.
Find who? Her mind began to cloud, shutting down in a feeble effort to conceal the tragic outlook presented before her. If she could only find him...
Another kind of darkness crept over her, and just before she slipped into unconsiousness she let out a final plea.
~¤~ Bec ~¤~
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