Salvaging Hope; Part I

Summary: Kathryn tells Tom a painful story. Includes a missing/changed scene from Jeri Taylor’s Mosaic. [In response to Jupiter Station Narrative Challenge #170.] Rated PG-13 for language and mature situations. J,P AU, Angst Part 1/?

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything but my stories.

By Daffnie (resistance_is.futile@startrekmail.com)

Archiving: Sure, just ask me first.

=/\=

Like a beast in a pen, I’m cut off
From my friends, freedom, the sun,
But the hunters are gaining ground.
I’ve nowhere else to run.

Dark wood and the bank of a pond,
Trunk of a fallen tree.
There’s no way forward, no way back.
It’s all up to me.

Am I a gangster or murderer?
Of what crime do I stand
Condemned? I made the whole world weep
At the beauty of my land.

Even so, one step from my grave,
I believe that cruelty, spite,
The powers of darkness will in time
Be crushed by the spirit of light.

The beaters in a ring close in
With the wrong prey in view,
I’ve got nobody at my right hand,
Nobody faithful and true.

And with such a noose on my throat
I should like for one second
My tears to be wiped away
By someone at my right hand

~Boris Pasternak

=/\=

She had to get away...but how? Panic rushed through her; ran to her fingertips that strained to pry the restraints off. Sweat flowed steadily from her pores, soaking her hair and stinging her eyes. She was trapped, and there was nothing she could do about it. ...Or was there? The window across the room was open, letting a breeze come and cool her rising fever. Maybe she could slip out unnoticed. That sounded like a reasonable enough plan. But first, she had to get out of the shackles and handcuffs that held her bound to the cold stone floor. She struggled against the metal that kept her vulnerable, trying frantically to get herself out.

“Captain?” a voice rang out that was definitely not part of the horrible memory. She snapped out of her trance, shaken.

“I’m sorry. What did you say?” she asked, feeling embarrassed about revealing that she obviously hadn’t heard what was said to her.

“I said ‘Are you all right?’” Tom stated sympathetically.

“Yeah...I’m fine,” she lied.

Kathryn stood up, needing to get some excess energy out somehow, and wandered over to the replicator.

“Coffee. Black,” she ordered, and a white mug of steaming hot brown liquid appeared in the mouth of the machine. She lifted the mug close to her face, inhaling the musky-sweet scent that was almost as satisfying as the coffee itself. She took a small sip, felt the warm flavor in her tongue, savored the taste, and felt it trickle down her throat as she swallowed. Kathryn slowly turned back to Tom. Their eyes met for a fleeting moment until she looked down at the floor, slightly unnerved.

Suddenly realizing that she hadn’t offered him anything, she asked, “Want something? Water? Coffee?”

“No, thanks. I’ve stayed away from coffee. It’s no healthy,” he replied.

Kathryn shrugged and began pacing...slowly at first, but then quicker and more urgently, like she was waiting for the arrival of an admiral. Every so often, she took another sip of the java, and then cradled the mug back in her hands, letting it slosh against the sides as she walked.

“You’re going to wear a hole through to the next deck if you keep that up,” Tom stated softly, trying not to sound like a smart aleck.

Kathryn stopped, and her face took on an expression somewhere between surprise and embarrassment, eyes wide and unwavering. Then she blinked and showed a smile that she hoped didn’t look as forced as it felt.

“Sorry...” she said sheepishly.

She went back to the couch and sat down next to him.

“I assume you got my message?” Kathryn asked quietly.

Tom nodded. “Why did you want to see me? Is something wrong?”

“Well, I guess you could say that,” she responded cryptically.

Tom’s brow furrowed with confusion. He looked at her with question, but she went on before he could speak.

“I debated over whether to tell this to you or not for years. I feel it’s time for you to know the truth.”

“The truth about what?”

A hint of a smile formed on her lips, but the moisture that formed in her eyes glistened dramatically.

“You,” she whispered.

“What are you talking about?”

Kathryn hesitated, not knowing where to go from there. How would he react? Could she risk telling him? Sure, he deserved to know -had a right to know- but would ignorance be better? Maybe she could make up a lie and not let him be knowledgeable of what really happened. No. She couldn’t lie about this. To somebody else, maybe, but not Tom.

“Your mother and father...” she began uneasily and cleared her throat. “They’re not your biological parents.”

“What?!”

Kathryn was quiet for a long time as she fixed a stare on his face, trying to find succor from him or within herself. There was none.

“You’re my son, Tom.”

“But...how is that possible? My parents...they, they,” he stuttered.

“They adopted you at birth,” she finished.

Tom’s shoulders sagged as if the weight of the universe was suddenly put upon them.

“You’re lying,” he simply stated, trying as hard as he could not to accept what she said.

Kathryn sighed heavily.

“I’m not. You have my word...even thought I don’t know if that’s enough. Sometimes I wish it was lie. It would have been easier that way. But that’s not how it turned out. I don’t know if I can make you accept it, and I’ll understand if you don’t.

“This has been heavy on my conscience, especially lately when I began to realize how much you deserve to know. I couldn’t hold it back any longer. It was weighing me down.”

“But how? I don’t get it.”

He paused.

“You’re my mother?” he exclaimed, as if it finally sank in.

Kathryn merely nodded.

“I think it’d be best if I told you the whole story. Maybe then you’d understand.”

“All right,” Tom agreed hesitantly. “Go ahead.”

~*~

It was an unusually hectic day aboard the Al-Batani. Crewmembers were rushing in every direction, energetically and enthusiastically doing their part to help with the next mission. Ensign Kathryn Janeway and Admiral Owen Paris were preparing to leave on a shuttle craft to retrieve surveillance equipment that had gathered information on Cardassian whereabouts near the moon the devices were located on. It was a tantalizing mission, but potentially dangerous. One could never tell when a Cardassian ship would appear and blow them up or take them as prisoners and force torture upon their exponentially weakening bodies. Not physically, but emotionally. The pain was said to be beyond imagination, but it never did any physical harm. The Cardassians had a horrible reputation of torturing their victims until they were desperate to die, but couldn’t.

Admiral Paris headed down the corridor, keeping up a brisk stride, and Kathryn struggled to stay at his pace. Suddenly, he stopped, and so did she, almost tripping over her own feet from the abrupt halt.

“Are you sure you want to go through with this, Ensign?” the admiral asked. “You can stay behind if you want. I’ll have Lieutenant Tighe come with me in your place.

“No, sir. I want to go. I’ve taken your suggestion about going into command into consideration. I feel this mission will help me if I choose to pursue that course.”

Paris smiled in approval.

“Excellent decision, Kathryn. If you do in fact go into that field, I will support you through the duration of your training and recommend you to Starfleet.”

Kathryn was surprised by his sudden interest in her. He had never treated her so...nicely. ‘The Scorcher’ did have a heart after all.

“Thank you, sir. I’m honored.”

He clapped his hand down on her shoulder, and his smile disappeared.

“Let’s prepare for the mission.”

The admiral led the way to the shuttle bay, and Janeway eagerly followed at his heels.

~*~

“Shields down to 63%!” Kathryn yelled through the barrage of smoke and exploding consoles. Sparks flew everywhere, threatening to set something on fire.

Another jolt from the Cardassians’ weapons nearly threw her from her seat.

“Shields at 47% and falling! We can’t take this much longer!”

“Try rerouting power from life support,” Admiral Paris, now a shadow in the smoke, yelled calmly over the noise.

“I’ve tried that already. The main processor must be offline.”

Her console beeped frantically, then a dead silence fell over the ship until another blast hit, and a volley of beeps filled the air.

“Phasers are down!” she said nervously and turned to him. “We don’t have any more photon torpedoes, sir, and we lost warp capability. We’re dead in the water.”

“Try the impulse thrusters. We have to get out of here somehow. Evasive maneuvers.”

“Aye, sir. Initiating evasive maneuver pattern beta five.”

Kathryn’s fingers flew over the helm in front of her, tapping in commands that could save their lives...or destroy them.

Suddenly, they could feel the small shuttle craft being pulled against its will.

“They’ve locked a tractor beam on us!” she exclaimed palpably. “Attempting to get us loose.”

She jabbed her fingers at the controls, sending a pulse through the tractor beam. The were let go...for a few seconds...then they were being pulled once more towards the Cardassians’ ship. Kathryn tried getting free again, but it didn’t work. They didn’t have enough power. In the view screen, she could see the dark vessel grow bigger, more disheartening. A loud screech of metal-on-metal rang in her ears and a sharp jolt that tossed her momentarily into the air told her that they were now inside the ship. She whipped around in her seat, only to see Admiral Paris unconscious at his station towards the back of the cockpit.

Then, she head the unmistakable sound of the back hatch to the shuttle being opened, and through the door, two armed Cardassians appeared, advancing towards her. She panicked, tried to hide behind her seat, praying that they wouldn’t notice her. Suddenly, her chair was violently spun around, and she was face to face with the head of a phaser. It discharged its beam of fire, and a pulse of excruciating pain went surging down to her bones. Her body went into spasms from the shock, and merciless darkness finally fell upon her.

~*~

Her fatigue was overwhelming, and her eyelids were heavy, but Kathryn forced herself to waken. She was instantly greeted with a steely-gray light filtering through a scum-covered window at the far end of the room. The floor she lay on was cold, although her body felt like it was on fire. She realized that she must have a fever, and it would have risen further if not for the cooling relief of the stone floor and the slight breeze that circulated the air.

But however comfortable the room was, when she tried getting up, she realized she was chained down tightly. Fear filled her mind, and her heart pounded in her ears. She had to get these manacles off. She attempted to shake them loose, hoping they weren’t as strong as they looked, but apparently they were when all her efforts did was cause the chain to whip against itself creating an ear-piercing clang.

Dammit! She thought angrily.

Suddenly, a deep rumbling laugh filled her ears.

“Foolish girl, you know you can’t escape. There’s no use trying. Save your strength,” the man jeered. Who exactly he was, she couldn’t tell because of the lack of light in the room, but from the way he talked and his silhouette in the doorway, he appeared to be human. But what was a human doing on a planet dominated by Cardassians (assuming that she was on Cardassia)? Was he a prisoner like she was? But then why did it seem that he had so much freedom? Why was he in charge of her and not one of those hideous, cord-necked reptiles?

“Let me go, you bastard!” she threatened with all the power she could summon. “Send me back to my ship!”

More thundering laughter echoed in the room. He was apparently not intimidated or insulted. And if he was, he didn’t show it.

“And why would I want to do that?”

She became quiet. Why would he let her go? He would gain nothing from it but a possible beating (if he was in fact a prisoner, and if he let her go, the Cardassians’ reputable torture devices would surely be put to use on him) or even death. Kathryn racked her brain to come up with something, but it refused to function. Her silence spoke volumes.

“I don’t see any reason, either. It’s nice we’re finally mutual in something.”

“Go to hell,” she rasped angrily.

“You’re a feisty one, aren’t you? I like spunk in a woman.”

A bubble of irritation formed and threatened to burst. It was all she could do not to scream all the profanity that came to mind.

Fear took instant control of her as the man took slow steps towards her. She froze.

“I don’t bite,” he claimed, noticing her suddenly tense.

Somehow, Kathryn didn’t believe that. Morbidly, she thought that he probably ate the flesh of his own kind.

He knelt down beside her. She could see now that he was in fact human. He had a sharp chiseled jaw that was covered with the beginnings of a beard. His glaring eyes were a deep brown, and when he looked at her, she felt that his eyes were probing her brain. Over-exposure to the sun gave his skin a leathery complexion, and as he bent over her, she winced at the smell of his breath.

“My name is Peh’Tev. And you are...?”

She spit in his face. The glob of saliva landed on his nose, and slowly dripped down to the floor. He let out a low growl and wiped the rest off with the back of his hand.

“This could be easier for both of us if you would just cooperate. There’s no sense in making this difficult.”

“Speak for yourself. You’re not the one chained down. What kind of problems do you have, Your Majesty?” she retoted sarcastically.

Peh’Tev scowled. He revealed a hypospray he had apparently been holding the whole time but had gone unnoticed by her.

“This,” he gestured to the small device with his other hand, “is what I’m talking about. I assume you know what it is, seeing how you’re wearing a Starfleet medical uniform. You know, that blue-green on the shoulders brings out your eyes.”

Kathryn glared at him. “What’s in it? Are you going to kill me? Because if you are, get it over with.”

“Oh, no. Quite the opposite. There’s DNA in it. To be specific, my DNA. You see, you’re going to have my child.” Then he added, “Infertility is a tragic flaw in genetics. My last mate couldn’t have offspring because of me, and she was so devastated she killed herself...deranged woman.” He paused, recalling the memory and laughing quietly to himself. “You’re the only way to correct this problem.”

His calm demeanor annoyed her.

“I’d rather die than have a child that’ll be damned with the shame of having a father who’s too pathetic to raise it himself.”

Peh’Tev’s hand slapped her face harshly, leaving it stinging and red. Kathryn felt heated rage spread throughout her body.

“You will have my child, you ungrateful wench, whether you like it or not.”

And at that, he forcefully pushed the hypospray to her neck, and it hissed as its contents entered her bloodstream.

“Oh, and I forgot to mention,” he said evenly as he began walking towards the door, “there’s also a tranquilizer in it. Pleasant dreams.”

Kathryn fought to keep her eyes open, but the sedative was too strong, and she gently fell into a deep sleep.

~*~

Kathryn clawed at the rope that circled around her neck trying desperately to get air into her lungs through her constricted trachea. But the rope would not yield, and she continued to be dragged across the muddy ground, legs numbing all the while. She made an attempt at digging her heels into the unstable ground to use as an anchor to get to her feet. This only caused the rope to chafe even more against her already painfully red neck.

She tilted her head back, and as her hair became even more encrusted with mud, she caught a glimpse of the people who were dragging her.

Cardassians.

Her lungs felt like they were burning from the lack of oxygen, and so she struggled against her kidnappers in a final moment of desperation.

This got their attention, and they stopped. On of the Cardassians dropped the rope from his ugly pale-green hand and stormed over to her. Kathryn drew in a welcomed breath of fresh air, but was instantly forced into breathlessness when the man violently shoved his heavy boot into her chest.

“Stop squirming or I’ll gladly make you, wretched human,” he threatened.

Kathryn quickly obeyed, terrified of the consequences if she failed to comply with his demands.

Suddenly, she heard phaser fire coming from behind. For a brief moment, she wondered who was shooting at them, then she shrieked as the Cardassian collapsed on her, crushing her leg. The shattered sharp-ended bones stabbed through the skin as she tried getting the heavy man off from her, and she immediately stopped because the pain was more than she could bear. She screamed in agony but relief came as she felt the weight lifted from her. Kathryn’s eyes were met with those of Justin Tighe’s, who threw the Cardassian aside like it was nothing.

“Come on, Janeway. We have to get out of here quickly. There’ll be more of ‘em coming,” he said and held out his hand to help her to her feet.

Kathryn shook her head and forced out, “My leg...it’s broken.”

“Then I’ll carry you,” he offered, and bent down to pick her up.

“No...I can do it.”

She sat up, clenching her jaw hard so that she wouldn’t scream. She put her hands on the ground for support, but she was too weak. Kathryn fell backwards. Justin bent over her, but she pushed him away. An expression of annoyance appeared on his face.

“Bravery won’t heal your leg, Janeway. Let me carry you.”

“No...” she whined and attempted to get up again.

“Don’t make me pull rank on you, Ensign. I’ll make it an order if that’s what you want.”

“Fine,” she grumbled, giving in.

He gave her a small smile, lifted her into his arms, and hurried off into the woods. It was only a few minutes into their journey when the temperature dropped, and the stars appeared through the canopy above them. Kathryn wondered when they were going to get to where they were going...where ever that was.

“We’ll be at the transporter coordinates in a few minutes,” he said, as though he had read her mind.

He carried her through the maze of trees for a little while longer, and she knew she had to ask the question that had been bothering her since he rescued her.

“What happened to Admiral Paris?” she whispered, afraid of what his response would be.

Justin’s slowed his stride slightly, and she could see a frown form on his lips.

“Those sons-of-bitches killed him,” he replied angrily, then his voice softened. “I’m so sorry, Kathryn. I know how much you admired him. He was a good man.”

Strong hatred instantly flowed through her veins, and she hungered for revenge. Kathryn fought to keep the hot, angry tears back, but to no avail. They streamed down her face and landed on Justin’s uniform.

END OF PART I

To be continued....

::Part II | Part III | Part IV::