Summary: It’s time for Chakotay’s secret to come out. Only not even the Commander knows how the secret will effect all of Voyager.
Disclaimer: See Main Fan Fiction Page
Commander Chakotay came off duty exhausted. For the last three weeks he’d been getting as little sleep as was possible and still be able to function. He had no real reason not to be sleeping. He simply knew that he had very little time left and he was determined to make the most of it.
Chakotay, the strong ex-Maquis First Officer of the starship Voyager, had a secret; one that he had been keeping since he was five years old. His secret was so huge that he had sworn to never reveal it until his death. Chakotay’s secret would bring his death to him and unless his calculations were off, he had three days left.
For the first time since Voyager had been stranded in Delta Quadrant, Chakotay was glad he wouldn’t be dying on his home world. This way his secret and his father’s shame could be kept from everyone they knew. Chakotay had asked Kathryn to take care of that for him in his final message to her. And he knew she would honor that request, assuming she made it home.
Of all the things his death made him face, the fact that he wouldn’t see Voyager make it home saddened him the most. For the last eight years, he’d watched this great ship and her crew fight more obstacles than anyone should have to face. And somehow they’d all come through, strengthened by their challenges. Sure, they’d lost a crewman here or there but on the whole, they were all still fighting to get home.
Chakotay would miss the crew when he passed to the spirit world. They were all special to him, Maquis and Star Fleet alike. He had talked to every crewman dozens of times over they last eight years; had learned their strengths and weaknesses, their hopes and fears, and in general had made 160 of the closest friends a person could have. This thought made him smile softly.
Captain Kathryn Janeway watched as her XO walked off the bridge. He’s seemed tired and restless today. He had for the last few weeks, she realized. She usually didn’t worry about the commander. He was known around the ship as the Mystic Warrior, strong in ways that no one outside of the Native American culture could understand.
Kathryn saw a tiny smile form on his face just as the turbolift doors started to close. After eight years, she still didn’t understand the way his mind worked. And it wasn’t as if she hadn’t tried. On and even after New Earth, she’d tried to figure out what made him tick, but for some reason, she simply couldn’t. Most people were open books to Kathryn Janeway, but not her first officer. For that reason alone, she kept her distance.
Now, seeing Chakotay exhausted and clearly restless, she was once again puzzled. Even when he was very upset, the commander never let his feelings show on the bridge. It was an unwritten constant somewhere in the Voyager equation. There were so many unknowns about the stoic Indian but somehow they’d all come to rely on him.
Sighing, Kathryn let her worries disappear. They were travelling in what had to be the second most boring stretch of space since they’d entered the Delta Quadrant. Chakotay’s problem wouldn’t endanger the crew and he always seemed to work these things out given time. She’d just have to give him that time.
Chakotay sat in his quarters. The room was silent except for his breathing as he slowly started to enter his meditation. He didn’t even have to use his akoonah; he was centered enough that he easily slipped into the spirit world.
Chakotay’s dreamscape was a forest clearing. The trees around him stood thousands of feet high with broad branches and hundreds of leaves. It was spring. It was always spring, he thought. He looked around and smiled. Some things were always the same. He smiled and breathed in the clear, clean air and listened to the bird chattering and singing to one another.
The commander looked around for his spirit guide. She always came to greet him, but he wasn’t worried. He could sense her presence and he knew that she was fine. He wondered through the wild flowers and found her sleeping in amid a patch of shooting stars. The image of the fierce gray wolf tucked among the delicate little blossoms brought a smile to his lips and a ray of peace to his heart.
Instead of waking her, Chakotay settled in beside her. He plucked one of the flowers and looked at the small purple petals. This plant looked so fragile and yet they were very common both on Earth and on Dorvan where his ancestors had planted a small patch. That patch now covered half their valley and much of the mountainside near his home. Shooting stars had always been his favorites.
After an unknown period of time, the wolf stirred and then let out the spirit equivalent to sigh. Chakotay simply smiled and snuggled up next to the warm body. “I’ve never seen you sleep before, Mahica.”
“You have never let yourself be this tired before; I, too, feel your exhaustion, Chakata.” The wolf tipped her head to gaze into the man’s eyes. He had not even notice her use of the name he had abandoned long ago. “We have a difficult journey ahead of us; it is good to rest now while we can.”
“I suppose. I should be able to rest tonight. I’ve finished the last of my messages.” Chakotay had written a personal message to every crewmember to be delivered after his passing.
“You have? And what did you tell Tom?”
Chakotay sighed and shifted. Even in the spirit world the very thought of Voyager’s chief pilot bothered him. “I told him I was sorry for the way I’ve treated him over the years. That I know I misjudged him. That I’ve come to admire his courage and loyalty to Voyager. That I’m sorry we’ll never have a chance to be friends.”
“You did not tell him that you have feelings for him?”
“What good would that do, Mahica? I’ll be dead; it’s not like he can act on anything I tell him. I don’t want this to weigh on his conscious.”
“He needs to know, Chakata.”
“Yeah, I’m sure he needs to know that his dead commanding officer was…” Chakotay paused before saying the truth, “was so in love with him that he was willing to betray his promise to his father to be with him. Yeah, Tom needs that.”
“You need to tell him. You will not find peace in the next part of your journey if you do not tell him.”
“Oh, all right, I’ll change the message. You can be such a nag.”
“At least I don’t speak in riddles, as some spirit guides do.”
“Anyone I know?” Chakotay asked hoping Mahica would say his brother Okemos was one with such an irritating animal guides. As the second youngest of eight, his older brothers had been the bane of his existence. They had made the first ten years of his life a nightmare for the most part. While Kaya, the oldest of all the children, had tried to help him, the older boys refused to listen to their sister’s gentle reasoning. Even his other sisters had enjoyed teasing him. Mitena and Ahyoka were simply more discreet.
“Kathryn Janeway, your father Kolopak, and yes, two of your brothers, Menewa and Makya.”
Chakotay thought about this. His father had been an unusual man, hating the very things that had allowed their people to have their freedom. For him an unusual guide was probably the best. His brothers deserved what they got, he’d long decided that. But Kathryn…
She was a sweet woman. Had it not been for his secret, he might have… Chakotay put the thought away. It did no good to think “if only.” Janeway had a strength that always amazed him. She showed more courage than most men he had known did. She deserved a most understanding spirit guide.
“You should go, Chakotay. Go to dinner and then enjoy a good nights sleep. We will both need our rest for the coming days.”
“Thank you, Mahica, for sharing your rest with me.” With those words Chakotay’s mind floated back up to the real world.
Chakotay sat at his terminal. He had two messages to rewrite and he wanted to finish them before he went to eat. These were the two he’d put off, mostly because he didn’t know what to say. He’s tried to write them but his messages to the Doctor and Tom Paris just kept being put off.. For some reason, he felt he should explain everything to the doctor so that maybe someone would understand.
Well, Mahica was right. He needed to say some things.
“Computer open file, Chakotay-Doctor-1.”
“Beginning recording over previous message.
"Hello, Doctor. Well, I’ve finally managed to stump you. I know you’re probably wondering what it was that you did wrong. What you missed that I could just go this way. So, for first time in my life, I’m going to share a little secret with you. The secret that killed me.
“I was four years old when I got sick. No one of Dorvan knew what was wrong with me, so I taken to a Federation hospital in a nearby star system. I was in that hospital for over a year. Maybe that’s why we never got along. I don’t know. But I do regret not giving you a chance. I’ve had so many bad experiences that I just couldn’t let it go, you know.
“Anyway, after a year in the hospital, the doctors told my parents that they didn’t know what to do for me. But they could recommend an experimental treatment. They’d only tried it once and it hadn’t been successful but it had added years the patient’s life. After much meditating and soul searching and with hundreds of prayers from Dorvan, I was given the treatment. And it worked, to an extent.
“You see, I was diagnosed as having a very, very rare missequencing in DNA. No one knew why, but they suspected it had something to do with the fact that my parents were both much older when they had me than parents most are. My treatment was meant to rearrange my DNA into the proper order. And it worked, except that it completely destroyed one of my chromosomes. That chromosome was my second X-chromosome. Until age five I was female.
“The doctors tried to replace the genes but the medication they had me on kept destroying it. So instead I was given the Y-chromosome you detect now when you scan my genes. I became a little boy. And I showed no signs of the illness I had first been admitted with. My family was ecstatic. I was alive and healthy and it didn’t matter to them that I wasn’t sweet little Chakata anymore. I became their brave little Chakotay.
“I was kept on the medication for the next year, to make sure I didn’t relapse. When they tried to take me off it, I nearly died. In fact I was dead for a while but they resuscitated me. I was once again put on the med and told I shouldn’t ever go off it. It was a small price to pay for being alive, for being a normal child again. But I wasn’t a normal child. I grew faster, had a greater mental capacity than any other child my age. At eight I was helping my brother Makya with his homework and he was sixteen.
“I didn’t find out the truth of my illness until I was in the academy. I was a first-year cadet and I’d been feeling a little tired. I went to the doctor to see if there was something wrong. When he scanned me, he asked me about the drugs in my system. I had no idea what he was talking about. I was told that my condition had been included in my files and that while I wasn’t going to be given any special treatment, they would possibly overlook some of my medical… failings. I told the doc what I just told you and he promised me he’d look into it. I asked him to keep it just between us. He agreed.
“Through him I found out the truth. I had been given a toxin after I’d taken my school entrance test. I was chosen because of my high score. The toxin caused my DNA to fluctuate. The doctor who gave it to me was the same one who ‘saved’ me. He knew that eventually my people would turn to the Federation for help. He also knew I’d be sent to him. You may have heard of my doctor. His name was Lawders, Michael Lawders. If you haven’t, you can look him up in the medical database.
“I can tell you that my DNA was fine. My reaction the time they‘d tried to take me off the med was from a severe addiction to it. I didn’t need the new DNA to live but my body had grown accustomed to the effects of the drug. It would have been difficult for me to be taken off the drug any time after I’d been exposed to it. Because I’d gone through puberty and had clearly developed the adult male characteristics from the new gene sequence, there was no way to ever fix me. Taking me off the drug would have unmasked my second X-chromosome and removed the Y-chromosome that my body was expressing.
“You see, Doctor, I’d been a guinea pig and nothing more. Who cared if some Indian boy from a non-allied world died from a Federation experiment? I was devastated, to say the least. I was given a medical leave of absence from the academy, went home, confronted my parents and they were shocked as I was. I thought about leaving the Academy for good but I couldn’t. The Federation had played with my life. They were going to have to face the consequences and for me that meant they were going to have to take care of me for the rest of that life. Of course, things turned out differently than I had planned. The Maquis came along and I knew that was what I had to do at that point in my life.
“I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with my death. I’ve taken myself off the medicine. It’s not all my choice, but for the most part it is. I run out of medicine three days from the time this message is recorded. I’ve chosen not to replicate any more. I’m tired of living a lie. I don’t know how my death will be, quick and painless or long and torturous. I want you to know that this isn’t your fault. You are a wonderful doctor and you didn’t miss anything. This secret is one that I’ve been keeping for a long time. I’ve fooled more people than I care to admit.
“I have one last request from you, Doctor. After I’m gone, I’d like you to remove any of the medicine from my system and… If possible, I’d like you to make my body female again. I’ve asked for my body to be burned on a planet so my spirit can commune with the land. I’d like the right body to be burned.
Chakotay ran his hand over his face. That had been the hardest thing to do. He’d sworn he’d never tell a soul but then the Doctor didn’t have a soul. And besides, he’d asked the captain to tell his family he’d died in an attack instead of telling them the truth. Sighing, he looked at the chromometer. There was just time for him to get dinner at the mess hall. Then he’d come back and write his message to Tom.
End Part 01
Summary: See Part 01.
Disclaimer: See Main Fan Fiction Page
Chakotay was feeling better than he had in a long time. He had finally gotten a good night’s sleep. His dreams had been the most peaceful he’d had since coming to the Delta Quadrant. He’d sent eight hours wrapped in Tom Paris’s arms. Well, at least in his mind. They hadn’t even done anything. Tom had just held him.
“You don’t really think that do you, Tom?”
Chakotay looked up at Harry Kim’s voice. They had just come into the Mess Hall and were getting their breakfast. The pair ate their breakfast usually at the same table as Chakotay. It was a habit they’d gotten into when Tom and B’Elanna had been dating. B’Elanna usually ate with Chakotay so…
“Actually I do, Har. I mean think about it. Mathematically, it’s the only option.”
Tom and Harry both sat down next to Chakotay. “Good morning Commander.”
“Morning, Lieutenant Kim, Lieutenant Paris.” Chakotay smiled. He’d always liked Harry. The younger man had reminded him of himself years ago. “You seem to be having a rather heated debate this morning.”
“Tom says that I’ll never find myself a wife.”
“Why would you say that, Tom? Harry’s a very sweet young man. I’m sure he’ll find someone.”
“Oh, it’s nothing personal, Commander. I also said I wouldn’t either. It’s just that there are lots more men than women on Voyager. And when you have women like the Captain who doesn’t seem to want to marry anyone, well, it’s seems that if you don’t want to be lonely for the rest of your life, you’d better find yourself a woman now or resign yourself to dating men.”
“Men? You’d date a man?”
Tom shrugged. “Yeah, I mean, I’ve never dated a man but I’m not opposed to it. I mean it’s not like people care either way.”
Harry looked between the two men and smiled. “You two’d make a great couple.”
“No.” The commander almost cringed at his tone.
“That’s harsh, Chakotay. Are you saying you don’t think I would be a good date?” Tom winked at the commander.
Despite the wink and the lieutenant’s teasing tone, Chakotay felt he should explain. “Men do not date men on Dorvan. It is considered an act of defiance.”
“Act of defiance?”
“The Great Spirit created male and female with the intention of the mating between sexes. Same sex relationships are against the ways of the Spirits.”
“I think that’s stupid. I mean are all men supposed to… um,” Harry blushed as he stopped from actually saying what he was thinking, “I mean all their lives if they were like stranded or something?”
“Yes. It’s either that or turn your back on the Spirits and that would be stupid if you’ll need help, if you were like stranded or something.”
“What’s this about stranding people?”
All three men looked up to see the Captain and B’Elanna standing next to their table. Harry blushed to the tips of his hair. Tom immediately returned his attention to his breakfast.
“Captain, Lieutenant, join us. We were just talking about the three of us getting married.”
“To each other?”
“B’Elanna, you know how my people are about those kinds of things. No, we were talking about finding a woman for each of us.”
Harry blushed. Tom, however, spoke up then, “Harry and I are lost causes, I think. The commander has a shot though.”
“Now I told you guys, you’ll find someone. I’m the one who’s a lost cause. I’m too old and besides, I’m happy alone. Indians don’t live that long.”
“Oh, Commander, you’re not that old. Besides, just because Harry and my answer isn’t open to you…”
“Harry and your answer, Tom?”
“Well, we figure when all the women are taken, then the men will pair up. We figure we might be ready to settle down then.”
Harry tried to snort at Tom’s comment. Unfortunately, his last bite hadn’t made it down all the way and he ended up choking and coughing instead.
“Are you all right, Harry?” B’Elanna asked as she pounded on his back.
“Tom, I never said I’d date a man. You did. Sorry, but I’m like the commander. It’s a woman or not at all. Now, before I get really embarrassed I’m going on duty.”
Chakotay sighed as he sat on his bed. He held in his hands the last of his four hypos. He has about to take the last of his medicine. He swallowed and then pressed the device to his neck. He heard the hiss of the spray and then felt the medicine taking immediate effect as the four chemicals mixed and reacted in his blood stream.
He sat there for a moment and stared at the hypo still in his hand. He didn’t know how much longer he had but… He had at least twenty-five hours. After that anything was possible.
End Part 02
Summary: See Part 01.
Disclaimer: See Main Fan Fiction Page
Captain Janeway sat in her chair wondering if she could think of something to spice things up on the bridge. Harry and Tom had been really quiet since the other morning. They seemed to be really thinking about whatever it was the commander had told them before she and B’Elanna came into the mess hall.
And the commander… He’d very quiet for the last few weeks. He no longer looked tired but he seemed to be deep in thought most of the time lately. It wasn’t so surprising. He was a very intellectual man. During this last quiet period he’d found at least four different ways to increase ship efficiency. Most people forgot that Chakotay had been an engineer and operations officer early in his career.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you how impressed I was with your suggestions of late.”
“Thank you, Captain. I’ve had a lot of time to work these things out.”
“It’s still impressive.”
“If you say so, Captain.”
Chakotay sat on the bridge for his usual command rotation with the captain, but as he did his mind had only one thought. Please, Great Spirit, let me get through this shift.
He’d gone fifty-three hours since his late dose and he had a day off tomorrow. His hands had been quivering for the last three hours. It was only four more until the end of his shift. If he could only make it through… Please. Please. Please….
Chakotay’s litany seemed to drown out everything. He could hear something in the distance but couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything but the single word.
Oh, Spirits, it’s happening.
Well, she’d livened up a little bit of the time she had to spend on the bridge.
The commander wasn’t much of a conversationalist lately. She glanced over at the object of her current musings. He was shivering. “Commander, are you cold?”
Chakotay didn’t answer. He eyes seemed to be glued to the back of Tom’s head. His shivering turned to shaking. This in term became slight jerkings of his entire body.
Harry who had been watching the Commander like the Captain grabbed the bridge med kit and hurried to scan Chakotay. He read the readings, and even though he wasn’t a doctor or medic, he knew the readings must be wrong. He scanned the commander again. “These readings can’t be…”
“Janeway to Transporter Room. Beam Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Paris directly to Sickbay. Janeway to Bateheart. Mr. Bateheart, please report to the bridge for duty. Mr. Tuvok, you have the bridge. I’m going to Sickbay. I’ll keep you all informed.” With these words she stepped into the turbolift. She was off the bridge by the time the three “Aye, Captains” had been spoken.
The doctor and Tom lifted Chakotay onto the biobed. Neither one could believe the scans of the commander’s systems. His entire body seemed to be in a state of flux. Whatever it was that was infecting the commander was very thorough. Even the polymers making up his cells were degrading and reconstructing themselves at incredible rates.
“Damn, Doc, his respiratory system is failing. No, it’s back but now his neural system is— Oh, hell, Doc, everything’s screwed up here.”
The Doctor looked at Paris and realized that the young lieutenant was nearly frantic. Like much of the crew, Tom had a deep respect for and a strong friendship with the commander. If there were any individuals among the crew that Chakotay wasn’t pals with it would be the Doctor and Tuvok. The Doctor had a feeling that if he didn’t cure the commander he’d be in the doghouse with nearly everyone on board.
“Well, Captain, at this point all of Commander Chakotay’s systems are in states of flux. They appear to be failing in a random pattern and then they revive themselves. I’ve detected fluctuations at the molecular if not atomic levels. At this time, Lt. Paris and I are trying to stabilize his systems. That’s all I can report currently.”
Chakotay was floating. Or at least that’s what it seemed like. It wasn’t that he seemed any taller than normal but he also didn’t seem to be connected to the floor either. He watched as the Doctor and Tom Paris worked frantically. He shook his head. It would do no good; he was dying and they could not stop it. He’d waited too long to switch back and then again too long to seek medical attention after coming off the medication.
A tiny movement out of the corner of his eye caught the commander’s attention. He turned and saw Harry, B’Elanna, Tuvok, Gregor, Kathryn, and Seven. They all were quiet except for B’Elanna who was sobbing hysterically down the front of Tuvok’s shirt. The Vulcan was in turn rubbing her back, trying to sooth her.
When B’Elanna had agreed to be Tuvok’s junior wife and help him through his pon farr, Chakotay had worried. She was such an emotional woman and Tuvok was… Vulcan. He could see now that he didn’t have to worry about his best friend.
Harry was pacing. This intrigued Chakotay. He’d never seen the young man as anything but cool under fire. He’d always liked that about the Korean man. Harry was… a rival to Tom Paris in some ways.
Both men stirred feelings in Chakotay that he’d rather left alone. But they each had their own appeal. Harry was serious and steady. He’d attracted Chakotay’s attention on an intellectual level as well as a physical one. Tom was passionate and that made the attraction the older man felt emotional as well as lustful.
“Mr. Kim, do calm down. The Doctor will cure the commander. If not, I’m sure my nanoprobes will be able to at least stabilize him until a cure has been found.”
“I know that, Seven. But believing it is another story entirely. Every off-duty crewman is standing out in the hall telling themselves the same thing you’re telling me and it doesn’t seem to be thinning the crowd any.”
Chakotay smiled. If Seven weren’t married, mated, whatever they called it, to Vorik, he’d think Harry and Seven were flirting.
“Cut out the flirting before Vorik gets jealous. Could you concentrate on Chakotay?” B’Elanna didn’t look like she was going to take any lip from either of them. But then when did an eight month pregnant Klingon woman look like she’d take any lip?
“Seven, we need your help…”
Everyone turned at the Doctor’s voice, even Chakotay. He was impressed; the doctor really was doing his best to save him. It wouldn’t work but that didn’t mean they couldn’t try.
The commander turned to see Mahica sitting in the far corner of the room. He walked over too her and sat down. “How long?”
“That will depend.”
“Oh, this and that. Things. A lot of things…”
Harry sat outside sickbay. Most of the crew had gathered there. For the last five hours, Tom, Seven and the Doctor had worked hard to save the commander’s life. So far, they’d made little progress even with Seven’s nanoprobes. Like all the crew, the young ensign was worried that they won’t be able to…
Harry drew a deep, suddering breath. No! The Commander had to make it. Most of the crew depended on Chakotay’s calming presence, himself included.
It had been a long time since Harry had said any of the traditional prayers his parents had taught him. For some reason, the words came unbidden to his lips…
“You mean I’ve lied to many. They don’t really know me, ‘Hica. I don’t know if I know me anymore.”
“Is that how you want to meet the spirits?”
“I don’t have a choice do I?”
“You do. You can fight this.”
“How? I don’t have a body. And I don’t want that one back.”
“Then you must think of a way to get the body you want.”
Chakotay tipped his head to the side. Is it possible?
“Right now, you are in a middle ground. You cannot operate in the physical realm. So you must enlist help.”
Around the pair, the surroundings dissolved. Into the void came a voice. Chakotay didn’t understand the words but he did recognize the speaker. “Harry. Who else?”
Another voice spoke, ”Doctor, his respiratory system has completely failed. It doesn’t contain enough viable cells to reactivate.”
Tom. “Anyone else?”
“How do I help them help me?”
“Concentrate on the one you need to talk with. Then speak.”
Chakotay closed his eyes. Both men popped into his mind. “Help me. Please.”
Tom’s spared just a second to glance at Chakotay’s face. He knew that the man couldn’t talk but he could have sworn he’d heard Chakotay’s voice. Only it didn’t sound right…
Tom shook his head. It didn’t matter he just had to help Chakotay.
Harry charged into sickbay. “I have an idea. You’ve gotten a lot of data on his condition, right?”
“Of course, Ensign.”
“Then, Doctor, put him in stasis until you figure out how to fix it. You said yourself that some of his systems are getting too damaged for you to restart. This will save his life for the short term at least.”
“Ensign Kim, there is not sufficient energy reserves to support a stasis chamber.”
“Cut power to the replicators and holodecks. I’m sure the crew would be willing to take the cuts in priviledges. They’re all worried about him; it wouldn’t take much to get them to agree.”
“I can’t do that,” the Doctor said. “I don’t have the authority.”
“We could ask the captain. I’m sure she’d agree.”
“Paris to Janeway.”
Harry looked up at Tom’s voice. His friend hadn’t commented on his suggestion. He was glad he had some support somewhere.
“Go a head. leuitenent.”
“Captain, we need to put the Commander in stasis. We need to cut power to run the chamber. Harry thinks cutting all replicators and holodecks should do it.”
“I’ll make an announcement to the crew. Have Ensign Kim, the Doctor, and Lt. Torres coordinate the switch.”
Harry and Tom shared a small smile. Then they got busy.
I’m giving up paradise. They’ll have to accept me for what I am.