By Karahkwa Ross
Code: ST Voy: C/K
Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager belongs to Paramount. I claim ownership to only the ideas behind the “Unloved” Series. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Fourteenth in the Unloved Series. Is physical pain worse than emotional pain? Chakotay and Harry find out.
Chakotay groaned. He’d spent the last three hours stuck in Engineering helping with repairs. His neck was so tight. He wanted to have a hot shower and a back rub from Harry.
However, he wasn’t likely to get either.
He crawled down Jefferies tube 237 towards Junction 237-459B. Once there he was supposed to change some gel packs and realign the power relays in that section. He wasn’t looking forward to the crawl back out to the main corridor.
“Torres to Commander Kim.”
Chakotay sighed and rocked back onto his heels a bit. He hit his comm. badge and responded. “I’m almost to the junction, B’Elanna.”
“You must be getting old. You used to crawl faster.”
“It’s old knees. Too much time on the floor with the twins.”
B’Elanna’s laughter echoed down the tube. “Comm. me when you’ve finished.”
“Understood. Kim, out.”
Chakotay sighed with pleasure as he exited the tube and could actually stretch out. He gasped when something popped. The pain slowly faded but returned when he tired to turn his head to the left.
He lowered himself to the deck and hit his comm. badge. “Commander Kim to the Doctor.”
“Go ahead, Commander.”
“I think I’ve hurt myself.” Chakotay leaned back against the wall and groaned as pain shot through his neck.
“Commander? What happened?”
“I exited a Jefferies Tube and stretched and I heard something pop. I can’t move my head to the left and any sudden movements send pain up my neck.”
“Pop? Is it your back or neck that gives you pain?”
Chakotay shifted and hissed as pain slid though him. “Um… My neck hurts the most but my back does hurt as well.”
“All right, Commander, I’m going to transport you out of there.”
Chakotay closed his eyes and waited for the familiar tingle of transport. After a few moments he opened his eyes to find himself still in the damn junction. He slowly reached up and hit his comm. badge. “Doctor?”
“I’m sorry, Commander. The transporters are down. Lieutenant Torres is working on them, but it could be a while. How’s the pain?”
Chakotay sighed. “It’s fine as long as I stay still.”
“Then try to stay still and we’ll get you to Sickbay as soon as possible.”
“Thanks, Doctor. Kim out.”
Staring at the gray access panel across for him, Chakotay had only one thought. I should have never let B’Elanna convince me to crawl down a Jefferies tube.
Harry stood quietly at his post. He scanned the sector as he had every thirty minutes for the last three hours. They may be at an all-stop for repairs, but that didn’t mean the area was safe.
“Captain, I’m picking up a warp signature.”
Janeway was out of her seat in a flash. “Where?”
“Coordinates 143 mark 339 mark 235. Heading right towards us.”
The captain was now standing beside him. She scanned the data, looking for all the relevant information. “Can you identify the ship?”
“Not at this time, Captain. This moon between them and us is causing interference.” Harry tried cutting through it, but had no luck.
“Are the shields on-line?”
Tuvok answered this question. “Yes, Captain. However, we are still without transporters and the warp drive.”
Janeway pursed her lips. This did not bode well. “Captain to Engineering.”
“B’Elanna, we’ve got an unidentified ship heading this way. How long before everything’s operational?”
“The warp drive should only take about half an hour once we start working on it again.”
Janeway frowned at Harry. “Why aren’t you working on it now?”
“The transporters are a mess and Commander Kim is stuck in a Jefferies tube.”
Harry stiffened. Why hadn’t anyone said anything to him? Was he all right?
“How serious it is?”
“We don’t know. He’s hurt either his back or neck; we’re not sure. He says he’s not in pain at the moment.”
“All right. Well, we’re going to need the warp drive. I want everyone on it. The sooner it’s on-line, the sooner you get the transporters up.”
“Yes, ma’am. Torres out.”
The captain turned and smiled at Harry. “I’m sure he’s fine. Meanwhile, I want you to keep an eye on our friends out there. Let me know as soon as you know who they are.”
“Tuvok, you have the bridge.” Striding through the door of her ready room, Kathryn waited only for the door to seal before hitting her comm. badge.
“Chakotay are you all right?”
“Never been better.”
A soft chuckle filled the room before ending in a hiss of pain. “I’m in pain, but it’s bearable if I stay completely still.”
“I crawled out of the Jefferies tube and stretched. Something popped and I’ve been in pain since.”
“Shit. Look, it’s going to be a while before we get you out.”
“Why? I thought they were working on the transporters.”
Kathryn sighed and pinched her nose. “They were. But we’ve got an identified ship coming at us and no warp drive. I’m sorry but I had to order her to get the core up and running.”
“Understood, Captain. Can I ask one thing?”
Let me talk to Harry. Kathryn smiled at the obvious request. “Of course.”
“Try not to piss them off. I don’t think a fight would be very smooth and I don’t want to roll around this hole. I’m in enough pain.”
Smiling and shaking her head, Janeway replied. “I’ll try.”
“Good. Oh, one more thing: tell Harry I’m fine.”
“I will. Janeway out.”
Kathryn sighed and rested her head on her hands for a moment. Could this situation get worse? Her XO was injured. The transporters were down so he was stuck in the junction. The warp drive was also down and there was an unknown ship coming at them. And the man monitoring that ship was the husband of the man stuck in the Jefferies tube.
“Kim to Janeway.”
“Go ahead, Lieutenant.”
“I’ve identified the incoming ship. You’d better get back to the bridge.”
Kathryn sat up straight. “Harry, who is it?”
Kathryn strode onto the bridge. “Shields up. Janeway to Engineering.”
“How long before the warp drive is on-line?”
“About ten minutes.”
Looking at Harry, she cocked her eyebrow. Her frowned deepened, “Do we have impulse engines?”
“Tom, get us out of here. Full impulse power.”
Tom turned and met her eyes. “Yes, ma’am.” As he turned he saw Harry’s face. The panic made him want to push the ship even more.
Sleep came slowly to Chakotay as he waited for transport. He wondered briefly if falling asleep was a good idea. However, a relief from the constant pain seemed too good to pass up.
Minutes, hours, who knew how long, later, Chakotay felt the subtle jolt that told him the ship was moving. He couldn’t hear the faint hum of the warp core.
Impulse? Why would they be at impulse? Unless, they needed to get out of the system before they had the warp drive back on-line. Which meant…
“Commander Kim to Captain Janeway.”
“We’re still working on the warp drive. It’ll be a few minutes more before we can get you to Sickbay.”
Chakotay smiled at her words. She knew him well. “I know. I was just hoping for a little update. Have we identified the ship yet?”
“It’s a Cathal ship. We can’t tell yet if it’s a warship but we’re not taking any chances. We’re leaving the system at impulse and we’re hoping to have the warp drive on-line soon.”
Chakotay nodded and groaned. Why couldn’t he just stay still?
Harry’s faint moan pulled Kathryn’s eyes to his face. He kept his face straight and calm, but his eyes were completely awash with emotion.
“I’m fine, Captain. I just moved my head to fast. I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Captain. Yes, H-“
Janeway watched as some tension drained out of Harry’s posture. “We’ll get to you as soon as we can.”
“Understood. Kim, out.”
Kathryn looked right into Harry’s eyes. “He’ll be fine.” I promise.
“Captain, I hate to alarm you, but the Cathal ship has come through the interference. It is a warship. It appears to have sported our departure. It’s matching our course.”
“How long for the warp drive?”
“Two minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Approximately,” Tuvok amended.
“How soon until the Cathal catch up with us?”
“Two minutes and forty seconds. Exactly.” Harry’s voice quivered slightly.
Janeway moved back to her command chair. “Tuvok, raise shields and charge the phaser banks. Mr. Paris, plot us a course out of here. I want you to be able to go to warp as soon as possible. Lt. Kim, scan the Cathal vessel. They have to have a weakness and I want you to find it.”
Kathryn nodded. “Bridge to Engineering. B’Elanna, we need warp speed.”
“We’re realigning the core, now. It’ll take about a minute to finish.”
“We may not have a moment,” the captain ground through her teeth. She sat forward and then looked at Tuvok. “Arm the photon torpedoes. Have all weapons at ready.”
Harry’s fingers flew over his console. If he could just find a weakness, then the fight would be short and Chakotay would get to Sickbay sooner. And the sooner, he got to Sickbay…
“Captain, the warp core is on-line.”
“It’s not going to do us much good. They’re just going to follow us,” Tom said. His finger lingered over the engage button.
“Captain! I’ve found a variance in the Cathal shields. If we target they major generator with both the phasers and the photon torpedoes, they’ll be dead in the water.”
“Tuvok, do it. Tom, go to warp as soon as the torpedo is off.”
Everything went off like clockwork. Tuvok’s shots hit the generator and they were out of the system by the time Harry’s sensors confirmed it.
“Direct hit, Captain. They won’t be following us.”
Kathryn smiled. “Engineering. Get to work on those transporters.”
“All ready on it, Captain.”
Chakotay’s eyes fluttered. He wanted to lie down and sleep. But he couldn’t move. Moving meant pain.
Instead he tried to think about what he’d do once he got out of Sickbay. Harry’d want to baby him so he’d get put to bed and then the twins would come sit with him while Harry got them the evening meal. And then they’d eat and read the kids a story or two.
Harry probably wouldn’t let him help get the twins ready for bed. He’d make him “rest” while he took care of it himself. Then he’d come back and they’d snuggle. Harry wouldn’t let him try more. But it would be fun trying to try.
Chakotay smiled. His husband had an odd way of showing him he cared. He didn’t want to make love if there was any chance that it might hurt him. It didn’t help that Harry’s sense of honor generally made Chakotay want to make love.
“Doctor to Commander Kim.”
Chakotay groaned and slowly raised his hand to his comm. badge. “Go ahead.”
“How are you doing?”
“Could be better. Tired.”
“You’re probably going into shock. Lieutenant Torres says we’ll get the transporters working in about ten minutes. Can you stay awake that long?”
Chakotay closed his eyes for a second. “Mmm. Don’t know. Don’t think so.”
The doctor’s answer never reached Chakotay’s ears. For several minutes he floated on a sea of pain. Finally a sound broke through the fog.
“Cha, can you hear me?”
“Harry?” Chakotay’s eyes opened and he could have sworn Harry was right there in front of him. But that couldn’t be. He should be on the bridge.
“I’m right here. How are you doing?”
“Fine, Harry.” The image in front of him wavered but he closed his eyes and pretended his husband was with him.
“You’re a horrible liar, Chakotay Kim.”
“Keep on your toes. Love you, Har.”
“I love you, too, Cha. And you’ll be better soon.”
The image in Chakotay’s mind began to fade. “I love you.”
Chakotay felt a hiss against his neck. He felt the pain in his neck and back and groaned.
“Don’t worry, Commander. I’ll get you fixed up in no time.”
“You’re in Sickbay, Commander. You passed out in the Jefferies tube.”
Jefferies tube? The last thing her remembered was Harry. “Where’s Harry?”
Harry’s head came into view as he heard the soft words, “I’m right here.”
Looking into his eyes, Chakotay gasped. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine. I love you.” Harry smiled and the look of agony in his eyes slowly faded.
As the doctor worked to end his pain, Chakotay could help but smile in the wonder of it all. When you’re loved, there’s no such thing as unshared pain.