TITLE: Shattered… But Not Broken
SUMMARY: During the events of the episode Shattered, Chakotay finds that it takes more than one attempt to get things right.
DISCLAIMER: I wish…
NOTE: With thanks to the ladies of Midnight Society who did a read through for me and pointed out all the missed words *g*
“He’s coming round now, Captain,” he heard the doctor say as he struggled to open his eyes. “He should be fine.”
Chakotay groaned and ran a hand over his forehead. How the hell had he ended up in sickbay when the last place he remembered being was engineering? Still, he thought, it was nice that Kathryn had come to see how he was doing. He’d have to find a way to make up for dinner later on, as well as explain about the deflector dish. He sensed Kathryn leaning closer to him, and opened his eyes.
“Commander,” she smiled gently at him. “It's good to see you awake.” He stared at her in shock. This wasn’t his Kathryn, well it was, but it…
“What the hell happened?” he asked, as he struggled to sit upright on the biobed.
“It's rather a case of what didn’t happen,” she said ruefully, lifting a hand to adjust the bun her hair was held in. She pulled a strand of it, attempting to push it back behind her ear. “It seems that Seven of Nine made a slight miscalculation.”
He took a deep breath. “So where are we?”
Tom Paris spoke up from where he stood at his console. “Harry’s working on it but it looks like we’re back in Voyager’s second year.” He turned back to his work.
“He’s done a good job,” Kathryn told him, nodding over in the young helmsman’s direction. “I know I saw him in the messhall earlier but watching him here.” She grinned. “He actually seemed to know more than the doctor did.” Chakotay followed her gaze across the room to where the Emergency Medical Hologram was performing surgery on an unconscious Seven of Nine. “He’s certainly been a great help in removing Seven of Nine’s implants.”
Chakotay swung his feet over the edge of the bed preparing to stand up. “Well, he’s had a few more years of Delta Quadrant life than the doctor has,” he replied. “So, we have Tom, Harry and Seven. Who else do we have?”
“B’Elanna Torres, and the two from the future, Ms. Wildman and Icheb.” She turned away from him and began pacing sickbay. “However, we have a problem, Commander. This is the only crew that we have. And we cannot run a ship with such a small crew.” She came back towards him and lowered her voice. “And Torres and Paris are already at each other’s throats.”
He smiled, yet resisted the urge to place his hand on her shoulder as he might have done had she known him for longer. “We’ll be okay. Those two should settle down eventually. And having Harry around will help.” He paused for a moment. “Do we still have Seska and her Kazon?”
“No, thank goodness,” Kathryn replied. “That’s about the only thing that has gone right. The doctor thinks that we’re the only ones who are here because we’re the only ones who were injected with his serum. Though how we ended up in the wrong year I do not know. No one seems to know.”
Chakotay finally jumped down from the bed. “I suggest we call a meeting, get everyone’s thoughts on what happened. I also want to know exactly where we are.” Now he did lightly place a hand on her shoulder. “Look, I know you like to be in charge, but let me handle it for a bit, okay? Right now I know more than you do.”
She sighed again. “Right now, Naomi Wildman and Icheb know more than we do.” She smiled at him. “But I agree. You’re in charge. Just don’t expect that extra pip just yet.” A laugh escaped her lips as she looked at his collar. “Or perhaps that should be don’t go expecting that extra line on the rank bar just yet.”
Two hours later Chakotay was beginning to realise that continuing back to the Alpha Quadrant would be an exercise in futility. After studying charts provided by the others he realised sadly that he knew exactly where they were. “There’s a planet near here,” he began, looking at the small group gathered in the briefing room. “Its uninhabited.” He caught Tom’s flash of recognition. “I’ve spent some time on it before. We’ll be able to set up camp there, perhaps a permanent homestead.”
“Permanent?” B’Elanna spat out. “You mean we’re stranded here?” She shook her head. “You’re a real Pa’TaQ, Chakotay.”
“We have no choice, Torres,” he returned. “Even you can’t pull an engineering miracle off this time. We’re on a bigger ship. We can’t run it ourselves even if we wanted to.”
“First she strands us here, then you add to our problems. We could have been halfway home by now.”
“If you had set one foot out of the cargo bay after the anomaly occurred you wouldn’t be sitting in this room, B’Elanna. Who knows where you’d be in fact. But you’re here and I expect you to co-operate. If you don’t, you’ll be in the brig. Understood?” She nodded and Chakotay decided to change the subject. “Tom, you know which planet I’m referring to, don’t you.”
A smirk formed on the pilot’s face. “Sure do, old man.”
“Good. You’ll be able to recall what sort of supplies we’ll need. I also need you at the helm.” He turned to the others. “I want all of you to take the positions you have previously held on this ship. Get to know anything you need to know about this particular time frame. Check any logs you may have access to. Harry, that means your own, Naomi, check your mother’s. Torres, engineering is yours. Just don’t overload the warp core.” He got a glower from his comment but he knew she’d do the job. “Okay, Tom, enter a course for the planet. You’re all dismissed.”
Kathryn stayed in the room after everyone else had left. “How much trouble will she be?”
He knew whom she was referring to. “She’s got a problem, I’ll admit. But she’ll get the job done. I’ll have to speak with Tom though. In his time she was his wife. They’ve only been married a few weeks but she still thinks of him as the loser who betrayed us. He’s got a job on his hands.”
“You said Harry might be able to help?”
“Possibly, but that friendship hinged on an event that Harry hasn’t gone through yet. That’s why I told him to read his logs.”
“But she’ll do her job in engineering?”
Kathryn nodded and turned to leave. But at the door she stopped and looked back at him. “This planet you mentioned. How come you didn’t tell me about it before?”
Chakotay took a deep breath. How could he have explained New Earth to her? “It never came up,” he said simply. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you about it. But not today.”
In a matter of days they were in orbit around New Earth. Chakotay commanded Tom to bring them around to the other side of the planet from where they had been before and blue alert was sounded. Voyager gently came to a stop in an open field and Naomi applied a cloak so that the ship would not be spotted from above.
“We’ve arrived barely one week before the original crew,” Chakotay told them all. “We have no reason not to believe that they won’t come down here. We need to keep out of sight.”
Kathryn was plainly confused. “But if I’m here, and so’s Harry and B’Elanna, how can we be there?”
“You told me once that you hated temporal stuff,” he smiled. “So I’ll keep it simple. Although you and I met at the start of Voyager’s journey Tom, Naomi and Icheb have both implied that they knew you until a certain point in their time frame. Hell, Kathryn, I didn’t exactly captain Voyager myself you know.”
She held up a hand in defeat. “Okay, okay. I understand. Or rather I don’t.” There was a collective laugh from the others. “So who are we avoiding when we’re down there?”
Chakotay and Tom exchanged nervous glances. Although both had been slowly rebuilding their connections with those closest to them over the past few days they still had a long way to go. Chakotay knew he might eventually have to tell this Kathryn just what had happened but he didn’t want to do it at this point with everyone else still in the room. “Everyone,” he said firmly.
Icheb was the next to speak. Over the years he had developed strong skills in both engineering and astrometrics. “It should be possible to recreate a medical facility on the planet,” he told them. “When that happens we’ll be able to move the doctor out of Voyager.” Harry and B’Elanna stared at him. “I worked with both of you,” he told them, ignoring B’Elanna’s snort of disbelief. “And I’m grateful for everything you taught me. I believe it may be possible.”
Slowly they left Voyager, knowing that they would never depart from the planet again. Within moments Kathryn reported that she had been bitten by an unknown insect assailant, and Naomi reported the same within the half hour of their arrival. Chakotay wasn’t concerned, he had warned them that this would happen and he knew the bites were non-lethal as long as they all stayed planetside. He quickly divided them into teams to get the portable shelters up. Somehow he felt no surprise when Naomi and Icheb requested their own place. Seven had opted to remain onboard Voyager where she could be near to the regenerative unit she had created.
“Which leaves you and me,” Kathryn commented dryly as she watched Tom, Harry and B’Elanna move their meagre belongings into a second shelter.
“We’ve shared before,” Chakotay told her with a smile.
“You’ve shared before,” was the retort. “I haven’t. As far as I’m aware I’ve known you for one week and before that you were the enemy. Big difference in my book.”
“I can get Tom to vouch for me if you like,” he offered.
But Kathryn shook her head, laughing, as she entered their new home. “I’m not quite sure I want to hear whatever he’d have to say.” She took a look around. “Thank goodness we have private areas though. I just hope these walls block out your snoring.”
Chakotay stared at her. That was something he would expect the Kathryn he knew to say. How the hell could this one know whether or not he snored?
She must have seen his stunned expression. “I was joking, Chakotay,” she tried to reassure him. “Though by the look on your face I’d say I might have stumbled onto the truth.”
The next few days were spent in gradually settling into life on the planet. Chakotay and Tom refrained from calling it New Earth to begin with but it soon became apparent that it would need a name and Tom hesitantly put the name forward. It was unanimously accepted. Chakotay had been wary of telling Kathryn just what had happened between the two of them but he had eventually told her that they had been stranded for a short time, thanks to the insect bites, and left it at that. Kathryn was left wanting to know more but time had taught him how to handle her constant line of questioning.
There was still the issue of whether or not New Earth would become a permanent settlement for them. It was only a small issue, stored away at the back of their minds, but it was one that Tom decided to raise one day.
“Chakotay, wait,” he called as the older man began his daily walk into the woods.
“What is it, Tom?”
Tom caught up with him and began to match his walking pace. “I’ve been thinking. You remember when we made the slipstream attempt and Seven received new co-ordinates from the Harry from the future?”
“Yes.” Chakotay wondered where exactly the pilot was heading.
“Well, Harry told me that the future Harry used one of Seven’s implants to transmit the new data. Could we do that again when Voyager passes through in a few days time?”
Chakotay paused in his walk. “You mean transmit something to be used five years down the road?” He watched Tom nod. “It’s a nice idea, Tom, but it can’t be done for two reasons. First, whatever knowledge we give them now might influence their decisions for the next couple of years, including a course change away from the anomaly that caused this. Secondly, and this is what makes it impossible, Seven has to actually be on Voyager to receive the new instructions and at this point in time she’s still in the Collective.” He watched Tom’s face fall and took pity on him. “However, I think we have one other chance to do something like that, but it's five years away.”
Slowly, Chakotay began to lay out his plan for what could be done.
The other Voyager came and went, and came back again to deposit its command team in their stasis pods on the planet. Over the next few months Chakotay fought hard to remember what would be happening with his equivalent, tried not to remember the exact moment of when his heart was first broken by the woman who had become only his best friend. He blocked out everything except that which might affect him in the here and now, such as the storm that came through one night, ripping through everything that wasn’t secure. When Voyager reappeared on the horizon he shrugged it off, knowing that everything was proceeding as planned for its crew.
But as Voyager departed again he came across Kathryn, running back through the forest that surrounded them. She was completely distraught.
“Oh god, Chakotay,” she burst out. “I know I shouldn’t have done it…”
“Done what?” He grasped her arm firmly. “Kathryn, what’s wrong?”
“I got too close. I saw us, them, leaving. And they looked so miserable. I, she, looked like I was about to cry.”
“You probably were.” He sighed. This was what he’d hoped to avoid. He should have known Kathryn’s insatiable curiousity a little better after all these years. “This wasn’t the first time that you’d seen them, was it?”
She shook her head. “The other time was about a month ago. She looked so happy, so relaxed and so was he.”
Chakotay remembered the time well. It had been after the storm, after his Kathryn had been forced into giving up on finding a cure. She had turned her efforts to creating a viable food supply for them, enjoying the thrill of the soil running through her fingers. “We were,” he murmured.
“Chakotay.” She placed a hand lightly on his arm. “What happened?”
“Tell me. You must. I have this feeling that it ties in with that cryptic comment you made on Voyager about never crossing some barriers.”
He led her over to a fallen log and sat her down. And there slowly, haltingly, Chakotay began to retell the tale of the Angry Warrior to her, adding what had happened after he had finished telling his legend.
“I did what?” she gasped.
“You told me that we should define some parameters. I accepted that, thinking that maybe one day you’d change your mind.”
“And I never did?”
“Damn!” She looked away briefly, staring into the distance.
She turned back to face him. “Maybe it's because we’re on a countdown here, I don’t know, but I know that I couldn’t ask you to do that. Do you still feel that way about her?”
“I see her everyday and feel that,” he confessed. “You might not be the Kathryn with all her life experiences that I know but you’re still her. It's done my heart good to see you so relaxed here.”
“Oh Chakotay. Do you really think that?”
“Yes, I do.” He took a look at her pale face. “I’m sorry.”
“No, don’t be. I’m the one who should be sorry for not returning your feelings then or now.”
“I’d be surprised if you did to be honest.”
“Kathryn. Aren’t you forgetting someone? Mark? Your fiancé? The Kathryn you saw has had two years to get used to not seeing him again for a very long time. But she still hopes that one day she will make it back to him.”
“Well, I don’t have that hope.”
“No, not at the moment.” He decided to tell her about the plan that he and Tom had developed and that Harry had begun to work on covertly with Naomi and Icheb. Once Seven had recovered a bit more from the series of operations the EMH had performed she would be brought in to assist on the final calculations. Chakotay felt bad at keeping this information from Kathryn but he and Tom had enjoyed seeing her relax for once, both knowing that if Kathryn had known before she would have insisted on helping. He told her as much and reassured her that the project was in good hands.
“And if it doesn’t work?”
“It will work,” he reassured her. “You have to believe that. The Kathryn I know would believe that. She doesn’t give up. She’s a rallying cry all of her own. And with that cry she inspires others to not give up but instead to succeed.”
A tear began to trickle down her cheek and he resisted the urge to gently wipe it away. “You have that much faith in her?”
“I have that much faith in you.”
The re-humanising of Seven had taken longer than it had the first time that Chakotay had witnessed it. He put this down to the doctor’s more limited abilities and the fact that this Kathryn was not quite as nurturing as his had been. His Kathryn had fought for Seven’s survival, as though she were the daughter she would probably never have. This Kathryn was uncertain of any future, as though she were conscious that every day that passed was one day less that she had left. If all went well then there would come a time when she would simply cease to exist. The beginning had not been easy. Seven had threatened to assimilate everyone who came near her, commented that she did not want to be as inferior as the rest of them, reminding Chakotay very much of the Seven from his own time. Knowing how his Kathryn had handled the situation then, Chakotay was able to assist Seven now. Slowly Seven was learning to adapt and to be part of a new Collective, assisted by Icheb. Her help in calculating the precise formula that would be sent back to Voyager was greatly appreciated as only she knew what data she had used in the first instance.
It was late one night, a year after their arrival on New Earth and Kathryn and Chakotay were quietly relaxing in their shelter. They had not progressed with any intimate relationship, but the friendship between them had deepened in a way that Chakotay had never thought possible. Now they sat together on the couch, both engrossed in their own reading. Occasionally Chakotay would get up and refill their drinks, to be rewarded with a smile from Kathryn.
“Voyager to Janeway,” the doctor’s voice crackled over the communicator. Chakotay paused, hands holding two full mugs of tea. He stared in horror at Kathryn; the doctor rarely called at night unless it was an emergency.
“Yes, Doctor? What is it?”
“Captain, it's with regret that I have to inform you that Seven of Nine is dead.”
Slowly, Chakotay placed the mugs onto a table so that he would not drop them. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Dead?” Kathryn repeated.
“Yes, Captain. It seems her implants overloaded on her. I suspect her regeneration chamber simply failed. Mr. Paris is with me and has suggested a cryogenic suspension for the body.”
Kathryn stood up and slipped into her shoes, throwing a shawl over her shoulders. “I’m on my way. Janeway out.”
Chakotay followed her out into the darkness. Lights from the other two shelters illuminated their paths and he could see the outline of B’Elanna in the doorway of one of them. Naomi and Icheb were ahead of them, hurrying towards Voyager and he felt their pain of losing their friend for a second time.
A few paces ahead of him Kathryn was muttering to herself. “Cryogenic suspension?” she wondered out loud. “Why would Tom suggest that?”
Chakotay placed an arm comfortingly around her. “It’s a temporal thing,” he told her, half-smiling at her groan. “Basically it's how she was preserved when the future Harry found her. Only then it was in a natural environment. This should work the same way.”
Kathryn was silent as she watched Tom and the doctor prepare Seven’s body for preservation. Chakotay kept a protective arm around her shoulders, something he would have been unable to do had he been with the other Kathryn. But this woman beside him had not yet seen the death that his had, had not yet wrestled with the demons of her past that the alien had forced to the surface when he took on the image of her father.
And so in silence Seven’s body was placed in a suspension chamber until it could be used at a later time.
The years began to pass. Before Seven had died she had given Harry the final part of the equation necessary for transmittal. Now life became a waiting game. The group tried to continue with their lives on the planet. Eventually Tom was able to win over B’Elanna again and they built themselves a home on the edge of the settlement. Naomi and Icheb had Kathryn perform a bonding ceremony for them.
Chakotay watched it all with more than a tinge of sadness. Their lives were gradually slipping away. Kathryn talked constantly of when the timeline would be reset, as though he should be happy to return to his own time. But he had mixed feelings. While Kathryn talked of such events occurring it meant that she was not looking to put down any roots on the planet or with him. And it made him ache. He was still in love with her, had felt the love only deepen as they got to know each other, but he had settled yet again for a beautiful friendship with her. And yet at the same time there was the prospect of him being able to return to his own time frame and being able to pick up his life exactly as he left it.
The day of the transmission arrived. While the others worked feverishly on preparing Seven’s implant Chakotay set out to find Kathryn who had left their log home early in the morning. Their time was drawing to a close and he wanted to find her before that happened. He found her down by the river, sitting on the bank and staring across to the other side.
She looked at his approach. “Hi,” she said quietly.
He noticed instantly her red face, saw that she had been crying. “Hey,” he said gently, sitting beside her. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “Yes, sorry, I just needed to get away for a while.”
“I can understand that. It's all a bit overwhelming isn’t it? After so long it’s finally becoming a reality.” He leaned in close to her. “I can’t believe we’ve been here so long. And we’ve survived, no Kazon or other predators, no bad weather or fierce animals. The spirits have been watching over us all this time.” He stared across the water. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to leave.”
They sat like that for some time, the quiet surrounding them. Then, to Chakotay’s surprise, Kathryn burst out, “I wasted my time here. All of it. So much I could have done but I didn’t.”
He turned his head to look at her. “What do you mean? You did well here. I’ll admit, I was concerned about you at first but you’ve proved yourself. And the fruit and vegetables sure made up for those lousy attempts at cooking,” he tried to joke.
“I don’t mean those damned fruits and vegetables, Chakotay,” she retorted. “I’m talking about us. We could have been so much more but I was too stubborn.”
Chakotay was confused. “Kathryn, you have given me five wonderful years, five wonderful unexpected extra years with you. You have no idea how much I will remember these times.”
“No,” Kathryn shook her head. “You deserved more than I gave you.” She turned to face him properly. “I was just too much of a coward to take it further, to tell you how I really felt.”
“And how do you feel, Kathryn?” he asked her quietly.
He watched her swallow and take a deep breath. “I love you, Chakotay. I have for the past couple of years. I just kept thinking that I’d tell you tomorrow, always tomorrow.” She laughed a little bitterly. “I guess tomorrow’s already here.”
Gently he placed his arm around her waist and drew her close to him. “My feelings for you, Kathryn, will never change,” he told her. “No matter where I am.” He shifted slightly so he was able to look a little more directly. “Let me tell you something, Kathryn Janeway. You are an amazing woman. You are strong and compassionate and someone who makes life worthwhile for the rest of us. You have taken people such as B’Elanna and turned them into something amazing. Look at Tom, how he’s turned out. And you had a hand influencing Naomi and Icheb even if you don’t know it. You make us proud to call you Captain. And you make me proud to call you Kathryn, my best friend. Yes, I’d have loved to have gone that one final step with you, but you never once made me regret that we hadn’t.”
“Torres to Chakotay.” His comm crackled with life and he knew instantly what it meant.
“Chakotay, we’re ready. Do you have Kathryn with you?”
Kathryn looked up. “I’m here, B’Elanna,” she said. “Do you have everyone else with you?” She listened to the others respond before continuing. “Everyone, I’m aware now that we are out of time. I want to thank you for being such wonderful people over these past five years. I am truly proud to call you my friends. Words cannot express how I feel at this moment. I just want to thank all of you for being here.” She paused and Chakotay took hold of her hand. “Harry, Icheb. Whenever you’re ready.”
Chakotay held her tightly while they waited to transmit their data to the Seven of Nine that they had met when Voyager was first split into several time periods. They had realised early on that Seven must have made a miscalculation in cargo bay two and that she had missing information that only Naomi and Icheb, with their extensive research, had known. Combining that information with her knowledge of temporal mechanics had helped them come up with something that the Chakotay on board Voyager could then use in engineering to divert the anomaly. If that Chakotay got things right then it was hoped that they should all find themselves in their correct times.
It was a big chance.
“Transmitting,” Harry’s voice announced.
Chakotay held her tighter, almost making Kathryn a part of him. “Stay strong, Kathryn,” he whispered. “And remember I love you.” Finally their lips touched, for the first and last time.
He found himself in engineering, staring in amazement at the console in front of him. No doubt about it, the deflector dish was completely burned out and would need to be repaired. Looking across he saw B’Elanna in the yellow and black uniform of engineering. At least she looked like he was back where he should be.
After discussing the burnout with the engineer he headed towards the bridge. Here, too, he needed to check that things were as they should be. He needed to check Tom’s rank, Kathryn’s hairstyle, all those little things that he would mostly ignore on a daily basis but that would tell him where he was. The last thing he remembered before finding himself back in engineering was the soft feel of Kathryn’s lips against his, a memory that he would treasure forever but one that he could not allow himself to think about at this time. As the turbolift came to a halt he took a deep breath and waited for the doors to open, praying that he would be able to keep his emotions in check.
“Do you mind telling me whose idea it was to burn out the deflector dish?” she asked as soon as he stepped onto the bridge.
His heart sung and he smiled, seeing his Kathryn in front of him. “Mine, actually.” He struggled to remember the events of that night that seemed so long ago and then he held out his hand. She accepted his offer of continuing dinner. To his surprise she took the hand that he had, without thinking, held out to her and they left the bridge together. He didn’t know if she remembered anything of what had happened but he knew he would never forget.
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