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Summary:The Doctor stumbles upon something he shouldn’t see.

PG 13

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.


Kathryn was sitting on her couch looking out at the stars as they blurred past. They were travelling at warp 6 through a quiet area of space. Each pinpoint of light elongated and stretched, and if you looked from a certain angle, the light was refracted through the transparent aluminium and it appeared as if the ship was surrounded by countless rainbows. This phenomenon had always fascinated and delighted her. She leant her head to the side and moved it closer to the window trying to get the effect. She finished up kneeling on her couch with her face pressed against the cold pane, marvelling at the myriad of colours dancing around her when there was a small cough from behind her. She thumped back into her seat and turned to the intruder.

“God, Chakotay, you could give a girl a heart attack. What are you doing sneaking up on me like that? I’m going to have to put a bell on your collar if you keep that up.” They both took a moment to get the visual on that statement before Kathryn stood up and faced him.

“Cut that out, Commander. I can see what you’re thinking and it isn’t attractive.” She slid past him, lightly brushing up against him as she went by. He was grinning from ear to ear and she turned around as she reached her desk and beamed at him.

Their relationship had changed dramatically since their time in the void. The depression she’d suffered during that time and her abortive attempt to martyr herself had been the catalyst for change for both of them. He’d been her saviour, eventually standing up to her and insisting that she get help. He’d counselled her, refusing to let her give in to the black shroud that had enveloped her. With the Doctor’s help, they had dealt with the immediate problems and she’d emerged from the dark fog into the light and hadn’t looked back since.

A couple of months ago, their relationship had taken another dramatic turn. The reason had been a retrieved data module from another Voyager. They’d found it in the strange debris field along with a few other items. On reviewing the final logs, it was revealed that the module was from the Voyager that, along with her crew, had been duplicated on the Demon planet about a year before. Aware of their imminent demise, the crew of the duplicate Voyager had downloaded all the ships logs, official and personal and jettisoned the module.

The duplicate Kathryn’s personal logs had spoken of her distress over the loss of her first officer. She’d revealed her love for him and her anguish at never having told him of her feelings before his death. Kathryn had been terribly shaken. It had taken Chakotay many days to convince her to tell him what was wrong. Eventually, she had replayed the logs for him. That night they became a couple, finally telling one another of their love and longing and deciding that life was too short and unpredictable not to pursue what would be a deep and fulfilling relationship.

They had, however, decided to keep their attachment a secret from the crew. Their lives were so exposed already and trying to maintain a relationship under the constant scrutiny of the crew would have been next to impossible. This belonged to them, something that was theirs alone and all the more precious because it was so unique. They were sure the crew would have been very happy for them, but they were under such intense focus because of their positions, it just seemed right to keep this part of their lives for themselves. They had learned to be discreet and had found a balance.

They had to be careful how they acted around one another, there could be no overt showing of affection and if they were too aloof, the crew would be suspicious. They had always had a healthy familiarity in their command relationship and Kathryn’s penchant for touching him was legendary. Tom had a book running on how many times she would touch him in one shift. It had been running for years now and payed out each night at 2200. On odd occasions when her coffee rations had been running low, she had put money down and purposely touched him however many times she had nominated. It wasn’t really the right thing to do but she didn’t want to close the betting down. They had precious little else to occupy themselves with out here and a little harmless gambling wasn’t the end of the world. Besides it was much healthier for all concerned if she had her coffee.

They were sitting at her desk now. She was still grinning at him. She loved him so dearly and it was wonderful to be able to tell him and even more wonderful to be able to show him. He was an amazing lover. Generous, inventive, attentive and talented. She had never experienced love making like she had with him. She felt a heat that had nothing to do with temperature, just thinking about it. This evening would be wonderful. They had a four hour block booked on the holodeck with a sandy beach and glorious sunshine.

He was sitting on the chair in front of her desk and she moved around and sat in front of him with her hip resting on the desk. “I’m looking forward to tonight.”

“So am I.” He stood. “I’d better get back to the bridge.” He gave her a quick kiss. “Later, my love. I’ll meet you in the holodeck at 18.00.” Giving her a dimpled smile, he left the ready room.

Heaving a sigh, she sat down again at her desk and began reading and signing the reports he had just deposited there. The two hours she had to wait would go faster if she was occupied.

Just before 17.30, Kathryn packed up her desk and headed for the bridge. Tuvok was in charge of Beta shift this week. She bade him goodnight and made her way to the turbo lift.

She had just enough time for a quick shower and change before meeting Chakotay. He was bringing the picnic dinner, he didn’t trust her not to poison them. Little did he know that most of the time she purposely botched meals so he would cook. She shrugged her shoulders. She liked his cooking better than hers. Where was the crime in that?

After her shower she put on her swimming costume and threw a light sundress over the top. She grabbed a towel, blanket and bottle of frascati. Slipping on some sandals, she headed out the door. She smiled and nodded to the few crew she passed in the corridors, arriving at the holodeck only a few minutes late. She keyed in the entry code and slipped through the doors. The beach simulation was running so Chakotay must be here somewhere. She called for the privacy lock and made her way to the beach.

It was a glorious day. The sun was shining, the waves were tumbling in and a gentle breeze whispered around her, taking the edge off the heat. She walked over the dunes and down to the beach. She could see Chakotay sitting in the shade about 50 metres ahead. He was resting back against a log with his eyes closed. She moved up to him quietly and leant down to kiss him. Just before their lips met, he grabbed her and rolled her under him. She let out a squeal. He rubbed their noses together.

“You can’t sneak up on me. You don’t have inbuilt stealth mode like us Indians. It was born and bred into us over millennia. You’ve a long way to go, white woman.” He was laughing at her and she was still getting over the shock. She gave him a shove rolling them over and sitting on his chest. She put her knees on his arms so he couldn’t move. She noticed his iced tea sitting close by.

“Close your eyes, Chakotay. You’re at my mercy.” She lowered her voice to a husky whisper. “Close them, my love, and you’ll get a surprise.” He couldn’t bear it when she spoke like that. He was powerless. He closed his eyes. She leant forward reaching over and scooping a handful of ice from the glass. He could feel her breath on his lips but just before she touched her mouth to his she pulled open his tee shirt and shoved the handful of ice down the front. She jumped off him and ran down the beach, laughing all the way.

He yelped and jumped up, pulling his shirt open and shaking the ice out. He took off down the beach in pursuit. She was laughing and looking back at him as he gained on her. He finally grabbed hold of her and carried her out into the surf, unceremoniously dumping her in the water. She came up spluttering, still laughing. Pushing her hair out of her face, she moved towards him. She slowly slid her wet body up his until she could pull his head down for a heated kiss.

They pulled apart and looked lovingly at one another. Chakotay held her face in his hands and kissed her nose. “Truce?”

She nodded and smiled. “Truce.”

He took her hand and they headed back to dry land. “Let’s eat. I’m famished.”

She wrapped her arm around his waist. “What did you make me for lunch? I haven’t eaten since breakfast and I’m ravenous.”

“That I’m pleased to hear. I have cheeses, bread, dolmades, salad, strawberries and dipping chocolate. Is that to your liking, O’ ravenous one?”

“It sounds delicious. Lead the way.”

They set out their picnic on the rug and set about devouring every morsel. “You weren’t kidding when you said you were hungry. What have you been doing? Running laps around the ready room. You’ve eaten more today in one meal than I’ve seen you eat in a week.”

“It must be the cook and the company. Thank you. It was delicious. Time for a swim now.” Chakotay scowled at her. “Don’t look like that. This is the holodeck. We hardly have to wait for our food to digest. The safeties are on. It’s impossible to drown.” She got up and pulled her dress over her head. “Come on. Time is a wasting.” She dragged him up by the hand and they jogged down to the water. She ran ahead and dove under the waves. He followed her, coming up behind her and kissing her neck from behind.

They spent a good half hour swimming and frolicking. Exhausted, they made their way to the rug. They dried each other off and lay down beside one another. Chakotay rolled on his side and watched as Kathryn pretended to sleep. He began running his fingertip along the top of her swimming costume and down her arm. He gripped her hand and brought it to his lips and kissed the back of it before lying it down again. She smiled, still with her eyes closed. He leant forward and kissed her and pulled her underneath him.

They made love in the sunshine.

________

In engineering, Seven Of Nine was working on the magnaton relays that fed the holo-emitters and sick bay. She was trying to increase efficiency between the bioneural gelpacks and the relays. She was hoping to decrease power transfer usage by 0.3 percent. This power could then be rerouted to the Astrometrics lab to increase the efficiency of the long range sensors. All of a sudden an alarm began beeping on the panel she was working on. Something had happened but she wasn’t sure what it was.

________

In Holodeck two, the captain and commander lay naked on their picnic rug, bodies entwined, sleeping quietly. Suddenly less than a metre away, the Doctor materialised. He had been doing maintenance on his medical equipment in sickbay. He stood there momentarily disorientated, holding a medical tricorder and laser scalpel. Kathryn stirred and opened her eyes to be met by the equally shocked eyes of the Doctor.

She yelped. “Doctor! What the hell are you doing here? She grabbed her towel from beside her as Chakotay jumped up and stood in front of her to protect her. From what, he wasn’t quite sure, but it was his first instinct.

The Doctor gave the naked commander a once over and raised an eyebrow and looked around him at the equally naked captain. Before any of them could say another word, he disappeared again. Kathryn and Chakotay were on their own. Flabbergasted, naked and alone.

“What the… Oh God, Chakotay. He saw us. It will be all over the ship by this afternoon. Computer deactivate EMH and only reactivate on my order. Janeway pi alpha one seven.” She started hauling her clothes on and throwing Chakotay’s at him. “Come on. We have to get to sickbay and delete his memories of this before he blabs it to the entire crew. God, we’ll be on ‘Breakfast with Neelix’ before we know it. With pictures!”

“Kathryn, don’t panic. I’m sure if we just spoke to him he wouldn’t say a word. Surely you can trust him to do as you say.” She looked at him as if he were insane.

“Chakotay, you have to be kidding. Where do you think I get all my inside information about the crew? The man hasn’t got a discreet photon in his body. I can just see the glee on his face as he regales Paris and company with what he found here this afternoon. No. We have to delete his memories logs. Come on, let’s go, before someone injures themselves and we need him.” She grabbed up the rug and flung her towel over her shoulder.

Chakotay was pulling on his shorts, dragging the picnic basket and trying to keep up.

“Computer exit.” The holodeck doors appeared and she was out in the corridor just as Chakotay pulled his shirt over his head.

They ran almost all the way to sickbay. Kathryn charged in the door and activated the Doctor’s memory files. She found the specific files and deleted them. She was an old hand at this, having done this several times when he was having a crisis of identity over the loss of Ensign Jetal several months ago. She breathed a sigh of relief and rested her head on Chakotay’s shoulder. They left sick bay. Standing outside Kathryn reactivated the Doctor. They made their way back to their quarters. They’d had enough of holodecks for the time being.

Unbeknownst to the captain, after the last episode of tampering, Seven Of Nine had assisted the Doctor in placing a tamper alert within his matrix. It wasn’t necessarily in place to catch the captain, but he had decided that such easy accessibility to his memory files was a security risk. Anyone could come along and delete or interfere with large sections of his memory and that could in turn put the crew at risk. At the time they had also created a buffer so that any deleted files were held there and easily retrieved. As soon as he was reactivated an alert was triggered, making him aware of the tampering.

“Doctor to Seven.”

“Seven here, Doctor.”

”Seven, the tamper alert has just been activated in my memory buffer. It looks as though someone has been deleting my memory files again. I’ll meet you in Holodeck one and see if we can retrieve the deleted files. I’ll contact Mr Tuvok and he can meet us there.”

“Certainly, Doctor. Holodeck one.”

“Doctor to Tuvok.”

“Tuvok here, Doctor. How may I help you?”

“Commander, could you meet me in holodeck one please. This is a matter of utmost importance. There has been a security breach. My memory files have been tampered with again. You should inform the captain.”

“The captain is on leave this evening and is not to be disturbed. If it is of any importance, we can inform at a later time.”

Just as the Doctor was finishing his conversation with Tuvok, Tom and Harry walked into sickbay. “What’s up, Doc?” Harry sniggered at a grinning Tom. The Doctor was oblivious.

“Unless you have life threatening injuries, they will have to wait gentlemen. I’m on my way to catch a thief. Someone has been deleting my memory files again. I’m about to transfer myself to holodeck one so we can retrieve them.”

“Can we come? We haven’t been on a good witch hunt in ages. Come on, Harry. Let’s go.”

“See you down there, Doctor.” They headed out the door.

Tom paged B’Elanna and asked her to meet them on deck six for the unveiling of the Doctor’s deleted memory files. It had been pretty quiet over the last few weeks. This was the most exciting thing to happen in ages. They even managed to pick up a few bored crewmen on their way. Susan Nicoletti and Sam Wildman had just finished shifts and Gerron and Baytart were on their way to Holodeck two for a game of hoverball. They all trooped into holodeck one to find the Doctor, Seven and Tuvok already there.

“I should have brought popcorn.” Tom looked at his cronies. B’Elanna just rolled her eyes.

Seven was tapping away at the console in front of her. “Commander, I have isolated the files from the buffer. Do you want to see them?”

“Yes, thank you, Seven.”

She tapped a few more buttons and the screen in front of them came to life.

There was complete silence. All that could be heard was the sound of jaws hitting the floor.

B’Elanna was the first person to gather her wits. “Kahless! I had no idea. Tom, did you know about this? If you’ve been holding out on me, I’ll rip your arm off and beat you with it.”

He took a step away from his lover. “Honest, Be, I had no idea. God, do you really think I’d be able to keep this to myself?”

Harry was beet red. “Can we turn it off now, Seven? I think I’ve seen enough.”

Susan let out a snort. “My God! It’s worse than seeing your parents.”

Sam Wildman suddenly brought them all up short. “We can’t say anything about this, you know. Imagine what would happen if they knew we knew. It must be important to them to keep it a secret to have gone to this much trouble. They might end it if they think we know, and I couldn’t bear that. They look so peaceful.”

“I don’t know about anybody else but I’m going to have a lot of trouble looking them in the eye after this.” Baytart was looking everywhere but at the screen.

“Can we please turn it off?” Harry was beside himself.

“Hey, everyone. What’s the panic? Surely they know we’d be happy for them. We’ve been trying to get them together for years. They’re going to know something’s up. Harry’s going to be stammering and falling over himself. They’ll know. Tuvok, I nominate you as the one to tell them we know and that we’re happy for them. Who’ll second that?” Tom looked around waiting for someone to put up their hands. “Anyone?”

B’Elanna looked at Sam. “No, Tom, Sam’s right. This has to be kept a secret. No-one can say a word. You know what they’re like. There are a hundred reasons why they shouldn’t be doing this. Starfleet, the crew, regulations, protocol. There are all sorts of reasons. Doctor, I’m going to permanently delete these files, and everyone else, we have to promise on pain of death that we never speak of this again. Ok?”

“You are correct, Lieutenant. I would like everybody’s word that this will never be spoken of again. If knowledge of this does get out, it will be simple task to track down the culprit and the resulting punishment I assure you, will not be comfortable.” Tuvok looked at his comrades. They each nodded and gave their solemn word.

Harry was still looking pained. “Can we please turn it off now?”

Seven tapped a few more buttons. The visual display dissolved and the Doctor was simultaneously transferred back to sickbay. He would have no memory of the past few hours.

The other nine crewmen made their way quietly out of the holodeck and continued on their ways.

They were true to their word and never spoke of the incident again. They did however, become the captain and commander’s quiet accomplices, diverting gossip, making sure they were never disturbed during their off duty time and ensuring that no-one else became aware of their relationship. They became the conspiracy of Nine.

________

2 Years later. Alpha Quadrant.

The welcome home ball was being held at Starfleet Headquarters in the main ballroom and every dignitary that was within hailing distance of Earth was there. All the crew were in high spirits, so pleased to be home and safe. The captain arrived with Chakotay, of course. They had always attended celebrations together and they made a striking pair in their evening wear.

The captain made a moving speech, praising her crew, remembering those who had not made the journey home and giving special thanks to her senior staff, especially Chakotay, for their constant support.

Once the dancing started, the captain’s feet barely touched the ground. Everybody wanted a moment with her but towards the end of the night, she made her way to Chakotay’s side and they danced the last few numbers together.

By 2am only Voyager crew remained and they were starting to leave in dribs and drabs.

Tom looked around and gathered ‘The Nine’ together. They had a special gift for their commanding officers. They all gathered in a small ante room to one side of the ballroom. Tuvok asked the captain and commander to join them.

Tom stepped forward. “Captain, Commander, I hope you will accept this with the love and respect we feel for you. The last two years have been difficult for you, but we want you to know that we have been behind you all the way. Thank you for bringing us home safely and we wish you every happiness.” He handed the small package to the captain.

She looked wary as she turned to Chakotay. He nodded toward the parcel, so she tore off the wrapping and gasped. It was an image of them. It was beautiful. They were lying naked wrapped around each other asleep. They looked so serene. It was really quite breathtaking.

She looked around at the faces of those her crew and now she realised, her friends. “How long have you known?”

Tuvok stepped forward. “Since you tried to delete the memory files from the Doctor’s program a little over two years ago. He and Seven Of Nine had installed a tamper device to alert them if anybody attempted to do what you did.”

Tom continued the story. “We” he swept his arm around the crowd “all happened to be there when the files were retrieved. Thanks to Sam’s good sense, we realised that it was important to you that your relationship remain a secret so we made a pact to keep our mouths shut. I can’t tell you how difficult it was sometimes. Discretion doesn’t come naturally to some of us.” They all laughed.

Kathryn was touched. “Thank you all. What you did was above and beyond the call, but we appreciate it, very much.” She turned to Chakotay. “Shall we tell them? It’s obvious they can keep a secret, although they won’t have to keep it for very long.”

Chakotay nodded his head. “Go ahead, Kathryn. You won’t be able to keep it to yourself much longer anyway.”

She smiled and looked back at the expectant faces. “Chakotay and I are getting married very soon.” She was stroking her stomach. “We also have a new crewman on board. He’ll be arriving in about 6 months time.”

Tom swept her up in an enthusiastic embrace. “Congratulations, Captain. That’s wonderful news. Hey, Be, you’ll be due about the same time. This is great.”

B’Elanna and the captain hugged one another and congratulations were given all around.

They were the last people in the ballroom. Eventually saying their goodnights they moved out into the San Francisco night.

________

Epilogue.

Kathryn and Chakotay were married on the lawns of the Presidio, in the shadow of Voyager, four months after their return from the Delta Quadrant. The nuptials were attended by all of Voyager’s crew and their families. It was a joyous occasion and the perfect end to an odyssey of epic proportions, and a love story that began on the bridge of that ship some seven years before.

And as was fitting, they lived happily ever after.

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