Spoils of War

By Maquis Leader

 

 

 

Rating R

Author’s note: There’s a gap in The Killing Game between the time we see the Hirogen take the data core and walk away and the time we see their ships peeling away from Voyager. This is what happened during that gap.

 

 

 

Chakotay watched the new Hirogen Alpha walk away with the data core. He wasn’t sure it was the best thing to do, but considering the situation, there seemed little choice. The Hirogen had been beaten back long enough to force a truce. They still had an advantage, however, with Voyager as badly damaged as she was.

 

Phaser fire brought him out of his thoughts. “Get down!” He put his hand on Kathryn’s back to shove her behind a container. She vanished, causing him to pitch forward painfully onto the deck. “Kathryn!”

 

Energy sizzled over his head as he crawled behind the containers. “Chakotay to Tuvok!”

 

“The Hirogen have commandeered the transporter.” The Vulcan’s voice was calm despite the unexpected attack. “We are attempting to shut it down.”

 

“The Captain! They transported the Captain!”

 

“Bridge to Commander Chakotay! The Hirogen ships are powering weapons!” Harry’s voice was panicked. “Shields are still down!”

 

Damn it! “Evasive maneuvers!”

 

“The engines are offline, Commander! Maneuvering thrusters only!”

 

“Then use them! Tell Paris to get his ass in gear!” We’re sitting ducks!

 

Voyager lurched drunkenly, throwing the security team to the deck. The remaining Hirogen vanished in the blue haze of the transporter.

 

“Get the Captain back! Now!” Chakotay climbed to his feet and wiped blood off of his face. Lieutenant Baker was already at the transporter console.

 

“I’m locking onto their signals – “ He cried out as the console exploded.

 

“Baker!” Chakotay helped Tuvok pull him away from the flaming console. “Chakotay to Sickbay, medical emergency! We need a medical team in cargo bay 2!”

 

“On my way, Commander.” The Doctor answered.

 

“Bridge to Commander Chakotay! The Hirogen ships are going to warp!”

 

“Stop them!”

 

“Weapons are offline, Commander!” Harry was frantically entering commands on his board. “I’ve got a lock on their signals. I – “

 

The sudden silence made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. “What is it, Harry? Did you get them?”

 

“No, sir.” Harry stared at the pile of combadges he’d retrieved. “They’re gone.”

 

“Ensign Harmon is also missing.” Tuvok told Chakotay.

 

“Why would they take her? Why not me?”

 

“Unknown. Perhaps their inexperience with the transporter. She was standing directly behind you.”

 

“Why take hostages now? It doesn’t make sense!”

 

“Perhaps they were not taking hostages.”

 

“No…” Chakotay looked up as the fire suppression system kicked in. Water poured down. Fresh sparks shot up out of the console. “Shut off that water!” He shouted.

 

For a moment he almost wished the computer had screwed up even more and chosen to shut down the air in the cargo bay. Vent him into space to ease his pain. Prey.

 

“They may mean to – “

 

“Track them. I don’t care how or with what. Track them and find them.”

 

“Sensors may be – “

 

His head snapped around and he glared at the Vulcan. “Now.”

 

Tuvok arched an eyebrow at the deceptively soft tone. “Yes, sir.”

 

Standing in the bay, face tilted up to the pouring water, Chakotay forced away the image of Kathryn being tortured and butchered as a trophy. “I’ll find you, Kathryn. Hang on.”

 

 

 

 

On the bridge, Chakotay stalked from station to station restlessly. Voyager’s systems were badly damaged and unable to give a listing of the missing crewmembers. The scrape on his temple stung but he ignored it. He wasn’t going to take the time to go to Sickbay to get it healed. Not while Kathryn might be in pain and bleeding with no ease for her suffering.

 

“B'Elanna’s gone.” Tom told Harry.

 

“Sue is, too.” Ayala added.

 

“Who else?” Chakotay lifted a combadge out of the container they’d been placed into.

 

“Seven, Crewman Celes…” Harry paused. “The comm system is overloading. Everyone is trying to contact the bridge.”

 

“Get them off. Put me on shipwide.” He waited until Harry nodded. “This is Commander Chakotay. We’re aware we have crew missing. Use the messaging system to report in. Send an empty message to Ops so that we can do a head count. If you know someone is missing, send an empty message to Security. Put the names of the missing in the subject. Do not contact the bridge unless it’s an emergency. Chakotay out.”

 

Harry’s console beeped as messages began coming in. Tuvok’s echoed as if in answer.

 

“Might as well put the messaging system to good use for once – something other than placing bets.” Chakotay forced his mouth to smile and pretended a confidence he didn’t feel. “Chakotay to Carey.”

 

“Carey here, sir.”

 

“I need warp engines now.”

 

“Sir, we’re looking at – “

 

Now. Chakotay out.”

 

Tom was at the helm going over the scans of the Hirogen ships. He looked up as Chakotay’s hand came down on his shoulder. He shared a look of understanding with the big Indian. Fear and anger. Rage and panic. “Care to place a bet on how quickly we find them, Chief?”

 

“How about one on the Captain and B'Elanna having rescued themselves by the time we get there?” He squeezed the younger man’s shoulder.

 

“Even money, I’d say.”

 

Taking the container of combadges, Chakotay retreated to the ready room. Spilling the badges across Kathryn’s desk, he hesitated. “Chakotay to Janeway.” One of the badges chirped in response. He dug through them until he located Kathryn’s. Closing the channel and tucking it in his pocket, he sat down behind the desk.

 

Picking up another combadge, he turned it over and watched the light glint off the gold surface. With a little tinkering, a combadge would tell you who it belonged to. But he knew already that every one of them belonged to a female member of Voyager’s crew. The Hirogen weren’t after prey. They wanted the spoils of war.

 

 

 

 

“There are thirty five missing crew members. All female.” Chakotay skimmed over the empty chairs as he looked around the briefing room. He’d sat in his usual seat, leaving Kathryn’s chair vacant at the head of the table. “Warp engines are back online and Harry has the long range sensors back online as well.”

 

“Here’s hoping B'Elanna doesn’t pitch a fit at all the jury rigging Carey did.” Tom joked softly.

 

“You have a course for us, Tom?”

 

“I’ve got a warp trail for the Hirogen ships. And the transporter tells me all the combadges were beamed from a single ship.”

 

“The Alpha decided the data core wasn’t enough?” Harry shook his head.

 

“Actually, the data core was on another ship according to the sensor data.” Tom told him. “Chances are, the Alpha may not know what happened.”

 

“Then they may split up. Make sure we’re following the right warp trail.”

 

“Not a problem, Commander.” Tom had a feral grin on his face. “They may be great hunters, but they’re lousy prey.”

 

“Plot us a course that will drop us in front of them.” Chakotay allowed himself a grin as well. “They’re expecting an attack from behind. Let’s use our superior speed to surprise them.”

 

“Aye, sir.”

 

“We’ll have to make this a quick operation. The shields are up, but they won’t take much of a pounding before they fail.” Chakotay slid a PADD over to Tuvok. “We don’t have time to repair the torpedo launchers, so we’ll have to be a little more… creative.”

 

“Transporting the torpedoes?” The Vulcan’s eyebrows shot up. “That will require us to lower our shields.”

 

“Set a timer on the torpedoes. We only need a few seconds to beam them to their target.”

 

“Commander, the Captain is on one of those ships.”

 

“I’m aware of that.”

 

“This plan of action may endanger her.”

 

The silence made Tom’s ears ring.

 

“What are you implying, Tuvok?” Chakotay’s voice was soft and calm. Only his hands clenched on the PADD he was holding gave any outward indication of his anger.

 

“I am implying nothing, merely stating the high risk of this plan.”

 

“I’m aware of the risk. We’re alone and outnumbered. This may be our only chance.” He skewered the other man with a hard look. “I’m sure the Captain would rather take that risk than have her bones hang on a bulkhead. Dismissed.”

 

Tom lagged behind as the others filed out. “Never mind him, nobody believes you’d try to knock off the Captain and take over Voyager. Not now.”

 

Chakotay could see the worry and fear the younger man was trying to hide. Is that what I look like? “We’ll get them back, Tom. I promise.”

 

 

 

 

First Officer’s Log:

 

It’s been a little over 15 hours since the Hirogen kidnapped the Captain and other crewmembers. We’ve plotted a course that should intercept them in another 5 hours.

 

Repairs are ongoing. Shields and phasers are being given the highest priority by Engineering. The torpedo launchers were badly damaged in the explosions during the initial attack and will require several days to repair. At this time, I have every able body working on the sections of the hull damaged in the first Hirogen attack.

 

I’m afraid that the 20 hours it will take us to rescue them will be too long. The only hope is my belief that they were taken not as prey, but as breeding stock and it takes longer to rape a woman than to kill her –

 

 

“Computer, delete last paragraph.” Chakotay rubbed the bridge of his nose. He’d come to his quarters to grab a nap and ordered the rest of the senior staff to do the same. Everyone needed to be sharp for the battle that was looming ahead.

 

“Computer, lights out.” The room plunged into darkness. Kicking his boots off and stretching out on the bed, he closed his eyes. Images of Kathryn being tortured invaded his mind immediately. Forcing them away, he concentrated instead on his heartbeat and tried to use it to lull himself to sleep.

 

After several minutes, Chakotay sighed and rolled out of bed. Wandering into the darkened main room, he toyed with the idea of seeking a vision. Perhaps a visit to his spirit guide would help him find peace. Instead he found himself outside in the corridor standing at Kathryn’s door. Keying in his override code, he stepped inside her quarters.

 

On the desk was a pile of PADDs and a half empty coffee cup. Lying on the floor was a black shirt. Lifting it up, Chakotay recognized it as the one he’d seen her in as Katrine. A smile curved his lips at the memory of the pretty Maquis that Captain Miller had met in St. Claire.

 

Walking into the bedroom, he sat down on the bed and studied the pale blue nightgown draped over the end. It looked as if she’d tossed it there as she’d gotten dressed. Picking it up, he lifted it to his face and inhaled the soft rose scent of Kathryn.

 

 

 

“Bridge to Commander Chakotay.”

 

“Chakotay here.” He jerked awake, the nightgown clutched to his chest.

 

“Ten minutes to intercept, sir.”

 

“I’m on my way. Chakotay out.” Rolling off her bed, he ran back to his quarters for his boots. Halfway to the bridge, he realized he still had the scrap of silk in his hands and stuffed it inside his jacket. “First it’s breaking and entering and now you’re a thief. Good job, Chakotay. You’ll be lucky if she doesn’t throw you in the brig.” The lift halted and the doors opened to reveal the bridge at red alert. “Report!” He barked out as he strode onto the command level.

 

“Ayala and his team are in cargo bay 1, Commander. Tuvok and his team are in torpedo bay 1 with fifteen altered torpedoes.” Harry ran down the data on his console. “Shields are at 85% and forward phaser banks are operational – all other banks are still down. Transporters in cargo bay 1 and transporter room 2 are operational – all others are still down.”

 

“Time to intercept?”

 

“2 minutes.”

 

“Chakotay to Ayala. Be ready to send the torpedoes on my mark. Aim for shield generators whenever possible.” Stepping over to the Tactical station, he waved away the Lieutenant manning the console. He’d handle the coordination of information from the tactical sensors to the cargo bay transporters himself.

 

“Aye, sir.” Ayala answered.

 

“Ready to drop out of warp on your word, Commander.”

 

“Use your own judgment, Tom.” Chakotay looked up from his board. “Do whatever you have to do to keep us in one piece.”

 

“Everybody hang on, then.” Tom’s fingers slid over the controls. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

 

They dropped out of warp into the middle of the Hirogen ships. Chakotay tagged the one with human life signs so that it appeared in red on all displays. “Got ‘em!”

 

Tom danced Voyager around the enemy ships, using them for cover from each other. He kept up a constant stream of soft words to his ship, encouraging her and praising her as they moved. As she ducked under one ship, the phaser fire from a second caught their unwilling shield broadside. “That’s my girl!”

 

“I have thirty three life forms!” Harry shouted. “I can’t get a lock until their shields are down!”

 

Thirty three? “Working on it, Harry!” Chakotay clung to the edge of the console as the ship shuddered under them. He’d set the Tactical system to feed information directly to Ayala’s console in the cargo bay. Periodically the shields dropped, a photon torpedo appeared next to a Hirogen ship, and their shields snapped back up.

 

Looking over his tactical display, he saw that two torpedoes had appeared between a pair of enemy ships that had almost collided while chasing Tom’s insane maneuvers. Targeting the torpedoes, he fired the phasers.

 

The Hirogen ships rocked as the explosions slapped their shields. One began listing to one side. Chakotay allowed himself a grim smile of satisfaction.

 

Voyager rocked again and sparks flew from behind Harry. “Shields down to 30%! Phasers are offline!”

 

Onscreen the damaged Hirogen ship disappeared in a flash of light and energy. Ayala had taken advantage of a hole in their shields and beamed a torpedo inside the ship. Tom dove behind the fireball for cover and came back facing the ship on their tail.

 

Two of the remaining vessels peeled away and disappeared. “They’ve gone to warp!” Harry shouted.

 

“Never mind them, keep an eye on our people!” The only ship remaining blinked a steady red on his display. “Open a channel!”

 

The main screen changed to a static filled image of a Hirogen hunter. “Prey.”

 

“Give us our people back and we’ll leave.”

 

“We do not negotiate with prey.”

 

Chakotay’s eyes focused on the large hunk of red hair hanging from the Hirogen's armor. “Then you will die.” The screen snapped off. “Ayala, target their shield generators.”

 

“Aye, sir.”

 

The Hirogen ship was damaged but far from helpless. Phaser fire lanced out and caught Voyager along her side. Panels blew out behind Chakotay, spraying painful sparks over him.

 

“Shields at 10%!” Harry shouted. “His shields are weakening!”

 

Two torpedoes appeared along one side of the enemy ship and exploded one right after the other. The ship began to tumble end over end, the lights flickering and going out.

 

“Their shields are down and their engines are offline!”

 

“Beam our people out!”

 

“The transporter in the cargo bay overloaded on the last beam out, Commander.” Harry waved smoke out of his face. “Transporter room 2 is all we have.”

 

“Start beaming them over. Have Tuvok assemble a security team and meet me in the transporter room.” Chakotay met Tom at the door to the turbolift. “Mr. Paris, you’re needed at the helm.”

 

“No, sir, I’m not.” He gestured over his shoulder at the image of the Hirogen ship drifting in space.

 

The look in the blue eyes told Chakotay that he wasn’t backing down on this one. Tom was as concerned for B'Elanna as he was for Kathryn. “Come on.”

 

 

In the transporter room, they met Tuvok and a large security team armed with phaser rifles. The Doctor was there as well, running a scanner over one of the women that had been beamed back. She was naked and bruised.

 

“The transporter is making us wait over 3 minutes between beam outs – I don’t want to push it. We’ve beamed over six, sir.” Lieutenant Morgan told him as his hands moved over the console. “Make that twelve.”

 

On the platform, six women appeared. They were naked and appeared battered and disoriented. Three of them slumped to the pad and had to be helped down. Kathryn wasn’t among either group. “Get some blankets down here and crew members to help them to Sickbay.” Chakotay stepped up onto the pad and half of the security team grouped around him. “Beam us over, then the second team as quickly as possible.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

“Continue beaming out the other life signs. When you have them all, pull us out.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

 

They materialized in an empty room with two hatchways. “There are three Hirogen behind that door.” Tom consulted his tricorder. “And five behind the other.”

 

“You’re the odds man, Paris, pick a door.” Chakotay checked the settings on his rifle again. Kill; there was no stunning the enemy on this mission.

 

“I’d say door number one. Let Tuvok’s team handle the other guys.”

 

“You heard him, let’s go.”

 

Ayala led the way to the door. It didn’t open and after tapping the door control, he shook his head. “We’ll have to force it.”

 

Ensign Newton brushed past Chakotay. “Excuse me, sir.”

 

As always, he was amazed at the soft voice and gentle manner of the security officer. Newton was 6’7” and weighed at least 350 pounds. All muscle.

 

The doorway was levered open far enough for Ayala to roll something through. The security men let the door slam shut again just as a loud explosion was heard.

 

“Concussion grenade?”

 

“Thought this was more a Maquis operation.” Ayala grinned.

 

“Tell Tuvok I authorized it.” Chakotay waited until they pried the doors open enough to pass through.

 

“I already did.” Another grin.

 

Inside the other room, two warriors were dead and a third barely alive. “Where are our women?” Chakotay dropped to one knee beside the dying warrior.

 

“You are prey.” The reptilian face turned away.

 

“Not today.”

 

“I’m reading human life signs ahead, 30 meters.” Tom said.

 

“Let’s go.” Stepping over the Hirogen, Chakotay led them out into the corridor.

 

As they rounded a curve, they encountered three more Hirogen warriors. Chakotay lifted his phaser rifle and brought one down and a second fell to a burst from Ayala’s rifle, but the third made it to them.

 

Chakotay found himself shoved against the bulkhead as Ensign Newton rushed past him. Launching himself at the warrior, Newton drove him to the deck. A flash in the dim light, another, and a third before he stood again.

 

Instinctively, Chakotay backed up as Newton turned, blood splattered over him and the large knife he was holding. “The way’s clear, sir.” He said softly.

 

“Carry on, Ensign.” He exchanged a look with Ayala.

 

“He and Crewman Tsatsud had been thinking about getting married.” Ayala told him quietly.

 

Crewman Tsatsud had been killed during the Hirogen hunting games. “Keep an eye on him.” He’d seen it in the Maquis many times, the need to take out anger and hatred on the enemy. Too many had been consumed by that anger, himself included.

 

“Voyager to Chakotay.”

 

“Chakotay here.”

 

“Sir, the transporters are offline.” Harry’s voice was stressed. “We beamed over Commander Tuvok’s team and the relays blew out.”

 

“Get it fixed as quickly as possible.”

 

“Yes, sir. Lieutenant Carey is on it right now. We’re sending the shuttles over to dock as soon as you give us the all clear.”

 

“Good thinking, Harry. Chakotay out.” He turned to his team. “You heard him, we’re not getting the easy way out on this one.”

 

“When do we ever?” Tom asked. “’Cos I’d like to be there when we do.”

 

As they moved through the ship, they encountered pockets of Hirogen warriors. A few well placed grenades took care of most of them. They’d learned from their time on the holodecks to hit them hard and fast. As Tom had said, the Hirogen made for lousy prey. The concept of hiding from their attackers rather than running at them seemed beyond their comprehension.

 

Chakotay turned at a scraping sound. The warrior he’d spoken to earlier came through a hatchway. The swatch of red hair swung as he moved and blood dripped onto deck from a wound in his side. “Fight me, prey! I will give your bones a place of honor on my bulkheads!”

 

Chakotay pulled the trigger on his phaser rifle. The Hirogen flew back to crash against the bulkhead. “Sorry, I like my bones where they are.” Walking over to the dead body, he jerked the swatch of hair free and tucked it into his pocket.

 

“Tuvok to Chakotay.”

 

“Chakotay here.”

 

“We have secured the ship except for the lower three levels. There are ten Hirogen warriors still alive. However, with your authorization of the concussion grenades – “ The Vulcan’s voice indicated his doubt of said authorization. “I estimate another 20 minutes to secure the ship completely.”

 

“Causalities?” He followed Ayala into the room where Tom had detected a human life sign.

 

“None, sir.”

 

“Secure the lower decks. Free any of our people you find and send them to our beam in site.”

 

“Aye, sir.”

 

“Jesus!” Tom’s voice startled Chakotay as he shut the comlink.

 

“What is it? What – “ The scene before them made his stomach roil. Lieutenant Nicoletti was restrained on a table of some kind, her legs spread wide. She was naked, bruised, and bleeding. On the other table Ensign Stevens was restrained in a similar fashion. She had been mutilated and the tricorder wasn’t needed for him to know she was dead.

 

Ayala hastily unfastened the restraints and pulled Sue into his arms. She clutched at his jacket and began to sob.

 

“Lieutenant.” Chakotay reached out to gently touch her bare shoulder. “Lieutenant, can you tell us what happened?”

 

“She cried.” She put on the turtleneck Ayala pulled off and gave to her. “When they were – taking the eggs – she cried.”

 

“Eggs?” Ayala pulled his jacket around her shoulders.

 

“For breeding.” She wiped the tears off her cheeks. “She cried and the Alpha said she wasn’t worthy enough.”

 

“So they killed her.” Chakotay picked up a scrap of cloth from the floor to cover Ensign Stevens’ face. It was a piece of her uniform.

 

“After they – raped her.” Sue buried her face in Ayala’s neck. “They did some sort of ritual. They all – tortured her and – “

 

“That’s enough.” Chakotay patted her shoulder. She’d been through enough without being forced to describe it all in detail. “What about the Captain?”

 

“I don’t know. They took her first.”

 

He was torn between keeping her with them and sending her alone to their beam in point. Settling on a compromise, he ordered Ayala and one of the other security men to escort her back and stand guard over any others that Tuvok might have located.

 

Following Tom’s tricorder, they came to a row of closed hatchways. “Brig?” he asked. “Cargo bays?” He stopped in front of the one with a certain Klingon hybrid life sign inside.

 

“Holding pens.” Chakotay told him. “There’s only human life signs – everyone take a door. Let’s get our people and get out of here.” As the team split up along the corridor, he forced open the hatchway in front of him.

 

Stepping inside, he glanced around what appeared to be an empty cell. A movement out of the corner of his eye made him throw his hand up and dance aside to avoid a blow. A large metal tray bounced off his shoulder.

 

“Oh my god! Chakotay!” Kathryn threw her arms around him. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was you!”

 

“It’s okay.” He held her to him.

 

“I’m so glad to see you.” She locked her arms around his shoulders and hugged him fiercely.

 

“I can tell.” Burying his face in her hair, he held her close and rocked her gently.

 

“What about the others?”

 

“They’re being freed. The ship is secure.”

 

“Ensign Rivera, they killed her.”

 

“Ensign Stevens as well.” Chakotay realized suddenly that she was naked. Despite the situation, he hardened immediately at the thought of holding her naked body in his arms. Stepping back, he unzipped his jacket to give it to her.

 

Kathryn caught the blue fabric before it hit the floor. Shaking it out, she arched an auburn eyebrow. “A nightgown, Chakotay? If you were going to bring me some clothes, a uniform would’ve been a better choice.”

 

“Ah, it’s a long story.” He watched as she pulled the gown on over her head. A grimace of pain crossed her face. “Are you all right?” He ran his fingers carefully over the bruises on her arms.

 

“Sore.” She stopped and rubbed her arms. He pulled his jacket off and handed it to her.

 

“Tuvok to Chakotay.”

 

With a grin, she tapped the badge. “Chakotay here.”

 

“Captain?”

 

“The Commander was kind enough to lend me his jacket. I suggest you beam some clothing to me.”

 

“The transporters are offline, Captain.”

 

“Of course they are.” She sighed. “What was I thinking?”

 

“We have two shuttles awaiting orders to dock.”

 

“Are we secure?” Chakotay tugged the sides of the jacket together and zipped it for her. The sight of her breasts barely covered by blue silk and lace peeking through the sides of the jacket wasn’t helping his hard on.

 

“There are no more Hirogen on the ship.”

 

“Give the order to dock. And get the blankets out of the survival gear, we don’t want to lose anyone to shock.”

 

“Aye, sir. Tuvok out.”

 

“That sounded like Vulcan speak for ‘they’re all dead’.”

 

“No doubt.” He pulled her combadge out of his pocket. “Trade you.”

 

“You’ve been carrying around my nightgown and my combadge?” Kathryn chuckled.

 

“And this.” He showed her the trophy he’d taken from the Hirogen.

 

“Just as it was growing out.” Kathryn reached out to take it, but he pulled it away.

 

“Uh-uh, mine.”

 

“Why would you want it?” She winced again at the ache between her thighs.

 

“Take it easy.” He slid an arm around her waist. “Let’s go.”

 

“Chakotay.” She looked up at him, bottom lip trembling. “They took my eggs.”

 

“I know.” He pulled her into his arms.

 

“It hurt, like – I can’t even tell you how badly. They killed Rivera because she screamed.” She pressed her face into the curve of Chakotay’s neck. “Said she wasn’t worthy of breeding a warrior.”

 

Stroking her hair, he murmured soothing sounds and rocked her. He couldn’t begin to imagine the pain and horror she’d been through. “You’re safe now.”

 

“They tear the mother apart.”

 

“What? Who?”

 

“The Hirogen, when they’re born.” She wiped her eyes. “The young tear the mother apart. It’s their first kill.”

 

“That explains the lack of Hirogen females.” He shuddered. “But why take the extra eggs if they – “ He didn’t want to ask if she’d been raped. Coward.

 

“To put in other females, I guess.” His heartbeat was steady and reassuring under her hand and she breathed deeply of his warm spicy scent. “He said I’d breed great warriors.”

 

“You will, but not his.” Pressing a kiss on her forehead, he rubbed his hands up and down her back. “You okay to walk?”

 

“I guess.” She stepped back. “I’m ready to go home if I have to crawl to get there.”

 

The picture she presented, long blue nightgown covered with an oversized uniform jacket, dirty face and a large chunk cut out of her hair made Chakotay laugh. Kathryn frowned and planted her hands on her hips. “What? What’s so funny?”

 

Shaking his head, he laughed again. When she jacked her chin up to the top Janeway setting, he pulled her back to him. “I am so glad to see you.”

 

“Missed me, did you?” She stroked her fingers through the soft raven hair. Chakotay must have been afraid he wouldn’t see her again. She’d never doubted for a single instant that he’d find her. “Are you all right?”

 

“I’m fine. You?”

 

She trailed her fingers over the scrapes on his face. “I hurt like hell and I want my eggs back.”

 

 

 

 

“We can freeze the eggs, if you’d like.” The Doctor held up the container. “But you have plenty more where these came from.”

 

“Keep some, just in case.” Kathryn chewed on her lower lip. “Destroy the rest.”

 

“Rest assured, Captain, that although the Hirogen technique was rather brutal, you’re fine.” He smiled. “You shouldn’t have any problems conceiving a child. The old fashioned way.”

 

“Good. I want children someday, but not the kind that will kill me.”

 

Chakotay had stayed with her in Sickbay while the Doctor examined and treated her. “What kind do you want?” His curiosity was piqued, he’d never heard her mention wanting children before.

 

“Not the kind that rip open my belly!” Laughing, she sat up on the bio bed. “Hopefully, they’ll be kind and caring like their father.”

 

“Really? And have you picked out this father?” The black velvet eyes glimmered with amusement. “Or is he still out there somewhere?”

 

“They’ll be beautiful children.” Kathryn fidgeted with the edge of the blanket and ignored his question. “Big brown eyes. Black hair.”

 

“Much as I’d like a red haired little girl…” Cupping her face in his hands, he tipped her chin up until her eyes met his again. “I can pretty much guarantee the brown eyes and black hair.”

 

“Good to know I can depend on you.” The corner of her mouth crooked up.

 

“You have to promise to give them some of your stubbornness.”

 

“You’re the one who’s so damned contrary!” She poked his chest with a fingertip.

 

“Me? You wrote the book!”

 

“Please.” The EMH interrupted. “Just kiss and get out of my Sickbay.”

 

They looked at him in surprise for a moment before they started to laugh. “Well, Doctor’s orders…” Kathryn pulled Chakotay to her and pressed her lips to his. He tasted sweet and warm, lips firm and soft as he pressed his body against hers. Pulling back, she whispered. “I love you, Chakotay.”

 

“And I love you.” Lowering his lips to hers again, he slid his tongue into her welcoming mouth.

 

“Umm…” Panting, she broke away. “Dimples – you have to give them those dimples!”

 

He rewarded her with a dazzling smile complete with said dimples and another kiss, his hands sliding along her sides to cup her breasts. “Did you have a time table on these children?”

 

“We should probably take our time.” Rubbing her belly against the hardness of his erection, Kathryn smiled and winked. “Make some trial runs.”

 

“Um hum…” Their lips met again.

 

“When I want them to stay, they go. When I want them to go, they stay.” The Doctor rolled his eyes and retreated to his office.

 

 

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