Workforce

By Maquis Leader

 

Author's note: So you beam a 150 some odd people to the ship who think they belong on the surface -- and then what do you do? Set immediately after Workforce.

 

Chapter 1: Who Was I Again?

They'd beamed everyone into the cargo bay. The Doctor stood on a container at one end. " If everyone would please listen to me! You're safe and everything will be explained as quickly as possible. "

Over the next hours the Doctor, B'Elanna, and Neelix sorted the frightened crewmembers into queues for treatment according to priority. Quarra had sent several doctors to help with the initial procedures. The rest of the recovery would require time.

Chakotay had been taken care of by Dr. Ravik on the planet's surface. Luckily his mind had not been tampered with to a great extent. He was angry enough that the planetary government had agreed to virtually all his demands including help and supplies to repair the ship. Chief among his demands was that there be no contact between the crew and anyone from the planet.

Quarra’s government was anxious that word of Dr. Kaden’s actions not be revealed to the public. Secretly, Chakotay had to wonder if there were more brainwashed people the government didn't want to find.

" Commander, you must understand we have citizens who suddenly lost friends and loved ones. "

" I do understand Councilman. And you must understand I have crewmembers that were embarrassed by their actions and the relationships they formed. " Chakotay gripped the railing at the edge of the command level. " I have crewmembers that are traumatized because they were separated from their spouse and had an affair with someone else. The fact that they were brainwashed is cold comfort. "

" I apologize again, Commander. " councilman Gertz wrung his hands. " I will advise them that all are safe and doing well. "

" If we have anyone who truly wants to contact someone or wants to stay on Quarra, we’ll let you know. " He turned away from the screen as the image winked out. " Mr. Kim, how are we doing on repairs? "

" Slow, sir, until the crew gets back on duty. Right now most of the work is on the outer hull. B'Elanna’s doing her best but she's on her own for now. "

" I don't want them on the ship. They're paying the bill so it'll take however long it takes. " He started for the turbolift. " Just keep an eye on B'Elanna, I don't want her working herself into early labor. "

" Yes sir.”

" I'll be in Sickbay, Harry, you have the bridge. "

" Yes sir! " Harry looked around at the empty bridge. " This would be a lot more fun if there was someone else on duty. "

 

In Sickbay, Chakotay threaded his way through the crewmembers standing in line. " How’s everything going, Doctor? "

" Fine. If you like assembly line medical treatment. " The Doctor waved away the patient he was working with and motioned the next one onto the bio bed. " The neural stimulants are working as well as can be expected. With the removal of the ‘roadblocks, if you will, the brain will heal itself over time. "

" How long will it take? "

" For most of the crew, maybe a day or two. " The Doctor turned to look at him. "We need to discuss the Captain's condition in private. " Waving away the crewman he'd been examining, he motioned to the next one. " Just one moment, I'll be right back. "

Chakotay followed the Doctor into his office. " Is there something wrong with the Captain? "

" The Captain may take a week or longer to recover her memories. "

" Why is that? " Relief eased the tightness in his chest. He’d been afraid the Doctor was going to say that Kathryn would never recover.

" From what I can tell, certain individuals required more extensive reprogramming than others. " The Doctor pulled up the Captain's brain scans. " You can see the difference in the two scans. "

Looking at the scans, Chakotay honestly couldn't see any difference, but then he wasn't a doctor. " What you're saying is that certain stubborn hard-headed individuals needed more of Dr. Kaden’s tender loving care than the average patient? " Despite the seriousness of the situation, he smiled.

" Exactly. Our Captain undoubtedly taxed his skill to the limit. " The hologram's face indicated he thought the other man's skill was limited to begin with. " He had to do extensive reworking of her memory patterns to keep her from rebelling. It may take several days or even weeks for her real memories to surface. "

" B'Elanna recovered within a day. I'd think she’d be a tough case. "

" As much as I dislike his methods, Dr. Kaden knew what he was doing. He used B'Elanna’s own history of rejection and abandonment to create a story of her baby's father abandoning her. She even believes she left the Maquis to come here for a better life. "

" Why not leave her with Tom? The newlyweds starting their new life together? "

" There’d be the chance they'd notice the inconsistencies. "

" And their memories might start coming back. " Chakotay finished the thought. Looking out the office window he saw Tom setting on the bio bed next to Kathryn. Both had the same confused look. " And yet they still found their way to each other. "

The Doctor smiled remembering Neelix telling him about Tom's protectiveness of B'Elanna when he didn't even know who she was. “Some things are meant to be."

Chakotay started to leave the Doctor's office then stopped and turned back. " I don’t see Naomi. Where is she? "

" She’s still in the cargo bay with the others. " The cargo bay had been turned into a makeshift dorm for the crew until they were treated. Having 150 people wandering around the ship with no idea what was happening and most wanting to return to the planet had necessitated the confinement.

" Why is she in the cargo bay? "

" She’s not a priority." The Doctor looked a bit uncomfortable.

" Not a priority? She's a child!Chakotay ran his hands through his hair. “She must be frightened by what’s happening! "

" Commander, we had to rank the crew according to importance. " The Doctor stepped back from Chakotay's fierce expression. " I don't like it, however, it's standard procedure when the entire crew is affected. "

" Triage. I understand and I don't like it either. " He walked away.

Kathryn looked up and smiled as Chakotay walked over to her. " Hi. "

"How are you doing? "

" Okay, I guess, confused, and a little scared. " She looked around the crowded Sickbay. " Are all these people your crew? "

" Yes. And they’re our crew. "

" Do I look that lost? "

" Yes. " He took her hand. " Let's take a walk, maybe that'll help bring back some memories. Is that all right, Doctor? "

" Take her with my blessing. " The Doctor arched an eyebrow. " She’s not likely to have memories of Sickbay. I can't get her in here without a security detail. "

Kathryn hadn't decided if the Doctor liked her or not. Turning to Tom, she patted him on the shoulder. " Will you be okay here by yourself? "

" I guess so. The Doc says B'Elanna will be here in a little while to take me home." he grinned a wicked grin. " He says we're married and the baby's mine. "

" Tom, that's wonderful! " She hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

" I guess so. It's kind of funny; I couldn’t get her to take me home with her just last night. Now she has to. " He leaned forward and whispered. " They tell me you're the Captain. "

" That’s what they tell me, too.” She whispered back.

Following Chakotay out of Sickbay, Kathryn nodded at the people who call her captain. She believed his story of how they'd been kidnapped and brainwashed, there was too much evidence not to believe it. That didn't make her feel any less confused. Clutching at Chakotay's hand she sidestepped a man with bright blue skin.

" Sure you're OK? " The dark eyes were concerned. " Do you want to go back to Sickbay? "

" No. " Straightening her spine, she smiled up at him.

Good. " Typical of her to put on a brave face. She might not remember, but she was still Kathryn Janeway. " We need to go pick someone up. "

They went to the cargo bay where the crew was sitting on cots or at tables. Neelix was handing out drinks and sandwiches. " Commander! " He rushed over to them. " And Captain! You're looking well! "

" Thank you. " She couldn't help smiling at his enthusiasm.

" Where’s Naomi?Chakotay asked him.

" She’s over here, I've tried to keep close to her, poor thing. She's scared half to death! "

They followed him to where the little girl sat on a cot. " Hey, sweetheart. " Kneeling next to her, Chakotay tipped her face up. Tears were trickling down her cheeks.

" I want to go home. "

" Naomi, I know it's hard to understand, but you are home. " He brushed her tears away. " I'm your Uncle Chakotay and this is your Aunt Kathy. We all live here on Voyager. "

" I want to go home. " She repeated.

" I know, sweetheart. " Picking her up, he cradled her to his chest.

Kathryn stroked the little girl's blond hair. " It’s confusing, isn't it? But it’ll all be okay. "

They carried her to Sickbay. Sitting her on one of the bio beds, Chakotay motioned to the Doctor. " Take care of her. Now. "

Naomi cringed back from the Doctor. " I want my mommy and Daddy! "

" Naomi, your mother " He stopped. " Doctor? "

" According to her file she has parents on Quarra. A couple adopted her. " The hologram had that faraway look he always got when accessing Voyager's computers. " She isn't aware of this, she believes she was ill for some time and just got out of the hospital. "

" They took her away from Sam?” Chakotay was horrified. “They took her away from — ”

“It would appear so.”

Kathryn had put her arms around Naomi while the two men talked. “It’ll be alright, I promise.”

“Naomi, the Doctor won’t hurt you, he’s your friend. He delivered you when you were born. Right here on Voyager.” Chakotay sat on the bed next to her. “How about if I tell you a story?”

“What kind of story?” She peeked at him from under her hair.

“One of your favorites. How bobcat lost his tail.”

“Bobcats don’t have tails.”

“They did once, a very long time ago.”

While Chakotay told his story, the Doctor scanned her and gave her the neural stimulant. “You should take her back to Neelix now and let her rest.”

“What about her – “ He bit back the word mother. “Sam?”

“Commander, Sam hasn’t regained her memories yet. She’s helping out here in Sickbay, hopefully they’ll start coming back to her.” The hologram hesitated. “She believes her husband and daughter were killed by Romulans.”

“In the war?” Kathryn asked.

Both men turned to look at her. “What war?”

“We’ve been at war with the Romulans for over 10 years.” She looked from one to the other. “Haven’t we?”

Sighing, Chakotay slid off the table and took Naomi in his arms again. “Let’s take her back to Neelix.”

“My head hurts.” Naomi rubbed her head against his shoulder, the small spikes on her forehead rasping against his neck. “I don’t like doctors. They’re mean.”

“It’ll go away in a little while.” Kathryn patted her back. She noticed the hurt expression on the Doctor's face. She patted his back, too.

 

mmmmmmmm

 

After two days, roughly one-third of the crew had regained their memories. Thankfully, Naomi and Sam were among them. The Captain, however, was not. Of the senior staff, she and Tom were the only ones still not back on duty.

Voyager was seriously understaffed and Chakotay was working 18 hour shifts trying to piece ship and crew back together. Kathryn's time was spent in the Captain's quarters reading through ‘herpersonal logs.

" We were stranded alone on a planet together and we didn't do anything? " She looked up from the PADD she was reading. " Am I crazy?

" I've often wondered. " He was stretched out on her sofa trying to catch a nap.

" You didn't try anything? " Maybe he was the crazy one.

" No. "

" Why? Am I not pretty enough for you? " She’d read enough of ‘her ‘ logs to know she'd wanted him to kiss her that night he saw her in nothing but a towel. And that was just for starters. The rest of that particular entry made her blush when she read it.

" Fishing for compliments? " he chuckled.

" I was the only woman on the planet and you didn't make a pass at me? " she pulled at the arm he had laying over his eyes. " It’s a little hard on the ego. "

" I was taking it slow, figured there was plenty of time. If I'd known "

" Torres to Chakotay. "

" Saved the by the bell. Chakotay, here. "

" Chakotay, Councilman Gertz is requesting to speak with you. "

" I'm on my way, tell him five minutes. Chakotay out. " He swung his feet off the sofa and stood. " I have to go to the bridge. "

" Can I come? " She'd been cooped up in her quarters all day and was feeling a little stir crazy.

" It’s your bridge. " He held out his hand to her.

 

When they stepped out onto the bridge, Harry did a double take. " Captain? "

" Hi. " She waved at him.

Choking back a laugh at the look on Harry's face, Chakotay steered Kathryn to her seat and stood beside her. " Put the councilman through. "

Councilman Gertz appeared on the screen. " Commander, I really must protest! The cost of some of the supplies you’re demanding is "

" More than the cost of slave labor? " Chakotay asked smoothly.

" Slave labor? Really, they were paid "

" After they were kidnapped and their minds tampered with.”

" We’re trying to do what we can to rectify the situation. However, the cost is outrageous! "

" Outrageous? " Chakotay strode to the center of the command level.

" Then there's the matter of the child. " The councilman smoothed his hand over his oily looking mustache.

" The child? "

" The little girl. Her parents want her back. " He crossed his arms over his chest. "They adopted her. "

" Naomi belongs on Voyager. Her mother is here. "

" Her mother signed the papers, I assure you it's quite legal. "

" No. " Chakotay’s answer was soft, almost a whisper.

" I'll send security forces to pick her up. " Obviously mistaking the calmness for agreement, Gertz smiled. " A shuttle will be there shortly. "

" No.Behind him Harry and Tuvok exchanged a look. “I will level your planet before I give her to you. " He continued, his voice low and dangerous. " Voyager will leave your world in ruins. You will not take my child. "

On screen the councilman paled and took a step back.

" You will tell these peoplethat they have to buy another child. "

" I I understand. " The man was shaken in the face of Chakotay’s fury. " We’ll see to all the repairs immediately. "

" You have two days. " Prying his hands loose from the railing, he turned his back on the screen.

Kathryn sat in the big chair shocked at what she'd seen. Chakotay had been gentle and kind from the moment she'd first met him. Even when he was wounded and wanted by security he'd never so much as raised his voice to her. One request from her was all it took for him to put down the weapon he’d had. There had been no hint of the anger that lay beneath the surface. When he walked over to her, she flinched back.

Pain flashed in the black velvet eyes and a sad smile twisted his mouth. " I wouldn't really, but he doesn’t need to know that. "

" You – you were bluffing? " Relief flooded her.

" More or less. Tuvok. "

" Yes, Commander? " The Vulcan looked up from his console.

" Armed guards at all points of access. No one from Quarra is allowed on board without my direct permission. I get the feeling theseparents’ are highly placed people to influence the councilman. "

" Understood. "

" I'll bet a month's rations the good councilman is involved in this scheme of Dr. Kaden’s. "

" It would be unwise to bet against you, Commander. "

Taking Chakotay’s hand, Kathryn let him pull her to her feet. In the turbolift she studied him carefully. He was still angry but not as angry as he had appeared to be on the bridge. "Would I have done something like that? "

" Similar, but more subtle. " He smiled at her. " You’ve got those feminine wiles to work with. I have to rely on masculine chest beating. "

She laughed. " The angry warrior routine? "

" Where did you hear that? " Just what had Kathryn put in her logs about the angry warrior?

" Just an old story I read somewhere. " She ducked her head and a flush covered her cheeks. Chakotay’s legend’ had earned itself several pages in her personal logs. Some of them were quite steamy. " What will you do if they try to take her?"

" Leave. " He shrugged. " We’re not ready, but we've been in worse shape. "

" So I've been reading. "

" You told me a story once. Something to remember when times get tough. "

" And what was that? "

Smiling, he tugged on her hair. " Never underestimate the power of a redhead. "

 

mmmmmm

" So I did grow up in Indiana? "

“Uh hum…”

“My mom and sister are alive not dead, but my father is dead?”

“Uh huh…”

“And Earth isn’t really over crowded and polluted?”

“Uh huh…”

“Chakotay, are you listening to me?”

“Uh huh…”

Going to where he lay on the sofa, Kathryn saw his eyes were closed. Poor baby. He was working long hours then spending what little free time he had with her. “Chakotay, why don’t you go home, get some sleep?”

“Uh uh… you might disappear…”

Sitting on the floor next to him, she ruffled the dark hair. “Not a chance.” The exotic lines on his forehead drew her fingers. Tracing them gently she whispered to him as he slept. “I love you, Chakotay.”

 

Chapter 2: I Tell The Truth Except When I Lie...

Back to Chakotay's bedroom for another romantic story


maquisleader@maquisleader.net