Title:  Too Much to Take (16/?)
Author:  CatHeights
Pairing:  C/P
Rating:   PG-13--This is a slash story.  If reading about a
relationship between two men disturbs you, read no further.
Feedback:  CatHeights@yahoo.com
Archive:  Cha_Club, ATPS, Paris Nights, TPD. Anywhere else, just
ask first.
Spoiler Warning: Barge of the Dead; Extreme Risk; Nothing Human;
One Small Step
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all rights to Star Trek Voyager, its
characters, and the Voyager episodes referred to in this story.
The story idea is mine, but I am doing this just for fun, no
money to be made.

The episode One Small Step belongs to Paramount.  I'm just
expanding it a bit to give a look inside the character's minds,
and maybe altering things just a little.  The small bit of the
dialogue where Chakotay and Tom (and Seven) discuss the Ares Four
mission is generally Paramount's (with a few tweaks), but what's
going on in their minds; well that's my invention.  I just
thought there was a little more going on in the episode than met
the eye <g>.  I promise to put it back together when I'm done.
If you're missing a part, you can find it on my website,

End of Part 15:

Still holding the cube, Chakotay walked into his bedroom.
Grinning, he tossed it into the air and caught it.  The thing
just might end up on Kathryn's desk.  He placed it on his
nightstand, and started to get ready for bed, his headache long
since forgotten.

And now...
Part 16

Tom was viewing the last transmissions of NASA's Lieutenant John
Kelly when Chakotay quietly entered the room.  He lingered by the
door for a moment, just watching the younger man.  Tom stood
straight, his face serious as he absorbed the events on the
screen.  Chakotay wondered how many times Tom had watched these
transmissions.  Probably until he knew them by heart, just as
Chakotay did.

He walked over to Tom and stood next to him silently, listening
as one of what he considered the greatest explorers calmly
described the anomaly that was heading toward him.   An anomaly
that Voyager was currently following.  It was unbelievable; he
just might be leading the mission that recovered parts of the
Ares Four command module.  He might get to add more to the
history of John Kelly.  Three hundred years ago, on a mission to
Mars, a graviton ellipse overtook the Ares Four command module
and its pilot, and now in the Delta Quadrant, Voyager had
stumbled upon that same ellipse.   Excitement coursed through him
as his mind wrapped itself around the idea that he was going to
get to go inside that phenomenon and search for the module--and
he was going to do so with Tom.

He couldn't think of anyone he'd rather take on this mission.  He
knew Tom understood his drive to see what had happened to the
Ares Four and maybe find bits of it.  Besides, sharing a
discovery like this would bring them even closer.  Not that he
needed to find something to do that anymore.  He knew Tom would
make a move and soon.  Weeks ago, he had been afraid that Tom's
request for space might mean that Tom would put some distance
between the two of them.  His fears were unfounded.  As the weeks
passed, Tom had spent more and more time with him, and Chakotay
couldn't be happier.

Without guilt to stand in his way, Chakotay was free to fully
enjoy Tom's company, no longer feeling the need to reprimand
himself for his desires.  He could openly delight in how Tom
chose to sit next to him at briefings on a regular basis, and how
when Tom would tap him on the shoulder, he often left his hand
there a bit longer than necessary.   No, he wouldn't have to wait
much longer. He was sure of it.  In the meantime, he and Tom
could share an adventure together-truly explore.

Both men stared intently at the view screen, as John Kelly
transmitted his last known words. "It's right on top of me.  I'll
transmit as much as I can."  The transmission cut off, and static
filled the screen.

"That's all she wrote," Tom said softly.   He'd heard this
transmission so many times, long before he ever stepped foot on
Voyager, and yet it still had the power to affect him.  That
ellipse bearing down on him must have been frightening, but Kelly
kept on taking readings.  He remained the professional, and Tom
respected his dedication and his bravery.  As a child, he had
longed to follow in the footsteps of a pilot like John Kelly.

"At 0922 hours on October 19, 2032, NASA received this last bit
of telemetry from Kelly," Chakotay said, as he walked down the
stairs away from the view screen.

Tom followed him.  "I never realized that you knew so much about
the Mars missions.   You seem to know more about the Ares Four
than I do."

"Why is that so surprising?  The Mars missions really opened the
doors for space exploration.  Kelly was one of my childhood

"Mine too," Tom said, as his eyes met Chakotay's and held.   In
those blue eyes, Chakotay saw an understanding that went beyond
just the mutual respect for a fellow explorer.   The spark in
those eyes once again told him that his wait was almost over.

Eventually, Chakotay broke their gaze and gestured to the screen,
saying, "That's true dedication.  He's about to die, but he
doesn't stop taking readings."

"They were made of tougher stuff back then," Tom said.  "They
took greater risks."

"Does that mean you think we have it easy?" Chakotay asked with
the hint of a smile.

"Of course.  Look at all the technology we have.  Warp drive,
shields, replicators, transporters.  We have it easy compared to

He knew Tom would understand, Chakotay thought as he nodded his
agreement.  "Kelly, Kumagawa, Novakovich, Glenn, they were the
true explorers, pioneers."

Neither man had noticed Seven enter the room, so her inquiry as
to whether she was interrupting, abruptly jarred them out of
their reflections.

"We were just expressing our admiration of a fellow explorer,"
Tom told her cheerfully.

"Hero worship," Seven replied, her tone clearly expressing her
disdain of such an activity.   Offering Chakotay the padd in her
hand, she continued, "The shield modifications to the Delta Flyer
are complete.  We're ready for launch."

Noticing Seven's emphasis on the "we," Tom, his eyes wide, gave
the Commander a look.  Uh oh, Chakotay isn't going to like this.

"We?"  Chakotay said, his eyes narrowing.   While maybe not his
last choice to join them on the Flyer, Seven would definitely
have been down near the bottom of the list.

"I am volunteering," Seven said disgustedly.  "You could use my
knowledge of the Borg shielding."

Looking skeptical, Tom said, "No offense, but you don't sound

"I'm not, but the mission will benefit from my expertise," she
replied coldly.

Out of the corner of his eye, Chakotay saw Tom turn away, a grin
on his face.  It was obvious Seven had been forced into
volunteering.  His initial reaction to her joining the mission
had been negative, but as he thought about, he realized she was
right.  Her knowledge of the shielding would be beneficial to
them.  Plus she could monitor the shields, leaving him more time
to study whatever they were able to cull from that ellipse.

"Well then, welcome aboard," Chakotay said.  "Why don't you go to
sickbay and have the Doctor check you over for the mission.  Then
meet us in the shuttlebay."

Seven nodded.  "I'll see you both in the shuttlebay."

Tom waited until the doors had slid close before he burst out
laughing.  "Volunteering, not likely.  Now I wonder who
encouraged her to volunteer?"

"The Captain," Tom and Chakotay both said at the same time,

"It's obvious the Captain is encouraging Seven to develop an
appreciation for history," Chakotay said calmly.

"No, she's trying to force Seven into understanding our
fascination with history and exploration," Tom argued.

"Well, who better to explain that to Seven than the two of us?
This mission just might open Seven's eyes."

Tom looked at Chakotay suspiciously.   He saw nothing to indicate
that the man was joking.  He chuckled.  "You're serious.  You
really think with one mission you are going to be able to break
through Seven's disdain of exploring and "hero worship?"  Well,
this I've got to watch."

"You'll see.  I believe in the impossible. After all, we're about
to explore the ellipse that engulfed the Ares Four module.
Stranger things have happened."

"Good point," Tom said, smiling.  Yes, stranger things had
happened, like Chakotay falling in love with me, Tom thought.
He was beginning to believe in the impossible himself, and he
figured once their exploration of the graviton ellipse was
finished, he and Chakotay could do a little exploring of their
own.  His grin widened.

"Something funny?"  Chakotay asked.

"No," Tom said, still smiling.

No, Chakotay thought, Tom didn't look like he was laughing at
all.  The smile on his face was definitely sensual.  He truly
wanted to kiss those lips, but he wouldn't make the same mistake
twice.  It was Tom's move to make, but he wished the man would
hurry up and make it.

By this point, Tom couldn't even remember why he had waited so
long in the first place.  He could see the arousal in Chakotay's
eyes, and his body was already responding to the desire in that
gaze.  Somewhere in the back of Tom's mind, the word mission
floated.  Mission?  Damn, Tom thought, now was not the time for
this.  They had to get to the shuttlebay.   They only had a
limited amount of time before that ellipse disappeared.  Chakotay
really wanted to find parts of the Ares Four module, and so did
he.  Tom repeated all this to himself in hopes of dispelling the
image of kissing Chakotay from his mind.

Tom cleared his throat, "We should get to the shuttlebay."  Later
there would be time to celebrate, and Tom had every intention of
returning from a successful mission to turn those images of
Chakotay in reality.

"Right," Chakotay said shaking his head.  For a moment, he had
completely forgotten about the Ares Four.  Now though, as memory
returned and his body calmed down, the excitement for the mission
resurfaced, and he headed for the shuttlebay, Tom right behind

As they exited the room, Tom picked up his pace so that he was
walking beside the Commander.  He grinned and glanced sideways at
Chakotay, "When we return, the celebration is at my place--I say
we keep it private."

Chakotay's eyes widened, but Tom was just looking ahead that same
smile on his face.   Chakotay chuckled.  It looked like he was
right; he wasn't waiting much longer.  Everything was going his
way.  Sometimes things just fell into place.