Title:  Too Much to Take (18/?)
Author:  CatHeights
Pairing:  C/P
Rating:   PG-13 (R, overall)--This is a slash story.  If reading
about a relationship between two men disturbs you, read no
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. 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 17:

Tom glared at Chakotay who had pushed himself partly up.
Responding to the glare with a slightly apologetic look, Chakotay
laid back down as Seven said, "I'm matching their frequency.
This is the Delta Flyer, please respond."

Tom breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the Captain respond.
Together with Voyager they would figure out a solution.  They
were going to get back; all they had to do now was figure out

And now...


Part 18

"I'm tired.  I can't...." The transmission faded to static as
Chakotay listened to what were truly John Kelly's last words.  He
closed his eyes, his own pain forgotten as his mind reeled with
the knowledge that Kelly had not been killed instantly.  He had
survived more than a week, stubbornly trying to find a way out,
and recording information up to the bitter end--a true explorer.

He figured that Seven should be back soon with the module's ion
distributor.  Always good at quick thinking in a tight situation,
B'Elanna had come up with the idea of tweaking the module's ion
distributor to serve as a plasma manifold.  When they got out of
here, and they would, it seemed that he would be further in
B'Elanna's debt.  It was a good thing that she didn't keep tabs,
Chakotay thought.

He hoped he had gotten through to Seven and that she really took
the time to look around the module and realize how lucky she was
to be walking through a bit of history.  Almost reliving it.  At
least she had played the logs for him and Tom.  He wouldn't
forget what he had heard, ever.

He must have dozed off because the next thing he heard was Tom
saying, "Open the shuttle bay doors, we're coming home."  They
must have successfully integrated the distributor, Chakotay
thought.  With Tom at the helm, he knew they would make it back
to Voyager and fulfill Kelly's final wish that the data he
recorded be put to good use.

Chakotay grasped the sides of the biobed as the Flyer began to
tilt.  The small ship was pushing its way through the turbulence
of the anomaly.  He winced as the ship jolted, and a fiery pain
started in his back wrapping around to his side.  His breath came
in short gasps and darkness began to fall across his vision.

He didn't realize the shaking had stopped until he heard Tom's
voice.  "Chakotay."  He opened his eyes, relieved that he wasn't
being tossed about.  Tom was standing by the biobed, holding his
hand.  "The Doctor should be here shortly.  We want to make sure
you are fully stabilized before we transport you to sickbay.
It'll just be a few more minutes," Tom said soothingly.

Chakotay swallowed; his throat felt dry.  "We're back on
Voyager?" he croaked.

Tom smiled.  "You bet.  With me flying, did you have any doubts?"

"Not one," Chakotay said, smiling.  His smile turned to a
grimace, and he closed his eyes as pain ripped through his

With his free hand, Tom reached for the medical tricorder.  He
ran it over Chakotay, his heart pounding at the readings.  While
only life threatening if not treated within the hour, the
injuries were still extremely painful. Where the hell was the

Chakotay opened his eyes again and saw the worried expression on
Tom's face.  He squeezed the hand that was still holding his, and
Tom looked down at him.  "I'll be fine."

Tom snorted.  "Of course you will be.  Don't you think I know
that?  I'm the one with the tricorder."

"Well then stop worrying."

"Stay out of the way of plasma discharges, and I won't have to

Chakotay chuckled.  "Good point."

"By the way, congratulations."

Chakotay looked up at Tom, perplexed.  Damn his head felt foggy.

Seeing his confusion, Tom quickly elaborated.  "Somehow you
managed to get through to Seven. I don't think we'll be hearing
that 'history is irrelevant' any longer.  She downloaded all of
Kelly's logs before she left the module."

Chakotay gave a silent prayer of thanks; she had listened.

Tom paused for a moment and then added, "and brought back his

"His body?"  Chakotay said, starting to push himself partially
up.  He only managed to get his head off the bed before a band of
pain snapped around his entire upper body.

Tom had the tricorder out again.  "Try to lie still."

He did as Tom said, and his breathing started to ease.  "Sorry.
I don't listen very well do I?"

Tom smiled. "I wouldn't say that.  I recall you being a very good
listener.  You're just a lousy patient."  Chakotay snorted and
Tom continued, "Now if you promise not to move, I'll tell you why
she brought the body back."

"I'm not moving a muscle. Believe me," Chakotay said.

"Seven said he deserved to be buried as a hero.  Maybe I should
start believing in the impossible.  You convinced her."

"No, John Kelly convinced her," Chakotay said his eyes slipping
close.  He heard Tom say, "Doc, took you long enough," but then
the darkness temporarily claimed him again.


Voices.  It was Tom and Kathryn's voices, and it sounded like
they were arguing.  Chakotay tried to open his eyes, but they
felt too heavy.  He gave up and just listened.

"I don't see why we can't wait to hold the service until Chakotay
is well enough to attend," Tom said.

"Because Starfleet regulations state that such services should be
held within twenty-fours hours of the body being recovered,"
Kathryn stated calmly.

"Captain, with all due respect, you and I both know the reason
for that is to try to bring closure as quickly as possible to a
crew that has lost a member.  John Kelly has been dead for more
than 300 years.  I don't think we need to worry about closure."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that," Kathryn said musingly.

"You mean Seven."


"Is she pushing to have the service immediately?"  Chakotay could
hear the tenseness in Tom's voice.

"She just wants to see Lt. Kelly buried according to Starfleet

He heard Tom sigh in frustration.  "While Chakotay is going to
have to take it easy for a few days, by tomorrow afternoon, he
should be well enough to be up and around for a few hours.  He
could definitely attend a service at that time.  What's another
10 or so hours?"

Tom's tone turned more convincing, and Chakotay thought that
Kathryn must be wavering. Tom sounded like he was going in for
the kill.  A flicker of amusement went through his mind.  He
wished he could figure out what they were arguing about.  His
brain still felt foggy, and his body urged him to go back to
sleep.  He resisted, though, wanting to hear what else Tom had to

"We brought back a bit of our history from that anomaly and in
doing so we made history.  Captain, when we commit Lt. Kelly's
body to space, we will again be making history.  Chakotay
deserves to be there for it.  I'm sure you know how much it meant
to him to head this mission, and as the one who did head the
mission, I think he should be there.  It would be wrong to hold
that service without him, when it only requires waiting a few
hours," Tom said.

"Tom, I hope Chakotay realizes how strong of an advocate he has
in you," Kathryn said, and Chakotay could hear the humor in her
voice.  She's going to give in, he thought.

"He does," Tom said firmly.

"Good.  I'll inform Seven that we'll be delaying the ceremony.
Have the Doctor inform me when he thinks Chakotay can be released
at least temporarily."

"Thank you Captain," Tom said, and Chakotay could hear the smile
in his voice.

Their conversation drifted out of his hearing.  He would be going
to the service. Whatever service that was.  Didn't matter. Tom
seemed to really want him to go, so there was probably a good
reason.  The conversation blurred into memory, and Chakotay let
sleep capture him.


He opened his eyes and was relieved to realize that he didn't
hurt too badly.  He was a bit achy, but he could deal with that.
It was a definite improvement over his whole body feeling as if
it was on fire.  Chakotay cautiously sat up, smiling when the
movement caused no pain.

"Ah Commander, you're awake," the Doctor said.

"So it would appear," Chakotay said still smiling.

"How do you feel?" the Doctor asked.

"Tired and a bit achy, but otherwise fine."

"Good, Mr. Paris will be glad to hear that," the Doctor said with
a smirk.

"Mr. Paris?"

"He's been lurking about sickbay ever since you returned.  Even
after I told him, I no longer needed his assistance.  Mr. Kim
dragged him to the mess hall to get something to eat, but I'm
sure he'll be back to annoy me momentarily."  The Doctor gave him
a long look.  "You two seem to have grown quite close," he said
conversationally.  He gazed at Chakotay quizzically, hoping that
the Commander might provide additional information.

Chakotay just nodded.  "He's a good friend."  He knew the Doctor
was fishing for gossip.  He wondered how a hologram could be so

The Doctor started to ask how good of a friend, but was
interrupted by Tom entering sickbay.

"Chakotay, you're awake," Tom said as he quickly walked over to
the biobed.

"Indeed Mr. Paris, that would be obvious from the fact that he's
sitting up," the Doctor said, annoyed that his fishing expedition
had been interrupted.

Chakotay grinned at Tom and said, "Heard you've been in here
annoying the Doctor."

"Of course, isn't that part of my job?" Tom asked with mock

"Well, I'll leave you two friends to get caught up," the Doctor
said, walking off with a smirk.

Tom frowned. "What was that supposed to mean?"

Chakotay scowled at the Doctor's retreating form.  "Nothing.  You
know how he is."

Tom shrugged.  "So how do you feel?"

"Almost as good as new.  I think I'll at least wait until
tomorrow before I run my boxing program."

"I think you'll have to wait a little longer than that.  But if
you're good, I think I can get you out of here for a few hours
later on," Tom said conspiratorially.

"Oh, really.  What did you have in mind?"

"A memorial service for John Kelly.  We're having one in three
hours, and I kind of figured you might want to attend."

"Within twenty-four hours of being recovered," Chakotay mumbled.

"What did you say?"

Chakotay shook his head.  "Nothing, just something I remembered.
Tom, were you and the Captain here earlier discussing the

"Yeah, but you were still out," Tom said.

"Was she planning to hold it before I could attend?  Something
about Seven wanting to follow Starfleet policy."

"Okay, I guess you weren't completely out of it," Tom frowned as
he noticed a look of displeasure on Chakotay's face.  "You okay?"

"Fine, of course," Chakotay said, but he couldn't help being a
bit annoyed that Kathryn had even argued with Tom about holding
off on the service.  Sometimes he just didn't understand that
woman.  Well, it wasn't worth getting upset over.  He looked up
to see that Tom was still gazing at him in concern.  He smiled.
"Really, everything is okay.  And you know, you're right; I do
know that I have an advocate in you."

Tom blushed slightly.  "I guess you did hear everything," he said
and laughed.

Chakotay's smiled widened as he noticed the blush.  He reached
out for Tom's hand, and when it was in his grasp, squeezed it and
said, "Thanks for making sure they waited until I could attend
the ceremony.  It means a lot to me."

"You mean a lot to me," Tom said quietly, swallowing around the
lump in his throat.

"So do you," Chakotay answered back just as quietly.  As he
looked up into Tom's eyes, he felt both thrilled and guilty.  He
remembered screaming at Tom to lock the tractor beam onto the
module and later asking him to take sides.  "I think I might have
gotten a bit carried away in my desire to get the command module.
I'm sorry if I made things difficult for you."

Tom laughed.  "Don't worry about it.  We all have things we get
obsessed over." He paused, glanced around sickbay and then added,
"even the Captain."

Chakotay chuckled in reply.  "Especially the Captain."

"Besides, we found out what really happened to John Kelly and the
Ares Four module and that was more than worth it all.  Heck, I
think even Seven would agree with me."

Chakotay, relieved, squeezed Tom's hand; Tom understood.  He
started to say something about Seven, but yawned instead.

"You should get some sleep or the Doc will be arguing with me
later when I come back to drag you to the service," Tom said.

"You won't have to drag me," Chakotay said. He wanted to argue
with Tom that he didn't need to rest now, but another yawn
betrayed him.

Tom withdrew his hand and said, "Sleep well.  I'll see you

"Bye Tom, and thank you," Chakotay mumbled, as he yawned one more
time, his eyes closing.

"You're welcome," Tom said.  He waited until Chakotay's breathing
was deep and even. Then with one last smile, he walked out of