in the Where They Left Off series
There were days when Kathryn Janeway wished she was not a starship captain. Those days, she only wanted to be the woman behind the authority figure. A woman in love, who did not care where she was as long as it was by her Sailor‘s side. That day was definitely one of those, and as usual, her duties as Voyager‘s captain were hindering her personal wishes.
Three hours earlier, Voyager had been intercepted by the Erty, who were claiming that the only Starfleet ship in the Delta Quadrant was in violation of their space. The Commodore of the Erty fleet had insisted that the captain come aboard his ship and explained the presence of her ship in the sector.
It had been with great reluctance that Kathryn had left Tom‘s side to comply with the Commodore‘s demands. Doing otherwise might have led to an open conflict and she could not allow that.
Following their evening in the holodeck, the night before, Kathryn and Tom had returned to her quarters—hmm... their quarters sounded better—where they had made love one last time before giving in to a good night‘s sleep.
As promised, Tom had not been disturbed. Twelve hours later, he had still not stirred once. His sleep had been composed mostly of REM sleep. Even if she knew it was normal, Kathryn could not help being worried about that fact.
The REM sleep deprivation that Tom had been put through during the last week had seemed to have had a positive affect on his mood. However the effects on his sleep disorder were less clear. More effective treatment could be started once Tom woke up .
"Why did we had to run into the Erty today of all days?" she asked her Fist Officer with annoyance. It was a rhetorical questions to which she did not expect an anser. Chakotay smiled at her sympathetically. "I told Tom that I would be there when he‘d wake up."
"I know that it‘s frustrating, Kathryn, but there wasn‘t any other acceptable solution," Chakotay reminded her. "Tom will understand. Besides, he has only been asleep for twelve hours. You‘ll probably be back by the time he awakes. If not, the Doctor and I will be there when he does." He put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Don‘t worry."
She smiled at him, feeling indeed reassured.
They entered in the transport room where Tuvok was already patiently waiting for her arrival. She stepped on the platform beside her chief of security.
"Good luck," Chakotay wished them.
Commander. Energize," she finally instructed the transporter chief.
Tom was aware that he was dreaming. He had been for a long time, seeing strange images in his mind eye that were accompanied by a sense of deja vu.
The dream was very confusing, but it was not frightening. Tom was even enjoying floating in the air as he was roaming around the ship or ships. The decor was so different from one hallway to the next that he could not decide if it was single ship or if there were two or more. The only thing familiar was the constant sound of dripping water. He did not mind the sound. On the contrary, it was soft and appeasing most of the times and he was feeling drawn to it as thought it was a homing beacon.
Sometimes, the sound of the water hitting a hard surface seemed far away, inconsistent, and almost inaudible. In those instants, his loneliness and sense of helplessness were awfully painful. It was reminding him of his life without Kathryn: empty and pointless. He knew that he would never survive losing her.
Other times, the sound was loud and clear. It had the rhythm of a marching drummer. It was full of energy and excitement. It was like this rush of adrenaline he was having when he was flying Voyager through a battle. It was like the overwhelming joy he was feeling when he was making love to his beautiful Kathryn.
As he thought of her, his beloved suddenly stood in front of him like a divine apparition. He could see her as clearly as he could hear the water dripping beneath the bridge that was over La Seine River. They were in Paris again, the one he had made just for her. He could not be more happier.
Kathryn was looking at him with an inviting smile. He wanted nothing more than to join her, kiss her passionately and pledge his love for her, as if it would be his last chance, for Kathryn needed to know just how happy and whole she was making his life.
He had almost reached her when the ground started to shake violently. The sound of the dripping water got lost in a cacophony of unpleasant sounds. He felt himself being thrown away and falling in an awkward position. He called out Kathryn‘s name with a panicked voice. True fear overwhelmed him when she failed to answer back. He tried to look around to make sure that she was all right, but he could not see her in the darkness.
Totally paralyzed, Tom helplessly laid where he was on the cabin‘s floor. After some time, he would have been unable to say how long, he became aware of his eyes blinking and of his aching back. The total silence and darkness worried him.
He slowly sat up. He called out Kathryn‘s name once more. As before, he received no answer. He felt his mouth go dry. His throat shutting itself tight.
His entire world crumbled as he realized his loss.
Chakotay swore under his breath as he watched the Commodore‘s ship leave with Kathryn and Tuvok on board.
Moments before, they had been contacted by the Erty‘s Fleet Commander who had informed them that Janeway would have to explain herself in front of her Travel Ministry and that Voyager was to hold her position.
When Chakotay had requested to talk with his Captain, they had been fired upon without warning. Obviously, their answer had been no.
"Report!" he ordered.
"There are energy surges in almost all our systems," Harry Kim reported from the OPS station. "Shields are down to 42 per cent. Engines are offline and so are the weapons‘ array and the comm system. There are at least 13 causalities so far."
"All that from a single hit," the Commander pointed out with a bit of sarcasm. "I‘ll go see how they are handling things in Engineering. You have the Bridge Mr. Kim."
"Commander," Harry stopped him hesitantly. "What are you going to tell Tom?"
"Tom," he echoed with a sudden realization. "I totally forgot about him. I‘ll check up on him on my way down to Engineering. As for what I‘m going to tell him? I can‘t say much more than what we know."
Chakotay went directly to Kathryn‘s quarters where he knew he would find Tom. He ran the chime two times and received no answer. The way the ship had rocked under the enemy fire would have woken up and disoriented anyone. Maybe the pilot was simply trying to get his bearings back, he thought.
If Tom was still asleep, which he doubted, there were justifiable reasons to break the promise he had made to him and wake him up.
When Tom still did not answer after the third ring of the chime, Chakotay used his emergency access code and walked in. The room was dark so he called for illumination.
He found Tom seated on the edge of the queen size bed. The sighted in front of him stopped him dead in his track. He was sure he had never seen Tom looking so devastated before.
The younger man‘s shoulders were slumped forward and his head was leaning down to the right. Chakotay could see a flow of tears rolling off his cheeks and fall onto his shirt. He was clinging to a peace of clothing that Chakotay knew was Kathryn‘s.
The Commander was glad that she was not there to see Tom like this. It would have destroyed her.
‚Spirits. Tom should be better, not worse,‘ he wanted to cry out.
He slowly knelt at his friend‘s feet.
"Tom," he whispered, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Tom remained oblivious to his presence.
"Tom, it‘s Chakotay," he said a bit louder. "Look at me."
The Native American sighed. What was he going to do? He wanted to slap Tom or shake him out of his torpor, but he doubted that it would give better results. All he could do was to have the Doctor examine Tom. Hopefully, the physician would know how to treat Tom‘s sudden acute depression.
Still, he tried one last time to reach the other man. He put his hands around Tom‘s wet face and forced him to look at him.
The emptiness in the usually bright expressive blue eyes scared him.
"Tom, please tell me what‘s wrong," he almost begged.
"You know..." came the faint reply. "Kathryn‘s gone."
"How do you know that?" Chakotay asked, taken aback by surprise.
Tom shook his head and sighed. "It‘s all my fault, remember?"
"Tom, none of this is your fault," Chakotay tried to reassure his distraught friend. "Where did you take such an idea?"
"In the shuttle." Tom began to relate just above a whisper. "The water was dripping and dripping... I was very worried, almost scared. But, I knew that Kathryn wasn‘t too far away. She would be able to rescue us if things were to get worse. When..." his voice cracked. "When I lost her, I remember the sound. I tried to hold on to it..." he swallowed hard. "The... the water stopped dripping and she‘s not coming back to me."
"Tom, Kathryn loves you," Chakotay told him with all the conviction that he could muster. "She‘ll come back to you. We‘ll make sure of that."
"People don‘t come back, Chakotay," he stated as if he was explaining a basic fact of life to a child. "Maybe they do in your world, but they don‘t in mine."
"Tom, Kathryn is not dead," Chakotay said more sternly. "She loves you and knows that you love her. Don‘t you ever give up on her."
Again, Tom shook his head disbelievingly.
no sound," he sobbed.
End Of Part
to Monica for proofing this story. Merci!
always appreciate at Synbou@hotmail.com