Disclaimer and summary: See part 1


Part Twenty-One

  Janeway gasped for breath when she was finally pulled back above the water.

  After informing her that she would be punished for leaving Tom and Chakotay on Voyager during the evacuation, Janeway’s capturers had started by calling her every name in the book, and then some. The seven of them had taken turns, and Janeway had to admit, if only to herself, that she was slightly impressed with some of the things they came up with. Mostly, though, she was insulted and angry.

  It was her anger that had led to the physical punishment. For a moment, she had lost her self-control and made some snide and cruel remark about Chakotay. Or, more specifically, the mystery lover that Tom had mentioned once.

  That had clearly infuriated the ex-Maquis. Dalby stepped forward, grabbed her by the arm and hauled her to her feet. Then he dragged her down to the lake, continuing into it until the water reached her chest. That was when he stopped, only to put his hands on her shoulders and pressing down until she was completely under.  

When Janeway felt another pair of hands help Dalby holding her down, she realized that, even though she hadn’t noticed, someone had followed the two of them into the lake. Janeway didn’t have any concept of how long she was held under, but as her lungs began to burn from lack of breathing, her struggles increased. That was when she was pulled up and dragged back out of the lake.

  Once Janeway was out of the water, Henley and Nicoletti took over from Dalby and… Janeway glanced at the man standing beside Ken and was shocked to see Gerron. *Gerron* was the one who had helped Dalby holding her down? She would have never believed it if he hadn’t been just as soaked as Dalby. Even with the evidence, she had trouble wrapping her mind around the fact that that… *child* was strong enough to restrain her.

  Janeway’s thoughts were interrupted when Henley and Nicoletti grabbed her arms and hauled her back to the edge of the forest. When they reached the trees, the other women let go of her arms. Henley put her hands on Janeway’s back and shoved her to the ground.   With her hands still bound, Janeway wasn’t able to catch herself and hit the ground hard enough to knock the breath from her lungs. While she lay, once again gasping for air, she heard footsteps approach. When they stopped, she lifted her head and tried to see which of her tormentors it was. Unable to see anything but a pair of shoes, she tried to roll over, a difficult task when she couldn’t use her hands.

  Before she could succeed, the person beside her crouched down and spoke in a low, harsh voice. "Don’t ever speak about Derek like that again, bitch." The voice belonged to Henley. "In fact, don’t you ever dare mention him again. You don’t have the right. You know *nothing* about him and I don’t want him insulted by being mentioned by you!" Henley grabbed Janeway’s hair and lifted her face till their eyes met. "If I ever hear you talk about him again, you’ll regret it. Do I make myself clear?"

  Janeway grimaced at the painful grip of her hair. The expression on the other woman’s face told her that Henley was serious. "Perfectly," Janeway replied.

  Henley smiled in grim satisfaction. "Good. As long as we understand each other," she said, then let go of Janeway’s hair and stood up. Turning away from the prone woman, she looked at the others. "Help the bitch sit up," she ordered the men, then went over to talk to Nicoletti and the Delaney twins.


  With the doctor’s help, Tom and Chakotay had finally managed to break through SicA’s security lock on Voyager’s computer. Now, Tom was hastily creating and placing several layers of security in the system, preventing anyone but the three of them to gain access.

  Chakotay had raised Voyager’s shields and stopped the ship’s movement. He was now keeping an eye on the two alien ships, making sure that Voyager received no surprises. He had prepared the ship’s weapons so they were ready when and if they were needed.  

The doctor was monitoring the life signs of the aliens imprisoned in Cargo Bay One. He was making sure that the three of them weren’t caught unawares if the aliens managed to break through the force field in place around their prison.   Tom’s voice suddenly broke the relative silence in Engineering. "There. That should do it."

  Both Chakotay and the doctor turned when Tom spoke. "The computer system is completely secured?" Chakotay asked. When Tom nodded ‘yes’, he inquired, "Are you *sure* the aliens won’t be able to break through the security measures and regain control?"

  Tom let out a soft sigh. However, he knew that the other man wasn’t questioning his ability, just making certain that there would be no surprises if, {when,} Tom’s mind whispered, the aliens returned to the ship. He caught Chakotay’s eyes and held them as he answered. "Yes, Commander, I’m sure. I’ve put so many security locks on the computer that not even Starfleet Command can access it." He smiled slightly. "It would take B’Elanna *at least* two hours to get through the first lock, and that would only get her access to the second, which should take twice as long to disable."  

When he noticed Chakotay’s incredulous and slightly admiring expression, Tom’s smile widened. "Disabling the second lock will, of course, only lead to the third, which is even more difficult to break and will get you straight to, surprise, surprise, lock number four…"

  "Don’t say it. The fourth security lock is even more complicated than the third," Chakotay guessed.

  Tom grinned. "Yup."

  Chakotay lifted an eyebrow. "So, how many locks did you put in?" he asked.

  Tom shrugged. "Not sure," he answered. "I lost count somewhere around fourteen."

  Chakotay’s eyes widened and even the doctor seemed shocked. "You created over *fourteen* complicated security locks in a little more than two hours?" the doctor asked in disbelief.

  Tom blinked in surprise and glanced at the hologram. "No, Doc. I had them already, I just needed to transfer, install and activate them," he explained.

  For a moment, Chakotay stared at Tom in stunned silence. Finally, he shook off his shock. "Why would you…?" Before he could finish the question, he was interrupted by the monotone voice of the computer.

  "There is an urgent message for the Emergency Medical Holographic program."

  "Computer, who is the message from?" the doctor asked.

  "The message is from GenA."

  As the first officer and senior pilot walked over to stand beside him, the doctor activated the view screen in front of him. "Display message," he ordered as the two others stopped on either side of him. An instant later, the written message from GenA appeared on the screen.

  "SicA will be busy for the next several hours. She has ordered that no one may disturb her for *any* reason. I have disabled the "Yuzla’s" sensors and it should take the crew a few hours to find and repair the problem. One warning: Do not, under any circumstances, let Tom Paris out of your sight. Do *not* allow SicA to get him off Voyager! She has chosen him as my replacement. GenA."

  The doctor resisted the urge to sigh. "Well, that’s good news and bad news," he commented.   "What does that last mean?" Chakotay asked. "SicA has chosen Tom as GenA’s replacement for what?"

  For a moment there was silence as the doctor considered the best way to tell the two officers what it meant. Before he could decide what to say, though, Tom spoke.

  "It means that SicA has chosen me as her mate instead of GenA," he said quietly. He reached over and deleted the message, ignoring Chakotay’s shocked gasp and the doctor’s surprised look. He didn’t doubt that they both wondered how he knew that, but he was not about to tell them.

  Tom didn’t want Chakotay and the EMH to know that SicA had gotten her doctors to implant some kind of device in his head. A device that somehow enabled her to not only control him to a certain extend, but also to communicate with him.