Things Change 1/?
Rating PG-13 (right now)
Summary: Things on Voyager are about
to change and many will never be
Warning; Details of a physical ailment.
But I promise no dying
Disclaimer: Paramount and whoever
else, not I own the characters.
This is a labor of love and taken
from personal experience.
Feeling the strain
of being first officer, Chakotay decided he
needed some down time. He could
feel the stress throughout his body.
Chakotay had noticed recently that
he was "sluggish", that was the
only word he could come up with
to describe how he felt. He had also
realized that his body was telling
him something, he just couldn't
figure out what it was saying. He
would talk to the Captain in the
'That', he thought,
'was one his problems.' His friend Kathryn
was gone and in her wake "The Captain"
was back in full force.
Kathryn had finally allowed their
professional disagreements seep
into their personal lives. The straw
that broke the camel's back was
the incident with the Equinox. They
fought hard about
her "determination" and she relieved
him of duty first, then of her
He would just have to deal with it
as he did everything else,
step back and let her lead the way.
Chakotay knew she wouldn't
question his need for a few days
off, but he wasn't sure she would
grant the request. He would have
to make due with his off time if she
The next morning Chakotay made sure
he arrived at the
captain's ready room early enough
to speak with her before even Tuvok
showed up. Entering, he found her
reading a data padd and drinking
what was probably her fourth cup
"Good Morning Captain."
"Good Morning, Commander. You're
"Yes, I wanted to speak with you
for a moment before the
meeting." He noticed that she stiffened.
"Is there a problem, Commander?"
He thought she growled at
him, but he ignored the tone.
"No, there isn't a problem.
I just have a request." Again
noticing her body language. He saw
her relax just a bit.
"And that is?"
"I would like to request a few days
off Captain. I have found
that I am unable to keep myself
fully concentrating on my job the
past few weeks. I don't want it
to become a problem should we run
into any hostile aliens." Again
Kathryn seem to relax even more. He
couldn't have been thinking that
maybe she thought he was going to
mention the lack of friendship between
them. 'Not in this lifetime'
he thought 'not ever again.'
"I have noticed that you have been
a little more tense these
days. Request granted. When would
you like to start your "vacation"?"
"If it's alright with you, I will
finish my duty shift today
at 1300 hours and return at 0800
hours four days from tomorrow."
"Alright, Chakotay." She may not
have realized she that
called him by name for the first
time in two months, but he did.
"Thank you Kathryn." Well she started
it he thought
"Of course, I will be available
for emergencies and red alerts."
"Oh, you're not going on a four day
spiritual walk?" she said
"Nope, just looking for some down
time. I plan on being on
this plain of existence most of
the time." He gave her his full
dimple grin. And they both laughed.
The ready room doors swished open
admitting first Tuvok then closely
followed by B'Elanna Torres, Harry
Kim, and Tom Paris bringing up the
rear. Each offered their good mornings.
The Captain and Commander
responded in kind. If anyone noticed
that the two of them had been
laughing with each other as the
four arrived no one mentioned it. The
meeting was brief. After dismissing
everyone Kathryn, turned to
"I am going to spend my morning in
here going over all
those "wonderful" reports you left
for me yesterday. As I will not
have the time while you are gone."
"Alright captain, please don't be
too upset with me. I know
how much you hate having reports
just lying around unfinished."
Again, he smiled as he teased her.
"Oh you! Get out, you have the bridge.
I will relieve you at
1300 hours if not before." She smiled
"Yes ma'am!" With that parting shot
Sitting in his chair, Chakotay
he went over the status reports. 'Ah
yes just another boring day in the
DQ' he thought. And that was what
it proved to be: boring, agonizingly
slow. If he checked the time
once more, he was sure he would
rip the damn thing out of the panel.
Chakotay thought about what he would
do during his four days of free
time. He thought he would run a
program or two on the holodeck. He
felt the need to do some long distance
running, that would help clear
his head get things in prospective.
Then again, if he was to listen
to his body perhaps running wasn't
such a good idea. He would of
course meditate perhaps putting
aside some time for that. Mentally
making a note to inform the captain
that he would actually be
unavailable the day after tomorrow
after all. Once that thought
passed, he decided the rest of his
free time would not be planned, he
would go with the flow.
Suddenly, he felt a
pain in his upper abdomen. 'Heartburn?' he
thought to himself 'I don't usually
eat things that cause heartburn.
It has got to be Neelix's cooking.'
While the pain didn't go away, it
seemed to have subsided a bit. However,
he felt a bit warm, like he
was beginning to sweat. 'That shouldn't
be' Chakotay thought as he
checked the environmental controls.
"Within normal parameters" was
the silent response he got.
"Commander?" He was brought back
to the present by Paris'
"Yes lieutenant, sorry did you say
"Not actually me. The captain commed
"Oh thanks. Chakotay here, sorry
"Can you come to my ready room, please?"
"Certainly captain, right away."
He signed off and handed the
bridge over to Tuvok. The ready
room doors opening immediately to
"You wanted to see me, captain?"
"Yes, did I get you at a bad time?"
smiling at him
"No actually, I just drifted off
in thought. I do apologize."
"That's okay really. I know how boring
it is out there right
now. Which is why I let you take
"Gee thanks!" They both laughed.
"You're welcome. I am done with the
reports and as it is 1200
hours I thought I would let you
go to lunch and start your downtime."
"Thank you, Captain. I appreciate
"No problem, now would you join me
for lunch?" If Chakotay
was surprised at the invitation
he didn't show it.
"I would love to, though I will probably
only eat something
light. I think breakfast hasn't
settled completely yet." Both of them
got up and left the ready room.
"Tuvok you have the bridge until
1300. The Commander and I
are going to lunch."
Walking off the bridge together neither noticed Paris'
surprised look and raised eyebrow.
Though Tuvok did and he decided
not to comment. He knew that Lieutenant
Paris was thinking along the
same line, as he would be if he
were inclined to give pause to the
strained relationship between his
two senior officers. To see them
back on what could only appear to
be good terms was a good thing. It
lessened the overall tension on
the ship. Security had seen an
increase in fights and general disturbances
over the past two months.
Tuvok put it down to the fact that
the crew had seen the tension
between the captain and the commander
and they were reacting to it.
Things just might change again once
the crew realized their senior
officers weren't at odds anymore.
made their way to the mess hall, they talked about
general things and Chakotay did
mention that he would probably not be
available at all the day after tomorrow
or at least not until the
evening. He had decided to do some
deep meditation after all. Once
they arrived and made their way
through the choices Neelix offered
that day, they went to the captain's
usual table in the corner. They
continued on "safe subjects" until
Kathryn decided she had enough of
avoiding the inevitable.
"Chakotay, I really want to apologize
for my behavior over
the past couple of months. I shouldn't
have been so distant."
"Kathryn, don't worry about it. I
am sure you have your
reasons for wanting to put some
distance between us."
"Actually, I was afraid to talk to
you because I would have
to admit that you were right and
I was wrong. And you know how I feel
about admitting I am wrong." He
nodded and they both laughed.
Suddenly Chakotay had a strange feeling
come over him. He felt
extreme warm, and there was a dull
pain in his upper abdomen.
"Are you all right?" Kathryn noticed
a slight film of sweat
appears on Chakotay's upper lip
and he seemed to wince as if in pain.
"I am fine. I think whatever this
is," pointing to the food
on his plate "may not be agreeing
with me." He smiled but the pains
in his abdomen seem to be getting
Chakotay also noticed that there
was pressure of some kind building
in his upper back and chest. He
couldn't catch his breath and then
there was this pain in his shoulder
and left hand, he tried to move
it to ease the pain but couldn't.
He felt sweat running down his
chest but now he was feeling cold.
"Chakotay!" Kathryn became very frightened.
She had watched
as Chakotay went from laughing to
being in what she could only assume
was extreme pain in a matter of
seconds. Then, when he looked up at
her it was as if he couldn't really
As for Chakotay's perspective it
seemed as if he was in a tunnel and
he could hear what was going on
but it was muffled. The pain in his
abdomen, back, and chest by then
unbearable. He was gasping for air
and yet at the same time he felt
himself throw up.
"Captain to sickbay. Emergency beam
out! Lock on Commander
Chakotay and get him there NOW!"
She watched as he dematerialized in
front of her and then she collapsed
into her chair. Shaking so much
she couldn't stand, Lieutenant Paris
had appeared out of no where and
helped her to her feet.
"Come on Captain. I will walk with
you to sickbay." She could
only nod and allow him to help.
"Captain, can you tell me what
happened? I walked in as you called
for the emergency beam out."
"I don't really know. Chakotay and
I were talking one minutes
and the next he went pale and seemed
to be in a lot of pain."
"Okay, we will go and see what the
doctor has to say. I am
sure that Chakotay will be fine.
It was probably a bad reaction to
lunch." He tried to lighten the
mood. He was worried too.
Tom saw the way Chakotay looked and
it was something he had seen once
before and never wanted to see again.
The only way Tom could describe
it was it looked like Chakotay had
"died". That thought caused him to
shudder inwardly. Tom and Chakotay
had worked through their
difference and had become friends
in the past year or so. Tom has
always liked and respected the Commander
even when it was clear the
feeling wasn't mutual. He
enjoyed seeing the "fun side" of Chakotay
whenever they were at Sandrine's
or the resort.
at sickbay and as the doors swished open. They
could hear that the doctor was working
on Chakotay, his assistant
Ensign Johnson didn't look very
well herself. Tom's medic training
kicked in and stepped in and took
over for the woman. He followed
the doctor's instructions and as
he did so he realized that Chakotay
had had a heart attack. It was severe
if his assessment was correct.
While the doctor and Tom worked
on Chakotay, Kathryn went into the
"Tuvok to the Captain."
"Captain is everything alright? I
found a recording of an emergency
beam out on Commander Chakotay from
the messhall to sickbay."
"I am sorry, Tuvok, I didn't think
to comm you. The Commander became
ill while we were having lunch.
I don't know exactly what is wrong at
the moment, as soon as I do I will
let you know."
"Understood. Tuvok out."
They worked on the older
man for another 45 minutes until the
doctor said he was stable. Only
then did Tom feel himself shaking,
the commander, no Chakotay, had
almost died. Technically, he had
twice. Tom slumped back against
the opposite biobed, seemingly in
"You did extremely well, Lieutenant.
Thank you for helping
me. I believe Ensign Johnson was
about to pass out when you arrived."
"No problem doctor, its all part
of my job." Tom turned to
see the captain sitting in the doctor's
office obviously crying. He
walked over to her and put a hand
on her shoulder.
"Captain, he is stable and he will
be fine according to the
"Thank you, Tom, for everything.
You did well in there."
"Thanks, I couldn't see not doing
"What happened? Do you know for sure?"
"The Commander suffered a major heart
attack." The doctor
explained as he stepped into his
"I am going to have to perform
surgery to repair damage to his heart
muscle and there is some sort of
blockage in one of his arteries that
will need to be removed. If not
the artery may need to be replaced."
"Oh my god! How could this happen?
Chakotay always takes good
care of himself." Kathryn was beside
herself. She knew that Chakotay
was in for a long recovery and she
wasn't sure how he or she would
"Sometimes captain, regardless of
how well humans take care
of themselves, their bodies react
differently to many things. I found
signs that indicated the commander
has been under stress recently,
which could have contributed an
on going problem."
"Why wasn't this caught earlier doctor?"
Kathryn asked and it
almost sounded like she was accused
him of not doing his job. If the
doctor had not been a hologram,
he would have been insulted and hurt
by the accusation.
"Captain, I can assure you that when
I performed the
Commander's last yearly physical
there was nothing to indicate that
there was a problem with his heart.
Although it has been eighteen
months since that physical, on the
few occasions I have had to treat
the Commander for injures I found
nothing to cause concern. I will,
however, double check the last few
scans recorded and see if I missed
anything." The doctor then turned
and walked back into sickbay.
Tom thought that if a hologram could
huff and stomp, the
doctor would have been. He also
noticed that the captain was very
quiet during the doctor's dressing
down. Actually, too quiet if
anyone would have asked him.
"If you find that the doctor suddenly
develops an urge to
sing 'There was a man from Nantucket',
you will know it was ME who
reprogrammed him." She seemed to
be snarling. Tom couldn't have but
chuckle, she did have a sense of
humor he could appreciate.
"Your secret is safe with me, captain."
"Thanks again, Tom. I should inform
"Janeway to Tuvok."
"Tuvok here, Captain, how is Commander
"Commander Chakotay has suffered
a heart attack. He is stable
now but not conscience."
"I will inform the senior staff and
department heads that
Commander Chakotay is on medical
leave until further notice."
"Thank you, Tuvok. I should be returning
to the bridge soon.
I just need to speak to the Doctor
for another minute."
"There is no need for you to do that,
captain. I will remain
on the bridge and see about making
arrangements to have sufficient
coverage for the remainder of the
"Again, Thank you, Tuvok. Janeway
"I don't care what anyone says, that
man does have a heart."
"You don't know the half of it, Lieutenant."
Kathryn and Tom exited the doctor's
office just as the sickbay doors
swished up and B'Elanna Torres came
"Tom, Captain, what happened? What's
wrong with Chakotay?"
B'Elanna was crying. The captain
took her arm and steered her towards
"B'Elanna, Chakotay had a heart attack.
He is fine for now he
"Oh my god! NO!"
"B'Elanna, calm down. He is fine.
The Doctor said he will be
recover." Kathryn didn't think
she should mention the surgery just
yet. Besides it was Chakotay's place
to decide who would know about
it and who wouldn't. The younger
woman didn't seem any calmer. Tom
put his arm on her shoulder, turned
her to face him, and spoke quietly
"B'El, you have to calm down if you
want to go in there and
see Chakotay. If he wakes up and
sees you this upset, he will just
get upset himself. And honestly,
right now, that is the last thing he
needs." He leaned in closer and
whispered something in her ear.
Kathryn noticed that B'Elanna calmed
almost instantly and then nodded
her head. Turning to Kathryn, she
"Captain I am very sorry for exploding
like that. You have to
understand, Chakotay is very special
"B'Elanna, you don't need to explain
anything to me. He is
very special to me also. You didn't
see me an hour ago, has it only
been an hour? It seems like forever
since we were sitting in the
messhall laughing." She shook her
head trying to clear the fog that
had settled there.
"Captain, may I have permission to
go to Chakotay's quarter
and get his medicine wheel? I know
he would want it here. I would
feel better." B'Elanna silently
prayed the captain wouldn't deny her
this. She also knew that most likely
"Of course B'Elanna, anything that
will help Chakotay is fine
with me." Kathryn smiled at the
younger woman. She was sure that
B'Elanna thought she would say no.
True, she and Chakotay had not been
close lately. Still, Kathryn
cared for the man and would never
deny him anything. She couldn't do
that in all good conscience.
"Thank you, captain. I am not sure
if he has changed his
codes would you give me access?"
"When you get to his door it will
open for you. Hurry back!"
Kathryn then ordered the computer
to allow B'Elanna entrance to the
first officer's quarters. B'Elanna
left quickly, as she ran down the
hall, she prayed that she could
remember what to do with the medicine
Meanwhile, Tom and the doctor monitored
Chakotay, making the
necessary adjustments to medication.
"Captain, I want to wake the Commander
so I can tell him what
is happening. Perhaps Mr. Paris
and you should go for now. I will
inform you when the surgery is over."
"Doctor, I would like to be the one
who tells him what is
going on." Kathryn stated firmly,
knowing the doctor's bedside manor
would probably put Chakotay off
anything he needed to do.
"Doc, I would like to stay and help
if I can." Tom didn't
think he would be able to just sit
around and wait.
"Alright, both of you. I will wake
him now and you can
discuss it with him. Mr. Paris,
I think YOU had better tell the
Commander that you will be assisting
me. If he is going to react
poorly let him take it out on you.
I will be in my office." The
doctor turned and injected Chakotay.
Then left, mumbling something
about everyone always trying to
run his sickbay for him. Kathryn
stepped up to the biobed, Tom right
behind her. She placed her hand
on Chakotay's shoulder.
"Chakotay, can you hear me?" she
gently shook him
"I can hear you. What happened?"
He was barely able to speak
his throat raw and his chest felt
"You had a heart attack, Chakotay.
The doctor needs to
perform surgery to repair the damage."
"Heart attack?" He was confused.
"Yes, do you remember anything that
happened in the
messhall?" He appeared to be thinking,
trying to remember.
"I remember thinking that Neelix's
food didn't agree with me."
"We can't blame Neelix this time."
Tom threw out to the room
"Okay, so what is wrong again?"
"The doctor said you have damage
to your heart and a blocked
artery. He needs to repair the damage
and clear the artery, if not
replace it." Kathryn explained
"As soon as possible."
"Chakotay, if it is okay with you.
I am going to assist the
"You going to make sure I have a
"Well if I didn't know before, I
do now." Tom said solemnly.
"I just want to help if I
"Alright, it's fine. Just tell the
doctor to get rid of this
"You shouldn't be in pain right now."
Tom turned and motioned
for the doctor. "He says he's in
pain, that shouldn't be should it?"
Tom asked as the doctor came out
of his office. With that the
monitors started beeping.
"Mr. Paris, get the surgery area
prepared NOW!" Grabbing a
hypo spray and injecting Chakotay,
the doctor unlocked the biobed and
pushed it towards the surgery area.
"Captain, please either wait in
my office or in yours. He is having
another heart attack and I must
repair the damage immediately. Kathryn
paled when the monitor went
off and she paled further when she
heard what the doctor said.
She was frozen in place for a moment,
she prayed that her friend
didn't die. He couldn't die she
kept saying over and over again in
her mind. B'Elanna reentered sickbay
in the misted of all the
commotion. She too froze then screamed
That brought the captain out of her
fogged state. She grabbed
B'Elanna's arm and walked out of
'B'Elanna, the doctor will do everything
he can to make sure
Chakotay is fine. Let's go to the
messhall, he will comm me when he
is done." B'Elanna just nodded and
followed the captain. "Tom
is helping, I am sure he will also
do whatever is necessary."
Word had traveled very quickly through
the ship that Commander
Chakotay was quite ill. No one knew
for sure what was wrong, but
reports from those who were in the
messhall when the commander took
ill, claimed it didn't look good.
As Kathryn and B'Elanna walked in
silence, they passed members of the
crew all looking quite upset. No
one asked any questions, it was
clear to them that neither the captain
nor the chief engineer was
going to say anything. When the
two women arrived at the messhall,
Neelix greeted them and took them
to a table in the corner. He left
and hurried back with coffee for
the captain and tea for B'Elanna.
The women thanked him, but that
was all either of them said. Neelix
told them that if they wanted anything
else just ask.
Time seemed to stand still after
that. No one approached
Kathryn nor B'Elanna, they hovered
close, just in case something
happened. The feeling in the messhall
was reflected throughout the
ship. Solemn, perhaps even fearful.
Those who had work to do did it
quietly. Those who didn't gathered
In sickbay, Tom and the doctor
worked quietly and well together. Tom
was the perfect assistant. The doctor
barely had to ask for the
proper piece of equipment. It seemed
as if Tom anticipated each
request and was ready. Each being
diligent in their work but at the
same time offering up prayers.
Three hours later, the doctor had
Tom close the commander's
chest, while he went to inform the
"Sickbay to the captain"
"Janeway here. How did it go?" There
was no mistaking the
apprehension in her voice.
"The Commander did well. He should
"Thank the gods." She whispered.
"I don't want anyone to come and
disturb him for the next
"That will be fine doctor, except
B'Elanna would like to
bring his medicine wheel down, and
perform the necessary ritual."
"Alright captain, she may come in
an hour. Sickbay out."
"Mr. Paris, once again you have increased
my admiration for
you. You were exceptional in there.
Thank you for your help."
"Thanks, Doc. It was the least I
Tom walked away on shaking legs.
He didn't get very far.
Suddenly the adrenaline rush he
had been feeling for the past several
hours dropped and the world came
crashing down around him. He lowered
himself on to the nearest biobed
and felt his entire body begin to
"Mr. Paris, are you all right?" the
doctor walked over to him
when he had seen Tom stumble to
the bed. "Mr. Paris?" no answer. "MR.
PARIS" The doctor grabbed Tom's
shoulders and shook him. That seemed
to bring him around.
"What? Huh? Yeah doc, I am fine,
just a quick crush from the
adrenaline rush I think." The doctor
ran a tricorder over the
lieutenant and then prepared a hypo
"Yes, that would happen. I am giving
you a mild sedative. I
want you to go back to your quarters
and rest. I will inform the
captain that you will not be reporting
to work in the morning. This
kind of emergency does tend to take
a lot out of a person." He
injected the sedative into Tom's
"Thanks Doc. I am sure I will be
"Lieutenant, it wasn't a request,
it was an order."
"Okay Doc, I won't argue with you.
Actually, right about now,
I feel like I could sleep for a
week." He got up slowly testing his
legs. When he realized that they
weren't shaky, he brought his full
weight on them and turned to leave.
Turning back, he spoke again.
"Hey Doc, will you let me know when
Chakotay wakes up? I just
want to see for myself that he is
okay." He asked sheepishly.
"Of course Mr. Paris, as any good
medical person, you just
want to check on your patient. I
understand." The doctor patted his
"Now, go home and go to bed."
"I will Doc, I promise. Good night."
Tom turned and left
On his way to his quarters,
he ran into several of the crew, all
asking how the commander was. Tom
was brief in his answers saying
only that he came through the surgery
well and now he needed time to
recover. Tom wasn't sure if
he was more surprised at people actually
asking him or the fact that every
one of them thanked him for helping
the doctor with Chakotay. Hell,
even some of the old Maquis crew gave
him a "thanks a lot" slap on the
Once he arrived at his quarters,
he went in and stripped immediately
and headed for the shower. He felt
like he was covered in Chakotay's
blood and it wasn't a good feeling.
While he showered, he couldn't
help but go over in his mind everything
that had happened. First,
there was the smiling and laughing
the captain and Chakotay seemed to
be doing when everyone arrived for
the morning briefing. Then, there
was the way Chakotay seemed to be
off on a spirit walk for most of
the shift. Next, came the part where
the captain informed Tuvok that
she and Chakotay were having lunch
together. He thought that was the
most amazing, well until he walked
into the messhall and saw Chakotay
on the floor, gripping his chest
Somewhere in the back of Tom's mind,
when he saw that he knew that
Chakotay was having a heart attack
but before he could make himself
react the captain called for the
emergency beam out. Then, the
highlight of the day was actually
operating on the older man. 'Yeah
right highlight my ass. I have never
been so scared in my entire life'
Tom thought to himself. 'Yes you
have Tom don't kid yourself'.
All of a sudden, Tom realized, that
during the whole time he was
thinking about the events of the
day, that not once did he think of
Chakotay as "The Commander". 'Maybe
because you just spent three
hours with your hands in his chest.'
Yea that would make a person
change the way they thought about
Finishing up with his nightly routine,
Tom exited the
bathroom and got into bed. The sedative
the doctor gave him had
kicked it and he was asleep before
his head hit the pillow. He
dreamed about beating hearts in
his hands, first, it was Chakotay's,
then it was his mother's. He saw
her face, that pale dead look on her
face. He woke up shaking, got up
and got himself some water. Still
very tired he laid back down and
fell back to sleep. This time, no
dreaming that he would remember
but he still tossed about in his
sleep as if he was running from
Sometime later Harry Kim let
himself in to Tom's quarters. He tried
to comm Tom, when he didn't answer
Harry figured he would just go and
find his friend. It was still early,
they could go to Sandrine's and
play some pool. He was disappointed
to say the least when he found
Tom sleeping and he couldn't wake
him. Harry had hoped he could get
Tom to explain why he would volunteer
to help the doctor with the
surgery on the commander. It wasn't
like they are great friends or
anything. He knew Tom didn't do
it to gain brownie points with
anyone. It just didn't make sense
to him, then again nothing made
sense to him about that day. People
were walking around all solemn
and quiet, some even had tears in
their eyes. 'Why were they reacting
this way? The commander wasn't dead.'
Even when he accompanied B'Elanna
to sickbay, she brought the
medicine wheel back and he stayed
in the doctor's office while she
went through the ritual that she
said Chakotay's people do when
someone is ill. B'Elanna had been
extremely quiet during the walk
there and pretty much forgot he
was even with her as soon as she
walked into sickbay. He thought
that was pretty rude.