By Morticia

Part 5

Pairing C/P  C/others

NC-17, and some rather unpleasant imagery

Set shortly after the Jonas incident.

Archive: Cha-club, TPDorm, and Paris Nights only.

Disclaimer:  The boyz don't belong to me (all hail mighty paramount) but this story does!

Hostage by Morticia

Chakotay soon discovered his monumental error. The corridor was an endless black and as much as he ran his hands over the walls, he couldnít detect any seams to indicate doorways. The previous evening Tate had led him unhesitatingly through arch after arch, but by himself he was completely unable to retrace the route. The arches had simply disappeared.

After fifteen minutes of fruitless searching he turned back to return to his quarters. He began to wonder whether he would even find his own doorway again. It had whispered closed behind him and was probably as undetectable as the rest.

To his considerable relief though, when he finally reached where he considered his quarters should be, the wall shimmered and an entrance arch appeared. He realised that the door had obviously been programmed to detect his approach and re-entered his room with relief. He wondered whether Ikton had deliberately teased him with his comment that Chakotay could freely wander the ship. There was little point in him marching aimlessly up and down the corridors.

The sweetly poignant sight of Tate and Wi tending to Skan distracted his musing. None of the Kítech had heard his entrance so they were acting completely naturally for the first time. Tate was sat cross-legged on the floor with Skanís tearful face supported gently in his lap. He was stroking Skanís head and whispering to him comfortingly while Wi was applying some form of ointment into the boys torn and bruised ass.

Chakotay froze, not wanting to disturb the kítech, but some sixth-sense alerted them to his presence. Tate started to scramble guiltily to his feet.

"Donít move." Chakotay ordered firmly and then walked over to them. He hunkered down on his haunches and regarded the damage thoughtfully. Baddiel had done some serious damage, he realised but the trickle of blood had finally stopped which hopefully meant no internal bleeding.

Wi was crouched furtively over the ointment and Chakotay realised it had probably been a breach of protocol for the Kítech to help themselves to the medicine. On the other hand, he had Ďtoldí Wi to look after Skan and he hadnít specified HOW he should do so.

He patted Wi reassuringly on the shoulder.

"Good job" he said and he felt the boy almost collapse with relief under his touch.

Realising there was little more any of them could do for Skan except let him sleep, Chakotay gathered the boy into his arms and lifted him with a grunt of effort. Although they were a little shorter than him, all three Kítech were well muscled and a little on the plump side (for obvious reasons) and it was no mean feat to carry the boy to the bed.

"Pull down the covers" Chakotay ordered Tate, and the boy looked at him in bewilderment but obeyed. He placed Skan gently down in the bed and tucked him in.

"Sleep now!" he ordered the tearful Kítech and a look of relief flooded Skanís tearstained face. Chakotay turned and regarded Tate and Wi who were looking at him in disbelief.

"What?" Chakotay asked Tate.

The boy swallowed nervously but he was becoming more accustomed to his new masterís odd habit of expecting him to speak and so he managed to find his tongue.

"Kítech are not allowed to sleep in beds unless their Master requires company." He whispered, ducking his head lest Chakotay took that as a criticism.

"Is there a communications system here? A way of contacting other crew?" Chakotay demanded

Tate nodded and led him to another featureless wall. His fingers tapped a pattern on the wall and it blazed to life, pulsing with varicoloured lights.  Chakotay looked blankly at the display.

"Just speak into it." Tate said and then flinched in case he had offended Chakotay with his advice.  Chakotay gave him a grateful smile and turned back to the display.

"I wish to speak to the Captain." Chakotay announced, feeling slightly ridiculous.  For a moment nothing happened and then a three-dimensional projection of Ikton leapt out of the wall.

"What?" Ikton asked with irritation, his attention clearly directed elsewhere

"The Kítech are mine, right?" Chakotay demanded

Ikton turned and gave him a closer look.

"That is correct, Chakotay."

"So if I want one to sleep in the bed, is it MY decision or not?"

Ikton looked at him in amazement and then guffawed. "You continue to astound me Chakotay. How you managed to keep discipline on your ship escapes me. Next youíll want dress them up like people."

"So is that a yes or a no?" Chakotay asked quietly.

"You are concerned about the Kítech that Baddiel used?" Ikton asked

Chakotay would have been surprised at his perceptiveness if he hadnít known that his quarters were being monitored.

"He is badly torn. Heís no use to me like that. He needs medical care." Chakotay replied coldly

Ikton sighed. "Baddiel isnít used to thinking about the results of his enthusiasm. He doesnít have any personal Kítech since he has use of all the meat kítech. We donít have a veterinarian on board. They are only used in the case of valuable breeding stock. If he dies we will replace him for you, of course."

"I donít want him Ďreplacedí." Chakotay spat

"Of course you donít" Ikton smirked knowingly

"You still havenít answered my question." Chakotay said tightly, desperately trying to keep his temper in check.

"Itís your Kítech, your bed and your quarters. Do what you like." Ikton replied. He had put his message across; he knew it was time to back down a little. He truly liked his new acquisition and didnít want to push him too far.

The tension slowly drained from Chakotayís shoulders. "Thank you" he said quietly.

Ikton simply nodded. Before the hologram disappeared, Chakotay spoke again.

"How do I find my way around the ship?"

"Youíll need to take a Kítech with you if you arenít with one of the crew." Ikton replied, "After a few weeks, your eyes will adapt to see the doorways. None of our new recruits can see properly until they have adapted."

With that comment Iktonís projection disappeared.

Chakotay sighed with relief. Not only had he received permission to leave Skan in bed, he had also discovered that the Bírechík were not purposefully stopping him from traversing the ship. On the other hand, their failure to explain the problem with his vision until he had asked was just another example of their deliberate cruelty. He supposed they got bored on these journeys and he was a new entertaining distraction for them.

He assumed the adaptation of sight was another side effect of whatever virus afflicted Bírechíknar. It seemed harmless enough if it only enhanced the range of his visual perception. Then again, who knew what other side effects he had yet to learn about.

The Bírechík seemed to delight in withholding information from him. He supposed he should at least be grateful that whenever he DID ask the right question, he was always given the answer.  The Bírechík lived by a strange code of honour. He wished he had paid more attention to the details of the law book sent over to Voyager, but at the time he had only been interested in how to save Tom.

The thought of Tom made his heart lurch again. He had a vision of the pilot arguing with the Captain over her decision to leave him. He could almost see the passionate anger on the younger manís face, could almost reach out and touch the sparkling tears in Tomís eyes and the dark stain of bruising on Tomís jaw.

"Please donít hate me TOO much, Tom." He whispered inaudibly, and then he shook himself and looked at Tate.

"Fetch your collar, weíre going out." He advised the Kítech and was pleased to see no worry or hesitation in the boyís face at his instruction.

Chakotay went and checked once more on Skan while he was waiting. The boy was sleeping now, only a small furrow in his brow indicating his earlier trauma. He turned to Wi. "Look after him. Heíll need plenty of fluids when he wakes up and then apply more ointment."

Wi nodded in worshipful adoration. "Yes, Master" he whispered and Chakotay ruffled his hair fondly, glad to see no sign of fear as he reached for the boy.

Seconds later Tate was at his side, cock-ring in place and collar attached. He fastened his chain to Chakotayís belt with deft fingers and then waited submissively for instructions.

"Take me to the bridge" Chakotay ordered him quietly and Tate docilely led him out of the room.

As they ventured down the maze of corridors and Tate activated arch after arch with unerring precision, Chakotay wondered again about the sight adaptation Ikton had mentioned. It appeared strange that the Bírechík and Kítech could see colours so far off the spectrum that he couldnít even imagine them. Then again, dogs could hear sounds that people couldnít. A worrying niggle at the back of his head started again as he wondered exactly what other surprises might be in store for him.

What if the madness that infected the Bírechík was actually a side effect too? Something had caused half this society to evolve into a race of cannibalistic monsters and the other half into docile cattle. Could the explanation be as simple as a disease that changed people on a genetic level? And if that was true, what did that mean for him? Would he too become cruel and sadistic? Would his colouration mean he adapted like the other Bírechík? Perhaps the desire to eat flesh was part of the affliction. The thought made him suddenly feel faint and he dragged Tate to a halt as he tried to gather his thoughts.

He couldnít make any judgements based on the Kítech. Although they were human, the Bírechík probably deliberately bred their relatively small stature and docile personalities. So it was impossible to tell to what extent the Bírechíknar atmosphere had altered them. UnlessÖ.

"Tell me, Tate. What do Kítech eat?"

"Whatever Master pleases," Tate replied humbly

"Master Ďpleasesí a straight answer." Chakotay rumbled dangerously.

Tate gulped nervously "Kítech eat grain, Master. Sometimes fruit if a master is generous."

Chakotay knew the answer to his next question was probably obvious, but he had to ask it anyway.

"Why donít the Kítech eat meat?"

"It makes us ill, Master."

Chakotay nodded, it made him feel ill too, but then Tate continued.

"Once there was a poor harvest and many Kítech were fed meat. They all died. "

Chakotay reeled. "So you donít mean that eating meat makes you feel ill, but that it genuinely harms you?"

Tate struggled to reply, he wasnít used to having to speak such complicated thoughts out loud. "Meat sits in our stomachs and goes bad." He tried to explain.

"You donít have the digestive juices necessary to dissolve it." Chakotay replied, more to explain it to himself than to the bewildered Kítech.

Spirits help me, Chakotay thought as he felt his knees giving way. He sank to the floor in the corridor, pulled his knees up to his chest and sank his face into his hands.

The scene in the dining hall came back to him. He had told Ikton "Iím a vegetarian. Itís my religion. I donít eat meat. Ever."

And Ikton had replied

"Oddly enough, thatís what my last Hostage said but when he got hungry enough, he had a change of heart."

At the time he had felt disgust that anyone could willingly CHOOSE to become a cannibal merely because they got tired of fruit and bread. Suddenly he was sure that there was a far more terrifying explanation. Somehow living on Bírechíknar was going to change him.

Just as the blond humans were physically changed to become natural vegetarians, so his genes would adapt but in the other direction.  His body would change until the craving for meat became an irresistible addiction. He would become a Bírechík.

Ikton had said that he would be able to see the additional colour spectrum within weeks. That meant the change was already occurring to him. He was breathing air from Bírechíknar, eating food that had grown in its evil soil and had exchanged bodily fluids with three Kítech. At least one of those things had started the infection and the Bírechíkians insistence on his sexual relations with the Kítech made him suspect that it was they who had infected him.

The Kítech were the unwitting carriers of the disease that enslaved them.

Chakotay could feel the infection crawling through his body like tiny knives stabbing at his nerves. He knew the feeling was only in his mind but the knowledge didnít help him.

How long? How long before I become a monster?

If he had been carrying a knife he would have opened his veins then and there to release the treacherous infected blood that coursed through his veins, changing his body molecule by molecule. He began clawing at his left wrist with the blunt nails of his right hand. Within seconds his flesh was red and raised into welts but the skin wouldnít break.

He considered using his teeth to rip into his veins and then the thought of his lips touching even his own flesh made his stomach heave and he vomited violently onto the floor.

Tate scrambled to his side, whimpering at his Masterís distress.

"DONíT FUCKING TOUCH ME!" Chakotay screamed at the boy and Tate pulled away and curled into a quivering ball at his side.

Chakotay sat in a daze as the ship automatically cleaned away the evidence of his sickness. He was peripherally aware of Tateís sobbing misery but for the first time it didnít touch his heart. For the first time in his life, Chakotay couldnít find any way past his own self-pity.

How long? How long? How long?  He asked himself over and over.

He didnít even react when the Bírechík arrived.

Ikton stared at his new recruit with satisfaction. It was unusual for a hostage to come to understanding so quickly. It just proved Chakotayís high intelligence although it was inconvenient to deal with. Another week or so of conditioning would have softened the blow.

As it was, he would have to keep a close eye on Chakotay. Hostages had a tendency to attempt suicide at first and he had no intention of letting Chakotay slip through his fingers. It was as well that the hostage had bonded so quickly with his Kítech. Ikton would probably have to test that bond severely to keep Chakotay alive.

"Take him back to his quarters" Ikton told his companions "And keep a close eye on him. Heíll be in shock for a couple more hours, I think, and then the real game will begin."