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2000-06-20 00:00:00 - New VOY: The Devil and... part 5/9 [PG-13] - (Rebeckah <rebeckah@my-deja.com>)

THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA part 5/9 by Rebeckah TO SLEEP: PERCHANCE TO DREAM Janeway tossed restlessly in her bed, her dream argument with the faceless being going nowhere. She could see Chakotay, strapped to a table in the distance, his eyes pleading with her to do something, but the alien simply wouldn���t listen to her. She���d tried bargaining, threatening, cajoling, even begging, but all she got in return was the same simple pronouncement. ���Chakotay is mine now.��� Finally, at some unseen signal by the alien, a clear cylinder began to lower from the ceiling around Chakotay. Janeway could hear his screams of agony as a dark fog began to fill the cylinder. ���No!��� She woke up with a start, covered with sweat and trembling from head to toe. She slowly sat up in her bed, pulling up her knees and wrapping her arms around them. Then she rested her head on her knees and tried to think. What was she going to do? In the six years that she���d known him, Chakotay had become indispensable to her. She wasn���t sure if she could go on without him, and she knew she wasn���t willing to find out. At least not yet. But she had no idea how she could save him from this threat. She had finally located a reference to the entity, Ngylm, in the logs of Jean Luc Picard, Captain of the Enterprise. What she had read horrified her. Ngylm had decided to ���investigate��� death---and it had calmly notified Picard that it would only require the deaths of 1/2 to 1/3 of his crew. It reminded her unpleasantly of the aliens they���d met some time ago that had decided to conduct experiments on Voyager���s crew, seeming to feel that Voyager should be thrilled to help them expand their knowledge. Janeway had agreed wholeheartedly with Picard���s decision to self-destruct the Enterprise. She���d read and reread that single entry and the musings that Picard had added to it until Voyager reached the site where the shuttle had initially been taken. Battling a totally unfamiliar sensation of helplessness, she had composed a message and ordered it to be broadcast over every known frequency, including radio waves. Then she���d retreated to her ready room to reread Picard���s log and brood fruitlessly until the Doctor had finally threatened to drag her down to sickbay and slap a REM stimulator on her if she didn���t get some rest. She���d been going strong for nearly 20 hours at that point, and he informed her that she couldn���t possibly make a rational decision without sleep. Tuvok had wisely kept his discovery of the Klingon records on the space darkness that ���ate ships��� to himself. They had nothing constructive to offer, and he refused to add to Janeway���s distress. He still battled deeply uncomfortable feelings of guilt over the entire situation. It didn���t matter that logic told him that he could hardly be accountable for a biological function or for the actions of an unknown and uncontrollable alien; all that really mattered was that Chakotay was in trouble, and he had played a key part in putting him into danger. And Tuvok and Janeway weren���t the only two members of Voyager who were troubled. In truth, the entire ship was in a turmoil. It would have surprised him to know how big of an impact that he had made on his crew members, but Chakotay was well thought of, even loved, by the majority of the crew. He was available to them in a way that Janeway couldn���t be; a comrade in arms, an insightful counselor, a sort of benevolent older brother or uncle. Everyone on Voyager knew he was gone, and that the entity that had taken him appeared to have nearly unlimited powers. But not one crew member protested the potential risk in trying to contact this being and demand the return of their Commander. Janeway got out of bed decisively, unsurprised to see that she���d only slept three hours. It didn���t matter what the Doctor told her now---she was going to man the bridge until she brought Chakotay back, or had conclusive proof that he was beyond their reach forever! ***** A frown creased Chakotay���s brows. His dreams were troubling and far, far too vivid. Some part of his mind, the logical part that was mostly submerged at this point, insisted that this wasn���t normal----but logic had no part in this. The girl was far too thin, her pale blond hair so streaked with dirt and grime that it was barely recognizable as blond, and her clothing a collection of rags tied together with more rags. She scrabbled through the ruins of the house with total concentration, although her head swung up at every new sound. A smile covered her dirty face as she unearthed a can, and then another and another. She stuffed them eagerly into the canvas bag that had lain beside her while she worked. There couldn���t have been more than ten cans all together, but even that small number seemed far to much for the stick thin arms and legs to handle. She didn���t complain or falter, though, just struggled on through the rubble of the damaged city until harsh cries and yells stopped her in her tracks. A gank! Somehow Chakotay could sense her frightened thoughts. A gank, and she had nowhere to hide! Scrambling rapidly, she backtracked, finally coming to a partially intact building. ���I saw one of the little scabs just a minute ago.��� The voice of her pursuer was far too close for comfort. She darted fearlessly into the building, even though it looked so fragile that Chakotay expected it to fall at any moment. ���In there! She went in there!��� The young male voices were filled with a malevolent excitement. Chakotay found himself breathlessly hoping she would get to safety, and actually sighed with relief when she wiggled into a large ventilation shaft. She swiftly pulled the grate back over the opening and squirmed far enough back that she was hidden in the shadows. He could almost feel her heart pounding while she waited for the youths to get tired of their sport and leave. And when they did finally leave, he could feel her trembling relief. Then the perspective changed and she was in a battered and musty library, looking at the shelves and shelves of books with wonder and a hunger that he could relate to . ���This is the letter A, sweetheart.��� He could hear her remembering that loving female voice and knew that it was Rissa���s mother who spoke in her mind. ���Apple and ant and ape all begin with ���a���.��� Reverently, the young girl picked up a book from the floor, a child���s picture book, and she located the page with a musty apple and a large A. Chakotay watched her puzzling out the sounds and the words, watched as her brother scolded her for reading instead of scavenging for supplies, watched as she read to her brother in the evenings by the light of a kerosene lamp. He saw her learn to cook, and the rudiments of first aid from her books. She patched up her brother with that knowledge when he���d had a run in with a local gank, and from what Chakotay could see, she probably saved his life in the process. But most of all, he saw, and felt with her, the joy she found in her books. She discovered Asimov and Norton and McCaffrey. She explored the solar system, flew on dragons, discovered mysticism and her imagination soared. Instead of being beaten down by the deprivation of her life, she saw the potential in the future and rose above the squalor and lack all around her. When the men and woman came, recruiting for colonists to settle the frontier that Cochran���s fateful flight had opened up, Rissa was more than ready. Of the hundreds of families still struggling to survive in the downtown Seattle area, Rissa was one of only 5 individuals who volunteered that day. And Chakotay felt, as if he too were there and experiencing the same things, her tremulous excitement, her longing for a new life, away from the pain and sorrow of this one. In his sleep, Chakotay sighed, and a pleased smile creased his lips before he settled into an even sounder sleep. ***** A frown creased Rissa���s brows. She knew that her dreams weren���t dreams, and she knew that Ngylm was manipulating her. But she couldn���t wake up; couldn���t break its hold on her mind. The young man was angry, but more than that, he was devastated by the news. ���Your father died in a Cardassian raid, Chakotay, I���m sorry.��� How could the old man do this to him? Didn���t he know how much Chakotay still needed him? Didn���t he know that they had things they had to say to each other yet? How could he have stayed in Cardassian space? Why hadn���t he relocated? Angry, and fueling that anger with grief, the man threw his meager belongings into a soft bag and stormed away from his place in Starfleet. He caught a transport into the disputed space between Cardassia and Bejor and located what was left of his father���s people---- of his own people. Rissa grieved with him as he wept over his father���s grave---she felt his pain and guilt as he vowed to be what his father hadn���t lived to see in him, he vowed to embrace the ways of his people and take up his father���s cause. ���But it isn���t your cause.��� She wanted to tell him, knowing, with the wisdom of experience, that one cannot change their entire world view because of guilt. ���Yes, the Cardassians are wrong, and violent, but you are not! Becoming like them will not undo what you���ve lost.��� But he couldn���t hear her, of course, and he went on to join the Maquis. She watched him rise to a position of leadership within the loosely aligned group of rebels, respected his courage and the flair for strategy that he brought to his small band. She ached for his deliberate blindness, though, as he tried to punish both Starfleet and the Cardassians, not for killing his father, but for his own perceived failure in his family relationships. His growing anger and bitterness were no surprise to her, she knew that there could be no other outcome to his misguided vengeance. When Seska arrived, angry and vibrant and attractive, Rissa tried to warn him again. ���No, she can���t be trusted! She has mean eyes. She���ll hurt you.��� But again, he couldn���t possibly hear Rissa���s voice. And he grew closer to Seska, drowning some of his pain in her admiration, her loyalty. He began to believe he might have found a soul mate, only to find, after their precipitate transport to the Delta Quadrant, that she had been a viper all along. ���Oh, Chakotay.��� Rissa commiserated silently as she betrayed him, left Voyager and aligned herself with their enemies. Tears filled her eyes as Seska told Chakotay that she bore his child and Rissa could feel the wound that brought his soul. Not just the realization that his flesh and blood could very well be in the hands of one of the most cold blooded people he���d ever known, but also the blow to his own self esteem. How? She heard him wondering. How could I not have seen this in her? But he was strong enough to push the anguish and self doubt down and to carry on with his duties. He battled to integrate his crew into the Starfleet vessel and led the way by demonstrating his unswerving loyalty at each junction. Only he, and now Rissa, knew how he agonized each night over the fate of his child. His relief at the discovery that the child wasn���t his was also kept private, although he knew some of his new friends on Voyager suspected. Now all he had to do was to put the memory of how Seska had so thoroughly deceived him and learn to trust in his judgment again. It helped that there was someone new. The Starfleet Captain who seemed to be as noble as she was beautiful. And Chakotay was drawn to her far more strongly than he���d ever been to Seska. Even Rissa couldn���t fault his choice this time, for Janeway intelligent, resourceful, compassionate and confident. In short, she was everything Rissa had ever hoped to be and she was worthy of Chakotay���s interest. Then Rissa���s sympathy roused again, because the Captain wouldn���t allow anything at all to come of their attraction! And it was obvious to Rissa that Janeway was as attracted to Chakotay as he was to her. What a fool! The woman could have had it all, but she rejected such a wonderful man, simply because she was afraid of the impact it might have on the command structure. Didn���t she know that her crew trusted her implicitly? That they would willingly follow her to hell and back? How could she hide behind such a thin excuse? How could she hurt him more? Couldn���t those silly women see what a fine person he was? Why, if Rissa had known someone like Chakotay existed when she was a child, she���d have probably re-thought her vow to remain childless! :See,: A voice that didn���t belong in her dreams sounded softly in the back of her mind. :You do like him.: Rissa frowned blackly, and angry denial on her lips that emerged as nothing more than a muffled groan of protest. :No!: She denied vigorously. :No, I won���t, I can���t!: Chakotay roused at her gentle groan, and came fully awake as she muttered an inarticulate protest. Rolling over without crushing her was tricky in such tight quarters, but he managed it. Her frown remained, deepened even, and she was shaking her head at some unpleasant vision. Half asleep, but unwilling to ignore such distress, he gathered her into his arms and pulled her close to his chest, murmuring something vague and soothing. His hand ran down the silky brown hair, which had escaped from its functional braid hours earlier. and she began to relax, sighing something in her sleep. Chakotay plunged back into a slumber that was deep and dreamless this time. Rissa too slipped into a deeper, dreamless sleep, nestled in Chakotay���s arms with a contentment that would have horrified her if she were awake. ***** Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ Before you buy.