Arcades Ambo

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\”Arcades Ambo\”

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Voyager Story VI

by Emmy Odd @aol.com

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\”Captain?\” Chakotay strode into Captain Janeway\’s
quarters, smiling at the disheveled woman chasing a pretty puppy
around the room. Finally, grasping the squirming dog in her
arms, she lifted her head, and Chakotay grinned again, saying,
\”It seems that your protege isn\’t just your protege anymore. She
overheard B\’Ellana and Harry Kim talking about their \’animal
guides\’ and she began pestering me to help her find her animal
guide, too.\”

Janeway smiled at the thought of Clare doggedly annoying
Chakotay to get her way. The girl had only been on Voyager as
Jr. Ensign for a few months, but she had well earned her place,
not only on Voyager, but in the Captain\’s heart. Even Tom Paris,
whom she had showed up, alibet unintentionally, had become very
close to the youngest crew member. She smiled through a veil of
tawny hair. \”And I suppose you want me to ask her not to pester
you anymore, Chakotay?\”

Chakotay grinned at Janeway. \”Actually, quite the
opposite. I wish to request the use of a runabout for a few
hours tommorow, and I wish to invite you along as well, since you
never got to talk to your animal guide, Kathryn.\”

\”Of course, Chakotay, it\’s a wonderful idea. We both need
a break.\”

\”So permission is granted?\”

Janeway released the growling puppy as she stood up
regally. \”Yes, Chakotay, it\’s a date.\”

************************************************************

The next day, as Voyager made repairs while they orbited
above a gaseous M-class planet, the two commanding officers, and
an exubrant young Jr. Ensign entered the docking station. In
another place, another time, it could have been a family outing.

The group, with Tom Paris as their pilot, boarded the
runabout, Janeway shouting back orders to Tuvok about anything
and everything until a hand clamped over her mouth mid-command
and pulled into the runabout. A second later, a grinning
Chakotay stuck his head out. \”Don\’t worry Tuvok, the Captain
just needs a day off. We\’ll be back in a few hours.\” \”I never
worry…\” said Tuvok, but the airlock had closed before he had a
chance to finish his highly logical retort.

Back in the runabout, Janeway eyed Chakotay. \”Commander,
that was highly irregular.\”

Chakotay raised an eyebrow. \”If I had been \’regular,\’
Captain, then we\’d still be out there waiting for Tuvok to go
crazy… which, even for a Vulcan wouldn\’t be much longer.\”

Janeway eyed Chakotay, then smiled. \”Thank you, Commander.
I guess I just am too stressed, and I do need a vacation since
that last Kazon attack. Who\’d have thought that that little
Kazon would try to kill you again…?\”

Janeway\’s face clouded again, and Chakotay rested a hand on
her shoulder. \”I\’ll be a \’wrinkled old man\’ yet, Captain, Kazon
or no Kazon.\”

Clare dropped to sit at her commanding officer\’s knees,
gazing up impishly at the two. \”Enough about aging and death,
Commander! What about my animal guide?!?\”

They looked down at the young Jr. Ensign, her nose
scrunched up and a mock pout distorting her pretty mouth. They
looked at each other, and laughed. Clare\’s smirk faded to
astonishment. The Captain and the Commander smiled, but never
actually LAUGH. To have these… idols of hers beside themselves
with laughter…

Suddenly the Commander realized Clare wasn\’t laughing, and
he nudged Janeway. Clare\’s eyes widened and they blushed.
\”Sorry Clare, you just… well…\” For once Janeway was at a
loss for words.

Clare rested her head on Janeway\’s knees and broke into a
sweet smile. \”No problem, Captain. Even senior officers need to
laugh a little. Now let\’s get me an animal guide, Commander.\”

Janeway turned to Tom Paris. \”You heard her, Tom. Let\’s
get going.\”

\”Yes, Captain.\”

As they left the docking station, Harry Kim turned to Tuvok
while stationed on the Bridge. \”Sir, which runabout did the
Captain take?\”

Tuvok turned sharply to Kim. \”The Captain took the
runabout stationed in Docking Station 2.\”

Harry\’s eyes widened. \”Sir, that runabout was the one
B\’Elanna was configuring to increase efficiency. The warp
necells weren\’t done yet. It may not be safe to pilot.\”

Tuvok remained impassive. \”The logical solution is to
tractor the runabout in before it\’s out of range. Ensign, do
so.\”

************************************************************

Just then, all the eyes on the runabout were closed as
Chakotay helped the Captain and Clare find their animal guide.
\”Close your eyes… imagine yourself in the place where you were
at the most peace of your life…\” murmured Chakotay, holding
their hands. Janeway squeezed his hand, breathing deeply. She
was almost there…

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\”Initiate tractor now.\” ordered Tuvok.

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A flash of light flooded the runabout, knocking them to the
ground.

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Harry swallowed hard, a lump forming in his throat. \”Sir,
the runabout just DISAPPEARED…\”

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Back on Voyager, Tuvok was initiating long range scans when
a dry voice cut through the worried hubbub. \”Sick Bay to
Bridge.\”

Tuvok turned to Kim. \”Who initiated your program, Doctor?\”

\”I do not know, but I do know you should come down here.\”
The Doctor\’s voice wavered slightly.

Harry and Tuvok rushed to the Sick Bay (Or as fast as a
non-committal Vulcan can walk), where they beheld an astonishing
sight.

************************************************************

Chakotay, Janeway, Clare, and Tom lay in biobeds before
them. \”I found them in here when I was activated. Is there an
emergency?\”

\”Now.\” Tuvok pronounced blandly. \”What\’s wrong with them,
Doctor?\”

\”They appear to be comatose, but their brain activity is as
high as if they were at their posts. Odd.\”

The hologram and the Vulcan turned to Harry, who was
engrossed with his two friends lying on the biobeds before him.
Suddenly aware of the two, Kim looked up, blushing.

\”Mr. Kim, you are assigned to watch over Sick Bay.\” the
Doctor tried to interject, but Tuvok continued, \”Computer, end
Emergency Medical Hologram.\”

Harry, dazed and concerned, heard only \”Illogical,\” and \”I
will leave.\” His eyes never left his friends, whose faces did
not respond to the salty water falling on their faces.

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Chakotay\’s eyes opened on a beautiful face smiling warmly
over him, unlike where his soul often walked with his animal
guide. The face hung in a fog, which gradually turned into an
image of Janeway. \”Ka…Kathryn…\” he whispered. He sat up,
finding himself on a beautiful, misty seascape, with a stunning
sunset shrouding the breathtaking scene with brilliant light and
shadow.

Janeway looked around inscrutably. \”Whatever just
happened, we\’re here.\”

\”You say like that\’s a bad thing.\” said Chakotay, stroking
her cheek as he edged closer.

************************************************************

Clare\’s eyes fluttered, blinking a sleepy haze from them,
and the slim hand went up to her forehead. She was suddenly
keenly aware of the Doctor, Tom, and Harry\’s eyes on her.
\”Harry,\” she whispered happily.

Harry smiled at Clare. \”Yes, Clare, I\’ve been here since
you beamed on board. Tom woke up a few minutes ago, but the
Captain and the Commander are still unconcious.\”

\”What happened?\” said Clare, still dazed.

The Doctor cleared his throat. \”We were hoping you could
tell us. All Paris could tell us was that the tractor beam
seemed to cause a reaction with the runabout, which caused…\”

\”… a bright light… \” murmured Clare, \”I opened my eyes
to see what happened. Tom was unconscious, and Captain Janeway
and Commander Chakotay were sitting up. Their eyes were closed,
but they were conscious.\”

The Doctor scanned Janeway and Chakotay again. \”Their
brain waves are normal, but they seem to be in a sort of comatose
state that you and Tom didn\’t enter. Since the two of you were
not contacting your \’animal guides,\’ it would appear that somehow
you were relatively immune to the explosion.

\”But how do we wake them up?\” Harry said.

The Doctor looked down. \”I don\’t know.\”

The combined, fearful gaze of all present fell on the two
very still commanding officers.

************************************************************

Janeway craned her neck around, taking the dream-like
landscape in. Dispite the romantic atmosphere, Janeway had the
distinct feeling that something was horribly wrong. Every time
Chakotay neared her, she pulled away to inspect a clod of earth
or scan the sky for life. She desprately wished for her
tricorder. She tapped her comm badge furiously, yelling,
\”Janeway to Bridge! Janeway to anyone! Can anyone hear me?!?\”
Deafening silence echoed through the landscape. She trembled,
suddenly afraid.

Chakotay hugged Janeway\’s shaking shoulders protectively.
Janeway\’s whole body racked with utter helplessness. It was all
Chakotay could do not to lose it as well. He smoothed her flyway
hair, saying thickly, \”They\’ll find us, wherever we are.\”

Janeway pulled her head up, strengthed by Chakotay\’s touch.
\”If they don\’t find us, we\’ll have to find them.\” she said
resolutely. The sparkle flamed up in her eyes as she jumped up.
\”I\’m going to look for a way out of here.\”

She started to climb up the sandy cliff, but Chakotay held
her foot in his hand. She stared down at his resolute face.
\”Wait. I\’m going with you.\” he said, releasing her foot and
scrambling nimbly up beside her.

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They climbed about fifty meters, up to a rocky ledge that
jutted out of the sheer rock face. Janeway was the first to
reach the ledge, pulling her legs onto the small protrusion as
her sudden heavy step pushed a torrent of rocks down. She gently
stuck her head out to see where Chakotay was, to find him
grasping desprately onto a branch. From the horrific wounds on
his arm and leg, it was clear he couldn\’t pull himself up to
where she sat. Janeway lay on her stomach, reaching for
Chakotay, unable to quite reach him. Chakotay tried to will his
limp arm to grasp hers, but he couldn\’t. Janeway looked into
Chakotay\’s eyes, seeing the fear in his eyes. Edging out
further, she grabbed his good wrist, saying, \”Trust me.\”

Chakotay could see the terror in her eyes. He nodded, and
let go of the branch.

Janeway\’s arm strained under the weight, as if to wrench
her arm from her socket. She threw her weight backwards, pulling
Chakotay up and onto the ledge beside her. She rubbed her sore
shoulder, fearful of what she would see when she turned around.
She still clung to the Commander\’s hand as she turned to… see
what there was to be see. She turned, and saw the wincing, but
alive, form of Chakotay. Her heart filled joyfully as she kissed
his face, unheeding of the blood and dirt covering it.

Chakotay stirred, opening his eyes disbeliveingly, unable
to figure out why he wasn\’t crushed on the rocks. He turned his
head stiffly, finding Janeway, face smeared with dirt and
blood… HIS blood, hurriedly attempting to clean his wounds,
seemingly with her mouth. He tried to sit up, but his arm
wouldn\’t support his wieght. He tried the other, and struggled
to an upright position. Janeway looked up from where she was
using her sleeve to clean the gaping wound on his leg. She wiped
the blood from her face, pushing it into her hair. Janeway tried
to smile, but the fear and pain were too great. She covered her
face in her hands, the saltwater and mud leaking through her
fingers grotesquely. Chakotay pulled her into his arms as she
moaned, \”I might have lost you, what if I let go…?\”

Chakotay rocked Janeway, the protective instinct, although
totally unecessary, strong. He kissed her hair, trying to soothe
her frazzled nerves, as well as his own. \”Talk about the blind
leading the blind,\” thought Chakotay, smoothing her tousled hair.
\”I\’m here, Kathryn. I\’m not going anywhere for a long time.\”

Janeway lifted her head from his chest. \”But you\’re hurt,
Chakotay, and there isn\’t anything to clean it. You can\’t move
from this ledge. We\’re stuck.\”

Chakotay shook his head. \”I can\’t move, Kathryn, but you
can.\”

\”Even if there was somewhere else to go, I wouldn\’t leave
you. I\’m not taking that risk.\” Janeway said firmly, staring
into his eyes.

Chakotay smiled into her eyes. \”Your loyalty is what I
love about you, Kathryn.\” he said, stroking her face. Janeway
looked slightly startled. They\’d said so much in guestures and
innuendos, but they\’d never actually verbalized their feelings
for each other much. It was almost as if the fact was blurred
into oblivion, until their two paths had converged into a
comfortable friendliness that was occasionally sprinkled with
romantic kisses and flowers. She had an inkling of the reason
behind the rift, only rarely bridged; for every time Janeway had
ever been alone anywhere with Chakotay, a kind of shadowy
remembrance of the evil Cardassian clouded the moment as quickly
as it had come. Janeway had always had the unpleasant sensation
that he feared that someday she would betray him, too, that
increased every time they became a little closer to home. She
was afraid that this was only the result of the tremendous loss
of blood, and it was just another moment that would vanish when
he regained his senses. Dispite this, she clung to every word he
said, hoping someday he would truly mean it.

************************************************************

B\’Elanna burst in on the vigil the senior staff held in
Sick Bay. \”Good news! I think if we recreate the accident in
the holodeck, it could jolt them back into conciousness.\”

Tuvok rose from where he had positioned himself by
Janeway\’s bedside. \”There must be some sort of risk involved.\”

\”If it doesn\’t work, we may lose them forever. And we\’ll
lose warp power for a few hours.\”

Tuvok pondered over the logistics of the situation.
Janeway\’s hand grasped her sheet, and Tuvok, normally unswayed by
emotion, said, \”Do it,\” as a tear rolled down his cheek.

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Using the undamaged sensor logs, the ingenious Torres made
an exact replica of the accident. Clare and Tom helped transport
the lifeless forms of the commanding officers into the Holodeck,
praying as they left. Torres breathed deeply, punched a few
buttons to activate the program, then collapsed ridgidly, afraid,
into Harry\’s waiting arms.

************************************************************

\”You don\’t, you know.\” said Janeway, attempting to mask the
sorrow in her voice with sterness, and failing utterly.

\”What do you mean, Kathryn?\”

\”You damn well know what I mean, Chakotay!\” she snapped
bitterly. \”No matter how hard you try, you\’ll never forget what
Seska did to you, and so I\’ll pay for the rest of my life for
what she did! I\’ll sit next to you on this ship until I die and
never hear your voice without thinking of Seska somewhere in the
back of my mind! I… love you, but you\’ll never really love me
because you\’re afraid that someday I\’ll have to turn you in to
the Federation!\”

Chakotay looked out onto the ever-present sunset blazing
across this sky he did not know. The floodgates of his memory
opened, and the painful tides of recollection washed over him
like salt in his wounds. The few sweet memories were drowned by
the bitter ones that came attached to them. He wished he could
throw himself into the endless blue of the sea below, and purify
himself; be born again. But he could not, and so he had to hold
everyone, everything, at arm\’s length. But sometimes his arm
slipped, and then he crumpled, like when he… trusted Seska.
But he always pulled his arm back into place, and he vowed then
it would never go slack again. He looked at Janeway, unable to
speak of how wrong she was, because he could not honestly tell
her that Seska had had no effect on him.

Suddenly, thunderheads grew, but no rain fell. Almost as
if his wish had been answered, a bolt of lightning struck the
rock they sat on, splitting it apart. As they fell swiftly
towards the rocks below, Chakotay reached his hand towards
Janeway, only able to yell, \”I do love you, Kathryn!\” before a
bright light burst into their eyes.

************************************************************

The Commander sat up, finding himself in a gridded
holodeck. Chakotay looked at his arm and leg, either
miraculously healed or never cut. He turned to Janeway, who
stirred on the cold floor. She blinked her eyes open,
whispering, \”Do you remember what I remember?\”

Chakotay looked into her eyes. Janeway saw no cloud behind
them now. He smiled. \”And I\’ll never forget it.\”

At that oppertune time, a crowd of eager, joyful people
swirled around the weak leaders, hugging and crying. B\’Elanna
sank to her knees, overcome with joy.

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Janeway and Chakotay spent their recuperation, as well as
afterwards, apart; seldom seeing each other, and never alone.
This went on for several weeks, until Chakotay couldn\’t take it
anymore. He surprised her in her Ready Room a month later, while
she went over back logs she hadn\’t had time to finish before.
She nodded to a seat far from her desk, asking, \”What can I do
for you, Commander?\”

Chakotay turned the computer around, shutting it off. He
smiled at her, but she did not return the smile. \”Forgive me.\”
he said simply.

\”I don\’t understand, Commander.\”

\”I\’ve acted badly, Kathryn. I didn\’t mean to, but I did.
I was afraid… I don\’t quite know what I was afraid of anymore,
but seeing you nearly die to save me, then thinking you might die
hating me, was too unbearable to speak of. I really do love you,
Kathryn.\”

Chakotay turned towards the door, but Janeway stood up,
eyes shining with emotion, an unuttered kiss on her lips.
\”That\’s all you ever needed to say, Chakotay.\”

Chakotay smiled as he left the room. He paused after the
doors closed, smiled again, and walked down the corridor with a
new spring in his step.

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Fin

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Comments are appreciated

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All characters and the Star Trek Voyager name, except for Clare
Edwards, belong to the owners of the copyrights thereof,
Paramount, UPN, ect. This story is for entertainment purposes
only, and distribution is encouraged (keep my name on it,
though!).

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In this series:

Voyager I: Prot‚g‚
Voyager II: D‚tente
Voyager III: Amantium Irae
Voyager IV: Puppy Love
Voyager V: Parti Pris
Voyager VI: Arcades Ambo

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Coming Soon: Voyager Story VII, \”Expose\”
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