Détente

\”Detente\”
Voyager Story III

by

Emmy Odd @ aol.com

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

Love, the itch, and a cough cannot be hid

– – Italian Proverb

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.

– – W. B. Yeats

Oh! Duty is an icy shadow. It will freeze you. It cannot fill the
heart\’s sanctuary.

– – Augusta Jane Evans

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

In a smoky ill-lit tavern in Marsielle, a tall, uniformed
man, bronzed and muscular, stepped into the room. Ignoring the
click of cue balls, and dodging the seductive advances of the
middle-aged waitress, past her prime, he strode over to where a
brunette woman lined up a shot. He slipped behind her as she
pulled back her cue, and touched her cheek lightly. Her cue
skidded across the table, and her shot bounced crazily over the
table. She turned around, a smile illuminating her face, a soft
shine of recognition in her startlingly blue eyes. He kissed her
softly, and she dropped her cue to entwine her arms around his
neck. The holograms that surrounded them were programmed so
worldly that none save the jealous seductress paid any attention
to their embrace. The woman opened her eyes once more, and
smiled as their lips parted. \”Hello, Chakotay.\” she smiled.

He stroked the fly-way locks of hairs he had knocked out of
place. \”I\’m sorry I ruined your shot, Kathryn,\” he grinned, \”Is
there anyway I can make it up to you?\”

She lowered her eyelids, smiling seductively. \”I don\’t
know, Commander… any suggestions?\”

\”Just one.\” he grinned, pulling her chin up to kiss her
again. After a long interlude, he said in a throaty whisper, \”We
have to get on the Bridge in a few minutes.\”

She traced an intricate pattern on his chest. \”Well, I
suppose we should get going then.\”

He smiled duskily down at her. \”Everytime I find you, we
have to report to the Bridge. Computer, end program.\” They
stepped out of the gridded room, and as they passed Harry Kim and
Tom Paris, Chakotay turned to Janeway again. \”Captain, the
inspections you ordered on the warp necells are finished.\”

Janeway nodded professionally. \”Good. Let\’s head to the
Bridge.\”

After they had passed, Paris turned to Harry. He looked
into his sober face, and laughed like a madman. He sank to his
knees, he laughed so hard. Harry dropped beside him, and shook
him savagely. \”Should I get Kes? Are you alright? What\’s with
you, Tom?\”

Tom stopped laughing abruptly. \”That was hilarious, Harry!
And you\’re standing there like a sucker, beliving that the
Commander and the Captain…\” he doubled over, laughing, once
again.

Harry stared at Paris. \”What do you mean, Tom??\”

Paris shook his head. \”You are so naãve, Harry! Don\’t you
see?\” He pulled himself up, and began walking toward the
turbolift.

Harry ran behind him, and pulled him around. \”I don\’t see,
Tom. What are you blabbing about?\”

Tom put his hands on Harry\’s shoulders, and whispered
conspiritorially. \”The Captain and the Commander have fallen in
love!\”

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

Harry pulled Paris into the Mess Hall. \”Are you crazy,
Paris?\” he whispered savagely.

Paris shrugged off Harry\’s grip. \”I see what I see, Harry.
Did you actually belive that banter about inspections?? B\’Elanna
finished those inspections hours ago!\”

\”That doesn\’t prove that they\’re in love, Tom.\” Harry
countered as he slid into a seat.

A harsh voice jarred Harry\’s nerves. \”Who\’s in love?\” said
B\’Elanna as she sat down beside Harry.

\”No one, B\’Elanna.\” Harry said, glaring at Paris. \”But
according to Tom, Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay are.\”

B\’Elanna swallowed hard. \”Cha…ko…tay??\” she said,
forcing the syllables out, \”What makes you think…that?\”

Tom leaned over the table. \”Hussshh… here they come…\”
he nodded toward where Neelix was offering steaming bowls of
unidentifiable mush to two crimson-uniformed officers, one\’s head
close-cropped, the other\’s in a reserved chignon.

\”Good afternoon, Captain, Commander!\” Neelix\’s grating
voice could be overheard.

The Captain smiled at the Talaxian amiably. \”What are you
serving today, Mr. Neelix?\”

\”I have an exquisite puree of Angarekian bezel root.
Simply marvalous!\” he said with a smack of his thick lips.

He held out two bowls of the concoction. The arcid fumes
nearly knocked Janeway over. She looked dizzily at Chakotay.
Chakotay deftly pushed Janeway towards a table, calling over his
shoulder, \”Umm… No lunch today…there\’s alot of work we need
to finish, Mr. Neelix.\”

As they sat at an empty table, Tom turned back to Harry and
B\’Elanna. \”See?!?\”

Harry shook his head. \”So they didn\’t want root stew. Me
and B\’Elanna didn\’t, either. Does that mean we\’re in love?\”

Tom looked at them and grinned. \”Who knows?\” he said
mysteriously.

\”Get serious, Paris! Me and Starfleet?\” said B\’Elanna
defensively, crossing her arms. \”I thought we were talking about
the Captain and Chakotay. If that\’s all the proof you have, then
I don\’t belive it. Get real. Doesn\’t she have some boyfriend at
home?\”

Harry stared at his PADD, and squirmed uncomfortably in his
seat. \”I had a girlfriend, too, B\’Elanna. I think you realize
eventually that you\’ll never see them again, and if you do, they
won\’t understand. I won\’t fit in Libby\’s life anymore, even if I
do see her again.\” He brightened artifically. \”But why brood
when you\’re with friends? This speculation is quite
interesting.\”

Janeway looked toward where Paris and the others were now
laughing and joking, and had the uncomfortable sensation that it
was about her. She was beginning to have serious doubts as to
the whole idea of having a… relationship while being Captain.
Chakotay touched her hand tenatively. She turned to him, staring
at her PADD. \”Yes, Commander?\” she said cooly.

\”Is there a problem, Captain?\” Chakotay asked.

\”I\’m not comfortable… with the perameters of our… food
supply.\” Janeway recovered.

\”I see… is there anything I… the crew can do to make
you more… comfortable with the… food supply?\” Chakotay said.

\”I\’d like more breathing room… for Kes\’ garden.\”

\”I don\’t understand, Captain.\”

\”I… think the plants are being… suffocated. The amount
of… care and attention is fine… but there\’s a great chance
for… interference with the ship\’s functionality.\” said Janeway.

\”Perhaps we should discuss this in your Ready Room,
Captain… we can better… discuss this issue there.\” At the
end of this double-conversation, they stood up from their table,
and walked stiffly from the room.

As they passed Harry and the other\’s table, B\’Elanna
hissed, \”See? Nothing but plants!\”

Tom smiled at the Klingon and the Ensign, and shook his
head.

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

After she had put a privacy lock on the Ready Room,
Janeway turned to Chakotay and said, \”That was the most absurd
conversation I\’ve ever had, Commander!\”

Chakotay sat on the top of her desk and grinned like a
Cheshire cat. \”It was clever, though. But I didn\’t understand
what you were uncomfortable with, Kathryn.\”

\”This!\” Janeway gestured wildly. \”The looks, the rumors,
the secrets, the double-conversations! I\’m so… confused!\”
She said, collapsing into her chair. \”I\’m sure Paris and the
others know… and I feel so guilty…\”

Chakotay sidled up behind her, laying a protective arm
across her shoulders. \”Don\’t worry, Kathryn.\”

She shrugged his arm off and disarmed the privacy lock. \”I
don\’t think you should call me that anymore, Commander.\”
Chakotay stood up in disbelief. \”And I think you should go.\” He
tried to touch her cheek, but she turned her head. \”Now,
Commander.\” He strode toward the doorway. As he stood in it, he
turned to look at Janeway, but her chair faced the wall.

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

The Doctor noted the rift forming between Chakotay and
Janeway a few minutes later. \”Kes, come over here, you have to
see this.\”

\”What, Doctor?\” asked Kes.

The Doctor gleefully played back the conversation he had
just heard. \”Listen.\”

\”Don\’t worry, Kathryn,\” \”I don\’t think you should call me
that anymore,\” \”I think you should go, Commander,\” and \”Now,
Commander\” flooded the room. Kes looked at the Doctor with
shock. \”I thought the Captain said you shouldn\’t eavesdrop on
conversations, Doctor.\”

The Doctor looked at Kes. \”It\’s… in the best intrest of
my patients\’ mental health. Besides, I\’ll never have my own love
life, even one as fleeting as our Maquis swain Commander
Chakotay.\”

Kes smiled oddly at the Doctor. \”Who says you\’ll never
have a love life, Doctor?\”

The Doctor sighed. \”I\’m a doctor, not a cavalier, Kes.\”

\”Well, it\’s still rude. And you know that it will get all
over the ship.\” Kes argued.

\”Thanks to your good friend Mr. Paris, it already has.\” he
said pointedly. \”Besides, that little interlude implies that the
Captain has decided to sacrifice herself for her crew.\” he said
added sarcdonically.

Kes looked quizzically at the Doctor. \”What do you mean,
sacrifice?\”

The Doctor glanced at his PADD. \”Well, I think that the
Captain decided not to see Commander Chakotay anymore for fear it
interfere with the crew.\”

Kes\’ eyes widened. \”But that\’s insane! Doesn\’t she…?\”

\”…Love him? Her biorhythms indicate a physical
attraction, but she is being inordinately noble. A human flaw.\”

\”Well, it\’s an Ocampa flaw then, too. I\’m going to tell
Captain Janeway to …\”

The Doctor stood up from his chair. \”But you can\’t do
that, Kes!\” he yelled.

Kes eyed the Doctor. \”Why not?\”

The Doctor fumbled, \”Because then she\’ll wonder how you
knew… and…\”

\”I\’ll tell her I used my empathic abilities. Tuvok has
been trying to teach me.\”

The Doctor sighed. \”Very well.\”

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

Tom Paris caught Kes on her way to find Captain Janeway.
\”Hey, Kes, what\’s your rush?\” he asked smoothly.

Kes sighed. \”Do you really want to know?\”

Paris grinned. \”Look who you\’re asking, Kes. What do you
think?\”

Kes smiled wanly at Tom. \”If you really want to know…
the Doctor and I overheard Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay
… fighting!\”

Paris raised his eyebrows, and gave a low whistle. \”The
Captain?!? Are you sure?\”

Kes nodded mutely. \”We had a comm link to her Ready Room.
She…\”

\”And…?\” Tom urged her on with a wicked gleam in his eye.

\”She said something about him leaving… and he called her
Kathryn.\”

Paris whistled again. \”HELlo… I\’ve gotta go tell Harry
and B\’Elanna…\”

Kes pulled on his sleeve. \”No… then we\’ll get the Doctor
in trouble. I was going to counsel the Captain.\”

Paris looked at her patronizingly. \”And how are you going
to do that, Kes?\”

\”I\’ll tell her I used my empathic abilities to sense her
pain.\” Kes crossed her arms naãvely.

\”Well, I won\’t tell anyone, Kes. Trust me.\”

Kes smiled warmly at Tom as he left, and in a nearby
doorway, a gnome-like figure dropped the bowl of Ybarbian
cauliflower he held in his hands.

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

A beep roused Janeway from a melancoly reverie. \”Come,\”
said a froggy, distant voice. The slight Ocampa stepped timidly
into the room.

\”Captain… I…\”

With a wave of her hand, Janeway cut her off. \” I know,
Kes. I thought I told you and the Doctor not to eavesdrop.\” she
smiled tiredly. Kes\’s mouth dropped, and Janeway laughed
faintly. \”Don\’t worry, Kes. You don\’t seem to think I ever
glance at my PADD when I\’m rejecting a person.\”

Kas stared again, and sputtered, \”But… why, Captain?\”

Janeway sighed, and ran her finger across her mouth. \”To
tell the truth, Kes, I don\’t know myself. I\’m not sure of
anything right now.\”

Kes smiled sweetly at Janeway. \”There\’s one thing you can
be sure of, no matter what, you\’ll always have your crew\’s
respect.\”

\”Thank you, Kes. I\’ll remember that.\” But after Kes left,
a bronzed face flooded her memory, and Kes\’ words were a faint
echo in the distance.

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

Tom ran up to B\’Elanna in Engineering. \”B\’Elanna, you\’re
never going to belive this…\”

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

Chakotay tossed and turned in his quarters, fitfully trying
to sleep. Finally finding a comfortable position, he sighed
blissfully, when his door beeped, causing him to jump out of his
bed. \”Just a second,\” he called, frantically finding his
uniform. B\’Elanna stormed in, ignoring his plea, and stood
frozen before a half-naked Chakotay. Crossing his arms over his
bare chest, Chakotay dead-panned, \”Yes, B\’Elanna?\”

\”Cha…kotay…\” she bleated, until Chakotay finally found
his shirt. Then B\’Elanna roared, \”Chakotay, have you no
scruples!\”

Chakotay just looked at B\’Elanna blankly. \”What are you
talking about?\”

B\’Elanna glared at him. \”Don\’t you know? It\’s all over
the ship… How Janeway kicked you out of her Ready Room.\”

Chakotay sat down at the nearest table, and sputtered,
\”Whaaat…!?!\”

B\’Elanna sat down opposite him. \”The Doctor and Kes
overheard the end of a conversation between the two of you, where
Janeway was ordering you out of the Ready Room, saying something
about not calling her something. Tell me it\’s been blown out of
proportion by Paris, or, even better, it\’s all a horrible
practical joke.\” she cried desprately.

Chakotay looked at Torres\’ anxious face, and murmured, \”For
the crew and Kathryn\’s sake… or yours, B\’Elanna?\”

B\’Elanna started. \”What do you mean?\”

\”I heard about your hallucination, B\’Elanna. It was a
hallucination, right?\”

\”Yes, Chakotay. A hallucination.\” B\’Elanna abruptly
changed the subject. \”Kathryn???\”

Chakotay looked away. \”It\’s long story, B\’Elanna.\”

B\’Elanna leaned back in her chair. \”I have all the time in
the world, Chakotay.\”

Chakotay shook his head. \”I\’m sorry, B\’Elanna… I…
can\’t…\”

Enraged, B\’Elanna stormed out of the room.

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

Janeway could feel the stares on her back as she stepped
onto the Bridge. She sank into her seat, keenly aware of the
unheard voices mocking her. She sat in ennui for quite some time
as the crew milled busily around her. She sat there, lost in
technobabble and reflection, until a warm gust of breath alerted
her to Chakotay\’s presence. She turned instinctively, and met
Chakotay\’s worried gaze. \”We need to talk, Kathryn.\” he
whispered hoarsely.

Janeway stared at Chakotay. \”I thought I asked you not to
call me that.\”

He grasped her hand savagely. \”I\’m sorry, Captain, but we
really need to talk.\”

\”Very well, Commander.\” she sighed.

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

Janeway stared out the window as she spoke. \”What is
happening to me?\” she moaned. \”I\’ve never let my personal life
interfere with my captainship before… how could I do it when
it\’s most essential for me not to?\”

\”The same reason it\’s important to be larger than life, is
why you can\’t possibly be so, Captain. We\’re all together 24
hours a day, with little or no hope of ever getting off this
ship. Of course you need your crew\’s respect to run this ship,
perhaps a little amount of godliness as well. But don\’t you see?
The distance has crumbled, little by little.\” he stroked her
shoulder tenderly. \”You don\’t need to use your rank as an excuse
anymore. Things change when you\’re 75 light-years from home,
Captain. People change. Feelings change.\”

He tilted her face up to his, but a look of a new fear
crossed her face. \”But… what if we do get home…?\” she
whispered fearfully.

Chakotay grinned to mask the fear in his own thoughts. \”I
hope the good word from the Captain will assuage the Federation.
Besides, by the time we get home, everyone will have forgotten
all about the Maquis.\”

\”You make it sound so simple, Chakotay…\” sighed Janeway.

\”In my opinion, it is. All I know is that I love you,
Kathryn, and I think you love me, and there isn\’t anyone in our
lives to interfere…\”

\”…except the crew.\” Janeway finished, ignoring his
intonement of her name.

\”Too late to worry about that, Kathryn.\” countered
Chakotay, emboldened by his use of her first name. \”No matter
what, they\’re going to gossip about us, no thanks to the
Doctor…\” he muttered gruffly.

Janeway smiled, stroking his tawny cheek. \”You make an
interesting case, Chakotay.\”

Chakotay became uncharacteristically impatient. \”So…?\”

She kissed his flushed cheek, and said in her wonderfully
resonant voice, \”We be at least somewhat professional about this.
We shouldn\’t give the Doctor and the crew any more to gossip
about than absolutely necessary.\”

He smiled at her again with his deep velvety smile, and
kissed her deeply.

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

A few days later, at the beginning of their new-found
relationship, Chakotay and Janeway were eating lunch together,
totally engrossed in each other, barely glancing at their PADDs
or their food. There was little idle gossip now, and the two
were spending most of their free time together, inviting wild
speculation nonetheless. Tom Paris, one such spectator, was
guestulating wildly to Harry as he observed the two of them a few
meters away. \”There they go again, like a couple of kids!
Honestly, I don\’t think I\’d ever act like that, do you Harry?
Harry…? Harry…?\” Tom Paris turned around, to find Harry
totally engrossed in B\’Elanna Torres…

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

Fin

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