Part 20

Megan Delaney tried to step out of the Captain's way. Her troubles got her knocked into the wall. Her sister got knocked into the other wall. They both turned around to look at the solid streak of red blow by the other unfortunate crewmembers in the corridor.

"See, Jenny. I told you she was mad."

Jenny Delaney met her sister's eyes. "Yeah, you did. You didn't say how mad."

"Bateheart said you should've seen her on the Bridge. She gave Chakotay this look. Like a phaser beam, he said."

Continuing towards their adjacent quarters, the twins leaned closer together, shielding their gossip from non-existent bystanders.

"Did Chakotay know about it ahead of time?" asked Jenny.

"Probably. He hates Paris even more than Janeway does. And you know those Maquis. They have their own chain-of-command, and Janeway isn't in it. Chakotay probably ordered it done."

"Sue told me Janeway confined Dalby and Suder to their quarters."

"Yeah, but that's going to be the Brig, soon. What they did went way beyond self-defense," said Megan.

"Why didn't she do something to Chakotay?" asked Jenny.

Megan threw her arm around her sister, mockingly patronizing her.

"Do I really have to explain that, sister dear?"

Jenny shrugged Megan's arm off, irritated. "No. I know how the Maquis would react. Especially that Klingon bitch in Engineering."

"I'm glad to find you aren't that naive. It's disturbing, though, that Chakotay can have something like that done, and have no consequences. Even if it was just Paris. What if Chakotay decides he doesn't like someone else." Megan remarked.

"I know it's disturbing. That asshole used to take me aside when he thought I'd disrespected him, and he'd blatantly threaten me, and then act like he was only doing his duty as first officer," replied Jenny.

"Maybe Janeway will decide this is the last straw and toss all the Maquis off the ship," muttered Megan, without conviction.

As they rounded the corner, they almost collided with B'Elanna Torres.

"Sorry," said one of the Delaney twins, utterly unapologetic. They continued past her, apparently unconcerned that she'd heard practically their entire conversation.

Chakotay didn't have the excess energy to be too irritated with B'Elanna for entering his quarters without chiming first. She put her hands over the back of his chair, and greeted him with:

"I hear Janeway's acting like a targ with a phaser up-"

But he did manage a semi-threatening look that cut off her clever analogy. She moved in front of him, hands on her hips.

"What is it?"

"I just had a three hour conversation with her," He grimaced.


"Yesterday I managed to disperse her suspicions."


"Not today."

"What does she know?"

"Not everything. Very little, but she sees the ever-growing possibility that there's something she doesn't see. That's what's dangerous."

"And Tuvok?"

"Tuvok is obviously no longer subject to Suder. The good news is that he doesn't know that he ever was. The bad news is..."

"He's Tuvok."

"Exactly. Suder was just 'confusing' him, as Suder put it. It should be a while before everything falls in place."

"We don't have a while."

"We do now. We're increasing speed to Alpha 634. We'll reach it tomorrow."


"I suggested we organize shore leave as soon as possible, to clear out "Cabin Fever" and any other emotions that accumulate after being confined on a ship for too long. Alpha 634 is the nearest M-Class planet."

"That's good," B'Elanna offered.

"Yes. And it was the least suspicious thing I said the entire time," he said with quiet mirth.

"Do we continue as planned?"

"Yes. But we're going to execute the rest of our plan with more competency and effectiveness than Dalby and Suder achieved."

"At least Paris won't be able to interfere. Twenty-four hours, the Doc said."

"Twenty-four hours. We'll be there by then."

B'Elanna left, apparently reassured, although Chakotay found himself somewhat subdued.

He couldn't get the last words he'd exchanged with Janeway out of his head. It wasn't so much the words, but also the tone in which they'd been uttered, and that they so exactly paralleled the journey of the coming fight.

He tried, with careful restraint and caution, to explain the Maquis rage to Janeway's blazing eyes.

"It's been a long trip, Kathryn."

And the use of her first name didn't have its usual effect of softening her response, which was thrust immediately back in his face, forcefully.

"It's only going to get longer."

Part 21 | Index page