Part 27

Chakotay felt a tremor run up his spine. Not so much a tremor of nervousness, which he still didn't feel, but a tremor of anticipation. It was finally happening. In a matter of hours, he would be sitting in this chair as the Captain of Voyager. In his head, he ran over the steps B'Elanna should be following. He was interrupted by the swish of the turbo lift door opening. He turned to look, seeing Janeway and Tuvok step out. He rose from the Captain's chair.

"Captain, Tuvok," he greeted them.

Tuvok merely bowed his head in response, already moving to relieve the crewman at his station. Janeway pushed past Chakotay.

"Commander." There was distinct layer of ice in that one word.

She took the seat he'd vacated, settling back in it with her body straight, her rigid shoulders communicating that she knew she belonged in that seat of power.

Not for much longer, Chakotay thought fiercely.

"Anything unusual to report?" she asked in the same venomous tone, without looking at him.

"No," he answered, unaware that the malice in his own voice exceeded hers.

Now she was looking at him. He stared into her hard eyes, unblinking.

"Any complications reported from the planet?"

It certainly didn't sound like she was interested in the welfare of the crew on Alpha 634.

"No," he repeated, hearing the word come out like a snarl.

She was no longer just looking at him, she was glaring.

He didn't care.

They were close. She was close to losing command; he was close to taking it from her. It was about time that she saw how he really felt.

She broke the gaze, turning to look at the turbo lift. Two crewmen stepped out; ostensibly unaware of the exchange they were interrupting. They walked toward Tactical, without a glance towards the Captain.

Which was exactly what B'Elanna had told them to do, Chakotay knew. They were right on time. He saw one had a phaser, the other had the tool-turned-weapon. Janeway didn't notice the phaser and she wouldn't have recognized the other weapon if she had noticed it. She turned back to Chakotay, mouth opening to spew some new venom.

"Torres to Bridge," B'Elanna's voice cut sharply through the tense air.

"Bridge," responded Tuvok, when it became apparent that the Captain and First Officer were not going to reply.

"We just had some sort of massive malfunction down here. I can't find the cause, but nearly all the crew quarters are locked."

If B'Elanna was disturbed to hear Tuvok and not Janeway or Chakotay, her voice didn't reveal it.

Tuvok punched up the information on his console. Janeway rose and strode to his side, peering at the screen. Chakotay knew what she was looking to find: that it was only Star Fleet crewmembers that were locked inside their quarters. She wouldn't find it. All quarters were locked, except for the ones with crewmen on shore leave. The Maquis just weren't inside their quarters.

"Estimated repair time?" he heard Tuvok ask. Tuvok's calm voice and face were a remarkable contrast to the Captain's.

Even if she didn't know the importance of this event in the Maquis' plan, she knew it wasn't a good thing.

"Unknown," replied B'Elanna. "We can't find a cause and we can't unlock any of the quarters."

We'll unlock them when we have the Bridge, was what Chakotay heard.

He removed the little tool from his belt. It was harmless looking. He hoped it was a lot more harmful than it appeared. He shoved the intensity range to high, setting the distance to the Captain's chest. Her head was down with Tuvok's, her hands moving quickly over the controls.

He raised the weapon.

Part 28 | Index page