Part 37

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Chakotay dropped his phaser to the ground, irritated. He was the seventh person to become weaponless within the last hour, the power cells in his phaser drained. He'd sent five people to retrieve phaser rifles, but they hadn't returned yet. He hoped it was because travel through the Jefferies Tubes was slow, especially with baggage, and not because they'd been prevented from accessing the weapons or been shot on the way back. He didn't like feeling unarmed.

The weapon B'Elanna had created had proved its defectiveness many more times since its failure on the Bridge. As if on cue, his burned hand sent spikes of pain up his elbow. The weapon wasn't a complete failure. The Maquis had taken to activating the weapon, then flinging it at their attacker. It made an excellent grenade, the only downside being that it could only be used once. He'd instructed the Maquis to liberate any weapons they could from any Star Fleet crew downed by the weapon/grenade. The problem was arising that most weapons were as damaged as their owners were injured, and therefore useless. At least it was proving to be convenient when Star Fleet tried to hide behind corners and engage in phaser fights from behind the walls.

Still, the entire thing was shaping up with the Maquis with significant disadvantages to the Star Fleet crew. They had fewer weapons, less people, and hell of a lot more people shooting at them.

Granted, they had known the differences when they planned this, but they hadn't seemed nearly as overwhelming then. Probably because Captain Janeway wasn't supposed to have known what was coming and developed a plan for it.

But she had.

If she hadn't, the Star Fleet crew would have remained oblivious, locked in their quarters while the on duty crew would have been relieved from their stations. Then, they all would have been beamed down to planet, with the shuttles programmed to land on the planet at a later time, after Voyager had left orbit.

Maybe it wouldn't have been that simple, but it would have been a hell of a lot easier than this was.

Plan A became unsalvageable after Tuvok and Kim were able to stop him, Henley, and Tabor on the Bridge. Plan B was eliminated after the Star Fleet crew started busting out of their quarters. He didn't particularly like Plan C, and it was beginning to look like they might have to abort it and go on to Plan D.

Plan D was the last thing he wanted. It was incredibly weak and vague, not to mention desperate, and he knew his Maquis wouldn't be pleased with it. He knew if they turned to Plan D, it would eventually be scrapped for Plan E.

No one wanted Plan E.

So he had to make Plan C work.

Chakotay looked around the Shuttle Bay. The Star Fleet crew had suddenly stopped their attack fifteen minutes ago. He knew it was only because it wasn't working, and that they were probably getting ready to pursue a different route, but for now his people found themselves inactive.

His Maquis were milling around, clutching their weapons nervously, if they still had them. Everyone was on edge. He'd seen his people become anxious on their missions against the Cardassians, and now that emotion was magnified tenfold. Their missions against the Cardassians were never this important. If one of those missions was as damaged as this plan was, it would have been aborted and thought out again.

There was no turning back in a mutiny.

Not without spending the next sixty or so years in the Brig, and once back in Alpha Quadrant being put on trial for it along with the various other charges stemming from their Maquis activities.

Besides, he'd shot the Captain.

No matter how many Maquis had fantasized about that act over the years, he'd been the one to do it. Even with the alleged impermeable self-restraint required of the Star Fleet crew, he couldn't imagine that they'd be able to resist killing him, in her honor.

No, if it came to the point where it was impossible to continue, the Maquis would not be surrendering. They would take the shuttles and leave without the fear of being shot or tractored back in, now that B'Elanna had incapacitated the Bridge. He knew that was what many of the tense Maquis thought they should do now, but that was the absolute last resort, coming after Plan E.

He suddenly realized he was thinking like the Maquis were going to fail. He criticized himself for even considering failure. That kind of mindset was what caused failure.

It didn't matter that they had so many disadvantages. The Maquis were always the underdogs, and they always made that work for them, not against.

He realized he should take advantage of the inactivity on Star Fleet's part. Continue Plan C, with a few necessary additions.

"Sir?"

Chakotay snapped back to reality to see Henley standing before him. She had been kneeling by the unconscious Tabor, among the other injured the last time he'd seen her.

"Sir?" she repeated.

"What?"

Henley raised the medkit she was holding.

"Your hand. Can I treat it?"

"Yes," he said, beginning to role up his tattered sleeve, wincing as it rubbed the wound.

"Let me do that," she said authoritatively. "Sit down."

He took a seat on the floor, and she knelt beside him, opening the medkit.

She took a cutting instrument out of it and snipped off the bottom half of the sleeve.

She took out a tube of some sort of cream and unscrewed the cap.

"This is going to sting," she warned. "But I can't use the regenerator until after I use this."

"Go ahead," he told her.

He watched as she nodded and began squeezing the cream out of the tube. Henley was as tense as any of the other Maquis, her hairline dark with sweat and her face pale. Her movements were quick and competent, and he was reminded that his Maquis operated well under stress. He hissed when she applied the cream to his hand and arm.

She was right, it did hurt. A lot.

"Sorry," she muttered, quickly spreading it up and down.

He hissed again.

"Um, Sir, what are we going to do after this?"

He suspected she was just talking to get his mind off her incredibly painful ministrations to his hand, because she definitely knew how Plan C went.

"We go back to Engineering, leave some people here just in case. Start trying to contain the Star Fleet crew. Owww!" he finished as she pressed a particularly tender spot.

"Sorry."

She capped the tube, putting it back in the case. She took out the regenerator.

"This isn't going to get it all. It needs a stronger one."

"That's okay."

She nodded, activating the instrument. He felt the tingle begin in his skin.

"On the way, I think we should get Suder out of the Brig. He's a very good fighter."

"And Dalby," Chakotay agreed.

"Dalby sleeps with Star Fleet," she said, rather surprisingly since she'd never had a problem with it before. Although, she'd just finished treating some Maquis who'd been shot by Star Fleet and that could have changed her feelings.

"Star Fleet sleeps with Dalby," he corrected. "And she's on the planet. We need everyone we have to be successful."

She ran the regenerator up his arm again.

"Some of the escape pods were launched. I don't know who was in them."

"I heard about that. It shouldn't be a problem."

If it was any of the Maquis, they could be expecting to spend the rest of their lives on that planet. And if it was any of Star Fleet, it just diminished the number of people against the Maquis, and that was a very good thing.

There was a clatter as one of the Jefferies Tube hatches in the ceiling dropped to the ground. Every functioning weapon in the Shuttle Bay was turned toward the pair of legs that dropped through. There was a collective intake of breath as the Maquis waited to identify the person.

The legs dropped further, the person hanging from the ceiling with only their head and shoulders obscured. Strung across both that person's shoulders were four phaser rifles, and he was carrying a fifth.

The team he'd sent to get weapons.

The person dropped to the floor, the weapons hitting together as he landed and fell off-balance. Another pair of legs and then a complete person with the same number of weapons dropped through, nearly landing on top of the first. Then two more people followed.

He'd sent five. Four returned.

He didn't want to ask.

He passed out the weapons to those who'd used theirs as a grenade or drained their power cells.

"Plan C," he told them. "Let's get moving."

Part 38 | Index page