Part 9

Gerron was the first to leave B'Elanna's quarters, sprinting away from her curses. The crowd diminished slowly after his exit. A mass exodus from B'Elanna's quarters would reveal just how large the gathering had been. As it was, it looked like a dwindling poker game. Which was to be the official response, if anyone asked what they were up to. And to keep their stories straight, Chakotay cleaned them out during the fictional poker game, which had far too many participants and no winning pot. But Janeway would buy it, as would Tuvok.

But the truth was, it was Chakotay that was cleaned out by his conspirators' barrage of questions. For something he knew was going to chaotic, violent, and a generally brutal event, it was actually thoroughly planned, and exhausting to explain. But that didn't stop everyone from needing clarification on every step. He was pleased with their plan, for the most part.

There was no pretending. This wasn't going to be a simple ship wide announcement, instructing all Star Fleet crewmembers to line up in the Transporter Room, to beam down to Alpha 634. And that was once rid of half her passengers, the good ship Voyager would continue on home to the Alpha Quadrant. It wasn't going to be that clean, try as they might.

But there was no posturing, either. The Star Fleet crew wasn't going to be dragged from their quarters and duty stations, phaser barrels to their heads. They weren't going to be tossed onto the Transporter Pad, without explanation. Even the real bastards weren't getting thrown out airlocks. No unnecessary violence, no murders that could be avoided, nothing in the "How to Have a Successful Mutiny," Handbook. Not if they could help it, and not unless Plan A failed.

And try as hard as the Maquis did to find gaping flaws in it, they couldn't. Which didn't mean there weren't any, B'Elanna had pointed out. No, of course it didn't. It just meant that any flaws would be a surprise. A surprise that could come as one person with a phaser or an entire Security Team armed to the teeth.

In which case, Chakotay explained, the inevitable violence became necessary.

"I want you all to survive this. I don't want this to turn into a war," he'd said.

At which point B'Elanna snorted. "This is a mutiny, Chakotay, not a picnic."

"And it's not a war, either. I know some of you have personal issues with some members of Star Fleet, but this is not the time to deal with them. If you're taking care of personal vendettas, you're not doing your job. You all have jobs. Collectively, our job is to take this ship. But it can't be done if we're not doing the things to bring about that end."

He knew they understood. It was too damn close to suddenly start taking issue with a plan that had been so long in forming and so careful in execution, so far.

Five days. Only five days.

In the corridor he met Ayala, coming off duty from the Bridge.

"The Bitch put the traitor in the brig," he announced, his message decipherable to anyone, if it hadn't been whispered.

Considering Paris' recent activities, that wasn't any surprise. And it was one less possible problem to have to work with.

Chakotay nodded and moved to pass Ayala, but the man grabbed him by the shoulders and hissed urgently,

"He knows. I heard him, he knows!"

Chakotay froze. No mistaking what it was Paris knew.

Well, here was another problem to bury. Or the modern day equivalent.

Part 10 | Index page