Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, but the story's all mine.
Summary: A sequel, of sorts, to "To Lose Her Now". Picking up from the middle, Kathryn recounts the events that took place while being held prisoner on the Sentakian homeworld. Told from her POV.
Chakotay worries too much. I've told him that before. But to no avail. Perhaps it's one of the reasons I fell in love with him.
Well, this time, his worry has been justified. He begged me not to go on this mission. Insisted that these Sentakians were up to something. Hell, even Tuvok had been concerned. But did I listen? No. My father's stubborness shining through.
I retorted that the Sentakians were kind, and could be trusted. End of discussion. And where was I now? Holed up in one of their prisons. Awaiting to be sold to another alien race known as the Vanra. All my Starfleet tactical knowledge would be useful to the Vanra in the small war they were waging against yet another species. Not to mention the fact that the leader of these Vanra soldiers loved females. I was an ideal candidate for their negotiations. And I had four days before the trade took place.
I was seized shortly after sending my message of good news to Voyager. Nothing up until that point had led me to believe that Ambassador Segan and his counsel were anything other than helpful. I warned him that Voyager would never leave without me, and that they would destroy anything in their path to get me back. Segan laughed, and insured me that they could convince Chakotay and the rest of my crew that I was too valuable to the Sentakian government, and that they *would* let me go. Then I laughed, knowing better. We'll see about that, I told him, as I was dragged to my cell.
I awoke that next morning to the sound of the dreadful alarm intended to round up the prisoners. As I stood, I found myself face-to-face with myself. A clone. An identical copy of my genetic makeup. Frighteningly identical.
"You can't do this. They will know," I debated. They *would* know. They couldn't clone my mannerisms. 'She' would need to be trained, and *I* was not about to become her teacher.
"All they need is to find some of your DNA, and they will be convinced. There will be no interaction." Segan smiled evilly. I remember feeling sick to my stomach. This poor creature had been created to die. How cruel. Suddenly, I realized that I was never going to see my family again. On Earth and on Voyager. No more bedtime stories for Samantha. No more good-night kisses from Chakotay. Never again. They would move on...without me.
"They'll never believe it!! You can't do this to me!" I yelled again, out of desperation. "Please, just let me go!"
Without a word, the Sentakians left with the clone. I continued to plead, but found it fruitless after a few minutes of loneliness. How could this be happening? Why did I not listen to Chakotay? He's my first officer, and would never send me into harm's way. Why must I always be right?
Two days later...
Good news today. I've been told that there has been a delay in the trade negotiations with the Vanra. At least another week. Some more time to believe that Chakotay will come back for me. He *has* to. He must not believe that I am dead. And Samantha...no. No. They won't buy into it. They simply could not believe it.
I asked Segan for my personal effects this morning. He hesitated, worried that I had some hidden communication devices. I assured him that I had none. My communicator badge was my only hope for getting in touch with Voyager. I only wanted my picture. The one I carry on all away missions. The one which reminds me of the wonderful life I have built for myself in the Delta Quadrant. My whole life. My holo-image of Samantha and Chakotay.
He returns with my travel bag and leaves me alone. I'm relieved. It's discomforting to be watched all the time. I begin to plunder through my bag, desperately searching for the picture. I find another item that I had forgotten I had even packed. My medicine bundle. The one Chakotay helped me to gather. And hidden underneath, my akoonah.
Well, there's no better time like the present. Perhaps my spirit guide could help me see what was to come. Anything to take my thoughts away from this place. Making sure that the guards were still preoccupied with their conversation, I gather the akoonah and medicine bundle, and kneel down in the corner of my cell. Relaxing and closing my eyes, I begin.
"Akoochemoya...I am far away from the bones of my people..."
I drift away into a strange place. No spirit guide. That was okay. She didn't always appear immediately. I walk around, looking for some sign or symbol that would possibly lead me to her. Nothing. I call out, hoping to get a response. I did. A man's voice replies, calling my name. I turn and find myself facing a man with a tattoo resembling the one etched on Chakotay's forehead. It is Kolopak, Chakotay's father. I had never met him before, but I had seen holo-images of him in Chakotay's office. I see a resemblance.
"Kathryn Janeway. My daughter-in-law. Chakotay has told me much about you."
"He has told me much about you, as well. I did not expect to find *you* here. I was looking for my spirit guide. Perhaps you have seen her?"
"No, she will not come. You did not require her guidance. You needed mine."
This is surprising. But then, I still had a lot to learn about this particular custom of Chakotay's people. I am willing to listen.
"You are lost?" he asks, motioning for me to take a seat next to him on the rock.
"I have been kidnapped. I was looking to see if there was a way for me to get out of this prison."
"Chakotay will not rescue you?"
"He thinks I am dead. At least that is what I have been told. I came here in the hopes to find out what lay ahead for me."
"You will find answers here. But first, you must look into yourself. Think of your family. Think of your child. Find your center. You will find what you seek." He rises to leave, turning away from me.
"Wait! That's it? That's all you can tell me?"
He turns back to face me. "That's all you need. You will understand." He takes my hand, squeezes it gently, then walks away. "It was good to finally meet you, Kathryn," he called out before disappearing into the mist that had suddenly appeared around me.
I was angry. What kind of guidance was that? I want a direct answer. My scientific side. Always searching for a definite answer. That was one thing Chakotay taught me about vision quests. You will never get a direct answer. You must interpret everything you hear and see, then apply it to your goal for the quest. Your answers would eventually unveil themselves. But what am I to do with the information I received from Kolopak? What did he mean?
Think of your family. Think of your child. Find your center. What would that do? Dammit, I only wanted to get home.
I put aside my anger. That would get me nowhere. Think of your family. I begin to focus my thoughts on Voyager. Every crew member. Working hard to complete our united mission. To return to Earth. To return to our families. My mother and sister. My home.
But then I remember the holo-image I had been searching for just moments ago. Samantha and Chakotay. Chakotay, my other half. My heart and soul. Think of your child, he had said. Samantha, the product of mine and Chakotay's love for one another. An extension of my very being. My beloved child. Mine and Chakotay's center.
Suddenly, things around me begin to change. The fog grows more dense, and the wind grows more fierce. Then there she is. Samantha. She is wandering through the forest ahead of me, searching for something. I call out to her. She turns, but can not see me.
"Mommy? Where are you?"
I almost begin to weep. What must she be going through? She has probably been told by now that her mother was not coming home. I don't want to think of how those words affected a small child. I begin to talk to her, in an effort to guide her. She searches for me, following my voice through the fog. Finally, she catches a glimpse of me, and stops. I walk towards her, and kneel down in front of her. She looks so much like her father. His dark eyes staring back at me. I reach out to hug her, but my arms go right through her. Just as I suspected. Only an image.
"Samantha, you have to help me. You've got to help me get out of here and get home to you and Daddy. I need you to tell Daddy something for me." She nods, as if in some sort of trance.
"Repeat everything I say. I want to know that you will remember everything I tell you, OK?" She nods again.
"I am being held prisoner by the Sentakians. Segan has betrayed us. They have kidnapped me." Samantha repeated my words. I continued. "You must come to help me. They are going to sell me to other aliens in this sector. You must..." I break off. Tears were streaming down Samantha's face. She begins to whimper, then she fades from my view.
Damn. I was so close. Feeling frustrated, I wake myself from the trance. The guards were still conversing. They hadn't noticed a thing. Good. No suspicion.
Who knows? Maybe it was enough. Maybe she would remember. Maybe they would listen. Surely Chakotay would understand. Only time would tell. I hope that Kolopak was right. Deep down, I feel that I could trust him.
Several hours later...
The guards awoke me in my cell and ordered me to come with them. I ask them why I was being removed, and where I was going. No answers. Jus the brutal grasps of their hands around my arms, pulling me along with them.
I am taken into what appears to be some sort of conference room. Many Sentakians are there. The counsel. There is another species there. Extremely large and hairy aliens. Bearing a faint resemblance to Klingons. The Vanra. It had to be. They had come early. My good luck has run out.
I spot Segan conversing with whom appears to be their leader. He is a frightening looking being. Snarling teeth. Bushy hair down his back. Spikes on his suit of armor. What do they need my tactical knowledge for? He could simply scare off the enemy with one look.
Segan sees me, and motions for the leader of the Vanra to follow him. They walk towards me. I want to run. Leave this place. But where can I go? Chakotay will never make it here in time to save me. I know that now.
The trade negotiations begin, and for a while, I relax. There are bitter arguments, and it seems that these negotiations could go on for days. More time for me. After two hours of debate, Segan is called away on an emergency. The Vanra leader decides that he wants to get to know me better. God, help me. I can't possibly fend off this being. He is much too strong for me. But I will give it my best shot. I rise to walk around, and get away from him. Unfortunately, he follows me. Damn. What am I going to do?
I hear a small commotion coming from the control room where Segan was called to. As I turn around to see what is going on, the room begins to shimmer. I am dematerializing. It *did* work. Chakotay *did* listen. I feel the smile spreading across my face as the Sentakian conference room fades from my view. Good-bye Segan. Good-bye Vanra. I am going home.
As I re-materialize, I begin to see blessedly familiar sights before me. Sickbay. Bio-beds. The Doctor. I want to cry. These are things I feared I would never see again. The doors hissed, and I see my reason for being back on Voyager. Samantha rushed through the doors, followed closely by Neelix, and runs over to me. She jumps into my arms, and I hug her tightly. The Doctor snorts his disturbance in his examination of me, but I don't care. I am too happy to worry about it.
The doors hiss again, and I see a look of total relief wash over his face as he enters to room. Chakotay smiles at the sight of Samantha in my arms. I return his smile, hugging her again. This is where I will always belong.
After the Doctor gives me a clean bill of health, I meet with Chakotay and Tuvok to decide what course of action we need to take against the Sentakians. Tuvok informs me that the Vanra has begun warring with the Sentakians. It takes me a millisecond to decide that we will leave this sector, and leave the Sentakians and Vanra to their own battles. I have spent enough time trying resolve the problems of other species. It is time for me to return my focus to Voyager's problem. How to get back home.
I lay with his arms around me. He is lightly snoring. I try not to giggle because I don't want to wake him. He hasn't had much sleep over the past few days. I love to watch him sleep. I reach up to trace the curve of his lips. They curl up into a smile. He is no longer worried. I have come home safely. And I won't do anything to worry him again.
At least...not tonight.