The Devil's Finest Trick
Summary: Sometimes the lie even convinces the liar.
Characters: Seska, Chakotay
Codes: Chakotay/Seska (referenced)
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written to Fictober 2018 Day 3 prompt: “How can I trust you?” Episode addition to State of Flux.
La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas.
– Charles Baudelaire
There’s a Bajoran romance novel I read while preparing for this undercover assignment. Like most fictional texts in that culture, it’s fanciful and overly concerned with emotion and matters of the heart – Cardassians are far more practical; we understand it’s not romantic love that’s important, but family and loyalty – but for some reason the novel’s protagonists have taken root in my memory. Particularly the hero, who was dark, brooding and noble.
The comparison to my erstwhile lover is quite embarrassingly obvious.
Chakotay is glowering darkly as I keep pace with him along the corridor toward the transporter room. Torres and Tuvok stride ahead, far enough that our lowered voices are unlikely to reach them, although when it comes to that pointy-eared goblin, who knows?
“Cha-ko-tay,” I murmur, plucking at his elbow to slow him. “Talk to me, chesei. You can’t still be angry about the soup?”
“It’s not just the soup, Seska.” He doesn’t break stride, though he does at least lower his voice. “You were party to a mutiny a week ago, and I’ve had –” he breaks off, finally turning to me, “I’ve had more than one crew member report to me that you’ve been stirring up dissent.”
“People are telling tales on me?” I glare at him. “And what do you mean, dissent?”
Chakotay takes my arm and guides me in the opposite direction along the corridor, further away from Tuvok and Torres. “I’m told you’ve been complaining about living under Starfleet rules, and that you’ve expressed resentment over the uniform on more than one occasion.”
“Who’s been saying these things?” I demand, pushing ire into my eyes as I mentally comb through my list of possible tattle-tales. Jor, I decide. Or maybe Carlson, the little snitch. “Tell me, Chakotay. I have the right to face my accuser!”
“Don’t be so dramatic,” he retorts. “I’ve heard your tirades against Starfleet myself, and until now I haven’t taken it seriously. But after what happened with the Sikarian trajector…” he sighs, rubbing a hand over his eyes. “How can I trust you?”
I let tears well up as I gaze up at him, projecting injured innocence. “How can you not?” my voice wavers. “After all we’ve been through together, chesei…” and my hand comes up to cup his face.
My appeal falls on stony ground; he takes my hand, none too gently, and pushes it away. “We’ve been through this,” he says. “It’s over, Seska. And we can’t keep having this same conversation.”
“Fine. Don’t come begging at my door when she rejects you.”
His brow furrows. “What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about. You’re infatuated with her. It’s disgusting.”
Can he honestly not know? Does he not see what’s so patently obvious to me, and to anyone on this ship with eyes and half a brain?
“Her,” I spit, “Janeway. You mope after her like a hara cat in season.”
“You’re imagining things.” Chakotay steps back from me. “And you have to get over this, Seska. We’re all part of this crew now whether you like it or not, and you need to start showing the captain the respect she’s due.”
A tear spills over my cheek – my repulsively smooth, pale cheek – and my lower lip quivers. But Chakotay remains unmoved, and the sour clench in my stomach isn’t as false as I’d like it to be.
“Let’s go, Ensign,” he dismisses, and turns toward the transporter room.
I trail behind him, thinking about romance novels and darkly handsome rebels, and wondering when my angel’s disguise grew so convincing, so comfortable, that I began to believe my own lies.