Apfelschuss: The Killing of Kathryn Janeway

Summary: “But you keep insisting you’re unable to,” she let her glance tick slowly downward until it rested on his crotch, “perform. What could you possibly do to impress me?”

 

Characters: Chakotay, Janeway

Codes: Janeway/Chakotay, Chakotay/Seska (referenced), Janeway/Paris (referenced)

 

Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS owns the characters and the ship, but they wouldn't want this hot mess.

Notes: Written for the Talent Night Extravaganza, celebrating Coda Day. (Also Threshold Day, because both fall on January 29, and because I can't resist a dare.)

JANEWAY: Come on, Chakotay, there must be some talent you have that people would enjoy. Maybe I could stand with an apple on my head and you could phaser it off.

CHAKOTAY: Sounds great. If I miss I get to be Captain.

This fic has an accompanying moodboard.

Rated T

He never expected to miss.

She’d been goading him for weeks, ever since her throwaway comment in the shuttle after the first Talent Night. “Maybe I should stand with an apple on my head and you could phaser it off,” she’d taunted. “Prove it wasn’t a fluke the last time.”

After that near-fatal shuttle mission, something had changed between them. She’d been trapped in some kind of limbo doing mental battle with a life-force-stealing alien, and although she wouldn’t tell him the details, she had let slip that she’d watched him try to save her life. Since then, she’d been particularly capricious around him. One minute she would be all wide-eyed and honey-voiced and laying her lily-white hand on his chest; the next she’d be snarling at him and barking ever more unreasonable orders.

And for some reason she seemed to be fixated on Chakotay’s reluctance to make a fool of himself on stage. She’d taken it as a personal insult that he refused, and had made it her mission to harangue him into performing at Voyager’s next Talent Night. The closer it came, the more she pestered him. She flirted and teased; she nagged and demanded.

On and on she went, needling at him almost every shift – “I hope you’ve been getting in some target practice, Cha-ko-tay” – until he started to wish he hadn’t worked so hard to revive her down on that planet. But at least while he was giving her mouth to mouth resuscitation, she wasn’t fucking talking.

She would call him into her ready room, ply him with Romulan spiced tea, flatter and stroke him until he was almost ready to drop to his knees and give her anything she wanted, only for her to freeze him out, leaving him shaking and frustrated and angry.

He began to avoid her whenever he could, escaping to his office with mumbled excuses about reports and unavoidable crew commitments, until she reminded him that his place was on the bridge beside her.

Then she roped her pet Vulcan into her little game, sweetly suggesting that Tuvok run him through a remedial training program or two. The Vulcan, of course, backed her up with sly digs at Chakotay’s prowess with weaponry that were thinly veiled allusions to his prowess in other areas. Tom Paris chimed in too, to Chakotay’s complete lack of surprise. The helmsman never passed up a chance to insult the first officer’s manhood.

Chakotay ground his teeth, but held his tongue. Paris could sneer all he liked. He might have had the one thing Chakotay wanted most in the universe, but he’d screwed that up as badly as he did everything else; if it weren’t for the children, Kathryn would most likely have tossed the pilot to the Kazon along with the faithless Seska.

But the final straw … the insult heaped atop the pile of injury … the thing that made Chakotay snap, came when the captain told him that Voyager’s children would be performing a special act at the upcoming Talent Night.

Draped across her chair on the bridge, long legs crossed, a wicked smile on her fiendishly beautiful face, she casually described this pièce de resistance: a target shooting game in which each crewman took turns blasting an apple off one lucky child’s head. And his son – his son! – would be first in the firing line.

It was the one cruelty Chakotay couldn’t abide, and he knew she relished it.

He couldn’t let it happen. Not again. Not when he’d once come so close to murdering his own son in exactly the same fashion.

Of course, that had been her fault as well.

 

~*~

 

She’d claimed to be furious at Seska’s defection to the enemy, but Chakotay knew all along what had really pissed her off: his own willingness to desert the mutant lizard offspring she’d spawned with Tom Paris months earlier, in contrast to his absolute refusal to give up the chance at retrieving his own half-lizard. So, when the Kazon used Chakotay’s son in a ham-fisted attempt to hijack Voyager and strand the crew on a Neolithic planetoid – and failed in spectacular fashion – Captain Janeway had placed their fate in Chakotay’s hands.

Or rather, in his shooting hand.

“An apple for all your lives,” she’d decided.

Placing the fruit on the sleeping infant’s head, she detailed her terms.

If his aim was true, the baby would live out his days on Voyager and the Kazon would go free, but Seska and Culluh would die.

If he faltered … well, they’d all suffer a drawn-out, agonising death, Chakotay included.

He didn’t miss.

Seska and Culluh were executed immediately and the boy came to live with his father on Voyager. By the time his features began to change and medical testing proved that he was in fact half-Kazon, not half-human, Chakotay had grown attached to the child. Janeway wanted to abandon him on the next habitable planet – a fitting retaliation for his treatment of her own bastard children, he surmised – but Chakotay would not allow it.

The captain had never forgiven him, and Chakotay had grown to realise that she never would. Gone were his chances of ever sharing her bed, and with them his secret hope that he might become more to her than her faithful personal thug.

 

~*~

Unfortunately his feelings had proved much slower to die, but she had just managed to murder them.

“No,” he said in response to her casual announcement. “I won’t let you do that.”

“Oh?” He watched the smile spread slowly across her face. “And what exactly are you offering me instead?”

“Me,” he said. “I’ll do your talent show.”

“But you keep insisting you’re unable to,” she let her glance tick slowly downward until it rested on his crotch, “perform. What could you possibly do to impress me?”

Chakotay smiled back and watched her expression falter.

“You’ll see,” he said simply.

 

~*~


In the end, he hadn’t even had to goad her into it.

He’d deliberately described his intended act while they were on the bridge during a long, quiet shift, finishing his explanation with a challenge: who would volunteer to be his lovely assistant?

He’d stared straight at her, but the captain hadn’t so much as hesitated. “You’d better be as good as you claim to be, Cha-ko-tay,” she’d purred. “If you so much as singe a hair on my head, Tuvok will eviscerate you.”

“Tuvok won’t have the authority to do that.” Chakotay leaned in close and spoke softly. “If I miss, I get to be captain.”

Her cold eyes told him he’d regret that, but Chakotay could no longer find it in himself to care.

 

~*~


Her back was perfectly straight and he had never seen her so still, but hatred crackled from her like a living thing. For a moment it made him quail, and his outstretched arm trembled in response.

The holodeck was filled with indrawn breaths and tantalised whispers.

She narrowed her eyes at him and, perched atop her head, the apple wobbled a fraction.

“Hold still, Kathryn,” Chakotay warned her softly. “Let’s make sure I shoot the right target.”

“You’d better,” she growled.

He fired.

 

~*~


Being captain wasn’t quite what he’d expected it to be.

The chair didn’t seem to fit him right; it dipped and curved in an uncomfortable manner beneath him and the arms were too short. Beside him, his Vulcan first officer glowered and exuded poison in Chakotay’s direction. The atmosphere on the bridge was even more oppressive than usual, but somehow Chakotay didn’t think it was due to mourning the death of their erstwhile captain. He suspected there were conversations happening at the edge of his awareness, silent schemes born of the realisation that mutiny, on this ship, was no longer out of the bounds of plausibility.

He changed the entry code to his quarters daily, and had taken to sleeping with a phaser under his pillow.

His son, too, was suddenly the target of subtle aggressions from those who were supposed to care for him; his former playmates, the Paris-Janeway triplets, were kept from him and sometimes the child came home from the nursery with a blackened eye or a limp.

Sometimes Chakotay felt guilty for robbing the crew of their best chance to reach the Alpha quadrant. There was no denying that she’d had a way about her, a devious and sex-drenched ruthlessness that had helped them forge the pathway home these past years, and that he, with his blunt, brute aggression, lacked.

Perhaps the worst of it, though, was that he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about her.

For years he’d dreamed of her vicious smile and her cruel white hands, and for years he’d longed to know them in the most intimate way possible. He’d thought that once she was dead, his interest would transfer to a more attainable target – a soft-hearted, timid girl like B’Elanna Torres, perhaps, or Seven of Nine – and Kathryn Janeway would become just another wistful memory.

He’d never really expected to miss her when she was gone.

But then, he’d never expected to miss.

 

~*~

Note: If you guessed that this fic was set in the Mirror Universe, congratulations.

© 2021 by Mia Cooper