All the Devils are Here
Summary: Shortly after the events of Investigations, the command team are struggling to trust each other again. Then people start getting sick, and Janeway begins to wonder if there's something more sinister going on.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, EMH, Torres, Paris, Nechayev, OC
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 for the J/C Cutthroat Fiction comp, Round 3. My prompt was to base the story on the starship quarantine code. Story is set immediately after ‘Investigations’.
Tuvok beats a path to my office in record time. In his presence, an iota or two of my tension recedes; at least until his inscrutable gaze assesses me openly. Heat prickles the back of my neck and I feel perspiration break out on my temples.
“Are you well, Captain?”
“I need you to find out if Chakotay is working with anyone,” I answer abruptly, ignoring his question. My head is spinning. I should sit down, I think, then realise that I already am.
Tuvok is still studying me, and at my demand his eyebrow lifts a fraction. “May I enquire what crime you suspect Commander Chakotay of, Captain?”
“I believe he’s responsible for releasing the Fina virus and infecting the crew.”
The eyebrow rises higher. Incongruously, I wonder what it would take to completely detach it from his face, and have to fight back a hysterical giggle.
“On what do you base this accusation?”
“Haven’t you noticed something odd about that virus, Tuvok?” I grate. “Only humans from the original Voyager crew are susceptible to it. None of the human Maquis have fallen ill. Why do you think that is?”
I don’t wait for him to answer. Pushing shakily to my feet, I pace the length of my ready room.
“When the Cardassians ceded control of Bajor, they left in a bit of a hurry,” I begin. “They left a lot of things behind, but perhaps the most dangerous was their research into an experimental pathogen. Unfortunately, this research fell into the hands of a Bajoran scientist who had been raised within the Rebellion and wasn’t ready to let go of her lifelong hatred of the Cardassians. She engineered the virus to attack the Cardassian genome. After the signing of the Federation-Cardassian peace treaty, when the first reports of violence against colonists in the DMZ appeared, she began to unleash that pathogen on every Cardassian vessel she was able to reach. Thousands were killed.”
I pause to collect my thoughts. It’s not easy, through the layers of pain and confusion that envelop my mind.
“Starfleet believes she was one of the founding members of the Maquis. Her name was Dr Navesh Elkas.”
I turn to face Tuvok. He stands in his usual ramrod-straight posture, but I know him well enough to read the flicker of recognition in his eyes.
“I thought you might have heard of her,” I nod. “That was part of your undercover mission with the Maquis, wasn’t it? To track down the origins of the virus. You were the intelligence operative who gave Nechayev her name.”
Tuvok inclines his head fractionally.
“Then you also know,” I continue, “that Navesh wasn’t satisfied with killing Cardassians. She re-engineered the virus to attack humans, as well. But of course there were humans fighting with the Maquis, and she didn’t want them to die. So she created a vaccine and made sure they were all inoculated.”
I shake my head, that hysterical laughter bubbling up inside me again.
“Don’t you see?” I stare into Tuvok’s dark, solemn eyes. “That’s how I know Chakotay is responsible for this outbreak. He and his crew are immune to the virus. What better way to get rid of us so that he can take control of the ship? Who else could possibly have done this?”
“Captain, there may be a perfectly logical explanation –”
Frustrated, I snarl at him and break away to prowl the room. “He has a file on me, Tuvok! B’Elanna told me about it. Why would he have it unless he was gathering evidence against me?” A dark chuckle escapes my lips. “Not that his intelligence is very accurate. That file claims I’m the one who assassinated Navesh at the resettlement negotiations on Quatal Prime. But I didn’t kill her,” I turn back to Tuvok, pleading now. “Somebody else got to her. I found her with her throat slit. She was trying to tell me something but she died before she could. I alerted the authorities, but I had to leave. I had to complete my mission.”
I come to a halt before him, feeling the tremors in my limbs, so dizzy I can barely keep upright. Tuvok reaches for my elbow and carefully guides me to sit, crouching in front of me.
“Captain,” he says, “you suspect a conspiracy against you, and I believe you are right: someone has conspired to infect this crew. But I don’t believe it’s Commander Chakotay.”
All I can do is stare at him, my eyes glazed.
“I will conduct an immediate investigation into this situation. But the priority at this moment is your health.”
“I’m fine,” I mumble, slumping bonelessly in my chair. Tuvok’s voice seems to be coming from far away.
“No, Captain, you are not fine. I believe you are suffering from the Fina virus. I must get you to Sickbay immediately.”
“I’m not sick,” I try to protest, but I’m not even sure if the words leave my lips. I blink, eyelids heavy. My sight grows dim, my head seems to detach from my body, and the ringing increases in my ears. I’m falling, spiralling downward into a tunnel of whirling sound and light, and the last thing I consciously feel is my feet leaving the deck as I’m lifted in Tuvok’s strong arms.
“You’re too late,” her dark eyes accuse me, her voice thick and scoured with blood. “They already took it.”
I call for help, but we’re the only ones here and I can’t leave her, not like this, bleeding to death. But when I look at her again, she’s already dead. There’s nothing more I can do for her – nothing but justice.
“Justice is more than she deserved,” Nechayev says coldly. “She was a mass murderer.”
In her hand is the padd, the one I broke the temporal prime directive to obtain. The one Dr Navesh accused me of stealing when I met her in that darkened corridor. I didn’t know what she meant then; I didn’t know who she was, or why she would accuse me of stealing from her. Because I hadn’t yet. That crime was still in my future.
My eyes slit open, my head pounding in lurid swirls of colour. I am surrounded by the bodies of my crew. They lie on biobeds and cots, curled up in pain, wheezing for air, moaning or shouting incomprehensibly. Figures walk among them in white suits and clear helmets. Are they helping them, or torturing them?
“We’re all damned,” I cry, and one of the figures looks over at me, comes in my direction. I shrink backward.
“Captain, it’s me,” the figure says, voice muffled by its helmet. “It’s Tom Paris. I’m going to give you a sedative.”
I start to laugh. “Just get it over with,” I gasp as my lungs constrict, laughter turning to coughing. “We’re all going to die, anyway.”
I focus on his eyes – blue eyes, thank God they’re blue – as the hypospray sends me back into oblivion.
“What was stolen from her?” I ask Nechayev. “Who murdered her?”
“I’m afraid that’s classified, Captain.” The admiral sips her tea. “The important thing is you successfully completed your mission. We have the formula for the vaccine –”
“Give it back to me,” hisses the Bajoran in my memory. “I know you have it, Janeway! It’s mine.”
“- and thanks to you, nobody else has to die.”
She lied. We’re all going to die.
“Tuvok,” I cry out.
Tom Paris’ face looms before me. He’s no longer wearing a biohazard suit. He holds his hands up, his voice calming, the way you’d speak to a skittish horse. “Take it easy, Captain. You’re in Sickbay.”
Then Tuvok is there. I can’t tell if it’s real, but his fingers are hot and soothing as they clasp mine.
“You know, don’t you?” I grasp his hand feverishly. “You know who killed her. What did they take from her?”
He exchanges a glance with someone on the other side of my cot, and I force my head to turn, squinting against the light and the pain. Dark eyes, Klingon ridges. B'Elanna Torres.
She dips her head toward me, her voice low. “We don’t know for sure, Captain,” she admits. “But I’ve been over every inch of code in that file, and I think the ‘unknown substance’ was a biocontainer of the active pathogen. The file claims you stole it and gave it to Starfleet Intelligence.”
“No,” I manage, my other hand reaching feebly for her. “Didn’t steal it. Didn’t kill her.”
“I know that,” B'Elanna says quickly. “Our working theory is that Dr Navesh was planning to release the pathogen at Quatal Prime, and the Obsidian Order got wind of it and –”
“Excuse me, Lieutenants,” snaps the Doctor, pushing his way to my bedside, “Can’t you see my patient is in no condition for a briefing? I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Very well, Doctor.” Tuvok leans in to get my attention; I focus on the calm timbre of his voice. “We will continue our investigation, Captain.”
I manage to nod weakly before unconsciousness claims me again.
Dark eyes, hot with anger and despair, accusing me of terrible things. Maybe I did them. Maybe she’s right about me.
“I never hurt you,” I plead, turning away, my face in my hands. “Just leave me alone.”
When I uncover my face, she’s gone, and the dark eyes I see now are yours. You look at me with patient devotion. There’s no accusation, none of the banked-up anger you’ve been barely concealing from me. Just you, solid and present. And mine. The way you’ve always been.
“Chakotay,” I murmur.
Your eyes are smiling. I move toward you, suddenly desperate to reach you, yet knowing we have all the time in the world. As I approach, you rise to meet me. Your arms open and I walk into them, feeling your warmth all around me and your heart beating steadily beneath my cheek.
I could stay here forever, I think, and be happy.
My throat is desert-dry and my limbs weak, but the pounding in my head has receded and my stomach is no longer twisted with nausea. I raise a hand, spreading my fingers before my eyes. Everything feels extra-bright, fuzzy at the edges.
“Doctor,” I croak.
His familiar face appears. “Rest, Captain. Ensign Wildman and I have developed a cure. You’re on the mend.”
“How?” I lick dry lips.
“You can thank Mr Tuvok and Ms Torres for that,” he answers absently, the medical scanner flashing merrily as he waves it over me. “But for now, Captain, please rest. I’ll give you a sedative,” and before I can protest, a hypospray empties into my neck.
We sit at opposite ends of the couch in my quarters. Dinner is eaten, our work done. I’ve kicked off my boots and you’re sprawled, long-legged and relaxed, beside me.
Your glass is empty. Silently, I hold out my hand for it, standing to fetch the bottle from the table. I pretend not to notice the way your eyes follow the lines of my body as I bend to pour your wine.
I’m shocked, and yet not at all surprised, to feel your hand warm on my hip, stroking upward to my waist, the fabric of my undershirt gathering on your wrist. Straightening slowly, I shuffle forward until my knees are between yours and your hands rest lightly on my hips.
You’re smiling up at me: that smile that makes my breath catch and my sleep restless, and my lips tingle with the need to kiss you. Knowing you’re content to wait patiently for me, to let me set the pace, makes me feverish with wanting you. My decision is made.
No more hesitating.
Lips press and mouths open, hands gliding over clothing and then beneath it, shedding it piece by piece. We breathe in synchronicity, your fingers trailing shivers over my skin, my lips finding the places on your body that make you gasp. You bring me up slowly, your hands and mouth deft and eager, plucking at me artfully until the pleasure is so intense I cry out.
“Are you happy?” I mumble later, my face pressed to your chest.
“Shh, Kathryn,” you soothe, your fingers tangling in my hair. “Go back to sleep.”
“No,” I answer. “I want to wake up now.”
I blink my eyes open, mentally cataloguing my body. Clear lungs, calmed stomach, clear head.
Turning to the side, my gaze falls on Harry Kim, sleeping peacefully on the gurney beside me. Beyond him I can make out Susan Nicoletti and Walter Baxter, both resting easily.
They did it. They found the cure.
Then you are there, your voice low and gravelly as though you’ve been talking for hours, your dark eyes soft as you look at me. “You’re going to be okay, Kathryn,” you murmur. I feel gentle pressure on my fingers, a warm hand on my shoulder. “Everything is going to be fine.”
And despite everything, I believe you.
Closing my eyes, I sleep again.
“Captain.” A soft, low voice envelops me in warmth, encouraging me to float upward through my cocoon of slumber. I wake clear-headed, the demons of the past banished in the light of day.
I have no concept of how much time has passed. I only know that your face, tired-eyed and scruffy with what I guess is a couple of days’ beard growth, is the first thing I see.
“Hey,” your eyes smile at me. “How are you feeling?”
I consider the question, then frown. My voice is dusty-dry. “Aren’t you supposed to be in the brig, Commander?”
You laugh, and it’s the most welcome sound I’ve ever heard and draws an answering smile from me.
“Tuvok sprung me,” you grin. “But if it will speed your recovery, I’ll turn myself back in right now.”
I think about my paranoia, my suspicions, and I want to cringe. “I really did toss you in there, didn’t I?” I ask you ruefully.
“You thought you had good reason.” You duck your head. “And my behaviour didn’t exactly help.”
I shift on the pillows, my gaze taking in your ruffled hair and the tired creases beneath your eyes. Now that my head is finally clear, I can’t imagine how I could ever have mistrusted you so badly.
“I guess we have a lot to talk about,” I manage around a yawn. “Dinner in my quarters?”
“Let’s make it mine. When you’re better,” you nod, your smile spreading. “Get some rest now, Captain. The ship will be yours when you wake up.”
I stretch out a hand and you take it, surprised pleasure lighting your eyes.
“You’ve been here quite a bit, haven’t you?” I mumble. “By my bedside, I mean.”
“Yes,” you answer, rubbing your thumb over the back of my hand. “Whenever I wasn’t needed on the bridge, I was here.”
“I thought so.” My eyes droop, then flutter open. “Did you call me Kathryn?”
“Uh,” you rub at the back of your head, eyes darting away from me, “did I? I didn’t mean to presume.”
“It’s all right, Chakotay.” I let my eyes slide closed again, a smile on my lips. “I didn’t say I minded.”
Your answering chuckle carries me deeper into the topmost drifts of slumber, and I fade into sleep with my hand held in yours.