Liminal State
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Summary: They’ve escaped the Terran Empire, but this is not the universe, or the Devore warship, they call home … and in this version of the multiverse, Kathryn is forced to confront the warped reflections of people she once called her family. Allied with her jailer and former enemy, Kashyk, against the mirror images of her loved ones, staying alive becomes a dangerous game in which her body is her most valuable bargaining chip.

Written for the @voyagermirrormarch fic event.

 

Characters: Janeway, Kashyk, Mirror Chakotay, Mirror Janeway, Mirror Kashyk, Mirror Tuvok, Mirror Ayala, Mirror Paris, Mirror Seska, Mirror Torres, Mirror Kim, Mirror EMH, Original Characters

Codes: Janeway/Kashyk, Janeway/Mirror Janeway, Mirror Janeway/Kashyk, Mirror Janeway/Mirror Paris, Janeway/Mirror Janeway/Mirror Chakotay, Janeway/Mirror Torres, Janeway/Mirror Paris/Mirror Ayala, Janeway/Mirror Kashyk, Janeway/Mirror Tuvok, Mirror Janeway/Mirror Chakotay, Mirror Paris/Mirror Seska, Janeway/Mirror Chakotay, Janeway/Chakotay

Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own the rights to the Star Trek universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.

Warning: Violence, rape/non-con and dubious consent.

Rated E

Chapter Five

“All this time,” Janeway’s voice breaks the thick silence, “I thought Chakotay had the power to break you. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe you’re the one with the power.”

Kathryn blinks at her. Janeway is lying back against Kashyk’s chest, her legs sprawled open, his sodden fingers still moving lazily between her thighs, satisfied languor written in her limbs.

“You know,” Kathryn grinds out, “I’d ask what the hell you’re talking about, but I don’t care. I’ve had enough of your games.”

Her legs, she thinks, have regained enough strength to hold her without Chakotay’s assistance, so she lets go of his shoulder and walks carefully over to her discarded clothing.

“What do you think you’re doing?” asks Janeway as Kathryn bends to pick it up.

“Leaving,” Kathryn answers sharply, tugging on her pants.

“To go where?”

To be honest she hasn’t thought that far ahead, so she ignores the question, buttoning her fly as quickly as she can and yanking on her jacket, but when she tries to fasten it she discovers to her chagrin that the zipper is broken. B’Elanna, she remembers, and has to settle for clutching it closed.

“It doesn’t matter, anyway,” Janeway drawls.

Reluctantly, Kathryn turns to face her. “What do you mean?”

“I mean I haven’t finished with you.”

Janeway pushes Kashyk’s hands away and slinks over to Kathryn, linking their hands and drawing them away from Kathryn’s jacket so that it falls open again.

“Are you ready to tell me how you came to my universe?”

Kathryn says nothing.

Janeway sighs impatiently. “Do they have Kazon where you come from?”

“Yes.”

“From your expression, I’m going to assume they’re not so different to their counterparts in this universe. Which means you’re not completely ignorant to the way they treat women.”

Kathryn compresses her lips.

“Surely a Federation bleeding heart like yourself wouldn’t want to see that happen to poor little Henley, Jor and Seska?”

“What?” shouts Tom Paris from the corner he’s crawled into. “You sent Seska over there?”

Janeway ignores him, squeezing Kathryn’s hands to draw her attention. “Well, Kathryn? Will you tell me what I want to know?”

Kathryn flicks a glance at Chakotay, who is staring at her with conflict written clearly in his eyes. She looks away.

“I can’t,” she forces out.

Janeway releases her hands, resting her palm on Kathryn’s bare chest. “I’m disappointed in you,” she sighs. “You aren’t taking this seriously.”

Kathryn says nothing.

“Perhaps you need a little demonstration. I could send for Maj Culluh.”

Janeway’s palm slides higher. She wraps her fingers around Kathryn’s throat, fitting her fingertips into yesterday’s bruises. Kathryn inhales sharply as the pressure increases.

“No,” Janeway decides, “that will take too long. Kash, come over here. You’re going to show her.”

After the briefest hesitation, Kash detaches himself from his position by the wall and moves silently to Janeway’s side.

“Captain?” he murmurs.

Janeway’s eyes slide over to Torres, still lashed to her chair. “I’m of a mind to taste blood, thanks to my little B’Elanna,” she smiles. “I could let her loose, but she has absolutely no control when she gets like this. And I want Kathryn to bleed, but I don’t want her to die. Do you think you can do that for me, Kash?”

Kathryn’s eyes are wide with fear and lack of air. She clutches at Janeway’s wrist, but Janeway’s fingers only squeeze tighter around her throat.

Kash swallows visibly. “Should I use tools, Captain?”

Janeway considers it. “Not this time. She’s so soft, I think you’ll probably do quite enough damage with your hands. And your cock.”

She laughs and releases her hold, leaving Kathryn gasping and coughing.

“And Kash?”

“Yes, Captain?”

“Make it hot. I want to come again.”

 

=/=


Janeway prowls back to the chair where Kashyk sits spread-legged, settles into his lap again and leans sideways to burrow her hand into the open fly of Chakotay’s pants.

“Oh my, Commander,” she purrs. “If I ever need to replenish our photon torpedo supply, I’ll know where to come.”

“Don’t touch me,” he growls at her, grabbing her wrist, and she laughs and pulls her hand away.

“You should be so lucky,” she smirks. “You might want to take care of your little problem while your friend is fucking your would-be lover. Still, I suppose you’re used to it – you must’ve had blue balls for going on seven years now.”

She turns toward the couple by the briefing table: Kathryn, still in her leather pants, one hand awkwardly clutching her jacket closed, and Kash, quietly and methodically removing his roughspun clothing, folding it neatly like a person who knows he’ll be the one tidying it later.

“Well?” demands Janeway when Kash stands naked, his penis soft, hands loosely curled. “Get it done.”

“Kathryn,” Kash whispers so quietly she barely hears him.

She looks up reluctantly.

“I’m sorry.”

Before she can question him he lunges forward, knocks her hands to her sides, wrenches the jacket from her shoulders, spins her and pushes her face down onto the conference table.

She gasps. He’s knocked the breath out of her, and he follows up with a kick to the inside of her ankles and a knee shoved between her thighs from behind, ramming her pelvis against the edge of the table. He grabs one wrist and twists her arm behind her back. Kathryn cries out as bright pain flares in her shoulder and struggles against him, kicking back, but he shoves her down, slamming her cheekbone into the smooth wood of the table.

“Oh, that’s going to bruise,” she hears Janeway chuckle.

It makes her mad.

She goes limp, letting the breath shudder out of her, and is rewarded by an easing of his weight on her back: immediately she bends her knees, twisting and dropping out of his hold, scrambling under the table and crawling as fast as she can to the other side of it. Kash starts to skirt around it to meet her and she dashes in the opposite direction; he chases; she darts away, keeping the length of the table between them. She could keep this up indefinitely, she thinks.

Could have, that is, until Kash feints right, Kathryn stumbles, and Tuvok’s long arm snaps out, grasps her around the waist and lifts her kicking and wriggling off the floor.

In moments Kash is on her, wresting her from Tuvok’s grip, his arms locked around her from behind as he pushes her down onto the table again. His legs are curled around hers, propping them apart, keeping her from kicking him. His groin is flush against the cheeks of her ass, and he’s not flaccid now.

“Knife,” she hears him growl in a voice that doesn’t even sound like his, and Kathryn goes still, cold sweat prickling her spine.

Someone tosses Kash a blade. He catches it one-handed; it snicks at the back of her waistband and she whimpers as the leather parts, baring her. Kash shifts to one side and holds both of her wrists one-handed in front, pulled high above her head, stretching her chest flat to the table as he tugs the ruined pants down her legs, hacking at them with the knife whenever they won’t budge. When he has exposed enough of her he shifts back between her legs, his cock hot and hard in the crease between her cheeks. She’s shaking, sobs catching in her throat. She closes her eyes and tries to relax, tries not to brace for the penetration she knows is coming next.

But he falters.

She feels him wilting against her, feels his grip loosen on her wrists. The knife clatters from his hand onto the table and Kash steps back, his breathing heavy and uneven.

“I’m sorry,” he says again, but this time Kathryn doesn’t think he’s talking to her.

“Oh, but you will be,” says Janeway in a tone more glacial than any Kathryn has heard from her yet. “Tuvok, you know what to do.”

Not daring to move, Kathryn turns her head fractionally to the side, watching through a fallen curtain of hair as Tuvok speaks quietly to the replicator and carries an item over to Janeway. A small baton, Kathryn thinks, uncertain of its purpose.

Janeway stands and begins to advance on Kash, but changes her mind, returning to present the baton to Kashyk. “You’ve earned this, lover,” she murmurs. “Make me proud.”

Kashyk takes it, inspecting it with interest, and – Kathryn can’t help noticing – a certain amount of expertise; he’s not unfamiliar with this device. “Thank you,” he smiles at Janeway. “This will do nicely.”

He prowls toward Kash, who stands his ground, fists clenched and chest heaving.

“You’re stupid, you know,” Kashyk informs his double. “All you had to do was hurt her.”

Kash lifts his chin. “Would you?”

Kashyk laughs. “Pain is a necessary endurance. And if you knew anything about Kathryn, you’d know she’d be the first to agree.”

“I don’t think,” says Kash, “that we’re talking about the same kind of pain.”

“Let’s find out.”

Kashyk presses a button on the side of the cylindrical device and it hums to life, energy crackling from two protruding nubs either side of the far end. He flicks his wrist and blue fire arcs out from the baton, scorching a whip-trail across Kash’s torso. Red weals rise on his chest and stomach.

Kash cries out hoarsely and stumbles against the table. He leans on trembling arms, head bowed and shaking. Kathryn pulls herself upright and scoots to Kash’s side, resting a hand on his shoulder.

“What the hell was that?” she demands, looking from Kashyk to Janeway. “What did you do to him?”

“That was nothing,” Janeway tells her, leaning a hip against Chakotay’s shoulder, casually inspecting her nails. “Turn it up, lover.”

“With pleasure,” answers Kashyk, and dials the device up to a low whine.

He turns his wrist. Indigo lightning streaks from the baton and scorches a diagonal scarlet welt across Kash’s back. He moans like a wounded animal and slumps half over the table, his knees hitting the deck.

“Stop,” Kathryn begs, “please.”

Janeway leans more heavily on Chakotay’s shoulder, her arm falling around his neck, fingers playing idly with his hair; he holds still, his jaw rigid with tension. “You’re a very strange person, Kathryn,” she addresses her double. “You do realise Kash was about to violate you in the most brutal of ways, don’t you? And yet you’re pleading with me to stop your lover from avenging you.”

“But he didn’t hurt me,” Kathryn points out, edging in front of the shaking Kash. “He couldn’t do it, and now he’s taking the pain that you meant for me. Why can’t you see that?”

Janeway’s eyes narrow thoughtfully. “You have a point,” she concedes, combing her fingers through Chakotay’s hair. “He’s insubordinate, and he must be punished. Get out of the way.”

“No. I won’t let you hurt him anymore.”

Janeway’s fingers tighten in Chakotay’s hair, causing him to flinch involuntarily. “You won’t let me?”

“No,” says Kathryn, “I won’t.”

“All right,” Janeway says softly. “Then the pain is yours.”

 

=/=


Kashyk turns to Janeway, uncertain. “Captain?”

Janeway waves an impatient hand. “I don’t want you to use the neural whip on her. That’s far too easy. Put it away, lover.”

There’s a flicker of relief in Kashyk’s eyes, Kathryn notices, as he deactivates the baton and moves to the replicator to dispose of it.

“Get him out of the way,” Janeway gestures towards Kash, and Kashyk throws an arm under his double’s shoulder and hauls the injured man upright, dumping him carelessly into the chair Kashyk and Janeway had previously occupied.

Kathryn can’t help grinding her teeth. “He needs medical attention,” she growls.

“And he’ll get it,” Janeway retorts, “if you earn it for him.”

Kathryn’s shoulders droop. “What do you want from me?”

“Well, let’s see,” drawls Janeway, pushing off from Chakotay’s shoulder and stalking toward Kathryn. “You’ve had your Maquis. You almost had your Devore. Now it’s time to choose your Starfleet officer.”

Kathryn looks at her, blank and uncomprehending.

“Which one will it be, Kathryn?” the captain asks her, leaning in so close her lips brush Kathryn’s ear. “Ensign Kim, or Commander Tuvok?”

 

=/=


“No,” whispers Kathryn. “No, you can’t make me do this.”

“You know I can, Kathryn.” Janeway lays a palm against her cheek. Her eyes are almost tender. “Look at them. Which one will it be?”

She steps back, gesturing for both officers to move into Kathryn’s line of sight.

Harry Kim bolts forward, almost shouldering the captain aside in his eagerness to get close to Kathryn. Hampered by the leather still twisted around her lower legs, she shuffles rapidly backward until the backs of her thighs bump up against the edge of the conference table, her palms held up to ward him off.

“At ease, Ensign,” Janeway drawls in amusement, and Kim falls back reluctantly. “Tuvok?”

The Vulcan moves silently to stand beside the ensign. His eyes, dark and remote, pass over Kathryn’s face and shift away as though she’s beneath his notice.

She studies Tuvok’s spare frame. Too well, she knows the strength, the latent power it holds. Too well, she knows his telepathic abilities and the advantage they give him over most other humanoids. And too well she knows of his control. If he wants to hurt her – if he wants to prolong her pain – he can do so indefinitely, and there’s nothing she can do to stop him.

Kim’s stare, in contrast, roams hotly over Kathryn’s body. She can all but feel it crawling into every crevice, lingering on curves and planes. His pants are tented at the front and sweat beads on his hairline. His fingers twitch at his sides.

She swallows hard. With Kim, she thinks, it will be brutal, but it will probably be over quickly. But with Tuvok …

“Choose,” Janeway says softly, watching her.

Kathryn meets her eyes. “I choose Harry.”

The words are barely out of her mouth before Kim’s vest hits the floor, his shaking fingers wrenching at his shirt buttons. But Janeway’s voice, cracking like a whip, halts him in his tracks.

“Stand down, Ensign Kim.”

“What?” he quavers. “But Captain –”

“Do you really think,” she hisses, “that you have earned this reward? You, who can’t even earn a lieutenant’s pip?”

Kim’s hands drop to his sides as his face falls. “No, Captain.”

“Report to the bridge,” Janeway orders. “Take B’Elanna with you. And Paris, go and see to my children.”

My children,” Paris mutters sotto voce, but before Janeway can punish him for it he releases a mutinously scowling B’Elanna from her chair, grasps Kim’s arm and hustles the pair of them out of the briefing room.

Kathryn grips the edge of the conference table and switches her gaze between Janeway and Tuvok, trying not to tremble. “You said I had a choice,” she accuses the captain.

“I did,” Janeway concedes. “But you made the wrong one. Believe me, I’m doing you a favour. Wouldn’t you rather a finely-honed dagger than a jackhammer?”

“Interesting analogy.” Kathryn clips her words short, trying to hide how short of breath she is. Fear is turning her knees to jelly, cramping her stomach. “Have you ever considered not thinking of sex in terms of weaponry?”

“I know what you’re doing,” Janeway says flatly. “You’re trying to distract me, hoping you can delay the inevitable. Your witty banter won’t save you now, Kathryn.”

She turns to Tuvok.

“You’re so faithful to me, Commander,” she says, her voice soothingly low. “My constant companion; my red right hand. I don’t believe I show you often enough how deeply I appreciate your service.”

His dark gaze lowers to hers. “It’s my honour to serve, Captain.”

Janeway smiles, raising her hand, two fingers extended; he meets it in kind. “Yes, I believe it is,” she murmurs. “And later, in my quarters, perhaps I’ll allow you to honour me with a more personal form of service. But right now,” she steps back, “I want you to break her.”

Kathryn’s breath catches in her lungs.

“Break her, Captain?” Tuvok asks, one eyebrow rising.

Impatient, Janeway strides back toward the three other men: Kash, sprawled half-unconscious in one chair, Chakotay, legs bound to the other, and Kashyk standing behind them.

“Find out what she knows,” Janeway orders Tuvok, arranging herself on Chakotay’s lap and drawing his resisting hand between her spread, naked thighs. “Do whatever it takes. And make it look good. I need to come.”

 

=/=


Tuvok’s cool gaze fixes on Kathryn’s. He advances on her, one hand rising, fingers spreading to touch her temple, cheekbone and chin.

“No,” she whispers, stumbling back. “Please, no.”

But he’s too quick for her; his other arm whips around her waist, holding her hard against him. His right hand makes contact with her pressure points.

“My mind to your mind,” he murmurs. “My thoughts to your thoughts.”

“No,” Kathryn cries, squeezing her eyes shut. “Tuvok, don’t do this!”

She throws up every psychological barrier she can muster, and they are plenty: the Tuvok of her own universe, of course, spent years assisting her with her mental discipline, and two years living among the Devore with their pathological hatred of telepaths has taught her a trick or two. And she is Kathryn Janeway, and she has always been strong-willed.

But she’s only human, and she cannot withstand the full mental barrage of a trained Kolinahr master.

Let me in, Kathryn.

He attacks like a tidal wave: overwhelming, all-consuming and impossible to escape. Her defences are crumbling; she’s sinking under the surface, agony burning her lungs as she struggles desperately for release.

Stop resisting. Show me what you don’t want me to see.

Her limbs are dead weights. She can’t breathe, can’t see; there is nothing but darkness and drowning and pain.

Show me.

Tendrils of fire curl into the recesses of her mind and there is nothing she can do, nowhere she can hide. He crashes through every blockage she throws in his path like so much flimsy latticework, surging in and over her mental walls until he reaches the vulnerable core of her. And there, curled up in the last safe place she can hide, he finds her and drags her kicking and screaming into fiery, unforgiving light.

A barrage of images is wrenched from her mind, and she has no will to stop it. Her father grilling her in astrophysics at the dinner table; laughing with friends at tennis practice; her first kiss.

This is useless. Move on. Show me more.

It isn’t Tuvok’s voice.

“What’s happening?” Kathryn asks plaintively.

“We’re linked,” Janeway informs her aloud. “Tuvok has bridged our minds so I can read you directly. Efficient, don’t you think?”

Kathryn struggles to open her eyes; it’s like breathing underwater, so heavy and drained does she feel. And when she does see it’s with fractured vision, as though she’s seeing through three sets of eyes. Her stomach lurches with nausea and she blinks rapidly to clear the splintered images.

She is standing sandwiched between Chakotay’s shoulder and Tuvok’s hard, lean torso. Tuvok leans over her, strong fingers clamped to her face, his other hand on Janeway’s temple and cheekbone. Janeway herself is reclining against Chakotay’s chest; she has pushed one of his hands between her legs and is riding it, her hips undulating. The fingers of her other hand are woven into his, holding it to her breast, plucking at her nipple.

Chakotay’s face is stoic, but when Kathryn lowers her fevered eyes to his she reads a tangle of emotion.

“Stop what you’re doing to him,” she says without thinking.

Janeway looks at her through heavy-lidded eyes, pulls Chakotay’s fingers from her cunt and brings them to her lips, sucking them languorously. “I think you should be more concerned about what we’re doing to you right now, Kathryn,” she purrs as she pushes his hand back down.

Tuvok’s grip tightens on Kathryn’s face and she whimpers, eyes closing as more memories are wrenched from her.

Her first heartbreak: the casual cruelty of it, and the depth of the wound it left.

An academy survival exercise that turned a little too real and landed her in the medical bay for two weeks, fighting her way through a coma haze to her mother’s agitated eyes.

The Cardassians, holding her down and laughing as they took turns raping her.

The pomp and colours, the endless line of admirals’ hands at her father’s funeral, and Justin’s quiet, barely-remembered ceremony two days later.

A wicked needle piercing her chest, violating her, then the chain of events that would change the course of her life forever, culminating in the destruction of the Caretaker’s array.

Battles with the Kazon, Seska’s treachery, distrust of her Maquis crew members. The relentless dread of the first shaky months in the Delta quadrant, when she didn’t know whom to trust.

A lush green planet, laughter and tomato plants – No, Kathryn/Tuvok thinks, steering violently away.

The Borg alliance and the fluidic space aliens – “Oh, that’s interesting,” she hears Janeway murmur aloud. “We don’t have them here. Or her,” as an image of Seven of Nine shimmers into Kathryn’s mind and disappears.

And the Devore. A disastrous attraction, a dangerous game, and ultimately, a terrible price: to watch as her ship, her home, leaves her behind.

By the time she blinks her way back to this reality, to these horrible, forming memories, she’s wracked with sobs, tears damp on her cheeks.

“Why are you doing this?” she whispers. “Why are you torturing me?”

“Because you’re still resisting,” Janeway snaps. “Tuvok, did I or did I not tell you to break her?”

My apologies, Captain, says Tuvok through the link, and the full force of his mind slams into Kathryn like a landslide.

She can’t even whimper. He cracks her open like an egg, and she simply shudders and gives way. He swirls into her and shakes her inside out and she is helpless, utterly helpless to repel him.

But, in some small corner of herself where she is still herself, she thinks that maybe she doesn’t have to. Maybe letting him in is the right thing to do. It sure as hell isn’t what he’ll be expecting.

Come in, she tries tentatively, standing steady. I have nothing to hide. Come and see.

A wisp of suspicion reaches her and the barrage seems to ease a little. Encouraged, Kathryn opens wider.

It’s all right, Tuvok. I know you. In another life, you and I are friends.

Anger swells hot and red. Tell me what I want to know. Tell me by what means you came to this universe.

It won’t help you, she says gently. But I can help you. Look.

And she shows him.

She shows him the first time she met her Tuvok, her annoyance at his Vulcan pomposity; her gradual respect for him and the deepening of their friendship. She shows him their years of service together, his obedience to her orders, his protection of her. She shows him how she relies on his counsel, how she trusts him more than almost anyone.

And as she envelops him in warmth, she feels his anger slipping away, curling back into itself as though it doesn’t have the strength to stand against her.

Until Janeway speaks.

“What’s happening?” the captain demands, her voice husky and furious. “Tuvok?”

Instantly, Tuvok’s telepathic shields slam down like a duranium bulkhead. Kathryn gasps in agony, reeling backward. A massive weight presses down on her. It takes a moment to realise that it isn’t only mental.

She forces her eyes open to find herself on her knees. Tuvok’s fingers feel welded to her face, the pressure points bruised at her temple, cheekbone and jaw. He has broken the meld with Janeway and his other hand is heavy on Kathryn’s shoulder, holding her down.

Kathryn looks up into his eyes and feels her insides clench. There’s nothing there: nothing she can reach.

Tuvok releases her face and unzips his fly, pulling out his rigid penis. He strokes it twice, then pushes at her lower lip with his thumb. “Open your mouth,” he orders.

She shakes her head slowly, swallowing hard.

“Your mistake,” he says, and slams his fist into her cheekbone.

Stars burst behind her eyes. She pitches sideways, head ringing; Tuvok bends down and grasps a handful of her hair, pulling her upright. Somewhere, she can hear someone shouting, pleading, and recognises the voice as Chakotay’s.

“Open your mouth,” repeats Tuvok. “If you don’t, you will not be the only one who regrets the decision.”

Kathryn opens her mouth.

He wastes no time filling her with his cock. Hot, smooth and thick, he pushes it past her soft palate, forcing her to arch her neck sharply and inhale through her nose so as not to choke. Her hands fly up to his thighs, trying to restrain him, but he twists strong fingers in her hair and drives his hips forward, thrusting into her throat.

“I am in control,” he informs her, his voice expressionless.

She can’t breathe. She panics, writhing, beating at his thighs with her fists; she clamps her teeth around him as much as she’s able, but he doesn’t even seem to feel it. Saliva drools from the corners of her mouth as she fights to swallow his length, to keep her airway open. She whimpers, blinking up at him, sending him a silent plea for mercy.

He hears her, but not with his ears.

A frown creases his brow, but Tuvok loosens his fingers from her hair and eases back, pulling out of her mouth and letting her gasp for air. The reprieve doesn’t last long – the head of his cock rests on her lower lip, silently demanding entry. But this time, at least, when she allows him in, he slides in smoothly, slowly. This time he lets her set the pace.

Thank you, she thinks, and he nods once.

Somewhere deep inside, the old Kathryn Janeway is raising hell at the injustice of thanking him for assaulting her, but hell has come to mean something different to her these days.

Kathryn wraps her hands around him and slides her mouth over the fat head of his penis, watching his small twitches and listening for the soft mental whispers that will tell her when he’s close. She can feel the waves building, pleasure rolling in like a tide; his iron control is loosening as desire begins to flood his neural pathways, stronger and more overpowering than human lust.

This is the most dangerous moment for her, she knows. Pon farr might only come around every seven years, but she’s well aware that Vulcans aren’t celibate for the remainder. And Tuvok’s wife, T’Pel, was once quite forthcoming with her about what sex was like outside of the plak tow: it’s one of the times when a Vulcan’s emotional mastery is weakest.

She’s going to have to be careful.

Kathryn swirls her tongue around the rim of Tuvok’s cock as one hand pumps his length. He grunts and tangles a hand in her hair again. Easy, she sends to him, and wraps her other hand firmly around the base of his penis, keeping him from thrusting too far down her throat. She feels him check himself, holding back on his instinctual drive to possess her, to ram himself into her mouth and gratify the lust swelling inside him.

She’s peripherally aware of the others in the room with them, but she has no space for them right now. She’s putting everything she has into this, into working him with tongue and throat and teeth, into wrapping her hands and her mind around this man, this man who so closely resembles her oldest friend, into giving him pleasure so he won’t cause her, or anybody else, any more pain.

It takes all her strength and all her concentration to bring Tuvok to the brink of orgasm, to hold him teetering on the edge, to let him wash over it in a flood of release and euphoria without losing his grip on reason. But she does it. She lets him fist his hands in her hair as he spills into her mouth, lets him reach out with his mind and welcomes him into her own. She soothes him with hums and strokes and sighs, and when he withdraws from her, both physically and mentally, she’s satisfied that the information he has retrieved from her is exactly what she wanted him to take.

 

=/=


“Well?” demands Janeway, flushed and husky from the climax she’s wrung from Chakotay’s reluctant fingers.

Tuvok arranges himself back into his pants as he turns to face her, and nods. “I have the information you requested, Captain.”

“Oh, nicely done, Tuvok,” she murmurs. “What is it, then?”

“An accident,” he answers succinctly. “This woman was attempting to escape her captor’s custody by way of a stolen transporter device. Inspector Kashyk’s ship was involved in a battle at the time, employing tricobalt explosives to destroy an enemy vessel. The charges tore a rift in subspace with which the Devore ship subsequently intersected. It seems the rift was also a temporary interdimensional bridge, which these intruders crossed over. They did not bring the transporter device with them, and as the rift has likely closed, there does not seem to be any way for them to return to their universe.”

There’s a long silence. Kathryn, kneeling on the floor, chest heaving, body aching, reminds herself to keep her head down.

“And you believed that story?” Janeway says eventually, her voice soft with danger. “Tuvok, it pains me to say this, but I think you’ve lost your touch.”

“Captain?”

Kathryn bites her lip.

Janeway pushes upright and walks over to face Tuvok. “She’s lying,” she states. “I can see it. Her lover can see it. Hell, Harry Kim could see it. What’s gotten into you?”

“Captain, I –”

“Stop talking. I want you out of my sight, you pathetic excuse for a telepath. For Kahless’ sake, what is it about her?” Janeway spits.

She wheels away from Tuvok, takes the two strides that bring her to Kathryn’s side and crouches, grasping Kathryn’s chin to tilt it to the light.

“How are you doing this?” she growls. “Half of my men want to fuck you and the other half are in love with you. How have you turned them all so quickly?”

“Maybe you should try treating them with basic decency,” Kathryn swallows painfully against Janeway’s punishing grip, “instead of threatening to kill them any time they irritate you.”

Janeway pushes her violently away and Kathryn crumples to the deck, raising a hand to rub ruefully at her bruised jaw. She watches the captain warily, looming over her with her hands on her hips.

“I’ve given you so many opportunities, and each time you’ve chosen the wrong path,” Janeway informs her. “You’ll tell me the truth eventually, though.”

“I am telling you the truth,” Kathryn says evenly. “There’s no way to return to my universe. Not for me, and definitely not for you.”

“I’ll give you some time to reconsider that answer,” Janeway replies. “Tuvok, return to the bridge, then transport Kathryn, Kash and Chakotay to the first officer’s quarters and erect a level ten forcefield. Activate the replicator for basic medical supplies. Oh, and that reminds me – have the Doctor come to my cabin; I think I could use a new hair style. Kashyk, you’re with me.”

 

=/=


“He needs immediate treatment,” Kathryn frowns, fingertips lightly brushing the raised welt on Kash’s chest.

He groans, eyes fluttering, and Chakotay shifts his shoulders under the Devoran’s arm. “In here,” he gestures toward the bedroom.

Kathryn helps him ease Kash onto the bed, wincing in sympathy as the wound on his back contacts the bedcover. “What was that device?” she asks Chakotay. “A neural whip, she called it?”

Chakotay’s jaw tightens. “Believe me, you don’t want to know.”

“Has she used it on you before?” Kathryn glances at him.

He doesn’t answer. “We’re going to need two dermal regenerators, a hypospray of analgesic – triptacederine should do it – and another of anesthizine and synaptizine.”

“What for?”

“He’s in neural shock. He needs to sleep for at least two hours while his synaptic pathways repair themselves.”

“Then what’s the analgesic hypospray for?”

Chakotay straightens, looking down at her. “That’s for you.”

“Me?” she frowns.

“Have you looked in a mirror lately, Kathryn?”

She shakes her head.

Chakotay points over her shoulder. “The bathroom is that way. I’ll get the medkit ready.”

He turns back into the main room, and she hears him speaking quietly to the replicator; frowning, curiosity piqued, she walks into the bathroom and calls for lights.

In the mirror, her reflection makes her suck in a breath.

Her left cheekbone is painted in shades of blue and violet and so inflamed that the entire side of her face looks misshapen; that eye is bloodshot and almost swollen shut. On that same cheek is the imprint of a perfect set of Klingon teeth, bloody and raw. On the other side of her face, on her temple, cheekbone and jaw, are deep, throbbing blue-black bruises. There are two thick gashes scoring her lower lip. Dried blood stains her chin, and blooming over her jawline and throat are cloudy purple bruises.

Only now, looking at herself, does she realise how much she hurts. And that’s only her face. Her body, too, she notices as her gaze sweeps down over the marks and contusions that so many hands have left on her today, is a tender, throbbing mass of aches.

And she’s still naked. Suddenly burning with shame, she casts about for something with which to cover herself. Hanging on the back of the door is a fluffy bathrobe; she snatches it, shoves her arms through the sleeves, wraps it around herself and belts it tightly. It’s huge on her, of course; she has to roll back the sleeves and pick up the hem so she doesn’t trip on it, but it’s warm and comforting, and it smells like Chakotay.

She swallows back tears.

“Kathryn?” There’s a soft tap at the bathroom door. “Are you okay in there?”

“I’m fine,” she manages, and opens the door.

 

=/=


“Hold him,” Chakotay instructs after rolling Kash carefully onto his side and emptying the hypospray into his neck. “The sedative will take effect soon.”

Kathryn nods, bracing her hands under Kash’s shoulder so Chakotay can work the regenerator over his back, the more severely injured area, first.

“I’m so sorry,” she murmurs to Kash. “You did this for me.”

His eyelids flutter. “S’okay,” he mutters.

Kathryn glances up at Chakotay in relief. “He can speak. I was starting to worry.”

Chakotay’s lips compress. “The neural whip causes temporary aphasia. He got lucky. Last time she used it on me I couldn’t talk for days.”

Kathryn closes her eyes momentarily. “He knew that, and he did this anyway.”

“Used to it,” Kash slurs. “Pain.”

Her voice trembles. “That doesn’t mean it’s all right.”

“Same for you,” he mumbles, and then his breathing evens out.

“He’s asleep,” Chakotay informs her. “Good. It’ll help him heal faster.”

Kathryn bites the inside of her cheek as she watches him work, saying nothing. She helps him manoeuvre the unconscious Kash this way and that so Chakotay can run the regenerator over his wounds, all the while staying silent. When they’re done, Chakotay drapes a blanket over the sleeping Devore and gestures for Kathryn to follow him into the living room.

“Your turn,” he says, indicating she should take a seat on the couch.

She ignores it, folding her arms. “I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not,” Chakotay says, his voice short. “Most of your injuries look superficial, yes, but they’ve got to be uncomfortable, and you don’t have to suffer.”

Kathryn laughs, and Chakotay fixes her with a look.

“You have something to say?” he demands.

“Suffer,” she repeats, still chuckling. “Isn’t that just the way it is?”

“What?”

“Life.” She waves a hand, starting to pace. “Fate. Everything. Whether it’s in your universe or mine, suffering is a constant.”

Chakotay leans against the bulkhead, watching her. “From what I’ve heard about your universe, it doesn’t have to be. Seems like you chose that way of life.”

Something bursts out of her, half-sob, half-laugh. “You know what, Chakotay? You’re right. Everything I’ve done, every decision I’ve made, it’s all been designed to lead me into hell. So maybe I should just accept it. Maybe we make the fate we deserve.”

She stops, all the anger leaching from her and leaving behind nothing but despair, and finds herself seeking his eyes.

“What do I do now?” she asks him.

His brow furrows. “I don’t understand.”

“I mean about everything,” Kathryn gestures vaguely, swaying on her feet. “He’s with her, and even if I could get it to work he has it.”

Chakotay’s frown deepens and he pushes away from the wall, moving closer. “Kathryn, what are you talking about?”

“Kashyk,” she says. “He has the limina, but it doesn’t matter anyway because she has him.”

“Okay, you’re not making any sense, and you need to sit down right now,” Chakotay says firmly, taking hold of her elbows and steering her toward the couch.

Kathryn goes, unresisting, her knees folding under her as he eases her down gently. “I thought about asking B’Elanna to fix it, but then she bit me and now I don’t think she’ll respect me in the morning.” She giggles. Her head is light, her breath short. She feels as though she wants to throw up.

“Okay.” Chakotay leans over to the coffee table, dials up a hypospray and applies it to her neck.

She blinks, feeling her mind clear as the nausea abates. “Oh. Thank you.”

“Better?” he asks.

“Yes. What was in that?”

“Analgesic and a very mild sedative. You were spiralling, for want of a better word.”

“Right.” Kathryn rubs her still-pounding temple and winces at the pressure on her bruise.

“Can I fix that up for you now?” Chakotay asks, gesturing at the mess her face has become.

She nods, trying to smile. “I’m sorry for being difficult. My Chakotay – uh, my former first officer used to tell me I was a terrible patient.”

“You’d say you were fine if you’d just had your arm ripped off by a Kolar beast.”

“Something like that,” she whispers, grateful for the excuse to close her eyes as he switches on the dermal regenerator and takes her chin between gentle fingers.

 

=/=


“I’m sorry.”

Kathryn opens her eyes. “For what?”

Chakotay avoids her gaze. “About Kashyk. The captain has obviously taken a liking to him, and she always gets what she wants.”

“Oh.” Kathryn allows him to tilt her head so he can heal the last of the contusions on her jaw. “Yes. I’m worried for him.”

“She won’t hurt him,” Chakotay hesitates, “at least as long as he pleases her.”

Kathryn can’t help stiffening.

“Sorry,” he mumbles again. “I’m sure he’s hating every minute of it.”

She snorts, and Chakotay looks at her in surprise.

“What does that mean?”

“Kashyk is happy to possess any version of Kathryn Janeway. I’m certain he’s in seventh heaven right now.”

“Possess?” Chakotay repeats. He sits back, letting his hands fall from her face as he switches off the regenerator. “There’s more to it than that. I’ve seen the way he looks at you.”

She avoids his eyes. “In his own way, he does care about me.”

“And you?” Chakotay asks. “Do you love him?”

“How could I?” she says softly. “He took me away from everything I knew, everything I am.” She raises her eyes to his. “Everyone I loved.”

He looks at her for long enough that the colour begins to rise in her cheeks. Then he reaches for her hand, folding his fingers around hers.

“Tell me,” he invites, his voice gentle.

 

=/=


“He’d known all along that we were hiding the telepaths,” she explains. “When the game was played out – after his crew had transported back to his ship – he gave me a choice: he would keep his word, let Voyager go free, but only if I would stay with him.”

Chakotay’s eyes are unfathomable. “Your first officer,” he grates. “He agreed to that?”

Kathryn looks up quickly. “No,” she says emphatically. “He didn’t know. Until we reached the edge of Devore space, nobody did. I continued to command, Kashyk’s ship escorted us to the border, and as soon as we made contact with the Brenari, holding position in the shuttle outside Devore territory, I dropped our shields so Kashyk could have me beamed aboard his vessel.”

“What did he do?” Chakotay asks. “Your first officer.”

“I ordered him not to attempt a rescue,” she replies. “I told him it was my choice to stay. I was very clear about that.”

“And he believed you?”

“No,” she admits. “But he didn’t have a choice. He had our crew to protect.”

Chakotay looks down at their joined hands. “I’m trying to understand how he could have left you behind.”

“Then let me explain,” Kathryn says emphatically, pulling her hand away. “He had no option. If Voyager had mounted a rescue – if they’d even stayed near the Devore border – they would have been destroyed. Kashyk was quite clear about that, and I was equally so in the message I left for Chakotay. It became his fate to captain Voyager for the remainder of her journey. And if I damned him to that hell, then believe me, I’ll live the rest of my life regretting it.”

 

=/=


“Do you really believe that?”

“What?”

“Hell. Damnation. Fate. All that stuff.”

Kathryn sighs, rising from the couch to stand at the viewport. “I don’t know, Chakotay. Some days it’s easier than believing in the randomness of the multiverse.”

“Well, how about taking charge of your own fate?” He comes over to stand at her left shoulder. “You were a Starfleet captain, weren’t you?”

“Are you going to pep talk me?” she asks, giving him a dark look.

“I am,” he says. “You mentioned something earlier – a limina, was it? What was that?”

She stiffens. “Nothing.”

Chakotay levels a disbelieving stare at her. “You said Kashyk has it. You said you can’t get it to work, but B’Elanna might be able to. Am I right?”

Kathryn shifts her feet.

“Listen, Kathryn, I understand if you don’t trust me. But I want to help you, and I’m pretty sure Kash will, too. So if this limina is the transporter device you used to get to our universe, then there’s a chance we can help you use it to get back home.” He pauses. “Maybe you could even use it to find your Voyager.”

She chews her lip, debating. It’s clear now that her attempt to deceive Tuvok, and through him Janeway, failed, and now Chakotay knows about the limina. Lying, it seems, isn’t getting her anywhere.

Sooner or later she’s going to have to start trusting someone, and it might as well be the man who, in her universe, she trusted with her life.

“Thank you, Chakotay,” she says finally, her voice soft. “But it’s too late.”

“Why?”

Kathryn avoids his eyes. “Part of my agreement with Kashyk was that he’d help Voyager on her way, as far as it was in his power to do so. He used covert scout vessels and sensor networks to keep tabs on them for about eight months.”

She stops, and Chakotay prompts, “And then what?”

“We received reports, weeks later, that suggested there had been some kind of conflict involving a Federation starship, but for some time those reports were unverified.”

“So why can’t you use that limina to follow them?” he asks.

She shakes her head.

“Hey.” He touches her shoulder lightly. “What aren’t you telling me?”

Kathryn draws in a breath, steadying her voice. “Six months ago, Kashyk received word from one of his scout vessels. The captain had investigated the rumours about a firefight involving Voyager and had discovered the site where the battle had taken place. He brought back several pieces of debris. One was a fragment of warp core housing that could only have come from a Starfleet vessel.” She meets Chakotay’s eyes. “I studied it myself and determined that the ship had suffered a catastrophic core breach. There’s no way it could have survived.”

Chakotay’s lips part. “Kathryn – I’m so sorry.”

She nods, turning away abruptly.

“You know,” Chakotay says gently, “Voyager might not have survived, but if her crew are anything like you, they’re resourceful. There’s a chance they made it.”

Kathryn says nothing.

“If you wanted to try to get back to Earth, I’d help you.”

She closes her eyes briefly. “Thank you. But it isn’t possible.”

“Kathryn …” He guides her over to the bench seat below the viewport and cajoles her to sit, taking her hands. “Listen, if there’s one thing I’ve figured out about you, it’s that you obviously care about your crew. Don’t you want to find out what happened to them, even if it’s bad news?” He pauses. “Don’t you want to go home?”

“Yes.” Her voice is raw.

“Then why won’t you try?”

“Because it won’t work,” she emphasises. “The device’s power cell is completely depleted and I have no way to recharge it. I’m stuck in this universe, Chakotay, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

 

=/=


“I told you I’d help you.”

“No.”

“Kathryn –”

“It’s too risky. If she found out, she’d kill you.”

Chakotay huffs out a laugh. “You call this living? I’ll risk it.”

“But I won’t,” she bites back, stalking over to the coffee table and beginning to stack the hyposprays and regenerators back into the medkit. “I’ve already been responsible for Kash getting hurt. I won’t let you –” She breaks off.

Chakotay sits on the low table beside her and lays a hand on her wrist, stilling her movements. “I think that’s my decision, actually.”

“No, it isn’t.” Kathryn snaps shut the medkit and glares at him.

Chakotay’s mouth twitches.

“What?” she growls.

“Nothing,” he says, then, “You remind me of someone.”

“Who?”

“Just someone I used to know. A long time ago now.”

She puts down the medkit and fixes him with a look. “Chakotay, if you have something say, I wish you’d just say it.”

“Her,” he admits, finally. “You remind me of her.”

She frowns, then gasps as his meaning sinks in. “You mean… Captain Janeway? I’m nothing like her!”

“She wasn’t always like this,” Chakotay mutters. “She used to be –”

“What?” Kathryn’s hands are on her hips, jaw clenched.

“Never mind,” he mumbles.

She draws breath to verbally scour him – but then there’s a red blur in her mind, a swell of pain, of shame and anger that isn’t her own.

“Tuvok,” she blurts.

“What did you say?” Chakotay’s eyes sharpen.

Kathryn shakes her head to clear it. “The mind meld,” she says. “It created a link – I can feel him. In my mind. He’s talking to her – to the captain. They’re in her ready room.”

“What are they saying?”

She frowns. “She’s angry with him. He’s disappointed her… he feels ashamed. He –” she shudders, looks up at Chakotay. “Their relationship – it disturbs me. He is obsessed. He lives to please her, and she twists him around her little finger. It’s sick.”

“You don’t have to tell me about it,” he says grimly. “What does she want from him?”

“She’s suspicious of us,” Kathryn explains. “She thinks you and I are conspiring against her. She’s ordering him to prepare the brig for interrogation.”

She swallows hard, staring up at Chakotay.

“That isn’t good,” he mutters.

“You know that offer of help I just turned down, Commander?” Kathryn doesn’t wait for a reply. “Consider it accepted.”

 

=/=


“How do I look?”

Chakotay stands back, sweeping a careful eye over her from head to toe. “Pretty good,” he admits. “Maybe dial up the smug a little.”

Kathryn slinks toward him, hips swaying, trailing a finger downward along the lowered line of her jacket zipper, watching Chakotay’s eyes widen and his adam’s apple bob.

“Much better,” he manages as she stops directly in front of him.

She allows herself a small quirk of the lips. “That’s good, Commander, because our lives depend on my ability to pull this off. Ready?”

He clears his throat. “Ready.”

“Kash?”

Kash nods, straightening his shoulders. “The stimulant did the trick.”

“Chakotay, the forcefield?”

He indicates the Jeffries tube hatch cover lying on the floor. “I’ve bypassed the field emitters in this section. We’ll have about forty-five seconds before they automatically reactivate.”

“Good work.” She turns to Kash. “Wait for our signal.”

“Understood.”

“Let’s go, Commander,” she says.

Ducking through the open hatchway, Kathryn and Chakotay begin their long and silent crawl through the Jeffries tubes.

 

=/=


Chakotay picks up a tricorder in section 47 and sets it to continuous scan, simultaneously scattering his and Kathryn’s lifesigns. “Thoron particles?” Kathryn whispers, amused.

He shrugs. “Old Maquis trick.”

“Very old. Wouldn’t have fooled me.”

His eyes crinkle at the corners. “Good thing you’re not the one I’m trying to fool.”

She bites her lip against her smile and the warmth blooming in her belly. We don’t have time for this, she scolds herself. “Let’s hope Captain Janeway suffers from a surfeit of overconfidence, then,” she mutters. “Carry on, Commander.”

Their banter dwindles as they reach the access panel behind the ready room. This is when the real danger begins.

“Are you clear on the plan?” Kathryn whispers.

Chakotay nods.

“Let’s do it, Commander.”

He wrenches the panel off and dives through the hatch, rolling to his feet just behind Janeway’s desk. The captain leaps to her feet and immediately slaps her combadge, but it’s too late: Chakotay’s big hand clamps over her mouth, cutting off her call for help. His other arm clinches tight around her waist from behind and he wraps one leg around both of hers, immobilising her.

“Now,” he hisses to Kathryn, and she steps up nimbly to empty the hypospray full of sedative into Janeway’s neck.

The captain slumps immediately, head lolling.

“She’s out,” Chakotay says, swinging her into his arms.

Kathryn plucks the combadge from the captain’s chest, affixing it quickly to her own as she gives the other woman’s appearance a once-over.

“She had her hair lengthened,” Chakotay notes, indicating the tresses draped over his arm.

“Lucky,” mutters Kathryn, running a hand through her own long hair, then bends over the desk console to tap into the internal transporters. “Better put her down for this – I need a clean lock.”

Chakotay lays the captain on the deck – carefully, Kathryn notices – smooths her tumbled hair and steps back.

“Energising,” Kathryn murmurs, and the captain’s figure shimmers and disappears.

A soft beep informs her that the transport is complete. She erases the log and straightens up, taking in a deep, steadying breath.

“Showtime.”

 

=/=


The captain and first officer stride out of her ready room and onto the bridge of the ISS Voyager, taking their seats.

“Report, Mr Tuvok?” demands the captain, calmly crossing her legs.

Tuvok’s eyebrows are high. “Captain, I was unaware that Commander Chakotay had returned to duty.”

The captain turns slightly in her seat, staring coldly at her security chief. “Yes, Mr Tuvok, there seem to be quite a few things you’ve been unaware of recently.”

“Captain?”

She rises, striding slowly from the centre level around to her right, one gloved hand tracing along the railing as she climbs the broad staircase to Tuvok’s station. Her voice is low as she addresses him, but the bridge is so quiet that nobody fails to hear her.

“Mr Tuvok,” she drawls, “I’ve grown tired of your presumption. You seem to believe that you hold a position of privilege on this vessel.”

The Vulcan stands stiffly. “I apologise, Captain.”

“Yes,” she answers, “as well you should. Now, report.”

He straightens even further. “The brig has been prepared as you requested, Captain.”

“Good.”

Tuvok’s eyes flicker. “Shall I escort Commander Chakotay there?”

The captain smiles coolly at him. “There’s no need for that.”

“May I ask why?”

The smile disappears. “Because the commander and I have settled our differences, and I’m satisfied that my suspicions of him were unfounded. Besides,” she turns away, strolling casually back to take her seat, “he very gallantly disposed of my pesky doppelganger for me.”

Disposed of her?” Tuvok steps away from his station and descends to the command level. “Captain, I don’t understand –”

Immediately Chakotay is on his feet, shouldering Tuvok away from the captain. “Remember your place, Vulcan,” he growls.

“My place is at my captain’s side.”

“Oh,” says the captain, voice creamy with satisfaction, “not anymore, Tuvok. You’ve failed me too many times. You’ve questioned my orders. And now you’ve deserted your station,” she sighs. “I’m afraid that’s the last straw. Mr Ayala,” she calls. “Take him to the brig.”

“Captain,” Tuvok tries. He narrows his eyes, focusing on her.

The captain’s eyes glaze momentarily and her gloved hands grip the arms of her chair, but she grits her teeth, shaking her head to clear it.

“Get out of my head,” she grinds out. “You’re no longer welcome.”

Security officers appear either side of Tuvok, clamping their hands on his upper arms and leading him away. Only when the turbolift doors have closed behind them does Chakotay return to his chair.

“Are you all right?” he whispers, leaning over to his right.

Kathryn nods, swallowing against the subsiding nausea. “He tried to probe me. I think he suspects.”

“We’ll deal with that later,” he assures her. “But for now …”

He straightens up.

“Course and heading, Captain?”

Kathryn Janeway raises her voice. “Helm, inform the fleet to set a course for the Alpha quadrant. Warp six.”

She pauses, relishing the order.

“Engage.”