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 One

“Kathryn!” Kashyk rushes to her side, hands gentle as he tilts her chin toward him, worried eyes searching her face.

“Captain,” says Chakotay coolly, standing straight and wary in the centre of Kashyk’s quarters. “I assumed you had transported back to Voyager.”

Kathryn can’t seem to catch her breath. She stares up at him.

Chakotay’s expression changes. “No,” he says, softer, “I’m wrong. You’re not my captain.” He taps his combadge and starts, “Intruder al-”

But before he can finish, Kashyk uncoils to his feet, strides across the room and lets fly with a cracking punch across Chakotay’s jaw that sends him staggering backward.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for two years,” Kashyk declares with satisfaction.

Chakotay pushes away from the bulkhead Kashyk has knocked him into, one hand rubbing his jaw, dark eyes murderous. “And you’re definitely not Kash,” he says evenly, then presses his combadge again. “Security team to my location. We have intruders aboard.”

 

=/=


She can’t take her eyes off him.

It’s him, whispers the air she can’t quite sip into her lungs.

It’s not him, the cold logic centre of her mind informs her sternly.

But it is, pleads the warmth in the pit of her stomach and the trembling of her hands.

Chakotay, for his part, is staring right back at her. And it’s not the battered leather outfit or the mussed, grey-streaked hair or the stubbled jaw that convinces her that this is not her – she stops that thought in its tracks – not the Chakotay from her universe. It’s his eyes.

Her universe’s Chakotay never looked at her so coldly.

The door to Kashyk’s quarters – no, not Kashyk’s quarters, she reminds herself – swishes open and two men enter. Kathryn can’t suppress the whimper that rises in her throat at the sight of the first.

“Tuvok,” she rasps.

Her oldest friend looks at her carefully. “Commander,” he addresses Chakotay, “this would not seem to be Captain Janeway.”

Chakotay flicks him a faintly incredulous glance.

Ayala shoulders his way past Tuvok to wrap a large hand around Kashyk’s bicep. “Looks like we have two impostors.”

“Take them both to the bridge,” Chakotay instructs. “We’ll let the captain decide what she wants to do with them.”

Tuvok’s dark gaze, as cold and remote as Chakotay’s, alights on Kathryn’s face. “With me.”

Swallowing, she forces her feet to move, carrying her ahead of him into the corridor. She can hear Kashyk protesting loudly behind her, a scuffle, but apparently Ayala’s grip is punishing enough to deter him from further resistance. He falls in beside her.

“You miscalculated, my love,” Kashyk mutters, sotto voce.

Kathryn shoots him an icy glare.

“Move,” Ayala says tersely, shoving him in the back with his phaser.

Kashyk stops abruptly, forcing Ayala to sidestep him quickly so he doesn’t run into his back, and turns, teeth bared.

“Poke me with your little gun one more time and I’ll show you a brand-new place you can holster it,” he grinds out.

Ayala’s eyebrows shoot up into his hairline and he laughs in disbelief. “What did you say to me, frill-face?”

“Kashyk,” Kathryn warns quietly.

Kashyk ignores her, squaring up to Ayala. “You think you scare me, pretty boy? In the past few hours I’ve been whipped, bound, stabbed, insulted, and forced to watch as my woman is –” He cuts himself off. “And just when I think it’s all over, that I’m back to my life, on my ship that I command, this oaf –” he gestures in Chakotay’s direction – “stomps into my quarters and has me hauled off to gakkk-”

He’s interrupted by Chakotay’s fist closing around his neck so forcefully Kashyk can’t even gasp.

“I recommend,” Chakotay says in a voice as soft as it’s deadly, “that you shut your mouth, and don’t open it again until you’re directly addressed.” His grip tightens fractionally. “Do you understand?”

Kashyk, face red, manages to nod.

“Good,” Chakotay says, releasing him.

Kashyk coughs, hands to his throat as he doubles over sucking in air.

Kathryn swallows against her thudding heart. “You could have just asked,” she says to Chakotay, trying to keep her voice from wavering.

He barely spares her a glance. “Keep moving,” he says dismissively, and pushes past them, striding down the corridor.

 

=/=


Like Kashyk’s quarters – or rather, this universe’s version of them – the bridge of the Devore ship is almost indistinguishable from its counterpart in Kathryn’s timeline. Except, of course, for its personnel.

There are Devore stationed at several consoles, most of whom she recognises, but Rollins is at tactical and Jenkins at the helm. And then there’s the woman who rises from the centre seat, her coppery hair cut to chin-length and tousled around her sharp-cheekboned face, her lithe body encased in butter-soft leather that fits her like a second skin.

Chakotay leads Kathryn and Kashyk to the centre of the bridge and stations himself silently just behind the left shoulder of the woman facing them.

A slow smile curves her incredulous lips. “What’s this, Commander?” she husks. “Did I unwittingly step into a holoprogram, or have I broken a mirror? I hope that doesn’t mean seven years’ bad luck.”

Kashyk shakes off Ayala’s restraining hand and steps closer. Kathryn watches as his gaze drags deliberately over her doppelganger’s slender form.

“If I’d known you looked this good in leather, Kathryn,” he drawls, and she’s momentarily uncertain which of them he’s addressing, “I’d have dressed you in it long ago.”

He turns back to her, eyebrows arching.

“Though you do look lovely in silk, too. I’m afraid I’d find it difficult to choose.”

The words are barely out of his mouth before Ayala’s hand clamps down on his shoulder, sending Kashyk to his knees with a grunt of pain. Ayala leans in close to Kashyk’s ear.

“That’s two chances,” he utters, voice low with menace. “You won’t get a third.”

“No, you won’t,” intervenes the woman in leather. She bends to lock eyes with Kashyk. “And you may address me as Captain Janeway. You haven’t earned the right to call me by any other name.”

“My apologies,” Kashyk grates out, “Captain.”

Janeway straightens, dismissing him from her attention, and moves to stand directly in front of Kathryn.

“So,” she remarks. “I’m guessing you’re from the other side of the looking glass.”

She lifts one gloved hand, twining a lock of Kathryn’s hair – longer than her own – around her fingers and letting it fall.

“What am I like, over there?” she murmurs, seemingly to herself. The tips of her fingers sketch lightly over Kathryn’s face, her hair, and follow the bare lines of her throat, her collarbone, the swell of her breast.

Kathryn sucks in a breath, and Janeway’s focus snaps sharply back to her face.

“Well,” Janeway declares, her tone slow and rich with delight. “This has potential.”

“Get. Your hands. Off me,” utters Kathryn through clenched teeth.

The smile fades from Janeway’s lips, and she takes a measured step closer, and another, until her leather-clad breasts brush Kathryn’s nipples, stiffening them under the flimsy silk slip.

Kathryn can feel the other woman’s breath on her face, can see the flecks of grey and gold in her eyes and the faint freckles across her nose. Her pulse kicks up and perspiration breaks out along her hairline.

In a soft, husky drawl as familiar to her as her own reflection, the other woman whispers, “I’ll put my hands on you whenever, and wherever, I want,” and she slides one slender hand between Kathryn’s thighs and up, up, and in.

“Stop it,” Kathryn grates, and clutches Janeway’s wrist.

She can’t help the flicker of her gaze in Chakotay’s direction. But he stands silent and impassive, his eyes remote.

There’ll be no aid from his quarter. The knowledge chills and weakens her, and her grip wavers, allowing the other woman freedom of movement.

As Janeway’s gloved fingers begin to delve and stroke, Kathryn grasps her forearm, nails digging in, her whimper echoing the other woman’s hiss of pain.

Chakotay shifts at Janeway’s side, and she purrs, “As you were, Commander,” and chuckles at the instinctive cant of Kathryn’s hips as her thumb plays over Kathryn’s clitoris.

“That’s right,” Janeway croons, one hand busy under Kathryn’s slip, the other coming up to circle her bruised throat just firmly enough that Kathryn’s attention is diverted by the implied menace, “I know just how to touch you …”

Kathryn’s eyes cut desperately to Kashyk, but even if he hadn't been under threat of grievous bodily harm from Ayala, he’d be of no use to her either. He’s entirely fascinated by the slow, accomplished stroking of Janeway’s fingers, the trembling of Kathryn’s thighs, the gusting of her breath from between parted lips, harsh in the silent air of the bridge.

And Kathryn knows that in another minute – despite the danger they’re in, despite everything her body has endured these past hours, despite the avid presence of these distorted versions of the people she once considered family – in another minute, she’s going to come.

She can’t bite back a whimper of distress.

Her deliverance comes from an unlikely source.

“Captain,” says Tuvok from behind her, “as chief of security, I should point out that these intruders must be examined by myself and the medical staff before any … personal interaction … occurs. They could be carrying infectious pathogens, or implanted with concealed bio-weapons. We have no knowledge of their intentions or of how they arrived in our universe.”

With an irritated sigh Janeway steps back, pulls her hand from under Kathryn’s slip and laps delicately at the glistening leather on her fingers. “You always have to spoil my fun, Tuvok. Fine. Examine them quickly, and then have them brought to the interrogation chamber.”

She turns back to the chair at the centre of the bridge, then stops.

“On second thought,” Janeway’s smile grows, “I think our Doctor would be best placed to examine a human patient, don’t you? Have them transported to Voyager’s sickbay.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Tuvok takes hold of Kathryn’s arm and she wills her feet to move, her brain numb with shock.

It’s been two years since she last set foot on Voyager.

And this is not the way she dreamed of going home.

 

=/=


“Aside from the expected quantum phase variance at the subatomic level and a slight electrolyte imbalance,” pronounces the EMH, “there is absolutely nothing to differentiate this Kathryn Janeway from our esteemed captain. Well,” he corrects himself, “medically speaking, anyway. Superficially, there are the obvious differences in hair and garments.”

He skims a holographic palm down the length of Kathryn’s bare upper arm and she jumps, startled. The Doctor she knows – knew – would never have touched her in this manner.

“Then there is no evidence of biological threat posed by either this woman or the Devore?” Tuvok asks.

“None.”

“I will report your findings to the captain,” Tuvok nods, and turns to Kathryn. “Come with me.”

It strikes her, as she eases down from the bio-bed she’s sitting on, that Tuvok hasn’t once used her name, or her former title.

“Tuvok,” she says quietly as they exit sickbay, Kashyk behind them, escorted by the watchful Ayala.

He walks on without responding.

“It’s me, Tuvok,” she persists. “You can call me Kathryn.”

Tuvok remains silent until they reach the end of the corridor. “Step inside the turbolift,” he instructs, and orders it to the bridge.

Kathryn keeps her eyes fixed on his face as the ‘lift rises to deck one. “Are you her friend here?” she asks him, quietly, although she knows there’s no way that Ayala and Kashyk won’t hear their conversation. “In my universe, you and I –”

“I don’t know you,” he cuts her off without looking at her. “You are nothing to me. Do not presume upon the longstanding regard I share with my captain simply because you happen to resemble her.”

The ‘lift opens before she can respond, and Tuvok steps out. Smirking, Ayala gestures for her and Kashyk to follow.

It’s the strangest feeling, walking onto the bridge of the ISS Voyager.

It could almost be a holo-simulation of her own bridge and crew, Kathryn thinks. Captain and first officer side by side; Tuvok taking his station at tactical; Harry Kim at ops. At first glance the only differences are the uniforms, or rather lack thereof; it seems this Imperial starship crew has opted for well-worn, close-fitting dark leather costumes. But other differences soon become clear.

Glancing at the rear bank of stations, Kathryn observes that the majority of them are given over to tactical displays, where on her Voyager they would be dedicated to science and engineering. It’s obvious where this Captain Janeway’s priorities lie, and it’s made even clearer to Kathryn when she turns in a half-circle and catches sight of the viewscreen.

A flotilla of vessels is displayed on the main viewer. Her eyes widen as she identifies them one by one: Kashyk’s Devore warship, two Hirogen hunting vessels, an Akritirian patrol ship, a handful of Kazon raiders and several others she doesn’t recognise … “What is this?” she whispers. “What are all these ships doing here?”

Captain Janeway rises from her chair and ambles, snake-hipped, over to where Kathryn stands by the lower railing. “The Imperial Delta Fleet,” she says with satisfaction. “An alliance of like-minded species, working to a common goal under a single command structure. Sound familiar?” She leans in and whispers, “You could almost call it a federation.”

Kathryn stares at the viewscreen. “What common goal?” she asks, then turns back to Janeway, frowning. “What do you know about the Federation?”

Janeway smirks at her. “We’ve known all about your universe since the first incursion by the USS Defiant two centuries ago. Your Captain Kirk’s visit to the Empire has become legend. And a cautionary tale.”

“As has your Captain Lorca’s to our Federation,” retorts Kathryn.

“Oh, Lorca,” Janeway laughs. “That arrogant snake. He met the end he deserved.”

“What happened to him?” Kathryn asks. She thinks of Gabriel Lorca’s flint-blue eyes and the way his hands had grasped her hips, just hours ago, and suppresses the hot tingle that grips her spine.

Janeway shrugs. “The Emperor disposed of him. Of course, somebody disposed of her almost immediately afterward.”

Kathryn’s eyes widen. “Who?”

“Nobody knows. But her former Inquisitor, Katrina Cornwell, succeeded her after a particularly violent coup. Then she killed every last surviving captain in the Imperial fleet and ruled with blood and steel for twenty years.”

Kathryn shakes her head. “How do you people live like this?” she asks softly, accusingly.

“Don’t presume to judge us,” Janeway fires back at her, turning away. “Enough history for one day. I want all senior staff in the briefing room immediately. Bring the captives.”

 

=/=


“I’m growing tired of all this manhandling,” Kashyk grumbles to Kathryn as they stand, side-by-side, at the head of the briefing table.

Kathryn doesn’t bother to respond. If he thinks a little pushing and shoving in any way compares to the manhandling she’s endured over the past several hours –

She shivers in the chilled air of the conference room, wishing she had a shawl, a wrap, some kind of cover, and not only because it’s cooler in here than she’d like. There are far too many eyes on her in her thin black slip, and she’s particularly uncomfortable with the way Harry Kim’s are riveted to the hard outlines of her nipples.

Of course, he’s not the Harry Kim she remembers. With his slicked-back hair, scornfully curled lip and angry black eyes, he bears only a passing resemblance to that young man.

Janeway enters from the bridge, Chakotay in her wake, and strides directly over to Kathryn and Kashyk. “So,” she says without preamble, “what are we going to do with you two?”

“They should be in the brig,” Tuvok announces immediately.

“Space ‘em,” suggests Kim. “Him, anyway. Her, I wouldn’t mind getting to know better first.”

Kathryn suppresses a shudder, but a look from Chakotay seems to subdue Kim.

“So unimaginative, both of them,” Janeway tuts, resting a hand on Kashyk’s chest. He looks down at it with interest. “Although Harry’s right about one thing. Your presence has intriguing possibilities,” and she lets her palm slide down, down, until she cups Kashyk firmly through the front of his pants.

Kathryn feels him flinch, then straighten, widening his stance.

Janeway’s smile curves at one corner, her fingers curling, caressing. “Yes,” she decides. “Definite possibilities.”

“What do you want from us?” Kathryn grates.

Janeway flicks her a disinterested glance. “Oh, I think I’ve had everything I want from you for the time being. But your friend here…” she squeezes Kashyk’s cock, and he grunts, his dark eyes lasering into hers, “… yes, I think it’s his turn now.”

Kathryn finds herself seeking Chakotay’s eyes, and realises they’re already on her, expressionless and dark. She looks away.

“His turn for what?” she asks Janeway, voice unaccountably husky.

Janeway flips open the top button on Kashyk’s leather trousers and smirks at her, saying nothing.

“No,” says Kathryn. “This isn’t right.”

Janeway slips her slender, black-gloved hand inside Kashyk’s pants and he hisses, grasping her upper arms and dipping his forehead to hers. She turns her face toward Kathryn, the corners of her lips upturned.

“Doesn’t seem like your lover is complaining.”

“And it doesn’t seem like you’re giving him much of a choice,” Kathryn grinds out evenly, trying not to watch the slow, hypnotic motions of Janeway’s wrist or the nudging of Kashyk’s hips against her touch, or the way his hands have wandered, spreading around Janeway’s waist.

“What do you say, then, lover?” Janeway purrs, glancing up at Kashyk from under her lashes. “Should I stop, or should I let you fuck me right here on this table, like I know you want to?”

“Right here?” Kashyk repeats.

Kathryn can hear the strain in his voice. “Kashyk,” she urges. “You don’t have to do this.”

He spares her a brief, hunted glance, but Janeway lifts her free hand and tugs at the zipper on her bodice and Kashyk’s attention switches back to her. Janeway chuckles.

“Captain, please,” Kathryn tries one last time, and Janeway’s laughter cuts off.

“Enough,” she snaps. “You’re boring me. Chakotay, get her out of my sight until I find a purpose for her.” She laughs again. “Maybe she can be wet nurse to my brats. Go.”

Chakotay’s hand closes around Kathryn’s elbow. “Let’s move.”

As he ushers her toward the door, Kathryn hears Kashyk’s pained yelp and looks back to see Janeway licking blood from his lower lip. She opens her mouth to protest again.

But then Kashyk grabs hold of Janeway’s hips and tosses her onto the boardroom table, shoving himself between her legs, pinning her down as he yanks open her leather vest and leans in to kiss her with violence. Chakotay nudges Kathryn on, murmuring, “Now would be a good time,” and she turns for the door, reminding herself that Kashyk, too, can make his own choices.

 

=/=


She has to hasten her step to keep up with Chakotay’s long stride as he leads her along the corridor.

“Where are you taking me?” she asks, but he doesn’t answer, motioning her into the turbolift.

“Deck three,” he orders.

“My – the captain’s quarters?” she guesses. Then she frowns, recalling Janeway’s parting comment. “What did she mean by her brats?”

Chakotay’s gaze flickers over her with vague contempt. The turbolift comes to a stop and he strides out onto deck three.

Kathryn quick-steps after him, heart thudding as Chakotay taps the entry code into the panel beside the door of her – no, Captain Janeway’s – quarters. The door slides open.

The first thing she notices is that the large, comfortable rooms she remembers have been gutted, the muted Starfleet greys and aubergines replaced by panelled duranium and lights studded in strips along the floor. The second thing is that the suite is twice the size it was on her Voyager. It seems this universe’s Janeway has taken over the adjoining quarters.

The reason for that becomes immediately clear when Kathryn notes her third discovery.

At a table in the centre of the room sit three tow-headed human children whose ages she estimates at around five years old, and a dark-haired Devoran man she recognises as soon as he lifts his head.

The Devore scrambles immediately to his feet, gesturing for the children to do the same. “Captain,” he says quickly, “we weren’t expecting you home so early.”

“Relax, Kash,” Chakotay tells him curtly. “She’s not the captain.”

“Hi, Mama,” says one of the children. “Why are you dressed like that?”

Kathryn’s eyes widen as she realises the boy is addressing her. She switches her stare from him to the alternate version of Kashyk – whom she notices is dressed drably in rough cloth, and whose hand rests protectively on the young boy’s shoulder – to Chakotay, whose eyes seem to have softened for the first time. He meets her gaze.

“Chakotay,” she stammers, “whose children are these?”

He smiles, though it’s without warmth, and she finds herself once again swallowing the grief that’s been her constant companion for the past two years.

“They’re yours, of course,” he answers. “Don’t you recognise them?”