Nothing But Trouble
Summary: Three years after coming home, Voyager’s former command team want nothing to do with each other. She thinks he’s a cad and he thinks she’s nothing but trouble. But when Janeway disappears under mysterious circumstances, all the slave traders, fistfights and cagey admirals in the galaxy can’t stop Chakotay from going after her.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay, Seven of Nine, Torres, Paris
Disclaimer: Somewhere, there’s a pretty snow-capped mountain that doesn’t care a whit about raining unholy legal hell on me.
Notes: Written for the VAMB Secret Summer 2016 exchange. My request was: “NC-17 J/C fic, preferably with a plot. I love thrillers and suspense. No wimpy J/C for me please. No-goes include wimpy J/C, baby fics, wedding fics”. Pretty sure that's right up my alley.
Warning: Some scenes contain non-consensual elements and could be disturbing.
II. The Mission
Kathryn Janeway’s eyes grew narrower, and her mouth firmer, the longer Admiral Theo Patterson talked.
“Pardon me, Admiral,” she interrupted finally, “but I have to ask – why me? I don’t exactly fit the profile. I’m neither young, innocent nor anonymous. And, let’s face it, I’m no great beauty either.”
Patterson leaned forward a little, ticking off his answers on his fingers. “You’re trained in covert operations, tactics and combat. You’re not as famous as you used to be, thanks to your pathological resistance to any kind of press attention over the past three years, and in any case, that Reman cloning scandal seems to have replaced Voyager in the newsfeeds recently. And regarding your, ah, physical attributes, you underestimate yourself, Katie.” Patterson’s eyes grew misty. “I remember you in that slinky little dress you wore to the last Voyager reunion ball. In fact, half the admiralty remembers…” He broke off hastily, realising Kathryn was giving him the kind of glare she usually reserved for impolite aliens and Starfleet counsellors. “Ahem. Anyway, would you really want to send a green ensign on a mission like this? Let’s just say Starfleet Intelligence believes you fit the profile admirably, Admiral.” He chortled at his own joke.
Kathryn tried very, very hard not to roll her eyes.
“So you’ll be leaving in a couple of weeks. Report to Captain Haversham in the Dover Building for your mission briefing at 1100 hours.” Patterson stood, tugging his uniform over his desk-job belly, and held out his hand for Kathryn to shake. “Good luck, Katie. We’re counting on you.”
Captain Haversham was tall, dour and thin to the point of emaciated, but his eyes were kind and Kathryn liked him immediately. She liked him even more when he greeted her with “I’ll get straight to the point, Admiral,” and then actually proceeded to do so.
“And how long is this mission expected to take?” she asked when Haversham had finished speaking.
“I couldn’t say, Admiral. We’ve been surveilling the operation for several months now, but as yet we haven’t had any luck infiltrating it. We’ll place you at the Federation starbase on Relva VII. It’s a known waystation for Syndicate operatives and we believe a good portion of the victims have been recruited from there. Most of them are sent to the holocomplex on New Sydney, in the Sappora system. If all goes according to plan you should be on the inside within a day or two. Once you’re in play, Starfleet Intel has every confidence you’ll be able to identify the perpetrators in short order and relay the information to your contact.”
“Who will that be?”
“A Trill woman named Yanas Tigan. She’s based on New Sydney.”
“Hardly. She runs a mining company. But she’s had, shall we say, unpleasant dealings with the Syndicate in the past, and she does have a daughter in the ‘fleet. She’s on our side.”
Kathryn tapped her nails on the desk thoughtfully. “And what happens when I’ve completed my mission?”
“You’ll be extracted, of course. Yanas will make arrangements to get you out of the complex, and we’ll make sure there’s a starship nearby to bring you home.”
“What about the girls?”
“There’ll be a rescue operation. We’ll be sending in the Starfleet Rangers. Sappora isn’t a Federation system, but many of those girls are Federation citizens, so HQ has approved the Rangers using any means necessary to achieve the objective.”
“All right.” Kathryn stood. “I only have two weeks to prepare, so let’s get started. Where to first, Captain?”
Haversham stood and indicated she should precede him through the door. “Medical,” he answered. “We’re meeting your friend Seven of Nine.”
“Seven? What for?”
“She has expertise in similar technology to the device you’ll be fitted with once you reach New Sydney,” Haversham answered. “I guess you could say she’s been drafted.”
Kathryn was surprised and a little delighted when the statuesque blonde stood to greet her with a wide smile and a warm embrace. “It’s wonderful to see you, Admiral.”
“Likewise. How long have you been stationed at Medical?”
“For the past several weeks. Admiral Patterson requested my assistance with the technical components you are expected to encounter on your mission.” She turned to Haversham, standing in the doorway. “Captain.”
Haversham nodded at her. “Dr Hansen. Admiral Janeway has been fully briefed on the particulars of the mission. It’s up to you to familiarise her with the technology.” He stepped out the door, offering the two women a smile. “I’ll leave the two of you to catch up.”
“Dr Hansen?” Kathryn smiled, when they were alone.
Seven inclined her head. “An honorary title. I’ve been awarded doctorates from Oxford and Harvard for my work with their research teams.”
“I’m so proud of you, Seven.” Kathryn squeezed the young woman’s arm briefly. “I was going to apologise for not being here for you much these past three years, but I can see you’ve done extraordinarily well on your own.”
“You have been busy,” Seven demurred. “And your mentoring of me on Voyager is largely to credit for any success I have achieved. It is I who should be apologising to you.”
“For neglecting to thank you sufficiently for all you’ve done for me.” Seven hesitated, then blurted, “I have tried to emulate your example. If I exhibit any of your personal qualities in any small way, I am proud.”
Kathryn felt an unexpected prickle of tears. “Thank you, Seven. You don’t know what that means to me.”
“It is past time that I told you that,” Seven said softly. “I regret that you may have spent the past three years under the impression that your guidance had not been a positive influence on me.”
Kathryn looked at her questioningly.
“I have debated whether to tell you this,” Seven rushed on. “I overheard your discussion with Captain Chakotay at the homecoming ball. He said some extremely unkind things.”
Kathryn felt heat rise in her face. “We both did, Seven. I’m sorry you had to hear that.”
“I’m not. Chakotay’s behaviour that night was the reason I discontinued our romantic affiliation.”
“What?” Kathryn was horrified. “Oh, Seven …” She’d thrown Chakotay’s feelings for her in his face that night. And Seven had heard.
“Don’t be upset, Admiral. It’s better that I discovered that aspect of Chakotay’s nature, and the nature of his feelings for you, before our relationship developed further. I consider it a learning experience.”
“Seven …” Kathryn sighed. “That argument was a very long time coming, and you saw the worst of both of us that night. I’m only sorry it led to the breakup of your first relationship. And I’m sorry that he and I both lacked the restraint to avoid saying things we can’t take back.”
Seven raised an eyebrow. “Do you regret ending your affiliation with Captain Chakotay?”
“I –” Kathryn opened and closed her mouth. “I don’t know, Seven. We were friends for a long time. We went through hell together and we relied on each other for so much. And I –” she hesitated, then admitted, “I miss him, but I think it’s too late for us.”
“I’m curious,” Seven said slowly. “Clearly, I am still learning about the complexities of interpersonal relationships. It would seem that a vehement disagreement should end any wish to remain in contact by the parties involved, and result in the gradual decline of their feelings. And yet, my observations of you and the Captain indicate that there remains a significant and intense level of emotion in your interactions.”
Kathryn was a little out of practice at deciphering Seven-speak and she really wasn’t getting this. “I’m sorry, Seven, but what do you mean?”
“I watched you dancing at the Voyager reunion ball. My conclusion was that you and Chakotay are a long way from indifferent to each other.” She turned to her computer console, giving Kathryn the privacy to gape like a fish in the wake of her comment, and added, “Perhaps it’s time to put aside your disagreements and attempt to remind yourselves, and each other, of why you became friends in the first place.”
Kathryn was silent for a while as Seven tapped into her console, bringing up a number of files. “When did you get so wise, Seven?” she asked finally.
Seven smiled at her. “Perhaps it was when two prestigious universities saw fit to award me with honours.”
Kathryn laughed. “I’ve missed you.”
“And I have missed you, Admiral,” Seven replied, briefly touching Kathryn’s hand. “Shall we get to work?”
“The flight to Relva VII will take approximately two weeks,” Haversham informed her as he offered Kathryn a hand up to the transporter pad. “Captain Bale will drop you off at the starbase. It shouldn’t take long for one of the Syndicate operatives to spot you. We expect you’ll be in the holocomplex on New Sydney within a few days of your arrival.”
“So I’m to just hang around at the starbase bars looking lonely and vulnerable until someone kidnaps me?” Kathryn raised an eyebrow.
“That’s about the size of it,” Haversham grinned. “I’m sure that doesn’t come particularly naturally to you, Admiral, so might I suggest you spend some of the trip practising your acting skills?”
Kathryn snorted. “If all goes according to plan, Captain, I’ll be needing my acting skills for a whole lot more than bar-hopping.” She hefted her bag onto her shoulder and took the PADD Haversham was holding out to her. “Any last-minute instructions?”
“No. Just … good luck, Admiral. You’re doing a wonderful thing.” Haversham shook her hand.
Kathryn inclined her head in reply and tapped her commbadge. “Janeway to Magellan. Energise.”
In the end, the kidnapping of Kathryn Janeway took less than forty-eight hours.
Relva VII was a miserable planet – barren and cold, with few redeeming features. The Federation starbase was one of the few settlements on the eastern hemisphere, the others being a duranium mine and a long-range sensor array. The starbase acted as spaceport and maintenance facility for those merely passing through, and entertainment complex for those unfortunate enough to be staying.
Kathryn beamed down from the Magellan in civilian clothing, and as soon as she’d sent an encrypted message to Yanas Tigan on New Sydney to let her know she was in play, she wasted no time in finding the nearest bar and asking for work. The bartender suggested the mining facility, but she leaned in close and whispered that she preferred a job where she didn’t have to provide too much personal information. Her furtive expression, coupled with the yellowing bruises that the Magellan’s CMO had painted on her eye socket and jaw, helped the bartender draw the desired inference: she was escaping a bad relationship and had no wish to be found. By that evening Kathryn was wearing a tight-fitting dress and serving drinks to miners.
Twenty-four hours later a Talosian man struck up a conversation with her as she refilled his wineglass. She allowed him to charm her, let slip just enough false information to ensure his confidence that nobody would miss her, and waited. At the end of her shift, Kathryn wrapped a shawl around her head, hunched her shoulders, and wandered slowly down dimly-lit corridors until they came for her.
She fought them, as they’d expect her to, but her struggles were no match for three trained Syndicate thugs. She felt her first honest flicker of fear as they shoved her shawl over her face and immobilised her arms behind her back. One of the men called for transport, and when they rematerialised on a ship, the shawl was pulled away and she was face to face with a smiling, green-skinned man.
“Welcome to the Orion Syndicate, my little flower,” he addressed her. “You are now our property. Break the rules and you will suffer. Follow the rules, and you will suffer less.”
Kathryn fought down her natural instinct to glare, and instead dug her fingernails surreptitiously into her palm, letting the pain fill her eyes with tears. “Why have you taken me?” she asked in a quavering voice.
“Because we can,” the Orion answered, his smile never faltering.