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.
IV. The Little Rose
“Tell me your name, little flower.”
Kathryn stalled; she hadn’t actually thought about a pseudonym. When she’d taken the job at the bar on Relva VII, she’d just called herself Kate, figuring it was a common enough name, but something told her that this time she’d be better off dissociating from any hints of her true identity. She thought quickly. Little flower… little rose…
“Róisín,” she answered, making sure to keep her gaze fixed on the floor. The Orion’s first words to her had made it clear he expected her to be submissive, and she knew it would be best for her mission if she didn’t draw attention to herself.
“Ro-sheen,” he repeated. “Pretty.” He reached out and curled a lock of her hair around his finger. “I am Gailis. We will be at your new home in just a few minutes. When we arrive, Kovan will process you and give you your assignment.”
The Talosian who’d talked to her at the bar stepped forward, grasping her wrist to hold her in place. Kathryn pulled back a little. “What does processing mean?” she asked. The nervousness in her voice was not entirely feigned. “What kind of assignment?”
“Patience, flower,” Gailis smiled. His communication device chirped twice. “Ah, we’re here.”
He activated the transporter and moments later the three of them rematerialised inside another transporter room. Kathryn guessed she was now in the New Sydney holocomplex. Gailis made a shoo-ing motion, and Kathryn obediently followed Kovan out of the transporter room, the Orion following silently.
The complex appeared to be enormous. Kathryn tried to keep track of the sharp turns and winding corridors, but it was a labyrinth. They passed through a number of doorways, each opened with a security code, but Kovan made sure to block her view of the input panels and she couldn’t make out the code. Eventually they came to a room that resembled a sickbay; it held biobeds and some basic medical instruments, but there was no surgical bay, no laboratory equipment, no autoclaves or imaging chambers.
Kovan selected a medical tricorder and began to scan her. “Not much meat on her,” he addressed Gailis, who lounged against a biobed. “Not as fresh as the usual meat, either. Still, I suppose there’s a market for everything.”
Kathryn bristled. This is nothing, she reminded herself sharply. Nothing compared to the disrespect those poor, stolen girls have to endure.
Nothing compared to what she knew she’d have to endure if she passed this assessment. And she fervently hoped she did pass, because if she failed, she’d probably end up dead and then those girls would never be rescued. So she swallowed her pride and stood meekly waiting for the next humiliation.
“Evidence of a fractured cheekbone and a broken nose,” Kovan continued, reading from the tricorder screen. “Looks like they’ve been healed in a Federation medical facility. Almost every single one of her fingers has been broken at some point.”
Gailis cocked his head. “You’ve had a rather violent life, haven’t you, little one?”
Kathryn said nothing.
“You may not believe it now,” the Orion continued, “but you’re going to be much happier in your new life than you were in your old one.”
I seriously doubt it, Kathryn thought, lowering her eyelashes.
Kovan put down his scanning device and moved closer. “Stand still,” he instructed her, walking around her in a slow circle. She felt his eyes on her and tried not to flinch. Finishing his visual inspection, he stood directly in front of her and raised his hands to her face. Kathryn reared back, her hands coming up in a defensive posture, and immediately cursed her Starfleet training. Kovan stopped and looked her in the eye for the first time.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, his voice surprisingly gentle. She realised he probably assumed what she’d wanted the bartender on Relva VII to believe – that she was escaping an abusive relationship and expected to be hit – and forced herself to lower her hands. Kovan ran his fingers carefully over her cheekbones and jaw.
His thumb rested lightly on Kathryn’s lower lip. “Open your mouth, sweetheart.” Kathryn complied, and he inspected her teeth. She felt like livestock.
Kovan stepped back and nodded to Gailis. The Orion slithered closer. “Take off your clothes, flower,” he instructed silkily.
For the first time, Gailis’ smile faded. “You can either undress yourself, or I can undress you. I warn you – you would prefer the former option.”
Kathryn shrugged off her shawl, reached behind her to unfasten the tight little dress she’d worn for her shift at the bar on Relva VII and let it drop to her feet. She toed off her slippers and stood straight, keeping her face impassive.
“All of it.”
Think of the mission, Kathryn reminded herself. She unclasped her bra and let it fall, then thumbed off her panties.
Gailis’ smile widened. He lifted a hand, skimming it from her shoulder, inward along her collarbone and over her chest. “No visible scars,” he murmured. “Good proportions, if a little skinny. Small breasts.” He weighed them in his hands and Kathryn steeled herself not to react. “Firm, though. Quite acceptable.” He pinched her nipples to harden them and Kathryn caught her breath involuntarily. “Responsive,” Gailis commented, his smile broadening.
His patella, Kathryn thought. That’s the first bone I’m going to break. Then the phalanges, one by one.
Gailis trailed his hands along her sides. One came to rest on her hip. The other dipped inward, lower.
The clavicle next. Kathryn clenched her teeth as the Orion’s fingers slid between her thighs. And then I’ll crush his larynx. I’m going to cause this green-skinned bastard maximum pain.
She held herself completely still, staring at a point on the far wall, as Gailis’ fingers stroked between her legs. He was skilled, and she cursed her involuntary physical reaction. Smiling, always smiling, the Orion brought his fingers to his lips and licked at her moisture. “Human women. I’ve always enjoyed your taste.” He stepped back. “You can get dressed now. You’ve passed.”
Trying not to shake, Kathryn picked her clothes up from the floor and yanked her dress over her head.
“Kovan, fit her with a dataport then bring her to the chambers. We’ll begin her training tomorrow.” He patted Kathryn’s cheek. “I look forward to getting to know you better, little Róisín. Sleep well.”
The dataport implant itched. Kathryn sat on her hands to avoid scratching at it, trying to pay attention to Kovan’s instructions.
“The transceiver contains a data crystal,” he explained. “If the client has a preferred scenario, it’s loaded onto the crystal and the transceiver is attached to your implant to download the scenario parameters. The client attaches a temporary transceiver to his occipital bone. This piece is the transmitter. It contains the holographic program and also acts as a relay, sending your data to the client’s transceiver.”
“The visualisations you’ll provide to service the client. You can draw on your own memories and adapt them to fit the scenario, or you can invent them.”
“Invent them? Like … fantasies?”
Kovan smirked. “The best net-girls are the ones with the wildest imaginations.”
Seven of Nine had explained how the technology worked, but now that she was about to put it into use, Kathryn was finding that the practice of it was a lot more unnerving than the theory.
Kovan finished tapping instructions into the console in the middle of the holosuite and clipped a transceiver to his skull, handing Kathryn her own uplink unit. “We’ll start with something straightforward - a basic bedchamber scenario. Activate your transceiver,” he instructed her, and Kathryn tapped the tiny dial that switched it on. “Good. You should be receiving the parameters.”
Kathryn’s mind filled with an image of a large white bed in the middle of a darkened chamber. Candles glowed gently in the corners of the room, guttering slightly in the breeze from an open window. She could almost smell the candlewax and the faint scent of jasmine carried on the breeze. And then Kovan appeared beside the bed. Kathryn gasped.
“Picture yourself walking towards me.” It was Kovan’s voice, but the Kovan in her mind’s eye wasn’t speaking. Kathryn’s heart started pounding. She swallowed and concentrated on moving toward the Kovan in her mind.
“Good,” she heard the real Kovan say approvingly. “Now touch me.”
“In your imagination,” he said, slightly impatient.
Kathryn pictured herself reaching out. In her mind’s image, her hand touched Kovan’s face, stroking his jaw. It felt real. She jerked back.
The vision-Kovan reached out and trailed one finger along the side of her face and down her throat. Kathryn gave a strangled squeak. He moved closer and she felt hands cupping her breasts, stroking her, the pads of his fingers playing over her nipples. Automatically her own hands flew to her chest, half-expecting to come in contact with male fingers caressing her, but she only connected with her own flesh. She closed her eyes, trying to will the sensations away.
“Don’t do that,” Kovan said sharply, and her eyes flew open. The vision-Kovan stepped back from her, and the real Kovan went on more mildly, “You can learn to control your reactions. I’ll teach you some techniques that will allow you to separate yourself from the experience. But in the meantime…”
She heard the change in his voice, and the vision-Kovan moved toward her again. He dipped his head and she felt his lips on her neck, moving lower. His arms came around her waist, pulling her against his body. Kathryn started to shake. He was tall and strong, his body firm, and it had been so long, and he seemed to know just how she liked to be touched …
She yanked the transceiver unit from her implant and threw it away from her, scooting backward on the holosuite floor. Kovan – the real Kovan – was grinning at her from the opposite side of the room. “I take it you enjoyed that?”
She couldn’t quite catch her breath; her skin tingled. “Is it supposed to feel like that? So real?”
Kovan laughed. “You seem to be particularly sensitive to the link, and Gailis was right about you – you’re very responsive. I’m betting you’re going to become one of our most popular girls.”
Kathryn’s stomach twisted. She looked away.
Kovan removed his own transceiver and pushed away from the wall he’d been leaning against. “You think that was intense? Wait until you pick up a flesh job.”
“A what? What the hell is a flesh job?” Kathryn had the feeling she really wasn’t going to like the answer to her question.
“You’ve just experienced what we call a mind job. A flesh job incorporates physical contact.” Kovan was smirking. “The sensations a client experiences through the link are exponentially heightened if you’re actually touching him as well.”
“Touching him how?”
“However he wants,” Kovan replied. “Or, more accurately, however he pays to be touched. There are various levels of contact on the pricing scale, starting from performing a fully-clothed exotic dance for your client and going all the way up to … well, I’m sure you can figure it out.”
Kathryn shook her head, feeling sick. “I won’t do that.”
Kovan just smiled. “You’ll do whatever you’re told to do, Róisín. Haven’t you been paying attention? You’re Syndicate property now. You’ll be well compensated, and if you make enough latinum you might even be able to buy your way out of your contract. Unless you’re sold at the slave market first, of course.”
He picked up her transceiver from the floor and tossed it to her. Kathryn caught it automatically. “I think we’re done here. Gailis wants you to start working the day after tomorrow. Go and eat something, and we can start on those mental discipline techniques after lunch.”
The comm terminal beeped as Kathryn stepped out of the shower. She wrapped herself tightly in a towel and activated the terminal. Gailis’ smiling face appeared.
~Good morning, Róisín. Your first client has arrived and is waiting for you in Holosuite 5. I’m sending you the scenario parameters. Familiarise yourself with them and prepare accordingly. Don’t disappoint me, little one.~
The screen blinked off, and Kathryn exhaled, trying to quell the knot in her stomach. She fitted the transmitter unit onto her console and activated the download, watching on the terminal screen as the details of the client’s scenario appeared. He wanted to experience sex in a beachside setting. Kathryn couldn’t help a small smirk. A long time ago she and Justin had gone to Risa and he’d talked her into a tumble on a secluded shoreline. As she recalled, the sand had been a problem. Still, this was fantasy; she could probably draw on that memory and turn it into something the client would enjoy.
The whole idea of it sickened her. Sharing memories of intimacy with her long-dead fiancé for the pleasure of a stranger – for latinum, no less – felt like the worst kind of betrayal. Not for the first time, she wished there was some other, less personal way to fulfil her mission; but if this was what it took to break up the slave-trafficking operation and save those innocent girls, this was what she would do.
Kathryn dressed quickly in thick leggings, boots and a high-necked sweater. Her client would visualise her in whatever he chose – a bikini, a robe, nothing at all, for all she cared. It didn’t matter, because he would never touch her; this entire transaction would take place in their minds. She scooped up her hardware and headed down to Holosuite 5.
The client sat on the other side of a forcefield. Kovan had told her that for the mind jobs, the forcefield was set to scatter light particles like a two-way mirror so that the client never actually saw the net-girl in person. He’d know he was entering the mind of the right girl, though; the transceivers the girls used were keyed to their unique specifications. She studied him through the barrier: a short, slight Andorian with nervous eyes and a sweat-sheen on his forehead. Kathryn swallowed thickly and activated her transceiver.
In her mind, the Andorian moved jerkily toward her across the sand, and it took all her willpower not to back away. You don’t have to see him, she reminded herself. She concentrated on visualising Justin’s face, but it was hard; he’d been gone for so long, and she could barely recall the shape of his jaw, the colour of his eyes.
The Andorian was close now. He reached for her, running his hands over her shoulders and down her arms, his fingers coming to rest on her waist. She felt the caress, felt his hands moving up, up, curling over her breasts. She gave up on Justin and conjured up an anonymous, imaginary lover; someone tall and broad with grey-speckled dark hair and tawny skin, and a tattoo on his –
Kathryn’s eyes sprang open and on the other side of the forcefield she saw the Andorian leap back with an irritated shout. God damn it! Not him. Not again…
The Andorian was reaching for his transceiver and blustering about wanting his money back. Quickly, she shut her eyes and pictured herself smoothing her hands on his scrawny blue chest. She heard his complaints subside, and in her vision he put his hands on her again. She leaned into his touch and imagined herself running her tongue over his throat, so smooth and warm and golden … She stalled.
Just go with it, Kathryn. Get through this, whatever it takes.
It wasn’t as though she was a stranger to fantasising about her former first officer. Even after three years of outright hostility between them, not to mention the cold war they’d sunk into during that last year in the Delta quadrant, she seemed to be constitutionally incapable of fantasising about anyone else. It was downright depressing, and it was the reason she’d avoided getting involved with anyone since they’d returned to Earth. The few men she’d taken to her bed in the months after they’d got home had all been made from the same tall-dark-and-handsome mould, but it wasn’t enough. None of them were him. She’d given up after that, resigning herself to a life without companionship.
Focus, she told herself fiercely before she could get really maudlin. You have a job to do.
She pressed her lips to his smooth, broad chest, imagining the male scent that had so often taunted her on those long Delta quadrant evenings when they worked in her quarters, sitting closer than strictly necessary on her couch and punctuating their conversation with a touch here, a flirtatious smile there. She slid her arms around his solid shoulders, rising on tiptoe to touch her mouth to his, licking at his lips, feeling him pull her close. His hands roamed the length of her back, stroking down her spine, feathering into the dip of her backside. Kathryn bit down on a sigh. She felt his lips on her throat, travelling to that spot just under her ear that made her shudder, and she pushed herself into him, craving the heat she felt licking through her nerves, wanting more of his hands and his mouth and his strong, hard limbs wrapped around her.
She closed her eyes to savour the feelings, picturing his fingers skating over her breasts and belly. She felt him drift with her to the floor, moving between her legs, sliding inside her as she opened to him without hesitation. She moved her hips against him, grinding down to feel him thicken even more inside her, felt herself begin to tremble, felt her orgasm wash over her like a tidal wave.
A short male grunt, almost a snort, made Kathryn open her eyes and turn her head toward the forcefield. The Andorian lay on the other side of it, facing her but not seeing her, his blue face dark with post-coital satisfaction. She bolted up from the floor and snatched the transceiver from her dataport, not wanting to be connected to the Andorian for one moment longer. Her body still tingling from the aftershocks of her orgasm, she ran back to her room and straight into the sonic shower, where she bumped her forehead none-too-gently against the cubicle wall, biting her lip and trying not to cry.
Gailis’ smile was even wider than usual when he came to her room an hour later. “Well done, little flower,” he complimented her. “Your client was very enthusiastic about you. In fact, he even enquired about buying you outright. You can’t imagine how pleased I am with you.”
Kathryn had recovered most of her composure. “Good. Can I have the afternoon off?”
His good mood dimmed a little, but he cocked his head and nodded agreement. “You’ll do an extra session tomorrow to make up for it,” he smiled, stroking a finger under her jaw. “Rest well, little Róisín.”
Yanas Tigan reminded Kathryn of Alynna Nechayev – spare, pale-skinned and imperious, with killer cheekbones.
“I don’t trust Starfleet,” was the first thing she said when Kathryn finally managed to bypass the security routines on her data terminal and open an encrypted comm channel. “But I trust the Orion Syndicate less. They almost ruined my business and my son is in prison because of them. Anything I can do to throw a wrench in their works is just fine with me.”
“Not to mention helping to save dozens of young women who’ve been abducted and forced into sexual slavery,” Kathryn said pointedly.
“Yes, that too,” Yanas said, airily waving a hand, “but I’ll leave the heroics to you ‘fleeters. One Starfleet do-gooder in my family is enough.”
“Your daughter?” Kathryn recalled.
“She’s a lieutenant stationed on Deep Space Nine. Ezri and I don’t speak often.”
“I’m sure you’re very proud of her all the same,” Kathryn said evenly. “Not to mention glad that she’s been able to make the most of her life instead of prostituting herself for the Orion Syndicate.”
“I get the point, Admiral. Tell me what you have and I’ll make sure it gets to Starfleet.”
“Unfortunately I don’t have much at this point. It’s been almost two weeks and I haven’t been allowed to leave this section of the complex, and I’ve had no contact with any Syndicate members other than Gailis and Kovan. I have been talking with a few of the women here, though. I’m sending you all the data I’ve gathered on the circumstances of their abductions.”
The transceiver blinked twice and Kathryn knew her time was up. “The security codes are cycling, Ms Tigan. I have to go before my transmission is detected. I’ll contact you when I can.”
But Kathryn’s luck ran out before she could reach Yanas Tigan again.
Seven had shown her how to modify her transmitter device to send a communication signal and how her transceiver could be adjusted to bypass her computer’s safeguard protocols, but Kathryn had failed to anticipate the level of paranoia employed by the Orion Syndicate’s security staff. The next time she tried to contact Tigan, they came for her before her transceiver could warn her.
It was the first time Kathryn had seen Gailis without his ubiquitous smile. “Who are you?” he demanded when she was unceremoniously brought before him, her arms held tight behind her back by one of the burly Orion guards. “Who do you work for?”
She was silent.
He threatened her for a while, but when she remained unmoved, he shrugged. “Take her to Kovan,” he ordered the guards. “We’ll send her to the Stameris complex.”
Kathryn dug in her heels when the guard tugged at her elbow. “What are you going to do to me?”
Gailis’ smile was back. “Well, I could tell you, little flower, but it won’t matter. You won’t remember it anyway.”
There was no sign of the mild humour she’d seen from Kovan previously. The guards deposited her on one of the biobeds in the medical bay, and Kovan attached an uplink to her dataport and tapped commands into a computer. Kathryn felt a buzzing sensation in her skull that grew louder and harsher. Shaking her head to clear it, she felt dizzy. “What are you doing?” she gasped.
“Goodbye, Róisín,” he said, and she lost consciousness.
There were things that she knew.
She knew her name was Róisín, and that she’d been born on Earth. She knew she was on Stameris and that she worked for Broik, the Ferengi, as a net-girl in the Syndicate complex. She knew she’d had lovers – otherwise how could she have done her job? - she remembered a young man with dark hair and solemn blue eyes, and an older man she always imagined alongside a dog. She knew she’d once had friends, and a family, but she couldn’t quite remember their names.
But there were things she didn’t know.
She didn’t know how long she’d been on Stameris, or how she got here. She didn’t know why her dreams were about exploring the stars. She didn’t know why she had a constant, pervading feeling that she was letting somebody down, that she was here for a reason and she had to escape. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep bribing the Ferengi to keep her here so she wouldn’t be sold at the slave market.
She knew she hated flesh jobs, and she knew that if she wanted to buy her way out of here, she’d have to do them anyway.
She didn’t know the man standing before her in the holosuite - her client – or why she wanted to touch him. She didn’t know why her breath caught and her stomach fluttered, or why when he spoke she felt like he’d caressed her.
All she knew was that she really, really wanted to find out.