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.
VI. The Meat Market
“Just what exactly did you think you were doing in there?”
Róisín jumped at the Ferengi’s angry hiss. “What do you mean?” she asked defensively.
“You’re the whore, not the client,” Broik said furiously. He grabbed her by the elbow and hustled her into the viewing room behind the holosuites. “You’re supposed to make sure the client gets the good time he’s paid for. Not have him service you.”
“Hey,” she snapped, pulling her arm away. “He didn’t do anything he didn’t want to do. Trust me – he had a good time.”
She was completely unprepared for the backhanded blow. It caught her on the cheekbone and sent her staggering backward, knocking her head into the wall. The Ferengi was much stronger than he looked. Róisín picked herself up gingerly, her hand pressed to her cheek.
“You’ve done it this time.” Broik’s eyes were icy. “Two strikes and you’re out, Róisín.”
“Out?” For a brief moment she allowed herself to hope …
Broik dashed her hopes immediately. “There’s a slave market tomorrow and you’re going up for sale. With any luck you’ll be bought by someone who knows how to keep you in line. Go and clean yourself up. You’re moving to the holding pen.”
Eyes blurring, Róisín turned for the door.
“And don’t bother packing,” the Ferengi called after her. “You own nothing, because you are nothing.”
“What do you mean, she’s no longer working in the complex?”
The Ferengi dipped his head obsequiously. ~I’m sorry, Mr Miller. It’s been decided that Róisín is no longer suitable to provide our clients with temporary entertainment.~
“Why not? What’s going to happen to her?”
~Róisín will be available for sale tomorrow, if you have the means to purchase her.~
“Sale?” Chakotay’s throat seized up. “You mean as a slave.”
~As a personal companion,~ Broik corrected him unctuously.
“How much will it cost to buy her?” He couldn’t believe he was having this conversation.
~I couldn’t say. All purchases are by auction.~
Chakotay made a decision. “Tell me where and when this auction will be held.”
~Of course. I’m sending the details to you now. I wish you luck with the bidding, Mr Miller. She did seem quite fond of you.~
The viewscreen went black, but Chakotay continued to stare at it. Kathryn was being sold like property. He could only imagine how terrified she must be, not knowing who she really was, thinking she was alone in the galaxy, believing there was no escape, no rescue coming. She had already lost so much to this mission. He wouldn’t let anything else happen to her.
He turned to his crew. “How much credit do all of you have in your personal accounts?”
The most amazing hour of her life had turned out to be the ruin of it.
Róisín was furious with herself. What had she been thinking? She’d built up Broik’s trust after that embarrassing episode with the Bolian and had been well on her way to buying her own freedom. Then a dark and handsome stranger had walked into her life and turned her upside down, and now she had nothing.
She should have known. She wasn’t meant for a better life; she wasn’t even meant for a few moments of pleasure. But he’d been so compelling, so generous and kind, and she’d wanted so much to pretend, just for a while, that she was the woman he loved.
Someone banged on the door of the tiny changing cubicle she’d been sent to. “Move it, sweetheart. You’re up in ten minutes.”
Róisín got up from the floor and stared at herself in the full-length mirror. The auction attendant had handed her a couple of scraps of fabric, a hairbrush and a box of makeup and told her to “sex it up”. She’d done her best with what nature had given her to work with, and now all she could do was hope that whoever bought her would treat her with kindness.
Watching the auction lots as the afternoon progressed, Chakotay realised that the combined life savings of the Parises, Seven and himself were not going to cut it – unsurprising, as the accounts of two former Maquis, an ex-convict and a Borg who’d only been freed from the Collective a few years ago were hardly likely to rival the coffers of the Grand Nagus. Even the slaves sold early in the day, when the turnout was poor and expectations were low, had brought close to the figure Chakotay had on the data chip in his pocket. Kathryn’s auction was scheduled toward the evening and the prices had been steadily climbing all afternoon, along with Chakotay’s sense of panic.
Ducking away from the milling crowd, Chakotay tapped his concealed commbadge. “Chakotay to Seven.”
“I’m going to need you to falsify a large transaction of gold-pressed latinum. We don’t have anywhere near enough.”
“I can’t be certain yet, but think of a number and quadruple it. I’ll comm you the sale price as soon as the auction’s finished. It looks like the slaves and their buyers are taken to a kind of holding area once a price has been agreed. I assume the Syndicate verifies the transaction before they let anyone leave.”
~Understood, Captain. I will attempt to make our deception convincing.~
Chakotay closed the connection and went back into the auction hall, studying his surroundings. On the small raised stage, the auctioneer called for bids for a trembling, scantily-clad young Bajoran woman who kept her focus on the floor, except when her large Orion handler jerked the chain attached to the leather collar around her neck, directing her to walk around, turn in a circle, smile. Chakotay clenched his fists, wishing he could save her – save them all – or better yet, shut this whole rotten operation down. But if – when - they got Kathryn out, he reminded himself, they might be able to do just that.
Dancers, mostly Orion women, roamed the hall, concentrating their attention on the registered bidders, encouraging them to spend more with a sultry glance or a twist of the hips. Alcohol and tempting plates of food circulated freely. On the walls, holoprojectors displayed images of the upcoming lots. Chakotay caught sight of Kathryn’s face on the far wall and his heart beat faster, realising that soon she’d be the one up on that dais.
He was half tempted to snag a drink from the tray of a passing waiter but thought better of it; he’d be needing all his faculties to get through this. Save Kathryn, get her to safety. That’s all that matters right now. He shoved his hand in his pocket, fingering the transceiver Seven had modified.
He heard applause and saw the Bajoran girl being led from the dais toward a thickset Tellarite in the crowd, realising she’d been sold and the next woman was about to be brought in. He turned toward the curtained alcove all the previous girls had been brought through and caught sight of a flash of auburn hair and creamy limbs. This was it.
Róisín stumbled slightly as her handler jerked the chain attached to her collar, catching herself and drawing her shoulders straight. She climbed the steps to the dais carefully, trying not to fall over on the six-inch heels she’d been given to wear. The handler tugged her around to face the crowd of men below her and she closed her eyes briefly. She was used to strangers seeing her wearing next to nothing – just not so many of them at once.
“Gentlemen, I present Lot 47,” the Orion auctioneer intoned. “Róisín is an experienced and highly sought-after net-girl. I’ve been told her visualisation skills are quite legendary.” He paused while the crowd snickered. “Róisín has already had a number of pre-auction offers from previous clients, gentlemen, so we expect her to fetch a good price. Who’ll start me off with a bid of fifty bars of gold-pressed latinum?”
A paddle appeared above the heads of the crowd and the auctioneer pointed. “Thank you, sir. The opening bid goes to you. Who’ll give me fifty-five?”
Róisín focused on the far wall and tried to block out the shouts and cheers as the bidding continued around her. Her legs were shaking, partly from balancing on the towering heels, partly from adrenaline. She felt the handler yank at her collar again and realised she was being told to turn, smile, pose. Automatically she obeyed, trying not to shrink from the multitude of eyes on her exposed flesh.
“One hundred and sixty-eight bars of latinum is the highest bid, from the gentleman in black. Do I have any further bids?” The auctioneer paused. “Going once, twice … last chance, gentlemen … sold!” He smacked the gavel on the small table before him. “Congratulations, sir. The beautiful and talented Róisín belongs to you. Please proceed to the waiting chamber while your payment is confirmed.”
There was a rough tug on her collar and Róisín followed her handler down the steps at the front of the dais. The crowd parted as she passed through them and she tried to ignore the leering faces and the surreptitious brushes of male hands on her body. Her handler led her from the hall and into a long white room separated into smaller cubicles. “In here,” he said gruffly. He unbuckled the leather collar from her neck and she ducked through the curtained entrance to one of the cubicles. Inside was a small table holding two glasses and a bottle of wine, a couple of chairs, a large, plush sofa, and the man who now owned her body and soul.
Afraid to learn who’d paid an outrageous sum for the privilege of treating her as a sex toy for the remainder of her natural life – if he didn’t discard her sooner – she almost didn’t want to look. But Róisín had never been good at resisting her own curiosity. She raised her eyes to his face, and couldn’t stifle the gasp as she recognised him.
“It’s you,” she breathed, as the tall, dark stranger from last night’s session stepped forward and took her hands in his.
“Hello, Kathryn,” he said.
He tried so very, very hard to keep his eyes on her face. He tried not to look at her white, slender shoulders, or the way her milky skin was interrupted by the thin black straps of the bra that pushed her breasts up until they were almost spilling out of the low-cut cups. Silken fringe fell from the bottom edge of the bra to her navel, half-concealing the pale slope of her belly. Below that she wore the briefest of panties, with more of the fringe dipping from the back. Her slim legs were bare, her feet in strappy sandals with heels of a punishing height. Chakotay realised he was staring. He snapped his gaze back to her face.
She was smiling, a wide, delighted smile, and she was moving closer. He stepped back. She followed. He started to tremble. The edge of the couch hit the back of his knees and he fell into it. Kathryn climbed onto him, straddling him, her breasts at eye level. He watched them rising and falling as she breathed.
He was mesmerised.
She freed her hands from his and leaned in, splaying her fingers flat on his chest. “I’m so glad it’s you,” she whispered as her lips brushed his own.
This was torture. “Stop,” he pleaded, but her tongue traced the curves of his lips and slipped into his mouth, and he groaned and capitulated, wrapping his arms around her, kissing her fiercely. She eased back to plant hot kisses along his jawline and down his throat as her hands worked at his belt. Chakotay let his hands drift up her sides to cup her breasts, his thumbs tucking under the low cups, teasing her nipples into pebbled points. She gasped and squirmed in his lap. The movement made something small and hard dig into his thigh. The transceiver.
With a supreme effort, Chakotay pulled his hands from her body and clasped Kathryn’s, dragging them away from his crotch. “Kathryn, wait,” he gasped, holding both her wrists in one hand as he dug into his pocket with the other, pulling out the transceiver.
She stared at it. “You want to link with me?”
“No, it’s not an uplink. Not that kind, I mean.” He raised her chin, making her meet his eyes. “Kathryn – Róisín – do you trust me?”
She bit her lip, and he had to fight hard not to take that luscious lip between his teeth, to sink his face into her cleavage, to lick at the rosy nipples that peeked above her bra … Focus, he mentally slapped himself.
“I don’t even know you,” she was saying. “But … yes, I trust you. I don’t know why, but I do.”
“Okay,” he said. “I have to tell you something. You aren’t who you think you are.”
She stared at him, drawing back a little.
“Your name isn’t Róisín,” he went on, more gently. “It’s Kathryn Janeway, and you’re a Starfleet Admiral. You’re on an undercover mission to gather information on a people-smuggling operation. Something went wrong and your memory was interfered with.”
“Okay,” she said slowly. “I can work with that.”
“This isn’t some scenario,” Chakotay whispered urgently. “I’m not making it up. I’m your friend, Kathryn, and I’m here to take you home.” He showed her the transceiver. “If you’ll let me attach this to your dataport, it will restore your memories. But we don’t have a lot of time.”
“Why not?” she asked suspiciously.
“Because I don’t have one hundred and sixty-eight bars of gold-pressed latinum,” he said bluntly. “I had to fake the transaction when I won your auction.”
“You what?” she gasped. “They’ll kill you when they find out, and then they’ll kill me!”
She scrambled from his lap and backed away toward the curtained entrance to the hallway. “Wait,” he hissed. “Please, come back over here.”
The communicator in his pocket chirped and he answered it automatically. “Chakotay here.”
~Captain,~ came Seven’s voice. ~The Orion Syndicate has discovered our deception. Two attack cruisers are closing on our position. You need to get to the rendezvous point so we can transport you to the Flyer.~
~Do you have Admiral Janeway?~
He watched Kathryn’s eyes widen. “She’s here with me, but she’s a little suspicious. I haven’t been able to activate the transceiver yet.”
~I suggest you do so at your earliest convenience. Contact us when you’re in position. Seven out.~
Chakotay closed the connection and watched Kathryn hovering close to the doorway. “That was one of my friends. They’re on a shuttle orbiting the planet,” he said. “They’re your friends, too. We came here to find you.” He dared to step closer to her. “Please, Kathryn. Please believe me. We only want to help you.”
She swallowed, then nodded and stepped up to him, tilting her head to allow him to attach the transceiver to her implant. He clicked it into place. “Ready?” he asked. He waited for her slight nod, then pressed the activation sequence.
She gasped as the data upload initiated, her knees buckling, her body falling against his. He wrapped his arms around her to hold her up, hold her close. Her eyes closed and her lips parted as the memories streamed into her brain.
Then she opened her eyes, looked into his and said, “Chakotay…”
She was in his arms. She’d dreamed about this for so long, dreamed of being crushed against his tall, hard body, his strong arms holding her against him. He was gazing down into her eyes and all she wanted to do was reach up and kiss him.
Everything tilted. Everything she knew swam away and came back into focus, and she remembered it all. The mission. The dance at the reunion ball. The mind jobs. That fatal argument, three years ago. Róisín, kissing him, touching him. The auction. The feel of his body against hers. Strange men invading her mind, taking from her all that she kept secret. Chakotay.
“Get the hell away from me!” she gasped, throwing herself out of his embrace. She glanced down at herself and her eyes widened in horror. Turning her back to him, she wrenched at the bra until it covered her exposed nipples. She wrapped her arms around her trembling body and glared at him over her shoulder.
Chakotay’s communicator chirped again. ~Torres to Chakotay,~ snapped the half-Klingon. ~We’re being hailed by the Syndicate ships. Tom’s got the holofilter on but it won’t fool them for long. We need to get out of here.~
“Acknowledged.” Chakotay looked at Kathryn, who’d faced him when she heard B’Elanna’s voice. “We have to go. Now.”
She sucked in a deep breath, regretting it instantly when his gaze fixed on her swelling breasts. “Fine,” she hissed, crossing her arms over her chest. “But don’t think this lets you off the hook. You will explain yourself, and I have plenty to say to you.”
“I don’t doubt it,” he muttered, and pushed past her, lifting the curtain to check the corridor. “All clear,” he threw back over his shoulder. “Let’s go.”
As they crept along the hallway, Kathryn heard a shout from behind them. “That’s him!”
“Move,” she hissed, grabbing Chakotay’s arm and sprinting for the end of the corridor as fast as she could in her spike heels. At the T-junction she hesitated. “Which way?”
“Right,” he said. “I think.”
The moment of hesitation cost them their advantage. “Stop right there,” shouted a voice from behind them, and Kathryn whirled to find a pair of huge guards, an Orion and a Kessari, running toward them. Instinctively she crouched, hands up in a defensive posture, feeling Chakotay move beside her. “You take that one,” she muttered to Chakotay, jerking her head at the Kessari. “This one’s mine.”
And then the guards were on them. The Orion swiped at her with a meaty paw and Kathryn grabbed his hand, twisting her body and using her momentum to slam him into the wall. He seemed to barely feel it; she tried to follow through with a kick to his chin, but he gripped her foot and yanked, and she was slammed to the floor flat on her back with the wind knocked out of her.
Dimly, she noted that Chakotay was having better luck with his opponent, but then they were much closer in size, and Chakotay wasn’t wearing lingerie and heels. The Orion yanked her foot, dragging her along the floor until he could clasp his hand around her neck. He pulled her upright by the throat and she choked, her heels scraping on the floor as she scrabbled for purchase.
She heard the solid thwack of fists on flesh and rolled her eyes sideways; the Kessari had landed a couple of punches to Chakotay’s midsection and she could tell he was hurt, but he danced back and then surged forward again, connecting with the Kessari’s temple and jaw. Kathryn’s captor turned to watch the fight, grinning, and she took advantage of his momentary distraction. Twisting her body, she scissored her legs and shoved one of her stilettoes into his groin. He howled, his fingers unclamping from around her neck, and she dropped to the floor, gasping for breath.
She couldn’t let him recover, though. Gathering herself, she launched from the floor and barrelled into his chest, sending him staggering back. Off-balance, he stumbled and fell and she landed heavily on top of him. She delivered a sharp elbow strike to his nose and saw the blood gush, then followed up with a flat hand to his throat and a blow to the side of his head. He tried to get up but fell back, groaning. Kathryn climbed off him and brushed off her hands, smirking with satisfaction.
“Are you done?” Chakotay let his gaze sweep her from head to toe, grinning. The Kessari lay unconscious at his feet.
Kathryn readjusted the parts of her that had fallen out of her so-called clothing and raised her chin. “I’m done.”
“Then let’s get going.”
He moved quickly through the hallway. Kathryn followed, stumbling slightly on the ridiculous heels and Chakotay reached back and grabbed her hand. She tried to wrench it away but his fingers tightened on her wrist. “You need to keep up,” he hissed.
They turned a corner into a lofty-ceilinged space dotted with large columns, fountains and groups of lounges, just as shouts came from behind them. “Hurry,” Chakotay yelled, dragging her with him. She struggled to keep up. Phaser fire seared the air and Chakotay grabbed her and pulled her behind a column. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“Good,” he said, and then his arms dropped from around her, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he slumped to the ground.
Kathryn’s mouth opened in shock. Crouching beside him, she realised he’d taken a hit to his left thigh; there was a large, scorched hole in his leather pants and she could see reddened flesh though it. She checked his pulse and breathed a huff of relief to feel it strong and steady; he’d only been stunned, then. She felt in his pocket for his communicator. “Janeway to Torres.”
~Admiral!~ B’Elanna’s delighted voice came through clearly. ~Are you all right?~
“Yes, but Chakotay’s unconscious. Can you beam us up?”
~We’re a little busy at the moment, Admiral.~ Kathryn could hear what sounded like sizzling consoles through the commlink. ~We’re under attack by two Syndicate ships and can’t drop shields until we shake them. Can you hold out?~
Kathryn glanced around. The chamber was deserted, but she could hear their pursuers coming closer. “I’ll have to find us someplace to hide,” she whispered into the communicator. “Contact me as soon as you’re clear to transport us. Janeway out.”
Slipping her hands under Chakotay’s arms, she struggled to get to her feet bearing his dead weight. He groaned and his eyelids fluttered, so she slapped his face, trying not to take too much pleasure in it. His eyes sprang open. “Ow,” he complained. “What was that for?”
“Oh, you don’t even want me to start answering that question,” she hissed. She stood, tugging at his arm. “On your feet, Captain. We need to find a hiding place.”
“Right,” he muttered. He staggered upright, wincing in pain, and glanced around. “That doorway,” he said, pointing. “It looks like a storage room.”
“Let’s go.” Kathryn ducked her shoulder under his left arm and took off at a fast walk, Chakotay hobbling to keep up with her pace. The door was locked. Chakotay rammed his shoulder against it and it burst open, the pair of them falling through just as their pursuers spilled into the open chamber.
Kathryn looked around quickly. There were shelves of bedclothes, cabinets filled with hundreds of varieties of alcoholic beverages, glassware and plates stacked up to the ceiling, a storage unit filled with datachips and holographic equipment … she moved over to it and started pawing through.
“Here,” she said triumphantly. “I can modify this holoemitter to project a forcefield. I can make it look like part of the room, and it should scatter their sensors if they’re carrying scanning devices. Come over here.”
She helped him to a bench against the back wall and sat beside him, tapping at the holoemitter. “Hurry,” Chakotay urged, hearing their followers coming closer.
“Shut up and let me concentrate… Okay, that should do it.” She shifted on the bench, pressing against his side, and his arm came automatically around her. “The forcefield only projects for a couple of metres,” she muttered. “Stay still and be quiet.”
The door burst open and they watched as another Orion burst into the room, phaser held in front of him. He scanned the small area. “Clear,” he shouted, and left, banging the door closed behind him. Kathryn exhaled and started to move away from Chakotay but he tightened his arm around her waist. “Wait until we know it’s safe,” he whispered in ear. She tried to ignore the shiver her body produced at the feel of his breath on her skin.
He held her immobile, his thigh pressed along the length of hers and his mouth very close to her ear, and gradually she started to relax into him, curving closer as though her body couldn’t help reaching out for him. Stop that, Kathryn told it severely, but her body wasn’t listening. It was too busy humming with pleasure at his proximity and the warmth of his breath against her neck, the touch of his lips, the stroking of his fingers on her ribcage … “Cut it out!” she hissed, yanking herself away from him. “And you can wipe that smirk off your face, too.”
Chakotay grinned wider, and Kathryn averted her eyes before she could lean over and lick at his dimples.
Gradually the sounds of pursuit died away and Kathryn turned off the holoemitter. “It should be safe to get out of here now. Where’s the rendezvous point?”
“In the foyer of the complex. It’s the only part that’s unshielded.” Chakotay got carefully to his feet, took an experimental step forward and grimaced in pain. He turned to look at her. “Kathryn, if I slow us down you have to leave me behind. Just get yourself to the beam-out point.”
She snorted. “As much as you deserve to be left to the mercy of the Orion Syndicate, Chakotay, you know that’s not going to happen.”
“I mean it,” he insisted. “I didn’t go through all this just for you to get captured again.”
She grasped his arm and slung it over her shoulder. “You’ll use any excuse to get out of hearing what I have to say to you. Now shut up and move.”
“You are nothing but trouble, woman, you know that?” he muttered, trying not to lean too much of his weight on her as she helped him to the door.
Kathryn let Chakotay lean against the corridor wall to catch his breath while she peered around the corner. The foyer was a hive of activity, and among the prospective gamblers, drinkers and net-girl clients waiting to be greeted and placed, she could see at least a dozen armed guards. She sank back into the shadows. “We can’t go in there,” she whispered.
Chakotay tapped his communicator. “Chakotay to Flyer. What’s your status?”
~We’re holding our own,~ B’Elanna replied. ~Tom’s done okay at keeping us from taking too many hits, but don’t tell him I said so. Are you at the rendezvous?~
“We’re almost at the foyer, but we can’t get any closer. Can you beam us out from here?”
There was a pause, and Seven came on the line. ~Captain, Admiral, I’m detecting your lifesigns but can’t get a clean lock. If you can move approximately ten metres from your current position, we will drop shields and beam you out.~
“Understood, Seven.” Chakotay glanced at Kathryn. “Is there any cover out there?”
“There’s a big stand of pot plants about fifteen metres from the doorway, but we’ll have to cover open ground to get to it.”
Chakotay nodded. “Ready to go?”
She wrapped her arm firmly under his shoulders. “Ready.”
“Chakotay to Seven. Fifteen seconds to transport.”
He nodded at Kathryn, and they leapt forward, heads tucked down, and ran for the plantstand.
Shouts erupted as they were spotted from the other side of the room. Kathryn heard booted feet coming closer and she shoved Chakotay as far forward as she could, seeing him stumble to his knees behind the plants. She felt a hand grab for her and miss as she dived after him, landing half on top of him, and then the transporter beam caught them.
They materialised inside the Delta Flyer’s cockpit, sprawled on the floor with Chakotay’s arms wrapped around Kathryn. She clambered to her feet and held out a hand to help him up, then realised that three pairs of eyes were locked onto her. Seven’s eyebrow was raised, B’Elanna was blushing furiously, and Tom’s jaw was slack.
“What?” she asked defensively, then remembered what she was wearing and blushed even redder than B’Elanna. Chakotay moved protectively in front of her. “Report,” he said brusquely.
“We have sustained minor damage to the port phaser array and the replicator system,” Seven replied. “Shields are at sixty-eight percent. We are on course for the Sol system at warp nine point eight.”
Chakotay looked pointedly at Tom, still gaping at Kathryn.
“Eyes front, Flyboy,” hissed B’Elanna, and he shut his mouth with a snap and swivelled back to the helm.