The Coffee Nebula Board is for the discussion of Star Trek: Voyager and other sci-fi/cult shows. This is its Archive of episode discussions, top ten lists, fan fiction, and other miscellaneous musings.



3: Connections


*You never know where your life will lead you. Father always said that. The paths we take are ours, we make decisions based on where we want to end up, but the truth is that we never know. Two years ago when we had escaped Gul Evek in the Badlands, I couldn't even formulate that I would be in the alpha quadrant one minute, and 70, 000 light years away in the delta quadrant the next. I certainly did not think that at the end of that, I would be first officer on a Federation Starship. Two months ago, I thought that I would spend a good portion of my life, on that starship, with Captain Janeway guiding our joint Marquis and Federation crew home. Now here I am cutting through a tree stump using a phaser to hollow out a bathtub, on a planet where we have been stuck for a month because of an insect bite. Captain Janeway and myself. Kathryn Janeway and myself. Kathryn, it will really take time to get accustomed to calling her by her first name. But it makes sense, I do not yield to her authority anymore. We are equal now.

She hasn't accepted that we will be stuck here for possibly the rest of our lives. She has been busy setting up the equipment for her research. I recognize the thought behind that kind of activity. 'If I work hard enough, nothing is beyond me'. Maybe if I had her scientific background I would feel that way, I would feel like I could find the one thing that the Doctor overlooked in order to leave the planet. But I don't have it, so like the situation two years ago, I have to accept. Like Cap.. Kathryn, I have to work, but on a different task, the task of building a life here. In doing so, I know that the acceptance will come.*

*There, that's most of the traps set up. All things are in place. The doctor is competent, but I think that you feel a little more driven when it's your own life that's at stake. And then I didn't have a chance to help him on the ship, work on the problem, there has got to be something that he overlooked. Once I am able to replicate the pathogen and cure us, we can leave via shuttlecraft. Get in touch with Voyager if they're still close enough or an alien ship. Work and barter for a ship with the capability to get us home a lot faster than a shuttlecraft. I promised Mark that I would be home. And I will, this is just a slight detour. What on earth has Chakotay been doing? He's been in the woods for a good amount time ever since we finished building the shelter*

*That is surprising, my grace and courage, I knew that Mr. Tuvok and I had come a long way in terms of reconciling our professional differences. I didn't think that we had come that far though. Funny how it had to take something like this for him to tell me what he thought of me. The speech that the captain gave was surprising. I will also miss the laughter and the fun. During the last couple of months, we have been relaxed enough to share meal times, stories and holodeck programs as well as adventures with the crew; especially the senior officers. That includes Neelix and Kes. I wonder how the crew is taking this turn of events. I have every confidence that Mr. Tuvok will get them home, but in the immediate future, I hope that he can see that their emotional states will have to be dealt with, in order for them to move on spiritually. I think Kes will let him know that. I know that someone will, if she doesn't. They are a fine crew and they will find their way.....


*I didn't exactly plan what I was going to say. I kept it short and brief. I want them to get home. I want them to make it. I would have preferred to be with them, but that is not the case. Chakotay and I are on our own now. Funny how he didn't even stand by my side when I gave the message to the crew. He stood a little behind and to my right, as he did when we were on Voyager as the first officer. This is it, my last action as Captain of Voyager...

Well I have a lot of work to do*

*Well there was no time like the present to mention her obsession with finding a cure. After what happened at the bathtub though, I needed to get out and clear my head. I couldn't finish the sand art that I was working on. The air is so crisp our here, looking back it was an ideal place for shore leave. I wasn't prepared for seeing her dripping wet out of the tub. She is stunning. I have always seen her as my captain, my friend, never as a potential lover. It is something that has been creeping into my thoughts lately. We both had a mission and she had a fiancé before, we had a chain of command. Now we don't have any of those things. I never really thought about it until we had been stranded here. I've always wanted to have a family. I just acknowledged that one-day, when all the battles had been fought and won, I would have time for that. Now the battles are no more, and there is only one woman who can be the mother of my children.

As we spend more time here, I am becoming more aware of the type of woman that she is. I can't believe that there was ever a time when I thought she was cold. Away from all the demands of command of a starship, I can still see the resolve, the intellect and the curiosity, but even more I can see a woman who is very aware of her femininity, the civvies that she wears really do justice to her figure. I have never seen her hair down before. Sometimes I have to stop short of wanting to run my fingers through it. Her smile, which I have seen in rare moments on Voyager, comes to her face now more often and more easily. Her throaty laugh... Even though she has been working on finding a cure 24-7, when she does stop and does something in engage in the life we have here, she does so with her whole being.

She is everything I would have ever wanted and more in theory and now with that one glance, I realize that I may be falling in love with her. Is it just because she is the only person here? Would I have picked her eventually had we remained on Voyager. I don't think that I would have ever considered it then because of Mark, she really is in love with him and I think that is one of the biggest driving forces of her relentless work. To get back to him.

She resents the fact that I am making a home here. She sees it as giving up. I see it as accepting.

It's getting late, I'd better head back*

*Kathryn you have not registered anything on the screen since Chakotay left to go on his walk. All you have been able to think about is his eyes on your body and your reaction to it. Are you falling in love with him?

No, I don't want to face that question just yet.

But you have been thinking about it. His reaction to seeing you dripping wet has brought everything to the surface. What if you have to stay Kathryn, are you prepared to be his lover?

I have to get back to work, I have to get back to Mark.

But what if you can't. You and Mark were planning on have a family at some point in time after you got married. Wouldn't Chakotay be a good father for your children, a good husband for you?

He would be. There are so many things about him to like. He has a calm, a peace, and a presence about him that I don't think I have ever known in any man. I know that he is deeply spiritual. I never thought that would be important to me being a woman of science. The more I get to know him, the more I realize that there are a lot of things about himself that he was not reconciled with, but still all in all, he is at peace with himself. It is as if while searching for the answers of life, he is content to be on the journey, not missing the 'now', for the 'later'. It is what I am fighting against. But I realize that in some situations, it is appropriate. He balances me like that. I am always in a hurry to get somewhere, to accomplish something, to be some one else, I miss where I am now, what I am doing now who I am now. When I'm with him, I tend to stop and take more notice of what is going on around me. I believe that his spirituality is responsible for that.

And let's face it, he's easy on the eyes also. What I really like is his face. The lines of his face seem to impart wisdom. When we are close together talking about something and he looks at me with those eyes, giving me his complete attention, I have found myself stopping short of tracing his tattoo lightly with my forefinger. The way a smile normally tugs at the corners of his mouth before it erupts on his face. His looks of determination and resolve.

His body is not a bad second. I must admit, I have thought that the Starfleet uniform does him more justice than a lot of other people, myself included. I bet I can just fit myself against him and ...................

No, I have work to do. I have a fiancé to get back to*

*She has begun to accept. Doing it the way that I did, working on the shelter. I am truly sorry that it had to be like that. I would have preferred that she come to it on her own*

*The rest of our lives, I'm going to be stuck here for the rest of my life. I have had to give up, not because I wanted to, but because I have no choice. I've had to give up on ever going back home, of going back to Mark. Now I have to begin to build a life here, with Chakotay. It hasn't hit me yet, the full implications of that. I know that I need time.*

*I can't believe the powerful sensation of that touch, of that massage. And Kathryn felt it also. I don't think that I meant to convey desire in that touch, it just happened. And now it is in the open, what is happening between us. I could hardly face her, when she got up. Maybe I meant for it to happen, I had been thinking off and on about running my fingers through her hair and getting my hands on her so to speak, and we have been making more physical contact than before. I don't believe either of us can hide from what is developing among us anymore. Now what?*

*I can't believe that I am tossing and turning in my bed about this. I can't believe that I ran away from what was developing between Chakotay and myself earlier. I don't run. I need time. I'm pretty sure if we stay here for the rest of our lives, it will come down to allowing myself to fall in love with him and to having and raising his children. We have to face this. We can't get away from each other, there is no one else to talk to and if this is not resolved, it is going to be disastrous*


*I was right, he is with me, behind me even now. We are still connected as we were on the ship, holding hands symbolizing physically what is going on spiritually. He will not push me. He has allowed me to set the pace of whatever is to ensue between us. I can't believe that I am part of the reason for his peace. I know that he is the reason for mine. I realize now that I have come to depend on him both professionally and personally. I am glad that he is the person that I am stranded here with. We have the rest of our lives. Whatever happens, we'll make it, I remember that .*

*When I look at her now, I understand the concept of soulmates. A connection runs deep within us, something that I don't understand fully, but something I am experiencing now through the simple physical contact of holding hands. Something powerful. I trust Kathryn, when it is time, she will let me know.*


*Sometimes I really think that life can throw you a lot of curve balls. That was what this was like. We had finally realized that we were going to be stuck here on this planet for the rest of our lives, and now we get the news. A cure has been found. We have been treated. We are now going back to Voyager as Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay. Both of us have been quiet since everything happened. We have been packing in silence. Things have changed yet again. I can't help but think of what almost happened between us on this planet. But as I look back on our experience here, I realize that for me, what is more important is not what could have been, but what was.

I got to know Kathryn as a person, as a woman, more than just the Captain, and in doing so, I got to know myself. The ancient legend of the 'angry warrior'. I hadn't realized that it was the source of my disquiet. I was angry. I was angry at what life had thrown at me. I was angry with my parents and my tribe for clinging to their tribal ways in the 24th century and not adapting as much as other tribes. I was angry that when I left and was in Starfleet, I couldn't leave the tribe behind. I was caught between two worlds, belonging to neither as my father had predicted that I would be. And I was angry, enraged hateful and embittered by what the Cardassians did and what I knew my response had to be.

Now there is some measure of peace. Being for the captain has helped me attained that. I am home here at her side. I recognize that there is still a lot in me that is not quiet, but I have accepted that and the peace flows from there. When the time comes to face the disquiet which remains inside me, I believe that I will be ready.*

*It will be strange to be breathing artificial air on the ship again after spending all this time on New Earth. I can't believe this, in one short message, the hope that I had given up on was restored. We will be journeying back to the alpha quadrant. I will be able to make my way home to Mark. Until I had been stuck here, I had never really considered the possibility of not getting home to Mark, or even moving on without him. When the storm destroyed all of my research equipment, I was forced to consider the fact that I would never see Mark again and I would have to begin a new life. With the incident between Chakotay and myself, I began to see him in a different light, as a potential lover. I am still going to be making my way back to Mark but now I have to wonder. It may be a good I idea to begin letting go. I have changed a lot, my development of feelings for Chakotay confirms this. I am not the same person I was two years ago. Mark may not be either. If we get home tomorrow, we may be able to build our relationship again or we may not. We've been lost for two years now. If we are lost for another year, Starfleet will declare us lost and hold a memorial service for our families and loved ones. At that time he would have to begin his life again, with someone else, not me. And I will have to begin to move on with someone else myself. Maybe Chakotay, maybe not. I'll just have to let things unfold. That is one thing that he himself has taught me. How to give in without giving up on life*


"Lt. Tuvok, please report to my ready room"

"Yes Captain"

Tuvok entered and found Captain Janeway on her couch reading the PADD he had given to her containing the reports that were made when they were on the planet.

"Have a seat Tuvok", Janeway said gesturing to the couch. Tuvok complied.

"I was just reading your report on what happened with the Vidians. Excellent decisions Tuvok, you were able to get the serum and complete the mission with Voyager in one piece and no loss of life."

"Thank you Captain"

"I was curious though, and this is strictly off the record, what made you contact he Vidians and come back for us"

"That is something that I have been trying to ascertain for myself"


"It was a logical decision of course, but I must admit I was have been trying for the last hour to trace the path which logic took me to end up at this course of action,"

Tuvok was quiet for a moment and then looking at Janeway intently, he began to speak

"If I had to start anywhere, it would have to be with Ensign Kim"


"Yes, in the time when you were away he was almost relieved of duty once, relieved of duty on another occasion, almost thrown into the brig another time, was insubordinate to me in speech, and was responsible for rallying the crew to come to your aid"

"Harry Kim?" Janeway said in disbelief.

"Indeed. Mildly put, Mr. Kim did not agree with our course of action on leaving you on the planet. The briefing of the senior officers just before we left orbit was the first sign of his inability to deal with the situation. He stayed in the briefing room after we had adjourned for a long time. He wasn't the only one who had trouble. As I walked through the ship, I could see the lack of concentration and commitment to duty by the crew. It was noted by department heads, who were unable to get their subordinates to function at peak efficiency. Six weeks went by and I realized that the crew had no more reached a resolution about the action that had been taken. In fact when we first encountered the Vidian convoy, I realized that it was the inaction about your situation which was responsible for the lack of resolution among the crew. Still I would not be held hostage to their emotions. That was when Ensign Kim was relieved of Duty."

"What did he do?"

"He insisted that we contact the Vidians, when I made it clear the matter was closed, he tried to rally the bridge crew to his point of view. When I relieved him of duty, and threatened to throw him in the Brig, he still didn't leave the bridge. I believe the only reason that he did not end up in the Brig was because Mr. Paris, dissuaded him with the call of his name and a glance. Early the next morning, he came to my quarters to propose a plan to trade B'Elanna's DNA for the serum. When I told him no, he was almost insubordinate again and when he answered me, I believe the proper term for it is that he had a 'sneer in his voice'."

"I don't believe that Harry would ever act like that"

"Neither did I"

"But still you did not contact the Vidians, what happened next?"

"Kes came to see me. She began to talk of her father and then told me that she began to see me as a surrogate father since she had been on Voyager. As she continued speaking, I realized that what she was trying to impart to me was how the crew saw you and the commander as surrogate parents. Their level of emotional distraught began to make more logical sense to me in that light. The reaction of the crew was that of 136 children had lost their parents. But still, it was not safe; the method of rescue that they were proposing. I informed Kes that they were not the only ones feeling the effects of lost in leaving you and the commander behind. Captain, you and I have had a longer history of shared experiences than any two other crewmen have on this ship. Over the years I have come to value you as a friend as well as a colleague. If you are lost, I can never replace our companionship in my life. At that time, the meditations that I had to engage in to keep the emotions of loss repressed were intense. Kes challenged me to imagine what it would have been like for me, if I had the desire or the capability to feel emotion. I do not know how she was able to anticipate my decision at the time, but there were a good number of the crew waiting on the bridge for me. I had made my decision. We would contact the Vidians. I realized that it was the right decision by the crew's response. They had not been so responsive and diligent, since we left you behind on the planet. Their performance was exemplary. I know that I have disobeyed your orders captain, but I believe this time, it was necessary to 'bend' the rules again. Given the crew's inability to find a resolution to leaving you on the planet, it was doubtful that we would have made it back to the alpha quadrant."

Janeway was smiling and Tuvok could see that her eyes were tearing.

"Thank You Mr. Tuvok, that's what I wanted to know"

1800 hrs:

The doorbell chimed and Janeway called out,

"Come in"

Chakotay entered and said, "I have the reports that you wanted Captain"

They poured over them and made sure that things were in full working conditions. They had to deal with where they were going to get another supply of antimatter, to replace the containers that they had lost, but other than that, the ship was in good shape and all repairs had been completed.

"Want a cup of coffee Chakotay?"

He smiled at the use of his name. He was afraid, when they got back that Kathryn would increase the distance that was between them. It seemed that she wanted to do that in front of the crew, but when they were in private...

"No thanks, it will keep me up all night. How does it feel to be back"

"Damned good, it's nice to be able to order you around again" She chuckled, he looked slightly affronted, but from the sparkle in his eyes, she could see that he knew it was a joke.

"To tell the truth, I'm really glad that I'm back in the chair, I supposed I would have become used to it, but now that I am back, I can't imagine not being among the stars again."

"I heard you call Tuvok in your ready room, did you ask him why he came back for us?"

"In fact I did, you're not going to believe this......". Kathryn told him the rest of the story.

"I don't believe Harry would act like that. Well I guess that this really proves that we are one family and as 'parents', we are not dispensable in the emotional lives of the crew"

"Well Chakotay, I guess you are the father of one 'cocky, but damn good pilot' and one 'arrogant, but hell of an officer' Vulcan.

" Ohhh.......I wish you hadn't said that" and started to giggle. She joined him and after a while the giggles faded away. They sat in silence, side by side on the couch without saying anything. Chakotay broke the silence first.

"Captain................., Kathryn. I want you to know that I enjoyed our time together on the planet. I enjoyed getting to know you better. I enjoyed the way our friendship deepened with that knowledge. You truly are a remarkable woman. We both know that something was developing between the two of us on the planet. I understand and realize that our situation was a catalyst in the feelings that we developed for each other. I also know how determined you are to get home, to get back to Mark. I want you to know that what I meant what I said on New Earth. I am with you every step of the way, however you need me to be. Whatever happens we'll make it, remember that."

"I remember. I know we will make it ......Together." Kathryn was full. She looked at him, really looked at him and Chakotay allowed her to pierce him. She saw his strength, his willingness to be there for her, to support her. 'I can't imagine doing this without him' she thought.

Then gently, almost hesitantly, she raised her finger and lightly traced his tattoo. Their gaze held and it softened. She felt him tremble slightly at her touch. The she reached down and took his hand. He entwined his fingers with hers and they settled back on the couch. They were silent for a long while just being present to one another, sharing the connection they made on New Earth.

Part 4: The Second Anniversary