Walking The Wheel

By Suz suzvoy@yahoo.com

Disclaimer - Paramount owns all characters and the good ship Voyager. I'm not getting paid for this. Honestly. I'm telling the truth. Really. Will you stop looking at me like that....?

 

****

 

She looked down at the hand he offered her. Of course, there could be nothing to it. He could just be offering some assistance. She would be the first to admit that she needed some help to get over the ridge. She was independent, but she wasn't averse to taking an opportunity of help when it arose.

It was the expression on his face that had her worried. It was....hard to define. That was the only way she could describe it.

Oh she was being silly! He was just being friendly.

"Kathryn?" he queried, his eyes sparkling as if her knew exactly what she was thinking at that moment.

She reached out her right hand to clasp his and he hoisted her up. Ah. Big mistake. Now she realised why he was so eager to get her up here. It was probably one of the most beautiful views she had ever seen. It was also one of the most romantic.

Now his face was a picture of non-committal. He wasn't giving anything away. It was too late for that, however. She knew what he was trying to do, and the thought of it made her smile. He was trying to impress her.

She felt like a giddy teenager, waiting for her date to come and pick her up. She felt the way she did when she had taken command of Voyager. Butterflies in her stomach - she wondered where that bizarre description had originated from. Actually, she could probably guess where it had come from, but she wondered who had first used it.

Surveying the area in front of her she sighed in contentment. It was so beautiful and so relaxing.

"Now I see why you asked me to beam down." she told him appreciatively.

She didn't look at him, but could hear the smile in his voice. "I thought you'd enjoy it."

It reminded her of Earth. A bit greener than most of Earth perhaps, but it had a definite resemblance.

"It reminds me of Earth." he told her.

"I was just thinking that myself." She noticed that he said 'Earth' and not 'home'. But then he did tell her once that 'home is wherever you happen to be'. It was a sentiment she'd slowly began to appreciate over the last three years.

"How are the teams doing?" she asked.

"They've finished now. Neelix's team was the last to beam up about five minutes ago. We found a lot of food thankfully."

"We could use it." Kathryn stated sardonically. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had a cup of coffee. Now that they had more food to eat perhaps she could save up some replicator rations.

Her commbadge beeped. "Tuvok to Janeway."

Not wanting to ruin the moment, she sighed and then responded.

"Go ahead."

"We are ready to depart Captain."

"Understood. The Commander and I will be there directly."

Kathryn turned to Chakotay who looked just as upset as she felt about leaving.

"Come on, we'd better go."

"Yeah."

"Cheer up Commander. We can always recreate this on the holodeck."

That brought a smile out of him.

They turned around to leave, but as they did so Chakotay lost his footing and started to fall. Realising what was happening his eyes widened in fear.

"Kath-" that was all he got out before he went over.

"Chakotay!" Kathryn shouted and lunged for his hand.

Yes! She had him. He was now dangling over the edge, supported only by her hand. She could already feel the weight of him pulling viciously on her arm.

"Chakotay!" she called, trying to pull him up. "Climb up."

"I can't grab onto anything!"

"Grab on to me!!" she screamed. Frantic now, she shouted into her commbadge "Janeway to Voyager! Beam us up."

Tuvok's cold voice was the one that answered. "I am unable to comply Captain. Transporters are off-line."

"What?! Well get a shuttle down here right now."

She looked down at Chakotay again. She couldn't ignore the pain in her arm anymore, and she couldn't get her feet to stay dug into the ground. "Come on Chakotay, I can't hold on much longer."

"Kathryn." The word was spoken softly. He met her gaze directly. She saw so many things there - love, respect, understanding...and forgiveness. He only mouthed the next words but his intent was clear. 'Let me go'.

"What?" she exclaimed, furious.

"Let me go."

She slipped further and swore.

"You can't hold on for much longer, and I won't take you with me."

"I'm not just going to let you die!" she shouted down at him.

"Isn't that better than both of us dying??!"

"I'm not letting you go."

He smiled. How could he be in such a dire situation and still smile? He looked completely at peace with himself.

"It's alright Kathryn. I know what has to be done. And I want you to know that you're not responsible for anything that happens."

Kathryn slid forward some more, desperately trying to hold onto something, anything, to stop him from falling.

Her arm couldn't take anymore. She wasn't designed to hold onto a man of his size for this length of time. Her grasp was weakening.

"Let go." he repeated.

She couldn't, but her body didn't agree with her. Just before her arm would have given out he managed to yank his hand from her grasp and fell. It was a long drop.

 

****

 

She watched him fall from the cliff with a curious detachment. After realising that she was probably going to lose him Kathryn hid inside and The Captain took over.

The most logical course of action was to discover the extent of his injuries.

Stony faced, she started to crawl down the other side - the safe side. If he had fallen down that side he probably would have only got a few scrapes and bruises.

Her pace increased as Kathryn tried to break out from under The Captain's thumb. The Captain would not let this happen completely, but she could sense Kathryn's urgency. This was the man she loved.

Covered in dirt and hair out of place, she ran over to Chakotay's still form.

"My God." she muttered, finally showing some emotion. How could there be so much blood?

He was so still. That scared her more than anything else did.

She knelt down beside him, desperately trying to push away the tears and the terrible burning sensation at the back of her neck. She wouldn't cry - yet. She had to see what she was doing if she was going to help him.

Gingerly, she gently felt his body for broken limbs, not wanting to make him any worse.

He appeared to have a broken arm, leg and had also broken some of his ribs. She didn't want to know how many, but there was a good chance that one of them had punctured his lung. She damned her own stupidity. Why hadn't she taken a tricorder?

His face was covered with cuts and bruises, but she brushed her hand gently on the one part that was curiously unharmed - his tattoo.

"Chakotay?" she whispered, terrified that he wouldn't answer.

Then she heard it. It wasn't a word, but it was definitely breathing. It rattled in his throat, as if screaming to get out. She checked that his airway was clear and confirmed that he had a pulse. It was very weak, but it was there.

She couldn't think of anything else to do. She couldn't risk moving him, which would cause even more damage. This was so frustrating - just waiting until the shuttle arrived.

The Captain took off her jacket and lay it over top of him. She wasn't sure how much protection it would give him, but he was most likely in shock - a fatal symptom sometimes.

What else could she do? Kathryn grasped his hand on the arm that wasn't broken and began to talk.

 

****

 

Once...there was a female warrior who commanded a great vessel. By accident she and her war party found themselves far away from their origins on their own. There she meant an angry warrior. He was handsome, fierce, but also incredibly gentle. He joined forces with her because her war party was too small and weak to defend itself. At the beginning there were...difficulties...but eventually they overcame them and began to live together.

Then one day..the female warrior and the angry warrior were trapped together on a planet with no hope of rescue. The female warrior refused to give up hope at first; she couldn't after everything they had been through.

Then slowly...so slowly she didn't even notice at first, he made her love him. His patience, humour and wisdom were part of this. But most of it was his openness. He let her see the secret he was carrying, and she was overwhelmed.

Miraculously they were rescued by their war party. The female warrior was glad to be back with her people, but her relationship with the angry warrior had changed forever.

She couldn't allow her personal feelings to come before her war party, for she had vowed she would get them home no matter the cost. The angry warrior seemed to accept this, for his was a patient man.

But..then...everything changed. The angry warrior was fatally wounded and for the first time the female warrior truly understood what she needed from this man. And now it might be too late.

 

****

 

The shuttle arrived shortly, and as the door opened Tom and the Doctor stepped out. They headed over towards Chakotay, where The Captain was still holding onto his hand, willing him to live.

It took all of Tom's willpower to not say anything about the state that the Commander was in. He could see the affect this had on the Captain already.

 

****

 

The Captain hovered next to the bed, trying to stay close, but also trying to stay far away so that the Doctor could do his job properly. He and Kes were working frantically over Chakotay, shouting out various treatments and ideas that meant almost nothing to Kathryn.

She glanced down at her hands...and saw the blood. That's when the full impact of it hit her. Slowly raising her hands to eye-level she stared at them, horrified, a scream starting in the back of her throat. It started as a low moan, then escalated rapidly in hysteria.

Kathryn had broken free.

B'Elanna had entered sickbay just as the scream started and looked in shock at the Captain.

"Oh my God!! Oh my God oh my God Oh my God!!.." on and on she went. B'Elanna raced over to her, choosing not to look at Chakotay. He must be seriously injured if the Captain was acting like this.

She grabbed the Captain by the arms, but she resisted, still shouting, tears pouring down her face.

"Torres to Paris." she didn't even wait for him to answer. "The Captain's in shock, I need your help down here." She wasn't going to ask the Doctor or Kes for help, they needed to concentrate.

B'Elanna tried to lead Kathryn away but she refused to budge. As least she had stopped screaming now. Instead small, unintelligible sounds escaped as she watched Chakotay.

Tom arrived and with his help they managed to move Kathryn to the Doctor's office. They sat her down in the Doctor's chair, wrapped her in a towel and started treating her for shock.

B'Elanna started speaking to her. "Kathryn?" Nothing.

"Kathryn. Look at me." she made it an order, and that got Kathryn's attention. "I know you want to be with him, but it would be best if you stayed out of the way and let the Doctor and Kes do their job."

Kathryn seemed to snap out of it. "I know...it's just...it's just that...I need to be with him."

"You will be." B'Elanna assured her. "Soon. You don't think Chakotay would every leave you, do you?"

Kathryn smiled very slightly, then looked down at her hands. She winced. "Will you just.._please_..get this off my hands."

She started rubbing at the now dry blood, trying to get it off. Tom appeared with a bowl of water which Kathryn thankfully washed her hands in.

"I'm sorry for...losing it in there."

"It's perfectly understandable. You were in shock, and you nearly lost the man who...well." She cleared her throat. "I don't know what I'd do if something happened to helm boy here." She shared a private grin with Tom.

She glanced back at Kathryn, who was watching them intently, looking regretful. "What is it?"

Kathryn struggled with the words. "I...I never told him," she whispered, as if to herself. "And now he might die and I never told him!"

She started crying again and B'Elanna enveloped her in a hug. She had never seen her Captain like this.

 

****

 

"I want to find out why the hell the Transporters weren't working."

She knew she was being too harsh on Tuvok, but she had to focus on something.

"Ensign Kim and Lieutenant Torres have already started a level one diagnostic of all transporter systems." He reported. "Additionally, I have begun my own investigation. I find it oddly coincidental that the Transporters would malfunction when you needed them."

Kathryn stopped her pacing in the Doctor's office and turned to look at him, really seeing him for the first time since he had entered the room five minutes earlier. That was not an option she liked, but there was a distinct possibility that it was no accident.

"Yes," she began, then faltered slightly. "It's just...that I can't imagine anyone _wanting_ to harm Chakotay."

Tuvok nodded. "I must agree. Despite the precariousness of our beginnings, I had thought that all differences had now been set aside. I hope that I am incorrect in my recent assumption."

Kathryn nodded absently, then turned to look out of the doorway at Chakotay. Her hands were clasped behind her back tightly, as she tried to stop herself from going to him. She'd already allowed her crew to see far much more than was acceptable.

Tuvok regarded her from his position next to the Doctor's table. It was obvious how much the Commander had come to mean to her, and the Commander had felt the same way about the Captain for much longer. Longer than anyone suspected, except perhaps for Kes.

He moved forward smoothly, standing behind her. She was so intent on Chakotay that she didn't even notice.

"Captain, I do not believe that anyone would object if you were to take some time off. It has been a long time since you have."

Kathryn turned her attention towards Tuvok. What was he getting at? Then she understood. In his own emotionless way, he was giving his blessing on a relationship with Chakotay. She was extremely grateful for that, but she wasn't sure herself if she wanted one. But as she turned back to study the man of her thoughts she knew there was only one way she could go. She wasn't going to lose him because of her protocol, not after everything they'd been through.

 

****

 

The wolf observed silently.

 

****

 

Kathryn hung Chakotay's medicine wheel next to the bed he was lying on. It reminded her briefly of the time two years ago when he had been pronounced brain dead. Through bizarre circumstances he had recovered. Now she hoped that something would happen, bizarre or otherwise, that would heal him.

The Doctor and Kes had fixed most of his injuries, but one of his ribs _had_ punctured a lung. The Doctor had managed to stem the massive internal bleeding after hours of surgery, but there was nothing she could do for now. All they could do was wait.

She moved the coyote stone onto the medicine wheel and listened to it softly click into place. She almost missed being on the bridge, but she'd much rather be here watching over him. In fact the Doctor had told her that it would probably be beneficial to Chakotay. Her hair was down, and she was wearing the pink dress that she had worn when they were on New Earth - she knew it was his favourite.

B'Elanna had shown her how to use the medicine wheel and had volunteered to stay with her to watch over Chakotay, but Kathryn had declined. She needed to do this by herself.

Turning back to him she pulled her chair closer and sat down. Picking up his hand as she had done before she started rubbing it gently and began to tell the story again.

 

****

 

The lizard walked towards the wolf, interested at what she was watching. The wolf smiled slightly as the lizard sat next to her. He had always been curious and this time was no different.

 

****

 

She finished the story and realised that she had tears in her eyes again. Grabbing a tissue from the supply she had brought with her she began blowing her nose in earnest, yet tried to cling onto her dignity while she did so. The last thing she wanted was for him to wake up to see her, face stuffed in a tissue making embarrassing noises.

She giggled slightly at the thought, then caught herself. That was the first time she had laughed since the accident. Kathryn didn't know why, but she felt better, as if some unseen visitor were cheering her up.

Her vigil over Chakotay continued through the day and most of the night. Visitors came and went to check on his progress, but so far there had been no change.

Eventually her own exhaustion caught up with her and she fell asleep.

 

****

 

The wolf and the lizard nodded at each other, both agreeing on what had to be done.

 

****

 

"I'm not sure I can 'define parameters'. But I can tell you a story, an ancient legend among my people."

 

"Don't you die on me Kathryn."

 

"It's about an angry warrior who lived his life in conflict with the rest of his tribe. A man who couldn't find peace - even with the help of his spirit guide. "

 

"Start breathing!"

 

"For years he...struggled with his discontent, but the only satisfaction he got came when he was in battle. This made him a hero among his people, but the warrior still longed for peace within himself."

 

"Breathe, dammit breathe!"

 

"One day, he and his war party were captured by a neighbouring tribe, led by a woman warrior."

 

"Don't do this to me Kathryn."

 

"She called on him to join her, because her tribe was too small and weak to defend itself from all its enemies."

 

"Come on Kathryn, breathe."

 

"The woman warrior was brave, beautiful, and very wise."

 

"Don't you die on me."

 

"The angry warrior _swore_ to himself, that he would stay by her side, doing whatever he could to make her burden lighter."

 

"Come on breathe. Kathryn, listen to me, you have to breathe."

 

"From that point on _her_ needs would come first."

 

"Start breathing!! Come on! Come on!! No, Kathryn!! You can't die."

 

"And in that way...the warrior began to know...the true meaning of peace."

 

"Kathryn, we're gonna get you back."

 

****

 

Kathryn woke quickly, expecting to see him watching her. Nothing. There was no change. She moved her head and groaned slightly as she stretched out. That was not a comfortable position to sleep in. She started thinking of how good a back rub would feel, but then that brought back memories of New Earth. She smiled slightly at the thought of it, and wished more than ever that he were awake so she could share those same memories with him.

The Doctor entered from his office. "Ah, I see you're finally awake. I found you here two hours ago but thought it best to leave you. You haven't been getting much sleep at all considering you are supposed to be on holiday."

Kathryn ignored his not-so-subtle hint. He informed her that there had been a brief flurry of activity during the night when Chakotay's heart rate and increased rapidly. However, the Doctor had determined that it was a result of Chakotay being in REM sleep. It was a good sign that he was able to dream it indicated that there was no permanent brain damage. Kathryn had slept right through it.

It worried her that she hadn't even noticed - she must have been more exhausted than she felt. And as she thought about dreams, she suddenly remembered hers.

Blurry images at first, then becoming sharper, more defined. Words and phrases, but saying what? Bright light. No, not bright light. Lightning. The angry warrior who wasn't angry anymore.

It had been so realistic, as if she had been re-living it. Who knew? Maybe she had been. She'd been more open to the messages dreams carried since the time Kes had been injured. Kathryn had been forced to question her previously unfailing belief in science - and had discovered that her belief didn't go as far as she'd thought it had.

A few minutes of depressing thought later, Tuvok entered sickbay. Her sleep filled eyes did not go unnoticed by the Vulcan. She obviously needed more rest.

After half an hour of talking (you couldn't really argue with a Vulcan) he finally convinced to go to her quarter's and get a decent, comfortable sleep.

Not wanting to leave Chakotay without saying something, she leant down and brushed the hair just above his forehead.

"I'll be waiting for you." she whispered.

 

****

 

He moved around the empty space, following the signposts. They were the only things that were guiding him home. Then he heard it. Actually, heard wouldn't be the right term for where he was. He was _aware_ of it. He didn't know where it was coming from or who was saying it, but he knew it was vitally important. But he didn't know why it was important, either.

 

****

 

Slowly, ever so slowly, he became aware. Of himself, of what had happened, of Kathryn.....

As his consciousness walked the wheel, his body was healing. But slowly. Ever so slowly...

 

****

 

She had to admit that she was glad she had taken Tuvok's suggestion. Kathryn felt much better after getting a few hours sleep in a comfortable place.

She washed her hair, and decided to let it dry naturally. It had a tendency to become brittle if she used the dryer too often.

Dragging the brush through her wer hair she paused as she had the eeriest feeling that someone was watching her. She spun around from the mirror waving her brush wildly, determined to strike out at whoever was there. But there was no one. Chagrined, and feeling more than a little foolish, she lowered the brush. Not that it would have done her much good anyway.

Smiling at herself for being silly, she turned back to the mirror and resumed brushing. Kathryn had just started thinking about Chakotay when she felt something touch her hair. She definitely had _not_ imagined that. Looking frantically about the room and feeling more paranoid by the second, she called out "Computer, is there anyone in my quarters except for me?"

"Negative."

She didn't believe it for a nanosecond. She felt it again, a cool breeze against her skin. And yet breeze was the wrong word. It was a tingling sensation, almost as if she had pins and needles, but not quite as intense. It surrounded her, blinding her though there was no light. Every nerve ending in her body sang at the glory of it.

She gave into it, not able to resist something that she had never experienced but felt so familiar.

The love, God the _love_.

Though she couldn't see anything, she could _feel_ everything. Whatever was causing this was projecting its feelings onto her. Somewhere inside her, where she was still coherent enough to think, she realised that this was for her. All for _her_.

Patience, desire, forgiveness, respect, understanding...she understood it all.

 

****

 

Kathryn jumped as she woke in her quarters. Running a shaky hand over her face, she wondered how the dream could have been so real. After washing her hair she had apparently fallen asleep. Glancing at the chronometer she frowned when it told her that she'd only finished washing her hair five minutes ago.

Still feeling as if her skin was tingling she got up from her bed, grabbing the hair brush from the table. She gasped when she looked in the mirror. Her hair was dry.

 

****

 

He'd done what he could. He had tried his best to show her that he was still here, that he wasn't going to leave her, not ever. As he moved about the silence of her room he only hoped that it had been enough.

What had to be done now would almost wear him out - of that he was sure. But then it had taken just that amount of effort to get to her in the first place. And why had he done that? Just to try and reassure her, to let her know that she wasn't alone.

Concentrating all of his energy on his next destination, he felt himself stretching, reaching. Frantically trying to hold his essence together he passed through the wall of her quarters, on the way to his final stop.

 

****

 

Kathryn paused just long enough to throw on her dressing gown, and then pelted out of her quarters. She had no idea where she was heading but knew that she would find her way.

 

****

 

He swam towards the light, a heavy weight pressing on his chest. Trying to break free he thrashed his body to shake whatever it was off. Success. But his breath was coming harder now and the amount of air he had left was running out.

Kicking his legs as hard as he could he pushed himself higher and higher, up towards the light.

He broke the surface.

 

****

 

Chakotay slowly woke up. He knew who he was, where he was and why he was, but he still didn't want to open his eyes. He could sense the light that was just above his face, and knew that it would be painful to see it after spending God knew how long with his eyes closed.

He forced up his eyelids and instantly regretted it. Slamming them shut again he just barely managed to refrain from groaning.

Trying a different tactic he opened them very slightly and let them get used to the light.

Suddenly the Doctor materialised next to him.

"Please state the nature of the...oh, I see you're awake Commander. Welcome back." He had asked the computer to activate him when Chakotay awoke, and now it reminded him that he had to inform the Captain. She would be glad to know that he was awake.

Chakotay blinked groggily. The Doctor was glad that there were no mirrors in sickbay. He was sure that if the Commander saw himself in this state it would not do much for his confidence.

"Kathryn..." Chakotay asked, the name croaking in his sore throat.

The Doctors eyebrows rose. *Kathryn indeed*.

"Actually, I was just about to inform the Captain of your condition."

But as he planned to do so, something deep inside him stirred. It wouldn't let him form the words, no matter how much he contorted his face or rose his volume control.

Chakotay noticed the strange expression on his face. "Doctor?"

The Doctor flickered briefly, then solidified again. Instantly he lost his expression of frustration and stood taller, towering over Chakotay. His eyes were black.

 

****

 

Where the hell was she going? Pure instinct had driven her out of her quarters, pushing her to discover what had happened there. The two sides of her battled it out - Captain and Kathryn, scientist and spiritualist, skeptic and believer.

She knew what she _should_ be, but she also knew what she had to be. She entered the turbolift.

"Sickbay."

 

****

 

"Doctor?" Chakotay asked again, his panic rising as he realised what was happening. This was not a good situation to be in. Just waking up after a near fatal accident and finding yourself face to face with a psychopath.

 

The hologram said nothing, but examined the Commanders body with a predators eye. "It's amazing how fragile these humanoid bodies are. Your species has been incredibly lucky to have survived this long." From the look on his face, Chakotay had the feeling that the Doctor didn't want this particular member of the human species living for much longer.

Experimentally he tried to move his foot slightly to see if there was anything there. He could feel no restraining field in place so his hope rose a notch or too. He did his best to lay there looking terrified. It was not a difficult task.

"Computer," instructed the Doctor "place a level one quarantine field on this door. Medical authorisation code Alpha X374."

"Confirmed." the computer replied, it's tinny voice echoing throughout sickbay which now seemed a much smaller place to Chakotay.

 

****

 

Tuvok nearly frowned as the small blip appeared on his screen. Intriguing.

 

****

 

Kathryn nearly tapped her foot with impatience as she mentally willed the turbolift to hurry up. She didn't know why but she had to get to sickbay urgently.

 

****

 

Chakotay nearly passed out when the Doctor pressed slightly on his chest. The pain was excruciating.

 

****

 

"Tuvok to Doctor."

"Go ahead."

"Doctor, my panel shows that you have placed a level one quarantine field around the entrance to sickbay."

"Yes Lieutenant, it appears that Chakotay was infected by something while he was on the planet. A particularly clever little bug. It had managed to hide itself thus far without being noticed."

"Why does this facilitate the need for the whole of sickbay to be sealed off?"

"The forcefield around his biobed was not raised at the time."

"Do you believe this will be a serious threat to the ship?"

"I do not think so, but I thought it best to seal the area immediately."

"Understood. Keep me updated as to any further developments."

Tuvok ended the hail, but the Doctor's words of reassurance didn't sit peacefully in his mind. If he had allowed himself to show the emotion, Tuvok would have been disgusted with himself. Vulcans do not operate on a hunch. Pure logic and understanding would eventually be the key to solve any mystery. Even so...

He pressed several buttons on the console.

"Lieutenant Paris, you have the bridge."

 

****

 

Chakotay lunged from the bed as the Doctor finished his conversation with Tuvok. Actually, it was more of a feeble hop considering the condition he was in, but it started him going. Since the doctor had paralysed his vocal cords he hadn't been able to shout for help over the comm line, but he could still try and escape.

Ducking under the Doctor's attempts to hypospray him he reviewed his options. He couldn't order the door to open by voice command, but perhaps he could enter it onto the keypad.

"Come on Commander," the Doctor sneered "surely you don't think you're going to escape?"

Ignoring him Chakotay ran into the doctor's office, forming a plan in his mind. The Doctor followed him in and Chakotay immediately swung around and dived passed him. To try and hit him would have been useless - his hand would have passed right through him.

He landed outside the office with a grunt, wincing as he did so. He quickly got up and wacked the panel by the Doctor's door, erecting a forcefield around the office. The Doctor was annoyed but unperturbed. He simply dematerialised and then reappeared outside his office.

Those few seconds gave Chakotay the chance to enter his override code into the keypad by the main door and run into freedom....or in this case Kathryn. Realising who it was he dragged her up, his eyes begging her to run.

Not understanding what he was trying to get at, but realising the fear that was there Kathryn asked "Chakotay? What is it?"

Then she saw as the Doctor entered the corridor, holding a phaser.

"Computer, deactivate the EMH."

Silence. The Doctor smiled gladly and pointed the phaser at them. Kathryn pushed Chakotay behind her despite his silent protests. She had a much better chance of surviving a phaser blast then he did in his current condition.

"Doctor, put the phaser down." She and Chakotay whipped their heads around (he a little slower than her) and stared in joy at Tuvok. They had never been so happy to see the Vulcan. He had his own phaser pointed at the Doctor, as did two of his security men.

"I hardly think you're going to do much damage." the Doctor told him, knowing full well that the phaser beam would pass right through him.

"I believe you are mistaken." Tuvok calmly replied and he shot the mobile emitter.

The Doctor vanished.

Chakotay and Kathryn both sighed in relief then turned to embrace each other. Unfortunately the adrenalin that had been keeping Chakotay going stopped pumping and he promptly passed out.

 

****