Here I Stand

Chapter 11

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

The organized commotion of the Starfleet Medical emergency center shimmered and solidified before Chakotay's eyes. Doctors and nurses of every size and shape, all in blue uniforms and carrying padds. Medics pushing antigrav stretchers. Crisp antiseptic smells, quietly intense voices, bright-white lights, the background beep and whirr of medical equipment.

It all leapt up for his attention and assaulted his heightened senses.

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

He slapped his comm. "Chakotay to Janeway."

Nothing.

He charged down from the transporter pad and crossed to the triage station in two long, powerful strides. "That Lieutenant who just arrived — Lieutenant Kim?"

The young Ensign at the station looked up. "Are you Commander Chakotay?"

"Yes."

She hooked a thumb toward the bank of lifts behind her. "The EMH just took Mister Kim to surgery. Sixth floor." Chakotay took a step in that direction, but the woman stopped him with a look. "He said he'd comm you as soon as he knows something, and you should stay out of his hair. So to speak."

Chakotay took a fast step toward her her, but she held up her hands in a placating gesture. "I'm just the messenger, sir."

He took a deep breath, gathering himself and fighting to maintain his focus.

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

"I want a security team on Lieutenant Kim immediately. Do whatever you have to do. My authority."

The young woman began punching commands into her console. "Aye, sir."

"Harry's parents live in South Carolina. They need to be notified."

She nodded. "Right away, sir."

"And I need a secure comm station."

She pointed to a set of double doors to her left. "There's a fully equipped tactical suite just through those doors."

He headed that way. "Lieutenants Tom and B'Elanna Paris will be beaming in shortly. Send them in."

"Aye, sir."

He strode through the double doors and paused for the retinal scan that confirmed his clearance. As promised, the tactical suite was packed tight with communications, sensor and ops equipment, all linked back to Starfleet Security and Command in the event of a widespread medical emergency. It looked almost like a miniature version of Voyager's Bridge, minus the command chairs and main viewscreen. Chakotay sat down at the comm station and punched in the code for Kathryn's house, memorized in a sentimental moment but never used.

When there was no answer, he tried her office comm. Still no answer.

He slammed his fist against the console.

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

His comm badge beeped to life. "Paris to Chakotay."

"Chakotay here. Report, Tom."

"We're at my parents' house. B'Elanna's getting Miral settled." The younger man paused. "Commander, if the car was requisitioned in Admiral Janeway's name—"

"I've already tried her," Chakotay said. "She's not at home or in her office, and she's not answering her comm."

"Shit," Tom hissed. "Dad's trying to get the tracking data on the car. We can backtrack and figure out where the attacker went after Big Sur."

"Tell Owen to send the data to the tactical suite in the Starfleet Medical emergency wing. And get here as fast as you can."

B'Elanna's voice answered. "Aye, sir. We'll bring Admiral Paris, too."

Chakotay nodded. "Good work, both of you." He deactivated his comm, set a side console to receive the data stream, and activated the secure comm with the codes for Starfleet Officer Housing. Tuvok and his family were still on the planet visiting colleagues after Celes and Billy's wedding. So were Mike Ayala, Sue Nicoletti, Philicia, Vorik, Hoke…a double handful of Voyager's crew. As soon as they knew what had happened, they would surely place themselves at his disposal.

The comm screen lit up with Tuvok's image. The Vulcan looked like he'd been awake for hours, not roused just past dawn by an urgent message from Starfleet Medical. "Commander Chakotay," he said, frowning slightly. "Are you…well?"

Chakotay nodded. "I'm fine. But I just brought Harry in. He was attacked late last night."

Tuvok drew back slightly from the screen, an indication of his extreme surprise. "Attacked? By whom?"

"I don't know yet. I realize you're just here on leave for the wedding but—"

Tuvok cut him off with a curt nod. "Of course. You require my assistance in locating Lieutenant Kim's attacker."

"There's more, Tuvok," he said in a low voice, and quickly related all the details he knew, from the timing of the incident to Kayma's disappearance and Kathryn's possible involvement.

"You believe Admiral Janeway may be in danger?"

Chakotay leaned toward the screen. "I can't find her, Tuvok." He heard the bewildered quake in his own voice and brought it back under control. "Tom and B'Elanna are trying to get the tracking data on the car, but I think I know where the attacker went after Big Sur."

Tuvok cocked his head to one side. "Would you prefer me to investigate the scene of the attack, or meet you at Admiral Janeway's townhouse?"

"Scene of the attack," Chakotay said. "I was there, but I didn't have a tricorder with me and it was raining so hard I couldn't see much of anything."

"And you were concerned with Lieutenant Kim's health, I presume."

It wasn't a question, but Chakotay caught the concern, however tightly controlled, in Tuvok's voice. "It's bad, Tuvok," he said. "The EMH took him right into surgery. Some kind of energy weapon, but it left an open wound and…burns."

"Your kinswoman, and possibly the Admiral, could be in danger of becoming victim to the same attacker."

"Yes." Chakotay punched a series of coordinates into his console. "I'm sending you the location now. There's a silver civilian car there that might have been left behind by the attacker. Start with that."

"Aye, Commander."

Chakotay took a deep breath. "And…I'm going to contact Seven and send her your way, too."

Tuvok raised an eyebrow at him. "Her assistance will be valuable," he said diplomatically.

Chakotay scowled. "I'm sure it will. Chakotay out." He closed the channel and started to punch in the second code on his list, but hesitated with his hand hovering over the keypad. He'd seen Seven a few times since they'd parted ways more than six months ago, but they'd barely exchanged more than a handful of polite words. For an instant, Chakotay wasn't at all sure how Seven would react to him, or if he should even contact her.

But…

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

If only for Kathryn's sake, Seven would want to help.

Chakotay clenched his jaw and punched in the rest of the code. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the data on the Starfleet car begin to scroll across the side screen. Instrument diagnostics, power usage… There. Location and time stamps. The scrolling numbers didn't mean much to him; he wasn't as adept at reading raw terrestrial coordinates as Tom. "Computer, superimpose incoming data on a conventional map of the area."

The screen changed, and Chakotay recognized the landforms of northern California, with a growing green line showing the car's journey from San Francisco down to Big Sur the previous afternoon, where the time stamps indicated a long stop before the course headed slightly south to Kayma's beach. "Computer, zoom in on the map."

Chakotay watched the green line connect the beach with a small café a few klicks away from his house. The time stamps paused again, then headed north along the Old Cabrillo Highway. Just around a sharp bend in the road the car stopped for a few minutes at the scene of the attack. At 2215, just after Chakotay had decided to drive all the way to San Francisco in order to let Kathryn sleep, the Starfleet car had started its own course north, moving fast.

Cursing himself for sentimentality, Chakotay imagined The Falcon's course as a red line moving in the same general direction, but along the Old Cabrillo Highway that hugged the coast. He'd taken the longest possible route from Monterey back to Kathryn's house, while whoever was driving the Starfleet car had turned inland at Monterey and taken a more direct route.

With a sick feeling, he watched the green line extend quickly to San Jose and San Francisco, while his imagined red line meandered through the forest and along the coast. Both lines converged just off the Starfleet grounds at a particular townhouse…but the Starfleet car got there half an hour sooner, and stopped two blocks away.

The attacker, whoever it was, had then lain in wait there until almost midnight, long after Chakotay had left. Just after midnight, while he was speeding home, head and heart full of nothing but happy anticipation, the Starfleet car had left San Francisco in the opposite direction.

The comm console brightened again. Seven's lovely face hovered there, surrounded by a mane of sleep-tousled fair hair. Even though it had been months since he'd spoken at length with her, he recognized both the surprise and concern in her expression. "Commander," she acknowledged. He was grateful that she hadn't called him by name. "You are calling from Starfleet Medical. Are you well?"

Under other circumstances, Chakotay might have been amused by her statement of the obvious and her question, identical to Tuvok's. "I'm fine," he replied, "but there's an emergency and I need your help. Are you busy?"

To his disbelief, she blushed and glanced over her shoulder. Chakotay tried to see what she was looking at and caught the hint of movement in the room behind her. She was not alone.

It was 0615 on a Sunday morning, and Seven was not alone.

Chakotay cringed. In the weeks they'd been together, she'd never once asked him to spend the night with her, and he'd never offered to stay. Feeling a curious mix of shock, regret and relief, Chakotay waved her off. "Never mind, Seven," he said quickly. "I can take care of it myself."

"No, Commander," she said, her apprehensive expression settling into a slight smile. "You said when we parted that we would remain friends. Might this be an opportunity to establish that friendship?"

Chakotay returned her small smile and nodded. He had no regrets about the end of his relationship with Seven, especially given the possibility of a life with Kathryn—provided he was able to rescue her from whatever trouble she'd gotten herself into. But he'd seriously underestimated Seven of Nine. They all had. "It would be a perfect opportunity, Seven. But only if you're sure."

"I am sure." The doors opened behind him and Seven glanced over his shoulder, her attention captured by the two figures who entered the room: Tom and B'Elanna, in uniform and looking alert and determined. "Friends assist each other in times of crisis. Tell me how I may be of assistance to you all."

"Thank you, Seven." Tom and B'Elanna slid into the chairs on either side of him. B'Elanna squeezed his shoulder on her way past. "I need you to meet Tuvok at a crime scene in Big Sur. I'm sending you the coordinates now."

"What is the nature of this crime?"

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

Chakotay's hands, resting on the console in front of him, clenched into fists. "Harry Kim has been attacked by an unknown assailant."

Seven's eyes widened. "Is he all right?"

He shook his head. "No, he's not. He's here at Starfleet Medical. The Doc is working on him now."

"I see."

"When he was attacked, he was with my cousin Kayma. She's now missing."

Seven stared at him. "Abducted? But why? And by whom?"

"We don't know, Seven. But we have reason to believe Admiral Janeway is in danger as well."

Seven gasped. "Why?"

"Because Harry and Kayma were in the Admiral's Starfleet car. It was taken from the crime scene. Admiral Janeway hasn't answered repeated hails."

Seven nodded once, curtly, a gesture that reminded Chakotay so much of Kathryn a lump rose in his throat. "I will assist Commander Tuvok. Send me the coordinates, and—"

Tom spoke up from the station to Chakotay's left. "Sending them now, Seven."

"And I've already got your site-to-site arranged," B'Elanna added.

Seven's gaze darted over her shoulder as if she'd heard a sudden noise. "If you could…give me a moment?"

"Of course, Seven." There was movement behind Seven again, and a deep, male voice called her name. On either side of him, Tom and B'Elanna leaned back in their chairs and exchanged a wide-eyed glance. Chakotay cleared his throat. "We'll initiate the site-to-site in one minute, if that's all right."

She gave him a grateful look. "That would be acceptable. Seven out."

Chakotay closed the channel. The three friends stared at each other, speechless. Five seconds passed. Ten.

Finally, Chakotay rubbed his chin and attempted to bring them all back to the task at hand. "We don't have time for this," he reminded them all. "Not right now. Where's Admiral Paris?"

Paris nodded, all business again. "He stopped to talk to Harry's parents. He should be here in a minute. Did you look at this tracking data?" He pointed to the growing green line on the screen, now moving steadily north, away from San Francisco.

"From the time stamps," Chakotay answered, "it looks like Harry was shot somewhere around 2200 hours."

B'Elanna tapped the console in front of her, eyes on Seven's site-to-site progress. "What time did you leave Admiral Janeway's house?"

"Just before midnight," Chakotay replied and pointed to the screen. "The Starfleet car left her neighborhood thirty minutes later. Can you scan her house for lifesigns?"

"I already did. There's nobody there."

Frustrated, Chakotay ran a hand through his hair. He had hoped, maybe foolishly, that Kathryn was simply exhausted from the late night and hadn't heard his hails. "Why is this data stream so slow? Can't we get the current location of the car?"

Tom and B'Elanna traded glances again. "Of course, Commander," B'Elanna said. She pulled up a second map and pointed out a green dot in Oregon. "There. The car stopped about an hour ago and hasn't moved since."

Chakotay peered at the map. "That's near Crater Lake," he said. He'd hiked the area many times as a Cadet and knew the area well. "Why would they drive seven hundred more kilometers and just stop there?"

"Rendezvous?" Tom offered. Chakotay and B'Elanna both turned to him. He shrugged and waved at his map, with the green line heading north—to Crater Lake, they now knew. "They were moving fast," he said. "One-seventy-five, maybe two hundred kph. There has to be a reason."

Chakotay turned back to B'Elanna's console and rapped a knuckle on the green dot near Crater Lake. "Lifesigns?"

"Give me a sec," B'Elanna said, and tapped her console again. She shook her head. "There are a lot of people there. Humans, Bajorans, a couple of Vulcans… But there's nobody within half a kilometer of the car."

"Campers and hikers," Chakotay murmured. "Can you isolate Kayma's unique biosignature?"

B'Elanna shook her head. "Not without her DNA profile."

As a civilian, Kayma would not have a DNA profile on record at Starfleet Medical, and Chakotay had no idea where it might be on file. Probably with a family doctor in Ohio. They could scan for her using his DNA profile, but he suspected it would take too long to isolate the genetic markers they shared. And there was a much faster way to find the answer he needed. "If you had Kathryn's?"

B'Elanna shrugged. "Sure. If I had clearance to get it from her next of kin, or commanding officer."

Tom jumped up. "I'll go get Dad," he said, and bolted from the room.

Chakotay swiveled his chair to face the screen to his left, where the green line crawled toward a spot just southwest of Crater Lake and stopped. He stared at it until his eyes glazed over and he had to close them.

Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger.

Who would do this, and why? The Maquis were all but obliterated. The former members of his crew were all living quiet lives since their return from the Delta Quadrant. The attacker surely wasn't Maquis.

Kathryn's position made her a high-value target. It was possible that the attacker had gone after her initially to get to him, but now that this first phase of the operation was complete, there could be a larger, more ambitious plot in play. Tom's suggestion of a rendezvous seemed more and more likely. The groundcar hadn't moved for an hour. The scan for Kathryn's DNA was probably pointless by now. Whoever had taken her wouldn't be stupid enough to just leave her there, not in a Starfleet groundcar that was trackable and impossible to hide.

But he had to try just the same.

Chakotay rubbed his forehead and sighed, willing himself to be calm. B'Elanna moved to stand behind him. "Are you all right?" asked softly.

He dropped his hands into his lap and rolled his head against the back of the chair. "What do you think?"

"Did you sleep at all last night?"

"For a couple hours while I was waiting for Kayma to get home." He looked up at B'Elanna, his oldest friend, and nearly came undone at the compassion he saw in her eyes. "I should have figured this out sooner," he muttered. "Kayma's not trained for this. She's probably scared and confused and-"

"But Admiral Janeway is with her," B'Elanna said fiercely. "She won't let anything happen."

"I know."

B'Elanna glanced around the tactical suite. "There's a replicator. Have you eaten?"

"Don't nursemaid me, Torres," he groused, but couldn't deny the gnawing in his gut was only partially due to anxiety.

"You're no good to them tired and hungry." She crossed to the replicator and returned with a stack of peanut butter toast, a bowl of fruit and two glasses of orange juice. "Here. Eat as much as you can before you head to Admiral Janeway's."

He glanced at her over the top of his glass. "How do you know that's where I'm going?" The juice exploded across his tongue, cool and sweet. He hadn't realized how hungry he was.

B'Elanna shrugged. "That car's been at Crater Lake for an hour. We can scan for her, but we both know she's probably not there. If we don't find her biosignature right away we'll have to widen the scan net. That'll take time." She popped a strawberry in her mouth. "While we wait, you'll go to her townhouse to see if she left you a clue."

He downed a slice of toast in five quick bites and washed it down with more orange juice and a handful of grapes. The food took the edge off his hunger and eased some of his apprehension. "I'm that predictable?"

"When it comes to Admiral Janeway? Yes." She gave him a sidelong glance and helped herself to a slice of toast. "So. She was at your place last night?"

"We don't have time for this," he said again, but allowed himself a small smile anyway. "She came for dinner and stayed for the sunset. We talked. And that's all I will say."

"The look on your face says the rest anyway, Chakotay." She patted his arm. "Good for you both."

Before he could thank her for her support, Tom and Owen stalked into the room. Chakotay rose, brushing toast crumbs from his civilian trousers. He'd forgotten he was still out of uniform. "Admiral."

"At ease, Commander." Owen nodded toward B'Elanna's console. "Tom explained what you need and I've released Katie's medical records. You can scan for her now."

"Thank you, sir," Chakotay said, and sat back down.

"Scanning," B'Elanna said, and they all held their breath until her shoulders slumped. She turned back to them with a resigned expression. "She's not there."

Chakotay shook his head. "It's been too long."

B'Elanna's hands flew over her console. "I'll widen the net, but scanning for something as specific as one biosignature will be slow."

"Now what?" Tom asked.

Chakotay looked up to find Owen Paris staring at him curiously, his head tilted to one side. "Do you have a suggestion, sir?" he asked, but Owen merely raised his open palm, as if ceding the floor to him.

Chakotay frowned and turned to stare at the map of the Crater Lake area again. There was something familiar about the location of the groundcar. He remembered hiking the region as a young man, through the scrub pine forests and among the mountains. But that area southwest of the lake…

He surged forward in his seat and pointed to the map. "Isn't there an old shuttle pad there?"

Owen peered over his shoulder. "I think there is. Launch and landing training used to be based there, but that was decades ago. Starfleet had stopped using it by the time I was a cadet."

Tom stepped up beside his father. "You think they've left the planet?"

"I don't know," Chakotay said. "But we can't rule anything out."

His comm beeped. "Tuvok to Chakotay."

"Chakotay here. Report."

"We found the civilian car," the Vulcan said, voice raised over the sound of pounding rain. "It is a standard rental vehicle from an establishment in San Francisco."

"DNA markers?"

"Several. Human, Betazed, Bajoran, Ferengi."

"Nothing conclusive?"

"No, sir."

"Great." Chakotay drummed his fingers on the console in front of him. "How about the surrounding area? Anything?"

Seven's voice chimed in this time, crisply efficient. "There is a great deal of Lieutenant Kim's blood," she said, causing them all to wince, "but very little else."

"Any evidence of weapons fire?"

Tuvok again. "No, sir. We found no traces of energy weapons fire. The attacker must have connected with one shot."

"All right. We've located the Starfleet car. I want you to check it out carefully, and then head to the old shuttle pad just southwest of the car. We'll send you the coordinates." He nodded to B'Elanna, who began setting up another site-to-site. "Anything else to report before we send you there?"

Tuvok hesitated. "There is a second civilian vehicle here. I presume this is The Falcon, Commander?"

Chakotay rose to recycle his empty glass. "It is."

"Would you like us to secure it for you?" Chakotay could have sworn there was a hint of excitement in his voice.

He stopped in his tracks. "Secure it how, Tuvok?"

"We could…return it to your home."

"No." He fished in his pockets. "I have the starter anyway."

Seven's voice cut in again, and there was definitely a hint of excitement in it. "I could reconfigure the tricorder as a remote starter, Commander," she said. "Or perhaps a small infusion of nanoprobes—"

"NO!" Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tom and B'Elanna exchange a smirk. He waved them back to their consoles. "Just prepare for transport, both of you. And stay away from my car."

There was a pair of disappointed "Aye, sirs," and the comm channel closed.

Chakotay turned to B'Elanna. "Keep scanning for Kathryn's biosignature, and also for anything that might indicate a shuttle launch from that old pad."

"Aye, sir. I'll report as soon as I know something." She whirled back to her console and got to work.

Tom stood up. "Do you want me to go with you to the Admiral's townhouse?"

Chakotay shook his head. Apparently he was predictable to Tom, too. "No. Find Vorik and send him to help Seven and Tuvok. He's got a good eye for geological features and might be able to spot a hiding place, if Kathryn and Kayma managed to get away. Then see if you can track down Mike Ayala and send him to me at Kathryn's house."

Tom nodded and turned away from him. "Aye, sir. And…should I send Sue Nicoletti with a team to ready the Delta Flyer II while I'm at it?"

Chakotay clapped him on the shoulder as he headed for the exit and the transporter pad in the triage area. "You read my mind, Tom."

Admiral Paris cleared his throat. "Now, wait just a minute, son," he warned, and they all turned to stare at him. "I'm as worried about Katie and Kayma as you are—"

"I doubt that," B'Elanna muttered. Owen gave the back of her head a scathing look, but continued.

"But you've been in front of a classroom for the last nine months. Let's wait until we can put together a plan and bring in a qualified tactical leader for the mission."

"'Qualified?'" Chakotay roared, furious. All the anxiety he'd kept at bay all night, all the anger and worry, came pouring out. He dropped his chin and lunged at Owen Paris. The older man did not back down. "There is no one more qualified for this mission and you know it."

"I don't know any such thing, Commander," Owen said mildly, "but I do know you're dangerously close to insubordination." He was wearing that curious, appraising expression again.

Seething, Chakotay made another hasty move toward him, but Tom stepped in between them, pushing Chakotay slightly away from the Admiral. "Explain it, Chakotay," Tom said quietly. "Make him listen."

Chakotay took a deep breath. "I know Kathryn better than anyone," he said intensely. "I know how she thinks and what she'll do. I've been coming to her rescue for seven years, and I won't stop now just because I'm in Starfleet's backyard." He grasped Tom's arms and set him aside. Chakotay's whole existence had narrowed to this single moment, his attention tight and focused only on the crisis at hand. Kayma missing. Kathryn in danger. "There are no two people in the universe more important to me than Kayma and Kathryn. They need me. Kathryn will expect me to come find them. And I will find them." He straightened under the Admiral's unwavering scrutiny. "You can order me to stand down, but I will still find her."

Owen Paris blinked…pursed his lips…and rocked back on his heels, a slow, sly smile spreading across his face. "There's the Chakotay Katie's been telling me about for weeks, and the one she needs now. I'm glad to meet him." He grasped Chakotay by the shoulder and steered him toward the exit. "Let's go find your cousin and your Kathryn, Commander."


"Wake up!" A cruel hand seized her shoulder and shook it. "Wake up, damn you!"

Kayma tried to turn away from the harsh voice in her ear, but she was lying wedged against a wall and couldn't move. The hand shook her again, harder this time. "Stop it," she groaned, and realized the gag had been removed from her mouth. "Stop it! I'm awake."

She opened her eyes and found herself in a dark, bare cell, with her hands and feet still bound. Suder was moving away from her toward another prone figure lying against the opposite wall: Kathryn. He shook her awake, too. The Admiral jerked away from his touch and Kayma could have sworn she started to lash out at him with her feet, but stopped herself at the last instant. "Get your hands off me," the Admiral hissed.

Suder laughed his dark, dangerous laugh. "I'll be sorry to be rid of you, Kathryn, but it can't be helped." He waved his weapon at her. "First things first, however. We'll be reaching our final destination in a few minutes. And then we'll have a little quiz about command codes."

Kathryn's face went blank. "I've forgotten all my command codes," she said calmly.

"I suggest you start remembering, Admiral," Suder sneered. "Because if you don't…" He turned his weapon on Kayma. She shrank back from his angry gaze. "We both know I don't really need the girl. If you want her kept alive, you know what to do." He turned and stalked from the cell. When the door opened, Kayma tried to peer beyond it, but couldn't make out anything aside from a dim, dingy corridor, almost as poorly lit as the cell. She slumped against the wall again.

Kathryn wriggled across the small space and moved in next to her. "Are you all right?"

Kayma nodded. "At least they took the gags out so we can talk."

Kathryn nodded. "They probably did it to make sure we kept breathing while we were unconscious. For now, at least, they need us alive."

"How long do you think we were out?"

Kathryn's brows knit together. "I'd say about three hours."

Kayma's eyes widened in surprise. "How can you tell?"

Kathryn shrugged. "Bladder."

"Oh!" Kayma thought about it…and decided that sounded about right. "Where are we?"

"This looks like a small cargo bay." She raised her bound hands and gestured at the room at large. "Maybe a shuttlecraft or a utility vehicle."

She gasped again. "We're on a ship?"

Kathryn nodded. "Moving at about three-quarter impulse, judging from the feel of the engines. They're trying not to draw too much attention." Kathryn stared at the binding on her wrists, which now matched Kayma's. "Damn. I was about to get out of the other thing." She dropped her hands back into her lap and sighed.

Kayma licked her lips. "Now what?"

"What do you mean?"

"Aren't we going to do something?"

"Such as?"

Kayma flapped her hands helplessly, appalled at the Admiral's nonchalance. This was not the Kathryn Janeway whom Chakotay had been telling her about for a month. "Aren't we going to try to escape?"

Kathryn leaned toward her. "Listen, Kayma. We're in a locked cargo bay on an old utility vehicle traveling at impulse speed. We know at least one person on this vessel is armed with a deadly weapon, and there are probably others on the other side of that door, similarly armed."

Kayma blinked. "So…no escape plan?"

Kathryn shook her head. "No escape plan yet. I know it doesn't look good, but I suspect if we wait this out, a better opportunity will present itself."

Kayma stared at her.

To her astonishment, Kathryn smiled. "Chakotay's had plenty of time to figure out what's happened. And at this speed, the Utopia Planitia Shipyards are about three and a half hours from Earth. Suder just made the mistake I was waiting for when he told me he wants my command codes."

"Why would he want your command codes?" The Admiral quirked an eyebrow. Kayma stared at her…and felt a slow smile creep across her own face. "They're taking us to Voyager."

Kathryn nodded. "They're taking us to Voyager," she confirmed. "Once we're there, Chakotay and I—and whoever he's brought with him—will have the advantage." She clenched her hands into fists. "And these fools," she muttered, "won't know what hit them."

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