DISCLAIMER: The story and characters belong to Paramount, etc. They are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is very much an AU; I wanted to reveal that TPTB are impotent when it comes to understanding of what makes a good interaction and a powerful bond. For some reason (no offense to any men on the list) a lot of male writers think powerful women always must engage in fragile-ego futile pissing contests. (Men who write for CSI have done the same thing there as well.) It is true just because there are strong females doesn't mean they have to have slumber parties and be members of "we're woman in a man's world so we have to bond club" either. However I'm playing B'Elanna as a true Maquis someone who sees atrocities and fought against it. I want to play her as if she had seen first hand Cardassian Concentration camps and 'in the like of' Stockholm syndrome refugees freed from those nests of horror. I want to write her as I think she might have reacted to Seven given her background.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: B'Elanna isn't rebelling against her Klingon self in fact she embraces it despite her past is the same as it is in Canon. No declawed Klingons here!
SOILERS: Directly for Scorpion I-II, The Gift, Day of Honor, off-hand First Contact, previous seasons of Voyager and all Borg related episodes of the Trek series. Time line and canon are a little off but you are fanfic readers and can adapt.
WARNING:please take careful note there will be mentions of pain and torture as B'Elanna recalls the things she had seen in the Cardassian concentration camps, bearing in mind Voyager Canon as well as Jean-Luc's torture at the hands of a Gull it isn't too hard to believe the crimes they committed against another soul. I have used much of what I heard from survivors of the camps in Germany, documentaries as well as what is available on the net. Please bear in mind I am not trying to exploit this dark history but use the information in this story as writers of the show have done in the past to shed some light on the troubling context. We must remember.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Elizabeth Carter
This is exactly what the Queen had hypothesized would happen. Displeased with the human's answer, Seven was forced to shift gears, the Collective needed the weapons, they were willing to allow Voyager to leave, after all the war took precedence. What was one little ship to the survival of the Collective?
"There is another option." Seven said evenly, "We could assimilate your vessel."
"If a single drone steps one millimeter out of that Cargo Bay... I'll decompress the entire deck." Chakotay said in the voice one speaking of exterminating cockroaches. "You won't pose much of a threat floating in space." He almost laughed. Not quite but it was there tainting his words.
Seven of Nine saw that at the moment she was not going to win this argument. "When your Captain first approached us, we suspected that an agreement with humans would prove impossible to maintain" her words cut deep into Chakotay, lacing him with the echoes of B'Elanna and Tuvok's protests. "You are erratic... conflicted... disorganized. Every decision is debated... every action questioned." Seven of Nine sneered distastefully at the vulgar idea of individuality. "Every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony... cohesion... greatness." She stepped closer to him, her expression one Picard could have said he had seen on the face of the Queen. Cold clipped tones became dark and filled with complete malice. "It will be your undoing.
Chakotay eyed her calmly, defensively, "That's... a matter of opinion." He waved her off as an insignificant creature. "Escort our guest back to the Cargo Bay. If she resists extinguish her as a threat to the ship."
Rothery and Samuels exchange a small look before moving in to position taking Seven of Nine with them as they exit the Captain's ready room
Chakotay fell back on the sofa, his breath coming out in a gust of air.
The situation was far from over.
Kes witnessed Sick-bay doors opening one more this time she felt a cold chill of rage grip her as surely as Species 8472 had touched her mind. Staggering back against the onslaught of such malice she saw to her horror that it came not from the necrotizing aliens but from Commander Chakotay.
Immediately she placed mental shield not only around her own mind but that of Kathryn's. Kes would not allow the earlier moment with B'Elanna destroy the healing, the comfort the captain was now floating in. B'Elanna true trust and love had uplifted the captain to the point the doctor was positive she would recover.
The darkness, the discord in the commander would destroy any hope of Kathryn's recovery. Metaphysical touch had every impact on a healing body as the physical it could heal or destroy. It had taken the Ocampan thee years to understand this but now she understood so much more than that. She could see past the subatomic levels of emotions into the purity beyond. Kathryn could not be touched by this malice cloaking the commander. Better the Borg drone Seven of Nine pay the captain a visit than the commander. The Borg were apathetic not hateful. Nevertheless the man was here now and hovering over the captain's prone body.
Chakotay stood for a moment looking at the Captain's body. She was naked save for the silver mylar surgical blanket covering her from the breasts down. Her face was peaceful, almost serene. The sleep of a lover knowing she was perfectly safe.
Breathing out a sigh of heavy burden, Chakotay had come into sick bay to contemplate everything that had happened. Finally, he spoke in a quiet voice:
"Well... I made my decision." He shook his shoulders from the weight holding him down; Kathryn Janeway at least needed to hear the truth. "If it were only a matter of going against the orders of my superior officer, I wouldn't have that much of a problem with it. But you're more than just my Captain...You're my friend. And I hope you'll understand."
Kes blanched when the commander touched the captain's face before he moved off and left just as silently as he had come in. He had not noticed her nor the Doctor in the lab. When Kes moaned in pain the Doctor came running up to her.
"Kes? Is it the aliens?"
"No," a hoarse reply. Her eyes shifting from blue to purple to gray, "A great darkness is settling over this ship, it will tear it apart."
The EMH didn't know what his companion was talking about but with the flashes of maleficent energy surging from the aliens, seeing the dead Borg and sudden silence of voices, he knew it was better not to ask but accept it.
"Take a rest, Kes you've been pushing very hard. I'll finish the nanoprobes to fuse with the weapons so by the time we reach the planet we can give them to the Borg."
"Doctor, I have a very bad feeling about that. The Borg will resist."
The EMH would not meet Kes's eyes. Both were enormously troubled by what had happened in the briefing room. A Wound was festering, one that extended far beyond the Borg and even the alliances, one so shattering that no one on the ship had earlier dared give it voice.
"We carry out his orders, just like we carried out the captain's. We protested that too."
"But it is working! If the Borg don't get what they need, they will take it because they will have calculated no other alterative. They are desperate. They lost too many drones, too many worlds. Doctor their desperation, the hate of the commander will destroy this ship."
The EMH's expression and voice were carefully composed, professional but his holographic eyes failed to entirely hide his frustration. "The Captain will be awake soon. For the moment we must concentrate on her."
Far from Voyager, a vast starscape rippled, became distorted shimmering as the dark twinkling sky ripped apart. Roaring power, three bio-ships hurtled from the rift straight ahead into the blinding brilliance of the stars.
Three bio-ships against an armada of Borg cubes. The Collective didn't stand a chance. Less than no chance of survival when the necrotizing vessels were joined by three others of their kind swooping in to join the battle.
The Borg do not play the 'would have, should have, if you hadn't we wouldn't have done' blame game. It was irrelevant and served no purpose to the cohesion of the Collective. Because of absence of the lack of guilt, blame and accusations the Hive mind worked in perfect harmony. The interface with Voyager had been disturbing, at least Janeway worked on the level of the One of Many, relentless and driven qualities the Borg admired and sought to make apart of the great whole. The male prime created discord, spinning the collective of Voyager into chaos. It was indeed their undoing.
The young face became as distorted as the space that had spewed fore the bio-ships. Connected to the Collective as the other drones but sharing a special singular connection to the Hive Mind because of her position as Prime Seven of Nine like the Queen felt, each death of each drone on those cubes. She quaked when their voices suddenly became silenced. She 'saw' their destruction, felt it and like the Queen became concerned.
The Collective must survive, they must prevail.
*Species Eight Four Seven Two has penetrated Matrix Zero-One-Zero, Grid Nineteen. Eight planets destroyed... three hundred twelve vessels disabled... four million, six hundred twenty-one Borg eliminated. We must seize control of the Alpha Quadrant vessel, and take it into the alien realm.*
"We understand." Seven complied. There was no gleam of satisfaction that she was retaliating against the male's alteration of the agreement, nor reveling in the essence of revenge for the loss of Borg life. There was only the Will of the Collective.
Humanity didn't understand this and because they couldn't understand the lack of hate the Borg had for its adversaries, they were called soulless, mindless. But the Hive Mind was the very core of what it was to be Borg. One consciousness, one will united and bonded.
When the other drones began opening a port bulkhead far from the doors of cargo bay there was no sense of vengeance. Only intent.
Smallest of all the drones and their designated matrix leader, it was Seven of Nine who crawled into the narrow tunnel of the Jefferies tube. A quick flex of the wrist caused twin tubules to slither out of her the back of her mesh-covered hand into the conduits leading to the deflector array.
Since the confrontation in the ready room, Chakotay had commanded the ship sail under read alert. He couldn't afford to lose control of the ship not now. Not when he was close to proving the Captain's alliance futile, and reckless. He was determined to prove that Voyager could make it through Borg space without the tin-devils. He was going to win back B'Elanna's trust in him, by this show of force against the mighty Collective.
"Class H moon... oxygen-argon atmosphere." Tom announced from the readouts scrolling down one of the monitors at helm.
"It'll do. Take us out of warp and enter orbit." Chakotay ordered. The Borg could adapt to the atmosphere which was identical to that found on Mercury. If they couldn't it was of no loss to him or Voyager.
The Commander watched Paris easily pilot Voyager near the planet before turning his acute attention back to tactical. "Tuvok... stand by to transport the Borg directly from the Cargo Bay. After they're on the surface, have Security run a sweep of ."
The wailing sound of the alarm from ops cut off the Commander's words. Kim consulted the read out. The alarm wasn't only ringing in their ears but plastered itself in the engineer's face. "I'm reading power fluctuations in the deflector array."
"Cause?" In his gut Chakotay already knew.
"It looks like the Borg have accessed deflector control. They're trying to realign the emitters..."
"Shut them out!"
No matter how fast Harry Kim, Tuvok or B'Elanna were, they were not faster than the Borg collective. The only one who had ever been faster was an android.
Data wasn't aboard Voyager.
Seven of Nine worked the consoles with inhuman swiftness, her hands a blur that would have dizzied any who would have watched. Borg encryptions codes scrolled across the miniature monitor. In a matter of seconds Seven of Nine had isolated controls to the deflector dish and commanded it to fire out particle beams into space.
"They've bypassed security protocols..." Kim announced desperately
Chakotay looked back to the main viewer hypnotized by the sight of a green flare of energy rending a tear in the fabric of space, the sea of stars rippling like the waves of an ocean undulating folding distortions A hells mouth opened a gaping maw intent on swallowing Voyager.
"They're emitting a resonant gravitation beam... it's creating another singularity." Torres explained unable to hide her fascination with the process.
"Reverse course." Chakotay ordered.
Paris worked the console knowing he had seconds at best to flee. Voyager was shaking trying to tear itself apart. Moans came from bulkheads, the engines whined in protest.
"We're fighting intense gravimetric distortions I can't break free!" Paris protested.
"Bridge to Cargo Bay Two. Stop what you're doing, or I'll depressurize that deck and blow you out into space." He was fooling himself if he thought the Borg would respond to threats or stop what they were doing. They hadn't when they were attacked by species 8472, why would they now? "This is your final warning." He had at least given them that despite he knew they would consider his hail as irrelevant.
Tuvok didn't need a verbal command to comply with the order. Voyager must prevail.
Secluded in the Jeffries tube, Seven had indeed ignored the hails of the male prime. Her goal her task was to seize full control over Voyager. Nanoprobes had by now infected several decks via the gel-packs and bio-neural circuitry assimilating it. Making upgrades where deemed necessarily.
Metal clanged, air hissed Seven felt suddenly several kilos heavier, her respiratory implants crushed against her reinforced ribcage under the exoskeleton. Decompression.
Outside the Cargo bay proper deckplates gave way with a shriek, causing a powerful gas to stream from the gaping maw. The drones not properly prepared would have to adapt quickly if they were to survive in the vacuum of space. The needs of the Collective outweighed the needs of a single Drone, a Unimatrix.
Seven however was very concerned not of her own death but that she would fail the collective. She had to survive if the collective was to survive. She was Seven of Nine Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-one. She was the Queen's Prime. Fifteen Drones and all unsecured cargo spewed out of Voyagers cargo bay.
Vibrations rattled through her prone body Seven whooshed for the open vacuum, her feet planted firmly against the frame work of the Jefferies tube, her reinforced hand clasped, held fast onto an outcropping of piping.
She could feel her bones threatening to snap, her muscles tear. The nanoprobes worked frantically healing her, keeping her lungs from decompression. She had to survive. The Borg must win the conflict. Her intention was surviving not for herself, but for the continued existence of the Collective.
"Decompression cycle complete." Tuvok said. He tapped in the controls that would shut the cargo bay doors, locking out the vacuum of space.
Kim allowed himself a moment of relief. He wouldn't be assimilated. At least not today. Looking at his console with a mixed look of horror and triumph the ensign realized just how short lived that hope had been. "I still don't have deflector control."
From Tactical Tuvok's voice stoically announced the worst. "A single Borg has survived."
The comment made Chakotay whirl about as the ship trembled violently.
"We're being pulled in!" Tom said from helm. He felt the Commander's hand become as a claw gripping the back of his chair.
This could not be happening! It could not! The plan had been to maroon the sixteen Borg on the planet with the nanoprobes, not to be hurled into the opening vortex of a quantum singularity.
Bleak futures ahead, this hell realm had given birth to the bio-ships. Necrotizing aliens promising that the weak shall parish. Harry gave a slight whimper of pain, his mind flaring back to his near-death. The pain he had felt. Gods being assimilated didn't look to bad right now. A single drone alive? Maybe he could beg it to assimilate him before it was too late.
B'Elanna locked her teeth together to keep them from chattering. The Bridge was trembling so violently she felt her stomachs rise to her gorge threatening to spew her last meal on her boots.
The whole ship began to shake so furiously that Harry and Tom both found they were unable to focus their eyes, unable to even think.
"Warning critical velocity."
'No damn shit Tuvok!' Tom wanted to bellow but if he opened his mouth he knew he'd vomit.
It was as if the ship was at stand still suddenly gone to warp nine and stopped in the next second. Flare of light and it was over. Nothing remained of where they had been. The tear in space closed just as rapidly as it had opened.
At last the trembling subsided allowing the crew to picked themselves up, settle their stomachs and collect frazzled nerves.
Tuvok was the first to answer the commander's orders. "We appear to have crossed an interdimensional rift."
"We've definitely left our galaxy." Tom felt a similar deja-vu when he had announced three years ago they weren't in their quadrant any more. Double checking his readings only gave him more questions than answers. "No stars... no planets..." 'Freaky.'
"Let's see." Chakotay pulled his tunic down over his torso straightening it.
Cueing up the commands from helm Tom was the first to gasp but he heard B'Elanna's sharp intake of breath from his left. Not that anyone could blame them. No stars, in their twinkling shimmering place swimming, swirling masses of viscous green fluid.
'It's like being in a womb.' B'Elanna's mind imagined. "I'm recalibrating sensors." She said to no one in particular. "The entire region is filled with some kind of organic fluid..." astonished her words are barely audible. "This isn't space... it's matter!"
"Commander Chakotay. We have entered the domain of Species Eight Four Seven Two." The voice belonged to none other than Seven of Nine! Had she been surveying the Bridge chatter to have answered the question on their tongues? "Report to the Cargo Bay."
Grim faced all of them. They wanted to avoid this, to use the Borg as disposable warriors to face off against Species 8472. That wasn't a possibility once Chakotay had made his decision to betray the Captain's alliance with the Borg. Now as if to punish Voyager, the Borg had brought them into the depths of the greater evil.
"Repressurize Cargo Bay Two." Chakotay had turned his attention from the green soup on the view screen to B'Elanna. "Tuvok."
Before the Captain's injury B'Elanna had prepared herself f to face hand to hand with the Borg. That warriors spirit hadn't left hadn't been deflated. But it was cautious. She had seen in Chakotay's eyes, something darker than a mere desire for justice or revenge something bordering suspiciously on obsession. And he had allowed it to interfere with his judgment.
He not the Borg had brought them this end. And what kind of end would it be? Janeway had worked hard, confronted and met the Borg eye to eye to keep them from this very situation and Chakotay's obsession had landed them smack in the middle of the alien's realm. An alien that hated, an alien that could easily wipe them all out.
Chakotay had damned them all.
Moments later Chakotay and Tuvok were facing Seven of Nine in what once had been the "mini-Collective," which had remained intact but was empty of Borg and in a state of disarray - spewing gas, sparks and the like. Seven of Nine was confident, demanding. Two armed Starfleet Security Guards stood nearby: Rothery and her security partner Samuels.
Seven of Nine didn't even wait for them to fully cross the threshold before she began her debriefing. "Our entry into fluidic space has created a compression wave. They know we're here. A fleet of bio-ships is already converging on our position. Time to intercept: three hours, seventeen minutes."
Chakotay pushed his body into the Borg's personal space, a dangerous move to be sure, as if his build, could intimidate her as his voice accused her. "You've been here before."
Seven found rhetorical questions irrelevant and thus gave no answer.
Chakotay misinterpreted the drone's non-reaction for arrogance and disrespect "How else, could you know about "fluidic space"?"
Once more Seven of Nine found the inferior male to be tedious and irrelevant. She had worked with the Vulcan and so it was he not Chakotay she directed her next command. "We must prepare this ship for the altercation. We will construct "
"Why?" Chakotay pushed her or tried to but she wouldn't budge form the computer terminal along the Borg wall. "Why were you here?"
The Borg actually sighed in frustration. She wanted to assimilate him just to shut him up.
"You started this war, didn't you?" a snarl turning into hissing sarcasm. "What's the matter our galaxy wasn't big enough for you?" You had to conquer new territory?" He was nearly nose to nose with her now pressing what he saw as the advantage. He didn't see or wish to see the danger he had put himself in. He was the larger of the two, and pressed his urge to dominate.
Tuvok and the guards took a step forward the three of them wisely thinking 'you know pestering and thumping your chest in front of the Borg? Not a good idea.' Rothery wondered what legal precedence the female Borg had if she attacked after being provoked and she believed her personal safety threatened. Of course in order to have those rights she would have to think of herself as an individual. The Commander would no doubt call for her death if Seven responded with any violent behavior which someone in her position surely would. Was he counting on that? Was he deliberately threatening her, provoking her so she lash out and all he had to do was call for her execution?
Chakotay's sardonic anger would not yield to wisdom. "But this race fought back... a species as malevolent as your own!"
Seven of Nine glared at him he had ceased to become irrelevant and now like a defective circuit he would be torn from the body. Which was Borg for 'get the fuck away from my face before I punch it. Back off.'
Her own voice became a growl of cold death, unconsciously perhaps invoking the demeanor and essence of the Queen. "Species Eight Four Seven Two was... more resistant than we anticipated. Their technology is biogenically engineered... it is superior to that of all species we have previously encountered."
"Which is precisely what you wanted." Tuvok said trying to regain some composure on the situation before Chakotay found himself on the wrong end of assimilation tubules. He was pushing his luck by provoking the Borg drone.
"They are the apex of biological evolution. Their assimilation would have greatly added to our own perfection." Stepping up to both men moving around them with a feline grace her voice matter-of-fact and yet superior. "My subspace link to the Collective has been weakened by the interdimensional rift. We cannot signal for help. We are alone." She waited for them to comprehend the meaning of her words before going on. "We must construct a complement of bio-molecular warheads and modify your weapons system to launch them.
Forcedly Chakotay spat back. "I've got a better idea. Why don't you open that singularity again and take us back?"
"If I did that, you would no longer cooperate." She sounded remarkably like Kathryn Janeway, in pitch and inflection.
Chakotay opened his mouth to issue another order but the Doctor's voice not his came out.
*Doctor to Chakotay.*
Shorting his anger, he hit the combadge a bit harder than he had intended "Go ahead."
*Report to Sickbay at once.*
"On my way." Chakotay looked to Tuvok with the silent command to follow him out.
Tuvok looked over his shoulder he wasn't all surprised to see the expression on Seven's face was inscrutable, that perhaps more than any other action she could have taken troubled the Vulcan more.
Preparing himself for the worst Chakotay paused before the doors of Sick-bay before he entered. Voyager was his now, completely and without question. Taking a gulp of air he moved in and came to a second abrupt stop.
Kathryn Janeway the one and only Captain of the USS Voyager wasn't just alive but on her feet and in uniform!
Chakotay could only stare. Yes she was alive! Right there reading a data PADD and the holographic physician was running last minute scans over her.
"Captain...!?" Chakotay's surprise was not one matched with joy, or relief. But rather disbelief she was alive, active and very much alert. He knew then he had to give command back.
The Doctor however was all smiles. "As you can see, I've repaired her neural damage." His voice dripping in self congratulation and pride. "Ensign Kim... the Captain... I'm two for two."
"Doctor..." A low rumbling tone of a tigress, "if you'll excuse us a moment."
The Doctor cut a glance at her grim expression... then at Chakotay, realizing sparks were about to fly. "Gladly." He wanted to be no where near this eruption when it blew "Computer - deactivate EMH Program."
As the Doctor vanished, Janeway's cloud blue eyes become gray storms. "The Doctor brought me up to speed... but he couldn't tell me what I really wanted to know." A growl became a swords edge. "Why?"
This was it... their conflict was about to ignite.
"The Collective ordered me to reverse course... travel forty light years back the way we came... what would you have done?" a yipping bark.
"I probably would've reversed course..." Janeway moved around the bio-bed her eyes never leaving the man standing before her, "maintained the alliance as long as possible."
"In my mind, the alliance was already over." A snort of defiance.
"You never trusted me. You never believed this would work..." the growl deepened, her eyes acidic "you were just waiting for an opportunity to circumvent my orders."
"Trust had nothing to with it." Chakotay waved away the comment as insignificant. "I made a tactical decision."
"And so did I!"
"They were taking advantage of us from Day One..."
"We made concessions... so did they." Janeway used the more pragmatic logical approach. "I had them working with us. I told you they would push, I told you they would be difficult. All you had to do was be stronger, out-wit them with logic and they would listen. Seven of Nine listened to me. She responded to me."
As a drowning man clutching at anything to keep him afloat Chakotay played another card one he knew would appeal to the woman's empathy and use it against her. "They lied to us. The Borg started the war with Species Eight Four Seven Two."
A charged moment. Janeway was surprised at this revelation just as the commander knew she would be. He had her.
"And how many wars have the Federation in its early years started? How many provocations have the Maquis manipulated? How many times had they set off one enemy against the other to get what they wanted? Our history is fraught with starting wars, taking what we want and leaving a disaster in the wake. Open your eyes and smell the Species Chakotay. The Borg can not lie. They can omit facts, leave things unsaid but they do not lie. That is a not a failing they have any more. You have to work with them as one would the Vulcan consulate, with dead-cold logic and strength not to bend or yield. Now we have larger problems to worry about."
He had lost this round and yet there was a larger problem but one easily solved. "We've only got one Borg left to worry about. We should try to disable her... and get back to the Delta Quadrant." He tried moving in on her as he had Seven of Nine but Janeway kept the distance between them with the bio-bed her predatory instincts would not fail or be dominated. He knew he was in over his head but he could not admit defeat. Not yet. "We might be able to duplicate the deflector protocols they used to open a singularity."
"No." Janeway shook her head and held up her hand forestalling his protests. " I won't be caught tinkering with the deflector when those aliens attack." Her eyes pinned him once more making the man fully aware they were where they were because of his 'tactical decision.' There's no other way out of this, Chakotay. It's too late for opinions... too late for discussion. It's time to make the call, and I'm making it." her growl had returned. "We fight the aliens... in full cooperation with the Borg.
She couldn't mean that! She wouldn't. How could she not understand what they had in that cargo bay? I was linked to a Collective once... remember? I had a neuro-transceiver embedded in my spine... I know who we're dealing with." He had to urge her to see the truth. "We've got to get rid of that last Borg... take our chances alone!"
"It won't work." Firm and unrelenting the Captain would fall back no further.
Again an impasse. They looked at each other in frustration and exhaustion. The past few days have taken their toll on them... both physically and emotionally.
"This isn't working, either..." she took a deep sigh which was echoed by his own. Looking at him she pushed away her righteous anger, "There are two wars going on. The one out there, and the one in here." She pointed to the door vaguely meaning space. "We're losing both of them."
She's made an impact. Chakotay's voice softens... as he remembers Seven of Nine's words... "It will be your undoing."
"What?" this was not the response she had prepared for.
"Our "conflicted" nature... our individuality. Seven of Nine said that we lack the cohesion of a Collective mind... that one day, it would divide us... and destroy us." He swallowed the bile in his throat for realizing the Borg had proved him wrong. "And here we are, proving her point."
They considered - this was a wake-up call for both of them.
"I'll tell you when we lost control of this situation when we made our mistake. It was the moment we turned away from each other." She moves to him this time it wasn't the tigress moving in for a kill but she wasn't backing down either. "We don't have to stop being individuals to get through this." Her eyes dance as she takes in his wooden stance and dark eyes. "We just have to stop fighting each other."
Chakotay... he knows she's right... and he wants to make this work... but how? The tension between them was still razor sharp, too soon to ask and give forgiveness if ever it could be given. He would never yield that he felt he was in the right, his decisions not hers were the right course. "How?"
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