Disclaimer: This story is a work of fan fiction but uses characters that are copyright of Paramount Pictures. No infringement on their respective copyrights is intended by the author in any way, shape or form. This story is concerning an all female relationship so if you don’t like that then look away now.
Rating: R (some kissing, rude language and a bit of violence)
Time period: This story is set some time around the 5th/6th season of Voyager. In this universe Janeway and Seven are already in a relationship (Maybe I’ll write the “First Contact” story at some point in the future!)
Summary: Janeway has an unexpected visitor on a cliff top that changes her profoundly. Will Seven or anyone else notice before it’s too late? Note: there is some un-repentant Chakotay bashing in this story ;)
Thanks: MercyCroft for beta reading this story and encouraging me to write it in the first place.
Captain Kathryn Janeway walked through the lush meadow, the sun shining warmly on her back as her feet skimmed the grass. If she closed her eyes she could almost imagine she was back home on Earth, walking the fields of Indiana. Almost.
But of course she wasn’t, she was still stranded in the Delta Quadrant, thousands of light years from home as she had been for the last 5 odd years. Her mind wandered back to that fateful day when she had ordered the Caretakers’ array to be destroyed and stuck her, her ship and her crew in this quadrant. That decision still played on her mind from time to time, though she had other more interesting things to occupy it with these days. A smile played across her lips as instead she thought of Seven of Nine, the woman she had freed from the Borg Collective, the woman who had captured her heart. She was still amazed that they had managed to overcome their initial difficulties with each other and become friends and then something much more than friends. Oh, yes, it was definitely worth having not seen home for 5 years to be able to spend just a few moments with Seven.
Hopefully she would get to spend a few moments more with her shortly as they had arranged to meet for a picnic at a secluded spot that Janeway had found the day before. She had been out walking to clear her mind of the on-going negotiations with the Kindari, the natives of this planet. Luckily they had managed to come to a final agreement today, giving her some free time to spend with her partner.
Mind you she almost hadn’t been able to get even this small amount of free time. The Kindari were most keen to show her all the cultural highlights of their city but she had managed to extricate herself using her best Starfleet diplomacy after seeing the temple, leaving Chakotay to take the rest of the guided tour as she claimed she had pressing business back on the ship. She could tell that Chakotay had known she was lying, but wasn’t it the Captains’ privilege to delegate sometimes?
Anyway, the trip to the temple had disturbed her slightly and she felt the need to get away from the city. She had been following their guide listening with her best mock interest when she had been distracted by a display of azure crystals. The rest of the party had continued on without her, not noticing she had stopped almost mesmerised by the way the light had played off the crystal. Instinctively she had reached out to touch it and it was then that she had experienced that odd sensation. It was almost like an electrical discharge. It was over in an instant and she didn’t seem to be harmed in anyway, but she couldn’t help feeling disconcerted in some way. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but it was after that that she had made her excuses and left. She was sure that seeing the gorgeous woman who had recently become her lover would be more than enough to take her mind off that little incident. In fact she could think of several ways in which Seven could help her take her mind off it, especially since they were all alone out here.
Janeway made her way through a small grouping of trees, the sunlight poking through the leaves and dancing off her auburn hair. She couldn’t help taking an impressed breath as she came out of the wood and was presented with the marvellous vista of the snow topped mountains in the distance and the plunging gorge in front of her, with the sounds of the water bubbling over the rocks far below.
As she began to lay out the rug and contents of the hamper she had managed to get the ship to beam down earlier, she heard faint footsteps behind her and smiled to herself again as she imagined the tall blond borg trying to sneak up on her.
“You should know better than….,” she began as she quickly turned round. The rest of the sentence died on her lips and the smile faded to be replaced by a look of shock.
There standing in front of her was….herself.
Quickly she composed herself, after all this wasn’t the first time she had met herself with all the time travel and alternate universes they had encountered.
“What’s going on?” she demanded, “This isn’t some kind of temporal incident is it?”
She could already feel her head starting to throb at the thought of that and reflexively put her hand up to pinch the bridge of her nose. At the same time she tapped her comm badge with the other hand, but was greeted with silence. Obviously the interference they had encountered intermittently all the time they had been on this planet was affecting communications again.
“I’m afraid not,” replied the Other Janeway, “And it’s not a case of an alternative universe either” she added.
Janeway managed to keep the surprise that The Other had guessed what she was thinking from showing on her face, keeping a passive expression.
“So who are you?” she asked
“I would have thought that was obvious,” replied The Other. Janeway was not quite sure she liked the sarcastic tone that it had been said in. “I’m you,” continued The Other.
“Well, I can see you look like me, but the last time I checked there was definitely only one Kathryn Janeway,” Janeway said, adding one of her patented “command looks” just to prove it.
Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to have the desired affect as the Other Janeway just burst out laughing.
“It’s no good trying “the look” on me,” The Other said with what Janeway could have sworn was almost a sneer.
“Anyway, you were wrong in you previous statement, as the last time I checked,” The Other said glancing at Janeway, “there were definitely two Kathryn Janeways”.
Janeway was getting frustrated at this lack of clarity and decided to cut to the chase. “So presuming you are me, how come there are two of us wandering around,” she asked, hoping this was a straightforward enough question to get a straight answer.
The Other smiled again, annoyingly Janeway thought. She really hoped she didn’t look like this normally. She was almost starting to feel threatened by this other her, there was just something slightly menacing in her demeanour and Janeway surreptitiously took a few more steps away from the edge of the gorge.
“Do you recall a little incident in the temple earlier,” The Other asked
Janeway managed to hide her surprise again. “With the crystal?” she asked impassively.
“Yes, you really should be careful what you touch on alien worlds, you know, but you…..we…..always were quite hands on,” The Other said.
Now Janeway knew she wasn’t imagining it, The Other had said that with the most obvious leer in her voice.
“And what did the crystal do, exactly?” Janeway asked, trepidation starting to skitter across her mind.
The Other Janeway swaggered towards her until her face was mere inches from Janeway’s own. Janeway knew she had invaded other people’s personal space like this as an intimidation tactic before, and had to admit that it certainly worked. Not that she was going to show that outwardly to this “Other” her.
“Why, it created me, of course,” The Other said, her lips curving into a sinister smile.
Janeway just glared back, fed up of trying to drag information out of the other woman, she reasoned a bit of staring out may get her to continue. She notched a small victory when it succeeded.
“But I’m not just some clone, or replica, but rather an actual part of you,” The Other continued.
“I didn’t realise I was missing any parts,” Janeway interjected sarcastically.
“You’re not, you’re still the same old stuffy, uptight Kathryn Janeway you always were. I’m just a part of you made manifest in another form,” The Other replied.
Janeway asked the obvious question, suspecting that she already knew the answer anyway, “And what part of me would that be exactly?”
The Other laughed, “That dark little part that you try and keep hidden, but that sneaks out from time to time. Well no more sneaking because I’m right here, in your face, so to speak”.
And to emphasise her point The Other moved even closer until her face was just a hair’s breadth from Janeway’s own. She was so close Janeway could feel her breath across her face. Janeway remained stock still, a stony expression on her face, not wanting to give this other version of her an inch.
She didn’t like where this was going and started thinking of ways to extricate herself from the situation. She couldn’t contact the ship, and she didn’t like the idea of a physical confrontation with herself reasoning that they would be evenly matched, but if she could keep this other Janeway talking then Seven was due to turn up any second. Hopefully they could subdue her together and then sort this mess out.
The Other’s voice now dipped into a husky, seductive purr, “You could say I was your better half. I’m you, but without all those little inconveniences like a conscience, ethics, or morals”
“Which means,” she added suddenly, “I have absolutely no compunction about doing…this!”
Before Janeway knew what had hit her, The Other grabbed the front of Janeway’s jacket in both her fists and shoved. The Other maintained her grip as Janeway stumbled backwards, the momentum taking them towards the gorge. Suddenly Janeway found that her feet were scrabbling on the edge of the cliff that over-looked the drop. She grasped frantically for The Other who was still holding her and laughing maniacally. The Other was now effectively all that was keeping her from plunging a few hundred feet as she held Janeway one-handed at arms length, Janeway’s feet barely on the edge and her body out in mid-air.
“Don’t do this, we can work something out” Janeway said, staring into the Other’s eyes. All she saw was cold malice.
“I already have something worked out,” The Other said, an evil smirk crossing her face, “And it involves you taking a short trip off a very high cliff”
And with that, The Other released her hold. To Janeway it seemed as if time was running in slow motion as she was left suspended there with nothing to support her, staring disbelievingly at The Other. Then real time kicked in, her feet lost their precarious footing and wind was whistling past her as she plummeted off the precipice.
Seven of Nine walked into the clearing where her partner had arranged a “little picnic”. She loved they way Kathryn liked to make these little romantic gestures, especially as they hadn’t had much chance to see each other with all the negotiating of the last few days. She spotted her red-haired lover standing a bit too close to the edge of the gorge for her liking, peering down into river below.
“Kathryn, you really should not stand so close to the edge,” she said, a hint of admonishment in her tone.
Janeway wheeled round. Seven thought she caught a brief glimpse of surprise before a huge smile brightened the features.
“Seven, darling,” Janeway said, crossing the space between them and enveloping Seven in a warm embrace.
She raised her head to the taller woman and covered her lips in a loving kiss. Seven was a little taken aback by Janeway’s enthusiasm, not that she was complaining.
“It is good to see you too, Kathryn,” she said when they had finally parted, a smile playing on her lips. “So what are we having to eat?”
“Oh, I could think of a few things,” Janeway said suggestively.
Seven quirked her eyebrow. She had heard other crewmen mention that “fresh air” could have an invigorating effect, but had never witnessed it first hand before. “Indeed”.
Janeway laughed and took Seven by the hand. “Come on, I have it all laid out over here” she said.
Seven didn’t notice the slight glance Janeway made over her shoulder in the direction of the gorge as she led Seven to the rug. Nor the wicked smile that accompanied it.
Later that evening the starship Voyager was making final preparations to depart from it’s position in orbit around Kindar. All the negotiated supplies had been beamed aboard and the last of the crew had returned to the ship.
Captain Kathryn Janeway, or at least who everyone assumed to be the regular Captain, rode in the turbolift towards the bridge. She couldn’t help smiling to herself at how easy it was to fool everyone. Of course it should be easy because basically she was Kathryn Janeway, with all her memories and knowledge. All she lacked were a few certain personality traits, and who need compassion or morals anyway. Especially when you had plenty of deviousness and cunning instead which meant it was easy to fake those redundant emotions or traits when necessary.
Not that she had had to fake anything with Seven earlier, in fact she had found it hard to control her more base desires and instincts around the woman. It had been all she could manage to stop herself ravishing the young borg on that cliff top, but she suspected that might have been a bit suspicious, the “real” Janeway would never have been so bold.
As the lift drew to a halt, the doors opened and she stepped out onto the bridge where Commander Chakotay sat monitoring things as he waited for the Captain to arrive. She traversed the few steps to take her seat beside him.
“Commander,” she greeted him civilly. See she could play nice. In reality she’d like nothing better than to blow him out an airlock straight away he was so annoying, but that would have to wait a little while. Maybe she could arrange a little shuttle accident for him, no one would suspect anything there when it came to Chakotay.
“Captain,” he replied, “All stations report we are ready for departure”
“Mr Paris,” she commanded the helmsman, “Take us out of orbit, and then set a course for the Alpha Quadrant, warp five”
She relaxed back into her command chair, grinning inwardly to herself. Oh yes, she was going to have some fun now.
Back on the planet the only indication of Voyager’s departure was a brief streak of light in the night sky.
The streak went un-noticed by the motionless form lying on it’s back in the shallows at the edge of a river in the middle of a forest. The water lapped at the auburn hair and splashed on the face that now sported a number of cuts and bruises.
Kathryn Janeway let out a small groan and tried to raise her head and move. Pain shot through her body and she gasped. Her head splashed back into the water as she took a few deep breaths and tried to focus her mind. She ached and hurt in so many places it was difficult to tell any specific injury from another. This was not good, not good at all.
She remembered falling after the other Janeway had pushed her off the cliff and then blackness as she hit the water. She must have been washed downstream somewhere by the raging torrent, her body being dashed on the rocks along the way. And now here she was in the middle of nowhere.
Since it was now nighttime, she deduced the confrontation with the other Janeway must at least have been some hours ago. The fact that she had not been missed made her suspect that the other Janeway was now successfully posing as her, probably not with much difficulty if, as the other had claimed, she was essentially her.
Essentially her, apart from the fact that she was completely evil! And Seven! What was that other Janeway doing with Seven right now? That really didn’t bear thinking about apart from the fact that lying here alone she couldn’t stop her mind drifting. No! She had to stop thinking about that and concentrate on getting up and contacting Voyager.
Tentatively she attempted to move her left arm to where her communicator should have been on her breast. Unfortunately there was nothing there apart from a soggy tunic. That would have been too easy, she thought ruefully, guessing that the small badge must have been lost in the river.
She shivered as she realised that lying around in a soaked uniform in the middle of the night wasn’t helping her situation either. She had to get out of this river at least. Gritting her teeth against the pain she attempted to move again. Her head pounded and the pain coming from her right leg in particular was excruciating, but she managed to haul her battered form out of the water, dragging herself along the ground.
Having reached safety, and the momentary adrenaline rush gone, the pain overcame her as she again slipped into unconsciousness.
The Other Kathryn Janeway strode purposefully towards her quarters on Voyager, relieved to be off duty at last. It had taken quite an effort to be nice to all those simpletons on the bridge, but especially Chakotay. Several times she had just wanted to take his face and smash it into one of the consoles. How the other Janeway had put up with the man this long was beyond her, but then she was “kind, caring and compassionate”. Just the thought of those words gave her the heebie-jeebies. Honestly, if the other Janeway hadn’t been such a bleeding heart she wouldn’t have stranded her whole crew in the Delta Quadrant. Mind you, then she herself would never have come into existence, so every cloud had a silver lining.
She entered her quarters and was pleased to see that Seven was already there, cooking something in the kitchen. She slipped up behind the borg, wrapped her arms around her and nibbled her neck.
“Mmm, Good Evening, Kathryn,” murmured Seven.
“Good Evening,” replied Janeway, nudging Seven to turn round from what she was doing. She cupped her hand round the young woman’s neck and pulled her down for a searing kiss.
Janeway felt the desire rising within her and she deepened the kiss. It took her a moment to realise that Seven was attempting to pull away.
“Kathryn, maybe we should eat first,” she managed to say once Janeway had released the lock she had on her lips.
“Can’t we just move straight onto dessert,” Janeway asked in her best seductive husky voice, looking up at Seven and practically batting her eyelashes.
Seven just raised her eyebrow in response.
“OK, ok, food first,” Janeway said raising her hands in a sign of placation. Secretly she wondered when she was going to get her hands on the borg, it was driving her insane! She had to take a few calming breaths and count to 10 in her head before she sat down at the table.
She made pleasant chitchat through the meal, though she kept finding her mind wandering to what she would do when she got Seven in the bedroom. She also spent an inordinate amount of time staring at Seven’s breasts. Mind you, that wasn’t out of character even for the real Janeway, so she guessed Seven probably wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
Damn, she had been caught out. “mm-hmmm?”.
“Is something the matter, you seem distracted?” Seven asked.
“No, everything’s fine,” Janeway replied nonchalantly.
“If you are sure, you have seemed a little out of sorts since our picnic,” Seven continued.
A momentary flash of panic enveloped Janeway. Seven was obviously picking up on the slight differences in her behaviour to the “real” thing. She was going to have to perfect her act a bit more in the young borg’s presence, at least for the time being until she could subtly shift her behaviour patterns in the direction she wanted. She surmised that it was time for a little distraction.
“Have I? I guess the negotiations took more out of me than I thought.”
Seven looked concerned. “Maybe you should get some rest?” she suggested.
Janeway smiled, “I can think of a better way to help me take my mind off it”.
Seven smiled back at her, “You are incorrigible”
“But that’s how you like me,” Janeway grinned, getting up from the table and heading towards the bedroom. Halfway there she glanced back over her shoulder. “Coming?”
Seven made a show of sighing in mock exasperation and then followed Janeway into the bedroom.
The sun came up over the forest on Kindar and the sunlight glinted through the trees onto the prone form of Captain Kathryn Janeway. She blinked against the brightness as she opened her eyes. Great, she thought, now it was daytime again, how long had she been lying here? For all she knew it could have been days since the incident on the cliff. At least her mind seemed a bit clearer as the pounding in her head had stopped, though that meant she could now feel all the specific pains in the rest of her body. And those pains were numerous. She knew without having to look that some part of her right leg was broken and the tightness in her chest probably meant several of her ribs were too. Not to mention all the various other scrapes and bruises she could feel. She wasn’t going to let despair get the better of her though, dammit, she was a Starfleet Captain! She was going to get up and find some help….she just needed to gather herself first.
Steeling herself she managed to haul herself up onto her elbows. Now she could see why her leg was hurting so much…the trouser leg was torn and she could definitely see a bit of bone protruding through the gap, which was caked in blood. She gagged at the sight, and felt a wave of nausea pass over her. She supposed it could have been worse, she could have been killed outright in the fall, most probably should have been. Or even drowned or bled to death on this planet, all alone…alone without Seven. She berated herself again. It wasn’t helping to keep feeling sorry for herself. She would see Seven again. If it were the last thing she did she would make that happen.
Fortified by thoughts of her lover, she looked around at her surroundings for anything of use and spotted some fallen braches not far from where she was lying. She half crawled, half dragged herself over there, ignoring the fresh waves of pain that swirled through her leg. Removing her black tunic, she ripped the arms from it and used them and some of the wood to fashion a splint. Taking a few deep breaths and then pursing her lips, she attempted to re-set the bone as best she could just managing to restrain herself from crying out from the agony as the bone crunched together. She closed her eyes as her head spun from the pain and she had to lie there for some time to compose herself again. Putting what was left of her jacket back on, she had some pride after all; she used another longer branch to brace herself and falteringly rose into a standing position. She had to take a moment to lean against a nearby tree, panting with the exertion as she fought down the urge to vomit, not that there was anything to come up from her empty stomach. Finally, she turned and, using her makeshift walking stick, started slowly hobbling along the river in what she hoped was the direction of civilisation.
Janeway crouched behind some containers in Cargo Bay 2. It had now been nearly 2 weeks since Kindar and she’d finally had enough of the goody-goody act she had been playing so well. She did take a moment to congratulate herself on a part well played, though, even Seven seemed to be fooled and that was saying something, the young woman was just so damn perceptive.
But two weeks of Chakotay had proved too much, and now it was time to take matters into her own hands. His constant questioning of her decisions made her fume and his poor attempts at humour were just plain irritating. She had thus far managed to resist the urge to leap up and strike him repeatedly about the head with her metal coffee cup, or a padd or any nice blunt object, but it had been hard.
Anyway, he would be here in a minute and then hopefully she’d never have to look at his stupid, smug, tattooed face ever again. She laughed at how easy it was to manipulate people, especially ones as dense as Chakotay, he was such a….well….plank…was probably the best term for it. All it had needed was an offer of dinner with her, for which she had requested some of his special cider, and he was scurrying off to the cargo bay to fetch it.
The doors to the cargo bay slid open as Chakotay entered and instinctively Janeway hunkered down a bit further, just to make sure he didn’t spot her. She had a perfect view of where he was heading, though, via a gap in the containers. She was practically rubbing her hands in glee and anticipation of what she knew was coming, an evil smile quirking the corners of her mouth.
Chakotay sauntered over to where he kept his “secret” stash and removed the lid of the container. There was a faint click and, as he glanced up in the direction of the noise, a container toppled off the stack above and struck him on the head with a sickening crunch. He crashed to the floor, blood spurting from a deep gash on his forehead.
Janeway had to stifle the laugh that was threatening to erupt from her lips. She waited for a few seconds to check for any signs of movement and then rose from her hiding place and walked over to the immobile form of her second-in-command. An evil sneer on her face, she prodded him in the ribs with her foot, at which he let out a small moan. Dammit! He was alive. She looked around for something to finish him off with that would still make it look like an accident. Using her own boot to crush his skull was tempting but she didn’t want to get blood on herself.
She retreated to her former hiding place to look, just as the cargo bay doors opened again. Too late she thought she should have sealed them after the Commander had entered, though that may have been rather suspicious. It was just lucky that she was out of view. She peered between the containers to see Neelix in the doorway.
The padd he was perusing clattered to the floor as he looked up to see the prone form of Chakotay and the blood oozing from his head all over the cargo bay floor. He dashed over and knelt beside him.
“C-Commander?” he faltered. “Neelix to sickbay,” he said with urgency, tapping the comm badge on his jacket, “Medical emergency in Cargo Bay 2”.
Janeway silently cursed as the Doctor materialised and then transported Chakotay off to sickbay. Neelix gathered up his padd and trotted out of the Cargo Bay too, no doubt going off to check on the Commander. Idly she wondered if Neelix should be next on her list, she’d never much liked him either.
As she herself left the Cargo Bay, first checking that there were no other crewmen outside to see her leave, she clenched her fists in anger and ground her teeth. Trust Chakotay to even get dying wrong. The only good thing was that at least she’d get another chance, it might be fun seeing how many different ways she could maim him without actually killing him.
She was still fuming when she entered her quarters and the sight of Seven sitting on the couch reading sent her blood boiling in a different direction. She needed to take her frustration at not being able to kill Chakotay out somehow and it looked like a little “fun” with Seven would have to be it.
Seven glanced up to greet her partner, but before she could even speak, Janeway had pressed her lips to hers in a wanton kiss. Janeway pushed her partner back against the couch as her tongue explored Seven’s mouth and her hands pawed at her body.
She could feel that Seven was actually trying to push her away and making protesting noises, but she ignored it, her desire consuming her.
Suddenly Janeway found herself sitting on her backside on the floor as Seven shoved her more forcefully from her.
“Kathryn!” She exclaimed, shock and hurt colouring her tone.
“What?!” Janeway replied with exasperation.
“What are you doing?” Seven said indignantly.
“I would have thought that was obvious,” she said, rising and moving towards Seven again, a wicked glint in her eye.
Seven sidled along the couch out of her way. “I do not believe I wish to pursue this interaction at this time,” she said in her clipped tones.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Seven!” Janeway blurted, “Is it so wrong that I sometimes come home and just want to have a fuck?!”
She realised almost immediately that she had gone too far with the expletives as Seven just sat there staring at her in complete shock. She castigated herself, she knew she was diverting too far from the “real” Janeway’s personality and would get found out at this rate. Surreptitiously trying to kill Chakotay was one thing, wandering the ship randomly swearing at people was something else altogether. She clamped down on her anger and tried to retrieve the situation.
“Seven, I’m sorry…” she began, reaching out to the young woman.
“No,” said Seven, drawing away and dropping her eyes, though not before Janeway had seen the hurt and disappointment in them, “I am going to bed”.
“Fine,” Janeway said, the anger rising within her again, though she was trying hard not to let it.
Without saying anything else Seven got up and went to the bedroom, leaving Janeway to take out her frustrations by ramming her fists repeatedly into the couch cushions.
Kathryn Janeway blearily opened her eyes and groaned at the fuzziness clouding her mind.
“Seven?” she managed to croak through parched lips.
“Captain?” came another, male voice from close by, “You are awake!”
She turned her head slowly and attempted to focus on the speaker, a tall Kindari. It came back to her now, she wasn’t in her own bed on Voyager, she was stuck here on this planet. She attempted to rise up off the bed.
“Easy, Captain,” said the Kindari, motioning for her to stay lying, “You’ve been through a lot”
“Yes, I have,” she replied, dragging herself into a sitting position as her body cried out in protest at the exertion, “but I need to get back to Voyager.” And Seven, she thought.
“I’m afraid Voyager left orbit some two weeks ago,” the Kindari said
Kathryn looked shocked. Two weeks?! “How long have I been here?” she asked.
“In the hospital?” he prompted and she merely nodded, “You have been here for the past 10 days recovering from your injuries, which were numerous. What happened to you, Captain?”
She took a sip of the water that was beside her bed and related to him the events on the cliff top and how she had managed to survive the fall somehow. About how she had then trekked for what she now calculated must have been 4 days looking for civilisation. She had not realised how long it had been at the time, at some point she had started to become delirious, no doubt due to some infection in her leg. She could feel that her leg was still sore even now; obviously the Kindari medical technology wasn’t quite on a par with Voyager’s. The rest of her body didn’t feel too bad, though, apart from the general weariness.
Through her delirium she had somehow managed to continue her search, the thoughts of getting back to Voyager and Seven driving her through the pain and madness. She had lain at night feverish, sometimes imagining that she was actually already back on Voyager in her beloved’s arms. Then would come the moments of clarity when she realised it was all a cruel illusion. Finally she had come across a settlement and it was only then that she let the blackness take her, waking up here.
The Kindari listened intently, seeming particularly interested in what she had said about the other Janeway.
When she had finished he explained what had happened to her then, “The people of the settlement you found had you transported here, to our chief medical facility. We managed to heal most of your injuries, though your leg was particularly badly damaged, the doctors were amazed you had managed to walk at all. If you’ll excuse me a moment I must check on something.” With that he left her alone in the room.
She closed her eyes and sighed. Two weeks? Voyager was already two weeks away. She knew she wouldn’t be able to contact them either, this region being prone to ion storms that affected long range communication. But she wasn’t going to despair now. She hadn’t dragged her sorry ass through the wilds for days to give up now. She would just have to catch up with them. Hopefully they would have continued on the flight path they had determined before they came to Kindar, so she should have a fairly good idea of where they were.
She wondered what her course of action should be when she did find them. If the other Janeway had been posing as her for two weeks, probably more by the time she caught up with them, it may be difficult to persuade them that she was in fact the “real” Janeway. Particularly now she had lost her communicator and uniform she thought ruefully, looking down at the hospital gown she wore. A DNA scan would prove who she was, but she considered that the other Janeway would also have the same DNA. Plus the fact the other was devious and would most likely not even give her an opportunity to prove who she was if she made direct contact. She realised she would have a few weeks to formulate what exactly she would do.
Of course there was always the possibility that the crew had seen through the other Janeway, but if that was true, then why weren’t they back here for her? Surely Seven would have realised it wasn’t her, she thought desperately. But then, why would she? The other Janeway looked like her, spoke like her and….oh god!…..Janeway shuddered at the thoughts pervading her mind and for the first time in this whole ordeal a small tear escaped from her eye and trickled down her cheek. Furiously she wiped it away. This was no time for tears. She just had to catch up with them and then she would deal with her other self she thought angrily. She let the anger build inside her, she could use anger, the anger would drive her on in her quest to catch them.
At that moment the Kindari doctor returned followed by another Kindari who Janeway recognised as one of the clerics from the temple.
“Captain,” the cleric began, “the doctor has told me of what happened to you. We did not realise at the time you had touched the Aldari crystal in the temple.”
Considering his tone of reverence for the crystal, Janeway looked slightly shame-faced for her actions. “I’m afraid I did, I’m not even sure why”
The cleric seemed to consider this. “It is not always obvious why the crystal calls to someone. If we had known this had happened we could have monitored you and helped.”
“So what did happen to me, what did the crystal do?” she asked.
“The affect varies from person to person, in your case it seems that part of your personality was split from you”
Janeway barked a small laugh. “And not a very nice part either. So what do I do about it?”
The cleric regarded her for a moment as if trying to decide something. After a few moments he dipped his hand into an inside pocket of his robes and drew out a small azure crystal, a miniature version of the ones in the temple. Janeway found that she had reflexively backed away slightly, obviously the memory of the shock in the temple on her mind.
“Do not fear, Captain,” he said, motioning for her to take it.
Tentatively she picked up the crystal from his palm, relieved when no shock was forthcoming. She turned it over in her hand studying it.
“You must find the other you and use this crystal to re-integrate her back into yourself”
Janeway looked surprised, “Maybe I don’t want to re-integrate her, this is someone who tried to kill me”
“But you must, she is part of you, whether you like it or not.”
Janeway wasn’t sure she liked the implication of that. Obviously he sensed her scepticism so he continued.
“Though she only represents part of you, we all have many sides to our personality.”
Janeway frowned, but she wasn’t going to argue the point.
“So, how do I get off this planet?”
Captain Janeway slumped in her command chair and rested her head on one of her hands as Chakotay wittered on about something to her left. She prayed that the words coming out of this mouth weren’t going to include anything about his ancestors or spirits or she may just be forced to commit murder right here on the bridge in front of the alpha shift. It had been a couple of weeks since her unsuccessful attempt on his life and she wondered if it was too soon to have another go.
She had to do something to liven things up around here as she was getting decidedly bored.
Seven had also been somewhat distant since the swearing episode, always seeming to be working or finding other ways to avoid her. Or maybe she was just being paranoid, she conceded. They had been busy after all, negotiating this troublesome area of space.
Still, paranoia or not, it didn’t alter the fact that she was starting to get frustrated. She speculated over whether she could start an affair with someone else to spice things up. There weren’t very many prime examples of the male species available on board, that was for sure. She supposed Paris could be ok, he was fairly young and athletic and it would be fun to see if she could seduce him now he was supposedly in love with B’Elanna. Or even better, she could try and seduce B’Elanna and see the affect it had on Tom. Or maybe even seduce them both at once? That bought a smile to her lips.
“Something funny, Kathryn,” Chakotay asked her, seemingly amused.
She just turned and gave him a death glare until he looked away, pretending he had a sudden need to check something out on his chair-side console.
“Captain, we’re coming up on Taras now,” said Paris from the helm, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“Take us into orbit, Mr Paris,” ordered Janeway, “Commander, you have the bridge,” she continued, rising from her chair to go to the turbolift.
Seven of Nine picked up the small object from the market stall and studied it intently. She and the rest of the away team were taking a break from negotiations and had come to this bustling market to sample the local culture. Ensign Paris had informed her that it was like the markets that might have been found on the African continent of Earth back in the 20th Century, where you were meant to “haggle” over the price of the items on offer. Seven did not really see the point of that; surely it would be more efficient to tell the customers the price straight away to save any time and unnecessary misunderstandings. Paris had just laughed when she had told him this, and suggested that she “give it a go” anyway. So here she was looking for a present for her partner. She glanced around to check that the Captain wasn’t close enough to see what she was perusing, satisfied when she spotted Kathryn in a heated debate with another stall holder, probably attempting “haggling” herself.
She felt a strange pang in her chest at the sight of her partner. Things had not been good between them the past few weeks. Kathryn had profoundly shocked her a couple of weeks ago when she had practically forced herself on Seven and then used expletives when Seven had rebuffed her. She admitted that Kathryn had been trying to apologise ever since, though they had not had much of a chance to really discuss it, what with the demands of her work in astrometrics during their passage through this difficult region of space.
Seven was hoping that now they were through that, that she and Kathryn would have a chance to spend some time together and get back to doing all the loving things they normally did. Which was why she was now looking for something to surprise Kathryn with.
She put down the small object and made a regretful half smile to the stallholder to indicate that it wasn’t really what she was looking for. She moved onto the next stall and was examining what was on offer there when she heard a faint, half-whispered call from the alley that was next to it.
Seven frowned. She wondered if Paris was attempting to play one of his juvenile pranks on her.
“Ensign Paris,” she began as she moved in the direction of the alley, only to find that a pair of hands darted out, grabbed her right arm and yanked her into the darkness.
Her momentary surprise was quickly overcome and she used her borg-enhanced left hand to swipe away those holding her arm and then flat-handed the hooded figure straight in the chest, sending it flying several feet across the alley and into the opposite wall, a cloud of dust puffing up as it slumped to the floor. She reached for her communicator just as the figure spoke.
Seven froze and peered into the gloom as her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the alley. There, lying against the far wall was a small figure, dressed in shabby, dusty clothes. But, despite the battered appearance, the hood on the top had now fallen back to reveal that the figure was undoubtedly Kathryn Janeway.
“Seven, wait” she cried plaintively to the young woman.
Janeway slowly got to her feet, as Seven remained rooted to the spot, just staring disbelievingly at her. It was all Janeway could do to stop herself from rushing over and hugging the other woman, but she sensed that might result in her ending up on the floor again. She’d spent all these weeks chasing after Voyager, scratching rides from various ships along the way, and now here she was finally presented with what she had so longed for but not being able to embrace it, it made her heart ache.
“Who are you?” said Seven at last, breaking Janeway’s reverie.
“It’s me, Seven,” she replied, injecting all the love that she felt into her husky voice, “Kathryn”.
She tentatively took a few steps towards Seven, but as she did Seven also took a few steps back. Janeway stopped, she had to take it slow, she told herself, obviously Seven would be confused.
“You are not Kathryn Janeway,” Seven answered stonily, “She is currently standing approximately 30 metres from us in the market place.”
“That is partly true,” conceded Janeway, trying to approach this rationally. That was proving difficult as her emotions were all over the place at the moment, relief, trepidation, love, anger, all clouded by the fact that she was exhausted after constantly chasing after Voyager for the past two weeks. “We are both Kathryn Janeway, only the one standing out there shouldn’t really exist.”
“This is some kind of trick, what do you want with me?” Seven demanded icily.
“Nothing,” Janeway said, her normally assured voice cracking, “I just want you to believe me.”
Seven was looking at her as if she were mad. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, getting Seven on her own and talking her round, but now she wasn’t so sure. She supposed that she did look a bit like a mad woman, scruffy clothes, dirt streaked face and her hair was not it’s usual coiffured bob, that was for sure. Personal grooming hadn’t exactly been top of her list when mucking in on the various freighters and ships along the way. It had been lucky for her that, due to the difficult nature of this region of space, Voyager had not been able to travel at maximum warp or she might never have found them.
“Enough, I am calling security,” said Seven, reaching for her comm. badge.
“No!” cried Janeway, launching herself across the small space between them and grabbing for Seven’s wrist.
Seven easily dodged her lunge and Janeway’s momentum carried her face first into the dirt of the alley floor. She spluttered the dust from her mouth and rolled over looking up at the beautiful young woman.
“Seven, please,” she entreated, deciding to go for broke. She knew she probably now sounded like a desperate as well as mad woman but she had nothing to lose.
“I’ve been looking for you for weeks, the thought of finally finding you was all that kept me going.”
She had finally got Seven’s attention she noticed, though the expression on the borg’s face was still one of hostility.
“Explain,” she commanded.
Janeway rose to her feet once more, dusting herself off, but made no effort to move towards Seven.
“Do you remember Kindar, the picnic on the cliff top?” Janeway asked, taking a few deep breaths to try and compose herself.
“Yes,” Seven replied, confusion on her face, “How do you know about that?”
“Because I was there!” Janeway cried, then berated herself. Calm! She had to remain calm or Seven was never going to believe her. She would call that other Janeway over and they’d have her carted off by the authorities to some mental institution or something. If only she wasn’t so tired and emotional.
“At least, I was there waiting for you,” she continued in a lower tone of voice locking her eyes on the other woman, trying to convince her of the truth of what she was saying just through them.
Seven glanced away, though, dipping her head, seemingly unable to maintain the contact. Was she finally getting through to her? She pressed on.
“I had the whole thing planned, a lovely romantic picnic for the two of us,” Janeway said with warmth in her voice, “but then I got an unexpected visitor,” she added grimly.
Seven looked up again, meeting Janeway’s eyes with a quizzical look.
“It was myself,” Janeway stated plainly.
“Yourself?” Seven questioned.
“Yes, or what I later found out was a part of myself given form by an encounter with a mystical crystal in one of the Kindari temples earlier that day.”
Janeway realised she was veering off into the realms of implausibility again as Seven looked sceptical at the explanation.
“A part of you?” she asked disdainfully.
Janeway could feel the conversation slipping away from her again.
“Yes,” she added with desperation, “supposedly the dark side of me, unfettered by morals, ethics, compassion…”
She trailed off at the last one, just looking into Seven’s pale blue eyes imploringly. She thought that just for a second she saw a flicker of something there before the moment was broken by another voice to her right.
“Well, what’s going on here then?”
Both of them turned at once to see Captain Kathryn Janeway standing in the entrance to the alley, her hands on her hips.
Janeway could feel the anger boiling up inside of her; here was the woman who had tried to kill her, taken over her life. And now she was standing just a few feet away looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. She balled her hands into fists and glared at The Other.
“You!” she spat, “You stole my life”.
“What are you talking about?” The Other said in mock puzzlement, “Seven, what’s going on?”
“I am not sure, Kathryn,” Seven said, her eyes flicking from one Janeway to the other, “This woman claims to be you”
“I am her!” Janeway exclaimed, “Or rather, she’s me.”
“Really,” said The Other, dismissively, “I’m afraid she appears to be deluded, Seven. She may look like me, but obviously she isn’t actually me. Perhaps we can get her some help, psychiatric help.”
“No! I am Kathryn Janeway! You’re the fake, you’re the one who took my place!” she rambled. She knew she’d lost it, but everything seemed to be going wrong. Why couldn’t she think straight?
“Perhaps we should call the authorities, come on, Seven” suggested The Other.
“You’re not going anywhere,” Janeway said in a suddenly steely, low voice and pulled out the phaser she had been hoping she wouldn’t need, aiming it directly at the other her.
She thought she saw a momentary flash of fear in her counterpart’s eyes. Good, she thought, let her know how it feels!
“Don’t do this,” said The Other, though not in a pleading tone, in fact Janeway could see she actually had a faint sneering smile on her face. “We can work something out,” she added patronisingly.
Janeway couldn’t believe it. This other her actually had the cheek to throw her own words back at her, all the time with that smug smile on her face. She raised the phaser to fire, her finger hovering over the trigger.
Janeway was flabbergasted as Seven interposed herself between the two Janeway’s, blocking her line of fire.
“Seven, get out of the way!” She pleaded.
“Or what, you will shoot me?” Seven asked.
Janeway stared at her, their eyes meeting and suddenly she had a realisation of how things had reversed. She was the one who was acting like some evil doppelganger. She was the one who appeared crazed. She was the one who was trying to kill someone.
She dropped her head and her shoulders slumped, the phaser clattering to the ground at her feet as it fell from her now limp hand. She had lost. She had lost it all, but most of all she had lost Seven.
She took one last longing glance at Seven, defeat showing in her eyes as the tears welled up though did not fall. Seven was looking back at her too and for what seemed like an age they just gazed at each other in a silent communication.
“Come on, Seven,” The Other said, breaking the moment, “Let’s get back to the others and get some help for this poor soul.”
Seven turned to face The Other.
“Do you trust me, Kathryn?” she asked.
“What?” replied The Other, obviously surprised by the sudden change in the conversation, “Yes, yes, of course I do.”
“Good,” said Seven succinctly, and then took The Other in her arms and pressed her lips to hers.
The real Janeway gasped in horror, dismay at the scene she was witnessing evident on her face. The Other’s hands were upon Seven’s back now, roaming up and down her spine as they deepened the kiss. She couldn’t bear to watch any more and turned her eyes downward to stare at the floor in abject misery.
After what seemed an eternity, she sensed a body standing in front of her, so close she could feel the heat radiating from it.
Her breath was coming in slow, ragged gasps as she slowly raised her eyes to find Seven looking down upon her.
“Now it is your turn,” said Seven, placing her hand upon Janeway’s cheek before bringing her sweet lips to Janeway’s own.
As their lips met Janeway was overcome by the emotions raging inside of her. All those weeks of longing became focused on this one beautiful kiss. Everything she had been bottling up in order to keep going came flooding out as the passion consumed her. Only when she felt a salty taste mingle with their lips and tongues did she realise that tears were streaming down her face, but she didn’t care.
Finally they parted, though their gaze remained locked on each other. She searched Seven’s eyes and what she saw there made fresh tears cascade down her cheeks. She saw love.
“It’s alright, Kathryn,” whispered Seven brushing the tears away gently with the thumb, “I know the truth now.”
As Seven smiled at her, Janeway let out a small sob.
“Well isn’t that bully for you,” interrupted The Other sarcastically from behind Seven.
“Looks like I’m just going to have to kill both of you then,” she added.
Seven released her hold on Janeway and turned to face the other. Janeway could now see that she had a phaser…..her phaser!! Dammit, how could she have been so careless?
“Well this is all very lovely isn’t it, and after I looked after you so well over the past few weeks, Seven,” The Other sneered, the flirtatious tone in her voice indicating what she meant by that.
Janeway fumed, her face set in a look of pure hatred. It was all she could do to stop herself leaping on The Other and beating her to a pulp. Seven must have sensed that Janeway was teetering on the edge as well, even though she was still standing with her back to her facing the other Janeway, as she reached a hand across to beckon her to stay where she was. Janeway just stood stiffly, digging her fingernails into her palms as she raged internally. The Other had the advantage over them, she was standing too far away for Janeway to make a lunge for the phaser, though if she did maybe The Other blasting her would give Seven a chance to do something.
“Ah, well, I was starting to get a bit bored of you anyway,” The Other laughed dismissively, “I think it’s time for me to find some fresh blood, since you won’t be around anymore. I’m sure I’ll be able to explain how some robbers killed you in a terrible accident as you chased them through the market.”
“And as for you,” she added, casting a contemptuous glance at Janeway, “since no-one knows you even exist, you’re hardly going to be missed. Oh, what fun I’m going to have on Voyager now!”
“So who wants to go first?” she asked, quirking her eyebrow maliciously, “No takers? Ok, I’ll decide….”
She levelled the phaser at them, switching her aim between each in turn.
“Eeny, meenie, miney….moe!”
The deadly beam shot from the phaser and impacted directly on Seven’s chest sending her flying back into the dirt.
“No!!!” screamed Janeway.
She flung herself down by her partner’s side, her heart pounding wildly in her chest at the sight of the blood pouring from the gaping wound. She desperately tried to stop the blood by pushing her hands over the bloody mess.
“Hang on, Seven, please,” she entreated.
Seven’s eyes flickered to hers, though she seemed to be having trouble keeping them open.
The Other moved closer to them, coming up behind the kneeling Janeway, laughing evilly the whole time. Janeway took one more look at Seven who was just staring weakly at her and tensed her body. She was not going to let this other her win!
Suddenly she sprang up at The Other, taking her completely by surprise and knocking the phaser from her hand to send it skittering across the alley. While she had the advantage she quickly followed this with a solid punch to the mid-riff and, as The Other doubled over, she cracked her in the face with a swift uppercut.
The other Janeway staggered back, clutching at her nose as blood poured from it.
“You fucking bitch!” she spat. “And to think I was going to kill you quickly, now I’m going to make you suffer!”
The Other leapt at Janeway grabbing at her throat as they both toppled to the ground in a heap, rolling around in the dust.
Janeway found herself on her back with The Other on top of her, trying to squeeze her windpipe. She clutched at The Other’s hands trying to force them up and off, but The Other had the edge with the her body weight pressing down on Janeway. She gasped for air and stared into the mad eyes of The Other as sparkles started to cloud her vision.
Just as she thought she was about to pass out, she managed to free her leg and jam it in between them. She kicked out and thrust The Other from her. Rolling over onto her hands and knees, she coughed and spluttered as she tried to get some air back into her lungs. She couldn’t take her time, though, as she could see from the edge her vision that the other Janeway was clambering to her feet.
She rose too, the two of them now standing eyeing each other like a couple of boxers in a ring, sizing up where to make their next move.
Janeway wasn’t expecting the dust that flew into her eyes, though, as the other Janeway chucked it at her. Reflexively she put her hands to her eyes to rub them and as she lowered them a fist impacted with her right cheek sending her head snapping to the side and blood trickling into her mouth from her split lip. She only had time to shoot a brief baleful glance at The Other before another fist smacked her across the temple from the other direction and she fell to the floor.
“You’re never going to beat me!” crowed the other Janeway as she stood over the prone Captain, “you’re just to fair, while I don’t mind fighting dirty.”
She drew back her leg to kick Janeway while she was still on the ground, but Janeway quickly swept her own leg round, upending the other woman.
They were both now on the ground next to each other. The Other glared angrily at Janeway before her eyes flicked to something else across the alley. Janeway followed her glance…the phaser was lying a few feet away. Her eyes locked back on the other her and for a moment neither moved, both seeming to know what was about to happen but neither making the first move.
Then they both flew across the alley grabbing for the weapon, hands scrabbling desperately in the dirt.
After the dust had settled they both rose slowly to their feet, neither taking their eyes off the other woman. Finally Janeway’s eyes glanced down to the phaser that was now in The Other’s hand, trained on her.
“Shall we see if I can get it right this time?” The Other asked a smile quirking her lips.
“No!!!” howled Seven as she watched the phaser beam blast into the woman she loved.
Despite her own wound, she clutched her chest and hauled herself over to where Janeway had fallen.
She took the small, battered form in her arms.
“Kathryn,” she said in a whisper, which was all she could manage.
The blue-grey eyes met hers for a moment.
“Seven, I’m so sorry…” she began in a ragged voice, before she coughed, blood spurting from her mouth.
“Shh, Kathryn, it’s ok, everything’s going to be all right,” Seven cried, caressing Janeway’s cheek, even though she knew the futility of those words.
“I love you,” said Janeway, her hand reaching up to brush Seven’s face and the tears that now streamed down it.
Seven closed her eyes at the loving touch.
“I love you, too, Kathryn,” she replied, having never known anything to be truer in her entire life.
Suddenly the hand dropped from her face and Seven snapped her eyes open. A pair of now grey eyes that stared blankly into the distance greeted her.
Seven tipped her head back and let out a primeval wail of pain and hurt, before falling forwards onto the body of her dead lover sobbing uncontrollably.
Above her the other Janeway hovered chuckling to herself at Seven’s anguish. She was so busy congratulating herself on finally killing the real Janeway that she missed Seven’s borg hand darting up and grabbing her tunic, pulling her to her knees on the ground next to the borg and the dead Janeway.
Seven focused bitterly on the cruel reminder of her partner in front of her. She would kill her then she would die herself, since there was no point going on without Kathryn.
The other Janeway attempted to bring the phaser up as her other hand contacted something else on the ground. She looked down at the small azure crystal that had spilled out of the real Janeway’s pocket when she had been shot.
A brief flash of horrified recognition shot across her face before a blinding flash of blue light enveloped her. Seven was thrown back by the accompanying shockwave, shielding her eyes from the light as she tried to make out what was happening from where she was now sitting.
She could just make out the outline of the kneeling Janeway before the form seemed to disappear. Now the light was swirling round the body of her partner, disturbing the dust and whipping at her hair.
Then suddenly everything was still.
The Other Janeway was gone, leaving only the real Janeway lying there. Seven’s hands fell limply to her sides and she bowed her head and sighed despondently.
Another sigh broke her morbid thoughts. This one had not come from her.
She practically leapt the distance between her and Kathryn’s body in time to see the other woman’s eyes fluttering open. She gasped in utter shock.
“Seven?” Janeway croaked, “What happened?”
But Seven couldn’t speak, she was so overcome that she just swept Janeway up in a huge embrace, sobbing into the auburn hair.
Kathryn hugged her tightly back, and Seven luxuriated in the warmth of her partner’s body. Eventually Kathryn eased away from her…gasping herself as she saw that Seven was still badly injured.
“Seven, we have to get back to the ship,” she said urgently.
Seven looked at her blankly, then down at herself, she had completely forgotten about her own injuries, the emotion she had been feeling blocking everything else out.
“Indeed, though my nanoprobes have already started repairs,” she noted to reassure Janeway that she would be ok.
Janeway let out a small laugh and smiled at her partner, “If you’ll do the honours?” she said motioning to Seven’s comm badge.
Seven gazed into the warm blue eyes that were once more full of life before leaning down to kiss Kathryn.
“Of course,” she replied when she released Kathryn who seemed to be struck dumb for the time being, giving Seven one her best gooey looks. “Voyager, two to beam up.”