Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager and its characters belong to CBS/Paramount. No infringement intended.
Summary: Late in season six, Voyager comes across what seems to be an ideal planet for trade and shore leave, but they arrive at the worst possible moment and scramble to escape with all hands on board—including the captain. J and C friendship.
A/N: Gezegend means “richly blessed” in Dutch; I’m using it here as a noun.
“Who would think that a skinned knee would hurt this much,” Kathryn Janeway muttered under her breath.
She leaned on Harry Kim’s shoulder as they struggled through the winding streets of the Broden’s capital city surrounded by hundreds of citizens who were also fleeing from the battle that had erupted at the government center. She and Harry had just arrived there, having strolled through the open market, and had paused to admire the white façade of the government buildings when all hell broke loose, a blinding flash, an enormous explosion, a thundering mob of people pushing them away from the square and back into the city streets. Their Broden escorts evaporated, either injured or pulled away by the throng, and neither of them knew where they should go for help.
“When we find a safe place, I’ll take a look at your knee,” Harry promised. He glanced back at the flames that were reaching into the sky as the government buildings burned. Although the billowing smoke obscured the sun, the fire lit up the streets with a blood red glow. The captain’s injury was slowing them down, so he led her down a promising side street and then into a shadowed alley where they could catch their breath.
“Did you see anyone we know?” she wondered. He led her behind a stairway that jutted into the alley and watched her sag against the wall in a spot that was hidden from the street. “Ayala? Tuvok?”
“Nobody. They must have been pretty far away, maybe even at the military compound, before the battle started.” He watched her lean over and pick at strands of shredded uniform that were caught in the sticky wound.
She slid down the wall to the ground and stretched her injured leg in front of her. “Could you tell whether anyone was following us?”
“Not in that chaos, but I don’t think so. That attack was too big and organized to have anything to do with our presence on the planet. It must have been planned for months.” He looked toward the opening of the alley, worried. “Just let me take a quick look, to be safe.”
Harry crept to the end of the ally and studied the crowd flowing past. No one seemed at all interested in the strange aliens in their presence. No one slowed down to wonder why Harry wasn’t running for safety, too. Returning, he crouched in front of her. “Everyone’s too busy getting out of the line of fire to worry about us.” He smiled at her and looked down at her leg, reaching for the tricorder at his belt. “Let me see why this knee hurts so much.”
“That won’t work any better than our commbadges do,” she predicted. While he was gone, she’d stripped off her jacket and had torn off a piece of her shirt to use in wiping away the sticky blood that had soaked through her slacks and was now trickling down her leg. “That bright flash just before the first explosion probably disabled every electronic device for miles around.”
“You’re probably right, but I’ll give it a try.” Harry flipped open the tricorder and sighed when the screen remained black. “Dead.”
“I wish we had a medkit with us.” She looked up at him with a glimmer of worry in her eyes. “I think there’s a fragment or a rock inside the wound.”
“Let me look.” Harry gently twisted her leg and saw a round smooth object imbedded in the skin. “It looks like the head of a nail. Do you want me to pull it out?”
Kathryn nodded. She gritted her teeth as he found a good position, draping her leg over his knee to give him a better view. She handed him another piece of her uniform to help him get a firm grip on the flat top of the small object before he looked at her again for permission. “Just get it over with, Harry,” she ordered through gritted teeth. “My knee will feel better once it’s out of there.”
Pushing his fingertips into the wound, he tried to grasp the top of the object, ignoring her groans and focusing on what he had to do. When the object refused to come straight out, he wrapped his left arm around her trembling leg and then twisted the object back and forth until it popped loose with a sucking noise. Kathryn twisted so she could lie flat on the ground as he examined the thin piece of metal, noticing that it had barbs evenly spaced along the shank. He held it up in the dim light for a closer look.
“This is projectile of some sort,” he told her, “maybe released by one of the exploding devices that hit the plaza.”
“Harry,” she whispered, reaching to grasp his arm. “I can’t feel my leg.”
He looked down at her knee, amazed at the amount of blood that was streaming out of the wound, and then turned to look at her just as she vomited. Scrambling out of the way, he said, “Captain? What’s happening?”
A sheen of sweat glistened on her face as she looked up at him and drew the back of her hand across her mouth. “The projectile must have been a weapon. I must have delivered some sort of drug, don’t you think? Or maybe poison?”
“On the projectile,” he finished her thought for her, sick with fear. He wrapped the tiny spike in the cloth and shoved it into the tricorder holster on his belt. The EMH would need a sample of the drug so that a proper antidote could be administered. “You didn’t pick this up when you fell, Captain. I think that first explosion must have sent these out like shrapnel.”
“You’re probably right.” She pushed herself up so that she was leaning against the wall again, but her face was pasty white. “Good thing you were behind me, so one of them didn’t hit you.”
“I’m thinking that you didn’t trip and fall, after all.”
“No, you’re right. I was hit in the knee, and then I fell.”
Harry’s fear increased. “I wish I could sterilize the wound.”
“Just wrap it tightly,” she suggested, her eyes glazing over. “Use the bottom part of my slacks for a bandage.”
Harry worked quickly, ripping off the hem of her slacks and fashioning it into a bandage large enough to cover the wound and then binding it in place with longer narrow strips. The material was shiny with blood by the time he finished, and the captain was deathly pale. “You’re losing a lot of blood, Captain.”
“Maybe all the bleeding will keep the wound from becoming infected.” Her voice was slightly slurred and her eyes glassy. What she didn’t say, but what they were both thinking, was that the toxin was already in her bloodstream and flowing throughout her body. Without help from their EMH, chances were good that she wouldn’t live long enough to die from an infection.
At that moment, the conflict on the street escalated, sending smoke and noise billowing down the alleyway like a storm front. They both ducked as another explosion rocked the area and flaming debris floated down from the sky. Harry hovered over her to protect her from the falling ashes, but there was nothing he could do to rid them of the smoke that filled the air. It was becoming more and more difficult to breathe.
“We need to get out of the open.” He peered over the stairs toward the end of the alley.
“I don’t think I can walk, Harry.”
“No, but I want to see what’s going on before we find a place to hide.” He crept to the end of the alley and peeked into the empty street that had gone eerily silent. The pavement was littered with injured people who were either moaning or lying deathly still. He could hear small arms fire from the battle that was just a few blocks away. They were running out of time. Soon, foot soldiers would come along the street killing or capturing anyone who escaped the initial explosion. He didn’t want to find out what they would do to alien hostages.
Hurrying back to her side, he said, “Captain, how are you feeling?”
“Worse.” She shook her head and looked down at her legs. “I can’t feel or move that leg from the waist down, and I think I have a fever.”
“We need to get out of here.”
“I can’t move, Harry.”
“Then I’ll carry you.”
“No, Harry, don’t.” She pushed his hands away. “I’ll just slow you down. Help me find a safe place to hide, and then you go look for help. Maybe you’ll be able to contact Tuvok or Ayala. Once you find them, you’ll be able to find a way to call the ship and have me transported to sickbay.”
“I’m not leaving you.”
“You have to go.” Her eyes lost focus for a moment before she shook her head and narrowed her eyes. “That’s an order, Mr. Kim.”
He was about to protest when they heard shouts and weapon’s fire from the street. A quick look over the stairs revealed the shadows of people who were running past the alley. The battle had caught up with them.
“Look for the aliens,” a man shouted, stopping so that his silhouette was visible against the flames that consumed the buildings on the other side of the block. “The leaders want to take them hostage, use them for leverage against the government.”
The shouted reply was muffled.
“We’ve got to find a safe place to wait this out,” Harry decided, taking a moment to study the area. Another staircase faced them, but this one had a doorway on the side that led down a few steps to a cellar. Deciding that finding a place to hide was their best bet, he lifted Kathryn from the ground and carried her down the steps and though a narrow door that lead to a tiny well-organized storeroom. Leaving her slumped against the wall, he pushed the door shut and pulled the shades closed on the windows.
What he found was a deserted studio apartment. There was a sofa pushed against a wall, an overstuffed chair, a couple of end tables, all surrounded by boxes. In the back of the room was an area that had once been a kitchen, but the sink and appliances were long gone. Two doors in the rear wall lead to a closet full of what looked to be bicycle parts and a tiny bathroom with a working sink and toilet.
He helped Janeway to the sofa and lowered onto it, lifting her swollen leg carefully onto the cushions. He scrounged around to find a blanket to cover her and then began piling boxes between the sofa and the wall to provide them some cover. He had just returned to her side when she looked up at him, panic in her eyes.
“I’m going to be sick again,” she mumbled. He scrambled to get an empty box for her to throw up into and then helped her lie back again.
Alarmed, Harry quickly doused some cloth scraps in cool water and used them to wipe her clammy face clean. He froze when he heard someone walking in the alley just outside their windows.
“Captain, we have to be quiet,” Harry warned, wishing he had a phaser in case someone burst through the flimsy door. “They’re right outside searching the alley.”
“I’ll be quiet.” She closed her eyes and covered them with her arm.
“Just stay still.” He placed another box beside her in case she got sick again. “Once they leave, I’ll see what else is here that we can use.”
“What you need to do is go back to the beam in site and look for Tuvok.”
“All in good time.”
“Or maybe just call the ship.” Harry could tell that her condition was deteriorating. Her teeth were chattering from fever, and her mind was wandering. “Call Chakotay.”
“Don’t talk.” He sat down beside her as the searcher’s shadows fell on the window shades. He could hear their voices, but the universal translator was offline, so he didn’t know what they were saying. He saw a shadow moving toward the door when a shout came from the alley and all of the searchers quickly disappeared. Long moments passed before Harry relaxed a bit.
“We’re safe for now.” Kim glanced at her, noticing that she was shivering, and placed a hand on her forehead. “You’re burning up with fever.”
“Chakotay.” Her voice was raspy, her breathing labored. When she looked at him her eyes were glassy and unfocused. “He’ll know what to do.”
He nodded, not really listening. She’d obviously forgotten that their commbadges and tricorders had been disabled. “First, I’ll have to find a working communication device.”
“Chakotay,” she repeated, gripping his arm. “Call him.”
“That first explosive device shorted out anything electronic in this part of the city,” he reminded her. “I’d like to find a working communications unit or look for Tuvok and Ayala, but I shouldn’t leave you.”
“No, don’t worry about me. You have to get help, Harry.”
“Do you think they could have gotten to the beam in site from that military base?”
“Ask Chakotay. He’ll know.” She licked her cracked lips and shook her head, trying to clear her mind. “He’s the finest first officer I’ve ever worked with, Harry. The best.” She shifted slightly, her eyes drooping. “Tell him it’s dark and cold. We need a fire. And coffee.”
He almost laughed until he looked down and saw the blank look in her eyes. “Captain?”
“He’ll be good. A good captain. Don’t worry. You’ll see.”
“Who’ll be a good captain? Chakotay? You’re the captain.” He helped her find a comfortable position, rolling a blanket to make pillow. Her condition was getting worse, and he realized that he needed to do something to help her, either find sympathetic aliens or track down the away team. “I’ll get you set up, wait until the battle cools off, and then I’ll go look for Tuvok.”
“Voyager.” She grabbed his arm. “Call and tell Chakotay that they might try to take the ship.”
“Yes, Captain.” He extricated himself from her grasp and quietly looked through the room, finding a couple of water bottles to place beside her, more clean blankets, and a few containers of something that looked like crackers. He helped her drink some water before he covered her with a blanket. “If you wake up and I’m gone, I’ll be back, Captain. Just stay here and be quiet.”
“Don’t waste time on me, Harry. Voyager is in danger.”
“We’re not about to leave you behind.”
“Just go. And tell him.” She struggled to sit up, finally giving up and leaning on her elbow as tears welled in her eyes. “Tell Chakotay that I know he can do anything . . . whatever has to be done. And tell him,” she paused, struggling to make her eyes focus on Harry’s face, “tell Chakotay that my last thoughts . . . were of him. Promise me.”
“You can tell him.” Harry fought back panic as he helped her lie back down. “When we get back to the ship.”
“Promise me, Harry. Promise to tell him.” She closed her eyes. “My last thoughts. Tell him.”
“Okay, I promise that I’ll tell him. But you’re not going to die on me, understand? Captain?”
He received no reply, for the captain had lapsed into unconsciousness.
-to be continued-