Title: A Reason ( Pt2)
As they left the holo-deck, Tom turned to Harry and asked, "I wonder what that was all about?" Harry didn't say anything but a reluctant look crossed his face. Before he could school it to a non-expression, which Tom caught.
"Come on, Harry, you know something. Give."
"Well, with the rumours flying, I don't want to say anything, but this evening, before I came to the mess hall, I saw B'Elanna leave Chakotay's quarters and she was smiling. When I asked her about it, she brushed it off and didn't say anything else but she was slightly angry. You saw how she acted in the mess hall and for her to now send for Ken, I don't know Tom. I just don't know," Harry said reluctantly.
"Well, do you think they are planning something? They couldn't be. I mean we have just made the ship less vulnerable to the Kazons so what more do they want? What would it take to please Chakotay?" Tom asked with a slight anger in his voice. Harry looked at him surprised at the anger he heard in that voice.
"What do you mean by what would it take to please Chakotay? And why are you angry?" Harry couldn't help asking.
Tom looked at him before continuing, "I know that he was left out of the plan but we had a spy on board and the Captain and Tuvok thought up a good plan to flush them out. Everyone had a part to play, so we did what we had to do. We explained and I told him that it was all an act, and I apologized about hitting him so it is over; let's move on. I didn't exactly have an easy time of it either you know."
Hearing his friend rant, Harry could only gape at him. "You don't understand do you? This isn't about you. There is a chain of command and Chakotay is supposed to be part of it, and while you were all 'acting'; he was taking his job seriously. He is the only Maquis representative in the chain of command and the Maquis feel left out. I know you were playing a part but did you think to look at it from his point of view? You both have issues from your Maquis days and I think that has made things worse not better. I hope that nothing really bad comes of this, but I think it may be too late now. Anyway, we will see by tomorrow what the results are."
As they reached their destination now and entered the turbo lift, their discussion was cut off and they didn't notice the shadow that heard it all
Tuvok had heard the rumours and having heard this new conversation had also concluded that there was need for concern. The scheme to flush out the spy had contrived some consequences that both he and the Captain had not factored upon. They hadn't suspected Chakotay but it was logical to keep him out of it if the plan was to work. Especially considering that all the members of the Maquis crew were suspects and Chakotay's reaction was needed to be original. He decided to let the Captain know of his concerns and then move on from there.
When he got to the Captains quarters. He pressed the buzzer.
"Captain, if I may have a moment of your time?"
"Of course, Tuvok. Come in and sit down. I assume that your being here means that it couldn't wait to be addressed in the morning."
"Yes, Captain. I don't know if you are aware of the rumours going round on the ship."
"Rumours, Tuvok. I was not aware that Vulcan's listened to rumours," she said smiling
"Captain, it is logical as your Chief Security Officer to listen to what is being said in order to determine when a security measure would be needed."
"Logical," she answered.
"There are rumours that there is a lot of dissention among the Maquis regarding the present endeavour to uncover the spy and that the Commander is no longer in the chain of command. He hasn't been seen by a majority of the crew so the story changes depending on the narrator. The last one I heard is that Lieutenant Torres and Crewman Dalby are in communication with him, but the nature of that communication was not revealed."
"Do you have any idea what Chakotay's response to these rumours have been? And could the meeting between those three have been a friendly get together? I know that they were friends in the Maquis."
"Yes they are friends but the Commander is the common denominator between them, because the Lieutenant and the crewman are not that good friends."
"Thanks for bringing this to my attention Tuvok. There is nothing I can do about the rumours on the rest of the ship. But I'll take the necessary steps and cull them during tomorrows senior staff meeting if the issue raises its head," Tuvok raised an eyebrow at her terminology but all he said was, "Thank you, Captain. I'll leave you now."
"Yes, Goodnight, Tuvok." As he left, the Captain thought of her First Officer. She could still remember the expression on his face when he had been told that a convincing performance was needed from him. Janeway couldn't see how she could have done anything differently to flush out the spy. In her opinion, there wasn't much he could have done to help her. After all, he had let Tuvok and Seska into his cell without uncovering them as spies.
She would see how he reacted in the morning. He had accepted that she was in command when he agreed to be her First Officer. Sometimes, she mused on what it would have been like if things were vice versa but she couldn't even imagine it. Chakotay was too she couldn't think up a suitable word but she couldn't envision working as his subordinate.
Early the next morning, Chakotay woke up early and decided against going to the mess hall for his meal. As he thought about it, he decided to go all out and fast. After B'Elanna had left him the day before, he had procrastinated on his meditation so he was going on a vision quest at the end of his shift. He went straight to his office to do some work and finish up some paperwork that was due. He also wanted to prepare himself for the senior officers meeting. It would be the first time that he would see all of them after the disaster of the Jonas incident and he was still shaky on how to behave. Now that the drama was all over and the curtain had fallen, he felt that he was expected to climb back on the stage and start a new performance. Unfortunately, while the others had been given their scripts, his was an impromptu play and he didn't know what he should do.
At his office, after his work had been done, Chakotay still had about twenty minutes till the start of his shift so he decided to clear his mind and have a slight rumination on nothing. He set his the computer to alert him when it was time.
Chakotay had found that in times of great stress when he had a lot of thoughts playing a tug of war on his mind, clearing his mind of all thoughts and pondering on nothing was a good idea. It was in those times that some of his solutions came to him. He could go deep within himself and search. Many times what he sought eluded him but he knew that one-day he would find it even though he didn't quite know what it was that he was seeking. Chakotay hadn't yet brought his search to the attention of his Spirit Guide but he knew he couldn't continue hiding it. In recent times, he was seeking more and more, going further and further and sometimes he felt like he was losing himself in his search.
As his thoughts cleared, Chakotay started looking within himself and then heard his father's voice.
// I know that you never fully embraced the traditions of our tribe. When you leave the tribe, you know that you would be 'plimbare doi Lume'[Of Two worlds]. You would never belong to that other tribe and you would never belong to this one. You would be caught between worlds. // This was something that he's been told more than fifteen years earlier. While this was not the answer that he gave his father fifteen years earlier, he couldn't think of anything else to say but,
"I understand what you meant now, Father. I had lost my way, but I have found the Spirits and I need you to help find my way home."
The Computer alarm rang at that moment and startled him out of his meditative state. It sounded very loud in the midst of the silence that had descended on the office. The calm that he had hoped to achieve with the meditation was slightly tinged with more questions. What did it mean that he recalled the words spoken by his father so long ago when he decided to join Starfleet? With the present goings on, it seemed like everything was coming to a head. He really needed to meditate and talk to his Spirit Guide.
With an appearance of the calm that he had attained, Chakotay left his office and walked to the Captain's ready room. He was not as early as he would normally have been but he was not late either. This was the first indication to Janeway that something was amiss but he gave her the face of her ever-competent First Officer so she could not call him up on it.
"Good Morning, Captain, did you sleep well?" he asked her with a straight face.
"Morning, Commander. I slept fine, thank you. How are you?" She asked him while carefully looking for a visible sign of discontent. He returned her look with a carefully blank one and his usually expressive eyes were unreadable as he answered her.
"I'm fine, Captain." As they continued in this venue, it felt like the beginning of their command together, with each person trying not to offend with his/her comments. But try as she may, Janeway couldn't find an opening to introduce the topic of the rumours. Before she could ask him about them point blank, the doors opened and the rest of the senior staff walked in. What they saw was the Captain and First Officer sitting in their seats and discussing things as usual but there was an under-current of tension that was running between them. The Captain called the meeting to order as usual and asked for the Engineering Report. She had found that giving B'Elanna the floor from the beginning got things running rather smoothly.
As this started, Chakotay noted that the Captain hadn't asked for his input for this meeting. Was he being paranoid or did she not respect him any more? That gave him more to think about and in the mean time the show must go on.
B'Elanna didn't have a lot to report but she did need another crewman to fill up the position that had been laid empty with Jonas's death. She was reluctant to bring the topic to the already explosive atmosphere in the room so she said nothing. Chakotay though, had planned ahead for this eventuality so he spoke up.
"B'Elanna, I know that you have an unfilled position now that Jonas is gone so I am reassigning crewman Gerron to engineering. His expertise is limited so you will have to train him into the position."
Everyone went very quiet at this and looked between Chakotay and the Captain to see how recalling the incident had affected them. Chakotay smiled to himself, determined not to let his amusement show, thus, there was a blank-expression on his face. This surprised some of the senior staff but they decided that Chakotay was being professional.
"Thanks, Chakotay that would help," B'Elanna smiled at him. Tuvok followed the Captain's ruling regarding the rumours and did not bring it up. Since the rest of the departments did not have a lot to say, the meeting was mercifully short.
Everyone was glad to leave the tension filled room at the end of the meeting. Neelix who was ever aware of the mood of the crew asked the Captain that they stop at the nearest viable planet to replenish the food supplies. He was also hoping that the planet would be suitable for some well-needed shore leave. When they all left for the bridge, Chakotay asked the Captain for a bit of her time. She thought he was going to address the issue between them. She couldn't have been more wrong. Chakotay was determined to act his part.
"Captain, I noticed yesterday that when Paris offered to leave the ship, we would be left with only three experienced pilots. Only one who could fly the ship well enough in an emergency and that is me. In the case of such emergency, should Lieutenant Paris and yourself be injured, and then I would be faced with having dual positions of being in command and flying the ship, which would not be prudent. So I would like to set up a training program for more pilots. This would go beyond the rudimentary flying skills equivalent to what Tuvok taught the Maquis some months ago. For this program I'll need Lieutenant Paris to do the teaching and I would observe and oversee. Other departments also need cross-training but that need isn't a priority at the moment."
This was delivered with a tone and expression that a Vulcan would envy and Janeway found that she missed her First Officer who would smile, crack jokes and maybe flirt with her a little. She wanted this animosity between them to end but didn't know how to go about it. As long as he was being professional, she would give him time to get over whatever grievances he had regarding her decision.
"That is a good idea, Commander. Is there anyone you had in mind?"
"No, Captain. I haven't set up a schedule just yet but I'll have a list and schedule for you by the end of the shift."
Some people on the bridge noticed the exchange between Chakotay and B'Elanna and this fuelled their suspicions some more. Harry was worried, as he didn't want to be caught in the middle. Tuvok wondered if it would be a security issue. The Captain just wondered what Chakotay was up to, for she knew that the expression he continually wore on his face was a cover up but she couldn't get under that cover. He then took his leave of her.
"Captain, I have a meeting in my office and I'll be there till the mid-day meal. I should have the list for you by then." He left without giving her the opportunity to comment. Chakotay got to his office with 10 minutes to spare and got himself just comfortable before Dalby announced himself.
"Commander, you wanted to see me?"
"Yes, Ken. Come in and have a seat." Chakotay called him by his first name and made him sit while he came round and sat on and leaned back on his desk. This gave an air of informality to the otherwise formal setting.
"But Chakotay, are they true? They are saying that you didn't know what was going on so how are we going to work together if we are being kept out of things. Is the Maquis just here to fill up the empty places on the ship and not have a voice?"
"Ken, our purpose is to get home. The truth of my knowing about the ruse or not doesn't change that. We had a spy and he needed to be flushed out. He turned out to be Maquis and that makes it hard for the rest of the Maquis on the ship. We have to show that we are not all set out to betray the rest of this crew, okay. Control these rumours; Janeway is determined to get us home the fastest way possible and like I told you last time, that is the one thing that I would do anything within in my power to help her accomplish."
"But what about on the way home? What if we, the Maquis, have problems and need help. Would we get it?
"If there are problems, bring them to me as usual. Follow the chain of command and solutions will be provided. I am still the First Officer."
His friend snorted at that, not quite unkindly. "Are you? Or is it just a title you wear. Come on, Chakotay, this is not like you, why are you not angry? I mean Paris hit you in front of the whole crew and you just took it. When did you change so much?" Ken asked with a slight sneer in his voice. He was trying to get a rise out of the placid man in front of him and was satisfied to see an expression of intense anger cross Chakotay's face before it was masked again.
"Oh, I'm still the First Officer alright. You just take care of calming everyone down and I'll take care of the rest for now. Tell the Maquis that there will be no retribution on Tom Paris. If I hear of anything and 'I better' hear if anything happens, then Maquis standards will apply." His voice was still low but got steadily harder.
Ken gulped when he heard that. He had thought the man had changed but deep down, the warrior they had called 'Bãrbat-a-r'azboí' (Man-of-War) was still there. He remembered that man and knew that whatever Chakotay may be feeling about the situation, it would be good to wait and see. "I'll pass your message along, Chakotay. Knowing it came from you, they will take it seriously, but remember, I know you so don't go and do something crazy." He said this with a smile in his voice.
To which the Commander answered, "How can I so something crazy? Don't you trust me? We are in the Delta."
"The Delta quadrant. Right."
"By the way, I hope things are okay with you and Gerron? Because as of today, he has been assigned to start his next shift with B'Elanna in Engineering. Jonas's death has left her short of staff so he will be in training for the next few weeks."
"He'll like the training, but B'Elanna. I'm not so sure."
"Well it's his new duty so be there to help him and he'll be fine. I'll see you later, thanks for coming."
After Ken left, Chakotay spent the rest of the day changing the rota around to accommodate the change Jonas death and Gerron's reassignment. He then created a list from the crew that he felt would be available for the pilot's cross training program. He set the list aside and decided to let Tom Paris have the final decision on the training crew. After doing this, Chakotay thought back to what Ken had said about the First officer's title being just a name he was called rather than the designation of his position.
When he had agreed to be the 2nd in command to Janeway, he had thought that it would afford him the opportunity to look out for his people while forging a single crew with the Fleeter's. Most of his people had not been trained to Fleet standards and allowances had to be made but to his knowledge, he had helped where he could.
Janeway had assigned him as a de facto counsellor so he'd had to solve the crew problems as they arose or so he thought. Unfortunately, he may have been wrong, because, the first sign of a crew member's personal life affecting his work, one Tom Paris, his efforts to help turned out to be an unwritten act in a drama he didn't know he was starring in. He didn't know why he couldn't let this go but he could still hear Janeway telling him clearly that a convincing act was what she needed from him.
That afternoon, as Chakotay went to the mess hall for his meal, he could see that Dalby had done what he could to defuse the rumours. The place went silent as he walked in and when the voices started up again, they didn't go up to the usual level. Chakotay didn't let this bother him as he just made his selection and found an empty table to sit on. Neelix had tried to start up a conversation with him but he politely refused to be drawn into any conversation whatsoever and the look on his face didn't invite anyone but only the brave to attempt to approach him.
This of course did not deter the Captain as she was determined to show a united front to the crew. She had noticed that as she came in, the crew had given Chakotay's table a wide berth, wider than usual. Janeway sat down opposite him and started discussing some anecdotes about the ship's business. He answered her in monosyllables but showed a modicum of interest in what she was saying, picking up topic threads from her and offering up none of his own. As Chakotay finished his meal, he excused himself with a small smile at her and headed toward the door. When he got there, he came across Tom Paris who was coming in for his own meal. Deciding to make the best of the opportunity, he stopped the younger man.
"Lieutenant Paris," he called out but not loudly. This caused the noise level of those around him to drop as they all listened to what the he had to say to Tom.
"Yes, Commander." Tom answered with his face carefully blank and a hint of the usual smirk in his voice. He was surprised at this turn of events but was determined not to let it show in his face.
"I'd like to see you in my office, 1430 hrs," Chakotay told him.
"Yes, Commander." Tom continued walking in to the hall as Chakotay left. Harry who was with him at the time asked
"I wonder what that is all about, Tom."
"I don't know, Harry. I guess I'll find out when I go to see him in his office. By the way have you noticed that the atmosphere doesn't seem to be as tense as it was yesterday?"
Harry had indeed noticed but couldn't attribute any particular factors to it. When he saw B'Elanna sitting on her own, he pointed her out and they joined her table.
She looked up at them, gave them a small tight smile and continued eating. This was a surprise to the two men as it was a change from her tone yesterday.
"Hi, B'Elanna, what is going on? Why are you smiling all of a sudden?" Tom asked her warily. As he was scheduled to have a meeting with the Commander, he didn't want any surprises if he could avoid them.
"Can't I just be courteous to you?" she asked. They looked at each other and Harry answered
"No, Maquis. Something is up. Tell." But she really didn't have anything to tell them.
Anyone who hadn't been Maquis would not understand her position. She had heard from Gerron as he reported for duty in Engineering that Chakotay had asked them all to stop listening to rumours. If there was something that needed to be said, then he would tell them. There was also the admonition that Maquis rules would apply to anyone who thought to take the law into his own hands and take reprisal on Tom Paris. It didn't escape B'Elanna's notice that Dalby had put out that the warning had come from 'Bãrbat-a-r'azboí'(Man-Of-War). Even in the Delta quadrant, that name could still make waves.
"Nothing is up, Harry, I just remembered something that's all. How about you two, what is going on with you?"
"Me, nothing, but Tom has a meeting with the Commander in one hour and we were wondering if you could let us know what it was all about," Harry answered
"And the reason I would know this would be?" she asked him sarcastically with a look of slight anger on her face. Both men, having no intention of angering the half-Klingon woman before them backed off and continued eating their meal. When she finished, she decided not to wait for them and left them still in the mess hall. When she got to the corridors, she commed Chakotay wanting to let him know about the latest rumours.
"Torres to Chakotay. Commander can I see you for a few minutes?"
"That is okay, Commander, I don't need a lot of time."
B'Elanna got on the Turbo lift at the same time as the Captain and when Janeway heard the assignation that was being arranged, she couldn't help but imagine different scenarios of what Chakotay was up to.
When B'Elanna got to her destination, she saw Chakotay leaning on his desk waiting for her. At her smile, he instinctively smiled back though he couldn't deduce its cause.
"What is going on?" He asked
"Well there is one thing I can say for you, you know how to get the job done. The rumours have stopped." Chakotay was still perplexed.
"That's good, so what is the problem. I thought it was the First Officers job to maintain the status quo and make sure everything was okay with the crew," he said to her, finishing wryly.
"Oh, the rumour is not the problem. It is the other story that I have heard from a few select people that is making me smile. Do you know that someone has put out a caveat of No-reckoning revenge on Tom Paris?" Chakotay remained perplexed.
"Yes, I told Ken to let the Maquis know that I wouldn't accept anyone taking things out on Tom Paris on my behalf. I still don't see where you are going with this."
"I am getting there. This warning was put out by none other than 'Bãrbat-a-r'azboí' (Man-of-War). So, can you see where I am going?"
At this Chakotay moaned and put his face in the palms of his hands. "Oh. I thought that name had stayed in the Alpha quadrant. I didn't think it would follow me here. What was Ken thinking?"
"He was probably thinking that it would drive the point home faster. He must have seen something that reminded him of it. Lighten up. You never liked the name but even you have to admit that it had its purpose. I have to return to engineering now anyway. And thank you for Gerron. Another hand is always helpful."
"I know you needed someone, B'Elanna. I'll see if I can roster you some more help but things will be shaky for a while okay."
"That's okay. Thanks 'Bãrbat-a-r'azboí'," she called out as she left.