The party was deemed to be a great success. It was hard not to notice that everyone's attitude was on a high.
Over the next couple of weeks, for own peace of mind, Michelle decided to see how both Chakotay and Kathryn would react under pressure in regards to their developing relationship.
Garak had repeatedly told her that the couple were first and foremost Starfleet officers and that she did not have anything to worry about. For the most part, Michelle agreed with Garak but if anything happened to her, Voyager would be their responsibility and she cared to much for her crew and ship not to make sure that she was right.
She had convinced Kathryn to tell Chakotay her true rank, that of an Admiral, last night. Kathryn's initial concerns were no longer valid and Michelle didn't like keeping things from Chakotay. He was a loyal officer and she had said so repeatedly in her logs.
Michelle hoped Starfleet would look at all of her crew as a Starfleet crew and judge them on their performance while on Voyager. Kathryn having kept her true rank a secret from the crew could look like an Admiral didn't trust the crew even after working with them for a period of time, ultimately it wouldn't look good.
Kathryn was going to tell Chakotay the next day but before she could, Voyager made contact with the Jilas.
Michelle found herself in negotiations for supplies with the Jilas on the Jilas' home planet. She had handed control to Chakotay knowing that Kathryn wouldn't discuss her true rank with Chakotay untill Michelle had returned.
The negotiations were going slowly but well despite Garak's warnings. Normally Michelle would have had to argue with Chakotay or Tuvok if she wanted to leave Voyager for negotiations while either of them felt something wasn't quite right. This time however it was Garak who had concerns. Michelle used all the usual arguments, but they didnt work. The final solution was for Garak to be part of the negotiation team.
Garak knew that despite appearances that something was not right and he wasn't happy that Michelle was present at these negotiations. He knew that when he argued with her about going down that he was out of order as a member of the crew but the way he saw it, he was just being a good friend.
Things had been going well and it appeared that Voyager was going to be getting everything they needed such as materials for repair and food of course. They were nearing the end of the negotiations and Garak could wait to get back to Voyager back home. Thinking to himself 'I never thought that I would ever consider a Federation Starship as home'.
All of a sudden there was a loud noise from outside the room which they in. Lt Ayala rushed into the room and moved towards Michelle. "Captain, a rebel group has just stormed the Government building, I suggest that we transport back to Voyager immediately."
Garak had made sure that Voyager kept a transporter lock on all of the members of the away team. He immediately contacted Voyager for an emergency beam-out while Ayala made sure the rest of the away team was accounted for.
Michelle had turned to the Prime Minster to make her apologies when the doors leading into the room were blown open. Pieces of metal flew around the room hitting some of the occupants, including Michelle.
"Everyone remain where you are," shouted one of the rebels.
Ten rebels walked into the room carrying an assortment of weapons. They positioned themselves around the room. A Jila woman walked into the room, and Garak immediately realized that she was the leader of the Rebel group. If he was going to get the Voyager personnel safely back to Voyager, she was the key.
Ayala had moved towards his Captain, seeing that she needed medical attention. He found that a piece of metal was embedded into the Captain's back, close to the spine.
"Captain, there is a piece of metal is dangerously close to your spine, I recommend that you don't move," whispered Ayala. "I will give you something for the pain." Michelle nodded her head slightly.
One of the rebels noticed Ayala injecting Michelle. "You," said the rebel pointing to Alaya, "What did you just do?"
"She's injured. I gave her something for the pain," replied Ayala.
The leader of the rebels walked over to Ayala and Michelle. She looked at Michelle, "She is not the only one here who is injured. Why should she be the only one to receive treatment."
The leader kicked Michelle in the back, where she was injured. Michelle cried out in pain. Members of the away team from Voyager began moving towards their Captain to protect her. The rebels responded by aiming their weapons at the away team.
The leader turned to Ayala, "You will no longer treat these people."
Garak moved forward, to take the attention off Ayala and Michelle. "If there are any injured in your group, we would be more than willing to treat them. In fact, if you would allow me to contact our ship, I can have a medical team down here to treat the injured."
"No. It's because of people like yourself that the people of Jila have forgotten their traditions and are more interested in what technological advancements that they can obtain. This will stop here," said the rebel leader.
"These technological advancements have benefited the people," said the Prime Minister.
"How? We no longer think for ourselves. We only look for ways to make our lives more pleasurable, and for power over each other. We were once people who cared for each other, now we only think of ourselves," said the rebel leader.
Knowing that Michelle was unable speak due to the pain she was in, Garak decided to speak on behalf of the Federation. "I believe I should introduce myself and the ship that I'm from. My name is Garak and I'm a member of the crew of the Federation starship Voyager. One of key principles of Starfleet is known as the Prime Directive. It states that we are not to help another race to gain technology if they dont have the knowledge themselves. If what you are saying is true, Voyager will be on its way and we will not exchange technology any more advanced than the level you are currently at."
"You are right about Voyager leaving, contact your ship and order them to leave immediately," said the rebel leader.
"I can assure you that they will not leave us," said Michelle in a calm measured voice, giving no sign of the pain she was experiencing. Her Starfleet training had kicked in.
"You have already polluted our planet with your presence here, I can't permit you to leave. I will inform them of your deaths, which in essence will be true because you will be kill as a demonstration as to what will happen to those who are not Jila's who come to this planet," said the rebel leader.
"Ensign, have you managed to established a lock on the away team?" asked Chakotay.
"The Jila's have some kind of damping field which the transporters are unable to penetrate, Commander," replied Harry.
Chakotay looked at crew, "I need options, people,"
"Commander, I recognize the technology of the shields. It was developed by species 965. The Borg was able to find a weakness. I believe with a little modification, the Delta flyer would be able to penetrate the shields," said Seven.
Before Chakotay was able to ask for further information, Tuvok spoke. "Commander, we are being hailed."
Everyone on the bridge faced the view screen and saw a female Jila.
"This is Commander Chakotay of the federation starship Voyager. To whom am I speaking?"
"My name is Megean, I am the leader of the group which has taken over the government according to the will of the people. I wish to speak to the most senior officer."
"That would be myself. Could you inform me........." said Chakotay before he was interrupted by Megean.
"Fine. I wish to inform you that your crewmembers, which were in negotiation with the former government, are dead. It is our wish that leave immediately."
The news of the away team's death was a shock to all those on the bridge but this wasn't shown on their faces. Chakotay spoke calmly, "If you will allowed us to retrieved our away team we will be on our way."
"That will not be possible. Their deaths will be a warning to all those who wish to contaminate Jila, as to what will happen to them. Leave now."
Voyager was then rocked by several blasts, which originated from the planet.
"That was just an indication of what will be unleashed if you do not leave," said Megean then she disconnected.
Chakotay while still looking at the screen said, "Tom, take us out of range of their sensors."
Chakotay took a deep breath. "Senior staff meeting in five minutes. I'll be in the readyroom, you have the bridge Commander."
Kathryn sat on the bridge, thinking about the consequences if what had been told of the fate of the away team was true. Kathryn realized that she needed to tell Chakotay about her true rank before the senior staff meeting. She looked at Tuvok who nodded his head, indicating that he knew her thoughts. Kathryn smiled for a moment, glad for her friendship with Tuvok. Having a Vulcan as a friend who knew her almost as well as she knows herself could be a blessing as well as a curse.
Kathryn moved toward the readyroom, saying a silent prayer that all would go well. She knew that this would be a test of her and Chakotay's relationship, not that they hadn't had a few of those already.
There was a beep at the door, Chakotay acknowledged the request for entry and Kathryn walked in.
"Chakotay, we need to talk," said Kathryn.
"If it's with regards to what we are......"
"Not directly, no. But it's something that can't wait any longer," said Kathryn, interrupting Chakotay. "I was going to tell you this earlier but Voyager came across Jila and I had to wait. To be honest, this is not how I hoped to do it," said Kathryn, taking a deep breath.
Chakotay could see that Kathryn was worried about whatever she was going to say to him. He walked over to Kathryn and took her hands in his to offer her support. "What is it Kathryn?"
Kathryn looked into Chakotay's eyes and saw the love and concern he felt for her. She again prayed that after what she was going to say, it would still be there.
"When I came onboard Voyager, the uniform that I was wearing was that of a Captain," said Kathryn.
"If you are worried about how I will feel when the computer recognizes you as the commanding officer if Captain Spencer is dead, don't. I mean, I know that Voyager was meant to be yours to begin with. I think it's only right that it becomes yours should the situation occurs," said Chakotay.
Kathryn smiled at Chakotay for what he had said. She then walked towards the windows. "Thank you, that's good to know. But I think that I should let you know that the computer wont recognize me as Captain........"
"But as an Admiral......."
"Kathryn, I know."
"I'm sorry that I deceived you......"
Chakotay walked up to Kathryn and turned her around to face him and said, "Kathryn, I already knew that you were an Admiral."
"Kol, a long time ago, slipped and told me. He made me promise not to say anything to you about. Later on I spoke to Garak and he told me why you kept your true rank a secret. While I didn't like it at first, I was able to see your point of view and decided to keep the secret."
Kathryn looked at Chakotay, raising her hand to his face, touching his cheek with the back of her hand. "Thank you."
The senior staff went over all the options that were open to them.
"I was thinking, it would be more difficult for the Jila's if they had not one but two ships to focus on. Why don't we modify another shuttle craft," said Harry.
"It would not be efficient to do that Ensign," said Turvok.
"But still a good suggestion," said Chakotay.
Kathryn began thinking about what Harry had said. "Nog, would you be willing to pilot the Kakadu?" asked Kathryn.
"Commander, as Commander Tuvok pointed out, it is not advisable to modified two ships," said Seven.
"I'm not talking about modifying the Kakadu as well as the Delta Flyer," said Kathryn. Turning to Nog, she asked "Do you think you can get the cloaking device operational?"
"Yes Commander, it should take me about one hour," replied Nog.
The rest of the senior staff were shocked by the mention of a cloaking device. It was the Doctor who voiced everyone's question, "Since when do Federation ships come equipped with a cloaking device?"
"The Kakadu is one of only two Federation ships with a cloaking device and the only one with a Klingon device. Lets just say that Gowron was not happy that the Defiant had a Romulan device and not a Klingon one. Gowron and I have met on several occasions so when he heard about the Kakadu, he insisted that the device be placed on my ship," explained Kathryn.
"Commander, I do not recall any mention of the cloaking device in the information which I downloaded from Kakadu when it first arrived," said Tuvok.
"That would be because you didn't have the correct clearance code," said Kathryn. "And before you ask, the device was redesigned to fit the Kakadu and no other ship." Tuvok was silent after this information.
"What are you thinking of?" asked Chakotay.
"We use the Kakadu to retrieve the away team while the Delta Flyer keeps the planet's defense system busy. The Kakadu should be able to go undetected if the cloaking device" said Kathryn.
"Sounds like a plan. All right, people, lets get on it. I want our people back within the next couple of hours," said Chakotay.
The crew of Voyager worked hard to get both the Delta Flyer and the Kakadu ready in time. As both ships left the confines of shuttle bay, silent well wishes were sent to the two crews.
To be continue...........
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