A Star Trek: Voyager Story
Part 1: The Discovery







Summary: He was so quiet. He did his work and never bothered anyone. Who knew?
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Part 2: The Trial
     Chakotay leaned over the table and examined his captain's breakfast plate. "You shouldn't waste food like that," he said.
     Captain Janeway looked down at her scrambled eggs and cantaloupe. She smiled at her first officer and handed him her PADD. "What do you see there?" She sipped her coffee.
     "Some ensigns. Some lieutenants. All appear competent."
     "How many names do you recognize?" the captain said. "How many faces can you put to those names."
     "Some," Chakotay replied.
     "But not all. We've been here seven years. I still don't know everyone aboard this ship. Do you?"
     "We've been busy."
     The captain shook her head and waved a hand at the commander. "That's not enough," she said. "I've built relationships with holograms." Her voice dropped to a husky whisper. "I should know every member of my crew. I should know what they're like." She leaned back and sipped some more coffee. "Divide those competent ensigns and lieutenants into groups. I want them on away missions with me. Do it personally. It will give you a chance to learn their faces as well."
     He examined the list again. "Looking for some more wayward children?"
     "After seven years, some of them might have been senior officers in the Alpha Quadrant. Here, they haven't been able to prove themselves. We may not have wayward children, but we may be wasting great potential."
     Now Chakotay smiled. "You're not trying to replace me are you?"
     "No, but I like options."
* * *
     Later that day, Chakotay was host to a gaggle of about thirty crewmen and junior officers. He had separated the list by function and seniority, and he began to call them into groups. The first group would survey a gas giant. The next, an asteroid field. The third got one of the ever present spatial anomalies. Eight groups in all. When he was done, he asked for questions.
     "Why?" a Bolian ensign asked. "The captain has never taken much interest in me. In any of us really."
     "That's why. The captain feels she needs to know her crew better. I agree with her. We're still a long way from the Alpha Quadrant. Any one of you may be needed to replace a senior officer. She needs to know you and your talents if she ever has to call on you. Because I need to know you as well, I want each group to meet with me the day before your away mission." He scanned the room. "Any more questions? No? Then back to work."
* * *
     "Marvelous." Janeway said, this time waving both hands at her First Officer. "Absolutely marvelous." She was talking about the first away mission from the day before. She cut off a piece of her Belgian waffle and pushed it into her mouth.
     "Your report said nothing special about the gas giant," Chakotay said with a smirk.
     "And there wasn't," Kathryn said, stabbing another piece of waffle. "But Ensign Montez had us in stitches the whole way. Now I know why B'Elanna hates him so much."
     "No, she doesn't tolerate levity on her watch."
     "He told a story about one of my old professors. God knows I love the man, but I could see it. I could see the whole thing happening." She started to chuckle.
     Chakotay held up a PADD. "I've been reviewing Starfleet protocol..."
     "I know," She said. "'Unnecessary fraternization by senior and junior officers on starships is to be discouraged. It is the duty of the First Officer, Staff Officer and Ship's Counselor to identify such activity especially on long exploration vessels. Such activity can lead to an unhealthy bias, detrimental to the functioning of the ship.' That's for ships with a yearly turnaround schedule for the crew." She spread her hands to finish the thought.
     "Just performing my duty."
     "Duly noted. Now, who will be joining me in the asteroid field?"
* * *
     Several days later, Chakotay walked into the Astrometrics lab for the briefing with the fifth away team. Three team members stood around the control console while Seven of Nine provided them with the basic information on the planet they were to survey. The fourth team member, a lieutenant, stood well back from the group and followed the information on his own PADD. Chakotay enjoyed these briefings. In spite of protocol, he felt these missions were valuable to crew operation and moral. He enjoyed the lost souls the most.
     "Lieutenant Keegan?" he said. "There's plenty of room at the console."
     "I'll take note of that, Commander," the lieutenant replied.
     "Join us, Mister Keegan." Chakotay walked to the console. He turned and saw the lieutenant had not joined them. "Mister Keegan? Is there a problem?"
     Seven stepped forward. "You will find Lieutenant Keegan is frightened of me."
     "'Fear is the mind-killer,'" Keegan said. "'It is the little death.' No, I am cautious. Not frightened. You have fallen under Borg control before. An awareness of you is not unwarranted."
     "That's a double negative," Chakotay said, smiling.
     "No, it's litotes," Keegan replied.
     "Are you unhappy about being on this mission?" the commander asked.
     "No, I look forward to a little time off the ship. I'm just not a warm person."
     Chakotay had to chuckle. "Well, we'll try to change that."
     "Yes," Keegan said, "I'm sure you will."
     Chakotay chuckled again. He turned to Seven. "I think I can handle this briefing without you. There's no reason to make the lieutenant nervous." He turned around. "Sorry, cautious."
     "Your statement is not logical," she said. "I have spent a considerable amount of time analyzing and preparing this information. I am best suited to deliver it."
     "Seven--" the commander began.
     "Your purpose here," Lieutenant Keegan said, "is nothing more than the dissemination of cataloged information readily available to anyone who can read and push three buttons on that console. Take your efficiency to Engineering and put it to good use."
     Seven responded to the comment with more than just a raised eyebrow. She pulled away from the lieutenant as if shocked, or even perturbed. She turned to the commander, waiting for him to respond.
     "Mister Keegan," Chakotay said, "Apologize to Seven."
     "Or what? I don't get pudding?" he said.
     "Do it. That's an order."
     "No, Commander," Seven said. "An apology is not needed. It is an inefficient use of time."
     "Oh, my god," Keegan groaned.
     "Mister Keegan, that's enough. Apologize to Seven."
     The lieutenant took a long breath and sighed. He moved his head around as if he had difficulty looking at her. He finally said, "I apologize if I have offended you in any way."
     "Thank you, Lieutenant," she said. "Your apology is accepted. And, Commander, I believe I will go to Engineering."
     Chakotay nodded. "Everyone else, let's get back to the briefing."
     "Commander, perhaps it would be best if she stayed here, and I left," Keegan said.
     "No, Lieutenant, you're exactly the type of person the captain wants on this mission."
     "Oh," he said without inflection. "That's nice to know."
* * *
     Captain Janeway sat in the pilot's seat of the Delta Flyer, running it through a preflight check. It had become a quick ritual for her. The Flyer was always in top shape, so she used the time to relax and go over Chakotay's comments about the crew. But, she couldn't relax after Chakotay's account of the incident in Astrometrics. Seven was rarely easy to get along with, especially for the junior officers. They resented the authority and position she held and her relationship with the captain and the rest of the senior staff. Chakotay had agreed with this assessment. She reviewed the lieutenant's record. Philip Keegan. Head of the Computer Core. His monthly evaluations were always impressive. By rights, he should be running Astrometrics. No wonder he was upset.
     "Captain?" someone said behind Janeway. She turned and saw a Bolian woman standing at the other end of the bridge.
     "Ensign Sqilookle? I hope I pronounced that right." She smiled and took the ensign's hand. "You're qualified to pilot the Flyer, aren't you?"
     "Only in simulations, Captain."
     "Well, welcome to the real thing." She guided the woman to the pilot's seat.
     "Do you think we'll see much action?" Sqilookle said while feeling her way around the controls.
     "I doubt it. Just keep her level and don't try anything fancy."
     "Darn. I was hoping for more."
     Janeway patted the ensign's shoulder and smiled. That relaxed feeling was returning.
     "I understand you also like Earth classical music."
     "Yes," the Bolian said over her shoulder. "Brahms is my favorite."
     "And one of mine," Janeway replied.
     They were deep into a discussion of the composer when two more crew members arrived. Both were human, a man with Asian features and a woman of Arabic descent.
     "Ensign Nureek," the captain said to the man, shaking his hand.
     "And Lieutenant Hununga," she said, taking the woman's hand. "Lieutenant, you're in planetology. You'll man the sensors. Ensign, you're in--"
     "History, diplomacy and exobiology."
     "Not bad."
     "I'm a people person." His comment produced an easy laughter.
     "Now, we just need Mister Keegan."
     The crew looked away from her.
     The captain sighed. "I heard about the incident."
     "It was nothing," Hununga said. "I don't think Phil was angry at Seven or anyone else. I just think he doesn't want to be on this mission."
     "I'm sure he'll be fine," the captain replied. "All of you will."
     "Don't jinx us, Captain," Nureek said. They all laughed again.
     They were trading stories about post-graduation parties, when the bay doors opened and Lieutenant Keegan walked in. Kathryn, in spite of herself, stared at the officer. He was the most impressive looking computer technician she'd ever seen. He had dark hair and sharp Irish features. At 193cm and 100kg, his body tapered naturally beyond the effect of his uniform. He walked across the shuttle bay like a Tyrolean sand tiger, or a panther, take your pick. He didn't look at the ship but read from his PADD as he walked.
     When Keegan passed from sight, Nureek said, "Why do I suddenly feel invisible?"
     Janeway and Hununga both said, "What?" while Sqilookle leaned toward the window still following the lieutenant.
     "Nothing," Nureek said.
     Keegan walked onto the bridge still reading.
     "Lieutenant?" the captain said in a hopeful voice.
     He turned off the PADD, set it down and looked up. He examined each of his fellow officers in turn, touching on face, rank and the station they stood near. He looked at the captain last, at her eyes, her phaser and her outstretched hand. He took her hand softly, smiled and said, "Shall I sit here, then?" He tilted his head toward the computer station.
     The captain nodded. "You're our computer expert."
     He smiled again and sat down. "Ladies," he said, "gentleman, are we ready for the most boring away mission imaginable?"
     "You never know," Hununga said, "We might get lucky."
     He raised an eyebrow. "Only if you brought alcohol."
     Kathryn found herself shocked into a laugh. She coughed her way through it and sat down. The others took their stations as well. Janeway gave the order to take off and Sqilookle opened the shuttle bay doors. The Delta Flyer rose off the deck, slid out the magnetic shield and swung around towards their destination.
     "I was told," Kathryn said, "that you were difficult."
     "You mean what happened in Astrometrics," Lieutenant Keegan replied. "I'll admit, I have some problems with your protégé. It's nothing to worry about, though."
     "The way Commander Chakotay told it, you were ready to come to blows," Janeway said.
     "Verbal only, I assure you," he replied.
     "That's good to know, but you'll have to tell me about your problems later. For now, Ensign Sqilookle, what is the ETA to our destination?"
     The ensign checked over the controls, pressed a button, the console beeped loudly and continued to beep until she hit it four more times.
     "Three hours, thirty-seven minutes, Captain."
     "Thank you, Ensign," Janeway said. "Mister Keegan, we were trading graduation stories before you walked in. Do you have any that might fill the time?"
     He leaned on one elbow and looked at each of their faces; eyes, jaw line, set of the mouth. "Not of graduation, I'm afraid. But, I went to this party once at MIT. Sit back. This is going to be a long one."
     Three and a half hours later, the Flyer moved into orbit. Brahms played softly only to be silenced when Sqilookle pushed them towards their entry window. She brought them in a bit too steep but managed to land less than half a kilometer from an intermittent bio-signature. Hununga and Nureek thought the creature that produced it might prove interesting.
     "Mister Keegan," Kathryn said, "I've heard everyone else's assessment of the planet. What can you tell me?"
     Keegan sighed. "According to the computer, it's round with a slight distention along the equator. I'm a computer expert, Captain. I really don't have much of a purpose here."
     "Yeah, right," Lisa Hununga murmured.
     Janeway squinted at Hununga's comment. "We'll find something for you," the captain said to Keegan. "Don't worry."
     "I look forward to the challenge, Captain."
     Sqilookle remained aboard the Flyer in case of trouble while the others moved on foot towards the bio-signature, scanning and taking samples as they did. They moved slowly, to learn as much as they could. Kathryn knew it wouldn't be impressive, though. They'd found nothing interesting in any of the mineral or chemical scans they'd done in orbit. The planetary scans showed a lot of the same.
     "What do you think, Mister Keegan?" Janeway called out.
     "I think you lost the bet, Captain," he yelled to her from a ridge.
     She sighed. He was right. Her tricorder couldn't even find the signature that looked so promising from orbit. She tapped her communicator.
     "All right, everyone," she said, "Let's head back."
     Keegan waved to her as he started down and Hununga squeezed out from between a couple of boulders. The two lieutenants reached the captain without Nureek in sight.
     "Ensign Nureek," Janeway said, "We're heading back."
     "Just a moment, Captain," Nureek's voice crackled over the communicator. "I think I've found something."
     A moment later, they heard a horrified scream from behind a hill. Keegan was the first to move. The others followed behind at half his pace. He took the hill in huge steps while Janeway and Hununga struggled hand and foot.
     "Sqilookle!" the captain said, slapping her comm hard, "Beam Ensign Nureek to the ship now!"
     "I'm trying, Captain," the Bolian replied through static, "But I can't get a lock, and I'm losing your comm signal."
     As Janeway and Hununga topped the hill, they saw Ensign Nureek in the tentacles of something large and yellow that pulled him across the ground towards its conical mouth. Keegan was near the foot of the hill and still running. He jumped three meters down from a boulder, landing near a dead tree. He took hold of a large branch and struck the base of it with the heel of his hand. It snapped off the tree, and he started running again. Twenty meters from Nureek, he threw the branch like a javelin. It hit the creature in the center of its mouth. It let out a scream like the bleat of a saxophone and thrashed around. Three of the five tentacles on Nureek let go. Keegan was at Nureek before they could snap back into place. He pulled hard on the ensign while stomping on one of the tentacles. Both loosened, and the two officers fell away from the creature. Keegan grabbed Nureek and dragged him out of the creature's range. They collapsed at the base of the hill just as Janeway and Hununga reached them.
     "Ensign Nureek--" the captain started.
     "Conscious but dazed," Keegan said. "He's suffering from multiple lacerations, three of them deep. The discoloration and swelling indicate a toxin, most likely muscular. I doubt it's strong enough to kill on its own, but combined with the shock and blood loss, it's hard to tell. We need to get him back to Voyager."
     "How are you doing?"
     "Exhausted. The adrenaline is wearing off." He stood up and staggered against a rock. "I'll make it back to the Flyer, but I'll need help with Tadao."
     The three of them carried the ensign to a point where Sqilookle could get a solid lock. She took off while they were loading him onto the medical bed. Once activated, the bed administered anesthetics and antitoxins and began to run tissue regenerators across the cuts.
     "Lieutenant Hununga," Kathryn said, "Go up front, and contact Voyager. Apprise them of the situation and order them to intercept us."
     "Yes, Captain," the lieutenant replied.
     "Lieutenant Keegan, let me see that arm."
     He looked down at his sleeve and saw a long tear in his uniform and a gash in his forearm. He pulled up his sleeve and sat down while the captain got a medical kit.
     "It looks like a Jellyfish scar," he said.
     "Get a lot of those?" she asked and injected him with antitoxin.
     "No, I was always more of a pool swimmer."
     She sprayed a pre-sealer on his arm and took out a tissue regenerator. "You missed out. There's nothing like a salt water swim."
     "Do you know how to use that?" he asked.
     "It's just a regenerator. I've used them many times before."
     He flexed his hand. "I never thought of you as the clumsy type."
     She laughed. "That's insubordination."
     "Only if it's true." He pulled his sleeve back down.
     She laughed again and put up her hands. "I yield. You win the day. And, Mister Keegan, that was--"
     "Stupid! What the hell was I thinking?"
     "It looked to me like you saved a man's life," she replied.
     "With a stick! I have a phaser on my belt, and I'm using a goddam stick!"
     "Nice throw," she returned.
     "Lucky shot. I should have used it as a club and hit the tentacles."
     "What you did worked," she said. "That's what matters."
     "You can stop defending me, Captain. I was there." He leaned back and closed his eyes.
     "Tired?" she asked.
     "Hungry. I used a lot of energy. I won't be in pain until tomorrow."
     "I think I can do something about that." She walked to the replicator and ordered a stew. Seeing him against the wall, injured and half asleep, she felt an urge to rub his shoulders or push his hair back from his forehead. She shook it off and carried the stew to him.
     Hununga stepped in then. "Captain, we're at maximum warp. Voyager has been alerted. We'll be in transporter range in fifty-three minutes."
     "Very good, Lieutenant."
     "I transmitted the medical bed information to the Doctor," Lisa said.
     "What was his diagnosis?" the captain asked.
     "Neuro-muscular toxin designed to incapacitate not kill. The dose is very low. Tadao was probably a larger target than the creature was used to. Most of his injuries were from being dragged across the rocks."
     "Do you know why we couldn't get a transporter lock?" Janeway said.
     "Yes," Hununga replied. "I reviewed the sensor information. The creature emits a radiation pulse. It's probably designed to disorient its prey. We must not be susceptible. But it does disrupt sensors and communication."
     "Thank you, Lieutenant. Good job."
     "Yes, Captain. Phil? How are you doing?" Lieutenant Hununga watched Keegan in a way that made Kathryn feel suddenly intrusive.
     He sighed and scooped some stew into his mouth. "Not bad. I'm just trying to survive the captain's cooking."
     "The replicator made it," Janeway countered, still watching Lisa's expression. "We should blame the computer expert."
     He held up his hand. "Guilty as charged."
     "Don't worry," Janeway said, "When this is all over, I'll have a celebration dinner for all the away teams."
     "What are we celebrating?" Hununga asked.
     The captain looked over at Lieutenant Keegan.
     "Oh," he said, "I never touch the easy ones."
     "I guess we'll be celebrating survival. I think we deserve that."
     When the Delta Flyer reached Voyager, Keegan and Nureek transported to Sickbay. Sqilookle piloted the Flyer into the shuttle bay, and she, the captain and Hununga walked to Sickbay. Chakotay was waiting for them. Nureek was asleep on a medical bed. The Doctor stood at a console reviewing records. Lieutenant Keegan was not there.
     "Doctor," Janeway said, "What is Mister Nureek's prognosis?"
     "Healthy," he replied. "He suffered some scrapes and bruises and a broken arm. The Flyer's medical bed treated him for the toxin and the deeper cuts, and I've given him something for the radiation. Speaking of which--" He injected something into the captain's neck. "I'll need to inoculate all of you, but I don't think there's anything to worry about. I'll keep Ensign Nureek here for observation for the next twenty-four hours and put him on one week sick leave."
     "Thank you, Doctor. Any 'I told you so's, Commander?"
     "You know I would never do that. In public," Chakotay replied. "Will you be continuing with these missions?"
     "Yes," she said. "Starfleet wasn't created to hide from danger. Now, where is Mister Keegan?"
     Chakotay shook his head. "He wasn't here when I arrived. Doctor?"
     They waited for a response.
     "Doctor?" the captain asked. "Doctor, what happened to Lieutenant Keegan? Doctor!"
     "Captain? Mister Keegan suffered only a minor injury. I believe you treated him on the Flyer. I gave him the anti-radiation serum and sent him back to work."
     "You sent him back to work?" Chakotay said.
     "He asked to return to work. I saw no reason to detain him."
     "I see," Chakotay said. He tapped his communicator. "Lieutenant Keegan."
     "Keegan here."
     "Mister Keegan, why did you leave the Sickbay before the captain or I arrived?"
     "My apologies, Commander, I didn't think my injuries warranted the personal attention of the senior staff."
     "That's not good enough, Mister," the commander said. "I want you and the rest of the away team to join me for a debriefing in conference room two in thirty minutes."
     "Yes, sir," Keegan replied.
     "Captain, I'd like to conduct the debriefing without you."
     "I understand. I'll be on the bridge."
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