Summary: He was so quiet. He
did his work and never bothered anyone. Who knew?
Part 2: The Trial
leaned over the table and examined his captain's breakfast plate. "You
shouldn't waste food like that," he said.
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"That's a double negative," Chakotay
"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
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,
"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
"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
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
"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
"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."
"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
"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
"Lieutenant?" the captain said in a
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
He smiled again and sat down. "Ladies,"
he said, "gentleman, are we ready for the most boring away mission
"You never know," Hununga said, "We
might get lucky."
He raised an eyebrow. "Only if you
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
"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
"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,
"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
"I look forward to the challenge,
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
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
"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
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
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
"Get a lot of those?" she asked and
injected him with antitoxin.
"No, I was always more of a pool
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
"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
"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
He held up his hand. "Guilty as
"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
The captain looked over at Lieutenant
"Oh," he said, "I never touch the easy
"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
"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
"Thank you, Doctor. Any 'I told you
"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
"He asked to return to work. I saw no
reason to detain him."
"I see," Chakotay said. He tapped his
communicator. "Lieutenant Keegan."
"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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