It had been a trap. Chakotay sat with Seven and Harry and tried to think of way out of this. But his mind kept returning to the same thing. Kathryn. Cullah had said so much as that he was going to take away the one thing that meant more to him then anything.
Yet, if this was the way it was supposed to be, heíd have his memories. The kiss in the turbolift. The way her hands slid his uniform off, the feel of her smooth skin beneath his hands. The way she cried out her release. How she had begun to whisper in his ear as he lay upon her.
Kathryn had contacted him soon after they had beamed in. Seven had become frustrated after overhearing their conversation.
". . .If weíre to go by the book, like Seven. Hours could seem like days."
"I hear you captain. Letís have it."
"The situation is grave, Chakotay. Main power cannot be restored for six days at least. Auxiliary power has failed, but BíElanna estimates two days to restore it. By the book, of course."
"I understand, Captain. But donít put Voyager at risk for us." Chakotay said. He could almost see her smile at his words.
A short time later, he was hailed by Cullah. His mind ran quickly as Cullahís words were processed in his mind.
"Iíll do far more then hurt you, commander. Iím going to take from you what you took from me. Leave you as you left me; desolate, alone."
Chakotay listened, anger seething behind the usual cool exterior. Every image, every moment with Kathryn came up behind his eyes.
"NO!" He screamed.
Two hours later, Harry, Seven and Chakotay sat in silence. Seven cautiously approached Chakotay. "I do not understand."
"What?" Chakotay said.
"The test. The simulation. Why was it wrong to go after the ship?"
"Youíre asking me about that simulation now?" Chakotay said. Perhaps it would keep his mind off what was happening in the space above them.
"Yes. I would like to know what you did."
Chakotay sighed. "I was a trained pilot, so when I took the simulation, which was a different one, I was able to fake them out and save the ship."
"Fake them out?"
Chakotay smiled for the first time in hours. Kathrynís protťgť had become his responsibility. "We learn by doing." He slapped his comm badge.
"Chakotay to Voyager. Itís two hours. Are we ready?"
"Right on schedule, commander. Weíre beaming you aboard." Seven gave him a questioning look. Harry beamed. Chakotay gave her a sheepish grin. He didnít let the relief show in his face too much at the sound of Kathrynís voice.
"The captain hates to lose." He said as the beam took them away.
". . .the captain said it would be two days."
"You, of all people know the rules." Chakotay said, stepping off the transporter. Kathryn stepped up to them, a smile on her face.
"When transmissions are being monitored, no open channel communication." Kathryn said, saving Chakotay from the explanation. Seven regarded them briefly, then followed Harry and the transporter operator out the door. Chakotay turned to Kathryn.
"I thought Iíd lost you." He said, picking her up in a hug.
"Never." She said. He set her down and she looked up at him. "We need to get back to the bridge. This isnít over."
Kathryn and Chakotay exited the transporter room and headed for the bridge.