Layered Logic

By Jade East (
© July 2002
Rating: PG
Series: Star Trek: Voyager

One rainstorm, two friends, and a logical conclusion.

I don't make any money from this little story. In fact if TPTB had wanted to use this idea, I would have let them use it for free. I borrow the title - with permission- from a Shayenne fic.

Thanks to Brianna for the wonderful beta job and to Caffey for her encouragement.

Commander Chakotay hurried through the crowd in the lobby of the inn, dripping on the carpet as he moved to the stairs. The morning had not gone as he'd planned. All he had wanted was a long walk and a quiet view of the lake that he had heard about from the innkeeper the night before. He inwardly cursed himself for not checking the weather forecast on his way out.

The planet on which he and most of the rest of Voyager's crew were taking shore leave was advanced in weather prediction as well as other technologies. However, despite the scientific progress, its people lived simply and content to keep their technical developments in the background, with no replicators, no transporters, etc. in everyday life. Those were reserved for interplanetary travel and for medical purposes. Chakotay had been thrilled to find out they lived in this fashion, being reminded of his own home planet.

Climbing the stairs in long strides, Chakotay shook more of the rain out of his hair as he remembered the storm that had caught him half way to the lake. Lightening had crashed around him just before the skies opened up, soaking him to the skin in minutes. Having run most of the way back to his lodgings, he wasn't chilled but he definitely wanted to take a quick shower and change into dry clothes.

As soon as he was inside his room and had closed the door, he began to strip off the wet garments, throwing them into a laundry chute. The inn offered full guest services, and he was going to take advantage of them. As soon as the shower water was hot enough, Chakotay stepped into the stall.

Brilliant bursts of light flashed and sounds of thunder rumbled outside the lodge where Captain Kathryn Janeway was staying. The storm that was pounding the building had not caught her off guard; she had checked the weather report that morning. Although she was slightly disappointed at having to stay in, she used the time, luxuriating in a deep, hot bathtub full of bubbles. After her long soak, she put on loose, comfortable clothes and went to find a place to relax. A room attendant, working across the hall, told her about a small guest lounge on same floor.

Sitting with her feet under her, she read from the PADD in her hand. The lounge wasn't as big as the lobby on the main floor. There two small couches and several cozy chairs were arranged around the room. Kathryn chose a sofa that faced one of the windows and waited for the storm to begin. A broad grin graced her face when she saw the first lance illuminate the darkening sky. Closing her eyes, she waited for the resounding clap of thunder. As the boom echoed almost immediately, she sighed cheerfully and began to read.

As Chakotay dressed after the warm shower, he wondered how he would spend the time until the storm passed. He didn't feel like braving the crowd in the main hall. As he pondered his options, he remembered a small fireside room he had passed on his way out that morning. Hoping that the room would not be occupied, he grabbed a book - one made of actual paper - that Captain Janeway had loaned him.

Given that he wanted to see if the room was in use before deciding whether to stay, he approached the door to the room with Maquis stealth. Peering in, he saw Kathryn intently working on a PADD. Surprised, Chakotay moved back from the doorway so that he could watch his captain. The dark green sweater she wore was oversized and because of the way she was sitting, her legs were hidden from view. Kathryn's hair was damp and her cheeks still slightly flushed, so Chakotay was certain that she had recently enjoyed a long bubble bath. He lowered his eyes for a moment at the memory of another bathtub ages ago. He still blessed that monkey for its first appearance at their New Earth compound.

Watching secretly from the doorway made Chakotay feel slightly guilty, but not enough to keep him from enjoying this rare opportunity as long as possible. He leaned against the frame and observed Kathryn, as she seemed to puzzle over what was on the PADD in her hand. Kathryn propped her chin on her hand as she chewed on her lower lip in complete concentration. Chakotay smiled broadly the moment he saw that she obviously found her answer, her fingers moving quickly, entering data into the device.

"You might as well come all of the way in, Chakotay."

Both the sound of her voice and the fact that Kathryn had known he was there startled him. The next moment he laughed heartily. "I should have known I couldn't sneak up on you."

Joining him in laughter, she patted the cushion next to her, inviting him to sit down. "I'm used to your Maquis tactics by now."

After he sat down, she asked, "You get caught in the storm?"

"I did," he sighed dramatically. "Completely soaked by the time I got back."

"Too bad you didn't check the weather," she grinned at him, unsympathetically

Ignoring her light teasing, he picked up the PADD she had put on the table in front of her. "Logic puzzles? Did you get this from Tuvok?"

Kathryn leaned back with a faraway look in her eyes, taking a few moments to answer. "I brought these with me." Her eyes were bright, as if with unshed tears.

Chakotay didn't know what to say. He knew that if she wanted to tell him she would in her time. Relaxing against the sofa cushions, he watched the lightening flash.

For the next while, they sat in silence, enjoying the beauty of the stormy scene outside and the calm companionship inside.

"I have forgotten how much I missed doing this," Kathryn spoke softly.

Chakotay didn't turn. "Just one of many of nature's spectacles that we miss on a starship."

"Yes," Kathryn's voice was wistful. "When I was young, I remember a thunder storm that had Phoebe and me running to my parent's bedroom. My father was gone as usual. My mom was working on logic puzzles - you know, the ones that give clues that are used to solve a puzzle. Mom decided to introduce us to them as a way to get our mind off the storm. From that time on, every storm became a logic event. I don't remember ever being afraid of thunder after that."

"I love learning something new about you." Chakotay's smile was blinding.

Smiling back at him, before she lowered her eyes, blushing slightly. "After all of these years, I didn't think that there is that much more of interest to you."

"Oh, Kathryn," his voice was low and full of implication, "I could know you for one hundred years and never tire of learning more about you."

Silence settled over them again. Outside the rain came down steadily, with only a few leftover flickers of lightening. Kathryn continued to ponder her life. It seemed that her life was a logic puzzle, spread out before her, making little sense in its current form. Beside her was a man that she had once thought of as an enemy. Now he was the one she would trust her life with. The thought occur to her, did she really trust him with her life? Of course, there was no doubt she could rely on him about things like the ship, crew, etc. He had saved her physical life on several occasions. But did she trust him with all of that was Kathryn Janeway? Would she be able to give him the love that she held protected in the secret place of her soul? Or would the giving of that gift cause her pain one day?

Rising from the sofa, Kathryn walked over to the small 'self-serve' refreshment bar in the corner. She needed to do something, so she poured them both some of the local tea. As Kathryn carried the cups back, she realized that Chakotay had been watching her the whole time. The look in his eyes was warm with concern.

Chakotay took the cup from her hand, thanking her before he sipped from it. "This is good." He took another drink. "I hope Neelix plans on stocking some of this."

Kathryn smiled at her friend's attempt to keep the subject light. Sitting back down next to him, she patted his arm. "You are too easy on me."

Having observed Kathryn closely for the last several minutes, Chakotay sensed something different about her. Her last statement seemed like an invitation for him to probe, to find out what was bothering her. He hesitated, not wanting to misread his companion. After a few minutes he drained his cup and set it on the table. Taking a deep breath to add to his courage, he asked softly, "What's troubling you?"

In that moment Kathryn's heart rivaled the thunder that had sounded that morning. She knew that she still could back up, and no one would know if she were speaking her heart. That was not true; she would know, and on some level Chakotay would too. It was time to be truthful. "Logic," her voice was low and it cracked. She cleared her throat and repeated, "Logic, I was thinking about logic."

"Logic?" He pulled his ear, indicating he wasn't sure she was telling him everything.

"Yes," she answered, grinning at his familiar and endearing gesture. "I guess you could say it is 'layered logic'. The storm and the puzzles got me thinking about my life and the choices I've made about it."

Kathryn paused to take a swallow of her tea. As she put the cup on the table next to Chakotay's, she asked, "Did you know that Tuvok helped me see a flaw in the logic I have used over the last six years?" The incredulous look on his face caused her to give a throaty chuckle. "Oh, he doesn't know it, nor would he be pleased that I blamed him. The puzzle I have been working on is one Tuvok loaned me a long time ago. From a Vulcan children's book." She curled her legs under her again before she spoke. "As I was trying to figure out the logic of this puzzle, it dawned on me that I have been illogical. We are still thousands of light years from the Alpha Quadrant. There is no reasonable hope for us to get home in time for many in the crew to have families. You and I talked about the fact that people would pair up and some have, like Tom and B'Elanna, but not many."

Pausing to take another sip of tea, she gathered her thoughts. "Chakotay, Starfleet protocols was never intended for a stranded ship a lifetime away from headquarters and its rules. How can I, how can we, expect the crew to wait. It's not only stupid; it's not logical. If we're to hope that Voyager will make it home in even 35 years, we need to think about our crew and the eventual need for some replacement members. Icheb, Naomi, and a few Vulcans will not be able to run this ship alone."

Kathryn noticed a light of hope in Chakotay's eyes. Reaching for his hand, she grasped it in her two small ones and gazed down on them. The contrast of skin tone was beautiful to look upon. She lifted his hand and kissed each one of his knuckles. His gasp of surprised pleasure brought a delighted smile to her face. "Chakotay, I love you. I don't want to wait for 35 years, do you? I think it would be illogical."

In almost a single movement, Chakotay pulled her into his arms and pressed his lips to hers. Years of pent up love and desire flowed into the kiss. This was what he had wanted and dreamed of since that first day on Voyager's bridge. He lifted his head and studied her face for signs of regret or reluctance. Instead he found a look of pure joy beaming up at him. "You know that it's too late to go back now. I love you and I have heard those words from you."

"I hoped that you would say that." Her voice was a purr as she cuddled herself against him, her head tucked under his chin. "I do believe that this planet would be great place for a honeymoon. Don't you?"

"My thoughts exactly, Kathryn." He tightened his arms around her as he watched the sun make a rainbow.