Part 29

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Chakotay pressed the firing mechanism. He saw an explosion of yellow flash from the end of the weapon. His eyes followed the beam across the room.

At some point, Janeway had looked up from the console. Her eyes latched on to the beam, then strayed to his face.

She moved her mouth as if to speak.

She didn't have time.

The beam struck her in the chest, dropping her instantly.

He heard her scream.

Scream in pain.

He'd heard her scream many times before.

Scream orders during battle.

Scream in rage.

Scream in sorrow.

Scream in pleasure, once.

This scream was like no other. It sounded like it had been wrenched from the deepest part of her soul.

He watched her fall. Her head struck the console with enough force that he heard a crack. She bounced off the console and fell out of sight. She didn't get up.

Step one accomplished.

He moved his finger off the firing mechanism. The beam stopped. He could feel the heat of the weapon through the handle. He felt it get hotter. He at least had the sense to drop his upraised arm before it exploded. He flung it to the ground, but not before the explosion of energy burned his hand. He screamed, grabbing the blistered hand with his uninjured one. Damn, now he had a good idea what Janeway had screamed about. He cradled the excruciating wound, knowing he was only worsening the stinging.

A phaser bolt whizzed past his head, striking Bateheart. Chakotay whirled to see who'd fired it and to see at whom that person had been aiming.

Definitely not the Maquis wrestling with Tuvok, he was too busy deftly avoiding the incapacitating Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Nor the Maquis bent over Kim's station, pinning Kim against the console with his hands wrapped tightly around the Ensign's throat. It was Henley, standing above several fallen Star Fleet crew from the back stations, phaser held at ready.

"Chakotay!" Henley began.

She wasn't even able to start what sounded like a question because the other Maquis was propelled into her by a viscous kick from Harry Kim. The other Maquis was off balance, knocking them both to the floor. At the same moment, Tuvok's attacker was rendered unconscious when Tuvok's firm hand closed around the pressure point between his neck and shoulder. Two phasers came to bear on Chakotay, who found himself alone and weaponless.

In Engineering, B'Elanna eyed Vorik with considerable contempt, as the Vulcan insisted on invading her personal space. It wasn't so much the closeness that bothered her, but the knowledge that Vulcans could quickly incapacitate anyone with a gentle pinch. She shifted further away from him. She drummed her fingers on the control panel nervously, waiting for Chakotay's signal from the Bridge.

It didn't come.

She slapped her comm badge.

"Torres to Bridge."

No response.

"Torres to Bridge," she repeated, meeting the worried eyes of the other Maquis.

Silence.

Part 30 | Index page