The Hands That Bind
By: Deb Gramlich
Voyager and her crew are spending some wonderful time with some new friends on the planet Uzzolina. But, an uncovered secret may spell trouble for the planet's magistrate, and for one of Voyager's crew. Can they help them before it's too late?
Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.. the following characters belong to Paramount/Viaborg.
No infringement in intended.
This story is a little heavy hitting. So, if you don't want to be depressed, turn away now!
"The Hand That Binds"
Captain's Log Supplemental- The crew and I have spent several days with Magistrate
Suchov. We have come to a mutual agreement which will be beneficial for both
Captain Kathryn Janeway walked around the conference room, smiling at her senior officers.
All of them seemed relaxed and alert. Most of this due to the unlimited shore leave they had been welcomed to take on Uzzolina.
Voyager had encountered this planet when they exited the Necrid Expanse. Not sure of what to expect, they approached cautiously.
They were hailed by the Magistrate almost immediately, welcoming them to his system. After several meetings, even Tuvok had to admit that there seemed no alterior motive to the Magistrate's friendliness.
Finding someone like that in the Delta Quadrant was few and far between. Janeway and Chakotay embraced this new friendship, and agreed to allow the crew the shore leave they desperately needed.
Pulling herself back to the present, Janeway addressed her Chief Engineer.
Torres and her crew had been helping the Uzzolinan pilots refit a dozen trade ships they had salvaged from a near by abandoned star system.
In return for their help, the Uzzolinans would supply them with food resources which could last several months.
"How is the refit coming B'Elanna?"
"Fine Captain. We should be finished in 48 hours."
The Captain nodded. "Good work. Chakotay, inform the crew we will be leaving in 72 hours. That should give us adequate time to finish our business here."
Chakotay grinned and nodded. He fidgeted around in his chair a bit.
Janeway understood his desire to end the briefing. They were scheduled for shore leave, and she was secretly looking forward to spending time with him away from the command structure. What a better place for a little R and R than a tropical planet with miles of land to explore?
"Is there anything else?" Janeway asked. The whole staff seemed ready to jump from their seats. Paris even had his chair practically facing the door.
"I have something Captain."
The staff grimaced. Torres rolled her eyes and settled back into her chair. Sometimes, she thought the portable holo-emitter was the worst thing they could have given the Doctor.
"Captain, as you know I've been running standard Starfleet physicals for the crew. I have completed all of them except 17."
Janeway nodded, expecting more. "Is there a problem with those 17 Doctor?"
"Well, they haven't been receptive to my inquiries about receiving the tests. Some have been downright hostile." The Doctor pointedly looked at Torres.
Janeway grinned. "No matter how many technological advances we have made in the past centuries, people still hate going to the Doctor. Prepare a list Doctor, and I'll see to it they report to you immediately."
The Doctor held a PADD to her, obviously pleased with himself. "I was anticipating you saying that Captain so I took the liberty."
Janeway took the PADD and flashed a look at Chakotay. He raised his eyebrows and stifled a smile.
Janeway scanned the names quickly. "B'Elanna, your name is here."
Torres snorted. "Captain, I just had a complete physical after the Doc decided to play pin the tail on the Klingon with a hypospray....."
The Doctor nodded. "This is true, but not only are you required to complete a physical exam, but psychological exams are performed too."
Torres glared at him. "What is in my mind is NONE of your business."
"Lieutenant, this isn't to find your deepest darkest secrets. This is a standard test. You've had to have taken them when you entered the Academy."
Torres crossed her arms and sat silent. Finally she agreed. "Fine, I'll take your stupid tests."
Janeway nodded. "If that's all. Dismissed."
As everyone quickly left the room, Janeway glanced at Torres.
B'Elanna's eyes met hers, and for an instant, Janeway thought she saw something
she never had from Torres.......... Fear.
Kathryn grinned as she and Chakotay walked through the gardens on the Magistrate's property.
Flowers of every color bloomed around them, creating an intoxicating landscape as far as the eye could see.
She and Chakotay walked arm in arm. Lately, they had taken to spending time like this when away from the crew. It felt good to Janeway to be able to separate herself from The Captain, and be a single woman seeking a man's heart.
'Seeking? I already have it.' She thought. She sighed, drawing a look from Chakotay.
"Am I boring you?" He teased.
She smiled. "No, I'm thinking about how much I'm enjoying myself." They stopped walking, and turned to one another. "Enjoying you" she finished.
Chakotay smiled. "There's plenty more where this came from." He said mischievously.
"Oh, I'm looking forward to it." She bent her head up and pecked him on the lips.
She looked into his eyes and saw his desire mirroring her own. He bent his head back down, their lips joined more forcefully.
They pulled apart quickly when they heard footsteps coming up the walkway. They took a deep breath and smiled to one another.
The Magistrate's daughter Johnna popped through the flowering bushes. "Oh, Hi Captain, Commander!"
Johnna was an adorable little girl. Her mother had died six years ago when she was born. Her father had remained single, and spent every waking moment with her.
"How are you today Johnna?" Chakotay asked.
"Okay. I finished my lessons early so I thought I'd come for a walk." As she walked to a bench near where Kathryn and Chakotay stood, Kathryn noticed a limp.
"Did you hurt yourself somehow Johnna?"
The little girl threw a startled look at Janeway, her dark eyes widening slightly. "No, well yeah, I fell."
Janeway smiled. "You have to be careful of that."
Johnna noddedand giggled. Kathryn saw Suchov coming up the walkway. "There you are. I was wondering where you had gotten off to Johnna."
He smiled and scooped his daughter into his arms. "I hope she wasn't bothering you Captain."
"Oh no, we were just enjoying your lovely garden here. Thank you very much for sharing it."
Suchov smiled. "You and your crew have given us so much help. With these new trade ships, we can travel farther, and meet many new cultures. It is you who we owe the thanks to."
Janeway nodded. Chakotay's communicator chirped. He stepped away to answer.
"Johnna was just telling us of her accident last night."
Suchov looked at his daughter and back to the Captain. "Children do seem to get themselves into the strangest situations....."
"Captain, excuse me Magistrate. There's a little situation back on the ship. We should get back."
Janeway nodded. "Thank you again Suchov. We'll be in touch."
Suchov smiled graciously and watched as they shimmered out of existence.
Captain Janeway stepped around the debris which littered the sickbay floor. She looked around the room, and shook her head.
She looked at the Doctor incredulously. "B'Elanna did all this?"
"Yes. We ran her physical with no problems. She was given a clean bill of health. The psychological profile was running fine. Suddenly, she just went crazy."
Janeway looked at Chakotay. "Has she given any explanation for this?"
"No, Tuvok tried to question her but she refused to answer." He shook his head. "I've never seen B'Elanna fly off the handle like this. She's lost her temper sure, but.... I'm going to try to talk to her."
Janeway nodded and watched him leave sickbay.
The Doctor cocked his head. "Perhaps I can shed some light on the situation."
"Go ahead Doctor."
They walked to his office. He sat behind his desk and activated his viewscreen.
"Normally, the results of a psychological scan wouldn't be made public. But, under these circumstances I see no other alternative."
Janeway nodded. "I understand Doctor. Continue."
"As you well know, during a psychological exam I take the patient through their past, from their earliest childhood memories to present day. They mind calls up images, which is displayed on the viewscreen."
"Memories you mean?"
The Doctor nodded. "Lieutenant Torres was uncomfortable talking about some aspects of her past. Her time at the academy, past personal relationships... which is all understandable. Everyone conveys anxiety talking about these types of events."
"I mentioned Lieutenant Torres's parents. Apparently, her parents divorced while she was five years of age and she never saw her father again. It was easy to tell her relationship with her mother was strained."
Janeway interrupted. "Doctor, this is all well and good, but I don't understand exactly what any of this has to do with B'Elanna destroying sickbay."
"I asked if Lt. Torres's mother spent a lot of time with her. Apparently, her mother would leave her with a neighbor when she decided to visit the Klingon Home World, instead of taking her daughter with her. These are the images that appeared on the viewscreen at the mere mention of these visits."
Janeway watched the viewscreen. She saw a tall, beautiful Klingon woman walking out of view, a child swinging a jump rope, a man peering down, the same little girl with the jump rope holding a cupcake with a candle on it, the same man peering down.
These images flashed back and forth many times. Janeway reached out and paused the screen. "Doctor, I'm still not seeing your point."
The Doctor has a grim look on his face. Pointing at the frozen image of the little girl on the screen, he started. "This child is Maria Armanini. She was a member of the Maquis crew. She left Chakotay's ship towards an outpost with stolen medical supplies, days before the Caretaker brought Chakotay's ship here."
Janeway nodded. "So she and Lieutenant Torres grew up together?"
"So, Torres destroyed sickbay because she misses her friend?" Janeway asked incredulously.
"No, but I have a feeling Maria is the only friend Lieutenant Torres has who knows the truth."
"The truth about what?"
"Keep watching." The doctor reactivated the viewscreen.
There was the same man peering down..... the image of a Maria crying...... the man reaching down.....a child's arms and hands fighting something off.....the man reaching for his belt buckle....
Janeway's hand shot out and stopped the images. Her heart was frozen in place. The Doctor lowered his head and pursed his lips.
Kathryn was speechless. She looked at him, to the blank viewscreen, and back to him.
Finally the doctor spoke. "I think Lieutenant Torres was no more than eight-years old when this began to occur."
Janeway shook her head. It was starting to make sense now. "Th-" She couldn't squeeze the words out of her throat.
Janeway rubbed her throat with her hand, hoping to coax the words out. "This is why B'Elanna lost her temper."
The Doctor nodded his head. "Partially. This is the last image before Lieutenant Torres lost control."
Janeway forced herself to look at the viewscreen. There was B'Elanna's mother again. Maria was there, crying, pleading with her for something. A small child's hands reached out for B'Elanna's mother, but she pushed them back abruptly and walked away. The man's face appeared in the picture again. The image ended abruptly.
"Torres's mother knew about this?!"
The Doctor shook his head. "Only Lieutenant Torres knows that." Janeway sat in her ready room. She shakily tried to drink a cup of coffee, but to no avail. She spilled three quarters of it down herself.
Slamming the cup onto her desk, she walked to the replicator and ordered a towel.
The thought of a crime as heinous of this occurring in this day and age was unthinkable. And the fact that Torres's mother may have known....
The door to her ready room chimed. She put on her Captain's armor and called "Come".
Chakotay entered the ready room. "Well that was a waste of time."
"Torres, she won't speak two words to me. Besides 'Mind your own business' and 'Get out'.. along with a few choice words I won't speak in present company."
Janeway stood from her desk and walked to Chakotay. She wrapped her arms around him and held on tight.
"Kathryn, what's wrong?"
As much as she wanted to tell him, she knew she couldn't. It wasn't her place to share it.
"Oh Chakotay, I wish I could tell you. But I can't-"
Chakotay paused a moment, but nodded. "Okay, maybe someday."
Kathryn forced herself to look into his eyes. "Hopefully, I won't be the
one to have to tell you."
B'Elanna Torres paced her quarters like a caged animal.
The Doctor knew.... knew what that bastard had done to her so many years ago. She shook her head, the rage building again.
She looked at the dining table in her quarters. Her rage broke free, clearing the table of all it's contents.
Her door chimed. 'Oh great, that must be the doctor'. Turning her anger towards the door, she was shocked to see Captain Janeway standing there.
Torres grimaced. What a time for the Captain to pay a visit.
"Captain, I'd really like to be left alone if you don't mind."
Janeway crossed the room, carefully stepping over all the debris, and sat on the sofa. Torres glared at her, but received nothing back.
"He told you?!"
Before Janeway could speak, Torres flew into a rage again. "He had no right!"
"B'Elanna, the Doctor is worried about you. He's not a trained counselor, but he felt someone should know."
Janeway rose to her feet and grabbed Torres's arms. B'Elanna broke free and took aim. Kathryn knew that if B'Elanna struck, she wouldn't have a chance. But Torres turned and took aim on the wall.
"B'elanna, you're going to hurt yourself. Stop.. Lieutenant!"
The use of her title froze her in her tracks. She flung herself into the closest chair, breathing heavily.
"Why are you here Captain?"
"I-I thought maybe you'd like to talk."
Torres snorted. "I guess someone forgot to tell you."
"Tell me what?"
"I'm a Klingon, we don't need to talk. We don't show weakness."
Janeway's brows furrowed in confusion.
"At least that's what my Mother told me when my friend and I told her. She told me that I was a Klingon, that I should be able to fight him off."
Janeway felt her stomach tighten. How can a mother act that way towards her child?
Torres continued. "Anyway, it was a long time ago. I've gotten over it. So, I would rather just not talk about it. Please leave."
Knowing she would get nothing more from B'Elanna, the Captain stood to leave. "You know where I am."
Torres watched her go.
Tom Paris sat back and enjoyed the sunshine. He sat at a table in an outdoor cafe in the main city, just watching the people go by.
He had spent a lot of time working with the Uzzolinan pilots, instructing them on the finer points of piloting. In the meantime, the Magistrate's daughter had developed a crush on him.
He smiled. She would grow to be a beauty one day, but at six years old, she was definitely too young for him now.
But, it was cute the way she followed him around constantly. He turned to see her watching him. She noticed his glance and turned away quickly.
That was when Tom saw it, a bruise which extended from her left cheek down to her neck. He walked towards her.
"Hi To- I mean Lieutenant Paris."
He engaged her in conversation, trying to ascertain exactly where the bruise had come from. She managed to change the subject each time.
Finally, he offered to walk her to her father's office. She agreed and latched onto his hand a huge smile on her face.
Looking down at her face, he noticed her dark eyes and hair. If she was part Klingon, she would look a lot like B'Elanna he noted.
Johnna for her part talked the whole two blocks to her Dad's office. She paused outside the door.
"I hope Dad doesn't get mad that I'm here." She said.
"Do you think he would get mad?"
"I hope not. He scares me when he's mad." She whispered before knocking on the door.
Suchov swung Johnna way up in the air and thanked Tom for bringing her by.
Tom nodded and beamed back to Voyager, determined to talk to the Captain.
Janeway sat staring at the list of materials already beamed up to Voyager by the Uzzolinans. The list was immense.
Her door sounded. Putting down the report she called for the person to enter. Tom strode in, a worried look on his face.
"Captain, I think something is going on."
"Tom, what's going on is none of your concern. Just stay out of it."
Tom stared at her in shock. "So we're just going to let this child get beaten on?!"
Janeway blinked her eyes. "You're not talking about Torres?"
"Torres? No, is something wrong with B'Elanna?"
Janeway gave him a warning glare. "What child are you talking about?"
"Johnna. I think she's being abused."
Janeway froze for a moment. Not this... not now.
"Why would you say that?"
"Just some things that have happened since we've been here. Her bruises and cuts, the way she flinches sometimes when you reach for her. She made comments about her Dad scaring her when he's angry."
Janeway thought for a minute. "She was limping earlier today. She said she had fallen."
"Well for being 6 years old, she sure is accident prone."
Janeway thought for a minute. "We can't just accuse the Magistrate of beating his daughter without evidence."
"What do we need Captain, for her to turn up dead?!"
"Tom, I know what you're feeling. I share those feelings, but we have to handle this cautiously. I'll call a meeting of the Senior Officers for 1700 hours. We'll discuss our options then."
Tom nodded. "You didn't answer my question."
"I beg your pardon?"
"B'Elanna, is something wrong with her? Did something happen?"
Janeway shook her head. "Don't Tom. Keep your concerns on your job and let me worry about the crew."
Knowing he wouldn't get any answers, he excused himself to prepare for the meeting. Realizing they didn't have many options, they decided to try to talk to Johnna. Accusing the Magistrate of beating his daughter without first talking to her would be fruitless.
Tom sat and watched Torres. She avoided eye contact with everyone. When she had first entered, her eyes had locked with Janeway's. The Captain gave her an encouraging nod before turning to matters at hand.
Torres was silent the whole meeting. Afterwards, the Doctor tried to speak to her, but she brushed him off and rushed out the door.
Tom walked out behind her. "Computer, locate Lieutenant Torres."
"Lieutenant Torres is in Holodeck 1."
Tom walked to the holodeck, determined to talk to B'Elanna. Seeing the privacy lock engaged, he used his security code to over ride it.
He entered the room. B'Elanna stood there, facing a holodeck recreation of a Klingon woman. Hearing the door open, Torres whirled to him.
"What are you doing here?"
"Everyone's acting strange, and you're involved. I was worried."
Torres dropped her head. "This is none of your concern Tom."
"Something is wrong, and it is my concern. You know how I feel."
Torres looked down at the ground, a slight blush creeping into her cheeks. Pointing at the frozen holodeck creation, she spoke.
"This is my mother."
Torres nodded. "Someone once told me, when I had something to work out, I should work it out with that person."
"Does it help?"
"Not really. Well, I guess... sometimes."
"Should I leave the two of you alone?"
"What does it matter. I can't think of anything to say to her."
Torres walked to the corner of the room and sank down to the floor. Confused, Tom walked over and sat next to her.
B'Elanna stared ahead for a minute. She turned to Tom, a serious look on her face.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"How bad was the relationship between you and your father?"
Tom sighed. "Tough. From the time I was old enough to read and write, my father rode my case. He never let up, never gave me a chance. By the time I was fifteen, I thought I hated him."
"Did I what?"
"No, no matter what mistakes he made, or I made.. he was still my father."
B'Elanna thought for a minute. "I barely knew my father. My Mom was the only family I had."
"Your relationship with her was that bad?"
"You could say that."
"I think my relationship with my father hit it's all time low when I was in prison."
She turned her face to watch him. She could see the pain in his face. His pale blue eyes acting as a mirror to his heart.
"When I was sentenced, he actually had the nerve to tell me that I deserve to be violated in prison the way I violated the family name."
Torres flinched. Quietly, she whispered. "Were you?"
Tom stared at her. "No. They tried but I always managed to fight them off." Suddenly, it dawned on him.
He repeated her name, taking her face in his hands, turning her head towards him. "Your mother didn't-"
Tom sighed in relief. Looking into Torres's face, he could see something there. "Someone else did?"
She pulled herself away and jumped to her feet. "That's none of your business!"
Tom jumped to her feet and grabbed her by the shoulders. "You were the one who brought it up!"
She pulled away and continued to walk. Finally, she stopped and dropped her head down.
Tom walked to her, placing a hand on the back of her shoulder.
She shrugged it off.
Tom stepped forward and enveloped her into his arms. Torres tried to pull away, but Tom tightened his grip.
She could pull away if she really wanted to, and Tom knew that. But getting no further resistance, he turned her around to face him. He enveloped her into his arms.
He held her tight, not saying a word, just letting her cry. After a short time, she stopped and slid down to the floor.
Tom sat next to her, watching her. Finally, B'Elanna began to speak. She spoke of her parents, her mother especially. She spoke of the man who abused her, of how she told her mother, only to have her mother to tell her to be strong and fight him.
Tom sat horrified. But, this was her time, and he wouldn't take that away from her. Finally, she spoke.
"We have to help her."
"You mean Johnna?"
B'Elanna nodded. "We can't let that little girl go through what I did."
Paris nodded. Standing he offered a hand to Torres. She allowed him to help
her up. They went to speak to the Captain together.
Kathryn and Chakotay sat on the floor in her ready room. She was speaking of her childhood.
"How selfish was it of me to think that my life was so bad, so rotten just because my Father wouldn't pay attention to me."
Chakotay finished chewing his food, then nodded. "When you're young, everything that happens to you is the worst thing in the universe. But, when you get older, you realize that no matter how bad things are for you... someone always has it worse."
Kathryn felt the adoration in her heart leap forward again. Chakotay still didn't know what was happening with Torres, and he didn't push it. She smiled at him and rubbed her hand along his cheek.
"Nothing can be easy for Voyager. We should have known this situation was too good to be true." He said.
"I know some people who would say that about you." She said.
He grinned "Who says that?"
"Me." She smiled and brushed her lips across his.
The door chimed. They both groaned. "Saved by the bell" he whispered.
She swatted his on the arm. "Come" she called.
Tom and B'Elanna entered. Janeway noticed the look on Tom's face. 'Did she tell him'? She wondered.
"Captain, sorry to interrupt your meal but-" Paris began.
She stood. "That's okay Tom. What's wrong?"
"Well, we were discussing the situation. Couldn't we alert the authorities on Uzzolina about what we suspect? Surely someone would listen." Paris said.
"We have to be careful what we do. We can't risk violating the Prime Directive here."
Three pairs of eyes locked onto hers. Chakotay rose and came to stand next to Tom and B'Elanna.
"A child's safety should over ride the Prime Directive" he said.
Kathryn's eyes locked with his. It had been a long time since they disagreed on a situation. She had gotten accustomed to her making the decisions, and him backing her. His statement was unexpected.
"The Prime Directive is Starfleet's Number One law. This is a Starfleet ship, we have to abide by Starfleet guidelines." She said.
Paris and Chakotay both began to speak at once, but B'Elanna beat them to it. "Captain, this is a child we're talking about. She doesn't understand the Prime Directive, or some law that a bureaucrat thought up-"
Janeway raised her hand. "B'Elanna, I feel the same way you do. But if we violate Starfleet dictates now, we have nothing left to keep this crew together."
All three of them stared at her, their eyes were hard and unyielding. Paris spoke.
"So, that's your final word?"
Janeway nodded. "For now. Tom, we will help Johnna, but we can't do it like a bunch of vigilantes on a crusade."
Chakotay's eyes widened. "Vigilantes on a crusade?" He repeated.
"Chakotay, that's not what-"
Torres interrupted. "Captain, you seem to be forgetting that some of this crew is nothing more but out of control vigilantes."
She turned on her heel and walked out. body> Captain Janeway rubbed her temple. This day was getting more worse by the minute.
She had managed to smooth things out with Chakotay. Okay, maybe not smooth... but patch them up at least.
She sat at her viewscreen waiting for Inspector Gayla to be reached. He was the Chief of Criminal Investigations for the Uzzolinan capital city.
She turned to look at the crew members standing with her. Tom was standing near Tuvok. throwing furtive glances at B'Elanna. She stood ramrod straight, paying attention to no one.
Tuvok stood with one eyebrow raised, sensing that something was wrong in the room, and logically trying to ascertain what it was.
'Good luck with that one Tuvok' she thought. She wasn't quite sure of everything that was wrong herself.
Finally, and several minutes of silence, Inspector Gayla appeared.
"Captain Janeway" he nodded in greeting.
"Inspector, thank you for answering my call."
"Captain, I've read the report you sent. You do understand that what you are accusing the Magistrate of is a heinous crime, with little basis of fact to stand with your accusation."
"Inspector, I am well aware of that. But please, for the Johnna's sake, at least look into the matter."
"Captain, how much have you learned of the history of Uzzolina since you arrived?"
Janeway stopped and thought for a minute. "We've studied several different events in your planet's history since we came here, but I don't see what this has to do with our current situation."
Gayla smiled. "I'll tell you Captain. Our planet was in deep chaotic turmoil. They were several warring factions spread all around the planet. People were dying by the thousands in battles for land, religious freedom, money. No one seemed able to unite this land."
Janeway nodded as Gayla continued.
"When Magistrate Suchov was elected to power, very few had faith that this young first time politician could unite this world. But he proved them wrong. In the twenty short years since he was elected, the fighting has stopped. The environmental disaster this planet used to be in now a forgotten nightmare. We are one of the richest, most beautiful planets in this system. And Suchov, is one of the most powerful men in this system as a result of his genius. And, he is one of the most revered heroes in our planet's history. The man can do no wrong in our people's eyes."
Janeway was now beginning to understand what Gayla was hinting to. She sighed. "I'm beginning to see your point Inspector. Because your cowardice to confront Suchov, that little six year old child is going to continue to suffer." Janeway's anger was evident.
Gayla's tone turned hostile. "Captain, trust me when I tell you. The best thing you can do is mind your own business and be on your way."
With that, he ended the communication.
"So that's it?" Torres asked.
Janeway shook her head slightly. "No, that's not it. If we can't go about this in an official manner, we'll just have to do it unofficially." She said with raised eyebrows.
Chakotay cracked a little grin. "What's the plan Captain?"
Johnna stood wide eyed, staring at the characters on the holodeck. She was amazed by the things she was seeing.
Lieutenant Tuvok was having a self defense class. Johnna was being shown around the ship for the last time. Ensign Wildman and her baby daughter were conducting the tour this time, which conveniently ended at the holodeck.
Johnna watched as Tuvok's students performed their moves exactly as he showed them. She turned to Ensign Wildman.
"Do all of your people get taught how to do this?" She asked.
Ensign Wildman smiled. "Yes, this is a basic self defense technique. It is taught in Starfleet Academy."
"Is that the school you went to?"
"Yes, most of the officers on this ship went to the Academy."
Johnna watched the demonstration. "It is good to know how to do this stuff when someone is bad."
Samantha bent down to her level. "What do you mean when someone is bad?"
"You know... if someone misbehaves, you can do this stuff on them. That will make them be good."
Samantha knew what was happening. She had been let in on Captain Janeway's plan. She also knew that Johnna was giving her a vital piece of information.
"No, No Johnna you don't understand honey. See, we only use this to defend ourselves. You should never ever ever hit someone."
Johnna looked her in the eyes. "You mean, you don't hit Katie?" She said, pointing to the baby.
"Even when she's bad?"
"No child is bad enough to deserve to be hit Johnna, no matter what they do."
Johnna nodded and sat on the floor, intently watching the demonstration.
The Magistrate stared at Janeway with ice cold eyes. She and Chakotay sat silently watching him.
Finally, he spoke. "After all the graciousness I've shown you, all the gratitude my people has offered your crew... this is how you repay me? By accusing me of beating my daughter?"
Janeway took a deep breath before beginning. "Magistrate, we appreciate the hospitality that your planet has offered. And you have our gratitude. But, more than one person has noticed the tell tale signs of abuse with your daughter. We simply don't want Johnna to be hurt-"
"Captain, Commander, do either of you have any children?"
Both officers shook their heads.
The Magistrate sighed. "Then how would you know what it's like to raise a clumsy child? How would you know how hard it is to be a single parent, trying to piece a world back together for my child to grow up in?"
Janeway opened her mouth to speak but Suchov interrupted her. "Captain, I remember you telling me about your Prime Directive.... you cannot interfere in the natural development of a culture. I feel as though you're interfering in my culture. I want you to leave."
He stood and turned to towards the door. The door opened and Johnna excitedly ran in. "Captain, I love your ship-it's so great- and Ensign Wildman showed me the hydr-hydro something bay- and B'Elanna took me to the messhall to have lunch-and Neelix gave me something he called marshmallows and jello-and-----"
Suchov raised his hand. "Johnna, come up for air."
She stopped and looked at Captain Janeway. She swallowed. "Captain, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt your meeting. Please forgive me."
Janeway forced a smile on her face. "That's okay Johnna. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself."
Suchov stepped forward. "Johnna and I will be returning to the planet now Captain. I expect you and your ship to be gone within twelve hours."
Janeway sighed. She locked her eyes with Chakotay and Torres. "We'll be gone in a few hours Magistrate."
Johnna looked from the Captain to her Father. "But, I don't understand-"
Her father spread his arm out. "Come along Johnna."
"But Daddy, I thought-"
"Johnna, I said let's go!" He raised his voice which caused everyone in the room to jump.
Johnna stood and walked slowly towards her Father. She turned to the three Voyager officers and threw them a wave and a smile.
The last thing they heard was:
"By the way Daddy, Ensign Wildman taught me something today that I wanted to tell you about-"
as the door closed. Voyager had left orbit of the planet several hours ago. The Bridge crew was quiet, all wondering what was going to happen to Johnna.
Janeway was wondering the most. Should a rule written on a computer disk allow a child to be hurt? Should she insist on throwing her Starfleet morals on her crew? Does Starfleet morals even matter when they're this far away from home?
She saw Paris toss a look over to the engineering station. Torres was sitting there, staring blankly at her consoles.
She had noticed that B'Elanna suddenly pulled away from Tom. Everytime he tried to even approach her, she would go the other way before he got there.
She sighed again. The image of Johnna smiling as she left her Ready Room burned into her memory.
She turned to Chakotay. She was looking at her, and gave her a *pep talk* type smile. She reached her hand across and took his for a moment. The look in both their eyes said the same thing.
'We can't leave her like that'.
Janeway released his hand and straightened in her chair. "Lieutenant Paris, turn the ship around and set course back to Uzzolina, Warp 9."
The whole Bridge crew turned to her. Paris's face lit up with a smile. "Yes ma'am."
Voyager turned and streaked out of site.
"Lieutenant Tuvok, hail the magistrate's office."
"Channel open" Tuvok responded.
"This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager."
The massive picture of the planet was replaced by the picture of Glorian, Magistrate Suchov's assistant.
"Captain Janeway, we thought you left orbit hours ago."
"We had to return for some urgent business. I need to speak with the Magistrate."
"I'm sorry Captain, but the Magistrate is not accepting any calls today." Glorian looked away from the screen, a look of sadness on her face.
"Glorian, it is imperative that we speak with the Magistrate, please allow us just a few moments of his time."
Glorian turned her eyes back to the screen. "Captain, the Magistrate has been in seclusion since the accident."
Janeway's heart turned to ice. "Accident?" She managed to say.
Glorian's eyes filled with tears. "Yes, young Johnna was killed in an accident early this morning."
Janeway felt her legs begin to buckle. She managed to sit in her chair before she fell. Chakotay stood and walked toward the viewscreen. "What happened?"
Glorian shook her head. "Johnna fell down the steps in their home. Her neck was broken, she died instantly. I'm sorry, I must go now-" Glorian broke the connection.
The crew sat in stunned silence. No one could talk...... no one could move.
After several minutes, Janeway cleared her throat. "Mr. Paris........s-set course for the Alpha Quadrant, Warp 5."
Paris turned and looked at her. He turned back to his console. "Course laid in."
"Engage" Janeway said. She stood and walked to her Ready Room.
Several days had passed. Voyager had run into a few Uzzolinan trade ships on their way back to the planet. According to the pilots, Magistrate Suchov was under investigation for the mysterious death of his daughter.
The planet was in chaos. Treaties that had been signed by warring factions broke down. Fighting had begun again, cities were being destroyed in riots.
A heavy sadness had been covering Voyager since they had received the news. Janeway felt the most guilt, though she couldn't let her crew know.
Any weakness their Captain had would reflect back to them. She couldn't let them see her break down.
But in the privacy of her quarters, Chakotay sat with her for hours. After several hours of talking, crying, and debating, she had fallen asleep against his chest.
In the morning, they awoke and headed towards the messhall. Tom and B'Elanna were sitting with Harry. Harry was trying to engage them both in conversation, but the effort seemed fruitless.
Harry offered his hand for Janeway and Chakotay to join them. The five of them sat, and said very little.
Finally, Tom excused himself and rushed out. After a few minutes, B'Elanna was summoned to the holodeck for a malfunction.
Torres walked through the holodeck door with a kit in her hand. She froze at what she saw.
The program she had run earlier in the week was running again. But this time, not only her mother stood there but Edwin Conover.
She began to back away until someone grabbed her from behind. She spun around and swung... connecting to Tom's left eye.
He fell to the floor. "Jeez, easy B'Elanna. I didn't mean to scare you!"
Torres was breathing heavy. "What's the meaning of this!"
Tom stood, still holding his eye. "I took the liberty of playing with your program."
"You had no right to-"
Tom cut her off. "B'Elanna, you yourself said that sometimes, talking about it helps. You won't talk to me, or the Captain, or anyone else. Talk to them... tell them what you feel."
B'Elanna couldn't turn to look at them. She seemed cold and restless. "I-I can't..."
Tom took her arms. "Yes you can. You're one of the strongest people I know. Do what you have to... beat on them for all I care. But don't hold it all inside."
B'Elanna turned to the two frozen, animated people. "How did you know what they looked like?"
Tom dropped his eyes to the floor. "I-I uh broke into the doctor's records of the mind scan."
Torres spun to face him. "You did WHAT!?"
Tom backed a way a few steps. "B'Elanna, please. I didn't want to pry... I only wanted to help. Look, I'll just go and leave you alone."
He turned and walked out of the holodeck.
He stopped outside to catch his breath. Finally he began walking until he heard the holodeck door open behind him.
He turned to B'Elanna. She walked towards him and stretched out her hand.
Tom stared at her hand for a moment, then turned his eyes to her face.
She took a deep breath. Finally, looking deeply into his eyes, she spoke one word.
They walked back into the holodeck hand in hand.