Warnings: Spiders, mild stylized action violence.
Categories: Ship, Het, Melodrama, Humor
Pairings: Janeway/Chakotay UST
Characters: Janeway (primary), Chakotay, the EMH, Neelix, Kes, Tuvok, mentions of others.
Spoilers: This is something of an a/u replacement for Macrocosm.
A/N: Written for Ripples in the Pond at Anne's Rose Garden. What if Captain Janeway was bitten by a radioactive spider?
Credits: Thank you to Anne Rose for the early morning beta.
Disclaimer: Paramount, leave me alone. And Marvel, you've already got enough of my money.
When Neelix traded with the Tak Tak to obtain a little cheese, he got a little something extra in the bargain. Spiders. The little arachnids were an especially well adapted species, possessing a combination of traits that were found in spiders on Earth, but never all in one species.
A number of the spiders made good their escape and made homes for themselves throughout the ship. One particularly resourceful spider made its way to engineering and spun a web immediately above the warp core.
That, of course, was the very spider that chose to bite Captain Janeway one afternoon during a routine engineering crisis.
"Captain, what's wrong with your hand?" Chakotay leaned across the console that separated their seats on the bridge. He took her hand in his and peered at it.
She glanced down at the red mark and shrugged. "I didn't notice that before. Although now that you mention it, I think it itches."
"Why don't you go down to sickbay. There isn't anything happening here."
"I'm sure it's nothing."
"If something bit you..." His words trailed off. They both remembered the consequences of her last insect bite all too well.
She stood. "I'll go now. You have the bridge, Commander."
"Spider bite....why, this is extraordinary, Captain!" The EMH was far too enthusiastic about his tricorder readings for her liking.
"What's wrong, Doctor?"
"I'm not sure anything is wrong, exactly. Your blood seems to be having a very unique reaction to a type of radiation that I don't recognize, and your DNA sequencing has somehow been altered."
"And you don't think there's anything wrong with that?"
"It doesn't seem to be causing you any ill effect, Captain. At least not yet."
"Well, then until it does, I'd like to return to the bridge."
"I would advise against that, at least until I've been able to take a full panel of readings."
Later, much later, after the full panel of tests had been completed, the captain returned to her quarters. She headed straight for the replicator, intent upon satisfying her coffee craving.
"How's the hand?"
She jumped about ten feet - literally - and to her utter shock stuck to the wall. She looked down at the floor, then at the vertical surface that her hands and feet were clinging to in direct violation of the ship's artificial gravity. "Chakotay, you startled me."
He didn't have much to say to that.
She lifted her hand away from the wall and studied it. Hundreds of tiny little hook-like things protruded from her skin. She climbed down the wall and held out her hand to Chakotay. "This is new."
He studied the palm of her hand. "I think you'd better go back to sickbay."
"Absolutely not. The Doctor is already analyzing a full panel of test results."
"The Doctor should see this."
"Probably, but I'd rather have coffee. You joining me?"
"Yes, but we aren't just having coffee. You do need to eat every once in a while."
"Are you cooking?"
"You don't think I'd eat your cooking, do you?"
After a pleasant meal, she checked in with the Doctor, promised Chakotay that she would go to sickbay if she felt even the slightest bit ill, and curled up in her chair with a book. Any thoughts of relaxing died when a violent jolt sent her coffee splattering across the floor.
She slapped her combadge. "Janeway to the bridge."
Ayala's reply was cut off as the ship rocked again, but she was already headed for the bridge.
When she arrived, the viewscreen showed an alien ship of unfamiliar design. Its hostile intentions were plain. Ignoring all hails, it fired yet again.
The ensign at Tuvok's station continued to return phaser fire. "Shields at forty-seven percent."
"Arm photon torpedoes." The captain sank into her chair, eyes locked on the viewscreen. She noted Chakotay's absence to her left. The ship rocked under another assault.
"Shields at nineteen percent."
Both torpedoes found their mark, but their adversary's attack continued.
Tom Paris relieved Henley at the helm. Harry Kim and Tuvok both took their stations. The seat beside the captain remained empty.
"Shields are down. Hull breeches on decks three, six, and fourteen."
"Captain, we've been boarded."
At her nod, Tuvok headed for the turbolift. Janeway turned her attention back to the viewscreen, only to see the enemy vessel jump to warp. It was gone.
The alien intruders hadn't stayed long. It had been long enough, however. Far too long. The first officer was missing. No other crew members were missing. Nothing had been stolen. The aliens had left no clue as to their motives. All Voyager's crew had to go on was a faint ion trail.
For three days they chased the phantom ship that had kidnaped a member of their family. Janeway scarcely left the bridge, despite the Doctor's nagging. Unlike Chakotay, he wasn't wise enough to bribe her with coffee, and since she didn't develop any new symptoms, aside from her wall climbing skills, there was little he could do. The red spot had even disappeared.
"You found me," Kes said, referring to her own recent kidnapping at the hands of spacefaring pirates. "You'll find him as well."
"We will," the captain agreed, and willed herself to believe it.
The ion trail ended in a binary star system with three inhabitable planets. One contained an advanced civilization. The captain decided that would be the logical place to begin the search.
After a scan for human life signs yielded no result, Janeway beamed down with Lieutenant Ayala and Ensign Kim to meet with a representative from the planetary government.
"It sounds like you've tangled with the Chartreuse Troll," said the nervous little man. "He and his followers make a habit out of kidnaping for fun and profit. You should hear about a ransom price fairly soon."
"We should hear about a ransom price fairly soon?" Janeway repeated. "I'm afraid that isn't good enough."
"There's not much else I can tell you," the representative said. "We've been trying to catch the Chartreuse Troll for years, but he's very elusive."
The poor little man seemed to shrink in the face of Janeway's glare. "It's nothing personal, Captain, but our government simply does not have the resources to capture a criminal genius like the Chartreuse Troll."
"I take it very personally when someone takes my first officer," Janeway said. "I will get him back, and no one who calls himself the Chartreuse Troll is going to stop me."
Tuvok's security team combed the planet for clues, but it was Neelix who located the Chartreuse Troll's secret lair.
"I spoke with a character who claims to have once escaped from the Chartreuse Troll. He offered, for a small price of course, to provide us with a map."
Despite arguments from Tuvok and the Doctor, as well as the very likely possibility that she was walking into a trap, Janeway decided that the rescue mission based on the map would be a solo mission. She went alone.
She dressed in a form fitting black jumpsuit that she hoped would blend into the shadows, and pulled a dark mask over her face. According to Neelix's source, the lair was guarded by an assortment of petty criminals who favored brightly colored costumes and elaborate, if often unprofitable, schemes to simple theft.
A single phaser blast took care of the first guard, but Janeway wasn't as lucky with the second.
He drew his weapon and sneered at her. "How dare you attempt to violate the sanctuary of the Chartreuse Troll! You will pay dearly for your mistake."
A tingle in her gut warned her of someone approaching from behind. She jumped, surprising both of her would be captors, and scurried up the wall.
"Get her," one of them shouted.
She dropped back down to the floor and raced down the passageway. A giant canyon where the floor belonged stopped her in her tracks. The strangely dressed minions were hot on her heels. Recently, her ability to jump had increased considerably, but she wasn't sure she wanted to test the limits.
Then a minion threw a grenade, and jumping seemed the lesser of two evils. As she flew through the air, she realized she wasn't going to clear the canyon. The ground began rising rapidly. With some instinct born of desperation, she stretched a hand out towards the canyon wall, and to her surprise a long strand of something sticky shot from her wrist.
It caught the wall, and now instead of falling to her death she found herself hurtling towards solid stone. She aimed her other wrist towards the opposite wall and prayed.
Another line of webbing shot out and clung. Janeway moved down the canyon, swinging from web line to web line, and gave thanks for the spider that had bitten her.
Neelix's map proved more accurate than Janeway would have guessed. Once she left the underground canyon, it led her to a number of captives locked in something like a dungeon, but Chakotay was not among them.
"He tried to escape," a woman explained.
Janeway felt the blood drain from her face. "Is he - "
"Dead? Not yet. The Chartreuse Troll took him, to make an example."
"Where? Where did he take him?"
"To the Brooklyn Bridge."
Janeway's breath caught in her throat. Chakotay was dangling from his wrists high above a raging river. The Chartreuse Troll flew back and forth on some sort of personal air vehicle, cackling maniacally and spouting rhetoric about his superior criminal mind.
Janeway tried to contact the ship for an emergency beamout, or at least a shuttle, but heard only static over the comm link. She was on her own.
"All those who oppose the Chartreuse Troll shall suffer a similar fate."
Janeway eyed the path between herself and her captured executive officer. Without her newfound skills, rescue would have been impossible. But the Chartreuse Troll hadn't counted on meeting the Amazing Spider-Captain.
She carefully aimed her wrist and willed the web to fire. It did, snagging part of the bridge supports.
With a gulp, she jumped and swung herself towards Chakotay. That rope didn't look all that secure.
The Chartreuse Troll noticed her, and began throwing small explosive devices that looked, rather ridiculously, like some sort of vegetable orb.
She dodged one, firing another web and swinging away. As she twisted in mid air and launched another web, she realized that her ability to predict where another grenade would explode was accurate enough to almost be a sixth sense.
Webs, wall crawling skills, spider sense... All useful. She thanked the spider again and swung back towards the object of her desire. The Chartreuse Troll blocked her way. She shot a new web, narrowly avoided a collision, and swung back in his direction with increased momentum. This time, she met the enemy with a kick in the small of the back, and watched with satisfaction as he fell towards the river.
"Kathryn!" Chakotay's shout reminded her of his predicament.
Just as she slung a web in his direction, the rope he had been suspended from snapped, and he began to plummet. She swung down after him, grabbed him around the waist, and found herself amazed by how little effort it took to support his weight.
The Chartreuse Troll failed to plunge to his death, and pursued them once again. A vegetable orb exploded near Janeway's head. She let go of her web and flew unsupported through the air for a moment before shooting another line in a new direction. Disoriented, their adversary smashed into a bridge support.
"Thought I'd drop in for a visit," she said as she slung another web.
He wrapped an arm around her as they flew through the air. "I'm glad you did. So tell me, did I miss anything while I was gone?"
"A bit." They landed safely on the riverbank. "Did you know that the Brooklyn Bridge is the intergalactic symbol of commerce?"
"Actually, yes. An alien in a dungeon tried to sell it to me."
Laughing, they linked arms and headed for her shuttle.
It was at least as plausible as Threshold, wasn't it?
Historical note: Kes was kidnapped in the fourteenth Voyager novel, Marooned by Christie Golden.
Second Historical note: Fans of Spider-Man might recognize Webs as the title of Peter Parker's photography book.
This transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Star Trek™©, Star Trek: The Next Generation™©, Star Trek: Voyager™© and related properties exist as Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. Spider-Man™© is the creation of Stan Lee and the property of Marvel Comics. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, May 2003.