Something Different

“Hey little one, what brings you here?” Suttonay greeted his sister.

But she walked past him, “Tonay, I am not little anymore!” and looked around, “Where’s Kolopak?”

“He had to go to the lab to pick up something he’ll need for the meeting.”

“You mean, you haven’t heard? There isn’t going to be a meeting. Kathryn and Kolopak have been cleared.”

Chakotay took Heminika aside, followed by Kathryn. “What do you mean? Who cleared it?”

Heminika shrugged, “I think Nonaka did, at least that’s what mom heard Tigini say. Don’t you believe me or something?”

Putting a hand on the girl’s arm, Kathryn calmed her down. “Of course we believe you, and thank you for telling us. Chakotay is just curious for the reason behind our clearing.”

He smiled at her, “Heminika, thank you. Do you think you and Sini can go up to the lab to tell Father about it?”

The girl nodded and returned to her best friend. Together they set out for the lab.

~ * ~ * ~

The frown was back on his face.

“Chakotay, talk to me. What is going on in that mind of yours?”

He took her hand and led her inside. “I’m just worried. The Elders simply don’t hand out clearings like this one. I want to know who’s behind all this and why.”

“Are you worried about Qantuin? I thought you said he couldn’t hurt Paka anymore.”

“Technically he can’t, but he could always have influenced the Elders to clear Father on the condition he will quit his work at the lab.”

“But how would Qantuin get them to agree to that? Does he bribe them?”

“Not really. You see, we have four Elders, 2 men and 2 women. For some obscure reason two of them are dead-set against what Father does here, but the other two aren’t. Most grievances against Father that came before the Elders weren’t processed because all voting ended in an automatic draw. And only when it is something of real importance, they ask Poketay for advice. Luckily Poketay is wise enough to understand the importance of the lab and Father’s research. But the Old Man has lived a long life, and we’re not sure how long he will stay with us in this world.”

“Who will follow in his footsteps?”

“Well, for some years it was fairly clear Qantuin would succeed Poketay. That was one of the reasons I studied with him. I had been planning to ask Poketay himself, but I was too afraid of being rejected by him. Qantuin would not reject me, simply because I am the son of his sworn enemy. But when it turned out he had deceived me and most of the village, Qantuin fell from grace. These last few years he has been trying to make up for it, but the village doesn’t trust him anymore.”

“So when Poketay dies, there is no one to continue his vision.”

“It’s complicated: rural politics at its peak. When I moved back to my parents after living with Qantuin’s family, Poketay helped me find myself again. Or at least he made a start.”

“I hadn’t realized Qantuin has a family. I thought he lived alone like Poketay.”

“Believe it or not, but he is married to Emoriki, mother of Suttonay, Lorakish and Heminika.”

“But they are not his children right? Their father is Levinak.”

“He tried to be a father, but all he managed was to set down some rules they ignored anyway.”

“I’m glad you’re not under his influence anymore. After what Mika told me, I think I’m going to have to thank Poketay for bringing you back.”

“He only helped me to start. It was through his guidance I discovered to look for peace.”

“And, did you find it?”

“I sure did.”

“And? Come one, Kotay, you’ve told me this much, you might as well tell me all.”

“Relax already, Red.”


“Yes, Red. Alright I will tell you, even though you will probably find it extremely mushy and corny.”

“I won’t. Really. Scout’s Honor.”

“The day I found my peace was the most glorious day in my life. It hadn’t started out that way. I mean, halfway through the afternoon it appeared to have become a lousy and rotten day. Especially after Father explained his decision on a topic we had argued fiercely over. But then I came across a message that was meant for him, and it changed my life.”

“Don’t tell me this riddle should give me an answer to my question.”

“It doesn’t. But the events after I read the message are now determining my life. In fact, the person mentioned in the message is the one who has brought me my peace. And I hope I can give some of that back to her some day.”

Kathryn melted before his eyes. “You were right, it is mushy and corny. And I love it! And you have already given me so much peace, and love.”

“That’s good, because I don’t plan stopping that any time soon.”

“Even if you wanted to stop, I wouldn’t let you.”

“You wouldn’t?”



“Yup, you see, you’re stuck with me.”

“I’m glad it’s you I’m stuck with. I kinda like you.”

She snorted, “You kinda like me? Is that what you tell the woman who loves you?”

“What? You do?”

“I do what? Love you? Spirits, Chakotay, even though my brain still tells me on an hourly basis this is going to fast, my heart can’t stop telling me this is right, because I love you: deeply and with all my heart, body and soul. You didn’t doubt me, did you?”

He looked down at the floor. “Well, no, not really. It’s just that I didn’t think you’d feel the same way about me as I feel about you. I thought you were charmed by the physical attraction between us.”

“My dear lovable, huggable and unquestionably handsome Chakotay, I would never have agreed to become your Equal, if I didn’t feel this is the best thing I could ever do in my life. I’m certainly not doing this simply because I want to work here. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, both in this world and in the Other World.”

“I love you too, you know.”

She grinned, “I know you do, or you would never had let me take most the closet space.”

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