Something Different

After about one hour, Chakotay excused himself and went upstairs. Mika looked at her son’s retreating back and shook her head. If only he and Paka would realize they were more alike than they thought. Both were extremely passionate men, willing to do almost anything for those who were lucky enough to be loved by them. But they both felt the other was wasting his time with unnecessary rituals. Chakotay didn’t want his father to embrace the modern science with so much gusto and Paka thought Chakotay should start living in the present time more. Neither of them realized it would only be a small step to understand the other’s point of view.

~ * ~ * ~

Kolopak’s research was highly unconventional and when he was younger the Elders had often requested his presence at their meetings, telling him once again to alter his methods of searching for answers.

Until his coming of age, Chakotay had always accompanied his father on his travels. The two of them would come home after a three-week journey, full of stories and more research materials. They were inseparable and Kolopak was proud of the son who would follow in his footsteps.

The day after his Age Ceremony, Chakotay stopped sharing his father’s passion for science. Instead the young man fully embraced the ways of his tribe. Whereas his father was a “contrary” among their people, Chakotay became a zealous follower of his father’s political rival, Qantuin.

For 15 years Chakotay lived with his leader’s family, completely ignoring his father and only occasionally visiting his mother.

~ * ~ * ~

Just as sudden as he had left his parents’ house, he came back. The rumors on the planet were unstoppable. Apparently Qantuin had used Chakotay only to get back at his father. When he found out, he immediately packed up all his belongings and moved them back into his family’s home.

His mother welcomed him back with open arms, and his younger sister Teresini would not let him out of her sight for almost a week. His father was less exuberant in his greetings, but when Chakotay opened his medicine bundle that night he found a beautiful smooth black river stone carved with the mark of his family. Barely two weeks later he joined his father in their sweat lodge, and his father gave him his first tattoo, the same one he had received from his father: the stylized pattern of an eagle flying over the horizon.

When they came home again, Mika had prepared them a feast. During their time together father and son has each explained his point of view, and – for the sake of family harmony – had agreed to disagree.

~ * ~ * ~

Now they found themselves butting heads over certain issued only sporadically. However when Kolopak told his son he had requested help from Starfleet, Chakotay retreated to his own small lodge, refusing to help the other villagers with the construction of a new lodge for the new science officer.

It was a pure coincidence he had been at the Transport and Communications Office when the message for his father came in. The starship escorting the Starfleet Officer would be half a day early. He forwarded the message to his parents’ terminal saying he would meet the officer and bring him to the house.

~ * ~ * ~

Waiting outside the T&C Office, Chakotay had been looking up at the stars, reminiscing about the days when he was a young and ignorant boy wishing to be up there amongst the stars. His father should have never encouraged him to try to make that wish come true. Instead he should have taught him the ways of their people, and not let him indulge his juvenile fantasies.

He noticed someone standing next to him and the soft rush of the wind carried over the subtle scent of someone’s perfume. When he looked sideways he saw a petite and fragile looking woman standing next to him, she too was gazing at the stars, her eyes looking almost wistfully at the vastness out there.

Only then did he see the uniform she wore. Starfleet had sent a woman? The Elders would never accept her as his father’s equal.

~ * ~ * ~

Her room was dominated by a large wooden bed. The headboard was decorated with ornate carvings of abstracte figurines. She wasn’t sure what they meant and made a mental note to ask her hosts tomorrow. When she fell down on it she felt the softness of the mattras and the deliciously thick and downy feather duvet. She let herself sink even further into the coverings when she heard a knock on the door.

“Come in.” Raising herself up on her elbows she watched the door, but it remained closed. A soft cough from behind her made her roll over. There in the doorway was Chakotay, looking at her if he had just seen a ghost. He recovered quickly but not before Kathryn had seen the look of surprise on his face.

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