By Heather Lynne
Rating : G - General Audience
Disclaimer : Paramount owns Kathryn Janeway, and all other “Voyager” and “Star Trek” related stuff. I’m just an obsessed fan, like many others, writing for my own entertainment. I won’t make any money on this… That would be a sign of the Apocalypse.
Summary : Kathryn ponders how to deal with B'Elanna’s actions and also meditates on the role of coffee in her life. Angst warning.
Setting : This story takes place the night/early morning after the events of “Lineage.”
"Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised. It’s gotten me through the worst of the last three years. I beat the Borg with it."
Captain’s Personal Log:
Today B'Elanna reprogrammed the Doctor so that he would change her unborn childs genetic sequencing. She wanted to remove the forehead ridges that are the norm for Klingons. Now I have to decide what the consequences of disobeying orders and changing the Doctors parameters should be.
I need a big cup of coffee to deal with this one.
B'Elanna went to the doctor, reprogrammed him, and was only stopped from altering her child by Toms finding out in time. I cant throw her in the brig for this one; there are extenuating circumstances, and we need her skills in engineering. She did disobey orders, but as Tom explained it to me, she was severely distressed. He put it down to fear for the future of their child if we get back home. (Make that when we get back home.) She was worried that Tom would leave her and the baby, as her father had left her and her mother.
Computer: coffee, black.
Im not sure why I find this so unsettling. I have dealt with discipline problems when Ive had to, and I dont remember being this emotional before. Maybe its because B'Elanna directly disobeyed me, using her engineering skills to re-program the Doctor to change the child. (Changing anything that is unnecessary in the Doctors programming could lead to problems yet again- and the crew would be left without a doctor of any type.) That still isnt enough to make me this emotional. Perhaps it was because BEhlanna put herself in the position of nearly mutilating her own child for the sake of its appearance. I dont have children of my own; perhaps thats why I cant imagine doing such a thing.
My anger is rising to the surface. Of all the emotions this has brought up, anger is at the forefront. Anger for what B'Elanna tried to do, but also anger that she doesnt seem to appreciate her own circumstances: she IS having a baby, a chance for her life to be richer and fuller - a chance to be a mother. She and Tom will have all the hardships and joys of rearing their child. She is the only woman on Voyager who has had the chance to get married and have a child.
I deprived my crew of that opportunity, myself included. B'Elanna has a chance to have a healthy, beautiful child. The second born on Voyager, the only one with both mother and father present. And yet she chose to try and change this little wonder, this gift she and Tom have created. How many of my people would give anything to be able to be with their own children, or with their partners and their families? My crewmembers lost that chance when I sent Voyager into the Delta quadrant.
Mark and I could have had a family. We were counting on it. I would have had leave from Star Fleet when needed, and daycare when I chose to go back, right in the Starfleet HQ building so that I could have gone to be with our baby when I had lunch or
Stop that. Its not helping. Focus on the problem at hand.
At least Samantha Wildman has a chance to know her daughter. Naomi may never know her father
Thinking in the wrong direction again, Kathryn. The emotions are getting too hard to keep down. More coffee?
One more and Ill jump to warp.
Oh, what the hell.
Computer: More coffee. Black.
Ah, the smell of a hot cup of coffee. The way it warms the hands as I curl my fingers around the cup, the slightly oily surface reflecting my face, sharing this moment with me. I love the smell, the sight. I love seeing the convection currents that rise to the surface, darker than the microscopic water droplets that mimic the appearance of white lines on the surface, forming between the pockets of hotter liquid. I love the feeling as it insinuates itself into my system, giving me the energy I need to keep going. It lifts my spirits as I feel it flow into the places that feel empty, filling them with its wonderful life, at least for a time.
It certainly gives me pause, a moment to focus on my work, my people, and not my own thoughts.
Thoughts can be pushed down, buried. It takes help, but it can be done. The help comes in the form of an old, reliable friend.
Coffee is an old, reliable friend. It never lets me down. I the get strength, the ability to focus and think, and it helps keep me on track. Its so easy to get off topic, especially late at night. This time of night my mind starts to follow paths that it shouldnt. I dont need to be unfocused. That takes me to places Id rather not go.
Better to just have some more coffee.
Its 2am, and here I am re-reading the PADD with the incident report about B'Elannas actions. The same questions keep circulating in my mind, coming to the surface like the dark pools of hotter coffee in my cup: do I punish her? Do I send her to the Doctor or Chakotay for counseling? I havent dealt with a case quite like this before. I feel so alone right now.
Thats not new.
I often feel alone in making decisions; in all aspects of my life, really.
When I feel like this, in the early morning, I often wish that Chakotay would hail me and ask if he can come over to my quarters, as he cant sleep either. I want him to look at me, see that I need comfort, put his arm around my shoulders, and tell me that hell do everything he can to help me get us home. Maybe we could sit and chat about the last six and a half years; about how Harry Kim has matured so much; about how one more leola root stew will make us both want to pitch all of the leola roots out an airlock, along with Neelix. Or I could just listen to his stories. About his time in the Maquis. About his home world, his people, his beliefs. Perhaps even hear the legend of the Angry Warrior again
Cant think about that. Too hard to keep it together if I do.
Im probably better off because he doesnt contact me. Sometimes a kind word can be more difficult to deal with than being alone. Perhaps then Id appear weak as a captain, even in the eyes of my best friend. Best he never calls at this time.
Damn. Theres that anger again.
Time for a warm-up.
Its late. I should be sleeping. Cant now. Still have PADDs to go through. Too much time thinking about one topic has taken away the time needed to deal with others. Im bloody tired, but the coffee picks me up and I can continue to work.
The same thoughts, the same feelings I have rehashed over and over in my mind come back: the crew sacrificed their lives in a very real way because of a command decision I made. I am responsible for stranding these good people in the Delta quadrant. Me.
I knew that some command decisions would be tough, would tear me apart at times, but I always believed that they could be dealt with over time. Something less than 70 years would be reasonable. I sacrificed my crew to 70 years away from friends, family, and HOME. My watch, my call. Maybe I could have saved the Ocampa and prevented this. Maybe I could have turned us around some how
Maybe I could have done something to save Justin and my Father-
Stop: This wont get us home.
A seventy year voyage is unacceptable. Ive managed to scrape a lot of time off of that 70 years: Borg technology, deals with aliens that took us closer to home, gifts from Kes and Q.
Still not soon enough.
Not soon enough to give my people their lives back, to reverse the damage I have done.
I cant get bogged down in such thoughts right now. It happens from time to time. But I cant let it happen anymore. If I stay very busy, if I work harder to get us home, I can outrun these thoughts. I have to get us home before they have a chance to catch up to me.
I get my energy burst from the coffee as I drink it in. The feeling of it entering my body, coursing through my entire system, allows me to go on, to move, to put away the wrong emotions and thoughts and concentrate on the right ones. The ones that focus on the crew, how they are doing morale-wise, how badly they miss home, how much drive they have left to get home and how I can make their journey quicker. I wont let them down. Not again.
So thank God for coffee. The thoughts, the feelings and the desire to crawl into bed and stay there is alleviated by this finest of bitter drinks. I dont use my replicator rations too often for food. I save them for coffee. It is here for me. When no one else can be close to the captain, I can still have this ancient elixir for company. It soothes me. It fills my bloodstream with its warmth and allows me to keep going. It pushes the harder thoughts away.
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