A Perfect Moment
Part 7 – Tuvok
I would be remiss in my duty as Chief of Security if I did not report that the moment in which Earth appears on the viewscreen is marked by a series of procedural errors and a general lack of attention to systems. For example, Lt. Torres failed to notice a very minor fluctuation in the warp coil alignment because she was watching the view screen and then looking around at other members of the Bridge crew. Mr Paris did not immediately place Voyager in standard orbit, as protocol dictates, he was also distracted by the sight of Earth. Finally Mr Kim did not register the hail from Earth and only relayed to the Captain that we were being contacted 4.7 seconds after the hail had been sent for a second time. I also registered several similar incidents in Departments throughout the ship.
These lapses are entirely understandable, under the circumstances, accompanied as they are by a sense of amazement from my colleagues. One knows that a true defining moment has been experienced when it renders Mr Neelix speechless.
Last night seemed an ideal time for reflection and I spent several hours reading through my security logs and reports to ensure that they are in a suitable condition, should they be needed in any action against the former Maquis. Or in any disciplinary hearings the Captain may have to face. I do not know what the authorities will make of some of her more creative decisions. It is my hope that my records and my testimony may help them to understand the unique pressures she has faced. It was an interesting experience, looking back over the years, to see how initial suspicion was gradually replaced by trust and respect; to realise that I was no more exempt from that process than anyone.
We have not discussed the Captain’ expectations of our return. She visited me in my quarters last night and we drank tea together, but she seemed unusually subdued and my attempts to discuss the future were met with uncharacteristic evasions. She told me, as she was leaving, that her thoughts had been dwelling on the past as our journey neared it’s end, and on those who were not able to return with us.
I confess that I had expected her to be more relieved, to be energised by the fact that this experience is almost over. When I mentioned that she did not seem to be as happy as the rest of the crew, she explained that she was finding it difficult to accept that it was really over. That she has grown accustomed to this situation and could not, at present, imagine her life without it.
In the past we have discussed many of the likely outcomes of a return to the Alpha Quadrant. It has been a matter of concern to her, for some time, that the Maquis might not be pardoned, that the Doctor will not be accepted as a sentient life form, that Seven will be seen as a source of vital knowledge and power rather than as a person who’s individuality needs to be nurtured and protected. I understand that as Captain she feels responsible for all our fates, but I suspect she has yet to understand that she is no longer completely in control of this situation.
The Admiral’s words to us are reassuring, but after all the discussion, the hopes and fears they seem a little anti-climatic. I note that the Commander has stepped towards the Captain and is now on hand to provide whatever support is needed. I watch as he makes tentative contact, a hand resting in the small of her back and wonder which of them will gain most from the touch. Then I glance again at my console, so as not to intrude on what has become a private moment.
It has been a long time since they displayed the depth of their private feelings in a public forum, even accidentally. On this occasion it is understandable that some of their control will falter. However, having remained firmly within the boundaries of a professional relationship for so long, it will be interesting to see how, or if, they manage the transition to something more intimate.
On a personal level I am encouraged by the thought that I shall soon be reunited with my family.