Disclaimer: Star Trek Voyager and all of its characters are the property
of Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.
Note: Part of the "Glory Days" Universe, taking place a few months
after the events of the story with that name. The complete list of stories
to date (in chronological order) can be found at my site.
Acknowledgments: many thanks to Seema for the beta and for her help in
shaping this series.
Dialogue from "The Disease" courtesy of Jim Wright's Delta Blue Reviews.
Harry Kim stopped outside the VIP quarters and pressed the door chime before
he realized it was past twenty three hundred hours. Beta shift had just ended--which
explained why he was still up, roaming the Livingston's corridors--but
it was conceivable the Admiral had already retired for the night. He took
a step back, mentally kicking himself for his eagerness, when he heard a
familiar voice call from the other side of the door.
He lost no time in doing just that; the grin of anticipation that had begun
at the sound of her husky tones blossomed into a full-fledged smile when
he caught sight of her. "Admiral Janeway!"
She rose from her seat immediately and crossed the room in a few quick strides,
her hands outstretched. "Harry, it's so good to see you!" She caught his
upper arms, gave them a good squeeze, and then stepped back. "Or should I
say, 'Lieutenant Commander Kim.'" She nodded at the pips on his collar. "Impressive.
But not at all unexpected."
He gave a self-deprecating wave of his hand, though inwardly he was pleased.
After all these years, he didn't need her approval, but he found it
very gratifying all the same. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to greet you in the
transporter room when you arrived earlier."
"Captain Johnson was an adequate substitute," Janeway said, her eyes twinkling.
"But it would have been nice if you'd been there as well. Still, I'm hardly
one to complain--I know duty always comes first."
"Business before pleasure. Who do you think I learned that from?" he said,
laughing. Was it his imagination, or did her smile waver for a second?
"It's official business that's responsible for my presence on the Livingston
, after all," Janeway said. She gestured toward the replicator. "Can I get
you something to drink?"
"I'll have some agas juice, thanks." Moments later, he accepted the
gently steaming cup from her and watched while she picked up her own mug.
He caught the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. He smiled again to himself. It
was good to know that some things would never change.
Harry took a seat on the sofa and glanced approvingly around the room, noting
the furnishings and works of art were somewhat above Starfleet's usual standards.
"I see they're treating you all right."
"Deluxe accommodations," she agreed. "Almost too much so." She took a sip
of coffee and closed her eyes briefly. He wondered if she was thinking of
the more spartan cabins aboard Voyager.
"No more than you deserve," he said.
"Perhaps they're trying to make up for the somewhat arduous demands of this
mission," Janeway said wryly. She picked up a data padd next to her and frowned.
"From the preliminary reports, it appears it's only a matter of time until
we have a full-blown crisis on our hands."
Harry agreed wholeheartedly. The situation with the Ponzi was becoming critical.
Their continued raids along both sides of the Romulan Neutral Zone--and the
subsequent reprisals--were endangering a very fragile peace between the two
superpowers, not to mention wreaking havoc in the lives of the Federation
colonists in the vicinity. The Livingston's captain had already tried--and
failed abysmally, in Harry's opinion--to contain the situation on his own.
"That's why Starfleet sent their best diplomat to handle it."
"Not their best," Janeway swiftly corrected him.
"No need to be so modest, Admiral," Harry protested. "No one else currently
in Starfleet has been involved in as many First Contacts as you, nor conducted
negotiations with even a fraction of the species you have. And we both know
that you've dealt with groups just like the Ponzi raiders in the past."
The corners of her mouth went down. "No two diplomatic situations are exactly
the same, Harry. There are always enough differences to 'keep it interesting,'
shall we say. And I'm still not entirely sure we've got the full picture
of what's really going on."
"With all due respect, Admiral, the Livingston has been on patrol
in this sector for the past six months, and I think we've got a pretty good
idea of the situation," Harry felt compelled to remind her. "We've seen the
results of the raids, talked to the survivors. We've made formal protests
to the Ponzi government. Captain Johnson even tried to get together with
a few of the faction leaders who are involved in carrying out the raids and
appeal to their better natures." His lip curled in disgust. "I admit, that
one was a complete fiasco." He knew that Janeway would never have made
such a mistake.
To his surprise, she didn't directly comment on the failure of the previous
initiative. "All the more reason to suspect that there are aspects of which
we are unaware."
"Such as...." his voice trailed off questioningly, though he really didn't
expect her to disclose sensitive details to a junior officer.
The Admiral was silent for a long moment. "Up to now, the focus has been
on the raids themselves, based upon the assumption that the Ponzi aren't
aware of the broader ramifications of their actions. But what if that's their
"Deliberately trying to disrupt the treaty?" he said in disbelief. "What
would they have to gain from an outbreak of hostilities between the Federation
and the Romulan Empire?"
"Isn't it obvious, Harry?" she asked with just a hint of impatience. "While
both powers are otherwise occupied, the Ponzi would be able to expand their
illicit yet highly profitable trade in the region, without fear of intervention."
"Risk a major war, just to cover up their activities?"
"Why not?" Janeway shrugged. "There's ample precedent. Just look at the increased
scope of the Orion Syndicate affairs during the Dominion War."
He sat back in his chair and considered her words. As had so often been the
case when he served under her, he was amazed at the way she somehow always
managed to see a side to an issue that had been consistently overlooked by
everyone else. "If that's the case, what can you hope to accomplish? Other
than engage in a little 'saber rattling' of our own?"
"That remains to be seen," she said somewhat cryptically, and laid her padd
aside. "But enough about business. How have you been, Harry?"
"All right, I suppose." He took another sip of his drink. "And you?"
"Starfleet Command certainly keeps me hopping. Would you believe this is
my third mission in as many months?" Janeway shook her head in bemusement.
"I recently bought a place in Monterey, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm
ever going to have the leisure to enjoy it. Or even be around long enough
to finally finish unpacking."
He tried and failed to envision her content with staying in one place for
very long, much less settling down permanently. Privately, he suspected she
much preferred being on the go to sitting behind a desk. "Well, even Admirals
have to take leave sometime, right?" He hesitated before adding in a teasing
tone, "Or is it you just can't resist the lure of space?"
"I do miss the sound of the warp engines, the feel of a faintly vibrating
deck beneath my feet," she admitted. She gave a somewhat forced-sounding
laugh. "Then again, most admirals hate to travel, so I get to indulge my
penchant for being in space. It works out pretty well, all in all."
"It would be even easier if you were still had your own starship," he couldn't
help but say.
Janeway's voice was even, but somehow devoid of the warmth that had colored
it earlier. "That was never a consideration."
His next question died on his lips at the look on her face. Maybe Tom had
been right, he thought, remembering their conversation on Starbase Four a
few months earlier. Maybe Janeway hadn't had a choice in the matter of her
promotion. With an effort, he switched to safer subjects. "So, have you heard
from any of the others lately?"
She gave a quick shake of her head. "Aside from a brief talk with the Doctor
at the end of my last physical, no, I haven't been in touch with many people.
I want Tom and B'Elanna to bring the kids for a weekend, but that will have
to wait till my schedule permits." She sighed. "I would also like to get
out to Vulcan one of these days."
He couldn't help but notice the omissions in the 'family circle', but decided
not to react. "I just saw Tom recently, at a science conference. It was while
the Livingston was undergoing some major repairs."
She smiled. "That's nice. I'm sure the two of you had a good time together."
Her voice took on a teasing note. "Tell me, did you manage to make it to
any of the sessions?"
Harry laughed, recalling how Tom had dragged him off to a holonovel workshop
in memory of their 'Captain Proton' days. "You know us too well. But seriously,
I managed to attend most of my scheduled sessions."
"That's a relief."
Silence fell. He looked at her again, noticing this time the increased amount
of gray in her hair, the fine lines that had appeared around her eyes. With
a start, he realized it had been more than four years since the last time
he'd seen her--the first anniversary of Voyager's return. There had
been too many people, and too much noise, to have a chance for more than
superficial conversation in the banquet hall. He and Libby had slipped out
early, along with Tom and B'Elanna, Chakotay and Seven, and finished off
the evening in more congenial surroundings.
Her thoughts must have gone along the same track, because she suddenly asked,
"How is Libby?"
He shrugged. "Fine, I guess. I haven't spoken with her for a few years."
A puzzled look swept across her face, then abruptly vanished as understanding
dawned. "I'm sorry. I thought the two of you--"
Harry nodded. "We did get back together again, about a year after Voyager
was home. But it didn't last very long." He paused for a moment and then
continued, "It only took a few months for us to realize that we'd each changed
a lot in the years apart, become different people than the ones who had fallen
in love before."
She exhaled sharply, and he remembered that she, too, had left behind a fiancé
when Voyager left for the Badlands. But unlike Libby, there had never
been any pretense of waiting. Janeway had received word of her lover's marriage
during the fourth year of the journey. Harry remembered how odd he'd thought
it at the time--the first communication from the Alpha Quadrant, and all
her fiancé could think to say to her was that he'd moved on? But perhaps
Janeway had preferred it that way; she had never been one to shy away from
unpleasant realities, seemed to prefer confronting her problems head-on rather
than shy away from them.
"You certainly have come up in the world since those days, Harry," she said,
lifting her coffee mug to him in salute. "I always knew you had it in you."
"Did you?" He was surprised by the accusatory way in which the words came
"Then why didn't you ever tell me?"
"What do you mean?" Janeway seemed genuinely puzzled, and then her glance
rested on his collar. "If you're talking about promotions, I very well couldn't
keep to a regular promotion schedule as if we were still in the Alpha Quadrant."
He didn't mention Tuvok's promotion to lieutenant commander, or her reinstatement
of Tom's rank to lieutenant after he'd served his penance, though on each
occasion Harry had wondered why he wasn't included as well. Hadn't
he served well and hard? Proved his worthiness? Aloud, he said, "That's not
what I meant. You never expressed much confidence in me."
"That's not true," she objected immediately. "As an ensign, you headed up
Ops. Not very common for someone fresh out of the Academy." She paused. "I
know that when we returned, one of the areas the Admiralty expressed concern
over was the assignment of certain personnel beyond their level of ability,
particularly some of the Maquis. You would not believe the number of times
I had to justify making B'Elanna my chief engineer over Joe Carey." Her mouth
twisted slightly at the mention of the man who had died just a few scant
months before they'd made it home. "But that was never an issue where you
were concerned, Harry."
And if there had been a Maquis more qualified than he? Harry couldn't bring
himself to ask the question.
Janeway continued, "I expressed my confidence in you a number of times. For
example, you were in charge of the bridge for an entire shift on a fairly
"Gamma shift--in the middle of the night. Not much trouble I could
get into then," he said with just a trace of sarcasm.
"I don't suppose our enemies were aware that it was night time," she reminded
him tartly, "and they should refrain from attacks except during Alpha Shift."
He switched gears rapidly. "And what about commanding away missions?"
"You had your share of those, too."
Harry flushed as he remembered the first time he'd been in charge of a mission.
He had been so proud of himself--until he'd overheard Chakotay make a disparaging
remark to Janeway about his ability to handle the responsibility without
calling in for confirmation every two minutes. Harry had just been following
standard away team mission protocols, checking with a superior officer when
the mission parameters had suddenly expanded. All very proper and according
to the book. But apparently Chakotay--and the captain--had taken this to
mean a lack of initiative on his part.
From the expression on her face now, it was clear that she was remembering
that time as well and that his feelings of hurt and betrayal had telegraphed
themselves to her.
She leaned forward and took both his hands firmly in hers. "Harry, I never
doubted your initiative. You proved yourself, time and time again. When the
Hirogen took over the ship, forcing us to play out their sick scenarios of
the hunt in a variety of settings, you were the one who enabled us
to break free, you were the one who saved us."
"Yeah, I got to play the hero for a change." He tried and failed to keep
the bitterness from his voice.
Janeway shook her head. "Harry, how can you doubt how I felt about your abilities,
how much I valued you as an officer?"
"Because you never told me," he said, his voice shaking despite his best
efforts. He pulled away from her. "Because by your actions it was clear you
didn't expect much of me, other than to be the good little obedient boy,
the green ensign I was when I first came aboard. You made it very plain what
you thought of me the time you ranked me out over disobeying your orders
over the Varro."
"The Varro," she said, with more than a hint of steel in her voice, "were
a highly xenophobic race. We helped repair the warp engines on their generational
ship--I might point out it took some doing to get them to accept any assistance
from us in the first place--and you blatantly disregarded their cultural
taboos by becoming romantically involved with one of their crew. What was
her name--Tal? Yes, that was it. Even when I ordered you to stay away from
Tal, you didn't listen." She took a deep breath and tried to smile. "I was
more than halfway convinced at the time you were under suffering from an
alien possession, because it just wasn't like you."
"Captain, I am not sick! I didn't disobey your orders because I'm under
some alien influence. I disobeyed your orders because Tal and I are in love,
and it's not right for you to keep us apart!"
"Listen to yourself! You don't sound anything like the Harry Kim I
"I have served on this ship for five years and said, 'yes, ma'am'
to every one of your orders! But not this time!"
"You're willing to risk your rank--your career--over this?"
It took him a few seconds to find the words. "Have you ever been in
"Your point?" she said coldly.
"Did your skin ever flush when you were near another person? Did your
stomach ever feel like someone--hollowed it out with a knife when you were
apart? Did your throat ever swell when you realized it was over?" He forced
himself to go on. "Seven of Nine told me love's like a disease. Well, maybe
it is--pheromones, endorphins, chemicals in our blood, changing our responses
physical discomfort--but any way you look at it, it's still love!"
The stern captain's mask relaxed fractionally. "For the sake of argument,
let's say you're right. Your feelings for Tal are no different than mine
for--what? The man I was engaged to marry? Well, I lost him--and you're going
to lose Tal. You know that. What the Doctor is offering you is a way to ease
Harry met her implacable gaze without flinching. "That man you were
going to marry--if you could have just taken a hypospray to make yourself
stop loving him--so that it didn't hurt so much when you were away from him.
Would you have done that?"
From the look on Janeway's face, Harry knew she was remembering as well.
"I know I was out of line with my comments, but when you told me that you
expected Tom Paris to act this way, but not me, well, I guess I just..."
His voice trailed off when he realized she wasn't listening.
"You weren't out of line," she whispered, more to herself than to him. She
stopped. "Well, you were bordering on insubordination with some of
those statements, but you were definitely on to something." She rose and
walked to the viewport, then suddenly swung around to face him. "Harry, I
tried to tell you then that I expected more of you. Because you were
the 'golden boy' who had never put a foot wrong before. You were the perfect
officer in every way, and I just didn't understand why you were suddenly
so willing to throw it all away, everything you'd worked so hard to achieve."
"The truth is, Harry...I think about you differently than the rest of
the crew--which isn't to suggest that I don't care deeply about each of them,
but--you came to me fresh out of the Academy, wide-eyed with excitement about
your first deep space assignment. From that first day, I've always felt more
protective of you than the others."
But Harry hadn't wanted her coddling--or her protection. All he'd wanted
was for her to view him with respect for his accomplishments, to acknowledge
that he had grown up some and changed since the early days of Voyager's
journey. By the time of the encounter with the Varro, he'd already seen
too much to ever be that inexperienced young officer ever again. With a pang,
he wondered if that was still how she thought of him now.
"Why me, Admiral?" He realized she wouldn't understand what he meant. "Why
didn't you treat anyone else that way?"
"Like Tom Paris?" Janeway shook her head. "Harry, you and Tom were coming
from entirely different circumstances." She didn't elaborate further, but
he knew what she was thinking: the raw, untried ensign was worlds removed
from the jaded ex-convict. But there was one way in which she had
treated them the same--she had given both of them her trust, a chance to
"I always envied Tom," he confessed, looking down at his hands clenched tightly
in his lap. "He was everything I wished I could be. Experienced, confident,
handsome...and expected to be a little bad, a little dangerous. Not like
plain strait-laced Harry. And Tom had it all, by the end--his lieutenant's
pip and his glamorous piloting job, and a wife and a baby."
Janeway moved closer to him and laid her hand on his shoulder. "Tom paid
a terrible price for his successes, Harry," she said softly. "No matter what
you might think, it was never easy for him. And more than once he came too
close to losing everything he'd gained."
"Well, he gave it up voluntarily in the end, didn't he?" Harry retorted.
He added hastily, "Not B'Elanna or their children--his Starfleet career.
He was a hotshot pilot, and after our return home, after Starfleet cleared
him and the Maquis, he could have had anything he wanted, any spot in the
'Fleet. But instead he gave it all up."
Janeway smiled sadly. "He made certain sacrifices for his family, Harry.
And he doesn't regret those choices."
"Call it what you will, it just proves that nice guys finish last." Harry
refused to be comforted.
"Tom is where he wants to be, Harry," she said with a sigh. "That's a rare
gift. Even if he 'settled' for something less than you or someone else might
have thought he could have had. He's happy. Leave it at that."
"Are you happy?" The question hung in the air between them, and for
a moment Harry was afraid he'd gone too far. She quickly averted her gaze,
perhaps afraid of giving away too much.
"What you were saying before, Harry, about love..." her voice trailed off.
Then, squaring her shoulders, she looked him straight in the eye. "You were
right, you know, about it being worth the pain." She gave him a somewhat
contrite look. "I wanted to apologize to you after we left the Varro, especially
when I saw how much you were suffering."
"It was my choice," Harry said, and sighed deeply. "I could have gone to
the Doctor for treatment if I'd wanted. You strongly urged me to do so, in
"But you chose to bear the pain instead." She pulled back from him a little,
gave him a searching glance.
He rose to his feet and straightened his jacket, looking away from her as
he did so. "There's a touch of the martyr complex in all of us, I suppose,"
"I suppose so," she said with just a hint of irony. "But the point is, you
chose to carry your pain around with you as a reminder. That some things--even
if we know we're going to lose them, even if they hurt like hell when we've
lost them--still they're worth it, for the good while it lasted. You were
right, Harry--some things are worth it."
Something made him look up just then and he caught sight of the most extraordinary
expression on her face. He had never seen her so vulnerable. No, Kathryn
Janeway had always been a tower of strength to those around her, able to
surmount every difficulty. Even if it killed her. But now--the loneliness
in her voice, an echo of the crushing burdens she'd once carried--Did she
wish she had them still in place of the emptiness she had now?
"Oh, Admiral," he said helplessly, and took a step toward her, wishing there
was something he could do, something he could say.
"It's all right, Harry," she said tiredly. "It doesn't really matter anymore."
They were silent for a long moment. When he looked at her again, he saw her
face was in repose once more. Once again, he saw before him the image of
a woman who had clearly come to terms with herself, and her life.
The sharp chirrup of a communicator interrupted. "Commander Kim, please report
to the bridge." It was followed a second later by another. "Admiral Janeway,
please report to the bridge." Just then the red alert klaxon began to sound.
Janeway reflexively straightened her uniform and headed toward the door.
"Come on, Harry," she said in a steady voice. "It's showtime."
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