The Q Files – part 6

In which our heroine indulges herself…

The Captain of Voyager had reached the mess hall in her impromptu tour of the ship. It was a relatively quiet time in that hive of activity, which explained why she had allowed herself to lean on the counter and pick at the contents of a bowl of fruit while Neelix effusively introduced himself to their guest.

She couldn’t help but smile, bringing visitors here to meet the Talaxian was an experience she enjoyed. He had a warmth in him that she envied, something that could spread out to encompass almost all those he met. The hardest thing of all was knowing that she wasn’t envious of a quality that she did not possess, but one that her position didn’t enable her to express – not fully anyway. All of her interactions were governed by the inescapable fact that she was the Captain of Voyager. She envied Neelix because he could be himself unfettered by responsibility and status.

‘Shall I tell you what you’re thinking about?’ The soft smooth voice made her jump as David appeared next to her, ‘you’re thinking "who is that devastatingly attractive man in my mess hall."’

‘Actually, I’m not, I know who Neelix is.’

‘You wound me Captain.’ His eyes were dancing at the game and she chuckled at his – audacity.

‘I suspect you’ll survive.’

‘You looked very far away for a moment then.’ His change of mood, his perceptiveness startled her until she recalled who, or rather what he was.

‘Just doing some thinking.’ Her tone had changed, it was suddenly brusque, businesslike and he recognised that too.

‘I’m taking up too much of your time.’

‘Actually you’re not. I’m always being told to do more, off duty type things.’ He smiled broadly and announced,

‘I’ve never been a diversion for an overworked Captain before.’ She shook her head at the description.

‘Somehow, I don’t think that’s what you are.’

‘Oh, I don’t know – in the right circumstances.’ He’d done it again, she realised. A statement with just enough innuendo to make her mind flash through all kinds of scenarios, a meaningful look that told her he knew that she was tempted to relax in his company, to try to snatch a few moments of being herself and see where that led her. ‘Perhaps its something we can discuss further over dinner, I know you haven’t eaten yet.’ She opened her mouth to tell him…something, although she wasn’t quite clear what that something would be, when her comm badge bleeped.

‘Chakotay to Janeway.’