The Christmas Morning Conspiracy – part 1

(Three months after arriving in the Delta Quadrant)

The memory was clear, for all that it was a distant one, but Kathryn Janeway was unsure if she welcomed it. Sitting in her quarters, a cup of coffee cooling before her, a lifetime away from everyone she loved was it really useful to be thinking with such clarity about Christmas mornings in the past.

She could see herself and Phoebe as children, surrounded by brightly wrapped parcels, proudly offering their parents the gifts they had for them. She remembered that was the year that Phoebe had discovered painting, her first attempts at watercolours were of the family pets and everyone got one as a gift.

She could see the leather bound books she’d found in an antiquarian bookshop for her parents, the red paper she’d wrapped them carefully in – a history of ship design for her father and a volume on American history for her mother. She could even see herself trying to be pleased with her first tennis racket.

The sound of her comm badge was a welcome distraction.

‘Neelix to Captain Janeway.’

‘Yes Neelix, what can I do for you?’ She was still trying to come to terms with these two particular crew members, with the whole situation in fact – but she found Neelix and Kes particularly perplexing. As a couple they were unusual as individuals, she shook her head and shelved the thought for later.

‘Its come to my attention that today is a special celebration for many humans.’

‘We call it Christmas day.’

‘I know, a few of the crew have organised an impromptu Christmas breakfast, Mr Paris suggested that you might like to join us.’

Of course Tom Paris would know that her family continued to celebrate Christmas. On any other day she might baulk at any activity that involved being so close to her crew, but not today, today she wanted to acknowledge it was Christmas and it was far easier to do that in company.

‘I’ll be there shortly Neelix.’

By the time she arrived at the mess hall the party was well under way – but her offerings of coffee and mince pies were well received. It was a noisy and informal breakfast, with her helmsman telling outrageous jokes and stories. But there weren’t that many people there – reminding her that many of her crew did not celebrate this festival. Another of the things she would need to think about was how they were going to celebrate festivals and special days. It was a sobering thought that they might be out here long enough to make such a mechanism a necessity.

‘Captain, are you all right?’

‘I’m fine,’ she smiled at Kes who had sat down beside her, ‘I was just thinking about something else. This was a wonderful idea.’

‘Yes – some of the crew mentioned that it was Christmas, and Neelix loves throwing parties.’ Somehow Janeway didn’t find that at all difficult to believe. ‘He’s so curious about the customs of other races and species.’

‘I’ve been thinking about how we’ll manage everyone’s faiths, beliefs and special times,’ she said, surprised to find herself confiding in Kes.

‘It will be important to the crew to still have the opportunity to observe some customs from home.’

‘Perhaps I should ask Neelix to organise the process?’

‘He’d love that.’ Janeway nodded, finishing her coffee, looking again at those around her.

‘I notice Commander Chakotay isn’t here.’

‘No – Neelix invited him, but he said he didn’t celebrate Christmas – he said he’d go to the Bridge so some of the others could come.’ It was a considerate gesture, she wasn’t surprised, although she was still getting to know her First Officer.

‘I’d better get there myself.’

‘I’m sure there’s no hurry.’

But a need had been assuaged and she had at least come up with an idea of how she might help her crew keep in touch with their own traditions. Not such a bad Christmas after all.

‘See that they get to their duty stations in the next hour,’ she said gesturing to the crew still around the table.

‘I will,’ Kes smiled, ‘Merry Christmas Captain.’

‘Merry Christmas.’

End of part 1