The Christmas Morning Conspiracy - part 3

‘What’s the weather like Commander?’ Captain Janeway asked leaning nonchalantly against Tom Paris’ chair.

‘A balmy 78 degrees, we’ve just had breakfast on the beach.’ The Bridge crew shared an assortment of groans and laughs at the news.

‘Working on your tan?’ She enquired almost playfully, smiling at his barely concealed cheerfulness.

‘Oh, I don’t know about that, I’m going to be in meetings all day, I might manage a swim before lunch and an hour on the terrace after dinner.’

‘I’m pleased to see you’ve remembered the reason you’re on the Planet.’

‘Oh yes, trade mission, negotiation, essential supplies, blah blah blah – is that right?’

‘I think you need to go to your next meeting Commander – and don’t forget to check if they have anything similar to coffee.’

Voyager’s Captain retreated into her Ready Room, still smiling at her First Officer. She was still there several hours later when he checked in again.

‘Chakotay to Janeway.’

‘Go ahead Commander.’

‘Sorry, there’s no sign of a coffee substitute – and it looks as though I won’t be back until tomorrow evening at the earliest – these people really enjoy covering the small print.’

‘As long as you get us what we need the most.’

‘I’m working on it, I’m sorry about Christmas breakfast, I was determined we were both going to make it this year.’

Had three years really passed so quickly? It was difficult to believe and yet so much had happened she felt as though she were a different person. She could feel the shift in her attitude, hope was different now. It was dim and distant and as much as she needed to believe that they would get home she no longer expected it to happen tomorrow.

They’d all changed, out here the adjustments had happened out of necessity, a way of ensuring survival. If someone had told her three years ago the man she’d been sent to capture would be her First Officer and her closest friend she would have laughed at them. And if she found that difficult to believe there was no chance she’d have taken seriously any hint that he would also have a disarming ability to make her remember all the things she had decided it was easiest to forget.

‘That’s all right, actually it was rather good this year, as a special treat for Neelix we gave him the morning off from cooking.'

‘That was sneaky, do I detect your hand in that decision Captain?’

‘Are you calling me sneaky?’

‘Its beautiful down here Kathryn, you’d love it,’ he said in a belated attempt to change the subject.

‘Answer the question.’

‘Perhaps sneaky was the wrong word – devious is far more accurate.’

‘You might want to re-think your decision to return to the ship – your devious Captain might decide to get her own back.’

‘I think I can talk her round – and if not I could always build her another bath-tub.’

‘I might hold you to that,’ she smiled, this brief chat was almost as good as spending Christmas morning with him. ‘Merry Christmas Chakotay, enjoy the sunshine.’

End of part 3