A Perfect Moment

Part 6 - Harry

There should have been music; there should have been a triumphant fanfare with a full orchestra and a couple of choirs; something more to mark this moment than awed silence. Earth is right there on the view screen, I can see the continents, the oceans, if I look closely enough I could probably see the Great Wall of China.

I always though that we’d get here, always knew this moment would come –but I didn’t really expect to be just six years older than I was when I left. Well, six years in actual age, a lifetime older in experience.

I can’t stop looking at that damn Planet, can’t quite block out the thought that maybe, just maybe I’ll wake up and find we’re still in the Delta Quadrant. But I know it isn’t going to happen and the exhileration spreads through me like wildfire. We should be cheering, punching the air, we should be down on our knees in front of the woman who got us here.

I don’t care how many decisions she might have made that I didn’t quite see the reason for, I’m going to go right ahead and forget all the times recently I’ve wondered if she might just have been wrong. She got us back here, just as she promised, with only a little damage to Starfleet’s cardinal tenets along the way. I don’t have a clue what any of us are going to do for an encore.

Maybe nothing. I like the idea of doing nothing for a while, of just hanging out, showing my parents that I’m not their little boy anymore – even though I am. I might be less naive than I used to be, a little more ragged around the edges than they expect, but I gave up wanting to be Tom a couple of years ago now and just accepted that there’s really nothing terrible about being kind, thoughtful and well, nice. My mother will be so proud.

I almost miss the message indicator on the panel, I’m sure the Captain would have understood why I was distracted. Everyone is still looking at the Planet, not ready to start demanding details and contact. They snap out of it pretty fast when I tell them we have an incoming message and I see trepidation start to creep into people’s faces. This is the big one – should we prepare to be boarded and have half our crew taken into custody, or not?

We’ve been through so much together, it doesn’t seem fair that this decision might be one we can have little or no influence over. I used to think Starfleet’s authority, it’s rules and range were comforting, I used to welcome the structure. Now I am wondering if I’ll find it claustrophobic, limiting. I guess I’ll have plenty of time to find out.

But at least it doesn’t seem as though I’ll be visiting any of my friends in prison, not unless Tom manages to get in trouble again. If the Admiral believes everything can be sorted out, who am I to dispute that? I hope he knows we’ve recruited an ex-Borg and a Talaxian along the way. I’d hate for Starfleet to discover that there were some things that couldn’t be sorted out after all.

The Captain still looks a little dazed, I guess we all do, but I notice her particularly because she’s centre stage, with the Commander a little behind her. I notice his movement and realise that he’s touching her, his hand resting on her back, a nice, intimate but discrete gesture. Gently supportive; not too presumptive though, the kind of contact very good friends rely on.

Very good friends who can light up a room with electricity when they feel like it. I’ve seen them do it, sometimes wasted a whole evening wondering why, if you feel that way about someone, you’d even bother trying to run away from it. My conclusion, for what it’s worth, is that they didn’t stand a chance. The situation had them beat from the start.

She’d draw the line, pretty clearly about getting involved with her First Officer, although if she’d met him in any other circumstances she probably wouldn’t have been so reticent. He’d respect her boundaries, understand that their command relationship had to survive when I doubt he’d let a few rules stop him from pursuing something he wanted in another situation. We should all be grateful that from that mess they managed not only to find an incredible working relationship, but became friends as well.

Another movement catches my eye, the Captain this time, she’s looking over her shoulder at Chakotay, I can see her expression quite clearly and I suddenly wish I was somewhere else, or they were. It’s the look of someone who’s realised she doesn’t have to play by the rules anymore, who’s realised that she suddenly isn’t responsible for the weight of every decision. It’s the look of a woman who’s prepared to relish her newly found deliverance and pursue the things she has denied herself.

It’s only after she’s stepped over to Tom that I realise I couldn’t see Chakotay’s face during this little interchange, don’t know what his response was. She deserves this, they both do; I hope it isn’t too late.