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1: Strangers


"First Officer's personal Log, Stardate 49005.0. In preparation for the celebration of the Ritual of Pachra, in memory of the day of my father's death, I have committed myself to several hours in silent meditation of the path that my life has taken after his death, especially since I last performed this ritual. In order for me to be able to properly converse with my father about the journey that I have been making in the last year, I have begun to read all of the entries of my personal log from Stardate 48400.6."

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48400.6. I never thought that I would be beginning a log again, or at least not for a long time. Being the captain of a Marquis cell, I kept a lot of things in my head. Now it feels good to be able to keep a personal log again. I must admit I am more surprised of the title of my log. First Officer. It had been a long time since I used that title and I never thought that I would use it again after I left Starfleet and sealed that decision with my first murder of a Cardassian, as a member of the Marquis. But circumstances have now forced me to do so again. Circumstances. It has not hit me yet. We are 70,000 light years from home. 70,000 light years from the Marquis and the Federation. On a Federation Starship, under the captaincy of one Kathryn Janeway. Formidable woman. Tough cold and unyielding, didn't even blink when she ordered the destruction of the one piece of technology that would get us home. Now we journey back. A Seventy year journey if we don't find a short cut. As one crew, a Starfleet crew. This is going to be one bumpy ride trying to integrate these two crews. Most of the Marquis have never even been to Earth, far less to the Academy. We are accustomed playing fast and loose. Plus there is the fact that Janeway blew up Caretaker's array. Resentment is there. I can see it. What B'Elanna voiced on the bridge is something that will be echoed for a time by the Marquis on this ship.

"Who is SHE to be making these decisions for all of us"

What will haunt me is my reply,

"SHE IS the captain"

And with that I have damned my Marquis members to this 70 year journey. Why did I say it? Why did I trust her in that instant? Who IS SHE that I have relinquished my authority to her? Why did I not fight back? I did not know until after the fact that the Ocampa's lives were at stake that's why she blew up the array so that the Kazon would not get at it. What was in my gut that trusted her?. I hope that it isn't the same thing that made me trust Paris and Tuvok. Look at where it got me. That's another thing. Paris and Tuvok. Constant reminders of the failure of my instincts. I'm stuck with them for the long haul. Tuvok is third in command and Paris is the Lt. assigned to Conn. He can fly, that has never been my bone of contention with him. But can we trust him? I won't lie. I'm glad I outrank Tuvok. It's a small comfort after I've had to give up my captaincy of the Victory."

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48440.6. It hit me today. Exactly how far away we are and how long it is going to take us to get home. Seventy years. Will we still be fighting the Cardassians at that time? If we won what would happen next? How are the Marquis really faring against both the Cardassians and the Federation? I'm not a rosy eyed optimist. We will only be able to defeat both the Cardassians and the Federation by a miracle or outside help. Outside help never came, so it's a lucky thing that I believe in miracles. I have to wonder. Are any of the Marquis dead because we weren't there to hold up our end of the Promise?


I have to stop thinking like that. This is where I am. This is where my life is now. On Voyager as the First Officer. That's what I have to start thinking about. Trouble is I don't want to think about that. I had a disagreement with the Captain over personnel. Looking back, I suppose it was reflex action that made me call B'Elanna to work on the solution. I have always done so on the Victory and Personnel is my department. At least that's the way it works on any normal federation ship. But this is not a normal federation ship, so some protocols may not apply. How can they? We have even decided how the Captain and the First Officer is going to work yet!!!. I won't be her token Marquis. I have run away from being a token American Indian in Starfleet and I will be damned first if I let her make me be her token anything!!!. There are Marquis on board who have more experience, who can bring more to the positions than the trained Starfleet officers on this ship. I should know I've been both. She is a stubborn one, our Captain but fortunately or unfortunately for her, I have been a contrary all my life.......

(Red alert).......end log"

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48450.6. B'Elanna made Chief Engineer inspite of the protests that were filed against her appointment. After our experience in quantum singularity and the ability of B'Elanna and Janeway to problem solve together and implement that solution together, I think that the Captain has learnt to trust me a little more when it comes to personnel. I have not had any other objections made when I recommended others to positions that were same rank, or above some of the Starfleet personnel. I still think that she's cold and calculating, but one thing that I can say about Janeway after seeing her and B'Ellanna talk science at warp speed. She certainly knows her science and engineering. I took the time to read her personnel file. Daughter of an Admiral. Well that explains the coldness."

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48546.6. An interesting thing occurred today. Janeway noticed the crew's homesickness. She asked me about it, about what we could do since we have no counselor on board, and I actually told her about spirit guides. Being a scientist and a cold daughter of an admiral, I thought that she would dismiss it as a weird cultural belief of ancient humans. But she asked me to show her how to contact her animal guide, something that I had not expected. What was even more surprising to me was that I showed her my medicine bundle in order to help her contact her animal guide. I hadn't showed it to B'Elanna when I helped her get in touch with her animal guide. Or should I say attempt to get in touch with it.

When she was seeking the guide out, she had a look of wonder about her, almost like a little child reveling in the mysteries that life has chosen to unfold to her. She abandoned herself to the experience as I have seen her abandoned her self to scientific discovery and explanation. It is interesting because a cold Captain, daughter of an admiral does not normally notice the emotional state of her crew and secondly because they do not ask for a spirit guide. That would be like asking for help. One thing I know is that this captain does not do, is ask for help. Or does she?

One thing that she seemed determined to do was to be a little friendlier with the crew during off-hours. She joined us in Mr. Paris' Holodeck program. I didn't know she could play pool so well. The look on Mr. Paris' face when she beat him under the table was priceless. Calculating definitely, Cold?

End Log"

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48630.6. It has been hectic on Voyager for the past two months. I haven't had time or energy to record anything but the official log. Maybe that's not the reason. Maybe it is because I needed time to think about what has happened. Tom Paris got himself into trouble. I'm surprised that he was able to be so good for so long. But the captain went out of her way to ensure that if he was innocent that it would be proven. And it was. I have to wonder. Would she do the same for any member of the Marquis? Would she do the same for ME? This whole incident with the Benari and the Numeri has taught me something. It would seem that Paris is the pet project of our captain. I guess she wants to make a solid officer out of him in the Delta Quadrant. Well good luck Janeway. I'm not holding my breadth. The incident where Ensign Kim was transported to the Vhnori home world and had to be killed in order to get back to Voyager was also brought out some behaviors in Janeway which were puzzling. She actually took Kim off duty so that he could more absorb his experiences. When she came to me and asked me to re-arrange the work schedule for this I almost fell out of my chair. Cold captain daughters of admirals do not give time off to lowly ensigns so they can reflect on transcendent experiences. Or do they?"

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48465.6. B'Elanna and Tuvok were not in the Ready Room long. When B'Ellanna came out she was shaking. I could see that. I have never seen her shake before. I waited until I was sure that she was settled wherever she would be after the captain disciplined her for that breach of orders. I was surprised when the computer told me that of her whereabouts. When I reached engineering and found her on the second floor with PADD in hand, I was even more surprised when she told me that she was let off with her warning. But I guess the KO punch was when she told me that she had never realized how much the captain's trust was important to her until she almost lost it today. It seems that being head of engineering and having her own people to supervise and be responsible for instead of only the ship systems, made B'Elanna appreciate what the Captain must go through for the whole ship. She knows of the reports that were filed against her when she was promoted to Chief Engineer, and she understands how much Janeway went out on a limb for her. She had a sad funny smile when she looked at me and said:

*And to think that when I left the academy I thought that Starfleet rules and protocols were only there to be stumbling blocks, now here I am fulfilling the "The first Duty" of any Starfleet officer. My duty to the truth, even out here, even when I could have hid and no-one would have been none the wiser*

She did not give me the names of anyone else involved. She only stated that she and Tuvok were the senior officers involved. I'm glad that she did not.

I wondered though, how did the Captain deal with the fact that the man she trusts more than her First Officer, the one who served with her longer, the one whom she came to rescue was the one who betrayed her."

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48661.6

I have failed the Marquis.

Not only did I ask Paris to join the Marquis and he sold us out on our very first mission, and accepted Tuvok who turned out to be a Starfleet plant, I also accepted a Cardassian undercover agent as a vital member of my cell. Seska was surgically altered and sent to infiltrate my operation. Well at least if my judgment was so impaired when it came to recruitment, I must have been doing something right in terms terrorism for both the Federation and the Cardassians to send agents to infiltrate my cell. Even though Tuvok did not suspect her being a Cardassian spy either, I still don't feel that much better. I was the Captain of my cell. It was my duty to keep them safe and to make sure that we would stay always one step ahead of both the Federation and the Cardassians. I failed them by allowing two spies to get by me. I least I take comfort that there would be no more spies, there was a representative from each of the two enemies of the resistance. In a way now, I have also failed the crew of Voyager, both Federation and Marquis, my crew. I have allowed a spy and a traitor with the knowledge of the Cardassians, the Marquis and the Federation to be loose in the Delta Quadrant in the hands of the Kazon. I swear this now, as I did not on my homeworld after its destruction by the Cardassians,

She will not destroy Voyager,
She will not destroy this crew,
She will not cause them to be stranded in this quadrant.

This I swear by my ancestors.

I have also failed myself by allowing myself to be intimate with one of the spies. Well at least Tuvok did not try to make a pass at me.

End log"

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48745.6. After my experiences of being separated by my body by the Komar. I have been given some time off before I officially report back to duty. I will be performing one of the ritual dances of my people. That's the best way I can think of celebrating the reunification of my soul and body. After some rest, I think that I will contact my spirit guide. I need to make the contact after my experience. I don't think that there are any words or insight that will be needed. Just presence. After this experience, it's almost like I need presence. The presence of a friend. Someone who knows me, strength and weaknesses and just accepts. Not just Marquis Captain Chakotay, Not just Commander Chakotay, but Chakotay, the man, the contrary. I wonder how the captain spends some of her free time. I know that she has tried to be a lot less distant and more involved with the crew. She has a lot less removed than when we first were stranded here. It must be hard. The Marquis crewmembers still have reservations about her and the Starfleet crewmembers have not been trained to accept their captain as a comrade in arms. Tuvok is the closest thing that she has to a genuine friend on the ship. But he is a Vulcan. The realm of emotion is not his forte. I wonder if her spirit guide is of any help. As First Officer, that really is one of my jobs to look out for the captain. I will admit, it's not something that I wanted to do. I thought that she was cold and calculating, more Vulcan than human. I also have to say though, that I am impressed by her and the care that she shows to her crew, our crew. I believe now that she would go all out to save anyone, Marquis or Starfleet alike. I have seen her do it. She is human, warm when she's not in command mode, intelligent, compassionate, capable and deserving of the best I have to offer as a her First Officer. And that includes being there for my Captain. She has a large enough burden keeping us safe in an unfamiliar quadrant. The least I can do is try to ease that burden. To be a sounding board and a confidant, when and if she needs one.

End Log"

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48785.6.

There were no words to say.

The Vidians split B'Elanna into a Human being and a Klingon and subjected her to the phage to see if her Klingon DNA would be resistant to it. It was. In the process of trying to get back to Voyager, the Klingon B'Ellanna was killed protecting the Human B'Ellanna. In the end, because of her inability to survive without the Klingon DNA, the Doctor had to re-integrate them into her Human body.

There were no words to say.

I always knew that B'Ellanna was uncomfortable with her Klingon half. In all the time that she served with the Marquis, with me, I have never seen her engage in a Klingon ritual. Everyone knew that it was a taboo subject for her and no one ever dare bring it up. When I was talking to her in Sickbay, I realized then how much she wanted to be fully human. Not even fully Klingon. Just fully human. She had her wish come true only to find out that physiologically it is not possible for her to remain that way and stay alive. Not only that, it was not her. She found out that she was not complete as only the human B'Elanna. She needed that side of her, the one that she most wanted to be without. That side of her which she thought made her a freak, out of nature, not normal.

There were no words to say.

I wanted there to be words. I wanted to tell her that she wasn't a freak to me. She was a strong compassionate, intelligent fully sentient being. Capable of great acts of courage and great acts of kindness. I wanted to tell her that we would not have made it as far as we had in the Marquis and on Voyager without her. That she was a member of a crew whom she could rely on, and who relied on her.

There were no words say.

There were no words to say because I could say the words, but they would mean nothing. They would change nothing if they weren't spoken from her heart and formed there because of her belief in them. All I could do is continue to act like they were and hope that one day they would be formed in her heart and she would believe them.

So I left, without saying any words.

The captain spoke to me privately and said that she would visit B'Elanna in Sickbay later. She wanted me to go first because of the emotional toll that was taken from her and she wanted her to be with someone she was comfortable with. That would not be her. I was glad that she thought of that. I wouldn't know how to tell her that she should accompany me when B'Ellanna was like that. I am glad that she thought of it herself.

We planned the memorial service for Durst. The captain took it hard. It was her first fatality since she sealed our fate here in the delta quadrant.

There were no words for that either.

I have been in command. I have lost good people in battle.

I was surprised by Paris' actions. I thought at the first sign of Trouble he would cut out and run. He did not.

End log"

"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48847.6. It seems like the Marquis are finally settling down to Tuvok's instruction in Starfleet protocol and Techniques. It was rough going at first and I regret having to be so heavy handed to make them toe the line. But it was important, and critical that this crew function as one. If we are to ever survive out here, we need to be one crew. In fact we need to be more than that. We need to be family and friends to one another. We are all that we have out here.

The question is, would I ever see Tuvok and Paris as part of my crew, as part of my family?"


"Personal Log Stardate 48400.5.

I am alone.
I will get this crew home.
I am the Captain.
I am responsible for them.
And I will get them home.
That's a promise I make to myself.
And I know how I get when I break my own promises
I am alone.

What have I done?
Did I make the right decision?
Was there any other way to prevent the Kazon from getting at the Array and getting my crew home?
Why did I not try to do both?

This is not time for questioning decisions that have been made.
I am the Captain and I have made them to the best of my ability.
Now all I can to is prepare myself and my crew to live with the consequences and embrace the situation.
Can I do that?

I have invited the Marquis to become members of the Crew. It was either that or put them in the Brig for 70 years. And I need replacements. How I hate to think like that. The people who died in the Caretaker's transport of our ship were good officers and good people. I wish that I didn't have to be so callous now. But I have to because our survival depends on it. I have appointed Chakotay, their captain, as my first officer. I hate to displace Tuvok. He was the person who I would most want to serve at my side. But I need Marquis to really become invaluable members to this crew and I am convinced that the only way that this can occur is for them to see their former captain in the place of authority over the Starfleet crewmembers. I had a chance to look over Chakotay's records right before I left Deep Space Nine. I know that he is qualified.

Quiet man. Very reserved. I was surprised when he made no objections when I blew up the Caretaker's array. Had our positions been reversed I would have protested just like B'Elanna. But he backed me. He allowed me to do what I thought was best. I'm not kidding myself. Anytime now I expect Tuvok to come into my ready room and remind me that the man I was sent to capture was the one I was giving the most seniority on the ship. Should the Marquis become resentful, he would be in a position to do a lot of damage. I know, but the for the oddest reason I feel like I can trust him.

I only hope that I can trust myself.

Oh Mark, I wish you were here. So that you could listen to me and calm me just with your presence. But then your presence may be anything but calming.

I will be back.
I will get this crew safely back to their families.
I am yours and I will come back to you.
That is the promise I make to you.
And that promise is even greater that I make to myself.

End log"

"Personal Log Stardate 48440.6. I was really angry at what Chakotay tried to pull on the bridge. I am the captain of this crew and I am the one who will decide who does what until official announcements have been made. He was out of line and he knew it. He didn't back down though. He held his ground. It almost reminded me of the beginning of another partnership, one I know that I will be counting on in this Quadrant. Tuvok's.

I was a little taken back by his statement that I was trying to make him my token Marquis on the ship. Was I? Had I seriously considered putting the Marquis in positions that were superior than some of the Starfleet members of my crew, if they had the ability. Or was I thinking that I would promote everyone and let the Marquis take up the bottom positions. If I want the crew to be one, I would have to consider the best person for the job, be it Starfleet or Marquis. I may even have to let one or two of the Marquis have the job because they have the talent and see about some training perhaps. People like B'Elanna Torres.

I normally hate having my intuitions proven wrong, but this time I am glad. B'Elanna can keep up with me. She *is* good. Most people are normally like Paris and are lost within the opening sentences of my scientific thoughts. Not only did B'Elanna follow and keep up with me, it was as if we were thinking as one. She definitely has more raw talent than Joe Carey who was next in line for the promotion to chief engineer. I decided to give her the chance. She is going to have to work at it and earn the respect of the people below her, but if she can apply herself to that they way she must to science, then I think that she will make a fine officer as well as a damn good chief engineer.

When I saw that she and Carey had made their peace in engineering, I had a funny feeling that things were going to work out. They would be bumpy for a time, but they would work out.

Would I have served under Chakotay if our positions were reversed? I did not answer his question because I did not want to give him any advantages over me .....yet. I would have. I would have been his first officer and I would have yielded under his authority as captain. But I would have been just as stubborn as he was when I felt strongly about something.

End Log"

"Personal Log Stardate 48546.2. Our journey home is several weeks old now and I have begun to notice in my crew and in myself a subtle change as the reality of the our situation settles in. Here in the Delta Quadrant, we are virtually the whole family of man. We are more than a crew and I must find a way to be more than a captain to these people, but it is unclear to me exactly how to begin. At the Academy, we are taught that a captain is meant to keep a certain distance until now, I've always been comfortable with that distance. Maybe that's the way it works, maybe the distance is necessary. Maybe more than ever they need me to be larger than life.

This is the captain's personal log, who do I think will be able to get at it to read it.


I only wish I felt larger than life. I am alone in my command. There are no Starfleet captains and admirals and friends to rehash my decisions with. There is only my crew whose very lives are affected by my decisions.

I say Lt. Paris and Ensign Kim in the Messhall this morning for breakfast. I was uncomfortable around them and they around me. I tried to make small talk, but I know that it did not go over too well. I have to try to be more than a captain to my crew. If all we have out here is each other, being larger than life means being closer than I've ever been to a crew in my command career, but still maintaining the objectivity and distance that is needed to do my job.

Again how do I begin?

I asked Chakotay about the crews emotional well being, if he had any thoughts about it and if there was any way that we could help them with it. He is closer to the crew. The distance between the crew and himself is smaller because he is first officer. I had not realized that he still practiced the culture of his ancestors until he mentioned animal guides to me. I was fascinated by it and quite frankly, I was willing to try this if it could be the answers that I sought. I was touched that he chose to show me the medicine bundle.

When the matter of the Nebula, which turned out to be a life form was settled. I was surprised when Ensign Kim asked me to accompany him to the Holodeck to join the crew in Mr. Paris' program. It was worth it to see the look on Mr. Paris' face when the gigolo that he programmed actually propositioned the Captain and when I hustled him. Chakotay was there when I walked in. I am also glad that he has decided to join them. I think it's best that we try to get to know at least the senior officers.

One of the things I remember most about the day was the prayer that Chakotay chanted when we first began our journey to find my spirit guide. I think that I will modify it for my "session" with my animal guide

Acoochemoya, we are far away from the ashes of our grandfathers and the bones of our people, but perhaps there is one powerful being who will embrace this crew and give them the answers that they seek.

End Log"

"Personal Log Stardate 48580.5. Well that's that. I don't know what I expected. It had recently began to dawn on me that we were not going to get home right away. This journey may take the full 70 years. But there is something seductive about hope. Especially when that hope is supported by contact with a ship from the alpha quadrant. Now with the information that Tuvok had provided on Telek, it seems unlikely that he did get the messages to Starfleet. Very unlikely, but I still keep hoping.

Is this what the trip going to be like? Will we buoyed by hope twice, three times, ten times more before we return to the alpha quadrant? Will the crew be able to deal with the raised expectations and the disappointments that will accompany this trip? Will I be able to deal with it? Will I be able to always communicate with them my determination to get this crew home? Will this be enough to sustain them? Will it be enough to sustain me? I know what always sustained me no matter what


.........I miss you.... I will be home to you soon. That I promise."

"Personal Log Stardate 48624.5. The incident with Tom Paris on Benari home world was followed so soon by the incident with death and resurrection of Harry Kim so to speak, were so close to each other that I did not have the time to reflect on them until now.

When Tom got into trouble, I must admit that a part of me thought that it was his own fault, that he had willfully committed a crime that warranted that type of punishment. But looking at him when he was undergoing a "cycle" of the memories, I realized that he reminded me of a kid, who lost his way, hoping desperately that someone would help him, and believing that they wouldn't because he wasn't deserving. He was deserving, he has performed admirably since we have been here in the delta quadrant and I am relieved that all the charges have been dropped and the matter cleared up.

Harry is so young, and so eager to be the model Starfleet Officer. Even if that means acting as if everything that is happening to him is common place so as to be more experienced in the eyes of the crew. I wish that I could impart to him, that soon enough, the extraordinary will become common place and you will wonder if you are life when nothing left in the galaxy awes you, or gives you time to wonder and think. To truly revel in an experience so that it changes you for the better, makes you stop and think and causes you to grow." I hope that he uses his time off for that purpose.

End Log"

"Personal Log Stardate 48644.5





I am alone

I believe that I wrote that in this log during the first entry. I believe that was the first line actually. I thought I was alone then. In truth, I wasn't totally alone. There was one person who I could trust on this ship above everybody else. That one person has betrayed me.

Now I truly know the meaning of that statement




I am alone

I don't think that there has been any other time in command that I have felt so crushed by the decisions that I have made and the responsibilities that I bear, than I feel in my ready room right now at this minute. My shoulders have sagged. I cannot keep them up any more. I hope that Tuvok really got the *heart* of what I said to him, the seriousness of the emotions behind the words. I need him now more than I ever had. And I need to know that I can count on him no matter what, even if it flies in the logical course of action.

I know that he did it for me. I can see the logic behind it all too well. His discharge from the service if we had gotten home by using the device was in his mind a small price to pay for doing what I have promised that we would be doing first and foremost. Getting home.

He knows me well, he knew that I could never disobey the prime directive. If I could have, we would not be here in the first place. But the Ocampa would have been extinct. Of this I have no doubt. How much is our safe passage worth, to me and to my crew? This time we were lucky when it comes to the directive. Our technology was incompatible, but what happens the next time? What happens if I have to violate it to mean the safety of my crew?

Rhetorical Questions, best left unanswered when I am in this emotional state. What I need now is to get my feet on solid ground and get my shoulders squared again. To once again be the logical, in control, intelligent unstoppable, Kathryn Janeway. How can I do that? Mark is not here.

Ever since our experiences in the Nebula with omicron particles, the commander and I have gotten to know each other better. How I wish I could call him to the ready room and confide in him, I bet he would be a good listener. But I cannot. Given his and Tuvok's history and B'Elanna being Marquis, that would be unwise for all involved.

I'll just take a couple of minutes to compose myself. Maybe this evening start the letter to Mark telling him about the adventures that we've had. Hopefully it would make me feel better than I do right now.

I will be in Control when I walk out on that bridge
I am the Captain
I am alone."

"Personal Log Stardate 48861.5. I am worried about Commander Chakotay. He has taken the whole Seska deception pretty hard. We were opening up and warming up to each other before, but now, he has become more withdrawn, more reserved than I have ever seen him. Frankly, I believe that he thinks that he is responsible for Seska and her deception. It is as if he believes that what she did, she did to him personally. Almost like a lover's betrayal. I guess he must have been close to her in the Marquis. We are one crew now. What she did, she did to all of us. I hope that B'Ellanna can help him out of it. She is closer to him than anyone else on this crew. I wish that I could reach out to him, as he has to me. But it is not my place, we are not friends, just colleagues. I have a feeling that if I attempt to talk to him, he would draw further back into his self. I will make a point to talk to B'Ellanna about him. Just to get her thoughts and ideas. But in the end, I think what he's going to need from all of us is time and space........

To Heal."

"Personal Log Stardate 48847.5. The Delta Quadrant has not been without its challenges, as we journey towards home. The crew has learnt to work together somewhat and classes a less frequent than when we started this journey. When I look back at our experiences in the past three months, I find that the challenges have not only been to us as a ship making our way through the delta quadrant, but to most of my senior officers. The EMH Program has stretched and has proven by his mission to rescue Kim Chakotay and Tuvok that he is more than what his programmers have intended him to be. This is largely due to Kes. She is little more than one year old, but wiser than most of us. It is as if she can see with the eyes of a child and be open to possibilities that we adults dismiss, yet she processes her experiences with more grace and maturity than I ever had at 25 times her age. She has been responsible for challenging and encouraging the Doctor to grow and learn, and ensuring that he is treated the same as any sentient life form on this ship. B'Elanna has been challenged by having come face to face what she considered to be her "shadow" self and have had to re-examine her beliefs about her Klingon heritage and re-integrate that part of herself into her body and her spirit. Neelix has risen to the challenge of beginning to forgive himself for not being a soldier in the war of his homeworld and beginning to forgive the man who was responsible for murdering his family. And Tuvok, instead of being an outcast to the Marquis, he has actually begun to earn the respect of some of the former members of the resistance. He did so by as he put it "bending" the logical rule of sacrificing the few for the many.

I think that the experience which really rattled me, was the one when we almost lost Chakotay to the Komar. I had not realized how much I had grown to seeing him sitting at my side, to his quiet presence and support. He and Tuvok are still at odds and I know that he still does not fully trust Tom Paris. I hope that in time that he and Tuvok would at least bury the hatchet, I have come to realize that I need both of them, at my side, guiding Voyager home."

"Personal Log Stardate 48975.5

Today has been a remarkable day. When I was in the Academy reading up on all the Starship Captains who have had the opportunity to meet heroes and heroines of the past, I envied them. Normally I hate the concept of time travel, but I always said that if I found myself in that situation, it may not be so bad if I got to shake the hands of, or better yet have a conversation with, the people whose lives have helped shaped mine. I have always loved the Sky and then later the Stars and my curiosity about what's out there sustained me through many a disappointment when things did not work out as planned. To meet Orville Wright, Neil Armstrong or even Zephram Cochran would have made every sleepless night spent at the Academy, learning what I needed to know to be among the stars and discover the mysteries that were hidden in them, worthwhile.

I never thought about meeting Amelia Eirheart.

I had known a little about her, she was one of the first human female pilots in earth's history and the circumstances concerning her disappearance were certainly interesting. That's how I recognized her. When I was reading up about her in preparation for waking the "37's" out of stasis, it was then I realized how right it was that of all the human "greats" that I could meet in my life, it should be her. Living the sort of life that she did in the time that she did, took great skill great courage and great inner strength. She was doing what was thought that women could not do at the time. Looking at the history of that era I realized that she was part of the reason that I *was* who I am. The human female Captain of the Federation Starship Voyager. If it wasn't for her and other women like her during her century, I would not be where I've always wanted to be. Among the stars in the Universe. Meeting her was meeting part of myself.

She was what I would like to think that I am. Strong, compassionate, level headed and intellegent, unlike her Navigator. I would have loved to be able to take her back to Earth, to get to know this woman of my history. But she felt the pull of her own kind on this planet and decided to stay. The Mr. Evansville made the pronouncement that I felt would pull asunder my crew,

"Come and see our cities, and if any of your crew would like to stay, they are welcome"

I was honest with Commander Chakotay when he came into my Ready Room. I was so torn, that for the first time since we got stranded in the Delta Quadrant, I could not put on the "Captain in Control" facade. The Commander caught me at a bad time and he would just have to deal with it. I kept staring at the sky, like Amelia I felt the pull, to my home, to my own kind, to Starfleet, to the promises I made, to the exploration, to my future, to Mark. I did not kid myself, I wanted to go home. Chakotay asked and sat down next to me. The jumbled thoughts which were in no form in my head, came out in coherent speech. Using him as a sounding board, I was able to understand my desires, fears and face my options to decide what I had to do. He is, as I always suspected, a good listener and he picked up on some concerns that slipped my mind. He helped me see the big picture and come to a decision. If he hadn't asked, I would have never seen the choice in front of me. My crew needs to be asked and the decisions made in this instance must be theirs.

With the Caretaker, there were the lives of an entire civilization which would have been wiped out. As I told Tuvok, if we had not been in the Badlands and brought to the array, then the Kazon conflict would have never occurred and the array would have been destroyed by the Caretaker's self destruct program. In the end destroying the Array brought the Ocampa what they should have had if we had not been there. They had and extra five years in order to be able to prepare for coming to the surface of their world and surviving.

No civilizations on the brink of extinction here, just a thriving one of humans.

As we were walking towards Cargo Bay 2 in order meet the people who were staying behind, Commander Chakotay and I began speculating on who we might me there. When I mentioned Jarvan and he mentioned Baxter, it came to me as I was walking how we had really become one crew. Jarvan was a member of the Marquis and Baxter was stationed to my ship from Deep Space Nine. My facade dropped yet again. As much as I could understand anyone wanting to stay on the planet, I wanted my crew with me going home. Leaving even only one member behind would change the family, it would not be the same. We had been through too much together.

I don't think I have ever been as unsure in my command as I was at that moment. The individual decisions of the crew were right behind the cargo bay doors. It was mirrored in my expression. Chakotay put his hand on my shoulder and I faced him, the fear, indecision and loneliness of my strange new command in the Delta Quadrant written plainly and clearly on my face.

"No matter what happens, we'll make it, remember that"

I am not alone.

Looking into his eyes, I felt calm for the first time since I've had to wrestle with this situation. In fact, the peace that radiated from me was something that I had not felt since I left Deep Space Nine, since I last talked to Mark.

Chakotay believed that I could get this crew home, he believed *in* ME as the captain. He believed in us. What ever happens now, he is at my side. I felt myself easily slipping into my captaincy after my moment of self-doubt. I believed him, because I believed *in* HIM as the first officer and believing in him, I began again to believe in myself.

He fell behind me as the cargo bay doors opened. I had the fleeting sense of him saying with his body what he had just said with his words. He is behind me, all the way, no matter what's instore. Adding his strength to mine.

The cargobay doors opened to an empty cargo bay. I almost burst into tears. But I composed myself and I realized what had been said without a word. The crew trusted me to get them home. They believed in me, as I believed in them.

When I turned to face Chakotay, his eyes were intense and a small smile played on his lips as if to say *see, I told you so, we are all here behind you, you are not alone*

I hailed the bridge and told them that there were no reasons to go through with the moving procedures that were in place because no one was leaving the ship. I also used the console in the Cargo bay to inform Evansville and the "37's" that we would be leaving soon.

Chakotay and I walked back to *our* bridge in silence. We had no need for words and to tell the truth, I was afraid that I would still burst out into tears, if I had to attempt conversation.

My captaincy fell into place when I exited the turbolift. To my surprise, Tuvok spoke when I passed his station;

"Captain on the Bridge". All the Bridge Officers stood at attention.

I gazed at the Conn, Tom Paris hands behind his back with slight smile at my amazed and grateful look, his posture also stating the same message, *you can count on me*. Then to Ensign Kim, trying to make himself stand to a more perfect attention pose in order to convey the message *I am proud of my captain, and I hope to make her proud of me* . I turned to the engineering Station. B'Ellanna looked at me, and gave me a nod, her eyes not leaving mine, conveying the commitment that she had to this crew and its primary mission. Finally I gazed at Tuvok, I saw his comforting, usual steadfast look and with a slight lift of the chin, signaled to me what I had known, he was with me.

The voice I could not find before began to sing;

I gave the orders, my crew like a well-oiled machine followed my commands and then the words which I thought I may not say today came out

Then I looked at the man at my side. The man who I *knew* would always be at my side.

"Then let's do it, Take us up"

I am not alone anymore
The whole crew behind me,
And I am behind them,
We *will* find a way home.


"First Officer's personal Log Stardate 48975.6

When I entered the Ready Room with the Status reports in hand, I was not prepared for that I saw. The Captain was sitting on her couch just staring up at the sky doing nothing. I have never seen her idle before. Whenever I see her she is always in deep thought, doing something. I handed her the PADD, summed up my report and waited for her comments.

She muttered thanks, took the PADD and without even glancing at it went back to staring at the sky. I acted. I sat down when I asked her what was wrong. By her side on the couch and left her enough room to get up and go to her desk to begin working, to say everything was fine and dismiss me, or to confide in me. The chose to confide in me. I have never heard her so unsure in all the time that I have known her. When she bounced the thoughts and questions in her mind off of me and came to her decision taking all those things into consideration, I realized that this was the process that she normally went through to make her decisions. I always thought that they came easily to her, but in her sharing her concerns with me I realized how much deliberation went into her decision making process. Inspite of the any misgivings that she may have when making decisions, when one was made, one was made. I had always seen the latter part of the process, the one when the captain, informed the crew of the decision and the orders which were to be carried out. I felt honored that he had earned her trust enough that she would chose to share her concerns about the crew with me and use take into consideration my thoughts on the subject. I realized once again, how deeply committed she was to getting our crew home.

We walked together towards the cargo bay at 1500 hrs to see which crewmembers we were going to leave behind.

When she stopped in front of the doors and confessed her reluctance to going in, I could see the inner turmoil on her face. I placed my hand on her shoulder and said these words.

"No matter what happens, we'll make it, remember that"

And then it happened. At that moment.........

My father spoke about these moments. About moments of absolute clarity. Moments, in which everything that you've ever experienced in life seemed to be leading up to a particular instant in time and all things which will occur in the future flow from that particular instant. The good, the bad, the indifferent and the ugly. All the *why?'s* of life have been answered and understood, if only for a moment. It is a moment when the whole soul, persona, character of a person is at peace with the *rightness* of his life. It could be in the middle of a grueling physical challenge, it could occur in a meadow on a warm spring day, it can occur in the middle of making love to one's love.

And it occurred to me the moment I was giving my captain the support that was due from her first officer.

Everything was understood. The understanding fades with the event of the next moment, but the resolutions, the way to act in response of such a gift lingers long after.

With every fiber of my being, I knew what I had to do, what was my "calling", my "vocation". A peace that had evaded me my entire life, when I was looking for a place to belong, when I was not quite of my tribe, but not quite of Starfleet. When I had to give up what I has worked for because of the slaughter on my homeworld, and became a renegade. Nothing I did ever brought me that kind of peace. I thought that if I concentrated hard enough, I could make it flow from me to the captain. I wanted to share it. I'm struck by the irony, I had to be lost 70,000 light years away from my home to be found. I found myself, when I was the most lost.

I don't think that I was resonating what was going on inside of me, but it seemed like I was. It certainly seemed to have that effect. Maybe, my moment occurred because the crew and I were connected and I was resonating with the signal being sent in the empty cargo bay. The signal that was personally sent to Captain Janeway by the bridge officers and also sent to her by me. We are one crew, one family, we are here for each other, and whatever happens, we are all in this together.

I know what I have to do

Whatever this quadrant has in store for us, we will face it together.
As the Captain's first Officer, and as her friend,
I promise this;
I am at her side, whatever I can do to make it easier for her,
I will do,
Above all else, her needs come first,
My strength, my talents, my abilities are hers now.
We will get this family home.

End Log"

Chakotay got up from the couch and dimmed the lights. 'This is not how I had envisioned doing this', he mused, but because of the failed attempt of performing the ritual in a shuttle craft, he had to do it in his quarters. It was just safer and he was pretty sure that his father would understand. He called Kar into mind before beginning the ritual. It seemed right. He was very young and he had chosen a difficult path at a young age. He related to that.

Janeway stood outside of the door to Chakotay's quarters. In her hand, she had a bottle of replicated white wine. Chakotay was cooking and she was so glad, that she volunteered her rations for the wine. 'I hate to cook' she thought wryly. She was surprised to find that she was a little nervous. It was just very strange how this dinner came about. She was glad for the invitation. Besides Tuvok, no one had ever invited her to their quarters for dinner. The distance that she had with her crew was growing smaller, but it was still formidable and it resulted in some very lonely nights. 'I can't believe that I almost lost him again', she thought. But she knew that was the reality of space. It was dangerous even when it was charted. It was even more perilous when it was completely unknown and so far away from the Federation. She made a conscious decision to concentrate on the fact that she had him back. Which lead to the circumstances to this dinner invitation. He had come into her Ready Room when he was released from sick bay and asked for the following night off without any interruptions unless they were in red alert. She had granted that request easily enough. Then with a small shy smile on his face, he asked her to come to his quarters for dinner because he had something that he wanted to discuss with her, the day after he performed the ritual. She didn't think it was a date, he made it clear that it was "ship's business" or as he put it, "family business". But still she felt nervous. But she was also so curious. What was it that he wanted to talk about in private that could wait two days?"

She pressed his door chime.


She did and gave a small gasp. The lights were dimmed to 1/4 standard illumination and candles were lit. The aroma that invaded her nostrils, made her mouth water and her stomach growl. She had missed lunch today trying to catch up with her paperwork. The scent of freshly baked bread, spicy vegetables and a pot roast washed over her body like a gentle tide.

Chakotay was putting the finishing touches on the table. He was still in uniform. So was she. She hadn't wanted to give the wrong impression. And it seemed neither did he.

"It smells delicious"

"I hope it tastes as good as it smells, it's been a long time since I've been in kitchen"

"I'm sure it will"

"Well the first thing I'd like to do is open that bottle of wine and make a toast"

Chakotay took the bottle from her and did as he promised. As he poured the liquid in the glass, Janeway asked,

"OK Commander what are we toasting to?"

He looked perplexed,

"You don't know what day yesterday was"


He smiled, a small caring smile, "It was one year ago today that we were stranded here, we joined crews and began our journey home. I can't believe you forgot, I mean after that moving speech you gave"

'It has been a year already', Janeway thought to herself as her mouth dropped open. She quickly closed it and said,

"So it has been"

"So I thought that tonight we could *celebrate*, if you will, our one year anniversary. We have been through a year here and we are still on course towards home and the fact that we are alive and this ship is still moving after all we have been through, I think deserves a toast"

Janeway smiled. It was a smile that filled her face. 'She is beautiful when she smiles' he thought.

"You bet it is Commander"

"So I'm waiting for the moving inspirational speech from my captain which would motivate me to do my very best for her and follow her wherever she leads"

'This man is incorrigible' she thought. Aloud she said, "Brace yourself, here it is"

He planted his foot firmly on the floor as it something was going to move knock him over

She smiled again, a smaller one and then a look of determination covered it.

"To us, We *WILL* get this crew home.................", she looked at him for a moment and then added......

"Together, we will make it, remember that"

She remembered.

"I thought that perhaps over dinner we could discuss... well pretty much anything you want to talk about, but here were some aspects of some of the crew's behavior I wanted to get your thoughts on....."

He led her to the table, she sat and her eyes sparkled as they began conversing, she realized for the first time as friends, about people who depended on them.

As Chakotay was clearing up the dishes, he reflected on the dinner which had just finished. The Captain and the Commander of the Starship Voyager, had just begun what he realized was a friendship. They had not discussed all the intimacies of the past year. Just general observations about the crew and how they were handling the situation that they had found themselves in. Who was having a hard adjusting, what they could do to ease the situations, to offer solace and comfort in whatever limited way they can. On the sensitive topics, they had made only cursory remarks about, Seska, B'Ellanna, Paris, Tuvok. But he believed that each understood that this was just the beginning. If they didn't find a faster way to get home, they would have plenty of time to cement their friendship. And even if they get home tomorrow, he knew that because of what they have been through, this friendship will be one which would help define the man he was in the challenges which were ahead.

Challenges which they would face together.

Part 2: The Nature Of Friendship