Star Trek Voyager - Day Two
This is a short piece I wrote before I started working on the Terra Nova concept, just to get me 'warmed up' before starting something a little larger in scale and more challenging.
Quite simply, it's a scene set during Voyager's second day in the Delta Quadrant.
Let me know what you think!
* * *
On the bridge of the Federation starship Voyager, Kathryn Janeway rose from her command chair at the awful sound of the Boatswain's whistle.
As she stood to attention she allowed none of the emotion she felt to be betrayed by her usually expressive face, concealing her grief and insecurity beneath the stoic façade she’d constructed.
As the captain of a ship of the line, she could do no less.
Janeway kept her eyes locked on a point above the large viewscreen that dominated the hushed bridge, and even as a shiver ran down her spine resisted any impulse to look to her assembled crew for reassurance, knowing that they would all be looking to her for strength.
Now more than ever, she knew that duty compelled her to be a rock to these people, the one constant in a galaxy of uncertainty.
Standing in the crowded command centre, silent but for the subtle hum of computer hardware, air circulators and subliminal throb of the engine core a dozen decks below, Kathryn Janeway felt like the loneliest person in the universe.
The person she had to be.
At her side, she could feel the presence of the only man protocol allowed to share the command area with her at this time.
A wanted man.
A known terrorist and former officer of the Federation Starfleet, high on the organisation’s list of most wanted felons for leading a litany of attacks against the Cardassian military.
The man Starfleet had sent her to bring to justice.
If Kathryn Janeway was the hunter, then Chakotay was her prey.
Or at least he had been.
But the universe, it seemed, had in mind a different path for these two individuals. Had her mission gone to plan, Chakotay and his band of followers would be sitting in irons awaiting transport back to Earth where they would be tried as terrorists.
Of course, that mission had not gone to plan, and due to the interference of a dying man perched on the farthest reaches of the Milky Way, Janeway and Chakotay had been thrown together.
In accepting the mission less than a week ago, she had unwittingly set them on a collision course that would result in both the Maquis fugitives and the Starfleet crew sent to capture them stranded together on the opposite side of the galaxy aboard a single ship.
“We are gathered here on this sad day to mourn the loss of our friends and colleagues,” Janeway announced, speaking directly to the one hundred and forty other individuals, Maquis and Starfleet alike, who stood to attention throughout the silent vessel.
“History will record that Lieutenant Commander Scott Cavit, Doctor Jeffery Fitzgerald, Lieutenant Lwana Stadi, Lieutenant Darren Gideon and Ensign Terrana died in the line of duty as Starfleet officers in service to the United Federation of Planets.”
She had signed their death certificates herself. They deserved better than to have those final documents signed by a holographic physician. It was the least she could do for them.
“We will honour their memory by making sure that the starship Voyager and its crew crosses the seemingly insurmountable distance between this place and the planets we call home, so that we may bring word to their families of how they did their duty as Starfleet officers until the very end.”
“And now, we commit their bodies to the universe that they served.”
In what felt like the eternity that followed her oration, Janeway promised herself that these four men and women would be the last to die on this journey, and that she would not allow another member of her crew to perish at the hands of the vast and unknown Delta Quadrant.
Even she knew that promise would not be kept.
Seventy-five thousand light-years from the construction yards where she’d been launched, the Federation Starship Voyager fired a volley of photon torpedo casings, each in quick succession, from her two forward tubes, carrying with them the corporeal remains of the five people killed when the vessel was pulled across the galaxy.
Whether or not their journeys would continue without those remains had been debated by theologians across the universe since the dawn of sentient thought, and continue to be debated until that thought was eventually extinguished.
Still moving with the momentum from their launch, the casings soared boldly into unfamiliar space, as befitting those who’d given their lives to interstellar exploration. And barring any unforeseen outside influence, those torpedoes would fly on long after Voyager had continued on its journey home, for as long as time itself may last.
Throughout the solitary starship the mongrel crew of Starfleet and Maquis watched via viewports and monitors as the five points of reflected light grew smaller and smaller. Even after they’d vanished, people still watched.
The unspoken question in everyone’s mind: how many more times would they assemble like this before they reached home?
For the second time that day, the boatswain’s whistle sounded.
“All hands return to your duties,” Captain Janeway commanded defiantly, steadfast in her determination that she would not allow her crew to descend into despair at the monumental challenge that stood before them.
Seventy-five thousand light-years of unknown space lay between this place and home. It was a distance that spanned three-quarters of the galaxy and take Voyager a lifetime to traverse under its own power.
Janeway had promised everyone that somewhere along the voyage back to the worlds of their birth, there would be an opportunity to return, but what if that opportunity never came?
As crewmembers began to file quietly off the bridge, the captain descended the steps that led from the command arena to the helm where Tom Paris had just resumed control of the station.
“Resume our course for the Alpha Quadrant, Mr. Paris,” she instructed him crisply. “Warp factor six.”
The young pilot touched the appropriate points on his console, freeing the helm controls from automatic and setting the starship on the correct heading for its eventual destination a galaxy away.
But before Paris could press the final control, Janeway stopped him with a gentle hand to his shoulder, reaching down and letting her finger hover over the panel.
“We won’t forget you,” she whispered to her fallen comrades, looking up at the endless expanse of space before her starship.
With a renewed determination, Kathryn Janeway tapped the necessary helm control.
* * *