Day Two in the Delta Quadrant

Rated G

Elorie Alton


Disclaimer: All Voyager characters are the property of Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.

"Iím not certain green was what I was looking forÖ"  Captain Kathryn Janeway stared down into her cup.  "When Mr. Neelix said Talaxian coffee, I assumed it would be a deep rich brown, but this even smells green."

The captainís private mess was a pleasant, if small, area just off Voyagerís crew Messhall with its bank of replicators.  Chakotay had picked simple oatmeal and fruit juice for his meal then joined the captain as requested, sliding into the seat across from her and putting his own tray down on the table. He hoped that day two in the Delta Quadrant wouldnít be as interesting as day one.

"Why didnít you just replicate coffee, Captain?" he asked as he dug into his bowl, watching her face for some kind of clue as to why she had asked him to share her breakfast.

She eyed the mug with trepidation then, gathering courage, she took a small sip. "I hate to say this but it even tastes green."

"I didnít know green had a taste," he laughed.

"Avocados taste green," she retorted.  "Actually, I thought Iíd better get in the habit of not depending on the replicators, since we are going to have to ration their use."

"Yes, I figured as much," he smiled again, pleasant dimples digging deep into his cheeks. "May I ask why the invitation, Captain?"

"Mr. Chakotay, you and I are going to have to work together if we are going to get these people back home.  I have a couple of ideas Iíd like to discuss with you."

"And that would be?"

She drew in a deep breath, "I want you to be my first officer. As you know, Mr. Cavit was killed when we were pulled here and the position is open."

"I assumed that Mr. Tuvok would move up into that position.  I thought that you might need me to act as a liaison between your Starfleet crew and the Maquis, unless you decide to put us all in the brig."

"Mr. Chakotay, I do have a great deal of sympathy for the Maquis cause. Many Federation citizens do. You would have known this yourself if you hadnít left Starfleet as early as you did."

"I had no choice, Captain Janeway, my family was in danger.  They were dead before I could reach them."

"I understand, Iíve read your service record.  You were an exemplary member of Starfleet, and they have a lot of respect for the way you have handled yourself since joining the Maquis.  I have every confidence that you would do well as my first officer.  Your crew respects you and should at least follow you, giving me a chance to earn their respect too."

"Your actions went a long way toward earning that respect last night, when you came down to spend the night in your cargo bay with us."

"There are going to be quarters for everyone; we just have to remove and store the personal items left behind.  But I wanted your people to know that I wasnít going to just leave them in an uncomfortable holding area."

"They understood that, they even understood Tuvokís and Mr. Parisí presence.  Nice bodyguards," he smiled again. "You earned the chance to try with them, Captain."

"So, what do you say, will you accept the position?"

"Does it mean I wear the uniform again?"

"I hadnít thought about it one way or another, do you have a problem with being Starfleet again?"

"No, I loved Starfleet.  I didnít like the Federationís treaty with Cardassia, but I didnít blame Starfleet with that.  Like I said, I felt like I had to resign.  That doesnít mean that I enjoyed resigning or even wanted to do so.  In fact I think it might be important that all the Maquis become a part of a Starfleet crew and that includes wearing the uniforms."

"Youíre offering to become Starfleet.  What will your crew think?"

"Most of them will hate it, at least at first.  It may take me a while to get them to agree, but Captain Janeway, they need to have some kind of official protection, the kind of protection that comes from wearing that uniform."

"Iím not sure I understand where you are going with this."

"These are good people, they were fighting for a cause they believed in."  He put down his spoon looking her squarely in the eyes.  "Itís only a matter of time before Cardassia will show themselves for what they really are, but right now we are looked upon as terrorists by a lot of people both in and out of the Federation.  That image can be countered with a record of service on Voyager as provisional Starfleet members."

"Iím prepared to offer you your full commission back."

"No, Iíll wear the provisional rank bar too but donít you see; the uniform is protection.  Itís protection for each of them even if neither you nor I make it back."

"I agree, and Iím sure learning Starfleet protocol will take time, but yes, a good service record here would carry a lot of weight when we get home. So, do we have an agreement?" She pushed the offending cup back away.

"Yes, Captain, I believe we do," he picked up his glass of juice as if to offer a toast.

"Just a minute," she moved to the small replicator, "Coffee, black."

She hooked her fingers into the handle as soon as it materialized and held it up, "Hereís to a Starfleet crew."

"And to making new friends," he added and they drank to their future.