Tea with the Captain

 

by Cath

Rated PG

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

 

I wasn’t very happy with the total lack of follow up to Friendship One. Carey was quite a big character and I feel his passing, especially in the manner it occurred, would have affected many of the crew.

The door chimed and Kathryn sighed. It had been a difficult week, their first mission from Starfleet in seven years and it had ended in the loss of Joe Carey. It had been only an hour since she and Chakotay had signed off on the clearance of his quarters and the storage of the few belongings he had accumulated on their journey across the Delta Quadrant. She had hoped for an uninterrupted evening but it was obviously not to be. Putting down her book and donning her command face, she called to admit entrance to whomever it was who thought their problem warranted the Captain’s attention.

The doors slid quietly apart and Sam Wildman walked hesitantly in. "I’m sorry to bother you, Captain, but I can’t think of anyone else who could help." She looked towards the book on the table. "If you’re busy I could come back another time."

"No, no! It’s alright Sam, just a book I was re-reading", she gestured for Sam to sit, "to wind down before turning in, you know."

Kathryn took a look at Sam’s worried face, "What can I do to help Sam, nothing’s wrong with Naomi, I hope."

"Not wrong exactly, Captain, but its Naomi I’m worried about."

Kathryn leaned forward, "Tell me about it."

"It’s a number of things Captain. She’s been terribly upset by Joe, err, Lieutenant Carey’s death. He spent quite a bit of time with her …………… and well………..all the people she would normally talk to are all in the same boat. B’Elanna. Tom, it hit everybody hard."

"I know Sam, I think both B’Elanna and Tom feel a little responsible, quite wrongly of course but Tom was down there and B’Elanna feels she should have been. He is a great loss; it’s going to take a while for people to come to terms with his death…………...

Would you like me to speak to her?"

"If you wouldn’t mind Captain, but it’s not just Joe. She’s been very quiet since before we even went to that planet. I can’t get her to tell me what’s bothering her, but something is."

"I think it might be time for tea with the Captain. I’ve got holodeck time booked tomorrow afternoon. I’ll take her with me, if that’s alright with you Sam?"

"Oh Captain, I don’t want to take away your free time."

You’re not, really you’re not. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend an afternoon than with Naomi. Better still I think the Commander is free tomorrow. I’ll invite him along and we’ll have a picnic by the river. Is that okay Sam? She’ll probably talk better with the two of us there in a relaxed setting."

"If you’re sure Captain?"

Kathryn nodded.

"Well then, yes. I just hope she’ll talk to you."

"We’ll pick her up about 14:00 then."

Sam nodded, said thank you and left a little more at ease.

Kathryn pressed her com badge, "Janeway to Chakotay."

"Yes Captain….. I thought you were going to have an early night."

"I am, I am" she laughed, "you’re nagging Chakotay."

"Just looking after the work/life balance of my Captain," Chakotay said.

"Work/life balance" Kathryn chuckled, "On that thought, do you mind if we change our afternoon tomorrow to a picnic on the holodeck with our smallest crewmember? Sam’s just been and apparently Naomi is fretting about something."

"No, that’s fine, a picnic it is then. What time?"

"I said we’d pick her up about 14:00."

"Okay by me."

"See you then. Good night Chakotay."

"Good night, Kathryn."

………………………………………………………………………………………………

They entered the holodeck to a lakeside setting, framed by mature trees with a picnic area and an azure blue sky. Pelicans sat on an island in the middle of the lake and in the distance small boats skimmed the water. They walked for a while, till they found the perfect spot down by the lakeside and sat down to eat.

"Chakotay, this is beautiful," Kathryn exclaimed in delight, leaning back from packing the hamper away. ……."Don’t you think so, Naomi?"

"It’s really lovely Captain, but it’s just nice being on the holodeck isn’t it?" Naomi replied.

"Wouldn’t you like to see the real thing, Naomi?"

"I don’t need to. You can go anywhere you like on a holodeck and then go home."

Kathryn could practically see the metaphorical sticking in of the heels.

Chakotay reached for Naomi’s hand and pulled her to sit by him on the grass.

"Is something bothering you about going home, Naomi? You can tell us you know?"

As he looked at her little face the rebellious look disappeared from her eyes and they moistened with unshed tears.

"They killed Joe," she whispered "and all those people and that poor baby!"

"Who do you mean, sweetheart?" Kathryn asked.

"Starfleet!"

"On, no Naomi, that’s not true" Kathryn said putting her arms around the now sobbing little girl.

"It isn’t?" Naomi asked, "But they sent us on a mission and Joe got killed and we made all those people ill. They said we did and I saw the baby."

Kathryn hadn’t known that Naomi had been in sickbay when Lieutenant Carey and later the baby had been beamed to Voyager. She made a mental note to speak to whoever was responsible later.

"Naomi, you know about the Prime Directive, don’t you?"

Naomi nodded.

"Well the technology that was sent from Earth was sent long before the Prime Directive we have now came about. Starfleet asked us to retrieve the satellite because they wanted to prevent the very thing that happened. Joe died because some of those people were very angry and very frightened. But we have helped them now and in time things will be much better on their planet. And the Doctor made the baby well again, didn’t he?"

Naomi nodded again and brightened a little. She sat quietly between them for a while.

"Is there anything else bothering you, poppet?" Chakotay asked her.

She smiled weakly at him, "I’m not a poppet," she said.

"Well alright Miss Captain’s Assistant, out with it then."

Naomi looked around quickly, "I don’t want to upset my mommy," she murmured.

"Why would you do that?"

"We got a letter from mommy’s mommy and daddy in the last DataStream."

"Your grandparents, yes."

"They said I can stay with them when we get to Earth, till things get sorted out and we go to live with Daddy."

"And that’s not good?" Kathryn asked.

Naomi shook her head, "we got holophotos" she explained.

"Yes" Chakotay prompted.

She looked at him, "they’re old" she said "I mean not old like mommy" she rushed on "or even old like you and the Captain and you’re old" she emphasized the word "but really, really OLD and crinkly and…." her eyes dropped to her hands, "kind of scary old."

Kathryn looked at Chakotay. She was stunned speechless, and didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. She smiled as she saw he was fighting to keep a straight face.

It had never occurred to them before that Naomi had little or no experience of the generations of a family. Everyone on board Voyager was about the same age and true she and Chakotay were the oldest and apparently in Naomi’s eyes, very old.

Chakotay put his arm around Naomi and drew her closer. I know just how you feel."

When I was not much older than you, I went to live for a time with my aunt and uncle in a village many days walk from my own. I didn’t want to go, they were much older than my parents and had no children for me to play with, but my sister and brother were ill and needed nursing and my mother didn’t have time to cope with me too.

The house and everything in it, was very traditional. It belonged to my aunt’s father, Grandfather Temba, who they lived with. Strangely enough, though I had been very reluctant to go I settled in very quickly. I was made very welcome and Grandfather who was the epitome of everything I found stifling about the traditional nature and ways of my people became very close to me. He treated me with courtesy and patience and not at all like the snotty nosed, recalcitrant child he probably thought I was at that time.

I had my own room at the back of the house. A luxury I had never had before, well not since our family had grown and I had to share my room with my younger brother.

My favourite thing in the room was an old chest that sat at the end of my bed. Grandfather Temba had been a traveller on the old world and had brought many things back from his journeys. It was made of a very dark, hard wood, oak I think and the lining was cedar wood, "to keep the moths away" my aunt said. It must have come from Earth, though I didn’t know that at the time. It was carved with exotic flowers I had never seen before, hibiscus, frangipani and jacaranda blossom.

Inside were some of the presents he had brought back for his wife, a carved wooden targ, a stuffed Talarian hook spider, which I hated. There was a holophoto of grandfather with another man beside the body of a gigantic three headed Sehgal Serpent, which really scared me. I kept that face down on the bottom.

There were nice things too, old clothes smelling of the camphor leaves they had been packed away in. I played with these on the cold winter days dressing up as a pirate, soldier or hunter. I liked dressing in an old fur jacket with a fur cap pulled low over my ears and a scarf for a tail. I pretended to be a wolf, sliding round corners and through the trees following grandfather as he did his chores. I like to think he couldn’t see me but I know he was too good a tracker for that.

The long winter passed surprisingly quickly. When the weather was really bad grandfather took me with him to his workshop and patiently taught me how to use his tools, his gnarled hands caressing the bone, wood and leather as he made things for his family and neighbours. I made a hair comb for my mother out of a piece of bone.

One day when for once we were allowed to go out, I found a huge tree that had been felled during the storms. The men from the village cut it up and dragged it back. With some of the wood I helped Grandfather to make a little cradle for my sister’s birthday. I carved butterflies on the ends and polished the wood with oil till it gleamed in the light.

I watched as my aunt sewed a blanket for the cradle. She used pretty blue satin to make a coverlet and quilted it with cotton wool.

When the weather improved I returned home and proudly presented my mother with her comb and I think I was as pleased and excited as Sekaya was when she saw her cradle for the first time and laid her doll among the beautiful coverings.

I had been a little afraid before I went but I enjoyed my time with Grandfather.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

 

You know Naomi, when people get older, they have more time to spend playing with you, and they have so much more to teach you because they have lived for such a long time. It can be a lot of fun. After all, they are mommy’s parents and she loves them very much doesn’t she?"

Naomi nodded again.

"Well then, they must be nice, mustn’t they?"

"Do you think so, Captain?" Naomi asked.

"I’m sure they are, Naomi. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. We had great fun and I liked them very much."

Naomi brightened considerably after that and they spent a pleasant afternoon relaxing on the lakeshore.

Later after dropping Naomi off with her mother, Kathryn and Chakotay strolled along the corridor towards their quarters.

"Do you think we’ll get home before we’re too old to have children, Chakotay?"

"Now that two way communication with Starfleet has been established along with the dispatch of the deep space vessels, I really feel it won’t be much longer, Kathryn."

When they reached Kathryn’s door, she turned and smiled at him as she keyed in her code, "I really hope you’re right, Chakotay."

Just as the doors swished open and she stepped through, Chakotay spoke. "I am glad to know you have planned it too, Kathryn."

"Pardon!"

"Us having children!"

Chakotay turned to walk to his quarters as the door closed slowly on his very red faced Captain, "Well at least she didn’t deny it," he chuckled.

30/6/05

 

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