Night slowly dropped her cloak over the Western most continent of Kisngwa. As the population hurried home to their families, eagerly anticipating the end of another long working day, high in the night sky away from their gazes, a ship languidly floated. On the bridge of that ship, a solitary individual kept watch as the wave of darkness traveled westerly over the planets surface, leaving in its wake a myriad of sparkling lights. Under normal circumstances this was his favorite time in space, watching the approaching nightfall on a planet. It was not often that he got to see this anymore. Most times the ship was forced to flee from hostile inhabitants and when they did swing into orbit over a planet, it was one that was uninhabited, where the resulting nightfall brought only darkness and not the glimmering diamonds that marked the dwellings of an advanced civilization.
This time however, he was distracted. She had gone down to the surface to talk with the leaders. They had been quite insistent on this point - only she would do. She was a rarity in this corner of the galaxy, if the look on the ambassador’s face was anything to go by. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her. From the minute he had beamed aboard he had hung onto her every word, and brusquely ignored everyone else who had been assigned to tour the ship with him. He’d followed her, in slavish devotion through the corridors of the ship, and would seek her out frequently in those times when she was busy elsewhere.
He had taken to prowling the ship in order to waylay her as she went about her daily routine, making an utter nuisance of himself. The manner in which he treated the rest of the crew made them breathe a collective sigh of relief when he finally left the ship.
It was no surprise then, when the demand, couched as a request, came. He had protested the terms. She alone was allowed to beam to the surface and she alone was to conduct the negotiations for the much needed supplies.
If only he could have thumbed his nose at the request and left orbit, but the ship, as usual, was in desperate need of supplies. The Kisngwa Alliance was large, encompassing numerous star systems. It would be many light years before they were out of their territory, and longer still before they would find another advanced and friendly people with whom they could trade. It was unlikely that the ship would make it that far.
He had then argued for going down to the surface with her, but that too was discarded as the terms were crystal clear. It was to be her and her only. So, she did as they requested and he stayed behind, watching the slowly revolving planet long after his shift had ended and was time for him to leave.
He sighed looking at the chronometer. Only a couple of hours had passed since her last check in and there were still a couple more to go before she was due back.
She had sounded good when she had spoken with him then. He could hear the excitement in her voice as she described the goods they would be receiving for the ship. “You should see the purity of the dilithium crystals.” She’d gushed, sounding like a kid who had been handed the keys to a candy store. “And they say they can provide us with all we need. They also agreed on those alloys, so maybe we can finally get to the overhaul of the nacelles we’ve been putting off.” He’d laughed at that. She was one of the very few people who could make working on a warp core sound like fun.
This waiting was something he could not get used to and sitting around staring at the planet was not helping his frame of mind. Maybe going down to the holodeck would distract him. Sandrine’s would be a good choice, and he could always find some of the other crew to help pass the time. Decision made, he started to leave when the call came in
“Kisngwa Presidio to the Starship Voyager.”
“This is Voyager.”
“..Medical Emergency….Your crewman has been injured…beam them up for medical attention.”
He did not wait to hear anymore. Leaping over his chair, he sprinted for the turbolift, his heart in his mouth. I should have followed my instincts and not let her go alone. He flew out into the corridor at Deck 5, screeching to a halt in front of sickbay. A quick glance around and he spotted her in the far corner. She was on the biobed, sitting up, while the Doctor ran a tricorder over her.
Sitting up! He breathed a sigh of relief
She looked up sheepishly as he dashed in.
“Are you all right?” His hand reached for hers.
“I’m fine. It’s just my ankle that’s injured…oh, and my pride.”
“I was getting ready to leave and I slipped on the stairs.”
“While I don’t believe in self diagnosis…” The doctor’s acerbic voice broke in. “This time you are correct. It’s only a minor sprain and you are good to go.”
“I worried about you the whole time you were gone.” He whispered, pulling her close as she hopped off the bed. “I don’t know how they do it.”
“Do what, Mr. Paris?” A husky voice enquired from the doorway.
Tom’s head snapped up. “Ah, Captain…we were…”
“How are you, B’Elanna?”
B’Elanna grinned at Tom’s discomfort. “Oh, I’m doing well. I’m all fixed up thanks to the Doc”
“The Kisngwa council was quite concerned. They didn’t want to be responsible for injuring the only Klingon in the entire quadrant.”
“I’ll contact them before I head to bed. Oh, and Captain I have some very good news for you.”
“I’ll look forward to hearing your report tomorrow.”
“Goodnight, B’Elanna, Tom.”
“Tom you’re such a petaQ. You’re lucky that it was the captain and not Chakotay who overheard you. He hates hearing speculation about their relationship.”
“I know. But honestly I don’t know how they manage. And the Captain? She’s the one who has to order him into life threatening situations. I’m not sure I would ever be able to make a decision like that.”
“I know me neither. Now let’s go home and see if we can find a way to make you forget, you poor baby.”
Janeway keyed in her code and slipped into her darkened quarters. Peeling off her uniform, she padded into her bedroom and slid into her bed. A pair of arms went around her and pulled her closer.
“Hmm, she slipped and hurt her ankle but she’s all fixed up as good as new. Can’t say the same for Tom though.”
“Why, what’s wrong with him?”
“He was worried sick the whole time she was gone. Harry told me that he stayed on after his shift was done and just stared at the planet for hours.”
“He was probably relieved when he saw she was fine then.”
“Kathryn? Now why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you?”
She couldn’t help but smile at that. “You know me too well.”
“Seven years will do that. So, are you going to tell me?”
“I overhead Tom talking to B’Elanna. He was wondering how we coped when the other had to go an away mission.”
Chakotay propped himself up on his elbow to look at her. “What did you tell him?”
“Nothing, but it got me thinking about the real reason I held back from getting into a relationship with you. I always used protocol as an excuse. But if I was honest with myself, I had a difficult time imagining how I could send you into a mission where there was the real possibility that you would never make it back.”
“Now, I still have the same fear, but I realize that it would be much worse if you didn’t come back and I’d never had the chance to tell you how I felt.”
“Sounds like something you could share with Tom, to help him the next time B’E has to go.”
“I think I will.” she said, snuggling closer. “But that will have to wait for another day. For now I have plans for a certain First Officer that definitely does not involve my helmsman.”
She could feel his smile against her cheek “Sounds intriguing. Do tell?”
Brushing his lips with hers as she moved to lay on him, she whispered “No I’d prefer just to show you.”