Arching a suspicious eyebrow, Admiral Nechayev finishes reading, before slowly replacing the PADD on her desk and scrutinising Deanna further, bright green eyes full of questions. Leaning forward, she rests her chin elegantly on her pale, clasped hands, the mistrust is written all over her delicate features, even if Deanna couldn't sense it.

"So, you're saying Counselor Troi, that Kathryn Janeway never had any intention of jumping from that rooftop?"

Deanna crosses her legs carefully, rotating one ankle counterclockwise. "Yes Admiral. My professional opinion is that she simply needed a safe space."

"Thirty floors up?"

The sarcasm is unwarranted Deanna decides. "She wasn't comfortable at Headquarters and had been attacked in her own home that morning. She needed some time to think and some privacy."

Nechayev instantly pushes back, her mouth twisting with curiosity. "And the reason she didn't chose a coffee shop or say, a park?"

Deanna checks her irritation, aware that it will not further her cause. Instead she buys herself some time, reaching forward and retrieving one of the tall glasses of water that sit between them.

"Have you ever been out in public with Captain Janeway Admiral? I have, and there is no such thing as a private coffee shop or park, her public profile makes sure of that. People are naturally interested, mostly they just want to exchange a pleasantry or to wish her well, but make no mistake, that also makes her a target and obtaining privacy is a challenge."

The Admiral holds Deanna's gaze, searching for a crack in her defences. "So she wasn't suicidal?"

Deanna employs her firmest tone, to eliminate all and any doubt. "Absolutely not, at no time did she intend to take her life."

Nechayev purses her lips before exhaling softly. "Well then, that leaves me no alternative but to sign off on her reinstatement and give her the green light to attend the Ibiriis hearings. It won't be straightforward, it's a publicity disaster."

Deanna nods. "She's aware of that Admiral, but she feels that she can no longer live without the entire truth."

The Admiral shifts slightly uncomfortably in her chair. "For what it's worth Counsellor, I was never in agreement with that decision."

Deanna smiles. "I think there are many of us who feel that it was an error that needs to be corrected."

Nechayev passes no comment, instead tapping something into the PADD and sliding it across her desk. "I assume you'll be happy to pass on the good news?"

Deanna knows when she is about to be dismissed and stands. "I would be delighted to. I'm headed to theirs this evening actually."

The Admiral smiles wearily before she processes what Deanna has just said. She opens her mouth in a question, but Deanna is well prepared and beats her to it. "Good night Admiral and try and get some rest yourself, you look a little tired."

Blindsided by kindness, Deanna is gone before Nechayev has a chance to reply. Slowly turning around in her chair to take in the view of the brightly lit city, the older woman can't help but smile.

"Well Kathryn Janeway, it seems that you get to fight another day," she says softly to no-one in particular.


A/N: If you want to read more, this story is continued in 'Foundations' :-)