Season 2, Episode 4: Elogium
Captain's Log: Today proved to have something of a theme. First we were pulled into a swarm of space-dwelling lifeforms that mistook the Voyager for a potential mate. The ship was damaged, but thanks to Commander Chakotay's surprising array of knowledge on mating rituals, we escaped unharmed. Meanwhile, Kes appeared to go through a physical change unique to the Ocampa called the Elogium, which happens only once in her lifetime as she prepares to conceive a child. She did not conceive but we are hopeful that this Elogium was false, brought on by external factors. I am confident she will make a wonderful mother one day. On that note, Ensign Wildman is pregnant, which will bring with it a new set of challenges. All in all, today seemed to centre very much around the idea of procreation, and has left me with a lot on my mind about the future of this mission and the crew.
"It's been one hell of a day," said the Captain, turning to greet her Commander as he stood in her doorway.
"It certainly has," Chakotay said. "I just wanted to drop by before I head to my quarters." She always appreciated these little visits, often at the end of a long or taxing day. Sometimes they would discuss the day's events, other times they would just sit in silence and enjoy the peace of the other's company.
"Please, come in," she said, gesturing towards the sofa. They sat down side by side, both of them finally able to relax for the first time since donning their Star Fleet uniforms that morning. Kathryn allowed her head to tip backwards slightly, leaning against the back of the blue sofa.
"Are you alright, Captain?"
"I'm just thinking about Kes," she admitted, raising her head to look at Chakotay. "I felt dreadful for her today. She was so frightened, everything was new and terrifying for her, and she was expected to decide in a matter of hours if she was ever going to have a child. She's still a child herself, and she was suddenly faced with the possibility that she would never get to hold her own son or daughter in her arms. It's just..."
"Captain," Chakotay said, reaching out to her and laying his hand on her arm, "you will have your chance."
"I wasn't talking about me," she said.
"But that's why Kes's situation has disturbed you so much."
"I was simply concerned for a member of my crew," she insisted, but this last comment was met with a dubious raise of the eyebrow.
"Alright fine," she conceded, shaking her head and wishing Chakotay didn't know her quite so well. "I'll admit it has crossed my mind that I might… miss my chance to have a child now that we're stuck out here. We could make it back home tomorrow, or it might take us the whole seven decades, we just don't know, and…"
"You don't like the unknown."
"That's simply not true," she said, suddenly defensive. "The unknown is what drove me to science, what takes me to every undiscovered planet and moon in this quadrant that requires our attention. The unknown doesn't frighten me, Commander."
"Forgive me, Captain, but I wasn't referring to your career. I've never met anyone so bold, or so fearless in her explorations of space. I'm talking about your personal life."
"I…" She immediately tried to argue, looking for a way to shoot down the suggestion that she was afraid of anything, but she knew he was right, and she knew that he wasn't someone she had to hide from. "Fine," she said again.
"Would it help if I could assuage some of your concerns?" he asked, with a flicker of something that looked a lot like mischief in his eyes.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, like you, I hope to have a family one day, and if that means it has to be aboard this ship then so be it."
"I'm not following."
"We should set a time limit," he said. "A guarantee if you will. If we have no hopes of getting home by, say, 2376, then we start a family of our own." He said it with such confidence and simplicity that she might have believed she was talking to Tuvok for a moment.
"If this mission lasts more than another thirty or forty years, we're going to need another generation to run the ship," he said.
"That's true," she said. It certainly wasn't the first time that thought had occurred to her today.
"And we're two high-ranking officers," he continued with a grin. "Both human, good friends, and we already know we can care for a crew together."
"A crew and a child are two very different things," said the Captain, but she couldn't help returning the smile.
"I think you'd be surprised." The Captain met his dark brown eyes for a long moment, waiting to see any flash of doubt, but she had never seen the man look more sincere in his life.
"Okay," she said. "Five years from now we will… reconvene." She rose to her feet and began pacing leisurely. "Computer." The computer gave a short buzz in response. "Set a reminder, five years from now to meet with Commander Chakotay to discuss…"
"Operation Crew Expansion," he suggested. Kathryn laughed.
"Operation Crew Expansion," she agreed. The computer buzzed again in acknowledgment. "Chakotay..." she said, feeling suddenly a little awkward. "Thank you."
"What are friends for?" he replied with a crooked grin.
"Not this," she smiled. "Now, can I offer you a drink?"
"Tea, please," he said. A moment later she handed Chakotay the steaming cup and sat down beside him. The Commander glanced over to her drink as he stifled a yawn.
"Coffee at this late hour?" he asked. "Won't you be awake all night?"
"Not at all," she said, taking a sip. "I feel it has almost stopped having any effect on me whatsoever."
Chakotay smiled and stood up, approaching the window in the Captain's quarters and looking out at the view.
"It's funny you should say that. I was thinking the very same thing this morning."
"You don't drink coffee," the Captain said, joining him at the window and looking at him in curiosity.
"Not about coffee," he said, "about this." He nodded out into the vast blackness of the Delta Quadrant, the bright stars and planets streaking by, painting an astonishing monochrome work of art. "Sometimes I think I take it all for granted. It almost doesn't affect me anymore."
"I feel the same way from time to time," she said. "It's so easy to get caught up in the mundane: Star Fleet protocol, the day-to-day running of the ship, what Neelix might be subjecting us to at dinner…" Chakotay gave a short laugh. "But," continued the Captain, feeling a kind of peace settle over her. "All you have to do is stand here a while, and the beauty will all coming flooding back." A few seconds of warm silence passed before, out of the corner of her eye, Kathryn realised that Chakotay wasn't watching their miraculous flight through space. He was watching her. She also became suddenly aware that her arm was touching his, and she could feel his skin beneath the soft material.
"Commander?" she asked, looking around at him. She expected him to look away, but instead he held her gaze, his warm, dark eyes flashing with cool starlight.
"If our children turn out half as astounding as you, Kathryn Janeway, I will be a very proud man." His unexpected words made her heart jump slightly in her chest, but his kind eyes and his soft smile kept her feeling quite calm.
"I certainly hope they would inherit a great deal from you, Chakotay." She hadn't really intended it, but she found herself standing closer to her Commander, her hand on his arm. Chakotay's eyes flickered down to her lips for a moment, and she was acutely aware that she was close enough to kiss him. This was not a thought that had ever crossed her mind before, and it startled her.
"You know," the Captain said, clearing her throat slightly, "it would make sense for this… new generation of crewmen to have as much experience as possible before they take over the ship…"
"I couldn't agree more, Captain."
"Perhaps we ought to revisit this topic in four years instead of five." The corners of Chakotay's mouth twitched with the beginnings of a smile. "For the good of the ship, you understand."
"For the good of the ship," the Commander agreed, straightening himself up and turning to the door. "Thank you for the tea, Captain."
"Thank you for… easing my worries," she said.
"It's my pleasure," he said, flashing her a smile as the door slid closed again.