Part 24: The Book of My Life

Summary:

As Kathryn Janeway starts a new job and a new life, she starts a new personal PADD. Chakotay starts his personal log anew as a result. (J/C,)

Pairing:J/C Rating: PG-13 Type of Story: Drama Level: 2


Part 24: The Book of My Life

Personal PADD Kathryn Janeway 2377.

Dear PADD:

A new home, a new job, a new PADD, a new me.

I can't believe that I'm at Quarra starting over again. It's so strange to be so far away from Earth and such a relief. It's so hard to believe that I had to be forced to leave the home that I swore to the heavens I would protect. Wait a minute, how was I going to protect my home, when I couldn't even protect my family, my entire family from being lost in the labor riots? I guess it was wishful thinking. As much as it was wishful thinking to believe that the Cardassians and the Dominion would have ever let us earn an honest work for a fair wage, even if we were able to find work on that over populated world that I was once proud to call home. I had to leave, especially when the opportunity of a lifetime became available to me through an alien called the Caretaker. It was a messy ride to this part of the galaxy, but most of us made it. I'm glad I was the lucky ones, life here on this planet is paradise compared to what I left.

My job is amazing. I monitor the primary reactor coils for the power plant that services the entire content. It should be a simple task, but it isn't and it's going to take all my training to keep up with the demands of this job. Including getting to work on time. I can't believe that I boarded the wrong transport and ended up in the Atmosphere Processing Plant. I was even offered a job there. But from the time I heard about the central power facility, I knew that was where I wanted to work…where I had to work, even though the supervisor there offered me 50 more if I stayed and worked in Atmosphere Processing. How refreshing to be wooed for jobs instead of begging and doing…….. other things to be offered one, or even to keep the bad one that I already had.

Well, if I didn't know that my job was going to be a challenge before I started, I knew right after. I violated the command protocols for my monitoring station within one hour of starting work and almost initiated a core overload. And that was a good thing because over a malfunctioning machine, I met a man. The bad thing was that I was talking to my machine when I met him. It's a habit that I cannot seem to break and one that will constantly be a source of embarrassment for me. Jaffen walked over and disarmed the alarm with the proper input and me with his smile. That was also both a good thing and a bad thing because the new efficiency monitor came over to us and accused of fraternizing. My third mistake on my first day! I apologized and told her that he was just helping me. Annika Hansen didn't seem to buy that excuse and Jaffen made it worse by asking if she went by a name or an employee number. She was also new and he didn't know her. She didn't even bat an eye when she told him to finish instructing me quickly and get back to his station. I have to look out for her, something tells me that she will tolerate no nonsense and she takes her job as efficiency monitor as seriously as I do mine.

I turned down a date with Jaffen for that night to eat dinner. I had a lot of work to do, to get up to speed. I am determined that the mistakes that I made today will not be repeated. I snuck a peak at him as he went back to his consul. He is handsome and someone I would like to get to know better. But it would have to be in my spare time. I couldn't help but notice that he was looking at me also.

I found the club that he mentioned later on tonight. I don't know if I really thought that I was there to eat and review the manuals or if I was secretly hoping to see Jaffen. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'm crazy to think of a new relationship now. Especially what happened over Mark and in a real way, what happened over Eric.

Mark was wrong for me, I know that now. I can't believe that he wanted to stay on Earth with everything that was going on. I should have known better to date a non-scientist. I mean, what was he going to do with his life, smoke it away in crystals? Especially since jobs for non-science majors seemed to be non-existent. I should have listened to Eric from the first time he said that Mark wasn't good for me. How I wish Eric was. But he was actually too good for me; born to the elite class, born to the people who will always have jobs on Earth. People of my class would always serve him. He had said once that it didn't matter to him. But it did to me. I think I loved him too much to be with him, to bring such a disgrace to his family name and to have him end up like me, almost destitute. So we remained in the situation that society had created for us. We remained friends. But in the beginning, when I was young and hot-headed, how I loved him. I remember having visions of us riding out in the stars together, before I got a hold of myself.

To do what? Just wander. Life and Mark knocked some sense into me. I was so lost after he died and then I decided that I wanted a better life somewhere else, far away from the pain that living on Earth brought with it, and with Eric's help, I was able to contact the Caretaker and then make that fateful trip. I knew that Eric was upset that I had to leave, but he let me go, knowing it was for the best. I miss him terribly.

Anyway, a new me. One that doesn't look back but instead looks forward.

I did see Jaffen in the club, or maybe I should say he saw me and invited himself to help me study the manuals. We were out so late tonight and I should be sleeping now so that I'm not late again tomorrow. But you know I had to make this log entry before the end of the day. Jaffen walked me home and I found out that he lives in the same building as I do. He asked me about Earth. I told him the state of my ex-home: Overpopulated, polluted, racist and very little work. That was all he needed to know.

He wanted me to come to his quarters tonight. Oh how I wanted to, but I am supposed to be sleeping. He gave me a standing invitation and I'm going to take him up on it. I know that it's a lot more impulsive that what I'm accustomed to, and if this is the start of ………something, then I'm moving a lot faster than I normally do. But as I said, it's a new me. One who's learned from her mistakes and will do better next time.

New home, new job, new me and possibly a new man.


First Officer's Personal Log:

Why I'm starting this after a long day working is beyond me. I have to be up in another four hours to continue repairs, but I needed some time……..for what or why, I don't know.

It's quiet on Voyager. This ship is always so full of life. Who would have ever thought that 132 people could infuse so much energy into 700MT of bulkheads and computer processors? But they did, especially one crew member. How long has it been since the ship has been that empty for this long? Not since Seska tried to take the ship at the beginning of our third year here. Over four years ago. Where has the time gone?

I miss my best friend,

Since that time with the Kazon, we have always fought to keep Voyager, our home intact, together, side by side. Now I have to do this alone. I haven't been alone since our second year here lost in the Delta Quadrant. We have always been together, united as a command team guiding our crew home.

I miss Kathryn.

I was so scared when Harry and I beamed over to the bridge to find that life-support had been cut. The Escape pods were launched so that meant that the crew was alive somewhere. I will not think of any other scenario. When the Doctor gave us the explanation, it seemed that all we had to do was fix the ship system and go looking for them. But with his inference that we were deliberately disabled and the crew forced to abandon ship, there is a knot in my gut which will not leave until we get the crew back home, safe and sound.

I miss her.

It's a good thing that she did approve and implement the Emergency Command Hologram or else we may not have had a ship to come back to. I didn't think that she could leave the ship in the hands of a Hologram, but I should have known that when the moment came Kathryn would do anything and everything to preserve her ship and ensure the safety of her crew. She always has and we always will, because by extension, the promise that she had made to the crew is one that I have made to her.

We will get this crew home and together we will make it no matter what.
Do you hear me Kathryn?
I'm coming, just hang on until I find you.


Dear PADD:

I can't believe the life could ever be this good. My job is going well, I haven't shut down the core or made any more stupid mistakes since that first day. The Quarrens are great to work for, I just had my first inoculation against ambient radiation; I didn't know that some employers cared so much for people who worked for them and I've seen Jaffen every day of this week at work and for dinner.

I know, I know it's sudden. I've only known him for about two weeks, but he's becoming my first friend here and my best friend here….and hopefully something more. There are other great people here, but there's one who is very strange. His name is Tuvok and today he swore that we had met before and started babbling something about meeting at a hospital. He doesn't look well. In the end we said he was mistaken and left, but I have a feeling it was only because Jaffen came over.

I decided to cook for Jaffen last night. I know, I know, cooking is not my forte. In fact Eric has often told me that if I found a man who would eat my cooking then I should marry him. Mark ate my cooking, but then again Mark was so far gone on Crystals sometimes I thought that he would eat stones if he knew that they would keeping him going until he got to his next high.

It was a disaster, but he was so sweet, he tried to eat it. But with the look on his face, I felt sorry for him and I offered to buy him dinner. He said that he wasn't really hungry and neither was I. We stayed in that night. The entire night. It was good and he was good and you know that it's been a long while. And after all of Mark's fumbling towards the end, it was refreshing to have someone who knew what he was doing. It's been too long, and it's about damn time.

Afterwards when I lay in his arms he asked me if I was comfortable here with him. I looked at him, I mean I really looked at him as I traced the ridge on the left side of his face. Eric had a mark on that side of his face too. I thought for a minute about what I had with Mark and about what I couldn't have with Eric, and I answered him truthfully; that I had never been more comfortable in my life.


First Officer's Personal Log:

It's been a week. With only four people on board, the repairs which normally take about a day, have not extended to a week, and that's only to do the minimum repairs. It's been a long one too. I can tell that Harry is getting exasperated with the Doctor. When you come back Kathryn, we have to talk about what we are going to do with that man's ambition. I know that it isn't easy for him to accept the fact that the Doctor now seems to have seniority over him because he's holding yours and Tuvok's codes while you are away. I can imagine how it seems to him that everyone else is being promoted even a hologram and he is being left behind.

Neelix and I have been quietly working. I'm sure in a way, he's been thinking about Tuvok. He's doing a lot of the work on the tactical systems since he knows a lot about them from trying to impress that Vulcan. I don't know why he bothers; you're the only non-Vulcan that will ever impress Tuvok, your oldest friend.

Listen to me talking to through my log. Seems crazy since you're never going to hear it, but I guess it's to be expected. You're not here for me to share the things that we normally do at the end of brutal days. You remember after the fourth year, no matter what we were facing and no matter how pressing the repair was, you always seem to find time to spend at least 30 minutes going over little things with me about what had happened to personnel and the ship during the day. The things that would get left out of the daily reports, because they were too mundane, but they were important, especially if it dealt with the Morale of the crew, which in a way is affected the most by the little things. I remembered how surprised I was that you started doing that two months after we left the Mari homeworld. But it was important and I don't know what made you realize that, but I'm glad you did.

Well, I think until I have you back safe and sound, I'm going to continue doing this. I'm sorry then that I haven't spoke to you for the whole week, but I've been exhausted and I wanted to seek out my spirit guide to find out what I should know about you and the crew. I'm worried, what can I say. My guide is not saying much, but I get the feeling that I should continue what I am doing and so I am.

End Log


Dear PADD,

It just keeps getting better and better, that's why I haven't had time to record anything in the past week. I have spent every waking hour with Jaffen, at work and out of work. He's special. I never thought that I could feel this way, so free, so easy to be me, to express what I feel without hiding and without shame. I was right to come here, to make my home on Quarra. A new life, a new job, a new me and a new home here with Jaffen.


Personal Log:

We've found you Kathryn, all of you. Thank God, I was so afraid that we had lost our family……that I had lost you, but it seems as if you're safe…..and you're being held hostage. But we're going to get you back, so hang on. I just have to be a little creative to find out what's going on. Good thing I've been taking pointers from the best for the last seven years eh?

Well that moment I knew was coming in my gut between Harry and the Doctor, it came right before I left the ship. The Doctor wants to be left in charge because of his programming, Harry can't take it. Everyone will get to command before he does. Since when did Harry become so forceful and so sarcastic? He held his own with the Doctor and threatened to delete his command subroutines. I can't believe that he would be able to risk your wrath over that. Well if we wanted any more proof that he was serious about this, we just got it.

As I looked at them arguing, a question flashed through my mind. What would you do? I know the answer. The Doctor will be in command because experience for experience, he has more than Harry has right now and even though it the decision would hurt Harry, implicit in your making it is for him to get over if for the good of the crew. That's the way you always see things isn't it? But in your mind you know that Harry would never let you down, and he would be able to make that leap of faith, trust the intuition that he has developed within himself by watching us guide Voyager through this quadrant, by watching you, and keep the ship in one piece. He's come back from the future to rescue the crew. He wouldn't give up on us as easily as a set of subroutines. Or maybe a set of subroutines would fight longer and harder, because he is a program that has outgrown his original parameters by himself. Well I guess I don't know who you would have left in charge, but I do know that someone would have been.

I am not you, and I trust both of them with our lives, with the crew's lives as they trust us with theirs. I left them to work it out. When we come back, we'll see what they have learnt from each other and I know it will be a lot.

Neelix's shuttle has entered Quarra's Orbit, so I end this. I will see you soon.

End Log


Dear PADD

Something strange happened today. Mr Tuvok went crazy and attacked Ms Hansen the Efficiency monitor. He started saying that she wasn't who she thought she was and that we didn't belong here. Why is it when I first heard that my heart jumped and then I was afraid in that instant? In another instant it was gone as I helped Ms Hansen up. The happiness and the peace came flying back at me a second later. I was glad for it. I don't want to belong anywhere but here.


Personal Log:

Kathryn

It was so strange walking around and seeing the crew look at me blankly, like they didn't know who I was. Gerron, Henly, even Nicholetti didn't recognize me. Ayala; that man has saved my life half a dozen times in the Maquis and he looked at me as if he didn't see me. We've seen each other at least once every two days for the last seven years, it's disconcerting to think that three weeks apart would make them act like this.

But nothing compares to finally finding you. You know what it is I hate the most about this trip. The times when I meet you and you don't recognize me, because then I realize the friendship that we take so much for granted; is not something that was always there. It was built up through some pretty amazing and agonizing experiences.

When I said your name, and I told you who I was, and I realized that you didn't recognize me instantly, even in the way I said your name, I want to know what is so powerful that it made you forget who I am, who we are what we have accomplished and your drive to reach Earth no matter what. But you are happy. For the first time since I've known you…………no that's not true. I've seen you like that once before…..I can't believe that it's been five years since that time.

Why am I recording this log when I should be getting you back in your command chair where you belong? Because I need to. Don't set your death glare on me, I'm leaving the Alixia now.


Dear PADD:

Today I met a man. Actually my supervisor referred him on me. He said that I would be a good person to talk to if he needed help. Why he would single me out is beyond me. Jaffen would be better at guiding him. After all I almost initiated a core shutdown my first day here. The odd thing about it is the way he spoke my name, as if I knew him, when I didn't. And I caught the look of shock when he realized that I didn't know who he was. I was friendly but in the back of my mind I was hoping that Jaffen wasn't anywhere around, I don't know if he would get jealous or not, but I didn't want to risk it. Nothing must ruin my happiness here.


Dear PADD:

I said yes…………………….

Jaffen asked me to move in with him and I said yes. This has to be the most impulsive thing I've ever done. Besides going through that rough ride through the galaxy to find work and leaving behind my best friend who could never be my lover, my dead lover who could never have been anything, my dead family and an overpopulated, crime-ridden poverty struck planet. But this is about me, finally happy. Finally after everything I've given up, I have found true love and true happiness. I won't do anything to jeopardize it.

When I made that log to you during lunch time, I had no idea how different my life would be six short hours. Jaffen said it was so easy with me, that everything was so comfortable and he wanted to take the next natural step; so did I.

Mr Kotay was in the bar with his friend and I had no idea what Jaffen was going to ask me tonight so I asked them to join us. But Jaffen interrupted. At first I thought that he was being rude and now I have never been so grateful that he was so rude in my life.

He's a strange man, Mr Kotay. After Jaffen and I had finished talking, I saw him sitting by himself and I asked him to join us again, but then he refused. He seemed so eager to be with us earlier, I couldn't believe that he didn't want to join us now. I told him about moving in with Jaffen. It's just I'm so happy that I want the whole world to know. But when I told him about it, he looked startled and was almost speechless for a moment. As if he couldn't believe that I was doing something like that. He looked preoccupied. Maybe there was something else that came to his mind as I spoke. I can't imagine my moving in with Jaffen would have an impact on him one way or another.

He offered me his congratulations. I wanted to tell him save it for the wedding. It's going to come soon enough.