Disclaimer: All characters, vessels, and science belong to Paramount with the exception of Sarah Janeway, the U.S.S Perry, and anything else that I made up.
Author's Note: Okay, so the heroine I've added is probably classified as a 'Mary-Sue', but guess what? I don't care. :) Basically, I've taken my childhood ambition to act in Star Trek: Voyager and put it down on 'cyber-paper' and I'm risking something very personal to me by putting it on the web but the little author voice in my head kept bugging me to share this. Please be kind—I'm baring my soul to all of you.
Also, I apologize for any mistakes in regard to Janeway's career timeline and/or baby growth and development. I've had to make some changes in order to fit all my new ideas in.
Captain Kathryn Janeway sat slumped on one of the benches in the garden outside Starfleet Command. She felt thoroughly drained. She had just returned from a command mission on the U.S.S. Perry, which had originally been a simple matter of transporting a diplomat to the planet Per'Eras but had changed in a nanosecond when rebels had attacked the ship. It had taken every ounce of her skill to keep the ship in one piece, fight off the rebels, contact the government, and help establish diplomatic relations.
And now Starfleet wanted to send her right back out again. It was a compliment of sorts, since they were greatly impressed with her skill and she had been decorated for her actions. Her exhaustion wouldn't even have been a problem if it hadn't been for one thing—the three-year-old sitting on the grass a few feet from her. She seemed oddly fascinated by the grass, pulling up a few blades at a time and holding them close to her face. The little girl's loose black curls rippled down her back, strangely long for one so young. When she moved her head, the light caught her hair and showed the auburn highlights hidden among the dark tresses. Her jade green eyes were bright and happy, in direct contrast to her mother.
Kathryn Janeway watched her daughter, feeling rather depressed. The poor little one had no idea the problems her existence had caused. Three years previously, when she had discovered herself four weeks pregnant, she had been shocked and a little dismayed at first. It had been two months since she had been with Mark. Thinking he'd understand, she had told him. He had been furious. He had asked how she could possibly treat their relationship as frivolous, and then he'd stormed out of the room and her life. Forever. Terribly unhappy, she'd gone to have a DNA test done to determine her child's father. When the results came back, she hadn't been the only one stunned. The results were inconclusive. The child, a healthy girl, had DNA from Kathryn, but on the father's side…just DNA. Every time the doctors tried to determine whose it was, their equipment would cease to function. The only thing they could tell for certain was that her daughter was fully human.
Even after her birth, she'd remained a medical curiosity. Kathryn couldn't begin to count the times the two of them had gone to Starfleet Medical for some new test. The end result was always the same: inconclusive. She'd finally had enough and refused to even try anymore. Her daughter was here, she didn't have a father, that was that.
It was much harder on her career after her daughter was born. She had to leave her with her mother, Gretchen, any time she had a mission. It was a struggle for her, for although her appearance had changed her life forever, Kathryn loved her little girl dearly. She tried to compensate by taking the shortest missions she could find, taking leave after each one, etc. It still didn't feel right to have her daughter raised by her mother. Not that Grandma Gretchen didn't love her granddaughter and spoil her rotten—no, in fact it was quite the opposite. It just seemed that she was missing so much.
The strange thing was, she wasn't sure she actually was missing anything. After little Sarah Kathryn was born, she had taken a year's leave from Starfleet to care for her infant daughter. In that year, Sarah was early for everything—sitting up on her own, smiling, and so on. So when she headed back to Starfleet not long after Sarah's first birthday, she felt reasonably secure in the fact that her daughter was progressing as she should, and was even quicker than most. However, after her first mission back, a trip that lasted a month and a half, she had come home to find that in her absence Sarah hadn't progressed at all. She still hadn't spoken her first word and seemed reluctant to try anything else that she should have been trying at that stage in her development. Worried, Kathryn took a month's leave and took her daughter to a specialist. He'd merely shrugged, said her daughter was normal in every way, and that she would talk when she was ready.
Within that month that Kathryn took off, Sarah began to talk. Strangely enough, she skipped all the babyish talk and went right to forming whole sentences. Kathryn remembered vividly sitting outside her childhood home, her mother cooking in the kitchen, Sarah sitting in the yard. Suddenly, without any warning, Sarah got up, walked over to her mother, hugged her, and said quite clearly "I love you Mama."
From that point on, Sarah passed all her milestones early—as long as Kathryn was around. She was an odd sort of child—she seemed more like an adult most of the time. She was reading before she was two and even doing simple math. Kathryn hated to leave her even more after that. She vividly recalled leaving for her last mission. Her mother, Gretchen, and Sarah had accompanied her to the beam-up site. After saying good-bye to her mother, she had tearfully turned to her daughter, feeling as though she was abandoning her. She knelt down to Sarah's level and kissed her gently. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I wish I didn't have to go, but…" She hung her head.
Sarah, ever the sensitive one, reached out and took her mother's face in her little hands. Looking kindly into her mother's face, she said "They need the best." She kissed her mother, hugged her, and then stepped back to allow her to be beamed up.
Jerking herself back to the present, Kathryn dropped her chin into her hands and sighed again. She wanted to have a career in Starfleet, but she also wanted to raise her daughter. That was why she asking the admirals for one year's leave. She was scared that they would reject her request. What would she do then?
Sarah suddenly picked herself up and toddled over to her mother's side. Stroking Kathryn's hair, she said quietly, "Don't worry Mommy. It'll all work out."
"I wish I had your confidence, baby," she replied, affectionately tousling the girl's hair.
"Really mama. It will work out. I know it will."
Kathryn smiled sadly. "They should be finished debating now. Let's go back in."
Sarah took her mother's hand and followed her back inside the cool, sterile-white building. Their shoes clicked noisily through the near-silent halls. It seemed to take no time at all for them to reach the rather forbidding doors to the conference room where the admirals were debating. Taking a deep breath, Kathryn squeezed her daughter's hand affectionately for courage and pushed open the doors.
The five admirals looked up as they entered. "Captain Janeway," Admiral Gregory Archer greeted her with a nod. She nodded back, her tongue tied by fear that she desperately tried to repress.
"We've reached our decision."
"And?" Kathryn put her hands on her daughter's shoulders.
"Due to your exemplary service and dedication to duty as well as family, we are granting you one year's leave."
Kathryn felt a smile break out over her face. "Thank you sirs."
Sarah tilted her face up to her mother's. Her look plainly said, See? What were you worrying about?
Still smiling, Kathryn picked Sarah up and exited the conference room. "C'mon Sarah. We have some catching up to do."
Sarah nestled her face into her mother's shoulder. "Thank you, mama. I know how hard this is for you."
"But it's all worth it, princess. It's all worth it."
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed what I have so far. Please review if you can. If you have any criticisms, I'd prefer that you sent them to me in a private message, rather than blare it for the world to see. I should get a second chapter up soon.