To The Edge of the Universe

Prologue

The doors to Admiral Edward Janeway's private office swished silently open as the young girl walked in. With the posture and the training of a Starfleet Cadet, young Kathryn Janeway stood in front of her father's desk waiting at attention for the Admiral to address her. He had summoned her to his office through official channels rather than a personal message which usually meant he needed to see her for something official.

The Admiral wasn't so much an unfeeling man as he was a busy one who took his responsibilities as a Starfleet Admiral seriously, and as such he was very careful not to let it appear as if his daughter received any special treatment. Especially after he was assigned as Headmaster of the Starfleet Academy just one year before his daughter had been accepted into Starfleet Academy.

Finally, after ten minutes of silence, Kathryn had had enough and spoke up, "you asked to see me Admiral?" Using her father's rank was one more way of reminding herself of the duality of her father's life. At home, she was free to call him daddy but outside of the house, he was Admiral Janeway, Headmaster of Starfleet Academy. And Kathryn was never truly allowed to forget that, a lesson she'd often resented but eventually came to learn and accept.

Admiral Janeway looked up at his daughter then with a small smile on his face. He was wondering how long it would take before she tired of the silence and spoke. It was a game he enjoyed playing with all the cadets under his command but one he only lost with his daughter. His goal was to see if he could get the cadets to stay silent indefinitely. Only Kathryn had ever broken the silence first. Every other cadet merely waited and squirmed under the silence.

"Yes Katie. I wish to speak to you not as your commanding officer but rather as your father."

This caught Kathryn by surprise. Her father only ever called her Katie when they were at home. For him to use that name now was unexpected and it took her a few moments to react, by then her father was speaking again.

"Katie, I have a favor to ask of you concerning a friend of mine."

"What sort of favor father?"

"Erin Hansen and her husband are set to leave on a weekend mission this Friday. They have a 4 year old daughter and the mission is no place for a child so young. This being their first child, and having suffered two previous miscarriages, Erin is extremely overprotective of her daughter. Starfleet needs her and her husband's scientific expertise on this mission."

"Ok, but I fail to see what that has to do with me sir." Kathryn had a sinking feeling she knew what her father was driving towards but chose to play dumb, wondering how exactly he's phrase his request, which would determine if it was truly a request or an order hidden within a request.

"Yes, well, what I am trying to say Katie is, I would like for you to meet with Erin Hansen and her daughter. I would consider it a huge favor if you could...well...keep an eye on the younger Hansen while her parents are away on this mission." Admiral Janeway was vastly uncomfortable asking his daughter this favor. He was always careful not to abuse his authority as Admiral and Headmaster for his personal benefit. Even though he was speaking as a father and not an Admiral and Headmaster he was still using his office for the discussion and of course, he had sent for his daughter through official channels. It was a fuzzy line he was trying to avoid crossing.

Kathryn simply stood there trying to absorb what her father was trying to say. Then it became clear. "Dad, are you asking me to spend my weekend...babysitting a toddler?"

Admiral Janeway actually squirmed a little under his daughter's glare. In this day and age, teenage girls weren't exactly fond of babysitting, especially those who were enrolled in Starfleet Academy.

"Yes Katie I am, but only if you want to. This is why I want you to meet with Erin first. I want her to get to know you so that she may feel comfortable leaving her daughter in your care."

"Why me father? Why not ask Phoebe?" Somehow, Kathryn knew that her father wouldn't trust this...task to anyone but family.

The Admiral smiled, "Phoebe is capable yes, but...well I would prefer it be you Katie. You've always been the more responsible of my daughters. I would trust Phoebe with a great many things but with this task I think you would be better suited. Besides, something tells me that Erin would respond better to having a Starfleet cadet watching her daughter rather than a civilian, regardless of who that civilian's father happens to be."

Katie knew the meeting was already scheduled, just as she knew her father would've never seriously doubted her cooperation. She liked to challenge her father on most things, not let him think he could simply order her about just because he was an Admiral. Her father had grown accustomed to having to convince her sometimes. This was just another of those times.

"Tonight at 1930 hours. Erin and her daughter will arrive then. Please be on time and on your best behavior Katie." He knew it was unnecessary to add the best behavior line but also felt that to not do so would leave a loophole he was not comfortable with.

Kathryn merely nodded and after a few moments was dismissed from the office to resume her studies. Kathryn knew that the evening ahead would prove to be significant though at the moment she wasn't entirely sure how.