This is my first Voyager fanfiction in several years!
This story is set 2 and a half years after the events of Christie Golden's 'Spirit Walk' books, and is about Voyager's third mission after getting home.
I'm hoping to make this into an ongoing series, and the full title of the story will be revealed in a few chapters time.
And to any Janeway fans who read this...don't despair!
The Shuttlecraft Azure maneuvered effortlessly above the city of San Francisco on a crisp winter's morning.
"This is Shuttlecraft Azure requesting permission to land on the parade grounds," Lt. Commander Harry Kim said as he opened communications with Starfleet Headquarters.
"Shuttlecraft Azure. This is Sol Plaza Control. You are cleared to land in Quadrant C."
"Thank you Control."
As Harry turned the shuttlecraft towards the Golden Gate Bridge, Captain Chakotay gazed out of the window. No matter how many times he looked out at a starscape, he still though there was no more impressive sight than a city from a few thousand feet. He looked into the distance, spying the spires of Contemporary City . Chakotay grinned a little at the irony of the name.
Following the Great Wars that marred the end of the 20th and the middle of the 21st Centuries, massive swathes of Earth's great cities had fallen into disrepair and dilapidation. After Zephram Cochrane's historic flight in the Phoenix, Earth had began to recover. Contemporary City was one of the huge urban developments of the 2180s. The people so ravaged by war, and so fearful of the future, seemed to live in the moment – Hence the name of Contemporary City .
"Memories sir?" Harry interrupted Chakotay's thoughts.
"Just an old history lesson Harry," He smiled in return.
The Azure continued it's descent, making a textbook landing on the Plaza.
"Looking forward to being back on Voyager?" Lt. Commander Tom Paris smiled at his wife.
"I'm a bit apprehensive about it I must admit," B'Elanna Torres said quietly. Sensing her husband's surprise, she elaborated, "It's just that the last time I was on that ship, I was a member of the crew. Now I'll just be a passenger…And it just won't be the same Voyager anymore…I'd prefer to keep the memory of my Voyager alive."
"B'Elanna honey. It's the same ship. She looks virtually identical to the way she did before…It's mostly the same crew too."
"Mostly…" B'Elanna's thoughts led her back to that dark day six months earlier when they'd gotten the devastating news…
"Kathryn Janeway wouldn't have wanted you to avoid Voyager like the plague, and don't you want Miral to see where Mommy and Daddy met, and where she nearly grew up?"
B'Elanna's eyes travelled over to where her little Kuvah'magh sat scribbling in her colouring book. It hardly seemed three years since little Miral Paris had been born, and it hardly seemed three years since Voyager had returned home. B'Elanna's gaze lingered on her daughter a moment longer, before she looked back at her husband.
"Besides, how else are you going to get to Qo'noS!" Tom smiled.
"Guess there's no getting out of it this time huh?"
Lieutenant Commander Selar looked down from the Promenade at Starfleet Academy with interest as she watched a highly respectable group of officers exchange easy banter as they walked through the Japanese gardens. She knew all these men, though they did not exactly know her.
Selar looked at the Vulcan, Commander Tuvok. Tuvok had become a much respected lecturer during his second tenure at Starfleet Academy . He now headed a specialist faculty on campus – Delta Quadrant studies. Tuvok taught a variety of courses, and was allowed full control over all but one subject area – the Borg. Starfleet's finest tacticians still got to get their hands dirty with that course. The most popular courses not surprisingly were the anthropological courses, especially those concerned with the Ocampa, the Talaxians, the Hirogen and the Voth. Several former Voyager crew members who had preferred to stay on Earth rather than rejoin the recommissioned ship formed Tuvok's teaching staff.
The Vulcan's eyes now focused on Fleet Admiral Owen Paris, and she mused about the closeness of this group's friendships. It was rare for the Fleet Admiral to be seen out on the grounds of the Academy, unless of course, his grandchildren were visiting. Lt. Commander Tom Paris didn't bear much of a resemblance to his father, but anyone could tell they were related by watching their body language. Both men shared the same smile, and the once talked about strained relationship between father and son seemed to have evaporated entirely since Voyager's return. Tom Paris was one of Starfleet's finest, shining brightly in the thinly veiled propaganda of Federation 'do-gooding' – the renegade turned fine officer and devoted family man. It wasn't Tom's fault that the media had picked him out of all the Voyagers, to be paraded on the Subspace Entertainment network. The young man had done well for himself since Voyager's return, as he was now First Officer of the Intrepid Class Vessel.
Harry Kim's laugh caught Selar's attention, and now she focused on him. Lt. Commander Kim was also held up by the Federation as an example of how to live your life. Young, bright Harry had had a remarkable career and had easily flown through the ranks since getting back to Earth. Initially he'd be reassigned to Voyager as Chief of Security before accepting an ambassadorial assignment to Romulus – a particularly trying job after the near destruction of the Enterprise E at the hands of the Remans. Now back on-board Voyager, Harry had returned to his previous post as Chief of Operations. While the post held less prestige, it was nonetheless vital for the running of the ship.
Finally, Selar's gaze rested on the enigmatic Captain Chakotay. Starfleet academic, turned freedom-fighter, turned model commanding officer, he was a man of contradictions. Like most other Voyagers, Chakotay had been very fortunate in life since returning from the Delta Quadrant. He'd been pardoned for his actions with the Maquis, been reinstated as a Lt. Commander, before being promoted straight to Captain and being given command of Voyager. Selar smiled to herself as she watched the reserved man chat quietly with Tom Paris. He certainly was a 'contrary'. Selar realised her absent protégé, Qatala, had been lucky to have him as a confidante in years gone past.
The little group of officers continued on their walk, and out of sight of Selar's viewpoint. She could easily continue to watch them, but decided against it. She turned back to walk along the promenade, tugging at her black-grey uniform. She had never liked this Vulcan form much, and could think of far nicer humanoid species she could have picked, but Vulcans seemed so full of intrigue it was too hard to resist. Selar's people were timeless, and spent a portion of their 'lives' pretending to be others, often jumping back into a 'character' thousands of years after last being them. It had been 450 years since Selar had been assigned to the Enterprise D, though in this world, merely 20 had passed.
"Are you looking forward to your third tour Captain?" Owen Paris asked Chakotay as he, Tuvok, Tom Paris and Harry walked through the gardens. With Tom, Tuvok and Harry discussing Tuvok's course at the academy, Chakotay turned to the Admiral.
"To be honest, I'm a little bit apprehensive this time around. With so many key personnel changes, and with Dr. Kaz taking a leave of absence on Loran II, well...it'll be strange."
"You're picking up new officers at Deep Space Nine," Owen reminded him.
"True, but it seems nicer seeing familiar faces on the bridge every day. We're hopefully going to be picking up our new Conn officer, Lieutenant Kerry McCabe at DS9, and Dr. Julian Bashir seems eager to join the crew, even for a short period of time."
"That still leaves your short a Science Officer and a Security Chief."
Chakotay smiled. "Actually, the position of Security Chief has been filled by Lieutenant Campbell. She's tough, she's smart, and I think when she realised Commander Kim was happy to go back to Ops, she jumped at the chance."
Owen chuckled at the mention of Lyssa Campbell. The savvy officer made friends wherever she went, but she was no fool. Admiral Paris approved of Chakotay's decision to give her the position.
"Any civilian passengers?"
"Four. Sekaya will remain onboard as normal, and she's looking forward to going back to Loran II. We've also got Phoebe Janeway onboard..."
Paris looked concerned at that piece of news.
"I know what you're going to ask – 'What exactly is Phoebe Janeway up to?' As usual, I don't have an answer for you, but I think she'll be bored by the time we get to Deep Space Nine..."
"...And disembark and go gallivanting...I love that girl to pieces, but she drives me up the wall." Owen smirked knowingly.
"I could hardly say no to her Sir."
"I wouldn't expect you to Chakotay, especially given everything that's happened."
A silence stretched thinly through the bustle of the Promenade, and Chakotay felt his thoughts travel back to a darker place. Feeling the cold seep in to his bones, he continued the conversation.
"And as you know already, we're transporting B'Elanna and Miral to Qo'noS."
"Ah yes...Our little Kuvah'magh has warriors to bless."
Tom overheard the conversation and joined his father and his Captain, leaving Tuvok and Harry to their discussion about Talaxian cuisine.
"Who would have thought that my daughter would have completely changed the Klingon's religious beliefs. And that they'd declare her and B'Elanna to be Warrior Goddesses and build a temple in their honour."
It really did beggar belief, Chakotay mused. In fact, he could think of no other story as preposterous but true. Oddly, following her time on Boreth, B'Elanna had embraced Klingon beliefs far more than anyone had anticipated. Tom had originally joked that Boreth would sicken B'Elanna entirely. But on discovering and proving that Miral was in fact, the Kuvah'magh, she'd been eager to promote the fact. As a result, the house of L'Naan had grown strong, and B'Elanna and Miral had become celebrities on Qo'noS.
Owen smiled at his son, before continuing on with the matter at hand. "Any Cadets onboard Captain?"
"Just one – Naomi Wildman. She'll be with us for the first three months of the tour for her second year placement."
"Naomi's already at the Academy?" said a surprised Harry. "She's only eight!"
"Ktarian children age increasingly rapidly, both physically and mentally until they reach adulthood. Ktarian childhoods are typically six 6 years. Were she fully Ktarian, she would already be an adult." Tuvok provided an answer.
"A teenage Naomi Wildman working on Voyager? Kind of scary if you ask me!" Smirked Tom.
"I'm sure working on Voyager's second deep space mission will be an exciting opportunity!" Dr. Julian Bashir chirped enthusiastically over subspace to Dr. Jarem Kaz.
"The Beta Quadrant is sure to be a challenge Julian, one I am sure you will relish."
"Being on Deep Space Nine in the first years of Gamma Quadrant exploration were certainly difficult, but work here's become routine...I'm itching to encounter new species and new situations...But I will admit that I'll miss being on the station during my tour on Voyager."
"You mean you'll miss that beautiful wife of yours." Kaz stated with a knowing grin.
Kaz and Dax had never been close friends, thought the two symbionts had encountered each other several times during their lifetimes. Kaz had always admired the sheer vibrancy of life the emanated from Dax, no matter who her host was. Ezri had brought a slight vulnerability to Dax that was both appealing and disarming. Dr. Bashir and Lt. Commander Dax had been married for a little under two years, and by all accounts were more in love than ever.
"That I will...but she knows I've been wanting to actively serve on a Starship for some time now. This six month assignment on Voyager is a dream to me, and it represents the best of both worlds as I get to go home to my wife after the first leg of the journey's over."
"And I know what you're thinking. How can I leave Voyager, even temporarily?"
Bashir chuckled, "Actually that has crossed my mind, but I understand Voyager went through quite an ordeal at Loran II while making some friends."
"I take it you know about that mission." Jarem Kaz sighed.
Bashir nodded wordlessly.
"We've been able to correct some of Crell Moset's...'work', but some of the colonists still resemble animals...They still have some amazing abilities, but have little restrain and it's causing some problems. I want to help them."
"I can understand that, and six months on a colonial world's quite the commitment!"
Jarem glanced at his chronometer, noting that Voyager was going to be ready to depart Earth Station McKinley within the hour.
"Well Julian, it's been a pleasure to talk to you again after all these years...I'll forward some notes to you about our sickbay before I disembark, and Voyager will see you at Deep Space Nine in about two weeks." Jarem smiled.
"I look forward to it!" Julian grinned back.
Lieutenant Lyssa Campbell still felt odd being a bridge officer, even three years after being assigned there. Seven years as Transporter Chief on a starship would do that to any officer. Right now she sat at the conn, while a few department heads made last-minute checks at some of the bridge's secondary control stations. Within a few minutes the rest of senior bridge crew would arrive, and Voyager would depart the legendary McKinley dock once more. As if reading her thoughts, Captain Chakotay, Lt. Commander Paris, Lt. Commander Kim and B'Elanna Torres arrived on the bridge. Tom had Miral on his shoulders, and the toddler clearly relished being on the ship, looking round at everything with wide-eyed enthusiasm. B'Elanna seemed quite subdued, and Lyssa realised that this was B'Elanna's first time back on Voyager since they'd returned home.
"Captain on the deck!" Lyssa said sharply, standing up with a smile on her face as the bridge crew stood to attention.
"At ease." Chakotay grinned as the crew moved to take their stations.
Tom made his way down to the conn, openly relishing the chance to pilot the ship once more. As much as Tom enjoyed being the ship's first officer, he missed piloting, still taking the original Delta Flyer out as often as Chakotay allowed. He watched with bemusement as Harry and Lyssa both headed to the wrong stations, before Lyssa headed to tactical and Harry made his way to ops.
B'Elanna sat in the first officer's chair, trying to quieten Miral who was threatening to become boisterous at any moment.
The turbolift doors opened again, and this time Ensigns Tal Celes and Billy Telfer appeared, followed by Sekaya and Phoebe Janeway.
Celes took her seat at Engineering, while Billy took the Science station on the other side of the bridge. Sekaya sat next to Chakotay, giving her big brother a cheeky grin. Phoebe for her part seemed a little lost, before settling down next to Sekaya. Tom noted that the much loved 'Black Sheep' of the Janeway family had purple streaks in her strawberry blonde hair. The last time Tom had seen Phoebe she'd been sporting neon pink hair, and Tom noticed Chakotay's relief that her current hairstyle wasn't quite as outlandish for her stay on Voyager.
"Commander Vorik reports that we're ready to go Sir," said Celes from her station.
Chakotay nodded at the young Bajoran. While still shy and nervous, her strengths as an engineer and a stellar cartographer had come to the fore during her last years on Voyager.
Chakotay then turned to Campbell, "Lyssa, are we good to go?"
"As always sir," Tom grinned at his Captain, eager to get moving.
Chakotay smiled, and took one last look at his bridge crew.
"Captain Chakotay to all hands. We'll be leaving Earth Station McKinley momentarily. Please secure your stations."
After a moment, he looked to Harry. "Put me through to McKinley."
"Earth Station McKinley, this is Voyager. Requesting permission to leave Spacedock."
The voice of Owen Paris beamed back through the intercom.
"Voyager, this is Earth Station McKinley. Permission to leave Spacedock granted. And Godspeed."
Tom smiled at hearing his dad, and he noticed the wide grin in Miral's face as she heard her Papa's voice. He looked over to Chakotay, who grinned at him.
"Commander Paris, take us out."