STAR TREK: VOYAGER

"The Captain That Might Have Been"
by Patricia L. Givens
DAx /\


I should have told her.

How many opportunities did I have? How many chances did I let pass me by, all for the sake of my pride or my adherence to some unwritten Starfleet protocol that barely made sense in the Alpha Quadrant and was patently ridiculous way out here?

How many times did I look into those bright blue eyes and see the question there, trying to find a way out? How could I expect her to ask? How could I even think that she would know how to do so?

All the time that we spent together, all the conversations and emotions, all the little signals that I sent her that I should have known she would have no way to interpret.

Or maybe I did know. Maybe it was safer to only show the edges of my desire… my love. That way it was never my fault. That way I could tell myself she simply didn't feel the same way.

But she did. And she showed it in a hundred little ways. She was always so much more honest than I was. Even when she pushed me, challenged me, infuriated me, there was always the underlying current, hidden just beneath her disdain of our human frailty. The quiet passion in everything she did that screamed out "I need you to see me! I need you to notice me! I need you to tell me that I am not just another member of your crew. That I am not just a project, an experiment, a way to redeem yourself for the mistakes you have made."

I never thought of her that way. She was not some lump of clay that I wanted to mold in my image, a broken soul that I wanted to redeem in some selfish attempt to make our exile seem worthwhile.

Even if she was the one thing, through all of this, that has made it worthwhile.

In truth, and I only ever say this to myself in the dead of night when I cannot sleep, I would do it all again, if it meant that I could save her.

Even after she was with him, even after I felt my heart shatter into a million pieces and scatter across the cosmos like so much dust… even then I would have done anything for her.

Anything except tell her what she needed to hear.

I tell her every night now, as I lay awake. I tell her every morning as I wait for the computer to chime and tell me to get up, to put the uniform back on and go back to the bridge. I tell her during every staff meeting as I stare at the empty chair at the other end of the table. I tell her every time I walk into Astrometrics and some foolish part of me still waits to hear her say 'Captain' without even turning around to see that it was me.

It has become my daily mantra, uttering the words a thousand times in my head as though it might make up for never once saying it to her.

I love you, Seven.

I love you, Seven.

I love you, Seven.

I should have told her.