Here it is, part 1 of episode 2 of Voyager Andromeda!
If you've not read Voyager Andromeda: Proving Ground then this story is likely to make little sense to you!
Oh, and I've not read Full Circle by Kristen Beyer, or Before Dishonor by Peter David, just incase you're wondering, though Before Dishonor did inspire a part of the plot of Proving Ground!
Voyager Andromeda: The Kabai
"Aw c'mon!" Phoebe Janeway whined.
"I'm sorry, the answer's no."
Chakotay walked calmly away from Phoebe and turned down the steps to his ready room desk, leaning back onto the desk. Phoebe for her part folded her arms and threw a familiar glare Chakotay's way.
"You haven't thought this through..."
"Well..." she stated, open-mouthed, "what else am I supposed to do while we're stuck out here? Sit in my quarters and fingerpaint?!"
Chakotay sighed, "Phoebe, there are exceptionally few civilians that ever get to be officers without going through the academy. At the moment you don't even have the qualifications to make in onto the non-commissioned officers' training course, let alone the commissioned officers' course."
"But I'm capable...I'm willing to learn...you know I'd be good at this!"
Chakotay looked at the ground and silently shook his head.
"I spent two years fighting in the Dominion war...We found a crashed and abandoned Federation ship and restored it to working order. You and I both know that the Maquis weren't the only small group who gave their lives en masse for the greater good."
Chakotay walked round the desk and sat at his seat, "I know Phoebe...the Resistance Movements never got the credit they deserved...I know you helped the Federation win some battles-"
"And we fought some battles with no back-up."
Chakotay nodded, "I'm not denying that you don't have the grit and determination needed, nor the raw abilities I'd look for in an officer. In a crisis, I'd definitely want you fighting alongside me, and were I still a Maquis Captain, I'd have already offered you a job...But I don't think you'd make a good Starfleet officer-"
Chakotay pointed a finger, "If we were under attack by an enemy, you would do your job exceptionally well. You're a great person in a crisis. But how are you going to cope doing a fourteen hour night-shift checking if all the emergency lights in the Jeffries tubes are working? Or a fourteen hour cleaning duty? This ship doesn't clean itself, and those are the duties you'd be assigned as a Junior NCO."
"You'd get bored wouldn't you?"
"Yeah, who wouldn't?"
Chakotay smiled, "I know, but I can see your organising Delta Shift into a conga line for a laugh rather than doing the job."
"Yeah...I don't do so well with the mundane," she chuckled.
"And there's your academic record...You might have graduated high school with honours, but you've dropped out of college twice...You've not held down a steady job for more than a year..."
Phoebe was silent.
"I know my record in terms of long-term commitment's not good...downright awful in fact, but I do want to do this, and you know, even though you'd think Kathryn lived and breathed Starfleet her entire life, she didn't focus on going up through the ranks until she was my age...she went from Lieutenant to Captain in seven years. It was never her intention to be career Starfleet. To her, it was a way to keep Dad happy, and to open doors to new opportunities. She didn't change to Command until after he was gone."
"Phoebe, I know all this."
"What do I have to do to prove I'm serious about this?"
Chakotay took a minute to look at Phoebe. She shifted a little under his scrutiny, but once again met his eyes.
"If you want to prove to me that you really want to become an NCO, and that this isn't a whim, or a way to avoid thinking about our visitor in the brig...Then find a way to make a positive contribution onboard this ship. Find something to do to make a difference, and come back to me again in six months if you still want to do this."
Phoebe's eye's widened, "Find a gap in the skills market, more of less? Okay I can do that that, I think."
Chakotay screwed his face up a little, "That's sort of what I meant, but do what you think's right."
Phoebe clapped her hands together once before rubbing her palms together. "Alright, I'm away to brainstorm...I...I won't let you down!"
And with that, Phoebe bounded out of Chakotay's ready room.
Chakotay let out a small chuckle, wondering what idea Phoebe would come up with...
6 months earlier
"We should make the rendezvous with the Enterprise with time to spare, Admiral."
"Thank you Ensign Monroe," Kathryn responded, "So how did you enjoy your first visit to the Romulan Empire?"
The young pilot smiled widely as she manipulated the shuttle's controls, "Very much...A lot more than I had expected."
"They're a fascinating race aren't they?"
"Yes ma'am, I mean...Admiral."
Kathryn chuckled, "I see that story about Commander Kim is still doing the rounds huh?"
Monroe smiled, "Yeah."
"So what did you get up to during the talks?"
Kathryn watched the young woman as she tried to respond. Ensign Louise Monroe was an exceptional officer who could have gone down any route in Starfleet. She'd graduated top of her year at the Academy, and had instantly had a plethora of Federation institutes clamouring to snap her up to become a doctor, or a physicist, or a strategist to name but a few options. But Monroe had always loved to pilot and was now one of Starfleet's most valued test pilots. Between test series she was required to ferry Federation Flag Officers to and from important engagements, this one being the monumental first meeting to discuss Romulan accession to the Federation.
Monroe's expression flashed between uncertainty and curiosity at the question. Kathryn regularly had to remind herself that officers unattached to starships had a totally different relationship with senior officers – They viewed every encounter with a Captain or an Admiral almost like an impromptu assessment.
"It isn't a test Louise, just a question," she smirked.
"Well...I did the usual tourist thing...viewed the Gardens of Tomalkek, took a cruise over the Apnex Sea, and viewed the falls of Gal Gath'thong."
"Are the falls as impressive as I've been told?"
Monroe nodded enthusiastically, "In a word...wow! They were magnificent...wish I'd taken a holo-imager with me, but I -"
Suddenly the shuttle was rocked by an explosion, and the front consoles exploded.
Kathryn ran to get a fire extinguisher.
"I....sensors read a Reman Scoutship...It must have been cloaked-"
They were hit by another blast from the scout's disruptors.
"Thrusters, weapons and inertial dampeners are offline!"
"The warp core?"
"There are microfractures in the injectors...we can't go to warp."
Kathryn nodded, the Remans had them trapped.
"They've reactivated their cloak...maybe they're retreating."
Now Kathryn shook her head, "No, they're watching us...seeing what we're going to do."
Kathryn reached forward, punching in a code at the Comm panel which was remarkably still working.
"This is Federation Admiral Kathryn Janeway of the Shuttlecraft Sato, we're under attack by a Reman Scoutship and require any and all assistance."
Kathryn closed off the communication, hoping in vain that their attackers had missed the message.
"Why are they attacking us?"
"They don't want to join the Federation...they're trying to get the Starfleet delegation to veto the Romulan application."
A console beeped.
"The Remans got your message Admiral," Monroe gulped.
"Shunt power to the shields, the Enterprise should have received our message...we just have to hold on for as long as we can."
"They're firing disruptors! The core's breaching-"
Kathryn awoke with a gasp in Voyager's brig. Feeling dizzy, she gulped down air as if it were a scarce commodity and focused on returning to the present. In an instant Michael Ayala appeared at the cell barrier.
"Are you alright? Do you want me to call Commander Paris?"
"No no Mike, I'm fine...just some bad dreams."
Kathryn slowly lay back down, breathing out to release some tension. She gripped the scratchy grey cushions of the brig's 'bed', trying to stop her hands from shaking, before wiping a sleeve across her brow, which was covered in cold sweat.
She glanced over at Mike, his face full of concern for just a second before he returned to his duties at the brig console.
Kathryn tried to will herself back to sleep. But then, she'd barely slept since Romulus...