Not mine... not even a little bit
Captain Janeway stood in front of her chair looking around her bridge. It had been a long week. There had been five attacks on the ship, and the crew was exhausted. This had been the first time in a week that she'd been able to actually sit down and read any of the data PADDS that the crew kept turning in to her. She sighed as she sat down next to her aging first officer.
It was odd, really. She hadn't noticed that the crew was getting older until here recently. Of course, she was aware of the passing years, but she still saw everyone in her mind's eye. It wasn't until the last attack on the ship when Harry Kim had been injured that she'd really started to take notice. After everything had gotten back under control, she had gone to sickbay to see if he was going to fully recover from the console explosion. That was another thing about this ship. The consoles were always exploding for no reason. She'd talked to B'Elanna about it along with some others, but no one seemed to have a reasonable explanation as to why it happened. Chakotay had suggested it was the Great Spirits way of keeping the ship's population down to manageable levels. It was probably the most unintelligent remark he had ever made. However, whatever the reason, it hadn't helped Harry out when one of his consoles exploded and threw him half way across the bridge. After checking with the Doctor, she'd gone to Harry's side to give him some reassurance. It was then, while he was resting, that she noticed gray hair along his temples. Harry was only 27, she knew, but there it was, gray hair.
After that, she began to take notice of the age and appearance of her crew. She'd realized that the past seven years had taken a heavy toll on Voyager's crew not only mentally but also physically. Now, she was keenly aware that time was slipping away from her like a predator waiting for the kill. She'd once heard another captain say that he thought of time as a companion that went along with one as they traveled along their life's path. She'd really appreciated that remark, but it seemed so inappropriate to her crew's situation now. Time was no longer on her side, and she wondered what he would have to say about it now if he were stuck here in the Delta Quadrant with his crew instead of her with hers.
"Captain?" Chakotay's voice brought Captain Janeway out of her deep meditation.
Janeway shifted in her chair. "Yes, Commander?"
"You look tired. Maybe you should go try and get some rest." Janeway's look told him that there was no way this was going to be easy. "The ship is under repairs. There don't appear to be any hostile aliens around. Everything is under control here. There's no reason for you to exhaust yourself anymore. I'll contact you in two hours to give you an update on the ship's progress. I promise."
"Something tells me that the crew is on your side, Commander."
"Indeed, Captain," Tuvok took the opportunity to put in his two cents. "It would be wise for you to rest. A ship must have an alert and healthy Captain, of which you cannot be if you are sleep deprived." She noticed that he never seemed to age. He looked exactly as he did the day she first saw him. The day he'd told her what a bad Captain she was in the area of tactical and security of her ship. He was so arrogant, but, even though she knew better now, he still looked the same.
Janeway threw her hands up. "Ok, you win, but let it be known that this could be considered mutiny. I'll be in my quarters. You have the bridge, Commander."
Kathryn noticed that she had really become obsessed with notion of age and time as she watched the water fill her bathtub. Her godson, Q, had grown in the blink of an eye, but would he stop after he looked around the age of 40, or did he just choose to look the age of 18, 19 just so she could adjust to the idea that he was grown but not completely? She shut the water off. She'd always loved this type of bathtub because the water never cooled off. There was a heater of sorts that kept the water the temperature that one wanted. It was nice, but she often fell asleep there because of that fact. At home, when the water turned cold, it would either wake her up or force her to get out of the tub, but she much preferred this tub to that one anyway.
She was in the process of getting undressed when her door sounded. She sighed and cussed a bit while she pulled on her terrycloth robe. She called for the intruder to enter her domain.
"Captain, I am sorry for the interruption in your rest cycle. However, I require your assistance."
Seven, she should have known. That woman had a knack for catching her at inopportune times, much like Commander Tuvok. Kathryn noticed that Seven, too, didn't seem to age. She could see the age there behind her eyes somewhere in the depths of her half Borg / half human soul, but physically there were no signs. Janeway must have been staring.
"Captain? Is there a problem with my appearance?"
"No, Seven, I was just thinking about something. I'm sorry. I suppose I'm just so tired that my mind has begun to wander off on it's own accord. I don't want to seem rude, but can this wait until later? I was just about to take a bath."
Seven looked her up and down, then raised an eyebrow. "Yes, I can see that." She shifted uncomfortably. "Perhaps I can come back at a later time." She turned to leave but changed her mind. "May I make a suggestion, Captain?"
"Perhaps some Calgon would help to alleviate some of your physical stress."
"Yes, it is a twentieth century product that Lt. Paris introduced to Lt. Torres. She has much praise for the product. I believe she said that only a message could do a better of job."
"Yes." Seven paused in that way that indicates that she's trying to find the right words for whatever she is thinking. Most of the time, these types of statements don't come out the correct way, and she never seems able to correct the problems. Janeway always enjoyed watching Seven try to mend her mistakes. She liked to watch her squirm every now and then. Her Borg confidence always bothered Janeway. "Unless you prefer a message instead of a bath?"
Seven blushed as soon as the words were out of her mouth as she realized the innuendo that was in the statement.
Janeway chuckled. "Although that's an interesting prospect, Seven, I think I'll have to pass on the offer until another time."
Seven's voice cracked. "As you wish, Captain."
"I'll see you tomorrow, Seven, goodnight."
Seven nodded and left Kathryn's quarters. There was another thing she knew the crew talked about, her love life. She didn't really understand why that was so interesting to them. After all, it wasn't interesting to her. Who was she kidding, there was nothing there to be interested in. She knew Paris had a pool going to see who it would be. The last time she checked, Chakotay's chances with her were going down, but Seven's were going up. They'd all shit a brick if they knew that Seven and Chakotay were involved with each other. Of course, with her luck, the crew would probably start thinking about a triad. Now, there's an interesting thought.
Of course, there were also some underground workings that swore she was a dominatrix. How they came to that conclusion was anyone's guess. Where would she find the time? Besides, she didn't really like the idea of pain. She had enough of that when she wasn't trying. Why would she want to try for it?
Kathryn slid down into the very welcoming warm water of her safe haven. It had been almost four months since Q had popped in to implore her to help him with his wayward son. Frankly, it was the son that needed help with his wayward father, but that was all history now.
History, Janeway wondered if Voyager would become a living legend or something in the bowels of the past. If she couldn't get this crew home, there would always be a fascination with the ship, it's crew, and it's captain. What happened to them? Where did they wind up? Did they give up? Was it all a conspiracy conjured up by Starfleet to get rid of the two prime officers whose families were know for excellence - a way to bring in a new hero aristocracy to term? Kathryn had to laugh aloud at that thought. Her father was well known for his starship designs, and Tom's father was a living legend in his own right, but she doubted that their children were that much of a threat. Although, no one ever really knows what the future will bring. She could one day grow up to be a famous captain like Picard or Admiral like Paris, as could Tom.
Grow up? Had she actually thought that? She was gown and aging by the day. Time was catching up with her like it was everyone else on the ship; she just didn't want to accept that fact. She pulled herself out of the tub and toweled off. Reaching for her robe, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and stopped short. She hadn't realized that she had lost that much weight. Further still, she hadn't realized that none of it had been from her chest. She rolled her eyes as she stood up straight. That was all she needed was to give Seven competition. As far as she was concerned, the Borg Barbie could have all that attention, she didn't want it. But, thinking about it, Kathryn realized that, if not for her uniform, she would do well in contest with the blonde. Kathryn leaned forward to inspect her face. There were definitely lines forming on her forehead and around her eyes, but not much of a laugh line. Of course, she didn't laugh much anymore either. The Doctor should be able to take care of the wrinkles, but it just seemed such a futile fight. She decided to leave them alone. However, she did notice that she still hadn't any gray among the auburn of her hair. That was good thing. She really didn't want to fight the gray, and she had finally come to terms with her unruly hair. She liked it now, and she knew that there were members of her crew who worshiped it. As a matter of fact, she was almost positive that somewhere onboard Voyager there was a cult dedicated to her. Frankly, it creeped her out, but it was also somewhat flattering. As she understood it, it was a mock cult, something to pass the time and share ideas about various institutions that she had established on the ship, so she hadn't done anything about it when Tuvok had brought it to her attention. There was just something nice about knowing you are called the Auburn Queen. It's good for one's morale.
"Chakotay to the captain." Janeway sighed and began to dress as she acknowledged the page.
"Go ahead Commander."
"Just calling in to report that everything is going smoothly, Captain."
"Thank you, Commander. That was very thoughtful of you."
"Anytime Captain. Have you rested at all, or do I need to call the Doctor to go and give you a sedative?" There was a mocking tone in his voice.
"No, Commander, I managed just fine on my own this time, thank you." She rolled her eyes. "I am going to the Mess Hall."
"You're actually going to eat something without us forcing you to? Who are you, and what have you done with our captain?" She could hear the laughter of the bridge crew in the background.
"Very funny, Commander. I just decided that it might be time to do something about myself. I look like a sickly."
"Well, I don't know about that, Captain . . . " Paris interrupted. "You look more like an hourglass to me." There was a distinctive thud as, Kathryn assumed, B'Elanna hit Paris with something. There was more background laughter.
"You're too kind, Lt." 'Chalk one up to the Paris/Janeway affair parts of the crew talk about happening,' Janeway thought, 'Who cares that he's happily married to B'Elanna. Wait, I see another triad forming.' She rolled her eyes again. "I'll be on the bridge shortly."
"Understood, Chakotay out."
Kathryn Janeway chucked to herself as she walked out of her quarters toward the mess hall. Time was catching up to them and everyone was aging in one way or another, but, while time allows, she was going to seize the day instead of just taking each day as it came. Tomorrow, she decided, she was going to see the Doctor about those wrinkles. Then, maybe, she'd look into some holodeck time to go to Fair Haven, or, maybe, she'd check out that holodeck program one of the Ensigns had illegally brought on board. It had a Barrows woman in it and, she understood, people often left limping or injured, but always with a certain look in their eye. Of course, she wasn't suppose to know about it, but the program was obviously a danger. As Captain, it was her duty to make sure it wasn't too much of a danger and, after all, it had to be investigated, right?