TITLE: Enigma

AUTHOR: Sally

RATING: PG

SUMMARY: Kathryn Janeway's thoughts after Chakotay asks a key question in Parallax. DISCLAIMER: Not mine, 'nuff said.

"Would you have served under me?"

The question echoes in my head, even though I answered it back in engineering. Only I didn't answer it directly, of course. I hid behind my status and stated that I didn't need to give a reply. I could hear his laughter even as we went out separate ways outside of the department.

But the question still lingers.

It was one that could be taken either way. In the few days I have known my first officer I have realised that not everything he says should be taken at face value. Underneath that strange façade of his, which is complicated enough, there is a court jester looking to escape. The eyes give it away, or, in this case, the tone of his voice.

He was not asking if I would have been his first officer on the Maquis vessel. That much I am certain.

The phrase "serving under" has suddenly taken on an entirely different meaning. And it is not a meaning I care for my crew to know.

He is attractive of course; even I who have a fiancé I might never see again know that. And on the Maquis ship, where there had not appeared to be as enforced a structure as on Voyager, it seemed that anything might have went. Including moral standards.

Once again I am glad we are on Voyager. It seems selfish but I had not asked this man to sacrifice his ship for me. I don't know how things might have ended had he not set a collision course but it would have been well within his rights to get his people away from there. I don't know that the Kazon would have noticed one small ship when they were focusing so much on Voyager.

But he didn't. He chose instead to give his support to us. Its strange, he adheres so much to Starfleet principles but then he tells me he won't be my "token Maquis officer." The fact is he makes it difficult for me to label him either Starfleet or Maquis.

It's his personality I suppose. One moment he can be the calmest person I know and the next he can be fired up, enraged over some small action. When I think how at odds we were over our choices for the chief engineering position, and now that its over with he asks me a question like this.

We've been in the delta quadrant for a week. One week and seventy years remaining. If I even get close to figuring this man out during that time I'll be doing well.

FINIS