A Christmas Carol

Summary: On the night before Christmas Eve Kathryn Janeway is visited by three ghosts. Translation of my German fanfic "Ein Weihnachtslied in Prosa" and an Advent calendar-story.

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek, Paramount does.

AN: Again I'd like to thank my friend Bettina for helping me with the translation of this story – you are just great!

December, the 1st

Seska was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of her burial was signed by the Doctor and Tuvok. Captain Janeway signed it: and Janeway's name was good upon 'Change, for anything she chose to put her hand to, be it in the Alpha or the Delta Quadrant. Seska was as dead as a burnt out plasma coil.

Janeway knew she was dead? Of course she did.

How could it be otherwise? Janeway found Seska's lifeless body in her ready room and she, Tuvok and Neelix had been the only ones to attend the drear funeral on a godforsaken moon.

The mention of Seska's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Seska was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Marley died before "A Christmas Carol" began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his nightly appearance some Christmas Eve. Not more than any other gentleman of advanced years, who allowed himself a little prank on an old colleague after calling it a day.

When Kathryn Janeway thought of Seska, which was rare enough, it was not without some regret. With her sharp intellect and her ingenuity Seska would have been an asset to the crew of Voyager. But Seska had decided to use her skills in a most destructive manner and had thus finally torn herself to destruction and death.

Once upon a time – of all the good days in the year, on the day before Christmas Eve – Kathryn Janeway sat busy in her ready room and worked her way through a stack of reports. Formerly the Holiday Season had been Kathryn's favorite time of the year. But over the years, she had become more and more indifferent to Christmas, life as a Starfleet officer left little time for such sentimentality. And since Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant, the Christmas festivities had become a painful reminder to Kathryn that her crew should be really with their families at home in the Alpha Quadrant. Of course she had not banned Tom and Neelix the annual Christmas party, but personally she valued Prixin much more. Prixin was not biased by memories.

Kathryn groaned inwardly as the door alarm chirped, she knew exactly what was coming. And actually a radiant Neelix walked into her ready room.

"Captain, I'm here to let you know that the preparations for our annual Christmas party tomorrow are almost finished."

"Thank you, Mr. Neelix."

A cynical accountant in Kathryn's head began to calculate how many valuable resources they would probably waste for this celebration. The loss of working time, formal dresses, food, gifts, everything spent for this one evening... Of course Kathryn knew how important the celebration was for the morale of her crew and that it was the use of resources more than worth, but this didn't made the accountant to shut up.

"I hope you will attend?" Neelix asked meanwhile hopefully.

"I'm afraid not, Neelix," Kathryn said with more regret in her voice than she actually felt.

"But Captain, it is Christmas and as head of family, you really should ..."

"Neelix, I said no," Kathryn summoned sharper than intended. "There is a lot I have to do and I fear our enemies here in the Delta Quadrant, do not care about whether we celebrate Christmas."

Neelix looked sadly at her. "I understand, Captain, I'm sorry that I bothered you. If you change your mind, you know where the holo-deck can be found ... We would all be very happy ... especially Naomi ... we are planning to bake brownies."

Neelix retreated under the strict eye of his captain. Kathryn hissed angrily as the doors closed behind him. That he dared to mention Naomi Wildman. Especially this girl really deserved celebrating a proper Christmas; at home with her father and grandparents, not here in the Delta Quadrant, and certainly not with her mother's Captain as the highlight of the evening

Still annoyed Kathryn turned back to her console and delved back into her work. Until well after the end of her shift she processed the last report. Kathryn threw a last glance at the screen, but instead of the familiar logo of Starfleet for an instance she saw Seska's face grinning cheekily.

Kathryn shook her head. When she looked at the screen again, only the Starfleet logo was visible. It would be wrong to say that this phenomenon left Kathryn completely cold, but in her seven years in the Delta Quadrant, she had been through far too much to be impressed by such a little imagination.

"Humbug, you are revised, Janeway," she grumbled and made her way to her quarters. On her way she almost collided with Tom Paris. The pilot was smiling and whistled a Christmas song to himself. Fortunately a single look was all it took to silence him. Kathryn was not in the mood for Christmas carols.

Arriving in her quarters, Kathryn threw her uniform jacket on a chair and replicated herself a cup of broth. In this season, she could not even go to the mess hall. Not since Neelix had decorated it with fir and mistletoe and had programmed the audio processors to play the greatest classics of Christmas music permanently. Probably Tom Paris had helped him with the selection. This would explain the excess share of music of the 20th Century in any case. Kathryn was sure she would have to cry if she had to hear "Last Christmas" one more time.

A few more days and everything will be back to normal, she comforted herself as she climbed into her bed. Ideally she would sleep through the next days and just show up again when this madness would be over.