|No More Lies
Well, we did it. A week ago, we gave Janeway what she wanted: permission to collect food and minerals from this planet to restock and refurbish Voyager so that the ship can take her crew towards home. What else could we do? Despite the fact that we were shocked by the way the Captain virtually demanded our co-operation, we weren't about to let our friends and former colleagues down because of her behaviour. Apart from anything else, that would have meant us lowering ourselves to her level. None of us were prepared to do that.
Janeway left the cabin almost as soon as we'd agreed to her 'requests', getting up from the table and heading out the door without a backwards glance. Which was just as well as it turned out, because if she'd seen my reaction as Harry whispered to me when he passed by, I'm sure the Ensign would have been in for some prolonged interrogation as to what he'd said that had managed to put such a look of surprise on my face. But, by the time I'd followed her outside, I had been able to regain my composure, and I know she suspected nothing.
Tom, on the other hand, took one look at me as I stepped out into the sunshine, and was immediately aware that something had happened. And he concluded that it had something to do with Harry. Deciding that whatever it was needed further investigation, he argued with Janeway that access to our friends should begin immediately. She wasn't entirely happy about acceding to his wishes, but eventually she gave in and allowed Harry to stay behind as she was transported back to Voyager, alone.
As soon as the Captain had gone, Tom found himself with his arms full of an exuberant Harry Kim, and the rest of us received the same attention from the Ensign shortly afterwards. He was completely overjoyed to see us and delighted that he could finally express his feelings freely, without any interference from Janeway. He assailed us with question after question, wanting to know everything that had happened to us in what he informed us had been the last fourteen months. We were happy to supply the answers, but managed to convince him that we should make ourselves comfortable on the terrace before we gave him the information he craved.
The warm, evening sun shone brightly, even though it was slowly edging its way towards the horizon and would disappear in just under two hours, the heat it provided bouncing up from the grey stones as we seated ourselves on large cushions that Gerron had brought from his cabin. Tom fetched some wood from the shed, banking up the fire so that he could cook a meal for us to enjoy later. (Just vegetable stew, but as Harry told us afterwards one of the best meals he'd had in ages.) Once settled, we began the task of answering everything that Harry asked us.
The Ensign's curiosity was almost boundless, and we were still talking as day gave way to night and the sky became dominated by our planet's large silver moon. Its arrival brought with it an occasional shriek or howl from a few of our nocturnal neighbours. Despite their noise, they are shy creatures that generally keep themselves to themselves and very rarely come into view, although, I have to admit some of the sounds they make can be quite startling. It took us quite a few moments to convince Harry that none of the animals or birds were as ferocious as they sounded. Sighing with relief, and having temporarily exhausted his supply of questions, he set about filling us in on everything that had happened on Voyager during the time we'd been away from her. Janeway had already mentioned the attacks they'd suffered and the damage the ship had sustained, but hadn't told us more than she'd considered necessary. Harry's account was far more detailed, although, even by the time he'd finished, I could see no reason for the message that B'Elanna had sent me via him.
I was puzzled. Had B'Elanna really meant to tell me what she had? Or had she forgotten what the words actually meant? After all, there had never been cause to use them before.
The message was one of many that a former colleague of ours in the Maquis had proposed we use as a way to secretly convey the status of various situations, and the possible outcomes of those situations. He had been a student of old Earth literature, and had picked out quotes from some of his favourite stories. I believe the one B'Elanna had used came from a tale about a fictional detective. (Sherlock Holmes, I think, although I'm ashamed to say I never did, and still don't, know the name of the specific story.)
I sat, lost in thought, the happy voices of my friends breaking through my musings from time to time as they laughed and joked with each other. Eventually, I came to a decision. As Harry hadn't made mention of it to anyone else, and as the excitement of the reunion had made Tom forget his suspicion that something was wrong, I thought it would be prudent to keep the message and its possible meaning to myself until I could clarify it with B'Elanna.
That opportunity presented itself three days later.
We had sought out the communications device that had originally been left with us - we hadn't needed it previously so it had been stowed in the back of the wood shed - and via that, Harry kept us up to date with both the ship's repairs and the comings and goings of Janeway's away teams.
The teams were being sent to places that the four of us, because of our limited means of transport, would never be able to get to; places that were great distances from our homes. I'm not sure how the areas were selected as the ship was still incapable of conducting planetwide scans at that point. Perhaps the land was surveyed by shuttle. I don't really know. What I think, though, is that the Captain picked these out-of-the-way places deliberately. I believe she was doing her best to limit her crew's contact with us; she saw this as a 'legitimate' way to renege on her agreement, and keep us from seeing our friends.
Whatever the reason, the result was that the crew were either involved in the supply missions or they were detailed to work on repairs to the ship, and that left little time for anyone to visit us. B'Elanna was exceptionally busy, and her workload prevented her from even speaking to us, let alone visiting us on the planet.
Finally, though, we heard from her.
Tom and I had just finished breakfast when she contacted us to say that she'd been given the day off and, within the hour, would be transporting down to the planet. She arrived barely thirty minutes later, and what she had to tell us left us completely shocked. She had to repeat her story twice before we could fully comprehend what she was saying.
Even now, four days later, I still find it hard to believe.
Can it really be true? Is it possible that Tuvok and the Doctor will reach the conclusion that everything seems to suggest they will? Do they have any other choice? Will Voyager soon have a new Captain? I hope to have the answers to all these questions very soon.
For now, all I can do is sit in my old quarters and wait.
The trial will be over shortly.
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