|No More Lies
The sun has almost set, the last crimson rays just sneaking through the lower branches of the trees to reflect off the river's surface and turn the water a deep blood-red. The first stars start to show themselves. In the quickly-darkening sky, the tiny spots of light seem to glow more and more brightly as the sun slips closer to the horizon. Before long, their light will be all that's left to keep the blackness from enveloping us completely.
Today was hot, and I can feel the residual warmth rising from the ground beneath me. Chakotay is at my side, stretched out on the sun-baked earth, his arms wound tightly around me as we lie close to the riverbank. There's a peacefulness here; it surrounds and relaxes us, soothing our bodies and minds for the stressful days which we know are ahead. Closing my eyes, I snuggle closer to the warmth of my lover's body and let my mind drift back over everything that's happened since Voyager reappeared in our lives.
It's been a very unsettling time.
We had all been resigned to spending the rest of our lives on this planet, with just each other for company. We relied on each other, helped each other; we were all we had. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever expect to be visited by Kathryn Janeway and Harry Kim. To see them standing on the bank when Chakotay and I returned from our trip upriver, came as an incredible shock.
As it turned out, though, subsequent events were even more astonishing.
After Janeway had done her best to find a way around our agreement, and was able to limit our contact with her crew, the fact that B'Elanna was allowed to see us came as quite a surprise. She'd been given a day off at the Doc's insistence, arriving one morning just a short while after we'd finished breakfast. After she'd been hugged by all of us, I provided her with a hot drink that we're all partial to: a sweet-smelling brew made from a variety of tangy fruits and delicately-flavoured herbs that we collected on our travels. Settling herself in her chair, cup in hand, Voyager's Chief Engineer began to relate an amazing tale.
By the time she'd finished her account, I was completely stunned.
Although I trust B'Elanna in every respect, and even though she repeated her story more than once, I have to admit that it wasn't until the trial was announced that I fully believed what she'd told us. It just seemed too preposterous: Kathryn Janeway involved in a sexual relationship with a woman? After the way she'd set six men off her ship for engaging in same-sex relationships, I thought the notion was absurd. And for her to be involved with someone for whom I care a great deal made the situation even harder for me to accept.
I finally *did* accept it when the trial went ahead.
Tuvok, who, due to the ship being understaffed, was Janeway's First Officer as well as her Chief of Security, had gathered enough evidence to be able to bring charges against her. The Captain was immediately relieved of command, pending the outcome of the subsequent trial.
I think, by that point, we had all decided that Janeway *had* to be guilty of breaking the very regulation that she, herself, had so stringently enforced, otherwise things just wouldn't have progressed as far as they had. And we were proven correct: a guilty verdict was returned.
What we didn't expect, though, was for her to be found guilty of a further offence - something even worse: Blackmail.
The details didn't come out straight away. It was only when people began to question why charges hadn't been brought against the woman with whom Janeway had had a relationship, that the complete truth came to light.
B'Elanna informed us that when she first approached Tuvok with what she'd seen in the observation lounge, (ironically, the same room where Chakotay and I had begun our relationship) a niggling thought told her she was doing the same thing that others had done to Davies and Lorat: she was passing on information about something that should never be an offence. But the underlying outrage she felt about Janeway's apparent hypocrisy overruled any other consideration. In her opinion, one with which we all agree, the Captain's 'do as I say and not as I do' stance needed to be exposed. What *really* bothered B'Elanna, though, was the identity of the other woman involved. And the fact that someone who was totally innocent could be caught up in any punishment that would be meted out should there be a 'guilty' verdict.
Fortunately, Tuvok was aware of that possibility, too. Rather than act immediately, he decided to investigate further. He kept tabs on the whereabouts of the Captain and her lover, acquiring both visual and audio recordings of their encounters over the next few days. And it was through these means that he found enough evidence to dismiss any thoughts of bringing charges against anyone other than the Captain.
Even after the trial and the announcement of Janeway's guilt, Tuvok did his best to keep the other woman's name quiet. He'd hoped that he could spare her from becoming a subject of gossip and speculation but, as is usually the way, everything quickly became known.
Every single person on Voyager was disgusted with what they found out, and Tuvok had a hell of a time keeping Janeway safe from people who were intent on retribution. It was this situation which led to him calling a general meeting far earlier than he had intended.
At 1600 hours, less than a day after the trial had ended in Janeway's disgrace, virtually every member of Voyager's crew assembled in holodeck one. A skeleton crew still manned essential systems, but no-one missed out on what was to be an incredible series of announcements as everything was relayed to them at their work stations. Greg, Gerron, Chakotay and I were also invited to be present in the holodeck, and we listened carefully to all that Tuvok had to say.
At the end of the acting Captain's speech, there was complete and utter silence. Everyone was well aware that life on Voyager would never be the same again.
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