|No More Lies
It's dawn; the start of a new day. A day that sees our return to a life we never thought we'd have again: a life aboard Voyager.
For the past week, Greg, Gerron, Tom and I have been carefully packing up all our belongings. Our cabins are bare now; our treasured possessions have been transported to the quarters made ready for us on the ship.
It's been a time of great emotion for all of us.
Although there was never really any doubt that we would rejoin Voyager if we were asked to, we grew so accustomed to our life on this beautiful planet that all of us shed more than a few tears once we knew we had to leave.
But, leave we must. Our friends need our expertise to help them in their journey home; we can't let them down.
In the last six weeks, the ship has been fully repaired; there is no evidence left that she was ever attacked by the Gabadians. Food stores are filled to capacity and power supplies are at maximum. Even after the three weeks it will take us to rendezvous with Baytart's shuttle, there will be more than enough of everything to last until we are well away from this region of space.
After all that has happened recently, I'm greatly impressed by that fact.
Everything could so easily have fallen apart after Kathryn Janeway's disgrace, but Tuvok took over the position of Captain and handled the situation with incredible calm and efficiency. His level-headedness, and willingness to adapt, saved this ship. We are all in his debt for the stability that he restored to Voyager.
The actions he took, and the decisions he made, put an end to the tension and unrest that quickly built up when all the details of the trial became common knowledge. Before Tuvok stepped in and sorted things out, real trouble had been brewing.
No-one could understand how Janeway - whose position as Captain meant that she was duty-bound to protect everyone on board - could so callously use the most vulnerable person on the ship as a means to prevent an unwilling lover from leaving her.
Fortunately, Naomi is far too young to know about the part she unwittingly played in the 'drama', or to understand anything her mother went through.
Hopefully, Naomi will never know that the Captain threatened to put her off the ship if Samantha stepped out of line. She won't find out that her mother never wanted to be in a relationship with Janeway in the first place - that Samantha Wildman was coerced into the union after going to Kathryn for advice. Advice which led to a moment of unexpected comfort that she was later told would be used as evidence to bring charges against her unless she submitted to Janeway's will. Naomi will never know the misery her mother went through in the eighteen months that Janeway controlled their lives.
Yes, that's right: eighteen months. These sordid events began long before Davies and Lorat were charged and put off the ship.
And to think that at one time Tom thought Janeway was suffering from jealousy because I had chosen him as my lover instead of her! It wasn't jealousy that fuelled that woman, nor was it love - it was power-lust, pure and simple. She had to control *everything*: the ship, the crew's personal lives, even her own 'lovers'. And she believed that all her senior officers should be like her. Her attitude towards me at the time that Tom and I were formally charged was one of disdain; she didn't think I was a 'real man' because I valued love and truthfulness more highly than I valued my position as her First Officer. What strange ideas she held, and still holds.
But, let me get back to telling you about the aftermath of her trial.
When the crew found out about Janeway's actions regarding Sam and Naomi, Tuvok soon realised he had a serious problem on his hands. Even though she was under close guard in the brig, threats were constantly made against Janeway's life. And although it had originally been decided that she would be kept incarcerated, Tuvok acknowledged the fact that he wouldn't be able to guarantee her safety for the length of time it would take to reach the Alpha Quadrant. He made a decision: Janeway would have to leave the ship - immediately.
His decision didn't bother Janeway in the slightest, though - she had realised all along that she wouldn't be able to stay on board.
From the moment Tuvok had first approached her with the damning evidence he'd collected, she'd known she was going to lose everything. The trial turned out to be merely a formality as she didn't contest anything that was presented against her. She admitted her guilt from the outset, hoping, she told us later, to shorten the trial so that she could leave the ship as quickly as possible. (She hadn't known then that Tuvok and the Doctor weren't planning on giving her the option of leaving - that they'd agreed she should be kept in custody.)
The problem for Tuvok now was that Janeway couldn't be allowed down to the planet; her life would definitely have been at risk if she'd come into contact with any of the away teams that were still being deployed. His solution was to send her elsewhere.
Announcing his decision on the holodeck, he first told everyone that the rules regarding life on board were going to change. He stated that as a precedent had been set for disregarding regulations when deemed necessary for the good of the ship, the rule regarding same-sex relationships would also be set aside. The precedent he cited was the joining of the Maquis crew with Voyager's Starfleet crew.
I know that confused a few people at first, but once it was explained to them they were more than happy with Tuvok's insight.
He said that according to Starfleet's rules, the merger should never have happened. Anyone who has a criminal record or is suspected of criminal activity is precluded from even *applying* to join Starfleet. As the Maquis were all deemed to be wanted criminals, they shouldn't have been allowed to serve as Starfleet personnel on Voyager, no matter what the reason. He followed up by saying that the rule was ignored because we all had a much greater chance of returning to the Alpha Quadrant if we worked together rather than separately. This was still the case, he added, and although it wasn't his only consideration, it was one of the main reasons he had decided to ignore the 'same-sex' ruling; by dropping the regulation, much-missed and highly-skilled men could be welcomed back to the ship, and everyone would benefit from their return.
That led him to the topic of Janeway's fate.
A few days before, a ship using long-range scans had detected Voyager, and the vessel's Captain had spoken to Tuvok. The contact had been friendly but had ended once it was clear that neither side had anything they wanted to trade. The alien vessel had continued on its course, but as it was still within communications range the day Tuvok's problem with Janeway became apparent, he decided to contact them again.
The outcome of the renewed communications was that the alien Captain agreed to relay messages between Voyager and the governing body of Delkarvik Prime - a place we had visited over sixteen months earlier. Discussions had gone very well, and Tuvok announced to the crew assembled in the holodeck that he'd received permission for Janeway to be taken to that planet by shuttle. And that's why we will be rendezvousing with Baytart in three weeks time. He and two security officers departed with Janeway the day after the arrangement was made. We will be meeting the returning shuttle part way, as, according to the star charts they supplied, the safest route away from the Gabadian's territory entails a detour in that direction.
It will be a relief to have the shuttle and her crew back safely, and also the two other men who will be accompanying them. All of us are looking forward to seeing Davies and Lorat again. Tuvok said that the Delkarvikan government had managed to contact them for us, and the men were overjoyed that they were to be allowed back to Voyager.
I think by this point in the proceedings, the crew believed that Tuvok's announcements were at an end. But they were wrong. He still had one more important statement to make: his position as Captain would not be permanent. He would be relinquishing command the day before Voyager left orbit.
Yesterday was his last day as Captain.
Today, four men will again be officially recognised as members of Voyager's crew. One of them returns to his post as Senior Pilot, another will become Chief of Security (freeing Tuvok to concentrate solely on the job of First Officer), yet another will return to his previous rank of crewman. The last will take the position of Captain - a position he hasn't held since he was a Maquis 'rebel', and which he has never before held whilst serving with Starfleet. And in a few weeks, our ranks will swell again when Davies and Lorat return to take up *their* former positions.
It's been a time of great upheaval. But as I stand here hand in hand with Tom, waiting for us to be transported off this world for the very last time, I have to say that I'm very proud of this crew: they have weathered the storm well. When we are once more headed for the Alpha Quadrant, I hope that life will settle down into a comforting routine for them, and I shall try to ensure that everything returns to the way it used to be - with, of course, two important exceptions.
The first is that with regard to relationships there will never again be any necessity for a person to camouflage their true feelings because of the fear of reprisal. Everyone is free to love whoever they choose, regardless of gender.
And the second exception is that the crew can rest assured that their new Captain will never hide anything from them.
To both these ends, I've affixed a sign to my office door. Just six little words as a reminder of what happened, and a promise to everyone that nothing like the terrible situation we went through will ever happen again.
The sign reads: "No more secrets. No more Lies."
I think that says it all.