No More Secrets
Part Four

B'Elanna's POV

Six months, and I *still* can't believe they're gone. Why the hell did Janeway insist on enforcing the rules so strictly? Because of her inflexibility, we lost our First Officer and Senior Pilot. Not to mention four other valuable members of our crew. We can never replace them. Personally, I think Janeway's more than just a little crazy!

I don't think she took Chakotay seriously when he said he was leaving. I think she believed his 'sense of duty' would keep him on board. She was wrong. She'd forgotten just how passionate about certain things he could be. And he was obviously passionate in his feelings for Tom.

I know the relationship between Chakotay and Tom came as quite a surprise, but so what? They carried out their duties efficiently. They risked their lives, frequently. But it meant nothing - Janeway still treated them like shit! Who, in their right mind, allows six good men to leave because they don't conform to Starfleet's idea of what's 'normal'? A crazy woman, that's who!

Here we are, stuck in the Delta Quadrant on a ship that's already understaffed, and she dispenses with six vital crew members! Now, tell me that's the action of a sane person. You can't, can you? Because it isn't.

If only we hadn't promised Chakotay that we wouldn't cause trouble. If only we could tell Janeway *exactly* where she can stick her beloved regulations.

The thing is, we haven't just lost good officers, we've lost good friends; members of our 'family'. At least, I *thought* we were a family. I thought Janeway saw herself as a sort of 'mother figure'. She's turned out to be more like the wicked stepmother from some of those old Earth stories I've heard.

All she's ever concerned with, is sticking to the rules. She doesn't give a damn about how those rules actually affect people's lives. And I'm not talking just about the six men who were forced to leave. I'm talking about their colleagues who are still on this ship.

Take Harry, for example. Tom was his best friend. He was devastated when he found out that Tom was leaving. He's been subdued ever since. He has other acquaintances, I know, but he no longer has anyone who he feels he can confide in. He's not the same person any more. That ridiculous regulation affected more people than Janeway will ever realise. You see, it's had a sort of 'knock-on' effect.

Because Harry has changed, the way he treats other people has changed. They, in turn, are affected by this, and so it continues. It's like a huge chain wending its way throughout the ship. Each person is linked to the next, and each is affected by the mood of the people around them. And the mood isn't good.

Neelix has tried so hard to raise morale, but it's an uphill struggle. How *can* he raise the crew's morale, when his own is at an all-time low? He misses Tom almost as much as Harry does. He misses Chakotay, too. And Ayala and Geron, and Davies and Lorat.

Neelix has always tried to take care of everyone. They haven't always appreciated his efforts, but, still, he's tried. He was good friends with all six men, and their departures hit him hard. He really *does* feel as though he's lost a big part of his family. But, he's just one casualty among many, I'm afraid.

The problem is, it's hard for people to just forget about those who left. They can't. Especially when we get into a bit of a scrape. It's always 'Tom would have got the ship away faster' or 'Chakotay would have known what to do', or some such phrase. And, nine times out of ten, they're right. Tom *was* our best pilot; he *could* get us out of the trickiest positions with his skilful flying. And Chakotay was a very knowledgeable and capable First Officer; his quick thinking saved us on numerous occasions.

But, no more. They've both gone. Left behind, six months ago, on an uninhabited planet in the middle of the Delta Quadrant. It's just not right! How the hell Janeway manages to sleep at night, is beyond my comprehension. If we ever make it back to the Alpha Quadrant, I wonder how she'll explain her actions to six families that will never see their sons, brothers or whatever, again? How does she justify her actions to *herself*? Oh yes, I know, 'It was just regulations'!

Well, d'you know what *I* think about rules and regulations? They were made to be broken! And that's what we did before we left our friends behind. Despite Janeway's ruling that the men were only allowed one shelter and the bare minimum of supplies, they ended up with much, much more.

Harry and I collected rations from well over half the crew. We used them to replicate a variety of basic tools, blankets and medicines. Then, we covertly transported them down to the planet's surface. We covered our tracks well; Janeway is still none the wiser.

I just hope our efforts have helped, in some small way, to make our friends' new lives easier. And perhaps, when they snuggle together under one of the blankets, they might sometimes think of us.

They are in our thoughts constantly. We'll never forget them.

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