Author's notes: This is a semi-short story about angst, longing, dreams, and second chances, and takes place after Message in a Bottle in an alternate universe where the Voyager crew was not able to alert Starfleet of their presence in the Delta Quadrant. But to be more specific, this takes place shortly after Counterpoint, and you will understand why, when you read it.
Please do review it. The story isn't too long, chapters are neatly written. I'd like some reviews for my first story. It will take 20 minutes or less to finish :). And its Complete.
Chapter 1: Unbearable Longing
It has been nearly five years since the Voyager crew became stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Most of the crew had been forced to accept the fact that they would perhaps never make it back home, to Earth, or other Alpha Quadrant planets near the Federation. But perhaps no one dreamed and longed for home, as much as Harry Kim, Operations Officer and Bridge officer of the USS-Voyager, an Intrepid Class Starship, that perhaps became a little too intrepid, for its namesake. As much as Harry may seem to be most in pain, no one can truly even begin to realize who is truly suffering most, and yet hiding it so well. Captain Kathryn Janeway, one of Starfleet's finest female captains. Unlike other crew members, who are free to intermingle, and are not responsible for any actions taken on Voyager that affect the whole crew, Janeway however, is and was responsible for stranding the crew in the Delta Quadrant. Sometimes she's hopeful and confident that she will find a way home quickly. But other times, especially when she barely manages to escape certain destruction of her ship and her crew by hostile aliens, she tells her First Officer, Chakotay, "the bridge is yours", so she can quickly sneak in to her quarters, and contemplate whether this time, she will truly allow herself to completely bawl on the floor and cry tears held back for years, and simply give up and inform the entire crew that she's no longer fit for command, or if she should just hold on a little longer.
This time Janeway was truly straddling on the edge. She had just encountered a peculiar alien from the Devore Imperium, a humanoid named Kashyk, Inspector of the Devore Imperium. His job was simple, to send any telepaths in Devore space to internment camps. Janeway had recently taken a liking to him. After nearly five years in the Delta Quadrant, away from her dear lover Mark, she had just barely allowed herself to engage in romance, despite heavily feeling shameful and guilty about betraying Mark. But logically, it only seemed rational, considering the distance between her and Mark. The issue with Janeway is that she is the captain. Captain's do not mingle with their subordinates, much less female captains. This was yet another fact that both gave Janeway the strength to carry herself forward with strength and fearlessness, but also at the same time, when she was alone, at the end of her shift, it would tear into her as well, because when she would get in bed, alone, she would realize just how lonely she not only was, but was perhaps doomed to be all her life. She had been thinking of having children with Mark just before her mission to the Badlands, so being stuck in the Delta Quadrant for nearly five years, only seemed to make it more apparent that her time and biological clock was ticking ever so quickly.
Kashyk came as a surprise for Janeway. The experience with the Sikarians, with the Romulan from the past, with the Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant, and with the alien Arturis, who tried to trick Janeway and her crew, had made Janeway extremely suspicious of everyone, even if the issue wasn't just about a shortcut home. The aliens had proven to be devious and deceptive when it came to a shortcut home, but Kashyk, wasn't on Voyager to offer a way home, he was there because he was supposedly "defecting", and had a "conscience" for the telepaths that he was sentencing to life in internment camps. However, Kashyk was on board offering help, to find a wormhole, which would give Janeway and the refugee telepaths on board, a shortcut out of Devore space, and this just seemed too suspicious once again. But Janeway was tired of constantly being suspicious, and Kashyk had taken certain actions such as allowing the Voyager crew to detect Devore ships, and bypass their sensor nets, which somewhat eased Janeway's suspicions. Janeway had allowed herself to fall for Kashyk, and eased her suspicions to a minimum, but not totally to zero. Unfortunately for her, once again, Janeway was betrayed.
Maybe it was the fact that Voyager had almost been seized and the crew sentenced to prison by the Devore, or maybe, Janeway had been betrayed, hurt, or disappointed one time too many. Or maybe, Voyager had gotten out of mortal danger once again, for the hundredth time, barely escaping certain destruction, yet again, but this time, today, on stardate 52399.9, or May 26, 2375, at twenty-three hundred hours, exactly 4 years and 1 month since they got stranded in the God-forsaken Delta Quadrant with all its mostly hostile or pleasant yet deceptive species, Janeway had enough.
As soon as she walked in, tears started flowing in her eyes. She went near her mirror, and looked at herself, and whispered to herself, "I can't believe I allowed this to happen to my life. What was I thinking? Who was I to make such a decision that would strand myself and my entire crew, 70 years away from the Federation, for a species I had barely met for a few hours." As she said this, the captain part of her subconscious was urging her to forget these "intrusive" thoughts, as it would potentially make her far too depressed to be the leader Voyager would require, for a long time. But she allowed herself to be honest with herself. As she got to bed, she began thinking of life, before being stuck in the Delta Quadrant. She remembered her dates with mark, their dog, and her intimate times with her lover. "I miss you so much", whispered Janeway, thinking of Mark. "I wish so much that I could simply sleep, and wake up suddenly with you, before having gotten into this mess, to be with you, and to see our dog's pups" she tearfully and quietly whispered. Janeway would jump from moment to moment, highlight to highlight of her relationship with Mark, and life before being stranded. She was suffering unbearably, and it didn't help matters that she would have to wake up again the next day, and act as if nothing was wrong, and provide comfort and strength to her crew, both of which, she really no longer had in abundance any longer. Even Tuvok, her long-time and dear friend, suspected this. As Janeway was falling asleep, she begged to whomever or whatever may be listening, whether God, or Gods, or angels, or some unknown entities curious about her predicament, she silently begged, "I just wish I could get a second chance to do everything right this time. I have been suffering now, far too long. I am not certain if I will be able to captain voyager effectively, nor keep the crew and ship in one piece. I made a mistake four years ago, I have learned from my mistake and learned my lesson now, dozens, perhaps hundreds of times over. What good is learning from mistakes, if I can't get a second chance to correct my mistakes, to show that I have learned from them and can make the correct choices now based on my previous experiences and mistakes?" she questioned whomever or whatever may have or have not been listening. She wasn't religious, as humanity had moved beyond religion or superstition at this point, yet she had learned to be spiritual from Chakotay, and her speaking this way eased her suffering somewhat. Her final thoughts before she slept, was to think of being next to Mark again, and she whispered, "I wish we could see each other again, one more time", and she soundly fell asleep.