Chapter 6: Be Careful What you Wish For
Before Janeway could begin her duty as Captain on Voyager, she tried to see if she could user her influence to pardon Tom Paris from the Penal Colony in New Zealand. She went to the Head of Starfleet Security, and requested to have Tom Paris pardoned, and allowed to serve on her ship. The Head of Starfleet Security found it extremely odd why a captain would want a criminal on her crew. Janeway insisted, but ultimately, she heard the words, "I'm sorry Captain Janeway, Tom Paris is a criminal, a Maquis sympathizer, and has been expelled from Starfleet. He will never be permitted to set foot on a Federation ship again. I'm sorry Captain, but your request has been denied." Having heard this, Janeway's heart suddenly squeezed a little. She was the only one who knew how much potential Tom Paris had, and how he and B'Elanna would get together and get engaged, but here she was, having unilaterally once again made a decision, but this time, altered it in a way, that would for now, definitely bring no hope or joy for Tom Paris and especially her closest and dearest and best friend, Chakotay. Janeway had tried hard to justify and make excuses for not helping Chakotay. "He's a maquis. He fired on a federation runabout", etc, etc, but now, with Tom Paris also seemingly becoming yet another casualty of her decision, she was wondering if she really had been in error to wish to change history. "I am sure it will get better. There's a reason for this. Besides, had we not gotten stranded, its very likely Tom would not be allowed in Starfleet, and that Chakotay would be captured" she thought. But it didn't sit easily with her, as she knew this time, she was responsible for their misfortune.
Nearly 3 years passed. Janeway was still with Mark, but by this time, things had gotten stale. She no longer needed to long for him, or miss him, like she used to. Everything was seemingly perfect, until the news came. Commander Tuvok, Janeway's Chief of Security, entered her ready room, "Captain, I would like to regretfully inform you, that all the Maquis, and their colonies in the Demilitarized zone, have been destroyed by the new Cardassian allies, the Dominion." With this news, Janeway momentarily shattered. "You're dismissed Commander". But before Tuvok left the ready room, he had to ask "Captain, I notice when I mentioned the destruction of the Maquis, you suddenly felt guilty, as if you are responsible for this somehow and could have prevented it. Am I correct in assuming that this news has something to do with your temporal displacement, three years ago?" Tuvok asked. "Yes", replied Janeway. "You always know my mind. When we were stranded in the Delta Quadrant, we became more than just two crews struggling to get along, to survive long enough to get home. We grew accustomed to one another, and became dependent on each other. We became a family, one crew, one ship, determined to find a way home no matter what, while maintaining our Starfleet principles. But now, the Maquis who would have been alive, safe and sound on Voyager, are now dead." Janeway reluctantly had to admit. "Captain, the Maquis were criminals. They were enemies of the Federation. They would not have been killed, had they not chosen the terrorist lifestyle", Tuvok remarked. "But does it matter? They were terrorists Tuvok. But on Voyager, every one of them had a second chance. Even Lon Suder was able to redeem himself despite killing a crew member. But here, in the Alpha Quadrant, they did not get that chance. Somehow I can't stop myself from feeling responsible for this." Janeway sadly admitted. The Federation/Dominion war had only recently begun. The death of the Maquis had reached Deep Space Nine first due to its proximity to Cardassian space, but Voyager had only just received it at the onset of the war. Before Tuvok and Janeway could finish their conversation, they heard a loud bang and exploding conduits. "Captain, we are being attacked by a Jem'hadar fighter", said the ensign. Janeway and Tuvok hurriedly rushed to the bridge. As Janeway sat in her captains chair, and Tuvok manned his Security station, the Jem'Hadar fired another torpedo, and the resulting explosion killed yet another crew member. Janeway quickly asked, "Tuvok, fire photon torpedoes max yield, full spread, and I want a casualty report now" but Tuvok did not answer, "Tuvok, fire now" she yelled in distress. "Harry, take over weapons and fire", said Janeway quickly, but Harry Kim, did not answer either. Instead, another ensign, one who had recently joined Voyager and wasn't in the Delta Quadrant with Janeway, told her, "Captain, Commander Tuvok and Ensign Kim are dead. I will fire". Voyager was barely able to destroy the Jem'Hadar fighter and survive. Janeway went to Tuvok, and tried to save him, but it was too late. Ensign Kim was also dead, and could not be saved. She went to her ready room and sat down, morose, wondering which is worse, having to see her close and dear friend, and her favorite ensign be killed in a battle they shouldn't have been in, or occasionally whine about missing home, yet safe and sound, relatively speaking, in the delta quadrant. But before she could finish the thought, her monitor was ringing, with Admiral Paris on the line, "Captain, I am glad you managed to survive. I want you to go to Starbase 187 and rescue the survivors, Starbase 187 has been destroyed by the Dominion". Janeway shattered right there. Time suddenly stood still. "Starbase 187" she said to herself, "Chakotay was imprisoned there", she cried out loud in worry "Admiral, there were a few prisoners in the starbase, one of them Commander Chakotay, is he possible a survivor" she worryingly asked, desperately hoping to hear a yes, "I'm afraid there are no prisoners who survived. Only five people survived, three of them civilians, and two ensigns. I'm sorry. Paris Out." Janeway suddenly collapsed. She shed tears as quickly as the Niagara Falls on Earth flowed water down the cliff. This time, she didn't feel the hope she felt back in the Delta Quadrant. This time, it seemed there was no way to make things right. She had gotten her wish, a second chance, how could she get a third chance, and would it make sense? Would she now have to say "oops, sorry, I'd like to go back again to how it was in the Delta Quadrant?" She had made her choice, and now, all her closest friends who were like family to her, were dead. Chakotay, B'Elanna and the entire Maquis crew. She even thought of Seska's future child, who would never be born. Harry Kim also was dead, and Tom Paris, was once again sent to a Penal Colony this time for a longer stay, simply because he could not stay out of trouble since he had no hope left in his life. The worst part of it is, Janeway realized she had forgotten about Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One entirely. Without Voyager, Seven would continue to remain in the Collective, and never regain her humanity and individuality. Janeway couldn't stay in Starfleet any longer. She immediately decided to set a course for Earth, so she could resign from Starfleet. When she arrived, she was hoping to be comforted by Mark, only to find out that due to her constant long term absence, Mark was cheating on her as well, and no longer wanted to see her. The one and only reason why she wanted to be back was gone. Now, she was out of place, and out of time.