Kashyk wanders the corridors of the good ship Voyager and comes across something interesting. Spoilers for 'Fair Haven'.
Disclaimer - Paramount own them, I guess.
The ship is quiet.
It still hums with its own energies, its own powers. What's missing is the vibrancy of life. The knowledge that you know that if you turn a corner you could well bump into someone you know; someone you'd loved, worked with, someone whose life you've saved.
I really can't imagine what it would be like to know someone that well. To be in such a relatively confined space with them for so long and to not have killed them because of some annoying habit.
There is no life here.
Certainly, elsewhere on the ship there are engineers and scientists who are working on cracking every encryption code and security protocol to give us full access to the ships capabilities. But there is no one wandering the decks as I am. The initial search has long been completed; once we have the ship properly running we will take it back to the Imperium where the decision on whether to use the ship in our forces or strip it for parts will be made.
How ironic that she should be caught by another Inspector.
He welcomed me aboard eagerly when I requested it and there was something about the way he did. Something...there had never been any official report of my 'loss' of Voyager, but I think he knows. He looked a little too self-satisfied. There is a great deal of competition between Inspectors.
Of course if he knows, the implication is that everyone knows and if that's true I wonder why my superiors have never mentioned it. True, I have made certain contacts and could blackmail certain officers if I ever needed to or the feeling took me, but that's not the point. They don't know what I know about them.
Or perhaps they do. Perhaps they know more than I give them credit for.
I do not go to her quarters; I have seen them before at great detail and from various angles. I know that nothing will have changed.
I go to his, briefly. The bed is still unmade, no doubt a result of the klaxons going off when he was asleep.
I wonder if she has ever slept there. I wonder if she has ever fucked there.
My journey continues.
I remember doing this the last time I was onboard, except she was with me, walking me back to my quarters. I remember that there were security guards following us. I remember that she almost came into my quarters with me, but a glance at the guard reminded her of who she was and the reputation she had to uphold.
So she came to me, invisibly, that same night.
I am still not entirely sure how she entered my quarters. I was too distracted to ask her.
I arrive somewhere she spoke of occasionally; a place she wanted us to visit together but were never able to.
My curiousity is piqued. The idea of this technology is fascinating. We have nothing like it on Devore.
I speak to the computer, and decide that I have to change that droning feminine tone at some point. I ask for the programme she has used most frequently and walk in.
According to the sign, it is a place called 'Fair Haven'. I ask the computer for more information. Apparently it is a fictional town, set in the real country of Ireland during Earth's 19th Century. History. Perhaps I will like this.
It is extremely realistic. I can feel the wind in my hair, the sun on my face. People who aren't real wish me good tidings and I give them in return, smirking that no one finds my outfit or my physiology out of place. Yes, I can see why she likes it here. Probably dresses for the part.
Four-legged, short, white animals run by, being herded by a man with a large hook of some kind. An unpleasant smell goes with them, and I consider for a moment that this programme may be a little too realistic.
I pause next to a woman with a flower cart and ask her where the best place for a drink is. She ignores my question, promptly introduces herself as Maggie O'Halloran, and then holds out her hand in obvious invitation. In obvious invitation of what, I am uncertain. I'm not familiar with all of the human customs, especially from the 19th Century. Shrugging, I touch her hand with my own for a brief second.
Looking disappointed she turns away and despondently informs me that "the place just over there, up the stairs is very charming" as she fusses with one of her flower holders. I thank her, and move away.
Her definition of charm varies greatly from mine, but I suppose it is rather appealing. It is not particularly busy; clearly not the most popular time of day to go for a drink.
I earn a few stares when I walk in but they quickly look away, finding nothing amiss. I approach what I assume is the server.
"What can I get you?" He asks in the same quality of voice Maggie O'Halloran used that I am not familiar with.
Considering my options, I smile. "Do you have coffee?"
"Of course I have coffee," he retorts, as if the very idea that he wouldn't have coffee is ridiculous.
As he moves off to get it, I start to wonder... "Do you know Kathryn?"
The cup he has picked up drops to the floor. The low murmur of chatter that I hadn't noticed before suddenly vanishes.
Obviously struggling for control, he turns back to face me. "You know Katie?"
Katie. Katie? The thought of Kathryn Janeway having a nickname amuses me. "Yes. Very well, in fact."
Jealously flares on his features and for a moment I forget that he isn't real. A few gasps are heard from the observers.
"Well, where is she man?!" He demands, more aggressive than I suspected. His hand slaps down on the counter. "I've been looking for her everywhere!"
"I can't help you there," I respond, which is almost the truth. "How do you know...Katie?" How difficult it is to say that without laughing.
The observers suddenly resume their conversations.
This man who isn't real looks uncertain. "Katie and me...we're in love. At least I thought we were."
It is impossible to keep the scepticism out of my voice. "Really?" I retort. Using him for sex, completely understandable. Using him for pleasure, completely understandable. Using him for fun, completely understandable. But love? Why would a woman as amazing as her need to turn to a hologram for love?
I know her reasons, her justifications. I've seen and heard every one even though she has never said a word about them. I also know that, somewhere, she knows she's just as full of bullshit as the rest of us.
I pause the programme as he starts looking angry again. I order for everything to be removed except for him, and soon it's just me, him, and the bare walls of the holodeck. At another order the computer removes his clothes, and I study his body.
He is average. Nothing particularly notable, but nothing particularly disappointing. Why would she become involved with him?
I consider going to see her at the relocation centre, but decide against it.
I will bring Prax here. He will find it silently amusing and inform me that "this explains everything about human women." His words will be clipped and unemotional, but he will feel that he is making me feel better, and for that alone I will.
I will bring Prax here, and do with him what I want to. He will do as he is instructed and tell himself that he is only doing it out of duty and not because he enjoys it.
I will bring Prax here, and perhaps this time he will talk back to me. It will make things interesting.
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