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She couldn't believe it. They had defeated the Borg, the Hirogen, Species 8472 and countless others...to be stopped by this?
"Surely you must understand the uniqueness of our situation." She pleaded, desperate for them to understand.
The tall, rather officious man sitting opposite from her adjusted the antique glasses he insisted on wearing. "Believe me Captain Janeway, I am extremely aware of your unique situation. I have not been able to read a single news report from the last three weeks without being made aware of your 'unique situation'." He stated the phrase with far more distaste than she thought was appropriate. But she soldiered on.
"Surely you can make an exception, this once? We just want to see our friends and family, to celebrate our return home."
He sighed, looking half-heartedly between her and the PADD he held in his hand. "If it were really up to me Captain...I'd be more than happy to get rid of you. But since the incident with..." he licked his lips and - again - spoke with distaste "that Troi woman, our rules have been tightened. If the original item cannot be returned within the specified time then restitution must be made."
Kathryn nearly growled. "And just where do you expect me to get that amount of credits from? The Delta Quadrant was hardly a place to develop finances."
"I don't create the rules Ms Janeway. I just follow them. I suggest you try to do so next time."
"It wasn't my fault! It was only supposed to be a two week mission - at most! We were following the Maquis ship to locate my security officer-"
"So you're saying the fault really lies with the Maquis Captain?"
She held up a hand. "No. You're twist-"
He ignored her. "We suspected this might be the case." Pressing a button on the console at his desk, he looked over towards the entrance where Chakotay was inelegantly shoved through.
Landing roughly on the floor he pulled himself to his feet and glared at the door. "No thanks. I can manage by myself."
The sound of her voice grabbed his attention. "Kathryn?" Rushing to her side it was all he could do to stop himself from holding her. "How are you? They wouldn't tell me anything about you."
"I'm fine," she reassured him. "Although more than a little annoyed with the red tape."
He grunted and rose an eyebrow in the direction of the other occupant of the room. "I heard."
The man with the glasses spoke. "Chakotay, former member of Starfleet and the Maquis, do you accept responsibility for the loss of item #4278?"
Her eyes went wide. "Are you mad? Do you have any idea how much-"
"I will not be quiet," she huffed, glaring at him. "It's not anyone's fault. Just because it got incinerated during that Hirogen attack-"
"Very well," the man with the glasses said "payment of the credits will be expected within three days. If no payment has been received during that time you and your ship mates will be incarcerated. Until that time you are free to move about the compound, but do not leave the immediate area." Standing with PADD in hand, he adjusted his glasses one last time and smiled. "Thank you for using-"
"Stow it," Kathryn ordered and watched as he left the room. Shaking her head she turned back to Chakotay. "I am never using that library again."
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