Badge of Honor

Disclaimer: No infringement intended. The characters don't belong to me. 

by Jot (July 2007)

Special thanks to Elem for the wonderful beta.
Setting: Delta Quadrant (A bit after "Workforce")
Disclaimer
: No copyright infringement is intended. I’m just having fun here.
Rating: PG13 (for language)


Morale was bad on USS Voyager. Of this, Captain Kathryn Janeway had no doubt.

Although their travels had been in mostly safe space over the past few months, the encounter with the Borg during the Unimatrix Zero incident had left the crew unsettled and sometimes anxious.

Their time on Quarra had been especially difficult for many people, herself included. Relationships had been made and broken. She knew that some of the crew had even considered staying on Quarra, despite how they’d come to be there.

Having her umpteenth coffee for the day, she pondered what could be done, while staring out at the passing stars.

#####

“Mr Tuvok?”

“Yes, Naomi? Do you have a question?”

“No, sir. I’ve completed my assignment.”

The Vulcan raised an eyebrow in that special way he only did for Naomi. Naomi could tell when Mr Tuvok was pleased with her and, except for Captain Janeway, he was the person she was most eager to please.

Tuvok reached across the table and took the padd offered by the girl.

“I will give you my evaluation at our next lesson, Naomi.” He glanced at the earnest young girl facing him. “We should discuss your next project.”

“Yes, sir.” She leaned slightly forward. “What is my next project?”

“I believe we are at a point, Naomi, where you should bring all the skills you have been developing to a final major work. Something that requires you to research, put certain events into context, evaluate information and make a recommendation or reach a conclusion. Do you understand?”

“I think so sir.” Naomi loved the way that Mr Tuvok spoke to her, like she wasn’t a child, but sometimes he used some words that she had to look up afterwards.

“I will construct some guidelines, but you will be responsible for choosing a subject and working through your report. Your access to the Starfleet database will be upgraded accordingly.”

“Wow.” Breathed a delighted Naomi. This meant she got to do a grown up report. At last. Wait till she told Mom!

#####

“Commander!”

Chakotay stopped walking and turned around to see Naomi approaching. Always pleased to see their youngest crew member, he smiled as she bustled up to him.

“Hello Naomi, how are you?”

“Great, Commander. Thank you.” She breathlessly replied. Naomi always seemed to be in a hurry. “Commander, can I ask you something. It’s official.” Her expression had changed to one that exuded all business.

“Of course, what can I do for you?”

“Well, Mr Tuvok has given me a report to do and I can pick what I want to do it about, as long as it’s Starfleet related.” She paused and gave him an earnest look. “I chose to make it about a great Starfleet person from history.”

“Sounds like a great theme. Have you chosen someone yet?”

“Yes sir. But I need help getting historical information from the database. Mr Tuvok said I have to follow all the protocols.”

Chakotay held back a grin. Naomi’s maturity and intelligence outstripped her age and all her tutors were finding it increasingly difficult to make her lessons challenging, yet informative and interesting. Tuvok had chosen an excellent topic. Naomi’s favorite subjects were all things Starfleet and Starfleet related. The ship’s database would be full of information about whoever she chose. And he was sure she’d choose James T Kirk, as he was the most famous and flamboyant personality Starfleet had ever produced.

“Okay, so what do you need?”

“Well, mainly historical information, career stuff and things like that. Everything else I was going to ask people.”

Ask people? Suddenly he had a bad feeling about this.

“Who’s your famous person, Naomi?”

“Captain Janeway.”

“But I thought you were going to do a historical report.”

“But the Captain was the captain since before I was born,” she said in a tone that indicated that Naomi thought that her choice was obvious “and she’s the most famous person I know.”

Chakotay was willing to bet that not even Tuvok could have seen this coming.

“Well, I think I’d better check with the Captain to make sure it’s acceptable for you to check through her service record.”

Actually, what he intended to do was to ask her in a general way. The more he thought about this, the more it had the potential to be very interesting.

“Yes, sir.” it was clear that Naomi believed this was just a formality, “Then I can start my research?”

“Of course, Naomi. I’ll check with the Captain this afternoon.”

#####

In the end, Chakotay decided to check through Janeway’s service record himself. He had never got around to it at the beginning of their journey, although he had fully intended to at the time.

Of course, at first, he hadn’t completely trusted his new captain, but as the weeks and months flew by, he had grown to admire and have faith her. Due to the series of attacks and difficulties Voyager had experienced in the first twelve months especially, he had just never got around to checking her details. Afterwards, when he had the time, he hadn't seen the point.

He let out a low whistle as he scrolled through her record. Her accomplishments were many and impressive. He’d always known that she was a good student, but her Academy results were outstanding.

Once she’d graduated, she’d quickly risen through the ranks and it was obvious that her ascent was not due in any part, to her father being an Admiral. She had done most things the hard way and had achieved all her promotions on merit. As she had told him years before, she had started in the science stream, her first assignment being with Admiral Paris on the Icarus.

Chakotay’s cup of tea sat untouched as he became enthralled with the details of Kathryn Janeway’s career.

Her first mission, on the Icarus, had almost ended in disaster. The young Ensign Janeway and Admiral Paris had been captured by the Cardassians. Chakotay shivered at the thought. Though rescued soon after capture, Ensign Janeway had been responsible for in turn rescuing one of the Rangers who had been sent to retrieve her, refusing to leave him behind. This had earned her her first of many decorations.

There followed a series of impressive accomplishments, only hindered by the deaths of both her father and fiancé. This event had almost ended her career, but she had, in typical Janeway style, recovered after that tragic episode.

She had changed to the command track on returning from dealing with the tragedy and had become the driven, yet extraordinary officer he now knew.

He would omit the more distressing and personal bits from the data that Naomi would access, but everything else he would allow her to view.

#####

Janeway to Paris.”

“Paris here, Captain.”

Tom, report to my ready room please.”

“On my way, Captain.”

Paris received the call in the mess hall. His wife gave him an accusatory glance.

“What have you done?”

“Nothing.” He considered. “Or, at least, nothing that I can remember.”

By the time he got to the Captain’s door, he was worried. He couldn’t imagine what he’d done but with morale so low, he hated to think that he’d even inadvertently let the Captain down. He straightened his jacket and smoothed down his hair and then let her know he was there.

The door opened and he was relieved to see Janeway on her sofa peering into space.

“Tom, come up here and sit down. I want to discuss some things with you.”

All sorts of disturbing thoughts flashed through his mind. Bad news from home? No that couldn’t be it. Something about B’Elanna maybe, or was it that he’d done something wrong. Was she considering a new pilot?

“Tom, please tell me that you don’t think I’m such a horrible person. You look like I’m about to order your execution.” He looked a little relieved but still braced for a blow. “I need help with something Tom, and you’re the first person I thought for the job.” He obviously needed more convincing. “Please, relax Tom. Wouldn’t you like a cup of tea or coffee before we get started?”

She could see the tension leave his body. Janeway made a mental note to herself that if nothing else, she really needed to lighten up, where appropriate, with her crew.

Handing him a coffee and sitting back down on the sofa, she smiled at him, again trying to put him at ease.

“OK, here’s my problem. Morale. Tom, it’s terrible.”

“Yes, I agree, and it’s been worse since Quarra.”

“Exactly. I need a diversion or something, but something that involves the whole crew.”

“Like a party?”

“I guess, but I’ve been trying to come up with something more participatory. But not in a mandatory type way. An event, for want of a better term, that everyone, regardless of who they are on board, will want to be a part of.”

“I can see your problem.”

“Yes, I knew you would. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with something, but it’s hard for me Tom. I think I’ve become too removed from the crew.”

“Well, I know that’s not true, if it were, you wouldn’t be so concerned now.” He replied in an off hand way, as if just stating an obvious truth and Janeway was touched by his confidence in her.

She reached out and touched his arm. “Thank you, Tom.” He just gave her the shy Paris smile.

“Okay, well,” he hurried on, trying to get past the emotional moment “given the type of thing you’re after, the first thought I had was ‘Christmas’.”

“Well, I did too, but it’s a bit Earth-centric, not to mention culturally specific. Christmas would be perfect, and as it’s only July…but I don’t think we can wait for five months.”

“But, what if we use the principle, not the religious or seasonal tradition, rather the ‘good will to all men’ thing?”

“Hmm, yes, I guess…but I don’t see…”

His face suddenly shone with inspiration.

“A Kris Kringle!”

“A what?”

“It’s a sort of secret gift giving thing. Everyone that wants to participate pulls another participant’s name out of a hat and they give that person a gift.”

“But how does it get everyone involved?”

“Well, if I know this crew, they’ll all be more than happy to give a gift to another crew member and then, they in turn will receive one as well.” He smiled. “This could work, Captain.”

“It’s a wonderful idea, Tom. I love it.” She smiled. “You’re not just a great pilot.”

He beamed at her approval.

“We’ll need to come up with a timetable. Maybe even a ‘theme’, you know, to get everyone anticipating it. Perhaps something that encourages a more personal gift…”

Tom.”

He laughed. “No ma’am, not that sort of personal. I mean, family kind of personal. It’s just a matter of developing the idea.”

Janeway could practically see the wheels turning inside his head.

“You know what I’d really like?”

“No ma’am.”

“I’d like it to really involve the senior staff in some way. Make us seem more accessible to the crew. I know everyone, but they don’t necessarily know me, if you see what I mean.”

“Yes, Captain, I get exactly what you mean.”

“I know I can’t be ‘best buds’ with the crew, but I don’t want them unwilling to approach me, or any other member of the senior staff for that matter, if they need help.” She looked at him candidly. “I’m sorry Tom. I think that’s what’s known in engineering terms as ‘scope creep’.”

He laughed.

“A bit. But I know what you mean. We’re a family, we should make sure no one is left out of the family.”

“That’s it exactly.” She put down her now empty coffee mug. “So what do you think? Can do?”

“Definitely ‘can do’ Captain. I’m even starting to look forward to this myself.”

“That’s the spirit, Tom.”

#####

“The preliminary scans are completed for the two star systems we will pass through in eight point three days.” Seven pointed to the monitor “This M class planet appears, at this distance, uninhabited and,” she bought up a different display, “the geological and chemical scans show high concentrations of several valuable minerals and elements of which we are in short supply.” Another image replaced the current one. “Also, it appears to have dense vegetation and may be a source of edible materials.”

“Any downsides that we can see?”

“Not as far as we can tell at this distance, Captain.” Harry added.

“Well, then, alter course towards this planet Mr Paris.” Turning towards her chief engineer she asked, “Can we make better speed, B’Elanna?”

“Not recommended, Captain. The food wasn’t the biggest loss in the attack. As you know, our dilithium matrix is tending towards unstable. I’d rather not push it with supplies so low.”

Voyager was still mopping up after an unprovoked attack by an unknown ship a few weeks before. The mystery ship had inflicted quite a bit of damage before suddenly breaking off its strike and moving away at high speed. Chakotay suggested that they’d been a victim of mistaken identity and when the culprits realized their error, they'd left. The captain tended to agree with him. They hadn’t seen any sign of the attackers since.

Janeway nodded at her Chief Engineer. “Agreed. Nothing else, anyone? Dismissed.” She motioned to Tuvok and Chakotay. “Commanders, could you both stay please?”

They waited while the rest of the staff left the room.

“Well?”

“I think it’s almost too good to be true, but it looks like just what we need.” Said Chakotay. “But having said that, nothing appears to warrant undue suspicion. We just need to use standard precautions, I think.”

Tuvok nodded at the first officer’s comment. “I would, of course, recommend that we extensively scan the planet beforehand Captain. Otherwise, I have no further suggestions.”

“Excellent, thank you, gentlemen.”

The trio made their way back to the bridge. Chakotay and Tuvok returned to their stations, the captain not bothering to sit in her chair.

#####

“Mr Paris, my ready room, please. You have the bridge, Chakotay.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Tom followed Janeway. When the doors closed, she motioned the couch.

“I think this planet would be the perfect location for our event, Tom. Do you think it’s too late to get the Kris Kringle organized in a week?”

“No, I think a week is fine. How do we use the planet though?”

“We land the ship.”

“You’re kidding?”

“Nope. We make absolutely certain that it’s not inhabited, we send preliminary teams in to make sure it’s got all the minerals and foodstuffs we need, and then, if it all checks out, we land and let the crew kick back for a couple of days.”

“That would be fantastic.”

“I’ve already discussed it with Tuvok and Chakotay and they agree with you.” She laughed. “Our proposed site at this stage is a fairly temperate location with a beach nearby. It won’t be a white Christmas, actually it won’t be Christmas at all, but at least everyone won’t have to replicate extra clothing. Except maybe a swim suit.”

“This is going to be great. I’ve had a few ideas about getting the senior staff involved, as you requested. Can you give me another day or two on it, Captain?”

“Of course, but we’ll need to get the names to everyone for the gift exchange as soon as we can.”

“Yes, ma’am, I’ll send those out this afternoon, after shift.”

“Did we get everyone?” She was almost frightened to ask.

“That’s the best part, Captain. One hundred percent participation.”

“Damn, but I love this crew.”