Even Starfleet Captains Get the Blues

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Summary: Janeway suffers a karma crash.

EVEN STARFLEET CAPTAINS GET THE BLUES (PG-13)

Stardate XX0131.1 — It didn’t matter whatever the hell year it
was; the date came every single “year”, either on Earth or Vulcan
or wherever they were now in the Delta Quadrant. Kathryn Janeway
swore to herself that *this* time it would be different… no
memories; no tears; no hurt. But, for the sixteenth time in her
life, here it was again — the anniversary of the day when her
father and Justin had died… that nightmare of her waking hours;
that reality that she would rather have as a fleeting dream. It
did *not* get any easier; time was not the great healer it was
proffered to be.

She lay in her bed, willing herself the courage to get up. Her
body was leaden; her muscles morose.

“Lights,” she said.

Nothing.

“Lights,” she repeated, louder.

Nothing.

*Comm badge…* she thought as she fumbled for its familiar shape
on her nightstand. Her fingers found it, only to have it skitter
over the table’s smooth surface and fall to the floor.”

“Damn,” she said aloud, much louder than was necessary for her to
hear all by herself.

She swung out of the bed, and fell to her hands and knees, hoping
that the cold metallic brooch would jump to her. The faint gleam
of light leant by the stars was muted by the shadow of her bed.
She felt her temper rapidly escalating as she crawled around on
the bristly carpet.

Finally, her fingers came in contact with the communicating
device. She let out a sigh as she hit it. She was sitting on
the floor, and in turn, leaned back against her bed.

“Engineering, this is Captain Janeway. The lights in my quarters
are inactive. Status?”

A timid voice came from the other end, responding to an unusual
harshness of Janeway’s voice.

“Um… good morning, Captain. I’m sorry, but we’re having
difficulty with the lighting on your deck. It seems that there
was an energy surge that… um… interrupted service on that
level. We’re working on it as fast as we can.”

“So that means that I can’t use the shower or my computer or open
my doors or…” — the true horror hit her! — “…or replicate
any coffee?”

The poor ravaged ensign on the other end gulped. “No, ma’am.
Er… we’re hoping that it will be… um… only a few more
minutes. Sorry for the… inconvenience.”

Janeway took a couple of deep breaths. No use taking out her
personal frustrations on someone trying to do his job.

“All right, Ensign. Keep me informed.”

“Yes, ma’am,” came back the pathetic voice.

*I might as well go back to bed,* she thought, as she rose and
turned to resume a safe place. But, as she turned, she stubbed
her toe on the bedframe. As the toe hit, she knew that there
would be the momentarily lag before the pain synapses processed
from her foot to her brain. The apprehension of the coming pain
was as bad as the reality of the stabbing pang when it hit.
Score another negative point for the day.

And then the pain hit. It was just as bad as she had imagined it
would be; there would definately be a bruise from this one!

She managed to crawl back into bed. Maybe this was best — to
allow sombulence to act as Morpheus, allowing her to drift into a
protective non-existence. Her eyes closed and she quickly lost
consciousness with the real world.

But peace was to be denied her, even under the protection of her
covers. Her REM movements quickly were following a blonde Borg
form from a year past: Riley Frazier was right there before her
eyes, in direct physical contact with Voyager’s first officer!
Forget the neural link… forget the hands touching… the images
floating before her eyes provided her with more facts than
Chakotay’s report ever had… and the exercises that she saw them
going through would never make it in a Starfleet physical fitness
manual!

Her eyes abruptly opened, her mind still caught up in the
impressions from the dream. Now… why would those memories
become foremost in her mind? Horrified, she realized that she
was perspiring and shaking. This was… idiotic! Why would
these images and extrapolated recollections affect her so?

A “breep” from her comm badge fully awoke her.

“Captain, this is Ensign Forbes. We have re-established the
energy links on your deck.”

She took a long inhale. “Thank you, Ensign. Good work!”

She could hear his sigh of relief on the other end of the
communication.

Once more, she attempted a start of the day. This time, she was
fully cognizant of exactly where her feet were leading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Janeway’s appearance on the bridge was not one of her most
stellar entrances. This was not a good day.

Her shorter hair was easier to keep in the long run, but was
always prone to the whims of the goddess of tresses. The goddess
was not smiling on her today; her hair had decided it had a mind
of its own, and was sticking out at peculiar angles all the way
around. In addition, as she finished her last sip of coffee, the
mug had sprung to life and jumped away from her mouth, allowing
the tepid brown liquid to stain the front of her uniform. She
only had time to try some cold water on it; but the water was not
enough, so there were the tell-tale outlines of mis-sipped coffee
on her turtleneck and tunic. Oh, well…

She had just taken her seat, when Chakotay spoke.

“Captain, I hate to bother you with this so early in the day, but
we have had another problem with Torres and Seven.”

She sighed. It *was* going to be one of “those days”….

“What is it now?”

“Well, it seems that Seven took it upon herself to remodulate a
rarely used subspace frequency to try a new scanning technique
without Lt. Torres’ approval. And B’Elanna had just decided to
use the very same frequency as a transmitting channel for a new
ship to shuttle relay. The two functions went out into place at
the same time and…”

“…And we lost power on my deck,” said Janeway, realizing now
how the little episode occurred. “All right. Maybe we should
get the two of them together to discuss a chain of command.”

“Oh… I think they’ve already handled it themselves. It’s a
wonder you didn’t hear the… um… *discussion* even behind
your closed doors! Fortunately, neither one of them was
injured…” the first officer was trying to contain laughter.
“Harry was the one who finally broke them up, and he’s the one
who had to report to sickbay.”

Janeway’s face awoke with horror. “They attacked Harry?” she
asked, incredulously.

Now Chakotay really was laughing.

“Not exactly. You see, he stepped inbetween them and had calmed
them down, when he slipped on a PADD that had been dropped on the
floor and he fell on his… um… rear end… quite hard. People
say they heard a “crack” as he landed.”

“Poor Harry! Where is he now?”

“Well, Doc patched him up, but suggested he go to his quarters
and take it easy for a few hours. I figured that you would
understand.”

The captain sank her chin into the hand of her propped up arm and
said, “I guess I’m not the only one having a karma crash today.”

“Karma crash?” Chakotay asked. “What’s that?”

“It’s when all of the forces in the universe decide to have a
some fun at the expense of one poor being, and cause a little
black cloud to hover over that person for awhile, raining
misfortune down in a steady stream. It’s not major disasters
that destroy you… it’s just all of the little ones, like a weak
acid slowly eating away at your existence.”

He smirked, as he reached over to smooth her hair. “I guess that
explains this…” he grinned, while trying to subdue the stray
locks.

She shrugged him away, and glared at him with eyes like a laser.
“You weren’t supposed to notice…”

“That you look like a Ktarian dervish? All right; I don’t see
anything,” he said, still smiling, but nonetheless withdrawing,
and grateful that he still had a hand.

Their conversation was abruptly cut short by the sounds of
klaxons and the computer’s announcement: “Code red, deck two;
code red, deck two.”

Tuvok was hurriedly pinpointing the exact location of the
announced fire, even as security personnel were scurrying to the
indicated site. Janeway had raced over to his station at the
sound of the alarm. As she rounded the two steps to the upper
level, she solidly banged her left elbow on the railing, sending
sharp signals of shooting pains yet again to her brain. She let
out a grumbled Klingon curse.

The security officer looked at her with a reproving face at her
expletive, and continued, stating calmly, “Captain, it seems that
Mr. Neelix has forgotten an item in his stove, and it has…
um… gone up in smoke. The area has been secured and there does
not appear to be any damage or injury… except to Mr. Neelix’s
reputation and the food dish in question.”

Janeway sighed with relief, as she was rubbing the insulted
elbow.

“Well, thank goodness for that. I guess that’s one less gourmet
treat for lunch today,” she said smiling through her grimace.
“Thank you, Mr. Tuvok.”

She looked over at Chakotay, who was trying *very* hard to remain
serious; but, as usual, his dancing eyes and pinpoint dimples
gave him away.

“Want to trade places, Commander?” she asked with a barbed tone.

“No, ma’am. It’s just that… well, this is a side that I don’t
that I’ve ever seen of you. I think I remember an old term…
‘klutz’… yes, that’s it. When nothing goes right…”

She sat down in her chair. “Your time will come, mister… and I
won’t let you forget this,” she said with icy eyes that belied
the playfulness in which her words were spoken. “Now… where
were we?”

Her chain of thought was disturbed by her comm, just as the first
officer had started to speak.

“Captain, this is Tom Paris. I… I *really* need to see you
down here in sickbay.”

“Tom, can it wait a few minutes? We’re just getting back to
normal here on the bridge.”

“Er… no, ma’am. I think you’d better come now. And…” his
voice was taking on a panicked sound, “… maybe you should bring
the Commander, too.”

Janeway and Chakotay’s eyes met with a path of trepidation
joining them.

“We’re on our way, Tom,” she answered, even as they made their
way to the turbolift.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The doors to sickbay zipped open, with the two senior officers
practically on a run. They were met by a very distraught Tom
Paris, who was pacing back and forth and nervously pulling his
fingers through his hair. Janeway scanned the large room, empty
of human forms except for Tom.

“Where’s the Doctor?” she inquired.

“Um…er… that’s the problem,” said the worried young man. “I
sort of… well, I kind of… oh, what the hell… I DELETED HIS
PROGRAM!” His face, as well as his hands and hair, was twisted in
morbid misery.

Chakotay took the few steps separating him and his perinneal
problem child.

“You *what*?” he barked.

Janeway jumped between them. “Now, now… I doubt that you have
deleted him; after all, there *are* safeguards against such an
accident. Calm down, Tom, and tell us what happened.” She led
him over to one of the biobeds, and sat him down.

“Well, we were working on downloading some data from the medscan,
and he decided that he wanted to copy the data to his personal
files as well as the mainline computer. Things were going well
until he decided that the information was a replication of some
that he already had stored. So… he asked me to erase the
information that we just loaded. I hit the “delete” mode, not
realizing that it was still locked onto his main program, and
just as he screamed at me… I mean, alerted me to the problem, I
had activated a “yes” to its question of ‘do you really want to
erase this file’? And then, he disappeared.”

“Surely we have a back-up program,” Janeway said pleadingly to
Chakotay.

“Yes, but it won’t have his most current info,” the commander
said. “Tom, I have an idea. It’s *very* old fashioned, but it
just might work.”

The young man’s eyes looked hopeful for the first time since
their arrival.

“Anything!” he pled.

“Hit the , and buttons simultaneously. This is
an old way of rebooting computers. Perhaps it will re-install
the doctor.”

Tom’s fingers flew to the computer, searching for the selected
keys. He hit them; nothing.

“Again,” Chakotay said patiently.

Nothing.

“Again,” the long-suffering man said.

And… with the third attempt, there was an electrification of
the air, as the Doctor’s stern face appeared and asked, “What is
the nature of the med… Mr. Paris! How dare you shut me down,”
the irate hologram said as he now quickly moved across the
distance between him and his designated assistant.

The captain stepped in to save anymore altercations on the ship
that day.

“Doctor, I’m sure that Tom meant you no harm. And we have you
back now, so please let’s not waste any more time on this little
incident.”

Her tone became more stern as she looked at and spoke to the
medcorpsman aka helmsman.

“Mr. Paris, I want a full report about this incident on my desk
in one hour. Understood?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said sheepishly, as he hopped off the bed, to a
position of full military attention.

She lowered her head and closed her eyes, shaking her head as if
that would erase *her* memory of the whole incident. With her
eyes shut, she failed to see Chakotay in front of her, and she
ran head first into him. He turned quickly to check to see if
she were all right, and, in doing so, he swung his arm around…
and, with full force, his large hand hit her left eye.

She let out a yelp, and jumped back, her hand instinctively going
for the injured sight organ.

Chakotay grabbed her protectively by the shoulders. “Oh my
god… Kathryn, I’m *so* sorry! Are you all right? I didn’t
know you were so close… oh, no…”

She brushed him away, just wanting to be rid of *any* more solid
objects around her. “I’m fine, Commander; please… just let me
be.”

He was obviously stung by her brusque words, but knew that there
was nothing more he could do.

The EMH was quickly by her side. “Here, Captain; let me quickly
stabilize any capillaries that may have been broken…”

She waved him off, also, not wanting to tempt the fates that were
not exactly smiling on her today. “I’m fine, Doctor. Let me just
leave and get back to my job.”

And she stormed out of the medical facility, leaving the three
startled men in her wake.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chakotay couldn’t catch up with Kathryn; she made it to the
turbolift and was in place on the bridge for three minutes before
he showed up. She glared at him, arms crossed, as he stepped off
the lift and swiftly walked to join her.

He leaned in towards her, whispering in her ear, “I’m sorry,
Kathryn; truly, I am.”

She let out breath that she had been holding, allowing her arms
to drop as she relaxed her body.

“I know. This isn’t anyone’s fault… it’s just… a bad day.”
She reached up to her eye, which was starting to throb. “Maybe I
should have the doctor check this,” she said, wincing as her
fingers touched the tender area.

He leaned towards her to examine the area on her face. She could
tell by his facial contortions that there was a noticeable change
to her appearance.

“All right… how bad is it?” she asked.

“Just don’t tell anyone who gave you a black eye,” he smirked.

“Oh no…” she groaned.

“Oh yes…” he smiled.

Her comm alerted her to a message from engineering. It was
Ensign Ednew, with a request to see the captain about the new
data chips that she had been developing for astrometrics.

“Please… yes, come right now, Ensign. I could use some good
news,” Janeway said.

Within five minutes, the short, stocky woman from engineering
appeared, carrying a small polynephrane box containing the
miniature pieces.

The blonde woman said hopefully to Janeway, “Captain, I think
that you will like the versatility of these disks. May I show
you how they work? I can use an access port at Mr. Kim’s
station.”

“Let’s do it,” said Janeway, as they made their way to the bridge
operations station.

Ednew balanced the open box on the rail by the station and
stretched awkwardly to her side to pick up a disk while she was
looking at the calibrations being run on the panel in front of
her. Janeway saw it happen a split second too late to save the
action… the box and its contents fell, dispeling the tiny chips
all over the area.

Ednew and Janeway started scrambling after the metallic circles,
which seemed to be finding hiding areas quicker than they could
follow them. The two women were stooped over, stalking their
scattering prey. The captain reached in an unwieldy position to
gather up three of the little sneaky devils… and felt a cold
breeze almost as soon as she heard the sound…

R..I..P… the back seam of her trousers went. Completely.
Back to center front. The delicate shade of beige of her
underwear suddenly appeared as a distinct contrast to the black
of her uniform. She let out an involuntary cry of alarm, as she
quickly stood up and reached a hand behind her, trying to cover
the exposed area. Ensign Ednew, still gathering up the strewn
chips, looked up and felt what little reserve she had left
disappear.

And it was only 0954.

“Oh, Captain…” she cried running over to Janeway, “I’m so
sorry… I shouldn’t have let this happen… I’m so sorry…”
Tears were forming in the woman’s eyes as she watched her
commanding officer’s embarrassment appear. “Please… I can mend
them for you.”

“And that you will, Ensign. My ready room… now.”

With salvaged dignity, Janeway headed towards her office,
followed by the dismal engineer, who knew she’d never make
lieutenant after this…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The repair job to the captain’s uniform had been completed; the
restoration of her decorum was another story.

The coffee in her pot was tepid and flavorless, but it had to
make do. Janeway downed yet another cup, wondering if she dared
venture outside of her office. She answered curtly when the buzz
at her door notified her of — probably — yet another accident
waiting to happen.

“Come.”

The door opened to Chakotay, who approached her with his hands
raised and extended.

“Just wanted you to know where my hands were,” he chuckled.

She shook her head. Her eye hurt; her toe ached. She just
wanted to be left alone.

He walked over to her.

“I think I know what will resolve your… what did you call
it?… karma crash? Here…” and he walked over to her, and
tenderly wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close.

“Hugs solve a lot of problems,” he grinned at her.

She tentatively leaned the side of her face against his shoulder,
feeling the tension dissolve somewhat. They shared a brief
moment of peaceful silence.

“Do you want to talk?” he asked quietly.

She looked up at him, startled. “Wha… what do you mean?”

“Captain, I’m in charge of personnel on this ship. I’ve read
your dossier; I know about key events in your life, especially
events that have affected your Starfleet career. Now… I
repeat… do you want to talk?”

She backed off from him and vehemently shook her head.

“I’ve talked about this enough for one lifetime. Actually, for
several lifetimes. It’s just that… it still hurts. No, I
don’t want to talk.”

She looked at him. His face looked as if she had struck him. And
then she started to smile.

“But I’ll tell you what I *do* want… and that’s another one of
those hugs. That one *did* seem to make things feel a little bit
better.”

A radiant smile reappeared on his face, as he walked over to her
and once more embraced her.

“Then, let me give you just as many as you need to help you
forget all the hurt… even this,” he said, as he ever-so-lightly
kissed her swollen eye and cheek.

Kathryn sighed, lost in the comfort of his arms.

“Commander, you might just have found yourself a new duty
assignment.”

He looked at her, brushing the still-stray hair out of her face.

“The things I have to go through to please my captain,” he
grinned.

She sank further into his arms.

“Tell me, Commander; do you mind working overtime?”

“Only if the pay is right,” he beamed back.

“I think we could work something out,” she responded.

The old images were fading, even as new ones formed in her mind;
in the future, this might not be such a bad anniversary to
remember!

************ A Hug a Day Keeps the Blues Away! ************

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