I suppose you could blame Tom Paris for this. I suppose he probably takes the blame for too much around here, but I know he likes the attention. So he probably enjoys the blame.
Not that I give a rat's ass what Tom Paris thinks or even what happens to him. Sure, we work together. Occasionally side-by-side; have done for the past five yearsat least on Voyager, anyway. But every time he gets a compliment... every time Janeway congratulates him on a job well done... all I can think of is how that bastard betrayed us. Chakotay and the rest of the crew.
It's probably true that I've learnt to hold a grudge for a long time; perhaps too long. The Cardassians left me no choice. Yes, it's emotional. Yes, it's a vendetta. It doesn't matter. Those who were murdered must be revenged. What nobler cause is there?
However, if there is one thing Paris can do, it's listen. He still hasn't got the 'keeping his mouth shut' part right, but he seems to pick up everything. News, rumours, interesting titbits.
Of course, what happened between Janeway and Chakotay was no secret titbitthe entire crew knew within five minutes.
She relieved him of command.
He was just trying to do his job, a job that she gave him! Of course she had to overreact and do something stupid.
I shared these thoughts with Tom which isn't as dumb as it sounds. Although I infrequently admire the man, he often agrees with a point I make, or at least he says he does.
His reaction was mixed. He's no counsellor and I'm honestly not sure if I expected him to be.
After a moment of silence he suggested that I turn to you, that perhaps this was the only way I could get everything I wanted to say out and say it right.
I told him that was bullshit.
He told me that it had worked for him. Not in these exact circumstances or even with the same person... but it had worked for him.
And then I was the stupid one... because I believed him.
So here I am. Me. Wondering quite what to do next.
Not exactly true, that one. I know what I have to do, and I will.
You and Dad had a fight.
I can imagine your response to reading that you two have nicknames; a moment or two of genuine amusement, then you realise the level of impropriety and decide that something has to be done to make it stop. Then you realise that you can't stop it because communities will always create these little things to make the days a little less mundane and as you have said more than once, you want this crew to be a family.
I occasionally wonder if you mean it.
I also imagine that a lot makes sense now. All those times you brushed by someone in the corridor or in the mess hall and they always seemed to be talking about their parents... it was you. When they'd suddenly freeze up when they realised you were there and you'd simply smile and probably wonder why they'd be embarrassed at you overhearing some old tale about how their parents used to flirt with each other.
I imagine you feel a bit silly, now.
Doesn't matter. I just thought it was time you knew. You do remind me of my mother, sometimes. She was always the dominant personality and while I only have faint memories of her, I learnt about her from my father. He could tell a great story.
That's really not what I'm trying to tell you.
You and Dad had a fight.
You did something awful.
Do you know how much consternation that caused? The two sides of our 'family' have often been at odds with each other, often taking opposing sides and views with some decision you made. This was one of the rare occasions where we all agreed. I know that 'our' side hasn't really caused that many problems, we've been pretty tame.
That was Dad's doing, of course. He told us to behave ourselves, that we had to be... nice. I hate that word. But we had followed him for years, served him for years. We would do this.
There was some troubleteething problems I suppose you could call them, and every now and then 'our' side of the family would get annoyed at something you had done... but nothing to this scale. Never to this scale.
Why am I writing exactly? To tell you a story. I understand that you like stories.
I have a good one for you.
Let's call it... The Story of Rudy Ransom.
Once upon a time... no, keep reading... there was a Starfleet Captain. A scientist at heart he nonetheless enjoyed the Captaincy he was given. Unfortunately he and his ship were thrown far, far away from their homeland and it would take them many decades to get back.
They started the journey back home immediately, but constantly found themselves outmatched by enemies with superior firepower. Many of his crew died, and he came to realise that he wouldn't be able to live by the same rules that he had lived by in his homeland.
Still, he tried. Tried to uphold the principles that he had believed in for many years. Yet when he and his crew were at their weakest... an opportunity arose... and he had no choice.
He had to do what had to be done. It may not have been easy, but he did it. He did it.
Well, that's the story. Not very long and I know I'm not an author, but I hope that you'll get something from it. I pray that you'll get something from it. A realisation, perhaps. A horrifying sense of deja vu, perhaps.
If you don't... then I guess all of this was worthless. But I made the effort. Dad made the effort. It took him a while but he did.
I think that's all I have to say for now. I hope that you read this and don't immediately delete it. I hope that you find something in it worth noticing.
I hope you understand how much we need this particular family argument settled. I know it's not easy, won't ever be easy.
It's simply something worth doing.
That's it then. The big problem now is deciding just how to send it. With my name attached, or anonymously?
I make my decision.
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