Part 13

The Mess Hall was nearly deserted. The word had yet to spread, probably, that power had been restored and Neelix was cooking something that tasted marginally better than the rations. A week of eating supplies meant for stranded away teams and Neelix's cooking was more than welcome. At this point, Jenny Delaney would normally have inserted some relatively obnoxious remark about how wonderful it was that Tom Paris was no longer involved in food preparation.

But it wouldn't have been funny in the least.

Instead, she and Megan sat in silence in one of the few intact chair and table sets. It appeared that to the Maquis-or some cornered Starfleet crew-chair and table legs made excellent bludgeoning devices, once broken off. Jenny categorically refused to think about the scene that she might have found here during the Maquis mutiny, but she could tell by the way that Megan's eyes wandered aimlessly around the room that was exactly what Megan was doing.

Megan's arm was firmly folded around her side, where one of the Maquis had struck her with some nasty exploding device. It was long healed, by Samantha Wildman of all people. It could have been Ken Dalby who inflicted it in the first place, but Megan didn't remember and Jenny hadn't gotten there fast enough to see her attacker.

The decision Jenny had made next was the reason it was so wonderful to be alone is the Mess Hall, without the aggressive stares, hateful glances, and spiteful whispered remarks.

They weren't hiding from the rest of the crew, but it was nice to find refuge from them. Okay, maybe they were hiding, but it was really hard to get any work done with the knowledge that someone nearby seemed to be inclined to shove her down the nearest Jefferies Tube hatch. Here, Neelix didn't seem to know what had occurred, and didn't care to ask why her single pip was missing.

Because Captain Janeway had ripped it off.

Except for that, her sister's trauma so recent in her memory, and the demolished condition of the Mess Hall, it might have been a normal day having lunch-more like dinner, now-at a time when there wasn't much traffic.

Except that on a normal day they'd be bitching to each other about their days-specifically the Maquis and how much they hated them.

Now, the mere memory of those conversations induced chills. As did the encounters with Chakotay. Running into Torres-jeez, *mere* days before the mutiny.

It was frightening to think how unaware they'd been.

It was more frightening and disgusting to think about how unaware Captain Janeway had been.

And from the tone she'd used while berating Jenny and the others who had avoided the violence, it was clear that the Captain thought she bore no blame whatsoever.

Although unwilling to get herself in deeper trouble by informing the Captain that she was indeed culpable, she hadn't been able to keep from glaring at her during the demotion.

She hadn't been able to keep from crying, either.

At least Megan was considered to have been involuntarily removed from Voyager, and therefore hadn't been regarded a deserter.

Yes, having been bleeding heavily enough to lose consciousness, Megan hadn't been able to have an opinion on whether or not she wanted to stick around to see if they could be target practice for more Maquis who were in fact very skilled as it was.

Captain Janeway may have distinguished that they were two different people, but as far as the rest of the crew was concerned at the moment, they were one and the same and they were both traitors. The fact that Megan retained her single pip was of unimportance.

No matter what Janeway did to Jenny in the long run-and at worst it seemed to be limited to permanent confinement to the Brig or her quarters-she didn't and wouldn't regret launching in the escape pod.

Jenny could still feel her sister's blood flowing over her arms as it had when she'd held her in the escape pod.

As long as she only felt it as a memory and Megan sat beside her.

The door to the Mess Hall slid open, loud against the silence.

With her back to the door, Jenny had to judge from the expression on Megan's face. Her sister's eyes slid to the doorway, face tense.

Fleeing the ship and then to be found shirking the work would do well to piss off anyone who didn't already hate her.

Megan's face relaxed fractionally. Jenny glanced over her shoulder to see for herself.

The Mess Hall door slid shut behind Harry Kim. Harry was holding a bundled up blanket to his chest. He stopped only steps inside, probably as stunned by the damage as Jenny had been.

He started walking again, shifting the blanket he was holding, heading towards them. As he got closer, it became clear that there was small, sleeping, figure wrapped up in the blanket. Harry looked like he'd been asleep recently, too. The hair on the back of his head was pointing every which way.

On any other day, Jenny would have immediately started teasing him about it.

On this day she waited to see what he said first.

Megan spoke first, rising from her seat to greet him.

"Hi, Harry," she said softly, minding the tuft of red hair peeking out of the top of the blanket.

"Hi, Megan," he answered. Turning his head toward Jenny, in the first relatively kind voice she'd heard since returning to Voyager, "Hello, Jenny."

"I heard that one of you was injured by one of the Maquis."

He was positively the only person besides Sam Wildman to have expressed any interest or sympathy in Megan's injury.

"Yeah. But I'm fine now," Megan said brightly.

He smiled at her.

"Glad to hear it." He glanced back to Jenny.

She held her breath, not really pinning Harry as the type of person to say something like, "I heard you're a cowardly traitor," for example.

"Neelix is in the kitchen?" he asked.

It was a totally innocuous question but it made Jenny really happy.

"I think he went back to the storage area."


He moved on, heading towards the door to storage.

Part 14 | Index page