Miral watched as Admiral Janeway walked from the room. She began to feel sick when it dawned on her what the woman she had grown up calling Cat was planning on doing. The feeling stayed with her, growing as she heard her patronising dismissal, nearly taking over as she realised what it meant, and she scrambled in her rush to operate a transporter, causing the few remaining Klingons to look at her oddly. The last thing she saw before she beamed away was their disrupters being aimed at her.
She arrived in the shuttle and had barely made it into the cockpit proper when she saw flashes of disrupter fire on the screen. The shuttle didn’t move and she looked out the viewport to see they were aimed at Cat’s shuttle and she hated herself for the instant of relief that brought her. She quickly brought the shields up before they began firing on her as well, just in time as the shuttle rocked with the impact of a direct hit. She saw Cat’s shuttle warp away and a moment (two direct hits) later, she had entered her coordinates and warped away as well, leaving the Klingons and their disruptor fire behind.
She sank back into her seat and finally allowed herself to relax, although the feeling of unease remained. She had to remind herself that her Cat was also Admiral Janeway, had faced the Delta Quadrant, was legendary for her exploits, but it was hard to do so when she had grown up thinking of her as Cat and she was thinking of her as a child might of her Grandmother.
She remembered being four and jumping as she entered her quarters. “Mom, Mom! Cat says she’ll take me to the beach!” She heard Cat cough behind her. “Please, Mom, please?” She pleaded. Her Mom smiled and nodded, and she raced through to her room, quickly grabbing the new swimsuit her Mom had replicated specially for shore leaves. “Remember and bring your pail as well,” Cat called through and she bounced back out of her room, grabbed Cat’s hand and pulled her along with her. She didn’t pay any attention to what Cat was saying to her Mom, just started thinking about the sand spaceport they could build.
She remembered being five and walking to the bridge. She had just realised no one else called Cat Cat and she didn’t want to call her Captain. She entered the bridge, nodded solemnly at Tuvok and headed straight for Cat’s, the Captain’s Ready Room. She reached up on tiptoe and buzzed for admittance. The door slid open and Cat, Captain Janeway looked up and smiled.
“Miral, come in.”
She slowly walked across to her desk. “Captain, I was wondering,”
Captain Janeway put down her PADD. “Are you on duty?”
“Well then, it’s still Cat.”
She beamed and Cat held out her arms and she rushed around the desk and onto her lap.
Cat laughed. “Now, what was it you wanted to ask me?”
She remembered being six and waiting impatiently in the shuttle bay for the Delta Flyer to dock. Her Dad smiled down at her as he watched. What seemed like an eternity later, the force field shimmered and the flyer entered the bay and softly landed. She made to run towards the ship but her Dad’s hand on her shoulder stopped her. “Give her a moment, Miral.” She nodded but when Cat stepped out onto the deck there was no stopping her and she ran forward and threw her arms around Cat’s waist.
Cat laughed. “Miss me?” She nodded again and smiled up at her. Cat began to rummage around in her bag, smiling as she brought out a decorated box and handed it to her. She giggled and heard her Dad sigh behind her.
“You shouldn’t have, Captain, she’ll get spoiled.”
“Nonsense, what else are Grandmothers for but spoiling their grandchildren?” Cat winked down at her and she giggled again.
She remembered being seven and being curled up in bed beside her Mom. Tears were flooding down her face because Cat was still missing and Mom tried in vain to calm her. Slowly she stilled as she cried her self out and Mom spoke up. “Do you remember how you started calling Cat Cat?”
She blew her nose and shook her head. “Tell me again.” Mom smiled slightly and cuddled her closer. “Well, you had just had your first birthday and you wouldn’t sleep,” Mom growled at this and she managed a small smile. “You kept asking for Cat Song, over and over again. Your Dad was nearly ready to throw you out an airlock.” She managed a short giggle and Mom smiled. “This went on for a whole week, until finally, after we were about ready to tear our hair out, the Captain volunteered to babysit.” Mom stroked her hair and carried on as her sniffles died down. “The minute she walked into our quarters, you stopped crying. Dad and I nearly fell over in shock.” She looked up at Mom, eager to hear more. “You demanded up into her arms and started saying Cat Song all over again. Dad and I were even more stunned when she started singing to you.” Mom smiled down at her. “She looked up once you had fallen asleep and was amazed at our stunned expression. Then she started laughing. We very nearly let her keep you.” She giggled. “The next morning, once we had finally had some sleep,” Mom glared at her before smiling, “She explained that every time she baby sat you, she sang you a lullaby to help you fall asleep.” Mom paused for a second. “You were just beginning to talk at the time and you were climbing all over her asking for, Cat this, Cat that. We eventually figured out you were trying to call her Captain.”
“But why Cat?”
“It was the closest you could get. You were only one after all. And then Dad tried to call her Cat on the bridge.” Mom laughed but whatever she was going to say next was cut off.
“Chakotay to Torres.” Mom’s head jumped up.
“You can tell Miral we found her. We’ll get to her position in approximately four hours.”
She heard her Mom mutter something under her breath and she sat up straight in bed, bouncing up and down.
“Thanks, Chakotay. Let me know when she’s onboard?”
“Will do. Chakotay out.”
Mom turned to her and smiled as she continued to bounce. She swept her up in a tight hug, laughing along with her before turning serious. “Come on, you need to sleep.” Sensing resistance, she added, “You want to be awake for when she gets back don’t you?” Mom gave her the Mom look and reluctantly she slipped back under the covers. Mom kissed her forehead and she fell asleep planning her questions for Cat.
She remembered being eight and hiding under her parents’ desk as the ship shook and the red alert alarms blared. She curled up, her arms around her knees as she tried not to cry. She buried her face between her knees as things began to slide off the desk, fall off the walls and tumble from their position on the floor. She let out a sob as she nearly shifted from her position, tears beginning to streak her face as the battle continued. She began to sob in earnest but stopped as the room stopped shaking. A minute later there was silence as the red alert was cancelled and she looked up from her knees.
She crawled out from under the desk as she heard the announcement. “All hands, this is the Captain, we have successfully disabled the Remali vessel and are on our way out of their territory.” She didn’t hear the rest of the announcement as she was too busy jumping up and down and shouting in celebration. Her Cat had done it again.
She remembered being nine and trying to sit still as she watched Cat negotiate at the tables. She saw Cat smile as she exchanged words with the Lorzeta Minister, back and forth, her head turning each way as she tried to keep up. Then there were smiles as the comments stopped and everyone got up from the table. She knew it had gone well by the smile on Cat’s face and she bounced over to her side. She managed to wait until the Lorzeta had all left, barely, to ask, “Did we get the ore?”
Cats smile smiled widened as she looked down at her. “We got the ore. As well as some new maps and even a little shore leave.”
Miral smiled with her and hugged her as Cat laughed.
She closed her eyes and leaned her head against the back of the chair. She tried to remember that Cat always came back to her and the feeling in her stomach lessened slightly. “Godspeed, Cat,” she whispered. She only hoped that somehow, somewhere, somewhen she heard her.