It was both her greatest dream and her worst nightmare. In the viewport hung the prize she had been chasing for ten years – the blue and green marble-like planet that was 'home' to so many of her crew. But in front of her stood Admiral Rabb reading a list of those crew members who were to be placed under arrest for terrorist activities that had occurred over ten years ago. The entire surviving Maquis crew, including Chakotay.
In fact, especially Chakotay. The charges against him were far more serious than against any of the others, even B'Elanna. And within five hours, they would all be under arrest and off the ship.
Kathryn turned her 'command' face towards the Admiral. 'Thank you for informing me. I'll see that these orders are carried...' she faltered slightly, 'carried out.'
MacKenzie Rabb dropped her own command mask. 'Kathryn, I don't want to be doing this. But it's not my decision. It came down to the CINC, and they feel that if they don't prosecute your Maquis crew members, they'll have to grant clemency to Cardassian terrorists, and Dominion spies. And they don't want to do that.'
'And if you asked me,' said Kathryn, 'I wouldn't want that to happen either. I just hope… I just hope we can defend them adequately.'
'I happen to know that you have one of my best students as a member of your crew. I saw her name in the crew manifest – Lieutenant Caitlyn McBride. I would suggest you confer with her. Given my position in this matter, I cannot give you any further advice.'
'Thank you, Mac. I hadn't forgotten Lieutenant McBride, but it's nice to know that you have faith in her as well.'
'Very well, then, Captain. I'll see you in about four hours.' The Admiral's voice became gentle once again. 'I hope that gives you enough time for your farewells.'
'Thank you, Admiral.'
Admiral Rabb walked out the door, and Kathryn sank into the sofa. She feasted her eyes on the sight of earth, right there, out the window, and then turned away from it. It was too painful to see – because of what it might mean. Kathryn sat down at her desk, and hailed Kit. 'Janeway to McBride?'
'McBride here, Captain.'
'Lieutenant, I'm afraid I'm going to be calling on your legal expertise. The members of our crew who joined us from the Maquis ship are to be arrested, and will shortly stand trial for their 'crimes'. Someone is going to have to defend them – according to Starfleet, that's me, as their commanding officer. But I'm going to need all the help you can give me.'
'Of course, Captain,' replied Kit. 'I'll start the research now. When you're ready to meet, just let me know.'
'Thank you, Kit,' said Kathryn, knowing exactly what Kit was doing – giving her the time she needed with Chakotay. 'I'll get back to you.' She broke the link and went out on to the bridge. It ought to have been staffed by a skeleton crew, but she found her entire senior staff waiting for her. 'Lieutenant Kim – open a shipwide channel.'
'Channel open, Captain.'
Rather than sitting in her chair to make this announcement, Kathryn walked past Tom's console and stood with her back to the viewscreen, looking towards her whole bridge crew. She took a deep breath, and looked straight at Chakotay. 'As you all know,' she began, 'we have arrived back in the Alpha Quadrant – thanks to Q, and Dari Jens. We will find that a number of things have changed over the time we have been away, but I am sorry to say that one thing hasn't. I received orders from Admiral Rabb that all crew members who joined us from the Liberty are to assemble in Cargo Bay 2 at 1600 hours, where they will be placed under arrest for terrorism, and in some cases, treason.' She struggled to keep looking at Chakotay. 'You do not need to be at your stations now – we are in orbit around Earth, and with minimal supervision, the ship can do without you all for a few hours. I think we will all need some time with our friends.' She nodded at Harry to close the channel, and with just a few steps, she crossed the bridge and was in Chakotay's arms. Behind her she knew that Tom and B'Elanna were holding each other just as tightly as Chakotay was holding her, and she knew that none of them wanted to let go.
* * *
Kathryn sat at her readyroom desk, chin in her hand. Kit looked up from the PADD she had been studying. 'Should we call it a night, Captain?'
'For pity's sake, Kit, we're so off duty it isn't funny. Call me Kathryn.'
'The question still stands, Kathryn,' said Kit. 'You look exhausted.'
'I couldn't sleep if I tried, Kit. If you're willing to keep going…?'
Kit nodded. 'I've uploaded ten years worth of precedents in espionage and terrorism cases. Most of them involve the Maquis, and most of them are civilian cases. Starfleet hasn't prosecuted many of its own the way they will be doing here.'
'Then why - ?'
'For appearances, I think, and I don't think I'm being overly cynical. It will be easier for Starfleet to play down the results of a Court Martial. From what I've been able to discover, the public are tired of these anti-Maquis cases, and have been for some time. There was a fair bit of public sympathy with the Maquis even when we left, and the Dominion War only increased that.'
'It's incredible, isn't it? We missed an entire war. The Federation had barely even come in contact with the Dominion when we left.'
'There are a lot of things to get used to.'
'So, what are our options?'
'I can't be absolutely sure, yet. I've got to go through these cases thoroughly, and I know there are a couple of articles that have been published in the last year. But by 1000 tomorrow I should have a good idea.'
'But you must have some idea.'
'We have some advantages. The recent civilian cases have almost all been dismissed, and public opinion will be on our side. That in itself will not sway a military jury, but it can be of great help. The Liberty crew were, at most, members of the Maquis for five years. They have all had exemplary records on Voyager for ten.'
'What about Chakotay?'
Kit knit her eyebrows. 'I don't understand.'
'I know I put reprimands in his file. B'Elanna has some too.'
'But so does Tom. So does Tuvok. We all do. We've all done things that you haven't liked, that Starfleet wouldn't like. But the ex-Maquis crew were no worse than the Starfleet crew.'
'Can the reprimands be brought up in court?'
'Yes. As can the commendations you've noted. And the field promotions.' Kit knew it was all getting too much for Kathryn, and if Kit was going to get through this research by morning, she needed to get down to it now. 'Kathryn, you've done enough tonight. I'll meet with you tomorrow, and we'll keep going.'
'Fine, Kit,' said Kathryn, staring out the viewport at Earth. 'I'll see you here in the morning.'
'You're not going to stay here all night, are you, Kathryn?'
'I can't go back to my quarters, Kit. I just can't.' Seeing the pain on her friend's face, Kit impulsively rounded the desk and hugged Kathryn.
'It will be all right, Kath. You can get through this.'
'Thank you, Kit. Go and get some sleep.'
'You, too.' Kit left the readyroom, meeting Seven on the bridge. 'Go on in, Seven. She needs some company tonight.'
Seven nodded. 'That is what Samantha Wildman told me. You will be assisting in our colleagues' legal defence?'
'I wish you the best of luck.'
'Thank you, Seven.' Kit smiled and walked into the turbolift. She scrolled through a recent case on her PADD as the turbolift descended and then as she wandered along the corridor towards her quarters. She was concentrating so deeply that she almost ran straight into Harry, who was waiting outside her door.
'Don't tell me -' he said, startling her, 'you didn't see me.' He kissed her gently before letting her reply.
'I was going to apologize,' said Kit, returning the kiss, 'but I think I'll have to run into you more often.'
Harry grinned. 'I got a transmission from my family. They're all fine, and they can't wait to see you.'
'You told them about us?' asked Kit. 'What about Libby?'
'What about Libby?'
'She's my best friend, Harry. What if she hears about us from your family, rather than from you or me?'
Harry began to look a little worried, but then his face cleared. 'We can't do anything about it now. My mother told me that she's away at an exhibition on Bajor. Now, are we going to stand in the corridor all night?'
'Harry, I'm sorry, but I think I'm going to be pulling an all-nighter doing this research for Kathryn.'
'I understand - Tom could probably use my company anyway.'
'Tell him I'm thinking of him. And B'Elanna.'
Harry kissed her quickly on the cheek as she went inside. 'I'll do that. And you - get some sleep if you can.'
'I'll think about it,' said Kit as the door closed behind her.
* * *
Tom was sitting in the messhall, trying unsuccessfully to eat his breakfast, when Kit came in, PADDs in hand.
'Is there any coffee-like stuff around, Tom?'
'Kit, we're home. The replicators are working, we're off rations. Order it like anyone else would.'
'It's been done that quickly?'
'Starfleet can be deadly efficient when they want to be.'
Kit ordered up a cup of coffee and brought it over to Tom's table. 'I know, Tom. I guess I've been buried in the law books the last twenty hours or so. I didn't notice they were giving as well as taking away.'
'Well, Kit, get used to it. One of the advantages of home - replicators.' His tone of voice was as dead as the look in his eyes.
Kit covered Tom's hand with hers. 'I seem to be saying this a lot lately, Tom, but it's true. We'll get through this. All of us. I'm working as hard as I can to get those charges dismissed. So is Kathryn.'
Tom looked at her steadily. 'I know you are. No-one on this ship is untouched by what they've done. But Kit, I miss her. I worry about what might be happening to her. I worry that…'
'You worry that from now on, you'll only ever see her with prison bars in between,' said a new voice. Kathryn sat down next to Kit, also clutching a cup of coffee. 'That's exactly what I'm going through, Tom.'
'But I know what those prison bars mean,' said Tom. 'No offence, Captain.'
'None taken. Tom, your parents will be waiting for you this afternoon when you disembark. I've just been speaking to Owen - he's looking forward to seeing you.'
'I may have hated him when we left, but now - well, I'm looking forward to seeing him, too. I guess I'd better go and pack up our things.'
'No-one has to clear out today. But Voyager will be going into drydock in two weeks time for a major overhaul and refit.'
'It makes you wonder, doesn't it, Captain?' said Tom, with a grim laugh.
'Starships don't get wet - so why is it still called drydock?'
'Trust you, Tom,' said Kit. 'But you're not the only 2nd Millenium aficionado in Starfleet. Names stick.'
'Guess so. I'll see you before I leave, Kit. Captain.'
'He's taking it hard,' said Kit. 'We all are.'
'Are you meeting your family this afternoon, Kit?'
She nodded. 'I'm going to transport down to the Cities this afternoon. Mom and Dad are meeting me there. I think there's a family reunion planned at home.'
'He spoke to his parents yesterday. Like the rest of us, he's going home tonight. He's taking M'bai with him. What's happening with Neelix and Seven?'
'I've asked Starfleet to contact the Hansen family, but they don't seem to have any names. I think they've passed the request on to the local Swedish government. Naomi Wildman wants Seven to come home with them. I'm not sure what Sam thinks, though.'
'I'm not sure - I think Joe Carey has invited him to spend time with him and his family.'
'Kathryn?' said Kit, suddenly, 'What about the Doc? If they're going to refit Voyager, they'll install one of the new EMH programs.'
'That's one of the problems I have no idea how to solve. I know Starfleet medical wants to examine him - see how he's managed to survive for so long, what sort of problems were encountered.'
'They'll have a hard time doing that without talking to B'Elanna.'
'Certainly. But I'll let them find that out themselves. I just wish I knew how to keep him from being deleted. If we still had his backup module... but we don't. And how I'm going to explain that to Starfleet Command is another problem.'
'Kathryn, stop beating yourself over the head with every little imperfection. You'll drive yourself crazy.'
'I'd rather be crazy than...'
'Than what?' asked Kit, suddenly worried by Kathryn's haunted expression.
Kathryn stared ahead of her for a moment, then pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. 'Than always thinking about this.' She handed the paper to Kit. 'Chakotay gave it to me just before he left. After we'd said goodbye,' she broke off, and bit her lip.
'Kathryn, are you sure you want me to...'
Kathryn nodded vehemently. Kit unfolded the paper and read the short note. 'Oh, Kathryn, I'm so sorry. And you knew about this last night when we were working?'
Kathryn nodded, then asked, 'Why would he do that, Kit?'
Uncertain how to respond, Kit stayed silent, racking her brains. Then she said quietly, 'I think it's because he loves you so much.'
Kathryn turned furiously, paying no attention to the others in the Mess Hall who were watching. 'How could he? If he loved me, how could he abandon me like this?'
* * *
Kit walked into the transporter room, her nerves tingling with both excitement and worry. She was surprised to see Kathryn standing at the transporter console.
'We aren't that short-handed yet, are we, Captain?' asked Kit.
'No. I felt I could do one last thing for my officers - send them home to their families in the best possible way.'
At that comment Kit's resistance crumbled and tears began to slip down her cheeks. Kathryn walked down into the center of the room, and put her hands on Kit's shoulders.
'No crying, Lieutenant. You'll just start me off, all right?' And when Kit looked carefully, she could see the glint of tears in the corners of Kathryn's eyes. Kit took a deep breath and held the tears back. 'You have no reason to cry, Caitlyn McBride,' continued Kathryn. 'In a few minutes, you'll be with your family again. You have completed a ten-year mission with style and dignity, and you deserve a long and lazy holiday - preferably at least part of it spent with Harry Kim.' Kit smiled wanly, knowing how much it cost Kathryn to say that when her own well-deserved holiday could not be pleasant for her. 'Now,' continued Kathryn, 'Go home and enjoy yourself. And I don't want to hear from you for two days.'
'Will you be all right, Kathryn?' asked Kit.
'I'll be fine. As soon as everyone else is on their way, I'm going to beam down to my mother's place. Phoebe and Ava will be there too.'
Kit and Kathryn hugged, then Kathryn pushed the younger woman towards the transporter platform, and then stood back behind the console.
Kit nodded. 'Thank you, Captain - for everything you've done for all of us.' Kathryn nodded without saying anything. Kit took a deep breath. 'Energize.'
* * *
'Mom, who is that?'
In the midst of their hugs and tears and excited chatter, the piping voice of a little boy burst in incongruously, setting everyone laughing. Kit turned around to look at him and said, 'Well, I'm not sure who you are, but I'm Caitlyn McBride.'
'You're my Auntie Kit?' said the small, tow-headed boy in disbelief. 'Mom, you said she was my Auntie. Aunties are old!'
Kit burst out laughing along with everyone else. 'Well, thanks for the compliment. So, who are you, young man?' she asked. 'I wasn't aware I had a nephew.'
'You don't,' said the boy. 'You're some sort of cousin, but you were removed so far away that it's easier to say Auntie. I'm William Cevanas.'
The blonde-haired woman behind William put a hand on his shoulder. 'Honey, you mean she was removed so many times, not so far away.'
'But I was removed a long way away,' answered Kit, laughing. Then she looked at the woman. 'Genia?' The other woman nodded, and they hugged. Kit held up Genia's left hand. 'Okay - how long have you been married, and to whom?' said Kit.
Genia pulled a dark-haired man forward. 'Caitlyn, this is my husband, Dosehi Cevanas, of Betazed. I met him just before your ship disappeared - we've been married almost eight years. Dosehi, this is my cousin,'
'Your favourite cousin,' broke in Kit.
Genia made a face. 'My baby cousin Caitlyn McBride - who can be a real pain sometimes.'
Irving McBride put a hand on Kit's shoulder. 'Honey, as wonderful as it is to have you at home, we aren't there yet - and I don't think you want to have your entire family reunion in the St Paul Transport Center.'
Kit put one arm around her father's waist, and the other on her mother's shoulders. 'You know, Dad, for once, you're right. Let's get this lot up to the Lake.'
During the short shuttle trip to Lake of the Woods, Kit found herself entertaining her 'far away' cousin. William was a cute kid - bright, ambitious, and cheeky. He was well traveled for someone his age - not surprising when one set of grandparents lived on Betazed - and he knew exactly how to worry his mother; by telling Kit that he wanted to join Starfleet when he grew up. Genia's face grew pale at the mere mention of it. 'William Hosan Cevanas, I've only just got Kit back from Starfleet after ten years - don't you dare mention joining that organization.'
William grinned and whispered in Kit's ear, 'By the time I'm grown up, you will have convinced her, won't you, Auntie?'
Kit just smiled at him and then took Genia's hand. 'Gen - I'm home now, so don't you be worrying about anything else, all right? I want everyone to be happy today, because I'm ecstatic. You don't know how good it is to see you again.'
'Oh, I think I do,' replied Genia, smiling. 'Once this one is tired out, we'll have to have a good old gossip session. But I want you to tell me one thing right now - Anne mentioned that a 'friend' of yours will be joining us tomorrow. Is this anything I should know about? Huh?'
Kit turned to her mother. 'What's Gen saying, Mom?'
'I spoke to Harry yesterday, dear,' replied Anne. 'I invited him to join us for the afternoon tomorrow. I hope that's all right?' As Kit didn't respond, Anne turned to Genia. 'Harry is an old friend of Kit's from the Academy. They were on Voyager together, and I wanted him to come so Irving and I could thank him for being company for Kit all these years. I wanted to invite Libby, too, my dear,' she said, turning back to Kit, 'but she's apparently doing something on Bajor?'
'She's holding an exhibition,' said Kit.
'Elisabet Lattimore?' asked Genia. 'Your old friend Libby is Elisabet Lattimore? Anne, you've been keeping me out of the loop.'
'It wasn't intentional, I assure you, Genia,' smiled Anne at her niece. 'But I'm sure you'll be able to meet Libby one of these days. I don't intend to let Kit out of my sight for quite some time.'
'Well, Mom, you'll have to pack your bags in that case,' said Kit. 'I have to be in San Fransisco in three days time. I'm helping Captain Janeway to defend our crewmates at the Court Martial.'
'Starfleet is prosecuting them?' asked Dosehi in surprise. 'I'm surprised they'd dare.'
'Frankly, so am I,' replied Kit. 'But our First Officer, Chief Engineer, and approximately half the crew are currently in the Brig at HQ.'
'Well, I'm sure you'll be able to get them out of there,' said Irving, fondly. 'Now, we're coming up on home, Kit - want to get your first look?'
'Absolutely!' said Kit, following her father up to the cockpit of the shuttle, with William trailing along behind.
* * *
'Mom,' said Kit as she looked out over the lake from the front porch, 'no-one could ever say that you and Dad have forgotten how to put on a good spread. That was magnificent!'
'And this from the girl who once swore she would never eat Lutefisk again,' smiled Anne, sitting with Irving in the swing chair.
'Hey, I was a teenager at the time - haven't you ever heard of teen rebelliousness?'
'Saints preserve me from going though that with William,' said Genia, who was sitting in a cushioned wicker chair. 'You were a horror, Kit!'
'All right, enough of the reminiscences,' said Kit, curled up on the porch steps. 'If you'd been eating Neelix's food for the past ten years, Lutefisk would look pretty darn good. And besides, I was eating it again by the time I was twenty. Tastes change.'
Anne and Irving shared a look. 'I'd agree with that,' said Anne. 'Now, come on, honey, it's just the four of us now - so be honest. Why is Harry Kim coming up here tomorrow? I know you two were friends, but he's never invited himself up here before.'
'He invited himself?' said Genia. 'Why didn't you say that before, Anne?'
'Anne didn't want to embarrass Kit,' said Irving.
Kit had hidden her face in her hands. After a moment, she looked straight up at her mother. 'Is it that obvious?'
'Even in ten years I haven't forgotten how my daughter looks when she's involved with someone. So, why haven't you told us?'
'It all only just happened, Mom. You know how sporadic the message opportunities have been and, well, it's just all been so sudden.'
'Is it serious?' asked Irving. 'This isn't just some shipboard flirtation?'
'No, Dad. It's serious, but as relationships go, this one is very new.'
'Don't be silly, Kit,' said Genia. 'That boy had a crush on you fifteen years ago.'
'But he's had a lot of other crushes - and relationships - since. And no, Genia,' said Kit, recognising the look of curiosity on her cousin's face, 'I'm not going to tell you about them. I'm not that self-deprecating. Anyway - from what you've said, you'll all be able to interrogate him tomorrow. Then the day after that, I have to go back to San Fransisco.'
'This isn't fair, Kit,' said Genia. 'Your parents have only just got you back - let alone me.'
'I haven't got a choice, Gen. These are my shipmates. B'Elanna Torres is one of my closest friends. I have to help Kathryn with this - I can't let her go through it alone.' She paused, and stared out over the darkened lake. Then she turned back to them, her face somewhat brighter. 'Besides, if you really want to, you can come to San Fransisco with me. I want you all to meet Kathryn sometime.'
Irving shook his head. 'We'll wait on that one, Kit. We'll wait until we can meet B'Elanna, and all your crewmates.'
* * *
The next evening, it was Harry and Kit who were relaxing in the swing seat on the porch. The curious neighbors, who had been visiting all day to welcome Kit home and hear about the dangers of the Delta Quadrant, had gone, leaving enough plates full of bars and cookies to keep young William happy for a week at least. And after having peppered Harry with questions since he arrived, Anne, Irving and Genia's family had drifted away, quite obvious in their intention to 'give the love-birds some peace.'
'It's a beautiful part of the planet up here,' said Harry.
'I think I'd almost forgotten how beautiful,' said Kit. 'But does it remind you of anywhere in the Delta Quadrant?'
'I wondered if you'd noticed - it's so much like the Pantry, isn't it?'
'Maybe that's why I felt so tempted to stay there - but I wouldn't swap that for being home again.'
'I know what you mean - it was a wrench just to leave for a day.'
'And I have to leave tomorrow,' sighed Kit.
'Are you going back up to Voyager?'
'Well, I have to send my stuff down here, and also try to work out what to do about the Doctor. Kathryn's offered me the spare room in the apartment Starfleet has for her, so that we can get working on the defense as soon as possible.'
'And knowing you two, neither of you will get any sleep between now and the Court Martial.'
'And knowing Kathryn, she'll try to force me to get some sleep while she stays up and worries.'
'She's worried about Chakotay,' said Harry. 'Who wouldn't be? You haven't seen Tom in the last few days. I have, he's a wreck.'
'But B'Elanna didn't break up with him, did she?' asked Kit.
'No, of course not... what are you saying?'
'Just before he was arrested, Chakotay gave Kathryn a note saying that he wanted her to be free - that he didn't want her to feel tied to him, now that we were back in the Alpha Quadrant.'
'What? He couldn't be serious!'
'That note looked awfully serious, Harry. And Kathryn has been fretting over it for the past three days.'
'He's lost his mind,' said Harry, getting up and beginning to pace back and forth across the porch.
'He loves her,' said Kit.
'Don't tell me you understand this?'
'I think I do,' said Kit, calmly. 'I think even Kathryn understands it. Chakotay wants her to let go now - so that if the court-martial finds him guilty, she won't suffer as much.'
'But that's crazy!'
'People do strange things, sometimes.'
'Like finally fall in love, fifteen years later?' said Harry as he sat down again.
'Like that,' said Kit, smiling, as Harry leaned down to kiss her.
'Oh, eww!' said a little voice behind them. Kit twisted around.
'William - it's past your bedtime.'
'Yes, Auntie Kit. Goodnight, Uncle Harry.' Kit rolled her eyes as she heard Genia's laughter mingle with the giggles of the little boy.
* * *
'This court-martial will come to order. The hearing of charges against Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres is now in session.'
Once the court was seated Admiral Louvois, the presiding judge, began to speak. 'Before we begin there are some issues that must be made clear to those in the court. Firstly, this trial is only of the two most senior Maquis of the Liberty collective; Chakotay and Torres. Both these people were previously under the purview of Starfleet - Chakotay as an Officer, Torres as a Cadet. This has previously been ruled sufficient jurisdiction. Secondly, Lieutenant Caitlyn McBride has been given special clearance by the Starfleet Judge Advocate General to act in a legal capacity in this case. Thirdly, Starfleet acknowledges the interest held by the public in this case - for this reason, and no other, we have relaxed our usual press policy. However, I warn all members of the press to be circumspect in your reporting. We will not hesitate to bring contempt of court charges if such are warranted. That being said; is the prosecution prepared?'
'We are, your Honor. Commodore Thomas Singh and Commander Linda Merran appearing.'
'Captain Kathryn Janeway and Lieutenant Caitlyn McBride appear for the defense, your Honor,' said Kathryn.
'Very good,' said Admiral Louvois, signaling to her assistant. 'Commander, read the charges, please.'
Kit barely listened to the long list of charges against her two friends. Her mind was whirling - this was her first trial, and though she was the junior defender, she was the one with the legal knowledge. She stopped herself from tugging awkwardly at her new uniform - she still hadn't grown used to the thick shoulders on the new jackets - and focussed her mind on the court. The military jury - six officers - looked down on the courtroom frowningly. Admiral Louvois, on the bench, had her trademark 'impartial' expression on her face, and Kit looked at her with interest. Like most of Starfleet, Kit had read Louvois's famous judgements, but she had never met Louvois in person. By the time Kit had begun to work rotations at the JAG headquarters in Virginia, Louvois had been posted to another deep space station. Not everyone had been inspired by her decision in Maddox v Data. It had been Kit's first introduction to the law, however, and she hoped that she would have a chance to meet the woman who had indirectly influenced her own career.
The charges had been read and Commodore Singh had risen to begin his opening address. Kit looked at him curiously. He had been a few years ahead of her at the Academy, and had stayed just those few steps ahead all the time. When Starfleet had sent her to law school, he'd been in his last year, and on one occasion he had been her supervisor within JAG during one of her rotations through the Corps. Kit knew he was a good lawyer, and respected him greatly.
'I don't intend to play to the gallery,' Singh began, 'but I wanted to explain to the public, via the press, just why Starfleet is prosecuting Chakotay and Torres when the civilian authorities have declined to press charges. The truth of the matter is that, far above any loyalty to the Federation, Chakotay and Torres, and all the other ex-Starfleet Maquis on the Liberty, broke a solemn oath to Starfleet. They put Starfleet personnel in danger and they put members of the civilian population in danger. Their activities resulted in weakened defenses in the Bajoran sector, and the Dominion took full advantage of that. They are terrorists, and they should be treated in the same way - tried by the same procedures - that we would use to try Dominion saboteurs.
'The case we will present,' continued Singh, 'will prove to you that prior to the disappearance of the Liberty, Chakotay and Torres were wanted as criminals. That during their time in the Delta Quadrant, Chakotay and Torres continued to lead the Maquis, that they broke the Prime Directive on several occasions, and that their apparent assimilation into Voyager's crew was an elaborate ruse.'
Even though B'Elanna and Chakotay were sitting in between Kathryn and Kit, Kit knew that Kathryn had tensed at Singh's last comment. Kit scribbled a note to Kathryn and passed it down the table as Singh completed his opening and sat down. Don't change the strategy, read the note. His argument is not that convincing.
Kathryn sent a slightly doubtful look towards Kit, and received an encouraging smile as she stood up. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, the two officers you see before you have exemplary records. For the past ten years Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres have served the Federation with the greatest dedication and loyalty. They have done so since the very beginning of Voyager's journey. Before they joined the Maquis, they were both valued members of Starfleet, and after the Liberty was destroyed, they quickly became valued members of my crew.
'We will not deny that they were members of the organisation known as the "Maquis". They were. But their membership, and even leadership, in the Maquis does not amount to treason against the Federation, or against Starfleet. These two officers, and all the former Liberty crew who were part of Voyager's crew, are the same as Lieutenant McBride and myself. We are all members of Starfleet, who have only just arrived home. This is not the welcome we deserve.' Kathryn drew a deep breath and sat down. B'Elanna squeezed Kathryn's hand, and Chakotay smiled at her. But Kit was not surprised to see Kathryn studiously ignore Chakotay, looking instead at the notes spread out on the table in front of her.
* * *
Kathryn sighed with relief. Her opening address was over. Most of the cross-examination could be left to Kit, which meant that she would not have to address the courtroom for the next day or so. She couldn't understand why the legal setting unnerved her so much - she was used to speaking in public, to commanding the attention of a hundred or more people. So why was it so hard to speak here?
'Mr Singh,' said Admiral Louvois, 'Call your first witness.'
'I call Captain Mugabe Zakarian.'
Kathryn felt B'Elanna tense beside her as the spindly man came into the courtroom.
'Captain Zakarian,' began Singh. 'You were an instructor at Starfleet Academy during B'Elanna Torres' years there?'
'Yes, I was.'
'And was she in any of your classes?'
'She took my second year survival class, yes.'
'Did she complete your class successfully?'
'No, Sir, she did not. She withdrew from the Academy partway through that year. As a result she did not undertake the final assessment exercise, and she could not be given credit for the subject.'
'Captain, do you know why Ms Torres left the Academy?'
'She told me she was sick of Starfleet and was planning to join the Maquis.'
'No more questions.'
Kit stood up and approached Zakarian. 'Lieutenant Torres told you she was planning to join the Maquis?'
'To be accurate, she yelled it at me.'
'She yelled,' said Kit.
'Yes. I believe at the time I had just berated her for under-performance.'
'Objection!' called Singh.
'Sustained,' said Louvois. 'Confine yourself to answering Lieutenant McBride's questions, Captain.'
'Would you say that Lieutenant Torres made this comment about joining the Maquis at a moment of high emotion, Captain?'
'Yes, I would.'
'Are moments of high emotion and tension frequent during a survival course, Captain Zakarian?'
'Yes, quite frequent.'
'In your experience, do Cadets, in frustration, or simply as a result of emotion, tend to say things they may not mean?'
'Objection!' Singh leapt up from his seat.
'Sustained,' said Admiral Louvois. 'Lieutenant McBride, while we are willing to grant you a little leniency due to your inexperience of courtroom procedure, I would instruct you to confine your cross-examination to the particulars of the witness's previous statements.'
Kit blanched slightly, then took a deep breath. 'Captain Zakarian. When you were Lieutenant Torres' instructor, did you always take seriously anything she said in moments of high emotion?'
Zakarian paused for a moment. 'No,' he said finally. 'I did not.'
'Did you take this statement seriously at the time in which it was made.'
'No - not then.'
'When did you begin to take it seriously?'
'When Cadet Torres left the Academy.'
'How long after she made that statement did Lieutenant Torres leave the Academy?'
Again he paused. 'It was about four months later.'
'Thank you, Captain. No more questions.'
Singh shook his head to indicate that he had no wish to re-examine the witness.
'Thank you, Captain Zakarian,' said Louvois. I remind you that you may be recalled to the stand at a later time. Please do not enter the public gallery at any time.'
Zakarian nodded and left the room.
'The prosecution calls Admiral Roger Hackney,' said Singh.
This time Kathryn knew what to expect. Singh had called Mugabe Zakarian to prove that B'Elanna had showed 'Maquis tendencies'. Now they had called Chakotay's former commander from the Vigo to do the same for him.
This time it was Commander Merran who conducted the examination-in-chief.
'In what capacity did you know Mr Chakotay?'
'Commander Chakotay was a Lieutenant aboard the USS Vigo. He stood as weapons officer on many occasions, but mostly acted as my aide.'
'Did he prove himself trustworthy in that position?'
'Extremely so,' replied Hackney.
'You had no reservations as to his conduct?'
'Well, he had a tendency to act on emotion rather than by protocol. He also was liable to hold grudges.' Hackney added the last sentence hesitantly.
'Grudges against anyone in particular?'
Again he hesitated. 'Usually the Cardassians. We were at war then, of course.'
Commander Merran appealed to Louvois. 'Your Honor, please, will you instruct the witness not to editorialise.'
'Admiral Hackney, this a court. Please, you heard Commander Merran's request.'
Merran continued. 'Did he ever display Maquis sympathies?'
'The Maquis didn't exist when he served with me, Commander.'
Linda Merran sat down hurriedly, obviously upset. In contrast, Kit rose slowly but confidently.
'Admiral Hackney,' she began, 'you said that Commander Chakotay tended to act on emotion rather than protocol, correct?'
'Did that usually result in a negative outcome?'
'A positive outcome, then, Admiral?'
'Yes. Most of his spontaneous actions ended very well for the Vigo.'
'Would you say he had a sort of intuition about tense situations?'
'Yes, I believe I would.'
'And you would characterise him as a valuable crewmember?'
'Thank you, Admiral Hackney. No more questions.'
'Redirect, your Honors?' said Merran. Louvois nodded. 'Admiral Hackney. Did Mr Chakotay display anti-Cardassian attitudes while under your command?'
Hackney paused. 'Frequently.'
'Did he display violent or vengeful tendancies towards Cardassians?'
'We all did,' said Hackney firmly.
'Would you characterise Chakotay's reactions as more violent or vengeful than others under your command?'
'Possibly, but unlikely.'
'Possibly,' Merran repeated. 'Thank you, Admiral Hackney.'
Admiral Louvois reminded Hackney that he might be recalled, then spoke to the whole courtroom. 'I do not believe that we have enough time to begin another examination. We will recess for lunch, and reconvene at 1400hrs. Court is adjourned.'
* * *
For the first few minutes after the defense team had collected their lunch, there was silence. All four just looked down at their plates without saying a word. Then Kathryn turned to look at Kit, B'Elanna swiveled around, and finally Chakotay put down his fork without eating anything and looked at Kit. She had taken one bite when she looked up at the others.
'What are you all looking at me for?'
Chakotay opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. B'Elanna swallowed visibly. Finally Kathryn said quietly, 'How's it going?'
'Oh,' said Kit, putting down her fork. 'Well, the good thing is that both Zakarian and Hackney basically testified in our favor. Singh and Merran tried to push them, but they couldn't quite manage it.'
'I never thought I'd see Sneezy sticking up for me,' said B'Elanna.
'Roger and I got along fairly well,' said Chakotay. 'If they'd wanted someone to testify against me they should have called Alynna Nechayev.'
Kit and Kathryn looked at each other. Then Kit spoke. 'They have.'
'What?' asked Chakotay.
'Admiral Nechayev is the next witness for the prosecution. She's considered a leading authority on the Maquis, you know.'
Chakotay looked back down at his plate, opened his mouth once, then closed it again.
'For pity's sake, Chakotay,' snapped Kathryn, 'you look like a beached guppy. Stop it.' Kit and B'Elanna stared at Kathryn, but Chakotay simply took a deep breath and spoke.
'It's no secret that Nechayev and I didn't get along well. I guess I wasn't expecting her to turn up here, that's all.'
'Well, she has,' Kathryn returned mercilessly.
'What I want to know,' said B'Elanna, 'is why Tom isn't here.'
'Believe me, B'Elanna, he'd be here if he could,' said Kit. 'But we may want to call him as a witness, so he isn't allowed to be present at the hearing.'
'What a stupid rule,' growled B'Elanna.
Kit shrugged. 'It certainly makes our side of the courtroom look rather bare. When you two don't have any relatives who can sit in…'
'My mother's on her way from the homeworld,' said B'Elanna flatly. 'I'm hoping all this is over before she gets here.' The other three all looked at her, Chakotay smiling sadly. B'Elanna glared at him. 'Kit, you said Zakarian practically testified for us. I don't get why.'
'Lana, from everything I've looked at - the journal articles, the press cuttings, the civilian court decisions, even my mother's message files - the entire Federation is sick and tired of Maquis trials. And that sort of general attitude is going to exist in members of Starfleet. Besides,' Kit continued, 'I got the feeling old Sneezy actually admired what you've achieved.'
B'Elanna laughed harshly. 'Why couldn't the P'taK have figured that out before I got thrown out?'
'Well, at least he worked it out before we got thrown in prison,' said Chakotay. 'I'm not expecting Nechayev to have had a similar change of heart.'
* * *
'The prosecution calls Admiral Alynna Nechayev.'
The door at the back of the courtroom opened and the small, blond-haired woman strode in, sat down and took the oath confidently. The temperature on the defence side of the courtroom seemed to drop by ten degrees at least.
Close up, Nechayev's blond hair was graying, and her face showed the stress of the many years of battling the Maquis. And she looked like she was going to enjoy finally having her revenge.
From the look on her face two hours later she had enjoyed it immensely. Singh's examination-in-chief had lasted almost an hour and a half, during which Nechayev had testified to her prior working relationship with Chakotay during his days at the Academy, and to the facts of what was being called by the prosecution the 'Maquis Unrest.' Nechayev listed Cardassian casualty figures, Starfleet ship losses, and the detriment to on-going relations between Cardassia and the Federation as a result of Maquis actions. She read the statistics in a tone of such hatred that Kit could barely look at her when Singh turned to her to indicate he had finished.
Through the entire examination Kit had known that there was only one way to effectively cross-examine Nechayev, and that was through emotion, rather than fact. But Kit was quailing as she faced one of the most powerful people in Starfleet.
'Admiral,' Kit nodded at the other woman pleasantly.
'Lieutenant,' replied Nechayev.
'You mentioned a figure of Cardassian casualties during the Maquis Unrest, I believe. 18,000 fatalities, did you say?'
'That is correct.'
'Were these military or civilian losses?'
'Almost eighty percent were military losses.'
'And what was the number of military losses sustained by Starfleet during the Dominion War?'
'Objection, Your Honor,' said Merran. 'Relevance.'
'Point of comparison, Your Honor,' said Kit.
'Overruled, Commander,' said Louvois. 'Admiral, you will answer Lieutenant McBride's question, please.'
'At least 40,000,' said Nechayev.
'60,000 Jem'Haddar minimum, and a significant proportion of Vorta.'
'And, if you wouldn't mind, Admiral, would you refresh my memory as to the duration of the Maquis Unrest and the Dominion War. You will recall that all of us,' Kit gestured towards the defence table, 'have very little knowledge of the Dominion War.'
'The Maquis Unrest is considered to have begun as of approximately mid-2369, and lasted until at least 2375. Dating the beginning of the Dominion War is more difficult, but it concluded in 2376.'
'Your statistics on Dominion War fatalities, when were they first recorded?' asked Kit.
'As of the mining of the Bajoran wormhole and the evacuation of Deep Space Nine at the end of 2374.'
'So, your fatality statistics show that in three years, more than twice the number of people were killed as a result of the Dominion War than were killed during the Maquis Unrest, which lasted at least twice as long. Is that correct, Admiral?'
Nechayev hardly paused. 'Yes, that is correct.'
'Do you have any statistics on Maquis casualties, Admiral?'
'No, I do not.'
'Why is that?'
'Starfleet did not have access to such statistics.'
'Are you certain of that, Admiral? Starfleet held large numbers of Maquis members in prison. There were more in civilian prisons. Some of those Maquis were tried in this very room. Couldn't you have collected some statistics in that way?'
'Such figures would have been anecdotal and of little import,' responded Nechayev.
'True,' said Kit, 'for a statistician such figures would be of little import. However, to a commanding officer such as yourself…would you be interested to know that eighty percent of the Maquis did not survive to face trial and prison?'
'Not particularly,' said Nechayev with uncharacteristic thoughtlessness.
'Why are you 'not particularly interested' in the fate of the majority of the Maquis, Admiral?' asked Kit.
'Because they are criminals and traitors and enemies of the Federation. And if they died fighting they deserved it!'
Kit looked quickly back at the defence table and was relieved to see B'Elanna calming Chakotay down. She had known that last comment would have infuriated him.
'Only one more question, Admiral. If you have no interest in the effect of war on the enemy, why is your knowledge of Dominion losses so accurate?'
'Objection!' said Singh.
'Withdrawn,' said Kit, quietly. 'No more questions.'
'No redirect,' said Singh.
Louvois looked down at her papers. 'As it is almost 1600hrs I believe we should adjourn to tomorrow. We will reconvene at 1000hrs. Court is adjourned.'
Day one of the trial was over.
* * *
'Kathryn,' Kit asked that night as they were eating dinner together, 'Feel free to tell me to shut up, but why are you refusing to even look at Chakotay? I mean,' she continued hurriedly as Kathryn glared at her, 'I know you're angry at him. In fact, I know you're furious at him. But if you're going to defend him properly you can't expect all the communication to go through me. In a couple of days you'll be examining him on the stand. You'll have to talk to him then.'
'I spoke to him today,' said Kathryn.
'You snapped at him,' clarified Kit. 'You called him a beached guppy,' she continued, giggling slightly.
Kathryn looked up, grinning. 'That was dreadful of me, wasn't it?' she asked. 'But really...' she imitated Chakotay's slack-jawed reaction, and soon both of them were rolling with laughter. Kathryn grew serious again. 'Is it really harming our defence?' she asked.
Kit nodded. 'I think Phillipa can see the tension - and if she can see it there's every chance that the jury can see it too. So much of a jury trial is appearances and perception rather than substance.'
'Is that why you withdrew that last question to Nechayev?'
'I'd gotten my point across. I didn't need her to answer the question, even if Singh would have let her.'
'So what you're saying is that I have to get over what Chakotay did to me, if I want to have any hope of keeping him out of New Zealand? Coffee, by the way?' Kathryn asked as she moved towards the replicator.
'Of course,' replied Kit. 'Not get over it,' she continued, 'I don't expect that. But if you could put it aside while the trial is on. After that you can hate him as much as you want.'
Kathryn grimaced. 'No I can't. I can't hate him.' She handed Kit a mug of coffee and then moved past her onto the balcony. Kit followed, cradling the mug in her hands. The balcony looked out over the San Francisco bay, the lights of the Golden Gate bridge blinking far in the distance. Kit leaned against the door and sipped at her coffee, waiting for Kathryn to continue speaking. For a long time Kathryn stared across the black water, then she turned around to Kit. 'I can't hate him,' she repeated simply.
'I understand,' said Kit.
* * *
'Commodore Sisko, in your opinion, was there any single factor that, more than anything else, led to the severity of the Dominion War?'
'Objection!' said Kit, for the first time in the trial.
'Your Honor,' said Commodore Singh, 'Lieutenant McBride introduced the Dominion War as a point of comparison yesterday. And even if she had not, the witness's answer will more than amply demonstrate the relevance of the question.'
'Overruled,' said Louvois. 'You may answer the question, Commodore Sisko.'
'I'll restate,' said Singh quickly. 'Was there a single factor that led to the severity of the Dominion War, Commodore Sisko?'
'Yes, there was,' said Ben Sisko. 'The Maquis.'
'Could you explain, Commodore?'
'Starfleet had been using its resources trying to halt the Maquis for a long time. Our ships were tracking their supply vessels, our personnel were chasing theirs in an attempt to stop them. The Maquis had weakened Cardassia to the point that it was an easy takeover for the Klingons. And the Klingon occupation of Cardassia, even for such a short time, meant that it was far easier for the Dominion to gain a foothold, and eventually to claim Cardassia as an 'ally'. And when the Dominion gained ground, Starfleet's resources were so tied up in hunting the Maquis that we couldn't respond to the Dominion as we would have liked.'
'Yesterday the Defence suggested that casualties in the Dominion War significantly outweighed those during the Maquis Unrest, and they inferred that this meant that the Maquis Unrest was less serious. How would you respond to that?'
'I would respond by saying that the seriousness of the Dominion War was directly caused by the Maquis Unrest. Therefore any losses sustained in the Dominion War are directly attributable to the Maquis, and therefore to people like Chakotay and Torres.'
'The defendants,' Singh clarified.
Sisko nodded. 'The defendants.'
Behind the defence table, Kit held her head in her hands and tried desperately not to be sick. She felt Chakotay's hand on her shoulder.
'What's wrong, Kit?' he asked, softly. Trying not to be too obvious, she turned and stared at him incredulously.
'They've used my cross of Nechayev against you. If I hadn't—'
'Don't worry, Kit. But you've got to get ready to cross-examine Sisko. Kath can't do it.'
'I'll try,' said Kit, but she was still shaking a little when Singh finished.
Kit stood up, steadying herself against the table. To hear her own cross-examination used against her had come as an awful shock - worse because of the possible consequences. Louvois looked down at Kit as she tried to pull herself together. 'Lieutenant,' she said. 'Could you do with a short recess?'
'Yes, thank you, Your Honor.'
Louvois looked back at the rest of the courtroom. 'Fifteen minutes, people.' As the rest of the court filed out, Kathryn and B'Elanna huddled around Kit. She let Chakotay explain what was wrong while she just tried to calm down and focus on preparing her cross-examination. Behind her she heard the door to the judges' chambers open.
'All right, Kit, what's going on?' Kit looked up.
'Mac! Sorry - Admiral Rabb. I didn't realize...'
'Mac will be fine, Kit. Phillipa told me you froze just now. I thought I could offer a little bit of impartial advice.' Mac turned to the others, resting her hand on Chakotay's shoulder for a moment. 'It's good to see you again Chakotay. Kathryn. And you are B'Elanna Torres, I assume.'
'She is,' replied Chakotay. 'It's been a long time, Mac.'
'Well, it's going to be a while longer until we can catch up properly. I'm having to distance myself from this case because of you, you know.' Suddenly B'Elanna became extremely interested in the conversation. 'But right now, I have a student to help.' B'Elanna got the point and pulled Chakotay and Kathryn to the other side of the room.
'So, Kit, why freeze now? You've done four or five crosses these last two days. You didn't even flinch against Alynna Nechayev.'
Kit shrugged. 'For all the good that did. I just gave them more ammunition. I walked right into Tom Singh's trap.'
'Stop blaming yourself,' said Mac sharply. 'My guess would be that they only thought of this angle after your cross of Alynna yesterday. And if you want my opinion, that cross was brilliant. You actually had Alynna Nechayev flustered. Not too many people have managed that - inside a courtroom or out. And you can do just as good a job with Ben Sisko. Do you remember what I told you about cross-examinations?'
'I remember - it only takes a pin-prick to break a watertight testimony.' Kit smiled as she recited in a sing-song voice.
'So, do you have a pin ready for Sisko?'
Kit took a breath. 'Yes. I think I do.'
'Good,' replied Mac, 'Because Phillipa's ready to come back in. You'll do fine, Kit. You always did.' Mac slipped back through the judge's door as Louvois's assistant went outside to call the rest of the court back in.
'Lieutenant McBride, are you ready to cross-examine the witness?' asked Louvois once the court was seated.
'Yes, Your Honor.'
'Commodore Sisko,' said Louvois, 'I would remind you that you are still under oath.'
'Yes, Your Honor.'
'Commodore Sisko,' began Kit, 'If I understand your testimony correctly, the Maquis Unrest weakened Cardassian defences, leading to the Klingon invasion, further weakening Cardassian defences, making Cardassia an appetising target for the Dominion, granting the Dominion a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant, and escalating the Dominion-Federation conflict into declared war.'
'Yes, Lieutenant McBride, that is correct.'
'So the chain is Maquis to Cardassians to Klingons back to the Cardassians to the Dominions to the Federation losses in the Dominion War.'
'It doesn't seem like a very direct link to me,' said Kit. Chakotay smirked, and Kit heard a few low chuckles coming from the press and public galleries. She smiled to herself. 'Let's try a hypothetical situation, Commodore. Let's say that back in 2368, all the colonists in the Cardassian-Federation DMZ had moved back to their respective homeworlds, and there had been no Maquis. Would the Klingons still have attempted to invade Cardassia?'
'I don't know,' replied Sisko, slowly.
'What were the reasons for the Klingon invasion of Cardassia, Commodore?'
'Chancellor Gowron believed that the new civilian government of Cardassia was being controlled by the Dominion Founders.'
'So his reasons had nothing to do with the Maquis?'
'I cannot answer for him.'
'Very true, Commodore.' Kit turned to Louvois. 'At this point in time I would ask the court's permission for Chancellor Martok be added to our witness list as a rebuttal witness.'
'Objection!' said Singh. 'How can Chancellor Martok testify on behalf of Gowron?'
'Chancellor Gowron is dead,' said Kit. 'Chancellor Martok was then General Martok, and was in command of the Klingon fleet. In the absence of Chancellor Gowron - an absence for which you cannot blame my clients - Chancellor Martok is the best available rebuttal witness.'
'Is Chancellor Martok aware of your request?'
'He was informed that he might be called as a witness, and is prepared to testify via Holographic Communication.' said Kit.
'In that case, the objection is overruled and the defence petition is granted,' said Louvois.
'Thank you, your Honor. To return, Commodore. As far as you know, did Chancellor Gowron's reasons for invading Cardassia have anything to do with the Maquis.'
'As far as I know, no,' said Sisko.
'Thank you, Commodore. Oh, one more thing - you were acquainted with Calvin Hudson and Michael Eddington, weren't you?'
Sisko visibly grated his teeth. 'Yes. I was.'
'Hudson was your former Captain.'
'And Eddington was Chief of Starfleet Security on Deep Space Nine for a number of years.'
'And they both joined the Maquis.'
'Tell me, Commodore, did you feel betrayed when Hudson and Eddington joined the Maquis?'
'They were traitors. Of course I felt betrayed!'
'That's quite an outburst. Are you still angry with them?'
'No,' replied Sisko through clenched teeth.
'Are you still angry with the Maquis? According to your testimony, the Maquis were responsible for a large loss of life during the Dominion War.'
Sisko's eyes were narrowed to slits. 'No,' he growled. 'Their involvement is a fact. My testimony is not the result of emotion.'
'Are you angry with Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres? They weren't even in the Alpha Quadrant when you first came across the Founders.'
For a single moment Sisko lost control. 'They are Maquis!' he yelled. Then he took a hold of himself and spoke steadily. 'They are Maquis - they are traitors - they are criminals.'
Kit looked carefully at Sisko for a few moments, letting his last statement hang in the air. Then she looked at the jury. 'Thank you, Commodore. No more questions.'
'Redirect, your Honor?' said Linda Merran, jumping up. Louvois nodded.
'Commodore Sisko, your wife, Kasidy Yates, was arrested and imprisoned for her membership of the Maquis, correct?'
'NO!' This time Sisko bellowed. Merran flinched and Singh looked as sick as Kit had been looking earlier. 'Kasidy was NOT in the Maquis. She transported medical supplies for them. She was NOT a member.'
'I'm sorry, Commodore. I — I apologise. No more questions, your Honor.' Merran crept back to her seat.
'Thank you, Commodore,' said Louvois, looking a little stunned herself. 'I believe a lunch recess would be in order. I note that we have a long agenda this afternoon - we will reconvene at 1330 hours, please. Court is adjourned.'
* * *
That day the lunchroom was far from silent. They all had to congratulate Kit on her 'comeback' in cross-examination, and discuss Sisko's outburst at Merran. Then Anne and Irving McBride were shown into the room. They had arrived in San Francisco without telling Kit, and had been present for the entire morning. Kathryn was doing her best to follow Kit's advice and was chatting pleasantly with Chakotay, totally ignoring the issue of how he knew MacKenzie Rabb. B'Elanna was being introduced to Kit's parents, who had decided they couldn't let their only daughter try her first case without them in the public gallery. Soon Irving and B'Elanna were excitedly discussing various engineering principles, while Anne and Kit chatted quietly.
'We had dinner with the Kim's last night. Masako is such a sweet lady.'
'Yes, she's a dear,' replied Kit. 'I go over there at least once a week - or I did until the trial started. I won't really have enough time this week.'
'You need to rest, my dear,' said Anne.
'I know,' replied Kit. 'And Kathryn does a pretty good job of telling me. Don't you, Kath?'
'Don't I what?'
'My dear Caitlyn, you may be young, but I am not that old!' said Kathryn, mock-insulted. Chakotay, Anne and Kit burst out laughing, disturbing the others' conversation. By the end of lunchtime the laughter and chatter was so loud that the clerk of courts had to pound on the door to let them know that the court was about to resume. Kit and Kathryn stood up reluctantly. They knew who was next on the witness list, and like last time, they hadn't told Chakotay and B'Elanna. As the group walked back to the courtroom, together with the Starfleet guards who always accompanied Chakotay and B'Elanna, Kit and Kathryn discussed the next cross-examination in an undertone.
'Are you sure you're all right with me doing this cross, Kath? After all, he's an old friend of yours - I'm sure you know his weak spots better than I do.'
'But the whole point is that he's an old friend. I couldn't do it, Kit. It's going to be enough of a struggle for me to start doing the exams-in-chief. You're good at the crosses - you proved that this morning. "From each according to their abilities",' finished Kathryn, as they walked into the courtroom and took their places.
'Good afternoon, all,' said Louvois as she came. 'All right, let's get started. Commodore Singh?'
'The prosecution calls Admiral Owen Paris.'
Kathryn had been prepared for B'Elanna to be shocked, but she hadn't been prepared for the nails that dug into her arm. 'Lieutenant,' Kathryn said quietly, lifting B'Elanna's hand from her arm.
'Tom's father,' said Kathryn. 'I know.'
'This wasn't the way I wanted to meet him,' said B'Elanna grimly.
Owen Paris looked long and hard at B'Elanna once he had taken the stand. In fact, he missed Commander Merran's first question entirely. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that he knew that it was his daughter-in-law he was testifying against. 'I'm sorry,' he said eventually. 'I'm afraid I didn't hear the question.'
'Quite all right, Admiral. I had asked if you were in charge of the 'Pathfinder' project in Starfleet.'
'Yes, yes I was,' said Admiral Paris.
'What did that project entail?'
'We began about five years ago, after Voyager encountered the Prometheus, and the brief exchange of messages that occurred then. Our mission was to find a way to contact Voyager. We succeeded two years later. Since then, our mission has been to speed the journey home for Voyager. In the end, that was neither possible nor necessary.'
'Why were you supposed to speed Voyager's return?'
'Captain Janeway and her Starfleet crew had been in the Delta Quadrant long enough. Their families wanted them home.'
'Was there another reason, Admiral?'
Owen Paris looked up at the press gallery uncertainly. Louvois saw the glance. 'I'm sorry, Admiral, but you will have to answer Commander Merran's question.'
Owen stared out across the courtroom, avoiding eye contact with anyone. 'Voyager held the last known cell of the Maquis. We wanted them home, off a Starfleet ship, and in a brig as soon as possible.'
'Why is that, Admiral?'
Owen looked at Merran as though at a young child. 'We believed the Maquis were criminals. We saw the Voyager group as the last survivors - the ones who had escaped the punishment given to the rest.'
'Now, Admiral, did Project Pathfinder conclude once contact had been established with Voyager?'
'No, it did not.'
'What happened after initial contact was made?'
'The Pathfinder team were still in charge of maintaining the communications technology, and at the same time our mission specs were slightly altered.'
'What to, exactly?'
'As I said, to speed Voyager's return. Also, to go over any file transfers received from Voyager, and to develop protocols to be put in place prior to their return for examining the computer system.'
'Approximately how long were you in contact with Voyager before they returned?'
'Approximately four years - although the quality of communications during that time varied.'
'Were there many file transfers received during that time?'
'Yes,' said Owen. 'When we first managed to contact Voyager, there were a number of automated file transfers initiated - Officer's Logs, that had been stored by the computer since Voyager was first in the Delta Quadrant, personal logs that had been flagged for storage, and some automated messages.'
'Automated messages?' asked Merran.
'Messages that had been set to be transmitted as soon as reliable communications with the Alpha Quadrant had been established. Most of these were messages to family members.'
'In your review of these file transfers, did you find anything related to the Maquis?'
'Quite a bit,' replied Owen. 'The Officer's Logs for the first two years of Voyager's journey contained many references to the members of the Maquis who were then aboard Voyager. There were a number of disciplinary concerns raised, problems with applications of protocol, that sort of thing.'
'And after the first two years?'
'The references became significantly less. By year four, they had mostly disappeared.'
'What was your interpretation of this, Admiral?'
'I initially could see two different possibilities - either the Maquis were adapting to Starfleet protocols and procedures, or the Starfleet crew were altering their perceptions of the Maquis behaviour due to the long exposure to their activities.'
'Did you come to any conclusion as to which of these possibilities was in fact the situation aboard Voyager?' asked Commander Merran.
'Yes. I consider that discipline on Voyager had become lax due to the influence of the Maquis on board.'
'How did you reach this conclusion?'
'By reading the duty logs and analyzing the way in which day to day situations were dealt with. While in words there was an emphasis on dealing with situations 'in the Starfleet way,' this was not borne out by analysis. For example, the alliance made with —'
'Sidebar, your Honor?' said Singh, leaping to his feet.
'You are objecting to the testimony of your own witness, Commodore?'
'No, your Honor. I am objecting to the presence of the press at this time.'
'Approach - all of you. You too, Captain Janeway.' The four clustered around the bench. 'What's the problem, Commodore?'
'Admiral Paris is about to testify regarding the alliance Captain Janeway made with the Borg. Starfleet would prefer that the press not get hold of that particular news item.'
'I can understand why,' said Louvois. 'But I can't simply exclude the press from the courtroom for one piece of testimony. You should have warned me about this earlier. I could have excluded them for all of Admiral Paris's testimony.'
'I apologize, your Honor,' said Singh.
'No need to get humble, Thomas,' said Louvois. 'We'll leave it here for now, and have a closed session tomorrow when Admiral Paris can return and testify as to specifics. No objections?' Both Singh and Kathryn shook their heads. 'Fine, then,' said Louvois, and turned to explain to Owen in an undertone what would occur.
'To confirm what you were saying, Admiral,' said Merran, 'the actions of the Voyager crew were, you believe, influenced by the presence of the Maquis on board Voyager?'
'Yes. That is what we believed.'
'Thank you, Admiral. No more questions.'
Kit stood up.
'Admiral, you have an interesting use of the past tense. Am I to understand that you no longer believe that the Maquis are criminals?'
'I'm sorry, Lieutenant?'
'You said,' Kit picked up a PADD and scrolled back up the transcript, 'We believed the Maquis were criminals. Not 'believe', not 'are'. Do you still believe that the Maquis are criminals?'
Owen didn't respond immediately. 'I believe, here and now, that the Maquis, when they were flouting the Federation-Cardassia treaty, attacking Cardassian outposts and causing the deaths of Cardassian soldiers and civilians, were criminals. Because they were on Voyager, the Liberty cell have not, as the old phrase puts it, "paid their debt to society." They may no longer be acting criminally, but they are still to be held liable for their past criminal acts.'
'Admiral, are you aware of the existence of legislation known as the "Statute of Limitations"?'
'Do you consider the existence of such legislation to be a good thing?'
'But not always.'
'No. There will always be an exception to general rules.'
'This case. In this case there should be no limit on the number of years within which charges must be brought. That is why there is no Statute of Limitations in the Uniform Code of Inter-Planetary Military Justice.'
For one bizarre moment Kit had the urge to turn to the public gallery and say 'Curses, foiled again,' like the characters in Tom's old Captain Proton program. Instead she turned back to the defence table to look over her notes.
'Admiral Paris,' she continued, 'you testified that when you first began analyzing the files transferred from Voyager, you came up with two theories for the eventual peace on board Voyager between those members of the crew from the Liberty and those who had been on Voyager originally.'
'Yes, that is correct.'
'Have you totally discounted your first theory - that those from the Liberty had adapted to Starfleet procedures and protocols.'
'I believe the second theory is the correct one.'
'But have you totally discounted any possibility that the first theory may have some merit?'
'I rarely discount any theory entirely, Lieutenant McBride.'
'So the answer to my question is no.'
'The answer is that I consider my second theory to be accurate, but that there may be some merit, possibly, in the first theory. It is often difficult to take a ship's logs at face value.'
'Thank you, Admiral,' said Kit. 'One more thing - you and I both know the answer to this question, but I just want to make sure that the jury understands the context in which you are testifying. Did you have a personal connection to Voyager?'
'What was that connection?'
'A close personal friend and an ex-student and officer of mine, Captain Kathryn Janeway, was in command of Voyager. Also...' Owen stopped.
'Also, Admiral Paris?'
'Also my son was on board.'
When Kit and Kathryn had been discussing how to approach Owen Paris' cross-examination, Kit had wanted to push Owen on just why Tom had been on board, and why, as he was technically on short-term release from the Penal Colony, Tom hadn't been immediately shipped back to New Zealand on Voyager's return. But Kathryn had vetoed that idea, saying that they could call Tom for the defence without dragging everything out of Owen. So Kit bit down the searching questions she wanted to ask Admiral Paris, smiled at him and sat down.
For the rest of that day and the next the prosecution called every member of Project Pathfinder to testify as to their interpretations of the files, and of the behavior of the entire Voyager crew on their return home. Some of the Pathfinder personnel were rock solid in their testimony, absolutely certain of the 'Maquis Conspiracy', while others were clearly unwilling to testify against Chakotay and B'Elanna. By the beginning of the fourth day it seemed as though every log ever recorded had brought into evidence. Kit's head was whirling, and as Singh stood up again Kit hoped that the next witness would be about something other than Voyager's logs.
'As our final witness,' said Singh, 'The prosecution calls Captain Kathryn Janeway to the stand.'
* * *
'Objection!' Kit and Kathryn said at the same time. Kit took over. 'Captain Janeway is not on the prosecution's witness list, and if she had been, we would have objected during preliminaries. Asking the lead defence counsel to testify for the prosecution is highly irregular, your Honor.'
'You're telling me,' said Louvois. 'I think we'd better have this discussion in my chambers - Counsel, if you please?' Louvois rose and walked into her chambers, followed by the four advocates. Once they were in and the door closed, Louvois sat down and addressed Commodore Singh. 'You are going to have to justify this, you know, Commodore.'
Singh looked back at Louvois in surprise. 'Captain Janeway was in the position of commanding officer to both Torres and Chakotay. Unless she wishes to claim marital privilege,' at that comment both Kit's and Louvois' eyes widened, 'she is the best person to testify as to their behavior during the ten years Voyager was in the Delta Quadrant.'
'You have forgotten one very important point, Commodore - leaving aside your comment about privilege. Captain Janeway is acting as their defence attorney. How can you expect me to sanction such a proposal?'
'It has been done before - admittedly only in the civilian courts and on rare occasions. It would be necessary for Captain Janeway to be treated as a hostile witness. But the precedent does exist, particularly in Maquis treason cases. I could cite Federation v Ro, Federation v Riker...'
Kit jumped in at that. 'Your Honor, Federation v Riker was dismissed on appeal because of the forced testimony of Captain Mindae of the Ghandi. I would also distinguish that case from the present situation on the grounds that Captain Mindae was not the chief defence counsel, but merely was assisting the defence. The same is true for Federation v Ro.'
'Very true, Lieutenant,' said Louvois.
'With all due respect,' said Commander Merran, 'this particular fact situation is unlikely to have precedent on-point. It can only arise in military cases. But, your Honor, the fact remains that Captain Janeway is the best possible witness to the activities of Torres and Chakotay over the last ten years. Captain Janeway's testimony will serve justice, no matter which way her testimony tends.'
Louvois was nodding, and even Kit had to admit that Merran's line of argument was solid. Louvois turned to Kit. 'Lieutenant McBride? Do you have a submission to make?'
'As I said, we would reject Commodore Singh's argument on precedent, and I remind your Honor that to force the lead Defence Counsel to testify against her own "clients" - so to speak - is not only against precedent but also against natural justice.'
'Captain Janeway, will you be claiming marital privilege as regards Commander Chakotay?' Louvois asked. Kathryn looked blankly at Kit.
'We would require some time to discuss that, your Honor,' said Kit.
'Very well, then. I'll let the rest know that the court proper is recessed until 1400 this afternoon. I want you four back here at 1300 with a submission on marital privilege. I'll make my ruling then on whether or not Captain Janeway will be called as a prosecution witness against either Chakotay or Torres.'
All four left Louvois' chambers by the door leading into the corridor. Once there, Kit and Kathryn avoided Singh and Merran and hurried off to the room that had been set aside for them. Once they were there, Kathryn turned to Kit.
'I'm getting to be pretty knowledgeable on military law, but you know my understanding of the evidence rules is less than brilliant. What's this marital privilege everyone is suddenly talking about? And why do I have to decide on it "as regards Chakotay" — oh..,' her voice faded off, and Kit could see by looking at Kathryn's face that she had worked out the implication.
'It's an old legal principle, dating back centuries. "Wives shall not be forced to testify against their husbands." In the last couple of hundred years, it has been broadened to cover all intimate partnerships, and it was only extended to military courts about a hundred years ago. If you wanted to, you wouldn't have to testify against Chakotay.'
'That's all very well,' said Kathryn, 'but there's two problems. One, it wouldn't help B'Elanna one bit, and secondly, I don't want our private life dragged through the press.'
'Are you sure, Kathryn?'
'Yes, I'm sure. Besides,' Kathryn continued, 'we aren't an "intimate partnership" at the moment, are we? Ohh,' Kathryn broke off, putting a hand to her head, 'I was going to stop being bitter about this, wasn't I?'
Kit smiled. 'Well, you did say something to that effect.'
'I'd better get over it if I'm going to be taking the stand, I suppose.'
'That would be a good idea,' said Kit, 'although Louvois might rule in our favor.'
'I think that's being overly hopeful,' said Kathryn. 'Linda Merran knew what she was talking about. So, what's Singh likely to ask me?'
* * *
'Captain Janeway, what was your assigned mission on Voyager?' asked Commodore Singh that afternoon.
'To get my crew home,' replied Kathryn, deliberately misunderstanding his question.
'I meant your initial mission - the one assigned to you by Starfleet Command on Stardate 48743.'
'To proceed to the area of space known as the 'Badlands', and to investigate the disappearance of the Maquis ship Liberty, and to recover my security officer.'
'And to place the Maquis members of the Liberty under arrest?'
'That was never stated in my mission briefing,' said Kathryn. She was determined not to make anything easy for the prosecution.
'Would you say that, by implication, Starfleet policy of that time dictated the capture and arrest of those suspected to be members of the Maquis?'
'As I assume you know, Commodore Singh, Starfleet allows its Captains great latitude of discretion, especially when in deep space.'
'Captain,' said Singh, clearly becoming impatient, 'did Starfleet policy of ten years ago, immediately prior to your departure to the badlands, generally dictate that suspected Maquis were to be arrested? Yes, or no?'
Louvois had already explained to Kathryn that when a 'yes or no' question was asked, only a one-word answer would be accepted. Kathryn swallowed and said, 'Yes.'
'Thank you, Captain,' said Singh, sarcastically. 'If I may continue? When you first met Chakotay and Torres, were you aware that they were Maquis?'
'I met Commander Chakotay first. I didn't meet Lieutenant Torres until a number of days later.'
'By which time you were fully aware of her membership in the Maquis?'
'And to return to the original question, were you aware that Chakotay was in the Maquis when you first met him?'
'I considered that to be a fairly distinct possibility,' answered Kathryn. 'He was on the bridge of a ship known to have been stolen by the Maquis, he was sitting next to my security officer, and he looked a lot like the picture I'd been shown of the leader of the cell Lieutenant Tuvok was to infiltrate.'
'So that's a yes?'
Kathryn paused for effect, and to stop herself from saying, What do you think? 'Yes.'
'That being the case, Captain Janeway, why didn't you arrest Chakotay immediately?'
'Objection!' said Kit, 'Captain Janeway is not on trial here.'
'I'll allow the question,' said Louvois, 'but I put you on notice, Commodore Singh, that the relevance of your questions is being closely scrutinized.'
'Because I had a more important problem at hand,' Kathryn said. 'My crew, what was left of it, were 70,000 light years away from home, and one of them was missing into the bargain. The best use of resources available included utilizing the resources of the Liberty, including her commanding officer.'
'And you believe that appointing Chakotay as your first officer was the best possible use of "resources"?' asked Singh.
'Yes. He was —'
Singh cut her off. 'Yes or no, Captain.'
'And appointing B'Elanna Torres as Chief Engineer, did you believe that was the best possible use of "resources"?'
'Lieutenant Torres has been outstanding as Chief Engineer.'
'That wasn't what I asked, Captain. Did you believe that appointing B'Elanna Torres as Chief Engineer was the best possible thing to do for Voyager?'
Kathryn swallowed and looked over at Kit, who nodded slightly.
'Not at the time the appointment was made.'
'You wanted to appoint Lieutenant Joe Carey, isn't that correct?'
'I had no prior knowledge of Torres' engineering capabilities, and I knew that Mr Carey was a more than competent Assistant Chief.'
'And you trusted him?'
'Yes,' replied Kathryn.
'But you didn't trust Torres. I remind you, Captain, your official logs have been admitted as evidence.'
'At that time, I did not trust Torres.'
'Yet you trusted Chakotay enough to appoint him your first officer?'
'Despite the recorded warnings of your Security Officer?'
'Mr Tuvok was entitled to warn me. I was commanding the ship — it was my decision to make.'
'Did you ever — ever — ' Singh stressed the word, 'regret appointing either Torres or Chakotay to their positions?'
Kathryn paused as though to reflect. 'Did Starfleet ever regret appointing James Kirk to the Enterprise?'
'Your Honor!' Singh appealed to Louvois, who was almost succeeding in hiding a grin.
'Captain Janeway's answer to that question will be stricken from the record,' said Louvois. 'Captain, your answers need to be less rhetorical. A law court finds little merit in humour.'
'I regretted my decisions as much as any commanding officer regrets their decisions in moments of crisis.'
Singh paused for a moment, and Kit thought to herself that it looked as though he were trying to makes sense of what Kathryn had just said. Then he pulled himself up straight and continued. 'Let's get down to specifics, Captain.'
* * *
The 'specifics' took the rest of that day, and by the end of it, Kathryn was exhausted. Gretchen Janeway had arrived in San Francisco earlier in the afternoon, summoned by Irving McBride, and she took her daughter home to 'pamper' her. Kit and her parents went to the Kim's for dinner, where Harry and all four parents did their best to keep Kit's mind away from the trial. Then Anne and Irving took their daughter back to the hotel where they were staying, and insisted on her getting a good night's sleep.
But all evening, in the back of both Kathryn and Kit's minds, was the thought of Chakotay and B'Elanna, still held in the Brig at Starfleet HQ.
* * *
The next morning, Singh finally finished his examination. He had taken Kathryn through every negative log-entry she had made, every reprimand in Chakotay and B'Elanna's files, every incident that could possibly be traced back to either of them. He had even questioned her on the log-entries she had made on New Earth – the official ones, at least.
In the end there had been no way to avoid the fact. For the first few months of their journey Kathryn had not trusted B'Elanna, and she had been wary of Chakotay, viewing his appointment as First Officer as a necessary evil in the attempt to merge the two crews and get home.
But that initial distrust had soon changed, and it was that which Kit now had to show the jury.
'Captain,' Kit began, 'how many members of your original crew died in the transfer from the Alpha Quadrant to the Delta Quadrant?'
'Could you tell us which of your senior officers were among those who died?'
'My first officer, the Chief Medical Officer and both nurses, the Chief Engineer, the deputy Chief of Security, and my helmsman.'
'That left Voyager significantly understaffed, correct?'
'And shortly thereafter, your Operations Officer — Ensign Harry Kim — disappeared from the ship?
'That is correct.'
'Captain, why did the crew of the Liberty assist you to find Ensign Kim?'
'Objection!' said Singh. 'Captain Janeway cannot answer for the state of mind of the Maquis crew.'
'I'll rephrase,' said Kit, quickly. 'Captain, was there a reason for the crew of the Liberty to join your search?'
'Yes,' said Kathryn. 'A member of their crew, Lieutenant Torres, was also missing upon our return from the Array.'
'During this joint recovery operation, did you have an opportunity to observe Commander Chakotay's skills as a leader?'
'Yes, I did.'
'And did this help you later in making your decision to appoint him as your first officer?'
Kathryn thought for a moment, although she had been prepared for the question the day before. 'Yes. I had been given a chance to see how he worked.'
'Were you also given a chance to see how the rest of the Liberty crew members worked?'
'To a limited extent, yes.'
'Did this observation at all affect your choice to incorporate the members of the Liberty crew into your own crew?'
Again Kathryn paused in thought. 'No. The decision to invite the Liberty crew to join Voyager was easy. They had no ship; I was missing half my crew. They were from the Alpha Quadrant, and criminals or not, I wasn't about to drop them off on the nearest planet and let them rot.'
'But just to clarify this for the jury, Captain, why did you not arrest them as Maquis criminals?'
'And have them sit in the brig for seventy years while I tried to get a half-staffed ship to run? Even the most desk-bound Admiral can see the stupidity of that idea!'
Kit looked at the jury, mostly made up of desk-bound Admirals, and decided to move on with the questions rapidly.
'Captain, let's look at your decision to appoint Commander Chakotay as your first officer. Why did you do that?
'Commander Chakotay had been a member of Starfleet for a time. He was a well-respected member of the Starfleet Academy Faculty, and he had an outstanding reputation as a tactician.'
'So, you were satisfied by his credentials?'
'Yes. After we arrived in the Delta Quadrant, I researched his background in the database – if he hadn't left Starfleet he would have been promoted to Captain within a year. He had a very good reputation.'
'Were there any other reasons, Captain?'
'Objection!' said Singh. 'This is not a cross-examination, this is an examination-in-chief.'
Kit opened her mouth to respond, but Louvois spoke first. 'Commodore Singh. You forced the testimony of this witness – I'm going to grant Lieutenant McBride a great deal of leeway in this cross-examination. If it weren't for you, Commodore, I'm sure that this testimony would have been entered by the defence, and I'd rather we got to it sooner than later.'
Because, thought Kit, Phillipa knows just how long this trial is going to drag on. Even if Kathryn is the prosecution's last witness.
'Captain Janeway, would you like Lieutenant McBride to repeat the question?' asked Louvois.
'No, thank you, your Honor. Yes, there was another reason. Commander Chakotay was the commanding officer of the Liberty. For him to be second-in-command made a great deal of sense, as well as being symbolic. I did not know the abilities and weaknesses of a number of my new crewmembers. He did. And he had just sacrificed his ship for mine.'
One of these days, thought Kit, I want to ask her whether she would have done the same for him.
'And why did you appoint Lieutenant Torres as Chief Engineer?'
'Commander Chakotay was a strong advocate for her. And I knew she had been considered a good engineer while she had been at the Academy.'
'Yet you testified before that you did not trust her?'
'Not initially, no, I did not. I did not know her then, and I had no firm prior knowledge of her skills.'
'How is that different to your appointment of Commander Chakotay as first officer?'
'I had seen him working while we had been searching for Torres and Kim. I had seen his abilities at first hand. I had not witnessed any of Lieutenant Torres' engineering skills.'
'Thank you, Captain.'
Kit followed the same pattern that had been followed by Singh. Together, she and Kathryn examined Kathryn's changing attitudes towards Torres, and highlighted every positive comment about Chakotay in each of the log entries that Singh had brought into evidence. Kit asked about the commendations granted to the ex-Maquis members, and battled Singh to get the reprimands to the Starfleet crew — especially Tom Paris' demotion — admitted as evidence. Singh objected on relevance almost every time, but most of the time he was overruled, and the evidence was admitted. Kit had to face a scorching glare from B'Elanna when Tom's demotion was brought up, but Kit knew that B'Elanna understood why it was necessary. Kit was just about to begin on the New Earth log entries when Louvois called the lunch recess.
* * *
Kit left the San Francisco JAG building as soon as she had grabbed some lunch and greeted her parents. The afternoon session was going to be awkward enough without having to face Kathryn and Chakotay over lunch, and Kit still needed to sort out exactly how she was going to ask the questions she needed to ask.
She left through the back entrance to the building, avoiding the media waiting out the front for any tidbits of news they could get. While Kathryn and Thomas Singh were both well known by the media, Kit had so far managed to escape their notice, and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Munching on a sandwich, she wandered out to Baker Beach, turned her back on the Golden Gate bridge and walked south along the bay. She'd come to the Academy here in San Francisco, of course, but her life before Voyager had been concentrated on the East Coast, and she'd never fallen in love with San Francisco as she had with Chicago and Old Washington. But the city was growing on her — the enchanting twists and turns of the bay, and the oceanside suburbs that looked out over that least 'pacific' of oceans. In the last few days, she'd had to admit that she loved the view from Kathryn's Berkeley apartment, and, to her, the ocean was always special.
Footsteps behind her interrupted her musing. She turned around, relieved to see that it was Harry and not some member of the media.
'How are you, hon?' he asked as he caught up to her and put an arm around her waist.
'Doing all right, I guess,' she replied. 'I just had to get out of there.'
'Yeah – that's what your Mom said. Somehow I guessed you'd be here.'
Kit looked at him, puzzled. 'How do you figure that?'
'It's not that hard. Ocean,' he pointed to the west of them, 'Beach,' he waved his hand at the sand they were walking on, 'and the fact that you used to go to Point Lobos when you were depressed.'
'I never — hang on, you're right.'
Harry shrugged. 'I've got a good memory. Are you depressed?'
'Kind of. The prosecution brought up the logs Kath wrote while she and Chakotay were on New Earth. I've got to get something redeeming out of them in cross without totally blowing it.'
'What could the Captain have written in her logs that gives them anything against Chakotay? They aren't trying to prove that they had a relationship or anything, are they?'
'No, but like I told you, the prosecution knows they were involved ... who knows how.'
'But that doesn't go all the way back to New Earth.'
'Oh, Kath wrote something one day about how Chakotay had "given up" trying to get home. There was some long tirade about how she should never have trusted him. Singh managed to make good mileage out of it.'
'She wouldn't have meant it.'
'Of course not. Besides, she told me that at the time he was starting to get on her nerves — and she couldn't work out why.'
'Yeah. But I can't bring that up, can I?'
'Not without bringing everything into the open,' admitted Harry.
'And what's worse is that at the moment, there isn't anything to bring into the open. Anyone with eyes can see those two are made for each other. Why can't they?' Kit kicked at the sand in frustration, but Harry caught her around the shoulders and hugged her.
'They're under pressure, Kit. No one's at their best in a situation like that. I'm surprised you're handling it so well.'
'Well, I've got some awfully good support behind me,' Kit replied, and turned around to kiss him. 'Thank you,' she said softly.
'It's the least I can do,' replied Harry, smiling. 'For you, and for the Captain and Chakotay. And for B'Elanna. Someone's got to keep our top lawyer sane.'
'Well, thank goodness for you,' said Kit as they started to walk back towards the JAG building, 'because if any part of this trial was going to send me insane, it would be this afternoon.'
* * *
'Thank you very much, Captain,' said Kit and sat down, breathing a sigh of relief at having completed her cross-examination of her Captain. The questions on the time Kathryn and Chakotay had spent on New Earth went much easier than Kit had been expecting. Kathryn had answered all her questions very carefully, and pointed out on every possible occasion where her logs had been the result of pent up emotion or frustration against their seemingly hopeless circumstances. Despite the subject matter, Kathryn was calm and relaxed, and Kit suspected that it had a lot to do with Gretchen's arrival the day before. Mrs Janeway was now sitting in the public gallery with Irving and Anne, and Masako Kim had arrived during the afternoon session. Kit was glad — they needed some obvious support on their side of the courtroom.
Singh had no questions to redirect to Kathryn, and she left the witness stand gratefully and came back to her seat at the defence table.
'The prosecution rests, your Honor.'
Kit stood up. 'The defence asks that the case be dismissed on lack of evidence, your Honor.'
'Request denied,' said Louvois, as Kit had expected. The request was a formality in most trials, but important nonetheless. Louvois looked out over the courtroom. 'Considering the lateness of the hour, the point in proceedings which we have reached, and the fact that it is a Friday afternoon, Court will adjourn until 1000 hours Monday morning.' Singh was beginning to stand up and Merran had begun to collect her papers when Louvois spoke again. 'Captain Janeway, Lieutenant McBride — JAG have assured me they will not oppose bail at this time, as both defendants are listed as witnesses. Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Torres, you are granted weekend release on your own recognisance, on the condition that you wear an electronic anklet. Court is dismissed.'
The gavel pounded and Louvois rose and left the room. Chakotay and B'Elanna were looking confused. 'What just happened?' Chakotay asked Kit.
'You've been granted bail — finally! I've had a friend of mine working on JAG all week for this.'
'Not Mac?' asked Chakotay.
'Well, not directly,' replied Kit, 'I mean, she's got conflict of interest issues. But I wouldn't be surprised if she had a hand in it.'
'So, who then?' asked B'Elanna.
'Even after ten years, I've still got friends around the place. If you must know...'
'We must,' said Kathryn, as interested as the others.
'I asked an old law school friend of mine, Clem Tran, to keep some civilian pressure on them.'
'Well, I think it worked,' said Chakotay, as the Starfleet Security officers came in to fit Chakotay and B'Elanna with anklets. Within minutes, they were free to go — within the limits of greater San Francisco, at least.
The four joined their growing group of supporters in the corridor outside the courtroom to try to decide what to do. The first order of business, Anne, Gretchen and Masako declared, was to have dinner. Finding a restaurant willing to take more than fifteen people on short notice would not be easy, but between them, the three women who had appointed themselves matriarchs of the group managed to find one.
They left as a group, hoping that the sheer numbers would discourage the media still clustered around the entrance. Kathryn and Kit had no choice but to answer questions of behalf of Chakotay and B'Elanna, and Kit grudgingly accepted that she could no longer keep out of the public eye.
'Mr Chakotay, how does it feel to be out on bail?'
'Ms Torres — why did you leave Starfleet Academy to join the Maquis?'
'Captain Janeway, can you comment on how the court-martial is going?'
Gretchen gave the reporters exactly two minutes, then, with a nod to Harry and Irving, began to shepherd the group away from the building. Harry and Irving made quite effective 'shepherds', Anne commented later. They all got away from JAG and to the restaurant safely in the end.
At some stage it was mentioned that Chakotay and B'Elanna really needed somewhere to stay, but as with everything else that evening, the matriarchs had it well in hand. Tom was desperate to avoid his father over the weekend, and Masako Kim invited Tom and B'Elanna to stay with them. Anne and Irving had announced during dinner that they had rented an apartment near the Presidio for the duration of the case, at the very least. When the question of accommodation came up, Anne made it clear that Chakotay was welcome to stay with them. Gretchen and Kathryn had already told Kit that she was welcome (Gretchen phrased it more as an order) to continue to stay with Kathryn, whose apartment had more than enough room for the three women.
During the evening it became obvious that few of the Voyager crew felt entirely comfortable back on Earth, though equally few of them felt they had so far had any chance to re-adjust. The trial was acting as a sort of hiatus for most of them — they couldn't get on with their lives in the Alpha Quadrant until it was over. Those who were not based on Earth had mostly gone home briefly to visit their families, then returned to Earth to await the results of the trial. Some were going to be called as witnesses, the rest were concerned for their friends and commanding officers. Tuvok and Vorik had left Earth for Vulcan immediately after Voyager arrived home — then Tuvok returned to Earth with T'Pel and three of their grandchildren, all of whom were at the restaurant that evening. The three Vulcan children were an amusement for the younger crewmembers, as the youngest of the children was still at an age where her exuberance broke through her developing Vulcan reserve on occasions. And when it did, her light-hearted mischief was enough to lift some of the depression in the group. Even Kit, Chakotay and B'Elanna managed to raise a smile at times. But Kathryn, with the knowledge that the defence case had to begin on Monday, sat back and simply stared unseeing through the room.
* * *
After years in Starfleet – more than fifteen for Kit and B'Elanna, and close to thirty for Chakotay and Kathryn – no one was going to sleep in that Saturday morning. Having been in Starfleet herself, Gretchen was prepared, and when Chakotay and B'Elanna arrived only a half hour after Kit had emerged from her room, there was an ample breakfast for eight ready and waiting on the table. The four were not overly interested in eating, so it was lucky that Tom and Harry had turned up as well. The two men were at least fed well, if ignored by B'Elanna and Kit, who were heatedly discussing whether or not B'Elanna should testify.
'I've got to,' said B'Elanna. 'How else are we supposed to prove-'
'We don't have to prove anything,' Kit interrupted. 'All we need to do is give the jury reasonable doubt.'
'But that's got to be harder than it sounds,' said Gretchen from the table, where she was drinking her coffee and talking to Tom and Harry.
'It can be,' said Kit, turning to face Gretchen, 'and I'm not saying the defence case is going to be a spacewalk. It's going to be tough, but B'Elanna doesn't have to testify.'
'On the other hand,' said Kathryn, going to the table to refill her own coffee cup, 'either you both testify, or else neither of you should. Only one will look strange.'
'And, I don't know about you, Kit,' said B'Elanna, 'but I do think I have to testify. Kathryn's testimony hurt me more than it hurt Chakotay. I have to show that I was a good crewmember.'
'You can't show that,' said Kit. 'That's what everyone else has to show – Tuvok, Joe Carey, Seven, Vorik.'
'If he can be bothered to get his Vulcan ass back to Earth,' said Tom, bitterly.
'If Vorik wants to stay on Vulcan, that's his choice, Tom,' said Kathryn. 'Phillipa has authorised the use of holographic communications for his testimony, as well as Chancellor Martok's.'
'So what can I testify about?' asked B'Elanna.
'State of mind,' said Kit. 'If you testify, Kath will be asking questions about when you stopped identifying as a Maquis, and began to identify as a member of the crew as a whole. We need to refute what Owen said about a Maquis conspiracy. We can do that without your testimony, though.'
'Kit, are you saying we shouldn't testify?' asked Chakotay seriously. 'I want a straight answer here – not options, your honest opinion.'
Kit stood up and went to stare out the window, her arms crossed. The rest of the room was silent, waiting for her to answer. After a minute or two, she turned her back to the view and looked at them steadily.
'Yes. You should testify – both of you. But Singh and Merran will try to murder you on cross.'
'That's their job, hon,' said Harry.
'I know it's their job, love, but do they have to be so good at it?' Kit replied, smiling and moving over to put a hand on Harry's shoulder.
Neither he nor Kit saw the significant glances that passed between Tom and B'Elanna, and Kathryn and her mother.
For the rest of the day – and there was a lot of it left – Kit and Kathryn worked on preparing their questions for witnesses. They ran B'Elanna and Chakotay through their testimony, and Kit gave Kathryn some hints on her presentation. They worked out exactly whom they intended to call, and what needed to be asked. More important, in some cases, was what didn't need to be asked. Tom, they decided, was to be questioned about Chakotay, but not about B'Elanna. Kit pointed the importance of this out to him when he complained that he wanted to help defend her.
'We've got the upper hand now, Tom, and we want to keep it that way. If we give Singh and Merran any opportunity to discredit you on cross, they'll do it. Like Harry said, that's their job. It's my job – mine and Kathryn's – to give them as few chances as possible.'
'Is this about that marital privilege thing?' asked Tom.
'Not exactly. What that means is that you cannot by forced to testify against B'Elanna. If Singh or Merran ask something related to her on their cross, you can claim privilege and avoid answering.'
'Then how come Kathryn had to testify against Chakotay?' asked Tom. He was about to continue when Gretchen came into the room with Tuvok and Seven who had arrived to go through their testimony. Harry took Tom aside and told him to shut up, while Kathryn and Tuvok went to one part of the apartment, leaving Seven to Kit. Most of Seven's testimony would be about B'Elanna – Kathryn and Kit were hoping that the initial animosity between the two, which had already been mentioned in the examination of the logs, would give credibility to Seven's testimony in B'Elanna's favour. But Seven also had to be prepared for a lengthy cross-examination because of her background.
As they finished discussing what might be asked about her Borg abilities, Seven stopped Kit's questions to ask one of her own. 'What is happening with the Doctor?'
'I'm doing my best, Seven. But so far, no one's been willing to listen to me. Once this trial is over I'll get Mac – Admiral Rabb to help me. I don't know…we might have to get a court order.'
'Are you able to keep in touch with him?'
'A bit. It's difficult, though.'
'Please let him know that I…' Seven paused, 'miss him. I do not understand why they are treating him in this way.'
'To them, Seven, he's just a computer program that has performed above and beyond its capacity. They don't know any better.'
* * *
Louvois took her seat. 'Well, I trust everyone had a pleasant weekend?' Kit, Singh and Merran nodded - Kathryn looked slightly stunned that the question was even asked. Louvois smiled. 'Let's get down to work, then. Captain Janeway, call your first witness.'
'We call Lieutenant Commander Tuvok,' said Kathryn. Tuvok was ushered in, took the oath and sat down. Kathryn wasted no time in getting to the heart of his testimony. 'Commander Tuvok, when did you first meet Commander Chakotay?'
'On Stardate 48497.'
'How did you meet him?'
'Admiral Nechayev assigned me to infiltrate a Maquis cell led by Commander Chakotay.'
'Commander, I realise that I am asking you to recall the impressions of more than ten years ago, but could you please tell us what your first impressions of Commander Chakotay were upon meeting him?'
Tuvok turned to Louvois. 'Might I be permitted to refer to my logs of the time?' Louvois nodded. 'I found him to be a man of absolute honour. While I did not approve of his approach, I could not have anything but admiration for his principles.'
'And, when did you make that observation?'
'And your first impressions of Lieutenant Torres?'
'On Stardate 48500, I recorded that she was hot-tempered, belligerent, aggressive and stubborn. Two days later, I recorded my admiration of her engineering skills.'
Kathryn smiled in spite of herself. 'So within a week you were able to concede that Lieutenant Torres had some good points?'
'I acknowledged her skills, that is correct.'
'During your time with the Maquis, did you form any opinion as to their methods and ideology?'
'I was not "converted to their cause",' replied Tuvok, raising an eyebrow in Commodore Singh's direction, 'but I was able to appreciate their viewpoint somewhat.'
'Could you expand on that, for us, Commander?'
'The reaction of people like Commander Chakotay was not illogical. He had lost his family, and in his perception he and his people had been betrayed by the Federation. Throughout history, resistance movements have been formed for less valid reasons. It was those without connections to the demilitarised zone colonies that concerned me.'
'That would include Lieutenant Torres?'
'Yes. I was initially convinced those like Lieutenant Torres were in the Maquis because they were "spoiling for a fight" so to speak. However, this was proven to be true in only one case - that of Crewman Lon Suder. Over time, both before and after the crew of the Liberty joined that of Voyager, I found that Lieutenant Torres had a strong sense of justice, and it was this that led her to join with Commander Chakotay.'
'You mentioned Crewman Suder, Commander Tuvok. What was different in his case?'
'We eventually discovered that Crewman Suder had a medical condition which heightened violent impulses.'
'Did you know this at the time when you were aboard the Liberty?'
'No, I did not.'
'Did Suder stand out among his fellows on the Liberty?'
'Objection!' said Singh. 'Your Honor, I fail to the relevance of this. The crew member referred to is dead and has been for eight years.'
Kit held her breath, waiting to see how Kathryn would respond.
'Point of comparison, Your Honor,' said Kathryn. 'Crewman Suder typified Commander Tuvok's expectations of the Maquis. I am trying to establish whether these expectations were borne out by the rest of the Liberty crew.'
Louvois considered the argument for a moment, then nodded. 'Objection overruled. You may answer the question, Commander.'
'Yes, Captain. Crewman Suder was unique in his ferocity, and sometimes in his cruelty. None of the other Liberty crew were comparable.'
'Just to confirm that - none?'
Kit let out the breath she had unconsciously been holding, and sat back in her chair. Kathryn had been very worried about doing the examinations this morning, but so far she was passing with flying colours. Finishing her questions of Tuvok's time on the Liberty, Kathryn moved on to the ten years on Voyager. Carefully she questioned Tuvok on each of the logs that had been brought into evidence by the prosecution, and then added more logs into evidence. She grilled him on the reasons he had abandoned his anti-Maquis holodeck training program, his attitudes to serving in Chakotay's chain of command, and his working relationship with B'Elanna. By this time Tuvok had been on the stand for two hours, and Louvois asked Kathryn if she would object to calling a recess.
'I only have another few questions, your Honor,' replied Kathryn.
'Very well. We will conclude the examination in chief before the recess. You may continue, Captain Janeway.'
'Thank you, your Honor. Commander Tuvok, there were times during our journey when you disobeyed a direct order, is that not correct?'
'That is correct. I bartered with the Sikarians for an inclusion device, and I contacted the Vidian Sodality in search of a cure for a disease which had led us to abandon you and Commander Chakotay on an uninhabited planet.'
'Were you the only crew member to disobey a direct order from a superior?'
'Who else aboard Voyager disobeyed orders?'
'I believe, Captain, that there are perhaps two Ensigns who were stationed on deck twelve who did not, at one time or another, disobey your orders.'
'Were these people ordered to disobey orders, or did they do so voluntarily?'
'For clarity, was this every Starfleet member, every ex-Maquis member, or every single crewmember on my ship?'
'Every single crewmember, Captain. Excluding the two Ensigns. Possibly.'
'Thank you, Commander Tuvok. No more questions.'
'Fifteen minute recess, people. Drink your coffee quickly, Captain Janeway,' said Louvois.
'I'll do that, your Honour,' replied Kathryn.
* * *
'Lieutenant Commander Tuvok,' began Singh, 'You were Chief of Security aboard Voyager, correct?'
'Yes, I was.'
'And did your duties include surveillance of Maquis crewmembers?'
'No,' said Tuvok.
'In direct examination you referred to the surveillance undertaken, Commander.'
'The surveillance of ex-Maquis crew which I undertook was done of my own initiative.'
'Why did you undertake that surveillance, Commander?' asked Singh. His tone was courteous but there was an underlying insinuation to it.
'In the initial period of adjustment after our arrival I felt it prudent to stay aware of any undercurrents among the crew. Both the ex-Maquis and the original Starfleet members.'
'You felt it prudent,' repeated Singh. 'Does that mean you felt that it was part of your duty?'
'It was not officially part of my duties.'
Singh sighed and appealed to Louvois. 'Your Honor? The witness is being recalcitrant.'
'Your Honor!' exclaimed Kit.
'Lower your tone, Commodore Singh. You are cross-examining a fellow officer of the accused. You should expect resistance. Commander Tuvok, it would certainly speed the process of examination if you would be as cooperative as you are able.'
'Yes, your Honor,' replied Tuvok.
'Commander, did you feel that maintaining covert surveillance of the Maquis was part of your duty as an officer on Voyager?'
'In circumstances of crew tension, such as the circumstances of the first few months of our time in the Delta Quadrant, yes.'
'In fact, there were mutinies planned by the Maquis, were there not?'
'I do not believe the use of the plural is accurate, Sir.'
'Mutiny, then. Did you not record in your personal log that Commander Chakotay informed you that he had planned a mutiny early in your voyage?'
'No? It is recorded in your log at Stardate 53247. You wrote, "Commander Chakotay and I spoke today of the tension aboard Voyager in the first few months of our journey. He mentioned to me that he had been involved in a proposed mutiny plan prior to the appointment of Lieutenant Torres as Chief Engineer." Did you write that?'
'A yes or no answer is quite sufficient, Commander,' said Singh, interrupting. 'Now, you testified that you were originally wary of Torres' appointment as Chief Engineer. Why was that?'
'I was aware of her volatile temperament and her impetuous nature. I initially doubted her capacity to lead the engineering team.'
'You believed she was untrustworthy?'
'No - I was concerned for the mental safety of the engineering team.'
'You thought she would corrupt them?'
'No - I was concerned that Lieutenant Torres did not have the leadership skills to influence the team in their actions.'
'Did you think she would harm them?'
'But she did, did she not?'
'I believe Lieutenant Carey was the recipient of a single blow which broke his nose, yes.'
'She harmed her own crew.'
'As I learnt whilst I was on board the Liberty, when one is in the Maquis, sometimes fists are the only means of making one's self understood. Lieutenant Torres had not yet readjusted at that stage to Starfleet life.'
'How long did it take Torres to "adjust to Starfleet life"?'
'I would estimate one and a half years.'
'And Commander Chakotay?'
'Very little time at all. He had the advantage of having served in Starfleet for a substantial period of time.'
'Yet looking at the logs, he disobeyed Captain Janeway's orders more frequently than anyone else. Is that the behaviour of someone who is well-adjusted to Starfleet life?'
'Objection!' said Kathryn, 'Calls for speculation on the part of the witness.'
Singh paused for a moment. 'Now, about this anti-terrorist training program….' The questions continued until even Louvois began to look jaded.
'How much longer, Commodore?' she asked eventually.
'I still have a number of questions for this witness, your Honor,' he replied.
'Fine,' said Louvois. 'It's already 1300. We'll break for an hour for lunch, then resume.'
* * *
Over lunch Kathryn and Kit got into a huddle over the witness list.
'He's taking much longer with Tuvok than I expected,' said Kit. 'I thought we could have started Tom today, but that's not going to happen.'
'Do you think Singh will keep going all afternoon?' asked Kathryn.
'He might not, but if it gets to 1500 hours I doubt Louvois will let us start on a new witness.'
'And we don't want to start with the department heads until after the major witnesses, right?'
'We need to lay the groundwork, right, and for that we need Tom, Seven and Joe Carey. And none of them are going to go quickly.'
'Kit, say we have an hour. Couldn't we call Tom, and get the background stuff out of the way today? Leave the important points for tomorrow.'
Kit sat back and thought. 'Normally I'd say that it would give the prosecution too much time to check out his background to find vulnerabilities. But in this case…'
'In this case,' said a new voice, 'they probably know all his vulnerabilities anyway.' In the doorway stood a tall, blond-haired woman in civilian clothes.
Kathryn turned around, and a smile lit up her face. 'Maddie! Oh, how good of you to come. Kit, Chakotay, B'Elanna - this is Tom's eldest sister, Madelene.'
'Good grief, Kathryn, Maddie, please.' Maddie walked into the room and straight up to B'Elanna. 'So you're my new sister-in-law? I'm so glad to meet you, B'Elanna.' She held out her arms, and B'Elanna returned the brief hug. 'So, tell me, B'Elanna, has my little brother grown up at all in the past ten years?'
'I think you've seen more of him than I have, recently,' said B'Elanna.
'Maybe,' acknowledged Maddie, 'but a wife's opinion might be different from a big sister's.'
'Is that the whole reason you came here?' asked B'Elanna, still sceptical. 'To find out what I think of your brother?'
Maddie smiled. 'No. I heard that he was likely to begin testifying today or tomorrow. I wanted to be here - and I wanted to meet you. Dad…well, Dad's still a little bit miffed that his only son went off and got married…'
'To an ex-Maquis, half Klingon Starfleet dropout,' put in B'Elanna.
'Well, that too,' said Maddie, 'And I doubt he'll turn up to support you. Mom's still in a bit of shock, too, and Samantha's off on Mars at the moment, so it had to be me. There had to be someone from the family here to stand up for our new sister.'
B'Elanna grinned. 'Thanks, Maddie.'
'Dad and Mom will come around eventually,' Maddie continued. 'I think they kind of expected everything to go on exactly the same as it always had. I think they actually expected Tommy to come back at the same age he left them.'
Kathryn laughed. 'Yes, I can see Owen deluding himself like that where Tom's concerned. I would have thought Roberta had more sense though.'
'Oh, Kath, he's her baby, don't forget. Still was, even when he was in prison. Things didn't go so smoothly when Dad cut Tom off in a fit of pique. Oh, the fights we've had!'
'I can imagine,' replied Kathryn. 'But Maddie, I think you'd better go and find Tom and let him know you're here - I don't want him to get up on the stand and suddenly see your face.'
'When do you think he'll be up?'
Kathryn and Kit shared a glance. 'Late this afternoon, I guess,' said Kathryn. 'We'll have to go through his connection to Chakotay, and that's not going to be pretty.'
Maddie shook her head. 'Don't worry about me, Kath. I'm up for it - I'm a Paris, remember. We're tough. But you're right. I'd better go and find young Tommy. I'll give him a hug from you, hey, Sis?'
'Go ahead,' said B'Elanna as Maddie left the room. Once she'd left, B'Elanna said to the rest, 'Please don't tell me you people wouldn't have spotted the resemblance to Tom.'
'Don't worry, Lana, it sticks out a mile,' said Kit. 'If not in looks, then at least in attitude. Just as brash, just as reckless…'
'And charismatic,' added Chakotay. 'Those two could sell socialism to the Ferengi.'
All four were laughing when they went back into the courtroom.
* * *
'Commander Tuvok, you were not happy with Captain Janeway's appointment of Chakotay as her first officer, correct?' Singh was back onto his cross examination of Tuvok's attitude towards Chakotay.
'Initially I was dissatisfied with the Captain's decision.'
'Was it because you distrusted Chakotay? Did you suspect that he was disloyal to Starfleet?'
'Objection, your Honor,' said Kathryn.
'Sustained,' said Louvois, without waiting for Kathryn to state her grounds. 'Commodore Singh, ONE question at a time.'
'Yes, you Honor. Commander Tuvok - did you suspect that Chakotay was not loyal to Starfleet.'
'No, Commodore, I did not suspect. I knew Commander Chakotay to be disloyal to Starfleet.' Kit heard a gasp from the public gallery and didn't have to look up to know that it came from her mother. 'He was, however, absolutely loyal to Captain Janeway,' Tuvok continued. Singh had been so stunned by Tuvok's initial answer that he had not been ready to cut the second part of the answer off. He tried gamely to recover.
'But loyalty to Captain Janeway did not necessarily mean loyalty to Starfleet, correct?'
'Loyalty to Captain Janeway is loyalty to Starfleet,' replied Tuvok. Kit had to work hard not to cheer aloud.
'I see,' said Singh, still clearly shaken. 'You mentioned Lon Suder as the only member of the Maquis to have less than honourable motivations. What about Seska Coren?'
'Seska Coren was not a member of the Maquis. She was a Cardassian spy.'
'You believed her to be a member of the Maquis, is that not correct?'
'Commander Chakotay believed me to be a member of the Maquis. That did not mean I actually was a member.'
'By your definition, Mr Tuvok, by your definition,' said Singh. Kit grimaced. Singh was point scoring, and there wasn't a thing she or Kathryn could do about it until it got more blatant. 'You worked closely with Seska Coren, did you not?' continued Singh.
'On occasion,' agreed Tuvok.
'You worked especially closely with her whilst Voyager was in orbit around Sikaris, correct?'
'Seska Coren was among your co-conspirators to gain the inclusion device?'
'Who else was involved?'
'Lieutenant Carey and Lieutenant Torres.'
Singh raised his eyebrows in a move that would have done Tuvok himself justice. 'Lieutenant Torres,' he said, as though surprised. 'The chief engineer of Voyager. And tell us, Commander Tuvok, what was the result when the inclusion device was tested?'
'Didn't it also threaten to destroy the ship?'
'If it had not been disconnected, yes, that might have occurred.'
'This was how many weeks after Voyager entered the Delta Quadrant?'
'Twelve weeks and a few days.'
'Thank you. Twelve weeks. And within twelve weeks of Voyager joining forces with a Maquis ship, the senior Starfleet engineer, Lieutenant Carey, and the Chief of Security,' Singh stressed the words, 'join with a member of the Maquis and a Cardassian spy to try to destroy the ship? And you say that the Maquis had no influence on the Starfleet crew!'
Singh had turned away from the witness stand when Tuvok spoke. 'We did not know at that time that Ensign Seska was Cardassian. We did not know that the inclusion device had the potential to destroy the ship. And the only reason we procured it in the first place was that we were trying to get home.' From Tuvok, it was an impassioned speech. His voice never left the flat, neutral tone that was customary from him, but there was a glint in his eye that Kit had rarely seen.
'Your Honor,' said Singh. 'I ask that the witness's last statement be stricken from the record.'
Louvois looked down at Singh sternly. 'On what grounds? You asked a question. Commander Tuvok appears to have answered it.'
Singh was unable to come up with anything.
'Objection overruled,' said Louvois.
'No more questions, your Honor.'
'Redirect?' asked Louvois.
'Yes, your Honor,' said Kathryn, standing up with a padd in her hand. 'Commander Tuvok, would you please read from this the entirety of your personal log from Stardate 53247?'
Tuvok took the padd. 'Commander Chakotay and I spoke today of the tension aboard Voyager in the first few months of our journey. He mentioned to me that he had been involved in a proposed mutiny plan prior to the appointment of Lieutenant Torres as Chief Engineer. Ensign Seska Coren and another ex-Liberty crewmember had approached him, and he had ordered them to abandon the idea. He had not informed me at the time, because he felt that the plan was the result of frustration, and what he referred to as "Cabin Fever". He also referred to the animosity that existed between us at that time. I record my satisfaction in our agreement that such animosity is no longer in existence.'
'Thank you, Commander. As Security Officer on Voyager, were you satisfied that throughout the ten years of our voyage, the crew maintained Starfleet standards and protocols?'
'Yes, I am.'
'In those ten years, did you see any evidence, any evidence at all, to indicate that either Commander Chakotay or Lieutenant Torres were committing treasonable offences, or encouraging others to commit such offences?'
'No, Captain. I saw none.'
'Thank you, Commander Tuvok. I have no more questions, your Honor.'
'Captain Janeway, do you wish to call your next witness, or would you prefer to wait until tomorrow morning?' asked Louvois.
'We are ready to proceed now, your Honor,' said Janeway.
'In that case,' said Louvois, 'I will call a short recess. I don't know about you people, but I need a cup of tea. Fifteen minutes.' She banged her gavel. Kit walked across to Tuvok as he was leaving the witness stand.
'Commander - thank you. I'm sure both Chakotay and B'Elanna appreciate the time you've given up for this.'
'It was my duty,' said Tuvok. 'However, I must admit that it has been an - exhausting - experience.'
Kit smiled and walked with him to the door where T'Pel was waiting. 'Thank you for coming all this way.'
'We will be here until this is resolved,' said T'Pel softly. 'Kathryn means a great deal to both of us. We must be here to support her and her friends. And you have all become Tuvok's family.'
'That means much to us, T'Pel,' said Kit.
T'Pel raised her hand. 'Live long, and prosper, Caitlyn.'
Tuvok had also raised his hand in the traditional salute. Kit raised her own. 'Live long and prosper, T'Pel. Commander.' She watched as T'Pel summoned the grandchildren to her and the five Vulcans left the court building. Then she turned back into the room.
* * *
'We call Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris to the stand.'
The court clerk relayed the request and within a minute Tom walked through the door. His usual swagger was almost non-existent, and he looked overly solemn. His eyes flicked over the public gallery until he found Maddie, sitting next to Harry's mother. Even then his eyes only lit up for a second, the light dimming again as he swore the oath.
B'Elanna was swearing under her breath in Klingon for an entirely different reason.
'Lana?' asked Kit in an undertone.
'Can't you see how hard this is for him?'
'Yes, but I don't…oh, damn, I'd forgotten!' The realisation struck Kit and Chakotay at the same instant.
'He hasn't been in a courtroom since his hearing,' said Chakotay.
'He hasn't been in this building since the inquest into his friends' deaths,' said Kit at the same time. 'Oh, poor Tom. Why didn't he tell us?'
'He wanted to be brave,' snorted B'Elanna. 'Fat lot of good that will do us if he falls apart.'
'Shush,' said Kathryn. 'It won't help Tom if you lot are sitting here whispering.' She stood up to begin her questions. 'Good afternoon, Lieutenant Paris.'
'I'm sorry to call you to the stand so late in the afternoon, but I thought this would be a good chance to get some background questions out of the way. Your name is Thomas Eugene Paris?'
'Yes, Captain,' replied Tom, looking slightly bemused.
'And you are married to Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres?'
'Yes, I am,' said Tom, showing the ghost of a smile as he looked towards B'Elanna.
'Just to keep the relationships straight, your father is Admiral Owen Paris, who testified last week?'
'You were on board Voyager as a civilian observer, correct?'
'And how long have you known Lieutenant Torres and Commander Chakotay?'
'I first met them about twelve years ago.'
'Before Voyager was lost in the Delta Quadrant, then,' said Kathryn, gently leading into what Tom had earlier termed 'the sticky stuff'.
'Could you please tell us how you met Lieutenant Torres and Commander Chakotay for the first time?'
Tom swallowed. 'I left Starfleet on a dishonourable discharge almost thirteen years ago. When Commander Chakotay came looking for a pilot, I was pretty happy to sign on. I didn't care much about politics. But Commander Chakotay was an understanding man - hell, he put up with me without killing me.' Tom glanced at Kathryn and saw the slight frown on her face. When he spoke again the bitterness was gone from his voice. 'Working with Chakotay gave me a chance to fly again, and to feel as though I was doing something worth while. I met Lieutenant Torres for the first time a few days after Chakotay introduced me to the rest of the group. She was one hell…I mean, she was, and is, a magnificent engineer. Then I went on a job for them, got caught, and ended up in the Federation Penal Settlement in New Zealand.'
'Why were you a civilian observer, Lieutenant Paris?'
'Because a nice Starfleet captain had just enough faith in my abilities to find my former colleagues that she was willing to take me on board her ship.' Once again the ghost of a smile broke through Paris's solemnity.
Kathryn sighed, understanding the stress Tom was under but wishing he would give straight answers. 'You had special knowledge of the habitable planets in the badlands?'
'Knowledge that no one else had?'
'I wouldn't say no one, but certainly very few.'
'Thank you, Mr Paris. After Voyager was transported to the Delta Quadrant, what was your position in the crew?'
'For the first four and a half years, Lieutenant assigned to Conn, Chief Navigator, Pilot…and gossip monger,' he finished with the sort of impish grin that most people associated with him. In the gallery, Maddie and Anne were giggling, and Gretchen was rolling her eyes.
Louvois, however, was less than impressed. 'Lieutenant, as I told your Captain, humour is rarely appreciated in a courtroom.'
'Yes, your Honour.'
'And after those four and a half years?' asked Kathryn, knowing that if she didn't ask the question that Singh or Merran would.
'I spent two years as an Ensign - the result of a demotion for breaking the Prime Directive and disobeying direct orders. Two years ago I was promoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade.'
'And during all that time you remained assigned to the Conn, Chief Navigator and Pilot?'
Behind the defence table, Kit and B'Elanna each breathed a sigh of relief - the Tom they all knew and loved was back.
* * *
After the thorough examination of background Kathryn had carried out the day before, she was able to jump straight into Tom's important testimony the next morning. In a method that was beginning to be far too familiar, Kathryn went through Tom's log entries with a fine toothcomb, getting Tom to analyze his words and actions. Kathryn and Kit had decided that Tom's testimony wouldn't be all that helpful as to the conspiracy theory the prosecution was trying to run - he was too easy to discredit. But as a senior officer, his interpretation of Chakotay's command would still be quite helpful.
Maddie was back in the gallery having spent the evening with her brother and sister-in-law, before staying the night with her parents out in the Portola Valley - an easy commute from the JAG building at headquarters.
'Mr Paris, who was your direct commanding officer while you were on Voyager?'
'The same man who had recruited you to the Maquis?'
'For your observation, did Commander Chakotay integrate well into the Starfleet procedures in place on Voyager?'
'Better than I did, probably.'
'Could you expand on that?'
'Commander Chakotay was in a difficult position. Some of the Liberty crew-members weren't all that pleased with you, Captain, or with Commander Chakotay for working with you. At first no one really believed that we were facing a seventy year journey. So a lot of the Liberty crew saw no reason to change how they acted. Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres, though, I guess they worked it out a bit sooner than the rest of us. Commander Chakotay has been a good first officer. He managed to walk a fine line between Starfleet and the Maquis, but he always stayed on the Starfleet side of things.'
'And you admired him for this?'
'We had our problems, but yes, I admired him. Like I said, he did a better job at fitting into Starfleet again than I did.'
'Were there problems? Disagreements between the Commander and other officers?'
'Of course - you get that in any chain of command. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the Commander's working relationships.'
'If I might ask you about your demotion, Lieutenant?' asked Kathryn.
'Fire away,' said Tom.
'Were you the only person to receive a demotion during Voyager's journey?'
'Well, Seven of Nine was severely disciplined at one stage, but she didn't have a rank in the first place. Still doesn't, actually.'
'But you were the only person demoted?'
'None of the Liberty crew received demotions?'
'No, they did not.'
'What about promotions?'
'There were a lot of those.'
'How were they distributed?'
'Objection!' said Singh. 'Beyond the scope of this witness.'
'Lieutenant Paris can answer this from his own observation, Your Honor.'
'I'm sorry, Captain, I don't understand the question.' Kathryn shot an annoyed glance at Tom, who shrugged back at her slightly.
'Did more people who were original members of the Liberty crew receive promotions?'
'I don't know.'
'It's been ten years, Captain. I honestly can't remember who came from the Liberty and who was originally on Voyager.'
Kit glanced over at the jury - one or two of them were smiling at Tom's comment. Mac had always trained her not to put too much stock in jury-watching, but she couldn't help but keep an eye on them. Especially when Tom came out with one of his more unorthodox answers.
'Thank you for that observation, Mr Paris,' said Kathryn, 'but you would be able to think about the senior officers. I'm sure you remember their origins. What proportion of promotions among senior officers went to those who had come from the Liberty?'
'Um…well, Commander Tuvok doesn't count…I'd say about a third.'
'And how much of Voyager's crew would you estimate had come from the Liberty?'
'About a third, Captain.'
'Thank you, Mr Paris.
Kathryn's direct examination of Tom continued for another hour or so. Singh appeared quite impatient by the time he stood up to begin his cross-examination. There had not been a mid-morning recess, and Kit just hoped that Tom remembered that he could refuse to answer questions about B'Elanna, as he was likely to get defensive, which wouldn't help them with the jury.
'Mr Paris, you have an intriguing background,' said Singh conversationally.
'You could say that…most people use less neutral words,' replied Tom.
'Well, then, might some people call it criminal?'
Tom paled, Kathryn objected, Louvois ruled in Singh's favor, Tom answered and the cross-examination continued.
* * *
'Boy, am I glad that's over,' sighed Tom, flopped in a chair in the defense room that afternoon.
'You're not the only one,' said B'Elanna. 'But you might want to remember that there's still a fair bit to go for some of us.'
'Believe me, Lana, I'm in this for the duration. But now, at least, I'm allowed to watch.'
'So, who's up next?' asked Maddie.
'Seven,' answered Kit. 'She's mostly testifying for Lana. Then Joe Carey and Vorik - same thing. Vorik's testimony won't take long.' Kit shrugged. 'I think he pretty much wants to distance himself from all this.'
'Damned Vulcan!' swore Tom. 'After all he put B'Elanna through, he can't even be bothered…'
'We've been through this before, Tom,' said B'Elanna gently. 'There's no reason to hash over it again. Just try to smile next time you see him.'
'And when's that likely to be?' snorted Tom. 'He's already taken a new post on Vulcan. Everyone else is at least waiting for the outcome of this case.'
'Is there any reason why the whole crew has to put their lives on hold?'
'There is, Lana, and you know it,' said Kit. 'Chakotay's our first officer, you're chief Engineer. Apart from the Captain, you two had the most influence over any of us for ten years. Besides - we're family. And we're not going to abandon you now or ever.' B'Elanna stood up and she and Kit hugged.
'Ah,' said Tom with a grin. 'A Kodak moment.' His wife, sister, and friend all looked at him. Tom shrugged. '20th Century reference.'
Maddie sighed. 'We should have known. Come on, guys, let's get going. I happen to know that Masako Kim is a great cook, and if we don't leave now, Kathryn and Chakotay - not to mention your parents, Kit - will have eaten everything.'
* * *
Over the next two and a half days, the court heard the testimony of Joe Carey, Vorik, and each of the Department Heads. Seven's testimony was given to a courtroom crowded with media, all eager to see the woman 'rescued' from the Borg. The press had seemed disappointed that Seven looked quite normal in her blue-trimmed sciences uniform - glamorous, certainly, but nothing out of the ordinary. The more sensationalist media outlets put out reports about the 'robot-woman' - in one memorable case, a Ferengi news agency had dubbed her the "Borgie Babe" - but none of them gave much of a report on her testimony.
Part of that was because of the blackout requested by Starfleet on testimony relating to the alliance with the Borg. But part of it was that the media, while interested in Seven's existence, had no real interest in what was being said at the trial. The 'Maquis-fatigue' that Kit had predicted when they first arrived back in the Alpha Quadrant had proven true. There would be interest in the verdict, although there seemed to be little general interest from civilians in the trial. It was more a case of apathy than anyone assuming a particular result, thought Kit, but the lack of interest was a bit of a worry. Her concern was that the jury would feel less compunction at finding Chakotay and B'Elanna guilty if they thought there would be little public interest in the case. As with much of military life, public opinion wasn't supposed to affect decisions, but as Kit had found during her JAG training, what was 'supposed' to happen often didn't. She didn't think the situation would have changed much over her ten years in the Delta Quadrant.
It was Thursday afternoon by the time Kathryn called Chakotay to the stand. She and Kit, when they had been planning out the case, had hoped to call Chakotay by Thursday morning at the latest. But Singh had given some lengthy cross-examinations, and it was now very unlikely that the defense case would finish within the week.
Conscious of the shakiness of Kathryn and Chakotay's relationship, Kit had offered to do the examination-in-chief of Chakotay. Kathryn had refused the offer, saying that this was her chance to prove to Louvois and to the jury that the working relationship of Voyager's command team had been, and to all intents and purposes still was, effective and operating smoothly. Kit hadn't been able to disagree with the Captain's reasoning, but as she saw Kathryn's shaking hands she almost wished her powers of persuasion were stronger.
'Commander Chakotay,' began Kathryn, leaning against the defence table for some support, 'I'll ask you straight out - while on Voyager, did you commit treason against the Federation?'
'No, I did not.'
'Did you commit acts of terrorism against the Federation, or against Starfleet?'
'No, I did not.'
'Did you lead what the prosecution have termed a 'Maquis Conspiracy' during the ten year journey of Voyager?'
'No, Captain, I did not.'
Kathryn pushed herself up from the table and walked towards the witness stand. 'Commander, did you find your first Starfleet career satisfying?'
'For most of that time, yes, I did.'
'You went into Starfleet against the wishes of your family, correct?'
'Did you ever regret that choice?'
'When I saw my village burnt to the ground, and found the charred corpses of my father and uncles and aunts and cousins, yes, I regretted my decision very much.'
'Did you blame yourself for their deaths?'
'No, I did not - not entirely.'
'Whom did you blame?'
'The Cardassians who set the fires.'
'Was that why you joined the Maquis, Commander?'
'That, and what I saw as a lack of compassion and understanding on the part of the organization I had trusted.'
'To clarify - what organization is that?'
Kathryn let his answer hang in the air for a moment before she asked her next question. 'What was your reaction to my suggestion of joining your crew - the crew of the Liberty - with the crew of Voyager?'
'I had lost my ship. I had been expecting to go back to the Alpha Quadrant in Voyager's brig. Instead I found myself seventy years away from the area of space I knew, and a Starfleet Captain offered me a position of trust. I was flattered, confused, and I felt beholden.'
'I had to repay that trust. Live up to expectations.'
'Was the road always smooth, Commander?'
Chakotay grinned. 'No - I don't think I could say that it was.'
'Could you explain what you mean, please, Commander?'
'I can think of a number of times when our opinions differed significantly. On some occasions I did not offer my Captain the support I should have. Also, on several occasions I disobeyed direct orders - and was correspondingly disciplined.'
'Was there anything unusual in your disobeying of orders?'
'I don't exactly know what you mean, Captain. I don't believe I made a habit of disobeying orders.'
'You have been in the courtroom as defendant - so you heard Commander Tuvok's testimony that my entire crew - my entire crew,' Kathryn repeated with a hint of exasperation, 'disobeyed my orders of their own volition. Would you agree with that assessment, Commander?'
Chakotay smiled again. 'Well, with the possible exception of those two ensigns, yes, Captain, I would agree with Commander Tuvok.'
'Commander Tuvok also testified in relation to an early mutiny plan by some members of the Liberty crew. Could you tell us about that, please?'
'Ensign Seska Coren, who we later discovered was actually a Cardassian spy, approached me soon after the Liberty had been destroyed. There were rumours going around the ship that the Maquis crew-members were going to be subjected to unequal treatment - higher security, things like that. Ensign Seska had been talking to the rest of the Liberty crew and had encouraged them to consider a mutiny. She and one of her supporters - I think it was Hogan - came to talk to me. I told them to forget it - that staging a mutiny wouldn't get us home any quicker. I made it quite clear to them that in the case of a mutiny, I would support the Captain. Talk of a mutiny soon died down after that.'
'Were the Maquis ever subjected to higher levels of security than the original Starfleet crew?'
'No. Some of the Liberty crew were required to undergo extra training from Commander Tuvok in order to bring them up to Starfleet standards - they did somewhat resent that, but I supported it.'
'Some of your early logs, Commander, refer to "my people" and "her people". Did this trend continue throughout Voyager's time in the Delta Quadrant?'
'No. I believe that the reference became "our people" within the first three years. Possibly within the first two.'
'I realise that I am asking you to remember back a number of years, Commander. It might be easier if we turned to look at some of the log entries that Admiral Paris's team examined.'
Kit held her breath, knowing that Kathryn wanted to get a couple of particular logs out of the way very soon.
'Commander, do you remember the time we spent on the planet named 'New Earth' by Voyager's stellar cartography section.'
'Yes, Captain, I do,' replied Chakotay, a slightly strained tone coming into his voice.
Kathryn picked up a padd from the defense table and handed it to Chakotay. 'Would you read this log entry, please?'
'"I miss my life on Voyager. In the last year and a half, a camaraderie has developed between all of us - Maquis and Starfleet - that has meant those labels really mean very little anymore. Two years ago, I would have said this was impossible, yet today my best friends are committed to Starfleet. As committed to Starfleet as I am, once again."'
'Thank you, Commander. And are you still this committed to Starfleet, eight years later?'
'I am committed to the Starfleet I knew under your command, Captain. It remains to be seen whether Starfleet honors this commitment to me.' Chakotay said sadly.
'This log was made upon our return to Voyager, approximately three weeks after the first log I asked you to read. Will you read this one?'
'Of course, Captain. "One could say got my wish. I'm back. For a while I thought that I might have imagined just how good life was on this ship. I didn't. When we beamed back up I was welcomed by everyone I met. The tensions of last year have been utterly forgotten - apparently the group that persuaded Tuvok to contact the Vidiians was led by Kim and Torres, supported by Ayala and Nicholetti. This really is one crew now - in disobedience as well as in duty."'
'Thank you, Commander.'
Of course, the examination did not stop there. Kathryn finished within the afternoon, though, having fully recovered from her initial nervousness. As soon as court was adjourned for the day, Kathryn left with Gretchen, leaving Kit to speak briefly with Chakotay about what to expect on cross-examination. They'd been through it all before, of course, in the lead-up to the trial, but now Kit would be able to give Chakotay specific hints. Once he was done, Kit had to talk with B'Elanna. There was every possibility that B'Elanna would be called before the end of the next day, though Kit and Kathryn didn't want to break B'Elanna's testimony over the weekend. Kit went back to the Kims' for the second evening in a row, as none of them wanted to stay around the courtrooms for longer than they absolutely had to. This time, though, she refused Masako and Harry's insistent invitations to stay for dinner, and instead went back to Kathryn's apartment, where she found Kathryn and Gretchen sharing old stories of the Paris family over a pot of coffee and a tray of freshly baked caramel brownies. There was a cup of coffee sitting on the table waiting for her.
* * *
Kathryn wasn't surprised to see Linda Merran stand up to cross-examine Chakotay. Though Singh, like Kathryn, was the senior counsel, Merran didn't have Kit's difficulty of not technically being qualified to speak in a courtroom. Singh and Merran had shared the examinations in the prosecution case, and would likely share out the cross examinations, too. Kit and Kathryn had divided the work, too, but a different way. Kit had done all the cross-examinations, as they needed the better legal understanding. Kathryn was to do all the examinations for the defence, except for one that had not yet been decided. That was one Kathryn was becoming more and more willing to leave to Kit.
What did surprise Kathryn was the sight of a Klingon woman, very simply dressed, sitting at the back of the public gallery. The look on B'Elanna's face when she saw the other woman was more than enough to tell Kathryn the identity of the Klingon woman, and in the moments before Louvois had arrived, Kathryn made sure to introduce herself.
'Miral? I am Kathryn Janeway. I was Captain of Voyager. Court is about to begin, but I wanted to say hello, and to thank you for coming.'
'Captain Janeway?' said Miral, 'I must thank you for putting up with my daughter for ten years.'
Kathryn smiled. 'She can be a handful, but I was pleased to have her with us.' As Kathryn had said that, the clerk had announced Louvois, and when the rest of the court had taken their seats, Merran remained standing.
The cross-examination was as thorough as they'd expected. Chakotay was able to hold his own most of the time, though the questions were carefully structured so as to trip him up and get him to admit to carrying out Maquis activities while on Voyager. The slips the prosecution was hoping for never eventuated, though, and Merran became noticeably agitated.
Just before the lunch recess was due, Merran asked about the failed mutiny. 'You testified that it was the work of Seska Coren.'
'It is my belief that she was behind it, yes.'
'Was this a typical scenario? Was Seska usually the driving force behind the activities of your cell?'
'Not always, but sometimes.'
'What about the more violent attacks - the attack on the Cardassian colony at Honiara III, for instance. Forty people were injured in that attack. Five were viciously killed. Was that planned by Seska Coren?'
'Yes, that attack was planned by Seska.'
His answer obviously stunned Merran. She went through a list of the most violent attacks. To each, Chakotay answered that it had been planned by Seska. Kathryn objected after two attacks were listed, but Louvois overruled the objection. When Merran finished her litany, still appearing shaken by the answers she had received, Louvois called the lunch recess.
'Lana,' said Kathryn in the lunchroom, 'It's up to you. If you want to start your testimony this afternoon we can, but once we start, we have to keep going until Louvois adjourns. With Tom, the timing worked in our favour. With you, it might not.'
'How much longer do you think Merran will take with Chakotay?' asked B'Elanna.
'She hasn't covered half of what I'd want to go into,' said Kit, 'but she looked like she was falling apart out there. Minimum, I'd say fifteen minutes, but if she pulls herself together and looks over her notes again, it will be closer to an hour.'
'If it is only fifteen minutes, do you think Louvois will adjourn?' asked Chakotay. 'I've got to say, I hope it is only fifteen minutes. I'm getting really tired of answering questions.'
'Are you now?' smiled Kathryn.
'Yes, I am,' replied Chakotay, grimly, but still seeing the joke.
'Honestly?' said Kit, 'I think she will. She knows how tiring this trial is getting for all of us. It's going to go into a third week, so giving us an extra hour or two off is not going to hurt. It may even help us go into next week fresh.'
'In that case,' said B'Elanna, 'Let's accept the adjournment and go home. Well, out of here, anyway,' she finished.
'Sweetheart,' said Tom from the doorway, 'There's someone who wants to see you.'
B'Elanna looked up and her eyes widened. She said nothing until after the man standing next to Tom spoke.
'Umm…Father? What are you doing here?'
* * *
As soon as Merran finished her cross-examination of Chakotay - which ended up taking about half an hour - Louvois gave Kathryn the option of adjourning for the weekend, which Kathryn promptly took. The courtroom cleared out quicker than it had on any other day, and the Voyager group were among those to leave first.
B'Elanna had initially threatened to kill Tom on learning that he had contacted her father, and Miral, B'Elanna and Ricardo had been clearly wary of each other. But with Tom along - possibly as comic relief, he'd said - the family had gone to find somewhere quiet to talk and get to know each other again. Miral had been quite polite to Ricardo, for which Kathryn had been grateful. Some of B'Elanna's stories had led Kathryn to believe that relations between the Chief Engineer's parents were anything but amiable.
The rest of the group mostly went their separate ways. Anne and Irving took Kit and Harry off for an evening at the San Francisco Opera. Chakotay, at a bit of a loose end, was invited by Gretchen to spend the evening with the Janeways. Phoebe and Ava were arriving that night, however, so Chakotay declined, and instead joined Tuvok, T'Pel, the grandchildren, Neelix, M'Bai and Seven for dinner, after he had been assured that Neelix would not be cooking.
Arriving back at the apartment, Kathryn dropped onto the sofa, put her feet up on the coffee table, shut her eyes and announced, 'I am not moving from this spot. At all. Until I absolutely have to - like Monday morning, maybe.'
'What if I run you a hot bath?' asked Gretchen.
Kathryn opened one eye. 'Hmm, now that might just tempt me.'
'I'm not running you a bath until you answer me one question, though. Why didn't you invite Chakotay to spend the evening with us?'
'Mother - it is far too complicated to go into, now of all times. Didn't you say Phoebe was coming for dinner?'
'You think Phoebe and Ava aren't going to want to know why that handsome first officer of yours isn't here?'
'I could always tell them he asked for his bail to be revoked, rather than spend the evening with four women,' said Kathryn, getting up slowly. 'I think I'll run that bath myself and avoid the blackmail.'
'You're too clever by half, Kathryn,' said Gretchen wryly to her daughter's slowly retreating back.
When Kathryn returned to the main room forty-five minutes later, Gretchen had taken over the sofa and was reading the latest media reports, and catching up on her message traffic. 'That chef/ambassador of yours called through about fifteen minutes ago,' said Gretchen. 'He wants to come around tomorrow - apparently he has some news for you.'
'Neelix,' said Kathryn, going to the console and quickly tapping out a text message. 'I've told him to come for lunch - is that all right?'
'Fine, my dear.'
Kathryn sat down in the chair opposite her mother. 'Have I told you how much I appreciate having you here, Mom?'
'Not in so many words, dear,' said Gretchen, putting her padd aside.
'Well, I do. I honestly don't think I could manage this without you.'
'Nonsense. You survived ten years in the Delta Quadrant, my girl. I think that more than qualifies you for emancipation from the apron strings.'
'Since when did you have an apron?'
'Since when did you desperately need my support?'
Kathryn drew in a deep breath. She'd known she couldn't keep all this from her mother for long. In fact, she'd lasted almost a week more than she had expected. 'Since my best friend and lover broke up with me.'
'Chakotay?' asked Gretchen.
'Best friend and lover?' asked Gretchen.
Kathryn nodded again.
'Well, did you have to break up? If Owen gets wind of this, I'll lose my bet!'
'Moth-er!' exclaimed Kathryn. 'You had a bet with Owen Paris about Chakotay and me?' Gretchen was looking sheepish, but Kathryn's mind had gone to other things. 'So that's where he gets the gambling streak from!'
'Who?' asked Gretchen, puzzled
'Tom Paris, of course. He's been keeping book on I don't know how many different things ever since we got pulled into the Delta Quadrant. I thought it was just part of his rebelliousness.'
'No, he definitely gets that from his father,' said Gretchen, half lost in thought.
'So what exactly did you two bet on?' asked Kathryn, only to be interrupted by the doorchime.
'That'll be your sister,' said Gretchen, getting up hurriedly. 'I'd better get that.'
Kathryn grinned, then followed her mother to the door to greet her sister and her sister's partner.
* * *
Kit woke up later than usual the next morning. She had arrived back in Berkeley relatively late, keyed up as she always was after any live performance. Phoebe and Ava were still at Kathryn's, giving Kit a chance to relax over a glass of wine and talk about something other than the case. Ava turned out to be something of an opera buff as well, and had seen the same production as Kit. They discussed it until Ava noticed that Gretchen had drifted off to sleep, which encouraged Phoebe and Ava to head back to their own apartment. Kathryn saw them off while Kit woke Gretchen. Then Kit went to her own room and fell asleep almost the second her head hit the pillow.
The coffee was still hot in the pot when she went into the main room to pour herself a cup. Kathryn was out on the balcony and there was no sign of Gretchen. It was only around 0800, but Kit felt as though it were dreadfully late in the morning.
'Good morning, Kath,' said Kit, walking out onto the balcony.
Kathryn turned around. 'Morning, Kit. Sleep well?'
'Like a log.'
'Must have been the wine. You couldn't possibly be absolutely exhausted.'
Both women grinned.
'So, what's on the agenda for today?'
'Nothing official,' replied Kathryn. 'Neelix is coming for lunch. Apparently he has some news for us - I have no idea what.'
'I'm meeting our Maquis expert tomorrow,' said Kit, with a glance at Kathryn. 'And someone needs to check with the Klingon Embassy that everything is still set for Martok's testimony. You've got more clout than I have.'
'Okay, I'll do that tomorrow,' said Kathryn. 'Mom isn't up yet - if she's not up in time to do lunch, you'll have to do it, Kit.'
'Kath, it's barely eight o'clock in the morning. Gretchen's hardly even had a sleep-in yet.'
'Sorry, Kit. I'm wound up.'
'Like I couldn't tell that! So, what's up, apart from the obvious?'
'Would you believe my mother and Owen Paris had a bet going about Chakotay and me?'
Kit burst out laughing. 'I never would have picked Owen Paris…'
'Well, according to my mother, he does.'
'So what was the bet?' asked Kit.
'She won't tell me,' groaned Kathryn. 'All I know is that if Owen finds out that we were together but have broken up, Mom loses. This is worse than any of Tom's stupid betting pools - this one my mother's in on!'
Kit was about to answer when the message console inside the apartment started beeping. Kit went inside and returned a few minutes later, coffeepot in hand. 'That was Neelix,' she said, refilling Kathryn's cup. 'He's bringing four extra people to lunch, plus himself and M'Bai, and he wants us to get Seven over here as well. He's up to something, Kath.'
'Four extra people? But why Seven?'
'Did you ask him to look for Seven's family?'
'No - in fact, I told him to leave it to the authorities. It would make sense, though.'
'Wouldn't it just? Look, Kath, have you had breakfast yet?'
'Okay, two servings of crumpets and honey coming right up.'
Not surprisingly, the smell of crumpets brought Gretchen from her bedroom, and the news that lunch would be for ten instead of four woke her up immediately. 'What's going on, girls?'
'Believe me, Gretchen, we have no idea.'
Their questions were answered a few hours later when Neelix and M'Bai arrived accompanied by a sprightly white-haired lady a few years older than Gretchen, a younger couple, and a girl of about ten with long flaxen braids.
'Is Seven here yet?' asked Neelix anxiously.
'No, Neelix,' said Kit, who had answered the door. 'Come in.'
'Lieutenant McBride, I'd like to introduce the Hansen family to you. Dagmar Hansen is Seven's Grandmother, Michael and Clara are her Uncle and Aunt, and this is little Annie.'
'My name's Annika,' said the girl.
'I'm pleased to meet all of you,' said Kit, 'now, come in and meet Seven's captain.'
Neelix, slightly nervous, went through all the introductions again for Kathryn's benefit, but when Gretchen came into the room and Neelix opened his mouth for the third time, Dagmar took over.
'Mrs Janeway. I'm Annika's grandmother. In fact,' she said, as little Annie took her hand, 'I'm the grandmother of two Annikas. This is Michael, Magnus' brother, his wife Clara, and their daughter Annie.'
'Neelix,' said Kathryn while Gretchen was settling the Hansens and M'Bai, 'How did you find them? Starfleet couldn't manage it at all.'
'Honestly, Captain, I think Dagmar found me. I had a message directed to me via Joe and Kelly Carey from her, asking if I was the Voyager Ambassador. She set up this meeting - she really wants to see her granddaughter again.'
'And what about Aunty and Uncle?' asked Kit in a low voice.
'Well, I'm not sure they're so enthusiastic. They're probably worried about her having been assimilated and all. They'll be concerned for their daughter.'
'Sounds reasonable enough,' said Kathryn as the doorchime sounded. 'That's probably Seven. Kit?'
'Sure, I'll get it, Kathryn.'
It was Seven at the door, looking puzzled. 'Hello, Caitlyn. How are you?'
'I'm fine, Seven - come on in. There are some people here I'm sure you want to meet.'
* * *
B'Elanna's parents were in the public gallery Monday morning. Tom's second sister Samantha had also turned up, leaving Tom's nephews and niece with their grandparents for the day.
Talking with Harry before court began for the day, Kit said, 'I'm just glad there aren't too many reunions left to go. I'm beginning to feel like I'm running some sort of reunion agency.'
Harry laughed. 'How did Seven get along with her family?'
'She's still not used to it, though she and her cousin Annie get along famously. Annie's a lot like Naomi, and I think that helps. Dagmar dotes on her granddaughters, though she's insisting on calling Seven Annika, and Seven still isn't comfortable with that name. Michael and Clara, well, as Neelix said, they're less than enthusiastic about the whole deal. From what I can gather, Clara never met Magnus or Laura, and she has a fairly common terror of the Borg. And at the moment, that includes Seven.'
'And Uncle Michael?'
Kit sighed. 'He thinks whatever Clara tells him to think.'
'And you don't consider this a good thing?' asked Harry.
'Of course not!' she grinned, 'You're entitled to your own opinion, Harry - as long as it's the same as mine!'
'Very funny, hon.' He kissed her lightly on the cheek before retreating to a seat behind the matriarchs in the public gallery.
'Well, yet another weekend behind us,' said Louvois once she had taken her seat. 'I don't want to put pressure on anyone, but let's see if we can get this case to the jury before Friday. Captain Janeway?'
'We'll do our best, Admiral. The defence calls Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres to the stand.'
Fearless as always, B'Elanna walked from the defence table to the witness box, took the oath, and tossed her head as she sat down. There was no way she would play the pliable defendant to the jury - not that anyone had expected her to.
Kathryn's courtroom demeanor had improved noticeably in the past week, thought Kit. There was no more nervousness at the outset of each examination - no more hesitation before each question, well masked though it had been. And she no longer glanced at Kit before arguing against an objection or making one of her own. Watching Kathryn questioning B'Elanna, Kit had to admit that her Captain made a pretty good trial lawyer for someone who'd never run a case in her life until now.
For B'Elanna, the key events Kathryn wanted to discuss were B'Elanna's appointment to Chief Engineer, and the trade with the Sikarians, where B'Elanna had worked with Carey, Seska and Tuvok to gain the inclusion device.
'Both these events occurred within the first year of the Liberty crew joining Voyager, correct?'
'Yes. Within the first few months, in fact.'
'Could you tell the court about your appointment to the post of Chief Engineer?'
B'Elanna was well prepared, as she should be after all the time she and Kit and Kathryn had spent going over old log entries and discussing the feelings of ten years ago. 'It was unexpected. I knew I was the better engineer of myself and Joe Carey - no disrespect meant,' she added, flicking her eyes to where Joe and Kelly were sitting. Joe grinned back at her. 'But Joe was Starfleet and I was Maquis - plus, I'd broken a few noses in my first two days on Voyager. I couldn't imagine that had pleased you or Commander Chakotay.'
'At this point, then, you clearly identified a division between Starfleet and Maquis on board Voyager?'
'Yes. You knew who was what, which tended to dictate who you felt you could trust.'
'Did your appointment to the post make any difference to your attitude?'
'It changed my attitude towards you, Captain. I guess the appointment showed me that Starfleet protocols were able to accept skill over long service, where that was the right decision.'
'Did you always follow Starfleet protocols?'
'No - certainly not in the first couple of years. I did things I'm not proud of, sure. But I don't know an engineer worth their salt who follows the book to the letter. That's not good engineering.'
'Such luminaries as Captain Montgomery Scott would surely agree with you, Lieutenant. However, some of your actions did jeopardize the safety of the ship, correct?'
'Yes, that's true, Captain.'
'For instance, your installation of a Sikarian inclusion device. Why did you carry out that plan?'
'All of us - Joe, Seska, even Tuvok - we all wanted to get home. It seemed simple enough…install the inclusion device and we could be home in a couple of jumps. It wasn't as simple as we thought.'
'Lieutenant Carey and Commander Tuvok testified as to the details of your actions. I'd like to know what you recall of your feelings at the time. Was this a Maquis operation?'
'How could it be? We were two 'Fleeters and two Maquis. And one of the 'Fleeters had been spying on the Maquis, and was Chief of Security into the bargain. You might call it a 'joint' operation, but I'd rather just call it a stupid idea.' Laughter rippled through the public gallery. 'A stupid idea carried out by a bunch of us on Voyager,' finished B'Elanna.
'Are you saying that the two crews were already effectively merged at this stage?' asked Kathryn, pre-empting the question that would have come from Singh on cross.
'Not entirely,' said B'Elanna. 'But every once in a while it would feel like it wasn't a case of Fleet or Maquis - sometimes it was just 'Voyager' doing something.'
'When would you say a feeling of mutuality came into existence?'
'I would have said it grew gradually, Captain. Our contact with the 37's, and the fact that everyone continued the journey, was one turning point. Another was the unmasking of Crewman Jonas as a spy, and the campaign to find a cure for you and Commander Chakotay was another. By the time the Kazon took over Voyager and dumped us off, I'd say we were pretty much one crew - unless of course someone had the stupidity to suggest a Fleet versus Maquis water polo match or something like that,' B'Elanna finished with a grin.
'So, you would say within two years?'
'Yes, that would be my estimate.'
As with most of the other defence witnesses, the questioning continued throughout the morning session. Kathryn wrapped up her direct examination just before lunch, leaving Singh to begin directly after the break.
'Ms Torres,' said Singh, continuing the careful avoidance of rank that the prosecution had implemented throughout the trial, 'why did you join the Maquis?'
'Because they rescued me from the Cardassians,' said B'Elanna, flatly. She had no wish to relive the details, and hoped that Singh would direct his questions elsewhere. 'Did you feel obligated to Chakotay's cell because they had "rescued" you, as you say?'
'Obligated, no. I was on their ship; they needed a decent engineer. I made some friends, and decided it was as good a group of people to work with as any other group I'd found. So I stayed.'
'You'd had trouble fitting into most conventional workplaces, hadn't you?'
'Objection, relevance?' said Kathryn.
'I'll allow it, for now,' said Louvois.
'I don't see what you mean,' said B'Elanna to Singh.
'You were expelled from Starfleet Academy.'
'I left Starfleet Academy.'
'And you could not find work with any legitimate civilian organization, instead you ended up working for smugglers who worked the DMZ?'
'There weren't that many jobs going for engineers who specialize in ships that are falling apart at the seams,' said B'Elanna.
'I'm sure the Klingons could use some good engineers. Why didn't you go home to them?'
'I quite agree, Captain Janeway. Commodore Singh's last question will be struck from the record. Watch yourself, Commodore.'
'Turning to your time on Voyager, Ms Torres - is it true that within a few hours of being offered a home on Voyager, you verbally abused Captain Janeway?'
'Yes, that is true,' said B'Elanna.
'And less than two weeks later you were involved in an altercation with the acting Chief Engineer, from which he went to Sickbay with a broken nose, and you were confined to quarters.'
'Yes, that is true.'
'And is it true that over ten years, your record shows two hundred and forty seven separate reprimands?'
'That sounds about right. I think you'll find…'
'You've answered my question, thank you, Ms Torres. Captain Janeway mentioned the Sikarians. What she didn't mention is that your actions were in direct violation of her orders, correct?'
The prosecution had obviously learnt from the mistakes of the previous Friday. Singh was meticulous in his questioning, choosing his words carefully and cutting of any editorializing by B'Elanna. By the time the cross-examination was finished, Louvois would only allow ten minutes for redirect, as the usual time for adjournment had almost passed.
'Only two questions on redirect, your Honour,' said Kathryn. 'Lieutenant - two hundred and forty seven reprimands over ten years - which averages out to about twenty-four per year - when did most of these reprimands occur?'
'There were two separate times, Captain. In the first two years I was receiving serious reprimands weekly. In the fourth year of our journey, Lieutenant Paris and I received a number of reprimands for conduct unbecoming.'
'The reason for that?'
B'Elanna blushed slightly. 'Our personal relationship was in its initial stages. We were having some trouble in "showing sufficient restraint".'
'Thank you, Lieutenant, that's all.'
B'Elanna left the witness stand and walked back to her seat. Kathryn faced Louvois. 'Admiral, that concludes the main part of the defence case. However, we have two witnesses to call on rebuttal.'
'Very well, we'll begin with that tomorrow morning. We might be out of here by Friday after all. Court is adjourned.'
* * *
Kit had been anticipating all sorts of difficulties with Martok's rebuttal testimony. Vorik's testimony via Holographic Communication had gone smoothly, but he had access to the Starfleet base on Vulcan. Even after ten years, communications with the Klingon Empire weren't the easiest to arrange. Time differences and the ever-present time lag over distance weren't nearly as much of a problem as the possibility of Martok's call in court conflicting with one of the endless festivals and presentation ceremonies that were part of Martok's duty as Chancellor to attend. And Kit suspected that the only thing that had overridden Martok's long friendship with Ben Sisko was B'Elanna's claim, however tenuous, to citizenship of the Empire, and therefore the protection, even if indirect, of the Empire's Chancellor.
Before leaving the courtroom the day before, Kit had made certain the court clerk and the other staff knew that the HCS would be needed for the first witness the next morning. Kathryn had contacted Martok over the weekend and confirmed his availability, and had quickly gone through the questions she would ask him, without going into any great depth - wasting the Chancellor's time was not a good idea.
So, when she arrived in the courtroom the next morning, Kit was relieved to see the HCS working smoothly, and to see Chancellor Martok apparently sitting on the platform looking quite pleasant. The court clerk had marked the space in front of the bar tables which would be transmitted to the Chancellor, and Kit stepped into this space.
'Good morning, Chancellor.'
'Lieutenant McBride,' responded Martok with a slight nod of the head. 'I believe I am prepared sufficiently.'
'I'm sure you are, Chancellor.'
'Captain Janeway has already spoken to me, but she had someone else to see before we begin this morning.'
Kit looked over the public gallery and saw Kathryn standing at the back talking to a human woman in civilian clothing. Kit didn't recognize her as one of the family or supporters, and a cough from the Chancellor drew her attention back to the Klingon.
'Is Miral, daughter of Prabsa, in the courtroom yet, Lieutenant? If possible, I would like to talk to her.'
'Yes, Chancellor, she is here. I'll fetch her for you.'
'Thank you, Lieutenant.'
Kit spoke quickly to the court clerk to explain the situation, then brought Miral through to the HCS area. The two Klingons had only exchanged a few sentences when Louvois came into the room. Once there was silence, Chakotay and B'Elanna were shown to their seats - the procedure different this day because of Martok's presence via HCS before court was in session.
Martok was sworn in, Kathryn began her questions by thanking him for the trouble taken to appear.
'Not at all, Captain.'
'Chancellor, in your previous role as General of the Imperial fleet, were you aware of the military policy of the Klingon Empire in the years 2372 to 2375?'
'During those years, the Khitomer Treaty was suspended, and later, the Klingon Empire invaded Cardassia, correct?'
'That is correct.'
'Did the success of the organization known as the Maquis have anything to do with the decision to invade Cardassia?'
'Not to my knowledge. Our invasion of Cardassia was due to Dominion interference in their affairs, and Federation inaction. The Maquis, if Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres will forgive me for saying so, meant less than a Terran Blowfly to us.' Kathryn smiled, asked a few more questions just to clarify his statement, then sat down.
Merran's cross-examination added nothing to the prosecution's case. Martok had easily contradicted Nechayev and Sisko's insistence that the Maquis had caused the Klingon invasion, and with trademark Klingon tenacity Martok refused to budge an inch. His testimony was among the shortest of the trial - within an hour Louvois had thanked the Chancellor and dismissed him, and recessed the court while the HCS paraphernalia was removed.
'Are you ready for this, Kathryn?' said Kit.
Kathryn smiled. 'I'm not the one doing the examination, Kit - that's you.'
'Don't I know it. But still, you're okay with this?'
'As I'll ever be. Don't worry, Kit. Did you know Debbie is here?'
'Is that the woman you were talking to?' Kathryn nodded. 'It's good of her to be here.'
'And would you believe Roberta Paris is planning to come in for the summaries?'
'Oh, that will mean a lot to Tom and B'Elanna,' said Kit.
'What will?' asked B'Elanna, behind Kit. 'Are you two being secretive again?'
The mood of the defence team was fluctuating wildly as they neared the end of the trial - sometimes they could be almost manic in their hilarity, at other times, all five (if Tom was counted, which Kit said he had to be) plummeted into depressions. Usually everyone was at a slightly different point of the spectrum, just to add some variety. But today, probably as a result of Martok's quick and very helpful testimony, both B'Elanna and Chakotay were in a relatively light-hearted mood.
'Speaking of being secretive,' said Chakotay, 'who's this Maquis expert you've got coming in? It's either got to be someone B'Elanna's related to or someone I hate, by past experience.'
'Or, someone who hates you,' added B'Elanna. 'So, who is it?'
'Wait and see,' hissed Kit as Louvois came back in.
'Captain? Are you ready to call your final witness?'
'Yes, your Honour. Lieutenant?'
Kit stood up. 'The defence calls Dr Mark Johnson to the stand.'
* * *
Chakotay stared as Mark Johnson - the Mark he had heard so much about over the years in the Delta Quadrant - walked through the courtroom and took the stand. No wonder Kathryn and Kit hadn't let him know who was going to be testifying! He had to admit that his rival - even after all these years, Chakotay still thought of him that way - was relatively handsome. Distinguished, perhaps, might have been the word. Graying hair, well preserved - an academic in an ivory tower, he thought bitterly before he caught himself.
'Doctor Johnson, you hold the Szabo Chair of Resistance Studies in the Faculty of History at Yale University, correct?' asked Kit. Kathryn, Chakotay noticed, was studying the padd in front of her.
'That is correct.'
'And what is your area of specialty?'
'The Maquis - that is, the interplanetary Maquis.'
'The Maquis being the group of Federation DMZ colonists and their supporters who led attacks against the Cardassians after the signing of the Treaty of Tukon?'
'And your doctorate was on what topic?'
'My first doctorate was in philosophy. My second, which I gained about five years ago, was a study of the motives of those who joined the Maquis.'
'And you are considered to be the leading civilian academic in this area, Dr Johnson?'
'It's probably fair to say that, yes,' said Mark.
'Your first doctorate was in philosophy - why did you undertake the second doctorate?'
'I first became interested in the organisation of the Maquis because my fiancee was a member of Starfleet. At that time - this was prior to the outbreak of the Dominion War - Starfleet had a major focus on apprehending members of the Maquis and bringing them to trial. Starfleet itself was single-minded on the issue, whereas there was a great deal of debate over the prosecution of the Maquis in the community.'
'Your fiancee, Dr Johnson?'
'Captain Kathryn Janeway.'
Kit smiled and nodded. 'Continue, please, Dr Johnson.'
'When Voyager was declared missing, I was understandably upset. My previous work in philosophy began to seem rather pointless, and I was spending more and more time on my private research into the Maquis - particularly into the Maquis cell that Kathryn - Captain Janeway had been assigned to find. I lost my previous post in the Philosophy department of the University of Santiago, and then began to publish some of my findings in relation to the Maquis. When the Szabo Chair was vacated, my name was brought to the nominating committee. I saw that as a confirmation of the importance of this work. I was offered the Szabo Chair despite my doctorate not being in History, and was also given the opportunity to complete a second doctorate.'
'Thank you,' said Kit. 'You have been given an opportunity to read the testimony of Admiral Nechayev and Commodore Sisko in relation to the Maquis?'
'Yes, I have.'
'In your opinion, and from your own knowledge, were the statistics quoted by Admiral Nechayev substantially correct?'
'As far as they went, yes, they were. However, those statistics entirely ignore the Maquis side of the picture.'
'Could you fill in that side of the picture for us, Dr Johnson?'
'Certainly. Not including the members of the Liberty cell, four thousand Maquis were prosecuted, either by the civilian or Starfleet courts. Although we cannot be certain of the numbers of Maquis, it is accepted within the academy - I beg your pardon, within the academic sphere - that the number of people tried represents approximately twenty percent of the total Maquis membership, which we would estimate to be at around 20,000.'
'Is that active membership, Dr Johnson, or does that include supporters?'
'Active membership, Lieutenant.'
'If four thousand were tried, what happened to the other sixteen thousand?'
'They were killed in battle, either in battles with the Cardassians, or with the Starfleet crews attempting to arrest them.'
'Was there any record of Maquis who were arrested not surviving to stand trial?'
'Objection!' shouted Singh. 'Irrelevant and prejudicial your Honour.'
'Sustained' said Louvois.
'Admiral Nechayev testified that Federation losses during what she terms the 'Maquis Unrest' were in the region of five thousand. Proportionally, that means that the Maquis lost far more of their members than Starfleet did, correct?'
'Yes. The Maquis, as I've mentioned, sustained eighty percent losses. Starfleet's personnel losses were less than one percent.'
'This all sounds rather cold, Dr Johnson. I'd like to turn away from statistics for a while and talk about the actions of the Maquis. On Voyager, we were aware that as part of a Maquis mission, a Cardassian warhead was captured and re-programmed to hit a Cardassian shipyard. Contained in those re-programmings, however, were instructions to this missile to warn off any approaching Starfleet or civilian Federation vessel. Were similar things done by other Maquis groups?'
'Yes. Most Maquis plans were carried out with great care so as to avoid unnecessary harm to Federation planets and installations. The Aschelon incident of which you speak was by no means the only one of its kind.'
Kit's examination continued through the morning. As she teased out more and more details about the Maquis, Chakotay felt his heart sink. The way things were going, he was going to be indebted to the man who would probably steal Kathryn away from him. Mark Johnson's testimony was solid, and delivered in the calming tones of one who is used to having to defend their work and yet has absolute faith in its veracity. Though his civilian status might put the military jury off slightly, he was racking up enough points to have some to spare. Always assuming he could hold up equally well under cross-examination.
* * *
Mark shone on cross-examination. Singh shocked Kit by pulling every dirty trick in the book. The prosecutor tried to dig into Kathryn and Mark's relationship before Voyager had left, tried to discredit Mark's research, and disputed his findings. But through it all Mark remained calm and polite, though there was a spark in his eyes that indicated that he would dearly love to yell his answers back at Singh.
Kit watched her former supervisor in disbelief. On those few cases they had worked together, Singh had been one of the most professional lawyers Kit could think of. He had made it a point of honour never to descend to the sort of dirty cross-examination he was pulling at the moment. That, he had said to her once, was why junior counsel existed. At the time Kit had dismissed the remark as facetious, having too much respect for him to believe he would condone that style of cross-examination, from himself or from anyone on his team. And yet here he hadn't just left the dirty work to Linda Merran - Tom Singh himself was in the thick of it.
His questions meant that Kit didn't have time to do much thinking - she jumped up repeatedly to object to his questions. Louvois took each objection very seriously, and on about a third of the objections, Kit was successful. But it meant that for half of Singh's questions, an extra ten minutes was spent arguing whether or not the question should be allowed. On two occasions the jury had to be sent out of the room while the arguments were heard, as Kit said, and Louvois agreed, that hearing the arguments over the validity of the questions could itself prejudice the jury.
In the end, the cross-examination took the entire afternoon. By the end of it Kathryn was fuming, Kit was exhausted, mentally and physically, Louvois appeared ready to cite Singh for contempt, and the public gallery as a whole looked ready to commit a lynching. It took all Kit's strength to turn her back on Singh and ask Mark a few questions on redirect, trying to undo in five minutes the damage Singh might have done over two hours. Once she was done she sat down in relief, leaving Kathryn to formally state to Louvois that they rested their case.
Surprisingly, the prosecution had no rebuttal witnesses to call, for which all involved were grateful.
'In that case,' said Louvois, I believe that the next item on the agenda is summations. We'll adjourn until 0900 tomorrow.'
* * *
Kit and Kathryn spent the whole of that night working on the summation. Harry, Tom, B'Elanna and Chakotay were shooed away by Gretchen, as was Mark who dropped around to pay a visit. Instead of visitors, Gretchen kept the two women well supplied with coffee as they worked through the night, eventually stopping at about two in the morning. In some ways it was a repeat of that late night session after Chakotay and all the Liberty personnel had been arrested. Kit stood up to go to bed, and yet Kathryn showed no signs of moving.
'Kath, you must sleep.'
'And what if I can't?' Kathryn replied bitterly. 'Will that ruin all their chances? Will my lack of sleep be the sole contributing factor to B'Elanna and Chakotay being locked up in a penal settlement?'
'Kathryn, you know that's not true. We've run a good case. But honestly, you've got to be in top form tomorrow. So please, at least get some rest, even if you can't sleep.'
'Is my daughter being troublesome?' asked Gretchen sleepily.
Kit grinned. 'Yes, she is, Gretchen. She's refusing to go to bed.'
'I lasted months at a time in the Delta Quadrant on little or no sleep,' said Kathryn.
'Yes, and what state were you in by the end of it?' asked Kit. 'Certainly not alert enough to give a decent closing argument to a court martial.'
'You do want to win this, don't you, Kathryn?' asked Gretchen.
'Of course I do - why wouldn't I?'
'Oh, maybe because it would be easier if you didn't have to face Chakotay as a free man every day,' said Gretchen, softly.
'Mother! How can you say something like that? How can you?'
'Don't tell me it hasn't gone through your head. I'm your mother, Kathryn, I know how your mind works.'
'No, you don't,' said Kathryn. 'Now, if you will excuse me, Kit, I'm going to my room. I need my rest.' Kathryn stormed into her own room, locking the door behind her.
'Gretchen, I'm impressed,' said Kit.
'Do I know my daughter, or do I know my daughter?' responded Gretchen. 'Now, off you go, Kit. Or I'll call Anne and tell her that similar tactics are needed.'
Kit put up her hands in mock resignation. 'Oh, don't worry, Gretchen, I'm off to bed right now. But…'
'But before you go, you want to know whether I really think that Kath is actually wanting to lose because of Chakotay? I seriously doubt it - but it hit close enough to hurt.'
'I don't think you would have to call my mother, Gretchen - you know me pretty well as it is. But about Kath - anything to do with Chakotay hits her hard at the moment. I don't think she realises just how much she's hurting. But she also doesn't realise how much this is hurting Chakotay.'
'Has he met Debbie yet?'
'No, there hasn't been a chance. She and Mark will be in court tomorrow - well, today, actually - and I'm assuming they will join us during the deliberations.'
'Well, make sure that he knows who she is… if Kathryn finally comes to her senses on this one, I don't want things spoiled by Chakotay getting the wrong end of the stick.'
'Thinking about your bet with Owen, Gretchen?'
'Certainly,' said Gretchen with a gleam in her eye. Then she became more serious. 'But I'm also thinking about my daughter's happiness. She's been through so much in her life - it's time for her to start receiving rather than always giving.'
'There isn't a member of the Voyager crew who doesn't agree with you, Gretchen.'
'Now, off to bed - or we'll be waking Kathryn up.'
'Yes, Mom.' Kit hugged the older woman, who kissed her on the forehead in return.
'Sleep well, my dear.'
* * *
'Ladies and Gentlemen, over the past two and a half weeks you have heard testimony from an endless array of witnesses as regards these two people who sit before you - B'Elanna Torres and Chakotay. Experts in the field of Maquis research and studies, fellow officers, and various other witnesses have shared with you their stories of these two people.
You are faced with one of the toughest jobs offered by the legal system. But I don't need to tell you that - you are all experienced members of Starfleet, accustomed to making important decisions, life-changing decisions, each and every day.
But before I leave you to making your decision, let me remind you of what you have heard these two and a half weeks. I will start with the evidence concerning Chakotay. You have heard about his career in Starfleet. He joined Starfleet with the recommendation of Captain Hiromi Sulu and he rose quickly to the rank of Commander. Yet there was always a hidden fury; anger against the Cardassians whom he had been fighting. Granted, the Cardassians were also responsible for the death of his family, but that fury was there beforehand. You heard Admiral Roger Hackney testify to this; long before the deaths of Chakotay's family, Chakotay was arguing for strong tactics against the Cardassians. This was less than five years into his Starfleet career, a career spanning fifteen years. A man who has been of a certain frame of mind for so long is unlikely to change his position easily or quickly.
Fifteen years ago, Chakotay came to what he might term the 'end of his rope'. He joined a fledgling resistance movement, dedicated to eliminating the Cardassians from ex-Federation colonies in the Demilitarised Zone. This movement was brutal; Admiral Nechayev and Commodore Sisko testified as to the damage caused by the Maquis to Federation relations with other planetary governments, the death and carnage caused by their attacks, and the Dominion War, which as we all know, was devastating to the Federation, and to Starfleet. Without the Maquis - without people like Chakotay - the Dominion War would not have occurred.
This relates to the treason charges; charges attached to facts from over ten years ago. But there is no doubt at all that Chakotay was a member of the Maquis. He admits it himself. Records collected by Admiral Nechayev contain Chakotay's name, and she knew that he was the leader of a Maquis cell when she assigned Lieutenant Commander Tuvok undercover to infiltrate the Liberty cell. It is a proven point of military law that membership in the Maquis, unless conclusively proven to be inactive membership, is assumed prima facie to be active membership. And active membership in the Maquis by a member of Starfleet is an offence under the Uniform Code of Inter-planetary Military Justice.
It is proven that Chakotay was a member of the Maquis. It is assumed, therefore, and in fact it has been proven, that Chakotay took part in the activities of the Maquis. We have shown that the Liberty cell claimed responsibility for the killing of Cardassian operatives at Honiara III, and Avus V. You must, therefore, convict Chakotay on the treason charges.
Harder to prove are the charges of espionage and sabotage on board Voyager. But we in the prosecution have proven them beyond reasonable doubt. Admiral Owen Paris, a greatly respected member of Starfleet hierarchy, and the father of a i crew member, and father-in-law of the defendant B'Elanna Torres, was head of the Pathfinder project. He and his team scoured the logs of the Voyager crew, and of the Liberty cell members on Voyager. They uncovered plain evidence that the presence of the Liberty crew, especially in key areas of administration, gradually undermined Starfleet norms and values on board Voyager.
Captain Janeway and her crew are not to be faulted for this degeneration. They were working against huge odds; the Maquis are natural spies, masters of deception. Chakotay wormed his way into the confidence and the trust of Captain Janeway, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, and the loyal, trusting crew of Voyager. The Maquis gained positions of responsibility - in the case of Chakotay, he was First Officer. He had control of crew evaluations, of promotions, of discipline, of the membership of Away Teams, and of intra-ship transfers. He had, in effect, total control of the crew of Voyager, as well as of the Liberty cell members.
That control was put to good use. Before they had even completed two years of their voyage, the Starfleet crew were incited to a mutiny against their acting Captain, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok. And even before that, the mutiny of the Chief of Security and the Assistant Chief of Engineering, who worked together with Torres and the Cardassian spy, Seska Coren, to wrongfully obtain an inclusion device from the Sikariians. This mutiny almost resulted in the destruction of the ship.
There can be no doubt - no doubt - that Chakotay's presence on Voyager led to a weakening of Starfleet protocols. In at least one situation, Chakotay's influence of Voyager led to the death of crew members. Seska Coren was a Cardassian spy. Once she was revealed as such to Captain Janeway, Seska defected to a waiting Kazon ship, to a group of Voyager's enemies with whom she had already formed a working alliance. Seska Coren was obsessed with Chakotay. She impregnated herself with his DNA, she attacked Voyager in order to lure him to her. The end result of this obsession was that she and Voyager's enemies took over Voyager and abandoned the crew on a primeval planet to die. While they were there, many Starfleet crew were injured and died, and Ensign Samantha Wildman's infant child was placed in jeopardy. A key legal test is the 'but-for' test, and in this situation, 'but for' Chakotay's presence on Voyager, the crew would not have been stranded on that planet, and Crewman Hogan, and others, would not have died. The deaths that occurred during Voyager's journey must be laid squarely at Chakotay's feet.
Action and resulting injury - the requirements of the charges of espionage and sabotage are met in the evidence we have presented to you. There is no doubt that you must convict him on these charges.
And now we come to B'Elanna Torres - a Klingon mercenary, who joined the Maquis because they would give her a job. She had no link to the colonies for which the Maquis insisted they were fighting. She joined the Maquis because they would pay her to keep their ships in fighting order - because her skills would enable them to kill more Cardassians.
The principles that relate to Chakotay's involvement in the Maquis relate also to the involvement for Torres. She is a member of the Liberty cell - she has admitted it. She was involved in their activities, their crimes - she has admitted it. For these reasons alone, you must convict Torres of treason.
Torres was appointed to the post of chief engineer on Voyager ahead of a fully qualified Starfleet officer. Do not be confused by the fact that Lieutenant Joseph Carey testified on behalf of the defence - it has always been our argument that the presence of the Maquis on board Voyager influenced the Voyager crew. For that reason, you must weigh the evidence of any Voyager crewmember very carefully. For ten years, they were under the influence of two very charismatic traitors. Mr Johnson, the civilian Maquis 'expert', was engaged to Captain Janeway, and undertook the research for which he is so well known as a sort of grief counselling. This is not the sort of testimony which can be considered reliable. The testimony of the individual known as "Seven of Nine" is equally to be treated with caution. For the past seven years, she has apparently been disconnected from the collective, but by her own admission has, on a number of occasions, received signals from the Borg, or has been on the point of reassimilation. Borg testimony has never been accepted in any other court of Federation law. This is not the time to be setting precedents.
We will never know whether the intervention of Torres sped or slowed the journey of Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant. Certainly, she had the most direct contact with the slipstream drive. She could have sabotaged it, and indeed, probably did. It was a member of her own staff who turned Voyager over to the outlaws known as the Kazon Nistrim. It was another of her staff, Lon Suder, who brutally murdered a Starfleet crewmember, then attacked Lieutenant Commander Tuvok. Obviously, she had no control over her staff.
Or did she have so much control over them that they forgot their loyalty to Captain Janeway and the organisation that was going to get them home? Over the past two and a half weeks, we have asked and answered this question. B'Elanna Torres is equally as guilty of espionage as Chakotay is. To do your duty to Starfleet and the Federation, you must convict them of these charges.
'Thank you.' Commodore Singh walked back to the prosecution table and sat down. The courtroom was absolutely silent, watching as Louvois made a couple of notes on a padd, and then turned to the defence.
'Yes, your Honour.' Kathryn stood up, straightened her shoulders, and walked over to stand in front of the jury box. 'I won't insult your intelligence. You all know that I'm not a lawyer - I'm a Starship captain who has been out of touch with Starfleet and the Federation for ten years. I'm probably a bit rough around the edges as a result.
'I'm not going to dazzle you with Latin phrases or high-flown rhetoric. But I don't want to see an injustice done. So I'm going to stand before you today and tell you the real story of two people who came aboard my ship through a series of accidents, but who have become among the most valued members of my crew. Commander Chakotay and B'Elanna Torres are not guilty of these charges.
As Commodore Singh has demonstrated, there are two sets of charges against each defendant. One set contains charges of treason, relating to their actions while in the Alpha Quadrant as members of the Maquis. Doctor Mark Johnson, an eminent philosopher and historian, testified that the Maquis, as an organisation, operated from motives of justice and equity. They bore little ill-will to the Federation, despite the fact that it was the Federation who effectively abandoned scores of colonies. The Maquis acted only against the Cardassian Empire and did their utmost to avoid harming Federation member-planets or individuals. Dr Johnson also testified that the Maquis did not have a clear-cut intention to kill all Cardassians; they wanted to make a point, certainly. They wanted to reverse the brutal colonisation that had taken place during the Federation-Cardassian War, and which they feared would continue after the Treaty of Tukon. The Cardassians were known for their scorched-earth policies, and their cruelty to non-Cardassians. The Maquis were trying to counter this in the only way they knew how.
Commander Chakotay joined the Maquis after his family was wiped out by the Cardassians. It was, in many ways, a defence reaction. He had been abandoned by the Federation, who had signed the Tukon treaty, and he had lost the support system of his family and family home on Trebus. The Maquis offered him family, and something practical he could do in memory of his family.
Lieutenant Torres joined the Maquis with a sense of gratitude. She had left Starfleet Academy - in a sense, she had also been abandoned, just as Commander Chakotay had been. She was on a freighter when it was attacked by Cardassians. She was on the point of being severely beaten, and possibly killed. Commander Chakotay's Maquis cell came upon her freighter at the right time, and they were in need of an engineer. Commodore Singh called Lieutenant Torres a mercenary - what she told you herself proves that she was not. She, like Commander Chakotay, found a place where she was needed, and where she felt she had a family.
As an organisation, the Maquis were wiped out during the Dominion War, and that occurred six years ago. The civilian courts have stopped prosecuting ex-Maquis for treason - for Starfleet now to convict Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres of supposed crimes from ten years ago - supposed crimes which the general public no longer regards as crimes - is against natural justice. And it was natural justice for which Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres fought while in the Maquis. For all these reasons, you must return a verdict of not guilty on the charges of Treason.
The second set of charges are those of espionage and sabotage. These charges are based on the analysis of log entries by Admiral Owen Paris' Pathfinder team. No single witness who was actually on board Voyager confirmed his analysis. If you were to ask anyone on Voyager, from myself to little Naomi Wildman, they would tell you that Voyager was always run as a Starfleet ship. But that isn't the way things are done in a courtroom - we have to present the evidence to you, you cannot ask me questions. We have presented you with the evidence you need. The prosecution mentioned the Sikaris incident a number of times. What they failed to mention - what they probably even failed to grasp - is the concept that we were faced with every single day. We were seventy years, minimum, away from our homes, our families, our loved ones. We had no reason to believe we would ever see the Alpha Quadrant again. Until we arrived at Sikaris and learned of the space-folding device. Picture it - seventy years from home, you hear of a device that will get you home in days. I don't know about you, but I might be inclined to forget the Prime Directive for a minute or two.
The same thing applies to the so-called mutiny that Lieutenant Commander Tuvok was faced with while Commander Chakotay and I were stranded on New Earth. Again, I ask you to use your imaginations. Consider that as a young officer, within your first five or ten years in Starfleet, you had suddenly lost the two most senior officers on your ship. Add to this that there is no chance to simply go back to headquarters and be reassigned - the group of people you are with are the only members of Starfleet within seventy years. These people have become your family, and the heads of that family are no longer there. Wouldn't you do all you possibly could to bring them back to you? Wouldn't you consider risking your life and career to recover your close friends? That is what my crew did for me and for Commander Chakotay. Even in the first two years of our journey, the crew had bonded to that extent. They are to be lauded, not condemned, for their loyalty to Commander Chakotay and myself.
The prosecution laid great emphasis on the numbers of reprimands received by Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres. And yet, as shown in testimony by Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, and Lieutenant JG Paris, and in my own testimony, the reprimands were proportional and justified. If an action deserved a reprimand, a reprimand eventuated. If an action deserved a commendation, that too was entered in the files. If not, none was given. Voyager operated like any other Starfleet ship. The only difference was that we did not have Starfleet on the end of a subspace transmission.
The prosecution pointed out frequently that my orders were disobeyed on occasion. About this, I wish to say two things. One - these people are testifying to a ten-year mission. This is a longer mission than any other Starfleet mission in recorded history - and it could have been much longer. Two - I am not on trial here. Maybe some of you think I should be, but I'm not. If you are going to convict Chakotay and Torres for disobeying my orders, on occasion, usually at times when, from lack of sleep or recreation, I was not issuing sensible orders, then you are going to have to convict my entire crew. And I don't think any of you want to do that. I don't think any of you see that as a viable option.
The defence need only show that the prosecution has not proven their case beyond reasonable doubt. From the evidence given to you by the prosecution, you could make a valid case against Lieutenant Paris, Lieutenant Kim, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, or against myself. But we are not on trial. The prosecution has not given you sufficient evidence to convict, beyond all reasonable doubt, Commander Chakotay or Lieutenant Torres. That is the truth in this matter - not prima facie cases or questions of psychology. The truth is that Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres are not guilty of these crimes. Your only option, therefore, is to acquit.'
Thank you.' In a perfectly timed move, Kathryn stayed looking at the jury for a moment after she finished speaking. Then she turned and walked back to her seat, the click of her heels on the floor the only sound in the silent courtroom.
Admiral Louvois began her summation directly after the lunch recess, and she was clinical and careful in her words. However, she avoided all mention of the treason charges. Her statements to the jury included only the charges of espionage and sabotage relating to the ten years aboard Voyager. Louvois pointed out the law, and outlined the relevant facts and the options given to the jury by those facts. She gave no sign that she might have an opinion one way or another - she was a perfect judge; unbiased, composed, and objective. It was at the end of her summation that she dropped her bombshell.
'Commodore Singh informed me during the recess that JAG is willing to drop the treason charges. Captain Janeway, I assume you have no objection?'
'No objection at all, your Honour,' said Kathryn, stunned.
'In that case,' said Louvois, turning back to face the jury, 'I charge you, the jury, to go from this place and determine your verdict, according to the law as I have outlined it, and the facts as they have been presented to you by the defence and the prosecution. Do not let outside forces influence your decision, and may you make it in the interests of justice, and only justice.' The gavel banged. 'This court is adjourned until the time of verdict.'
* * *
As much as they wanted to, Chakotay and B'Elanna's supporters could not all wait in the room at the JAG building. The situation had changed vastly since the first days of the trial, when Kit had lamented the emptiness of the public gallery. Their supporters were now legion, and the corridors outside the courtroom had been filled to capacity as Kathryn led Chakotay, B'Elanna and Tom to the waiting room.
Kit and Harry watched them leave, then themselves followed Anne and Gretchen to the hotel where Gretchen had booked a large suite in which everyone else could wait.
'You're not to be worried about the cost, Caity,' Anne said to her daughter as they arrived. 'As soon as Gretchen and Masako told the Manager why we wanted a room he offered us two connecting suites free. He said it was the least he could do.'
Kit smiled tiredly. 'Public opinion in action, then? That's good.'
Anne looked closely at Kit, then turned to Harry. 'Young man, take Kit over there and make her sit down. Better yet, get her to put her feet up. I'll fetch some herbal tea. No,' Anne continued as Kit began to protest, 'No coffee. Dandelion tea is all you're going to get. And if you complain, it will be chamomile.'
Kit grimaced but went quietly with Harry to the other side of the suite's living room, and permitted him to fuss over her, settling her in a chair and bringing her a pillow and a footstool.
'Mom, I can't stay like this for long,' said Kit when Anne returned with the tea. 'Everyone will think I'm exhausted by the case.'
'You are,' said Harry.
'I'm not denying that,' replied Kit, 'But this case isn't over yet. Once the verdict is in and Lana and Chakotay are free - that's when I'm allowed to be exhausted. Not yet.' In confirmation of her statement, Kit drained the cup of tea, making a face at the first taste, and put her feet down on the floor.
She had no time to stand up, though, as a dark-haired blur rushed into the room from the other suite, and launched itself onto Kit's lap.
'Hello, William,' said Kit, returning the little boy's ferocious hug.
'Are you done with the judge now, Aunty Kit?'
'Not quite. What are you doing here?'
'Mommy decided to come. We arrived in San Francisco last night.'
'Were you in the courtroom this morning?' asked Kit.
'No,' said William. 'Mom went, but I played with a girl called Naomi and another one called T'Rana and two boys called Telok and Melar.'
'And did you have a good time?' asked Anne.
'Yes, I did, Aunty Anne. Naomi's fun, even if she is a girl. She was on the ship with Aunty Kit and Uncle Harry.'
Harry flushed red and Anne smiled, but Kit was oblivious to the by-play William's phrasing had caused.
'So if you weren't at court today, William, how did you get here?'
'Oh, Telok's mother brought us. They're all in there,' William pointed to the connecting door, 'but Granny Captain only let me through to see you.'
'Granny Captain?' Harry asked Anne.
'Gretchen,' replied Anne. 'Who else?'
'Captain Janeway's not going to like that,' said Harry, grinning.
Kit had stood up, with William beside her. 'Is everyone else in the other suite?' asked Kit.
'There's a lot of people,' said William. 'I don't know all of them, either.'
'That's all right, William,' said Kit, taking his hand. 'You know some of them, don't you?'
'Yup,' said William.
'Well, let's let them in, then,' said Kit to her mother. 'Everyone's going to want to know why the treason charges were dropped. That was why Kathryn sent us over here in the first place.'
'Are you sure, dear?'
'Quite sure. If I get too overwhelmed, I can go back to JAG and wait it out over there with the others. Let's go.'
Kit walked purposefully towards the connecting door between the suites, William hanging onto one hand, and Harry at her other side, his arm around her waist. 'You don't need to hold me up, you know,' said Kit. Harry just smiled and looked back at Anne, who nodded approvingly.
Kit was entirely unprepared for the applause that greeted her when she came through the door. The second suite was crowded with people - every one of Voyager's original Starfleet officers, and the various family members who had been attending the trial. In just a quick look around the room Kit recognised Jon Kim, Maddie Paris, Miral and Ricardo, Dagmar and little Annie, Phoebe Janeway, and Sam and Naomi Wildman. Kit blushed at the applause and waved her hands to try to quieten them. 'This is ridiculous - the trial isn't even over yet,' she said.
'Nonsense,' said Jon, Harry's father. 'You've done a marvellous job, Kit, you and Captain Janeway. You deserve the recognition.'
Kit smiled. 'Thank you, Jon. But really…'
'But really, nothing, young lady,' said Dagmar Hansen. 'Tell us what all that tomfoolery about dropping the treason charges was about. Then we'll let you act like an ordinary human being.'
Kit nodded respectfully to the Swede. Give it a week and Dagmar would qualify as one of the matriarchs, that was for certain. 'Certainly, Mrs Hansen. But I honestly can't really explain to all of you why JAG was willing to drop the charges, unless it's a case of public opinion being against them. The treason charges would have been far easier to prove, and probably would have resulted in a heftier sentence if Chakotay and B'Elanna were found guilty. My guess is that Starfleet's public relations people told JAG to expect a major backlash if they continued the prosecution.'
'So what happens now, Kit?' asked Phoebe.
'We wait,' said Kit simply. 'It's gone too late today to expect a verdict this afternoon, but we can hope they'll decide during tomorrow. If the verdict comes in guilty…' Kit's next words were drowned out by a chorus of denials. 'The fact has to be faced,' she said after they had quietened down. 'If the verdict is guilty, we then have the sentencing hearing, and then the trials of the rest of the Liberty people will happen.'
'But that won't happen,' said Irving, firmly.
'Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dad. I hope it doesn't come to that, but I have to be prepared for it.'
'Any other questions?' asked Harry. No one answered - the buoyant mood had dampened swiftly at the mention of a guilty verdict.
'In that case,' said Anne, 'if anyone wants something to eat, the hotel Manager has laid on a spread. It's all in the other room.'
* * *
'So you had no idea they were going to drop the treason charges?' asked Phoebe.
'None whatsoever,' replied Kit. 'And it was as much of a shock to Kathryn as it was to me.'
'Are you sure it's a case of bad PR?' asked Ava.
'I can't think what else it would be. If you ask me,' said Kit, lowering her voice, 'our case on those treason charges was really quite weak. We've got a far better chance of beating the charges from the past ten years. Our evidence stands up better than theirs. But on the treason cases, everything's prima facie.'
'Will you stop using Latin, Kit,' said Ava. 'I only know the operatic variety.'
'And some of us know no Latin at all,' added Phoebe.
'Sorry,' said Kit, 'I forget sometimes.'
'Make that most of the time,' said Jon who came up to join the three women. 'Would you please explain that, Kit?'
'It basically means that once the prosecution proves the basic elements - really basic, like the action itself, rather than absolute intention - then the burden falls on the defence to disprove it. Usually the defence only has to bring in reasonable doubt.'
'I'd never make a lawyer,' laughed Ava.
'And a good thing, too,' said Phoebe. 'Lawyers work entirely too hard for my liking.'
'Well, I'm sorry to drag this particular lawyer away from you,' said Jon, 'but Sam Bremen and Robbie Paris have been asking to meet you, Kit.'
Kit nodded as Jon led her across the room. 'Sam, Robbie, this is Caitlyn McBride,' said Jon. 'Kit, this is Tom's mother, Roberta, and his sister, Samantha Bremen.'
'I'm pleased to meet you,' said Kit, regarding Roberta Paris thoughtfully. Tom's mother was petite and very well dressed, her silver hair done stylishly. Yet there was an understandable strain on the woman's face.
'How is Tom?' asked Roberta.
'He's over at the JAG building with Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay and Lieutenant Torres. He's doing okay, though this is obviously hard for him.'
'My poor boy,' said Roberta, softly. 'Does he know I'm here?' she asked her daughter.
'I'm sure Maddie told him, Mom.' Samantha was trying to keep an eye on two rambunctious children at the same time as reassuring her mother.
'You go and see to the kids, Sammy,' said Roberta. 'I'll stay here and talk with Caitlyn.'
'Please, Mrs Paris, call me Kit.'
'Roberta. I've told Owen that the jury has started deliberations. He's promised me he'll be there for the verdict. I'm afraid he's finding the concept of our boy being married to a former Maquis member quite a shock. I'm hoping he'll get over it soon. I want to welcome my son and his wife to our home.'
'B'Elanna's a wonderful woman,' said Kit. 'One of my best friends on board Voyager. Have you met her parents yet?'
'No, but I couldn't. Not when I haven't even met B'Elanna herself.'
'Miral may look intimidating, but…'
'No, Caitlyn, I can't.'
'I understand, Roberta.'
'For a lawyer you're awfully understanding,' said Roberta.
'I'm not a lawyer yet,' said Kit. 'I'm still just a humble Bio-med Tech. Who knows if I'll ever get my accreditation.'
'I'm sure you will,' said Roberta as Samantha returned to them. 'How are the children, my dear?'
'Oh, they're fine - they've hooked up with another few kids, and that Neelix fellow has herded them all into the other suite for something to eat.'
'Can I get you anything, Roberta?' asked Kit. 'Samantha?'
'A cup of coffee would be lovely, thank you, Kit.' Roberta smiled. 'You see, it only took me a few minutes to get used to the name.'
'I'll come with you,' said Sam. 'You'll be all right, Mother?'
'I'm not a china ornament, Samantha,' said Roberta. 'Go with Kit and bring back my coffee. She'll have other people to talk to. It was nice to speak to you, Kit.'
'Thank you, Mrs Paris.'
'Poor Mom is so stressed out by all this,' said Sam, as she and Kit walked into the other room. 'Dad isn't making things easy for any of us.'
'Is he likely to come around soon?' asked Kit. 'When he first contacted us four years ago, it was as though all the tension had been forgotten.'
'That was before Tom got married. I love Dad, but it took him months to get used to the fact that I got married. Tom didn't ask him first - that's the main problem. Two coffees,' Sam said to the hotel worker behind the long table laden with food and drink.
'And an herbal tea - rosehip, if you have it,' said Kit.
'Your mother told me you were forbidden any coffee today,' said Neelix from behind the two women.
'That's why I'm getting a cup of tea, Neelix. Kids not wearing you out yet?' she asked, smiling at the entourage of children clustered around him.
'Of course not,' said Neelix. 'We're having fun, aren't we?'
''Course,' answered William, before any of the other children could speak. 'Mr Neelix is always a lot of fun.'
'I'll miss these children when all this is over,' said Neelix, sadly. 'They're wonderful. Including your three, Ms Bremen.'
'Thank you, Neelix,' said Samantha. 'I must get back to my mother, Kit.'
Kit and Neelix watched her walk back into the other room.
'Come on, Mr Neelix,' said Annie Hansen. 'I want to play Kadis Kot.'
'I've got my board set up over here,' said Naomi, taking Annie's hand and leading her away.
'At least the children like me,' said Neelix. Kit looked at him carefully. He seemed a little depressed to her - not at all like him.
'We all like you, Neelix. You'll get used to the Alpha Quadrant eventually. It's going to take time. We're all having trouble.'
'Come on, Mr Neelix,' said T'Rana, Tuvok's granddaughter, pulling at Neelix's sleeve. 'Tell us another story about Treevis and Flotter.'
Neelix smiled grimly back at Kit. 'Good luck, Lieutenant,' he said, allowing T'Rana and her brothers to drag him to the corner of the room where Annie and Naomi were already sitting.
Kit shook her head. In all the fuss around the trial, she'd almost entirely forgotten how much of an adjustment all this had to be for Neelix and M'Bai, and probably for Naomi, too, although any uneasiness on the young girl's part seemed to have been banished by the arrival of little Annika Hansen.
'Kit,' Harry called from the other side of the room, 'There's a comm for you. It's Captain Janeway.' The room fell silent as Kit went to the wall console and talked quietly with Kathryn.
Then she turned around. People began to drift in from the other suite. 'I've got to go. The jury will be back in fifteen minutes. They've got a verdict.'
* * *
Kit, Kathryn, Chakotay and B'Elanna stood in a tight group by the defence table, watching the public gallery fill. People chose their places carefully, sitting either behind the prosecution or the defence. Admiral Paris walked in and stood at the back of the room, at first appearing unsure of where to stand, then settling about halfway in the middle of the back wall, just out of the way of the door, and as a result, slightly on the prosecution side of the room.
'I thought there was no hope the jury would come back this quickly,' said B'Elanna. 'What does it mean?'
'I don't really know,' said Kit. 'I'm sure Mac would say that it was good for us that they've come back so quickly. I just don't know.'
'Calm down, Kit,' said Chakotay, kindly. 'Lana and I are the ones who ought to be this keyed up, not you.'
'This affects all of us, Chakotay,' said Kathryn.
'I know,' he said. He was about to continue when the court clerk announced Admiral Louvois. The defence team moved behind their table, standing in the same order they'd been all through the trial; Kathryn, then B'Elanna, then Chakotay, and lastly Kit.
'Be seated,' said Louvois. 'Commander, please bring in the jury.'
The six men and women filed into the jury box. B'Elanna was pale, her forehead ridges standing out more than usual. The foreperson, Admiral Ling, handed a padd to the court clerk, who took it across to Louvois. Kit almost screamed - the need for all this ceremony had disappeared long ago. It would have been easier to route the verdict to Louvois' console. But this way it made more of an impression on the public, Kit supposed. But it was infuriating!
'Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?' asked Louvois ceremoniously, even though she'd already seen the verdict herself.
'We have, your Honour,' said Admiral Ling.
'Would the defendants please rise.'
The four stood to attention. Louvois noticed and almost smiled. 'At ease. On the first charge of sabotage against the first defendant, Commander Chakotay, how do you find?'
Chakotay and B'Elanna held hands tightly. Kit bit her lip and stared at Admiral Ling, whose eyes were fixed on the padd in front of her.
'We find the defendant, Commander Chakotay, not guilty.'
Kit's shoulders sagged in relief.
'On the first charge of sabotage against the second defendant, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, how do you find?'
'We find the defendant, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, not guilty.'
'On the remaining charges of sabotage and espionage against the first defendant, how do you find?' asked Louvois, speeding up the proceedings.
'We find the defendant, Commander Chakotay, not guilty on all counts, your Honour.'
Tears of relief began to slip down Kit's cheeks. She didn't dare look at the other three, for fear she would break down entirely, or worse still, let out a whoop of joy.
'And on the remain charges of sabotage and espionage against the second defendant, how do you find?'
'We find the defendant, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, not guilty on all counts, your Honour.'
Kit felt a hand squeeze hers. She turned to smile at Chakotay, who looked shell-shocked.
'Thank you,' said Louvois, picking up her gavel. 'According to the terms of the Voyager prosecution statute, I hereby quash all charges against any member of the Voyager crew. Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Torres, you are free to go. This case is dismissed!' The bang of her gavel was lost in the jubilation of the public gallery. The entire courtroom erupted. Kit found herself swept up in a joyous hug from Chakotay. As soon as he released her, Kathryn was hugging her, and then B'Elanna. All four were crying unashamedly.
Chakotay picked up Kathryn in a huge bear hug and swung her off her feet. Kit watched her commanding officers, and for a moment she began to hope that Kathryn and Chakotay could resume their relationship. But despite the euphoria, there was still hurt in Kathryn's eyes when Chakotay put her down. He saw it, and he backed off as Gretchen and Phoebe rushed forward.
The jurors came pouring out of the box and past Commodore Singh and Commander Merran, who had stood up, but in the face of all the jubilation were diffident, and had not yet left the courtroom. Kit thought - as much as she could think at that point - that Singh looked quite upset. It wasn't surprising when he'd just lost a major case, but Kit thought there might have been something more. But she had no more time to think about it as she was bombarded with congratulations from all sides.
When Kit finally again had a chance to register what was going on around her, she heard Neelix gleefully inviting all the jurors to the victory celebrations to be held that evening. Stunned, Kit began to tell him to be quiet. 'Neelix, you can't do that!'
'Actually, I think he can,' said a voice behind Kit. She turned. 'Everyone in Starfleet wants to be at that party, Caitlyn,' said Admiral Louvois. 'Including me. Am I invited?'
'Certainly, Admiral,' said Kit, stumbling slightly over the words. 'But, isn't this all, well, a bit irregular?'
'My dear Lieutenant McBride, this entire case was irregular. An unqualified Bio-med technician as second chair - doesn't that strike you as somewhat out of the ordinary? By the way, you did a mighty fine job. I hope I may talk to you tonight.' Louvois patted Kit on the shoulder, then went over to shake hands with Kathryn, B'Elanna and Chakotay.
There was a commotion by the door, and someone called out, 'Kit? Kitty! Where are you?' A woman a little younger than Kit, with unruly dark curls, forced her way to the front of the courtroom.
'Libby? Oh, my lord - Libby!' Kit rushed over to her best friend and the two hugged. 'Did it have to take you this long to get back from Bajor? I've been home for a month and a half.'
'You know me - I tried to save money and ended up on a slow boat bound for Romulus. I'm so sorry I missed the trial!'
'Never mind that - you're coming to the party tonight. And then you're coming up to the lake for a month, at least. I have GOT to catch up with you!'
From the other side of the room, Harry watched the reunion. Tom saw the look on his friend's face, and let out a low whistle.
'What's up?' asked Maddie, standing next to him.
'Trouble,' replied Tom.
* * *
The matriarchs had booked out the restaurant, sensibly enough, because it was soon packed. No one was excluded from this victory celebration, with the result that the children were under everyone's feet, at times, it seemed, simultaneously. Naomi, Annie, William, the three Bremen children and T'Rana and her brothers were playing a riotous game which appeared to be equal parts of hide-and-seek, tag, and ring-around-the-roses. Strangely, the ring always formed around Chakotay or B'Elanna and whichever Starfleet luminary they happened to be talking to at the time. The Starfleet luminaries, however, seemed to be quite happy with this, and some of them, indeed, were no less exuberant than the children.
The exhaustion Kit had been feeling earlier in the afternoon had been banished by the adrenaline rush of the verdict, and she was bright and awake enough to chat with Admiral Louvois. As Phillipa had said earlier, this case was entirely out of the ordinary - and the victory party was even more so.
Crewmembers started arriving in large groups, the Liberty crew having been released from detention as soon as news of the verdict had come through. Kathryn and Chakotay's old colleagues arrived not long afterwards, and Kathryn and Kit were continually being called from the festivities to talk to the press.
There was an understandable air of excitement in the room, even though no one was really any surer of the future than they had been earlier in the afternoon. But now at least they were able to talk about the future.
There were hints all evening, from various members of the Starfleet hierarchy, that the ex-Starfleet members would be re-instated, if they wanted to be, possibly even with promotions. Academy credits would be given to any of the others who wanted to enter the Academy, although with ten years on Voyager, most would have to do less than a semester to pass the senior exams. Kit was more eager than ever to qualify for the JAG corps, and Harry had been gratified to be approached by Captain Riker early in the evening to be offered a post on the Enterprise. No one was accepting anything at this early stage, though, and when Owen Paris had finally arrived with Roberta, he had told them all that the Voyager crew were expected to take a month's leave, minimum. Kathryn had not looked at all happy at the prospect, though Tom and B'Elanna immediately began discussing where to go for a second honeymoon.
By mid-evening, weariness was beginning to catch up with both Kit and her little cousin, and Mac found her sitting on a banquette in the corner, William half-asleep on her lap.
'Has Phillipa caught up with you yet?' asked Mac.
'Yes, we were talking earlier. We didn't talk about the case, though.'
'You can't expect it, Kit. Wait a week or two.'
'I still can't believe that she would come to talk to me! I mean, this is Admiral Louvois. I've worshipped her for years!'
'Caitlyn, I know you're tired, but have some faith in your own abilities. Everyone in JAG has been very impressed by you these past few weeks. It isn't everyone who could run a case as well as you and Kathryn have - especially when you've had to catch up on ten years worth of precedents just to start with.'
'How many people have even tried, Mac?'
'Now I come to think of it, not many,' replied Mac, smiling. 'And who's this little guy?' she asked, smoothing back William's hair as the boy opened his eyes and gazed sleepily up at her.
'My cousin's little boy, William. He calls me his "far away Aunty",' Kit smiled. 'I think he's worn himself out today.'
'Kids can sense the tension in the air - it would stress anyone out.'
'Any experience in that line, Mac?' asked Kit with a smile.
'Only my nieces and nephews,' said Mac.
'I know there's some sort of history between you and Chakotay. So come on, tell me!'
Mac looked as though she might relent, but at that moment Libby came and sat down beside Kit. 'I think there's trouble brewing, Kitty,' said Libby.
'Mac, you remember Libby Lattimore, don't you? What do you mean, Libs?'
'Look over there - your Captain and that handsome guy with the tattoo. Who is he, anyway?'
'You really don't follow the news, do you, Libs?' said Kit. 'That's our first officer, the man I was defending for the past month.'
'So that's Chakotay! Wow - what a hunk! Kathryn Janeway is a lucky woman. But anyway, just watch them.'
All three women watched with interest as Chakotay approached Kathryn, who had been speaking with Dagmar Hansen. Dagmar took one look at Chakotay's face and excused herself quickly.
Chakotay sat down across the table from Kathryn, who looked at him warily.
'What's he going to do?' asked Libby.
'What do you think, Libby?' returned Kit. 'I'm more worried how Kath will respond.'
'Oh, surely she'll have enough sense…' said Mac.
The two commanding officers were on the other side of the room, so the three women had no hope of hearing what they were saying. But even so, the body language was expressive. Chakotay leaned towards Kathryn, putting a hand on the table within inches of hers. She pulled back from him, but only a little. Her hand was still on the table, and they saw Chakotay look down at it.
'He's trying to work out whether it would be too forward of him to put his hand over hers,' said Mac. 'Don't stare too much, you two - you'll embarrass them.'
'They're oblivious, Mac. Don't worry,' said Kit.
Chakotay was still speaking to Kathryn, but Kathryn was shaking her head at intervals. Then Chakotay reached into his pocket and gave Kathryn a padd.
'Oh, what an anti-climax!' said Libby. 'I was expecting a jeweller's box.'
'I think Kathryn was, too,' said Mac. 'Look at her face! What is on that padd?'
'It wouldn't be a report. He's not that insensitive,' said Kit. 'He couldn't be! Please, Chakotay, don't let me down.'
For the next few moments, neither Kathryn or Chakotay spoke. Kathryn pushed a few controls on the padd, and then looked back at Chakotay without saying anything. She shook her head once more, handed the padd back to Chakotay, and got up from the table. She left him sitting there and crossed the restaurant and joined a conversation between Owen Paris and Admiral Ling, one of the jurors who had accepted Neelix's invitation.
'Oh, no!' moaned Kit. 'Kathryn, what did you do?'
'Come on, Kitty,' said Libby, 'You don't know what Chakotay had on that padd. Give your Captain the benefit of the doubt.'
'Watch out, girls,' said Mac. 'I think he's noticed how much attention he's been getting.'
Chakotay had stood up and was crossing the room to where the three women sat. There were tears in his eyes, and his voice cracked as he spoke. 'Kit, thank you for everything. I'll never forget what you and Kathryn did for me. But I've got to get out of here. I don't know when I'll be seeing you, but I'll try to keep in touch.' He turned and walked towards the restaurant door.
'Chakotay!' called Kit. She tried to follow him, but William, now sound asleep on her lap, was too heavy to shift easily, and Chakotay was soon out the door, having paused only to briefly kiss Gretchen on the cheek.
Gretchen stared after the man she had hoped might be her son-in-law. Then she turned and searched through the room for her daughter. When she saw her, Gretchen's eyes at once took in the white, pinched look of her face, and the barely suppressed emotions - both tears and anger. 'Oh, Kathryn,' she said in an undertone, 'my girl, what have you done to yourself?'