Tom, Harry and B'Elanna were walking towards Holodeck 2 where a party was being held to celebrate Garak's recovery.
The party meant different things to each member of the crew. To some it was simply a confirmation that they were alive, but it was also an opportunity to talk about their past, present and more importantly the future. But it was also a way to let Garak know that he was one of them.
Nog and Seven were heading towards the holodeck from the opposite direction. Seven was wearing an outfit which Garak had design and made for her before the incident. The Doctor had mentioned to her that it would be appropriate for her to wear it tonight.
"Hello you two. Fancy meeting you here," said Tom.
"I fail to see what is so fancy about meeting us here. Do you not except most of the crew to be here tonight?" said Seven.
"It's a human expression Seven. Tom was just being funny," said Nog.
Before Seven had a chance to continue on the topic, B'Elanna suggested that they go in and join the party.
When they entered the holodeck, they were confronted with a scene that all of them except Seven had seen before. The holodeck had been programmed to look like the living room of Kathryn's home on Earth but had been somewhat enlarged so that everyone would be able to fit in. Kathyrn, with help from Neelix and quality testing carried out by both Kol and Naomi, had cooked a variety of foods for the crew.
They walked over to the table were the food was. Tom recognized one of the foods. "Yes! Kathryn I can see that you have been programming the replicators," said Tom.
Kathryn laughed, "Tom I would have thought youd guess that I programmed them in when I first arrived on Voyager."
"Well you know what this means! Tam Tim slam!" said Tom. Everyone laughed.
Chakotay had walked in at this moment recognizing the program as a recreation of what would have been his and Kathryn's home on Earth. 'Because of one decision, my life changed and what I have always wanted, I will never have' he thought to himself.
Garak and Michelle had entered the holodeck behind Chakotay. Neither of them having been to the original house before, were taken back by the homely feeling of the program. "This place is beautiful, I wonder where Kathyrn got the idea?" said Michelle, not really expecting an answer.
"It's Kathyrn's home back on Earth, although I would say it has been made slightly bigger I would say to fit everyone here tonight. I'm somewhat disappointed that I was never able to see the actual home," said Garak.
Michelle looked at Chakotay, "Chakotay, you have known Kathryn the longest, have you ever been here before?"
"Yes. A lifetime ago," said Chakotay with a distance look on his face.
He started to look around the house, going into the different rooms. He came up to the room he and Kathryn had decided was going to be the nursery. The door was closed and he stood outside, not sure if he really wanted to look inside. He extended his hand and turned the door handle, slowly opening the door.
Chakotay walked inside and looked around the room which was now by the way it looked, Kol's room. He felt someone move into the room behind him. His mind told him that it was Kathryn.
Without turning to face Kathryn, Chakotay said, "When I decided to fight with the Maquis, I lost the chance - our chance of being a family, being happy. I lost sight of our dreams."
"Yes, you did," said Kathryn.
Chakotay then turned to face Kathryn, "I'm so sorry."
"I know. I'm sorry that you had to learn this the hard way," said Kathryn. "Come on, we have a party to attend."
Chakotay took Kathryn by the hand and they walked out of the room that held their past.
The party was in full swing. Both Nog and Kathryn had spoken about everything that had happened in the Alpha Quadrant. Kathryn had started to tell why Starfleet for a period of time was consider 'weak' when Seven exclaimed, "Commander Janeway, you would be referring to the time when the Borg destroyed most of Starfleet fleet as the Borg made it's way to Earth."
Everyone was surprised by this news, being in the Delta Quadrant when this had occurred.
"Yes I am. Seven were you physically apart of the attack?" asked Kathyrn.
"I was not, but I am aware of the events which occur at the time," said Seven.
Suddenly the mood of the party changed to one of quiet reflection. Tom realized someone needed to lighten the mood again, "So . who is interested in learning how do a Tim Tam slam? If you are then move over to the dinning room."
People started to move towards the dining room. Seven however moved towards Kathryn and Nog. "Commander, I do not apologize for what I did or what I was part of when I was linked with the collective. I do hope, though, that this will not effect our relationship."
"Don't worry Seven. It wont," said Kathryn.
"We have all done things that we may might not like to admit but do not apologize for," said Nog. Then offering his arm to Seven, "Shall we join the others?"
Seven took Nog's arm and they joined the rest of the crew.
"It would have taken a lot for Nog to have say that," said Garak. "He lost a number of friends and colleagues during that attack."
"He is a good role model of a Starfleet officer. He would have had to endure a lot to even be accepted in Starfleet. I'm sure that the Ferengi wouldn't have been all that happy," said Chakotay.
"If you knew his father you would know where he got his attitude from. His father organized the first Ferengi union strike," said Garak.
"What!" said Chakotay laughing.
"Yes a union strike. It was a sight to see," said Garak.
As the night continued, Kathryn spoke with a number of the crew personally about their families. The rest of the crew listened also. Any news from home, whether it concerned them or not, was always good to hear.
A number of the Starfleet crew noticed that Kathryn and sometimes even Kol, were very familiar with the former Maquis crew family, and they found that quite strange.
Michelle was interested as to why this was the case, and she decided that she would ask Kathryn sometime in the future when they were alone. Tom, however, didn't wait.
"Kathryn, I have been wondering ever since you came on board .. how do you know some of the members of the Maquis personally?" asked Tom.
Everyone was silent, waiting for the answer. Chakotay looked at Kathryn, also curious of her connection with his former group. After all, it was through the Maquis that Kol was sent to Kathryn and Kathryn being a high ranking Starfleet officer, it would not have been easy.
Kathryn was quiet for a while, "Tom, when you were in the Maquis, did you ever hear of a person called 'Kooka'?"
"Of course. Every Maquis is made aware of 'Kooka' and how to get in contact with them for help. How does a Starfleet officer know about it?"
"You would make your way to one of five contact places and ask someone about a laughing Kookabura and you would be told how to proceed," said Garak.
"How does a Cardassain know this?" asked Chakotay, finding the fact that a Cardassian despite the fact they weren't apart of the oppressive force.
"The people of Narallen would never have been able to set up the network if it wasn't for Garak's contacts," said Kathryn.
Chakotay looked at Kathryn, "You were apart of it?"
"Kathryn was one of the main organizers, Chakotay," said B'Elanna.
Everyone was quiet for a moment. Then Tuvok then asked, "Commander, don't you find that this 'organized' help of yours goes against Starfleet regulations?"
"Tuvok, the people of Narallen were the ones who started it. We, of all people, knew what it was like to have our homes taken away from us by an outside force, against our wishes. We couldn't just stand by and let it happen when there was something that we could do about it. But as for your question, I think that you would agree that giving medical help and shelter while injured or providing a home for the families of those fighting or not fighting is only showing compassion," said Kathryn.
Everyone could understand the reason why the people of Narallen felt that way. The Preservers had changed Narallens life forever, just as theirs was when the Caretaker brought them here to the Delta Quadrant. But at least for those on Voyager there was a chance that they would return to their family.
The former Maquis members of the crew were grateful to know that at least some of the people of the DMZ were looked after, including some of their families. The Starfleet members of the crew were also grateful for what the people of Narallen had done and were still doing for their friends family and friends.
Chakotay watched Kathryn walked away from the group, then he walked over to her. "When you said, 'There were other ways of helping my people' you meant 'that' didn't you?" asked Chakotay.
"Yes," said Kathryn.
"Thank you for helping my people in that way Kathryn," said Chatotay.
"Chakotay, didn't help your people, I helped OUR people .. at least they were going to be," said Kathryn.
Taking Kathryn by the hands, he said, "They still could be. I know that I have a lot to make up for, but you are still the only woman who I love with both my heart and soul, and I would like very much to try again. I feel that despite everything, I have been given another chance," said Chakotay.
Kathryn smiled and lifted her hand to Chakotay's tattoo, gently touching it, "No, we have been given a second chance."
On the other side of the room, B'Elanna, with several other members of the crew, approached Garak who was talking to the Captain. "Garak, may I ask a personal question?" said B'Elanna.
"Of course Lieutenant. And I will give you the answer. Like the people of the DMZ I too was thrown out of my homeland. While not under the same circumstances, the end result was still the same. Besides, I could never say no to Kathryn. Does that answer your question, my dear?" said Garak.
"Yes it does, thank you," said B'Elanna.
Garak felt a tug on his clothing, and looking down, he saw Kol. "Uncle Garak, I'm tired and want to go to bed. Will you tuck me in?" asked Kol.
"Of course, Id love too. Let's find your mother to let her know," said Garak.
"Don't, shes with Uncle Chakotay," said Kol.
"Why not?" asked Michelle. "I think your mother should know."
Kol let out a breath and said, "Look."
Kol then grabbed Garak's hand and pulled him towards the main window of the room, Michelle, Tom and BElanna followed. Outside looking at the stars, they noticed Kathryn standing with her back to Chakotay, Chakotay standing close behind her with his arms around Kathryn's shoulders. Kathryn's head was leaning against Chakotay's chest.
Michelle turned to Kol, "You're right, let's not tell your mother. Come on, let's get you to bed."
To be continue............
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