::continues hour long observation through office windows...despite warning from aching hips to move::
::watches last hovercraft in the Andorian entourage take off, nodding patiently to Lydia's chatter from behind, though absorbing hardly any of it...everything of importance for the day has likely already come through...or will end up on some apparently more capable soul's desk::
::makes mental note to ask Kate Pulaski just what unusual quirks her definition of 'normal duties' might contain::
::has almost decided to simply go for a meal when terminal chimes, earning a start::
Computer, origin of transmission.
USS Voyager, Admiral.
::that gets old bones moving::
::rocks back in chair, waiting for him to settle...and not missing the lurch and comparable incoordination::
::hides frown and pushes away something that could well be a niggle of worry, focusing on business at hand::
Hope you aren't busy.
I believe I can make time.
::settles fully into seat, staring at screen::
::tries and fails to formulate appropriate small talk...couldn't begin to put thoughts into any coherent pattern, much less one that might not somehow cause further offense::
What do you need, Thomas?
Well, you're probably not going to like it, since it's somewhat personal...
::waits for averse reaction...but gets barely a blink::
::bats eyes as well, uncertain whether to be disappointed or impressed::
Secure channel, I assume?
::at nod, continues::
This hasn't made it into any of our official reports because Chakotay doesn't want to falsely get anyone's hopes up, but...it looks like we might have a viable shot at making it home soon. Really soon.
::cracks a half-smile when that does earn response::
Before we do, though, I need to know that I have your support with something. Or actually, protection for someone.
::intrigued despite self, leans forward::
Might this have something to do with your guests...that is, the...ah...other...Linnis?
No...actually, I think you all might need protection from her, not vice versa. And her kid is completely harmless. Nicest person here.
Worth considering, though.
::grabs stylus, twisting it between fingers nervously::
I'm talking about Annika Hansen.
I understand that you folks back home had a bit of a problem with the Borg. I also understand that any surviving drones or ex-drones might be of more interest than ever before.
::leans back, eyes narrowing in speculation::
Counselor Troi isn't aware of her clinical boundaries, I see.
::ignores probable jibe at mental state, jabbing stylus down on desk in a restrained fit of frustration::
Oh, I'd say it's a department wide flaw.
Molly told me. She's loving the new job, by the way. Just what she always wanted to do with her life.
Let me assure you, son, were it a possibility, I would be there in your sister's stead!
::forcibly lowers tone from bark, not missing the automatic flinch from the other side of the screen::
::lifts knick knack from own desk, twisting it to busy hands and channel anger::
She's safe...relatively speaking...for the first time in many years. Not on Romulus, at least.
Or in the Delta Quadrant?
::hates that too, the return to childhood subservience::
::sighs, the weight of too many years and too many identical fights settling::
It's hardly your fault your ship was stranded across the galaxy.
::shakes head, moving eyes away from screen and to viewport, mentally tracing the path back...all the way to the beginning of Voyager's god-forsaken journey::
It wasn't my ship. It was your beloved Kathryn's. I was just a convict getting a free ride and a free pass in exchange for a little more perfidy.
If I had turned Janeway down I would have been out of Auckland in a couple of years, everyone's dignity intact.
I think not.
Thomas, look at me.
::waits patiently for compliance, stilling hands::
I won't deny that your acceptance of Command's offer disappointed me at the time, but had we the chance to do it again, I would encourage you to make the same decision. Clearly, your time on Voyager has been a better lesson than any prison term or rehabilitation might have proven.
If you were here, had been here all along, I have no doubt that you wouldn't be half the man you are today...and wouldn't have any of the blessings you have.
They're not a blessing until after at least two cups of coffee...
::swallows mumble, offering another, slightly more sincere smile::
You're right. And I wouldn't change a thing, either, for those reasons.
I have two of the most beautiful, brilliant kids in any universe, and I can thank one equally beautiful and brilliant woman for it. But she's not mine anymore, and there's someone else I care a hell of a lot about and need to keep safe.
::squares shoulders, putting business back in tone::
There's a disparity between what we've been sending out in records and what Molly says is free knowledge back home. Seven and her father apparently aren't listed on any released manifests. Hell, Molly couldn't even find any interviews with Irene Hansen. They're completely off the record outside of 'fleet.
I don't like the sound of that.
::frankly, agrees with him...but withholds that comment::
The Hansens would be subject to interview and examination upon return regardless of our present situation. The Borg have never been an enemy treated lightly and Magnus Hansen already had feathers ruffled even before his assimilation.