In a Hundred Lifetimes
Summary: A temporal paradox gives Janeway the chance to reassess the choices she’s made and those she’s going to make, even when the future seems inevitable.
Characters: Janeway, Chakotay
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for the J/C Cutthroat Fiction competition, Alpha group, Round 2. My prompt was “a good old-fashioned time loop” and for bonus points, only one character was able to remember.
Prologue - Shattered
“For two people who started off as enemies, it seems we get to know each other pretty well. So I've been wondering ... just how close do we get?”
“Let's just say there are some barriers we never cross.”
My question, and Chakotay’s reply, echo in my head as I leave Engineering. There was a world of unspoken feeling buried in his response; so many layers of emotion that my first instinct – always the scientist, always seeking truth – was to press further. Dig deeper.
And yet there was warning, too, in the very vagueness of that answer. Here be dragons, I muse as I move along the corridor.
In the end, maybe I didn’t really want to know.
He’ll be initiating the pulse in a few minutes; enough time, barely, to get back to the bridge where this crazy time-tripping day began. Yet my steps slow as I reach the turbolift.
Maybe I do want to know, after all.
Raising my chin, I wait for the doors to close and pronounce clearly, “Astrometrics.”
I almost don’t make it back in time. Hurrying to my chair, I glance to my left and find the grizzled head of Aaron Cavit, bent over the console between us. For a moment I picture a different man in the first officer’s chair – taller, broader, darker hair – and I have to bite my lip against a wave of sadness.
In a matter of days, Aaron Cavit will be dead. And I’m still struggling with the knowledge that there’s nothing I can do to change that fact.
“Ensign?” I address Kim, dragging my gaze deliberately away from Cavit.
“Chakotay should be initiating the pulse in ten seconds,” Kim responds. “Five, four, three, two …”
The world turns white.