By Jemima Pereira (
© July 2003
Codes: J, C/7
Rating: PG
Series: Star Trek: Voyager

A second-person vignette for Die J/C Die Again.

No names, no foul.

Thanks to Seema, patron saint of the second person.

You think you'll do it tomorrow. Today there are Kazon, Vidiians, Borg, Hirogen, time paradoxes, and holograms to deal with. Being the captain means handling the life-or-death situations first - next week is soon enough for non-emergencies, or even next month. You think you can care and postpone at the same time.

Maybe tomorrow you'll have time to think it through - your relationship with your first officer is too delicate to disturb now. Your mind is elsewhere but your feeling, you think, are safe where you stowed them - even if you can't remember exactly where that was.

You fail to learn the lesson that times change, that the Delta Quadrant requires a new approach. He humors you as you insist *your* way will see you safely back to the Alpha Quadrant; when it does, even you are surprised. But you are more surprised to learn you have run out of tomorrows.

At least you'll always have New Earth.

You think you'll never find another woman like her. Lost out here in a strange quadrant, farther than you ever expected to be from the bones of your ancestors, she is the most interesting woman for parsecs. She's been through so much in her life that you feel an almost involuntary loyalty to her, even though she was an enemy when you first met.

She isolates herself from the crew, and you try to draw her out. You respond to failure with greater efforts, neglecting your own friends and interests. You find you have entire shifts of free time reserved for a companion who rarely shows.

Only out here, where temptations are few and far between, could you have gotten yourself into this emotional holding pattern. At least, you think you're holding, though sometimes it feels like spiralling down to a crash-landing you'd rather not think about. Most of the time, though, you can't help but admire her for her intelligence, her strength, her sense of duty, the way she puts the ship and crew ahead of her personal life. Someone so beautiful yet so tragically alone - how could you help loving her?

And because you could not help it the first time, you cannot help it the second time, either.

You think perfection is, by its nature, unattainable. Imperfect beings cannot touch the Omega Particle. At best, they can create and interact with a simulation of it, play a game of photons and heuristic algorithms that lets them pretend they understand individual atomic behavior. Yet the information gained in this manner is insufficient.

You think this feeling is irrelevant; you indulge in it nevertheless. Emotions, you believe, are like children - if allowed to run rampant, they quickly wear themselves out. After sufficient indulgence, you begin to suspect there may be a flaw in your theory.

Before you have analyzed the matter sufficiently, you find you have a new source of data. You think he is doing his job until he makes it clear he desires companionship. This is unexpected.

You wonder whether perfection is, in fact, attainable.