He passed two Federation crewmen in the corridor on his way from the Bridge. One belatedly acknowledged him with a semi-respectful 'sir,' the other was even later in her response, motivated only by her companion's kick to her shin. Chakotay rounded the corner, pretending not to have heard the last, whispered part of her greeting,"Commander Shithead."
Before, he might have taken her aside for a long, menacing conversation about the dangers of making derogatory comments to a Maquis, and then to hit her where it hurt, he would use the Starfleet code and speak to her as the first officer, on the inappropriateness of insubordination. Hell, he knew the regulations better than most Star Fleet officers did. One had to know what one could get away with, and one had to know which article Janeway was using to justify her latest endeavor that seemed to everyone not inside her skull, to be a violation of the esteemed Prime Directive, as well as a stupid decision on its own. The latter was being none too rare.
But the days of intimidation tactics and observable dissatisfaction with the Star Fleet regulations, not too mention the Star Fleet crew, as well as the Captain's senseless decisions were long gone. With them went his daily 'chats' with certain people. And the rest of his Maquis sacrificed their time with their own rude devotees. For most it was a relief not to have react to the constant comments with instant viciousness. Except B'Elanna, that is. She had enjoyed rebuking her harassers. He knew how she felt. After a day of incessant disrespect and mistreatment, it felt damned good to watch the blood slowly drain from the distressed face of someone who was indirectly responsible for the stress of your day. B'Elanna saw a lot of attitude in Engineering. She was in charge of a crew with an 80/20 percentage of Star Fleet and Maquis. B'Elanna's orders were slowly executed, altered without her permission, and challenged outright. Now she had no recourse but to make notations of their behavior in her reports. Fat lot they cared. Not nearly as effective as the back of the hand response in Maquis engineering sections.
But she and all the Maquis were glad that while they were halting their brawling reactions, it wasn't because they were surrendering to the mistreatment. On the contrary, it was so they could take a stand against it, without it being obvious what they were planning. Less eloquently, it was so they could kick some Star Fleet ass, without looking like they were going to. B'Elanna didn't like eloquence.
He had instructed the Maquis to let the change happen slowly. It every Maquis had stopped criticizing Star Fleet regulations, had stopped standing up for themselves in verbal arguments, or had suddenly stopped participating in the brawls they themselves usually instigated-well, that would've been damned suspicious. So it happened over time. Until one day no one was muttering about the stupid chain of command, it biggest flaw that Janeway was in charge. No one was reciting the Federation's wrongs against the Maquis. No one was making anymore comments about Star Fleet incompetence, or drawing direct relationships between the arguably low intelligence of Star Fleet crewmembers and the size of their genitals. Well, actually, all those things ceased in public, and continued at the same rate, in private. But to outsiders, it looked like the Maquis had broken; no more nasty terrorist individuals questioning sound decisions, disrespecting the Captain, or trying to turn an orderly ship into a disorderly brawl. Too bad for Star Fleet that things aren't always as they appear.
Chakotay entered B'Elanna's quarters just in time to see her smack Gerron across the back of the head for messing with an intricate Klingon statue. He was the last to arrive; B'Elanna's quarters were already filled with Maquis. He motioned for B'Elanna to stop her efforts to repair the damaged statue and take a seat. She did, but not before smacking Gerron again. He stood before the group and cleared his throat. The encounter in the corridor made his voice all the more powerful and forceful.
"This is how it ends..."
Part 6 | Index page