Cadet maybe?

Alathea crinkled her nose, eyeing Neelix’s questionable concoction. “That smells disgusting.”

“It tastes even worse, my dear,” Neelix replied with a wide grin, “but better safe than sorry!”

“Why? Why are you drinking that?” she asked, waving towards the thick, foul-smelling liquid.

“Ah, well, you see, Chakotay believes my unique charm and dumpster diving skills make me the perfect ambassador. I’m off to board the Malon export vessel and sprinkle a dash of hospitality among the toxic fumes.”

“The same Malon that were attacking Voyager?”

“Yes, but we have to help now.”

“Helping the enemy?” Alathea shook her head and left before Neelix could add anything.

The captain outdid herself. Now she was helping not only strangers but also a proven enemy. And just when she thought that the Captain finally started behaving as she should. She left Think Tank to face consequences, but now, suddenly, she was helping an enemy that attacked Voyager and almost killed the whole crew. Diplomacy on this ship had a peculiar flavor, much like Neelix’s concoctions.

She went back to repairs on her little ship, and before she entered the ship, she took off the Voyager communication badge and placed it on the working table outside the ship. There is no way she will help the captain with this madness. Captain deserves whatever will happen to her.

“Neelix told me about your little comment before he left for the mission.” Captain sneaked into her ship.

Alathea looked up, raising an eyebrow. “I hope it was scathing enough for the occasion. I find it appropriate, considering the situation.”

Alathea glanced at the captain over her shoulder. Hours passed between her conversation with Neelix and the Captain coming over.

“You need my help?”

“No. The situation is resolved, and we are on our way to meet with another Malon freighter to leave our passenger behind.”

“So, now you’re at peace with the Malon?”


“But you helped them.”


“Why? They are your enemies?”

“You’re missing the parts of the whole image. But let us focus on the idea that one should not help the enemy. Why do you think so?”

“It’s madness. You’re wasting precious resources to help someone who will just stab you in the back at the first opportunity.”

“Don’t you have examples in your history of enemies becoming friends after they helped each other?”

“That doesn’t happen. People will pretend to be your friend but always pursue their agenda. It is in human nature to do so.”

Captain tilted her head. “You lived in a very sad world.”

Alathea blinked. The response was unexpected.

“Don’t you have anyone willing to live in a way that respects higher ideals and values?”

Alathea smiled. “Higher ideals and values are tools for manipulation. That’s how you keep the population in check.”

“And no one in your empire ever actually lives by those principles.”

Alathea studied the captain, wondering how deep her religious belief went. So far, she never heard the captain using any of the religious doctrines or sayings. But this insistence on living by principles, ideals, and values stank of some religious brainwashing. “I didn’t realize you’re religious, Captain.”

Captain Janeway raised an eyebrow. “I’m not religious. But I believe in the power of shared values to create a better society.”

“Ah, shared values. Another manipulation tactic.”

“Call it what you want. It works.”

Alathea chuckled. “In your strange world, perhaps.”

“There are values: equality of persons, dignity of life, reason, and science. Those are keys for wisdom, and those values are the ones I respect and live by.”

Alathea shifted to face the captain completely. She meant what she said. She really followed those values. “And those are Star Trek values?”

“There is more, more interpretation, more… I gave you literature to read.”

“Yes, I read it. But I assumed that’s just propaganda.”

“It is not.”

“So you helped the enemy because of your values?”


“That’s a dumb thing to do when they do not share your values.”

“No, it is not. I ultimately did it for the Federation, for Star Fleet, for my crew, and myself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Action that follows the values of Federation and Star Fleet ultimately strengthens both and helps every member of both. So, me respecting those values makes both Federation and Star Fleet stronger.”

Alathea cocked her head, eyeing the captain. Yep, she was dead serious. But come on, that’s just plain dumb. If your foe’s playing dirty, playing by the rules only makes you an easy mark. The captain missed out on a basic life lesson.

Alathea simply nodded and flashed a reassuring smile, giving off the vibe that she was totally on board with the captain’s cosmic philosophy. Trying to wrestle the captain’s convictions into submission seemed like a futile endeavor. Best to focus on fixing her ship and making a beeline for the Empire, where folks presumably had a more grounded grasp of human nature.

The captain, however, cocked her head skeptically. “I’ve got this tingling feeling that you’re just buttering me up.”

Alathea blinked, momentarily caught off guard. Did the captain have a knack for sniffing out the truth? Opting for silence, she chose observation over confrontation. A tense stillness settled between them, both locked in a silent standoff.

“Yes, you are trying to placate me. Well, perhaps you should benefit from some more information. What do you think about going through a training that we usually do before someone joins Star Fleet?”

“That’s a marvelous idea, and I would love to, but I have to repair my ship.”

“Yes, I saw you digging in the storage compartment when I came here. What were you looking for?”

Alathea held up a singed component. “A spare part. Standard ship gear fries up pretty often.” She shrugged.

The captain leaned in, intrigued. “And did you locate it?”

Alathea sighed, shaking her head. “No luck so far.”

The captain grinned. “Looks like we’re going to have to fashion ourselves a makeshift spare, then.”

“You’re not exactly well-versed in the inner workings of Holtzman’s drive.”

“But you are. How about I dispatch Seven to lend a hand? She’s got a knack for melding diverse technologies seamlessly.”

“Because the Borg do that regularly?” Alathea chuckled. “But let’s be real. Borg never really meshed with our tech.”

“A challenge.” The captain’s grin widened.

Alathea shot her a quizzical look. “Why are you so insistent on dragging me through this training? I’ll fix my ship and head out. My people will learn plenty about you.”

“That’s precisely why.” The captain’s answer hung in the air, a cryptic echo of intent.

“But then you’ll be at a disadvantage.”

“No, go through the training, and you’ll understand why. Don’t you have a bit of curiosity in you?”

Truth be told, Alathea wasn’t particularly curious. It seemed like some dogmatic belief system or ideology had the captain and the crew in its clutches, and the captain believed that if she just dangled the supposed TRUTH in front of Alathea, she’d be converted. Perhaps Alathea could spin this into a lesson of her own.

“Alright, fine. I’ll play along.”

“Excellent. Tuvok will reach out with the details.”

“Wait, isn’t he the head of security?”

The captain nodded.“Yes, but he was also a teacher at the Star Fleet academy, so he is the best suited to train you.”


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