Monday, July 25, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager - Banjo, Part 1

I’m sorry, it continues like that for some time My name is Walter Baxter. It’s been suggested to me that I begin a personal log. It’s not something I’ve felt compelled to do previously, even though it’s pretty standard for Starfleet officers, and I’ve served for almost a half dozen years. I accidentally intercepted one of the captain’s efforts to transmit a letter home, which she’s done as far as I can tell since we landed in the Delta Quadrant. She will never admit it, but I think she went with the Maquis for chief engineer because she thought she had a better chance at succeeding with a slightly more unorthodox mind running the ship than Joe, or if we’re being formal Lt. Carey, whom I’ve known since the Academy. If I’m going to keep this log, then I might as well be as forthright as possible. Joe would have been the better choice.

Things’ve been weird since we got here, but it’s not like they were any more by-the-book before. Unlike most of the original crew, I boarded ship at its launch. I interacted a lot more with the late Commander Taylor, while Captain Janeway was off retrieving Tom Paris. There’s a lot I could say about Paris, and I’ll probably get around to it, but not right now. Taylor was a consummate professional. I trusted his instincts. It took time before I could say the same about Janeway. None of us knew our orders, and I know for a fact that this included Taylor, since I worked closely with him in the early days. He’d promised me a lot of things for that kind of loyalty. Priority transmissions, for instance, so I could keep up with events back on Earth, so I could keep up with the teammates I’d left behind. Everyone used to tell me that I would’ve excelled at the Olympics. I never had the chance. I was supposed to be back in a matter of months. So much for that.

I never could make sense of what we were originally supposed to accomplish. The Federation had just made contact with the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant, and that’s what everyone thought we were being deployed to investigate. We’d all heard about the battleship assigned to Deep Space Nine, but hardly anyone knew much more about it. We all assumed that we were bound for a little reconnaissance. When the news spread about Paris, about Janeway’s apparent vested interest in him, some of us started to investigate. Paris had been a member of the Maquis, for a few weeks. I’d known a few people who’d ended up with that bunch. One of them had been a friend, Jarvin. I hadn’t heard anything about him in several years, though. Little did I know that I was hurtling toward a reunion.

If I had to count the number of times I grew frustrated aboard this ship, once it became clear that almost nothing was the way it seemed, I would probably have been able to trade the resulting tally for enough latinum to buy my own ship, maybe even buy my way home, if that were possible. It took being transported halfway across the galaxy to learn we were always intended to retrieve another of Janeway’s friends, the chief of security, Tuvok. If I had to pick a Vulcan to count on, I would’ve gone with Vorik. He’s more fun. I don’t expect that everyone shares that opinion, but then, I don’t think most of the crew knows him the way I do. At least not yet.

There were a lot of complaints from a great many of the people I called friends, when Janeway made her decision to destroy the array. I’d already lost friends. I didn’t have a lot more to lose. There were even more when we realized she’d agreed to accept the remaining Maquis as part of the crew. I understood that we needed their numbers to keep the ship operational. I’m a pragmatic kind of guy. I like a challenge. Most of it was though to accept, but life aboard Voyager actually became a lot more fun for me, the more circumstances started to solidify. I’m okay admitting that now.

That’s to say nothing about the Talaxian. What’s to say about Talaxians? What’s to say about strange aliens, for that matter, who pretend to be human, and play you banjo music? All these months later, and that’s the part I’m still trying to make sense of. Give me a moment to compose my thoughts…

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