I have to confess I had no real context on how to react to the Maquis when we were first forced together, as many of the Starfleet officers initially considered it. While their own captain gladly acquiesced to Janeway’s ideas, there were others, like Kurt Bendera, who seemed to relish every opportunity at the slightest sign of differences. I knew many of the Maquis had served in Starfleet, either in attending the Academy, or in Chakotay’s case a considerable amount of time in the regular fleet, but like a lot of the people I tended to talk with, I knew them best as the rebels who’d been making Federation policy extremely difficult for the last few years.
Bendera wasn’t an instigator so much as the perfect accomplice. He was more than willing to join in on any fight that might break out. He actively cheered when B’Elanna Torres struck Joe Carey, something that would have led to court martial in a heartbeat, if only we’d been several dozen lightyears closer to home. The one thing I can say about Kurt was that he was a good hand in the Talaxian’s mess hall. Joe had nothing nice to say about him, but I was surprised when Harry Kim of all people came to his defense. Harry had been tangled up in the Caretaker affair a little more directly than most of us, and he shared that experience with Torres, the half-Klingon hothead Janeway made chief engineer. I thought that was it, the only reason Harry would care to be sympathetic, but then I found out he was more experienced with Maquis history than I’d previously suspected. When he was attending the Academy, Harry wrote an editorial for the school paper about the budding Maquis rebellion, something no one else in Starfleet had dared do, or would have been aware of. I’d only heard about them a few months before the Voyager assignment. Like I said, I assumed like everyone else our real mission would be against the Dominion. Voyager itself was more a combat ship than a research vessel. It seems weird to say that now, but I came to appreciate that fact more and more, especially with every clash against the Kazon, the Vidiians, even the weird alien phenomena we seem destined to find at every turn.
Harry knew about all the unrest in the colony worlds. Plenty of us in Starfleet knew all about Cardassians already, with the almost-constant conflict we enjoyed for decades, but few of us could actually be considered veterans with real experience. Harry didn’t have that experience either, obviously, but he was a keen student in almost every regard, and he was a great observer, apparently right from the start. He was probably the first voice to say anything positive about the Maquis, which isn’t to say he was any more comfortable, on the whole, with them aboard his own ship than the rest of us. He was always able to handle it better.
Joe and I, even Hogan, we all had our problems. If it wasn’t Bendera, it was Michael Jonas, or creepy Suder. Seska, ironically, was someone we thought we could trust. How to even begin with her? For starters, she was like to opposite of Tuvok. Neither of them were what they seemed to be, among Chakotay’s Maquis crew. Tuvok was a Starfleet spy. Seska was a Cardassian spy who’d disguised herself as a Bajoran. Try to figure that one out! If anyone has a problem with Chakotay, it’s that he still lets Seska get under his skin. This is a bad thing, because she defected to the Kazon months ago. As if anyone needed another reason to dislike the Kazon! Go wash your hair! Oh, right, those thugs consider water to be a luxury. Figures.
Sometimes I try to imagine how the Maquis considered the Caretaker. Did they find him disguised as a Banjo Man, too? Were they transported to the same illusion as we were? Sometimes I wish I’d gotten Tuvok’s assignment. He couldn’t possibly have enjoyed it. What am I saying! Actually, the more Maquis stories I hear, the more I wish I could have enjoyed it, I really do. Sometimes I think this whole experience is the aftermath of an even greater story, and we’re all just getting a lot of time to process it. How do we even manage? Hardly anyone talks about the Caretaker, except in relation to his mate. Talk about your nightmares! I actually had quite a few of them, but again, I can’t rush into all of that. I’ve got a lot to process myself. Most people take me for something of a goof, the guy who keeps injuring himself in the gymnasium, who’s always up for every challenge, restless, careless, ideally suited for this predicament. I don’t honestly know how much of that’s changed, or if it’s even accurate. The truth is, I’m leery of admitting much. Janeway is a little like that. She doesn’t trust that holographic doctor any more than I do. She’s just better at pretending otherwise. The Ocampan keeps trying to get me to feel otherwise about the EMH, but I saw that program in its development stage. I know what I’m dealing with. Why should I humor it? I know plenty of people on this ship who could transfer to the medical staff, and who I’d trust a great deal more.
I’ve got to end this entry, though. I’ve got some holodeck time. Where did I put that banjo?