This the second of a small series of vignettes about Kathryn's life — all based on chance encounters.
CBS owns KJ and anyone pertaining to Voyager. Everyone else belongs to me ... just thought I'd introduce them all.
“Admiral ...” May’s voice crackled over the comm. “Miss Naomi Wildman is at the front desk asking to see you. Shall I send Lt. Bradley down?”
“Now, that’s the best offer I’ve had all day,” Kathryn thought. “Absolutely, May. Bring her to the outer office.”
Naomi was surprised to see Admiral Janeway in her red uniform undershirt; the only admirals she ever saw wore dress uniforms. But she didn’t ask because the admiral caught her up in a big hug.
“Naomi, you are growing up much too fast for me,” she teased. Come on in,” she said, nodding toward her private office. She settled her in a wing chair, next to a large window that overlooked the campus gardens. She murmured something to May, then turned back to Naomi.
“Do your parents know you are here?” she asked gently.
She nodded. “Yes, I told Mom.”
The admiral turned back to May, and the two women shared a quick look. May nodded and left.
“Your office is smaller than the Ready Room,” Naomi said thoughtfully.
“It is. But I like the view,” Kathryn said as she sat in the other wing chair. “I have meetings in the outer office. Only my staff and special people are allowed in here.”
She cocked her head and smiled at Naomi. “So what did you want to talk about?”
“I wanted to talk to Mom, but she’s busy with her job and little Gresh ...”
Kathryn nodded. “How is your little brother?”
“He’s good. But he doesn’t do a lot.”
“You didn’t either for a while,” Kathryn teased. “But you began walking and talking very quickly, and Gresh will, too.” She noted that Naomi didn’t mention her father, but decided to file that away for another time.
They stopped for a moment as May brought in a plate of cookies and some lemonade.
“So, what can I do for you?” Kathryn asked as they helped themselves to cookies.
Naomi sighed. “The headmaster at my school wants me to take advanced science and math classes. He says I’ll need them to go to the Academy. But I don’t know if I want to go to the Academy.”
Kathryn nodded. “I see.”
“People keep acting like I should join Starfleet like mom and dad. But what if I don’t?”
“Are your parents telling you this?” Kathryn asked as a long-ago conversation with Tom Paris floated through her head.
Naomi shook her head. “No. Just people at school.” She looked up at Kathryn. “Your dad was in Starfleet. Did people keep telling you that you had to go to the Academy?”
Kathryn chose her words as she took a sip of coffee. “Yes, Daddy was in Starfleet. And people did expect me to go to the Academy, but I wanted to go. I wanted to be like my dad.
“My sister Phoebe, however, ran into those expectations and hated it. She didn’t want to go to the Academy.”
Kathryn nodded. “She liked art much better than science or math. Of course, I, as her know-it-all big sister, thought she should go to the Academy, too. Turns out I didn’t know anything.”
Admiral Janeway not knowing something? Naomi looked at her, puzzled. Kathryn just smiled.
“Phoebe was much wiser than I was; she knew what she wanted … and didn’t want … and stuck to that.”
“Did she become an artist?”
“She did, and a very good one. I have some of her paintings in the other office.” Kathryn took another sip of coffee. “So what do you think you might like to do?”
Naomi thought about it. “I always liked to watch Neelix cook. I think that being a chef would be fun.”
“That sounds like a worthy occupation,” Kathryn allowed, biting down her fears about the cooking skills Neelix may have passed on. “You know though, chefs have to know science and math. You have to know about measurements and proper use of heat. And combining ingredients creates chemical reactions. Do it the wrong way, and your food turns out awful,” she said. “”As I certainly know,” she added silently.
Naomi frowned thoughtfully. “I never thought about that,” she said. “Do you think I should take those classes?”
“Maybe … but perhaps you … or you and your mom … should ask some questions about what these classes cover. There might be other classes that would be better for you.”
Naomi smiled. “That’s a good idea!”
Kathryn smiled, too. “The important thing is not to worry too much about other people’s expectations. As you grow up, you’ll work out what you want to do. You may become a chef, or something else all together. In the meantime, learn all you can so that you’ll be prepared when you find the right thing. All right?”
May’s voice crackled through the office again. “Admiral Jacob’s office is confirming your meeting at 1600. Shall I push that back?”
“One moment, May.” Kathryn said. “Naomi, do we have anything else we need to talk about?”
Naomi just shook her head. Kathryn nodded. “No, May. We’re on for 1600. I’ll meet them in the conference room.”
They both stood up and Kathryn grabbed her uniform jacket from a chair as Naomi looked at the photos on her desk.
“My mom, and Phoebe and her family,” Kathryn explained.
Naomi nodded, then her eyes went wide as she spied the image of her and Ben.
“Is that your boyfriend?” she asked shyly as she pointed to it.
Kathryn’s eyebrow shot up, and she tried her best to give Naomi a stern look, but she just couldn’t keep from laughing.
“Now where did you get that idea, eh?”
Naomi blushed. “Well, he does have his arm around you in the image. And I’ve heard everyone talking …”
“Ah.” The Voyager grapevine could put Starfleet Intelligence to shame. “Well the answer is ‘yes.’ This is Dr. Imada, though he prefers to be called Ben.”
“He looks nice,” Naomi said. “Is he a doctor like our Doctor?”
“No, more like a professor.”
Naomi just nodded. “Does he like Bartley?” she asked.
Kathryn smiled at her serious tone. “Very much. He calls him ‘Bart Dog’ for some reason. And he always brings treats, so he’s definitely Bart’s favorite person.”
Now that she thought about it, Ben was probably the first man willing to court her and her dog. He was certainly imaginative about it. A couple of days ago, she’d walked into the office to find her staff members barely able to contain their laughter.
“What’s the joke?” she’d asked.
“It’s in your office,” May said, chuckling.
On her desk sat a lovely bouquet of flowers — with a chew toy tucked in the center.
“Well, time for me to be an admiral again,” Kathryn said as they walked into the outer office. “I’m very glad that you came to talk to me … I miss seeing you every day. But promise me you’ll ask your mom and dad to help you look into those classes.”
Naomi nodded. “I will, Admiral. Thank you,” she said as she gave Kathryn a hug. “I miss you, too,” she whispered.
Outside, May and Lt. Bradley were waiting.
“Miss Naomi, your mother wants you to go to her office,” May said. “Lt. Bradley will walk you over.”
Admiral Jacobs walked in just as Naomi walked out. He looked over at Kathryn, who was taking a stack of PADDs from May.
“Kathryn, I think your staff is getting younger,” he teased.
“Well Del, it only seems that way because we’re getting older,” she quipped. “Actually,” she said as they walked into the conference room, “Naomi was my ‘assistant’ on Voyager. She just needed a little advice from her old captain.”