New FFF: (TNG/ VOY) Accidental Suicide (f/f Janeway/ Shelby) 1/1

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Christinecgb

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Jun 5, 2002, 12:56:03 AM6/5/02
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Title: Accidental Suicide
Author: Christinecgb
Series: TNG/VOY (with some help from Peter David and
Jeri Taylor)
Category: AU, pre-Voyager, Shelby/Janeway f/f
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Get down and borgie!
Summary: "It was a heck of a performance."
Acknowledgement: Written for the Femme Fuh-q Fest -
http://www.geocities.com/femme_fuhq_fest/ -
the challenge that keeps me writing. And with a big
nod to S31 and Peter David - who drew a convincing
Shelby and got me interested in the woman.

By the way - canon schmanon. It's here, but it's been
warped a little.

*
2367 - Three Months After the Battle of Wolf 359

*

*We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. You're
biological and technological distinctiveness will be
added to our own...

NOOOOOO!!!*

She bolted upright in bed. Her sheets felt heavy and
rough. She threw them away from her body.

She was awake. She was safe.

She let her legs fall over the side of the bed and
lifted herself up so that she was sitting on the edge.
She ran her hands through her hair.

The nightmares were back. Admittedly they hadn't been
gone long, but she was counting on their failure to
return. These sleepless nights kept her grounded, and
she hated being unable to move.

In the bathroom she splashed water on her face and
stared at her reflection. She had begun to look older.
More commanding. Maybe it was the blonde curls but
she'd often been mistaken for a much younger officer.
Some might have thought it a compliment but for
Elizabeth Shelby it only ever got in the way.

And she never liked things in her way.

The chronometer showed 0100. She had barely been
asleep at all.

She needed sleep. She had work to do and she had
things to achieve - most before breakfast. She took on
way too much, she knew that. But she didn't want to
stop. Not when she had a Captaincy in mind and not
when stopping meant thinking about things she wanted
to forget.

Like the decimated fleet floating past the viewscreen
of the Enterprise...

*Stop it, Elizabeth! This is not helping anyone.*

She closed her eyes and stretched. Her back was a
little sore. She worked out last night. Worked out too
hard probably but, as she told herself often, a
commanding officer needed to stay in shape.

She felt like running.

Starfleet Psychiatric Division would probably have a
lot to say about her excessive exercise regime but she
hadn't consulted their opinion. She liked to move. And
she slept well when she was physically exhausted.

She changed into sweats and stepped outside.

She'd done it before - jogged a well-worn path around
Starfleet HQ in the small hours of the morning. She
didn't recommend it, admittedly she didn't talk about
it at all, but sometimes, it was the best thing to do.

Starfleet HQ never slept of course. There would be
night staff monitoring the newsfeeds, receiving
communications, overseeing transport and movements of
Starfleet vessels.

And there would be other sections of Starfleet
spending late nights in strategy meetings, planning
the fleet's future, preparing for the next threat.
This used to be her job.

She poured over Captain Picard's account of the Borg
on one of those late nights. She's heard his voice
many times before she met him in person. The real
Picard was shorter than the audiovisual version but
the voice was the same - rich in timbre and commanding
in tone.

"He'll tell you he's right," Hanson told her once. "He
always thinks he knows best."

He did and he does and Hanson was dead. There was a
legacy in that somewhere.

She really had wanted to serve on the Enterprise.

She heard footsteps behind her.

"Nice night for it," a voice behind her said. She
turned her head in its direction but in doing so lost
balance and fell, tripping over her own feet.

"Ouch," the voice said, sympathetically.

She looked up and saw a young woman - thirtyish,
vaguely familiar and dressed in sweats similar to
hers.

"Are you okay?"

"My pride is broken."

The woman helped Shelby to her feet.

"What brings you out in the middle of the night,
Commander Shelby?"

She dusted herself off. She was used to people knowing
her name. She often heard whispers when she walked
into a room. She'd catch one or two phrases:
"Enterprise," "Captain Picard," "Wolf 359."

But the woman in front of her looked familiar too.

"Janeway right?" She'd seen her on the newsfeeds. A
promising young officer who lost her father and fiance
in a shuttle crash.

As she recalled there was an inquest. The mission was
rumoured to be covert despite a log in the duties list
labelling it "scientific." There was no data recovered
from the crash, scientific or otherwise and many
argued that a noted Admiral such as Admiral Janeway
was unlike to be undertaking a routine planetary
survey.

But there must have been some fire to the smoke
because Starfleet wouldn't hold an inquest over a
rumour.

Throughout her testimony Janeway had been stoic and
impassive, calmly stating the facts of the accident
over and over for anyone who felt they didn't
understand the situation on the first telling.

It was a heck of a performance.

"I see my reputation precedes me - at least, I'd like
to think it did, but you're going to tell me you
watched the inquest proceedings aren't you?"

Shelby raised her hands in apology. "At the time it
was part of my job, " she said. "I'm sorry for your
loss."

Janeway's face was as unreadable as it had been during
her testimony. "Thank you Commander, I appreciate it."


Shelby's caught sight of her injured hands. One was
grazed but the other had a sizeable cut and was oozing
blood.

"Damn," she said. "I don't suppose you're carrying a
bandage?"

"I don't. But I have a dermal regenerator in my
quarters - they're not far."

Shelby nodded gratefully. "Lead on."

*

Janeway had quarters that weren't far from Shelby's.
Starfleet held short-term accommodation for grounded
staff who were about to be shipped out which served
only to remind them of how temporary their lives were.


They had the same walls, the dame décor, and they were
usually sparsely decorated with none of the
furnishings that made a home a home.

"I don't often encounter Starfleet officers on my
midnight runs." Janeway held a dermal regenerator over
Shelby's hand and moved it in slow circles.

"Neither do I."

"Admittedly I haven't been here long. I'm between
postings."

"Why do you do it?" Shelby said. Janeway looked
surprised, as if she'd never considered the question
before.

She shrugged. "It's quiet."

Shelby rubbed her hands together as Janeway replaced
the regenerator in its casing.

"Can I offer you a drink?" Janeway said. "That is, if
you're not planning on going out there again."

Shelby smiled. When a run wouldn't help her sleep a
drink was just as good. "What have you got?"

"Saurian brandy. It's got quite a bite but I think
you'll like it."

She poured two glasses and handed one to Shelby.
Shelby sniffed, made a face, and then threw it back
quickly.

"Ugh," she said. "I'm not sure I could get used to
that."

"It was Kirk's favourite."

"Is that why you drink this disgusting stuff? Because
Kirk liked it?"

"Maybe. I always wanted to know what made him tick."

"You're an admirer?"

"Yes. Isn't everyone?"

"Not me." Shelby watched Janeway pour another two
glasses. "Kirk's methods were useful in his time but
the situations we face today, the complexity of
interplanetary politics, well - things are different
now."

Janeway's eyes developed a faraway look. "Kirk would
never have approved of the treaty with the
Cardassians."

"A case in point. There were many layers to that
treaty -it may not have looked like a good idea but
it has been remarkably successful so far."

"Yes, I suppose it has," Janeway said. "'There is no
face to the Borg. Nothing that can be bargained with,
negotiated with or even pleaded with. This is not a
threat that can be reasoned with. The Borg will not
heed calls for compassion or mercy. The Borg will not
understand concepts of justice and rights. The Borg
have one agenda: to assimilate the universe to the
manner in which they understand it. We have no choice
in our strategy. We must destroy the Borg before they
destroy us and by whatever means necessary. I refer
you to the...'"

"Wait," said Shelby, cutting her off. "That sounds
familiar. Who said that?"

Janeway smiled. "You did."

Shelby nodded. "My god, you're right. That was my
speech to the inquiry after Wolf 359. It even sounded
like me."

"It was you. Word for word."

"Did you memorise it?" Shelby was incredulous.

Janeway shrugged. "I have a knack."

Shelby raised an eyebrow. "Could you have gone on?"

"Would you like me to?"

"Yes."

When Janeway had recited the entire report, Shelby
threw up her hands in amazement. "Incredible," she
said.

"I just thought you should know," Janeway said, and
she her smile was strangely enigmatic. "There's a good
chance I'll remember what you say."

*

Eventually Shelby concluded that she really did like
Saurian brandy. In fact, she couldn't recall ever not
liking Saurian brandy.

"You never told me, Commander Janeway." They passed
formalities somewhere between the fifth and the sixth
round but they resurfaced easily. "Why were you
jogging in the middle of the night?"

"Why were you?"

"I asked you first."

Janeway was silent momentarily. "That treaty with
Cardassia, the one you said was complicated...

"Well it wasn't the treaty itself..."

"It doesn't really matter," Janeway said, waving
Shelby's protest away. "I was in a Cardassian prison
once."

Shelby let that information sink in. She knew many
people who had been involved in the Cardassian war and
a few that were held in prisons. Very few talked about
the experience.

"I have trouble sleeping," Janeway continued. "And,
well - that's one of the things that keeps me awake.
What about you?"

Shelby thought about her answer.

*We are the Borg, resistance is futile...*

She swirled the brandy around her glass. "Sometimes,
when I'm trying to sleep, I can hear them."

"Hear who?"

"The Borg."

"Oh." Janeway shifted in her seat. "You know, there
was a girl from my Academy graduating class, her name
was Marie. She was one of the few survivors from the
Melbourne after Wolf 359"

Shelby swallowed. "Was she - was she okay?"

"It was difficult to tell. She was fine physically,
but she became withdrawn. She was deemed fit to return
to duties after a few months and she got a posting on
the Nelson, but then one day she was conducting
repairs on an airlock and she triggered the override
switch. She blew herself into space."

Shelby froze, her glass half way to her mouth. "God,"
she said. "Was it - did she do it on purpose?"

Janeway shrugged. "They couldn't figure it out. No
suicide note - but her work hadn't been up to its
previously standard. She had become sloppy. But - well
it's a long way from sloppy to careless with your
life. But then - perhaps there is no answer to that?
Perhaps it's an `accidental suicide?'"

"That's an oxymoron."

"It is isn't it? But that's because we don't have
language for that which is odd and even or left and
right. We see certain concepts as being flipsides of
one another. But what if - what if there's a point
where you really can't call it either way? Did she
trigger the override unconsciously or consciously?
What if you're standing on a precipice and you can't
decide whether to throw yourself over or not – and
then you're falling and you can quite recall whether
you chose that action?"

Janeway's eyes are lit by her theory. Shelby is
captivated by her voice, and the way she seems caught
up in her own ideas, as if Shelby isn't there.

She slid a hand across Janeway's chair, and rested it
on Janeway's arm. It was strangely comfortable there.
"It's a way of avoiding the decision, isn't?"

"I suppose it is."

Shelby's hand stroked Janeway's arm. She felt warm to
touch, somehow radiating.

"Would you like to stay," Janeway asked, as if it was
the easiest thing in the world.

"Yes I would," Shelby answered. And that too, was
easy.

*

Janeway wore her scars on the outside as well as the
in. Shelby kissed the skin underneath her ribs, which
was patched with small burn marks. She moved down to
her thighs and counted the scars in between.

She wondered how Janeway took torture. Whether she
screamed, whether she fainted. Whether she was haunted
still, by the terror she must have felt. Whether she
was able to feel anything anymore.

Shelby knew what it was like to come face to face with
terror, but she didn't have the scars serving as a
constant reminder. She escaped without the violation
of her body and it wasn't a comfort. Just a knowledge
that things could be worse.

Janeway was moaning quietly. Like a child's cry.
Shelby's mouth moved between Janeway's legs and
Janeway arched when she felt the touch of her tongue.

"Elizabeth..." Shelby savoured the sound of her name on
Janeway's lips. She wanted to hear it again, hear it
many times before the night was over. She watched
Janeway's face to see if she would speak again, but
she did not. Instead she threw her head back and
closed her eyes as if she were alone. She lifted her
hands to her breasts and stroked lightly in rhythm
with Shelby's tongue. She could have been alone.

Seconds later she came, and Shelby was given the
opportunity to try Janeway's name on her lips as she
felt Janeway's fingers thrust inside her.

Shelby noted that throughout the encounter they had
said nothing more than each other's names.

*

2370

*

"Onscreen!" Shelby snapped as she rose from her seat.

The Minotaur appeared before them, apparently floating
in space.

"ETA?"

"Twenty-five minutes, Sir."

"No communications whatsoever?"

"Nothing."

Shelby's second assignment as First Officer was
proving to be less exciting than her first. She was as
yet, undecided as to whether she was grateful.

But charting pulsars was not her idea of adventure so
it was with mixed feelings that she answered a
distress call from a nearby system. And then there was
the Minotaur, seemingly lifeless, floating in front of
a giant, purple nebula.

The sight was unsettling.

Captain Korsmo appeared from the ready room. "Life
signs?"

"Forty-two. For a ship that size that's almost a full
contingent," she said. They had obviously taken a hit,
but from where? "I'd like to take an away team over,
Captain."

He nodded. "Permission granted."

*

They beamed onto the bridge. The scene that greeted
them was a mixture of activity and chaos. A console
smoked and sparked and a crewmember tended to it with
a inert gas spray. Another crewmember supported an
injury while a medical officer inspected it.

All heads turned toward them.

"Not a moment too soon," the injured crew member said.
He nodded at the medical officer. "Get the Captain."

Shelby stepped forward. "Commander Shelby of the
Excalibur. What happened?"

He nodded by way of a greeting. "Lieutenant Bennaugh.
We were investigating the nebula when - wham! Out of
nowhere… our comm systems are down, our warp and
impulse drives are offline, as are our sensors - which
is why we didn't see you coming."

She turned to her crew. "Search the ship for wounded
crew members and beam them to the Excalibur." She
nodded at Bennaugh. "Include Mr Bennaugh."

A surprise attack? Who and where? The Excalibur had
reported nothing on the sensors. Shelby's arm raised
to her commbadge. The Excalibur needed to be on alert.

"Commander Shelby." The Minotaur's Captain appeared
interrupting Shelby's action.
She turned to see a Trill woman striding purposively
across the bridge, extending her hand towards Shelby.

"Captain Renar," she said. "I can't tell you how good
it is to see you."

"I wish it were under more pleasant circumstance,
Captain. The Lieutenant tells me you were attacked?"

"Obviously. But first things first, Commander Shelby.
I need your ship to scan for my away team. We lost
contact with them when we were attacked."

"What were their last known coordinates?"

Renar inclined her head towards the viewscreen where a
nebula was spread out in front of them like a long
purple cloud.

"In there," she said.

"Shelby to Excalibur, Scan the nebula for a Starfleet
signature and prepare an engineering crew for
emergency repairs on the Minotaur. And maintain full
alert - we may have company," she added quickly.
"Shelby out."

Shelby turned her attention back to the Captain. "Are
there any other members of the crew unaccounted for?"

"No, just Commander Janeway, and Lieutenants Jott and
Kelleher on the shuttle."

She froze. "Commander Janeway?"

"Yes. Kathryn Janeway. The Commander was keen to
investigate the nebula- this was her idea. Do you know
her."

"Yes I do." Shelby tried to smile, nonchalantly. "Yes
I do..."

*

Shelby waited until the repair teams beamed over from
the Excalibur and then beamed herself back to brief
Korsmo.

Janeway was a surprise, although she couldn't help
thinking that it was all an inevitability - as if she
should have known her first mystery would involve
Kathryn Janeway.

"Any sign of them?" She asked as she entered the
bridge.

"Nothing yet," Korsmo answered. He was standing next
to the Ops Officers and surveying the readouts. Shelby
joined them.

"Are we reading any other signs of life? I'd really
like to know who attacked the Minotaur."

Korsmo looked at her, surprised. "But it's not a
mystery Commander. The weapons signature on the damage
to the Minotaur is Cardassian."

"Cardassian?" Janeway and Cardassians. It should all
connect...

"At least two attack vessels," Korsmo said.

"What are they doing out here? Firing their weapons in
Federation Territory is a blatant violation of treaty
conventions."

"And could be considered an act of war to some.
Fortunately we're going to hold off on a declaration.
I've notified Starfleet and two more ships are on
their way."

And then a console began to sound.

"Two vessels are emerging from the nebula," the Ops
Officer announced.

"Onscreen," Korsmo said.

The shuttle was being pursued - and fired upon. The
manoeuvring was skilful but the shuttle was in danger.


*Janeway*, Shelby thought.

"Target the Cardassian ship and fire," Korsmo
instructed tactical.

"Sir, the warp core on the shuttle is about to blow."


"Get them out of there!" Shelby said.

"Yes Sir."

She held her breath. The Cardassian ship suddenly
executed an about turn and disappeared inside the
nebula. The shuttle exploded.

The bridge was silent.

Shelby was the first to find her voice. "Did we get
them?"

"Yes Sir," the Ops officer said. "All crew members are
safely on board."

*

Korsmo decided against following the Cardassian ship
back into the nebula. They waited until the Buckingham
arrived, closely monitoring the area for signs of
activity.

There were none.

The shuttle crew estimated that there were at least
three ships inside the nebula but the Excalibur's
instruments were having difficulty maintaining
positive readings.

"We'll have to go in at some stage," Korsmo said.
"They could hide a fleet in there."

"What would a fleet be doing out here?" Shelby said.

Korsmo shrugged. "I'm as mystified as you are."

Eventually the other ships arrived and a defence team
was sent in.

They found an empty space station, obviously deserted
in a hurry. The systems were Cardassian but there was
not a trace of the former occupants.

*

Shelby walked the long corridors of the Excalibur
until she came to the transporter room. For the last
few hours she'd been contemplating a riddle. She
didn't have a lot of patience for riddles. When she
asked questions she expected answers.

But sometimes, like this time, one had to think of the
questions first.

She obtained leave from Korsmo to visit the Minotaur
before the Excalibur departed the region.

And so she paid a visit to Commander Janeway.

The door opened in response to Shelby's chime. She
stepped inside.

"Commander Shelby," Janeway said, nodding slightly.

"The Federation is outraged," Shelby hovered just
inside the doorway. "The Cardassians have a military
base in Federation territory and not only that - they
fired on a science vessel!"

Janeway was seated beside her monitor. She wore a
Starfleet issues grey tank top which allowed her to
exhibit a burn scar running from her elbow to her
shoulder- a result of the recent skirmish. "Please
come in, Commander."

"Of course, the question everyone is asking is, are
there more? Where else might the Cardassian's have
hidden outposts?" She couldn't hide the mocking tone
from her voice.

Janeway shrugged. "Starfleet should be on alert when
it comes to the Cardassians. They aren't to be
trusted."

"That's a very personal judgment Commander. Not the
kind of attitude that Starfleet encourages."

Janeway leaned her head on to her hand. "Is there
something I can do for you, Commander?"

Shelby stepped further inside Janeway's quarters. The
lighting was on a low setting and Janeway was seated
in shadows. She was partially lit by the light from
her monitor. It had an ethereal effect.

"That night - in San Francisco. You remembered my
address to the inquiry - word for word. I thought it
was remarkable but now I'm thinking that perhaps you
received some instruction in the art - something
developed with constant practice perhaps?"

Janeway's face betrayed little. Shelby wondered if she
hadn't expected this confrontation all along? Whether
she knew it was coming from the day she extended a
hand to Shelby on the grounds of Starfleet HQ?

Shelby continued. "I was a strategic consultant for
the fleet in the wake of Wolf 359. We saw a great deal
of change in the philosophy of the fleet during this
time. Especially in regard to defensive strategy. In
fact, many Starfleet officials suggested counter
measures that would have made the Federation founders
turn in their graves."

"I think you'd find that the Federation founders had
some interesting philosophies too," Janeway said.

"No doubt," Shelby said. "However, it was mentioned at
the time that the Federation already had some
unorthodox measures in place to conduct projects
outside the principles of Starfleet - in case there
was ever situation where the need would arise."

Janeway sighed. "You should probably get to the point
Commander. I believe your ship is due to depart at
0300 hours."

"There was no date recovered from your vessel,
Commander. Nothing to justify rumours that you were
conducting covert operations and nothing to prove you
weren't. In fact, the only thing they recovered was
well - you and you're a scientist. Which brings us to
the incident at hand. You're out doing a scientific
survey of a perfectly innocent looking nebula and you
just happen to stumble upon a Cardassian outpost where
it shouldn't be? It caused me to think - even if
Commander Janeway did know of the outpost isn't it a
bit of a coincidence that the Minotaur should be
conducting exploration so near its location? But then
I'm guessing there are probably more of these outposts
scattered throughout the sector and you've got all
their coordinates stored in that rather clever memory
of yours."

Janeway was still for a moment. And then she picked up
a tricorder and aimed it at Shelby. She ran it down
the length of Shelby's body, checked the readout and
then replaced it on the desk.

"If it's any consolation," she said. "I wasn't
expecting to find anything."

"Commander..."

"Elizabeth - Yes, I lied - is that what you want to
hear? I lied at the inquest. I've been lying ever
since. I have information that could save lives and I
haven't been willing to hand it over." Janeway folded
her arms across her chest, her face stern.

Shelby said nothing.

"Our mission was to search for Cardassian activity in
the proposed Federation territory," Janeway continued.
"The information we gathered could well have prevented
the treaty going ahead."

"I don't understand," Shelby said. "Surely you can't
have wanted the treaty to go ahead - not after
everything they did to you?"

"My father had a strong belief in the greater good. I
didn't share it. I knew the treaty would go ahead
irrespective of our report. In fact, I believed there
were some who would go to great lengths to ensure we
didn't return information they didn't want to see."

Shelby's heart was beginning to pound hard against her
chest. It was everything she'd always suspected and
nothing she ever wanted to admit.

"What are you saying? That you lied to protect
yourself?"

"No - I'm saying I didn't trust Starfleet with the
information. I still don't."

Janeway stood up and walked over to Shelby. She put
her hand up to her cheek and let her fingers rest
there for a moment.

And then she drew her hand away. "I trust you," she
said. "I'll give you the information on the Cardassian
outposts and you can turn me in - it's up to you."

Shelby said nothing. She felt her skin burning in the
wake of Janeway's touch. "Do you remember that night
we met? You told me about a friend of yours - from the
Academy?"

"Marie." Janeway said, nodding.

"Yes, Marie. You said her death was an `accidental
suicide'."

"I remember. What made you think of it?"

"Nothing," Shelby said. And maybe it was nothing, but
she wondered whether Janeway took her shuttle into the
nebula, or whether the shuttle found its own way
there. "It's just - it just amazes me that you always
know what to say."

*

2371

*

Eventually the nightmares disappeared. In fact, it was
just as she learned of the disappearance of the
Starship Voyager, that she recalled she had not had a
nightmare for a very long time.

Shelby monitored the newsfeeds from her quarters on
the Excalibur. Janeway had been chasing the Maquis.

It was ironic, of course - Janeway chasing outlaws.
Ironic, too, that she was lost doing so. Janeway had
destiny carrying her forward. Just how much control
she had over that destiny was the question lingering
in Shelby's mind.

There must have been a moment, she thought, a moment
when she could have jumped - or just fallen off.

And it could have been quite different if Shelby had
wanted it to be.

Shelby switched the monitor off and climbed into bed.
It was 0700 and she was on the night shift for the
next week.

She slept easily these days.


Fin

Michael Roy Hollihan

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Jun 6, 2002, 8:59:15 PM6/6/02
to
I usually skip Fuh-Q Fest stories, as erotica is not my cuppa joe, but
I'm glad I read this one. I saw the "Janeway/Shelby" tag and thought,
"Now there's two women who shouldn't be in the same room." Your story
convinced me otherwise. Enigmatic Janeway was superb and the whole tone
of the story was gripping.

One thing I noted was this passage: "They had the same walls, the dame
décor...." An accidental but still somehow apropos slip. ;-) Thanks for
posting.

--
Michael Roy Hollihan
(Remove the NOT to REPLY)

Work hard, rock hard,
eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big,
wear glasses if you need 'em.
(The Webb Wilder credo)

Christinecgb

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Jun 8, 2002, 11:28:14 AM6/8/02
to
Michael Roy Hollihan <holl...@bellsouth.net> wrote in message news:<3D000563...@bellsouth.net>...

> I usually skip Fuh-Q Fest stories, as erotica is not my cuppa joe, but
> I'm glad I read this one. I saw the "Janeway/Shelby" tag and thought,
> "Now there's two women who shouldn't be in the same room." Your story
> convinced me otherwise. Enigmatic Janeway was superb and the whole tone
> of the story was gripping.

Thanks. And I guess the really good thing about FFF is that it makes
you take two people who "shouldn't be in the same room" and see if you
can construct a relationship. It's always a challenge.

So - I'm glad you were convinced.

> One thing I noted was this passage: "They had the same walls, the dame
> décor...." An accidental but still somehow apropos slip. ;-) Thanks for
> posting.

Ha ha! I missed that. But - yes, how appropriate.

Thanks for the comments. It's good to hear when the story works.

Regards

Christine

Kelly Chambliss

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Jun 19, 2002, 11:40:49 AM6/19/02
to
> Title: Accidental Suicide
> Author: Christinecgb

I've been looking forward to having time to read this story,
Christine. I expected a good read, and I'm not at all disappointed.
I'm intrigued by your depictions of both Shelby and Janeway; I find
them believable and thought-provoking, particularly in the way that
Shelby thinks of Janeway in relation to "accidental suicide." The sex
scene is very nicely done, too -- not there merely for the sake of
sex, but as an effective part of the characters' development.

And of course, I love the idea of Janeway's involvement in covert
operations; it makes such sense, even in canon. (In fact, I've still
got a couple of Janeway/Section 31 stories in mind. . .) I also quite
like that she doesn't fully trust Starfleet.

Another effective element is the way you incorporate Janeway's time in
Cardassian prison. You make it important without sensationalizing it.
Your details are all the more telling for being restrained.

Two plot questions: Would Janeway have been so quick to trust Shelby?
And wouldn't others have recognized the same "coincidences" regarding
Janeway's actions that Shelby saw? J doesn't seem to have been
maintaining too low a profile in terms of her covert missions.

Some comments on specific passages (with a couple of mechanical
suggestions; hope you don't mind. In fact, if you want, I can do a
full-scale punctuation beta reading; just let me know, and I can send
it to you privately.)
--


> She poured over Captain Picard's account of the Borg
> on one of those late nights.

Should be "pored"


> Shelby's caught sight of her injured hands. One was
> grazed but the other had a sizeable cut and was oozing
> blood.

Should be just "Shelby"


> Starfleet held short-term accommodation for grounded
> staff who were about to be shipped out which served
> only to remind them of how temporary their lives were.

Nice line. I like the way the story deals with the inherent
loneliness and transience of Fleet life.

> "You're an admirer [of Kirk]?"


>
> "Yes. Isn't everyone?"
>
> "Not me."


Me, either! Kirk really gets on my nerves. Ugh.

> "I just thought you should know," Janeway said, and
> she her smile was strangely enigmatic. "There's a good
> chance I'll remember what you say."

delete "she"


> *
>
> Eventually Shelby concluded that she really did like
> Saurian brandy. In fact, she couldn't recall ever not
> liking Saurian brandy.

Ha! Great image. The same thing happened to me once, with a Danish
cherry liqueur. At first it tasted like bad cough syrup, and I drank
it only to be polite. But by the time I finished, it tasted quite
nice. After several glasses, I couldn't imagine living without it.
There's a bottle in my cupboard right now.


> Janeway's eyes are lit by her theory. Shelby is
> captivated by her voice, and the way she seems caught
> up in her own ideas, as if Shelby isn't there.


I'm not sure why you have this one paragraph in present tense; I find
it a bit distracting.


> "Would you like to stay," Janeway asked, as if it was
> the easiest thing in the world.
>
> "Yes I would," Shelby answered. And that too, was
> easy.


Mmm, yes -- I like this "ease"; it fits them both. Some punctuation
comments -- should be a comma after "yes" and between "that" and
"too." (and a question mark after "stay")


> She wondered how Janeway took torture. Whether she
> screamed, whether she fainted. Whether she was haunted
> still, by the terror she must have felt. Whether she
> was able to feel anything anymore.
>
> Shelby knew what it was like to come face to face with
> terror, but she didn't have the scars serving as a
> constant reminder. She escaped without the violation
> of her body and it wasn't a comfort. Just a knowledge
> that things could be worse.

An perceptive section, effective both in what it reveals of Janeway
and what it shows of Shelby. The idea that *not* being physically
violated isn't necessarily a comfort makes a lot of sense. And I
imagine that people in these women's position *do* spend time
wondering about torture and its effects, not in any maudlin or
obessive way, but just as a matter of course, given their situations
and the likelihood that they will face torture at some point.
Chilling. (And explains why I never had any interest in being in the
military or CIA <g>)

>>She lifted her hands to her breasts and stroked lightly in rhythm
with Shelby's tongue. She could have been alone.>>

Yes, I can definitely see this.


> She turned to see a Trill woman striding purposively
> across the bridge, extending her hand towards Shelby.


I think you mean "purposefully"

> "Yes. Kathryn Janeway. The Commander was keen to
> investigate the nebula- this was her idea. Do you know
> her."

needs question mark

>
> "There was no date recovered from your vessel,
> Commander.

Should be "data," I think.


A fine story, Christine. I really enjoyed it. Thanks! (and keep
writing those Janeway fics!)

Kelly

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