Title:  Promotion
Author:  Cheryl Forbes
Fandom:  Star Trek: Voyager
Paring:  Chakotay/Tom Paris
Rating:  PG 13, next time it'll be NC 17 I promise.
E-mail Address for feedback: forbesc@skyia.com
Series:  1/?
Disclaimer:  Voyager and her crew are the property of Paramount and
not me.  Whatever.

Summary:  While doing crew evaluations, Chakotay gains some new
insights into the blonde blue eye Ensign.

Timeline:  Just before UZ 1.

Finished!  He pressed the enter button on the terminal in his

Chakotay sat back and rubbed his eyes with his fingers.  For the last
week he had been working on the crew evaluations, a task that was
while not physically demanding was emotionally exhausting.  It had
involved reviewing each crewmember's successes and failures and
giving commendations for the former and resolutions for the latter.

Resolutions, that was the difficult part.  The standard Starfleet
protocols just didn't apply here.  He couldn't recommend sending
someone back to the Academy for more training or reassign them to a
planet or station if they were failing to meet Starfleet
expectations.  He had to either find a way to fix the problem or find
another way for them to fit in on Voyager and at the same time, do it
thoughtfully and tactfully.

Over the last six years these people were not only his subordinates
but also his family.  While as a first officer he knew that a happy
crew was a more productive crew, it was more important to him as a
person that they felt useful and fulfilled in their roles on
Voyager.  These people had been through hell and back, performing
admirably in situations no Federation or Maquis training could have
ever prepared them for. They deserved no less than the best appraisal
he could give of their performance in return.

He had already removed Ensign Tal Celes from Astrometrics and placed
her in the Doc's medic program.  She was good with people not
machines.  Crewman Dalby he transferred to Deck 15 hoping he had
finally found a place where the man's natural ability to piss people
off wouldn't be a problem.  Crewman Harren wouldn't give the man a
sideways glance as long as he didn't interrupt his ongoing research
into the origins of the universe.

And finally there had been Tom Paris to consider.  Since being busted
down to Ensign the man's performance had been exemplary.  In truth
the incident with the Moneans had only been a minor glitch in the
man's return to grace.  Before becoming Voyager's chief pilot his
career had been less than commendable.  But under the Captain
unfailing support and guidance he had risen above his past and become
a Starfleet officer even that poor excuse of a father of his would be
proud of.

Thus it was his recommendation that the rank of Lieutenant be
reinstated to Ensign Thomas Eugene Paris.

Chakotay smiled to himself, he could already see Kathryn's reaction
of delight as she read his report with her beloved morning cup of
coffee tomorrow.   Busting Tom had been difficult for her but she had
done what she had to protect the chain of command.  As captain she
had no choice.  Chakotay knew that secretly she commended the
ensign's actions and if not restrained by the title of Captain and
the Prime Directive would have celebrated the event not condemned it.

The commander pushed his chair back and stretched, placing his fists
in the small of his back.  As he prepared for bed, he thought about
Tom and how he would react to getting his rank back.

In truth the man's reduction in rank seemed to have had very little
effect on the man's devil may care attitude.  He had even made his
time in the brig seem more of a holiday than a punishment.  As the
unofficial ship's councilor, Chakotay had monitored Tom's internment
carefully.  The ensign had read, watched holo vids and written
letters to occupy himself during his confinement.  He seemed almost
happy and when his spirits did drop a simple communication from a
friend would lift him for hours.   After his release he resumed the
same duties he had before as if the whole Monean affair hadn't
happened.   His demeanor was the same, well maybe it was a bit more
retrospective but that was about it.

As he lay in bed ruminating he realized that maybe rank wasn't all
that important to the man.  Being appreciated was.  Doing his best
for the captain was.  Being true to his nature was.

His eyes were opened.  This wasn't the Tom Paris Chakotay had seen
for all these years.  This was a man that he wanted to know better.

Much better.