"I call Kes to the witness stand," said the Doctor.
With no bang or flash Kes was suddenly standing in the center of the room. She still looked no older than when she'd first left Voyager, Janeway saw, which startled the admiral who knew the holodrama series.
"Please take the stand," said the Doctor.
"Hold on," said Admiral Paris. "Didn't the Ocampan originally depart Voyager because of dangerous powers she couldn't control?"
"I've learned control, sir," said Kes. The bell on the table in front of Paris rang of its own accord.
Paris shrugged. "Very well. Proceed." Kes took the stand.
"State your name and planet of origin for the record," said the Doctor.
"Kes of Ocampa."
"Are you acquainted with the holographic being seated at the defense table?"
"How did you become acquainted?"
"I served on Voyager as a civilian crewmember during its first two and a half Earth years in the Delta Quadrant."
"What was your relationship with him?"
"I was his medical assistant. And ..." Kes smiled. "He had a crush on me." At the defense table the EMH pretended not to be blushing.
"What were your feelings for him?"
"I was - and am - very fond of him though not, as the Earth cliche goes, in that way."
"How did you discover his feelings for you?"
"He once experienced a hallucinatory episode on the holodeck in which I was his mate."
"Can you give an example of a manifestation of your feelings for him?"
"About a year before I left, his program crashed. It hadn't been conceived to accomodate his situation, you see. Not only was he the ship's only medical officer, but he had developed a substantial personal life, including a wide interest in the arts. This produced a data storage crisis. I argued with the captain to preserve what he had grown to become, and worked with the chief engineer to accomplish it, but under the circumstance of the moment the steps we were able to take were inadequate."
"And, according to ship's logs, you couldn't reactivate him at all except to reinitialize his program from the beginning, losing all his saved changes up till that time, correct?"
"Yes. Except he didn't lose everything."
"Explain that please."
"Despite the reinitialization, he somehow still retained memory of a favorite melody from Earth classical music."
"We never learned. The chief engineer went over his program for a week, while setting safeguards so that the same thing couldn't happen again, and never found an explanation."
"Very well. Now, you returned to Voyager about a year ago, didn't you?"
"Yes. I had learned that Species 8742 are not a homogenously, singlemindedly xenophobic people as I had told Captain Janeway when we met them. Apparently their soldiers have that mindset, induced for battle perhaps, and I picked up the impression from them. But, as Voyager learned independently, they're not really like that at all. I wanted to go back in time and cause myself to leave Voyager for my present path (By the way, Doctor, Wesley says 'hello, back'.) just before that first meeting rather than just after it."
"And did you do so?"
"No. On my arrival back on Voyager, Captain Janeway dissuaded me with the philosophy of the temporal Prime Directive."
"That's not how it played in the holodramas," grumbled the admiral who'd seen them.
"I know," said Kes. All the waterglasses in the room rattled for a moment.
"Writers," growled Janeway.
"On your return," the Doctor asked Kes, "did you notice any difference in your friend?"
"Oh yes. He'd matured quite a bit, mellowed you might say. His shipmates might not have perceived it, but the contrast was obvious to me after my time away."
"And has he still a crush on you?"
"No," said Kes, grinning; "not on me."
"Not on you? Are you suggesting he entertains another?"
"Anything I'd say about that would be pure speculation," said Kes, for the obvious and successful purpose of making the EMH blush again.
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