I stared at her in surprise. "What are you talking about? This is crazy. Sending a message back in time, recalculating the slipstream threshold, and completely altering the past..."
"The theory looks sound to me."
Tessa has always been supportive in the past, but this surprised me completely. So finally I said, "It may not work."
"But it might."
"And if it does?"
"We'll deal with that when it happens." Tessa held my hands in hers. "I think you'd be more upset if you didn't try. You've got a workable plan here, Chakotay, and I think you owe it to yourself, harrykim and your friends on Voyager to give it a shot." Then she smiled (I've always loved the way Tessa smiles -- a slow upturn of the lips, a bit of tooth showing and then the crinkle at the edge of her eyes). "I think we should do it, Chakotay."
I couldn't help but ask, "*We*?"
"You think I'm going to let you go by yourself?"
I didn't mention that the thought had occurred to me. "Tessa --"
"No ifs, no buts, no arguing," she said, putting her finger against my lips. "I'm coming with you and Harry. Someone's got to keep an eye on you two. One of us has to be unemotional about this."
I considered. Tessa is a lot like Kathryn -- stubborn to the bone. Once she sets her mind to something, there's no changing it. Tessa doesn't listen to what I have to say much more than Kathryn ever did. I don't know why it is I pick women like this. Maybe it's because they accept without answering what I'd never ask of them.
"You can invite harrykim for dinner tomorrow night," Tessa said, getting up from her chair. "I'll make vegetable biryani--" I winced at the mention of the last dish I'd shared with Kathryn Janeway "-- and we can talk more about what we're going to do and how the plan is going to work then."
Tessa disappeared to water the plants on the back porch and I continued to sit in the living room as shadows played against the walls. I know Harry isn't fond of Tessa at all, so I could only imagine what his reaction would be when I informed him Tessa would be coming with us. But at the same time, perhaps he'd be happy that we'd actually -- or rather Tessa had -- consented to his crazy plan.
As I went up to bed, I couldn't help but anticipate. What if it worked? It'd mean life back in the DQ, back on Voyager, back with Kathryn. I didn't look at Tessa, but a part of me really did hope for purely selfish reasons that we would be successful.