Chronological Details from Mosaic[VOY]


In Jeri Taylor's canon novel Mosaic, we not only learn a number of details about Kathryn Janeway's early years, but more interestingly we hear snippets about events going on in the Federation.   These events are not given solid dates, but instead are given relative reference by her age.   

This sort of thing would be extremely helpful if we had a direct reference to her age from Voyager or the novel itself . . . say, something direct like Kirk's "I'm 34 years old!" in "The Deadly Years"[TOS2].   But evidently, the writers of Voyager decided it would be rude to ask a lady her age, and thus we never got a direct answer about it.

However, we do get an interesting datapoint in the novel that can help us get her age to within a few months.  In the book, we learn that Janeway and Wil Riker were in the same freshman and sophomore class at Starfleet Academy, implying that they graduated in the same year.   This tells us that, assuming both entered the academy at the usual age of 18 (an idea which we have no reason to question or reject in either of their cases, and which is explicitly confirmed in Janeway's case), the two are both the same age.

Riker's age is fairly well-known.   As of "The Icarus Factor"[TNG2], we learn that Riker's father had abandoned him fifteen years earlier when he was fifteen.  With the episode set in 2365, this suggests a birth year for Riker of 2335.  (Incidentally, a 2335 birth year is somewhat amusing.   Frakes was born in 1952 and Mulgrew in 1955.   If Riker was 30 during the latter part of TNG2 (which would've broadcast in 1989), then Frakes was actually about 37 at the time.  I guess they figured he'd aged better and could pull off a bigger age difference.) 

A 2335 date for Riker's birth fits well with "The Pegasus"[TNG7], wherein we learn that Riker, a mere seven months out of Starfleet Academy, was a baby-faced Ensign some twelve years before.   That would set the Pegasus events at 2358, implying a likely Academy graduation date for Riker of 2357.  He would've been 22 at the time.

This suggests that Janeway's birth year was also 2335.

On the other hand, running with that date produces a contradiction.   We witness the death of Janeway's father in the novel, an event which in "Coda"[VOY3] is said to occur over fifteen years before the episode.   "Coda" is set in mid-2373.   That rather clearly puts the event in 2358 or before.  However, Janeway is 27 or just barely 28 at the time of her father's death in the novel.   This requires a birth year of 2331.

Of course, if Janeway and Riker are not the same age, then the novel is wrong with the Riker part . . . Riker would've had to have joined Starfleet at age fourteen or so, which clearly makes no sense.

It is my opinion that the 2331 date is the more accurate.   The Voyager show is considered to override the novel, and thus the "Coda" reference supercedes the novel's suggested date.   Further, the Next Gen show is also considered to override the novel.   As such, the section suggesting that Wil Riker and Janeway were the same age is wrong.   

(There's no real way to fix that little gaffe.   This novel's William Riker fellow is from Alaska, and the notion of two Wil Rikers from Alaska being in the Academy at about the same time and with the same behavior and goals stretches credibility.   As such, while the general biographical info on Riker is probably accurate, the novel's placement of the two together at this point in time and with the same age is a simple discontinuity, and is to be ignored.   After all, the two don't seem to recognize one another in relation to that meeting when, in 2372, they sorta-kinda meet briefly thanks to Q ("Death Wish"[VOY2]).)

Given that we learned in "Year of Hell"[VOY3] that Janeway's birthday is May 20, we can thus start to narrow down the details of Mosaic to within a few months by making use of her age and any data on the season of the year that might be available.

Chapter Two

Janeway is explicitly four.  Her father is a starship designer.  Her sister, the as-yet-unnamed Phoebe, is said to have arrived "lately", and at this point is nothing more than a wriggling bundle within a soft blanket.   This suggests an age difference of slightly more than four years between the two. 

The age difference should be almost exact to within a month or two.   During the chapter when Janeway is four, all of which occurs in a single afternoon, we learn that she and her father are going to go walk and play in the cornfields (the Janeway family is one of Traditionalists, and they have chosen to live in the agricultural park area of Indiana).   

Common varieties of corn are planted in spring, "knee-high by the Fourth of July", and harvested in late summer (late August or thereabouts).   With Janeway having been born in late May, then, her thought of the corn "bending and swaying in the summer breeze" seems to suggest that this chapter is set in late July or August. 



Chapter Four

Janeway is explicitly nine, which would suggest that this chapter is set sometime between May 20, 2340 and May 19, 2341.  Unfortunately, we're told that this chapter occurs in Spring, and more specifically in May itself, meaning we could easily be off by a full year if we just picked one.

As the day being described progresses, though, we also learn that Janeway is in fourth grade.  If we were to assume American-standard grade-to-age relationships (wherein a child usually must be six by fall to start first grade), then she ought to be nine at the start of fourth grade.   This would require that Janeway be nine as of September 2340.   In September of 2339 she would've been eight, and as such should not have been in fourth grade, meaning that this cannot be May of 2340.

(Of course, the issue of year-round schooling might throw a wrench in the works.  However, even then there must be an age cut-off.   And, of course, we learn in Pathways that Academy students get summers off, implying that such a thing might still be a part of a traditionalist curriculum such as would be expected in the traditionalist schools that Janeway's family explicitly preferred.  In such a case, we might expect modern age cut-offs to still apply.)

So, while young Kathryn is nine, she ought to be a fourth-grader nearing her 10th birthday.

A week later, her father heads to Mars as part of a group tasked with examining the colony's defenses.  He takes Kathryn along, and the shuttle trip to Mars is piloted by a Starfleet cadet named Data, who shows her around the terraformed planet.  

(We know from Data's bio on "Conundrum"[TNG5] that he was in the Academy from 2341 to 2345, so he ought to have been a pretty new cadet, and one that started in the second semester of the 2340-2341 class year.  There is a slight problem in that he mentions having completed an engineering honorarium at Mars a year prior, but this need not necessarily have been as an Academy cadet.)

This is her first trip into space, though the two 'transporter rides' she takes are not her first.   The shuttle flight to Mars, departing from Spacedock, takes three hours.  

(Incidentally, in mid-May 2341 the distance to Mars is 1.44 AU (~215,424,000km) from Earth, implying an average velocity of 71,808,000 km/h, or 19,946.67km/s.  Assuming a dead start but even ignoring the requirement that the shuttle stop at Mars (i.e. giving the shuttle a slow and constant acceleration toward Mars for the full three hours), this gives the shuttle an absurd-minimum acceleration of over 3693m/sē, or better than 376g.  That's about one-tenth the acceleration of the Enterprise in TMP, of course, but still over seventeen times greater than the Falcon with 'full afterburner'.)


Chapter Six

Janeway's sister Phoebe is explicitly eight, meaning Janeway is most likely twelve.  We get our first mention of a vehicle in the form of Kathryn's hovercycle.  The season is not mentioned, but we do hear of heat waves and high humidity along with brewing storms, suggestive of summer.

We learn that Janeway's father used to transport to San Francisco once or twice a week, but that starting about a year ago he'd been going to San Francisco almost daily, then staying there frequently.   She'd heard him mention the name "Cardassians" to her mother as if they were the cause of worry.   As we join young Kathryn, he'd been gone for an entire month. 

On this day Janeway had lost track of time, and had to run two miles home to get ready for a tennis match with a Vulcan exchange student from another school twenty miles away.   Janeway and her team make it to the other school, but she gets soundly defeated and intends to walk home.   She gets caught in a thunderstorm part of the way there.  Her father arrives in their hovercraft (which, Janeway notes, are "at risk" in thunderstorms) and takes her home.

We get confirmation of Janeway's age at this point in "Deadlock"[VOY2].   When Janeway encounters her freshly-made duplicate she's skeptical at first, but notes that "She even knew that when I was twelve years old, I walked home in a thunderstorm over seven kilometres because I lost a tennis match."


Chapter Eight

Janeway is explicitly fourteen, going swimming in an old abandoned quarry on Mars, and even ponders "the day five years before" when she'd been shown around Mars by Data.   We learn that her family had gone on several summer vacations to Mars and that she'd never been allowed to go swimming in the quarries before, but now that she's fourteen their guard was somewhat relaxed.   This strongly suggests that it is summertime in Indiana.   Further, we learn that Janeway is to spend her "final four years of high school" at the Academy Institute (the school 20 miles away from her home) instead of the traditionalist school called The Meadows.   Each state has an Academy Institute, a Starfleet Academy prep school.

Janeway is caught swimming in the quarries, and among the punishments her father (now explicitly referred to as a Vice-Admiral) lays upon her there is a revocation of holodeck privileges.    Much like Janeway's mention of taking part in Flotter holodeck tales when she was a little girl ("Once Upon A Time"[VOY5]), this mention of holodecks makes it clear that something at least loosely resembling the newly-improved holodeck tech of the 2360's existed well beforehand.


Chapter Ten

Janeway is a senior at the Academy Institute.  Assuming twelve grades, which seems to be a safe assumption given what's come before, then she ought to be seventeen years old.   It's also apparently the dead of winter at this point, suggesting late 2348 or early 2349.  I'm assuming the former.

Janeway, her boyfriend, and some other school friends make an unauthorized use of the school's transporter to beam to an ancient unoccupied mansion in Ohio.   There, with real wine (Janeway's first taste of real alcohol, though she was familiar with synthehol), the friends get tipsy and then proceed to explore the house.   Janeway smells smoke as if from a fireplace, realizing that, being from a traditionalist family, she might be the only one of them able to recognize it.   This notion bears out as true.

Long story short, the unauthorized use of the transporter is discovered and Janeway's boyfriend who implemented it receives a reprimand.


Chapter Twelve

Janeway and her boyfriend are swimming on Mars, suggesting once again that this is summer.  The year is made clear by Janeway's boyfriend referencing events from "last winter". They are there as part of a graduation present from her father involving the trip to Mars and the use of Starfleet quarters.   She and her boyfriend end up breaking up during the trip.

Janeway is probably freshly eighteen at this point.


Chapter Fourteen

Janeway is now explicitly "an adult of eighteen" on this August evening, preparing to go to Starfleet Academy the next day for the start of her classes.  She and an acquaintance see each other and among other things discuss her father's absence owing to the Cardassian situation.


Chapter Fourteen

The chapter jumps a bit from the section above . . . Janeway mentions her first weeks at the academy two years ago, and is preparing for her junior honors thesis.  It is to be on massive compact halo objects, a particular interest of former Academy professor and now-Admiral Owen Paris, father of Tom Paris.

Paris agrees to be her thesis advisor, and there is a brief discussion on their respective families.   Paris mentions that his son, who Janeway sees in an apparently-recent picture and estimates to be about ten years old, intends to join Starfleet one day, and mentions that he saw Janeway's father on Deep Space Four "a few weeks ago".

What's interesting here is that their discussion about her father quickly branches off into how he's working on the "Cardassian situation" and how it isn't looking good:

""Part of the problem is that we don't know much about the Cardassians.  They've always been somewhat suspect, but of course we prefer to think they're people of their word.  And they claim not to be interested in expanding their territory.  But there've been some unexplained incidents near their borders that are a bit disconcerting."
"Yes, sir."  What he wasn't saying was what no one wanted to say:  the specter of war hung over the Federation.  It was a word everyone hoped had become obsolete, for there hadn't been armed conflict in the Federation for decades."

That last detail is astonishing.   Clearly it doesn't refer to simple battles, of course, since we know of many such single-ship actions.    But real war had not occurred for decades, and it's unlikely that any significant conflicts had either.    

(And indeed, we haven't heard of much of anything occurring between 2300 and 2350.    There's the Tomed Incident from the early 2300's, which could be the cut-off point for Janeway's thought, but despite the loss of thousands of lives that doesn't seem to refer to a large-scale conflict.   

After that, though, we have nothing until the 2350's.   There was an attack on a starbase by the Tholians in 2353 ("The Icarus Factor"[TNG2]).  The Federation-Talarian border conflicts (see "Suddenly Human"[TNG4]) apparently began in the late 2350's . . . Galen IV was attacked as part of that three year campaign in 2357.  The Federation-Tzenkethi War's date has never been known, but given that Sisko (born in 2332) served as Leyton's XO during the war aboard the USS Okinawa the most likely time would be the early 2360's.)

We also learn that, at least during her Academy years, almost no one drank coffee anymore . . . most of the students seemed to gravitate toward the tea bars that were all over the place.   (I find this to be quite possibly the most unbelievable concept in any Voyager material, going well beyond the wacky technobabble or idiotic Braga plots, and may even constitute proof that the Federation is evil.)  


~2356 Chapter Sixteen

Ensign Kathryn Janeway is on the bridge of the USS Icarus under the command of Admiral Owen Paris.  She's serving as Junior Science Officer for this, the Arias Expedition, "just one year after she'd completed a doctoral degree in quantum cosmology".  Presumably she graduated the Academy in 2353 but continued her education.  It isn't clear if she would've had to complete a Master's degree first in the modern American fashion, but if so I'd presume it would take her at least two years to get her doctorate, meaning this mission would begin in 2356.  The earliest it could logically occur would be 2355.

The Arias Expedition was to be a yearlong mission to study massive compact halo objects.   They would be going to "the galactic rim, six hundred light-years beyond Deep Space Station Seven".       

In their first shipboard briefing, however, Paris informs the senior staff that the Icarus is also on an intelligence-gathering mission.  At times they'll be close to Cardassian space, and as such they'll be sending home information about "troop movements, weapons depots, fleet size, and other data necessary to ensure the defense of the Federation."   Later, he notes:

"We don't know as much about the Cardassians as we'd like.  They've kept their borders closed for decades.  But what we're beginning to hear, unfortunately, isn't encouraging.  They're mean ones.   We believe they intend to expand their territory and they have no qualms about how they do it."

The above suggests that the Cardassian conflict had not yet begun in earnest..

Also aboard the ship are Starfleet Rangers, apparently serving in the same capacity on the mission as the MACOs from the 2150's Earth Starfleet.  However, these Rangers are hidden within the crew and unknown to anyone but the Admiral.

Six months later, Janeway and the Admiral are in a shuttle heading toward a sensor array they'd planted three months earlier, intent on retrieving its data on the MACHOs that were the primary goal of the mission.   They are again discussing family, and the Admiral mentions his son, now aged 15, again supporting a date of circa 2356.

The duo are captured by a Cardassian ship and taken to a facility on a Cardassian world.   The Admiral is tortured via the same sort of implant used on Picard in "Chain of Command"[TNG6].  The Rangers attack the facility and rescue them.  We learn that one of the Rangers (a Lieutenant with whom Janeway had been working closely) had been taken by the Cardassians two years earlier (in 2354) and tortured for three days before he managed to make his way back to Federation forces.

Janeway and this Ranger begin seeing one another.


2358 Chapter Eighteen

Janeway and the Ranger (still addressed as Lieutenant) are at her family home.   The two are either engaged or very nearly so.   Her sister Phoebe, explicitly said to be twenty-three, is also present.  Janeway, then, must now be twenty-seven.  Her rank is not stated.

A month later, Janeway, her fiancee, and her father are entering the Tau Ceti system.  They are aboard her father's prototype ship, the Terra Nova, that he'd been working on for two and a half years.

"It was an impressive vessel, small and lean, highly maneuverable -- and heavily armed.
It was Starfleet's necessary response to the mounting threat of war with Cardassia."

The above means, of course, that the war had not yet begun.   Given the explicit date, and the reference to nearly four years of war from Chakotay's story in Pathways, plus the dating of Setlik III as being in 2362, then it seems clear that the Cardassian conflict must've occurred from 2358 to 2362.

This test flight of the Terra Nova ends badly.  The ship is equipped with something called "warp thrusters" that are intended to allow for absurd acts of sub-warp maneuverability in combat, but which also seem to be sensitive to solar winds (though apparently not the dust that surrounds Tau Ceti).  Some sort of solar wind shear occurs during the last warp thruster maneuver . . . it's unclear what precisely happens, but the ship somehow ends up crashed on what appears to be an icy planet.

Janeway ends up unconscious and with broken bones on the ice near the broken-off tail section of the ship.   The size of this section (and the entire vessel, for that matter) is unclear, but it does have a console which is still operating.   

We later learn that this section of the ship contains a drogue system, parts of a phaser system, two emergency microfusion generators, and most if not all of the transporter system.  

The rest of the ship, save for a few bits no larger than a meter in size that are strewn about the ice, is resting nose-up in a hole in the ice.   The vessel, superheated by rapid re-entry, had broken through the ice sheet, cutting into it like a hot knife through butter.   Through the cabin windows Janeway can see the two men unconscious, and she realizes the ship is sinking.

She attempts to beam them out using the equipment available in the remains of the ship's tail.   She's able to cobble together power sources to get the eight hundred megawatts needed to beam the two, but the system fails and she cannot transport them before the ship sinks.

She begins to stomp the leg with broken bones on the ground, trying to produce enough pain to block out the realization that she'd lost them both.   She somehow manages to bury the memory and, for the next several years, forgets that she'd seen them alive at all.


Chapter Twenty

Janeway is on leave after the accident, and apparently has been for months.   She's due back with Starfleet in three weeks, but on this "cold January day" she's just starting to come out of her post-traumatic emotional shell.  It's apparently late January given that she notes how in six months the new corn would be as high as your eye, suggesting growth in late July.   Four days later she finds a malnourished puppy, and in taking care of it begins to reconnect with the world.

Three weeks later she reports back to Starfleet, declares her intention to pursue command as had been suggested by Admiral Paris, and takes part in a six-month postgraduate training program that he arranged for her.

In May, she was debating as to whether to accept "a command post on a deep space mission that would depart for the Beta Quadrant in three months.  It would be a way to ascend the command ladder rapidly, but it meant being away [...] for two years."

While pondering the posting, she and her puppy bump into the childhood acquaintance that keeps popping up.  He's a philosopher with an august philosophical think-tank known as The Questor Group.   And his name is Mark.


2366 Chapter Twenty-Two

This chapter features the meeting of Tuvok and now-Captain Janeway, who just completed her first command (a six-month study of an astronomical phenomenon).   

It is suggested in "The Phage"[VOY1] that the two have known each other for four years, but we get a specific reference in "Revulsion"[VOY4] that Janeway and Tuvok have been serving together for nine years.   The first suggests a meeting in 2367, the second a meeting in 2365.  The two are close enough that we can simply call it as 2366.    (This suggests that Janeway went from Ensign to Captain in about a decade, a concept I find rather disconcerting.)

The chapter opens with Janeway in Admiral Paris's office, and she ponders their first meeting "over ten" years ago (or in 2351, by my estimate).  This meeting is interrupted by the news that Admiral Paris's son has been in an accident (and yes, it's that son and that accident), which should allow for additional date-fixing.

The next day the review board convenes (standard procedure after a first command), and while her first captaincy is generally praised it is Tuvok whose review of Janeway's performance is scathing.   He notes 43 failures to follow regulations regarding tactical systems testing, battle drills, and so on.   She attempts to reply on the grounds of captain's discretion, but the admirals decide to give her Tuvok as her tactical officer to ensure that she keeps on her toes.   Neither are pleased at the pairing. 

In "Revulsion" we hear of this event . . . Janeway describes it as Tuvok dressing her down in front of three Admirals for failing to observe proper tactical procedures during her first command.

The ship she commanded is not named.


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