Gezegend – Epilogue

Gezegend – Epilogue

by mizvoy


“What’s this?” Chakotay asked, picking up a small brightly-wrapped package that Kathryn had left on his plate. It was their first routine weekly meal together since she’d returned to duty full time some ten days earlier, and he’d arrived in her quarters to the usual aroma of overcooked food and the familiar sight of peanut butter and jelly jars on the table.

“It’s a birthday gift,” she replied, pushing a container of bread toward him and then opening the jar of peanut butter.

“What were we going to have for dinner?” he asked as he picked up the jelly and scooped a large portion onto his bread. “Smells like it might have been lasagna.”

“It was vegetable chili using some produce from the airponics bay. I put it on the heating element and then got distracted doing some routine log entries.”

“So you can’t blame the replicator this time.”

“I wish I could, but I was trying to improvise. I’m already out of replicator rations.”

“Because of my birthday present?”

“Let’s just blame it on coffee.” She pushed the peanut butter toward him and frowned at the depleted amount of jelly in the jar. “Why do you bother with peanut butter? Just have jelly bread.”

“Peanut butter has protein.”

“The sheen of peanut butter you use is about equivalent to two peanuts.” She laughed and absently rubbed her shoulder.

“Did you hurt yourself?”

“I played velocity with Harry today. I thought he’d take it easy on me, but I’m afraid I’m more out of shape than I realized.”

“Would you like a shoulder rub?”

“Your shoulder rubs always send me right into a deep sleep. I need to eat first, thank you.” They chatted awhile about recent events and upcoming plans and then, as she took the last bite of her sandwich, she mumbled, “Are you going to open it?”

“I would, but it’s not really my birthday, you know.” He picked up the small box and shook it.

“I’m early this year.”

“What could it be?”

“I’m not telling.” She sat back and smiled at him. “I hope you like it.”

He pulled off the ribbon, slid the box out of the paper, and looked inside. “It’s a key.” He looked up at her. “The key to your heart?”

“Not hardly.” She rolled her eyes. “I imagine the crew would say you’d need an ice pick to get into my heart, anyway.”

“The key to Voyager?”

“You duplicated one of those the first day you were on board, I imagine.”

“Second day.” He grinned and took the last bite of his sandwich, chewing thoughtfully. “What could it unlock?”

“Doesn’t it look familiar?” she challenged him. “You’ve used it before on an old-fashioned padlock.”

“Padlock?” he frowned, turning the key over in his hand and noticing the number 47 etched into the brass disc of the key ring. “Did we use it on the holodeck?”

She nodded, her eyes shining.

“It unlocks the padlock on the Lake George boat house!”

“Exactly.” She picked up her coffee mug in triumph. “The last time I survived a near-death experience, we celebrated with a delightful sail on Lake George, remember?”

“Yes, I do,” he whispered, momentarily flooded with the memory of carrying her lifeless body out of their downed shuttle and struggling to make her breathe. However, this experience was just as bad. He was still haunted by the memory of her fixed and milky white eyes and icy skin at the Broden ashrm. He looked up at her with such pain in his expression that she immediately arose and circled the table, standing beside him and cupping his cheek in her hand.

“I didn’t mean to upset you,” she murmured, her eyes shining with affection. “I just wanted to do something to help us put this last situation behind us.”

“I need more time to do that, Kathryn.”

“I thought it would help us to take the boat out again. I want to lie on the deck and gaze at the stars. I want you to sing to me the way you did that night so long ago.”

He sighed. “You want to forget, for a while, how hard life is out here.”

“I want to simply enjoy being alive, Chakotay. I want to spend some time with my best friend.”

“All right. I can get a bottle of cider, if you’d like,” he answered, his voice thick with emotion.

“Not necessary,” she crossed her arms and leaned back against the table. “I used the last of my rations on a bottle of champagne.”

“Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a champagne chaser,” he laughed. “Now that’s living.”

She gave him a wistful smile. “I wish I could give you all the good things in life, Chakotay.”

He stood up and pulled her into an embrace. They clung to each other for a few long moments, relishing the rare chance to be in each other’s arms. When they pulled apart, both were blinking back tears.

“I’m not complaining, Kathryn.”

“You never do.” She smiled up at him, her heart overflowing with affection for the man who was so much more than a first officer to her. “You bring the key and I’ll grab the champagne. I programmed a perfect evening for a sail on Lake George.”

“Always ready to serve as first mate, Captain,” he replied, gratified to hear her laughter.

“A tempting offer, I must say.”

With that, they made their way to the holodeck and a rare evening beneath the stars.

The End