The following short stories were written for the 2010 VAMB Ficlet exchange. Caff asked for a story with this opening sentence: “That’s a bit extreme, don’t you think?” She said it could be one of the following pairings: J and C friendship, J and Paris friendship, J and Tuvok friendship, Chakotay only, Janeway only, or J/C. I couldn’t decide which I preferred, so I wrote about all six. None of the stories below exceeds the 2000 word count maximum. Thanks for the inspiration, Caff!
Extremes 1: Janeway and Chakotay Friendship
a/n: This is an episode addition to “Nothing Human,” taking place after B’Elanna complains about the captain’s decision to allow the Cardassian hologram, Moset, assist the doctor in saving her life. J and C friendship
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” Chakotay stood inside B’Elanna Torres’ darkened quarters waiting for a reply. “Telling the captain that you’d rather die than have help from Moset? Sounds like a teenager’s rant to me.”
“Who asked you?” B’Elanna groaned. “I should have known she’d come running to you about it.”
“She didn’t. I was on my way to check on you, and she nearly ran over me when she was steaming down the passageway. It was pretty obvious that she was upset, so I walked with her a bit and listened to her side of the story.”
“So, fine, you listened and agreed with her. Thanks for nothing and goodbye.”
“I’m here to listen to your side, too, as long as you don’t act like a spoiled brat.”
“She had no right to let Moset touch me. I told the doctor and Tom that I didn’t want it, and she ignored my wishes.” The young engineer ordered the lights to normal levels so she could look the first officer in the eye. “I’d rather be dead.”
“Really?” Chakotay crossed his arms. “Since you’re so sorry to be alive, I guess you can take yourself out.”
“Suicide? Are you joking?”
“That’s what you were trying to do when you refused treatment, wasn’t it?”
“No, it wasn’t.” Her face twisted with anger. “I was letting nature take its course.”
“Same difference. You wanted to die rather than use the techniques Moset developed.”
“You’re damned right. People suffered and died because of Moset’s experiments. I’d made myself clear about that. Moset was a butcher, and I don’t want to benefit from the pain and suffering he caused his victims.”
“You’d rather those poor victims died in vain, with nothing positive coming out of their sacrifice? You’d let them be nothing more than victims of Moset’s cruelty?”
“It’s a matter of principle, Chakotay. Surely you understand that.” She brushed away tear, not wanting to listen to reason.
“I would have let Moset work on me,if that makes any difference to you. I hate his guts as much as you do, but I would honor their sacrifice.”
“Honor it? What are you talking about?”
He gestured at the sofa, and she nodded, letting him sit down to talk to her face-to-face.
“You need to do a little research, find out the truth. Much of our medical knowledge comes from grim, even inhumane experimentation and testing over the centuries. If you’re going to refuse to use Moset’s knowledge, then you will have to refuse most vitamins, many vaccines, and dozens of other procedures we take for granted today.”
B’Elanna looked at him, her anger fading. “But, Moset was Cardassian.”
“And the Maquis’ enemy. But the captain and I accepted a cure from the Vidiians when we were stranded on that planet, and they were our enemies, too. Think of all the heinous murders they’ve committed over the years, all the organs they’ve ‘harvested’ from perfectly healthy individuals, including people from Voyager itself. We didn’t hesitate to use their cure—maybe because we didn’t know most of their victims—but the principle is the same.”
“I . . . I never thought about it, Chakotay.”
“And think about this—we asked you not to contact the Vidiians, but you did. We didn’t pitch a fit over the fact that you asked them for help when we specifically told you not to do so.”
“We just thought you would want to be with us.” She stopped, her eyes wide. “Which is exactly what the captain thought about me.”
B’Elanna looked away and shook her head. “I owe her an apology.”
“I’d say so.” When she began to rise, Chakotay caught her wrist. “Not tonight. You need to rest, and she probably isn’t in the mood to listen to you just yet. Talk to her tomorrow, when you report for duty. I assure you, she understands the situation better than you think.”
“Okay.” She sat back against the cushions. “I wish I could blame my attitude on exhaustion, but it was really just a rant, like you said.” She shrugged her shoulders, “When I’m angry, I tend toward the extreme.”
“Yeah, I know.” He stood up and stretched. “I think I’ll get back to the bridge. Is there anything you need? Anything I can do for you?”
“You’ve done more than enough, Chakotay. Thanks for stopping by.”
He left her quarters and decided to make a quick stop on Deck 3 to check in with the captain.
“Enter.” Janeway looked up from her sofa, surprised to see Chakotay standing in the doorway. “I thought you were on the bridge.”
“I decided to have a little talk with B’Elanna first.”
“Did she throw anything at you?”
He laughed, “Not this time. I think I got through to her about your decision, though.”
“If we refused to use medical or scientific procedures with questionable origins, where would we be?”
“That’s what I told B’Elanna.”
“Was she still burning that awful Klingon incense?”
“No. I think she was sitting in the dark.”
“I feel awful about what happened to her and that I didn’t follow her wishes.”
“She’ll get over it.” He took a deep breath. “Before I go to the bridge for the rest of my shift, just let me say again that you did the right thing.”
Janeway nodded. “Sometimes, the right thing isn’t the easy thing.”
“Thanks for talking to her.”
“I was glad to do it.” Chakotay smiled and left for the bridge, arriving just as Tom Paris was leaving.
“Should I stop by and see B’Elanna or not?” he asked. “She was in one of her moods the last time we talked and almost took off my head because I didn’t stop the captain for using the holographic Moset to help her.”
“She’s had time to think it over.”
“That isn’t always enough for a half-Klingon, you know.”
Chakotay laughed. “You are a braver man than I am, Tom. Good luck.”
Chakotay sat down in his bridge seat and did a quick review of Voyager’s status before he closed his eyes for a moment of reflection. A vision of New Earth came to mind, and he could almost smell the flowers that bloomed outside the door of the cabin he and Kathryn had shared.
It had been hard to terminate their budding romance and harder still to resume the separate lives they lived on Voyager, but to do so with the help of the Vidiians, who had killed several of their crew and had harvested thousands of body parts from every species they met, was almost more than they could bear. He had wanted to have a teenaged rant about it, but Kathryn had been so stoic, so calm, that he simply couldn’t let himself follow through.
“Everything all right, Commander?” Harry asked from the Ops station. “You look sad.”
“Everything’s just as it should be, Harry,” he replied, opening his eyes to give the young man a wink. “It’s just that, sometimes, the price is a bit high.”
“You mean the way the doctor used Moset to help B’Elanna.” Harry paused, thinking. “I’m just glad to have B’Elanna back, no matter what.”
“We are all where we’re supposed to be,” Chakotay answered. When Harry was busy again at his station, Chakotay rubbed his face with his hands. “And sometimes,” he thought, glancing at the captain’s empty seat, “we never stop paying the price.”
Extremes 2: Janeway and Paris Friendship
a/n: This story takes place soon after “The Gift,” when Voyager has escaped from Species 8472 and life is gradually returning to normal—for the Delta Quadrant, anyway.
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” Kathryn Janeway asked as she stood just inside the holodeck and took in Tom Paris’s newest creation. When he didn’t respond, she realized that he probably couldn’t hear her over the blaring music, a catchy, repetitive rhythm about “Stayin’ Alive.” She wove through the small tables that ringed the room and studied the bright squares of light that filled the dance floor. They ranged from pink to yellow to green to blue to red in an ever-changing display. “Computer, stop the music.”
When silence fell, a blond head immediately appeared from behind the elaborate bar at the far side of the cavernous room. “Captain Janeway! I didn’t hear you come in.”
“How could you hear anything but the music?”
He came around the bar and walked across the dance floor. “Music is supposed to be loud in a disco bar.”
“Is that what this is?” she asked, looking up into the vaulted ceiling where a glittering mirrored ball turned slowly. “Let me guess. This is from twentieth-century Earth.”
“Yes, ma’am. Specifically, the mid- seventies.”
“The style of music, and, instead of a live band, they used vinyl discs, a crude forerunner of our isolinear chips.”
“And this is where the people came for concerts?”
“No, they came here to dance to the music recorded on the discs. The person who played the music was called a disc jockey.”
“Endearing.” Janeway turned slowly, taking in the room, the glowing floor, the black walls and ceiling, the dozens of tiny tables scattered through the dark periphery, the huge brightly-lit bar, and a control booth hidden in the shadows. She gestured at the ceiling. “What’s that mirrored orb all about?”
Tom’s grin widened. “Wait a minute and I’ll show you.” He trotted to the control console and sat down behind it. Soon, a new song began, something about a woman surviving, and then dozens of small, colored spotlights came on, each pointed toward the rotating mirrored orb in the middle of the ceiling. Dozens of light rays reflected in different directions as the orb turned, creating a breath-taking effect that complemented the flashing floor tiles.
“Wow!” Janeway exclaimed, watching the lights dip and swirl around her. “This is really something.”
“It sure is,” Tom agreed as he rejoined her. “After the last few months, the Borg, Species 8472, and Kes’s departure, I figured that the crew needed a chance to blow off steam.”
Janeway was still admiring the dance floor. “And people dance here, on the lighted floor, while the lights swirl around them.”
“Yes, ma’am. Disco dancing.”
“Disco dancing?” She frowned, remembering. “That’s what the lessons have been for this last week—to teach the crew how to disco dance?”
“We’ve been learning the Hustle, to be specific.”
“The Hustle?” she chuckled. “Well, since I’ve missed the lessons, I guess I’ll be watching from the sidelines this time.”
“That would be a real shame, Captain,” Tom replied. Then his face lit up. “You’ve done ballet, right? I could teach you the basic steps right now, if you have a few minutes, and that way you can get out here with everyone else.”
Janeway’s first impulse was to decline the offer. She had emerged from her quarters a few weeks earlier because duty demanded it of her, but the tendrils of depression still held her in their grip. She’d planned to see the ship and crew back to normalcy and then return to her solitude.
“Oh, come on, Captain,” Tom cajoled her. “If nothing else, the exercise will do you good.”
“I don’t really have time, Tom.”
“Thirty minutes, Captain. That’s all you need, and you’re going to love it. I promise.”
She couldn’t help but smile at his boundless enthusiasm. “All right, Mr. Paris, thirty minutes, but not a second more.”
“Great!” He restarted the music, explaining that he would first teach the Hustle to her as a line dance. “Now, back four steps. Forward four steps . . . . ”
In just a few minutes’ time, Janeway had mastered the few basic dance steps, particularly enjoying the maneuver called “the Travolta.” When Tom saw that she was getting a little bored, he turned her to face him so that they could dance as partners, adding a few steps along the way. Again, Janeway learned quickly and, in no time, they were doing the cha-cha and what Tom called “touch dancing,” basically a free style dance that he controlled by touching her lightly on the shoulder or waist.
“You’re a natural, Captain, but I knew you would be. I want some dances with you at the party this weekend.”
“Absolutely,” she agreed, her face flushed from the exertion. “This disco party will be a lot of fun.”
“That’s the idea.”
Janeway grudgingly admitted to herself that she felt better than she had in many months, since before they had encountered the depressing, starless void that had sent her into a downward spiral. She pulled away and took a deep breath.
“Well, Tom, I just meant to peek in and see how things were going, not spend a half hour dancing.”
“Think of it as today’s workout, Captain.”
“Good idea.” She winked at him and called for the arch. “See you on the bridge tomorrow.”
“Goodnight, Captain.” He watched her leave and then checked the clock, wondering how she would react when she realized that her thirty-minute dance lesson had stretched to just under two hours.
Extremes 3: Janeway and Tuvok Friendship
a/n This story occurs in the timeline that Admiral Janeway lived before returning to change the past in “Endgame.” It is just over a year since they passed the nebula that hid the Borg hub.
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” Janeway sat in Tuvok’s darkened quarters, a meditation candle flickering on the table between them. “I’m not about to leave you on some nice planet. Surely there are still some duties you can perform on the ship.”
“I think not,” the Vulcan replied. “I no longer trust myself to continue in my position and can think of no other job that I can perform safely.”
Janeway swallowed hard and blinked back tears. He had given up his post as chief of security a year earlier, taking, instead, a job helping in supply, becoming what he called “a beast of burden” in the cargo bay. When that became too much of a challenge, he had returned to baking, helping Chell in the galley by preparing desserts, working in the hydroponics bay, and cleaning up after the crew.
“Even so,” she said, gripping her hands. “I am not about to leave you or any other member of the crew behind.”
“I will be a burden, Captain, using up critical food and supplies, breathing air, but providing nothing in return. Everyone should contribute to the ship, don’t you think?”
“Not if they’re ill,” she disagreed. “You have done your duty for the last eight years, and you have earned your passage home. You can’t help that you have contracted this terrible illness.”
“Perhaps you are unaware of how helpless I will be during the end stages of the disease.” He leaned forward slightly. “I will lose contact with reality and require constant round-the-clock care to insure my safety.”
“I’m aware of the disease’s stages. The doctor has explained it to me.”
“I will also have delusions. I might believe that I must destroy the ship, and I will make every effort to do so.”
“Then we will have to be vigilant in caring for you.” To her complete surprise, Janeway saw a tear fall from the Vulcan’s eye. “I won’t leave you behind. I won’t leave anyone behind. You know that.”
“Very well.” Tuvok sat back in his seat and brushed the tear from his face, staring down at the moisture on his fingers in surprise. “I apologize for the emotional outburst.”
In spite of the gravity of the moment, Janeway laughed. “Think nothing of it.”
“Already, I have experienced moments of confusion that frighten me. The doctor suggested that I compose a letter to my wife and family to convey my last cogent thoughts, as I will soon be unable to do so.”
“A wise piece of advice, although I am sure that T’Pel and your children are aware of your devotion.”
Tuvok nodded. “I have something I must tell you as well, Captain. The years we have spent together have been most rewarding. I do not regret serving with you or exploring the Delta Quadrant with you.”
“That means a lot to me, Tuvok, especially considering that you could have been cured of this disease if you were still in the Alpha Quadrant.”
“If I had remained there, I most likely would have been caught up in the war. I might not have lived long enough to develop this syndrome.”
“A morbid thought.”
“The truth, Captain, is neither morbid nor is it something to dread. It is just the truth.”
For long moments, Tuvok sat in silence, struggling to control his emotions, tears glittering in his eyes. Janeway had no choice but to accept his withdrawal from active life on the ship, his emotionalism certain evidence of his coming insanity. She would later realize that this was the last time that he would speak to her and still be in control of his mind.
“I’ll endeavor to remember that,” she answered with a smile, standing to leave. “I’ll inform Chell that you will no longer help him in the galley, and I will ask Tal Celes to set up companionship for you round-the-clock.”
“If you insist.” He stood, as well, arranging his robes around him. “I hope I shall not be too much of a burden.”
“You won’t be. And, you should know that I have been honored to serve with you, as well. Your loyalty and counsel have always been precious to me.” She stepped toward the door and paused. “I am so sorry, Tuvok, that this has happened to you.”
“You are not at fault, Captain.”
“I won’t stop hoping for a miracle.” She took a deep breath to help keep her emotions under control. “I will miss you.”
“I will miss you, as well. No matter what happens in the future, whether I am capable of telling you this or not, I am, and always will be, your friend.”
“Thank you,” she whispered, turning to leave. She made it to her quarters before she dissolved into tears.
Extremes 4: Chakotay only
a/n: This takes place soon after “Endgame,” when Chakotay is taking an extended vacation on his home world.
“That’s a bit extreme, don’t you think?” Sekaya was watching her brother, Chakotay, spray himself down with p’edran musk as he prepared for his daily hike. “Unless you’re looking to mate with a female p’edran while you’re gone.”
“Funny, but I’m not laughing,” Chakotay replied, glancing up at her with a twinkle in his eye. “Besides the females are busy elsewhere. The p’edran are mating in the high meadows this time of year.”
“Well, I wasn’t sure just how far you were hiking.” She wrinkled her nose. “If you smell this bad before you leave, you’ll reek by the time you get home”
“I’ll shower in the barn so you won’t have to suffer.” He stowed the musk in a locker and slammed it shut. Picking up his back pack, he waved her out the door. “Walk with me for awhile?”
“As long as I’m upwind of you, sure.”
They set a leisurely pace for the Izcha Canyon, the closest area inhabited by the p’edran, a beautiful feline hunter that was native to the planet. Sekaya, who was ten years younger than Chakotay, had spent most of her youth on Dorvan, where her parents moved after her brother went to the Academy. Chakotay, on the other hand, had always thought of Trebus as his home and was much more familiar with its flora and fauna.
“I have always been fascinated with the p’edran,” Chakotay explained as they walked. “And now that I am back on the planet, I can study them with a little more savvy than I did as a kid.”
“I was always told to avoid them.”
“They are ferocious hunters, it’s true, but they are also solitary most of the time. The females live and hunt in the lower canyons, while the males occupy the colder high ranges. The only time they encounter each other is during mating season, two months during the fall, just after their normally golden hair turns red.”
Sekaya nodded. “So they blend in with the fall colors of the trees and bushes. And their fur turns white during the winter, right?”
“Yes, and the pups are born with white fur.”
Sekaya nodded, recalling the many images of the p’edran that her people used in their stories and artwork. The p’edran was a fabled hunter, capable of bringing down game twice their size thanks to their cunning tracking skill. The p’edran was similar to Earth’s mountain lion except that its luxurious yellow fur changed colors with the seasons and it had brilliant blue eyes. Her people had refused to hunt the animal because of their deep respect for its beauty and hunting ability, and many people took it as a clan symbol. Sekaya suspected that the p’edran was her brother’s spirit animal, but she knew better than to ask him such a personal question.
“So the female goes off looking for a mate each fall.”
“Yes, but she looks for the same one. They mate for life. Each year, the mated pair finds each other and hunts together for two months. Once the female is heavy with pups, she leaves her mate and returns to the lower meadows to give birth.”
“Wouldn’t you know it? She’s stuck with the kids while the male trots off to have fun.”
Chakotay laughed. “It’s not much fun to live up in the high country, Sekaya. There isn’t much game, and there are several other males to contend with.”
“While the female is gone, you’ve been scouting her territory.”
“Yes. I spotted several of her sleeping dens this summer, since she visits them regularly. But she only goes to her birthing den once a year, and I was lucky enough to find that, too, just last week. Yesterday, I put in some cameras so I can watch her and her pups during the winter, and I’m going up today to make sure they’re working properly before the female returns.”
“And that is why you wear the p’edran musk? Because you think she might not return to her dens if she picks up a human scent?”
“Yeah. I found traces of her spoor and used them to produce a musk that is close to her own scent, although I wouldn’t put it past her to smell the human scent, too. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she watches me as I walk around her territory.”
“Oh, Chakotay! What if she attacked you? You could be killed.”
“I never come out here without a phaser,” he replied, tapping the holster on his thigh. “But I would hate to have to use it.”
“I forget that you are always prepared,” she teased, stopping at the top of a rise to look back at the valley where their people lived. The Izcha Canyon stretched upward behind her, its entry marked by huge boulders that ancient ice floes had pushed down before them.”It’s so beautiful up here.”
Chakotay spoke softly, touching her arm. “Don’t move, don’t speak. The p’edran is perched on the rock behind you.”
Sekaya stiffened, her eyes wide with fear. She watched as Chakotay reached down and slowly pulled the phaser from his holster.
“Oh, brother!” she murmured. “Don’t shoot her!”
Chakotay frowned at her for talking, and then he looked up to find that the female p’edran had gotten to her feet, her stomach swinging low beneath her, distended from the babies she carried. She kept her brilliant blue eyes fixed upon him as she raised her nose into the air and sniffed. She growled as she looked to the side and then leapt down to the ground between the boulders, fixing him once again with a stare.
Sekaya glanced over her shoulder at the beast, amazed at its huge size at such close range. However, the p’edran raised her nose again in a long sniff before she turned and padded back into the Izcha Canyon, leaving the humans emotionally drained and physically exhausted from the confrontation. A few moments later, they heard the distinctive roar of a full-grown p’edran, a sound that sent chills down their spines.
Chakotay holstered his phaser, took Sekaya’s elbow, and started back down the trail at a fast pace. “I think she smelled herself on me,” he said. “Let’s get out of here before she decides to follow up on who, or what, I am.”
“She was magnificent, Chakotay!” Sekaya exclaimed as they trotted down the incline. “I had no idea they were so big! Or that their eyes were so blue!”
“They are big, all right. I’m thinking that she’s been feeding with her mate these last two months, so she isn’t hungry enough to kill us for food. Also, she’s about to give birth and might have been doing one last perimeter check before she retreats to her birthing nest. That roar was a warning for us to stay away.”
“Message received and understood!”
“I’ve been close to her, but never this close,” he admitted. “And I’ve missed seeing her around the last couple of months.”
“Maybe you should try taming her. You know, feed her some food or put out salt so you can actually approach her or touch her.”
Chakotay shook his head, “No, I don’t want to tame her. I like her just the way she is, the way she is meant to be.”
“Even if that means that you will never really touch her.”
“Even so.” He gave her a smile. “I am just gratified that she seemed to recognize my scent today and leave us alone. That’s enough for now. Maybe we can learn to inhabit the same space eventually.”
“But, if she needed you? If she was injured?”
“Well,” he laughed, “that would be different, of course. If she needed me, I would do whatever it took to help her.”
“And if that meant caring for her, maybe taking her out of the wild?”
“If she needed that, I would take her in, but I would always set her free.”
An hour later, Sekaya was fixing dinner at Chakotay’s apartment when she heard a chime on his communications system in the tiny study just off of the kitchen. Since he was still outside, Sekaya walked to the unit and answered the hail.
“Oh, hello!” said the woman on the screen. Sekaya couldn’t help but notice that her deep red hair and blue eyes exactly matched the fur and eyes of the p’edran that had been standing over them earlier in the day. “I was trying to reach Chakotay.”
“I’m his sister,” she explained. “And he’s still out doing some chores. Can I take a message?”
“Could you have him call Kathryn when he has the time? I need his advice on something.”
“You’re Kathryn Janeway, of course. I remember meeting you.” Sekaya studied her brother’s former boss more closely. When she had first received messages from him from the Delta Quadrant, she’d been sure that he was in love with his captain. She’d been shocked, upon Voyager’s return, by his brief liaison with Seven of Nine and even more surprised when he failed to pursue Kathryn after he and Seven parted ways. “You need his advice?”
“Is that surprising?” Janeway said with a grin. “I learned to trust his opinion after working with him for seven years.”
“His opinion.” She felt like a fool for repeating back her words, but Kathryn’s personality was powerful even across subspace. “But you’re a Starfleet admiral, right?”
“Yes, I’m an admiral.” Kathryn chuckled as a blush colored her cheeks. “But even admirals need help once in awhile, and Chakotay always seems ready to listen when I need a friend.”
“He should be calling you within the hour,” Sekaya promised.
The image of the p’edran filled Sekaya’s mind as she closed the connection and noticed, beside the communications unit, a picture of Chakotay and Kathryn Janeway looking quite happy in each other’s company. She looked out the window as Chakotay walked back from the barn and wondered why he was spending his free time alone, on Trebus. If they were so happy together, then why were they light years apart?
The words he’d spoken about the p’edran that afternoon came back to her: I don’t want to tame her. I like her just the way she is, the way she is meant to be. If she needed me, I would do whatever it took to help her. I would take her in, but I would always set her free.
When Chakotay came back to the house a few minutes later, he contacted Janeway and talked to her for nearly an hour. Sekaya smiled with satisfaction, thinking that it was just a matter of time before the two of them worked out the details of their relationship. She paused outside his door as the conversation came to an end, eavesdropping shamelessly, as a younger sister should.
“Are you still happy with what you’re doing, Kathryn?”
“For now I am.”
“And when you’re tired and ready to rest?”
“You’ll be the first to know, Chakotay.”
“Good. I’ll have the coffee waiting.”
Extremes 5: Janeway only
a/n: This little ditty takes place in late summer the year after Voyager arrives on Earth.
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?”
“What?” Kathryn Janeway looked up to find her sister standing at her office door. Phoebe had just completed an assignment in San Francisco and planned to travel with Kathryn on her way out of the Sol system.
“It looks like you are packing at least five pounds of coffee.”
“It’s ten pounds. What of it?” Kathryn secured the bag, stood up, and hefted it over her shoulder. “Ready to go?”
“Do you have anything but coffee in that bag?” Phoebe wondered as she followed her sister into the hallway.
“Some PADDS for work. I can replicate everything else I need.”
“But, Kathryn, you’re going to Jupiter Station for a few days, at most. Why would you need ten pounds of coffee?”
“I promised myself I would never leave Earth again without a good supply of the real thing.” She punched the call button on the lift. “If you’d tasted even one of Neelix’s coffee substitutes, you’d understand.”
They boarded the lift and Phoebe leaned toward her, whispering, “You aren’t concealing contraband in that stuff, are you?”
“Of course not, you goof.”
“And you don’t really expect to be zapped to the Delta Quadrant again, right?”
“Who would expect that?” Kathryn huffed. “It’s just that replicated coffee is . . . not the real thing, that’s all.”
The lift doors opened, and the sisters emerged, heading through foyer into the bright June sunlight. Much to Phoebe’s surprised, Chakotay, Voyager’s former first officer, fell into step beside them, a bag over his shoulder, as well. After they exchanged a greeting, Phoebe asked, “Are you going to Jupiter Station, too, Commander?”
“He sure as hell is,” Kathryn replied, giving her sister a wicked grin. “Coffee isn’t the only ‘real thing’ I’m never doing without again.”
Extremes 6: Janeway/Chakotay
a/n: This takes place during the second Voyager reunion.
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?” Janeway repressed a grin as she watched Chakotay carefully roll a towel lengthwise and stuff it under the hotel room door.
“Nothing is extreme when Tom Paris is in the compound. Remember when he sent Miral toddling through the sliding glass doors at the first reunion?”
“You can’t prove that he ‘sent her.’ We were on the ground floor.”
“Kathryn, it was midnight.”
“Well, we should have closed the door when we pulled the blinds.”
He sat back on his heels and grinned at her. “As I recall, we were a little busy at the time.”
“You have a point, but I don’ think he was spying.”
“He was trying to confirm his suspicions about us and pay off the winner in the ‘Command Team Tussle Pool.’ He probably sent Miral in so he could come in after her and catch us in flagrante delecto.”
“Laugh all you want, but I wouldn’t put it past him.” He walked over to the window to check the lock and make sure that there was no gap in the curtain before he joined her on the bed. “And who’s to say there isn’t another pool in the works?”
“A pool for what?” she wondered.
“God knows. Do we sleep in the nude? Which of us likes to be on top? Do we use the same toothbrush?”
“Methinks you are a bit paranoid, Chakotay,” she chuckled as she snuggled into his chest. “Who would care about any of that?”
“If you don’t think that the crew is fascinated about our relationship and anxious to find out the nitty gritty, then you are deluding yourself.” At her snort, he continued, “Just last week, I ran into Harry, and he wondered if you were fond of pecan pie. Now, why would he want to know that?”
“Maybe because he invited me to dinner while you were attending that conference on Jupiter Station? He did have pecan pie for dessert that night.”
“When I saw Celes last month, she wanted to know if you were still playing tennis.”
“Celes is taking lessons and was looking for a partner to practice with.” She gave him a crooked grin. “These questions all have a logical explanation, see?”
“I just feel like they’re trying to invade our privacy, that’s all.”
“Neither of those questions was ‘private.’ Now, I might be upset if they asked you to describe my favorite way to wake up in the mornings.”
He pulled her closer. “They would naturally assume that it has mostly to do with a hot cup of coffee.”
“While coffee figures into the equation,” she murmured, “I’m happiest when that hot cup of coffee is named Chakotay.”
He nuzzled. “I am sure I get more out of it than any coffee cup ever did.”
“And who cares, anyway, what they know? I mean, we’re just a typical couple, aren’t we? With typical habits and routines?”
“You know that, and I know that, but they don’t know that—especially not Tom.”
“So, let them find out. We have nothing to hide.”
He smiled at her and nodded toward the door. “Want me to open the blinds and remove the towel?”
“Not if it involves your leaving this bed, no.” She rose to her elbow and spoke into the air. “We don’t sleep in the nude, Chakotay likes to be on top, and we don’t use the same toothbrush.”
Laughing, Chakotay pulled her back down and kissed her. With a sigh, he molded himself to her body. “I have a confession to make.”
“You do sleep in the nude?”
“Well, you know I do now and then, but that’s not it. I have used your toothbrush once or twice.”
“Are you grossed out?”
She made a face. “I should be, but, truth is, I’ve also used yours a time or two.”
Kathryn stared at him a moment and then laughed aloud. “We really are a matched set, aren’t we?”
“Yes, we are. And I don’t give a damn who knows it.”
“So, no more towels under the door?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Chakotay glanced back at the door and shrugged, giving her a wink. “If it irritates Tom Paris, it’s worth the trouble.”