Disclaimer: I’m just borrowing a couple of characters, Paramount; I’ll return them undamaged.
Summary: At the end of “Vis a Vis,” Janeway’s consciousness enters Tom Paris’s body, but then she is immediately stunned by the security forces who think Tom is attacking the captain. When she eventually regains consciousness, what does she notice about her brief time as a “man”? Inquiring minds want to know!
A “Vis-à-vis” episode addition
Two hours had passed since Kathryn Janeway retreated to her ready room to make the official log entry about Voyager’s encounter with Steth, the alien entity who was able to switch his consciousness with other people, basically swapping bodies with them. What she thought would be a routine log entry, however, quickly became a tangled mess.
The alien took over the Tom Paris’s body for a short time, sending Tom’s consciousness away in the body that had arrived in the alien ship. Then the alien took over her own body, putting her consciousness in Tom’s body. That was when the real Steth, who was now a man in a woman’s body, arrived to reclaim his body. He (she?) had been dismayed, of course, to discover that his (her?) body was now light years away, inhabited by Tom. Eventually, the alien went back to the male form it had inhabited before it met Steth, and she and Tom were restored to their proper bodies.
When the alien was in her body, did she refer to it as the alien? As Janeway? As alien Janeway? Alien as Janeway? And when she was in Tom’s body, did she refer to herself as Tom? As Janeway Paris? As Janeway as Paris?
Then there were the pronouns. Was she a she? A he? A s/he? The complexities of keeping everything straight had given her a headache and brought about a long period of reflection along the way on the limitations of language. After several false starts, she finally composed a log entry that seemed to make sense, and then she fixed a sandwich and a cup of coffee for lunch, thinking she’d return to review it later, when her mind was clear.
She was just about to pick up the log again when Chakotay rang her door chime. She had an idea that he wanted to talk, so she invited him to have a seat on the sofa and share a hot drink.
“Is something on your mind?” she asked as she sipped her coffee.
“I’ve been waiting to read your log entry on our recent situation.”
“I forwarded it to you for review.”
He nodded, repressing a grin. “I know. I read it.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, wondering what he found so funny. Had her attempt to be clear simply made the log more complicated? “I hope it made sense.”
“Oh, I managed to keep track of who was who.”
“Oh, good.” She chuckled, her eyes twinkling with good humor. “I started out calling the alien Steth, but then realized that Steth was actually the individual who inhabited the alien woman that found Tom and brought him back to the ship. Well, not Tom in Tom’s body, because Tom was inhabiting the person we first thought was Steth, of course.”
Chakotay laughed and shook his head. “What a puzzle.”
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg! The crew soon realized that my consciousness was trapped in Tom’s body and that my body contained the alien, who needed to be captured and returned to the woman the alien inhabited before becoming Steth.” Chakotay was laughing at her mock serious delivery of the convoluted story. “So the alien returned me to my body, Tom to his body, and Steth to the man’s body, and the woman, who was now the alien–.” She stopped as Chakotay sat back and roared with laughter. “You can laugh all you want, mister, but, I’m telling you, the whole situation was a tangled mess to describe.”
“For what it’s worth,” he replied, still chuckling, ” I thought you did an admirable job.”
“After three tries and a diagram.”
He was still grinning. “My only comment is that you ended the report much too soon.”
“Too soon?” She frowned, trying to think of what she’d overlooked. “I don’t think I left anything out.”
“You most certainly did.” He set his empty mug on the coffee table and leaned toward her, lowering his voice as if someone might overhear him. “You forgot to describe how it felt to be a woman in a man’s body.”
Kathryn’s eyes widened and her cheeks turned bright red. “What are you talking about?” she whispered back. “I didn’t notice anything different.”
“Oh, come on, Kathryn!” He gave her a dimpled grin and a wink. “Inhabiting a man’s body must have felt quite different.”
“Not that I recall.” She looked away from him and shook her head.
“Am I going to have to break into your private log to find out?”
“Well,” she took a deep breath and gave him an even look. “I did notice that things looked different when I was a foot taller. I had no idea how short I am to someone Tom’s size! I think I need taller heels.” At Chakotay’s skeptical look, she added, “I noticed a lot of dust on top of consoles I’d never noticed before. And many of the men around here have the beginnings of male-pattern baldness.”
“Okay,” he chuckled, reaching for the crown of his head. “I guess that’s a start. What else?”
“Frankly, I don’t see the point of this! You’re a man. You know what it’s like to be a man.”
“If I’d been moved to a woman’s body, I assure you that I’d have a story to tell.” He gave her a wicked grin.
“Meaning what? What would you have done?” When she saw the smirk on his face and the way he waggled his eyebrows, she snatched their empty mugs from the table and stood up, hoping to bring the discussion to a very quick end by simply moving on. “On second thought, don’t tell me.”
“Oh, come on, Kathryn. This is a scientific question! Don’t be a prude.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I don’t think your interest in this situation is scientific, Commander. I think it’s voyeuristic and a bit juvenile.”
“Well, what’s wrong with simple curiosity, juvenile or otherwise? You’ve experienced something very few people have, and I think it’s something that two very good friends should share.” His eyes were twinkling with mischief. “It’s just a shame that Tom didn’t get to inhabit your body, don’t you think? I bet he wouldn’t hesitate to provide details.”
“I don’t even want to think about what Tom would say.” She huffed and placed the mugs in the recycler, pausing to consider the curiosity that fueled Chakotay’s questions.
If these inquiries had occurred to her first officer, then she was certain that other members of the crew had come up with similar ones especially that rascal Tom Paris. Perhaps it would be to her advantage to answer Chakotay’s questions as a way of enlisting his help in squashing similar inquiries from the crew.
She turned and said, “I’ll tell you three observations about my experience as long as you agree to let this issue drop.”
“Three observations?” he echoed.
“And you have to agree to squelch any other questions that the other crew members might want to ask me about the experience.” She watched him think. “Agreed?”
“Will you let me decide what three things you divulge?”
She shook her head. “Oh, no, I’m not going to give you that kind of control. However, this is your only offer. Take it, or leave it.”
Chakotay hesitated, but then realized that he might as well take what he could get. He was fairly certain that he could cajole more information out of his captain in the next few days, and so he sat back to listen. “I guess I’ll take the offer.”
“All right.” She leaned against the railing that separated the two levels of the ready room and crossed her arms over her chest. “The first thing that I’ll mention is that I appreciated the added height and bulk of the male body.”
“No fair! You already told me about this part.”
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t repeat myself, and, anyway, I haven’t said anything about the power I felt while I was in the male body. The upper body strength is amazing.”
Chakotay snorted. “That’s saying something when you consider that you were in Tom’s body.”
“Oh, really? You’re implying that a different body would have been even more powerful? A body like yours, I assume.”
“You said it, not me,” he laughed, feeling a blush warm his face. “Okay, taller and stronger is the first thing you noticed.”
“The second thing I noticed was how much fun it is to pee standing up.”
For a long moment, Chakotay simply stared at her in surprise, and then he threw his head back and laughed aloud. When he was finally able to speak normally, he said, “It is fun, isn’t it?”
Kathryn nodded. “And aiming is more of a challenge than I realized.”
“And that’s holding Tom’s—“
Kathryn stopped him with an upraised hand. “We aren’t going to compare sizes again, are we?”
“I guess not,” he chuckled and waggled his eyes. “I’ll just say that there is a big difference between holding a garden hose and holding a fire hose, and leave it at that.”
“Thank God,” she chuckled.
“What else did you notice?” He was leaning forward in anticipation.
“How should I say this?” Kathryn wondered aloud before she simply shrugged. “I guess I’ll just blurt it out. I realized what a challenge it is for a man to hide his arousal when someone he loves comes into a room.” With that, she stood up and started toward the lower level and her desk. “So there you have it, Commander. My three observations.”
Chakotay sat motionless on the sofa watching her as he gradually began to comprehend the true implications of her last comment. His mind went back to the events as they had transpired.
She had been unconscious for most of the time she’d been trapped in Tom’s body. Security had phasered Tom in the ready room, thinking that he was attacking the captain, and the doctor had found it difficult to revive him. Most of the excitement was over before “Tom” regained consciousness; in fact, by that time he was up and about, Steth was in the brig.
“I don’t get it,” he said at last.
She looked up at him, her face inscrutable. “Which part?”
“You were unconscious all but a few minutes that you were in Tom’s body. In fact, not many people even saw you in that condition.”
“Which is fine with me.” She sat down at her desk. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have work to do.”
“You were in sickbay when the doctor revived you, and then you used the head. I was one of the people who ‘walked in on you,’ when I came to Sickbay to take you to the brig so that Steth restore you to your own body.”
“If you say so,” she replied, obviously distracted by whatever she was reading.
His eyes widened. “Are you saying you became aroused when I came into sickbay?”
“I don’t think I said that, did I?” Her voice was completely calm.
“I remember how strange ‘Tom’ looked when I walked into Sickbay.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She gave him a sideways look. “There were a lot of people in and out of sickbay during my recovery.”
“Not while you were awake.” He stood up and walked slowly across the ready room, stopping in front of her desk and leaning over it, his hands placed firmly on the desktop so that he could look her in the eye. “I do know how difficult it is to disguise an arousal when around someone I love, Captain.”
She kept her eyes glued to the PADD, unwilling to look at up at his face when his crotch was also in her line of vision. Long moments passed, and when he realized that she was not going to acknowledge his presence, he stood up and turned toward the door, pausing just before his approach activated the automatic mechanism. He looked back over his shoulder and said, “For the record, I love you, too.”
Kathryn’s eyes snapped up, but all she saw was Chakotay’s retreating back as the door closed behind him, leaving her alone to contemplate the delicacy of the situation.
What had possessed her to say such a thing to him? She was quite certain that he would continue to pry into this, thanks to her bold comment, and she knew that it would be relatively simple to find out who had come into Sickbay once ‘Tom’ had regained consciousness. Kathryn was surprised to admit that she was looking forward to his teasing about it.
She smiled to herself, wondering what Starfleet would think if she amended her official log of the incident to include her three observations about inhabiting a male body. She imagined trying to describe her discomfort when Chakotay arrived unannounced in sick bay and Tom’s body had responded in the only way a man’s body would when he spies his beloved. Would the admiralty be scandalized?
“Too bad we’ll never find out,” she chuckled quietly, and then resumed her reading. “There are some things that Starfleet just doesn’t need to know.”
* * * * *
I have never written a story where Janeway and Chakotay get together while still in the DQ, but I thought there might be some friendly, even affectionate teasing now and then. Hope you enjoyed it!