REFLECTIONS
PART NINE
RATED PG
BRIGHT FUTURES
         He felt the warmth from the twin suns on his face, he could hear the water lapping at the shore, warm, wet lips brushed his.  It was a  beautiful planet and he wanted to stay here with her forever.  The moist lips were kissing his face, his eyes, nuzzling his neck....

"Hey."  She shoved him.

"Wha...?" He groaned, peeking out of one open eye.

"Get up---think you can sleep all day?"  She pushed him again.  "Come on, time to get up."

"God." He squinted at her through blood shot eyes.  "Don't look so damn perky."  He rolled over, burying his head under the pillow and she pulled it away.

"You wanted to talk--now suffer.. get up."

"Ahh Kat, I was having such a nice dream."  He reluctantly sat up.

"Gotta go."  She kissed his head. "See you on the bridge."

      He smiled and shook his head, trying to imagine where that woman got her energy.  He dragged himself out of bed and into the shower.  It would be a long day, nothing much to do and not enough sleep--a really long day.

          She had been on the bridge over an hour, alpha shift were all present--not looking too good, some had a little too much party, but they were there ---with the obvious exception of the Commander.  She was 
tempted to call him from here, but thought better of it and retired to her ready room first.

“Janeway to Chakotay"

"Yes, Captain."  Being unsure of her location, he stuck to protocol.

"Where the hell are you?."  That was a dead give away to her location.

“In the lift-- on my way." 

"I hope you cleaned up better than Tom and some of those younger guys---boy they look bad."

"As well they should, dear---I on the other hand am just tired from your incessant talking all night."

"Your idea as I recall."

"Yes, Ma'am."  She heard the background sounds change, he reached the bridge.

"Commander, Please report to the ready room."

“Aye Captain."  He looked around, a few looked a little green and Tom wasn't his smart-ass self--not as young as he used to be, he thought.

          He rang the chime, funny after all these years, they still played by the book.  At least on the bridge.  She called to open the door and he found her on the couch, coffee ready.

"Hi, you look better."

"Told you, just tired--but your right some of them--wow--even Tom, you would think he would know better."

"Tom? our Tom?  Never, be my guess that he supplied the real stuff--must have gotten it from one of those ships we met the other day."

"I wouldn't know where it came from---of course...."  He grinned.

"Of course--Commander"

“But I can tell you some of it was definitely real."

"Well as long as our groom stands--by him self or with help--that's all we need."

           They enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee, then he returned to the bridge.  Several of the ‘greener’  officers had been replaced, Tom would just have to suffer.

"Kim to Janeway"

"Yes Mr. Kim"

"Captain, receiving a transmission from Admiral Ryker."

"Put it through, Harry."

"Aye, Captain"

           She brought a fresh coffee to her desk, making herself conformable, before flipping on her screen.

"Good morning, Admiral."

"Good morning, Captain---or I guess It's Admiral, now."  He smiled at her surprise.

"Oh?"

“Yes, it's all in the files I'm transmitting, you have been officially promoted to Admiral, congratulations."

"Thank you---I think."

"You thing?  Come on Kathryn you set out to make Admiral before you even entered the academy ---This doesn't make you happy?" 

"Yes and no. I'm not sure I want any rank, just now."

"I can understand that, but hey, even if you retire--the money's better."

"Leave it to you to think of that!" She laughed.

"You've lived on that ship too long----down here on solid ground money can make a difference."

“I'm sure it can.  Thank you Will, how come you get to break the news?"

"Who better?  Besides I have business with you."  He winked at her.  "It's in the files also.  I've just been given control of the Micron Prime project"

"Oh, and are you sending me more persuasive information?"

"Yes, all the details---all that we have so far.  I hope you are still at least considering it."

‘I'm not making any promises---I don't know what I want---except that I think, it's about time Chakotay gets a little choice for a change.

“I really have to hand it to that man, Kathryn--it can't be easy taking orders from your wife for twenty five years."

"I'm sure it's not---and it's nineteen years, we've only been married nineteen years."

"That's a long time---sure you don't want to trade him in?"

"I'm sure, Will."  She shook her head.  "So where is all this information?  I'm not receiving it."

“I sent it to your ops officer---he'll forward it when it's complete, most of it is encrypted."

"Most---Will-- you didn't."

"Yes Ma'am, I 'm afraid I did---by now your entire ship knows of your promotion."

  "I'm gonna kill you, Will.."

  “Relax and enjoy a little Kathryn---you always did get way to serious and you work way too hard.  Read over what I sent you and see what you think---talk it over with your crew if you see fit.  Some of them might want to join you--err--the project.  We'll talk later.  Good bye, Admiral Janeway.”  His grin disappeared, replaced by the blank screen.

           She stared at the blank screen for a minute, shaking her head.  Admiral Janeway, she always thought of her father, when someone said that. She should be happy--Will was right--she had wanted this all her life--it just didn't seem to matter anymore.  Her door chimed.

“Come in Commander."  She smiled, no surprise here.

"Admiral Janeway---congratulations."

"Thank you Commander" She stood and returned his salute.

"Request permission to kiss the Admiral."

"Permission granted."  She stepped from behind the desk and he swept her up in his arms.

"Humm."  He drew back and looked at her, then pulled her close, kissing her again.  He looked down at her again and smiled.  "Humm." 

"What?"  She laughed at his expression.

"I thought it might be different ---kissing an Admiral."

"Disappointed?"

"No--but I think I'll try it again--just to be sure."

           She had been going over the reports, Will sent on Micron Prime, they looked good.  If they wanted it, there were positions many of the crew would fit comfortable into and it would allow them to stay together and to prove themselves in this new environment.  The provisional governorship looked promising, but she still didn't know if she wanted it or not.  She was waiting to see what Chakotay wanted and she strongly suspected he was waiting for her decision.

           Chakotay read all the reports and was impressed with the arrangement of the colony.   He too thought it would be an excellent opportunity for the younger crew to prove themselves and a great place for B'Elanna to showcase her engineering abilities.  A developmental laboratory was planned which would work for any and possibly all the engineering staff and certainly Tom's skills as a designer and pilot were essential to any such program.  Civilian positions were also available, as the intent was to build a stable community, not just a Starfleet base.   There were plans for all sorts of industry and agricultural projects.

"Well, what do you think?"  She tossed a padd on the table and replicated another coffee.

"Looks very promising, I think most of the crew could find a home here, whether or not they choose to stay with fleet.  Great place for the younger ones and this could turn out to be a wonderful place to raise a family."  He smiled at her frown.  "Could be a great place to retire to also."

“Is that what you think you want to do---retire?"  She tried not to sound judgmental--she really didn't want to influence his decision, although that wasn't possible.

"I'm not sure--What do..."

"Chakotay---I really want to know how you feel about it and what it is you want to do --here or where ever."

"I don't know--- honestly."  He held out his hand and she took it.  "I don't think I'll stay with fleet---I told you that before.  That doesn't mean you can't--if this is what you want, it would be a nice place to settle."

"And do what?"

"Whatever.  There is plenty to do. I could grow things, work with my hands --whatever I decide to do. And god knows there are plenty of archeological prospects here, I'm a paleontologist remember---teach, I could work with kids or adults any number of things." 

“I think we need some time off, I know I do --- we've been on duty for most of the last twenty five years---but I don't know if I could actually retire--on a permanent basis.  I hadn't considered an archeological 
expedition--interesting, not my usual field, but I could learn---maybe."

"Kath---think about what you are saying--New Earth was a bit primitive for you and we had replicatiors, sonic showers, an actual shelter, and furniture...."

"And a bath tub!"  She laughed.  "I just said it was something to think about. Anyway this project is just starting---We don't need to decide now. Even if I wanted this position, it would be months, maybe even a year before I would have to take it." 

"So you have time and it sounds like a worth while thing to present to the crew---don't you think?  Tell them what we know so they can have time to consider it, ask questions, make decisions."

“Yes, I think you're right.  We should present it to the senior staff and let them each inform their own departments.  How about this afternoons meeting?"

"OK--How about lunch?"

“Do you ever think about anything but food?"  He grinned at her and she just smiled.  "OK, so do you ever think about anything besides food and sex?"

"I'll get back to you- on that."  He grabbed her hand.  "After lunch, come on."

           The Senior staff meeting went well.  The news of this project was a welcome relief for most.  No one was very sure what they would do now that they were home and certainly there was skepticism about fitting into a conventional Starfleet environment.  Now at least they would have options and something to offer their staffs---something with promise.

            By dinnertime Micron Prime was the talk of the ship.  They were having dinner in the mess hall, it started out just the Captain and her First officer, just trying to be available to the crew and to get some   insight into how they were feeling.  They was excitement in the air tonight, the wedding was tomorrow, and weddings always brought joy to the crew, but their was a under current of excitement they hadn't seen in a while.  This was suddenly a crew with a future.

"Thank you Will Ryker."  Kathryn whispered as she looked around at her crew.

"It has brought new life.  I hadn't realized how much apprehension there really was."

"I know, we’ve spent so much time concentrating on getting here we rarely considered what we would do when we did."

"You grew up on earth and it may not really be home--most of these people have never been there."

"I know, we have the only Starfleet crew without native planets---well we are nothing if not unique." 

“Hi.”  B’Elanna joined them.  “Oh excuse me. Permission to join you Admiral.”

“Sit down B’Elanna and don’t start.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”  B’Elanna sat across from her.  “This is really something isn’t it?”  She nodded her head toward the crew.

“Yes, everyone seems quite excited.”

“I know my staff are, they can’t wait to sign up.”  She arranged her tray so Tom and Harry could join them.   “Tom and I are pretty happy too, I don’t think we’re standard Starfleet material.”

“What about you two?”  Tom settled in beside B’Elanna.

“We’re talking about it---I don’t know.”

“They offered her the governorship---but she’s waiting to see what I want to do.”  Chakotay explained.

“Wow, that’s great—are you gonna take it?”

“We haven’t made any decisions yet---we’re talking about all the possibilities.” 

“She means she’s waiting for me to make up my mind.”  Chakotay laughed when she glared at him.  “Come on Kathryn—I know you.  Try all you want to hide it---you want this so bad you can taste it.”

“I am considering it, but…”

“But nothing—she wants it –a chance to stay with this crew—or at least most of it from the looks of things and to oversee a project of this importance-- she just won’t act on it with out my support.”

“I would like to know what you would prefer to do---- it is your life too.”

“Hey I didn’t mean to start a fight.”  Tom shook his head at them.

“We’re not fighting Tom..”

“Hell -no You’ll know when we’re fighting, the whole ship will know when we’re fighting.”  Chakotay interrupted, her and got his arm punched for his efforts.

“Yea, I remember lots of those, times when she went ahead and did things without your support.”  B’Elanna tried to change the subject.

“Never without my support—with out my agreement, yes, but never have I not supported her.  Even when she made a deal with the devil—Right Kat?”

“Yes, even though I didn’t always believe it at the time, when he was arguing with me and telling me those stories, but in retrospect –I have to say he always supported me.”

“Even when we all thought you had lost your mind.”  Tom injected.

“Oh-- when was that—Mr. Paris?”

“Come on Kat—Cap—Admiral, you had some scary ideas.”  Tom searched for an example.  “OK how about the deal you made with the borg?  That was scary and it almost got you killed.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Harry was still in sick bay recovering from his contact with a new species, which they had learned was species 8472. A species from fluidic space who were at war with the Borg.  The doctor had discovered a treatment for Harry, which the Captain planned to market to her Borg as a biological weapon to be used against their new enemy.  She had finished explaining her plan to the senior staff and dismissed them, only Chakotay stayed behind.

“You were awfully quiet.”  She watched his expression closely.

“I didn’t want the others to hear this.”  He moved closer to her.  “But I think what you’re proposing is too great a risk.”

“How so?”

“There’s a story, I heard as a child---a parable and I never forgot it.  A scorpion was walking along the bank of a river.”   He walked away from her, turning his back.  “Wondering how to get to the other side---suddenly he saw a fox. He asked the fox to take him on his back across the river. The fox said no—If I do that you’ll sting me and I’ll drown.  The scorpion assured him—if I did that we’d both drown.  So the fox thought about it and finally agreed.  So the scorpion climbed up on his back and the fox began to swim, but half way across the river, the scorpion stung him.  As the poison filled his veins the fox turned to the scorpion and said -why did you do that, now you’ll drown too.  I couldn’t help it said the scorpion, it’s my nature.”

“I understand the risk and I’m not proposing that we try to change the nature of the beast, but this is an unique situation.  To our knowledge the Borg have never been so threatened—their vulnerable ---I think we can take advantage of that.” 

“Even if we do somehow negotiate an exchange.  How long will they keep up their end of the bargain? It could take months to get across borg territory---we will be facing thousands of systems –millions of vessels”

“But only one collective and we’ve got them over a barrel.  We don’t need to give them a single bit of information--  not until we’re safe.  We just need the courage to see this through to the end.”

“There are other kinds of courage—like the courage to accept there are some situations beyond your control, not every problem has an immediate solution.”

“Your suggesting we turn around.”

“Yes, we should get out of harms way—let them fight it out.  In the mean time, there is still plenty of delta quadrant left to explore, we may find another way home”

“Or we may find something else—six months or a year down the road—after species 8472 get through with e borg- we could find ourselves right back in the line of fire and we’ll have missed the window of opportunity that exists right here---right now.”

“How much is our safety worth?”

“What do you mean?”

“We’d be giving an advantage to a race guilty of murdering billions.  We’d be helping the borg assimilate another species, just to get ourselves back home.”  His anger got the better of him and he began to yell.  “It’s wrong.”

“Tell that to Harry Kim---he’s barely alive, thanks to that species---maybe helping to assimilate them isn’t such a bad idea.  We could be doing the Delta quadrant a favor.” 

“I don’t think you really believe that—I think you’re struggling to justify your plan---because your desire to get this crew home is blinding you to other options.  I know you Kathryn, sometimes you don’t know when to step back..”

“Do you trust me, Chakotay?”

“That isn’t the issue..”

“Oh but it is—only yesterday you were saying that we’d face this together, that you’d be at my side.”

“I still have to tell you what I believe---I’m no good to you if I don’t do that.”

“I appreciate your insights, but the time for debate is over---I’ve made my decision. Now—“She look at him and spoke in a softer voice.  “Do I have your support?”

“You’re the Captain—I’m the First Officer.  I’ll follow your orders—but that doesn’t change my belief that we’re making a fatal mistake.” 

They were standing very close and to spit her conviction, tears threatened in her eyes.

“Then I guess I’m alone after all---Dismissed”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“We didn’t stop fighting even after you almost got yourself killed.”

“You reversed every decision I had made –how did you expect me to react?”

“I didn’t see any other way.”

“You could have…”  She laughed.  “Listen to us still fighting about it twenty some years later.”

“Agree to disagree—we learned it that day and we’ve done it well ever since.----most of the time”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      The Captain was severely injured in the blast that destroyed the Borg  cube.  Fortunately, Seven of Nine had been successful in transporting herself, the Captain and several other drones, to Voyager just prior to the destruction of the cube.  The blast disrupted all the Captain’s  neuro electo pathways and the doctor was forced to induce a coma in an effort to protect her higher brain functions.   Both she and Chakotay understood that unless the doctor was successful in repairing the damage, she would never regain consciousness. 

    During the time the Captain was incapacitated, Chakotay learned the truth about the war with species 8472.  He decided against the alliance with the Borg, but the borg refused to accept this and tried to force Voyager into their fight.  Chakotay had the cargo bay depressurized and the borg dumped out into space.  However, Seven survived and managed to open a singularity and strand Voyager in fluidic space, forcing them to fight to survive. 

    Having successfully completed the surgery, the doctor revived the Captain and informed her of the latest developments.   She was more than a little upset when her First Officer reported to sickbay.

“The doctor brought me up to speed, but he couldn’t tell me what I really wanted know.  Why?”

“The collective ordered me to reverse course---travel 40 light years back the way we came.  What would you have done?”

“I probably would have reversed course, maintained the alliance as long as possible.”

“In my mind the alliance was already over.”

“You never trusted me—never believed this would work.  You were just waiting for an opportunity to circumvent my orders.”

“Trust had nothing to do with it----I made a tactical decision.”

“And so did I.”

“They’ve been taking advantage of us since day one.”

“We made concessions---so did they.”

“They lied---the borg started the war with species 8472.”  He watched her walk away, allowed her a minute to think about this. “We’ve only got one Borg left to worry about—we should try to disable her and get back to the delta quadrant.  We might be able to duplicate the deflector protocols they used to open a singularity.

“NO—I won’t be caught tinkering with the deflector when those aliens attack--- There is no other way out of this, Chakotay. It’s too late for opinions too late for discussions it’s time to make the call and I’m making it—we fight the aliens in full cooperation with the borg.

“I was linked to a collective once, remember---I had a neuro transceiver imbedded in my spine---I know who we’re dealing with—we’ve got to get rid of that last borg and take our chances alone.”

“It won’t work.”  She walked away from him, stopped and turned back.  “This isn’t working either there are two wars going on –the one out there and the one in here .” She moved closer and look up at him. “We’re losing both of them.”

“It will be your undoing…”

“What?”

“Our conflicted nature—our individuality –Seven of Nine said that we lacked the cohesion of a collective mind –that one day it would divided us and destroy us, and here we are proving her point.”

“I’ll tell you when we lost control of the situation---when we made out mistake—it was the moment we turned away from each other---we don’t have to stop being individuals to get through this—we just have to stop fighting each other.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

“Yes, we made a sort of pact about that but..”  She raised an eyebrow at him.  “Looking back I find it rather interesting that you found your ‘encounter’ with the borg was such a harrowing experience.”

“You’ve been there –you know what it’s like.”  He tried to steer her away from his experience. 

“Yes, but B’Elanna and I.” She nodded at B’Elanna.  “Were actually assimilated—you were merely temporally linked.  Not an totally unpleasant experience –as I recall.”

“OK, OK I have no defense---let’s talk about Riley.”  He threw his hands up, laughing.

“Riley? --Oh yes, Dr Fraiser, your borg-er--friend.” 

“Oh---like you- for even one second -didn’t know who she was.”  He shook his head,  “Twenty years and still I can’t live this down.”

“Come on Chak –it might not be so bad if you didn’t try to pass of you dalliance with the robo blond as something akin to assimilation.”  B’Elanna rolled her eyes at him.

“Robo blond?!  Nice B’Ella.   I will thank you two to remember Riley saved my life.”

“Yea---I wonder why.”  Tom slapped him on the back.    “I must say you sure had less trouble with the borg than she did.”  He cocked his head in Kathryn’s direction.   “Maybe Riley is why she’s always been so intent on beating them.” 

“And I did in the end—didn’t I?”

“Yes, but you scared the hell out of us all many times before that.”  Tom agreed.  “Like the time you went after Seven and wanted me to blow you up---yea I could come back here and he would let me live if I blew you up---but would I want to live when he was done with me---I don’t think so.”

“And all these years I thought you were concerned for me---you just didn’t want to face Chakotay if the flyer came home with out me.”

“Yes ma’am you got that one right---I would rather be a drone.”

‘Well fortunately for all of us we won that one.”

“By the skin of out teeth.
 
 

      Tom was in the flyer, his orders to target the Queen’s main chamber and fire on the Captain’s command---which he hoped would not be necessary.  Tuvok and the Captain beamed aboard the sphere, in search of Seven.  They separated and the Captain headed to the chamber where she found the Queen, Seven and a dozen or so drones. 

“We believed.”  Seven tried to strike the queen, but she grabbed her arm and held it. “You would be an asset to us—we were wrong –you are weak.”
 

“Don’t listen to her Seven.”  The Captain entered, Phaser rifle at the ready.  “She’s irrelevant.   Call them off or I’ll destroy you.”  She warned the queen as the drones approached.

“Your weapons are useless.”

“Don’t be so sure—my tactical officer is disabling the shields around this room.”  She tapped her comm badge.  “Tom status”

“We have targeted the chamber, Captain”

“Let her go or I’ll give the order to fire.”

“You would be destroyed as well—along with your crewman.”

“Better than being one of you.”  The drones moved toward the Captain again. “Tom high yield torpedoes—full spread-fire on my command.”

The Queen looked up and the drones stopped in place.

“Captain they’ve disengaged the tractor.”  Tom reported from the flyer.

“Hold your fire—beam us out of here.”

“A dispersal field just activated around the chamber your in –can’t get a lock.”

“Seven –shut down that field.”  She advance, her rifle aimed at the Queen.

“Don’t listen to her—she’s poisoned your thoughts long enough.”

“I’m giving you an order.”  She spoke to Seven but never moved her eyes from the queen.

“One order—one voice—insignificant.”

     Seven looked from the Captain to the Queen and back, before moving to shut down the field.

“Tom energize.”

‘She’s adapting.”  Seven warned the Captain.

“The field went up again---I can’t beam you out.”

“You will assist the collective as drones—Assimilate them.”  The Queen ordered the drones forward.

“Captain –target the power node directly above this outcove—it will disrupt her command interface.”  Seven advised the Captain, as she stared down the Queen.  “Our thoughts are one.”

    The Captain raised the rifle and destroyed the power node.  In the next second Tom beamed them both back to the flyer.
 

“You know I think I like Chakotay’s borg friends better than your’s –no offense.”  Harry had his own borg tale to relate.

“Come on Harry what’s a couple of neuro transceivers among friends.” 

“Hey they are not my friends---I remember the day her friend called, when I had the bridge.”  Harry laughed at the memory.

“We all do Harry.”  Chakotay laughed too.  “Kathryn and I were coming out of that meeting and the lights started to dim and flicker.”  He couldn’t hold back the laugh and the others joined him.  “This voice comes over the comm—I almost didn’t think it was you  ‘Captain---I think it’s for you.’”
 

     The Captain and Commander walked on to the darkened bridge, the only light coming from the large view screen.

“Captain.”  The unmistakable voice of the borg Queen greeted her.

“It’s been a long time.”  The Captain moved to the center of the bridge—Chakotay with her. “How are things in the collective?” 

“Perfect----for the most part---Voyager?”

“Never better.”

“I understand you’ve established contact with Starfleet.  Perhaps you’ll be getting home sooner than you expected.”

“Perhaps.”

“We could help you.”

“How so?”  Chakotay joined the conversation.

“Trans warp technology---you’d find that we can be quite accommodating , but we’d expect the same in return.”

“I’m not sure I know what you mean” The Captain intended to give away nothing.

“You know exactly what I mean.  Tend to your own crew ---stay away from thing that don’t concern you.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, but thanks for the offer.”

“I won’t be as accommodating next time –reconsider.”

“I’m sorry..”

“We’ll see you soon Harry.” 

“What’d she mean by that?”  Harry questioned as the screen went dark.

“Why the stab at diplomacy?”  Chakotay questioned the Captain, both ignoring Harry’s concern.

“She’s trying to find out what we’re up to—she’s worried.—Have B’Elanna and Tuvok meet me in sick bay.”
 

“You were scared?”  B’Elanna shook her head at Harry.  “How the hell did you think I felt?”

“You volunteered—that’s just plain nuts.   The first thing you learn in the academy is never Volunteer –for gods sake.”  Harry turned to Kathryn.  “I love you –you know that, but I was not going on that cube for anything---that ‘woman’ made my skin crawl.”

“She liked you Harry.”  Kathryn teased. 

“Yea, A little too much for my taste.”  Harry winced.  “Besides some one had to stay here and baby sit these two.”  He placed a hand on Tom’s shoulder and nodded toward Chakotay.  “I was very busy—I had them and I had to take care of the ship—come on they were useless and you took Tuvok and B’Elanna---I had Joe and Seven, now that’s a scary team.”

“Excuse me Mr. Kim---Was there something wrong with my performance?”  Joe pulled a chair up next to Chakotay.

“Now Joe—You know I didn’t mean that—you just weren’t B’Elanna.”   Harry defended himself. 

“I used to that Harry—I never have been B’Elanna.”  Joe laughed.

“Thank God.”  Tom looked him over.  “No offense Joe, but..”

“None taken, Tom—you’re not my type either.”

“Speaking of your type where’s Sam?”  B’Elanna asked.

“At ‘Wedding central’---I couldn’t stand it any more.  Harry, Jenny is up to her ears in this too, I thought we could get in a game at Sandrine’s tonight.”

“Good idea—how about the rest of you?” 

“I’m always up for pool---B’E?”

“Sure.”  She turned to the others  “Do admirals play pool or are you too good for us now/”

“Yes.”  Kathryn laughed. “Yes we play pool and I have always been too good for you.—at pool anyway”  She looked at Chakotay.  “Well?”

“More decisions?  God, she gets promoted and suddenly I have to make all these decisions.”  He gave her a wide dimpled grin and shook his head.  “Don’t you understand yet?  I married you so I wouldn’t have to make decisions.”

“Are you implying I’m a little----overbearing?!”  She placed her hand on her hip and raised an eyebrow.

“I’m implying nothing—you are a lot overbearing!”

“OK-- we will be off now---see you at Sandrine’s?”  Harry stood up.

“See, Kathryn –you scared poor Harry again!” 

“Here comes another  ‘non fight’—see you guys at Sandrine’s.”  Tom got up laughing.  “Come on B’E”

“OK—You coming?”

“Yes—just let me change.”  Kathryn looked at Chakotay, daring him to say something.

“Not a word---I have nothing to say.”   He stood and held his hand out to her.  “Shall we?”

     They all laughed as they exited the mess hall. 

TBC

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