|ALONG THE WAY|
|"So tell me about Admiral Riker." Chakotay
sat across from her at the table.
"About this offer---you know as much as I do, we need a lot more information --but it might be interesting." She was looking down and hadn't noticed the face he made at her answer. "This is very good----" She looked up to see him smirking at her. "What?"
"I wasn't asking about Micron Prime--I want to know about you and Will Riker." He raised an eyebrow. "And why have you never told me about him?"
"What!? Please, there was never a 'me and Will' ---we were at the Academy at the same time--in fact he was a year behind me---that would be your class, you tell ME about Will Ryker."
"I didn't know him--not surprising, I didn't know you either, besides he didn't proposition me."
"Some proposition---just wanted me to dump you--never did offer much in return." She pretended to think about it. "Maybe I'll ask for clarification."
"On Micron Prime?"
"Very cute." He smiled showing off the dimples. "So tell me how you knew him." He teased.
"Just barely, Will was a real ladies man, a party guy-never sleep, never study and never be alone. I think that was his motto--any way with his dark good looks and those killer blue eyes--he didn't have any trouble finding a date."
"And were you in this line of conquests?"
"Please--I had no time for parties or dates and certainly no time for the likes of Will Riker. I was a legacy and out to prove I deserved to be there. Will dated one--well actually several of the girls in my house and I met him there."
"So you didn't fall in line?"
"I had no use for Will's kind, I had serious work to do, not that he would be interested in my type either."
"Seemed to be today."
"Sure, now that we are the returning heroes---limelight would appeal to him." She laughed. "Actually we disliked each other alot at first, then one night just before a big exam, Shara and Will came to me for help--so I helped them get through it and I guess he decided I wasn't as bad as he thought. I know that was the first time I realized there was more to him--real potential--Will is very intelligent--he just wouldn't work hard, always just got by on natural ability and looks."
"So that's how you got the nick name?"
"I helped him with a few other subjects from to time --but being seen with me kinda cramped his style so he always referred to me as the 'broad with the brains' ---- it prevented damage to his rep and allowed him to pick my brain when he needed to."
"Sorry to disappoint you--that's it. I graduated the following year and started a very busy career--I don't think I saw Will again for ten years. We occasionally ran into each other at a Fleet function and he would complain that I out ranked him and explain, to which ever blond he was with, that I got him through the academy--which was greatly exaggerated-and call me a 'broad with brains' and that's all. So what do you think about Micron Prime?"
"Like you said not enough information--but I think we should listen. Something else we can consider and maybe some of the crew would be interested, but I would wait to say anything until we have more information."
"Yea, I think so too. If it's not too isolated it might be a good place for some of our younger crewmembers--like are soon to be newly weds. I'm not sure how well mixing them with straight fleeters would work right off the bat--their training, while thorough and very practical is much different than the academy."
"True if nothing else it would ease the transition. Which doesn't mean that you have to be a part of it--or not. We still have choices."
"I know and I promise we will make this one together. My duty to the crew is fulfilled by bringing them home--anything else we do is for us----and if we help others- OK. Fair?"
"Deal. Now, finish up and get that bath you wanted---we are due at Sandrine's in just over an hour. I'll clean this up."
It was more like an hour and a half, maybe even closer to two, when they arrived at the holodeck. Sandrine's was busy, but they spotted Tom by the pool table and Chakotay headed directly there while Kathryn stopped to get them drinks and say hello to Sandrine.
"So, my friend they tell me we are almost home--this is every thing you have worked for, yes?" Sandrine was much more, after all these years, than the holographic owner of this bar.
"Yes, it is and it's very exciting."
"Yet, you are still not happy. Why?"
"I'm happy--there are just so many decisions to make now---everything will change."
"Yes, but change is inevitable---things have changed since the first time you came in here. You have changed."
Kathryn nodded as she thought about her first visit to Sandrine's.
They were set to explore that nebula, her shift was over and she was headed to her quarters for a quiet night and some rest. She rode the lift with young Ensign Kim and when it stopped at deck Harry got off, bidding the Captain good night. Harry suddenly turned around and addressed her with some uncertainty.
"What is it Ensign?"
"I don't mean to be out of place, but, if you care to join us you'd be welcome."
She soon found out where--Sandrine's. Tom Paris had developed a holoprogram based on the wharf-side bistro he visited in Marseilles, France. The bistro was complete with traditional pool table, owner -bartender Sandrine, pool sharks and a french gigolo. When Harry and the Captain entered, Chakotay, Tom and B'Elanna were involved in a pool game. She looked around in awe--it was a wonderful recreation.
"As you were." She automatically remarked to the crew man who noticed her. "Well, this is remarkable." She turned to look at Tom, lounging against the pool table. "Mr. Kim tells me this is your doing Mr. Paris."
"Ahhh--Yea, it's just a little diversion, Captain."
"One always knows when a woman of good breeding enters a room." The man pushed past Harry, taking the Captain's hand and kissing it. "Mon cherie, may I request your favorite song, so we may dance before I take you to my private boudoir on the wharf and make passionate love to you."
Tom crossed the room in two strides getting between the gigolo and the Captain.
"Sorry---If I had some kind of warning that you were coming."
"You would have changed it.." She smirked, shaking her head. "And I would have missed all the fun. To Tom's relief she laughed and continued to survey the place.
"Just don't know what the dolls see in the gigolo--do you?" The pool shark was speaking with B'Elanna. "Now me, I got a whole different approach going. Treat a lady like a trap and a trap like a lady--never fails."
"Paris." B'Elanna called across the room. "Did you program this guy?"
"He's a pig and so are you." She whirled around and left.
"Almost never" The bewildered pool shark mumbled.
"Is this pool or billiards?" The Captain asked as she approached the table.
"Ahhh--- pool." Tom answered.
"Right -pool's the one with the pockets---Would you mind if I gave it a try?"
"Avece Vous--leave the handsome young woman some room." The gigolo nudged Tom out of the way and stood next to Tuvok. "Tell me---does she have money?"
"Commander Chakotay--your stick." She held out her hand.
"It's called a cue, Captain." He handed it to her.
"Cue-- alright-now what do we do--do I go first?" She looked at Tom and he signaled her to take the first shot.
The balls were racked and the Captain broke, sinking four solid balls in the process. Everyone's eyebrows went up.
"Solids" The Captain continued to shoot.
"I saw that coming a mile away, didn't you." Sandrine spoke to Harry as she ran her fingers through his hair. "You got a lot to learn--I've got a lot to teach.
The Captain meanwhile proceeded to clear the table leaving her only the eight ball. She lined up her shot, leaned over the table then turned her head to Tom.
"Eight ball in the side pocket." She sunk it without even looking at the ball....
"You always tell me not to worry."
"And we have survived twenty five years and now we are home---was I right---did I not tell you, you could do it?"
"Yes, my friend you did--you gave me a lot of good advice--some of it I even followed." She laughed as Sandrine nodded her head and automatically looked toward Chakotay.
"And still he waits for you--go enjoy--I will see you later."
Kathryn took the drinks and worked her way to the pool table. Tom and Harry were playing and she joined the others at the table.
"Your old friend have more advise for you?" Chakotay smiled as she handed him his drink.
"When have you know Sandrine not to have advice for me?" She sat next to him.
"I'm gonna miss her." B'Elanna commented. "I'm gonna miss this place--we had a lot of fun on this holodeck."
"Yea, and some trouble too." Kathryn smiled. "But Tom created Sandrine's, you'll get to take it with you."
"Won't be the same, somehow."
"Remember when Harry fell for that Holocharacter--what was her name?" Jenny shook her head. "You know--- the one who like Tuvok instead."
"I don't remember her name-- I know the one you mean --she was really just projecting herself into that image, though-" B'Elanna called out to Harry. "Hey Starfleet--come here."
"What?" Harry came over and took a drink. "Oh hi, 'bout time you got here."
"Hi--listen we were just trying to remember a name --you're good at that."
"That alien, alone on the spacestation---the one who projected herself onto the holodeck--she was at the luau..."
"Oh her--" Harry cut Kathryn off. "The one who went for Tuvok? Yea-- Marlena, her name was Marlena at least the holocharacter's was."
"That's right----Marlena." Jenny laughed. "Poor Harry."
"What's this about poor Harry?" Tom joined them.
"We were talking about Marlena that ...."
"Yea--I know who she was." This time Tom cut her off. "I had to suffer through that one with him---gods he was always falling for the wrong ones."
"I was not."
"Come on, Harry.--the wrong twin--the lonely alien holocharacter, the dearly departed...."
"Yea, Ensign Ballard--nice girl" B'Elanna thought for a minute. "I know, how about the Varro--boy you almost ended up in the brig over that one Starfleet."
Her name was Tal." Chakotay offered. "Even I will never forget that one, didn't think you were gonna live through it."
"I wasn't that bad, not suicidal or anything."
"I don't think that's what they meant, Harry." Kathryn laughed "I think they thought I was going to kill you--and to be honest if it had been someone else---anyone else ---I might have."
Voyager had encountered a generational ship with engine problems. The ship was really a floating community, generations of Varro all living in space. When the Captain looked at them she could see the possibility of this being Voyager's future, after all at their current rate it would take Voyager generations to get home. She offered assistance to the Varro, hoping in return to learn some of their methods or exchange ideas and better insure their own future.
Jipped, the Varro leader, reluctantly accepted Janeway's assistance, but fought her each step of the way. While working on the Varro ship, Ensign Kim met and fell in love with a young woman named Tal. When the Captain found out that Harry had been intimate with Tal, without medical clearance or regard for any regulations or protocol, she ordered him to break off the relationship.
Unfortunately breaking off this relationship was even harder than most, which Harry discovered when he visited Tal to explain. The Varro form a bond with a potential mate which they call 'olan vora' or shared heart and it grows stronger each time the two are together. Harry was unable to break off the relationship and as a result, he and Tal were caught together in a shuttle, just as she was exposed as a co-conspirator in a plot to break up the generational ship. After a tense meeting between the Captain, her senior staff and Jipped and Tal, Harry and the Captain were left alone in the briefing room.
"Stow it Ensign---Right now the only thing standing between you and the brig is this report." She waved a padd at him. "The doctor's bio scans confirm that you and Tal have developed some sort of bio chemical bond and clearly it's effecting your behavior so---." She turned to face him. "I have to assume that's why you disobeyed my orders. Report to sickbay--you'll be confined there until this is over." She turned and walked on to the bridge, Harry followed.
"Captain." Harry yelled after her.
"I told you." She spun around raising her voice also. "to report for treatment."
"I don't want treatment."
"In my ready room!" Janeway growled as she stormed across the
bridge. She entered and turned on him the second the door closed.
"You have thirty seconds before I have Tuvok drag you to sickbay."
"Captain, I am Not sick---I didn't disobey your orders because I'm under some alien influence---I disobeyed your orders because, Tal and I are in love and it's not right for you to keep us apart."
"You listen to yourself---you don't sound any thing like the Harry Kim I know."
"Good--- I have served on this ship for five years and said yes ma'am to everyone of your orders--but not this time.."
"You're willing to risk you rank---your career over this?"
"Have you ever been in love, Captain?"
"Did your skin ever flush when you're near another person?--- did your stomach ever feel like someone hollowed it out with a knife, when you were apart?---did your throat ever swell when you realized it was over?---Seven of Nine told me love's like a disease---well maybe it is---pheromones, endorphins, chemicals in our blood, changing our responses, physical discomfort---but any way you look at it it's still love."
"For the sake of argument, let's say you're right---your feeling for Tal are not different than mine for what--the man I was engaged to marry, well I lost him and you're going to lose Tal---you know that--what the doctor is offering you is a way to ease the pain."
"That man you were going to marry--if you could have just taken a hypospray to make yourself stop loving him---so that it didn't hurt so much when you were away from him--would you have done that?"
At that moment the ship rocked almost knocking them over.
"Captain to the bridge" Chakotay's voice called.
The Captain gave Ensign Kim one last look and exited to the bridge.
"We're detecting structural breaches on the Varro ship"
The Captain stopped and looked back at Harry.
"Take you station." She ordered.
When they had done what they could and bid the Varro good bye, Harry reported to sick bay as ordered, but still refused treatment. The Captain having had time to calm down and consider Harry's argument went to check on him.
"Captain, just the person I wanted to see." The doctor rushed toward her. "This nonsense has gone on long enough, order Mr. Kim to take his medication"
"Is his condition fatal?"
"That's hardly the point."
"Will he recover without taking his medication?"
"Yes--but it could take weeks, even months."
"Well then, if Mr. Kim wants to suffer.."
"Sometimes I think everyone on this ship had been possessed by alien hormones."
"Would you excuse us, please?" The Captain politely asked the doctor, who not so politely huffed off into his office, leaving her alone with Harry.
"Oh don't thank me, I have no intention of relieving you of your duties, no matter how lousy you feel." She came up behind him and leaned on the bio bed, he sat on.
"And the reprimand still stands." She walked around the bed and pulled herself up next to him. "I've been thinking about how I reacted to your relationship with Tal."
"You reacted like any Captain would."
"Probably---I can't help wondering if my response would have been the same if it had been -say-Tom Paris instead of you---Oh don't get me wrong I still would have been angry and disappointed, but I wouldn't have been surprised."
"Because Ensign Kim doesn't break the rules."
"The truth Harry--I think about you differently than the rest of the crew, which isn't to suggest I don't care deeply about each of them. ---You came to me, fresh out of the academy, wide eyed with excitement about your first deep space assignment. From that first day, I've always felt more protective of you, than the others."
"I appreciate that---but that was five years ago, I've changed."
"Yes, you have"
"Maybe I'm not the perfect officer anymore."
"Maybe not---but you're a better man."
"Yep, our little Harry all grown up and out of his mind." Jenny patted Harry's head. "What the hell were you thinking---fighting with her? A person could get killed that way, I remember thinking we were gonna lose you Sam---remember?"
"Jenny gods--stop it it wasn't like that at all." Sam made a face, then glanced at Kathryn. "She never even threatened me--god she never said anything at all--never even looked at me--like I didn't even exist---yea, Jen it was almost like being dead."
"Come on guys --you make me out to be some kind of evil..."
"Bitch? Is that the word your looking for?" Chakotay gave her a dimpled grin.
"Well, no not exactly--but OK --tell me what I ever did to deserve this reputation." Kathryn demanded.
"Oh nothing--nothing we knew about anyway--you are the Captain--that was enough." Sam shrugged.
"And us lowlings were scared shitless of you."
"I was so bad that you thought a date ...
"Several--several months of dates." Sam corrected.
"Several months of dates---obviously you are no longer 'scared shitless' ---these dates with Chakotay--a man I repeatedly turned down...
"For almost six years." Chakotay offered.
"For almost six years--" Kathryn continued. "You all believed, I was going to extract some kind of retribution?"
"YES!" They answered together.
"Gods, I was better than I thought." Kathryn laughed "You know Sam--you were not the only one.--- not even the only one on this ship---Not that I was paying attention."
"But she could give them to you name rank and serial number, in chronological order, alphabetized or by dress size----but she didn't care what I did."
"And most of them were blondes."
"OK, don't think I want to get into this battle--so why don't we pick on Tom." Harry offered.
No, wait a minute---I wasn't finished with Harry."
"There was another Holocharacter---Maggie, Maggie OHallerian." Chakotay chimed in. "Sorry Harry but every man for himself."
"Oh yea the fair Maggie, from Fair Haven." Tom nodded
"Yea, and you almost got us killed turning her into a cow." Harry laughed.
"Ahh, but Harry the look on your face would have been worth burning at the stake---well almost."
"Thankfully, you were saved with the help of the Captain's boyfriend." Jenny turned to Kathryn. "He was a cutie--Michael Sullivan, yep --a little old for me--but cute."
"Yes, Michael---You haven't visited him in years." Chakotay smirked.
"Are you sure, Chalk?" B'Elanna teased. "She did have quite a thing for him--and you would never know--unless of course you were the chief engineer and had to access those files at times." She raised an eyebrow at Kathryn.
"Kathryn---have you been sneaking around with Michael?" Chakotay turned to her.
"I do not sneak around--when I spent time with Michael--everyone knew it" She gave him a smile. "You on the other hand were not always so open about your "holo friends" were you Chakotay."
"No one cared, what I did---if someone had asked I would have told them. In fact I remember telling you about some of those friends--just after your first visit to Fair Haven"
"OK--- maybe it is time to pick on Tom." Kathryn looked around for support.
"Yea, he has a great record." B'Elanna offer her support. "He can really pick them---besides most of the women on the ship--how about Lidell--remember her, Tom?"
"God how could I forget. Convicted of murder, that crazy sentence of reliving the crime through the victim eyes over and over and over. Oh yea she was a really good choice ." Tom shook his head--I never thought I would want to kiss Tuvok--but I sure did the day he got me out of that."
"I can do one better than that." Harry wanted to get his licks in. "Alice"
"Boy I remember when she took over completely. Tom just shook his head.
Tom had spent all his free time restoring the derelict ship he named Alice. She was a beautiful ship equipped with neural interlinks and a mind of her own. She used that link to project an image of herself--in what ever form appealed to her current pilot. When she tried to kill B'Elanna, Tom drew the line and tried to walk away, but she wouldn't let him go.
"Think you can just walk away?"
"Watch me." Tom pushed past her.
'So this is the REAL Tom Paris--life throws up a few road blocks and He heads for the nearest exit."
"Get away from me." He shoved her away.
"I need you."
"You should have thought of that before you tried to kill B'Elanna." Tom got into the lift and the door closed between them. "Sickbay"
"Remember how you felt when you first saw me?" She was standing next to him in the lift. "You knew we were meant to be together."
"I was wrong."
"Think of how it feels when you're sitting at the helm and the interface is active."
"It's OVER Alice." He was screaming inches from her face. "One way or the other I'm getting the hell away from you."
"I'm sorry you feel that way." She leaned back and concentrated, causing almost unbearable pain in Tom's head.
"What are you doing to me?" Tom was screaming with the pain.
"Convincing you to do the right thing. Take us to the shuttle bay --we're leaving Voyager."
"NO -- GOODDD" He crumpled in pain.
"Please Tom, I don't want to hurt you-- the shuttle bay --NOW."
"Deck ten shuttle bay." Tom succombed to the pain.
"B'Elanna came to me, but I thought it was just another lovers quarrel----you have to admit with you two it's rather common."
"Yeah, until he and Alice left." Chakotay explained. "We had one hell of a time with that one , back to the junk dealer, tracking you, Alice knowing everything we would try ,'cause she was inside your head. She wanted to kill you too--taking you into that particle fountain."
"I got to go on one of the strangest away missions I've ever been on. B'Elanna smile. "But you're worth if, honey." And everyone laughed as she pretended to gag.
"At least you thought so then---dear." Tom kissed her cheek.
B'Elanna's telepathic away mission had been successful and Tom was in sick bay--almost as good as new.
"You'll need a few days to recover--think you can manage to stay off your feet for that long." The Doctor asked in his usual sarcastic manner.
"If he doesn't ---I'll break his legs" B'Elanna came up and put a hand on Tom's shoulder.
"Well. then I'll leave you to B'Elanna's tender mercies." The doctor retired to his office.
"I've got something for you." She handed him a hand drawn card. "It's a get well card from Naomi Wildman. Pretty good likeness of you--but I don't think she quite captured my eyes.
"I'm sorry---for everything."
"It wasn't your fault."
"But I remember, all of it----Everything I said, everything I did--it was like I was sleep walking."
"The important thing is, you woke up."
"Yea, thanks for being my alarm clock."
"Anytime." She wrapped him in her arms.
"From now on I promise--no more affairs with strange ships."
"What about the Delta Flyer?"
"We're just friends."
"I must admit, Tom did behave ---for the most part after that." B'Elanna put her arm around him. "At least with cheating aliens and inanimate objects--even deleted that old girlfriend you used to keep a hologram of."
"You know there was a hologram, who's love affair changed the course of our history." Joe had been silent up till now. "The Doctor."
"Yes, he fell in love with Danarra Pel, the Vidiian doctor." Sam smile "He was so happy --for a short time.
"He wasn't happy at first--she turned him down and he came to me for advice."
"Gods poor man --having to go to Tom for advice on love." Kathryn snipped.
"Who should he go to --You who denied it for years, B'Elanna who
was into living like a Vulcan monk, Harry--oh no not Harry, Jen would have
giggled at him--he saw what happened to you
They all groaned in response.
The doctor found himself in a new situation--in love. Not only in love --with his patient--but rejected by her as well. Not having any experience at this he sought out the one man he knew who had plenty. Tom Paris. He found Tom in Sandrine's, as usual--alone, as usual, so he joined him.
"Mr. Paris I assume you've had a great deal of experience --being rejected by woman."
"Oh thanks alot, Doc."
"What I'd like to know is---what does one do to recover from the unpleasant symptoms of romantic rejection."
"Why the sudden interest in romance?"
"I can't tell you ---it's a matter of doctor patient confidentiality."
"Oh, alright---well--let's see." Tom got up from the table and crossed to the bar. "Sometimes there is not a lot you can do to get over a woman you really care about. --- I remember when Suzy Crabtree dumped me, back in my first year at the academy. I broke out in hives--couldn't get out of bed for a week--I almost failed stellar cartography. I walked around in a daze for the rest of that year--of course the first one is always the hardest to get over.
"I see" the doctor took a seat.
"But eventually--you start thinking about her less and less until finally---without realizing it--she's not on your mind any more."
"So the symptoms do subside over time?"
"For the most part--but every now and then, even years later, something reminds you of her--certain smell--few notes of a song and suddenly you feel just as bad as the day she told you she never wanted to see you again,---If you wanna know the honest truth Doc. You never completely get over a woman you really cared about.
The doctor lowered his head to his hands.
"Wait a minute Doc---we're not talking about you---are we?"
"I told you it was confidential"
"Oh boy---you've got it bad Look Doc. I don't mean to intrude but if you tell me what's going on ---maybe I can help."
"So he broke down and told you and you set him up in a 57 Chevy --parked on a overlook on mars--with a teddy bear, flowers and candy." B'Elanna recounted the ending for him.
"Yea---but it worked didn't it?"
"Yes, Tom it did. And if it hadn't --Chakotay and I might still be on New Earth."
"I'm still not sure sometimes weather to be happy about that or not." Kathryn gave him an evil look but he continued. "A lot of good thinks happened after we got back---but some of them would have happened a lot faster if you left us there."
"She is not wilderness lady--she would never have been happy there." Tom offered in defense.
"Strangely ---I think I would have. I know it's not like me--but I could have been happy there--I just didn't know it at the time."
"Well--we did what we thought best-right or wrong and if it hadn't been for the Doc's relationship with Dannara --- we never would have gotten the cure." Tom explained.
"Oh, it was right--I didn't mean to sound ungrateful." Kathryn touched his hand.
"I did." Chakotay made a face "I was just getting through those walls and bam we were back on the bridge."
"I know I was there, sitting at the helm-for once glad I couldn't see your faces and you couldn't see mine. She sat there and literally barked orders at you and you said 'yes Ma'am'. over and over again. It was very sad."
"I didn't know how else to do it--I had to try to go back."
"Hey, it all worked out." Chakotay put his arm around her shoulder. "It's late, how about we go home and finished what we started before their kids interrupted us."
"Got caught in the hydroponics bay again huh?" B'Elanna laughed and the others joined.
"As Nelix says "Voyagers oldest teenagers", that's exactly what you two are." Sam stood up. "But turning in is a good idea."
"Come on Kat let's go home--these guys are just jealous." Chakotay stood and extended his hand to her.
"Hey" Harry called after them just before they reached the door and they stopped and turned. "He's right--we are.--good night."
|RETURN TO PART FOUR|
|RETURN TO INDEX|