This is an episode addition to “Live Fast and Prosper.”
“Chakotay I feel very strange. Everyone keeps looking at us.”
The command team walked from where they materialized on the outskirts of the city toward the festivities at the center of town. When they returned the property that had been stolen from the Telsians by the individuals posing as the Voyager crewmembers, the real Captain and Commander had been invited to this celebration. The Captain had respectfully declined but Orek was very insistent that they attend. When he reminded her of the scale of the deception perpetrated by the imposters and his influence within the sector, she felt she had no choice but to acquiesce to his wishes.
“Ah, Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, how excellent that you could join us.” A man in a long robe reached the two of them and extended his hand. “In the name of my people, the Telesians, I would like to welcome you to our celebration.”
He led them to a large open square in the middle of the town. At what appeared to be the front of a governmental building, a small stage had been assembled. There were tables along the one side. On the other side, a local band played in front of what appeared to be a dance floor. Everyone’s attention focused on Orek when he climbed onto the stage and began to address the crowd.
“Welcome everyone. It is with great pleasure that I am called upon to give the opening speech of our renewal celebration. Usually this event occurs at the time of the harvest, but this year the elders decided that a second celebration was necessary. Our economy, the very fabric of the Telesian society has been renewed by the return of what was rightfully ours.” He paused as the crowd applauded wildly. “Through the efforts of the real Captain Janeway and her crew we have been able to recover a loss that would have devastated us for years to come. The members of Voyagers tracked down those who had tricked us and reclaimed our property in the name of Teles. Because of their help these two people have been invited to share in our sacred celebration. They will be our honored guest for the duration of the festival.” He motioned for the two of them to join him on the stage. “People of Teles, I give you Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay.” The crowd erupted into ruckus applause. “Now Captain, if you would do me the honor of dancing the opening dance with me.”
Chakotay watched the two of them move to the open area. Chairman Orek took Kathryn into his arms and began to waltz her around the area. He held her at a respectable distance but something just wasn’t right. Chakotay couldn’t figure it out. He watched carefully but Orek did nothing unseemly. A tap on his shoulder interrupted his thoughts. He turned to find a stunning woman standing in front of him. “I am Orek’s wife. Would you care to dance with me?”
Kathryn watched as Chakotay led the blonde haired beauty to the dance floor. Her stomach clenched as they laughed and talked their way through the duration of the song. When it was over the chairman led her to a small table near the stage and offered to get her refreshments. This was all very strange. Something just wasn’t right. This felt wrong.
Chakotay chuckled as he approached her at the table. She was sulking. “What’s the matter Captain? Didn’t you enjoy your dance?” He sat in the chair opposite her and handed her the drink that he had commandeered from the premier.
“You seemed to have enjoyed yours well enough.”
His eyebrows shot up when he heard the tone of her voice.
“I’m sorry, Chakotay. That didn’t come out right. I am not myself tonight. After the way we spent the last couple of weeks it just seems strange to sit here in the middle of a party. Something is going on but for the life of me I can’t figure it out.”
“Well, I think I can enlighten you. Come dance with me and I‘ll tell you.”
“I don’t feel like dancing. Just tell me.”
He grabbed her hand and pulled her out of her chair. “We don’t want to look conspicuous. Look around you. Everyone is laughing and having fun.”
Finally she agreed and they walked out to the makeshift dance floor. The song was neither fast nor slow. He placed his left hand on her hip and took her right into his left. They remained at arms length as they moved around the dance floor.
“So tell me.”
“The woman I danced with was Orek’s wife. She told me that things got very bad here after all their gods were stolen. There was almost a coupe. She said it got to the point where they were afraid for their lives.”
The music slowed down and Kathryn and Chakotay drifted closer together.
“When Orek announced to the people that Voyager had returned their resources he was accused of lying. His enemies accused him of trying to buy time. In fact our arrival probably saved his life as well as his wife’s.”
Kathryn pulled back her head which had some how ended up on his chest.
“That’s why Orek was adamant about our attending the festival. He wants everyone to see us. He feels that they must see for themselves that we are not the people who visited here three weeks ago.” Chakotay ran his hand up her back until he reached her neck where he applied a small amount pressure. Kathryn took his led and returned her head to the warmth of his chest. He turned his head so that her silky hair surrounded his nose.
When the music ended they sat down and had something to eat.
Chakotay raised his glass toward her. “To us.”
Kathryn lightly tapped his glass with hers. “This is kind of nice, just you and me, here together.”
Chakotay reached over and took her hand. “It’s very nice.”
She smiled her tiny crooked smile and Chakotay felt his chest tightened. Then as quickly as it came it disappeared. It was replaced with an almost imperceptible frown. “Kathryn, what is it?”
She took her hand out of his and reached for her water. “It’s nothing.”
“Yes it is.”
“It’s nothing that I care to discuss.”
“Well I am not going to let your stubbornness ruin this chance we have. This is the first opportunity we have had in years to enjoy ourselves together, alone without interruption. We have had a wonderful evening without the prying eyes of Paris or the uncanny timing of Tuvok, just you and I, not the Commander and the Captain but Chakotay and Kathryn, man and woman. Now tell me what is bothering you all of a sudden.”
Kathryn struggled to hold back the stupid tears that pooled in her eyes. She looked down at her plate and made a great display of eating her food.
Chakotay just waited.
“I know it is none of my business but I heard a surprising rumor the other day.”
She nodded. “I heard that,” she cleared her throat, “I heard that you were seeing someone.”
Kathryn’s head snapped up. She wasn’t sure whether he was laughing at her or at what she had said.
“Seven? That’s rich, Kathryn. You know that we barely get along. I would never even consider dating her. She is barely more than an emotional child.” Chakotay shook his head in disbelief. Then it hit him that she had been upset because he was supposedly dating someone. He couldn’t help but smile. “I cannot remember a single conversation that I had with her that has not turned into an argument. When we are alone together it usually ends up in a fight.”
Kathryn’s eyes closed. “Sounds a lot like you and me.”
Chakotay quickly slid his chair around the table until he was sitting very close to her. He used his fingers to raise her chin so that she was looking at him. “It’s not the same. I barely like her, you on the other hand…” He stopped in mid-sentence. “This explains what happened this morning.”
What had he stopped himself from saying? Was he going to say that he loved her? Could he possibly still love her after all this time and after all that she had done. She tried to calm her racing heart. She wasn’t sure if she would have been able to resist him if he had actually said the words. Her defenses had been wearing thin of late. Whenever she looked at him illicit thoughts immediately sprang to her mind. Maybe she should just end it all and kiss him right here. Wait he was saying something else. “What did you say?”
“I said that explains what happened this morning.”
“What happened this morning?”
“Remember when you passed me this morning on your way to engineering?”
“Yes. I remember.”
“There was something about the look on your face. I remember thinking that you looked at me like I was a stranger, like you didn’t know me at all. Now I know why.”
“I just couldn’t picture you and Seven together.”
“Would it bother you?” Could she possibly have feeling for him? He thought that she had been upset when he had been involved with Riley. At that time he was never sure if it was because of what he did to help her or because of what he did with her. When Kathryn did not answer him right away he did what he always did, he protected her. He took her hand and once again led her to the dance floor. He pulled her body close to his and held on for dear life. He knew that this could be as close as he would get.
Chakotay closed his eyes and lost himself in the dance. “What did you say?”
Kathryn whispered, “I said, yes it would bother me.”
With renewed hope he pulled her even closer.
“Kathryn, please don’t say it. For years we have played this game, advanced a little, retreat a lot. I understand the need for the distance on Voyager. I don’t like it and some days it’s near impossible to live with, but I accept it. But we are not on the ship right now. We are on a beautiful planet by ourselves. There is no one here to judge us but us. For years I’ve been your friend. Tonight I want to be your man.”
She was going to refuse. She had to! But then she looked in his eyes. In them she saw a mixture of love and fear. In so many ways throughout the years he had laid his heart open to her and she had been forced to reject him. Tonight there was vulnerability, a pleading that had never been there before. “And what exactly would that mean, Commander?”
He immediately noticed her use of his rank. But it wasn’t used as a shield but rather in that throaty flirtatious way she used to say it when their relationship was new. He spun them in quick circles around the floor. “It can mean anything you want it to. It can mean that we dance all night with you in my arms. It can mean that we sit at the table and talk with me holding your hand. It can mean that when the evening ends we walk to the transport site with my arm around you. And if you are the kind of girl who does that sort of thing on the first date then I would kiss you good-night.”
Kathryn laughed as they twirled around. “Where you’re concerned, I am definitely that kind of girl!”
The night moved along much too quickly. When the party began to wind down Chakotay felt a sense of sadness. They danced one last time. As they swayed to the music his hands roamed the tiny expanse of her back. “I don’t want this night to end.”
She allowed her right hand to rest on the bottom of his spine, not quite on his back but not low enough that it would be rude. “Me either.”
They were pulled out of their reverie but the sound of Orek’s voice. “Thank you everyone for attending tonight’s festival. Go home, renew your vows to your mates, renew your vows to the gods and renew your vows to the leaders of Teles. I will see you at the ceremony in the morning where we will appeal to the gods for a new year filled with peace and prosperity.” Orek left the stage and walked immediately to his honored guests. “If you will follow me I will have the transport attendant beam you directly to your accommodations for the night.”
Chakotay was just about to protest but the Captain spoke first. “Orek, we were unaware that this celebration lasted beyond this evening.” She moved a little closer to Chakotay as she spoke. “But since that is the case, we appreciate your thoughtfulness in providing lodgings for us.”
They followed Orek to the transport site. As they walked Chakotay heard her whisper, “I guess you’re going to get your wish. It looks like this night might just be beginning.”
“Thank you again, Captain. You have helped my government very much tonight. I will leave you now. The attendant has the coordinates. I hope you enjoy this rest of your evening.”
In the blink of an eye they found themselves standing at the foot of a huge wooden bed.
“Oh Chakotay, look at that bathtub!”
“This is nice.” Kathryn settled her back against his chest.
“Yes, it is.”
Kathryn chuckled. “I think we had this conversation before.”
“Yes, but this time the location is so much more enjoyable.” He reached down and lifted a handful of bubbles and blew them into the air.
“You know I have been wondering something.”
Chakotay’s hand roamed up her legs, across her belly and settled on her breasts. He slowly moved his hands in circles gliding them across her wet skin. He touched her with the serenity of a well-satisfied lover. That had not been the case when he touched her three hours ago. “What have you been wondering?”
“For a culture whose economy is based solely on the growth and sale of grain these accommodations seem very luxurious.”
“I believe this is Orek’s private retreat.”
“It just seems incongruous that a farming community could afford such splendor.”
“It’s easy when that farming community produces grain which is turned into a liquor that has been outlawed in this sector.”
Kathryn slipped out of his grip and turned to face him. “You mean to tell me that when I returned those crates to Orek I was actually returning contraband?”
Chakotay placed his hands on her hips and pulled her toward him. “Not only that, you returned them into the hands of the leader of the syndicate that sells it on the black market.”
Kathryn’s head fell to his shoulders. She uncurled her legs.
With a quick tug he had her straddling him in the bubbly tub. His mouth immediately found her neck.
“So all this time when I thought that I was doing something good, I was actually adding and abetting a criminal?”
“It puts you in good company.”
She was having a hard time concentrating on his words when his mouth was doing such wonderful things to her neck.
He removed his lips and said one last thing. “You did much less than Captain Kirk did when he visited Sigma Iotia II. He made the Federation partners with Bella Oxmyx, the most ruthless crime boss on the planet. If I remember correctly Kirk became a Starfleet hero!”
Kathryn squirmed when Chakotay’s mouth returned to her neck. “I don’t want to be a hero.”
With one last pull he had her close enough that the languid motions now took on an air of urgency. “What do you want to be?”
With the help of the bubbles she propelled herself into
an intimate connection with him. “Tonight I want to be your woman.”
Some flowers used to make the contest graphics from