(which is supposed to be a variation of “in vino veritas” (in wine is truth) to be “in sickness truth” but it could mean Latin for “my car is rusty”. Ah, babelfish, I love you.)
This was my Spring Fling request:
I’d like a story where something has affected the crew making them act out of the ordinary except for one person (for whatever reason) who has to put up with all the nonsense and of course straighten everything out. It can be any rating and lead to whatever situation(s) the writer would like whether dire or humorous or smut.
Well, I’m not sure if I got it completely, but I hope you enjoy it.
A very big thank you to Elem for the beta. However, I have made quite a few changes since she last saw it (and I didn’t have the heart to make her go through that again), so any and all mistakes are mine.
In Aegrotatio Veritas
Rated: PG13 – upgraded from PG because of teensy bits of innuendo (sorry, no smut)
“Gesundheit,” Chakotay smiled and leaned across the command console, “sounds like you’re coming down with the bug too, Kathryn.” He handed her some of his tissues.
“Thanks,” Janeway sniffed, “but I don’t get bugs.” She sniffed again.
“Of course not.” Chakotay’s smile widened.
Janeway sighed and then sneezed again. “Maybe it’ll pass.”
But it didn’t. Now, as she sat with three other people on a biobed in Sickbay, Janeway quietly worried about her crew, trying desperately not to imagine dire consequences for the people for whom she was responsible. She was so deep in thought that she didn’t even see the Doctor approach.
“Well, it seems that Quarra not only has questionable worker relation policies,” he bought with him a box of tissues for her and her companions as well as his tricorder, “it also lays claim to the most remarkable virus I’ve ever encountered.”
“Captain, I believe that this virus originated on Quarra. At this stage, the good news is that it doesn’t seem to be any more serious than a twenty-first century influenza, however the bad news is that my attempts to remedy the virus and its symptoms have met with only mixed success.”
Janeway attempted to reply but experienced a sneezing fit. Before she could collect herself, the main Sickbay doors opened and Chakotay entered accompanied by another six people. All of them looking miserable with red eyes and nose and were either coughing or sneezing.
“Oh, Chakotay, I hope I didn’t make your flu worse on the bridge this morning.”
Chakotay started to reply, but the Doctor interrupted.
Ayala, who had been sitting next to the Captain, moved off the bed to join the Delaneys on an adjacent biobed, allowing Chakotay to take his seat.
“I’m afraid the whole crew was infected on Quarra.” The Doctor pointed his tricorder at Chakotay. “You were all going to get it sooner or later.”
“All of us?” the Captain asked incredulously.
“Yes, I’m sorry to say the virus has managed to bypass the filters on the transporters and the shuttles. And as you were all contagious when you returned, even Mr Kim will be joining the throng soon.”
Janeway’s hand went to her forehead, “Please, please tell me this is not going to turn out like that damned macro virus.”
“I assure you, Captain, no macro viruses this time.”
“Well that’s something.” Janeway handed Chakotay some tissues.
“However,” the Doctor’s hesitant tone made Janeway’s head snap up, “I’m afraid some crew may be more seriously affected than others.”
“Right,” Janeway coughed, while Chakotay patted her on the back, “senior staff meeting in an hour,” she blew her nose, “I’m assuming you won’t be in a position to join us because of the patient influx Doctor, but could you spare us a short video link update?”
“Of course, Captain,” he administered a hypospray to the captain and her first officer, “I’m afraid this may only give you both limited relief.”
“Thank you, Doctor. We’ll talk to you in an hour.” Janeway hopped off the biobed and coughed. “Chakotay, we’ll need some options.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll talk to Paris and Tuvok.”
Janeway took two boxes of tissues to the meeting.
Even though the virus didn’t seem to be too severe, she worried about the ship and its crew. The timing couldn’t be worse – as if there would be a good time to get sick. Voyager was right in the middle of a very extensive asteroid belt. Already a week in, they had another week to go – at least – so there was no turning back. She just had to hold out hope that Harry would be able to find a short cut for them through the field.
She sneezed again and took another handful of tissues. One by one, her suffering senior staff entered the room, each carrying the now standard box of tissues.
“Thank you for joining me, everyone. I’ll keep this meeting as short as possible.” Janeway looked around the table, “Are you all right, Tom?”
“Yes, ma’am. Just a little headache. Thankfully, I think the worst of the sniffles is over for me.”
“Half your luck,” murmured Harry and who then sneezed.
“What about you, B’Elanna?”
“The Doctor assures us that the virus won’t hurt the baby,” Tom said as B’Elanna surreptitiously put some candy in her mouth, “the only side affect seems to be a bigger than usual appetite.”
“Well, that’s good news,” Janeway sighed, “So, what’s our situation?”
Harry sat up straight and blew his nose. “As of 0530 this morning, we’re smack-dab in the middle of the asteroid belt, ma’am. I’ve done extensive scans, and changing course doesn’t seem worthwhile at this point.”
Janeway pinched her nose and then blew it. “Damn.” She looked to Tuvok, who seemed to have fallen asleep, and sighed. Why was nothing straightforward for this ship?
“Captain, if I may interrupt?” the Doctor was on a video link from Sickbay. In the background, there were about twenty patients, sitting, leaning and lying on biobeds.
“Of course, Doctor. What have you got?”
“The good news is that some of the crew’s flu-like symptoms are lessening.”
“That is good news.” Chakotay said.
“But,” the Doctor looked less than pleased, “mostly, they only seem to be experiencing a different phase of the virus, they’ve not recovered.”
“Doctor, you’re starting to scare me. What is the next phase? You said that you didn’t think that this virus was dangerous.”
“It’s not dangerous to the patient’s health, Captain, but…”
“Doctor, please!” Janeway then sneezed and pushed her tissue box towards her first officer.
“Now, I’ve only got a small sample to work with at this stage and it’s difficult because each species on board has had a slightly different reaction. Of the non-human species, the samples are too small to make a meaningful prediction, so I can only extrapolate findings based on the human subjects that…”
“Doctor!” Janeway coughed and rubbed her forehead, “get on with it. Please.”
“Yes, Captain.” The Doctor looked uncomfortable. “Well, it seems that the second stage of the virus for humans entails some minor behavioral…er…anomalies.”
Behavioral anomalies? Was the Doctor affected now, as well? “Meaning what, exactly?” asked Janeway through clenched teeth, her temper flaring.
“It’s not exactly a loss of inhibitions…”
Janeway’s eyebrows shot up. “Then what the hell is it exactly?”
“Well, of all the patients who have reached the third stage, so far only Ensign Baker has run naked down the corridor on Deck seven.”
“I’d have paid good money to have seen that.”
“Tom, could you be serious for once?” It was the first time Torres had spoken during the meeting. “And can we get on with it please? I’m starving.”
“A heightened appetite is also one of the second stage symptoms. It is quite marked in Lieutenant Torres’ case, though.”
“Doctor,” Janeway attempted to get the conversation back on track. “you can’t be serious.”
“I’m afraid I am, Captain. But perhaps the loss of inhibitions description is too…colorful. Maybe a phase of impaired judgment would be more accurate.”
Tuvok started to snore. Janeway reflected that whatever command training she’d had, it hadn’t prepared her for this.
“How long will this…impairment last?” she was almost too scared to ask.
“I’m afraid I can’t answer that at this stage, Captain. Of the crew who have reached that stage, all are still afflicted.”
Janeway felt a very large headache coming on.
“All right, assuming this is going to affect all of us, what is our best course of action?”
Harry paused to sneeze and then said, “I’ve got a suggestion,” before sneezing again.
“Then let’s hear it, Harry.” Chakotay’s voice was croaky.
“I think we should land the ship on one of the bigger asteroids.”
There was a general pause in the conversation as everyone, except Tuvok, considered this option.
Janeway rubbed her forehead in frustration.
The Doctor cleared his throat, irritating Janeway even more. He was a damned hologram she thought, why the hell did he need to do that? However, she kept her temper reined in – for the most part.
“Yes, Doctor?” Janeway’s tone was icy.
“Captain, I really think this is the best option. I don’t think navigating through the middle of an asteroid belt is the place for a starship with a crew who are not at one hundred percent physical, as well as mental, efficiency.”
“I agree.” Janeway sighed. She was tired and feeling lousy. There weren’t many options available to her at this stage.
“I am unaffected by the virus. I could pilot the ship.”
Seven hadn’t spoken until this moment.
The captain wondered briefly if it was the virus that was making her just a little fed up with the prospect of Seven saving the damn ship single handed. Again. With great effort, she controlled her impulse to lash out, realizing that this damned virus was certainly affecting her temper.
“I know you kept us all safe while we were in stasis, Seven. But this situation is a little different. We’re not in a position to use autopilot and all the systems will still need to be maintained. I’m afraid you’ll be busy enough without the piloting,” Janeway leaned back. “We’ll land as soon as we find a suitable site.”
Seven was about to argue, but the look on Janeway’s face changed her mind.
“Right, dismissed everyone. Chakotay, you’d better get Tuvok checked out and then get him back to his quarters. Seven, perhaps you should further assist the Doctor.”
Everyone got up to return to his or her station.
Chakotay hooked Tuvok’s arm over his shoulder and started moving towards the door.
“Chakotay, just a minute,” Janeway waited until everyone else had left and then placed her hand on his arm, “if it looks like I’m going to do something like run naked anywhere, I want you to promise to phaser me.”
“Only if you agree to do the same for me.”
“I’ll just see to sleeping beauty here and I’ll be back to help out.”
“Harry, have you found a suitable chunk of rock for our temporary home?” Janeway came out of the meeting room and made straight for her seat on the bridge.
“Yes, Captain,” he blew his nose and then continued, “there’s a piece about the size of Earth’s moon ten minutes ahead of us at our present speed.”
“Good work, Harry,” Janeway paused to cough, “send the coordinates to the conn. Mr Paris, do you have them?”
Janeway was going to pull Tom into line for a breach of Bridge decorum but was interrupted by her own coughing fit and the moment was lost.
“It’s going to be a tricky landing, Captain,” reported Harry, “the topography is quite rugged and there won’t be much margin for error.”
“That’s just great.”
“I’m sorry, Captain, I couldn’t…”
“Harry, none of this is your fault. I apologize for my comment.”
“That’s okay, Har.” Tom interrupted, “I love a challenge.” He seemed very cheerful, given the circumstances.
Janeway wasn’t too worried until Paris started their landing approach with a gleeful exclamation of “Wheeeeeeee!”. She suddenly realized that Tom had reached the “impaired judgment” phase of the virus that the Doctor had mentioned.
“Mr. Paris, I’ll take over now,” Janeway touched him on the shoulder.
“But Captain,” Tom looked at Janeway and not where he was going and the ship lurched unsteadily, “I’m having fun here.”
“Tom,” Janeway saw a huge rocky formation ahead and immediately dispensed with niceties, “I’ll take over now,” dropping her shoulder and shoving the pilot out of his seat and onto the ground, she managed to change course just in time.
A heart stopping few seconds followed but Janeway was also able to set the ship down safely, albeit with a rather large thud, but she was comforted by Harry reporting no major damage had occurred.
“I’ll take it from the thump I just felt that we’ve landed?” Chakotay walked onto the Bridge to observe Janeway trying to get a giggling Tom Paris to his feet.
“I’m afraid Mr. Paris reached the next stage of the virus at the worst possible moment. On the bright side, I can now add ‘can land a starship’ on my resume when Starfleet cashiers me.” Janeway sniffed and grappled with the almost dead weight of her helmsman, “If the rest of the crew feels as bad as me, I think we’d better send everyone off duty, Chakotay.”
With Chakotay’s help, she had managed to get Paris to his feet and Harry had volunteered to take him to his quarters.
“Damn, Chakotay,” she sneezed, “I can’t take much more of this.”
“Why don’t you head to your quarters, Kathryn? Have a break.”
“Good idea,” she patted his arm, “Are you feeling a bit better, at least?”
“A little.” the pair walked into the turbo lift together, ” I think I’m over the worst of it.”
“Let’s hope by this time tomorrow I’ve improved too.”
“I’m looking forward to observing you in the next stage. I’ve got the computer monitoring your state of dress.”
“If I didn’t feel like I’ve been run over by a class three shuttle, I’d hit you for that.”
He walked with Kathryn to her quarters and accepted her offer to join her.
“How about I replicate some chicken soup for you? I had some, without chicken, yesterday and I think it helped a bit.
Janeway smiled indulgently at him and removed her uniform jacket. She grabbed the box of tissues off the table and plonked herself on her sofa.
“I feel lousy,” Janeway groaned, dabbing her red, watery eyes with a tissue and then sniffled, “I want my mommy.”
“Sorry, you have to make do with Uncle Chakotay instead.” He proffered a bowl of fragrant soup. “Here, eat this, like a good girl.”
“As an uncle you’re pretty darned good. Thanks, Chakotay, you’re the…the…” she sneezed, “best.”
Chakotay started to feel a lot better the next day. It was remarkable how relieved he felt now that his throat didn’t feel like he’d swallowed razorblades and his sneezing had stopped. He felt sure that he wouldn’t experience the loss of inhibitions that the Doctor seemed so worried about. Although, he sort of enjoyed the idea of seeing Kathryn Janeway running naked on Deck seven.
He laughed at the mental image and sincerely hoped that if it happened, there would be photographic records. He laughed again feeling in quite a good mood now that the virus had cleared up.
When his door chime sounded, he met his visitor with a large smile.
“Seven!” his hand swept back, offering her entrance into his quarters. “It’s lovely to see you.”
“I propose that a meal in the mess hall would be a suitable second date.”
Chakotay grinned at Seven. She had no idea about social niceties. No lead up conversation for Seven of Nine it was just straight to the point. It was so amusing, the way she didn’t quite grasp the subtle differences between organizing a meeting and suggesting a romantic dinner.
“That sounds wonderful, Seven, but maybe not for the next couple of days. The Captain is still pretty miserable with that bug. How about you join me and keep her company instead? She always enjoys your discussions.”
Seven cocked an eyebrow.
Chakotay would’ve thought it was a look of distaste if he didn’t know how much the young woman admired her mentor.
“I do not understand why you would want to spend time with her at this juncture. She is unattractive and her temper is not improved by her confinement to quarters.”
Chakotay smiled again at Seven’s quirky sense of humor.
“She’s just got a bit of cabin fever in addition to her virus fever, so she’s a bit…”
“Short tempered and abrupt.”
This time Chakotay did laugh out loud. She could deadpan the funniest things. Her sense of humor rivaled Tuvok’s sometimes.
“Well, yes. A bit.” Chakotay grasped Seven’s hand. “Once the crew is free of this bug, we can go back and have our third date.”
Chakotay never did get time for that second date and neither did Seven. They’d hardly seen each other since the ship had landed, as she’d had to take over many of the maintenance tasks on board. He, on the other hand, spent most of his time with Janeway and they’d had a lot of fun once Janeway had got over the sniffles.
The captain had been the driving force behind lots of activities the crew had participated in over the last few days. There had been a holodeck picnic in ‘Indiana’ and a huge tournament of a game called ‘Twister’ that she had arranged with Tom Paris. No one had actually won as the whole event had turned into a free-for-all after Janeway had shouted out “Sardines!” at a critical moment when the Delaney sisters, Harry, Yosa and Nicoletti had been playing. The result was a few broken bones and several black eyes and bruises but no one seemed to mind. The four guys from security seemed to enjoy tackling their captain and piling on top of her. She hadn’t minded either and everyone had a fantastic time until the Doctor had wet blanketed the whole thing.
The Doctor had repaired the physical damage, including Janeway’s split lip and had then had scolded the captain telling her that he expected her to set a better example. He’d thought he might’ve got through to her until she’d turned to the others and shouted “Ice cream!” at which all present had disappeared at a run towards the mess hall.
Janeway entered Chakotay’s quarters without sounding the chime. Both were using their over-ride to gain access to each other’s quarters.
“I have another holodeck program.” Janeway announced.
“We’re not allowed to play that game with the colored spots, Doctor’s orders.”
“No spots. It’s based on ancient American ‘wild west’ stories, Tom said.” Janeway had grabbed his hand and dragged him towards the door, “Come on, it’ll be fun. You can be the sheriff and I will be your deputy.”
“I get to boss you around?”
They continued hand in hand down the corridor.
“No, you will lead some kind of law enforcement team trying to capture a band of desperados.” She tugged his hand trying to get him to hurry. “Tom’s organizing the teams now.”
The wild west holoprogram had turned out to be a big success. There had been none of the injuries that had been sustained in the Twister game and all the participants had had lots of fun.
All the desperados had mainly been Starfleet crew, with the security area being in charge and the Sheriff and his posse had been almost entirely Maquis, with the notable exception of Captain Janeway, who had insisted on being the sheriff’s deputy. This arrangement had been the source of much teasing from the “desperados” as when Janeway had taken her place behind Chakotay’s left shoulder, she had almost completely disappeared, which in turn lead to taunting from the baddies, which usually resulted in her losing her temper and her taking up her more usual position at front and inevitably being shot straight away, usually by a gleeful Lieutenant Ayala.
Nearly a week later and Voyager was still ‘parked’, as Paris called it, on the asteroid. The only people that seemed concerned with the lack of progress were the Doctor and Seven. Everyone else was in a very good mood and completely incapable of taking anything seriously. Though no one had done anything really worrying, the lack of judgment had concerned the Doctor enough that he had temporarily become the ECH and taken control of the ship, in case anyone decided to take it for a joy ride. He’d also had to lock down the shuttles for the same reason. All holodeck safeties had been secured with Borg encryption codes, courtesy of Seven of Nine. Transporters had been locked down as well after a series of practical jokes involving disappearing clothing.
The Doctor had been activated and running for over two weeks. Though none of the crew was in any physical danger, there was quite a bit of monitoring that had to be done. The human crew was mainly euphoric, the Bolians were, like the Vulcans, extremely fatigued and had slept for almost the entire duration of the outbreak, appearing bleary-eyed every now and then in the mess hall before disappearing again.
Seven had found the crew even more unpredictable and irritating than usual during this time. It was difficult to exactly determine what it was about over a hundred cheery people that she found so disconcerting. None of the human or Bajoran crew was exempt from the overt displays of boundless good humor or lessening of inhibitions (although there had been no other incidents similar to Ensign Baker’s). The only person who seemed to be more or less the same as usual was Lieutenant Paris, although he had called her “Chicky” only that morning.
She hadn’t really spoken to Commander Chakotay since she tried to arrange their second date, after which he had decided to report to Captain Janeway, who she assumed would be like her Quarra persona and much more in control of her emotions, just grumpier. The Captain was always dependable in that regard, whereas the rest of the crew, with a few exceptions, were more erratic. So she tended to avoid the larger gathering areas, such as the mess hall and the holodecks and only ventured out to obtain status reports for the Doctor or check on ship’s systems. Despite the Doctor’s insistance she refused to believe that the captain was responsible for the water fight that had broken out a the picnic held in cargo bay three and was sure Janeway was just attempting to extinguish the blaze that had broken out in the leola root storage area.
A decision had been made a few days earlier to lift replicator restrictions for food items as Chell was not in any fit state to attend to his kitchen duties and no one was really able to step in to help out.
Despite the ship being ‘parked’, on a large piece of rock, spirits were high.
In the mess hall, Paris, Kim and Torres were finishing their meals at a table by the window. They were all still feeling the effects of their illness, and although they had wanted to return to their duties and get the ship traveling back to the Alpha Quadrant, each time they tried to even discuss something serious, one or all of them got the giggles.
“May I join you?”
“Sure, Chakotay, take a seat.”
Chakotay, holding only two large mugs, sat down with his back to the window, next to B’Elanna.
B’Elanna peered into his cups, “You should be eating something,” she said and then poked her tongue out at Tom.
“It’s not for me.” Chakotay was watching the doorway.
“B’Elanna just wants to steal your food,” Tom smirked.
“It tastes better from someone else’s plate,” B’Elanna defended, “it’s a rule.”
The three friends started discussing, between laughter, what they could steal from Tabor’s plate at the next table when he went for a tea refill.
“Any room for one more?” the Captain, out of uniform, wearing a blue dress, was standing by them. There really wasn’t a spare seat at the table.
“You can sit on my lap. Deputy.” suggested Tom.
“Over both of your dead bodies.” added B’Elanna.
“Chakotay, you’d better protect me. My crew are revolting.” But with that, she sat next to Chakotay and squashed up so close that she was almost sitting on him.
“See? There’s plenty of room,” she said, her hand resting on Chakotay’s thigh. She took a sip of her drink she had in the other hand.
Chakotay’s arm now rested on the back of the lounge and his hand found its way to the Janeway’s shoulder.
Tom and Harry watched mesmerized as Chakotay’s fingers started playing with the captain’s hair.
“Two replicator credits says Chakotay loses his hand within five minutes,” said Tom, boldly. Harry started to giggle. B’Elanna just growled something about Janeway not bringing food to the table.
But Janeway didn’t say anything to Chakotay about his roaming hands. In fact, her hands were doing quite a bit of exploring on their own. The sight of the Captain and her Commander being openly affectionate and playful would’ve set the rumor mill running at warp speed only a week before, but now, no one saw anything extraordinary. That their Captain was obviously relaxed and happy had improved her crew’s mood as much as the virus.
“We should do this more often,” said Janeway with a smile.
“I would, but there a usually so few opportunities.” Chakotay sighed. The Captain’s head was now resting on his shoulder and his hand, now deprived of hair was heading south into usually dangerous territory.
“Oh, come on, Chakotay. You didn’t waste any time grabbing a handful on New Earth.” Janeway gently batted his leg to emphasize her point.
“I was protecting you from the storm.”
“Protecting my boob.”
“So, just what happened on that planet anyway?” Tom leaned forward, waiting for an answer.
“Apart from Chakotay copping a feel in a storm,” clarified B’Elanna.
“Nothing.” Janeway and Chakotay replied in unison.
“Well, that sucks.” Harry finally seemed to find his voice.
“I’ll say,” said Janeway.
“Hey, it wasn’t for lack of trying,” Chakotay was almost indignant.
“Oh please, Chakotay. I was the only woman on the damn planet and you had to wait until we were facing death before you even hugged me.”
“Name another opportunity I supposedly had.”
“Me. Naked. Bath.”
“That’s working for me,” said Tom and B’Elanna growled again, “of course, I was speaking hypothetically.”
“Well, hypothetically, you’d think that he’d have given that towel a tug and then given me one as well, wouldn’t you?” Janeway leaned forward, her hand moving up Chakotay’s thigh, “but oh no, he went back to the cabin!”
Groans of dismay came from around the table.
“Chakotay are you insane?” Harry seemed almost angry, until he laughed.
“Hey, I was being a gentleman.”
“You see? That’s what I have to put up with!” Janeway put her mug down on the table and leaned across Chakotay to get his, “Has he told you about the neck rub?”
“This should be good,” said Tom, wiggling in his seat.
“Let me set the scene for you.” she paused for effect. “Me, in a nightgown…”
“That looked like a suit of armor.”
“A nightgown,” she dropped her voice down to a timbre that made all three men at the table slightly uncomfortable, “and then he gave me the most exquisite neck rub.”
“And then?” Tom leaned in for more information.
“And then…he let me set parameters.”
“You have got to be kidding me? Chakotay, you should get me some pancakes for being such an idiot.”
Harry snorted and then looked embarrassed.
“I don’t understand why this is all my fault.”
“Well, it can’t be mine. I’m the captain!” Janeway laughed and then kissed Chakotay on the cheek.
“Chakotay, I can’t believe you didn’t just plant one on her as soon as those stasis pods popped open on the planet. I know I would’ve.” Tom boasted. “Hypothetically.” He added at his wife’s glare.
“Well, I hardly saw her,” Chakotay explained to Tom, “she was always off setting traps for insects or taking baths.” he sighed as Janeway’s head now rested under his chin, “I mean, Kathryn, you should change your name to “Drainway” you take so many.”
“Sounds fair, Woody,” when Tom and Harry almost choked at her nick name for Chakotay, she added, “all he ever seemed to be doing was whittling and carving.” she explained with a wink.
“Sure.” B’Elanna leaned across and grabbed some potato chips off Tabor’s plate.
“So, it’s taken a big old dose of ‘happy flu’ for you to get the cajones to make a move on the ‘big J’?” Tom gave Chakotay a disappointed glance. “That’s so sad.”
“Does anyone else want a hotdog or maybe some pie?” B’Elanna now looked wistfully at Yosa’s lunch at the next table as she munched on the chips.
Janeway sat up and partially disentangled herself and looked with an almost serious expression at Chakotay.
“Are you only groping me because of this virus, Sheriff?” Somewhere in her befuddled mind she realized that maybe she didn’t usually discuss her sex life with her crew or sit on her first officer’s lap, but the almost immediately she dismissed the thought as silly because she was having such a good time.
“I’m not groping you, Deputy.”
“He’s always wanted to grope you.” Harry looked shocked at his outburst and then snickered again.
“I know I have.” Added Tom but his smile faded when B’Elanna made a strange noise in the back of her throat, “but not for years and years.” he clarified.
“I thought you loved me.” Janeway sulked.
“Of course I love you, you idiot.”
“Ooooooh,” chorused their audience.
“You do love me then?”
“Then grope away.” said Janeway clearly mollified.
“Commander, remove your hand from the Captain’s breast!”
“Hiya, Seven!” said Janeway, “Does anyone know if there’s more coffee?”
“Hello, Seven,” said Tom and Harry.
B’Elanna only made a vague query about Swedish food.
“Commander it is inappropriate for you to fondle another woman when you are in a collective with another individual.”
This declaration only resulted in the whole group at the table dissolving into fits of laughter. Chakotay who was struggling to keep a straight face merely suggested that Seven, “lighten up”.
Janeway wiped a tear of mirth from her eye and said “I had no idea that a ship wide epidemic could be this much fun.”
“Or that it would entail groping.” added Tom helpfully.
“This behavior is against regulations. You must all desist these activities.”
“Is that Latin for grope?”
“Find your own gropee, Harry.”
“Doctor to Seven of Nine.”
“Go ahead,” Seven looked annoyed, “I did not mean you, Commander!” she shrieked.
“Seven, please report to sick bay. I have news.”
“Acknowledged.” Seven turned back towards the group, “I demand you to cease his activity immediately.” And with that, she turned on her heel and left.
The whole group again laughed hysterically.
“Where did I go wrong with that girl?” said Janeway, “Maybe I should ask the Doctor if he left a Borg stick up her ass when he removed her implants.”
The group again dissolved into laughter.
“We have to cease this activity.” said Chakotay.
“I’ve got some ideas for other activities.” Janeway suggested. “In my quarters.”
“Where you lead, I grope.”
The pair got to their feet hand in hand.
“B’Elanna you wanna try another activity?” Tom asked.
“Sounds good to me, Flyboy.” Torres agreed, “Can we get something to eat afterwards?”
“What about me?” whined Harry.
Janeway leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I think Celes would be interested in alternative activities now that her sniffles have cleared up, Harry.”
“Doctor, this situation is serious.”
“Yes, I know that Seven. I’ve been working…”
“Commander Chakotay was fondling the Captain in the mess hall.”
“Really?” the Doctor stopped examining the sample and stood up to smile at Seven, “That’s wonderful news. It’s about time that they’ve finally broken down and started a relationship. They’ve been tap dancing around…”
“They do not have a relationship! I have recently formed an association with the Commander.”
Seven looked more petulant than usual, the Doctor mused. He could almost detect her mental foot stamping.
“Seven, Chakotay has always had a great admiration for the Captain. I believe the Captain has felt the same way about him, but probably felt it was not possible to have a relationship with him out here. Obviously, the side effects of the virus have torn down any protocol walls that they’ve both erected.”
“Seven, they’ve been in love…”
There was no reasoning with Seven when she got like this and the Doctor thought it best to let the subject drop. For now.
“Perhaps this would be best discussed at a later time, Seven.”
“Agreed.” Seven regained some of her poise. “What did you wish to discuss?”
“Ah yes, well, I’ve discovered something rather interesting about the progression of the virus.”
“And that is?” Seven put her hands behind her back, not giving any indication of the near tantrum earlier.
“Based on observations of the human crew members who first showed symptoms, it seems that the final stage of the infection is a deep sleep ranging from 24 to 48 hours. On awakening, the patients only had the vaguest memories of their illness and events that occurred since the symptoms first exhibited. But there was a marked improvement in those to whom I administered filoxamine.”
“These patients fully recovered their memories?”
“Yes, but only the ones that received the medication, the other’s recall was foggy at best.”
“I see. How soon should the medication be administered?”
“Optimally, within an hour of waking.”
He handed her a PADD and she quickly perused the contents.
“I will make the required modifications to the computer to enable it to closely monitor the sleep patterns of the crew and set up an alert system to allow efficient notification of their status and to facilitate administration of the medication.”
“You’ll arrange for it to tell you who is waking up so we can give them the drug.”
“That is what I just said.”
The majority of the crew seemed to get very tired at the same time. Most had made it back to their cabins, but some had been transported back to their quarters by the small number of crew who were now recovered.
On receiving the report of the final phase of the virus being reached, the Doctor called Seven to sick bay.
“Ah, Seven. I’ll need your help.” The Doctor had a series of hyposprays prepared and laid out. “We’ll need to divide up the crew quarters to make sure that they all receive the filoxamine.”
“Of course, Doctor.” Seven picked up one of the hyposprays, “I will take Decks Three to Five. Agreed?”
“Yes, that will be fine. I’ve got monitors on all the affected personnel, so we’ll know when each wakes.” He finished making notes on a PADD and handed it to her. “These are the details of the suggested dosage. Be careful not to miss anyone,” he smiled, “there are some people I can think of that won’t want to forget what’s happened in the last couple of weeks.”
Seven stood and watched the Doctor return to his office.
“Computer, deactivate the EMH for two hours.”
Seven gathered the PADDs that the Doctor had with the hyposprays and carried them to his office, pulling up his computer. She began her task.
The corridor on Deck 3 was deserted. After checking with the computer, she had determined that both the Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay were still asleep, but they were together. Entering the Captain’s quarters, she was unprepared for the disorder that she observed. There were several items of clothing strewn untidily about the living room as well as an empty wine bottle and two glasses on the coffee table.
The scene she was greeted with in the bedroom made her pause. For the first time, she wondered if she should carry through her plan. Janeway and Chakotay were entwined, with the Captain partially draped across her First Officer’s chest and his arm was around her and they both has small smiles on their faces, despite being still asleep.
But then she realized that the Captain had had her chance, but had squandered it. If not for the Quarra virus, she and Chakotay would now have had their third date. Perhaps even their fourth. Chakotay was a part of her collective now and it wasn’t fair that she should lose him because of an outbreak of a respiratory tract infection.
Before she called for transport, she noticed that their hands were clasped together tightly. Experiencing another sting of conscience, this time she rationalized that the Captain must only be acting under the influence of the virus.
She administered a small dose of sedative to each, so they wouldn’t wake up and then gently untangled their hands.
“Computer, site to site transport for Commander Chakotay to coordinates nine two delta.”
Chakotay disappeared in a blue shimmer and Seven returned to the other room to pick up his items of clothing to return them to his room.
There must be no evidence of this anomalous incident.
“Ah, Seven. Have are our patients progressing?”
“Very well, Doctor.”
“Have you administered the, um, er, well, that’s odd. I can’t think of what it was I was going to say.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t important, Doctor.”
“No, you’re probably right.”
Janeway awoke slowly. She stretched out and reached across the bed, her hand feeling the expanse of sheet beside her, searching for another body or the warmth that one may have left.
And then stopped and her eyes opened.
Damn. She hadn’t done that since Voyager had first been stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Waking up and feeling for Mark. It didn’t feel like she was reaching for him, though. No, who she always secretly imagined in her bed was…she closed her eyes. There was no chance of him ever being in her bed while they were still stuck out here. The familiar feeling of sadness that realization always bought felt ten times worse this morning, for some reason. Actually, she knew that it was more likely, should they get home relatively soon, that he wouldn’t be the slightest bit interested in a relationship with her anymore. The years had hardened her and she had probably lost all the traits that he had found attractive in her so many years ago now.
Janeway allowed herself a few seconds of grief and then she prepared herself for the new day. It was time to get back to work.
“Janeway to the Doctor.”
“Ah, Captain, you’re back among us. How are you feeling?”
“Much better, thank you, Doctor. How is the rest of the crew?” She listened to the Doctor’s reply, but her attention was taken by a tin badge sitting on the bed side table. As she ran her fingers over its surface, she tried to grasp the memory she felt it held but nothing came to mind.
“About eighty percent are through the final phase, Captain. It should only be a few more hours until we’re back to full strength again.”
Replacing the badge, she got out of bed and made her way to the bathroom. A quick real water shower might wake her up.
“That’s good news, Doctor. I’ll come down to sick bay in a while for a full report.”
“Of course, Captain. Captain, are you sure you’re all right, you sound a little subdued?”
“I’m fine, Doctor. Just maybe still a little tired.”
“Only to be expected. I’ll see you soon.”
Chakotay couldn’t understand why he felt so down. He should feel a little happier. Seven had just arranged their second date, the ship was getting underway again after their enforced break and they were all still in one piece. He’d asked Seven what had happened during the last week but she had dismissed his query saying that nothing of note had occurred.
“Janeway to Chakotay.”
The sound of the Captain’s voice made him start. There was something suddenly in his consciousness and then it was lost, like a memory of a dream on first awakening. No, it was gone and it seemed so important to recapture that memory.
“Janeway to Chakotay.”
“Chakotay, here.” he rubbed his face in aggravation. The memory was gone.
“Are you alright, Commander?” he could hear the concern in her voice but there was something else that he couldn’t place.
“Yes, Captain, I’m sorry I was distracted.”
There was a pause before Janeway replied softly. “I know the feeling,” her sigh came over the comm clearly, “but we’ve got to get back to work, sorry.”
“Of course, Captain. Staff meeting?”
“Yes, can you arrange it please? Around 1500?”
“1500 it is. We should be able to get most of the section reports by then.” he just couldn’t muster much enthusiasm at the prospect. God, what the hell was wrong with him? He’d have to ask the Doctor, if he got the chance.
“Thank you, Commander. Janeway out.”
Voyager had burst through the Borg hub just over an hour before.
Janeway was in her ready room, sifting through the orders she had already been sent from Starfleet. Voyager was to remain in high orbit of Earth until further notice and she suspected that they would remain there until Starfleet got over the shock of the manner of their return and had figured out what to do with them. No matter. They would be home soon. There wouldn’t be any prosecution of the Maquis or Equinox crews, which had been her main concern, but these matters had been extensively discussed and decided long before now, so she decided to relax for the first time in days.
Seeing a future version of herself was one of the strangest events in her life. It was unsettling. At first she was amused by watching the crew interact with the admiral. Later, when she had learned of the fate of so many of the crew, she was able to detect the sadness in the older woman’s eyes. There was something else though, when she looked at Seven. So many emotions but, mostly pain and regret. And even though she’d been on board for a number of days, it seemed that she was almost avoiding Chakotay, which the younger Janeway couldn’t ever imagine a reason for.
Thinking of the admiral and Seven made Janeway remember interrupting them in Astrometrics. Not hearing all the conversation but getting snatches like “personal logs” and “find out more” had been enough for Janeway to want to say something to her older counterpart about bullying her staff but the final “we both loved you very much” had thrown her momentarily and then the opportunity was lost. Almost straight away they had been hailed by the Borg Queen and neither Janeway had had a quiet moment to themselves from then on.
But now she remembered that Seven had looked upset by the admiral and in retrospect had looked like a child who had been caught with a hand in the cookie jar. Perhaps she wanted Seven to tell Chakotay about the subject of her holoaddiction and Janeway couldn’t help promising herself to never get that pathetic, despite what disappointments she might endure over the coming days and months.
Leaning back in her chair, she remembered a data chip that her older counterpart had pressed into her hand during their farewell in the shuttle bay. The incident had been perplexing but with more important and pressing matters to deal with, she had put the memory aside to concentrate on keeping the ship and crew safe.
“It’s been nice getting to know you again.”
Janeway the younger had smiled at her older self and turned to go.
“Kathryn,” the Admiral had called her back, “just one thing.” She pressed a data chip in her hand. “If Seven doesn’t come to see you within two hours of you getting home, listen to this.”
“You’ll know when the time comes. You’ll know whether or not you have to listen to it.”
Now, it all seemed so surreal. Janeway looked into her palm where she held the data chip. She leaned towards her computer and placed the chip into it. As her hand reached for the control, her door chime sounded.
“Captain,” it was Seven of Nine, “may I speak with you, please? I have something to tell you.”