Disclaimer - characters belong to Paramount.
Okay, I can't sleep so insomnia is the justification for this one.
It started as he left the turbolift and walked onto deck two. Susan Nicoletti was just about to enter the turbolift but stopped short when she saw who it was. And grinned. It wasn't just a smile of greeting, it was...highly suspect, because the grin kept getting bigger and bigger the longer she looked at him. She didn't say a word, although a few times Chakotay thought she came close to it but in the end decided not to for fear of laughing out loud. Eventually she scurried into the turbolift but unfortunately timed things a bit wrong, as he heard her laughter escaping just as the doors swished closed.
He felt distinctly paranoid.
A quick glance down at himself and he was assured that there was nothing embarrassing on display. He was fully dressed, there were no stains that could be construed at something else...he shrugged it off, deciding that perhaps she was just in a strange mood. Happened to everyone sometimes.
Proceeding along the corridor, he didn't encounter anyone for twenty feet until Megan appeared around the corner. She smiled too when she saw him, although she seemed to have her emotions under more control than Nicoletti had. "Commander," she greeted, and he hoped he was imagining the malicious glint in her eye. He remained silent, raising the padd he was holding in his right hand as his own welcome.
She walked passed him and he glimpsed the doors to his destination - the mess hall. Before he could enter, Crewman Emmanuelle and Lieutenant O'Donnell stumbled out laughing hysterically. After a few moments O'Donnell calmed down slightly, although he was still half-chuckling. He spoke to his companion. "I wish I could stay to see it again!"
Louise leant against the wall. "*You* wish? I think we should have it made into a holoprogramme. But we're going to be late for our shift."
Nodding to each other in a commiserating manner they started walking before they spotted Chakotay. They kept walking, but Louise's face seemed to be turning an interesting red colour as she kept her lips pursed together.
O'Donnell just nodded at Chakotay nonchulantly. "Captain." he finally said as they passed him, and his comment caused Louise to lose control again as she burst out laughing.
"Oh..." she moaned "I don't think my ribs are ever going to recover..."
Captain? Why the hell would they be calling him Captain? He watched as they retreated, far too baffled by this point to stop them and ask what was so funny. His head turned back towards the mess hall doors. He had a feeling that the answers he was looking for were in there. Why was he suddenly feeling apprehensive?
The sight that welcomed him as he stepped into the mess hall was something he would remember for a very long time. The room was packed - filled almost to capacity with crewmembers from every section of the ship. The tables and chairs had all been moved next to the windows so most of the floor was clear. It was obvious why the area was needed. As he slowly approached he saw that Tom and B'Elanna were crawling along on their hands and knees. Tom turned to his lover, a look of sexual interest on his face.
"You're a gung-ho kind of gal, aren't ya?"
The audience surrounding them let out a roar of laughter, far too engrossed in what was happening to notice their Commander's presence.
Oh dear. He knew about some of what had happened when they were in the World War II simulation, and that line had definitely cropped up when Kathryn teased him about it. She hadn't said exactly why or how he had said it, and he had to admit his curiousity was piqued.
B'Elanna paused to look at Tom. "Does that bother you?" Her voice was teasing, flirtatious.
"Nope," Tom drawled dramatically, "just not used to it. The girls back home are different."
"I'll bet they are!!" someone yelled from the audience, and Chakotay could see how hard a time the two 'actors' were having trying to keep a straight face. He couldn't believe what they were saying though. Gung ho. Gung ho?
Both of them stopped crawling and Chakotay realised that they had already 'performed' this several times. Their choreography was just a little too good.
"I guess when it comes to keeping my people safe, this girl tends to get a little...gung-ho."
They kneeled up and faced each other, invading each other's personal space in a serious way. He was positive that *that* didn't happen. His counterpart looked deeply into B'Elanna's eyes as their lips moved closer. "I know how you feel. There's not a day goes by-"
Neelix's voice echoed through the mess hall and every head in the room swivelled to look at Chakotay. He did his best to look as though he had just arrived. "Umm...hello Neelix."
He expected the room to go silent when someone eventually spotted him, but instead the volume lowered to a dull murmur, punctuated by the occasional giggle. Tom and B'Elanna quickly pulled themselves up, brushing imaginary wrinkles out of their uniforms. Deciding to not let himself be embarrassed, he walked up to them aware that everyone was still staring at him.
B'Elanna avoided looking at him completely. Tom looked only slightly embarrassed as he replied. "I'm sure you must be wondering-"
"Yes I am." Chakotay responded, trying his best to look stern.
Tom waggled his hands about for a moment, clearly figuring out where to start. "Have you read the Captain's report on what happened in the holodeck?"
Chakotay lifted his padd. "I was just about to, over a hot cup of coffee."
The Lieutenant snatched the padd from Chakotay's hand and began pressing buttons. "If you scan down to line-"
"Fifty two!" the entire room shouted.
Tom winced. "Thank you. If you scan down to line fifty two...well...as you can imagine we found the contents of that line very interesting, so we created this little play."
Chakotay accepted the padd back from Tom but didn't glance at it. "Somehow I doubt the dialogue was in there."
"Well, Tuvok *did* ask that all reports be incredibly detailed due to the security ramifications..."
The First Officer stared at the pilot, beginning to lose his patience. Tom recognised the look. "Okay, look, if I could I would tell you where I found out the dialogue, but we made this promise you see..."
"Oh it's okay Tom," came a welcome yet highly disturbing voice from behind them "he has a right to know."
His shoulders drooped as he shook his head and turned to face the person who had spoken. He regarded her fondly. "You put them up to this?"
Kathryn chuckled as she stepped out from behind Neelix's counter. "Hardly. They grilled me for details and since they weren't exactly top secret I let them know exactly what went on in that Jeffries tube."
Jeffries tube!?? Well that explained why B'Elanna and Tom had been on their hands and knees...
She approached him. "Besides, I thought I should get it out in the open. After they read we were in a Jeffries tube together...alone...the rumour level was taken to new heights." She raised an eyebrow towards Tom.
He shrugged. "Hey come on - you two alone together in a Jeffries Tube...and you expect me to believe that *nothing* happened?"
Chakotay looked from Tom back to Kathryn. "But that part at the end where they were..."
"No," she reassured him "nothing like that happened. Let's just say that was a little embellishment on their part. Besides, it's good for morale."
"Captain Janeway to the bridge."
Everyone in the audience tutted as Tuvok's voice floated across the room. "Well, I'd better get going."
He couldn't let her leave without one last comment. "You couldn't have warned me?"
Kathryn smirked as she turned away from him and sauntered towards the exit. "What's the matter Commander?" she called out. "Can't you handle a woman who's a little...gung-ho?"
And with that she strolled out the door, clearly glorying in the applause and cheers that followed her as she went.
Chakotay said nothing. He knew when he had been beaten.
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