Disclaimer - characters belong to Paramount, but I wish they'd have this much fun.
Here you go Sharese.
The bridge was abuzz with small talk as it usually was part way through alpha shift on a Monday morning. Everyone knew that the Captain didn't mind - she ran a tight ship but wasn't adverse to allowing the crew to have a good time - but she wasn't on the bridge at the moment anyway.
So when the doors to her ready room were clearly heard to be opening, the conversation didn't abruptly end; crewmembers didn't suddenly become quiet. That was until some of them looked towards the ready room, of course.
The level of noise rapidly declined as those on duty realised who had just come out of the ready room. It wasn't the Captain. And there was something...interesting about him.
It was the female crewmembers who really took notice first of all, which although it was quite disturbing to the object of their attention, he realised it would have been even more disturbing if it had been the men who noticed first.
It started as a few of them glanced up to greet their Captain, but as they looked and noticed it wasn't the Captain who emerged first, their eyes expectedly drew to a certain part of the newcomers anatomy. It was hardly his fault that their eyes were drawn there, not their fault for looking. It was rather obvious.
As the women in the room kept staring, their eyes widening, the men naturally began to wonder what they found so interesting. A few of them started to laugh although they did their worst to hide it. Several of them were going to cash in on bets for this one.
The Captain followed him out of the ready room with a completely straight face, but there was absolutely nothing she could do to hide the laughter in her eyes. Eventually she gave up completely and just smiled.
They sat in their chairs and Chakotay, red-faced, asked for a status report.
B'Elanna Torres was laying underneath the engineering console on the starboard side of the bridge, trying to repair a malfunctioning isolinear relay. While the ship had been designed to run on bio-neural gel packs, the Captain had ordered several years ago that most systems should have an isolinear back-up in case the gel packs became infected - it had already happened twice.
Holding her hand out from under the console, she asked Nicoletti for a hyperspanner. When she sensed no movement for up to five seconds, she spoke. "Susan?" Then she noticed that the chatter in the room had lowered considerably. Pulling herself out, she sat up and looked at what everyone else was looking at.
Her eyes went immediately to his groin. She couldn't help. Of course, many years ago she would have wanted to look at that area, but at this moment she had an ulterior motive. Cocking her head slightly to the right, she tried to calculate just how large the stain was.
And then she smelt it.
With her superior senses, B'Elanna was pretty sure she was the first one to notice the smell.
Tom said something, but it was so low that she doubted anyone else could have heard it. Her head turned to look at him and she could see how hard a time he was having at containing his humour.
The half-human smirked, before picking up the hyperspanner herself and laying back under the console. She'd let Nicoletti have her fun. Besides, in all their time together, B'Elanna had certainly seen Chakotay in more compromising positions wearing a whole lot less.
Lieutenant Commander Tuvok's eyebrow rose to new heights as he took in the image of the Commander as he walked into the bridge. The human was clearly embarrassed, although Tuvok did not know why as of yet.
The level of auditory noise in the room lowered, and Tuvok, having spent many years with humans, began to have a faint suspicion of what had caused the silence.
He lowered his eyes.
His theory was indeed correct.
Or at least partially so he amended, as the familiar scent that had apparently caused the stain dispersed through his nostrils. He easily identified the scent, being very familiar with it.
Of course, the obvious question was why hadn't the Captain ordered or allowed the Commander to go back to his quarters to change or clean up? The Commander was obvious humiliated, and as Tuvok studied the Captain he could not help but recognise the smile of satisfaction on her face.
Drawing his thoughts away from such areas, he returned his attention back to the security console but made a mental note to speak to the Captain regarding protocol shortly.
Harry looked up as the door to the ready room swished apart, his mouth half-open to announce "Captain on the bridge." It was a formality of course, and not at all something Captain Janeway insisted be done, but it had become a running joke between him and Tom. He couldn't even remember how it all started, but it was a race between them now to see which of them could say it the fastest.
This time, neither of them said anything. At first he said nothing because he realised it wasn't the Captain, but a few short seconds later he had an entirely different reason for being open-mouthed.
He would *not* snigger. Tom apparently disagreed because he distinctly heard a muffled cough coming from the pilot's station. The rest of the crew mainly seemed dumbstruck like himself, although a few seemed to be laughing like Tom. He only knew this by listening of course. His eyes were still fixed on Chakotay.
It was like watching the aftermath of an awful accident.
He didn't want to look...
...but he couldn't help it.
There was something so fascinating about the whole thing.
The crew's necks seemed to move in unison as they watched Chakotay move from the ready room doorway and sit in his seat, doing a terrible job of hiding his embarrassment. He asked for a report, and it took Harry nearly ten seconds to realise that *he* was supposed to be speaking.
And he knew Seven was looking at him.
Ah, life was good.
Tom felt that at this moment, he could sit back in his chair and prop his feet up on his console and not worry about anything ever again. He'd have enough bets to collect after this shift to keep him rich in replicator rations for the next fifty years.
He didn't prop his feet up. Instead he was hunched over his station, shoulders shaking, quickly forgetting his on-going joke with Harry. Seeing the state Chakotay was in was bad enough, but a few seconds after he appeared on the bridge, the Captain followed with a damn big, extremely satisfied smile on her face.
He didn't think he'd ever recover. God forbid that someone ask him to make a course correction at that moment. Tom was having trouble just staying in his chair, and he swore he was going to have bruised ribs from trying to keep his laughter silent. He had to admit he wasn't being entirely successful.
Just as the laughter started to dissipate, Chakotay asked for a status report and Harry's utter silence nearly set Tom off again. "Oh God," he wheezed to himself, pretty sure that no one could have heard him except for perhaps B'Elanna or Tuvok.
Harry did something he hadn't done for a long time. He stammered.
"Uh well...sir...all systems are operational and fully functional-"
Tom couldn't help it - he burst out laughing.
Human behaviour was most curious. Vulcans, for example, did not display their amusement by shaking their bodies. Vulcans did not display their amusement at all. And even if they did, Seven doubted that they would become amused by a stain on Commander Chakotay's uniform.
Seven only knew that was what they were amused by through logical deduction. It was the only thing that was out of the ordinary, and as the Commander did not usually cause this much humour just by walking into a room, the answer seemed obvious.
The Captain's expression was different from everyone elses. The Commander was embarrassed - indicated by the flushed skin on his face - and the rest of the crew on the bridge appeared to be in varying states of humour or shock. The Captain, although obviously amused, also looked very pleased with herself.
However, the individual who seemed to be having the most difficulty with containing himself was Lieutenant Paris. Badly contained laughter repeatedly emanated from him, particularly when the Commander asked for a status report and for 8.2 seconds Ensign Kim did not reply. Seven looked at him, trying to determine why he was silent. She came to the conclusion that like several other crewmembers, he was shocked by recent events. Seven could not fathom why this would be so, but as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok had told her on many occasions, human behaviour was often illogical.
She could not fault his theory.
All of the thought being expanded on this subject was an innefficient waste of time. She should be working, not studying human behaviour. She could assimilate facts about them while on duty, but she should only allow herself to study all of their facts during her off duty time.
As she returned her attention to her work, the turbolift door opened.
Oh, he was so excited! He couldn't wait to tell the Captain all about his new food-preservation techniques that would help save on energy. Not to mention his new improved recipe for hair pasta...he knew how much she enjoyed that particular dish. Not that she ever asked for seconds, but then the Captain never asked for seconds of anything. Except for coffee.
He rocked on the balls of his feet as the turbolift halted and a newcomer entered.
"Well hello Doctor!" he exclaimed.
"Mr Neelix," the EMH greeted "How are you today?"
"Quite well thank you, Doctor. And you?"
"Oh, same as ever. The health of a hologram doesn't change much, I'm very glad to say." he responded with a condescending smile that was meant that way but Neelix didn't notice.
"Glad to hear it. Where are you going?"
Neelix grinned. "That's just where I'm headed! I have some wonderful new developments to inform the Captain of."
"Well so have I Mr Neelix, although I should think my medical news would be of more importance than your latest leola root recipe."
Before the Talaxian could respond the turbolift reached its destination and they both stepped out. The first thing Neelix noticed was the smell. Had someone been-
The rest of that particular thought was lost as he noticed just how quite it was, with Tom's laughter being the loudest noise in the room.
The Captain turned in her chair to see who had entered. She looked extremely happy. "Neelix, Doctor! Please, come in. How can we help?"
They approached and Neelix spoke. "Ummm...well we both have some very exciting news to tell you, although I think the Doctor should go first as no doubt his news is more important."
The Doctor looked quite surprised. "Why thank you Mr Neelix." He began speaking to the Captain and Neelix watched as Doc moved around the bridge, moving down from the rear and walking to stand in front of the Captain. "Remember that theory I had about extrapalating the amount of time it takes for incubation of-"
*That* line of thought also became lost, although this time it was caused by something the Doctor saw when he looked at Commander Chakotay and Neelix decided he had to know what was so interesting...
"Oh my," was all the Doctor said.
Tom laughed again.
The EMH absently noticed that Neelix was scurrying down to the front of the bridge to see what was so fascinating, but he couldn't stop himself from looking.
"Oh my," he said, and that statement was shortly followed by laughter from Mr Paris. Finally looking up at the Commander's face, he could see how embarrassed the First Officer was. "I know this is hardly the place to discuss such matters Commander, but I think everyone can see quite clearly that the cat is out of the bag," he paused as Tom laughed again "and I would just like to assure you that if this is an ongoing problem you can be treated for it. All it will require is a quick trip to sickbay-"
"No no!" Neelix interrupted, who by now was standing next to him. "Don't you realise what this is?"
"Well, yes I do."
"It's not what *you*, or a majority of the crew, seem to think it is. I can smell it. It's coffee."
The Doctor frowned, looked at Commander Chakotay, then looked back at Neelix. "Are you positive?"
Neelix nodded. "Absolutely."
Sighs of disappointment echoed through the bridge.
The hologram was absolutely befuddled. "But..." he turned back to Chakotay again "Commander, could you kindly explain why you have coffee on your crotch?"
Even though he had no doubt just learnt that he had lost out on huge amounts of replicator rations, Mr Paris laughed yet again.
The Commander shook his head. "I lost a bet," he stated feebly, but couldn't quite stop his eyes from straying to look at the Captain.
"Ah, I seeee..." the EMH responded. "May I ask what the bet was about?"
"No." both the Captain and Commander responded immediately, the smile on the Captain's face faltering slightly.
Everyone on the bridge was interested by that short statement.
Tom finally had his breath back to say something. "Well...after my shift ends I'll be taking bets on just what their bet was about."
"I doubt you'll be doing that Mr Paris," the Captain told him, her smile returning, determined to take him down a peg or two.
He turned to look at her. "Oh?"
"Can you guess my bra size?"
There was silence again for a few moments before he responded. "Well, I could probably-"
"Thomas Eugene Paris, don't you even *dare*!"
"Woah, B'Elanna! Take it easy! I was just kidding."
Seven spoke. "Captain, I am confused."
The Captain looked at her. "How so, Seven?"
Chakotay, somehow knowing what was coming, cringed.
"Your bet with the Commander was to guess bra size, correct?"
"Yes, that's right."
Seven frowned slightly. "But the Commander doesn't wear a bra. So, if the situation arose, what were you going to guess?"
The Captain smiled.
Companion fics: Before The Stain and After The Stain
e-mail // voyager fic