Reprise 2/5

Reprise 2/5: The Respite
Written February 2001
Rated PG
Synopsis: An AU fic beginning six months after the Voyager returns to the Alpha Quadrant. Written long before the series finale.
Spoilers: small amounts from a few episodes including ‘Caretaker,’ ‘The Cloud,’ ‘Thirty Days,’ ‘Bliss,’ ‘Drive,’ ‘Legacy,’ and ‘Bride of Chaotica!’ and some details from Jeri Taylor’s novel ‘Mosaic’

Disclaimer: The characters, situations, ships, etc. belong to Paramount and its affiliates. No infringement is intended. Some of the situations and characters are my own.


They arrived in Marseilles in the late afternoon and walked from the transport site to their new apartment. Paris gave Janeway a verbal tour on their stroll; she had never been to Marseilles before.

Upon entering the fourth-floor apartment, Janeway put her shoulder bag on the floor. “This is nice.”

“Not too shabby,” Paris noted as the door closed behind him. “Oh, should I have carried you across the threshold?”

“Not a chance.”

The apartment was already furnished, compliments of the Academy. The walls were high and white. A couch sat in the middle of the living quarters with a coffee table in front of it. A workdesk rested against the wall between the two bedroom doors. On the same wall, across from the front door, were two replicators and a small dining table. To their right was a closed door, presumably the bathroom. Opposite that wall was the balcony, viewed through two glass doors. The apartment was quaint but colorless.

Janeway seemed most impressed with the kitchen, or perhaps the fact that there wasn’t one. “No stove, no pantry, two replicators…perfect.”

Smiling, Paris peeked inside one of the bedrooms. “Looks like a prison cell.”

“You can’t be serious,” she said, standing on her tiptoes in an attempt to see past him.

“No, they’re much nicer. However…” He stepped to the side so she could see. “It reminds me of a starship’s accommodations.”

“I guess we’ll have to do some shopping.”

“I’ve been programmed to enjoy dull. I’m not sure how I’ll respond to color.”

“We’ll soon find out. When you’re gone tomorrow, I’ll add some more vibrant decorations.”

He leaned against the wall. “I never would have pegged you for an interior decorator. I’m rather impressed.”

“You can pass judgment tomorrow. Why don’t we unpack and you can take me out to dinner.”

He laughed loudly. “Is that an order, Captain?”

She softened her voice. “No, just a request.”

He smiled. “How about Sandrine’s? You could hustle me at pool.”

“I can’t resist that. Do you suppose Sandrine will still be there?”

“I certainly hope so, but I haven’t been there for a long time. Who knows?”

***

“Huh. I guess Sandrine hangs with a different crowd these days.” They found the bar with ease, and nothing appeared to have changed except the sign: Chez Pierre. “Still up for it?”

Janeway nodded. “Of course. Sandrine’s or not, I’m sure it will spark some memories.”

He opened the door for her. Sandrine’s–or rather, Pierre’s–was exactly how he remembered it. While he inspected the facility more closely, he didn’t notice that the room grew quiet and everyone stared at them.

She nudged him. “Tom.”

He turned to see himself under extreme scrutiny. He was about to address them, hoping he still remembered enough French to do so, when he noticed someone pushing through the crowd to him. “Thomas!”

He grinned. “Sandrine!”

“Thomas, tu me manques! Comment as-tu? Ah, mon Dieu…” The woman hugged him. “Tu es bon, non?” She noticed Janeway and smiled. “Qui est la fille? Ta femme?”

Paris laughed when Sandrine suggested that Janeway was his wife. “Non, pas ma femme. Ma…bonne amie, Kathryn.” He was surprised and relieved that his French returned so quickly. With no translator, it would have been an awkward reunion. He looked at Janeway and realized she didn’t speak a word of French. “My apologies, Captain. Sandrine isn’t exactly fluent in English.”

“Nonsense!” Sandrine interrupted. “I’ve been learning. It’s good to meet you, Kathryn. I am Sandrine.”

She shook her hand. “It’s an honor to meet you. I feel like I’ve known you for years.”

“I created a holodeck replica of this place,” Paris explained. “Come to think of it…’Chez Pierre’?”

“Oui. Certainly you know Pierre.” She gestured to the man behind the bar.

Janeway chuckled. “The gigolo,” she whispered, waving to him.

“What are you doing?” Paris asked. “He doesn’t know you, remember?”

“No reason not to be friendly.” She rolled her eyes at his expression. “He hit on me in the holodeck; why should real life be any different?”

“Because,” interrupted Sandrine as she walked away, “he is my husband.”

Paris put his hands on his hips, looking at her with mock criticism. “Oh, I get it. You just came along to find some French man.”

“No, but it was an incentive.” Her eyes twinkled with humor.

“Well, I’ll have you know that I am three quarters French.”

“No, you aren’t.”

He paused. “You’re right. But I’m sure that I’m at least a little bit French. With a name like Paris, how can I not be?”

***

Dinner was fabulous, and Janeway did indeed hustle Paris at the pool table. Not only did she beat him, but she also claimed victories over Pierre and three other patrons. To celebrate, Paris took her for a walk on the beach.

“…and Harry said he’d contact me before he left orbit.”

“How is Harry?” Janeway asked.

“He’s good. Finally got a promotion to lieutenant, although he probably has more experience than most captains. He’ll be working ops on the Intrepid. B’Elanna is going with him. He says they’re just friends, but everybody knows how he feels about her.”

She nodded knowingly. “Toward the end of our journey, they started to get closer. Had we not found the wormhole, things might be different now.” She glanced at him. “How does that make you feel?”

He and B’Elanna Torres had been married once, while they were on Voyager. They had been happy and she had been pregnant, but an accident in engineering claimed the life of their unborn daughter and almost took B’Elanna’s as well. They were both devastated, but she took it harder. The death made love difficult for both of them, and slowly their once-blissful marriage came to an end. “I’m okay. She blamed herself for the baby’s death, and it took Harry’s help to bring her out of her depression. Now they’re inseparable.”

They continued walking in silence, shoes in hand and feet in water. Janeway sighed softly. “How’s Chakotay?”

“What, you don’t know?”

“I told you, you’re the only one who has contacted me.”

“I’m just surprised, that’s all. The guy’s crazy about you, and he hasn’t even called?” She didn’t answer him. He stopped walking, but she continued, apparently oblivious to him. “What happened?” She still didn’t speak. He hurried behind her, putting a hand on her shoulder to make her stop. He could see the pain in her eyes, and he softened his voice. “It’s okay. You can tell me.”

“Do you remember, a few months before we got home, that I was kidnapped by the Kramon?” At his nod, she continued. “They things they did to me, the mental torture… They put these thoughts in my head, where I was responsible for the death of my entire crew. I must’ve seen the scenario a hundred times. When I was rescued, the events were still fresh in my mind, and I was extremely vulnerable. I deemed myself unfit to be captain. Chakotay and I had a long talk…about everything. And after that night–”

“Wait, wait. So you talked. I can’t blame you for being scared.”

“We didn’t just talk, Tom.”

“Oh.” He took a breath.

“I gave into everything. The time on board was wearing me out. I just needed someone to love me. He certainly hadn’t denied his feelings, so I gave in to temptation.” She closed her eyes at the memory. “And after that night, things between us were strained. When I confronted him about it, he said that we shouldn’t have…done that. He said that I was too vulnerable to enter into a relationship, and that he didn’t want to take advantage of me.” She swallowed her bitterness. “All those years of feelings bottled up, coming out in one night, only to be rejected. I don’t doubt that he ever loved me, but I think he was right. It was just bad timing. I told him that if he ever changed his mind…” She looked out at the ocean. “I guess he didn’t.”

Paris stared at her. She had revealed another piece of her heart to him, and he felt so lucky. He realized that he wanted to know everything about her. Chakotay hadn’t appreciated how fortunate he was, but Paris knew. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake. She was here with him now, and he never wanted her to leave.

Janeway gazed at him shyly. “There you have it–my one and only sexual escapade in the past eight and a half years. Not too exciting, is it?”

He didn’t say anything. Not a joke, not a comforting word, not even an apology. Instead he put both arms around her and squeezed fiercely, afraid that he would wake up and find out that it was only a dream.

***

The first day on the job was so wonderful, Paris practically skipped home. The faculty was energetic, his students were receptive, and no one seemed to care about his past. Any example used from his days on Voyager was well received. He couldn’t wait to get home to tell Janeway about his day.

He quickly keyed in the code, and the doors slid aside. “I’m home!” He looked around with a frown. “Or maybe not.” Things had certainly changed from when he left eight hours before. The once-white room now contained vibrantly colored paintings, pillows, and curtains. Soft greens and blues were mixed with bright yellows and oranges to create the most cheerful home he’d ever seen.

Janeway walked out from her bedroom, all smiles. “Do you like it?”

“It’s great!”

She seemed relieved but never lost her grin. “I’m glad.”

He crossed the room to the dining table and noticed that food had already been prepared. “You cooked?”

“I replicated,” she corrected. “I hope you’re hungry.”

“Famished.” He turned to thank her and finally noticed what she was wearing. He didn’t know there was a dress that existed that would look sexier than Arachnia’s but there was–and she was wearing it. It was long, form-fitting but not too tight, with wide straps and a sheer top layer. It matched her eyes perfectly.

“Oh! One more surprise, though I’m not sure how you’ll like this one.” She returned to her bedroom for a second and reappeared with a large bundle of white fluff. When she reached Paris, she put the thing on the floor.

His eyes widened when he realized what it was. He knelt down.

“Tom, meet Delta.” Janeway seemed pleased. “She’s a Samoyed, two years old, fully housebroken and trained.”

He was fascinated. “It’s a dog!”

“My sister has always had a Samoyed, and she decided to send me one as a housewarming gift. Do you like her?”

“Delta as in Delta Quadrant?”

“Phoebe named her in honor of Voyager.”

He rubbed Delta affectionately. The pooch took an immediate liking to him, licking his hand with great interest. He grinned. “She’s perfect.”

There was a chirp from the desk computer. “Incoming transmission from the starship Intrepid.” Janeway went to answer it.

Harry Kim’s face appeared. “Hi, T–Captain!” His expression went from cheerful to startled.

“Hi, Harry! It’s so good to see you! How are you?”

He looked perplexed. “I’m–I’m fine but a little confused. This is Tom’s place, isn’t it?”

She chuckled then turned her head. “It’s Harry.”

Paris leaned behind her. “Harry!”

Kim was relieved. “Hi, Tom. As promised, I’m calling before we leave orbit. How’s the new job?”

“It’s fantastic! Everything is fantastic.” He glanced at Janeway. She didn’t notice, but Kim did.

“I was afraid I had the wrong house when the captain answered.”

“No, you found me. And, by coincidence, you found her.”

Janeway smiled. “Tom twisted my arm to get me as a roommate. I’m not sure whether I should be flattered or frightened.”

“And we got a dog!” He left the path of the camera to retrieve Delta. “See? This is Delta. Delta, meet Uncle Harry.”

Kim smiled awkwardly. Something off screen caught his attention. “B’Elanna wants to say hi.” He stood, and Torres’s face took his place.

“Hello, Tom, Captain. How are you doing?”

“Fine,” they answered together.

“That’s good. Harry and I are fine as well.”

“What have you been doing, B’Elanna?” Paris asked.

“Well, I started working on a short-range site-to-site transporter. It will be hand-held for the operator, and the user will wear a band on his arm. Kind of like Doc’s holo-emitter. Oh! Have you heard about Doc? Starfleet is downloading his database into an android likeness. Soon, he should be walking around without his emitter. And guess who’s leading the crew on this vast undertaking? Seven of Nine!” She grinned. “It’s great to see you two. I’m going to turn this over to Harry now. Bye.”

Paris chuckled. He hadn’t seen B’Elanna that happy in a long time. When Harry reappeared, he smiled. “B’Elanna seems well.”

“She is. She’s really excited about her transporter. I get to be the human victim when it’s completed.”

“Lucky you.”

He grinned. “Listen, I’d better go. Captain Drago wants us on the bridge at 1900, and B’Elanna and I still need to eat and go to sickbay for our physicals. I’ll contact you later. Bye!” The Federation insignia appeared for a few seconds, and the screen faded to black.

Janeway looked at him. “You miss them, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” he answered, smiling down at her. “He was my first real friend. She was my first real love. It’s sad that none of us are together anymore. Voyager was a family.”

“With me as its matriarch.”

“You weren’t just the matriarch, or at least I never gave you that label. Harry might have; you were like a mother to him.”

She smiled fondly. “It almost aches to have him moving on to other ships. He’ll go far in Starfleet. Maybe someday I’ll be saluting him.”

“I won’t salute him,” he laughed.

“Come on, let’s have dinner.”

He tossed her a mock salute and laughed again. “Yes, ma’am.”

***

Paris walked into the apartment and was greeted cheerily by Delta. The dog stood on her hind legs, paws pressed against his chest. He rubbed her ears affectionately. “Hey, girl! Who’s a good puppy?” Delta licked his cheek. He smiled at Janeway, who was curled up on the couch with a French language guide.

“How was your day?”

“Pretty good. Two weeks on the job, and they’ve already asked me to be on the committee for new shuttlecraft design. I guess work on the Delta Flyer really paid off.”

“That’s wonderful, Tom, congratulations.”

He went to the table and examined the evening’s meal. “Hey, barbecued ribs! They look great. Ready to eat?”

The rest of the evening proceeded as it always did. They had fallen into a comfortable ritual: Paris would come home to dinner already prepared, they would eat, Janeway would retreat to the bathroom for her nightly bubblebath, and then they would gather on his bed with Delta and read. Last week it had been a book of poetry by a Bolian engineer. On Tuesday, they had started ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne, one of Paris’s favorites. He had a hardcover copy which Janeway had given him on Voyager.

Paris patted the spot next to him as Janeway stood in his doorway, clad in her blue satin pajamas. “Come on.” She sat down, and he put his arm around her. “Comfortable?”

She nodded, picking up the book and opening it to the marked page. “Ready?”

He wrapped his other arm around her waist, pulling her closer. Resting his chin on her shoulder, their cheeks touching, he assumed their traditional reading position. “Ready.”

“Part one, chapter four. ‘Ned Land.'” And she began to read.

***

Paris dismissed his class, collecting their assignments as they left. He had written up mock scenarios and told them to create alternate flight plans or use evasive maneuvers or do whatever they saw fit in each situation. He expected them all to do well, and they had already proven that they could exceed his expectations.

He retreated to his office. He didn’t know what to replicate for lunch. He knew that if he went to the cafeteria, Alexis B’Nar would sit with him. She had been interested in him for the past two months, but he didn’t have the same feelings. She was his student, and she wasn’t his type. He chuckled to himself. Since when did he have a type?

“Care to join me for lunch, Professor?”

The voice was incredibly familiar, and he was grinning before he even looked up. “Well, this is a surprise. I thought you were going sailing with that guy.”

Janeway shook her head. “Canceled due to inclement weather.” As if on cue, a clap of thunder resounded through the air. “So I decided to bring you lunch.”

He was thankful for the storm; he didn’t really want her to go sailing. ‘That guy’ was René, a local journalist. His personality was identical to Janeway’s, and they would most certainly butt heads. They had been to lunch together on several occasions, and she had told Paris that the man was infuriating. Why she accepted a real date, he didn’t know. “What kind of lunch?”

“Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

He smiled. “You know me so well.”

She sat in the chair across from him and handed him a sandwich. “You left early this morning.”

“There was a staff meeting.”

“Oh, that’s right! I completely forgot.”

“It’s okay.” He took a bite of his sandwich.

“You had a visitor this morning. Alexis B’Nar.”

He sighed. “What did she want?”

“She wanted to talk to you, but since you weren’t there, she and I went to breakfast.”

“You did what?”

“She’s a really nice girl, Tom. Very intelligent. I’m surprised Starfleet hasn’t recruited her for piloting.”

“I can’t believe she came to our apartment. She keeps following me around on campus, eating with me, asking me all these questions.”

Janeway laughed. “Oh, really?”

“Yes! I think she has a crush on me.”

“On the contrary. She came to our apartment to meet me.”

“You?”

“She studied Voyager over the last eight years. She wanted to find out everything she could. When she learned that a famous pilot was teaching at the Academy, she signed up for your class. And when you told her who you were living with, she came right over and introduced herself.”

“So she doesn’t have a crush on me?”

“No. I don’t think her husband would approve.” She chuckled, pulling a book out of the basket. “And speaking of infidelity, I brought ‘Othello.’ I thought we could read a bit when you’re finished eating.”

“Definitely.”

They had half an hour to read together once they had finished lunch. They moved their chairs side by side, put their feet up on the desk, and took turns reading from the play. After a while, they started hearing students as they entered the classroom. They closed the book and packed up the basket.

“Be careful going home,” Paris said. “It sounds like it’s pouring out there.”

“I will. Hurry home tonight.”

“Always.” He smiled at her as she walked to the hallway and disappeared.

***

By the time Paris started home, the heavy downpour had stopped and a misty rain had ensued. He headed upstairs and opened the door to the apartment. Inside, he heard laughter. Janeway was seated on the couch with René. There were leftovers on the dining table–apparently for him since it appeared that they had already eaten.

René stood. “Bonsoir, Thomas!”

He smiled politely. “Hello. Keeping busy?” Delta bound into the room and jumped at him. At least someone was happy to see him. “Hey, girl.”

“I have been teaching Kathryn some French, and she is…very good,” René stated.

Paris raised his head, hoping the statement held only false innuendo. “Thanks for leaving me some dinner.”

“Not a problem,” answered René. “Well, Kathryn, I must be going. Thank you for a wonderful evening.”

She walked him to the door, tossing a glance at Paris. “Good night, René.”

“À bientôt, ma chère.” He put his arms around her, hands roaming from her shoulder to the small of her back. He sneered at Paris in satisfaction while kissing Janeway’s neck. “Elle a le béguin pour moi, non?”

Paris frowned. She has a crush on you? I doubt it. He answered, “Peut-être.” Perhaps.

“Jaloux?”

Jealous? He glared at him. “Au revoir, René.”

The man smiled and left the apartment. Janeway turned just in time to see Paris’s annoyed expression. “What?”

“You’ve only seen him a few times, and already it looks serious.”

“I’m not getting any younger, you know.”

“Yeah, but him? He’s not your type.”

“Do you presume to know more about my ‘type’ than me?”

The way she worded it made him smile. It was like they were captain and lieutenant again. “Actually, yes.”

She folded her arms across her chest. “Oh, do explain.”

“You need someone who can complement your personality, not overpower it. You’re stubborn, independent, bossy–”

“Watch it, Tom.”

“You asked! Besides, you know it’s true. And René, he’s all those things, too.” As well as selfish and arrogant. He bit back the thought. “The two of you would battle it out for the last word. You need someone willing to let you have the last word! Someone who knows how to deal with you when you get cranky.” He ducked as she playfully swatted him with a pillow. “Hey!”

“I will let this bit of insubordination slide because you’re probably right, but keep in mind that I haven’t had a lot of attention in the last eight years.”

“That was your own fault.”

“My fault?”

“At least half of the male officers were in love with you.”

“I couldn’t take that seriously. Officers tend to develop romantic feelings for their captains. It’s a side effect of long-term missions.”

“Well, it’s still your fault for not seeing them out. If it hadn’t been for the wormhole, we would still be in the Delta Quadrant. Were you planning on taking a vow of celibacy for the rest of your life?”

“I’m sure I would have had a few lapses in protocol.”

“Those never work out.” He flinched, realizing the parallel to her own life. “I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant.”

“It’s okay,” she said quietly.

“No, it’s not. Look, Kathryn–” He rarely used her name, and it caught her attention. “I’ve known you for the past eight years. Most men are intimidated by you. And René’s not, but he’s also not the type of man you could spend the rest of your life with. You need someone who appreciates all of your strengths and faults, someone who really knows you.”

“Someone like you?”

He chuckled. “Well, I do seem to fit that criteria, but–”

“Are you jealous, Tom?”

He froze. “Where would you get that idea?”

“René asked you if you were jealous.”

“Apparently, you’ve learned more French than I thought.” He looked into her eyes. Things had changed between them since they have moved in together. On Voyager, they had carried out a platonic friendship, even though he was one of the guilty parties attracted to the captain. When he started dating B’Elanna, Janeway had remained a good friend, nothing more. But now, after Voyager, after B’Elanna… He didn’t know whether a joking or serious answer would be more accepted. He chose the former. “Of course. I’d have to start replicating my own dinners if you moved out.”

She gave a tight nod and started to clean up the table. He sighed. Wrong answer.

“Things are comfortable now. I value you as a person and a friend. I don’t know what kind of relationship you want us to have, if it’s beyond what already exists. You’re my best friend, Kathryn. You’re the only one who understands me. I don’t want to lose what we have. I don’t want to lose you. So, yes, I am jealous.”

She turned to look at him, apparently looking for the slightest hint of insincerity. She found none. “Thank you,” was all she said before retreating to the bathroom for her evening ritual.

He watched her go and finally sat down to eat his dinner. It was cold.

***

Dressed in his pajamas, Paris sat on his bed, reading over some of his students’ scenarios. He rocked his head from side to side; his neck was stiff, and his shoulders ached. He rubbed them absently.

“Do you need some help?”

He looked up. Janeway stood in his doorway. “Help with what?”

She took one step in. “Anything, although I was referring to your shoulders.”

“The patented Janeway massage? Of course. Have a seat.” He shifted his position so she could kneel behind him. Paris took off his shirt. He closed his eyes as her hands touched him. “My neck is especially tense.”

“I can tell. You’ve had your head hung over those PADDs for the past hour.” She kneaded his back with the balls of her palms. “I’m sorry about earlier. I have been taking our relationship for granted. It’s just that I’m so used to being the captain that I miss being held and kissed.”

“I can hold and kiss you, you know that.”

She chuckled, rubbing his neck. “I know, and I appreciate it, but I meant in a more romantic sense.”

So did I. The thought flashed through his mind. Where did that come from? He swallowed. She may not have been his commanding officer anymore, but he still felt like their closeness was a breach in protocol. Did she see it that way, too, or was she as aware of the tension as he was?

“Feel better?”

He took a deep breath. “Fully relaxed. Now it’s your turn.”

She eased into his lap. Slowly, he lifted up the bottom of her shirt, running his fingers along her bare skin. She shivered but didn’t move. He flattened his palm and rubbed her gently, sliding his hand up and down. Before he knew what was happening, he brought his lips to her neck, kissing it softly. She arched her neck to allow him better access, and he blindly continued with his kisses.

Suddenly, she moved from his lap and turned over onto her knees, facing him. She ran her finger along his jawline to his lips, where he kissed it. “What’s happening to us? I thought it was comfortable.”

He grabbed her hand. “It was.”

“And now?” she asked, voice trembling.

He locked eyes with her. “It isn’t enough.” He leaned in, mouth parted in anticipation. When he was close enough to feel his breath mingling with hers, the desk computer beeped loudly. Delta began to bark. He sighed, heading into the living room, the dog on his heels. The moment was lost.

Paris shook the desire from his head. Whoever was calling had better have a good reason. He flipped the screen around and examined the message’s origin.

“Kathryn!”

She hurried into the room at the urgency in his voice. “What is it?”

“A Starfleet distress signal. Triple encryption with one code being…” He frowned at the preliminary scan.

Voyager‘s senior staff signature?”

He nodded. “The signal came here directly; it didn’t even go to Headquarters.”

“Start the decryption sequence.”

His hands flew over the controls with anticipation. “It could only be from a handful of–”

A fuzzy video recording came to life with Harry Kim’s face on the screen. “Tom, I don’t have time to explain everything, so pay attention. B’Elanna and I are on the eighth moon of Leduba Prime. Starfleet Headquarters is in danger, and we’re the only ones who can prove it. Without us, Headquarters will be destroyed by Cardassian rebels. Hurry, Tom.” The screen abruptly displayed the Starfleet insignia.

Paris blinked. What were Harry and B’Elanna doing on Leduba Prime? What happened to the Intrepid? And where did Cardassian rebels fit into the whole mess? Quietly, he rushed to his bedroom. “Leduba Prime…how many hours from Earth? Forty-eight?”

“You’re not serious.”

He looked at Janeway. “What?”

“Tell your father. He’ll warn the President, and they’ll be on alert.”

“What about Harry and B’Elanna?” He began to change clothes. “Look, Harry said he has proof. They won’t believe me without proof. I have to rescue them and bring them back to Headquarters.”

“What about a shuttle?”

“I work at a flight academy. They’ve got tons of shuttles. Of course, I’ll have to steal one…”

“You’re going alone?”

“There isn’t any time to find a co-pilot. Besides, who would believe me?” He pulled on a pair of shoes.

“You can’t do this alone. You need a tactical officer, at least one other person if it’ll take two days to get there.”

“Culver! One of the faculty members at the academy. He worked as a tactical officer once. At least I think it was Culver…”

She rolled her eyes and headed to her bedroom. She returned in black slacks and a maroon shirt. “Come on, Delta,” she called, walking to the door.

“Where are you going?”

“With you.”

He shook his head. “No, it could be dangerous. There could be a confrontation with the Cardassians.”

“You forget who you’re talking to, Mister Paris.”

The captain voice again. She had a point; he had forgotten their former ranks. “Are you sure? I mean, you have your career to think about.”

“What career?”

Point two. “Well, they wouldn’t expect you to steal a shuttle.”

Her lips curled into a smile. “All the more reason why I should go.”

End of Part Two

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