The Betting Pool
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the characters, but I own the story.
Hope that you enjoy it.
One year away from the Alpha Quadrant, I still may kill that Tom Paris. Thought Chakotay as he assessed the repairs to deck 12.
It all started last night in Holodeck 4 at Tom's new creation - The Stag Bar. There were five of us there: Harry, Joe, Neelix, the pest Paris and myself. We started to do some heavy male-bonding; talking about sports, women and war stories.
A few drinks later, a new betting pool started. It was sort of a 'truth or dare' thing but you only won if the dare is carried out.
I should have thrown Paris into the brig but I thought "what the hell, it's a nice distraction from streaming by star systems."
The past few weeks have been great, I now knew more about the lives of Voyager's crew than the past six years put together. We're up to 10 weeks of replicator rations and 4 weeks of Holodeck time.
"I'm ready for a dare" I declared and immediately regretted it as Paris started beaming like he'd bust a gut.
Tom "Boy do I have one for you, old man!"
Harry "Tom, be careful"
Tom "Take it easy, Har..I'll split the loot with you"
Chakotay "Just spill it, Lieutenant"
Tom "You have one week to kiss the Captain...and provide proof"
Joe choked on his drink and groaned "I hope she stays out of Engineering"
Neelix "You have your work cut out for You, Commander"
Chakotay "You're on Paris"
Tom "Huh?...the dare is to.."
Chakotay "Kiss Kathryn"
Tom "Kathryn??..did I miss something?"
I walked away smiling at their statements of disbelief.
I consciously avoided Janeway as much as possible for the past four days. Every-time I walked onto the Bridge, Tom Paris started to beam. Today was no exception.
Janeway "Mr. Paris, is that a grimace or have you heard a very bad joke?"
Tom "Just remembered something funny, Captain"
Janeway shook her head and turned to me "there are times when I think that Tom is somewhat insane." Then that cocky smile..the lethal weapon.
"Probably helm fatigue" I replied.
That got her laughing. Paris turned around so fast I thought he'd suffer from whiplash. It was my turn to smirk.
Day seven, alpha shift over. In walked Paris whistling. Captain Janeway entered and asked for an update.
Well it's now or never. I walked to the center of the Bridge
"Join me, please"
With a slight furrow of her brow, she did. Standing very close to me she whispered "Is something wrong?"
I just kept looking at her. She opened her mouth to say something but I had her in my arms, kissing her in the middle of the Bridge. Shock radiated from her eyes. She didn't even pull away.
Paris' jaw dropped and I could only imagine Tuvok's reaction. Harry's groan was audible.
It was as if someone froze the Bridge..no-one moved. I ended the kiss, pecked Kathryn on the cheek and left as fast as I could.
Walking back to my quarters, I saw my life flash before my eyes. She would personally kick my ass thru an airlock.
Janeway "Tuvok, you have the bridge"
She entered the turbolift and hissed "Deck three"
Janeway "Computer, locate Commander Chakotay"
Computer "Commander Chakotay is in Captain Janeway's quarters"
The gall of the man she thought as she entered her quarters. "Lights"
About to launch into a tirade, she noticed his commbadge on her table along with two dozen red roses, a PADD and one of his pips.
Picking up the PADD, surveying the message:
I'm in the brig preparing my last will and testament. I just won ten weeks of replicator rations - left to Sam for Naomi and four weeks of Holodeck time for you. It was an interesting six years.
She couldn't help but laugh out loud at the message. Quickly placing the mask of Janeway firmly on her face, she headed for the brig.
The news must have reached everyone because they all seem to melt into the walls as she passed by. The fear was so real, you could feel it! She felt eyes affixed to the back of her head as she entered the brig.
Janeway "Computer, place a security lock on the brig, Janeway Delta 7-oh-4"
Computer "Brig is secure"
Chakotay turned around with a blank expression. This is it he thought the end.
She stopped directly in-front of him, pulled out the pip and replaced it. Then she slapped on his commbadge.
Janeway "Computer, site-to-site transport for Commander Chakotay and myself to my ready room"
They disappeared in a shimmer of blue.
Janeway "Janeway to Paris"
Paris "Yes Captain"
Janeway "Report to my ready room"
Paris "Yes Ma'am"
He swallowed hard at the caustic "come" after the first chime. He was absolutely stunned to see Chakotay standing there in one piece, smiling broadly.
Janeway "Mr. Paris, if I ever hear the words 'betting pool' again on this ship, I will name an airlock after You...Understood?"
Paris "Ye..yes Captain"
Paris "Aye, aye Ma'am"
A confused Paris walked onto the Bridge and resignedly sat at the helm. He couldn't help but wondering if she knew all along. But that would mean..naw, it couldn't be. Not Janeway, she is 100% Starfleet.
Kathryn "Wipe that expression off your face Commander, I'm not finished with you"
Chakotay "I don't have a very high pain threshold anymore, so be gentle." flashing those dimples is really pushing it, she thought.
There's that damn smile again, he thought.
She walked over to the couch, plopped down and stared at the stars.
Kathryn "This will keep the crew buzzing for a while."
Chakotay "Oh yeah...wanna go grab dinner in the mess hall?"
All chatter instantly seized as they entered laughing at one of Kathryn's corny jokes.
Jan 7th 2001.