Once again, all the regulars were occupying the bridge, looking merry and full of purpose. Fine… I'll be honest. All the regulars were not there, because Harry was elsewhere. Tuvok never looks that way and he sure didn't now. Janeway was too busy thinking about her day off tomorrow to look merry or full of purpose. Chakotay was too depressed about the probability of never getting home. Tom was too absorbed with pulling apart the cotton ball to look intelligent enough to have purpose.
"Ta-da!" Harry arrived dramatically, drawing attention to the overflow of buttons he wore.
"What are you doing, Ensign?" Janeway pointed at the multitude of buttons.
"Doesn't this make me Super-Duper-Ultra-Nifty-Ultimate-Intelligent-All-Bow-Down-Cool-Dude-Captain?" He smiled.
"No," The captain shook her head. "That just makes you Button-Boy."
The smile disappeared. "I don't outrank you?"
"No, you don't."
"Oh Button-Boy!" Seven danced onto the bridge with B'Elanna. "We just fixed engineering, Button-Boy!"
"Don't call me that." Harry pouted and began working at his console.
"You're done with the repairs, Lieutenant?" Chakotay queried.
"Yes! We're actually finished!" The Klingon rejoiced. "Everything works again!"
"Great!" The captain participated in her joy. "Let's test it out, then. Warp nine, Mr. Paris."
Tom grinned wildly, tossing the cotton ball aside. "Have I ever told you guys how much I love going warp nine?"
"Yes…" The crew answered him lazily as the ship gained speed.
"We're never getting home!" Chakotay wailed. "This crew's too stupid!"
"It took you six years to figure that out?" Tuvok looked unimpressed.
Suddenly, Tom Paris' eyes grew alarmingly wide. (A/N: The following occurs in very slow motion.) He dramatically lifted his hand high above his head, preparing to jam the stop button. He brought his hand down, down, down. Down to the dreaded 'stop' button. He was mere centimeters away from completing the halt when:
"NO!" (A/N: Slow motion now ends.) Everybody present had crowded around Tom and were pointing their fingers at him threateningly. "Don't you dare!"
He sheepishly took his hand away from the console. "What?"
"Whatever's out there," Janeway fumed. "We don't need it. Do not stop the ship."
"We don't want wormholes that take us straight to Earth?" Paris looked horrified and a little traumatized.
"What?" Chakotay felt a little flutter of hope.
"Back there!" Tom explained. "Well it's way back there since we're traveling at warp nine!"
"Did you pick anything up on the sensors, Tuvok?" B'Elanna held her breath as everybody returned to their stations.
"Negative. However, I suggest we reverse course to investigate."
"It would be impossible for Lieutenant Paris to see a wormhole with his eyes while traveling at warp nine." Seven reasoned.
"It's also impossible to see nickels and cotton balls… but he did it. Let's check it out, Captain!" Harry choked with anticipation.
"Absolutely! Run all scanners!" Janeway couldn't help but hope. She looked at Chakotay, hoping to find a sense of calm.
"It is gone." Tuvok suddenly informed everyone on the bridge. "We have missed it."
"How?" Chakotay didn't want to give up. "How is it gone if it was there just a second ago?"
"It has collapsed. But it did lead straight to Earth."
"Heh." Tom didn't seem affected by the disappointment. "You should've listened! Nobody listens to me… but I showed them!"
"This is tragic." Seven said tonelessly. "I think I'll just go back to astrometrics. See you later Button-Boy!"
Harry couldn't retort because he was sobbing all over his console. "I want to go home!"
The captain shrugged and sank into the very back of the captain's chair. "Look on the bright side… we've only got a few more decades of traveling to do."
"We were this close!" B'Elanna stood, open-mouthed.
"Decades." The first officer nodded cynically. "You are so inspiring, Kathryn."
"What am I supposed to do about it?" She suddenly wished she were invisible. "I'm not Super Captain anymore, you know. Besides, you're supposed to be the calm, rational one who never gets upset by anything."
"I got sick of that."
"Home-baked apple pie!" Harry continued weeping. "I miss home-baked apple pie!"
"This behavior is illogical." Tuvok decided.
Suddenly, Tom Paris' eyes got extremely wide. Nobody tried to stop him as the ship crashed to a stop and the crew tumbled to the front of the bridge.
"Transporter room!" Tom bolted from the premises.
Nobody bothered to return to their stations. They just sat in the pile of chocolate crumbs and jello smears waiting to see what Tom might possibly bring back this time.
"Watch that snake…" Harry said blandly.
"What snake? We already got all the snakes." Janeway glanced around but didn't really put any weight in the warning.
"Not that one, apparently."
"Ouch… is this one poisonous, too?" She pointed to the mischievous snake, both fangs locked into her ankle.
"Based off of the luck we've had over the last forty-eight hours, I'm guessing yes."
"We need to add 'No Snakes on the Bridge' to that rule list…"
"You'll never believe what I got this time!" Tom returned, carrying a slip of paper. "This was floating out in space!" The slip of paper read, simply:
Elly: Yep. That's a wrap!
GWFan: Thanks for reading the whole thing! Now get out there and eat some jello!
Elly: With Kool Whip… Mmm mmm good!