The whole crew was present in the holodeck for Naomi's birthday, having landed on an uninhabited M-Class planet for shore leave and supplies. And a much needed boast to crew morale, as it had been another tough month in the Delta Quadrant, and the Captain has asked Tom to come with an idea for a party for Naomi. Tom had had the wonderful brainwave of combining Naomi's party with a game of trust to show everyone how far they had come and how close they were. He designed a short obstacle course (an very old traditional game), which needed one person to be blindfolded, and another leading them through it via voice commands only. The director and the audience saw the 'obstacles' that had an infrared beam along the edges. The person being led had a pair of blacked out goggles on. Everytime the beam was broken a point would be added. The idea was be as close to zero as possible by the end of the course, and to have the quickest time. Everyone had been told to wear something that was practical and casual for games and strictly no uniforms!
Tom had shown them how it was done, using Harry as his guinea pig "If you think you can memorise the course, don't because after each person has finished, it will be randomly changed. It's a game of trust. Naomi, you can go first." Tom smiled fondly at the young Ktarian/human girl. "Who are you going to choose to lead you through the obstacle course?"
Naomi pondered, her first instinct had been say her mother, but she thought of the nature of the mission and smiled, who better to give orders and show her trust in but "I choose Captain Janeway, if the Captain doesn't mind" she added uncertainly.
All eyes looked at the silent Captain, who had made the effort to come to her Assistant's party from the beginning. It was clear she was moved, and she smiled her bright smile, which lit up her sparkling blue eyes. The senior staff were amazed by the simple joy she had in Naomi's request. She went over to the youngest crewmember and crouching down to her level, said quietly "I'm honoured Naomi, I'll try my best to steer you true." Naomi smiled and forgetting protocol for a moment, hugged the Captain, who hugged her back.
The crew smiled at the touching moment. The Doctor quietly took a couple of holo-images.
"Come on Naomi, let's see how good I'm really am at giving orders." Kathryn Janeway held the girls hand as Tom put the blacked out goggles on. Kathryn then led the girl to the start of the course. "I will be nearby Naomi, can you hear me clearly?"
"Good. Tom I think we're ready."
"Your time starts now!"
Slowly and concisely, Janeway told Naomi what to do. They got through the course with zero points and a very respectable time. Janeway had not rushed through, but instead had encouraged the girl. Naomi took off her blindfold to look at their time and score. She was amazed and hugged the Captain again. "Thank you Captain!"
Janeway smiled very warmly at Naomi, "we make a good team you and I. I think I found my new First Officer," she teased, "if Chakotay wants to make jokes about ordering me to give up caffeinated coffee." The crew smiled, Janeway and Coffee were inseparable and best kept together.
Naomi giggled, as Chakotay interjected "You're not entirely innocent of joke making yourself Kathryn."
"Yes, but mine benefitted the whole crew Chakotay, the Leola Root addict! Thanks to you we have finally finished our whole Leola Root stock!" The crew laughed at the very surprised look on Chakotay's face; clearly this wasn't the joke he had in mind.
"That was you?!" Chakotay hated Leola Root. "I'm sorry Tom, I blamed you for this whole time. I chose the wrong senior officer in command red."
"That's okay Chakotay, I was flattered you thought it was me actually. So what joke were you thinking of Chakotay?"
"You don't need to get any more ideas Tom." Chakotay tried to dodge.
"Yes but the Captain obviously hustled you a couple of times. So spill- misery loves company for have you forgotten about our first pool game when the Captain hustled the pair of us?" Tom grinned. He enjoyed the First Officer's discomfort.
"Yes Chakotay which one were you thinking of? You always said never underestimate the Captain. You should take your own advice Chakotay, that and my very strong recommendation that you don't crash any more of my shuttles because I will set the Engineers on you." Janeway smiled, her blue eyes twinkling with mirth.
"She's not joking Chakotay, the amount of times we want revenge p'tak. But watching you being the victim of the Captain's humour is very rewarding." B'Elanna grinned. "I'm just glad I'm on her good side." She added slightly smug.
"Captain's pet." Harry joked.
"Not quite but at least this way I get revenge without violence." B'Elanna laughed, "and have a good laugh at the same time."
Quite a few people including Chakotay and Janeway laughed.
Chakotay smiled at the good-natured banter, and answered, "Your cooking Kathryn, and the bad relationship you have with your replicator."
"I told you before Chakotay, my cooking is a natural disaster, not me pretending I'm a bad cook-I'm perfectly serious when I say I'm bad cook, even worse than leola root! But what I don't understand is why you still come back for more. I thought you were referring to the April 1st Day one."
Some of the crew were wild-eyed; their Starfleet Protocol conscious Captain had a sense of humour and played practical jokes that were on par with prankster Tom Paris? They were going to be extra careful off duty.
Tom grinned, knowing that he was treading on thin ice now, "Captain its your turn to be blindfolded, who's going to lead you? And more importantly who is going to brave enough to give you orders?"
Janeway was slightly surprised, but going along with the fun she replied, "I am not going to choose anyone, because I trust everyone completely with my life, and I promise you Tom, I can follow orders- just not ones concerning less caffeinated coffee and calling my replicator anything other than a glorified toaster. Actually I have a better idea, Naomi as its your birthday why don't you choose who should do any ordering in the holodeck. Just don't accept any bribes."
Everyone chuckled even the Doctor; Janeway's addiction to coffee was legendary. Janeway smiled "Tom if you would so kind as to put the blindfold on, and lead me to the front of the course, whoever wants to 'order' me around can direct me from there. I promise not to put anyone in the brig if we don't do so well. " The crew were surprised at Janeway's words, they had been fairly sure she would choose someone from the senior staff, Naomi, Icheb or most likely her handsome first officer. Chakotay himself was very surprised, but he saw her smiling without her Captain's mask on- she was being genuine and having fun. She needed to do it more often he thought.
Tom then called out after he had led the blindfolded Captain to the required position, "To help Naomi decide raise your hands if you want to be considered."
Many hands went up, everyone silent as not to give themselves away. "Maybe we should let Commander Chakotay do it- he deserves to boss the Captain around the most especially after eating leola root." Someone piped up.
Kathryn grinned. "What makes you think he doesn't try and boss me around Jenny Delaney?" Jenny was stunned that Captain Janeway recognised her voice. Janeway's voice held a hint of laughter… "He thinks by being charming and cooking nice meals will dull my wits, and he can get away with it but it takes a bit more than that. Nice try Chakotay, now stop grinning please."
Her back was to Chakotay, who was indeed grinning. "Now you know why she is the Captain- she knows nearly everything about Voyager and her crew, including Tom's betting pools."
"I have my holo-camera ready Captain." The Doctor called out.
Kathryn smiled. "Good. Take a picture of the shock on Chakotay's face when he sees how easy it is for me to follow orders that don't involve coffee and work, and maybe he might lay off on the orders, actually that goes for you too Doctor"
The Doctor gave a dry smile. "And how much coffee have you drunk today Captain?"
"One cup and that was to wake me up this morning. Are you all still feeling brave?" She teased at the sudden silence. "Oh it was a never-empty one don't worry too much." The crew let out a relieved breath; they quickly learned to let the Captain have coffee or give her a very wide berth.
Tom asked, "Naomi have you chosen someone?"
Naomi replied "yes" and quietly gestured for Chakotay forward.
The crew grinned; this was going to be interesting. In the silence the Doctor got in position to take many holo-images, especially when Janeway realised Chakotay was going to 'order' her around.
"I always wondered if you would serve under me Kathryn." Chakotay said.
Some of the crew wolf whistled with the double entendre.
Kathryn's face showed brief shock, and blushed slightly. "I guess now's your chance to find out Captain." She gave a mock salute.
"Your time starts now." Came the computer's voice
The crew watched amazed at how quickly their commanding officers got through the object course. They were a brilliant team. At the end Janeway took off her goggles and looked at the score and time. It was even better than Naomi and hers, by quite a margin. "Wow. Maybe you should serve under me more often Kathryn." Chakotay teased. Even blindfolded she was graceful.
"I felt sorry for you Chakotay- after all I don't seem to obey your orders. But I still prefer being on top. Now someone else has the pleasure of ordering you around Commander…" This time Chakotay blushed as quite a few female crewmembers eagerly volunteered.
Kathryn quietly made her way to Tom and whispered in his ear; anyone watching would have seen their matching evil grins. "Consider it done Captain, but I suggest being ready to hide and please protect me because he is going to blame us but it will be easier to make my life hell." Tom quietly told her deadly serious. As First Officer, Chakotay was in charge of duty rosters and punishments...