Starting Over – Epilogue
"Ladies and Gentleman," Admiral Janeway began. "I would like to welcome you all to Utopia Planitia for the relaunch of the Federation Starship Voyager.
"It has been just over a year since we finally returned to the Alpha Quadrant using the coaxial warp drive. The rescue ships that met us were so afraid that Voyager was going to break into pieces that they started doing emergency beam outs of our crew. Luckily B'Elanna and Harry weren't among the first beamed off and were able to stabilize the ship quickly and avert any disasters."
The Admiral looked around as the crowd laughed and smiled at those who worked so hard to bring them home. As they quieted again, she continued. "Today, I can guarantee that the ship is not going to fall apart or explode. Not only is Voyager ready to relaunch today, but we have four more ships with the coaxial drive that will be operational within the next sixty days.
"Commander Torres, Lieutenant Kim and their team of engineers have worked diligently over the last ten months, not only to perfect the technology, but to replicate it for widespread use within the Federation starting with survey and scout ships. Additionally, Mr. Paris has been training the pilots on the unique characteristics of the drive, ensuring that many of the human errors we made on the flight home are not repeated."
Taking a moment, the Admiral again looked around the crowd and measured the mood before continuing. "Rather than a long technical discussion on the science behind the new drive, let us take a little ride and see what it can do. I'll leave that technical discussion for the engineers after we get back."
The crowd laughed again as they eagerly awaited Tom backing the ship out of the Utopia Planitia dock and bringing the new drive online for a couple hundred light year demonstration jump.
Later, after the triumphant test, everyone gathered aboard a conference room set up for the celebratory reception. The successful crew enjoyed the food and the mingling with all the high level guests who had been invited for the launch. But, as always happens at a function of this nature the engineers and the admirals separated into their own conversation groups. It was then that they pinned Harry down while B'Elanna and Tom conversed with his father and a few other admirals.
"So," Harry stated to the group of engineers surrounding him, "We've got dates available for wagers on their engagement and for their wedding."
There was some laughter from the back and a few of the engineers turned around and then seemed to disappear as they quickly found other places they needed to be in the room. Apparently they subjects of discussion had not been as involved in the conversation with Tom's father as Harry had hoped. With the engineers gone, Harry could see who was laughing and he felt like running as well, but B'Elanna's stare pinned him in place. Tom kept laughing as he took in the look of absolute terror on his friend's face.
After a few moments, Tom decided to take pity on his friend and said, "You do realize she's not going to attack you in the middle of a party."
Harry didn't even breathe as B'Elanna's face suddenly looked very Klingon with the feral smirk on her face. "No fair Tom," She practically growled. "You shouldn't ruin all my fun."
Tom casually draped his left arm over B'Elanna's shoulders before leaning in to say in a pseudo whisper, "Can we confiscate the credits again? If the stakes are as high as the last betting pool we could pay for the whole honeymoon with them."
Harry took a closer look at his friends and realized that he had missed one very important piece of information. Judging by the rings adorning their left ring fingers the proposed wager had already been satisfied.
Thank you for sticking with me through this journey. I have enjoyed writting this story, even if I had to take a little time off for life commitments. I'm sorry to see that this is over, but happy that I can finally click that complete button.
I've had several people ask if I will be writing anything else. At this time, I have no plans for additional stories.