This is for the Matrithon. Prompt: "Janeway, frivolity". The story is set in my "Friends With Benefits" arc, a loose collection of stories about the alternate post-Endgame timeline. Other stories on this site in this arc include "Options" and "A Tale Of Two Q."
Oh, and for those who missed the 2 episodes or so of Voyager where it came up, it is actually canon that Voyager, unlike other Starfleet vessels, can land on a planet.
The Beach On The Edge Of Nowhere In Particular
"Q, let us off this planet right now," Janeway snapped in her best command tone. Sometimes this tactic actually worked on Q. Today it didn't.
"After all the trouble I went through to get you here? Oh, come on now, Kathy. Even for an omnipotent being, the effort it takes to come up with a means of forcing your cute little starship to land on a planet, while maintaining a balmy, tropical environment on the planet, and without causing any damage to the ship whatsoever... that was hard work. I'm exhausted!" He flung himself down without snapping his fingers, but the beach chair materialized underneath for him to flop into anyway, and he was suddenly dressed in bathing trunks and a Hawaiian shirt, with a pina colada in one hand. At least, from the look of it Janeway thought it was probably a pina colada. "Come on. Let your hair down and relax."
Kim came up behind her. "Captain, with just one tricorder we can't be completely certain, but... everything seems to check out. The flora and fauna seem to be Terran, from the Caribbean."
Janeway turned slightly to see him without losing sight of Q. "Harry, you didn't beam out here in a bathing suit, did you."
"No, Captain." Even after all they'd been through together, even as mature as he was becoming, Kim still turned very slightly red with embarrassment.
"Give my crew back their clothes, Q. You promised me, no random clothes changes without my permission."
"I promised you. Which is why I haven't been able to give you a bathing suit yet, although you'd look absolutely fetching in one. I have this positively delightful-"
"No, and give my crew back their clothes."
Q sipped at his drink. "Women. Sleep with them and they get the idea they can give you orders."
"Captain, I'll go see if I can gather up the crew," Kim said. "Though it's going to be hard without communicators."
Janeway sighed. "Thank you, Mr. Kim. Q, at the very least give them back their tricorders and communicators."
"Why, so they can spend this entire vacation cataloguing the flora and fauna that I just copied straight from Earth, and then yammer to you about their findings? This is a vacation. All work and no play makes Kathy a dull, dull girl, and given that your crew were dull to begin with, they need the vacation even more than you do."
"Maybe we can find a way back into the ship to pick up some communicators," Kim said. "I'm... going to go try that, or at least find B'Elanna." He turned and left, clearly feeling that his captain needed some privacy to deal with Q. Commander Kim knew of Janeway's relationship with Q, and if he disapproved, he kept it to himself, but he showed every sign of not wanting to know anything about it.
"Nobody asked you to send us on vacation," Janeway snapped.
"Which was very foresighted of you, as you know quite well that if you had asked, I wouldn't have been allowed to give it. So it was really quite clever of you to never ask me to send you on vacation, thus ensuring that I'd be free to provide the rest and relaxation you deserve without running afoul of Continuum politics. Very clever, and considerate too. I mean, if I slept, I'd be losing sleep over the vicarious stress of watching you running yourself and your crew into the ground."
"Whether we asked for it or not, you weren't supposed to be able to interfere with us in any way! Isn't that what you said?"
"No, I said I'm not allowed to help you in any way. And since you seem to think my little vacation is a dire inconvenience, and not helpful at all, all I need to do if the Continuum tries to object is provide them a record of this conversation to prove that you don't consider my actions one little bit helpful." He smirked at her over the drink. "Sure I can't interest you in a drink? Or weather appropriate attire? I know, you have to maintain your dignity in front of the crew, I fully understand that, but you have amazing legs for a 50-year-old human. I really think it would impress your crew more than impair your dignity if you showed off that remarkable body of yours just a little."
"I don't really care what you think. Was this ever a real wormhole?"
"Mmm... no. No, not really. I'd have to say... completely fake. Oh, well, it was a real wormhole, it was just a real wormhole I made, but I suppose the things I make for you don't count."
"So you tricked us into flying through a fake wormhole by showing us false hope that it might cut time off our journey-"
Q held up a finger. "Hold it right there. I showed you a completely unstable wormhole whose endpoint appeared to be jumping all over the galaxy, and which had a significant chance of dumping you further away from home than when you'd started. Kim advised against using it, Icheb advised against using it, Torres advised against using it, and Paris wouldn't give you a straight answer because he didn't want to publicly disagree with his wife... which, my advice, he'd better get over if he wants his marriage and his career to last. No marriage is ever going to be stable if the spouses can't disagree publicly."
"What makes you think you're qualified to give Tom advice on his marriage, after Q left you?"
"If we were talking about Torres and Paris having completely different opinions on the appropriate level of discipline to apply to Miral, you might have a point, but since we're not talking about anything related to the reason Q left me, then the fact that I'm omniscient still counts. And bringing up Q is dirty pool. I go out of my way to make a nice vacation spot for you, and you throw my ex in my face. Very nice."
"You went out of your way to trick me."
"You're the one who decided to take the risk of flying through an unstable wormhole with a moving endpoint, not me. I mean, it said this thing is too unpredictable to get you home' on the box, and you still opened it. If it hadn't been something I made, you'd probably all have flown into the heart of a sun or Borg territory or the galactic core or something. You should be thankful that I demonstrated your folly and obsessive behavior to you, and the only cost is that you have to relax on a tropical beach for a while."
And that was the most infuriating part about this, because he was right. The wormhole had had a highly unstable endpoint. She'd been pretty sure Tom had thought he could get them through before the endpoint changed, but he hadn't been willing to actually come right out and say so, and all her scientists and engineers had told her not to take the risk.
But Tuvok had forgotten who she was. Had repeatedly demanded that she go get his wife for him, insisted that he was a Federation citizen and had rights and how dare she lock him up against his will and Vulcans couldn't be imprisoned without notifying their kin and where was his wife? He hadn't even been imprisoned, although after he'd gotten violent, the Doctor had had to wrestle him down and strap him to a biobed. She'd told him, repeatedly, who she was and that he was a Starfleet officer and his wife was in the Alpha Quadrant. He just hadn't believed any of it.
He was better today... but she had to get him home while he still had a mind to recover. Had to get Chakotay home, to the more advanced psychological therapy available in the Federation. The Betazoids or the Deltans or someone might be able to do for him what their Doctor, for all his knowledge, simply could not, and help him recover. Seven's death would have hurt him badly enough... but their baby had died from the same self-destruct command, sent to Seven's nanites, and Chakotay himself had been infected with enough of the nanites that they'd wreaked havoc on his brain. A man who had been so strong, so proud... and now he couldn't get up in the morning without alpha wave enhancer treatment, and half the time, he didn't even take the treatment, because without it he was too apathetic and despairing to even recognize that treatment would make him feel better.
Janeway would do anything to get those two men home to the Alpha Quadrant while there was still time to save them. And Q wasn't allowed to help her. Apparently, many from the opposite side of his war found it so infuriating that a human woman had helped Q's faction win that the compromise that had saved the Continuum had actually included, in its terms, that Q could not give aid to Voyager, to Janeway, or to anyone under Janeway's command. It had never occurred to her that he'd get in the way, though. She'd thought they had more of an understanding than that.
"Where are we? Exactly? Is this planet even real?"
"Of course it's real." Q looked offended. "Everything I make is real. What do you think I am, a holoprogrammer?"
"I mean, is it really a planet, in our universe?"
"It's really in your universe, it really is a planet, and it's attached to a real solar system, which was here for the last several billion years. I admit I made the planet for you, but I think it's actually an attractive accoutrement to the system. This star didn't have one in the carbon-life-friendly orbital zone, so I added one. What do you think?"
"I don't know. I haven't had time to explore it. And I'm not sure I see the point to exploring it when you made it."
"I could give you the documentation, but you probably couldn't read my handwriting," Q said. "Also, I have to confess..." He leaned forward conspiratorially and half-whispered. "I'm really bad at documentation. I'm more of a kind of wing-it-as-you-go sort of Q, you know?"
"I'd never have guessed," Janeway said dryly.
"It's true," Q said mournfully. "One time, I created this planet, and then I forgot to log it, and no one indexed the auto-records, so Q told the people who worshipped him to travel to this sector to the Promised Land, and they ran into my planet first and mistook it for his Promised Land, because of course I hadn't logged it, so he didn't realize it was there until his people got there... and it took him approximately twenty thousand years to get them to leave and go to the planet he'd meant for them to go to. He's still not talking to me." He sighed. "It was a really nice planet, though."
Tiredly, Janeway said, "Make me a chair, Q. My feet hurt."
"You had only to ask, milady." He snapped his fingers ostentatiously and a second beach chair appeared next to his. "Can't I interest you in a change of clothes? What about a one-piece bathing suit with a wrap skirt and a shoulder throw? How could that possibly be objectionable?"
"I'm staying in my uniform. For now."
"At least take off your boots. I could massage your feet for you."
"Not in front of my crew."
"Your crew aren't here."
"No, but they're supposed to meet me here."
"What if I make some attendants to rub your feet for you?"
She sighed. "Look. I know you mean well. And I know you think you always know best. But there's no way I or any other member of my crew are going to be able to relax on an alien planet we know nothing about-"
"-So I'll find the docs for you. But really, Kathy, would I have made a vacation planet with anything inimical to your form of life on it? I even took out the jellyfish. There are sharks, though, but they're little."
There was no point even in getting angry at Q for interrupting. Patiently Janeway waited until he was done, and then continued as if he hadn't interrupted. "-a planet we know nothing about, while Voyager's been forced into landing and is trapped on the planet by violent ion storms, and we're all locked out of Voyager anyway, and none of us have any idea how long this is going to go on or where we ended up in the galaxy or what kind of setback this might be."
Q sighed, and snapped his fingers. A moment later her combadge chimed. "Icheb to Captain Janeway."
"Go ahead, Icheb."
"Commander Kim, Commander Torres and I are all back aboard Voyager. Astrometrics and scanners appear to be working, but both impulse and warp seem to be disabled."
"I'm not surprised. Where are we in the galaxy?"
Icheb reeled off coordinates, which meant nothing to her without a starmap in front of her. "Break it down for me, Icheb. What does that mean? How much time have we lost?"
"We've been mostly displaced laterally along the transverse axis of the galaxy, with some displacement in the perpendecliptic, but overall... Overall it appears we haven't lost any distance. We've been transported about six thousand light years, but when I triangulate the distance to the Alpha Quadrant it's actually the same as it was before we went through the wormhole."
She looked over at Q in some surprise. "Thank you."
"Finally she thanks me," Q complained. "You might have given me the benefit of the doubt, you know."
"What about the storms?"
"No evidence of the storms remains. However, we can't lift off without impulse drive. Commander Torres is investigating-"
Q leaned over and spoke into Janeway's combadge. "Don't bother. It doesn't work because I've temporarily suspended the laws of physics that allow impulse drive to work. There's actually nothing wrong with your drive, and I'm fairly certain your technology won't allow you to fix the fabric of spacetime. At least, I'm reliably informed that you can't even locally alter the gravitational constant, and you'd need to be able to do something similar to get your impulse engines to work."
In the background she heard Torres sigh. "Is that Q?"
"Yes, B'Elanna. Q's behind this."
"I really, really would like to break his nose," Torres said. "I know it wouldn't do any good, but I'd really like to."
"Fine, then I won't let Miral find child-height unicorn ponies with sparkly fur," Q said huffily. "After all the work I went to pick out a gift that a human female child might like-"
"Did he just say unicorn ponies with sparkly fur?"
"Yes, that's what he said," Janeway said, and broke the connection before Torres actually transported here to come break Q's nose. "Q, we all appreciate the thought, but no one really needs Miral to demand to adopt a unicorn pony and bring it on Voyager. And since I presume you didn't want to trap us here for the rest of our lives-"
"Oh, no, no, no. I was thinking a week. Tops."
"Well, then, a unicorn pony might not be the best present. Since we can't very well house them on Voyager."
"But I've done extensive research on mortal children. Unicorn ponies have been the top pick of female human children for the past 500 years, and since female Klingon children tend to want shiny sharp objects, I thought I'd go with the human preference."
"How much research have you done on how annoying the preferences of mortal children are to their mortal parents?"
Q made a face. "None. I don't need to know how annoying children are to their parents. Been there, done that, still doing that."
"Then trust me. No unicorn ponies for children on Voyager."
He sighed. "Okay. But only if you'll agree to wear a bathing suit and tell your crew it's all right to have fun. I mean, I made a beach for you and all you want to do is wave tricorders at it."
"No more than a week, and then you'll let us go?"
"No more than a week and I'll be completely sick of you all, I'm sure."
She lay back on the beach chair and thought of her favorite swimming outfit from home. "You can give me that one," she said, sighing. "But I will need that skirt and shoulder wrap with it. I'm not as young as I was."
"Pish posh. I'm five billion years old. You can talk to me about getting old when you hit your first million."
She laughed. "It matters a bit more when your lifespan's 150 years or so."
"Don't remind me." The bathing suit materialized on her, along with a wrap-around fringed tropical skirt, a shoulder wrap and a pair of flip-flops, and her hair magically unpinned from its bun and loose around her face. "You're beautiful, you know. None of that mortal weathering matters."
"My crew doesn't need to be looking at my wrinkly thighs."
"Your crew won't be looking at your thighs, because your crew thinks of you as their mother, and any concept that you might be a sensual being with human needs is an idea that actively repels them."
"I don't need Chakotay to be looking at my wrinkly thighs."
"As if he'd care."
Janeway winced inside. Even when he was trying to be nice, Q was sometimes totally insensitive. It was true, Chakotay wouldn't care. After Seven's death, she'd seen no evidence that he even had a libido left. The brain damage and trauma of the Borg Queen killing Seven and almost killing him might have taken sex from him along with so many other things. But it hurt that he wouldn't care, because once he had, and because the reason he wouldn't care was something that made him suffer so much. "Shut up and get me a pina colada, Q."
"Still with the orders, I see." The pina colada appeared on a small table next to her beach chair.
"Sometimes it actually works," she said, and sipped her drink.