AUTHOR'S NOTE

As Runawaymetaphor indicated in the latest installment of her conspicuously funny "Admirable Habits", yes indeed, I was an epeeist, back in the day. And yes, as she says, as fencing weapons go epee is "for real" - the original dueling weapon. But I can assure you, as an epeeist I would never hit below the belt. Uh-uh. Getting in that close wastes valuable fractions of seconds you need to get that first hit in. Delicate touches to the wrist, my dear - that's how you bring your sparring partners to their knees.

I had marked this story as complete. Okay, so I lied.


From: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

To: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

Stardate: 65998.3

Subject: Happy Birthday

I know it isn't yours, but it has to be somebody's today, right?

We picked up Admiral Hayes today to transport him to the Federation Accession Negotiations on Benaros IV. Anything I should know about the guy? He seems friendly enough.

I still think they should have sent you, though. Federation candidates or not, I don't think the Benarians should be allowed to restrict conference participation to men. You'd have showed them what for.


From: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

To: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

Stardate: 65999.1

Subject: Re: Happy Birthday

That's "shown", not "showed," Thomas.

Ah yes, Hayes. Nacheyev's pet poodle. Blustering, blathering buffoon, but generally harmless. Tends to speak in riddles, thinks it makes him sound more intelligent. Allergic to shellfish, you might wish to remind the folks from Protocol before you send him to a reception.

Thanks for your confidence in my abilities; I would have liked to have taken that assignment. Sometimes diplomacy requires a little sabre rattling, and women can be good at that. It would have been good to catch up with everyone; it's been too long.

PS: Thank you for the attachment to your last message. I was wondering about the subject line, and why the file took so long to download, then I noticed what you had embedded. He's perfect, although I did reprogram him slightly; I do prefer my men with a full head of hair.

PPSS: Nothing personal.


From: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

To: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

Stardate: 66601.6

Subject: Re: Happy Birthday

So the peace conference was a riot and a half, but we got it back on track once B'Elanna and Seven knocked out the planetary power grid by attaching a temporal phase inverter to the isoprobic array, and I managed to infiltrate the insurgents' base of operations.

Can you believe it – their headquarters were located in the women's washroom in the basement of the palace! Turns out that's why the Ambassador, who was apparently their secret leader and chief ideologue, insisted on male delegates only. It wasn't a question of cultural misogyny at all, just forward planning.

Also, did you know that T'karian peeyrobs are actually a form of shellfish? Well, neither did Protocol, or Admiral Hayes. We got the transporters back on line just after he finished throwing up in the Vulcan ambassador's lap, but Chakotay managed to pull the accession treaty out of the line of fire just in time and it all got signed.

PS: I'm going to ignore the comment about the full head of hair.


From: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

To: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

Stardate: 66602.1

Subject: Congratulations

Heard you got another citation, for salvaging the conference this time. If you're not careful, you'll fulfill your father's ambitions and make Admiral before you turn 40! No seriously, Tom, I'm proud of you.

I also heard about what happened when Hayes woke up from his coma, while you were helping out in Sickbay. I didn't know you were still doing that? I guess I *forgot* to mention that Hayes has a thing for commanders' pips ...? Deanna Troi found out he was putting the make on Will Riker, one time Hayes was guest of honour at a reception on the Enterprise. Somehow they both tripped and fell into the chocolate fountain (rumour has it Will didn't protest hard enough.)

Honestly, the people they promote to the admiralty – sometimes it makes you wonder.


From: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

To: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

Stardate: 666003.6

Subject: Re: Congratulations

Who told you about me and Hayes? I mean, about Hayes? There is no me and Hayes. Despite what he said over the ship's comm system before the inoprovaline wore off.

No seriously, I want to know who ratted on me. I am going to throttle them. Have you noticed the star date? That's all I have to say.

But yes, me helping out in Sickbay again was Chakotay's idea. Says it will "keep me humble" what with all the commendations and stuff. I reminded him of my numerous jail sentences, but he seems to think that's all so far in the past that they've lost their salutary effect.


From: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

To: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

Stardate: 66604.1

Subject: Re: Congratulations

My lips are sealed – you know I'm not a snitch. But I will say that B'Elanna thinks you're "cute" when flustered. Maybe I should tell her about that time on Ahani Prime ...?

On another note, Jean-Luc made a deal with Q. The continuum is keeping Vash, but Jean-Luc now has hair again. He's quite an attractive man, now that the glare is gone.


From: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

To: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

Stardate: 666006.66

Subject: Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

Fine, I won't throttle B'Elanna. Nice to know you haven't lost your touch, Admiral.

I'm acting Captain again. The Doc had to put Chakotay in stasis until he can figure out how to fix this latest … problem without causing further damage. Plus, it takes at least three days to find and erase the specific memory associated with it, which Doc has promised Seven he'd try to do. (She asked him as a favour; they're still friends, even though he's never quite gotten over her preferring Chakotay to him, even as a hologram.)

Officially, there will be no record of the specific malfunction entered into the medical logs of either Chakotay or Seven, and the only reason I know is because I was on Sickbay duty. I'm almost grateful now …

So anyway. You will remember, of course, that Seven still has those Borg implants in her. You know, the ones that pop up at the most inconvenient times and do things like render her temporarily catatonic, or make her call for back-up from the hive? This one was a bit more mechanical in nature, and involved a certain part of her ... err… anatomy that our Captain visits regularly, in the context of their newly wedded bliss and all that. According to Seven, he does so with enthusiasm and usually to their great reciprocal enjoyment and satisfaction.

Except this time, when Seven responded, it turned out the … relevant contractions were accentuated by an ill-placed band of duranium, with predictable, immediate (and hopefully not permanent) results.

Was it wrong of me to tell B'Elanna? And Harry? And you? (g)


From: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

To: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

Stardate: 66607.5

Subject: Re: Doctor-Patient Confidentiality

I sent Chakotay a note, wishing him a speedy recovery. I didn't give any indication that I knew what he was suffering from, honest!

I may, however, have mentioned it to a couple of people, in the strictest confidentiality of course.

BTW did you know that Commander Data is a serious gossip?


From: Cdr. Thomas E. Paris, U.S.S. Voyager

To: Adm. Kathryn E. Janeway, SFHQ

Stardate: 666008.0

Subject: Relief!

Chakotay says I don't have to do Sickbay duty anymore.

Thanks?