Chapter 13 - Epilog

Vorik was fixing a problem on a simple chain of lights Neelix wanted to put up for the Gratitude festival.

'Neelix', Vorik asked while Neelix was decorating, 'you led a very different life before you came to Voyager?'

'Yes, Ensign' Neelix answered and looked at him, 'after the war I thought I had lost everything except for bare survival, then I met Kes and shortly after that Voyager, which became my new home and my new family.'

'So when you were accepted by the Captain as guide you anticipated a change of your way of life', Vorik concluded, but there was a slight question in his voice.

'Well,' Neelix paused, 'I knew at that point I've hit a new road, but it took me quite a while to realize my life had really changed and that I have changed too.'

'It must have been quite a change to live with strangers unfamiliar with your home culture. How did you re-define the parameters of your behavioral patterns to integrate yourself into an alien crew?'

Neelix chuckled a bit nervous and thought for a moment. 'I didn't...re-define parameters. I just took what came up day by day.' Vorik raised both his eyebrows. He fumbled on the chain of lights and it suddenly started to glow in multiple colors.

'That's it!' Neelix said happy.

X X X

Vorik pressed Celes' door chime and waited. The door opened and she stood there in a colorful skirt, 'Hi!' she said. 'Hello Celes' he answered and offered her his arm. She took it and said in a teasing tone, 'so... is hand-holding in public allowed too?'

'It would be illogical to put you into emotional turmoil compromising your efficiency just for refraining from a simple body contact' he answered neutrally.

'Oh,' she replied with a smile and an odd sparkle in her eyes, 'so I can kiss you in public too?'

'Negative', he said sternly, 'that would be a breach of Starfleet protocol.' But you can kiss me later, he added telepathically.

She chuckled and gave him a slight elbow check, 'that I will.'