Kathryn rubbed her extended abdomen through her night gown as she sat on the edge of the bed she now shared with Chakotay. "I feel so much bigger ever since I started wearing a maternity uniform." She announced to Chakotay.
"You mean ever since we told the crew. " He moved to sit beside her. "You're beautiful. There is no need to be self-conscious."
"I guess a part of me is still ashamed that, as the Captain I should be setting an example, and look at me, the first to breach protocol and get pregnant on this mission. Not exactly a shining example for our crew. And for the record you told the crew."
Chakotay laughed. "I'm sure you weren't the first to breach the fraternization protocol. I'm pretty sure that was breached the first week out." He smirked knowingly at her. "Besides we didn't purposely breach protocol. We were left behind. There was no longer a command structure. It's not like we knew Voyager was coming back for us."
She bit her lip and looked away for a moment. She had one more thing to feel guilty about. She had purposely breached protocol. She went to his bed knowing Voyager was on its way back. He didn't know, she had kept it from him then and she wasn't ready to come clean now.
"You were simply the first to become pregnant, that's all. Well, we can't be sure of that either, I mean if someone decided to terminate a pregnancy we wouldn't ever know."
She stared at Chakotay a bit horrified. "Samantha was afraid when she found out. She thought I would be angry, or that I might demand that she terminate her pregnancy. Do you think others may have terminated pregnancies because they were afraid to tell me? I don't think I could live with that!"
"No, Kathryn." He responded patiently. "If anyone onboard chose to terminate a pregnancy it would have been their own personal decision. Now, are you really telling me that you are ashamed of our child?" He placed his hand on her belly.
"No! Of Course not." She frowned for a moment then continued, "I'm ashamed of not having lived up to my own expectations. I'm ashamed that it's obvious that I broke protocol. I'm ashamed that I didn't maintain my professionalism. I could never be ashamed of you, or our child. However, as far as our daughter is concerned, I don't think I have a right to be this happy out here in the Delta quadrant, while so many are miserable being so far from home." Kathryn had a way of letting guilt get to her.
"We are a family now Kathryn and I don't mean just you and me. I mean Voyager, the whole crew. We share joy and pain and we stand by each other. Everyone was happy for us at our engagement party, you need to let yourself be happy for us, too." He leaned in and kissed her.
She broke away for a moment and said, "I am happy, very happy."
"By the way, I'm starting work on the nursery soon, maybe even tomorrow. Do you have any special requests or shall I just surprise you?"
"I've seen your work, Chakotay. You're a wonderful craftsman; surprise me." She responded as she ran her fingers through his hair. As she leaned in to kiss him again he pulled back slightly.
"One more thing."
"Are we going to start planning our wedding anytime soon? We have less than three months until our little one is here. Did you want to wait until she comes, or do you want to be married when she does?"
"I hadn't thought about that. So do we get married first and have her born to married parents, or do we wait so our wedding holographs don't show me with a pregnant belly ready to burst. She'll see those pictures one day." Kathryn said thoughtfully.
"Kathryn, she's your daughter, she'll do the math and know she was conceived before the wedding by the time she's five." Chakotay smiled lovingly at Kathryn. "And I've already told you, you look beautiful. We'll do this wedding anyway you want."
"I guess you can start planning a nursery, and I can start planning a wedding. Maybe I should call a senior staff meeting for this." She chuckled. "I think I'm going to need some help with it."
"Maybe you can get the girls together rather than the senior staff. They might be more help in this case." Chakotay pushed her down onto the bed as he spoke and began kissing her neck. She responded to his kisses and thus the evening's conversation came to an end.
B'Elanna rushed down the corridors. Despite her best efforts she had overslept again. On her way to engineering she suddenly faded back into her dream. Kes was walking by when she saw B'Elanna passed out on the deck. She approached her and tried, unsuccessfully, to wake her. She tapped her commbadge, "Kes to sickbay we have a medical emergency." Once in sickbay Kes assisted the doctor bringing him the equipment he requested as he requested it. The Captain, being informed of all medical emergencies onboard, arrived to see what was happening with her Chief Engineer and friend.
"What happened to her?" She demanded.
"She was passed out in the corridor. I tried to wake her but couldn't, so I called in a medical emergency and had her transported here." Explained Kes.
The Captain walked directly up to Kes and placed her hand on the young Ocampan's arm. "Thank you, Kes. I'm glad you were there to help her." Kes smiled nervously at the Captain then continued helping the doctor. The Captain watched in amazement. Kes was efficient and capable in a sickbay.
The doctor woke B'Elanna. "I was dreaming again." She stated.
"Actually you were experiencing implanted memories. There is evidence of telepathic activity as well." Corrected the doctor.
"The Enarans?" Questioned B'Elanna. The doctor gave B'Elanna an inhibitor to suppress the memories. He explained that the memories had been implanted into B'Elanna's subconscious mind. This was why she only experienced the memories while sleeping or unconscious. Unfortunately these memories were causing damage to her brain. The Captain gave B'Elanna a couple of days off so that she could get some rest.
B'Elanna, however, needed answers; she needed to know what happened to Korenna and her lover. When she returned to her quarters she removed the inhibitor and lay down on her bed to sleep.
The Captain lingered in sickbay after ordering B'Elanna to take time off to rest. "Kes?"
"Yes, Captain?" Kes answered as she busied herself putting away the equipment the doctor had used.
"You seem to be a natural here in sickbay." The Captain pointed out. This got Kes' attention, she looked up and faced the Captain. "As you know our sickbay has always been seriously understaffed. As it is Tom works double shifts more often than he should, but in an emergency he's needed at the helm. Do you think you might be interested in learning to be a medic and taking a few shifts here in sickbay? I know I gave you the hydroponics bay, and it would still be yours, but we could really use you here." The Captain was really hoping that Kes would agree.
"Captain, I always wanted to work in sickbay. I thought… I mean, I didn't think you wanted me in sickbay, that's why you gave me the hydroponics bay." Kes was suddenly horrified at the animosity she had held against the Captain.
"I didn't want to take advantage of you by overworking you, Kes. I didn't know you wanted to work in sickbay even after being given charge of hydroponics. Do you think you could manage three to four shifts a week in sickbay without impacting the production of plants and foods? I could see if anyone wants to volunteer to help with the plants as well."
"That would be wonderful, Captain. Harry was right I should have talked to you." Kes realized her mistake.
"Harry is a wonderful person, Kes. I think you two are great for each other. Hold onto him, don't let any females, especially that Enaran, get their claws into him." She smiled at her.
"How did you know about that?" Kes asked astonished.
"The same way I know you've been unhappy with me for some time now, but I didn't know why. I can be very observant at times, Kes. Please, come to me if you have a problem or a request. I can't promise to give you everything you want, but we may find we both want or need the same things."
"Thank you, Captain." Kes hugged Captain Janeway.
Jor Brel, the Enaran leader was toasting the crew of Voyager at the Enaran's farewell party when B'Elanna burst on the scene and interrupted. She had received the last of the implanted memories from Jora Mirell, an Enaran elder. Jora Mirell was Korenna Mirell, and the memories she had given B'Elanna were her own. In the memories B'Elanna saw how Jora Mirell had betrayed the man she loved and taken part in the genocide that eliminated the entire population of people called regressives. Lt. Torres openly accused Jor Brel of murder, of both the regressives, and of Jora Mirell. Torres had left her quarters in search of Jora Mirell when the memories she was experiencing had finally revealed who it was that had lived them. She found Jora Mirell sprawled out on the deck, dying. Mirell's last action was to give B'Elanna the rest of the memories. Without any evidence of either crime, the Captain informed B'Elanna that there was simply nothing to be done. She shared B'Elanna's outrage, but unlike B'Elanna she kept a cool head. The Captain told B'Elanna she probably would have done the same if it had been her experiencing the memories.
B'Elanna left the Captain's ready room remembering all of Korenna's feelings, how much she had loved the man she ultimately turned in to authorities, how she felt as she watched him die, how she covered up and denied her own feelings for him, how she cheered once he was dead. By this time tears were streaming down Torres' cheeks as she ran down the corridor. She arrived at a door and rang the chime. She allowed a few seconds to pass and rang the chime again. The door opened to find Tom Paris in a bathrobe, fresh out of the shower, hair still wet. "Sorry, I was in the shower, I just got off shift." As B'Elanna looked up at him he noticed the tears still running down her face. "B'Elanna… are you ok?" B'Elanna threw herself into his arms and held him tight. "Let's get inside." He said pulling her into his quarters and allowing the doors to close behind him. B'Elanna reached up and grabbed his face between her hands and gave him a long and passionate kiss.
"Tom, I love you." She said through her tears. "Don't ever leave me." She said remembering the death of Korenna's love, as she continued to assault Tom with kisses.
"Whoa, what happened? You're crying. Loving me isn't that bad, is it?" He wiped a tear off of her face. He took in the troubled look in her dark eyes. "Why would I leave you? I love you and I plan to marry you. The real question is what could make a woman, as strong as you are, cry like this?"
"I guess, I haven't been completely myself. I've been living parts of another person's life, and I felt what she felt. What it was like to betray, then lose the man she loved, to watch him die a horrible disfiguring death. I don't want us to ever turn our backs on each other, Tom. We have to believe in each other and trust each other. We're a team no matter what, right?" She searched for an answer in his clear blue eyes.
"Yes, B'Elanna we'll always be a team." She pulled him into another passionate kiss and slid her hands between his smooth skin and soft fabric of his bathrobe as he pulled her even closer. Seeking to connect with him she pressed herself against him, her hands touching his skin, seeking to discover every inch of his body; seeking to claim him as hers.
As she pushed him onto his bed she asked, "Tom, did you really just say you want to get married?"
"Yes, I did. So will you marry me?" He asked smiling up at her.
"Yes." She breathed lowering her lips to engage him in another kiss.
It had been several days since the Enarans left Voyager. Kathryn had gathered several female crewmembers at Sandrine's.
"Ladies it seems that today we have a couple of items of business to handle." She announced.
"What is it Captain?" asked Samantha Wildman.
"It's just Kathryn today, Samantha. It seems that I have a wedding to plan and, I seem to be in need of some help. I was hoping you ladies would be willing to help me."
There was a chorus of affirmative responses. "I'm glad to hear it."
"So what's the other thing?" asked Kes.
"The next pool competition will be the ladies against the gentlemen. If the ladies win, we get the use of a holodeck an entire evening for a bridal shower or bachelorette. If the gentlemen win, they get to have a bachelor party in said holodeck. Needless to say, we just can't let the men win. That's why we're here in Sandrine's. We need four two person teams, and we need to start practicing immediately." Kathryn announced.
"Whose crazy idea was this?" B'Elanna asked.
"It was Tom's idea to have a bachelor party. When I objected, the boys presented the idea of a friendly competition, and I agreed. They simply can't be allowed to win." Kathryn said flatly.
"Doesn't sound too friendly to me." Replied B'Elanna.
"Would you prefer to allow Tom to plan and provide the entertainment for Chakotay's bachelor party? You do realize what Tom is capable of, right B'Elanna?" Kathryn raised her eyebrows as she spoke.
B'Elanna sighed. "Ok. I'm in, but we have to guarantee our win without cheating."
"I have some ideas that will give us an edge." replied Kathryn with a smirk. The rest of their allotted holodeck time was spent making rough plans for both the wedding and the pool tournament. The ladies practiced and took directions on how to play from Kathryn. By the end of their meeting teams had been formed. Samantha and Julia Harper would form one team, Kes and Tal another, Mariah Henly and Jenny Delaney would form the third, and Kathryn and her maid of honor, B'Elanna Torres, would form the final team.
Two hours later Tom and Chakotay were in the same holodeck with a group of guys. "So guys all we have to do is beat the ladies at pool and we get to give Chakotay here a real send off from bachelor life. We need four teams of two. This should be a piece of cake, other than the Captain I don't think any of the ladies have ever even held a pool cue." Tom was confident.
"I wouldn't underestimate them Tom. Kathryn makes a fine teacher and B'Elanna may be better at pool than you think." Chakotay warned the helmsman.
"Let's say the two of them can play, there still needs to be six other women playing." Tom was sure they could win.
"I still say we need to form our teams and start practicing if we're going to win this thing, Tom." Chakotay wanted to win for the sake of winning. The bachelor party was less important than the win.
They formed their teams as follows: Team 1- Jarvis and Pablo Baytart, Team 2- Harry Kim and Tom Paris, Team 3- Kenneth Dalby and Joe Carey, Team 4- Chakotay and Mike Ayala.
The guys spent their holodeck time playing pool, having some beers, and listening to Tom Paris making rough plans for the bachelor party. There would be music and holographic women and plenty of drinking.
"Captain, can I speak with you?" B'Elanna caught up with the Captain as she walked toward her quarters.
"Sure, B'Elanna, come on in." She said as she waved her into her quarters. Even though she shared quarters with Chakotay now, each one of them had an entrance which led into their small private office space where they could meet with crewmembers.
"What's on your mind B'Elanna?" The Captain asked as she took a seat at her desk.
"Tom asked me to marry him and I said yes." B'Elanna blurted out.
"Congratulations, B'Elanna." Kathryn got up to hug her friend. "Come sit on the couch, do you want something to drink?"
"Some tea would be nice." Kathryn ordered two teas from the replicator and sat down beside her friend again.
"I'll be glad when I can drink coffee freely again." Kathryn said sipping her tea. "So are you planning to have the wedding soon?"
"I think we want to wait until after your wedding to announce our engagement. We don't want to steal your thunder, or have to plan two weddings at once. I just wanted you to know and I'd like to ask you to officiate at the ceremony. I would like to ask you to be my maid of honor, but you can't do both, unless..."
"Unless what B'Elanna? I make a clone of myself?" Laughed Kathryn.
"No, but you could be my maid of honor if Chakotay was able to officiate." B'Elanna replied hopefully.
"It's the Captain's place to officiate at weddings. I'd have to make him acting Captain for it to be official."
"What are you doing for your wedding?" asked B'Elanna quizzically.
Kathryn let out a little laugh and with a shake of her head said, "I don't know. I guess I'll have to turn command over to Tuvok for a few days; make him acting Captain. I never thought I'd willingly give up my ship, not even temporarily, but I guess I'll have to do it if I want to marry Chakotay." She smiled at B'Elanna whose face had turned serious. Realizing that she was asking the Captain to give up her ship, even if it was temporarily, B'Elanna regretted having made the request. "Don't worry. If you want Chakotay to officiate at your wedding, then he will, and I would be honored to be your maid of honor. Just tell me that I don't have to plan a bachelorette party with half naked men. That would be unbecoming of a Captain and I will be planning to resume command after the wedding."
"No, I don't need half naked men, Captain. I don't really need a bachelorette party either. I'd prefer a very small wedding, and if a bridal shower or bachelorette is required then I prefer a small get together, maybe another day at the beach with the girls. Nothing extravagant. "
"You know B'Elanna that sounds lovely. It's just too bad we've already got this well publicized bet going with the guys; if we win I guess you'll have to throw a big party for the female population onboard. No naked men, ok B'Elanna?"
"Of course not, Captain. That would be conduct unbecoming of a Starfleet officer. Not that the boy's will care if they win. You know the first thing Tom will program in are the strippers. You're right, Kathryn, we can't let the guys win this one."