Breakfast with Neelix PG
Author: Annie M
Code: J, N, P/T sort of
19 October 99
Summary: One morning on the starship Voyager.
Timeline: Late season five.
Archive: PTF and BLTS. All others please ask for permission first.
Disclaimer: Paramount owns the rights to the characters and the ship. I'm just playing in the holes they keep digging.
Thank you to PJ in NH and pjs, who agreed to beta for me, again. Special thanks and appreciation go to Julie Evans, for allowing me to refer to an incident in her story, "One Little Question," and for her thoughtful advice.
Breakfast with Neelix by Annie M
Mornings after a tough day were hard on them.
B'Elanna had been pulling double and triple shifts for most of that week and although normally alert in the mornings under most conditions, she was not all of the time. Not this time.
The environmental controls had gone haywire after Voyager had passed through a class eight nebula.
Nicoletti had come down with a stomach bug and had thrown up all over an exposed conduit for maintenance and waste management. This alone had sent the crew into turmoil--all of the sanitary systems had gone off-line due to the bio-neural gel pack's inability to fend off Nicoletti's bile.
Seven's experiments with tachyon particles, to boost astrometric's signalling array, had caused several warp coils to disintegrate under the unexpected power surge; and Tom Paris' class on advanced shuttle manoeuvres had ended with crewman Chell accidentally taking the holodeck safeties off line, blowing out all of the relays to holodeck one.
Needless to say, B'Elanna Torres was exhausted and that by extension meant that her mate and lover, Tom Paris, was also exhausted. Extremely exhausted.
Tom was worn out from listening to B'Elanna cursing at her staff, tired of hearing her call Seven an encyclopaedia's worth of insulting names, fatigued at hearing his grouchy lover bemoan the sanity of starship designers and definitely debilitated from having to assist in the clean-up of such a devastating week of power failures.
For those who were still interested in observing Paris and Torres' intimate relations it was noted, during this period, that their trysts were slashed to a minimum, but only through lack of time, certainly not for lack of willingness or interest. After all, exhaustion for them could be seen as a relative term.
For their lack of cognitive thought, during such a stressful period, they had forgotten to instruct the ship's computer to belay their early morning alarm call. They were both on beta shift rotation today, which meant they would not have to report for duty until 1600.
They had fallen into bed together at around 0645, barely having enough energy to make it to B'Elanna's quarters--which were closer from engineering--to take a quick sonic shower before relinquishing themselves into the arms of Morpheus.
It was now 0730, of the same day.
::: Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, the time is now 0730. This is your first call, automatic replay in five minutes. :::
::: Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, the time is now 0735. This is your second call, automatic replay in five minutes. :::
::: Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, the time is now 0740. This is your third call, automatic replay in five minutes. :::
::: Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, the time is now 0745. This is your final call. Your duty shift begins at 0830 hours and your first duty is to report to Commander Chakotay with a status report of all recently affected systems. There will be no automatic replay of this message. :::
As was expected with starship design, as the computer repeated a wake up call, all following messages became louder and more insistent, the female voice of the ship's computer almost becoming shrill to certain, more sensitive ears. Although not originally designed to do so, crewmembers could also configure the communications system to add limited personal schedules into an alarm call. B'Elanna Torres was a practical enough woman to take advantage of this but, yet again, had been too tired to change the message from two nights ago, when last she updated the computers alarm system.
One could argue that this didn't really matter as Torres and Paris remained dead to the quadrant around them.
::: Good morning, Voyager! I hope you all slept well? Welcome to breakfast with Neelix! :::
Being a pragmatic and brilliant engineer also meant that Lieutenant Torres sometimes wanted to hear about the ship's gossip, through the most un-malicious source on board--Neelix. B'Elanna liked to pull on her uniform or boots to the sound of the Talaxian goading another crewman into some archaic circus act, or listening to Ayala sing Peruvian love songs in the morning.
B'Elanna had never told Neelix about her fondness for his program--only ever contributing twice in the last three years. One contribution in particular had stood out for B'Elanna, one she had tried her best to eradicate from her memory; how she had admitted to everyone on board--through Neelix's weekly gazette, an off shoot of his breakfast program--that she found Tom's chest hair irresistible and the sexiest thing about him.
That was an embarrassment that she'd had to live through for weeks after, with most of her engineering staff making childish remarks and giggling like first-year cadets behind her back. She'd been furious with herself and Tom for his own lame reply of finding her brain sexy. Her brain?! Men!
She'd forgiven him soon enough though, and he had made up for that particular faux pas, more than adequately.
But they slept on; the only discernible movement was their bodies shifting closer together under the covers as one long leg shifted over a smaller one and arms moved against each other; comfort and security being sought out even as they dreamed of nothing in particular.
::: On this morning's show I thought I'd ask our youngest crewmember, Captain's assistant, Naomi Wildman, to give her perspective of life on Voyager. Sam, is she ready?
[Just a second, Neelix.]
Kids. Can't let the little tykes out of your sight for a second. Ah, here she comes.
Good morning, Naomi, and welcome to the show. Are you ready?
[Umm, I think so.]
[Hey, Neelix? Can a guy get breakfast around here? Hi Sam, Naomi. Hey, Naomi, I have a really neat new Flotter story you can try in the holodeck later.]
[Wow, that sounds great, Harry.]
Ensign! We're on live! Excuse me viewers, it would appear Ensign Kim has no idea I broadcast this show live, every morning.
[Oops! Sorry guys. Should I leave?]
[No, Harry, stay and watch me. I'm supposed to be talking about what I do everyday.]
[You mean apart from playing Flotter, begging Tom to show you how to fly and teaching Seven how to--]
Thank you, Ensign Kim. Could we move on?
[Neelix, are we out of coffee?]
[The replicators are down and there's no coffee over here. You can't expect me to command this crew without coffee, hmm?]
Umm, Captain, we're live. Perhaps Ensign Kim could--
[Neelix, I don't think you understand. I need coffee and I need it now. Your show can wait. After all it's not a live event.]
Ahh, Captain, we're broadcasting now. Naomi is going to tell us about her life on board Voyager.
[Fine. Where's the coffee?]
[Where do you keep the "Captain's Blend" again?]
Top shelf, third cupboard on the right. Next to the herbal teas... Eh umm. :::
Lieutenant Torres and Ensign Paris slept on, oblivious to the waking nightmare that was surrounding the ship's morale officer, but their unconscious minds were interpreting the sounds around them. Visions of coffee being drunk by a stuffed blue toy, the Captain, hiding in a large vat of Harry Kim stew floated through their tired minds.
Their bodies shifted again and B'Elanna rolled over to throw her arm over Tom's chest as he moved onto his back.
Naomi was piloting the Delta Flyer through Borg space, only the Borg cubes looked like tea bags with strings. The Borg Queen had Neelix's head and she was demanding that all known coffee beans be assimilated.
"Your supply of coffee will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."
Captain Janeway jumped out of the vat of stew, compression phaser rifle drawn; "Over my dead body!" she screamed back.
"There's a really good holoprogram in here," Harry Kim enthused from inside the vat.
::: [...And that's what I do on Voyager.]
Very nice, Naomi. Well done.
[Sounds of applause from several pairs of hands.]
[Carey to Captain Janeway?]
[Captain, the replicators are back on line.]
[Excellent work, Joe. How are the other systems?]
Ahh, could you keep your voice down, Captain. We're still recording.
[Don't you think it's appropriate to broadcast the ship's status, Neelix?]
I... well, yes of course, Captain.
[Joe, go ahead.]
[Waste and reclamation management should be back on within the hour, Captain. Full power should be restored to the engines some time this evening. Lieutenant Torres is going to supervise the last of that process.]
[Hmm. Harry, how's Astrometrics?]
[I'm just about to head there, Captain. Seven and I can give you an update in about forty-five minutes.]
[Very good. Neelix, I believe the floor is yours.]
Thank you, Captain. Well, that just about wraps up "Breakfast With Neelix," for this morning. I'm sure you would all agree it's been a fascinating look into how we start our day in the Delta Quadrant. I want to thank Naomi Wildman for contributing, and say a special thank you also to Captain Janeway and Ensign Harry Kim, for their impromptu contributions as well. It was... unexpected but ... not altogether ... unpleasant. Tomorrow we'll return to our usual format; Ensign Ayala will sing more of his Peruvian love songs and crewman Norman will update us on the latest holonovel, from the creative PADDs of Commander Tuvok and Ensign Paris. Good day, Voyager. :::
B'Elanna's door chimed; once, twice and then a third time, the unmistakable swish of an entry could be detected soon after, if one were awake that is.
Captain Kathryn Janeway was not sure why she'd come here. She was well aware that Torres was not due on duty for several more hours. She knew that she would, in all likelihood, be sleeping, but she came anyway. She told herself she was here to discuss the engines, check up on her overworked engineer, maybe just talk--like they used to. Kathryn admitted to herself that she did miss that. Reasons like that were valid but they were not true, that was not the reason she had come.
Some unknown force drove her here and that nameless, shapeless force drove her on; refused to release her. There was something she had to see.
Kathryn Janeway did not call out to the cabin's occupant and felt a twinge of guilt for not doing so. She was the captain so, could this really be seen as trespassing?
She moved forward slowly, her step careful yet assured. The last time she had come to these quarters B'Elanna had still been angry over the use of the hologram, Crell Moset, to save her life. Janeway inhaled suddenly, almost expecting the pungent aroma of Klingon incense to assault her nostrils once again. Instead she detected only the smells she'd usually find in a cabin.
Smells so ingrained in the psyche that they became impossible to identify after a time.
She moved closer to B'Elanna's bed and stared at its occupants. They sleep like innocents she thought a she gazed down on their inert forms. The sheet covering their bodies had slipped down a little, exposing the fact they slept in the nude, or semi-nude anyway. Tom Paris was coiled up around B'Elanna, one hand curling over her waist, B'Elanna's right hand over his, their fingers loosely entwined. Tom's head was practically buried in the hairs at B'Elanna's nape and it looked like one of his legs were wrapped around the lieutenant's.
It was a beautiful picture. Janeway had never really seen them so relaxed or at peace before, and certainly not with each other.
Janeway wished she could have some of that peace. She ached to remember the last time she had slept so well in another's arms.
He had moved on with his life and rightly so. If Voyager could return to the Alpha Quadrant tomorrow it would still be too late for them. Five years was too great a distance, besides, he was married now. Happy.
Kathryn felt cold.
So cold and alone. Some things, she realised, she would probably never experience again, things she would not name but was well aware of. It was a bitter truth she denied in some part of herself that struggled to hold on to who she was, what she was, and how she used to be.
She felt nothing.
Why have I come here?
It was a question she was afraid to answer so she turned and left the sleeping couple, who remained unaware of her intrusion.
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