This part is dedicated to Chrissy, one of my two partners in crime for a round robin we're working on :) This part is copyrighted December 1998 by Jane Griffen. All feedback welcome at JaneG100@rocketmail.com. See Part 1 for original disclaimers. Oh, and I was inspired by the book Pathways by Jeri Taylor to use the character 'James', so he's copyrighted by Paramount too I guess. I know I got the last name wrong though =P
CHAPTER SIX: ARRIVALS
Three women raced down the large promenade corridors of Starbase 41, which was suspended from Earth. Shuttles, starships, and transports could all dock there, as well as civilian ships. It was what Heather termed an 'airport', but B'Elanna had pointed out that spaceships actually flew in space, and that there was almost no air whatsoever in space. Whitney had rolled her eyes, informing the chief engineer that 'she would never learn.' Torres had only been confused until Whitney had elaborated. "It's a 20th century term." In their hands were multiple shopping bags, and the three were laughing.
"I still can't believe you made me get a bikini!" the light brunette howled.
The blonde just laughed while the darker brunette shook her head. "Oh, Heather, stop being such a wimp." she retorted.
Heather rolled her eyes and scanned the crowds of aliens. "Where is Voyager docked?"
B'Elanna scanned the arrivals and departures list on the large computer panel spanning the wall. "Umm..." She bit her lip as she looked for the USS Voyager's name. Finding it, she reported. "Gate S7."
Lisa gaped. "That's on the other side of the starbase!" she said, exasperated.
Whitney stomped her foot. "And they've already docked!"
"Need a lift?" an unfamiliar voice called.
The three woman turned to see a man with dark hair and eyes sitting in a hovercraft. B'Elanna eyed him, suddenly caught with a vague sense of deja vu. Dismissing it, she smiled and brushed her brown hair back behind her ear. "Thanks." she said.
Heather hopped into the front seat and B'Elanna and Lisa got in the back. No sooner had they gotten in than the hovercraft sped up.
"So, what're you all doing here?" the man asked pleasantly as he swiftly avoided the people walking around.
Lisa spoke up, "We're here to meet some officers from the starship Voyager." she supplied.
At the man's surprised glance, B'Elanna had to smile. "I'm B'Elanna Torres, and this is-"
"I know who you are." he replied, a soft smile on his face.
Heather and Lisa stopped talking and waited expectantly.
Torres shook her head. "I don't know you-" Her jaw dropped. "James?"
The man laughed. "You haven't lost your touch, B'Elanna." he replied.
B'Elanna gaped for a second, then smiled. "Heather, Lisa, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine from Kessik - James Harthron. James, this is Heather Whitney and Lisa Doav." she turned back to Harthron. "So what've you been up to all these years?" she asked, surprised.
"Actually, I'm only here because I'm helping out a friend who had to take sick leave. I'm actually supposed to be at an archeology dig in Australia right now." James confessed. "I'm engaged, but other than that, nothing much. What about *you*? The last time I checked, you'd joined the Maquis. When they were all slaughtered by the Jem H'Dar, I was worried sick about you. But your name wasn't on any of the casualty lists that Starfleet was able to put together."
The half-Klingon laughed softly. "Well, I'm a lieutenant commander in Starfleet now-"
"I find that hard to believe." Harthron muttered quietly.
"Actually, its true." Heather spoke up.
James laughed. "Continue, please."
B'Elanna did. "And I've been Voyager's chief engineer for the past four and a half years."
"You were on Voyager?" James asked, turning to look at Torres.
B'Elanna smiled. "It's a long story."
Fifteen minutes later, Doav, Whitney, and Torres got off the hovercraft. "It was nice seeing you again." B'Elanna said sincerely, her brown eyes shining in the light. James grinned. "I'll give you a call sometime! Lunch, maybe?"
B'Elanna smiled. "I'd love to."
"Say, why don't you come to the party tomorrow night?" Heather asked enthusiastically after exchanging a long glance with Lisa. "It's at Admiral Owen Paris's house at 1900 hours. Casual dress."
James nodded. "Sounds great. I'll see you later!" He waved and was gone.
B'Elanna watched him go, a far away look on her face. When she turned to face the other two, she frowned. "Will you stop it?" she exclaimed, hitting Heather lightly with her free hand.
Whitney feined innocent. "What? Besides, I'm sure Tom's parents won't mind one more person coming to the party. After all, they're inviting practically everyone from Starfleet Headquarters." She stopped and looked over at Doav. "Will they?"
Heather clamped her hand over her mouth. *Oops.* "Uhh...No party." she said quickly. The truth was, Owen and Dana Paris had planned a big party for their son and his fiancee. As far as she knew, almost everyone was there. Shelly Anderson had even lied to Tom saying that she was coming tomorrow - she and her husband Chris were actually getting into town tomorrow morning. The theme was something like a Hawaiian luau, and Heather already had her outfit put together. Of course, she hadn't known that Lisa and Tom were clueless about it.
Lisa gave her a dubious glance.
"Fine! Your future in-laws are throwing a party for you, but you can't breathe a word of it to Tom! I didn't know you guys weren't supposed to know about it." Whitney confessed. Then she turned back to B'Elanna, an innocent look on her face. "Who's James?"
"He's a good friend from Kessik, and don't even think of setting me up with him. I have no interest in him what-so-ever." Torres immediately replied truthfully. Heather opened her mouth to speak but the half-Klingon cut her off. "I never set you and Tom up on any blind dates, did I?"
"Well, no." Whitney stuttered. B'Elanna just gave her a look, and Heather sighed. "Fine. I promise; cross my heart and hope to die." The half-Batazoid stopped as she glanced out the windows, revealing endless black space. Feeling hands encircling her waist, she tilted her head back and smiled up at Harry, who had walked up unnoticed. "Hey! Where've you been? We've been waiting here forever!"
"She's exagerating. We've been here for one minute, to be precise." B'Elanna retorted, glancing down at her wrist chronometer.
Tom, who had also joined them and was standing next to Lisa, laughed. He motioned to the opening doors. "They're here!"
"Tommy!" came an excited shriek.
Heather smiled knowingly as two dark brunettes came barreling up to them. One of the Delany twins - she was pretty sure it was Jenny - jumped into Tom's arms and kissed him. Pulling back, her eyes sparkled up at the pilot. "Congratulations! Long time no see!" she said, smiling widely.
Meanwhile, Meghan was rolling her eyes. "Get off of him, Jenny. He's engaged." she said teasingly.
Jenny giggled and Heather laughed outright. "It's good to see you guys again."
"You, too!" Jenny said, looking over at Whitney. Realizing what her twin had just commented about, she unwrapped her arms from Paris's waist. "Oops." she said sheepishly.
B'Elanna laughed. "You don't see me doing that now, do you?"
Meghan smirked while hugging Tom. "That's a li'l different." she slurred. Seeing the glare Torres sent her way, she held up her hands. "I was only kidding."
Meanwhile, Lisa had been watching warily from the edge of the group, surveying the two new arrivals. Looking over at her fiance, she cleared her throat.
Tom looked over at Lisa and realized that she hadn't a clue as to who the two energetic sisters were. "Lisa, I'd like you to meet the two brainless bimbos from Stellar Cartography: Ensigns Jenny and Meghan Delany. Meg, Jenn, this is Lisa Doav, my fiance." He encircled her waist and pulled her close. Lisa smiled up at him.
Harry looked skeptical. "Brainless bimbos?" he repeated.
Jenny, Meghan, Heather, and B'Elanna looked at each other, then burst out laughing.
"Inside joke." Torres explained while she gasped for air.
Harry raised his eyes to the ceiling.
"Tom! Harry! Heather!"
The three turned around to find an enthusiastic Talaxian heading their way.
"*Neelix*!" Heather screeched, not meaning to be so loud.
Neelix looked slightly baffled, but then realized that it was 'only Heather.' "It's nice to see you as well, Lieutenant Commander." he said cordially.
Whitney rolled her eyes. "I still can't get used to being called that." she muttered to Torres as Neelix shook everyone's hands.
"I can demote you if you'd like." a slightly throaty voice said.
Heather whirled around, grinning like a schoolgirl. "Kathryn! Chakotay!" she said, hugging her senior officers.
Chakotay laughed. "You'll never change." the commander teased gently.
B'Elanna snorted. "I learned that a long time ago." she added.
"Oh, *sure* B'Elanna." Heather said sarcastically.
Kathryn shot a glance in Lisa's direction. "And you are," she commented, holding out a hand.
Doav smiled timidly. "I'm Lisa. Lisa Doav."
"Pleasure to meet you." Chakotay said, flashing her a smile.
"The pleasure's all mine, I'm sure." Doav said.
Janeway turned to Paris. "It's good to see you again, Tom. I was wondering what had happened to you." she joked.
"Probably injuring himself in some way, I'm sure, Commander." a slightly annoying but friendly voice spoke up.
They turned to see Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram. "After all, since you managed to get bruised up quite nicely on shoreleave to Trakos IV-" the Doctor didn't continue, for he was too busy smiling at his own joke.
Heather's mouth formed a perfect 'o.' The planet the Doctor had mentioned was a class M planet in the Delta Quadrent. Shortly before Voyager had encountered the Hirogen, Harry, Tom, B'Elanna, and herself had taken shoreleave there. She and Harry had shared a large room (they had slept in seperate beds, of course - they hadn't really even been dating yet), and Tom and B'Elanna had shared the one next to it. The water, although they hadn't known at the time, stimulated their hormones. Needless to say, the outcome had been pretty hilarious. Harry and Heather had managed to escape with only lightly kissing goodnight, but for Tom and B'Elanna... Whitney stopped her thoughts right there. Then a fit of hysterical giggles overcame her. She leaned against the wall. *I'm s-so sorry.* she apologized telepathically, her dazzling blue eyes sparkling up at everyone.
Harry held out a hand and helped her up. Heather stopped laughing after a few seconds. B'Elanna had her hands on her hips, Tom was obvioulsy *not* amused, Jenny and Meghan were trying hard not to giggle, Neelix, Chakotay, and Janeway were plain confused, and Lisa was skeptical. "You must be Voyager's Doctor." she commented brightly. "Tom's told me so much about you."
"Did he, now? Or did he bore you with nightmarish details?" replied the Doctor, grinning over at the blonde. "I presume you're his fiancee?"
Lisa nodded and reintroduced herself.
Seven of Nine walked out of the exitway and towards them. "Heather! Tom! Harry!" she called, a smile across her once Borgified face. Seven had a beautiful smile, and it lighted up the whole room when she actually did smile. After almost two years since she had been de-assimilated from the Collective, Seven of Nine was slowly turning more and more human.
"Hey, Seven!" Tom said, hugging her. Seven was almost as tall as he was.
"Nice to see you again, Sev." added Harry.
"It is most illogical that we should all be standing around inactive. I suggest we use our time wisely - after all, we only have so much shoreleave." the former drone said blandly.
Lisa did a doubletake. "You're Seven of Nine? The former Borg drone?"
"That is correct. And you are Lisa Doav?"
Tom's brow furrowed. "I never told anyone her name." he commented.
Seven only grinned over at the pilot. She still had enhanced hearing.
B'Elanna laughed. Things would never change.