Kathryn Janeway woke just as the second sun had risen. She
stretched lazily before she got out of bed. She put on her robe,
fetched a towel, a bar of soap and her shampoo, then left her
shelter and headed to the nearby lake for her morning bath. She
wasn't worried that anyone would disturb her. The crew knew
that she bathed first thing every morning and wouldn't interrupt
her. They respected her too much to do that.
When she reached the lake, Janeway put the towel, soap and
shampoo on a rock by the edge. Then she slid off her robe and
pulled her nightgown over her head, letting it fall onto the robe
now lying on the ground.
For a moment Janeway stood shuddering in the slight morning
chill, then she removed her underwear and stepped out in the
water. She walked out until the water reached her breasts, then
submerged herself completely.
When she emerged a short while later, she headed towards the
rock and picked up the soap and shampoo. Then she went to the
small waterfall and put the soap on another rock before opening
the bottle of shampoo and pouring some into her hand. She put
the bottle beside the soap and quickly washed her hair, then
stepped under the waterfall to rinse it.
Next, Janeway retrieved the soap and cleaned her body. When
she was done, she picked up the items again and returned to the
shore of the lake. She had almost reached it when she saw that
Tuvok was standing there beside her clothes, holding her towel.
For a moment she felt surprise, but then she smiled slightly at the
idea of being pampered by the Vulcan.
She came out of the water and approached Tuvok. When she
reached him, he wrapped the towel around her, then stepped
back. She hid her slight disappointment, having expected him to
dry her off. However, she wasn't able to hide her surprise when
"Captain, the crew wishes to speak to you," he informed her in
his usual calm voice.
Janeway lifted an eyebrow in surprise. "They do? This early?"
When Tuvok nodded, she asked, "Can't it wait until I've had my
"No, Captain, it can't wait," B'Elanna answered.
Janeway turned her head, her eyes widening in shock when she
saw the entire crew standing a few feet away. They'd been so
quiet that she hadn't even noticed them until B'Elanna spoke.
"Lieutenant, what is this about?" she asked a bit self-consciously.
Tuvok left Janeway and moved to stand beside B'Elanna. "We
wish to know why Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Paris and
the doctor were left behind," he stated.
Janeway frowned at him. "You know why, Tuvok," she said. "I
told you, B'Elanna and Harry the reason yesterday. If you
doubted my words, you should've said something."
"At the time, I did not doubt your explanation, Captain," Tuvok
said. "However, I have since been informed that the doctor had
finished his surgery on Lieutenant Paris *before* you gave the
order to evacuate Voyager."
"We didn't have time to wait for them," Janeway defended her
"That's a lie," B'Elanna growled. "I know for a fact that the
doctor finished the operation on Tom forty-five minutes before
we had to leave the ship. There was *plenty* of time to beam
him and the doctor aboard one of the shuttles."
"Are you *sure* the doctor had finished Tom's surgery so long
before we left?"
B'Elanna narrowed her eyes, suspecting where the captain was
going next. "Of course I'm sure. I spoke to the doctor shortly
after he'd finished."
Janeway frowned again. "If you knew that Tom was out of
surgery, why didn't you inform me?" she asked, attempting to
put the blame on the chief engineer.
B'Elanna met Janeway's eyes head on. She knew what the
captain was trying to do, and wasn't about to let her get away
with it. "Because, Captain, the doctor had already informed you."
"No, he didn't. He probably meant to and then forgot about it."
Janeway had realized that B'Elanna wasn't going to accept the
blame so she tried to hold the doctor responsible. He wasn't
present and couldn't defend himself.
B'Elanna's face showed her disdain. "You know as well as I do
that the doctor didn't forget to inform you of Tom's condition,"
she said. "I asked him if he'd told you and he said he had." She
held up a hand when she noticed that Janeway was about to
speak. "And unlike you, the doctor had no reason to lie."
Janeway looked intently at B'Elanna, wondering what the other
woman knew. "Why would I lie?"
"Because you're afraid of how the crew will react when they
discover the *real* reason you left Tom behind," came
Janeway stared at the engineer speechless. Would Tom have told
B'Elanna what had happened between them? She never thought
he would. Then again, she'd been wrong about that little bastard
on many occasions.
"So?" Harry finally prompted, annoyed by her silence. "Is it
true? Did you really think that Tom would be your whore?"
B'Elanna sent Harry a sharp glance, but didn't say anything. She
knew that he didn't doubt what she'd told him. It was just that he
had admired and respected Captain Janeway and needed to hear
it from *her* before he could fully believe that she would do
something like that.
"Whore? No…" Janeway felt totally naked in front of them
despite the towel around her. Under B'Elanna's gaze, she was
forced to go on. "Well, I needed company… I have needs too,
you know. I thought Tom would have been willing. You know,
no strings attached. For helping me, I thought I could offer him
other things, like additional holodeck time. That's where Tom
blew it completely out of proportion."
"Basically, you offered to pay Tom to sleep with you, like he's
some kind of a whore," Harry said quietly. "And now you're
claiming that he 'blew it out of proportion'?" He sent Janeway a
disappointed look. "That's called sexual harassment. You're
lucky he didn't bring you up on charges."
On Voyager, SicA lay on the bed in the captain's quarters. An
onlooker would be excused for thinking that the alien was asleep.
The only discernible movement was the raising and falling of its
chest as it breathed. However, SicA wasn't sleeping. It was
making a few adjustments to its body, making itself female.
Since its chosen mate was male, SicA had decided to become
fully female. It didn't think that its mate was attracted to
members of his own gender. SicA knew it could be wrong about
that, but found it unlikely. It was very rarely mistaken about such
The alien shook off its thoughts and turned its full attention to
the task of becoming female. It was certain that its mate would
appreciate the effort.