Less than ten minutes later, Tom carried B'Elanna inside their quarters, toward their bedroom.  Just as he was about to lower her upon the large bed, the ship rocked, causing him to drop his wife on the bed.  Miraculously, B'Elanna remained unconscious.

Tom hit his combadge.  "Paris to the Bridge.  Was that another . . .?"

"It's another ion storm, Lieutenant," Ayala finished.  "This one seemed to be worst than the last."

A sigh escaped Tom's lips.  He seemed to be doing that a lot during these past few hours.  "I'm on my way."  Tom planted a light kiss on B'Elanna's forehead and left.  

He had barely stepped into the corridor when Neelix's voice chirped from his combadge.  "Neelix to Paris.  Tom, the coffee is ready.  Crewman Jarvis and I are about to take it to Holodeck One.  By the way, is there a problem with the ship?"

"Just another ion storm, Neelix.  Nothing to worry about."  Tom rushed toward the nearest turbolift.  "Don't forget to check out Holodeck Two for Harry, Seven and Jenny."

Another voice crackled from Tom's combadge.  The Doctor to Paris and Neelix.  Ensign Andrews and I have already searched Holodeck Two.  They are not there.  I assume we must regard them again as lost sheep wondering about the ship."

"Thanks for the clever similie, Doc," Tom replied in a tart voice.  "Now will everyone . . ."

"Perhaps Harry and the others returned to Holodeck One," Neelix cut in.  "Has anyone thought of that?"

The Doctor replied, "Something tells me that Ensign Kim won't make it that easy for us.  But, I suppose it's possible that . . ."

The ship rocked once more and Tom had enough of the speculative banter from the combadges.  He interrupted in an exasperated voice, "Look, will everyone please get off the Com system, get the coffee to Holodeck One and allow me to get to the Bridge without anymore interruptions?  If you haven't noticed already, we have an ion storm on our hands and this is no time for any CB talk."

Confusion marked Neelix's response.  "What is CB talk?"

"Probably another one of Mister Paris' quaint 20th century euphemisms," the Doctor acidly replied.  "How a grown man can spend so much time looking up irrevelant .  .  ."  Tom quickly deactivated his combadge before his mind went off the deep end from the mindless chatter.

Tom arrived on the Bridge several minutes and barked, "Report!"  Ayala revealed that the new ion storm had inflicted a 20% drop in the shields.  The inertial dampeners suffered a 15% decrease and the transporters, replicators and external sensors remained off line.  In other words, bad news all around.  Nothing new.

As before, Tom stood behind Liz Jenkins, while she piloted Voyager through the ion storm.  At least she tried.  Unfortunately for the young pilot, the storm proved to be too much for her and Tom was forced to relieve her at the Conn and fly the ship through the worst of the storm.  Once Voyager reached calm space again, Tom gave Ayala command of the Bridge and left.  He returned to his quarters to check on B'Elanna.  She remained stretched across the bed, still asleep.

"Doctor to Paris," chirped Tom's combadge.

Tom responded, "Paris here.  Is there something wrong, Doc?"

"No.  I just wanted to inform you that everyone inside Holodeck One has been given the inapprovaline.  Although we had a bit of difficulty with Mister Tuvok.  It seemed he refused to drink the coffee before he finished the last eight stanzas of Falor's Journey.  Not a bad song, if I must say."

"Who is still missing?"

According to the Doctor, Captain Janeway, Chakotay, Harry, Seven and Jenny Delaney remained at large.  Five people.  Searching for five people with missing combadges should not be difficult.  At least Tom hoped.  "Listen Doc," he continued, "I'll meet you on Deck 2 and we'll search from there to Deck 6.  Neelix and Andrews will search Decks 7 to 10.  And I'll send Jarvis and two other security guards to search Decks 11 to 15.  This way, all of us can quickly cover more ground and get this over with as soo
n as possible."

The Doctor responded that he would meet Tom at Turbolift 2, on Deck 2.  Then Tom contacted Neelix and Jarvis and gave them their instructions.  At last, Tom thought as he rode in the turbolift.  Everything should be winding down.  If all goes well, the entire episode would end.  Hopefully, without any major problems.

* * * * 

To cover more ground in their search for the missing crewmen, Neelix and Andrews decided to split up.  The ensign searched Decks 10, 11 and 12, while Neelix searched Decks 7 to 9.  Neelix started on Deck 9 and worked his way up the ship.  After unsuccessfully searching Deck 8, he stepped into the turbolift and headed for Deck 7.

Neelix arrived at Deck 7 a minute later and continued his search.  He strode along the corridor, stopping at a computer console every once in a while, to ask the ship's computer if any particular room was occupied at the moment.  So far, his search resulted in eight crewmen occupying their quarters and a ninth occupying the Auxillary Computer Core Room.  It was not long before he finally came upon the Hydropondics Bay - Kes's old haunt.

In the two years between Kes's departure from Voyager and their encounter with the Equinox, various crewmen had tended the fruits, vegetables and other plants first tended by Kes.  However, last year's encounter with the Equinox provided a permanent overseer in the Hydropondics Bay in the form of one of the survivors from that doomed ship - Noah Lessing.

"Computer," Neelix addressed a nearby console, "is there anyone inside the Hydropondics Bay?"  It could not be Noah.  Neelix had last seen the crewman inside Holodeck One.

The computer's voice stoically replied, "Affirmative."

"Please identify the person inside," Neelix continued.

"Unable to comply."  

Which meant that the person inside the Hydropondics Bay was not wearing a combadge.  Perhaps one of the missing officers from the celebration.  Neelix took a deep breath and stepped inside.  "Hello!" he cried out.  "Is anyone here?"

A low, deep voice echoed throughout the bay.  A voice that chanted some familiar words.  "Ah-koo-chee-moya. We are far from the sacred places of our grandfathers; we are far from the bones of our people. We come here seeking guidance."

"Commander?"  Neelix walked through the bay until he came upon Voyager's First Officer squatting on the floor between the Tarkelian roses and the tomatoes.  "Commander, is that you?"

Dazed eyes glanced up at the Talaxian.  "Neelix!"  A bleary smile spread across Chakotay's face.  "My friend"

"That's right, Commander.  I'm your friend."  Neelix knelt beside Chakotay.  "Ah, what exactly are you doing?"

"Summoning my spirit guide, of course," Chakotay responded in an off-center manner that left Neelix feeling wary.  "My spirit guide will lead me to my destiny."

Neelix gave a nervous cough.  "Uh huh.  But, ah, don't you need your medicine bundle?  Your akoonah?"

"I have it right here."  Chakotay picked up an empty bottle and shook it.  Neelix recognized the object as one of the bottles of Valax that were being distributed during the festivities at Fair Haven.  The Talaxian reached for the bottle, but Chakotay snapped it out of his reach.  "No!  It belongs to me!"

"Uh, Commander, that is a bottle you're holding.  And it's empty.  I don't think you can summon your spirit guide with that."

A giggle escaped the First Officer's mouth.  "That is what the spirits want everyone to think."  His dark eyes sparkled in a conspiratorial manner.  Neelix became even more uneasy.  "But I know the truth.  Only this," Chakotay shook the bottle once more, "can help me summon my spirit guide.  And lead me to my destiny."

"What, uh," Neelix nervously continued, "what exactly is your dest . . .?"

A husky voice interrupted the scene between the two men.  "What's this?"

Neelix glanced up and was relieved to find Captain Janeway looming above.  He saw that she still wore her deep blue dress from the festival.  "Captain!"  Neelix's voice nearly sang.  He sprung to his feet.  "Am I glad to see you!"

"Is there a problem?" the Captain asked.  Her gray eyes settled upon the Commander.  

Chakotay let out a delighted, "Kathryn!"  His hands reached out and clutched part of her skirt.  "I knew you would come!"

"Uh, Commander, let go of the Captain's skirt."  Neelix attempted to pry Captain Janeway's skirt from the First Officer's grasp, but failed.  "Commander, please!"

A serene smile touched the Captain's lips.  "Never mind, Neelix.  If it makes him happy."

"You don't understand.  Commander Chakotay is not . . ."  The Talaxian paused dramatically.  "As you can see, he's not . . . you know, well."  His voice dropped a decibel or two.  "He thinks he is summoning his spirit guide."

One of Janeway's auburn brows formed an arch.  "Oh really?"

"Yes . . ."  Neelix paused and stared at her.  "Captain, you seem . . . well, normal."

Janeway frowned.  "Shouldn't I be?"

"Well, you have been acting odd, along with the rest of the crew.  Have you taken the Doctor's medicine?"

The Captain paused momentarily.  "Why . . . yes!  Yes, I have.  I ran into the Doctor some time ago.  Her glance returned to Chakotay, who was now rubbing the edge of her skirt against his cheek.  "Now, shall we do about the Commander?"

Neelix picked up the carafe he had left on the deck.  "Well, I was about to give Commander Chakotay his . . ."  He paused and shook the canister.  Empty.  "Oh dear.  I've seemed to run out of medicine."

"Do you need to get more?"  The Captain's voice oozed with compassion.

"I'm afraid so."  Neelix glanced at the First Officer, who continued to rub Janeway's skirt against his cheek, while chanting.  "Uh, Captain?  Could you . . .?"

Janeway finished his sentence.  "Keep an eye on him?"  A bright smile lit up her face.  "I would be happy to."

For a second, Neelix hesitated.  He peered at the Captain, wondering if he had spotted an odd look on her face.  However, a second glance made him realized that his imagination might be running rampant.  As he headed for the exit, the last words Neelix heard was Captain Janeway's gentle voice instructing the Commander to release her skirt.

* * * * 

When Neelix returned to the Hydropondics Bay with a carafe in hand, he discovered to his dismay that Captain Janeway had disappeared.  Again.  Fortunately, Commander Chakotay had remained.  Yet, the First Officer seemed to be in a curious state of undress.

"Commander?"  Neelix knelt beside Chakotay.  The latter's vest had been tossed to the side and his white shirt, ripped apart.  Neelix spotted what looked like love bites over the Commander's broad chest.  Love bites?  Even more disconcerting was the sight of Chakotay's unfastened trousers, pulled down below his waist.  Neelix's eyes widened.  He had a pretty good idea on what had transpired between the Captain and the Commander during his absence.

Chakotay grunted as he attempted to rise from the floor.  "Hey Neelix!" he crowed in a slurred voice.  "What are you . . ."  He slumped back on the floor with a thud.  "What are you doing here?  Ah!"

Neelix leaned over the inert officer.  "Are you okay, Commander?"

A wide grin that some would describe as silly, spread across Chakotay's face.  "I'm better than okay, Neelix.  The spirits have finally answered my prayers.  After so many years."


The First Officer sighed.  "Ah, if you only know.  To think, Kathryn and I had finally got . . ."  He paused and frowned.  "Uh Neelix, where is Kathryn?"

Neelix hesitated.  "She's ah . . . she's waiting for you."  He leaned forward and whispered in the other man's ear.  "Inside your quarters."

The words shot new life into the First Officer.  He immediately sprung forward into a sitting position.  "Really?"  His dark eyes sparkled with a light Neelix had not seen in ages.

"But first," the Talaxian continued, "how about a little coffee to bring to her?"  He shook the carafe. 

"Actually, I would prefer to bring her more Valax," Chakotay replied.

Neelix thrust the carafe in Chakotay's face.  "I've added a little Valax in the coffee.  To give it more flavor.  Sort of my version of Irish coffee.  Would you like a sip?"

Naturally, the First Officer accepted Neelix's offer.  Who could refuse Valax in any form?  Neelix screwed the top off the carafe, filled it with coffee and handed it to the Commander.  Who immediately consumed every drop.

"Delicious!" the burly man declared with another silly grin plastered on his face.  Then he passed out.

Neelix tapped his combadge.  "Neelix to Andrews.  Please meet me in Hydropondics."

"Andrews here.  Is there a problem?"

"No.  I merely require your assistance in carrying Commander Chakotay to his quarters."

Andrews replied, "I'm on my way."

Neelix sat back on his hunches and sighed.  What a day this has been!  At least half of the crew, drunk from his Valax.  Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay in the Hydopondics Bay.  Janeway and Michael Sullivan in the holodeck.  The Captain oogling Commander Tuvok and propositioning Tom Paris.  And the Captain with Ensign Larson in one of the turbolifts.  Poor woman.  Is it any wonder, considering how bereft she had been of companionship these past six years.  After all those years of celibacy, her lib
ido seemed to be out of control.  Neelix wondered if any other crewman had reacted in a similar manner.

* * * * 

"You know Doc, I see no reason why we have to search the ship, together," Tom complained, as the pair walked along Deck 6.  "We could cover more ground if we separate."

In typical snappish manner, the EMH replied, "I suppose we could separate, Mister Paris.  That is, if you want to encounter more females unable to resist your . . . charms alone."

Tom glared at the Doctor.  "Just about everyone is either inside Holodeck One or in their quarters.  And I doubt that either Seven or Jenny are interested in my 'charms'."

The Doctor smirked.  He spoke the next words with great enjoyment.  "And Captain Janeway?"

The hesitation in the pilot's demeanor amused the Doctor.  He had to admit - Tom Paris turned out to be an entertaining, yet worthy adversary over the past three years.  The sight of a speechless Paris even made up for the loss of Kes - occasionally.

Reveling in his small victory, the Doctor continued to follow Lieutenant Paris along the corridor.  He eventually found himself halting 

Tom pressed the door's announciator and replied, "Since he's not inside Holodeck Two, there's a good chance he might be here."

Of all the simple-minded thinking!  The Doctor acerbically reminded the Chief Pilot that Ensign Kim was under the influence of Valax.  "Considering his present state, Mister Kim, Seven and Ensign Delaney could be anywhere!"

"Including here," Tom added.  He rang the announciator once more.  "We might as well check it out."

Again, no one responded.  The Doctor turned to Tom.  "Apparently, I was right.  No one is answering.  And we're wasting our time.  I'm sure that Ensign Kim and . . ."  He paused.  His auditory subroutines had detected a low moan, emitting from inside the ensign's quarters.  The Doctor frowned.

"What's wrong?" Tom asked, staring at the EMH.

The Doctor shook his head.  "Either my auditory subroutines are malfunctioning, or there is someone inside Ensign Kim's quarters."  More moans followed.  "Definitely inside.  I believe that Ensign Kim may be ill.  Of course . . ." the Doctor's frown deepened, "the pitch of the moan seemed unusually high for a . . ."

"Computer," Tom stated, interrupting the hologram, "override privatization lock.  Authorization Paris Omega Delta."  The computer acknowledged the code and opened the door.

The Doctor's matrix produced enough subroutines to leave him trembling with outrage.  "Well really!  At least allow me to finish my sentences."  But Tom had already entered Harry Kim's quarters.  Realizing that he was being ignored, the EMH followed Tom inside.

Not a soul could be seen inside the living area.  The Doctor spotted a lone combadge on the floor, next to the sofa.  "Doesn't seem to be anyone here.  Perhaps I was mis . . ."  He heard another moan.  Judging from Tom's reaction, he was not the only one who heard.

"Seems to be coming from inside Harry's bedroom," Tom commented.  He marched toward that direction.  The Doctor followed.

The EMH would have walked straight into the bedroom, if Lieutenant Paris's figure had not blocked the doorway.  "Really Lieutenant!  If you would please cease these erratic movements and . . ."  The words died on his lips when he saw what had apparently caught the pilot's attention.

It was a sight the Doctor would never forget.  A mass of flesh seemed to be displayed across Ensign Kim's bed.  Flesh that belonged to the Operations Chief, Ensign Delaney and . . . and . . .  the EMH could not say her name.  Not even in his mind.  Other words, however, poured out of his mouth.  "Oh my . . . OH MY GOD!"

* * * * 

The Doctor's cry rang in Tom's ears.  He barely noticed.  His attention remained focused on the chain of bare flesh on Harry's bed.  He shook his head.  Incredible!

"Oh my God!" the Doctor continued to cry.  "This is unbelievable!"

Tom added in a near whisper, "More like incredible."  His emotions ran the gauntlet from surprise to shock to disbelief and finally, to admiration toward his friend.  "Harry, Harry, Harry!" he exclaimed with a smile on his face.  "I never thought you had it in you."

Dark eyes filled with horror bored into Tom.  "How can you stand there and smile at this . . . this degenerate scene?"  The Doctor's gaze returned to the figures on the bed.  "Seven-of-Nine!"

Degenerate was not a word Tom would describe the scene before him.  More like sexy.  Exciting.  Erotic.  Maybe even original.  Yeah, definitely original.  Tom marveled at the human chain stretched across the bed.  Against the bed's headboard sat Seven-of-Nine in all her naked glory, with her head thrown back and legs spread wide.  Ensign "Eager" himself, Harry Kim, laid below her, flat on his back and his face jammed between Seven's legs.  Nor could Tom forget Jenny Delaney, whose body could rival Seven's
  She straddled Harry's lower body, riding the Ops officer like a rodeo performer on a wild horse.  

It amazed Tom that all three bodies seemed to move in unison.  Like one big wave of flesh.  Both Seven and Jenny emitted moans at the same time.  "Wow!" Tom said a little louder.  "Harry, you lucky bastard!  I've only dreamed of experiencing something like this!"

"Lieutenant!"  The Doctor's voice brimmed with outrage.

Tom dismissed the Doctor with a wave of the hand.  "Give me some slack, Doc!  How often does a guy actually experience a ménage a trios?  Let alone witness one?"

"Can you please set your mind, amoral as it is, to stopping that . . . stopping them?"

The pilot's eyes remained focused on the erotic scene before him.  "Why?  This is better than watching any old holovid.  Sort of like voyeurism at its best."

The rage in the hologram's voice increased.  "Lieutenant!  If you pl . . ."

One of Tom's hands rose in the air, signaling the EMH to stop talking.  His gaze returned to the ménage a trios, obviously in its last moments.  The three bodies heaved a few more times before both Seven and Jenny released a  loud, orgiastic cry simultaneously.  Tom shook his head once more.  Amazing!  He returned his attention to the EMH and found himself alone.

"Tommy!"  Jenny's cry returned his attention to the threesome on the bed.  The Stellar Cartographer climbed off Harry and crawled toward the bed's edge.  "Tommy, what are you doing here?  Come to join us?"  Her eyes sparkled invitingly.

Six years ago - hell, maybe even five or four, Tom would have eagerly accepted Jenny's invitation.  Now, all he could think of was how he and B'Elanna could recreate their own version of what he had just witnessed.  Only, how do you enjoy a ménage a trois with two people?

"No, I haven't," Tom said in response to Jenny's question.  He glanced behind the stellar cartographer and spotted Harry, struggling to sit up.  "Hey Harry!  I guess I don't have to ask how your evening went."  His eyes rested upon Seven, stretching her body in a most suggestive manner.  "Seven."

The ex-Borg responded with a husky, "Lieutenant Paris."

"You plan to join us, Tom?" Harry said.  He wore what Tom would describe as a shit-eating grin on his face.  "We could make it a foursome.  Or maybe the Doc can join.  I thought I heard his voice."

Tom shot a glance at the EMH.  Who seemed to be pacing back and forth across Harry's living area in an obvious snit.  "I don't think the Doc is in the mood, Harry.  As for me," he faked a yawn, "I'm a little tired right now.  I just left B'Elanna."  Tom waggled his eyebrows suggestively.  Harry's grin grew wider.  "However, I did bring a little treat."   Tom shook the carafe in his hand.  "Neelix's version of Irish coffee.  With his Valax." After a pause he added with a smile, "Just consider it as sort of
 a post-coital cocktail."

* * * * 

Ten minutes later, Harry, Seven and Jenny were sprawled across the former's bed.  Unconscious, thanks to Neelix's "Irish coffee".  Tom spared one last look at the trio, shook his head in disbelief.  He could not wait for B'Elanna to hear about this.

"Okay Doc," Tom announced as he returned to the living area, "they're out cold.  All we have to do is get Seven and Jenny dressed and . . ."  He stopped at the sight of the holographic doctor still pacing across the floor.  And now murmuring to himself.  Tom frowned.  "Doc?  Are you okay?"

The EMH whirled upon Tom, stabbing the latter with dark, wild eyes.  "Do I look OKAY?"  Great, the pilot added silently.  Just what he needed.  A hologram in the throes of jealous dementia.

Tom took a deep breath.  "Look Doc, this is really not the time to get a bad case of envy.  So Seven slept with Harry.  So what?  She was drunk!  Ten to one, she won't even remember what happened, tonight."

"Ugh!"  The Doctor threw his hands in the air out of exasperation.  "You do not understand!  While under the influence of that . . . Valax, Seven turned to Ensign Kim and not . . ."  He bit off his last words with a frustrated grunt.

Tom understood perfectly.  Doc felt upset that Seven had turned to Harry for a little passion and not him.  The EMH feared that the object of his desire secretly longed for the Chief Operations Officer.  Then again, Tom remembered something that Neelix had said.  "You know something, Doc?  Neelix told me that Seven was looking for someone else, while in the Mess Hall.  Maybe she was . . . well, in such a state of mind that she chose Harry, who was the first man available."

Dark eyes stared at Tom with disbelief.  "Do you really expect me to buy that, Lieutenant?"

The pilot sighed and his voice hardened.  "Let me put it another way.  We have to get Seven and Jenny dressed and back to their quarters.  And I can't do that without your help and the transporters down."

"There's always a first time," the Doctor replied with a sniff.

Tom shot back, "Okay Doc, this is an order.  Help me get them dressed and back to their quarters.  Now!"

"Considering Seven's state right now, I do not believe she would be able to stand up in her regeneration chamber."

"Then she can stay in Sick Bay!" Tom retorted.  "Now stop weeping about like some spurned lover in a bad melodrama and help me get them dressed!"

His teal-colored shoulders slumped in defeat, the gloomy looking hologram heaved a large sigh and followed Tom back into the bedroom.