Once Tom and the Doctor had delivered Jenny to her quarters, they returned to Harry's quarters for the now fully dressed Seven.   Before they left, Neelix informed Tom about his encounter with Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay.  Visions of a strangled Talaxian cook filled Tom's thoughts when he learned how the Captain managed to fool the former.  Using B'Elanna's  meditation methods, Tom calmed down and with the Doctor, lugged the former drone to Sick Bay.  

Upon their arrival in Sick Bay, they found Megan Delaney gaining conscious. "Doctor?  Tom?"  Megan slowly rose into a sitting position.  She clutched her forehead and groaned.  "What happened?  What am I doing here in Sick Bay?  And why do I have this god-awful headache?"

The pilot and the hologram dumped Seven on an empty biobed, before the former rushed to help Megan to her feet.  "The answer to all three questions," Tom said, "is Neelix's Valax."

"Gods!"  Another groan escaped Megan's lips.  "I see what you mean.  I had one too many drinks."

The Doctor sarcastically added, "Actually, one drink would have been suffice."

"Huh?"  Megan stared at the two men with confused eyes.

Smiling gently, Tom explained that Neelix's Valax proved to be incompatible with the bloodstreams of those from the Alpha Quadrant.  "Just about everyone who drank some became affected."

Megan stumbled about Sick Bay, until her eyes came upon Seven's inert form.  She nodded at the former drone.  "Her too?"

Tom nodded.  Before he could open his mouth, the doors slid open and a groggy-looking B'Elanna strode into Sick Bay.  "Doctor, I have a splitting headache.  Do you have any anaglesiac available?"  She paused at the sight of Tom, the Doctor and Megan staring at her.   And at the figure stretched out on one of the biobeds.  "What the hell is going on?"

"Congratulations Lieutenant," the Doctor replied.  "You're the second person to survive Mister Neelix's atrocious drink.  Ensign Delaney, here, is the first."

B'Elanna's gaze focused upon Tom and Megan, standing in front of the biobed.  For one awful moment, Tom feared she had remembered witnessing his and Megan's wrestling match on Deck 5.  "Jenny?"

"Megan."  The stellar cartographer walked toward the Doctor.  "About that anaglesiac, Doc?"

The Doctor picked up a hypospray from a nearby tray and pressed it against Megan's neck.  "I would also recommend a few hours of rest, Ensign.  That Valax was very potent."

"I don't get it," B'Elanna said, as she headed for the EMH for her medication.  "I only had three glasses of Valax.  At least I think I did.  And yet, this happens.  I thought Neelix's little drink was suppose to have less alcohol than anything made in the Alpha Quadrant."

Tom replied, "It does.  The Doc checked it out himself, before today.  Like we had told Megan, those from the Alpha Quadrant seemed to have a low resistance to it.  Sort of like encountering a new disease."

"Oh wonderful!  I get drunk from fermented Leola root.  By the way," a frown creased B'Elanna's lovely face, "how did I end up in our quarters?"

Tom explained how Crewman Jarvis found her inside one of the Jeffries tubes.  "She had summoned me and I carried you home."

"What about me?" Megan asked.  "I wasn't found any place strange, was I?"  

A smirk appeared on the Doctor's face.  "Only Lieutenant Paris can answer that, Ensign.  He was the one who found you."

"He did?" Both Megan and B'Elanna cried out at the same time.  All eyes fell upon the pilot.  Who found himself growing uncomfortably warm all over.

Struggling to maintain a calm façade, Tom quickly replied, "Well, uh yes.  I found you unconscious.  Inside Turbolift One."

"Really?"  The Doctor's eyebrows waggled mischeviously.  "I didn't realize that Ensign Delaney was unconscious."

Tom glared at the hologram.  Too bad one could not strangle a photonic being.  Tom would have happily done so at this moment.  "Yes Doc!  She was unconscious when I found her.  You just forgot."  His eyes fell upon the unconscious figure stretched out on another biobed.  "As for Seven," he nodded at the former drone, "you wouldn't believe where the Doc and I found her.  It was in . . ."

"Inside the Mess Hall!"  The Doctor's smug expression had vanished.  Tom noticed how his face had paled.  Could holograms do that?

B'Elanna looked unimpressed.  "So what?  She was found in the Mess Hall.  What's the big deal?"

The Doctor glanced at Tom, who remained silent.  He added uncomfortably, "Seven was attempting to . . . uh, she was telling jokes to several people inside the Mess Hall."  He paused.  "Rather badly."

A short laugh burst out of Megan's mouth.  B'Elanna arched an eyebrow, Tuvok-style.  "Seven-of-Nine, a comic?  That must have been an unusual sight."

"Just as a drunken ex-Borg must have been," Megan added.  "I thought Seven's nanoprobes gave her a low resistance to alcohol of any kind.  Even champagne."

The EMH stiffly explained that as a former drone, Seven possessed a low resistance to alcohol.  "Oh yeah," B'Elanna added with a smirk.  "I remember when she was practically tight once, after a glass of champagne.  And that had synthehol.  Maybe the next time we go against the Borg, we should consider exposing them to alcohol.  Or maybe Neelix's Valax.  Get the Collective drunk and take over ourselves."

Even Tom could not help but laugh at his wife's crack.  It felt nice to see that sharp edge of her's again.  His combadge crackled.  "Carey to Paris."

Ignoring B'Elanna's sudden interest, Tom responded.  "Paris here.  You have news for me, Joe?"

"I thought you would be happy to know that the transporters are back on-line.  Engineering now has enough power to complete repairs on the external sensors.  Hopefully, they should be up pretty soon."

Tom smiled.  "Hey!  That's good news, Joe!  Keep me updated on the repairs.  Paris out."

Dark brown eyes narrowed.  "The external sensors are off-line?" B'Elanna asked.

Oh oh!  Tom saw the glimmer in his wife's eyes and immediately knew she would not be spending the next several hours recovering from her ordeal.  He hesitated before answering, "Yeah, but before you think of heading for Engineering, you need to get some rest."  Tom turned to the EMH.  "Am I right, Doc?"

Mischief lit up the Doctor's eyes.  Fortunately, his ethical subroutines kicked in before he could cause any trouble.  "Mister Paris is right, Lieutenant.  You do need some rest.  Both you and Ensign Delaney.  I would recommend at least two or three hours of rest before either of you can return to duty."

"I'll rest after I help get those sensors back on line," B'Elanna replied tartly.  "Meanwhile, I'll be in Engineering.  See you later."  She gave Tom a quick peck on the cheek and headed for the doors.

Tom heaved an exasperated sigh and started after his wife.  "B'Elanna!"

* * * * 

Around the corner from Sick Bay, a woman hiding the corridor's shadows watched the double doors slide open and Voyager's chief engineer stride out into the corridor.  As she marched toward the nearest turbolift, another figure emerged from Sick Bay.  A taller figure with sandy blond hair, who wore a black uniform with red shoulders.  Gray-blue eyes stared hungrily at the second figure.

"B'Elanna!  B'Elanna, wait up!" Tom Paris cried after his wife.  "Look, maybe the Doc is right.  You've been through a lot, today and you need some rest."  The woman surreptiously followed the pair.

The half-Klingon disregarded the helmsman's words with a wave of her hand.  "Nonsense!  I feel perfectly fine."  B'Elanna paused in the middle of the corridor, nearly causing her husband to collide into her.  She whirled around and seared him with a shrewd and penetrating stare.  "Besides, I think you simply want an excuse to get me inside our quarters. Alone."

Kathryn Janeway frowned, as she watched Tom's jaw nearly drop to the deck.  Her frown deepened when he gathered B'Elanna into his arms.  Arms she longed to feel around her.  "What's wrong with that?" the Chief Pilot whispered into the engineer's ear.  "It'll be fun."  He gently nibbled his wife's earlobe.  Janeway closed her eyes and imagined that mouth nibbling her ear.  She shivered.

"Hmmm," B'Elanna moaned.  "I am so tempted.  But," much to Janeway's relief, the former snapped back into her Chief Engineer mode, "I have external sensors to repair.  And you have a starship to run.  So . . ."  B'Elanna extracted herself from the pilot's arms and continued her march along the corridor.  Tom followed closely behind.  So did Janeway.  When the couple halted in front of Turbolift One, Janeway paused a few feet behind them.  She then ducked behind another corner and observed the pair.

"Why don't you accompany me to our quarters first," Tom said, as he and B'Elanna waited for the turbolift.  "I have to change into a fresh uniform.  And I wouldn't mind some help."  He gave his wife the full effect of those blue peepers.

B'Elanna seemed to be made of sterner stuff.  Or else she had developed a resistance to the pilot's famed puppy dog looks.  "Sorry Flyboy," she said, patting Tom's arm.  "Right now, the ship comes first."  The turbolift doors opened and the couple stepped inside.

Silly woman, Janeway thought.  How could Lieutenant Torres resist those . . .?  An idea struck the red-haired captain's Valax-induced mind.  It was an idea that would have horrified every member of her crew, yet it filled her with pure giddiness.  She opened the hatch to the nearest Jeffries tube and crawled inside.  Janeway realized that if she hurried, she just might reach her destination before the Chief Helmsman.

* * * *

Tom accompanied B'Elanna all the way to Engineering.   In fact, he felt tempted to remain there and assist in completing the repairs.  Until he remembered that he had a ship to run and a missing captain to find.  Besides, one glance inside the bustling Engineering section told him that he would simply be in the way.  Tom exchanged a brief kiss with his wife and left.

Ten minutes later, he reached his quarters on Deck 3 and strode inside.  He heaved a sigh of relief and began to unfasten his jacket.  Then he spared the chronometer a quick glance and gasped.  In another three hours, Gamma shift would end.  Which meant he, Ayala and the others assigned to Beta shift had been on duty for nearly thirteen long hours.  Hopefully, the other crewmembers will recover from the Valax just as fast as B'Elanna and Megan.  And those who had been on duty for nearly two shifts will fi
nally get the rest they deserved.  What he deserved.

A noise from inside the bedroom interrupted Tom's thoughts.  He frowned and strode toward the other room.  Unless B'Elanna had transported from Engineering, there was no way she could have . . .

Tom stopped short at the sight before him.  Sprawled on the large bed was Kathryn Janeway, clad only in a 19th century petticoat skirt and camisole.  Unbelievable!  First Harry, Seven and Jenny and now, this.  Only, Tom suspect that he was not meant to be voyeur.  "Captain?" his voice croaked.  "What . . . uh, what are doing here?"

Janeway slithered off the bed and walked toward the stunned pilot.  "What does it look like, Mister Paris?  I'm here to see you."  One of her slim, pale hands began to caress Tom's forearm.

"Uh . . ."  The words caught in Tom's throat failed to break free.  He found himself in one of those rare moments in which he could not speak.

A seductive smile curled Janeway's lips.  "Cat caught your tongue, Tom?"  She leaned forward, her mouth inches away from his.  "Lucky cat."

To Tom's horror, Janeway  moved in for the kill.  She swiftly planted her lips on the pilot's.  Tom tried to pull away, but the Captain grabbed hold of his tunic front and jerked him forward.  "Don't fight me on this, Tom," she whispered in a husky voice.  "You don't know how long I've waited for this mom . . ."

"Tom!"  The familiar voice immediately chilled Tom's blood.  B'Elanna.  "Tom, if you're still here, could you search for my lucky sonic spanner?  Tom?"

Panic finally spurred Tom into action.  He grabbed Janeway and her discarded clothes.  "Computer," he ordered in a desperate tone, "lock onto my combadge and initiate a site-to-site transport to Deck Two, Section Five, Cabin 2b."  To his relief, a familiar tingle surrounded him and Janeway, transporting them to the latter's cabin.

The auburn-haired woman giggled.  "That was exciting!  Talk about a close call!"  She thrust her  face in front of Tom's.  "What do you have planned for an encore, Lieutenant?"  Her hands roamed suggestively over his broad chest.

Tom gently pushed the Captain away.  She pouted.  "Sorry Captain, but I don't have any encores planned at the moment."

A secret smile replaced the pout.  Before Tom knew what happened, Janeway hooked one of her legs around his, causing Tom to fall on the deck.  Janeway then threw herself upon the hapless pilot before he could recover.  "Now I've got you!" she purred triumphantly.  "You are one difficult man to get, Mister Paris.  But not anymore."  She lowered her mouth upon his.  

For a brief moment, Tom felt a shot of desire.  But only for a moment.  He also remembered that:  1) the Captain was intoxicated; 2) he was married to a jealous and possibly very possessive half-Klingon; and 3) although Captain Janeway's lips felt great, he preferred to feel his wife's, instead.  Keeping these thoughts in mind, Tom mustered up a great deal of determination and wrenched his mouth away from his commanding officer's.

"What the . . .?"  Janeway's gray eyes slitted dangerously.  "Why are you being so difficult, Tom?  I must tell you that you're not helping your career."

Think, Paris, think!  Find a way to keep this woman from ravishing your body and get her to drink the Doc's little concoction.  Tom gently forced Janeway to roll off his body and stood up.  Then he took the Captain's hand and helped her to her feet.

"Sorry about that, Captain.  I . . ."  He heaved a heartfelt sigh. Giving the older woman the benefit of his eyes, he continued in a gentle voice.  "Don't get me wrong.  I think you're a very attractive woman."  Tom smiled wistfully.  "I always have.  It's just that . . . well, you're the Captain.  And you really took me surprise with that little maneuver, a few minutes ago."

Janeway stared at him with a longing expression he found embarrassing.  "Huh?" was the only word she managed to croak.

"What I'm trying to say, Captain, is that although I find you attractive, I have to consider other matters.  Like  you being my commanding officer.  And my marriage."  Dear God, Tom thought, please, please let her see the light!  And allow me to escape from this room.

However, no amount of prayers seemed to help Tom.  Kathryn Janeway seemed determine to keep her chief helmsman by her side - and for her pleasure.  She threw herself into Tom's arms, knocking him onto the sofa.  "Oh Tom!  Surely we can forget about all that?  At least for tonight. Can we?"  She began planting small kisses all over Tom's face.  And much to his embarrassment, he found himself becoming aroused.  I have to end this now, he thought desperately.  Before everything goes out of control.  Okay, To
mmy Boy!  Time for the performance of your life.

Tom broke away from Janeway's embrace.  "I . . ."  He hung his head low and dramatically bit his lower lip.  "I guess I can."  Sheer delight lit up Janeway's eyes.  She leaned forward and planted a few more kisses.  Until he stopped her with a few choice words.  "But let's not rush into this," he said once again searing the older woman with his best puppy dog gaze.  "Not now."  Tom added in a seductive voice, "How about a little drink to start with?"

Again, Janeway purred.  "Hmm, good idea.  Too bad I don't have anymore Valax."  She pressed a slim hand against Tom's chest.  "Maybe we can replicate some wine.  Say, a bottle of Bollinger '51?"

"How about Irish coffee?"

Janeway's eyes blinked.  "Irish coffee?  That doesn't . . . exactly . . . sound romantic."

God, it's me again.  Please make sure that B'Elanna never learns what I'm about to do.  Tom leaned toward the auburn-haired captain and unfastened camisole's top button in a lightning move.  "You mean, you've never huddled in front of a roaring fire, sharing cups of Irish coffee with a loved one?" he whispered in a husky voice.  "For shame."

Janeway let out a gust of breath.  "Well . . . maybe . . ."

"Neelix made some for today.  With Valax."  Tom unfastened the next button.  Janeway's chest heaved in and out.  Then Tom lightly caressed the small patch of soft flesh revealed by the gap in her chemise.

A moan escaped from the Captain's mouth.  She gulped and whispered, "Irish coffee sounds like a fine idea."

"Great!"  Tom jerked away from the Captain, unaware of the sudden frown on her face.  "I'll replicate two cups for us."  He shot up from the couch and walked over to the replicator.  "Meanwhile, why don't you change into something, uh, more comfortable?"

Janeway shot back, "What could be more comfortable than this?"

Tom glanced over his shoulder and grinned.  "Use a little imagination."  Janeway grinned back.  Then she stood up and headed for her bedroom.

A moment after the bedroom door closed behind her, Tom's grin disappeared.  He tapped his combadge.  "Paris to Neelix.  Where are you?"

The Talaxian responded, "Neelix here.  I'm in the Mess Hall."

Tom sighed with relief.  "Good!  Is there anymore of that coffee left?"

"Yes, of course.  I have some left over . . ."

"Beam two cups of that coffee to the replicator inside the Captain's private quarters," Tom ordered.

A pause followed.  "You've found the Cap . . ."

"Later Neelix," Tom interrupted.  "Just beam it over.  Now!"

Less than a minute later, two cups of coffee materialized inside the replicator.  The moment Tom grabbed hold of them, the bedroom door slid open.  His eyes nearly bugged at the sight of Kathryn Janeway clad in a sheer pink pegnoir that revealed every inch of her body in all of its glory.  If only Chakotay could see her now, Tom thought.  Then he remembered that the First Officer had already experienced a similar moment in the Hydropondics Bay.  Too bad the poor sap will never remember.

"You like?" Janeway purred, as she struck a pose in the doorway.

Tom almost responded with an enthusiastic, "Me like!"  Until he remembered his goal.  And the wedding ring on his finger.  Instead, he gave the Captain his most seductive smile.  "Very nice.  And very lovely.  Your drink, Captain."  He handed her one of the cups.  "Sorry, no whipped cream."

"It would only get in the way."  Janeway stepped forward, her body millimeters away from Tom's.  "By the way, you forgot to stop calling me Captain.  Remember, my name is Kathryn.  And your name is Tom."  Her mouth inched toward his.

Panic filled Tom.  He had to do something to prevent another mouth-to-mouth contact.  In a desperate move, he raised his cup to his lips.  "A toast?"

 Janeway heaved a frustrated sigh.  "All right.  If you must.  What shall we make a toast to?"

"To the best captain in Starfleet," Tom declared, grinning like a schoolboy.

Auburn-colored brows arched upward.  "That's it?  Not the most attractive woman?"

Tom quickly added, "That too."  He took a sip of coffee.  It took a great deal of effort not to gag from the nauseating concoction.

On the other hand, Captain Janeway seemed to enjoy it.  "Hmm, this is delicious!" she declared.  "A first for Mister Neelix's coffee.  He has really outdone himself, today.  Perhaps it is the Valax."  She took another sip, followed by one more.  Before long, she had drained her entire cup.  "My!  That was delicious!  Don't you agree?"  Then Janeway heaved a sigh and swayed a bit, before she finally passed out on the floor.

The pilot immediately placed his coffee mug on a nearby table.  He then picked up the unconscious woman, carried her to the bedroom and gently lowered her on the bed.  Mission accomplished.  Tom felt his spirits soar.  He could finally put the nightmare of Neelix's Talaxian whiskey behind . . .

"Tuvok to Paris."

Ah, relief!  A silly grin appeared on Tom's face.  "Paris here.  I gather you are awake, Commander.  How did you get your combadge back?"

"I did not.  I am using Ensign Lang's combadge.  However, I do wish to know one thing," the Vulcan continued.


Silence.  "I beg your pardon?"

Tom sighed.  "Never mind.  What do you want to know?"

Tuvok continued, "Could someone please explain why I am inside Mister Sullivan's establishment, on the holodeck?  Wearing only my undershirt and trousers?"