Written for Cheshire in the 2015 Vamb Secret Drabble Exchange.
Disclaimer : CBS/Paramount owns everything. No infringement intended.
Thank you to CF and audabee for the beta.
“I’m not worried. He knows how to survive.”
Kathryn glanced towards her companion. “Do I detect a hint of relish in that statement.”
B’Elanna gave her captain a telling look. “He was warned and I refuse to rescue him.” Her mouth quirked up in one corner. “Chakotay isn’t faring any better. Perhaps you should be doing some rescuing of your own.”
Kathryn ignored B’Elanna’s suggestion as she surveyed the room, easily finding Tom and Chakotay in the midst of a bevy of what she assumed were Zymillian beauties. Although, it was a little difficult to tell. Their gelatinous, amoeboid forms were melding into one heaving mass of multihued gloop, and they seemed to have taken a great liking to her pilot and First Officer.
Chakotay’s eyes met hers over the head(?) of a particularly vivid and excessively enamoured Zymillian, and as a pseudopod extended towards him, trailing down his cheek and feathering sticky microtubules in his ear, his eyes widened and he mouthed, “Help!” in her direction.
She shrugged and bit back a laugh.
Neelix had warned them, but Chakotay and Tom refused to take heed and instead, they insisted on joining the away team. The consequences lay entirely at their feet – err, waist, umm, hips, eww, there too.
Kathryn had to admit she was enjoying this.
The Zymillians were a peaceful, non-gendered species. Reproduction was a simple case of mitosis – one cell dividing into two – but they identified as female.
Very, very female, it appeared.
Neelix had assured her that they were harmless enough, although somewhat excitable where males of other species were concerned. This was clearly evident and Kathryn gave them ten out of ten for enthusiasm.
At Neelix’s suggestion, she’d put together an entirely female away team to avoid any mishaps or misunderstandings. But Chakotay and Tom had found an obscure codicil under a subsection of a subsection within the Starfleet codes of conduct regarding some archaic nonsense about gender bias and discrimination in away team selection guidelines.
Chakotay had looked so smug at the time that she’d been tempted to punch him in the nose – score one for gender equality, she could punch just as hard as any man – but they’d been insistent and in the end, she relented.
It was to have been a straightforward supply mission. Negotiations had been trouble-free and the traded goods had already been agreed upon before their arrival. There was little danger of causing an interstellar incident, so as far as she was concerned, if their hosts managed to get their sticky pseudopods into places they shouldn’t, well, that was Chakotay and Tom’s problem. Who was she to argue with their inalienable right to be manhandled, or ‘woman-handled’, as the case may be.
‘Gender rights’ was a hoary old chestnut that hadn’t been relevant for centuries. What Chakotay and Tom really wanted was to meet the Zymillians first hand and she was pleased to see that they were getting some first, second and third hands in places they hadn’t expected. Ah, the joys of first contact.
As she watched ‘rainbow’ amoeba’s pseudopod disappear down the front of Chakotay’s uniform pants and his eyes widen in shock, she harrumphed to herself and muttered, “It serves him right.”
B’Elanna turned an enquiring look towards her captain. “I wonder if we should ask the Zymillians to be gentle.”
“I don’t think that’s necessary. I think the men are equal to the task, don’t you?”
B’Elanna snorted a laugh but then sobered as she watched Tom trying frantically, but ultimately failing, to push several probing pseudopods away from his nether regions. She sighed. “I probably should go and save him. That’s my leisure equipment being juggled by that rather large purple ‘lady’ and Tom is looking genuinely concerned. I think he’s learned his lesson. Besides, I don’t want him broken.”
Kathryn rolled her eyes. “I guess you’re right. If anyone is going to break Chakotay, it’ll be me.”
B’Elanna swung around to stare at Kathryn, her face breaking into a broad smile. “Is that so?”
Looking a little chagrined, Kathryn shook her head and grumbled, “That didn’t come out quite how I meant it to.”
“It works for me.”
Kathryn shot a peeved look at her Chief engineer before she nodded towards the fray. “Shall we go and rescue their dignity and ‘leisure equipment’?” Kathryn raised one eyebrow daring B’Elanna to respond.
Holding her tricorder aloft, B’Elanna merely smiled and gave her captain a knowing look. “Just a moment. I really think we should record this for posterity.”
Kathryn nodded. “Yes, it’s important to have documentation of Tom and Chakotay’s unique style of diplomacy and great leap forward for affirmative action.”
After several moments, B’Elanna snapped her tricorder shut and tucked it into her belt. “Posterity sorted; let’s go save their posteriors.”
With a shake of her head, Kathryn smiled wryly and together they set off to salvage what was left of their men.
Kathryn looked up as her door chimed. “Come.”
Chakotay entered bearing a rose and a bottle of her favourite Bordeaux. He looked suitably chastened. “A peace offering.”
She smiled and, accepting the rose, inhaled its perfume. His hangdog expression, along with two cargo holds packed to the gunwales with supplies, took any sting out of the situation. Their hosts had been so grateful for the opportunity to ‘play’ with two ‘such luscious male specimens’ that they’d doubled the originally agreed upon amount of deuterium, pergium and foodstuffs. Voyager wouldn’t need to resupply for months.
There was also the recorded footage of the encounter – something the entire crew could enjoy – and the subsequent boost to morale was worth every moment of Tom and Chakotay’s embarrassment. On the whole, it had been one of the most successful away missions they’d ever undertaken.
Kathryn placed the rose in a vase on the sideboard and then nodded towards the wine. “Would you like a glass?”
He nodded. “I think I need one. And a piece of humble pie, if you have any?”
“I only have crow. Roasted or fricassee?”
He laughed. “Okay, point taken. I apologise.”
Kathryn placed a couple of glasses on the table while Chakotay uncorked the wine and poured.
“Accepted. But your humiliation garnered us two hold’s worth of supplies. So, if you can bear the embarrassment, it was worth it.”
“Anything for the crew – you know me.”
She lifted her glass in a toast. “To intact leisure equipment.”
He frowned questioningly. “Should I ask?”
Kathryn leaned forward and kissed him. “Later.”
He grinned and sipped his wine. “I’m intrigued.”
She flashed a heated look in his direction but followed with, “Dinner first.”
“If I must. What are we having?”
“Delicious.” He took his seat.
“And…” Kathryn lifted the cloche from a platter in the centre of the table to reveal a quivering mass of reddish purple goo. “Jello for dessert.”
Chakotay paled visibly. “I’m never going to live this down, am I?”
“Not in this lifetime.” Kathryn stepped around the table, straddled his lap and nestled against the spot with which a certain Zymillian had earlier been enthusiastically acquainting herself. “I’ll be gentle.”
Chakotay grinned. “Don’t worry. I’ll survive.”