Disclaimer - Climb that mountain.
In response to Saffron's challenge where she wanted to see a specific scene from 'Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy' in a different story. Here it is!
Kathryn Janeway studied the men standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the opposite side of her desk; Human, Vulcan, Talaxian, Human, Hologram...all of them were indispensable to her, to her crew, for a variety of reasons. Now she needed them for a completely different reason.
Calmly taking a sip of coffee, she carefully lowered her cup down to the desk and spoke.
"Gentlemen, thank you for coming," She began, smiling easily. "I require your assistance for a very important project." Immediately she raised a hand, stopping any questions before they were asked. "Please, please I will answer any questions you have afterwards, just let me explain the situation first." Once they all acknowledged that they were ready to hear what she had to say, Kathryn continued. "It has come to my attention of late that I am rather lonely. Well...I suppose it's not 'of late', but I've decided that I finally want to do something about it. You are all going to help me. That is, if you don't mind..?" She let the question linger as if they really had any choice. "Well?"
"Is this going to involve you and a darkly handsome officer with a tattoo just about here?"
Kathryn smiled. "Yes. Well?"
"Count me in."
"Can I help in the design of any 'alluring' outfits?"
"Such actions do not fall into the usual description of my job as Security Chief, but if it were made a direct order I could not disobey."
An evil, utterly satisfied smirk crossed her features. "Good. I've made this list of plans for you to look over - you'll notice that each of you has your own page..."
The Doctor palmed the container subtly to the Talaxian. "Here you go Mr Neelix. Just sprinkle a few drops of that over his meal and we'll be ready to go."
He grinned, enthusiastically. "Very well Doctor. Now are you sure this won't hurt him?"
Tutting, the EMH rolled his eyes. "I assure you, your fears are quite unfounded. Not only have Mr Paris and Mr Kim been *slaving* over this for weeks, but I have personally checked over it myself. It will hurt him no more than it's meant to."
Neelix nodded. "Okay Doctor. Thank you for allaying my fears. I had to make sure, you understand..."
"Of course. I-" His eyes went wide as the mess hall doors hissed open. "Red alert!" He whispered and yelled somehow at the same time and dived into the kitchen.
Shoving the container into the pocket at the front of his apron, Neelix stood next to the counter and smiled a little too much. "Hello Commander!" He shouted as the First Officer approached, trying to cover the sound of the Doctor scurrying into a corner.
Chakotay frowned. "Hi Neelix. What's for lunch?"
"Uh..." Just what had he put on the cooker anyway? Oh that's right! "Pleeka rind casserole. Please, take a seat and I'll bring it over to you."
The First Officer smiled. "Thanks Neelix."
Nodding, Neelix faked a grin until the Commander turned away. The moment he did he whipped around and ran into the kitchen and found the Doctor pressed up against a wall. "Quick, get out of here!"
He did, running out the doors at the back.
Exhaling heavily, Neelix dumped a heavy couple of tablespoons of casserole onto a plate which he placed on a tray. Digging out the container from his apron, he twisted it open and sprinkled a few drops on. He was quite impressed - there was no smell or discolouration. Of course he didn't think there would be anyway, but it was nice to know.
Doing the container back up he put it back in his pocket, picked up the tray, and headed out to the main mess hall with a thumping heart and a smile on his face that felt as if was about to shatter to pieces and fall off. "Here you go Commander!" He announced dramatically, sliding the plate onto his table. "Enjoy."
Retreating to the kitchen he peered around the edge of a utensil occasionally to watch the progress. As Chakotay finished the last bite, Neelix hit his com badge. "Neelix to the Doctor."
"Doctor here. Go ahead."
"He's finished his meal."
"Ah, good." The Doctor responded. "Let's just see...yes, yes I'm getting a reading. Wonderful. Thank you Mr Neelix."
"Thanks Neelix! See you later!"
Neelix whipped around as the Commander said his goodbyes, trying desperately not to look guilty and hoping to the Talaxian fur fly hanging in Voyager's engineering department that the Doctor had heard and wouldn't say anything. "'Bye Commander!" Chuckling at a pitch that was a little too high, he continued laughing until the Commander had left the mess hall.
The moment the doors hissed shut Neelix leant all of his weight against the counter with his left elbow and used the index finger of his right hand to pull at the collar of his clothing. "The things I do for Queen and Starship..."
The Doctor's voice cut in. "I'll be sure to send the Captain your regards."
Tom tried not to turn around as he heard the turbolift doors open and someone stepping onto the bridge. Digging his fingers into the side of his console he physically kept himself still, knowing that Harry would do the honours. If all had gone well, their unknowing First Officer has just left the turbolift and everything was going according to plan...
"Good lunch Commander?" The Captain asked, and Tom could just picture her lounging in her chair, probably towards Chakotay with a small smile on her lips. Oh if only he knew...
"Well," Chakotay responded "It was lunch. It was pleeka rind casserole. I'm not sure if it was 'good'."
A few chuckles echoed around the bridge.
Tom could hear the Captains smile in her voice. "You did finish it though..."
"Every last drop. I wouldn't want Neelix to think we don't appreciate his effort."
"Good," the Captain answered, betraying nothing. Tom grinned. She was one hell of an actress.
Chakotay began again. "Actually, I think I've become used to-"
"Chakotay, are you alright?"
At her words Tom schooled his features into an expression of concern, released his grip on the console and swivelled around to watch the scene.
Sitting in his chair, Chakotay was grasping his stomach with both hands and frowning heavily. The Captain leant far over the arm of her chair and was touching Chakotay's shoulder with her hand. Harry was at his station, pressing buttons and trying not to smile. Tuvok remained as non-expressive as usual.
Chakotay spoke. "I...maybe I haven't become used to his food..."
Clearing his throat, Tom spoke his lines as everyone turned their heads to look towards him. He wasn't usually so paranoid about being the centre of attention. "Commander, I'd recommend that you go to sickbay and let the Doctor have a look."
"Why do you not help the Commander yourself, Mr Paris?" Tuvok asked.
Tom nearly gaped at him. That wasn't in the script! Desperately trying to formulate a response, he showed an expression of faint annoyance which he really didn't need to fake. "Because, as good a medical assistant as I am, the Doctor is much better at treating someone than I am. That is why he's 'The Doctor'." He finished pointedly, crossing his arms over his chest.
Before it could go any further the Captain intervened. "He's right Chakotay. You really should go and see The Doctor." Lowering her hand to his wrist - never losing contact with his arm - she rubbed several times. "You really should make sure you're okay."
Wincing again, Chakotay nodded. "Okay. But only because you're insisting." Producing a smile for her benefit, he stood and headed towards the turbolift.
As the door closed Tom leapt from his seat and walked quickly over to Tuvok's station. "What the hell was that about?" He hissed.
An eyebrow rose. "What was 'what' about?"
"*That*!" Tom answered, waving his right hand behind him in roughly the direction of Chakotay's chair and nearly hitting the Captain in the process as she appeared next to him.
"Calm down Mr Paris," She informed him quietly. "Tuvok was merely performing a little...embellishment I asked him to make so the conversation would seem more believable."
"And why wasn't I told about it?" Tom asked.
"To make it seem more believable," The Captain stated again. "I wanted a 'real' reaction."
A perfectly plausible excuse, but it didn't sit with Tom particularly well. "Okay. But you're not doing this again, are you?"
Shaking her head she smiled. "No. Are you still annoyed?"
Aw, hell. He could never stay angry at her for long. Smirking, he lifted a finger and pointed it towards her. "All I'll say is...I'll get you for this," Swivelling towards Tuvok he then pointed the finger at him "...and your little Vulcan, too."
The EMH grinned as his visitor arrived in sickbay. Standing up from the chair in his office he moved into the main sickbay. "Hello Commander. How can I help you?" As if he didn't already know...
The Commander frowned. "It's my stomach. It's just started...hurting. Doesn't feel quite like anything I've experienced before."
The Doctor harrumphed. "Ah, well. I see." Moving towards biobed one he picked up a tricorder. "If you'd like to hop up on the biobed, we'll have a look."
Complying, Chakotay climbed up and sat on the edge of the biobed.
Opening the tricorder the Doctor began scanning him. Immediately he frowned. It took a great deal of control not to smile at all. "Hmm..." Making a big display out of it he took the readings again with a different tricorder and then activated the cellular scan. As the fake results were displayed he placed an index finger against his lips and murmured "Hmm..." again.
Just for effect.
It was all about effect.
By now Chakotay had hopped down, was frowning heavily and peering over the Doctor's shoulder. "What? What is it?"
"It would appear Commander, that you have contracted a case of..." Turning away from the readings that had been carefully programmed by Mr Paris and Mr Kim, the Doctor stated dramatically "...Sappy-itis."
The Doctor sniffed at the Commander's obvious scepticism. "I assure you Commander, it's a real condition. Fortunately not easily contracted so no one else is at risk. Unfortunately there is not a great deal of information in my database - all I can tell you for sure is that the pain will become worse unless we somehow manage to find a cure."
"There's no cure?"
"Not that I know of," The Doctor forced himself to admit. "However, I would suggest that you contact Commander Tuvok. It has been primarily diagnosed in Vulcans...I suppose that explains why there is so little information about it in my database. You know how protective they are about their...'illnesses'." Chuckling lightly, the Doctor took the opportunity to closely study the Commander. He still didn't look quite convinced.
"So I take it this...Sappy-itis...isn't life-threatening?" Chakotay asked, resting back against the biobed.
"No, of course not," The Doctor chortled "but it will get significantly more painful from the little I'm able to decipher. I really do suggest that you-"
"-have a word with Tuvok," Chakotay finished, nodding. "Okay, I get the idea." Moving away from the biobed he hesitated after the first step. "This 'Sappy-itis'...it isn't a Vulcan word, is it?"
"Indeed it is," the EMH improvised. "It means 'the pain of emotion'."
"Wonderful," The Commander said before adding "Thank you for your help Doctor," as he disappeared out of sickbay.
"Don't mention it!" He yelled after him before muttering "I'm sure you won't."
Had he been human, Commander Tuvok could well have been frowning at this particular moment of his existence. While he personally thought that there was nothing particularly wrong with the Captain wishing to initiate a romantic relationship with Commander Chakotay, he did not find the Captains methods efficient. It made far more sense for her to just state her intentions directly, but he had long known not to expect sense from any species who were so ruled by their emotions.
In fact, when he had queried as to just why she was using this method she had just smiled and said "Fun."
Someone beeped for entry into his office.
Had he been human, Commander Tuvok could well have sighed. As it was, he simply called for them to enter.
As expected, Commander Chakotay walked in. "Tuvok."
He nodded. "Commander."
The Commander launched into his explanation straight away. As he spoke, Tuvok rose an eyebrow at the appropriate places, and even on one occasion he rose both eyebrows - all carefully scripted in the PADD the Captain had provided him with. When he was finished the Commander stood on the other side of the desk with his hands on his hips.
"Can you help me?"
Tuvok began a long, thoughtful-looking nod. "I believe so. Sappy-itis is usually something we do not...discuss...but as you appear to be suffering from the ailment yourself, I will provide whatever information you believe may help you."
Sighing in relief, the Commander sat down opposite him. "I'm glad to hear it. I was starting to think...well I guess I always thought that this 'Sappy-itis' didn't exist. It is a rather...unusual name."
"Quite." Tuvok confirmed, then decided to press on. There was much that needed to be discussed. Picking up the PADD in front of him, he began to input information. "Please describe how your stomach feels at the moment."
"Right now? Well...it's kind of a dull pain, I suppose. It doesn't hurt so much as it is irritating."
"I see. And what about earlier? Did you experience a different kind of pain at all?"
The Commander nodded, leaning back in his chair and staring at the desk thoughtfully. "Yes, definitely. I had two sharp stabbing pains in my stomach while I was on the bridge."
"Were you doing anything unusual at the time?"
He shook his head. "No. I was just conversing with the Captain-" He stopped suddenly and touched his stomach. "I just felt it again. It wasn't as strong as the others, but it was definitely something."
"Intriguing," Tuvok commented, continuing to press buttons on his PADD. "So you were conversing with the Captain when the pain just...occurred?" As the Commander nodded he continued. "Were you in physical contact with anyone at the time?"
Blinking several times, the First Officer formulated an answer. "I suppose...yes, the Captain was touching my arm at the time." Eyes wide, he leant forward. "And when it happened again, she was touching my wrist."
"I believe I understand what has been happening." Tuvok began, pausing his typing into the PADD. "Each time you have felt the pain you have either been thinking about or been in physical contact with the Captain. It is not illogical to assume that the Captain is the key to all of this."
"During my time aboard Voyager, I have come to the conclusion that you may have had more than...platonic feelings for Captain Janeway. I do not know if this is still true and I am not asking you to tell me, but 'Sappy-itis' tends to affect Vulcans because we conceal our true emotions. We conceal all emotions, and some believe that this is not a healthy attitude to take for someone who is not Vulcan. I have noticed your distance from the Captain in these last few months. I thought that perhaps you had..."
The Commander said nothing, and Tuvok let the implication linger.
"There is only one treatment that I am aware of, and I will share it with you if you want me to. I can tell from your expression, however, that you do not believe me entirely. If this is the case, then I suggest you wait for a few days and see if you can gather any evidence to the contrary."
Sitting in the chair with a blank expression on his face, the First Officer studied the Vulcan closely. "I suppose this 'treatment' involves me expressing my feelings to the Captain, correct?"
"Or something similar, yes."
"Are you lying Tuvok?"
Still he stared at him. "Have you ever lied?"
"Only under orders from a superior officer."
Standing from the chair, Chakotay almost smiled. "A convenient escape clause. Thank you for your time, Tuvok."
He stepped out of the office then, leaving Tuvok to put away the carefully adapted PADD.
Harry grinned as Commander Chakotay walked into the briefing room. Everyone was present, as per usual, and the Commander was the last one to arrive. He was also frowning. Looked like his stomach was still giving him problems.
The Captain was standing behind her chair as the Commander took his seat, and she began the briefing. As she asked B'Elanna about the efficiency of the warp core, all Harry could concentrate on was the PADD he held in his right hand that he was carefully hiding under the table. He was sure he was receiving some strange looks from Seven, curious as to just why his right hand was nowhere to be seen, but it couldn't be helped.
As B'Elanna talked, the Captain slowly began meandering around the briefing room table, eventually coming to stop between B'Elanna and the Doctor. Nodding at a comment B'Elanna made she then gasped and fell forward, one hand reaching out to brace herself on the table, the other one reaching behind to massage her back. She assured everyone that she was fine, and Harry had to purse his lips together to stop from smiling.
"It's nothing, really. An old Academy injury. Flares up every now and then. I've learned to live with it but maybe you should stay here and have a look," she told Doc, looking over her shoulder. Grabbing his hand she placed it on her back. "Right..." Then she lowered his hand until it was resting on her...well...her butt. "*There*," She groaned, her voice sounding ten times deeper than it normally did.
Realising that he was meant to be doing something, Harry quickly pressed the button. Chakotay's expression quickly changed from a glare to an expression of pain. Seven and B'Elanna didn't notice, too stunned at the display that was occurring before them.
"Would you like me to give you a back rub?" Doc offered helpfully, a bemused smile on his face.
Finally pulling away from his hand, the Captain turned to face him. "Thank you for the offer Doctor, but I'm not sure I could stand the osteopathic pressure therapy you insist on using." Then, as if a new thought was occurring to her, she clicked her fingers. "But I do know someone who's a little more gentle and still gets the job done. I shall have to ask him."
Pressing the button again, Harry, Tom, Neelix and the Doc all grinned this time as Chakotay tried not to show any pain. Tuvok did nothing.
Abruptly changing the subject, the Captain cleared her throat. "Well then, any other business? No? Okay, dismissed everyone."
If any of them were surprised at how quickly the meeting ended, no one showed it. Harry was out of the room in three seconds, but did notice that Chakotay stayed in the room.
When the doors hissed shut, the women went their separate ways, but all five men stood in the middle of the bridge, muttering.
"Did you see that?"
"He *has* to-"
"The expression on his face..."
"I think you should probably avoid him for a while, Doctor."
"It's not my fault if he can't take a joke."
After a while the mutterings died down. Harry continued grinning. "This is it. He has to tell her. Or at least ask her out."
Tom nodding, grinning. "We rock."
"We rock," Harry echoed happily.
Neelix shrugged. "We rock."
The Doctor frowned, but in the spirit of the moment... "We rock."
They all turned towards Tuvok.
"We...should return to our duties."
As the doors began to close, Kathryn stayed where she had been standing between B'Elanna's and the Doctor's chairs. Chakotay remained in his own chair, head slightly lowered as he touched his stomach protectively.
When the doors shut completely, he lifted his head. And grinned. "Did you *see* their reactions?" He asked, jumping up from his chair and moving towards her.
She met him halfway, laughing. "Of course I did! I don't think B'Elanna is ever going to recover. And did you see the death-glares Seven was sending me?"
"How could I miss them? You were going so over the top."
Kathryn took a step back, mock-surprised. "Me? What about you and all that groping of your stomach?"
"What about you and all that 'just an old Academy injury' talk?"
She waved an arm about. "Just going for some realism."
"You know," He began, sitting on the edge of the briefing room table, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards him. "If you really want some realism we're going to have to do something about that impeccable hair and make-up of yours."
"Rrreally?" She purred, already loving the way this conversation was headed.
"Besides, I think you should be punished for making me eat that little device."
"Oh stop your moaning," She smiled, draping her arms over his shoulders. "It'll dissolve within the next week or so."
Considering her words, he smiled in return. "Maybe you're right. But we still have to do something about...hmm...let's see..." Reaching his hands up he ran them over and through her hair. "Much better," He told her. "Much more...mussed."
Nostrils flaring, she moved herself a little closer to him. "There's a much better way of mussing hair, Commander."
"Oh, do tell me Captain."
Kathryn smirked. "I'll do much better than that Chakotay," she growled and promptly pushed him back onto the table and proceeded to have her wicked way with him.
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Vengeance Of Heaven