A Shirty Conversation

by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - Paramount own them.

For the girls in 1001, but especially for Carolee. Thanks!


"Neelix, you really didn't need to go to any trouble. Besides, I'm not sure this is something we should be celebrating..."

The Talaxian tutted happily. "Of course it is Captain! Surviving six years in the Delta Quadrant so far from home is an amazing feat! True, I've survived here myself for much longer," he added with no small amount of pride "but I've had decades of experience. You're not even putting my full knowledge to your advantage and you still survived! That's pretty incredible, and I put it all down to your leadership skills."

Kathryn Janeway sighed as the turbolift came to a halt and they both stepped out. "I'm flattered Neelix - really - but I think that celebrating the anniversary of the day we were lost out here...well it doesn't bring back the happiest of memories."

"Ah ha!" He exclaimed, eyes twinkling and whiskers raising. "That's exactly *why* we should be celebrating it - to turn it into a good memory."

She didn't quite follow his logic, but conceded. "Fine, Neelix. Let's see what you have planned, shall we?"

Enthusiastically, he nodded and quickly ducked into the mess hall. Kathryn paused in the doorway momentarily when she saw the senior staff clustered around several tables. They appeared to be looking at nothing, waiting for something to happen.

Tom spotted them first. "Neelix! I thought you were never coming back." The words were spoken kindly, and he seemed a little happier than usual.

B'Elanna thumped her cup down on the table she was sitting next to. "Captain, do you have any idea what this is about?"

"Not really," she admitted, something she allowed herself to do rarely. "I suggest we wait until Mr Neelix provides us with more information. All we can do is wait."

"A most logical course of action," Tuvok agreed.

"Although highly inefficient," Seven contradicted.

Chakotay merely smiled enigmatically, and the Doctor grinned broadly.

As Neelix scurried behind the counter, Kathryn took the seat next to her First Officer. They nodded warmly at each other.

"You really have no idea what he's planning?" He asked softly.

"None," she confirmed.

Shrugging, they both turned their attention back to Neelix who was moving back around the corner. In his hands he was carrying a container that appeared to contain some kind of clothing.

"Here we are," he stated proudly, thumping the container down on the table that Janeway, Chakotay and Harry were sitting around. They all frowned as they studied the contents.

"What are they?" Harry asked.

"Tee shirts," Neelix informed happily "although why anyone would name clothing after a drink is beyond me..."

Kathryn held up a hand. "*Why*?"

"Actually, it was Mr Paris' idea..."

A few voices muttered around the room.

"Of course..."

"Hey! I could be the easily offended type."

"You're not."

"Yeah, but I *could* be..."

Neelix continued. "I mentioned to Tom a few days ago that I was looking for a way to commemorate six years in the Delta Quadrant, and he suggested these. He designed some; I did the others. I know they're not exactly recent fashion-wise, but they each have their own design. They each have your name on the label so you know whose is whose. I hope to eventually distribute them to the whole crew, but I decided to see what you all thought and obviously gain permission from the Captain-"

B'Elanna interrupted. "What kind of designs do they have?"

He tapped a finger on the side of his nose as he pondered a response. "Well, let's see. There's a-"

"Oh never mind," she snapped, standing from her chair, moving to the container and grabbing the shirt that had her name on. Each shirt had a logo on the back that said 'Here's to another six years!' ("How encouraging," Kathryn pointed out), but as B'Elanna unfolded the shirt with the front towards her and saw what was there, a smile appeared on her face. "Tom, come here." She instructed.

Shrugging, he did as he asked and as he approached her she quickly pulled the shirt on. Standing to her right, he frowned when a few people started laughing. "What? What is it?"

Looking at her shirt he saw it was displaying the phrase 'I'm with stupid' and an arrow pointing in his direction. "Oh very funny."

B'Elanna grinned. "Neelix, you definitely have my approval."

Her curiousity getting the better of her, Kathryn reached a hand into the container. Everyone else seemed to have the idea, except for Tuvok and Seven who merely watched.

Harry frowned after he put his on, trying to read what was printed on upside down. "I was...thrown into...the Delta Quadrant and all...I got was this...lousy t-shirt. And a STD. Okay, who the hell designed this one?!"

Tom coughed loudly. "Which one did you get Captain?"

Having already read what was written on hers, Kathryn's eyebrows rose. Moving closer to Tom, she showed him what was on it.

"Oh!" He shouted. "No, that one's not for you."

"I didn't think so," she retorted.

Grabbing it from her, he walked towards Seven. "This one's for you."

She objected at first, but after a few words of encouragement from the Doctor she complied and pulled the shirt on over her outfit.

Several of the crew smiled. Two of them were trying not to laugh.

Seven frowned, looking down at her shirt. "I fail to see why the phrase 'Twin Peaks' is amusing."

Tom lost it.

The Doctor spoke. "I think it's more to do with the placement than anything else..."

"Umm..." Chakotay began "I think this one's a little tight..."

"No," Neelix informed him "That's just the way it's supposed to be."

The shirt was hugging nearly every part of his chest. "But this is ridiculous!"

"I thought so as well, but I did once hear the Captain say something about 'tight-fitting clothes making the man'. I believe it was shortly after the away mission where you got extremely wet."

"Really?" He asked, folding his arms and turning to study Kathryn.

"Well what do we have here?" She asked rather loudly, trying not to look at his chest as she delved into the container for another shirt. Quickly finding one she pulled it on. Someone sniggered.

"I think that's meant for someone else..." Harry pointed out helpfully.

"Thank you Mr Kim. I figured that out for myself." Roughly pulling off the shirt and sending her hair in all directions, she handed the 'I haven't Pon very Farr' shirt to Tuvok, who merely held it disdainfully.

Finding his own shirt, Tom put it on proudly. B'Elanna frowned as she read what it said. "Packing Proton And Proud Of It'. Kahless...I'm drowning in testosterone here."

"I happen to like it," Tom disagreed.

"Of *course* you do. It's one of those male macho things."

"Do I get one?" The Doctor asked, trying to stop an argument before it happened and genuinely wanting to know. It wasn't the first time he'd been forgotten...

"Of course, Doctor! I have one here, but we'll also be able to put a copy of it into your programme if you'd like." Neelix pulled out the shirt and smiled as it flapped open.

The EMH frowned. "I'm not sure that's suitable for children to be seeing..."

"So is mine the last one in the container?" Kathryn demanded, looking in. Pulling the shirt out she opened it up. And smiled.

"What?" Chakotay asked, feeling a little restricted by his shirt. "What does it say?"

Turning it around so they could see it, she continued smiling.

It didn't say anything. It had a picture of a scantily clad male body...with no head.

"Who is that?"

"I'm not sure..."

"You don't think it could be..?"

"Perhaps it is simply an image he retrieved from the computers data files."

"Or maybe it's someone in this room."

They all studied each other. Only one of them was turning red.


"Where the hell did you get that picture?" Chakotay demanded.

Kathryn winked, answering for Neelix. "Never underestimate a Talaxian's sources Commander. And it appears we shouldn't underestimate your-"

"Don't even go there."


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