by Suz email@example.com
Disclaimer - Characters belong to Paramount. Ho ho ho.
Continues on from 'The Starship Captain That Santa Claus Forgot'.
Kathryn stalked down the corridor, her thoughts focused on one thing - Neelix.
Chakotay was accompianing her but only because he had also been affected by Neelix's plan. She'd made him promise as soon as the holodeck doors closed behind them that he wouldn't do anything to Neelix. She wanted to do this by herself.
They came to an intersection where they paused. Closing her eyes, she tilted her head back and...sniffed. Turning her head slightly she did it again. She continued the strange activity until she caught a hint of what she was searching for. Instantly her eyes snapped open and she turned to the left and walked along that corridor, compression phaser rifle loaded and ready to go.
Chakotay was right behind her.
She followed her nose for quite a while, able to track Neelix by the distinctive odour he had decided to use as his cologne. The first time Kathryn smelt it she'd thought he might have been some kind of body odour problem, but Tom had informed her Neelix was actually using it to try and gain the attention of females. Kathryn couldn't possibly see how. It smelt more like he was trying to attract cattle. Odd how that piece of information had now become useful.
The use of her olfactory sense came to an end when the trail led to a turbolift. Chakotay cursed. Kathryn simply sent him a wry grin, pressed the button that called for the 'lift, and rested the rifle upright in the crook of her left arm.
He gave her an appreciative glance. "Do you know something I don't?"
She grinned again but said nothing, stepping into the turbolift as the door opened. He joined her. Closing her eyes she gently pressed her hand against the small console next to the doors. Kathryn smiled.
The mess hall was darkened when they walked in. Quickly surveying the area for tactically defensive areas, Kathryn swung the rifle about but didn't spot any likely targets. Holding her right hand up to forestall any comment Chakotay might make, she listened carefully for any breathing other than theirs. Proceeding through the mess hall will soft footsteps, she searched under every table and behind the counter but he was nowhere to be found.
Sighing, she thumped the end of the rifle on the counter. "He was here! I know it."
Chakotay nodded his agreement. "I agree. But maybe it's time we cheated."
The smile on his face was matched by her own as she picked up the rifle again and walked proudly towards the exit.
"Computer: locate Neelix."
They stood on either side of the doors, she holding her rifle, and he holding onto nothing except for his sanity in this utterly bizarre situation of his own creation. Looking over at him, she rose her eyebrows. "Ready?"
That smiled appeared on her face again. She was really enjoying this.
"Computer: open the doors to the airponics bay."
They hissed open on her command but neither of them heard anything from within. Chakotay held up three fingers and counted backwards, one finger vanishing with each number. After a mouthed 'one' they both twisted toward the open doorway, Chakotay's arms spread to prevent Neelix making a run for it, and Kathryn's rifle raised. She fired immediately.
And hit her target.
Only it was the wrong target.
Growling, she stomped towards what she had hit and yanked it from its place. Chakotay looked down at the object. It was a flotter doll wearing Neelix's com badge. Only now it was covered in splodges of purple paint.
"Clever..." she admitted.
"He *was* a scavenger for many years. He's learnt how to survive."
She frowned at his words before throwing the doll into a bunch of leola root. "He's never fought against Kathryn Janeway before." And then she realised. "Of course!"
"I know where he is. Let's go!" she yelled as she pelted out of the room.
They entered holodeck two three minutes later to find a programme running. It appeared to be Earth - or at least some approximation of Earth - during Winter. Snow covered the ground, filled the air, and an icy wind surrounded them. Kathryn shivered and she was sure Chakotay did too. Neither of them was dressed for cold weather.
"Computer: reduce wind chill factor." She paused, then continued "But keep the snow falling."
Chakotay sent her a questioning gaze.
"I like the snow," was all the answer he got before she trudged forward.
Both of them searched the white blanketed area for any sign of the yellow skinned, brown spotted alien but he kept himself well hidden. Probably just behind a snow bank of some kind. And then Chakotay saw them. He exhaled heavily in his excitement, his breath emerging in a white cloud.
She turned to see him pointing towards what appeared to be a row of nine snowmen, but as they drew closer they began noticing small details. The snowman on the far right had pointy ears. The one next to him had ridges on its forehead. The one next to that had a tattoo carefully inscribed on its forehead. It was the command crew, involving both Seven and Kes.
"He must have had this programme for quite a while to make them so life like."
Kathryn agreed. But didn't care. She kept advancing towards the snowmen and women. That was until a snowball came flying from behind the snow woman who had a bun on her head. Chakotay saw it coming and dived in front of her. "Kathryn!"
It struck on his neck and Chakotay yelled out as he fell to the ground.
She knelt down beside him. "Chakotay?"
"I'm hit!" he gasped. "The damn stuff's gone down my top. It's freezing!"
Kathryn rubbed the back of his head. "You stay here. No one takes out my First Officer and gets away with it."
Walking towards the snow sculptures she didn't pause when the first snowball hit her. Or the second. Or the third. She kept going, intent on reaching her target. And then she did. Swivelling behind the snowwoman of Kes, she kept her rifle pointed low, knowing he would be kneeling down. She was right.
Neelix's goggles were still in place, and she flicked a piece of snow from her hair casually before speaking. "Mr Neelix. I believe you owe both myself and Chakotay an apology."
"Yes...yes Captain," he agreed "you're quite right. I apologise."
Pulling the rifle tighter into her body, she flexed her finger over the trigger. "It's a pity you didn't apologise earlier Neelix."
And then she fired.
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