Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem by zhp16666

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									 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
by Suzanne Finn


Disclaimer - Paramount owns the people, places, and things. What happens in this story is mine.

This is a word challenge story. Required words appear in {}.

This is rated PG-13 for language and strong innuendo.

EMAIL – Yatokahc@aol.com


Revised November 1998 - I am not one to leave stories alone, especially when I think they are poorly written.
This is one of those stories. So, I’ve reworked it a bit and present it yet again. Similar, but not the same.
And...still out of character!



===




Carpe Diem
by Suzanne Finn



He fought his way through thick foliage, muttering obscenities. He’d managed to lose his tricorder when the
Arizona desert had transformed into what could only be the Andlerian jungle. Nothing else was this dense...
not even Neelix.

Despite the knowledge that his surroundings were unstable and could change without notice, he’d been
startled. As a result, he’d dropped his tricorder, only to have it immediately procured by some indigenous life
form. _What_he didn’t know, nor did he particularly care; he just wanted the device back.

Now, he was tracking said lifeform.

“Come back here, you little shit,” he spat, annoyed at the lifeform... at himself for startling so easily.

He toyed with the idea of ending the program, but knew that the request would raise questions... questions
that he would rather not answer. The answers would only provide fodder. He refused to freely dispense fodder.
B’Elanna was ruthless; she’d milk it for all it was worth.

A guttural click broke the relative silence of the jungle.

His head snapped to the left at the sound. Damn. When had it...? Without hesitation, he altered his course. As
he pushed through the dense undergrowth, the jungle slowly grew brighter. Sunlight filtered lazily through the
trees, illuminating drifting specks of pollen and the purposeful flight of numerous insects. He’d never been
particularly fond of insects. He’d never been particularly fond of anything Andlerian. The combination of the
two... well...Andlerian insects were the bane of the planet. Oversized and venomous, everyone of them. Why
the hell this particular program existed was beyond his comprehension.
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




Without warning, he emerged into a clearing... and froze. He inhaled sharply, instinctively stepped backward,
sank back into the foliage, blending with the jungle, concealing himself.

They hadn’t turned in his direction... had not heard him. Odd, he thought. Not expecting to find anyone, he’d
made no attempt to keep his presence a secret.

He moved slightly to his left, adjusting his position to allow himself an unobstructed view. His brow furrowed.
What the hell?

A couple lay side by side on a well-worn blanket, recumbent, staring up at the afternoon sky, watching the
clouds float lazily by, pointing out imagined shapes, quietly laughing. She secreted a sidelong glance at her
companion, then smiled, her eyes revealing more than her lips. Deliberately, she rolled toward him, onto her
stomach, raised herself up on her elbows.

A hand reached up and removed the {hairclip} that bound her hair, compelling it to fall loosely about bare
shoulders... shoulders smooth and pale, beautifully framed by the rich auburn of her hair, the azure bodice of
her dress.

She reached out a hand to gently caress his cheek, trace the {tattoo} that adorned his brow. Bronze hands slid
to her shoulders, caressed soft skin, then stilled, lightly grasping her. He pulled her close, brushed his lips over
hers.

Auburn veiled their faces as the contact became a kiss, then deepened... no longer the touch of innocence,
but a kiss of passion and promise and depth.

What...? Why would Kathryn use an image of him like this?

“What the hell?” Chakotay abruptly whispered, confusion creasing his brow. He stood up and stepped for-
ward, clearing his throat, intending to announce his presence. But, before a sound could pass his lips, his
surroundings disappeared, were instantaneously replaced with Neelix’s Talaxian resort program. He spun
around, startled.

Again.

“Damn it,” he growled. The environment was unstable. He knew that... that’s why he was here. However, that
knowledge did little to ease him through the transformation.

He slowly pivoted, surveyed his surroundings. He was near the pool, the usual set of holocharacters milling
around him, scantily clad, synthehol in hand. Something in his peripheral vision caught his attention... some-
thing familiar...out of place. He turned... and froze. Prostrate before him, wearing what the assumed was
supposed to be a bikini, was the Captain. She was lying on one of the many chaise lounges, stretched out on
her stomach, chin resting on arms folded neatly before of her.

His eyes widened imperceptibly. “Wow,” he breathed. Nice. Very nice. Very very...

He snorted. *Okay... stop.* This wasn’t real. _She_ wasn’t real. After the scene in the clearing and this...
_this_... well... she was obviously a holographic projection. Still...
“Excuse me.”
He blinked, lowered his gaze to the image of his Captain.

She was perched upon one elbow, hand shielding her eyes from the bright sunlight, barely covered breasts
dangling in clear view. Her gaze was fixed on something...someone... behind him. “Would you mind putting
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




some {lotion} on my back?” The smile that met her lips was anything but innocent. “I’d like to avoid {sunburn}.”

“It would be my pleasure,” came an all-too-familiar voice.

He turned to find his own image, clad only in what he assumed was supposed to be a bathing suit. His image
smiled disarmingly, deposited the pool equipment he’d been carrying, then sauntered to the enticing image on
the lounge.

An eyebrow lifted in amused incredulity. He’d never _sauntered_ in his life.

His image accepted the bottle she held out, then poured a dab into the palm of his left hand. The scent of
{honeysuckle} permeated the air as the image rubbed his hands together, warming the salve. Gentle hands
separated, came to rest upon her upper back, then started to move... slow sensual circles, strokes... massag-
ing.

Chakotay mentally shook himself, jolted himself back to reality.

He clamped his mouth shut... forced his gaze elsewhere.

What the hell was going on? Who was using senior officer images in their programs? It was against regulation.
And who the hell had him parading around as the {holographic pool-boy}? Though, he noted rather smugly, he
didn’t mind the perks associated with the position.


~~*~~


Kathryn Janeway sat at the desk in her ready room, drumming her hands lightly on the arms of her chair.
She’d spent the better part of the morning playing catch-up... reading and filing reports. However, the collec-
tion of PADDs had been dispatched, and she suddenly found herself with nothing to do...if such a thing were
possible.

Voyager was in a particularly quiet sector of space; no spatial anomalies, no hostile aliens, no M-class planets
to explore. Even the ship was running smoothly, with the exception of some recent problems with the holo-
graphic system. It was experiencing some sort of degradation or corruption; programs were merging, switch-
ing at random. Interestingly, there was a somewhat humorous common thread running through the otherwise
chaotically unstable environment...a rather physically explicit bar of {blue soap}.

She smirked. Blue was not the color she would have chosen for this particular form.

Who might have programmed the soap was the talk of the ship. Regardless of its origin, it existed. It persisted.
It just sat there, in the middle of the holodeck, unchanging, as the images around it commuted, merged,
appeared, disappeared.

Harry, B’Elanna, and Chakotay were working the problem.

At least someone on board had something with which to occupy themselves.

She sighed, stood, then headed to the bridge. “Report.”

Tom turned to her from the command chair. “All’s quiet, Captain... very quiet.” His fingers rhythmically tapped
the armrest of the chair as he spoke. An unconscious act. A sign that he’d been at it for quite a while.
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




Sometimes she hated quiet days; the {boredom} was stifling.

She surveyed the bridge. Everyone appeared to be busy, or at least occupied. She knew better. They were
bored, and if she joined them... She really didn’t want to spend the rest of her shift staring at the main view
screen, or inventing tasks for herself. “Janeway to Torres.”

“Torres here, Captain.”


“B’Elanna... how are the repairs to the holographic simulator coming?”
“We’re still working on it, Captain. Harry and I are close to localizing the problem. We suspect it’s in the matter
conversion subsystem. We’re running some tests. My guess is that we’ll have the system back to normal in a
few hours.”

“Very good. Janeway out.” She sighed. The holodeck was one of the few diversions available to the crew...
and during quiet times like these, they needed diversions. She needed a diversion. Her chin raised slightly as
she glanced at Tom. “I’m going down to holodeck two to see if I can assist the Commander. Tom... you have
the bridge.”


~~*~~


Chakotay willed himself to calm, reminded himself, for the fifth time since entering the holodeck, that the
content of the program was not the immediate issue... fixing the programming glitches was. He focused his
energies back to the task at hand: finding his tricorder.

His gaze travelled the resort. Where to begin? Did it matter? With a heavy sigh, he shrugged and initiated a
search of the area. To his surprise, he managed to locate it with little effort... behind the bar, next to the blue
soap. He grasped the device and eyed the soap. Damn. It hurt just looking at it. An amused grimace curled his
lips. Who the hell had programmed the thing? And what the hell did they use it for?

He shook his head, stood up. It was none of his business. But damn... ship’s talk had gotten much more
interesting since the problems with the holographic system had begun to manifest themselves.

Without warning, the image before him shifted... again.

“Now what?”

The majority of the resort remained intact. Only the pool had transformed. In its stead, a stage had appeared.
A lone figure stood upon the stage, dressed in Elizabethan garb, staring off into the distance, quoting Shake-
speare. Chakotay rolled his eyes. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he snorted. He wouldn’t be caught dead in
tights. Yet there he was, or at least his image was. Damn. “What the hell is this?”

“{Hamlet}, I believe.”

He whirled around, met the amused eyes of Kathryn Janeway. Her right hand covered her mouth as she
attempted to conceal her grin. “I’m glad someone finds this amusing,” he mumbled, giving her the once-over,
noting the uniform...the {picture} of Starfleet protocol once more. “I liked the bikini better.”

“Excuse me, Commander?” she said, hands going to her hips, mild confusion creeping into her eyes.

He stilled. His breath caught in his throat. “Computer... locate Captain Janeway.”
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




“Captain Janeway is in holodeck two.”

*Damn.* He bit his lower lip self-consciously, then smiled boyishly. “Sorry, Captain. Slight mix-up.” He gestured
over his shoulder toward the image of himself. “You might be interested in knowing that someone has com-
mandeered your image as well.”

She stopped short, opened her mouth as if to speak, then shut it again. She allowed her gaze to wander to the
image on the stage, then looked at Chakotay out of the corner of her eyes. “What was my image doing?”

He shifted slightly, attempted to stifle a discomfited smile, but failed miserably, color rising to his cheeks. “I’m
not sure you want to know.”

“On the contrary, Commander. I...”

“Torres to Commander Chakotay.”

Relief redefined the lines of Chakotay’s face. “Chakotay here. Go ahead, B’Elanna,” he invited, turning his
back to his Captain. *I owe you one, B.*

“We’ve been running a few tests on the matter conversion subsystem. Things should have gotten a little
interesting down there. What’s been going on?”

Chakotay glanced over his shoulder. Kathryn was watching him intently, her brow furrowed in strict question.
“I’d rather not go into details, but interesting is an apt description.”

“Have you been able to configure the tricorder to feed the visual to engineering?”

“I’m working that as we speak.” Chakotay quickly programmed the tricorder to relay optical information, then
secured the device near the bar. “Okay, B’Elanna, you should be receiving the visual now.”

“Acknowledged. Oh... a word of warning... Harry and I are going to run another bank of tests. Unpredictable
remains the watch word. Torres out.”

Chakotay sighed imperceptibly, then turned to face his commanding officer.” So... what can I help you with,
Captain?”

“Actually, I came down here to ask you the same thing.”

He smiled knowingly. “Things a little slow on the bridge?”

“A little,” she laughed. “I thought I might...” The floor lurched. Her balance lost, she toppled forward into the
arms of her first officer.

Instinctively, his arms flew around her as they tumbled back, slammed into the unforgiving deck of the fifteenth
century schooner that rocked violently beneath them.

Untangling herself, Kathryn attempted to push herself up and off Chakotay. As she raised herself to hands
and knees, the ship listed, sending her full onto him. Before she’d the opportunity to recover her balance, he
threw his arms around her and rolled, coming to rest atop her. Her protest was cut short when a {Bat’leth}
connected with the deck immediately to her left...the space she and Chakotay had occupied only seconds
prior.
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




“Computer... end program,” Chakotay demanded as he rolled them again, avoiding yet another onslaught
from their attacker. Nothing happened, the program still engaged.

Again, the Bat’leth connected with wood, embedded in the deck centimeters from where they lay.

“Shit!” Chakotay struck out with his foot, dropped their assailant. He pushed himself to his feet, dragging
Kathryn with him.

They quickly surveyed their position, tried to determine the best retreat. The Klingon stood, dislodged the
Bat’leth, then whirled to face them. Without hesitation, the warrior drove forward, toward them. The ship rolled
abruptly starboard, threw the threesome off-balance yet again. Kathryn attempted to grab the ship’s balus-
trade, but instead found herself grasping at air as the rail disappeared, sending she and Chakotay {over-
board}.

A hardwood floor broke their fall, unexpectedly and painfully.

They lay prostrate, unmoving, staring at the ceiling, attempting to catch their breath. They were surrounded by
dozens of beings... {ballroom dancing}.Couples moved, twirled about them, completely unaware of the prone
figure sat their feet, a uniquely shaped bar of blue soap between them.

Chakotay hazarded a glance to his left. “This is the last time I help B’Elanna with anything,” he said weakly.

As he turned his attention back to the ceiling, the ballroom faded to the familiar black and gold grid of the
holodeck. *Thank the Spirits.*

“Torres to Chakotay.”

The edge of laughter in the disembodied voice was not lost on either of the room’s occupants.

“Chakotay here,” he responded abruptly, raising himself to a seated position.

“Sorry about that Chakotay... Captain. We didn’t realize the safety protocols and voice overrides would be
shut down. Perhaps you should vacate the holodeck while we continue our testing. The tricorder link is func-
tioning properly...so... there’s no need to put yourselves in harms way any longer.

“Acknowledged.” With an effort, Chakotay heaved himself to his feet, then extended a hand to Kathryn.

“Thanks for the help,” B’Elanna laughed, no longer attempting to hide her amusement. “Torres out.”

Chakotay sighed, mild irritation painting his brow, then turned his full gaze on the woman before him. “Shall
we?” he said, indicating she precede him into the corridor.

Kathryn offered a wry half-smile. “You’ll get no arguments from me.”


~~*~~


Chakotay lay sprawled on the sofa in his quarters, relishing the inactivity...the peace and quiet. Twelve hours
prior he’d been cursing it. However, his adventure in the holodeck had cured him of the complaint.

Peace and quiet was a good thing.
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




Not long after he and Kathryn had vacated the holodeck, B’Elanna and Harry had pinpointed the problem. No
sooner were the repairs completed than Tom, staving off the restlessness that had settled over the crew,
decided to throw an impromptu party. Chakotay had heard some mention of a bonfire, a {pond}...and skinny-
dipping.

He snorted quietly, shaking his head. Only Tom Paris.

Neelix had offered to serve {pizza}, and the Delaney sisters talked of giving{Jet Ski} lessons.

He snorted again. Jet skiing in the dark. Yeah. Right.

He’d briefly considered attending, just to see what the Delaney’s were _really_up to, but decided against it.
He’d had enough excitement for one day. He wondered idly if the Delaney sisters had anything to do with the
now infamous bar of blue soap...

His eyes snapped open, the door chime pulling him from his musings. He sat up, swung his legs over the side
of the couch, perched himself on the edge of the cushion. “Come in.”

The door to his quarters hissed open, revealing Kathryn Janeway. She stepped into the dimly lit room, then
stilled.

“Kathryn,” he said, rising to his feet.

“Chakotay.”

He was genuinely surprised to see her. He’d assumed she would be attending the party in the holodeck. She’d
been in need of a distraction; Tom had handed her one... though, parties weren’t necessarily her preferred
distraction. Still...

He noted her attire. Casual. This was Kathryn... not the Captain. “Have a seat.” He indicated the sofa behind
him.

“Thank you.” She moved across the room and sat down.

“Would you like something to drink?”

“That would be nice.” She lifted her chin slightly, peered into the glass on the table before her. “What are you
drinking?”

“Port.”

“Sounds perfect. Thank you.” She quietly watched as he walked to the replicator, ordered a vintage port, then
returned. He moved with a grace his stature belied. She loved watching him move.

He handed her the glass as he seated himself next to her. Leaning forward, he retrieved his own glass, then
settled back into the cushions behind him, resting his feet on the edge of the coffee table. He sipped his port,
glanced at her inquisitively. She’d something on her mind... some specific reason for stopping by. It wasn’t her
habit to drop in unannounced. He debated engaging in idle conversation, slowly drawing it from her. However,
he wasn’t in the mood for games. Neither was his curiosity. “What’s on your mind, Kathryn?”

She shot him a questioning glance.

He shrugged, smiled slightly. “You don’t normally drop in... just for the hell of it.”
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




Nervous embarrassment suddenly colored her cheeks and eyes. She’d hoped to ease into the topic, find
some segue from the comfortable confines of friendly conversation. He was forcing her hand... too quickly.
Damn.

She slowly sipped her port, allowed her gaze to roam the room.

She was stalling. Even to the casual observer, it was obvious. A smile threatened his lips.

She swallowed hard. “I needed to discuss something with you... before you initiate your investigation into who
was employing our images on the holodeck. “She glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes.

Official business. This was regarding official ship’s business. Again, he was surprised. Dressed as she was,
he’d expected something of a more personal nature. He remained silent, face expressionless, waited for her
to continue.

She took another sip of the rich dark liquid in her glass, steeled herself. “Chakotay... I’m the one who pro-
grammed those images.”

Time froze.

He froze... his glass not quite meeting his lips. Shock flashed behind his eyes, shock laced with a hint of
amusement and curiosity. She was on a roll. “Kathryn... uh...” He exhaled heavily, searched for something to
say. Ashe lowered his glass, all he could think of was “Why?”

She concentrated intensely on the glass in her hands. She opened her mouth, then closed it again. *Just say
it. Just. Say. It.* She slowly released along breath. “This is not easy to say... to myself, let alone you.” She
moistened her lips, turned to meet his gaze. “I’ve spent so much time maintaining the proper barriers... living
according to the dictates of protocol.”

She sighed audibly. *Get to the point.* “Ever since New Earth... perhaps before that... I’ve found myself
thinking about... us. Beyond friendship. Beyond command. Rationally, I knew we could never really be more
than fellow officers and friends. But it didn’t stop some corner of my mind from wondering.”

She snorted quietly, looked away, smiled wistfully. “I... uh... guess you could say the scientist in me decided to
conduct a few experiments. Something akin to a pressure valve, I suppose.” Her gaze once again met his. “I
indulged myself on the holodeck. It seemed the perfect solution and didn’t compromise my command posi-
tion.”

He sat unmoving as his mind attempted to wrap itself around what she was saying. What was she saying?
“Kathryn...”

“Chakotay... please... let me finish.” She trapped her lower lip between her teeth, studied his face. She wasn’t
making much sense, that much was obvious. “It seems rather odd that holodeck glitches should precipitate
this conversation. It isn’t quite what I wanted.” She shrugged, smiled slightly.” You know... I’ve run through all
the arguments over and over again. Pros and cons. Weights and measures. But, they hold no meaning. I’ve
come to the realization that they never did. They were a convenient barrier... a barrier I broke through a long
time ago. I just wasn’t willing to take that first step.”

His brow furrowed. “Into what?”

She laughed nervously. “I don’t know. Whatever it is that exists here...between us.” She shook her head
slightly. “I suppose the only thing preventing me from taking that step was fear.”
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




“And what are you afraid of?”

“The future. The unknown. The possibilities. Us.” She looked away, focused her gaze on the glass in her
hands. “It was much simpler to live vicariously through the holodeck.”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He couldn’t believe the admission...the risk she’d taken in telling
him. It was something he’d dared never hope for... the admission, the price. And yet, here she was, centimeters
from him, her heart laid bare... a gift... a dream.

“I’ve deleted the programs. It was wrong to have programmed them to begin with. I’m sorry. I never...”

“Why?” he whispered, interrupting.

Her brow furrowed. “Why what?”

A devastating smile made its way to his lips. He leaned closer to her, brushed his lips against her ear, whis-
pered. “Why settle for a hollow image when you could have the real thing?”

She gasped inaudibly, startled by the question. This was not what she had expected. She knew how he felt
about her. She’d expected anger, resentment...for the excuses, the games, the lies.

And then she suddenly found it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything other than the solid chest press-
ing against her arm, the heat of his body, his breath, warm and moist on her ear and neck. God, it felt good.
She wanted this. She _wanted_ this.

Fear viciously gripped her, urged her to flee. If she stayed... she glanced at the doorway to his bedroom.

He watched her silent struggle, a battle between fear and desire, between mind and heart.
A seductive smile met her lips.

Score one for desire.

She turned toward him, slipped the index finger of her right hand into her glass, then raised it to her lips, licking
the sweet liquid from her finger. Her lips closed around the finger as she sucked, then slowly withdrew it from
her mouth... {tantalizing}... provocative. She again dipped her finger into the port, then lightly ran it over his
lips, wetting them.

His lips parted, attempted to suckle her finger, found empty air instead. Before he could mourn the loss, her
lips were on his, her tongue licking the sweet liquid coating them. And then her lips parted slightly, permitting
his tongue access to her waiting mouth.

Hands sought hair, unfastened and discarded the clip binding it. Fingers combed through soft strands as it fell
about her shoulders.

He pressed closer, deepened the kiss. Tongues danced. The taste of the port lost, lost to the taste of each
other. An eternity later, lips separated.

Her head fell back as he trailed kisses along her jaw line, down her neck. An incorrigible smile painted her lips.
“Did I happen to mention how great you look in a pair of tights?” She felt his smile as he nipped at her skin.

“I look even better out of them.”
 Star Trek Voyager - Carpe Diem
 By Suzanne Finn




Without warning, she pushed him back, fell full atop him... glasses dropping to the floor. She smiled at his
startled amusement. She kissed him gently.”{Carpe Diem},” she whispered.

Her quiet declaration made, she pressed her body to his. Lips again met in a bruising kiss. Tongues plundered
mouths. Hands roamed over cloth and skin.

And then her mouth abandoned his, found an earlobe.

“Carpe Diem,” he mused. “Seize the...” He stopped short, cut off mid-sentence by a well-placed hand. “You
can seize that too,” he laughed, as his mouth once again found hers.



Finis.

								
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