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“Ms Torres?” One of the Doctor’s assistants came up to their table, “Mr. Paris is asking for you.”

“Thank you, can you tell him we’re on our way?” Looking at Kathryn and Chakotay she got up, “It seems my Helmboy is awake again. I’d better go rescue him before the Doctor sedates him. Will you come up too?”

“We’ll be there shortly.”

B’Elanna almost ran out of the cafeteria.

Tom was no longer strapped into a brace, but sat up, half-reclined on the bed. “Doc, I swear, I didn’t know.”

“Are you sure, Mr. Paris. It seems you were the only one to rival my knowledge of relationships aboard Voyager. I find it only ‘logical’ you would know about the Captain and the Commander.”

“Retired Captain, you mean. Hi Tom, how are you feeling? Doctor, how is he?”

“‘He’ is doing fine, aren’t I, Doc? What do you mean retired?”

The Doctor simply ignored Tom, “B’Elanna you don’t have to worry. Mr. Paris is indeed doing fine, in fact, as soon as he is dressed he is free to go as he pleases.”

“Thank you, Doctor. Tom will you please never ever do that again!”

“B’Elanna! It wasn’t my fault. Blame the Captain, no wait I forgot, blame the retired Captain and Chakotay.”

She smiled, “I already did.”

“And? What did they say?” He got up, looking around for his clothes, “Well?”

B’Elanna was quietly gazing at something on the wall. Tom came up to her, “Hey, it’s alright. I’m all right. Nothing happened, at least, nothing the Doc couldn’t fix.”

“Eh? What? I’m sorry Tom, I was just thinking.”

He grinned, “About me, right?”

She had to smile at that, “No actually, I was thinking about Kathryn and Chakotay.”

“And? Don’t keep me in suspense. What did they tell you?”

* ~ * ~ *

“She didn’t?”

“She did.”

“You’re making this up!”

“Tom, I’m serious. That’s what she said.”

“We are talking about the same person, aren’t we? Kathryn Janeway, former Captain of Voyager? Wherever-I-go-I-take-my-replicator Kathy, right?”

“Yes, the same. You forgot one though: I-only-go-camping-because-I’m-in-love-with-Nature-Boy-but-I-won’t-tell-him Janeway. Seriously, I had a hard time believing it too.”


“But it makes sense. We both know Kathryn and Chakotay are very competitive. Well, Chakotay contacted her in a highly unusual manner. She had to reply in an even stranger way. I guess using a carrier pigeon was exotic enough.”

“I’d say. They still exist? Wow.”

B’Elanna grinned, “The only thing she didn’t expect was for it to take 4 weeks.”

“What happened next?”

“I don’t know, we were interrupted.”

“Too bad, I’d like to know the rest of it. So, what’s this about the Captain retiring.”

“I have no idea, I don’t know the details. She just told a waitress who she was, and she said she wasn’t Captain Kathryn Janeway, but that she was …”

“Retired Captain. Hello Tom, how are you feeling?”

“Sheesh, don’t you people knock, or something?”

“I’m sorry Tom, we didn’t mean to disturb you. We just thought B’Elanna would like to hear the rest of the conversation we started downstairs. I assume she has briefed you by now?”

Kathryn walked over to the bed and hopped on, sitting next to B’Elanna, “Well, it’s Chakotay’s turn again.”

Tom and Chakotay took the two bedside chairs closer.

“Because I hadn’t heard from Kathryn in close to 1½ months, I assumed she didn’t want to reply. It was around this time I send you the message saying I wasn’t going to make it for your party.” Chakotay grinned self-consciously, “You could say I was moping and sulking.”

Kathryn leaned over to tap his nose, “You? Moping? Never. Sulking? Most definitely.”

He grinned again, “Anyway, one morning I woke up to a very strange noise. A pigeon was ticking on my bedroom window. I let it in and noticed the container with the message. When I opened it, it just read ‘Please contact your nearest Office for Interplanetary Carrier Pigeons’. Little did I know this note would take me on a voyage throughout the Federation.”

“What? Kathryn’s letter wasn’t in the container?”

“No, just the note. And for the next three weeks I traveled from one CP office to the next, each time receiving the address of the next office.”


“Chakotay, we wanted to ask you – before Helmboy lost consciousness – what did you mean, when you said you were on a ‘quest looking for the Holy Grail’? Tom said you were on some tribal quest, but I didn’t believe that.”

He smiled, “Yeah, I remember sending that message. I was chasing a message send by the woman I love; it resembled those quests in that the medieval knights were looking for an ultimate truth, and I found myself looking for my own ultimate truth.”

They were silent; knowing full well that Chakotay wasn’t joking.

After some time, B’Elanna started laughing, “That’s another 20 replicator rations you owe me, Tom. I was right: it did have something to do with the Captain, I mean Kathryn.”

“You placed a bet on my message?” Chakotay looked stunned.

“Yes, even Dad didn’t understand the message. Next time please tell us what you’re doing, okay? It’ll save me a fortune on rations. And before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware we don’t need them anymore now that we’re home. Just think of them as the matchsticks we used when we were little, they’re easier to count.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well, this is about it, really. Except if you want to hear how it took Kathryn almost half an hour to find her shoes.”

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