Disclaimer: Katie ... today you own them!
A/N: for my friend Katie - ExcellentBuddy™ and Friend Extraordinaire
A/N 2: oops, Katie, hon, I forgot it again. What line did you want me to use? Could you email me? See, I'm supposed to be working now
A/N - 3: alternate universe to Friends? Why not.
A/N 4: 'Somebody stop me, please!'
A/N 5: don't kill me, Katie!
"Will you please shut up? All of you!" Kathryn grumbled when she entered the lecture hall. Quickly walking to the replicator, she ordered a large Vulcan spice tea.
The class immediately grew silent as they saw their favorite professor grab, what she normally would have deemed a sacrilegious beverage. Turning around, Kathryn looked for the source of silence. Her students were literally gawking at her.
"Cadets, stop looking. I am not in the mood for explanations and nice Delta Quadrant legends this morning. We are going to prepare for your upcoming exams. Today, my minions, you will learn what it means to 'study your brains out'."
Someone dared raise their hand.
"No, Cadet Smith, you may not ask where I got that wonderful colloquialism. Everytime any of you ask me that question, you expect a story. Just assume that every non-familiar sentence I utter was either introduced by Tom Paris or Neelix. Now, open your books."
A quiet hum of discontent voices filled the lecture hall. Towards the back, where the seniors were seated, two cadets slowly lowered themselves in their seats.
"Caff? Why isn't she drinking coffee?" Katie whispered. She had opened her book, but since Professor Janeway hadn't mentioned a page number, she was carelessly leafing through the up-to-now unfamiliar book.
"Katie, hon, I don't think we want to know. Besides, we all know the woman is nuts. Drinking Vulcan spice tea when you're a coffee addict only proves our theory."
"Theory? We have a theory? When did that happen?" Katie now leaned closer to her friend, the book forgotten on her desk.
~ * ~ * ~
Three hours later anyone entering the lecture hall would have been bowled over by the intense atmosphere inside. In front of 50 students, Professor Janeway could be seen pacing back and forth, playing an intellectual ping-pong with a few unlucky souls. At the back, Cadets Katie and Caffey could be seen whispering to their friend two rows in front of them.
Due to the intensity of her lecture, Kathryn had completely ignored any student who didn't seem to participate in her show.
~ * ~ * ~
Fours hours after she had started her doom-speech, Kathryn was craving a large vase of coffee.
Forget cups, mugs and other small containers only an extra-strong, extra-large Klingon brew could help her now.
Of course, if she even dared give any replicator that order, it would immediately alert her always annoying doctor. If she would have to suffer, so would her students.
~ * ~ * ~
"Man, that woman is a certified lunatic!" Bec exclaimed as they were sitting down in the Djedzee Cafeteria. Caffey simply nodded, since she was still too baffled by the scene she had to witness for four long hours. Katie didn't seem to hear what her friend had said; she was trying to find the pages the Professor hadn't mentioned in her lecture. Somehow she had managed to completely miss the entire presentation.
A waiter brought them their usual drinks.
Slowly but surely Caff seemed to join this reality again. "Bec? I thought we had already agreed Janeway should be committed to an asylum. That's why we like her, remember?"
Bec was momentarily surprised by Caff's late response. "I know she's nuts. And I know we like her. But what was she on this morning? I've never seen her this obsessed. And what's with the Vulcan spice tea? We can't just blame her mental state. We need an explanation. Katie, what do you think?"
Dropping the book on the floor, Katie looked up. "What? Sorry, what did you say? Janeway? She's nuts. At least that's what Caff told me. Apparently we have a theory about that. Did you know?"
Caff and Bec laughed. "Katie, you need to pay attention to us. Forget the book, we're going to fail this class whether we read the book or not. Didn't you hear what Janeway said when we left? She almost hexed us three. Anyway, we were discussing where the Vulcan spice tea order came from. Have you heard any gossip in the Biology Department lately? You're the one with the best access to former Voyager scientists, help us here."
"I'm afraid I can't help. Even Lt. Gilmore is not saying anything, and she's usually the one with the best gossip thanks to her connection to Lt. Kim."
"Connection? They are living together. You don't still fancy Harry, do you?" Bec giggled.
Katie blushed. "I don't 'fancy' Harry. I just think he's cute. That's all. Besides, you're hardly one to make jokes about fancying anyone, Bec. After Janeway showed us the pictures of the Q, you couldn't stop talking about Q Jr."
Drinking the last of her coffee, Caff stood up again. "We'll simply have to investigate this phenomenon. That's the only way we'll ever discover anything. Katie, can you try to get information from Marla? She'll talk, when given the right incentive. Tell her how much you admire Janeway, and she's bound to mention something of interest to us. Bec, can you wheedle your way into the Medical Facility? Just tell them you want to interview the Doc about his fascination with 18th century Earth opera, or something. Meanwhile, I'll be using my certified 'fake' piloting pass to get into the DeltaFlyer110 course. Tom Paris is a guaranteed fountain of knowledge when it comes to our favorite Professor. We'll meet again in a week after our lectures, and we'll compare notes." Katie and Bec looked at Caffey.
"What are you two waiting for?" Caff asked.
"Aren't you going to say 'dismissed'?"
The other two ran outside, trying to escape an angry Caffey.
~ * ~ * ~
"You see, sir, it's adamant I speak to the Doctor. He's been expecting me." Bec's innocent expression weakened the poor Ensign standing outside of Voyager's Doctor's Office. He felt he was being had, but the angelic look in the cadets face made him wonder whether he had become too jaded. For once he'd believe someone at face value.
"The Doctor will see you for 30 minutes, no longer. Understood, Cadet Bec?"
~ * ~ * ~
Caffey was less lucky trying to get into her piloting course. For some reason Tom Paris wasn't attending today, and the group was stuck with a virtual nobody. She left almost as quick as she came, and once outside, Caff headed to the nearest Galactic Starbucks she needed that Grande Macchiato!
~ * ~ * ~
"Cadet Katie? What a surprise to see you here on your free Saturday. How can I help you?" Marla Gilmore was genuinely pleased to see the young cadet. With Harry away for the weekend, she had come to the lab to get her minds off things.
"Hello Lieutenant. I wanted to take a last look at my project. I'm not sure whether the pollination will work with the current temperature."
"Katie, your project won't have any problems. I just checked it myself. What else brought you here? Shouldn't you be terrifying the campus together with Cadets Bec and Caffey? You three are always together in your spare time."
Seeing Marla's expression, Katie knew she had to come clean. Besides she didn't want to use the lieutenant for information, Marla deserved more than that. Looking down at her feet, Katie whispered her question.
"Katie, if you want me to reply to what you're saying then you're going to have to speak up. What is going on?"
"Lieutenant Gilmore, Marla ..." she stuttered. "Well, you see, what I really wanted to ask you is whether or not Professor Janeway, well, you know." Katie sighed, this was not going well. "What I, no we, Caff and Bec and I wanted to know is why Professor Janeway is drinking Vulcan spice tea? That's all! Honestly."
Without waiting for Marla's reply, Katie stormed out of the lab, never noticing Lt. Gilmore was chasing her.
~ * ~ * ~
Out of breath Marla was able to grab the attention of the security officer on duty. "Somebody stop that Cadet, please!"
Running for her life, Katie had barely made it out of the Academy's Laboratory for Biology and InterSpecies Flora when she bumped into a solid form.
Katie fell to the ground, never knowing what hit her.
A hand came into her vision, followed by an arm attached to a body. A smiling face complimented the package.
"Careful, Cadet. Where's the fire?"
Ready to faint, Katie quickly realised who she bumped into. Former Commander of Voyager, now retired, Chakotay of Dorvan stretched out his hand again to help Katie up.
"I'm sorry, Sir, Commander, Sir." A blush crept up her face, completely forgetting why she had ever thought Harry Kim was cute.
"Please call me Chakotay. Sir and Commander don't seem to have the same appealing ring to them anymore. And you are?"
"Cadet Katie, Sir, uhm, Chakotay," she stammered. "It's been nice bumping into you, but if you'll excuse me, I have a life to save."
"Leaving already? Saving lives is important. Do you need a hand?" He slowly grinned at her.
"Well, stopping the security detail coming this way would help. And apologizing to Marla too, please. Thanks!"
And Katie was off again, running down the Academy Plains in search of a hiding place.
Chakotay was still rooted to the spot. That had been an unusual meeting. Cadet Katie, he remembered Kathryn mentioning her once. But he wasn't sure if it was the same cadet. Kathryn had told him her Cadet Katie was part of a trinity. Together with her friends, Cadets Caffey and Bec, she managed to disturb her lectures at least once a week, if not more. Of course, with her weakness for inquisitive students, Kathryn did not mind a bit.
~ * ~ * ~
"There you are! We have been looking all over for you? Where did you go? Lt. Gilmore is still looking for you."
Katie was immediately carefully checked by her friends. After running straight through the bushes on campus, she looked less than splendid. All the scrapes and bruises on her face even made her appear to be attacked.
"Bec, Caff, I'm fine. Really! I have some great news though."
"You do?" They replied in chorus. "What did you find out?"
"Well, I didn't really find anything out. Except that Harry Kim is so over."
"What do you mean? Harry Kim? Has he broken up with Gilmore?"
"No you silly, I meant that I'm over Harry Kim, I guess." Katie grinned self-consciously. "After I asked Marla my question, I ran out of the building, too afraid of what she was going to do. As soon as I was outside, I dashed across the plain, but I bumped into someone." Blushing furiously, Katie drank more of her tea before continuing. "Chakotay is so much more handsome!"
"Chakotay? Katie, we sent you out to find information on Professor Janeway, not Chakotay! Argh!" Caffey repeatedly hit her head on the table in front of her.
Placing a pillow between Caffey and the table, Bec just looked at Katie.
"Well, it's news, isn't it?" Katie giggled.
Between Katie's nervous giggle and Caff's headbanging, Bec felt like the only normal one. So she wasn't too surprised when the waiter asked them if Lt. Gilmore could join their party.
~ * ~ * ~
Fifty minutes later, Marla had been joined by Harry, Tom, B'Elanna and Federation Ambassador Neelix.
"She ordered a Vulcan spice tea?" Tom asked for the fifth time. B'Elanna just nudged her husband between the ribs.
"Tom, we need to get beyond our surprise over Kathryn's action. We need to know why she was drinking the spice tea. Since we are closest to Kathryn, we should be able to find out. The effort by Katie, Bec and Caff was admirable, but we're the professionals, right?"
Harry was the only one who didn't appear to be listening to B'Elanna's speech. He simply nodded his head without registering her words.
"Of course the Doc won't tell us a thing," he suddenly said. "It's part of his medical oath. But I'm betting Chakotay never took such an oath. I'm sure he'll know why the Captain, eh .. why Kathryn is drinking Vulcan spice tea. Maybe we should just ask him."
Katie had once again started blushing when Chakotay's name came up. Bec just giggled, and Caff looked annoyed. Her coffee cup was empty.
~ * ~ * ~
"Chakotay to Torres-Paris."
B'Elanna looked up guiltily. "So I invited him over too." Tapping her commbadge, she tried to look innocent. "B'Elanna here. What's up, Chakkers?"
They could almost hear his grin over the commlink, "'Lanna, I was wondering if your invitation was still open. I seem to have some time on my hands."
"Come right over, Chakotay. The rest is here as well, as are some of your admirers."
"And where is here?"
"The Djedzee Cafetaria on campus. We'll see you soon then. B'Elanna out."
~ * ~ * ~
The waiter had come by again and refilled their orders. Katie was glad to see she wasn't the only non-coffee drinker. As she was about to take her first sip, the door to the cafetaria flew open.
"Somebody stop me, please! I am going to kill that man." An irate looking Kathryn Janeway ran towards the unsuspecting waiter. "I want a large coffee now! I do not care what the coffee is made of, as long as it's black, large and caffeinated! And Chakotay, will you please stop pulling my shirt!"
Luckily Chakotay didn't let go of Kathryn's shirt, or her forward momentum would have hurled her straight into the coffee machine. Ever so slowly she calmed down again. A big sigh later and Kathryn was seated between B'Elanna and Katie, happily drinking her coffee.
Unaware of her audience she didn't stop until the last of the black liquid was out of the large mug.
"There! I needed that. Who does he think he is, our Doctor, to tell me I can't have coffee!" Still not realising everyone was scrutinizing her, Kathryn continued, "It's all Chakotay's fault basically. He's the one who wanted to start a family. But the Doctor should have known I would not give up coffee."
Movement besides her drew Kathryn away from her rant. Katie had fainted and she was now slumped in her chair, her head resting on Bec's shoulder.
"What are they doing here?" Kathryn wondered. "B'Elanna, since when do we invite Cadets to our weekly coffee afternoon?"
[... tbc ...]
Alright hon, this is it! No more .... unless you feel like continuing it.