Disclaimer: Paramount and pasta fighting. A winning trio. Unfortunetely, they don't own my recipe for spaghetti and I don't own Chakotay. We're even.
Kathryn had me going through the ship's contents. We were running low on supplies and we knew we were going to have to get some soon, or there could be trouble. I rang her door.
"Come in." She sat at her desk, looking over reports. "I hope you have good news, Commander. Based on this inventory, our food reserves look to be 30% of capacity."
"Good news and bad. We have located an M-class planet and it shows high amino acid and protein readings."
"That should indicate a healthy plant life. What's bad about it?" she asked.
"It's a full day out of our way." Maybe the lesser of two evils.
"I don't think we have any choice. It's the first chance we've had to replenish our supplies in weeks."
"And our long range sensors can't confirm any plant life on the surface."
"Why not?" Figuring this would be a somewhat lengthy discussion so I seated myself in the chair across from her.
"It's a strange planet, Captain." I brought it up on her personal computer. "It's shrouded, vapors cover it like a curtain, e-m distributions all over the atmosphere."
"Some of these readings suggest a planet early in its evolution. Almost like a primeval Earth."
"The people in Stellar Cartography have already nicknamed it 'Planet Hell'."
"So it might be a wild goose chase?"
"Captain, I don't know what we'll find when we get to the surface; Flora or fauna, friend or foe."
"If we knew we'd find another M-class planet soon, I'd. . . set a course for 'Planet Hell', Commander." She changed in mid-thought.
I smiled at her and left.
I like the new hairstyle. It suits her better.
A day later, we arrived. We came out of warp and there it was. . .Planet Hell.
"Analysis," Kathryn asked.
"High levels of trijamic vapors, but it should still support humanoid life."
"Sickbay to bridge. Please turn to your Emergency Medical Holographic Channel." Our doctor's voice rang out. Kathryn brought up our shared console and there was our doctor. "I hope you don't mind that I've been eavesdropping, but I have something important to contribute."
"What is it, Doctor?"
"Of course, it wouldn't be necessary for me to eavesdrop if I were included in these discussions as a matter of operating protocol." Kathryn and I shared a look over that one.
"Doctor?" Kathryn started.
"You should be aware Trijamic vapors at the recorded levels can cause severe humanoid skin conditions."
"Could you provide some sort of skin protection that might help?" I asked the doctor.
"I'm whipping up a batch of dermal osmatic sealant as we speak. Nevertheless, skin exposure to the atmosphere should be limited."
"Noted, doctor," Kathryn said, amusement in her voice. "Thank you." She leaned toward the monitor. "Tell me, just how often do you eavesdrop?"
"I am simply trying to. . .monitor issues involving the health of the crew, Captain. When activated, the Emergency Medical Program establishes comm links with all key areas of the ship." Kathryn and I shared that amused look. That hologram was almost squirming in his seat. "And I have on occasion. . . I am a doctor, not a voyeur. I'm programmed to be discreet."
"I'm sure," Kathryn said. "Commander Chakotay will discuss operating protocols with you at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, no more eavesdropping, Doctor."
"But Captain, I . . .I. . .".
"That's an order." And she cut the channel.
B'Elanna informed us that we wouldn't be able to beam down, because of atmospheric ionization.
I called Harry to the bridge.
I knew Kathryn had called Paris and Neelix to the bridge, her ready room. They came in, heads held high, back straight and a thick silence between them. . .and what I took to be spaghetti all over the front of them both. I excused myself for a moment and lost it in the turbolift. Between fits of laughter, I thought about how Neelix had asked me about jealousy, just a short time ago.
Well, apparently the green eyed monster was back.
I went back to the bridge.
We had a staff meeting to discuss what was going on, the windows we would have for beaming up supplies.
Our shuttle was in trouble. We couldn't contact them, nor beam them out. But Paris was a good pilot. Maybe they had a chance. I was at the conn when she told me that she was going to her ready room.
It was now a search and rescue mission.
We went to battle stations. Whoever they were, they weren't answering our hails. They fired at us a few times, then came to be in a direct orbit directly below us, with their weapons on standby. I thought maybe it was only a precaution. Maybe they were protecting something on the planet that we didn't know about.
Kathryn mirrored my thoughts.
Harry said we would have a window in 53 minutes. B'Elanna suggested that we fly the ship into the window to have a better chance of finding the shuttle with Paris and Neelix. I asked Harry if there was a way to detect when the window would close. Harry said he thought so, but Kathryn wasn't satisfied with that answer.
We stopped off next at Tuvok's station. We wanted minimal or no force with the alien ship. I managed to guess Tuvok's plan. Kathryn sent me to the helm.
We knocked out their aft weapons and proceeded to the window. Heading toward the window with them still in pursuit. They didn't have weapons yet but that didn't mean that they couldn't ram us. Kathryn told me to prepare for some evasive maneuvers.
We still couldn't get a lock. Kathryn wasn't about to give up, and had me increase our sensor sweeps. Five more minutes and we would have to go.
Contact made. They encountered a young life form. And they stayed until the mother accepted it.
Paris and Neelix patched up their differences. Good thing too, because 70 years is along time to be at difference with each other.
Not to mention, it helps them as individuals, and it doesn't put Kes in an awkward situation.
I wonder if Kathryn will keep her hair like that.