Disclaimer: Paramount owns all things Startrek. I own only this little story
Open to Interpretation
Rated PG 13
Tom sat glumly in the Captain’s chair. What had he and Harry done that was so bad? OK, so they broke a few rules, these people were way too uptight in his opinion and half the time he couldn’t understand what they were trying to say. So he and Harry had run a little scam and maybe flirted with a few locals it was nothing to get up in arms about. They hadn’t hurt anyone and they didn’t even keep the money; hell what would they do with a bag full of empireo’s anyway? Local currency wouldn’t do them any good after they leave tomorrow anyway. Tom punched at the console next to him; he was bored.
Hey, want to play poker? Tom tapped into the console.
Go away! Harry replied without taking his eyes off the scans he was running.
Come on, Harry. I’m bored! Tom looked up and caught Harry’s eye. Please. Harry shook his head. Why not?
The Capitan said no more trouble!
Yeah and she’s on the planet finishing up our shore leave while we get to babysit her ship!!
We’re lucky she talked them out of throwing us in jail. Just sit there and pretend to do something.
Tom glanced around the bridge; nothing but a bunch of junior officers playing starship. He smiled. Didn’t they care that they were in orbit and nothing was going to happen? Tom played solitaire on the captain’s console until he found him self nodding off, then he sat up straighter and checked to make sure no one had noticed.
“Lieutenant Paris, we are being hailed from the surface.” Harry looked up at Tom with a puzzled expression. “It’s Commissioner Wisigen.”
“Wisigen? I thought the Captain cleared us with him.”
“Better see what he wants.” Tom straightened up. “Harry, contact Tuvok and get him up here; this man has no sense of humor and I have a feeling the Commissioner isn’t going to be happy to see me.” Tom waited for Harry to nod. “On screen.”
“YOU?” The man on the screen glared at Tom in surprise. “I necessitate speaking to a charge person.”
“It’s nice to see you again, Commissioner.” Tom smiled. “At the moment I am the person in charge.”
“Authority is necessary.”
“I’m afraid with the Captain and First Officer on the planet and Mr. Tuvok off duty, I’m it.”
“Mr. Tuvok, the dark man of this morning’s meeting, he is Commanding?”
“Yes, while the Captain is away, but he is off duty. Can I help you?”
The commissioner looked around as if searching for an answer. Tom glanced down at the console to find a message from Harry. Tuvok’s on the way.
“I will speak with Mr.Tuvok, a man of reasonable thought. Retrieve him please.”
“Mr. Tuvok is off duty. I will be happy to speak with him and relay a message.”
“I prefer contacting direct with a responsible member of your crew – if there is one.”
“Suppose, Commissioner you tell me what the problem is and we can decide who can best handle it.”
“If this is the best you have to offer.” The commissioner leaned closer. “I your captain and her first officer have retained custody.”
“YOU WHAT?” Tom gripped the arms of the chair to keep himself in place, even the universal translator found the Empirium language difficult, but not this difficult.
“Uncomfortable the necessity of arresting them but their blatant public display left no preference.”
“Public display?” Tom glanced toward the lift as it open to reveal Tuvok. “What type of display?”
“The Captain and Commander Chakotay are committing-- indecent action in public.”
“Indecent acts, Commissioner?” Tuvok came to stand beside Tom. “Perhaps, if you can explain to me exactly what the problem is I can help rectify this situation.”
“Tuvok commanding, regretful that we are not reunioned under better circumstances.”
“As am I, Commissioner. Now please explain clearly the nature of the Captain’s offense.”
“Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay were detained for …” He brushed his hand along the wiry fur on his head. “public fornication.”
Tuvok merely stared straight a head. Tom’s mouth dropped open as his head whipped toward ops, where Harry stood pale and stunned.
“Perhaps, Commission you are the victim of false information. Such conduct would be very unlike Captain Janeway.”
“Oh, if I were, Mr. Tuvok, impressed was I with your captain until this incident. Had not witness recorded this activity with eyes my own, I too would find it difficult to believe.” The Commissioner stopped and accepted a note from his aide. “I must go, attention to matters important. If situation soluble, recall you must all remaining crewmembers from the planet and report to my office by the half.
The screen went dark and the bridge remained silent, all eyes finally coming to rest on the very sober Vulcan.
“Tuvok, what do you make of it? Tom broke the silence.
“It’s a miscommunication-it has to be.” Harry stammered. “The Captain would never….”
“Indeed, Mr. Kim. We shall find out shortly.” Tuvok turned and walked into the ready room.
“What the hell was that?” Tom shook his head. “Imagine the Captain…”
“It’s the translator; it has to be.” Harry came to sit in the Commander’s chair.
“Tom, we’re talking about the Captain here.”
“Come on, Harry, I know who we are talking about – grow up—you think she doesn’t do these things?” Tom laughed and cuffed Harry on the back of the head.
“I think…” Harry looked around at the junior staff pretending not to listen and blushed. “I think what she does is none of our business.”
“Well, it is now! Voyager’s captain and first officer are in jail…”
“Tuvok to Kim.”
“Kim here, Sir.”
“Mr. Kim, meet Mr. Ayala and myself in transporter room two in twenty minutes.”
“Aye Sir.” Harry cut the link and looked pleadingly at Tom.
“OH, Harry, my man, what I wouldn’t give to be in your place.”
“Tom, this isn’t funny.”
“Oh, this is great. Harry do you think you could sneak a holoimage? I would kill to see the Captain’s face when you show up!”
When Tuvok and the away team finally entered the underground chamber, they were assaulted by the air which was thick and nearly as unpleasant as attempting to explain human cultural practices to the Commissioner. The only light to guide them was provided by two small bulbs in the ceiling. Tuvok led his small away team toward the two occupied cells in the read of the chamber.
“Tuvok!” The Captain jumped up from the ragged looking cot in her cell.
“Captain.” Tuvok nodded then turned to his left and observed the Commander stretched out on the cot in his cell. “Commander.”
“Mr. Tuvok, it’s nice to see a friendly face.” Chakotay got up and came forward.
“I have come to take you back to Voyager. The Commissioner has graciously consented to release you into my custody, providing we leave orbit immediately.”
“I’m ready.” Chakotay stood by the door of his cell rubbing his hands together.
“Graciously Concented?! Tuvok, I would like an explanation of why we were detained in these most unpleasant accommodations. Tell the Commissioner I wish to speak with him.”
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Captain.” Tuvok moved closer to her cell. “The Commissioner has decided not to detain you further on the condition that you and the Commander leave this planet immediately without any further contamination of the population.”
“Contamination?” The Captain stood with her hands gripping the bars of her cell. “All I want to know is what I have been charged with.”
“Captain, the guards will be here in a moment to release you. Perhaps this is something best discussed after our return to the ship.”
“Mr. Tuvok I have no intention of leaving here without at least knowing what I have been charged with.” She placed her hands on her hips and waited. “Mr. Tuvok?”
“It seems Captain, that you have been charged with public fornication.”
The Captain’s mouth fell open in a gasp, her head snapped to her left, she reached out and gripped the bars tightly to hold herself upright. Chakotay couldn’t hold back his laugh, which caused the Captain to glare as she turned a deep shade of red.
“I- We—didn’t…” She looked at Ayala who struggled to keep a straight face and Harry who, if possible was even redder than she was.
“Yes, Captain. I tried to explain that to the Commissioner but he witnessed the act with his own eyes and therefore remains unconvinced of your innocence.”
“He saw us…?” Kathryn dropped her face into her hands. “Mr. Tuvok,” she lifted her head and looked directly at him. “I- he-we.. we did nothing of the sort!” She straightened her shoulders, took a deep breath and looked each of them in the face. “Just so there is no misunderstanding, Chakotay and I shared one brief kiss in the park this afternoon. I assure you that is the only activity the Commissioner could have seen.”
“Yes, Captain. After several hours of negotiation and much difficulty with the translation of the language I have come to the understanding that the public display of any intimate contact of between two unmarried parties is not only considered offensive but is illegal. The best translation the universal translator could make was fornication.”
The guards entered and the room fell silent except for the clang of the old fashioned keys and the creek of the rusty hinges as they opened the cage like cells. The guards pointed in the direction of the exit and left.
“Captain, Commander, we are to proceed through these door and transport from the courtyard.” Tuvok nodded and Harry and Mike led the way.
As they stepped into the sunlight the bright light blinded them and the captain staggered slightly. Four sets of hands reached to steady her but she jumped back from all of them.
“Captain, there are no regulations against assisting a stumbling person.” Tuvok assured her.
“Don’t be too certain.” Chakotay chuckled and Kathryn glared
“Gentlemen, let’s just go home.” The Captain squared her shoulders and tapped her comm. badge. “Janeway to Voyager, five to beam up.”
The Captain was out of the transporter room almost before she rematerialized; Chakotay right behind her.
“Kathryn does one bad experience mean you won’t ever fornicate with me again?” Chakotay whispered as they left the transporter room.
“Well…” She looked to see that the others were still in the transporter room. “not in public anyway!”
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