Disclaimer:  Star Trek Voyager and her entire crew belong to Paramount.  The story is mine.

First place in ex astris console

Rated PG13

It was ten minutes past the beginning of alpha shift and Chakotay had already ordered Voyager out of orbit, when the lift doors finally opened to reveal the Captain.  Although tardiness was completely out of character, the Captain appeared normal as she made her way to the center chair.  She smiled and nodded at Tuvok’s greeting, answered Harry’s good morning with a friendly gesture and patted Tom on the back before she took her seat.

“Good morning, Captain.”  Her jovial first officer greeted her.

“Morning.”  It was a short, gravely, croak of a word as it forced it’s way out.  All eyes darted to the center of the room quickly examining the Captain.  She simply smiled and took her seat.

“Having a problem with your voice this morning, Kathryn?” Chakotay lean over the console and spoke quietly.

“You might say that.”  Came her reply in a husky whisper.

Chakotay chuckled and settled back in his chair.

“I suppose you think this is funny.” The Captain leaned toward his side of the console as she forced out the raspy words.

“I’m sorry, it does sound painful.”  Chakotay tried to soothe her but he couldn’t quite manage to keep a straight face.

“I can see just how sorry you are.”  The Captain raised one eyebrow.

“Kathryn, don’t get angry.  I really do feel badly, it sounds painful but…”  He laughed when she glared at him.

“But nothing.  This is all your fault!”  She hissed.

“My fault?!”  Chakotay laughed out loud and all heads turned toward them momentarily halting the conversation.

WHY IS IT HIS FAULT? DID YOU HEAR?  Tom’s message scrolled across Harry’s screen.


“Kathryn, I’m sorry but how was I to know you would react that way?” Chakotay reached out and covered her hand with is own.

“How did you think I would react?”  Kathryn pulled her hand back and leaned in closer as she spoke.

“Well, Kathryn I never expected you to be so—so…”

“Tell me, Chakotay, just what weren’t you expecting?  Energy?  Enthusisam?  What?”

“No, no I was just surprised.”  He laughed again and she got angrier.  “Kathryn, there is no need to get angry, I just didn’t expect you to …”

“No need to get angry?”

“Kathryn, please.”  Chakotay nodded toward Tom who was practically falling backwards in an effort not to miss a word of their whispered conversation.

Kathryn straightened up in her seat and focused on the back of Tom’s head.



The command team sat quietly for a while until they both reached between them for the console at the same time.  Chakotay drew back his hand and motioned for her to use it.  The Captain punched in a few commands then leaned in again.

“Just what did you expect?”

“I’m not sure, but…”  Chakotay swallowed hard.  “You are normally so –so restrained…”

“Restrained?"  She faced him with new fire in her eyes.  "Commander, why is it I hear unemotional,unresponsive, and up tight when you say that word?!”

“I did not say that!”  Chakotay drew back defensively.

“Then maybe you should explain yourself a little more clearly.”

“I only meant that I didn’t expect you to be so --- vocal.”

“Oh? Am I too boisterous for you liking?”

“Not at all, Kathryn, it was very---refreshing to see you let your hair down.”  Chakotay was trying to pick his word carefully but evidently he was doing it badly; Kathryn’s mouth dropped open. “I only meant…”

“Right to back to restrained?”

“Kathryn, I don’t think this is the place for this discussion.” Chakotay nodded toward the crew, especially the helmsman, who were all now straining to hear their commanding officers whispered discussion.

The Captain punched a few more things into the console then she rose to leave the bridge.

“The bridge is yours, Commander.” She spoke in a louder but still painfully gruff voice.

“Aye, Captain.”

Tom didn’t even have to turn around; he could hear the wide dimpled grin in the Commander’s response.

The doors had barely closed behind the Captain when Tom noticed the rhythmic tapping behind him.  Chakotay was not working on that console, the soft pattern of tap followed by shot periods of silence clearly indicated he was communicating with someone.  Naturally, Tom assumed it was the Captain; Chakotay’s subsequent laughter seemed to confirm it.








B’Elanna was running late as usual. With only ten minutes left for lunch, she arrived in the mess hall; barely enough time to wolf down a sandwich.  B’Elanna joined Harry and Tom who were deep in conspiratorial conversation.

“What’s so interesting?”  B’Elanna put her tray on the table and glared down at them.

“Shhh, sit down.”  Tom waved her into a chair.

“OK, what this time?”  B’Elanna rolled her eyes as she prepared for their latest scheme.  “What are you two up to?”

“We aren’t up to anything but we think our commanding officers are.”  Tom leaned over the table to keep the conversation quiet.

“That’s not new.  You always think they are up to something. What now?”

“OK you tell me.  They were down on the planet yesterday, didn’t get back early this morning…”

“How do you know when they got back?”

“I checked with Simmons, she was on duty in the transporter room.  She said they didn’t beam back until 0500 and the Captain look disheveled—her words not mine!”

“OK, so they had shore leave and they took full advantage of the time, big deal we come home just before shift lots of times.”

And she was disheveled…”

“Tom, no one looks good at 0500!” B’Elanna gave him a shove.  “You have to do better than that!”

“OK, OK.  So then she is late for shift…”

“OK." B'Elanna conceded. "I’ll give you that one she is never late for shift. Go on.”

“Ahhh, then the best part.” Tom rubbed his hands together and leaned in closer. “She can’t talk.”

“What do you mean she can’t talk?”

“She can’t—her voice, it’s deep and scratchy. Man, it hurt to listen to it.”

“Tom, the woman has laryngitis.  Even the Captain is allowed to be sick some times.”

“Yeah, I know but there’s more.  She said it was all his fault, she was mad and he kept laughing.”

“That could be anything.  Hell, it could be Chak has developed a death wish!” B’Elanna piled her dishes on her tray.  “I have to get back to work, let me know if you come up with anything real.”

“Wait!”  Tom turned toward Harry.  “Go on tell her what you heard.”

“Well, Chakotay said something about her being restrained and the Captain got angry.  She said he meant unresponsive and up tight, and he said he didn’t say that.  And Tom sent me another message and that’s all I heard.”  Harry quickly spilled all his knowledge in one rush of words.

“Interesting choice of words but nothing.  See you two later and try to behave your selves.”  B’Elanna shook her head and left.


Alpha shift was almost over when the Captain returned to the bridge.  She nodded wordlessly and took her seat.

“Are you finished being stubborn yet?”  Chakotay leaned over the console.

“Chakotay, I am barely speaking to you as it is – don’t push your luck.”

“Kathryn, you are barely speaking to anyone. Which is why I suggested you go and see the doctor.”

“And explain this to him how?!”

“Kathryn, you don’t need to explain just go and have him treat it.”

“And since when will our doctor do that with out explanation.”

“You can’t talk remember and once he repairs those poor overworked vocal cords, I’m sure he will want you to rest them.  So start by not talking to him.”

“Chakotay, he is never going to settle for that!”

“OK, so I’ll go and explain for you.”

“Oh, great that will go over big.”

Their quiet argument was interrupted by beta shift.  The Captain made a vague attempt to pass command to the Lieutenant in charge, who struggled valiantly to hear her raspy orders.  Finally, the Captain waved her hand, shook her head and turned toward the lift.

Chakotay assured the Lieutenant that all was quiet and any necessary information could be found in his report and followed the rest of Alpha shift into the lift.

“Deck three.”  The Captain finally croaked into the silence of the lift.

“Belay that, deck five.”  Chakotay countered.

“I said three.”  She hissed at him.

“And I said five.”  He stood his ground.  “You need to have this taken care of.”

“And you need to….”  The Captain glanced at the silent members of alpha shift.  Drawing her lips tightly together she turned and quietly stared at the closed doors.

When doors opened the Commander silently took hold of the Captain’s arm and escorted her off the lift.  She turned to glare at him but he only smiled and gently moved her forward toward sick bay.  Tom and Harry stared after them open mouthed until Tuvok ordered the lift to deck three and the doors closed.  Tuvok had no sooner exited the lift then Tom ordered it back to deck five.

When Tom entered sick bay, the Captain was seated on a bio bed and the Doctor was clucking over his scans.  Chakotay stood by smiling.  Tom ruffled through the supply cabinets working very hard at pretending to do an inventory as he strained to hear the quiet conversation on the other side of the room.

“Captain, I never knew you were such an enthusiast.” The Doctor chattered as he worked.  “Open please.”

“I was quite surprised myself, Doctor.”  Chakotay continued the conversation for the indisposed Captain.  “She was quiet – passionate about it.”

Chakotay chuckled and the Captain glared at him over reddened cheeks.  Tom moved closer.

“Well, I’d say so.  You seemed to have screamed your vocal cords raw. Breathe through you nose, Captain.”  The Doctor reached a slim regenerator into the Captain’s mouth.  “Must have been an exciting the match.”

“Yes, we found it quite – stimulating.” Chakotay grinned and the Captain gagged on the Doctor’s instrument.

“Deep breath, through your nose, Captain, control that gag reflex.”

“Relax, Kathryn, you’ve handled bigger challenges.”  Chakotay placed a comforting hand on her shoulder; she pushed it off.

“Try to hold still, Captain.”

“She’s not good at staying still, Doctor.”

“Well, she will have to learn.  Last nights activities did quite enough damage, we don’t need to do more trying to repair it.” The Doctor withdrew his instrument.  “There, that should do it.”

“Thank you, doctor.” The Captain grimaced at the still rustic sound of her voice, she swallowed hard and touched her hand to her throat.

“Try not to talk, Captain.  That should feel much better but it will take a few hours to completely heal. Your voice will be back to normal by morning.”  He took a quick scan to be sure there was no further problems.  “Provided you refrain from screaming between now and then.”

“I’ll manage, Doctor.” The captain whispered as she slid off the bio bed and once again treated her first officer to a death glare.

“I’ll see that she rests her voice, Doctor.”  Chakotay chuckled and took her arm, which she promptly jerked out of his grasp.

“Yes, you do that Commander.”  The Doctor nodded. “See that she eats something soft and since we have left orbit I assume there will be no more Hurley ball!”

As they exited sickbay they over heard a disappointed Tom question the Doctor about the Captain’s condition.

“Nothing to concern yourself with, Mr. Paris.  It seems the Captain was a bit overly enthusiastic about a local sporting event they attended last night.  She should recover by morning.”

“Sporting event?”

“Yes, Hurley ball.  As the Commander explains it, it is quite a physical game.”

The Captain glanced up at the Commander who managed to hold back his laughter as made their way silently to the lift.  The doors closed and Chakotay ordered it to deck three.

“Feeling better, Kathryn?”  She tried to glare at him but she couldn’t resist the smile; she nodded.  “Good, then you’re not mad at me?”

“No, but I do have a question.”  She cocked her head and smiled at him.  “Chakotay, what the hell is Hurley ball?”

The End

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