B’Elanna shook her head and laughed softly as she walked down the corridor. She felt good. Quitting her post actually made her feel good. ‘Maybe I should have done this a long time ago’ she mused.
Before she could get any further in her thoughts her com badge chirped "Janeway to Torres"
"Torres here." she answered calmly. ‘Right on time.’ she thought
"I want to see you in my ready room in ten minutes." Janeway ordered gruffly. Not waiting for a reply the captain broke the connection.
"Typical" B’Elanna muttered as she headed for the turbolift.
"You’ve had your tantrum. I let you have the day to calm down. Tomorrow morning, I expect you to be at your post." Janeway said the instant B’Elanna entered the room. Her command mask was on but B’Elanna had no trouble reading the anger in the older womans tone. Standing casually with her arms crossed over her chest, B’Elanna just looked back at Kathryn and grinned.
"You seem to forget that I no longer have a post. Do the words ‘I quit’ ring a bell." B’Elanna responded around the widening grin. She was enjoying this chance to irritate Janeway. True, they’d always managed to get along, but it was about time the Captain realized just how little the threats of a Starfleet captain mattered to a Maquis officer.
"You can’t quit. I won’t allow it." Janeway grated.
"You won’t allow?" B’Elanna laughed. "What exactly do you think you can do to me if I refuse to run engineering? As a matter of fact, what makes you think you have the authority to make me do anything at all?" B’Elanna didn’t lose the grin as Janeway purpled with rage.
"I can make the rest of the trip home very uncomfortable for you if you refuse to cooperate." Janeway growled darkly. The force ten glare had actually managed to move up to a force twelve and still the young hybrid, grinned into the captain’s face.
"What will you do?" B’Elanna asked cheekily.
"I could take away your holodeck privileges? Maybe your replicator rations? For a start..." Janeway sneered.
Moving to the chair facing the desk, B’Elanna sat and looked at Janeway carefully. Finally she could control it no longer and the laugh broke free. After a long moment to reign in the giggling laugher she said, "Not good enough Kathryn. You’ll have to think of something better."
This time it was Janeway who needed time.... to pick up her dropped jaw. "You’ll change your attitude soon enough, once you’ve had Neelix’s stew for a few days." For some reason this just made B’Elanna laugh all the harder.
After yet another long moment to reign in her laughter, B’Elanna retorted. "I was raised on Gagh and Bloodpie. Then there was the garbage disguised as food we had to eat in the Maquis. I may only be half Klingon, but I do have the redundant stomach. I can survive on stuff that would kill you. Besides, call it a Klingon thing, but I actually like Neelix’s cooking. As for the holodeck? Check the ships logs. I’ve only used the holodeck a few times. It’s not something I’ll miss." Leaning back in her chair she chuckled quietly as she waited to see what else Kathryn could come up with.
"Fine let’s not beat around the bush. I need you in engineering. If you do not return to your post by the beginning of your next duty shift I’ll..." and here the enraged captain faltered.
Leaning forward, B’Elanna grinned. "You’ll what? Face it Kathryn there is nothing you can do to me."
Standing, B’Elanna braced her arms on the desk and leaned in until she was almost touching noses with Janeway. "I came onto this ship as a Maquis officer. According to Starfleet legal, I’m still an officer in the Maquis. The minute we reach Federation space, I will probably be arrested. I have nothing to gain by helping you get this ship and crew back to the alpha quadrant. I help because it’s the right thing to do. It has nothing to do with any presumed authority you think you have over me. You can threaten all you want, but the truth is, there is nothing you can do to make me obey your orders. You can put me in the brig, but I can guarantee the rest of the Maquis onboard won’t like that. You’ll never get another ounce of cooperation out of any of them if you start locking up their former officers. If you set me off the ship you’d face a mutiny and you know it. If it hadn’t been for me and the other Maquis you’d still be floating around the caretakers array. They know it and so do you."
Pushing away from the desk she moved over to the door. As it whooshed open, she turned and left Janeway with one last parting shot, "I obeyed your orders and cooperated as a matter of honor. It’s time you realize that." and with that she turned and left the room.