Disclaimer: Paramount owns all.
This story is of course all TPTB's fault. If they'd just made Fair Haven about sex instead of trying to convince us that Kathryn would fall in love with her 19th century holo-toy such ridicule would not be necessary. But as they can't ever let their female captain also be a sexual creature, the episode had to be about "needing company" instead. Oh please. (End of rant.)
Summary: Kathryn's not having the best of luck with her holo-boyfriend. Let's just say this story probably won't go the way you expect it to, but it's definitely J/C.
This one's for Yael - to add to your collection :-)
Kathryn lay on her back, trying to ignore the way the hay beneath her was scratching harshly against bare patches of skin. She was sure that the hayloft encounters of her youth had not been quite this uncomfortable. She screwed up her nose, recalling abjectly that this rural outing had been her idea in the first place.
"We should get away from the town for a while", she had said. "Let's go somewhere a little more private."
Of course, she was thinking at the time of a secluded farmhouse, or even a picnic on soft grass beside the river. But hay? Ugh. Come to think of it, the baying of animals somewhere beneath them was far from romantic as well.
She glanced over at Michael who was sprawled across another patch of hay beside her, dozing in a post-coital daze. She watched his bare chest rise and fall, admiring for a moment his hypnotic animal magnetism. Until he started to snore.
She lasted about ten seconds before giving him a soft poke with her foot, and another five until the prodding became more insistent.
"Urrrrgh", he woke with a start, disoriented. One look at Kathryn, who lay disheveled beside him was all it took to remind him of the events of the afternoon.
"Hello there, Katie", he said, smirking at her.
"Hello", she replied, wondering if she could erase the block she'd placed on accessing his character parameter files for just long enough to do something about the smug sexual satisfaction he kept displaying.
As though it was all his own idea, she thought ruefully. Problems with 24th century holographic lovers were one thing. Problems with 24th century holographic characters who thought they were 19th century characters were another altogether. Why had she not thought about unprogressive ideas towards sex before luring Michael into her bedroom that first time? A series of misunderstandings - enough to fill a comedic holonovel actually - had ensued. She shuddered, thinking of how long it had taken just to convince Michael to try something other than the good old missionary position.
"What are you thinking about Katie?" he asked, interrupting her reverie.
"I was thinking about a picnic, actually", she lied.
"Down by the river?" His eyes lit up. "I know of this secluded little spot where we could spend some quality time together". He waggled his eyebrows suggestively to emphasize the words "quality time."
Kathryn sighed. This was the problem. And it was all her own fault. Instead of reopening Michael's character file and simply reprogramming him, she had nobly decided to try and change his behaviour by a more old fashioned method - nagging. Of course, she didn't think of it like that.
She merely sat Michael down and had a long chat to him about sexual attitudes, what was expected of women in this day and age, and how that differed from her own expectations and desires. By the time she mentioned "desires" she had Michael's full attention. By the time she had moved past equal rights onto the need for women to be sexually liberated and fulfilled, he was practically drooling. That should have been warning enough. But she had ploughed ahead unheedingly, telling him stories about the great female pioneers and how they had inspired her own life.
"Can you go back to that part about sexual fulfillment?" he asked innocently.
Like a fool, she suggested that a practical demonstration might be better than her simple words. Not that she objected to the sex in general. Oh no, that had been the aim of her relationship with Michael in the first place. She had started the conversation merely to convince Michael that she was not a prudish woman. They did not have to get married before they began their trysting, nor did he have to woo her from a distance for weeks on end with poetry and suchlike.
She had not counted, however, on discovering that Michael was in fact a satyromaniac. Now that he knew she was no maidenly prude, every single time that she visited the Fair Haven program she found herself swooped upon and bundled into his eager embrace. If he was working, they would slip off to a back room. The rest of the time - well, there was nary a piece of furniture in the bar they hadn't had tested the strength of. She especially knew she could never look at that bar counter in the same way again.
It had been wonderfully exciting at first. After a few weeks she had tried dropping hints that maybe they could do something else once in a while. For Michael "something else" translated to more experimentation. Now, it was eight weeks down the track. Eight glorious but exhausting weeks. She found herself beginning to wonder if it would be so very bad if she tweaked a few subroutines here and there. She shook her head slightly at the realization that Michael had kept talking, and tuned in to what he was saying.
"... and if I nip back to the bar I could pack a picnic lunch. Maybe a blanket or two. Unless you like the feel of grass under your skin, eh?"
He leaned over to poke her jocularly in the ribs. She sighed. It would be one of those afternoons.
Chakotay and Kathryn sat on her couch, both with their legs extended comfortably onto her coffee table. Different piles of padds lay discarded around them. To an untrained observer it might appear like chaos. In fact they were working quite smoothly through crew reports with a system they had established years ago.
Chakotay rubbed the bridge of his nose and picked up another padd.
"So we only have engineering left to do. Want some more coffee?"
Kathryn grinned at him tiredly, but before she could respond a chirp from her communicator interrupted them.
"Hello, Captain Janeway? Are you there?"
A familiar yet unfamiliar voice hailed her.
"Speaking. Who wants to know?" she responded.
"It's me!" the voice boomed excitedly, "Michael."
Chakotay's eyebrows shot up.
"Michael?" Kathryn said uncertainly
"Hello Katie. Its good to be talkin' to you. How are you?"
Kathryn sat up straighter and tried to ignore the bemused expression on Chakotay's face.
"I'm just fine, Michael. How did you get onto this channel? I mean, how are you speaking to me?"
"Oh, it was easy. I just borrowed Tommy's little button. The one he has pinned on his shirt. I've seen him talking into it before."
"Tom Paris is there with you?" She said, with a hint of steel in her voice.
"Well, in a manner of speaking. Actually, he's rather drunk. He doesn't know I have his little button though. He's otherwise occupied."
Raucous singing in the background gave the commanding officers a hint as to what Paris might be doing. Kathryn was nonplussed, unsure how to handle the situation.
"I had no idea that this wee thing would let me speak to you in your universe", Michael went on. "I might have stolen... er... that is, borrowed it from Tommy before if I'd known I could reach you like this. What a marvel this is!"
"Er, yes, it is", said Kathryn, shooting a glare at Chakotay who appeared to be enjoying her discomfort immensely.
"Perhaps you should give the button back to Tom", she suggested, mentally reminding herself to have a word with Mr. Paris in the morning. Early in the morning, she amended, wincing at his off key warbling.
"Oh I will, Katie, I will. But while I'm talking to you, I was wondering if you'd be free this evening to come down to the pub. There's quite a shindig going on."
"Is there really?"
"Yes. Well, Harry's here, and that preacher friend of yours. The bar's quite full actually."
"Thankyou Michael", she said, "But I'm rather busy at the moment and -"
"Don't worry, Katie," he broke in, "We'd still be able to sneak out the back even though it's busy. I've got a little something special planned for you. If you know what I mean."
Chakotay guffawed involuntarily, then quickly tried smother the noise. Kathryn glared at him.
"Michael, I'm sorry, this isn't a good time. I -"
"Do you have someone else there with you?" Michael demanded. "I can hear a man's voice, clear as day."
"No," Kathryn lied, "there's no one here". She leaned over and whacked Chakotay on the arm. "Would you be quiet?" she hissed.
"Are you sure there's not-" he began.
"Michael", Kathryn cut him off. "I'm busy with work at the moment, that's all. Thankyou for asking though. I'll come and see you some time soon. I promise. Janeway out."
She glared at Chakotay again for good measure, then said, "Computer, deactivate Lieutenant Paris' comm badge."
"Comm badge deactivated."
Kathryn sighed and grabbed another padd at random. Of course, she thought, under normal circumstances holodeck characters were designed to ignore certain types of contact with the "real world" - holodeck doors opening, comm badges and so on. The line between "fictional characters" and "sentient beings" once seemed clearly defined. Not any more. The characters from Fair Haven knew now that her crew came from somewhere else. Who knew how this had affected their ability to relate to the outside world? It was a confusing situation, to say the least.
"Kathryn", Chakotay began, "we don't have to finish these reports now."
"Oh yes we do."
"They can wait."
"They need to be done. We shouldn't put them off."
He watched her closely before responding. She was frowning, with her head bent over, apparently reading the padd. He could tell that her eyes weren't moving though. "Not in the mood for the holodeck tonight?" he asked eventually.
"No", she said shortly.
"Is something wrong between you and-"
"Chakotay. Nothing's wrong. I just want to work. That's all."
"Okay." He grinned at her. "I just want to make sure you're not denying yourself some fun on my behalf."
Kathryn felt herself wince slightly at the word fun.
"Kathryn?" Chakotay peered at her again, growing concerned.
"It's nothing. It's just," she hesitated, than added quickly, "sometimes you can have a little too much fun, that's all."
Chakotay raised an eyebrow at that, but merely said, "I see."
"Well, if we're going to finish these reports, I'll need some more coffee."
She stood and made her way to the replicator, cursing the pale skin that did nothing to hide the blush that spread across her cheeks.
Chakotay watched her go, grinning broadly at her back.
"So you're telling me that there's definitely no other man in Katie's life?"
"Oh no", Tom Paris slurred and leaned on the bar for support. "There's nobody. That's why she has you, you know."
The drunk pilot gesticulated with his free arm for emphasis, stabbing his finger towards Michael as he said "you".
"You're not part of the command structure, you see. No danger in having a relationship with you."
For some reason he leered while making this last remark. Michael seemed confused at the explanation , but instead of inquiring further said, "I heard another man's voice though. When I called her just before."
"You called her?" It was Tom's turn to look lost.
"Um..." Michael decided to try another tack, one that didn't involve stolen property or technology he didn't really understand. "What about old boyfriends? People who might still be hanging around."
Tom shook his head vigorously. "Nope. None of them either. There was a fiancé who died - that was a long time ago. Then there was the fiancé we left behind on earth. Two lost fiancés," he concluded mournfully. "Poor Captain Kathryn."
Michael blinked rapidly at the mention of leaving earth, but Tom seemed oblivious.
"There was a guy we picked up along the way once," he mused, thinking of Kashyk, "but he didn't stay with her in the end. Very sad."
He took a long swig of his beer.
Michael nodded, relieved. "And what about this 'Chakotay' I hear people talking about."
"Chakotay?" Tom pulled a face. "I wouldn't worry about him. They're just friends."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure. Sure as sure can be", he added in an awful Irish accent. "We've all been keeping an eye on them for years now. We'd know if anything was going on. I'd know, anyway 'cause I run the betting pool", he added.
Tom took another swig of his beer, then forgetting who he was talking to, went on.
"Oh, and I think there was another hologram too. A long time ago though."
"A hologram, like you", Tom replied unthinkingly.
Michael stared at him blankly. Even in his inebriated state, Tom sensed he had said something amiss.
"Never mind", he muttered. "You're her one and only boyfriend, trust me. You have nothing to be jealous about."
"If you say so, Tommy", Michael agreed, his mind racing.
Hologram? What was a hologram? And what had Tom said "like you"? He talked to Tom for another ten minutes or so, but got no useful information out of him. He seemed to be drunk enough to be speaking truthfully though. Michael decided to follow him as he left tonight and see if he could gather any more information.
A few hours later, Michael peered from the shadows, mouth agape as Tom stumbled through the archway. The doors slid shut behind him, then the entire doorway vanished. Michael blinked in surprise, and walked over the where they had disappeared. He carefully examined the ground, but could see no trace of the doorway. He took a cautious step back, then repeated the words he had heard Tom utter.
After a good half hours' conversation with the invisible female in the archway called "Computer", Michael came to understand a few interesting things. Not only was Kathryn from a different time period, she was travelling on a space ship. Its technology allowed her to visit Fair Haven, along with a whole lot of other strange places.
Unlike previous holodeck malfunctions where characters had gained sentience, Michael wasn't aware that he was a hologram, or that these different places were computer generations. He had concluded that the holodeck merely allowed people to travel somehow from place to place, across great distances, even across time. By trial and error, he had managed to call up different files that were stored in the computer. Without knowing the technical details, he asked if he could visit them. The computer obligingly separated his character matrix from the Fair Haven program and transferred him to each one.
Of particular interest were the files that Kathryn had created or used often. So far had seen an Italian artistic workshop, Indiana, and somewhere the computer called "New Earth", that looked like pleasant green countryside, although he couldn't place the location. The next on the list was labeled simply "The governess".
As he activated the program, the greenery of previous program shimmered and disappeared, to be replaced by the inside of what looked like an English stately home. Before Michael could get his bearings, a hand thrust open the door and a haughty gentleman entered.
"Who on earth are you?" the man demanded. "And what are you doing in my house?"
"I-" Michael hesitated. "I was just looking for a friend of mine."
The man glanced quickly around the room, which Michael realised with a hint of embarrassment was actually a bedroom.
"Where's Miss Davenport?"
"My governess", the man snapped. "I mean, my children's governess", he amended.
"I don't know", said Michael truthfully.
"You're Irish", the man stated. It seemed to be almost an accusation.
"And what of it?"
"How did you get here?"
Michael hesitated again, wondering how much to tell to this stranger. But if Katie had been visiting this place, he thought, perhaps this man would know her. Perhaps she used a different name here as well.
"This is going to sound like a crazy story", he began, "but I want you to hear me out."
The man frowned and narrowed his eyes, but nodded. "Alright", he said, "Go ahead."
Michael took a deep breath. "It all started one day when I met a woman called Katie O'Clare."
"Oh come on! I'll owe you big time."
Chakotay sighed. "Are you going to keep badgering me all night?"
"Yes," she replied.
He put down the padd he'd been reading. "You know I hate that Irish program".
"Just one beer. That's all I'm asking."
"Why do you want me to come along? Take Harry, or Tom."
"Tom's been banned from using the program for now. Harry gets a bit easily distracted by the local girls. Anyway," she went on, "maybe I just want your company."
She let that statement sink in, hoping it would have some effect.
"You can see me here if you want," he pointed out.
Damn, she thought. "Please, Chakotay. Don't make me keep begging."
He grinned. "I don't want you to beg. Well, not much anyway", he added. "Just tell me the truth about why you want me to come."
Kathryn flopped down next to him on the couch.
"Alright. But promise you won't laugh."
She bit her lip, wondering how to explain.
"I just want... I need... Michael and I...He's just been a little bit..." she broke off uncertainly.
"Having too much fun?" Chakotay supplied, trying to hide a smile.
"Yes. Exactly. It's not that I want to stop seeing him", she amended quickly. "Because I could do that if I wanted. I just want to slow things down a bit."
"Wouldn't it be easier just to tell him that?"
"No. Believe me, talking to me has not been on his mind much lately. Neither has listening."
"So reprogram him".
"I don't want to do that either. I swore I wouldn't do that anymore."
Chakotay sighed. "So what - you think it will be easier to take along a friend. A male friend", he emphasized, "to make him jealous?"
"Not to make him jealous", she corrected. "Just someone who'll keep us all talking. A nice friendly night in the bar. A few beers. That's all I want. If I go with you, then..."
"He won't drag you off to back room for a night of wild sex?" Chakotay offered.
She blushed. "Well, I wouldn't have put it like that."
"Alright, I'll do it", he said, standing up.
"Sure". He took her hand and helped her stand up. "What are friends for, right?"
On impulse she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
He smiled at the gesture. "I haven't done anything yet."
"Yes you have. You always do."
She held his gaze for a moment longer, then dropped his hand.
"C'mon, let's go get a beer."
Kathryn didn't bother to change this time. The characters of Fair Haven were used to seeing Starfleet uniforms by now, and besides, Chakotay had declared he wasn't going to dress up for the occasion. She didn't want to insist and discourage him from coming.
Kathryn pushed open the door to Sullivan's, observing that it seemed to be a busy night. She nodded to familiar faces as she passed through the crowd. Chakotay trailed behind her, noting that the crowd seemed pleased to see Kathryn, as though they were anticipating some event that required her presence.
"Michael", she said, as she reached the bar. "Have you met my friend, Chakotay?"
The two men eyed each other off. Chakotay was the first to speak.
"Hello", he said, politely extending his hand.
"Good evening to you", Michael returned, shaking it briefly. Kathryn noted the suspicious way Michael was eyeing her first officer. There was a surprise. She hadn't realised he was jealous of her at all. The bigger surprise, however, was still to come.
"There's someone I'd like you to meet as well, Mr. Chakotay", Michael added. "But I believe you already know him", he said, nodding to Kathryn.
He gestured towards their left. They both turned to the man who sat at the closest bar stool.
Chakotay frowned, taking his measure. He seemed to be slightly better dressed than the other men in the bar, and his clothes looked strangely more formal. Or perhaps older, he amended. He glanced towards Kathryn and was caught by the shocked expression on her face. In fact, to use a cliché, she was staring at the stranger as though she had seen a ghost.
"Lord Burleigh?" she exclaimed after a few moments thought.
The man inclined his head slightly towards her without leaving his seat. "Miss Davenport," he said. "Or should I say, 'Miss Janeway'."
Chakotay tried to meet Kathryn's eyes. "Miss Davenport?" he said softly.
She clenched her teeth. "Don't ask," she muttered.
She threw a distinctly hostile look at Michael. "What's going on?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Perhaps we should ask you that."
"How did you get him here? How did you find him in the first place?" Kathryn took a breath and continued more calmly. "How much do you know?"
She held her breath, dreading the response. After Michael's little comm badge escapade the other night she had spent some time reviewing Starfleet records on holodeck malfunctions. In particular, an episode on the Enterprise when a fictional villain became self-aware and held the ship to ransom until he was given real life. What if the two of them had compared notes on the nature of their existence? Had they tapped into the computer system? If so, how much information had they gleaned? Had they established some sort of control over the ship's computer? Did they have control of the holodecks right now? Would she soon be finding her crew held to ransom, just as Jean Luc Picard once had?
Michael and Lord Burleigh shared a meaningful glance, before Michael spoke.
"You've been two-timing me, Katie," he announced. At Burleigh's irritated glare, he added, "Two-timing both of us, actually."
Kathryn could only stare at him, literally speechless.
"Well?" Michael demanded. "What do you have to say for yourself? I've uncovered your little deception."
"You have?" she managed.
"Oh yes." Michael shook his head sadly. "I followed Tommy the other night when he left here. He used your ship's computer to call up that magical archway that allows you to travel to all these different places."
Chakotay opened his mouth to say something, but Kathryn elbowed him in the ribs.
"I know it's not really magic, but your technology. It's all wizardry to me though. I tried it out for myself, and the computer took me on a little tour. At one of the places, I ran into Lord Burleigh here."
"Yes, I did. And we've been comparing notes about you."
Kathryn began to speak but Burleigh cut her off.
"You came to me, disguised as a governess. Calling yourself Miss Davenport. I don't know what your real motive was. To win my heart? To steal my fortune?"
Chakotay, who had finally figured out what was going on, made a choking sound, and Kathryn trod gently on his foot.
"I should have listened to Mrs Templeton", Burleigh continued bitterly. "She never trusted you. I don't suppose even she suspected that you had a time travelling device though. How many other men have fallen prey to your futuristic wiles?"
Chakotay's mouth began to twitch.
"I trusted you too, Katie", Michael added. "I shared my time with you. I shared my heart, my home, even my -"
Whatever he was about to say next was cut off by a burst of laughter from Chakotay. The two men glared at him. Lord Burleigh turned noticeably red in the face.
"I suppose she's been dallying with you as well," he said peevishly.
Chakotay tried to swallow his mirth, but the surly stare Kathryn shot at him only made things worse. His body began convulsing with peals of laughter.
Kathryn decided now was a good time to test her luck. "Computer, freeze program."
All of the holodeck characters froze where they were. Burleigh and Michael, who had been disconnected from the program, looked around them in amazement.
"Witchcraft," Burleigh breathed.
"What did you do?" Michael exclaimed.
"Computer", Kathryn continued, "freeze all holographic images currently in use."
The two men froze, Burleigh still sitting on his stool by the bar, and Michael in the act of stepping towards Kathryn. Chakotay, who was beginning to calm down a little, turned to Kathryn with a broad grin.
"This is some program", he said. "If I'd known it was this entertaining, I'd have come with you a lot earlier."
She glared at him, unsure whether to be angry that he found this so amusing or to join in his laughter. She looked around her at the frozen holodeck. Her gaze drifted from Michael, to Lord Burleigh, and back to Michael.
"I thought they knew that they were holograms", she admitted. "He tapped into the computer, he could have got access to all of Voyager's systems, and this is what he finds out? That I had other -" she broke off, glancing at Burleigh.
"Other programs", she went on. "That holonovel was a long time ago and he", she gestured with one arm, "wasn't even -"
"A holo-boyfriend?" Chakotay supplied.
"Yes. Exactly." She shrugged and smiled at him wryly. "It was only one year into our trip. We didn't get that far."
Chakotay chuckled. "Pity. I was picturing him chasing you around a huge English mansion."
"Not funny", she replied.
"Oh, I think it is."
Kathryn put her hands on her hips and surveyed the room again. She was silent for a few moments, thinking. Chakotay merely watched her.
"Maybe it's time we shut down this program", she said eventually.
"I don't know".
She looked at him quickly.
"I thought we could retreat to a safe distance, then unfreeze them", Chakotay suggested. "Let them fight it out."
She rolled her eyes.
"Maybe," he went on, "we could also incorporate my boxing training program. Put the two of them in a ring together."
Kathryn could feel the laughter building up inside her. "Stop it", she said, trying to sound stern.
"We could call up Maestro da Vinci from your art program too. Have him referee the fight. Or maybe he would want to defend your honour instead."
"Chakotay", she warned.
"What?" he asked innocently.
"What am I going to have to do to stop you telling anyone else on the ship that this ever happened?"
He looked at her speculatively for a moment, then glanced towards Michael and Burleigh, then back to her again.
"You're going to wipe this program?"
"Yes. I'll erase Fair Haven. And I'll come up with some excuse to give to the crew."
Chakotay thought about it for a moment longer.
"Well?" she said impatiently.
He began to walk towards the doors. "I think it might be nice just to have you owe me for a while."
"What?" he paused and looked back at her, grinning. "You'd rather I told someone like... oh, I don't know... Mr. Paris, about what I saw today?"
"You wouldn't dare."
The doors slid open and she began to follow him out.
"Computer, end program", she snapped. As Burleigh, Michael and Fair Haven dissolved into nothingness for the last time, Kathryn didn't even glance backwards. She was too busy trying to keep up with Chakotay, who was striding off down the corridor.
"Tell me what you want, Chakotay," she said, grabbing for his arm. A crewman walking past looked at them quickly, then looked away and hurried off down the corridor. Kathryn rolled her eyes and stepped into the turbolift after Chakotay.
"Honestly?" he asked.
"Honestly." She stood beside him, both with their arms behind their backs, shoulder to shoulder.
"I want you to ask me that question again", he said, as the doors closed.
Kathryn frowned. "What?"
"I want you to ask me that question again", he repeated, straight faced.
"Tell me-" she began.
"Not here," he cut her off. "And not now. Later", he paused for emphasis. "In my quarters."
Kathryn stared at him as realization dawned, wondering if her hearing was failing.
"Or yours, if you'd prefer", he added, still staring ahead of him.
She felt a huge smile begin to thread its way across her face.
"Computer", she said quickly, before she could change her mind, "deck three."
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