Schemes and Intrigues, part 2
by Jinny W
Disclaimer: see part one
Blackadder's plan was unerringly simple. All he needed to do was to make Queenie think that Chakotay had lost interest in her and was secretly wooing another woman. Convincing Baldrick to take part took a little more effort. But given that the rest of the crew (except perhaps for Melchett, who was apparently oblivious to the situation at the moment) seemed delighted at the thought of Chakotay being the first officer, he really had no one else to recruit.
"Luckily for us, on this occasion at least," he explained to Baldrick, "our Queen happens to be possibly the most insanely jealous person in the entire universe."
"But I don't want to sleep with a missionary", Baldrick objected. "What would my mother say?"
"Your mother would probably volunteer for the job, Baldrick. And how many times do I have to tell you, he's a mercenary, not a missionary."
"Still, it doesn't seem right".
Blackadder sighed and gave up explaining. "It won't seem right either if he's reciting you Fordyth's sermons on the bridge, will it?"
Baldrick seemed to waver.
"And besides, you don't actually have to sleep with him. I wouldn't be that cruel. To him", he added. "I just need you to be caught sneaking in or out of his quarters, that's all."
"I still think my cunning plan was a better one", Baldrick objected, but with no spirit this time, thus displaying his acquiescence.
"Unfortunately your version involved disfiguring me with a surgical implement," Blackadder pointed out. "As much fun as that would be, I'm not convinced my scarred and bloody cheeks would have been much of an aphrodisiac."
He propelled Baldrick towards the door.
"Let's get this over with."
To get his plan underway, Blackadder had Baldrick - now befrocked - wander the corridors of Voyager for a while, so that the crew would get used to the presence of this mysterious new woman. It would complicate his plan inordinately if he had to explain to Queenie and the others precisely where she had come from. After that, he sent Baldrick off to spend the day with Chakotay and his repair team. Unfortunately, perhaps more for Melchett than for anyone else, this preparedness also had unforeseen consequences.
Blackadder was lounging in the mess hall, with his feet comfortably resting on the table and a steaming cup of java in his hand, when Melchett came scampering in. He grinned maniacally at Blackadder and bounced over to his table.
"Has someone been putting amphetamines in your breakfast cereal again Melchett?" he asked.
"No Lieutenant, not at all". Melchett flopped down opposite him and heaved an enormous sigh.
"I'm in love", he announced.
Blackadder raised an eyebrow. "Is that so?"
"Yes. She's one of the most angelic creatures I've ever laid eyes on."
"Really. What's her name?" Blackadder asked, more to be polite than out of any real interest.
"I think they call her Baldrick", Melchett replied, with another lovesick sigh.
Blackadder spat a mouthful of coffee back into his mug and sat up. "What did you say?"
"Yes, it's funny isn't it? She has the same name as that monkey of a creature that stands at the Ops station."
"Yes, its quite a coincidence". Blackadder wondered - not for the first time- if he was on some sort of asylum ship.
"I don't know why I never noticed her before," Melchett went on, oblivious to Blackadder's amused expression. "But now that I have, I'm going to pursue her to all ends of the quadrant."
"That could end badly".
"No, no", Melchett held up a hand. "I'm not going to let you, Mr. Cynical Cynic doesn't-believe-in-love ruin this affair for me."
"I don't think you'll be needing my help".
"I just came in to see if I could pick up some chocolates." Melchett leaned closer to Blackadder. "I'm going to ask her out on a date."
Blackadder smiled thinly. "I suppose I should wish you good luck."
Melchett shrugged. "I hardly think I'll be needing any. After all, at the moment," he said with a leer, "love seems to be in the air on this ship."
"Is that so?"
"Yes. Only this morning I overheard Percy talking to someone about a woman he has eyes for. Not to mention Queenie's romance with her new beau".
Blackadder didn't have the energy to ask who on earth Percy had become enamoured with. He tended to have a new crush every fortnight, with clockwork like precision. He was curious, though, about Melchett's apparently mild views on Chakotay.
"Tell me Melchett," he said, "what do you think of Queenie's latest acquisition?"
"Oh he seems to be a charming enough man."
"Really?" Blackadder was surprised. "You're not at all distressed that she's planning to make him her new first officer then?"
Melchett's face fell instantly. "What?"
"You hadn't heard?"
"No". Melchett shook his head. "But then, I've had my mind on other things."
Blackadder shuddered, recalling that Baldrick was the cause of this whimsical fancy.
"Well unless you or I do something about it", he said, "we're going to be working for someone new."
"What can we do?"
"I don't know about you, but I have no intention of standing by and watching some pretty fly-boy cheat me out of my promotion. In fact, I've already put some wheels in motion."
"What wheels? What motion?" Melchett demanded.
Blackadder merely smiled enigmatically. "You'll see, Melchy, you'll see."
Queenie sighed the sigh of a satisfied woman and stretched her arms above her head. She hadn't had this much fun since she lost her last XO all those months ago. She took a swig of her coffee, put her feet up on her ready room desk, and ruminated on the pleasant turn which events had taken lately. Or, to put it more accurately, she daydreamed about Chakotay.
After only a few minutes, however, the door chime cut rudely into her rapidly-turning-blue reverie.
"Come in", she called out impatiently, hoping it was the man himself.
Blackadder poked his head around the corner.
"I'm not interrupting anything important, am I majesty?"
"No, not at all," said Queenie with a small sigh. "I was just thinking about what a lovely lovely week it's been".
"Er, yes, your majesty." Blackadder came the rest of the way in, fervently hoping that Queenie wasn't going to start reminiscing in any more detail.
"I haven't seen you for a while, Edmund," she observed, swinging her chair from side to side absent mindedly.
"No, your majesty". He supposed she didn't want to be reminded that she hadn't seen much of anyone lately. Apart from Chakotay of course, who she'd been seeing a whole lot of. All of him, actually.
"I've been supervising the repairs to your friend Mr. Chakotay's spaceship", he said, lying outrageously.
He hadn't been anywhere near the ship. Queenie however, didn't seem surprised that her chief security officer should be engaged in what was officially engineering work (after all, she did have an Ops officer who was essentially a bridge ornament.)
"How is it progressing?"
Blackadder shook his head with feigned sadness. "Not very quickly, I'm afraid. We'll obviously have to put up with Chakotay's company for some days to come."
"Oh goodie," said Queenie, rapidly cheering up and subsequently completely losing interest in the conversation.
"It's actually on Chakotay's behalf that I've come to see you", Blackadder went on.
"Really?" Queenie looked up, interested again. "Why didn't he come himself? Or send me a little message?"
"I think, your majesty, that he was very busy. He muttered to me that he was planning something for tonight..." he paused as if trying to remember. "I think it was something like 'An extra special night with my extra special lady.' Or something like that." He smiled knowingly. "And I think we all know who he means by that."
Queenie squealed with delight and leapt up to kiss Blackadder on the cheek.
"Edmund, I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Hopefully, ma'am, that won't ever be a problem", Blackadder replied, and, with a low bow, left the room.
Baldrick sat alone at a table in the mess hall, trying valiantly not to spill his afternoon tea onto his cleanest dress. He'd spent the earlier part of the morning in the shuttle bay, watching Chakotay and a team of engineers making repairs to the mercenary's ship. Much to his surprise, Chakotay hadn't seemed particularly interested in the progress of the repairs. He spent most of his time engaging Baldrick in conversation instead.
On the surface Blackadder's plan might be working - had Chakotay been as stupid as most of the other men on the ship, and not able to apprehend that Baldrick in a dress was still just Baldrick in a dress. Unfortunately for Blackadder, this was not the case. In any event, Baldrick very quickly forgot exactly what it was he was supposed to be doing, and lost himself in the excitement of having someone (not to mention someone so handsome) to converse with.
As he was musing thus Percy came floating into the mess hall. He stopped to pick up a few biscuits and a cup of tea, then made his way over to Baldrick's table.
"Hello there, you fine filly. May I join you?"
"Of course Mr. Percy."
Percy blinked. "How did you know my name? We haven't met before. Surely I would remember such a pretty looking lass."
"Its me, Percy, Baldrick".
"Baldrick?" Percy blinked harder, then shook his head as though to clear away cobwebs.
"Good lord, it is you! What are you doing in that dress?"
"I'm part of a cunning plan".
"Oh I see." Percy dunked one of his biscuits into the tea and took a bite.
"Well Miss Baldrick", Percy said, forgetting almost straight away that he was merely talking to Baldrick in a dress, "maybe you and I can have a little girl talk."
"Yes. You know," Percy gesticulated, "we can talk about the things that men don't want to talk about."
"But I am a man", Baldrick objected.
"So am I", Percy agreed hurriedly. He sighed. "But sometimes, the others just don't understand the more delicate issues of one's life." He sighed again. "Like love."
Baldrick's ears perked up at that. "Love, Mr. Percy?"
"Yes," said Percy, viciously jabbing the remains of his biscuit into the cup. "I'm in love. And it's hopeless."
"Oh don't say that Mr. Percy. You're a handsome man. Why should it be hopeless?"
"Because she is so magnificent", he sobbed into his tea and soggy biscuit, "and she would never notice little me. I'm just a speck. A blot. A piece of tissue paper you get stuck to you shoe, and only carry around all day because you don't notice it's there."
Baldrick listened to his emotional outpouring, as usual understanding little of it.
"And then when you do notice it, you just brush it away," Percy wailed.
"I'm in love too," Baldrick, who was completely lost by the time the tissue paper was mentioned, said wistfully.
Percy sniffed and seemed to calm down a little. "Are you. With who?"
"With the handsome missionary."
Percy stared blankly, not knowing who he meant.
"We spent the day together, talking and laughing. We were supposed to be repairing his ship, but we were too busy carrying all of his things to pay much attention to that."
"Carrying his things?" said Percy, who was just beginning to catch on to the fact that Baldrick was speaking of Chakotay. "To where?"
"To the other shuttle bay. To put them into one of the Voyager shuttles", Baldrick explained, as though that were obvious.
"I saw him putting some of his things in there, and when I asked him why, he said that he was planning a little romantic trip for him and Queenie. So I helped him carry in all his things, without letting the repair crew see. It's supposed to be a surprise, you see," he added, not noticing the choking sounds that Percy was emitting.
At that very moment, Blackadder wandered into the mess hall looking for Baldrick. On sighting them he strolled up to the table.
"Hello Percy", he said. "I hear you have a new sweetheart."
Percy uttered a cry, leapt up from the table and ran sobbing from the room. Blackadder watched him with an eyebrow raised.
"What was all that about?"
"He's in love."
"I see". He pulled out a chair and sat down.
"Speaking of which, tonight's the night, Balders. I want you to put on your prettiest frock, brush a little rouge onto your cheeks, and make your way to Chakotay's quarters."
Baldrick stuck his lower lip out. "I don't want to do that."
Blackadder sighed. "I thought we went over this. You won't actually have to do anything..."
"I don't want you to use me as a prawn in one of your little games," Baldrick said stubbornly.
Blackadder stared at him, distracted by the mention of seafood. "I think you mean 'pawn', Balders, not 'prawn'."
"Besides, Mr. Chakotay has been very nice to me."
"Oh has he now?"
"We spent hours together this morning, just talking."
"That's because I told you to go down to the shuttle bay and talk to him."
Baldrick continued plaintively, "Most people on this ship don't bother to engage me in conversation at all."
"That's probably because they want to maintain their sanity, Baldrick." He frowned. "Just what did the two of you talk about that was so fascinating?"
"All sorts of things. Ships systems, the security teams, the weapons and shields."
Blackadder's face began to darken.
"He was very interested in all the things I had to say."
"I'm sure he was." Blackadder pounded the table in frustration. "Damn him. He's turned the tables on me. He's using you for information."
"What do you mean, using me for information?"
Blackadder waved his hand distractedly. "It doesn't really matter. I doubt that anything you told him would be particularly useful."
"I take offence at that slight," Baldrick said.
"That's good. I'd hate it if my insults were losing their edge." He rubbed his nose thoughtfully. "But let's face it Balders. The last three times you actually spent all of your shift at your station at Ops, and actually tried to do anything there, we had a series of disasters." He sighed. "Well, we have to do something. I've told Queenie to arrive at his quarters tonight. If you're not there to ruin things, I might have just played right into his hands."
He started to drum his fingers on the table. "Let me think..."
In the end, Blackadder resorted to a tried and true method of coercion - the threat of brute force - to convince Baldrick to visit Chakotay's quarters.
"I don't know what that slimy git is up to", he admitted, "but I'm damned if I'll go down without a fight."
While Baldrick went back to his quarters to change, Blackadder left in search of Queenie. He decided to follow her to Chakotay's quarters, so he could witness for himself what transpired.
He had not counted, however, on the inane intervention of Melchett and Percy...
Baldrick trudged down the corridor, muttering under his breath about the unfairness of life in general, and servitude under Lieutenant Blackadder in particular. On reaching the guest quarters, he stopped and pressed a grimy finger against the chime. There was no answer so he poked it again. Still no one replied.
Thinking that he could merely knock on the doors instead, Baldrick stepped up to them. Much to his surprise they slid open.
"Hello?" he peered around the corner, but could see nothing. The room appeared dark and empty. "Hello?" he said again, and took a few steps inside.
No sooner had he done so than he was roughly set upon by a masked figure, who tackled him to the ground.
"I'll teach you to usurp my position!" the voice said gruffly, through a layer of bandana.
Baldrick merely squeaked in surprise. His attacker, who had begun to enthusiastically pummel his body with punches, suddenly realized that he was in fact assaulting someone clad in a dress.
"Lights", he barked.
Baldrick blinked in the glare, and found himself pinned to the ground by none other than Melchett, who had a large blue bandana tied across his nose and mouth.
"Mr. Melchett!" he exclaimed. "What on earth are you doing in here? Did you come for a bible class?"
"A what?" Mechett frowned, nonplussed. "No. I was waiting for that damned mercenary." (Melchett, in his enraged state, had not realized that Chakotay would be unlikely to ring his own doorbell. The men of Voyager, as we have established, were not the brightest stars in the quadrant.)
"I didn't think Chakotay would be here," admitted Baldrick.
Melchett blushed, perceiving he had leapt ungraciously upon the object of his desire, and withdrew his hands from Baldrick's person.
"Then what are you doing here, Miss Baldrick?" he inquired, slipping off the bandada.
"Blackadder told me to come", Baldrick explained. "I guess I forgot to tell him about Queenie's romantic trip," he added ruefully.
"What trip?" asked Melchett, who was well and truly confused by the situation.
Before Baldrick could reply, the door swished open again and in strode Queenie, who never bothered to knock or chime.
"What's going on here!" she exclaimed.
At her cry Blackadder, who had been shadowing her down the corridor, dashed through the doors. He glanced past her to the couple on the floor, his expression of glee quickly slipping away when he saw who was beside Baldrick.
"Yes", he snapped irritably, "explain yourselves."
"Well, I was looking for Mr. Chakotay", began Melchett.
"So was I," threw in Baldrick.
Queenie stared at him for a moment, then screwed her nose up in disgust.
"I know you!" she said, remembering Baldrick for possibly the first time in months. "You're that little monkey that works on my bridge. Ballrock."
"Baldrick, ma'am," Blackadder supplied. "If I may ask," he added, "how did you recognize him"?
"It is quite a clever disguise", Queenie said, "wearing a dress like that". She waved her hands dismissively at Baldrick, who apart from his dress was wearing no other disguise at all. "But he still smells the same."
"Oh." Blackadder hadn't thought of that.
"What are you doing here, Edmund?" she asked.
"I was merely on my nightly security rounds, ma'am", he lied, "when I heard what I thought was your yelp of distress."
"And where's Chakotay?" she demanded, rapidly losing interest in what Melchett and Baldrick were doing on the floor. "We were supposed to have a romantic evening together."
"I don't know, your majesty", Blackadder replied truthfully. "Perhaps we should ask the computer."
"Good lord!" exclaimed Melchett, finally realizing why Miss Baldrick's perfume had smelled so familiar.
"Computer," Queenie ordered. "Where is Mr. Chakotay?"
"Mr. Chakotay is in shuttle bay one."
"What!" three voices exclaimed. Only Baldrick look unsurprised.
Queenie stormed from the room, heading for the nearest turbolift. Blackadder quickly followed her. Baldrick and Melchett scrambled up from the floor and trotted after them.
"Deck ten", Queenie barked as the turbolift doors shut behind them.
Blackadder's mind was racing. What was he doing in shuttle bay one when his own ship was in shuttle bay two? Stealing one of Voyager's shuttles? That would make sense. They were much better equipped than his own battered craft. Well, this certainly would put an end to his own problem, in fact it would solve itself. He did his best to keep his face impassive, even stern. Queenie looked like she wanted to behead someone. Melchett appeared correspondingly nervous. Baldrick, as usual, was completely oblivious to the dramatic tension of the moment.
At that moment Blackadder's comm badge chirped. He slapped it, and a nervous voice stated, "Lieutenant, we have a problem."
"The computer says there has been an unauthorized shuttle launch in shuttle bay one."
Steam began to emerge from Queenie's ears.
"Don't worry, ensign, we're on it," Blackadder replied.
Queenie began to audibly grind her teeth. Blackadder smiled, thinking of that comfortable chair on the bridge...
As Queenie and her entourage rounded the corner to the shuttle bay entrance they sighted Percy, who was leaning again the wall just outside the door. He leapt up at their approach, stammering a greeting.
Queenie merely glared at him and kept on going. But she was too late.
As she strode through the doorway into the shuttle bay the force field rematerialized across the gaping exit. She could see the rear end of one of Voyager's shuttles steaming off at impulse speed. Before she could issue any further orders, it exploded, sending debris in all directions, and a mild shock wave towards Voyager itself. Queenie stumbled but did not fall. Behind her, Blackadder, Melchett, Percy and Baldrick stared open mouthed at the flotsam and jetsam. Blackadder raised an eyebrow. The handsome mercenary had become space junk.
"Who did this?" Queenie's voice was barely a whisper.
When no one responded, she spun to face them and demanded, "WHO DID THIS?"
Blackadder glanced at Percy, suddenly aware of who his latest crush was on. Percy, who incidentally was concealing several stray pieces of machinery and wiring in his pockets, had turned bright red and opened his mouth to speak several times before anything came out.
"It was Baldrick!" he blurted.
Baldrick merely stared at him in stupid surprise.
"In fact," Percy continued, convinced that Queenie - who had beheaded crewmen for less - would definitely behead the murderer of her lover, "he told me he spent nearly the whole day down here."
Queenie raised an eyebrow at Baldrick, her face impassive.
"Is this true, Baldrick?"
"Well, I was down here in the shuttle bay your majesty and I did..." he began.
Before he could finish Queenie let out a squeal of delight.
"Oh, you lovely lovely man! What a scrumptious thing to do!"
Percy's mouth fell open. "What?"
"Chakotay was planning to run out on Queenie", Blackadder offered.
"Oh dear," Percy managed.
"Oh dear indeed," piped in Melchett. "Well, Baldrick, it looks like you've done Queenie, and the rest of us, quite a favour."
"I have?" stuttered Baldrick, still mystified.
"Yes, you funny little monkey." Queenie pinched him on the cheek. "And do you know what? I've had the most fabulous idea about how to reward you!"
"Oh no", Blackadder whispered.
"What's that?" Baldrick asked.
"I'm going to make you my new first officer".
"Oh no", Blackadder moaned.
"Hurrah for me", said Baldrick.
"We might have to get you some Bolian strength cologne first", Queenie added as an afterthought.
"Congratulations, old man", said Melchett, emphasizing the word "man" and slapping him on the back jovially, hoping that his earlier mistake would never be spoken of again.
Percy merely looked ill.
"Come along then, back to the bridge", Queenie announced. "I think I'm going to throw a party. I love parties."
"Can I still wear my dress as first officer?" Baldrick asked.
"Oh god", said Blackadder, and let his head fall with a thud against the wall.
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