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KATIE’S 21ST BIRTHDAY FIC

 

 

SUMMARY:  There’s a birthday on Voyager… but nobody seems to have remembered…  Or have they?  Let this be a lesson – never, ever let Q bring the gifts to a party *manic grin*  I apologise for the hideous phonetic spelling near the end…

 

RATING:  Ah’m a-reckonin’ it’s a PG…  PG-13 maybe for language…

 

DISCLAIMER:  They’re not mine.  Any of them.  Except for three of them, and you know about them…

 

SPOILERS/SETTINGS:  Only spoilers for our own little season.  Therefore set in that, possibly pre-“The Q and I”.  But it probably doesn’t show.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTES:  Hey Katie!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  I won’t sing.  Well, okay, I might, but you can’t hear me anyway, so… yeah.  Right.  So I tried to finish “Memory” for ya, and it didn’t work out, so I decided to do this.  Enjoy :)  And I’m sorry again for the card being late.  I’m a disorganised tralk and I will now go and shoot myself in the head. ;)  Now, without further ado, I present…

 

 

Katie’s 21st Birthday Fic

 

 

It was May 19th.  Probably.  Who knew with the Stardate system?  It might just have well have been Octember 49th.  But anyway.  It felt like it should be May 19th, so everyone assumed it was.  May 19th was a very special day for one crewman.  Unfortunately, nobody else seemed to have remembered…

 

Lieutenant Kat-Doec fell out of bed (literally – it was an occupational hazard when you slept in a hammock), thrashed about wildly on the floor for several seconds, and began shouting, clearly suffering from another of her bizarre and incredibly vivid dreams.

 

“No.  Don’t point that thing at me!  No, Riff, shoot him!!  He’s the one with the light saber!!”

 

After a few more seconds of this, she stopped writhing, and woke up, sitting up quite calmly and getting to her feet.  She stretched.  Today was going to be good, she had a feeling.  It was her birthday – birthdays meant presents.  Presents meant free stuff.  Free stuff, no matter what it was, was good.  Free stuff, in fact, was very good.  Especially when you’d run out of replicator rations.

 

Kat whistled a random tune to herself, and ambled casually behind her makeshift screen to get ready.  She emerged ten seconds later, twisting her hair up into a clip, and grinned at her room-mate.

 

“Good morning, Seven!  How are you this fine day?”

 

The ex-Borg raised an eyebrow at her unusually chipper attitude.  “I am well.  And you?”

 

“Never better!”  She hopped, skipped and jumped to the doorway of the Cargo Bay.  Before she left, she turned back and said, “Anything you wanna say to me?”

 

Seven stopped working at her console briefly.  “Not to my knowledge, Lieutenant.”

 

Kat looked mildly disappointed, but shrugged it off.  Seven probably hadn’t realised it was her birthday, and wasn’t one for being spontaneous at the best of times.  “Okay… well, have a nice day.”  With that, she exited the Cargo Bay and headed to the Mess Hall.

 

=/\=

 

The Mess was surprisingly empty.  There was one Ensign near the far wall, poring ponderously over a PADD, and that was it, aside from Neelix, who, for some unknown reason, looked to be rushed off his feet.  Kat approached the counter.

 

“Hey, Neelix.”

 

“Ah, Miss Doec, uh… I’m afraid I’m very busy this morning.”  He ran across to something that was boiling rather violently and lifted off the lid, filling his kitchen with thick steam.  He emerged from it looking dishevelled and slightly soggy.  “You’ll just have to use the replicator.”

 

“I can’t.”

 

“What?”  He was distracted again by something that sounded horribly like popcorn battering against a microwave, and disappeared to the back of the kitchen to attend to it.  He came back.  “Why not?”

 

She shrugged.  “Out of rations.”

 

Neelix sighed impatiently.  “Oh… well…”  He rummaged underneath the counter, came back up, and unceremoniously dropped a plate in front of her.  “Look, this’ll have to do.  I’m extremely busy…”

 

She looked at it, mildly disgusted; it contained two pieces of cold toast and something that might, at some point in its existence, have been a fried egg.  “Thanks…”  She took the plate to a table, sat down, and stared at it for a few seconds.  She was hungry.  But not that hungry.

 

She deposited in the replicator, and made her way to the Bridge for her morning shift.  Maybe somebody there had remembered what day it was…

 

=/\=

 

The Bridge was in apparent chaos when she arrived.  One of the consoles had exploded, leaving a decidedly smoky atmosphere, Janeway was running around shouting orders as if her life depended on it, Chakotay looked like he was about to have a nervous breakdown (but then, he usually did in crisis situations), Harry was frantically pushing buttons and controls trying to ascertain something, Paris was attempting to keep control of the ship (despite the fact that it was running very smoothly indeed), and Tuvok, of course, was standing perfectly calmly at his station, pressing the occasional light.  Kat stood on the threshold of the Turbolift, aghast and unmoving.

 

“Uh… did I… miss something?”

 

Janeway stopped mid-stride and turned to look at her.  “Ah, Lieutenant.  Relieve Mr. Tuvok, if you please.”

 

Kat nodded and took Tuvok’s place behind the tactical station.  As soon as the Vulcan vacated the Bridge, naturally, the entire thing began to bleep and flash at an alarming rate.  She panicked, pressed something, and caused the thing to flash even more.

 

Janeway raised an eyebrow.  “Come on, Doec, I haven’t got all morning.”

 

Kat found her head and realised what the problem was.  “Sorry… wrong password…”  She keyed in the correct one and everything calmed down again at her station; unfortunately, whatever else was happening didn’t.  “Ma’am?”

 

“Yes, what now?”  She was tetchy.  It wasn’t a good sign.

 

“Might I ask what in the name of crap is going on?”

 

The Captain gave her a withering stare, as if it was the most obvious thing in the Universe.  “Not when you ask with that sort of language!”

 

“Sorry.”

 

A sigh.  “It’s a drill, Lieutenant, now calm down.”

 

“Oh.  Well, nobody told me!”

 

“That’s the point.”  She indicated to Harry; he pressed a control, and everything returned to normal.  “Incidentally, you’re dead.”  She returned to her Command chair.  “Resume course, Tom.”

 

The morning passed uneventfully after that.  When her shift finally ended, Kat was about ready to die of boredom, and practically beat a hole through the Turbolift door on her way out.  The only person faster than her was Harry Kim.  They took the lift to the same floor in a reasonably amiable silence.  Kat was, however, getting slightly irritated by this point, as nobody had yet remembered it was her birthday.  She had expected Harry, of all people, to have said something by now.

 

“Computer, halt Turbolift!”  Okay, so that was probably a little extreme, but she had no idea how long this would take.

 

“Kat, what are you doing?” asked Harry, already a little scared.

 

“Harry.  What day is it?”

 

“It’s Sunday.”

 

“Duh.”  She rolled her eyes.  “I mean what date?”  He started reeling off the Stardate; she stopped him halfway through.  “No, I mean the real date.”

 

“Oh… um…”

 

“It’s May 19th, you idiot.”  Harry put on an “Oh” expression, hoping it was the correct response.  “What happens on May 19th?”

 

“It’s… um… one day before the Captain’s birthday?”

 

Kat was about to smack him, but then remembered he was, in fact, right.  “Oh, crap, it is, isn’t it!”  She sighed to herself, irritated.  “But never mind that.  What else happens on May 19th?”

 

“I… I really don’t have a clue.”

 

She growled, causing him to back off.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t get very far in the confined space, so tried becoming one with the wall instead.  Kat got control over herself, gradually.  “Resume Turbolift…”

 

The room began to hum again as it completed its descent.  The doors slid open and Harry ran for it, suddenly very scared for his life.  Kat stepped very calmly out of the lift, concealing her incredibly un-calm temper, and began to head down the corridor.  She was going to spend the rest of her day in the Holodeck.  At least she could programme in someone who remembered when birthdays were.

 

Halfway down, as she rounded a corner, she ran smack into her two friends, T’eyla Minh and Marissa Blake.  They were clearly in a hurry to get somewhere.  This was especially odd in Marissa’s case, as she never rushed anywhere, as she was always on time.  Minh was always late, so Kat didn’t think too much of her haste.  The three of them picked themselves up.

 

“Hi, guys.  Where’s the fire?”

 

They exchanged nervous glances.  Minh poked Marissa in the ribs, and she cleared her throat.  “Um…  No fire.  What makes you say that?”

 

“Don’t play dumb with me.  Why are you in such a rush?”

 

Minh poked her again.  Marissa glared at her, but didn’t confront her over it, merely answered Kat.  “No reason…  In fact, we weren’t rushing at all, were we?”

 

Minh floundered briefly – she had been trying to get away with not saying anything.  “Uh… nope.  We were walking at a perfectly reasonable pace.  It must be you who was rushing, Kat.”

 

“Okay, maybe I was, but…”  She raised a sceptical eyebrow.  “You know what, it doesn’t matter.  I’m going to the Holodeck, should anyone want me.”

 

“Right,” said Marissa, nodding.  “Well, if we need you, we’ll come knocking.”

 

“Right,” repeated Minh.

 

“Riiight,” said Kat.  She was about to head off again, when she thought she might as well give it a try.  If her two best friends didn’t remember her birthday, there was no hope.  “Hey, just one thing…”  Off their expectant looks, she asked: “Nothing else you want to… say… or… wish… or anything?”

 

They looked thoughtful, and shrugged at each other.  Minh shook her head.  “Nope.”

 

Kat sighed.  “Okay.  See ya later, then.”  And with that, she headed off in the direction she’d been going originally, towards the Holodeck.  Minh and Marissa waited until she was out of sight, giggled conspiratorially, and resumed running down the corridor.

 

=/\=

Several hours later…

 

Kat re-emerged from the Holodeck feeling only slightly better.  The character she’d tried to programme – a Jewish clown from an old Earth cartoon with garish, turquoise hair, whom she’d thought would be an appropriate birthday-wishing candidate – had gone slightly awry somewhere along the lines.  He seemed incapable of saying anything except “Hey hey!” in a scratchy voice, and would follow this by squirting her with water from a flower, or squeezing an old fashioned bicycle horn in her ear.  After fifteen attempts, each more annoying, more wet, and more loud than the last, she finally gave up, and conceded to sit in Sandrine’s instead with her hands wrapped around a large, holographic glass of something alcoholic.  The only thing which had managed to cheer her up was playing pool against one of the holocharacters.  And that was only because he was so appalling at it.

 

So, now she was heading back to her quarters, miserable, and a year older, with nothing to show for it.  What made it even worse was that she knew full well that tomorrow, everyone would be raving about it being the Captain’s birthday; there would be a party, presents, the works.  Well, she wasn’t going to attend.  She was going to sit in her room and sulk like any decent person who’d had their birthday forgotten should do.

 

She entered the darkened Cargo Bay without ordering the lights to turn on; she could see well enough by the greenish glow coming from Seven’s alcove anyway.  Her plan for the evening was to lie in her hammock, swinging gently, and stare at the ceiling until insanity overtook or she fell asleep, whichever came first.  However, even this was going to be thwarted.  As soon as the doors closed, the lights came on.

 

She groaned.  The last thing she needed was for the computer to be screwed up again.  “Computer, lights off.”  Nothing happened.  “Lights off.

 

“Unable to comply,” came the answer.

 

“Why the Hell not?”  There was no answer.  B’elanna had managed to get most of the bug from Voyager’s computer system, but it occasionally went a little crazy and did random things, like turning on the lights when they weren’t required, or simply not doing anything when asked.  Kat figured it would go wrong at a time like this.  She sighed.  “Fine, I’ll sleep with the lights on.”

 

She cringed at her wording, expecting them to go off again in some bizarre form of computer reverse psychology.  Nothing happened, however, so she proceeded to her corner of the room.  Just as she was about to crash unceremoniously onto her hammock (no easy task, as it had a tendency to twist itself upside down and deposit her on the floor almost immediately), she noticed a PADD lying on top of it, with the words “READ ME” on it.

 

“What is this, ‘Alice in Wonderland’?” she asked herself, but picked it up nonetheless.  She activated it.  It read: “Go to the Mess Hall.  Dress formally but casually.”

 

Kat briefly considered not going, after the day she’d had.  Also, anonymous notes always made her suspicious.  In the end, however, her curiosity won out, and she got ready in record time before bolting out of the Cargo Bay and heading to the Mess Hall a second time…

 

=/\=

 

She entered.  It was dark.  Her heart sank; obviously this was some kind of practical joke to make her feel worse.  Just as she was about to turn around and leave, though, the lights came up, and she was showered in streamers and deafened by shouting and noise-makers.

 

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!”

 

It took her a moment to recover, but once she had, she grinned.  “Oh my God… I had no idea!!”

 

Minh, Marissa and Harry all stepped forwards through the crowd of assembled crewmen, and Kat tackled-hugged all three of them, excitedly.  They seemed surprised she hadn’t guessed.  “Really?”

 

“Yeah, I thought you’d all forgotten!”

 

Minh gave her an incredulous look.  “What about the note?  Didn’t you suspect anything?”

 

“Well… okay, maybe a little, but after this morning… I guess… oh, I don’t know.”  She grinned, and hugged them all again.  “You guys are the greatest!”

 

“It was all Harry’s idea,” admitted Marissa, smacking him on the back.  He coughed, looking a little sheepish.

 

“Yeah, it was…”

 

Kat smiled.  “Aw…”  Then, she noticed all the food laid out on the counter, and realised why Neelix had seemed so busy that morning.  She descended on it with glee, piling her plate with three of everything.  “Come on, what are you all waiting for?!”

 

Everyone laughed, and joined her.  Very soon, nearly all of the food had disappeared, and the party was in full swing.  Various crewmen either arrived or excused themselves as shifts allowed, until eventually, only a small group of people was left.  Janeway and Chakotay were in one corner, pretending not to oversee the proceedings; Kat and her friends were being the life of the party, singing and giggling and standing on tables, in the middle of the room; Seven and the Doctor had wandered in and stayed for five minutes before deciding it was all too much, and leaving again; and, finally, Neelix was basking in the warm glow of being a good host.

 

Then, Kat realised something.  “Hey… where’re my presents?!”

 

Marissa laughed.  “I wondered how long that’d take…”  She exchanged a glance with Minh, who nodded, then looked up at the ceiling, and addressed it.  “Okay, come on down.”

 

There was a blinding flash and a slight swishing noise, and Q appeared in the middle of the room.  Dressed as Santa Claus.

 

“Ho, ho, ho!” he shouted, obviously very proud of himself.  Kat’s mouth dropped open at the sight of him, as did Janeway’s.

 

“Q?!”  It came from both Captain and birthday girl, equally incredulous, for very different reasons.

 

The omnipotent being stood proudly on the table he was occupying and grinned.  “The very same, bearing gifts, no less!”

 

Another voice came from nowhere.  “Wrong holiday, Dad!”  Then, Q2 fell rather heavily to the floor, apparently through the ceiling.  He got up and brushed himself off nonchalantly, as if he fell through a ceiling every day of his existence, and addressed his father again.  “It’s not Christmas yet.”

 

“Oh…”  Q looked quite disappointed by this, but snapped his fingers anyway.  The Santa outfit vanished and he appeared in his usual Captain’s getup, to Janeway’s annoyance.

 

“Lieutenant Blake,” she began, “I did not authorise inviting Q to the party…”

 

“Oh, Kathy, don’t be such a spoil sport,” he said, blowing her a kiss.  She threw her arms in the air, exasperatedly, and walked back over to Chakotay to watch whatever might be about to happen from a safe distance.  Kat was still in a state of admirable shock by the whole thing, and couldn’t decide whether she was more pleased to see Q or his son.

 

The latter made his way over to the three trouble-makers.  “Nice to see you again.  Done anything good lately?”

 

“It’s just not the same without you, Q-ball,” said Minh, about three seconds away from being all over him.  Marissa rolled her eyes and dragged her away by the back of her jacket.

 

“You’re an engaged woman, put him down.”

 

Minh stuck her tongue out.  “I won’t tell Selin if you won’t.  Besides, I know you only want him for yourself…”

 

Q looked over, dragging his attention away from the Captain.  He seemed very impressed.  “Already raking in the ladies, son?  That’s my boy!”

 

Chakotay was getting annoyed.  “Did you come here for a reason, Q?”

 

“I’m always here for a reason, Commander.”

 

“Chasing after me is not a reason, Q…” pointed out Janeway.

 

Q shrugged.  “Maybe not in your book.”  He addressed the entire room.  “This time, however, I regret to say that Kathy is not my only reason for visiting.  The delightful Lieutenant Blake and the… um… equally delightful Ensign T’eyla requested I come and deliver Lieutenant Doec’s birthday presents.  And when I found out it was to be a surprise, well, how could I refuse?”

 

“Come on, then!” said Kat, antsy for gifts.  “What’ve you brought me?”

 

Q looked thoughtful.  “Hm… which to do first…”  He eyed the empty plates and trays.  “Ah!  Of course!”  He raised a hand and was about to click when Janeway stopped him.

 

“Wait!”  Everyone looked at her.  “I’m sorry, people, but I have to ask…  Q.  This isn’t going to involve being sent halfway across the universe, is it?”  He shook his head.  “What about the Continuum?”  He shook his head again.  She thought some more.  “What about-?”

 

“Aunt Kathy, you’re too paranoid for your own good,” said the younger Q.  “You won’t be going anywhere.”

 

“Quite right, junior,” added Q.  “Now.  If you don’t mind, I think the birthday girl is waiting.”

 

Kat was starting to twitch.  Janeway didn’t want to risk having a seizure patient on her hands (and, more to the point, having to explain it to the Doctor later on) so waved a hand to indicate for Q to continue.  She attempted to settle her gradually rising panic, and her suspicion that it was all about to go horribly wrong.  Q raised his hand again… and snapped his fingers.

 

There was another blinding flash, and then another person appeared in the room.  It was assumed to be female from the general shape.  She was bald, dressed in a flowing gown, and was blue with touches of green and yellow that slightly resembled pores.  She was also holding a large tray in both hands, covered by a gold cloth.  The woman looked momentarily stunned, but eventually managed to settle her features into a warm, friendly smile.

 

The other occupants of the room had varied reactions.  Janeway and Chakotay looked thoroughly confused, not having a single clue who she was.  Kat and her two friends, eventually, figured it out, and started grinning moronically.  Harry Kim was slightly afraid; the woman seemed friendly enough, but he could sense an underlying hostility to her.

 

“Oh my God!” yelled Kat.  “I know you!  You’re… you’re Zhaan!”

 

Zhaan, now that she had been identified, smiled even wider.  “Yes, child.”

 

“Excuse me,” interrupted the Captain, politely.  “Who?”

 

“I’ll show you the holoprogramme later, ma’am,” said Minh.  Janeway wanted to ask more questions, but settled on this for now, staying out of it.

 

Kat, meanwhile, was frantically shaking Zhaan’s hand, only just giving her enough time to put down the tray.  “I can’t believe it’s you!!  I never thought you were real.  You’re my favourite character!”

 

“Yes, Q explained all of this…  I admit to being slightly confused, but… well, Crichton was quite vehement that I should come.”

 

It was Marissa’s turn to be excited.  “Crichton?  You mean, you’re all real?”

 

Zhaan nodded.  “Apparently so.”

 

“Wow…” said Kat.  “Okay, so what’d you bring?  What’s with the tray?”

 

“Ah…” said Zhaan, lifting off the cloth.  “We weren’t sure what to do.  Crichton told us that on a day such as this it is customary to bake a ‘kayk’… but none of us were sure how to do such a thing, and he claimed not to have the correct supplies.  D’Argo prepared a Luxan speciality for you instead… Crichton likened them to ‘kuk-eez’ a while ago, but I’m sure I don’t know what he means…  They proved very popular with everyone.”

 

On the tray was an immense pile of double chocolate chip cookies, or at the very least, something resembling them.  Everyone took one and tried it, then promptly melted into their own form of chocolate heaven.  Kat was the first to recover.

 

“Man, those are delicious…”  She reached for another.  “Hey, Q… could you get everyone else here?  Please?  Just for a while?”

 

Q pointedly ignored the look of complete incredulity on Janeway’s face and nodded, raising his hand again and snapping his fingers.  This time there were several flashes in sequence around the room.  First, a very pale, greyish girl with silver hair appeared on one of the tables and looked around, frantically.  Then, a large male with tentacles and lots of tattoos materialised in the far corner looking mildly bewildered, before drawing a very large sword from a sheath on his back.  A small, half-frog, half-slug like creature in a floating chair was next, but he didn’t stay airborne for very long, as he came crashing to the floor.  Something purple with four arms and a flat head emerged behind Neelix’s counter, scaring the life out of the Talaxian.  A woman, human in appearance, with black hair, fell out of the air and landed with a crunch on the floor, looked around her, and drew out a large, chunky gun.  Finally, a man appeared in much the same manner.

 

He was the first of them to recover, looking around in awe.  “First Q… now this… Boy, this day couldn’t get any weirder…”

 

Janeway was in official mode almost instantly, while Kat, Minh and Marissa merely stood there in complete shock.  “I am Captain Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager-“

 

The human man held up two hands in a “calm-down” gesture.  “I know who you are, Captain…”  Then, half to himself, he added.  “Man, that feels weird…”

 

The woman with black hair, still with her weapon drawn, was edging closer to him.  “Crichton, where the frell are we?” she hissed.  The large tentacled man growled.

 

“Everyone, just calm down,” said the man named Crichton, who then turned to Janeway.  “Captain, I’m John Crichton.  I’m an astronaut, and… well, it’d take too long to explain.  I can’t believe I’m meeting you, but Q?”  He turned to him.  “Couldn’t you have gotten me on Kirk’s Enterprise or somethin’?”

 

“Sorry.  Doesn’t work that way.”

 

“Nuts.”  Crichton turned to the other people who’d come with him.  “Guys, would you just calm down!  D’Argo, put that damn weapon away.  You too, Aeryn.”  They obliged, still a little suspicious.  “Chi, those cookies aren’t for you, leave ‘em alone.”  The grey girl pouted and backed away from the tray; Kat handed her a cookie anyway.

 

“Uh… thanks…” she said, and held out a hand.  “I’m Chiana.”

 

“I know.  I’m Kat, and this is Minh, Marissa and Harry.  That’s Janeway and Chakotay.”  The two accused waved a little nervously; this was the weirdest First Contact they’d ever experienced.

 

Neelix cleared his throat a little nervously.  “Uh… Mr. Crichton, sir?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Your, uh… friend seems to be having some kind of seizure…”

 

The four-armed purple thing did look to be panicking slightly.  The woman named Aeryn ran over and tried to calm it down.

 

“Pilot?  Are you all right?”

 

“M-M-Moya… C-can’t… h-hear her.  All s-s-silent.  Is she… all r-right?”

 

Aeryn looked helplessly at Crichton, who groaned.  “Aw, man…  Q, you’d better send him back…”  Q nodded, snapped, and ‘Pilot’ disappeared again.  “Thanks.  Hey… where’s Buckwheat?”

 

“Down here!” said Minh, bending down to pick up the frog-like creature.  He wriggled and adopted an annoyed expression.

 

“Let go of me!  I am Rygel XVI, Dominar of over-“

 

“Yeah, yeah, we know, Sparky…” said Crichton.  “Obviously the gravity here is different to on Moya or something…”

 

Janeway intervened again, attempting to calm down the chaos that had overtaken the Mess Hall.  “Moya?”

 

The one Crichton had called D’Argo spoke, his voice deep and gruff like a Klingon’s.  “Moya is our ship.  And she is far more functional than this one.”

 

“Now, D’Argo, we don’t know that for sure… actually, you’re probably wrong.”  Then, to Janeway, “You’ll have to excuse him, ma’am, he’s not from around here…  None of us are.”

 

“I’ll say…  If you don’t mind my asking, what, um, species are you all from?  You, Mr Crichton, you’re obviously Terran.”

 

“Yeah, I’m Human.”

 

“And you… Aeryn, was it?  You’re Human, too?”

 

That had obviously struck a nerve.  The woman looked at Janeway in utter disbelief, as if the very idea was something horrible.  “I’m Sebacean.  A Peacekeeper, in fact.  We’re far superior.”  Crichton ignored that.  Kat and her friends all sniggered.  Meanwhile, Harry had joined Neelix behind the counter, figuring it was probably the safest place to hide if anything went wrong and war broke out in the Mess Hall.

 

“I see…”  Janeway coughed nervously.  “And… you, Mr. D’Argo?”

 

“Ka D’Argo.  I’m a Luxan.”

 

She made a mental note.  Chakotay joined in.  “You… Chiana?”

 

“Yeah, I’m Nebari.”

 

“And that… thing?”

 

“Dominar Rygel XVI of the Hynerian Empire.  But you can call me ‘Your Eminence’.”

 

“Thank you…” said Janeway.  “And you, Zhaan…  I thought you might have been a Bolian when you arrived, but I’m obviously mistaken.”

 

“Correct, my dear.  I’m not a Bolian.  I’m Delvian.  And it is a pleasure to meet all of you.”

 

“Likewise.”

 

“All right, everybody, I’m afraid I have to send you back now.”  It was Q, being remarkably organised for once.  “Say your goodbyes.  And make it quick, we have a lot to do.”  Everybody shook hands, and Moya’s crew all wished Kat a happy birthday.  Before they left, Crichton turned to Janeway and said:

 

“By the way, you have a piss-poor translator system.  It’s got more loop-holes than Gran’ma Crichton’s crocheted tablecloths.  I’d love to fix y’all up with some translator microbes, but I can’t, so you’ll just have to live with it…”  Before he could explain further, Q snapped them back to their own dimension.  The Mess Hall fell silent again, save for Kat and Minh giggling from the experience they’d just been through.

 

“This is even cooler than that time that other me appeared…” said Minh.

 

Q2, who had been quite silent throughout it all, suddenly cleared his throat.  “Y’know, Dad, I can’t help but feel your outfit’s all wrong.”

 

Q sighed.  “First you complain about my Santa outfit, now this?”  He feigned an incredibly hurt and dejected expression.  “What do you suggest, son o’mine?”

 

“Hmm…”  Q2 was suddenly struck with an idea, and leaned over to mumble it to Marissa, who passed it on to Minh, and the three of them nodded their heads violently.  “Okay, here goes…”  He snapped his fingers.  Q briefly vanished, then reappeared again.  Kat squealed with delight – he was dressed in head to foot in black lycra, with spangles on the top half, a tail attached to his belt, a pair of rather fetching pointed ears on his head, and his face made up to resemble a cat.  He looked down.

 

“What in the Universe…?”

 

“Oh!!!” squealed Kat, clapping like a four year old.

 

“Well, I never…” muttered Janeway, which caused Kat to giggle even more.  “Would someone care to explain?”

 

Minh and Marissa both shouted, very loudly:  “Magical Mister Mistoffeles!” and proceeded to jump up and down.  Kat soon joined in, and they danced in a little circle for a few seconds.  Janeway turned to Chakotay.

 

“Is that meant to mean something?”

 

He shrugged.  “Who knows?  It’s a shame Paris is on duty…”  She nodded, agreeing.  Her curiosity had now gotten the better of her.

 

“All right, Q, what’s next?”

 

“Could it be my little Kathy is playing along?”  Off her death glare, he cleared his throat.  “All right.  Let’s see…”  He sought out Harry Kim, who was trying his very best to look inconspicuous, and had, at that exact moment, completely failed.  “Harry!”

 

“What?  Me?”

 

“Yes, you, kiddo.”

 

“Ohhh, no.  You leave me out of this…”

 

“This party was your idea, buster, there’s no getting out of it.”  He pointed to the floor in front of him, attempting to look domineering.  The effect was somewhat ruined by his ridiculous appearance, but it still scared the life out of Harry – probably for that reason.  “Here.  Now.”

 

Harry conceded defeat and trudged forwards to stand in front of Q.  He looked the Ensign over and stroked his chin thoughtfully, then made a lightbulb materialise above his head to indicate he’d had an idea.  “Ah!  Perfect!”  He made a show of summoning all his powers, then snapped his fingers again.

 

The entire Mess Hall was enveloped in the flash this time, and when it reappeared, it didn’t look much like the Mess Hall any more.  In fact, it resembled a Parisian lady’s boudoir, all done out in red and gold, and adorned by various ornaments of Indian origin.  There was a large heart shaped window at one end that looked out over a vista that remarkably resembled Paris.  Or at least, was a very close approximation of it.

 

Harry was standing looking out over it, and it took him so by surprise that he nearly fell forwards out of the window to the ground below – very, very far below.  He turned around once he’d caught his balance, away from it, and very nearly fell out of it backwards instead when he saw Kat.  Puzzled, she looked down to find herself wearing considerably less than before – she was decked out in a black corset, stockings, high heels, and a chiffon robe of some sort.  She made a pathetic attempt to cover herself with one of the cushions that was lying around, and tried to ignore the fact that Harry was now grinning as well as blushing crimson.

 

He soon dropped the grin when he realised he was wearing a Victorian gentleman’s outfit, complete with top hat.

 

Chakotay, Neelix, and the Captain were all watching this from a vantage point somewhere above, and could see that the two of them were situated inside a large elephant.  They could also see that Minh and Marissa were tethered to Q and Q2, who were attempting to climb up the side of the thing, and were, in fact, doing rather well…

 

This would have been weird enough.  However, it was about to get weirder.

 

Apparently not in control of his own body, Harry spun back around to face the window, opened his mouth, and started singing.  Very, very loud.  “My gift is my song… and this one’s for you…”

 

Kat finally lost the battle against giggles and burst out laughing.  She tried to talk, but found she wasn’t in control of her vocal cords, so continued snickering.  Harry forced himself to turn around again so he could at least look at her.  He shrugged, but it was cut off by the next line of the song.  “And you can tell everybody this is your song.”

 

Marissa had, by this point, and from her new position hanging upside down looking into the elephant, recognised the scenario and attempted to mouth it to Kat.  Unfortunately, Q2’s hand slipped and they all fell halfway to the ground and ended up suspended in midair by their waists.  Harry continued singing.  “It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done, I hope you don’t mind (I hope you don’t mind) that I put down in words… how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world…”

 

He kept going for the entire song, by which time, Kat had finished giggling and was looking at him with a mixed expression of awe and adoration.  Before either of them had time to react further, there was another flash, and everything was back to normal.

 

“Q!!!”  The admonishment came from everyone, especially Kat and Harry, who were just starting to enjoy themselves.

 

“I’m sorry, but I’m quite pressed for time.”

 

Kat glared at him.  “You have the power to control the space-time continuum, you moron!”

 

He backed up a little.  “Don’t yell at the omnipotent being in the cat-suit, Lieutenant.  It’s not polite.”  He cleared his throat again.  “Right.  Next!”  He examined Kat, who was now back in her uniform.  “Hmm… possibly I should have left you in costume…  Oh well, no matter…  Here goes!”

 

For his final trick of the evening, Q lifted his hand one more time, and, for variation, clapped his hands twice. Instead of a flash, there was a streak of lightning that seemed to come from the ceiling, and when the smoke cleared, two very odd people indeed appeared.

 

One was male, with his blonde hair pulled into a tight, hook-shaped pony-tail on top of his head.  His companion was female, with a red-with-a-white-streak beehive hairstyle.  Both were dressed in the same outfit of padded gold tunic, fishnet stockings, and black stiletto boots.  The male immediately trained his three-pronged weapon on the occupants of the room, and the woman merely eyed them all evilly.

 

Kat squealed again.  The man glared, pointed his weapon at her, and fired.  Nothing happened.  She breathed out.  “Whoa… what a way to go that would have been…”

 

“Who… are you…?” asked the man.  “And what are we doing here?”

 

Janeway very bravely stepped forwards, apparently now used to the strange beings who kept appearing in the Mess Hall.  “I’m Captain Janeway and this is my ship.”

 

“Your… ship…” said the woman, in a strange, vaguely German accent.  “Are you travelling to Transylvania?”

 

“Magenta, don’t be so stupid,” said the man.  “I doubt these…” – he looked them up and down with obvious disgust – “…Earthlings know about Transylvania…”

 

Magenta nodded.  “But… zey seem to be kvite advanced, brother.  Zey seem to haff put some kind of… dampener… on your laser…”

 

“Yeees.  That would appear to be correct.”  He handed the weapon to his sister suddenly, causing her to nearly fall over, and then held out a leather-gloved hand towards Janeway.  “My name… is Riff Raff.  And you are?”

 

“I told you.  Kathryn Janeway.  Um… welcome aboard, Mr. Raff.”

 

Kat laughed.  “Move over, ma’am, leave this to us!”  She dragged Minh and Marissa over with her, and heartily shook one of his hands.  “Riff, Magenta, welcome to Voyager.  They’re all a little… square around here, but we’re a lot of fun.  I’m Kat.”

 

“Minh,” said Minh, shaking Riff’s other hand.

 

“Marissa,” said Marissa, shaking hands with Magenta.

 

Riff Raff broke free, and yanked Magenta’s hand out of Marissa’s.  “Fine.  Which of you brought us here?”

 

“Ah… that would be me…” admitted Q.  Riff Raff took in his still feline appearance with some interest, apparently quite impressed.  “I’m Q.”

 

“Ve haff heard of your kind…” said Magenta, interested.  “Zey told us stories about ze ‘Q’ ven ve vere children.  I never zought zey vere true…”

 

Riff Raff threw his sister a “shuttup!” glance and hissed at her:  “Magenta!”  She promptly shut up.  “Mr. Q.  I’m not entirely sure why you… brought us here…  but we would like to return to our own ship.  We have… things to attend to before we return home.”

 

“Of course, of course…  Honestly, some people…”  Q rolled his eyes.  “Miss Doec, I’m sorry about this, I was hoping they’d be a little more pleasant.”

 

“No problem, Q,” she said, grinning.  “Nice meeting you, Riff, Mags.”

 

Riff eyed her curiously.  “Indeed…”

 

Before he could shut her up again, Magenta added, “It’s a shame ve already killed Columbia; she vould have loved zis…”

 

A fight between the siblings was obviously imminent; luckily, Q zapped them both back to where they belonged before it happened.  “Right.  Well, that’s your lot, I’m afraid.  I have people to see, nebulas to move…  Kathy, ma cherie, I will return anon…”

 

With that, he was gone, taking his son with him and leaving the entire party thoroughly confused.  Janeway was the first to recover.  “Well.  Happy Birthday, Lieutenant.  And if anyone even thinks of inviting Q to my birthday tomorrow, they’ll spend the rest of the week in the brig…”

 

“Noted,” said Marissa.  The Captain and First Officer left the room and Neelix began to bustle everybody else out of there, too.

 

“I’m sorry, everyone, but I have to tidy up for breakfast tomorrow…”

 

In the corridor, the four of them headed off to their respective quarters.  They reached Minh’s first.  There was a “Do Not Disturb” sign taped very obviously to the door.  Her room-mate, L’Moyl, was already in bed.  Again.

 

“Oh, for crying out loud!” she said.  “It’s not even eleven yet.  Marissa, can I crash at yours again?”

 

“Yeah, sure.  Maybe you should just ask Janeway if you can move quarters…”

 

They carried on until they’d reached Harry’s door.  He bid them a hasty good night, still a little frazzled from his singing experience, and vanished into the safety of his room.  Next along the line was Marissa’s quarters.

 

“Thanks for a fantastic birthday, guys,” said Kat, still grinning.  “This is going on record as the best ever.”  There was a group hug.

 

“No problem.  And to think you really thought we’d forgotten about it…”  Minh poked her.  Kat laughed.

 

“Yeah, well…  Now I know what Q can do, we’ll have to make this a regular feature.”

 

The three smiled deviously for a few seconds, and then dismissed the idea.  “Nah…”  With that, they both bid Kat farewell, and she headed off towards the Cargo bay to tell Seven about the party.  She was in no mood for sleep, and if she was awake and hyper, she wanted someone to share it with…

 

=/\= FIN =/\=

 

 

And that, dear friend, is the end of the birthday fanfic.  The ending sucks for three reasons: 1)  I suck at endings in general, 2) I’m in a rush to get this finished, 3) I think this killed my VoyagerMuse again (well, it’s hardly surprising, the poor bugger’s been lying dormant for ages and I throw this at it!)

 

HOPE YOU HAVE LOTS OF FUN, HON!!

 

Eat lots of ‘kayk’ and ‘kuk-eez’, watch lotsa Rocky Horror, sing along to “Cats”, and… uh… re-rent “Moulin Rouge”.  Because it’s good. :P  And now, I leave you.  I have a “Sunset Boulevard” fic to finish :)