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And So A Stranger Comes

VC: "And So A Stranger Comes"
Janeway216 — 27 Aug 1999, 5:40 PM

And so I make my debut as a Voyager City author. This story is placed early in the chronology of Voyager City, before any main events. Place it in a lull, I guess, but I'll try to have time elapse in the story.

The Delta Flyer pulled into the Voyager City train station with a whoosh of steam. After a minute, the sole passenger emerged: a petite redhead wearing dark glasses. She carried two valises with her. Nobody was there to meet her, but she didn't look like she expected anyone to meet her. She picked up the skirts of the dark green dress she was wearing, and set off for the Ritz-Kradin Hotel.

Within days the entire town was abuzz with rumors about the tiny stranger. Some said she was a long-lost relation of someone or another in the town; after all, that had happened before. Some said that she had come to challenge Carolita de la Vegas as the best singer in the West. Some said that she was from 'back East,' come out to Voyager City for different, mostly nefarious reasons. These people were closest to the truth.

She had been there for two weeks when Marshall Tuvok and Deputy Neelix took it upon themselves to visit her. The two of them stopped at the front desk and inquired as to her name: "Miss Marguerite St. Claire," was the response. Armed with a name, they set off for her room.

Marsh Tuvok knocked at the door, and upon hearing the "Come in," he stepped inside. There Miss Marguerite St. Claire was, sitting by the window and wearing the dark glasses that had aroused so much speculation. "Miss St. Claire?" Marsh Tuvok asked.

She turned toward him. "Yes?" she asked.

"I wished to stop by and welcome you to Voyager City," he said.

"No, you were curious and wanted to meet the newcomer," she said, "but I'll forgive you."

"I am Marshall Tuvok," he said, "and this is Deputy Neelix." He indicated Neelix with a wave of his hand. Neelix wiggled a bit and said, "Pleased to meet you, ma'am."

Miss St. Claire rose from her chair and walked over to Marsh Tuvok and Neelix. "The pleasure is all mine," she said, offering her hand to Tuvok and Neelix. Tuvok frowned and took the hand. "I know," Miss St. Claire said. "It isn't ladylike to offer your hand. But I never said I was a lady."

Tuvok decided to ignore the comment. "May I ask, what brings you to Voyager City?" he asked.

Miss St. Claire returned to her seat. "Would you like the sassy answer or the true one?" she countered. "The sassy answer was that Delta Flyer train of yours. The true answer is ill health."

"Ill health, ma'am?" Deputy Neelix ventured. "I must say, ma'am, you look as well as any other woman I've seen. Well, except for that one Widow Perlman. But she was on her deathbed, so I guess you can forgive her. The poor lady, she fought and fought to stay alive. But she had galloping consumption, and towards the end she got pneumonia, and -"

"Mr. Neelix, please cease your noise," Tuvok said. "Miss St. Claire, please explain."

"There's not much to explain," Miss St. Claire said cheekily. "My doctor decided that I was too pale, so I must be consumptive. He put me on the first West-bound train I could catch, and I just ended up here."

"Why do you wear those glasses?" Deputy Neelix piped up.

"When I was young, I had the fever," Miss St. Claire said. "It ruined my eyesight. I've never been able to see without these."

"Thank you for your time, Miss St. Claire," Tuvok said, elbowing Neelix for the sheer tactlessness of his question. "I hope to see you again."

"Sometime," Miss St. Claire said. Tuvok and Neelix left the room, closing the door behind them.

VC: "And So A Stranger Comes" part 2
Janeway216 — 27 Aug 1999, 5:43 PM

Miss St. Claire removed her glasses and rubbed her temples. The stress of lying had given her a headache. There had been enough truth in the story she told to make it palatable, but some of it was just an outright facsimile. She wished she could just have told them the truth, the whole truth - but they mustn't know who she was and why she really was here. Not yet. The timing wasn't right yet. "Marguerite, you silly fool," she murmured. "You're in over your head, and you're not even sure you're going to find what you're looking for ..."