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A Word To The Wise

A Word To The Wise
Ginny — 23 Sep 1998, 7:21 PM

After Racine had left him, with a saucy swish of her skirt, in the Casablanca Room, Senator Paris walked over to the window and watched Main Street traffic, trying to organize his thoughts. Kathryn would be here soon, and he needed to have what he wanted to say ready.

There was a quiet knock at the door, and the Senator turned around expectantly, but it was only the young page he had seen earlier. The boy brought in a silver tray on which sat a coffee pot, cups, and a selection of positively decadent sweets. He then set the tray down on a table, smiled and bowed to the older man, and left the room without a word.

Senator Paris turned and stared out the window again. A few minutes passed, and he heard another knock at the door. Without turning, he called out, "Come in." The door opened and shut. A few moments passed in silence. Then the other person spoke.

"Owen, do you want to tell me what the hell you're doing here?" Senator Paris smiled faintly at the woman's tone and looked back to see his favorite red-head standing in the room with her hands firmly planted on her hips.

"Have a seat, Kate, and I'll explain."

Kathryn Janeway didn't look very happy with that reply, but she sat down in a chair next to the coffee-laden table. The Senator took a seat across from her.

Kathryn begin speaking again. "I received your telegram yesterday. You didn't mention anything about coming out to Voyager City. In fact, I had the distinct impression that you wanted to keep as much distance between you and Tom as possible. At least until after the confirmation hearings."

Senator Paris smiled ruefully. "A day is a lifetime in politics, Kate. Something very serious has happened, so I took the new PT&B express train...

"The Willing-Suspension-Of-Belief Special?", Kathryn interjected.

The Senator nodded in affirmation and continued. "...out of D.C. late last night. It was important that I speak with you as soon as possible."

Kathryn leaned forward, concern etched on her face. "What has happened, Owen?"

The Senator visibly steeled himself before speaking. "I have it on very good authority, Kate, that I'm under investigation for inappropriate conduct."

Kathryn looked shocked. "What kind of inappropriate conduct?"

Senator Paris took a deep breath and expelled it in a rush. "Do you remember Stadi, Kate?"

Kathryn nodded. "Certainly. She's your current congressional aide, and, as I recall, a very competent young woman."

"Well, Stadi and I had a brief affair back when she was a White House intern. It's been over for years, but some of my political opponents are making an issue of it."

Kathryn frowned. "Well, it isn't admirable behavior, by any means, Owen, and if I was Marayna, I'd shoot you like a dog in the street, but I don't see how it has anything to do with how well you currently represent your constituency on the Hill or how effectively you would be able to serve on the President's Cabinet."

Senator Paris looked uncomfortable. "Well, the issue's not really the affair per se, and Marayna's actually being a real trooper about the whole thing. It's, um, about how I've handled past inquiries about it." The senator's voice trailed off, his embarassment obvious.

Growing disbelief appeared on Kathryn's face. "Oh my God, Owen. You didn't lie about it, did you?"

The Senator looked even more uncomfortable. "Well, just a little."

To be continued in A Voice In The Wilderness