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VC Compleat: Building And Rebuilding

Maxine's Provencal Moves to Town: Part I
Mrs. Mac — 29 Sep 1998, 8:18 AM

Maxine smoothed down the folds of her red silk robe and eyed Miss Racine as her hostess unwrapped the last of the contemporary HiroMing vases. "Careful with that, Dolly!" Maxine often called Miss Racine by the nickname old Mike inexplicably adopted for her. It seemed a little, well, Folies-Borg-ère. Folies-Borg-ère? Maxine mentally tossed the term around. When I retire from this business, she thought, I'm going to open up a joint in Paris and call it the Folies-Borg-ère. Maxine always wanted to reacquaint herself with a certain young man she met there on her last visit. What was his name? Manet? Monet? She sighed and glanced over at the little oil painting, by the grand stairway, that Max thought was perfectly ghastly. She, on the other hand, thought it was forgiving enough to frame. Besides, it brought her fond memories of the young artist and his little brother.

"That's the last of them, Madame Maxine!" Miss Racine placed the heavy dirileum vase on the mahogany table. The light from the window fell on it giving it an iridescent glow of colors that reminded Maxine of Reverend Windes' church windows. The last time she saw those windows was the day before she opened her establishment. After that, Reverend Windes hailed her with words of fire and brimstone and threats of repossessing her soul. Maxine was comforted by the sight of Bijou poking her nose at a leg of the table. She then wrapped her long sinewy body around it, leaving her scent behind, and wandered off to explore anew.

RE: Maxine's Provencal Moves to Town: Part II
Mrs. Mac — 29 Sep 1998, 8:19 AM

Maxine surveyed the parlor of her new home. The girls were comfortable now and she was sure the clients would return. Last week old Mike got ill on her best Persian rug. He claimed it was the stench from the stockyards but Maxine knew better. One sniff of his breath told her that it was the stench of too much scotch from her husband's private collection that took him down. Maxine walked wearily to the front porch where Max was rocking in the chair he won in a poker game with Senator Owen Paris. He lifted his Hirogen skin boots up on the railing while he sucked deeply on a long, thick cigar. Max sensed his wife's presence by the delicate smell of hyacinth. "I'm going to miss the old buzzard."

"Who's that?" Maxine placed her hands on her husband's shoulders and gently propelled his rocking. She bent down to smell her husband's hair. Whatever they may call him, she thought, he still was the cleanest man in town. Only Maxine alone was allowed to bathe her husband, washing him gently with a delicate balance of the finest toiletries for men she could import.

"Old Mike."

Maxine could see the pain on her husband's face and bit her tongue. "Honey, you know why I kicked him out and it's not like he doesn't have a place to live! Besides, he's been seeing that chorus girl, Elaine, lately. The girls get all upset when she's around because she's pretty enough to steal our clients." Maxine searched for the right words that wouldn't strain their relationship. "Look Max, old Mike was getting a little too fresh with Dolly. Last week he was doing magic tricks with her. He would make a nickel 3-cent piece 'disappear' and then pull it out of her bosom. I'm sorry, but I don't like the way he's playing with my best girls."

Maxine ran her hand gently through her husband's hair. He pushed back so that his head rested against her, which prompted her to bend over and put her arms around his neck. She continued. "Look, if it makes you feel better you can invite Mike over any time and the two of you can share a smoke and scotch on the porch. But I don't want her near the girls! No lewd remarks! No bouncing pennies into their bosoms! Okay?"

Max smiled, got up and turned to grasp his wife in a bear hug. He planted several kisses on her delicate neck and said, "Thanks honey!" With that, Maxine smiled and toyed, "Hold that thought for later. Right now, I have work to do." She turned and strode back into the house but not before Max landed one hand on her buttocks to send her off. He watched her disappear through the hallway door that led to the kitchen. Max sat back down in his rocker, leaned back, grinned, and let a low signal whistle out into the stale air.

Answering to the whistle, Mike peered out from around the corner of the house. "Is the coast clear?" he said in a whisper.

"All clear, big guy!"

Mike, as spry as ever, jumped over the railing and presented a bottle of whiskey to his buddy. Max ran his tongue over his lips as he eyed the bottle. "Don't just stand there like a propped up Betsy, take a seat and pour it out, boy!"

VC: The Perils of B'Elanna
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 8:33 PM

This takes place in the time gap following the trial/bank robbery

The smoke had long cleared, rolled away over the blackened plain. And there she sat not really looking at it, actually looking at nothing. Just sitting.

The fire had destroyed so much, but finally directing her eyes to the corral again, she knew they'd been lucky, too. She'd been lucky. Frisco still whined for the burns on his shoulder, Kona was still skitterish. But they were alive.

She still didn't know where that strength had come from, how she did it. It was a like some demon spirit that'd invaded her, and it frightened her. She'd felt no fear running into that burning barn, felt a power in her like none other when she jumped across to Miss Kathryn, throwing her out of the way of the falling beam...The beam that killed that evil wench, Seska. Where did that power come from?

It was hard to be near anyone lately. Things were starting to settle into a grueling daily shift of trying to repair the destruction they were all working so hard to undo. Like everyone, Tom was about beat down by the concern for the cattle and the horses--and when he wasn't exhausted,
he was short-tempered.

They'd argued again that morning.

He'd taken Frisco's injuries hard, she knew, taken the burning of the only home he'd known as a personal affront. B'Elanna understood. It was her home, her horses, too.

They lost fifteen good mounts, buried them in the blackened field without tears or anger. Or at least she hadn't cussed or moaned. Unlike the others, though, she didn't know how to react. She only knew how to keep working. Somehow during the time, she'd been labeled a rock of strength.

She didn't feel like one. She just felt confused.

Watching Kona and Frisco was hard for her. They were such noble creatures. She and Tom had raised them both from colts, knew them as well as they knew each other. It was only an idle thought at first that they should be put together. Yet once Tom got a hankering for the idea, it stuck in his head like glue. And he pestered B'Elanna until she agreed.

Well, maybe she'd favored the idea from the start--she just didn't like knowing Tom was right at the time.

They'd made good mates, got on great--though Tom had tricked her into thinking at first they hadn't taken to each other. Later, Annie had told her that Frisco had actually taken a particular glee in getting himself a mate, and Kona was more than happy to oblige. From then forward, they were inseparable.

But now, tragedy had disturbed them both. She could almost feel their fear, their nervousness. Often in the corral, they played or flirted with each other. After the fire, they were distracted, staying close but hardly paying attention to each other, until Frisco would rub his shoulder somehow and whine--causing Kona to jump and brurr. Or he'd, for no reason, start bucking, hurting himself more and causing his mate to run off.

They were at it again. Frisco was shaking his head violently. Kona was whinnying, pushing up on the fence. The other horses were avoiding them.

Puffing a breath, B'Elanna stood up from the coal-scarred ground and reached into her pocket for some carrots she'd plucked from the back garden. She offered it to both of them, whispering sweetly to them, but Kona backed off, reeling her head. Frisco all but ignored it. He was in pain. Kona was scared. B'Elanna grit her teeth lest she cry.

She couldn't take it anymore. But she still didn't know what to do. She reached back on her belt to get her to get her knife. Thinking it wouldn't be as much a chore for them to nibble the food again, she cut the carrot down. In the heavy sun, the knife blade glinted, shocking her eye...

Then she got an idea.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 2
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 8:40 PM

Tom walked into the kitchen, slapping off his thick leather gloves on his dusty jeans before tucking them in his back pocket, oblivious to Kes' raising her eyes at the mess he was making. He helped himself to some water, looked over to Chakotay.

The foreman was taking a rare break. His hat was over his head as he leaned way back in the chair. Had it not been for the waterglass he balanced with a finger on his lap, Tom would've sworn the man was sleeping. "'Bout time you came in for a while," the older man said. "That sun 'd fry an egg on the dirt."

Tom grimaced. "Yep, I've noticed. --Hey Kes, seen B'Elanna?"

Kes smiled knowingly at her brother's attempt to be casual, but she kept her voice neutral. "She went out to the corral to check on Kona and Frisco a few hours back. I guess she's still there. Frisco's wounds looks like they're starting to heal, Tom. That--"

"You sure? I didn't see her when I came in." Tom finished his water. "Maybe she took them down to the river."

"Don't see how," Chakotay said. "Both those horses 're skitterish as the bijiminies. They won't take to saddles again yet."

Tom blew a breath. "Well, she's got a way with them, lately. Frisco don't even know me, anymore, but she's been handling him."

Chakotay raised the brow of his hat with his waterglass, turning a look at the young man. But his original comment died before he voiced it. Tom looked right hurt lately, looked it then. The foreman knew how much the young man loved that horse...not to mention his girl. "Frisco'll come around," he said, and offered a reassuring nod when Tom looked his way. Chakotay grinned a little. "And so will B'Elanna. Give 'em all a little time, Tom."

Tom seemed to slump a little, but he finally nodded, trying to grin. "Guess I'm about tuckered out..., and yeah, I guess I'm worryin' too much."

"Does B'Elanna know that?" the foreman asked, pretty much certain she didn't. He leaned back again, pulled his hat back down. "Cause if she don't, I reckon you'd best let her know. Maybe give her a hand 'stead of standing on it."

Before he could get insulted, Tom realized that Chakotay Torres had somehow given Tom his permission. Or is he? Sounds like it. "I reckon you're right," he said, eyeing the man. He poured another glass of water, gulping it down fast, before turning to the back door. Grabbing his hat, he looked back. "Much obliged, Chakotay."

The foreman didn't move. "You heard me, Janeway, git. You're interrupting the only sleep I've gotten today."

Tom grinned and left without another word.

But when he got to the corral, B'Elanna, Kona and Frisco were nowhere in sight. Maybe she did get them down to the river, he thought. He almost turned to go down the hill to search her out--he knew her usual route--but a couple of the ranch hands called out from back yonder. Tom sighed hard, looking one more time down the hill to see if she was still in sight, before turning back to what he knew was just another problem cropped up.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 3
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 8:44 PM

Somehow, B'Elanna got Frisco to town. Mounted on Kona, easing her all the while, the mare wound up being easier to handle than the whining stallion. B'Elanna almost lost her temper with him a couple times, when he nearly yanked Kona--and thus her--down once, and started bucking such a frenzy that she had to let him go and get it out of his system.

Nevertheless, she did get them into town, crossing the now emptied fairgrounds slowly but surely. Squinting up to the sun, she knew the usually short trip had taken her a couple hours.

As she neared the mainway, she found to her horror something grossly missing. Jumping down from Kona and tying both horses by the water troth, she raced down to Garak's shop, bursting through the doors and straight to the owner.

"Garak! You seen Madame D'Alaireux's wagon?"

"Of course!" Garak said cheerfully as he sewed on a lapel. "She moved yesterday."

"Where'd she go off to? What direction?"

Garak turned a doleful look to the girl. "Such a fuss for such a love young lady. Why don't you come look around? I have a lovely bon--"

"Please! I don't want a dang bonnet! I want to find that wagon! Garak, it's important."

He sighed dramatically through his smile, crooked his head southward. "She's moved the wagon across Lookout Point, near the creek. Timmy has been here only today--picked up a new suit made from the finest--"

"Thanks," B'Elanna said shortly and spun back around.

She took the horses around on the back path to the point, having enough trouble as it was with them without braving the mainway. And she was sorry she'd had to stop. Frisco seemed not to need much rest to get his energy back. He bucked and brurred the entire way up the hill.

By the time they got to the creek and B'Elanna slid off an increasingly skitterish Kona, her shoulders were right tense enough to touch her ears. She let them drink again, let herself have a break, too, as she looked down at the clear water.

Somehow, an idle grin found her as she stroked the mare by her side. Just up the way a bit, she thought, I rode quite a stallion, all right. She reached up and touched the remainder of the bite on her jaw, healing, but still there. It was one small scar on her face she didn't mind, even if Tom was gone mad as--

"Frisco!" B'Elanna yelled as the stallion bolted off suddenly, jumping the water without a problem and taking off through the woods, disappearing seconds later. "D@mn!" She knew Kona couldn't--wouldn't--catch him in her condition.

Grabbing her mare's reigns, B'Elanna pulled the peevish horse up stream, hoping mightily the wagon was up there. Kona yanked back stubbornly, and B'Elanna growled at her. "Don't you go fussin with me, 'less you ever want to see your mate again!" And with a sharp tug, they were off again. "I swear, this 's been the worst dang fortnight of my life," she muttered as she stomped over the mossy rocks, urging Kona over them with yet another sharp pull.

The going was slow yet furious, but she managed to speed them both as soon as B'Elanna saw the wafting smoke of a campfire, and soon after a clearing--and the wagon. "D'A! That you up there?! D'A!"

Madame D'Alaireux came around the wagon, Maker and grinds in hand. She put both down at the sight of the desperate girl coming up the rise. "B'Elanna."

"You gotta help me! Frisco's done gone off and Kona can't go after him!"

The lady met B'Elanna halfway and helped her soothe the mare to the wagonside. "We'll take Navarre," she told her. "Come. Frisco will not have gone far, I hope." Dropping her weapons to the ground, she ran around to where her Arabian stood at the ready, freeing him with a

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 4
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 8:49 PM

With a jump and a pull on his neck, the woman had mounted his bare back, and held a hand down to the diminutive horsewoman. B'Elanna grabbed her hand and got on behind her, not a little uncomfortable at first for the lack of a saddle. But a second later, Navarre had jumped the creek effortlessly, and with a kick and a click, he took off in a hard gallop into the woods.

"Keep your head down!" Madame D'Alaireux shouted back to the smaller woman, who held on tight as the Arabian deftly wound his way through the woody terrain.

B'Elanna couldn't help but think that woodlands were the horse's natural running space, he managed them to well--and Madame D'Alaireux wasn't scared at all about riding though them, either, and bareback on top of it. B'Elanna never doubted her horsewoman's skills, but knew this ride was right foreign.

They cleared the woods in little time, and spotting the wild running stallion, Madame D'Alaireux eased Navarre only near enough before letting out a loud, flutish whistle. The stallion stopped, crooked an ear, but turned and bucked again. Licking her lips, Madame D'Alaireux helped B'Elanna down from her steed before sliding off herself.

"Hold Navarre here," she ordered quietly as she moved away, "and say nothing. Allow me."

B'Elanna watched as the strangely dressed woman approached Frisco, who still bucked and shook his head. Then the woman began making sounds, gurgled whistles and brurrs, odd, but animal-like...and it struck B'Elanna--I've heard those sounds before...

The woman then held out her fist, her thumb and pinkie extended as she turned it before the stallion's view. Frisco shook his head, neighing. Oops, she thought. Wrong continent. Trying again, she whistled some more, steadily making her way closer.

Slowly, the stallion calmed, regarding her and the sounds she had not stopped; slowly, Madame D'Alaireux took the loose rope into her fist. A few more steps, and she held the face of the ailing creature in her hands, looking into a sad, dark eye.

B'Elanna watched, almost in shock. Frisco has stopped skittering entirely, and was nuzzling his nose against the lady's neck. She heard the woman whisper, "I know, I know."

In the glint of the afternoon sun, B'Elanna thought she saw tears on the woman's face. But by the time she led a sedated Frisco back to her and Navarre, her face was dry again. With a finger to her lips, Madame D'Alaireux moved aside Navarre, lacing her fingers together to give B'Elanna a leg up to the Arabian. As B'Elanna rode, the lady walked swiftly beside the stallion, leading him with little whistles and kind caresses. They were otherwise silent.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 5
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 8:50 PM

Nozawa rattled the bells and yelled out, "Come on in, y'all. Miss Kathryn's got vittles and cool drinks!"

And they did come in, from the field and pasture, ready and willing for a break from it all. From every direction, it seemed, the ranch hands gathered, happy to take some lemonade and biscuits and shade under the tree.

Miss Kathryn circled round them all with the pitcher, stopping occasionally to pat an arm or tell them a kind word. Truly, she was grateful for her hands. She'd have sunk for sure without them. And all the while, she put up her bravest face. She knew she had to--for them. If she faltered, it'd only lead to chaos.

Eventually, Tom and Chakotay had made their way back from the west pasture, dirty and dusty as before and twice as hot. They gladly took their drinks too, tried not to drink too fast.

While he tipped the lemonade into his mouth, Tom's eyes perused the yard, intently searching. Unobtrusively, he stepped around the tree, looked again. Finally he looked back to his mother and Chakotay. "Y'all seen B'Elanna?"

Miss Kathryn shook her head. "Maybe she's still in the corral. You know how she is. She won't take a break so easily."

But Tom was shaking his head even before she finished. "I looked in the corral twice. She might've taken Kona and Frisco down to the river--but she should've been back by now." He saw Chakotay squint a little at that, and Tom knew he was right. He look at his mother again. "Maybe I aughta check and see if she's there. Way Frisco's been acting, I'd be lying if I said he wouldn't bolt."

Kathryn took a breath. Clearly, her boy was troubled, and looking again at the mark his girl had put on his cheek, she knew Tom wouldn't let up until he knew B'Elanna was back. Finally, she gave a nod. "Go," she said simply.

Chakotay eyed the young man as he finished his drink and set it on a nearby table. "Tom," he said suddenly, and thought his decision through a few more times before Tom turned back. "My horse is saddled up. Go ahead and take him....And tell B'Elanna she best get back here 'fore sunset."

Tom smiled. "Much obliged, Chakotay. I will."

As Tom skipped off to the Forman's horse, mounted him and gave him a firm pat, Chakotay gave Miss Kathryn a look. "You think somethin's happened? Maybe I should go with him."

"I need you here," Miss Kathryn replied, a little coolly, then sighed. "She's probably just off wandrin', being as she's had a bee's nest of a corral to deal with. She probably just needed some time alone." She refilled Chakotay's glass without his asking. "I know the feeling," she finished and turned away.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 6
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 8:55 PM

B'Elanna cut down some more kindling and threw them on the fire, watching, still amazed, as Madame D'Alaireux smooth the balm over Frisco's shoulder, her long fingers careful not to hurt the beast. For the first time since the fire, Frisco was completely relaxed, docile to the woman's ministrations.

Beside him, Kona grazed, a little nervous still, but a bit calmer after taking some herbs from the fortune teller--not to mention some sugar.

B'Elanna herself couldn't help but relax, too. She almost couldn't recall the last time she had. She could smell the rich scent of the cedar on the fire, hear the crackle of the burning wood. The quiet brurrs of the horses were not unpleasant, either. Taking in another deep breath of air, her eyes drifted to the trickle of the stream not fifteen feet away.

Then she heard a rustling behind her, and turned only to jump a little at the sight that greeted her. "D'A!" she breathed in a loud whisper.

"No, no," the madame said, and gestured the intruders in. "Come, friends. I have Java and grits." She finished applying the balm and wiped her hands, slowly drawing away from the stallion. B'Elanna had gotten to her feet by the time she returned to the campfire. Placing her fingers on the girl's shoulder, she grinned. "Do not be afraid of those who are your own, B'Elanna. It is time."

B'Elanna glanced to the lady, then back to the four people who had entered, all of whom stared hard at her at least once. Their faces were set into what was as near to frowns without being angry, and their strides were confident. Their weapons were like Madame D'Alaireux's, the cloth of their outfits like hers, too. But unlike her, their hair was brown, the dusty ringlets grown out long and flowing freely well past their shoulders. A couple of them had thin, leather-bound braids within those locks. If not noble looking, they were at least...unique. Yet only as they approached, and she got a good look at their faces, did B'Elanna recognize what the woman beside her meant.

"Klingon Indians?" she whispered, "All the way out here?" She looked beside her again. Her eyes darted up to the wrinkles above Madame D'Alaireux's head--Not wrinkles, B'Elanna suddenly realized, but much faded scars. They were different, enough so that she at first hadn't recognized. The ritual markings.

Madame D'Alaireux smiled. "Come, B'Elanna, and take some Java with us. It is time."

B'Elanna was too shocked to say no.


The Indians all sat around the fire watching Madame D'Alaireux prepare the drink as they boasted of their conquests. The stories circled--one of the men told the tale of the skins taken from the Borg Indians after the Picard Massacre, but spoke of his own glory gained with in his people's tumultuous council. Another spoke of the fulfillment of a blood oath in a glorious battle. Another told how he took fifteen Romulan Scalps with his own hands after losing his brother in the disgraceful massacre at Khitomer. The one woman said nothing, but examined B'Elanna with a curious smirk as the others spoke.

"But we defeated them in a sweep," the last man said, smiling through teeth that looked as if they'd been filed into points. "I ripped the scalps from two braves and tied them on my mek'leth, so my enemies would know what awaited them!"

Even Madame D'Alaireux grinned at that, putting the Maker, now prepared, on the fire.

Though a little galled by the detail they went into in describing their glory, B'Elanna did listen intently. These were stories she'd only heard in passing, adventures of her mother's people that she couldn't help but be intrigued by--even if she knew she couldn't live like they did.

"And you, B'Elanna?" asked K'mpec, seemingly the leader of the band, as he ran his callused fingers over the handle of his bat'leth.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 7
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:00 PM


Mogh grinned at the girl. "Yes, you. What honor have you achieved in your battles?"

B'Elanna's mouth opened, and she looked over at Madame D'Alaireux, who only returned a look that expected an answer. "You need only answer honestly, B'Elanna," the fortune teller said. "They know well you do not live the life of a Klingon Indian."

"Well," B'Elanna said, "that's the truth. I reckon I just do what I have to do to get by, keep things right."

"Do what you do?" the Klingon woman grinned, speaking for the first time. "What does that mean?"

"It means that I've gotten by just fine," B'Elanna returned shortly.

Koloth snorted. "As have your horses?" he asked, challenging her openly. "They looked more suited for carrying children at the fair than--"

"Don't you spite my horses!" B'Elanna snapped. "I almost got myself killed getting them out of that barn! And Miss Kathryn, too!"

K'mpec's brow rose. "Yes?"

"Dang straight!" B'Elanna shot back. "The fires coulda ripped my skin off--you see what they did to Frisco there." Blowing a breath, she shook her head bitterly. "Seska--a Cardassian. They've been after the blood of my people since I can remember. And she's been after my pa since she slithered her way into his life. They've laid waste to everything they've touched."

"They have tried to disgrace you," Mogh pointed out, and spit on the ground. "They seek ruin but no honor!"

B'Elanna gave a terse nod. "She lit the fires that burnt up the Delta Q--and I know she had help. There's no other way it could've spread so far so fast. They lit it all up--for spite. They killed Mama, now they're killing my own again. I should've taken those b@stards out when I had the chance--I should've seen they were up to no good! But nobody knew Seska was one of them until it was too late." She bent her head, growling at the fact the woman had been so close, in her fists' reach, all the while plotting their destruction. "And now she's dead. Oh that I could find out who helped her! I'd..."

She stopped, shaking her head again.

The Klingons all stared at her, a little surprised at the girl's sudden passion, but pleased nonetheless.

"My horses," B'Elanna continued, seething. "My Kona, and Frisco--they're the finest on the ranch, reduced to what you see. Fifteen of my horses--dead for their spite, and three of them just colts! Plus the rest of the damage."

Koloth glared at her. "There is no honor in their deaths."

"There's no honor in the Cardassians," B'Elanna replied.

K'mpec squinted as he steadily regarded the young horsewoman. "Do you not wish to vindicate them?" he asked, meeting her gaze when it turned to him. "Do you not hunger for vengeance--to bring honor to your disgraced dead?"

B'Elanna sighed, more to herself. "I don't live like you do, K'mpec."

"That is not the question," the Klingon woman said. She leaned forward and stared, albeit with a little smile, at B'Elanna. "Have you wished to see them pay for their acts of dishonor? To stand for what is right--as you seem to like to do? It's only a question."

"Do you not wish to shed their blood for the blood they took like cowards in the night?" Mogh asked.

"Do you not want to revenge the attack of your people? The massacre of your innocent ones?" queried Koloth.

B'Elanna had closed her eyes as the questions circled her, feeling her chest grip with the pressure she'd held within for so long, and didn't know what to do with. But they stopped, and her eyes opened. They were all glaring at her, awaiting her answer. In the corner of her eye, Madame D'Alaireux seemed oblivious as she prepared the Java service.

K'mpec was getting impatient. "Do you want to bring honor to your dead, B'Elanna?"

B'Elanna sucked in a breath. "Yes."

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 8
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:08 PM

The Klingons grinned, and for a minute they were silent, all looking at each other with eyes that knew the other's heart. Finally, K'mpec spoke again, straightening as he put his hand down on B'Elanna's.

"We will join you, fight by your side, share the glory of your honor."

"But Seska's dead--died when a beam fell on her in the barn," B'Elanna muttered between her teeth. "If she had any allies, I wouldn't know where to find them."

Mogh grunted. "Your enemy died without honor--leaving you honorless."

"There must be a way to find out if others were responsible," the Klingon female said.

"I wish I could. But I don't know..."

Madame D'Alaireux turned from the fire then with her tray of demitasse cups, full and steaming. "Java, anyone?" she smiled.


She glowered at her mother as she gurgled a whistle, calling two horses to her. "It is time to go."

"But I don't want to be Klingon Indian!"

"You already are," said the woman, looking down to her stubborn child with a scowl. "You bear the marks of my people already! You will accept it and return to the ritual grounds!"

"You've made me into a freak!"

"I have made you into what you cannot avoid being!"

"I won't go through with the ritual again! Never! I won't go, Mama! I won't make it worse than it is already!"

"You would disgrace our house? My family?!"


Madame D'Alaireux watch with keen eyes as B'Elanna's head dropped back, the cup perched precariously in her hands. She said nothing, but waited.

A plain of long grass, flying over...and the caverns west of Valek Gulley...Down, down...A field of horses yonder...

"Ha! I haven't killed them, but I might as well have! Soon, we will watch their destruction! My revenge will be complete!"

B'Elanna grit her teeth, felt her body grow hot with fury. She could almost feel herself reaching out to the traitorous woman's throat...

She deceived us, hid like a coward....first the mask, then lit the fires...And the tracks back to their hideout burned too...

B'Elanna drew a deep breath. Her eyes opened. "The Cardassians," she breathed with a clenched jaw. "There's a tribe on this side of the range--they helped her set the Delta Q up in flames."

The Klingons grinned. "There will be honor done to your dead," K'mpec growled approvingly.

"Dang straight." B'Elanna looked at them, her eyes clear and bright for the first time in a fortnight. "And for Mama, too."

K'mpec let out a growling yell and jumped to his feet. "Then we will waste no time! To battle!"

B'Elanna got to her feet as the others did, but as the warriors went to their horses, tied in the nearby bushes, she realized she had no mount. She swung back around to find the lady's curious grin. "D'A, I know I'm already beholding to you, but could I take Navarre? I swear, I'll treat him as--"

"You will take Frisco," the madame cut in, bracing her friend by the shoulders. B'Elanna shook her head an opened her mouth to protest, but the other woman continued first. "As much as you need honor, I feel he needs it, too. His shoulder is protected by the balm. You must take him, B'Elanna."

B'Elanna glanced to Frisco, who had suddenly perked at the sudden activity. One of his eyes found her own Somehow, just somehow, that horse knew, he was telling her....Taking a breath, the lingering Java stirred B'Elanna's heart, and all her senses, except maybe the common one, told her the fortune teller was right. "Got a saddle?"

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 9
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:11 PM

Within minutes, B'Elanna was mounted on the stallion. She turned to thank Madame D'Alaireux when she saw the glint of steel being offer up to her. "Oh, no thanks," she said. "I prefer my pistol."

Madame D'Alaireux hooked the mek'leth onto B'Elanna's belt anyway. "You will need it," she said assuredly, and gave Frisco's flank a pat. "Go. Go now. Thank me later." She met the young woman's eyes. "Qapla', B'Elanna Torres."

The Klingon woman had just mounted her mare when B'Elanna brought Frisco up to join them. After snorting at the men's usual battle bravado, she gave the younger lady by her a clever grin. "That an awful big bug bite you've got, B'Elanna," she said and winked. "Who's the lucky mosquito?"

B'Elanna scowled at first before she got it, then she smiled. "Tom Janeway, Miss Kathryn's eldest son."

"Ah, youth. Nice when they're willing isn't it? I had to chase my mate around for a while before he bucked off. Of course, then he got all traditional on me. Then I bolted. But I changed my mind again." She laughed at that, strangely gentle.

B'Elanna noticed that, then examined the woman's ritual marks. She'd thought before they weren't all that deep, and was sure of it after getting a better look. "You're not full-blooded Klingon, are you?"

"No. My mother was just a hot tempered redhead out of Federation City. But I've chosen this life...not to mention, my mate sort of wrapped me up in it, too. But that's another story." She eyed B'Elanna again, adjusting her horse's bridle. "A little advice? Don't let 'em hold you too tight, but keep 'em near enough that they don't forget you're there. --And bite them a lot. They'll squirm, but they like it." Before B'Elanna could respond, she added, "I'm actually a little jealous. Worf never bit my cheek....bit everything but that, though."

"Mister Rozhenko?" B'Elanna asked. "You're his mate?" The other woman nodded with an inward grin. "But I thought he was--"

"B'Elanna! K'Ehleyr!" K'mpec barked. "Are you females going to gossip and chatter, or are we going to achieve glory in our battle?"

"We're coming!" B'Elanna called back, then, more hushed, "crabapple."

Koloth's horse jumped up on his hind legs with a loud neigh as he brandished his mek'leth. "It is a good day to die!"

K'Ehleyr rolled her eyes and smirked. "Charm city it ain't," she told B'Elanna, "but it's better than sitting around the fire sewing pelts." Suddenly she kicked up her horse. "Hyah!"

B'Elanna, still grinning at the woman's quip, took off straight after her. Within seconds, Frisco had overtaken them all, galloping at full charge, like a bullet in the cool night air. Feeling the wind in her hair and Tom's fine steed, somehow powerful and vibrant again beneath her, B'Elanna laughed aloud and rapped the reigns. It was a glorious feeling. It was good to feel free again.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 10
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:23 PM

Tom Janeway was in more than a huff by the time the sun started touching the peaks of Pinnacle Point. B'Elanna was nowhere to be found. He'd searched all the way down to the Big Coffee, only figuring to go back again, skimming the river and finally heading towards town.

She wouldn't have taken them there would she? he kept asking himself as he made good speed up the trail. But he had no other options by then. When he got to town, Tom looked down the mainway, and not seeing either B'Elanna or their horses, he went around the back way to Widow Wildman's.

"No, Mister Janeway," the widow answered him, shielding her small eyes from the setting sun, "I ain't seen anything--though I did hear her hollering and a horse going loco. I don't know where she was off to, and it's right likely she's well gone, anyway. It was a few hours ago, at least."

Tom nodded. "Much obliged, Mrs. Wildman. At least you've heard her. That's more than I've gotten all day."

Twenty minutes later, Tom was tying the Forman's horse to a branch, giving the horse a firm pat as he peered over to the camp. The fortune teller was there, sharing what looked like a little chat with Kona. He couldn't hear the words, but he couldn't help but stand back at first. Kona was looking...normal. She wasn't brurring or shaking at all, and her eyes had cleared up.

Madame D'Alaireux giggled a little and gave the mare a kiss on the bridge of her nose, to which the horse neighed affectionately. Without looking back, the woman paused, taking a breath. "You are welcome to join me, Mister Janeway. Kona and I were only having an understanding about the colt."

Tom grinned a little. "Much obliged, Ma'am." He came in, a little cautiously, still looking for B'Elanna. When he came near, he also noticed Frisco was nowhere in sight, either. "Actually, Mrs. D'Alaireux, I'd be more obliged if you might tell me where B'Elanna's at. She been missing most the day."

"Come and join me by the fire," she said, passing him by and lowering herself to sit--giving him no choice but to join her. "The ropes of your existence stretch outward, Tom Janeway. You and that which is yours must balance on that thin path. This place will soon no longer hold you."

Tom furrowed his brow. "What do you mean?"

Madame D'Alaireux's dark eyes sparkled with the light of the fire, though only ironic mirth had touched her face. "You will have to move on," she said simply. "In order to survive, you will have to walk a thin path, unbalanced and yet strong in intention. The ropes of this existence are unbound, and now are outstretched. You and yours must follow it to the end, Tom. It is your destiny."

Tom nodded, though he hardly understood what the strange woman was talking about. "Yeah, reckon so. Look, I don't mean to be uncivil, but I really do need to find B'Elanna. Her daddy's gonna be sick with worry, as it's gettin dark. It'll be pitch black by the time we..." He stopped when the woman started laughing. "What?"

"B'Elanna is following a path she had avoided, she has been for some time. When Timmy returns from Quark's, I'll send him to the Delta Q to tell them you and she are safe."

"Me?" Tom eyed her suspiciously. "You plan on holding me here, ma'am?"

"You are the only one doing the holding, Tom. You are here for your mate. And you will see her soon. You will take her and Frisco home, soon. But not yet."

Tom suddenly remembered. "Frisco? She's off after Frisco?!"

"Not after," she corrected. "She rides your stallion in glory this night."

"What?!" Tom jumped to his feet. "Where'd they go? Are you wacko? Letting her go off with him all wild like that?"

Madame D'Alaireux didn't move. "Sit, young man."

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 11
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:32 PM

"No way!" he retorted. "Tell me where--"

"As I am the one who knows how to find her, I'd think it'd be wiser if you had a seat and do this my way." She reached forward and unscrewed an hourglass-shaped metal canister. "Come and rest. B'Elanna must free her soul from the ropes that have tied her--as they had tied you. Sit, Tom. When the moon crosses the Pleiades, you shall go."

With another squint her way, Tom did as asked, and as the woman went about her chore. "Funny it was me that convinced B'Elanna to go see the fortune teller. She thought it was a bunch of nonsense."

Madame D'Alaireux grinned. "Sometimes it is," she admitted. She packed the brown powder down in the center of the Maker, screwed the top back on. "But B'Elanna is different."

"How so?"

She sighed, placing the Maker on the fire. "When we came across Qwai-chang, and let him travel with us, I knew he would lead me to her somehow. To confess, I came to Voyager City for B'Elanna."

Tom was intrigued then. "You been traveling a long way?"

"Yes. I left the Klingon reservation at Cha'Kago some time past. I was not born there, and lived many different lives. I was put upon this path, as I was able to see the importance of my being here."

"But why B'Elanna?"

"I felt her presence and a need to answer that," the woman answered. "Now she answers her own soul's callings, and to the souls that call to her."

Tom gave her a long look. The Maker sputtered and steamed, and he put one question aside for another as she served their drinks. "That's Java, huh?"

"It will show you her path. Do not be afraid. You will not find B'Elanna without it."

"But I thought you said you knew where she was."

"I only said I had the means. Now drink, Tom. Drink and see."

With another encouraging smile from the fortune teller, and after she herself took a sip, Tom took the demitasse and tasted........

First light of dawn touched the violet sky as the five warriors rode hard over the plain. Their sound was a near earthquake of hooves and hollers as they descended into the gully of Cardassian enemies. Blades rose and the warriors all came at the ready, riding their horses into the field of battle.

B'Elanna surpassed them all, grabbing her pistol as she rounded the first barrage. She shot--click!--"Cr@p! No bullets!" she snarled, then remembered the saber on her belt. Wielding the strange weapon in her small hand, her eyes shot out to her enemy again and she clicked loudly. Frisco whinnied and jumped to a gallop into the thick of the mass.

Behind and around her, the Klingons' war cries echoed, and B'Elanna added to them, crying out as she swung the blade full circle and into the skull of one of the Cardassians, chucking him off his steed as she whipped past, then she brought the mek'leth to the ready again for another willing corpse.

She spun around, ducking the fall of another under her blade, then hopped Frisco over others killed by her comrades before slicing through the gut of another before his tomahawk was even halfway down. Ducking and reeling Frisco around again, the Cardassian hit the ground with a thud.

Then, in the corner of her eye, she saw another glint, and heard a yell all too familiar--like a lion's growl. B'Elanna spun the steed around and saw her. The fire that died on the Delta Q lit anew in her heart.

"Seska," she growled, then yelled, "You're dead! I saw you die!"

"Ha!" the evil woman across from her spat. "Did you think the likes of you could get rid of me? That I wouldn't haunt you, hide in the deepest recesses of your soul?! I'll have my revenge for eternity!"

"The h*ll you will, you treacherous b*itch!" B'Elanna shouted and thrust her boots into Frisco's sides--"

Tom's eyes flew open and he shot a glare to Madame D'Alaireux, who only grinned and said--"Go."

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 12
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:39 PM

The horse almost bucked him when Tom stopped suddenly over the rise and heard the primal battle yell. His eyes found the field of waste and war, saw the other Klingons there, goring their victims with their half-moon blades one by one with bloody glee, then saw B'Elanna in the thick, riding out of the dust cloud formed in the wake of the circling horses, charging hard through the throng to one who waited, tomahawk raised.

"$#!&!" he breathed and kicked the steed into action, charging his horse down the sandy hill and into the dust cloud.

B'Elanna's sights were pinned on Seska, eyes black and wide with rage, and a furious grin broke across her face. Spinning the grip on the mek'leth, she cracked the reigns with her other hand. The evil woman let out a yell, setting her horse to charge. B'Elanna growled loudly as she whipped the mek'leth around.

The tomahawk flew downwards into the center of her sight and B'Elanna whipped the mek'leth around and struck the metal with her own. Seska's weapon flew away and behind her as they passed. She yanked Frisco's reigns, reeling the stallion around in a jump. Seska had turned, too, glaring at the woman, yanking another knife from her leg holster.

"Hyah!" B'Elanna cried and charged the woman again. Swinging the mek'leth around again, she found her target with a ragged holler--burying the long blade into the woman's chest, splitting a straight line down to her sternum. Seska flew from her horse, as did B'Elanna when her hand failed to let go of the blade. Together they hit the dirt, a dust halo forming around them.

And the gully silenced.

Through the thick dirt cloud, Tom sped through, then yanked back on the reigns once through. He felt a gulp in his throat. Both B'Elanna and Seska had been unsaddled, both sprawled on the ground. The mek'leth lay buried in Seska's chest, the pool of blood sinking quick into the hard ground. B'Elanna's hand was reached out towards it, as if she'd just let it loose.

He jumped off the steed and fell to his knees beside her. Turning her over and brushing down her crumpled leather skirt, his eyes wildly searched her for injury, but he found none. Wondering how she'd fallen from Frisco's saddle, he pulled her up to rest her head on his knees, patting her dirt-stained face.

He heard a shuffling on the dirt before him, and in the remaining dust cloud, he saw the forms of the Klingon Indian Warriors, grinning fiercely at the two.

K'mpec gave the younger man a firm nod. "There will be no Ak'vok today. We were victorious."

Mogh and Koloth both held their heads high. "Her honor, and the honor of her dead and mutilated, was achieved in her heart today," said one. "The path of a warrior is not hers, but could be if she chose it, said the other.

K'Ehleyr's lips turned up with mischief. "Nice dental impression."

B'Elanna drew a deep breath and opened her eyes. She did not jump, though she wondered how she wound up on the ground. Looking up, she saw Tom staring outward in amazement. As she grabbed his hand in hers, she drew her eyes to the dust cloud, saw the faces of her comrades, fading in the golden fog.

"Qapla', B'Elanna Torres," said K'mpec.

Her eyes went wide as the wind washed through the canyon, churning the cloud into little twisters over the beaten earth, sweeping it around and away. The warriors, unmoved, disappeared as the dust did. B'Elanna could only watch them go, feeling her heart beating through her chest at the realization.

"Qapla'," she finally returned.

RE: VC: The Perils of B'Elanna, part 13
D'Alaire — 30 Sep 1998, 9:48 PM

Tom looked down to her, and didn't ask what'd just happened. But as the rising sun began to heat his back, he did open his mouth to ask if she was okay to stand. Before he did, he felt a muzzle push off his hat and he turned to look up at Frisco. Tom laughed. "Well, I guess you are back to your ol' self, aren't you boy?"

B'Elanna grinned, getting up on her knees, and reached out to pat Frisco's nose. "Dang straight we are, and more," she said, turning a grin to Tom. "I fought for them, Tom. I revenged our dead....and Mama."

He looked to where the warriors once were. "I think so," he whispered. "This is awful strange, B'Elanna, all of this. But I saw from the hill when I came here...You were amazing out there. You'd 've done your mama proud."

"I owed her one," B'Elanna said softly. "And her people, too, I s'pose." Sighing, she brushed off her shirt, glanced up to the azure sky. It'd be another hot, dry day. "I reckon we'd better be getting home."

Tom nodded and offered his hand to her. "I reckon so."

Standing, she turned around and gasped when she saw the field all but empty. The dead, the blood, even the ground digs of the skirmish had partially been buried by the dirt cloud, leaving eerie mounds in the dirt, still and unmoving. She spun around, and saw that Seska's corpse was gone. All that remained was... "What the h*ll?" she breathed.

But Tom suddenly understood. "You've answered your soul's callings, B'Elanna. Madame D'Alaireux said you were, and I've heard tales about it. They say that the souls of the dead can come to protect others. You needed to settle things, and looks like they wanted to help." He shrugged. "Heck, there's no other way to explain it."

"No, I think you're right," she whispered, looking at two glints in the dirt. All the remained was the blood-stained mek'leth, and a d'ktag near to where K'Ehleyr had been standing

B'Elanna turned to Tom and touched the bite on his jaw. She smiled up to him, nuzzled her cheek her cheek into his responding touch. But they said nothing, even as she bent to retrieve the knives.


B'Elanna knew he hadn't left yet, and so wasn't surprised to see him brushing down General Martok. But she noted the horse's packs had been prepared, that he'd be leaving soon. All the better, B'Elanna thought, pushing back the leather-bound braid she wore in her hair. She wasn't used to it yet, but had decided to keep it.

The large, dark man was silent, as she often knew him to be in their acquaintance. So she approached with as many words, and let his black eyes meet hers when she neared.

"I believe, sir," she said suddenly, but assuredly, "this is for you. K'Ehleyr wanted you to have it."

Yet she said no more as she placed the knife handle in his hand. She met his eyes, hoping he wouldn't ask, hoping her stare would say enough. The man glanced to the weapon, then back to her, eyes wider but still silent. Finally he gave her a firm, albeit curious, nod.

She nodded back. "Qapla'."

Worf Rozhenko was left to stare after the horsewoman as she turned and walked away to her ride--a fine, white stallion with Tom Janeway perched atop it, waiting for her. When B'Elanna got near, he leaned over and grabbed her arm at the elbow, easily pulling her up onto the steed behind him. As her leg swung over, the distinctive glint of a mek'leth, hanging off her belt, could be seen.

She wrapped her arms around the man, bending up to playfully nip his jaw. Tom Janeway laughed good-naturedly, then rapped the stallion's reigns, setting them off westward, back towards the Delta Q.

When they were gone, Worf gripped the d'ktag in his fist. He had looked for the blade of Jack Duras for a long time. Now his dead mate's vindication was complete.

Madame D'Alaireux, smiling from the hill beyond, turned and resumed her path.

VC: Perils Aftermath
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 1:48 PM

Her face had lit up just as he'd expected it to, but her answer froze him there. There in the evening moonlight, the water of the Little Coffee intoxicating the ambiance with its flow and sound, and his girl looking as lovely as he'd always known her to be, Tom was in shock. She was still smiling at him, holding his hands warm, leaning close to him. But..."Huh?"

B'Elanna sighed happily. "Oh Tom, I don't wanna get married. You're just so much a gentleman, you had to ask, didn't you? Or did Pa put you up to it? I know he's itching to see things made proper, now that he's accepted you."

Somehow, real words found their way to Tom's lips. "No, it was my idea. But your daddy looked as though he'd approve, so I thought I'd ask."

She giggled. "Well, I appreciate it. But I'd much rather be as we are now--for now."

Tom was frustrated, and showed it, shaking his head as he drew a breath to settle the twisters in his head. "Hold on, let's go back. When we first came together, you were the one who asked if I'd do right by you, do the honorable thing."

"And you have," B'Elanna said. "You're my mate, Tom. We've claimed each other, and even though you're not Kilingon Indian, I trust you to that. Isn't that enough for now?"

He grinned. "Yeah. But I'd like to be able to share your bed without anyone thinking wrong of it. I'd like to come home to you--and you to me--to start a family."

"We can still do all that."

"Not when you're not my wife!" Tom laughed. "Your daddy won't have it--to say nothing of Mama!"

B'Elanna moved closer to her lover, touching his face with strangely gentle fingers. "Is that why you want to marry me? So other people will approve?"

His met her wisened eyes, and in all honesty had to nod. "That's part of it. But tell me this: Why don't you want to get married?"

He'd turned it back on her, and knowing that made her jaw tighten. She held on, anyway. "In a way, we already are."

"That's not an answer." Her eyes turned away, and Tom pulled her close to him, kissing her gently. "Tell me the truth: Is it because we've been going so fast?"

"That's not it," she finally sighed. "But I'm not ready to get married yet, if that's what you're asking."

Tom nodded. "Okay. But is that a yes or a no or a maybe to my question?"

"It's none of those," she told him. "We already belong to each other--ain't nothing gonna change that. But...getting married is another thing. It doesn't feel right, going in front of the reverend and having him tell us things we already know so you can stick a ring on my finger. It don't mean anything--and I don't have any room in my life for that...for now. When it feels like it'll mean something, I'll let you know."

Tom eyed her carefully. "You're afraid," he said.

She froze in his gaze, and suddenly realized he was quickly wising up to her. So she nodded, bending her head a little as she considered how she was going to tell him. "For more reasons than one."

"Then why don't you tell me what the real reason is? 'Cause for the life inside me, I don't know."

"You wouldn't understand. I don't know if I even understand." She shook her head. "I wish I'd asked D'A before she left, but I was too dang scared to hear the answer. Now I don't know what to do, how to...." She cut herself off, turned her face away again.

"Well, tell me, and maybe we'll figure it out together." He touched her chin, drawing her to face him. "B'Elanna, I am your mate, and I love you. I have the right to know what's going on in there, just like you have the right to refuse me."

RE: VC: Perils Aftermath, part 2
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 1:54 PM

"I haven't refused you," she whispered. "I want you more than even you might know." Her eyes closed for a moment as she collected the words. "Pa made Mama marry him, convinced her to go before a reverend and have it done right. He was being proper and thinking for the best in loving her and I can't blame him for that. But as a result, she was disowned, dishonored by her people. I wouldn't have minded that before. Ma made her choice, and seemed happy with it. She made a good life for herself with Pa and me."

She paused again, then drawing her misting eyes up to the stars. "I turned her away, cursed her ways, hated her sometimes for trying to force them on me--and Pa too for encouraging it all the time. I was so...angry at them, for not giving me the choice, for making me an outcast on both sides. I mean, what good are these scars on my head if the people who wear them won't even accept me because of my mother's dishonor?"

Tom let out a soft breath. He'd never known it'd been like that with both her parents. "I don't know. I guess they just wanted to carry on a tradition, give you the best of both worlds."

"I think so. And I understand that now--even more since I met D'A and K'Ehleyr. I used to think I'd gotten the worst of both worlds, and shut myself away from people because I felt it so much, let Pa be protective of me so I wouldn't have to. But I can't do that forever, and now I see I don't have to. Even as half-breeds, D'A and K'Ehleyr found a balance between those two lives, and were accepted as they were. So now I see it's possible to restore Ma's place among her people, and gain mine, too."

B'Elanna shook her head, as if amazed she actually said what had been spinning in her head since Mogh and Koloth's words had sunk in, that Klingon honor was a possible thing for her to have--that they had accepted her in the first place, fought proudly beside her.

"I never imagined I'd think that was important--but now I know it is. I need to try." She took Tom's hands, held them warm to her heart. "Tom, you've gotta make some decisions now, too. I don't want to live the life of a Klingon Indian--it's not for me and we both know it. But I don't want to endanger any chances I might have in restoring my mother's honor by becoming any more different from her people than I already am.

"You need to decide how far you want to be with me on this. When I can work up enough money, I'm going to Cha'Kago."

"The reservation D'A's from?"

B'Elanna nodded. "If there's a way to reclaim Ma's honor, she'll know it. If I have to, I'll fight for it again, and for mine. When I fought the Cardassian Indians, I revenged her death, and staked a claim to my honor. But it's not done. I've faced the land of the dead; I have to face the world of the living now, prove myself to them, and to me. Until then, I'll never be complete. Until I know one way or the other, I can't marry you the way everybody here sees fit. Not yet."

Tom heard her soft words well, felt them sink into his heart. Never since he'd known her had he heard her words so gentle yet assured. Never had she spoken of her honor as anything aside from propriety. But he knew, too, how much more important her Klingon honor was at that point, knew what it'd mean to be assured of it. "You were wrong, B'Elanna," he said, and grinned slightly at her expression. "I do understand."

B'Elanna's eyes closed, and she breathed a sigh of relief, opening them again when he brought her hands to his lips and kissed her fingers.

He met her gaze again. "You wanted me to decide how far I wanted to come with you?" he asked. She nodded. "No matter how far you go with this, I'll be right there by your side, fighting alongside you. If not having your honor settled is making you incomplete, then I'll do whatever it takes, too. It'll take a while to get the money together, but it'll be worth the wait. I'm with you, B'Elanna."

RE: VC: Perils Aftermath, part 3
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 1:58 PM

B'Elanna threw her arms around him then, holding him tight and nearly to tears with relief and love of that man...that man who she couldn't believe she's held in such distaste once. Once again, she thanked what what powers that were that they'd been given the blessing of change.

Pulling back a little, she placed her hand on his cheek, running her pinkie across the scar that'd formed on his cheek. "Tom," she breathed, "in all the ways that are really important, I am your wife. You are a part of my honor, a part of me, and I'm a part of yours....I can't tell you what this means to me, that you'll stay by me."

"I think I know," he whispered, leaning down to kiss her. "And I meant it." When their lips touched, his hands ran down and around her body, pulling her astride his legs and drawing his fingers into nape of her thick hair.

The response came like nature: Their kiss deepened as their bodies pressed together firmly, soon expectant of the enevitable rejoining. Their legs entwining, they fell back onto the soft grass together, not losing contact on the way, and quickly comfortable in that changed position. Her touch sifted through his soft hair and around to his neck, drawing away his collar. She whispered against his lips, "Make love to me."

"Yes," he breathed and pressed to her again.


The moon had passed the sky, and she had finished buttoning her blowse, smiling to her lover, her mate, as he pulled on his second boot. "Reckon we're late for supper yet?"

Tom chuckled. "That's all right. They weren't expecting us, anyway." She scowled at him and he shrugged. "Your daddy figured I was going to pop the question, so he said he'd tell Mama not to set places for us."

B'Elanna's eyes went wide. "Mercy, Tom! You didn't tell him you were gonna propose, did you?"

"Well, actually...When we were trapped in the cave, I did tell him I wanted to ask you. --Well, d@mn, B'Elanna, he had to know I'd only do right by you, and I was sick of him accusing me of using you like a toy. So yeah, he's gonna figure we're getting away together for a reason."

She was not appeased. "But now they're expecting it! And now we've gotta walk in there with them expecting us to be all happy and smiling and ready to jump on the altar."

Tom grinned. "Well, no altar, but why wouldn't we be happy and smiling? We're just gonna wait a while, right? Take a little time for a change and get ourselves settled before going through with it. There's nothing to mourn in that, is there?"

B'Elanna thought about that. "I guess Pa won't be devastated to think I'll be in the house a while longer, and that we're thinking about things, getting ourselves straightened out first...And he's been obliging about our...meeting each other."

"Exactly." He got to his feet and held his hand down to her. "So why don't we go on back home and give them the good news?"

"You smooth-tongued b@stard," she smiled, taking his hand. "Only you would make us not getting hitched into a joyful event."

"Just a part of my undying charm, Miss B'Elanna," he replied, bending to kiss her fingers softly--then laughed when she rolled her eyes. Still holding her hand, he started them back up the trail, happier than he'd expected he'd be after being put off by that wild filly of a lady. Or maybe that she never failed to surprise him was the reason he was so pleased in the end. And it was only beginning.

Building Pt 1
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:11 AM

Lee-Marie stopped hammering the plank she was working on in order to wipe her forehead on the sleeve of her shirt. It was a scorcher of a day and work on rebuilding the main barn was coming along slowly. She thanked her lucky stars that they had help in the Delta Q to rebuild after the fire. The Ranch was a big one and everyone was helping with the restoration project. So much had been lost. She had just sent Chakotay into the main house to get a drink and some rest. He had been at it from way before sun up most mornings. He didn't say anything, but Lee-Marie knew that he was worried. She knew the damage was extensive to the Delta Q, with the buildings that had been destroyed and the livestock and horses which had been lost. It would be hard to recover from this set back. Miss Kathryn must be worried and that meant that Chakotay was also worried.

"I'll be back in about ten minutes, Dalby, continue here."

"Yes Miss Lee-Marie." He nodded at her and continued working.

Lee headed up to the Main house and slipped into the kitchen. Kes was no where to be found and neither was Sing-along. Chakotay was there though, his hat way down on his face and Lee could tell by the steady rise and fall of his chest that he was asleep. She tip toed around him and got herself a glass of water which she drank quietly, as she didn't want to disturb him. His lips were peaking out from under his hat. Lee smiled as she remembered.

She walked up to him and gently pressed her own lips to his. He didn't move.

*He must really be out* She thought to herself and silently turned to leave. Suddenly she felt him grab her arm and heard the chair scrape against the floor. She turned as he guided her to sit on his lap, and looked up to face her

"If you would continue, I'd be much obliged Ma'am."

"It would be my pleasure." Lee-Marie said as she lowered her lips to his.

She was back out in fifteen minutes.

Building Pt 2
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:12 AM

Lee-Marie took off her gloves and placed them in her back pocket.

"Dalby, Harry, I think that that's enough for the day." It was dusk and though they could have lit lanterns and continued working for another hour or two, but it had been too hot a day and her group of ranchers had been working hard through it all. They were all too exhausted.

"See you in the morning Lee-Marie" She nodded to the others. She turned towards the West Pasture and just made out the ranchers who were working there coming back. After a while Chakotay came out to her and he looked worried.

"What's wrong?" Lee fell into step with him

"B'Elanna and Tom are still not back"

"Tim, Tim, Tim of the Jungle just came by and said that they were with Madame D'Alaireux and are safe."

"Doing what? We have a lot of work to do. We don't have time for playing."

Lee looked pensive. She had watched B'Elanna and Tom throughout the days that they had been re-building and she knew that things were not right between the pair."

"They need time alone. Leave them be."

Chakotay didn't say anything.

When they reached the point where they had to split up to go to their respective rooms. They stopped and Chakotay looked at her.

"Got time to come in for a quick cup of Joe."

"If you make it tea, fine. Joe, this time of night?, No wonder you're not sleeping right." Lee placed her hand on his back, possessively.

*What is it with the women of this town, they were so, independent. That's my move* But he couldn't deny that he enjoyed the feel of her hand where it was.


"I'm surprised that you didn't jump on your horse and go after them tonight." Lee was sitting on Chakotay's lap on his couch finishing her tea. He had taken her advice and not drunk any coffee.

"Actually, I can't. Tom has my horse. He noticed that B'Elanna was gone earlier and he went to look for her. I told him to take my horse"

Lee-Marie looked at him in astonishment.

"You did? Buried the hatchet? Come to think of it, I have noticed that the two of you get along much better now. What happened in that cave anyway?" She snuggled down in his arms and he held her tightly.

He told her.

"Hmmm. Well that's good to know. If I ever get thoroughly p!$$ed off at you, I know to drag you into the nearest cave and all will be well."

"We won't need to go to a cave." Lee raised her head and saw the most deliciously wicked grin on his face as he said those words.

"Well we would at least need to find a very secluded spot." She retorted as she began to kiss him.


When B'Elanna came home, she was surprised to see her father and Lee-Marie asleep on the couch in each others arms. She tip toed to her own room and got ready for bed. It had been a long day.

Building Pt 3
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:14 AM

"She's cold, arrogant, self-centered and more pigheaded than Miss Kate, Tom and you put together!!!!"

*You forgot one person in that Miss Lee!*

Chakotay didn't say anything. Lee-Marie was in a full force woman's stink and he knew if he said anything more, it would most likely get worse.

He was right. Lee was pacing and waving her hands around to show her anger and frustration. She needn't have, her tone of voice said it for her. She was practically shouting. They were together in his house after the fifth day of re-building of the Ranch after the fire. Miss Kate had told Sevenita to help Lee-Marie and Chakotay in the final stage of building of the new barn.

The two of them didn't hit it off too well. Sevenita did whatever she felt was right without checking with Lee-Marie and himself before doing it. The adjustments that she made were perfectly fine and some better than what they had planned. But Chakotay knew that it was Sevenita's attitude that was bothering Lee. She just acted and wasn't the slightest bit apologetic when she made them waste time trying to do something that she had already done.

"She's just a little unconventional that's......"

"I don't mind that!!!" Lee stopped pacing and turned to face Chakotay. "It's her attitude I can't stand!!!!"


"And then there is her manner of dress. Can't anyone tell her that her trial is over!?! She doesn't have to dress like that again. It's destracting, especially to the male ranch hands. You'd swear that she was a vision of the Mother Lode the way they stare at her !!! How she actually walks in those heels is beyond me."

"It is the closest to her native Borg dress. Can't we just let this go?" Chakotay was getting tired of this. They had both worked a full day and he was tired. And he knew that she was too. They had been at if from sun up to sun down and sometimes even longer than that for about a week. Nerves were frayed and tempers were on the rise.

"Oh I'm sure that's just what you want to do, just let it go. What is this effect that she has on men, on you?"

Lee-Marie glared at him.

"She doesn't have any effect on me!!!"

Lee made a rude noise in her throat.

"WOMAN!!!" Chakotay roared completely exasperated.

"WHAT!?!" Lee shouted back.

They glared at each other. Then suddenly Lee held up her hands in mock surrender and turned away. She had felt her frustration and tiredness mounting for days. She was venting and she knew it. Sevenita was just the final straw. She rubbed her neck. She sighed deeply. As quickly as the storm had gathered. It dissipated with her sudden revelations.

"Sorry, Chakotay. I'm just tired that's all"

Building Pt 4
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:15 AM

He stared at her back. It amazed him that she could just stop in mid anger like that. He looked at her shoulders. They were indeed stiff. He moved to stand behind her and began massaging her shoulders. Lee-Marie inhaled deeply. He planted a swift kiss on her cheek and then went back to his work.

"Apology accepted Ma'am"

"Ummm, that feels so good." Lee-Marie groaned with pleasure as her tense muscles found their release

"Well I've got something that would feel even better" he said softly in her ear.

*I bet you have* Lee thought. Aloud she said "Oh?"

"Miss Racine is performing at Sandrine's tonight. Let's go."

"But Chakotay, we have to get up early tomorrow to finish off the second phase of the barn."

"You need it, woman, you're going!!!!"

Lee knew he was right. "All right, all right, I'm going"

"Good", he turned her around and kissed her quickly. Giving her a playful shove he said "Now go get gussied up"

Lee groaned anew. "Chakotay I'm too tired for that. What's wrong with what I'm wearing now?"

Chakotay raised his eyebrows. Lee remembered that she hadn't gone to the house and taken a bath yet.

"I mean what's wrong with clean jeans?"

Chakotay sighed. Why did he always chose these strong independent women?

"I like to see you gussied up."

*Of course you do, you don't have to walk around with your insides being squashed by a corset!!*

"OK, I'll compromise. A skirt OK?"

"I can live with that." Chakotay smiled

Lee-Marie steeled herself. She had to leave now in order to get dressed. Those dimples were threatening her time table. Chakotay came to her and kissed her again. Reluctantly she pulled away.

"Be ready in 10 mins" She said as she dashed out of the door. Chakotay stood still there for a long moment.

That was how long it would take for him to get ready. She wouldn't make him wait on her. Well that was part of the reason why he liked strong independent women. Independent women didn't play as many games as other women. They saw something they wanted and they set out to get it. They held their own and did what they had to and they bore the consequences of what it entailed. They didn't sit back and let someone else tell them how to live their lives. They decided for themselves how they would and then lived life to the fullest. They stood by their men and were true partners. Some men thought that it wasn't a woman's place. That as the man, their women were second to them. He wondered if they knew what they were missing. A woman who was your partner both in and out of bed, normally brought out the best in a man. The stubbornness and pigheadedness was just a small price that a man had to pay for loving that type of woman. A small price.

It was his turn to sigh. He hurried to get dressed.

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Prologue (1)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:08 PM

Eric's note - This was written by Jason....

Without warning, the chill of autumn had arrived in Voyager City. Like the coming of a cold snap, memories of the eventful summer-everything from the relative fun of the horse races and the Leola Root Ball to the Barn Fires and even the Trial of Sevenita were left to fade as the fall announced it's sudden presence. Almost as mindlessly as Borg Indians, the citizens of Voyager City turned their attentions from the events of the summer to preparations for the long, cold months ahead.

In a few weeks would be the harvest. Usually, it was the last hurrah of summer-with annual dinners and dances planned, it was considered to be the last major event of the year. This year however, even the harvest looked daunting - whether it was because of the turmoil that the town had already absorbed during the year or because of the weather or because of some other reason - there simply wasn't any morale leading into the harvest.

Some citizens couldn't help but wonder if this beckoned the end of the town's livelihood. One might be forgiven for looking at Voyager City and taking pity on it. Indeed, there were many indications that the town was simply dying out.

For the past few months, the town had been endlessly hemorrhaging citizens. Many people had simply decided to pack up and leave, no longer willing to tolerate the frequent shoot-outs, fires or questionable content in Reverend Windes' weekly sermons. Whereas many neighboring towns and villages were growing by leaps and bounds, Voyager City's population was dwindling, with most incoming settlers deciding to bypass Voyager City altogether. Those who did arrive there found the town either by chance, or had simply misread the map and wound up there, much to their disappointment. Voyager City was becoming a town facing an uncertain future. If it were to die out, what was to become of the town, and it's loyal citizens? Already thick layer of gray cloud hung over Voyager City like some kind of looming purgatory.

Today in particular, Voyager City seemed like a ghost town. Kes had come into town to run a few errands. By late afternoon, she had completed most of her tasks and now walked down a side-street of the town near the stock yards. Despite the relatively early hour, the sky was dull and gray, with no sign of any sunlight. Kes had an unshakable unnerved feeling. Usually there were a few people wandering the streets, but this afternoon, there was no one to be found. For some reason, the street was abandoned leaving Kes completely alone on a road that usually bustled with activity.

A bit frightened, she tried to strengthen herself. She took long, luxurious strides as she strolled down the road, firmly planting her heel into the ground with every step. She tried to project strength and power - but there was something about the day that made her feel weak and scared.

The wind was shrieking loudly-- a sharp, wailing sound as the torrents of wind blew across the plains. The air and an unmistakable temperament, it was almost as if it had a color and taste - one of merciless anger. As she walked, Kes looked up at the sky... dark clouds had already moved in. A storm was coming.

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Prologue (2)...
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:11 PM

Part 2 of Jason's prologue...

From across the road, something tossed and turned, caught in the wind, spinning across the road, flapping up and down moved solely by the whim of the wind. Like a tumbleweed, the small white object tumbled toward Kes, propelled by gusts of air and then just as arbitrarily decelerated by an opposing cross wind. Even though she wasn't aware of it, the object still made its way toward her... and with a final gust of wind the white object latched itself to Kes' leg and held tight to her.

Feeling the extra weight hang off her, Kes stopped, looking down at the object that had latched itself to her. She bent over to pick up the object. Indeed, it was a shame that this particular side street was abandoned as the sight of Kes bending over in her tight black leather was a truly remarkable one that few Voyager City citizens had been treated to.

She picked up the object, peering at it. To her surprise, upon a quick examination she discovered that the object was an innocent notebook, filled with pages of notes. Looking closer, she saw many pages stained in red, and that the notes contained within its pages were scrawled in a distinctive style of handwriting that she had known all too well.

Kes froze for an instant, feeling sullen. Her mouth was agape, and it froze that way as the realization dawned on her. From deep within her stomach she felt her gut clench, her heart race and her blood cool. All of a sudden, an intense and disorienting flash overwhelmed her.

*Do you think I'm sexy now?*

The words were hard and cold. They came out of nowhere from the depths of Kes' mind - she hadn't heard them before, but for some reason they seemed familiar. She concentrated.

*Do you think I'm sexy now? The mess was considerable.*

Without coming any closer to understanding the words or their meaning, Kes shuddered as a sudden chill overwhelmed her. Her teeth, suddenly as cold as bone, clenched to avoid clattering, and Kes' eyes flared with an angry fire that could have provided her with heat her body suddenly desired.

She didn't understand where those words or the feelings they instilled in her came from, but she understood the feeling of cold terror linked to them.

She looked down at the notebook again, awash in emotion. Anger, grief... and for some reason - fear - over came her.

Kes stirred. A mental flash hit her.

*Thinking it might be the Kazon Mafia he saddled up and head out. Marshal Tuvok liked his officers to show initiative. What he saw was even more amazing.*

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Prologue (3)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:14 PM

Part 3 of Jason's prologue...

Cardassion brave.

*He listened in on what they were saying.*

She listened to him listening.

*He wrote down what he heard into his notebook drew his gun and called out...*

Kes broke away from the flash of thoughts, bracing herself by shutting the rush of images flooding her mind out. She was just letting her imagination run away with her, she reasoned. She began walking on her way again. She was still trembling, but she tried to shake it off. Nearby was a store window. Kes went over to look at it, figuring she could use anything to take her mind off what she had just felt.

It was a nicely decorated store window. There were dolls and other toys, house accessories and other items on display. But what she found drew her attention was the mirror also on display. Her eyes wandered over to it, and she lost herself looking at her reflection. Her eyes - usually so vibrant, so lovely-- looked dull and gray. Unable to break herself away from the sight, she soon lost herself in the deepness of the reflection of her blue eyes.

*The eyes she saw flamed red in the desert heat.

And then all hell broke loose quite literally. *

With a silent scream, Kes broke herself away from the images. She looked at the notebook again.

She peered at a fingerprint imprinted in the blood stain. It was intricate and beautiful, if it weren't so horrific as well.

Sevenita's Trial. This had been the notebook that had exonerated Sevenita of the murder of Jabin Ogla. Notes that had made Neelix a hero - notes that had cost him his life.

*Kes screamed, "NOOOOOOO! What have they done to you Neelix? Why did you have to be so brave?"

Eric didn't know what to do. He was never very good at these things. Right then he would have rather gone up against a hundred angry Kazon then one crying woman. He decided to bite the bullet and try to say something. He put his arms around her tight leather clad body. "Kes it will be all right, we will MAKE it all right". She looked up at him her tear stained eyes filling with determination, "Yes, we will.", then she looked down at Neelix's blood-stained notebook and read the notes. It was Seska! And someone named Dukat! They would pay! *

It had been months since the end of the trial-months after the revelation of the deception of Seska and Dukat. Kes was frightened... but she couldn't find the reason. There was no reason to be frightened-both Dukat and Seska were dead. Kes quickly came to realize that horrible as their deaths had been it wasn't enough. Making them pay hadn't been enough to make Neelix's death right.

Then it dawned upon Kes that it wasn't the memories of Seska and Dukat that frightened her. It was the realization that she had failed Neelix herself. Throughout the rush of the trial, she recalled, no one had ever bothered to retrieve Neelix's body. What had become of his corpse, Kes wondered. With that thought, Kes came to the absolute conclusion that there *was* still a wrong to be righted. And she was going to right it whatever the cost.

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Chapter One (1)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:21 PM

Chapter 1, written by yours truly :-)

Chapter One :

Neelix makes a Deal

Even though he was dead, he dreamed.

God must be a comedian he thought. How else to explain it, he was always taught by his people about the great forest, and how finally at the end of your life you could rest and enjoy the company of family members that had gone before you.


"Allow me to inform you", said Dukat as his eyes flamed red in the desert heat. And then all hell broke loose quite literally. Dukat arms shoot out and Seska would later swear that flames engulfed his body as a energy bolt stroke Neelix in the chest launching him into the side of the canyon over 50 feet away. Neelix began to shake worse then Doc after a weekend bender. And his screaming! His screaming was taking on a bubbling noise, like when Quark was making bacon at his Bar.

He screamed, he didn't have any lips, or even a body but he still screamed, "More of that cosmic humor", he thought. Of course, that wasn't the worst of it. The worst was when he was shown Seska shooting him, again and again until he thought he would go insane. But the refuge of insanity was denied him it seems.


I remember you looking at me at the bar Deputy. Checking me out, making rude comments. She thumbed back the hammer...

"Do you think I'm sexy now Neelix?"

She pulled the trigger.

"No! No!!! Please no more!", he moaned. He had to figure a way to get out of this place. Only, he didn't know where here was. He looked around his surroundings and saw the same white light. He concentrated as much as he could, "Please, whoever is sending me these dreams, please talk to me".

And Dukat appeared, eyes still red from the Pah Wraiths. "Hello Neelix", he sneered. "I'm glad you are finally learning the rules of this place. Neelix cried out again, this was horrible! He wanted to talk to someone else!

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Chapter 1 (2)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:23 PM

Chapter 1-2 (Yep, here comes Warlord Kes!)

And Kes replaced Dukat! Only, HIS Kes never dressed like this! THIS Kes was dressed in tight black leather. Her top was half unzipped, his eyes almost bulged out of his head! THIS was his mild manered school teacher lover? What had happened?

"This is how I dress for the Gunslinger Neelix! In fact this is how the whole town sees me!", and then licking her lips she reached... down... "No!" Neelix closed his eyes and thought of...

Kathryn Janeway stalked into the room. "Oh get OVER it Neelix", she hissed. "Your dead, time goes on, people change. Did you know your cousin Hop-Sing has taken over your summer cooking business?", the quite voice continued "He's running it into the ground, I'm afraid there will be nothing left by next year". The rancher continued as she was slipping dainty black gloves on, "Oh and Marshal Tuvok is thinking of hiring that Gunslinger from back east to take your place you know, with a raise". She leaned in close, "You always were incompetent weren't you?", and then she laughed. "No!", "That's not true!", Neelix wailed. This was worse then the dreams!

"She's sleeping with him you know", said a new tormentor. He knew the owner of the voice by heart. "Yes, and she seems to enjoy it very much". He raised his eyes and there she was. His killer. She was wearing the same outfit she had killed him in. Her Bajoran black eyes sparkled with contempt. "But you can change all that, just work for us", and her eyes filled with a red fire.

Neelix stammered, "What do you mean?".

The Seska Wraith began to talk...


Kes looked at the notebook as a wind arose. She looked up at the sky and saw clouds racing across the sky. This was not right. She started to run home. She had to get back to the ranch and worn the others. Her Ocampa senses were also racing faster then her feet, streaking ahead of her. Finding the Gunslinger and Tom Janeway, the two minds she knew the best.

"Get everyone together, something awful is about to happen", her mind voice screamed.

And then Neelix's notebook began to drip blood.


"Ok, I will do it", Neelix said, "Put me back, I want to make things right". Seska pointed her gun at him, "Sorry the trip back may hurt a bit", she smiled. Neelix looked at the gun in shock, "But... but... you will kill me with that!", he protested.

"Well, only in a worst case scenario!", she winked. She pulled the trigger.

And Neelix died.



The storm was building. The winds howled out of the Nekrit expanse and moaned through the Coffee canyon. It kicked up the loose dirt and reveled a white, decayed hand. That spasmed.



And then the dirt shook as the corpse pulled itself out of the ground. It grinned as it's lank mohawk blew in the wind. It grinned. "I live... again". Fortunately, the wind drowned out the mad cackling laughter.

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Chapter 2 (1)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:27 PM

Chapter 2 - by that dashing young Eric....


The Neelix creature finished climbing out of it's bed of earth. It paused as it surveyed it's surroundings. It saw the place where it died but wasn't able to conjure up any feeling. No, perhaps later. Right now it needed... food. Yes, it was very hungry, and it knew just what it needed. Red eyes glowing like hateful embers in the night, the Neelix thing stumbled toward a past it barely remembered.

Toward Voyager City. A Leeola blossom flowered behind him.


"This award is illogical.", said the Marshal. "Why would I take a ride on one of Chakotay's horses?", Tuvok continued. He placed the strange medal on the table between him and Miss. Janeway. "I do not understand why he names them Shuttle followed by a numerical designation anyway, most people give their horses affectionate names", the Marshal complained.

Kathryn smiled, this was almost a panic attack for her Vulcan Indian friend, "He feels it's a waste of time, all his horses seem to fall victim to strange accidents, why you remember that fall he took in the big race!". Giving Tuvok a conspiratorial look , "I think he is up to number 47 by now".

Tuvok read the inscription on the medal :

Marshal Tuvok, voted most likely to survive a ghastly Shuttle accident. - VOLT

"And this was delivered to your ranch?". "Yes", Janeway sighed, "And No, I don't know who VOLT is or why he, or she, would vote on such a thing, but I did my part and gave you the medal, enjoy it!", Janeway stood to leave, "Now I have to be going, it's getting late and I'm keeping you from your duties".

"Yes, I have to ride out to the old Larson place, Sevenita said she saw someone out there this afternoon", Tuvok started belting on his pistol. "But Larson left weeks ago", Janeway thought out loud. "Tuvok are you sure you want to go alone? It will be dark by the time you get back.", Janeway was worried.

"Don't worry Kathryn, Vulcan Indians like myself have excellent hearing and sight, I will be fine", Tuvok gave her a "you are being illogical" look. "I will let you know what I find tomorrow morning". He escorted the ranch owner out of his office and outside to the street. Both noticed that the street was emptier then it should have been. Janeway sighed at the sight, "It's almost like our town is under a curse Marshal, you have to find out what's wrong while we still have a town left", she whispered.

Continued (bet you never thought you would see me writting Janeway!)

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Chapter 2 (2)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:30 PM

The Gunslinger had been winning the game. He had bluffed out Tom and that Morn was about to crumble. Morn had been a good opponent, nobody had the Poker stare better then him, that was for sure. The guy barely seemed to talk at all when he played, unlike at the bar where the only time he stopped talking was to drink. And then Kes's voice had screamed into his head with it's warning! He remembered wiping his hand under his nose and coming away with blood, that voice had been loud! The same thing had happened to Tom Janeway. He had never heard Kes's mind voice so loud before.

Now the whole family was gathered in the main room except for Kathryn, who was still returning from the Marshal's office, while Kes told her story. She told of the visions and her sense of dread at finding Deputy Neelix's notebook. "We never went back to find his body", she breathed leaning into the Gunslinger. "It must still be out there and I feel something has happened to it, something terrible", everyone shivered and not from the cool autumn air.

"OK, we have to tell Kathryn about this when she gets back and we will take this to the Marshal in the morning", Tom said standing. "And wake up Chakotay", he said as he saw the foreman slumped over in his chair sound asleep.

Sevenita suddenly spoke into the quiet room, "Waiting here is not efficient, I have an idea", the former Borg Indian spoke in her usual flat tones.

"What is it?", asked Tom.

"I will speak to Madame D'Alaireux, the fortune teller, I believe she may be able to help us".

"But she is out in the Klingon Territories, near Federation City!", said Tom. He knew that the good Madame had become a bit of a Klingon groupie in the last few months.

"True, but I shall be able to find her, with this", Sevinita pointed to her silver eyebrow, her unwanted heritage of her days with the evil Borg Indians. "She was at my trial, Borg Indians are able to track anyone they have met once, and I have seen her many times. She will be able to tell us what has happened to our town, I feel it goes further then Deputy Neelix's body".


As Sevinita was preparing to leave Marshal Tuvok was arriving at the old Larson place. As the Vulcan Indian fingered his VOLT medallion he remembered the day Larson had packed up his family and left.

I'm sorry Miss. Janeway! I just can't work for you anymore. I can't explain it.
It's like something is in my mind telling me to go. It's this horrible buzzing in my head. In ALL of us! It's telling us to leave this place! It wants to kill us all!

It wasn't logical. But things rarely followed logic in Voyager City. The Marshal suddenly froze as he smelled something in the air. He dismounted his horse Kolinahr. He drew his weapon and approached the building. What he smelled should not be. There are been nobody leaving here for weeks. But he still smelled it : fresh Leeola Root.

Oh NO! Leeloa Root! What will happin next? Continued...

VC : Night of the Living Neelix! Chapter 2 (3)
Eric — 31 Oct 1999, 12:34 PM

You made it! The last part...

"Cube, you are a efficient horse, however, you are to slow for this journey. Rectangle, while you have speed you are not tactically sound, you are far to weak, Hourglass, you are to... puzzling, I choose you Sphere. You are faster then the others and yet have the stamina for the voyage ahead of us.", Sevenita nodded her head as the choice was made. Her bags were packed. She had made her farewells to Janeway after she had been told of the plan. She looked up as a shadow fell across her.

"Gunslinger, you should be resting, you have a long day tomorrow", the Borg Indian fiddled with her saddlebags. "Yeah, and so do you. Do you know what your doing? Do you think that crazy witch and her lackey Tim can help us?", he looked in her eyes. "Yes...yes I do", she reached up her hand, the one with the strange Borg jewelry on it, "I never thanked you for your help in the trial, I wish to correct that now", then she kissed him, "Thank You".

"Sevenita...", he began. "No, you are Kes's, go to her, I will be back as soon as I can", and she rode away leaving the Gunslinger alone with his thoughts.


"Hello!", yelled Tuvok as he approached the house. He had his lantern in one hand and his gun in the other since it was long since dark. It seemed to be getting dark far to soon lately. The smell of Leeola Root was so strong it was almost gagging him. It's sickly sweat odor reminded him of a graveyard after a recent burial with the smell of rotting flowers. He was at the front door, open even though he had been the one to lock it after the Larson's had left the town.

By the light of the lantern he could see the front room. He entered the building and noticed the temperature inside was much cooler, but damp, like a cave. Or a tomb.

"Hello Mr. Vulcan Indian", said the cheerful voice as the door slammed shut.

No! That voice! As he swung around he saw the impossible, his old Deputy, Neelix. "Mr. Neelix, this is impossible, you are dead". The Talaxian Indian laughed, "Not impossible Mr. Vulcan, just very improbable", as Tuvok edged closer he could see that something was wrong with Neelix, he could not make out what just yet. He had to get closer, get the Deputy into the light.

"I've made some new friends Tuvok, powerful friends", his deputy smiled, Tuvok didn't like that smile, it reminded him of snakes. "They sent me here to fix a few things Tuvok, you see mistakes were made, and I need to CORRECT them", the Talaxian stretched the word out making it sound much more ominous then it was. He made it proclamation, and announcement. Just then Neelix jumped forward into the light.

"Here you go Mr. Vulcan!", he said as Tuvok recoiled in horror. Neelix was undone. His flesh was patchy. There were places were it looked like animal hides were fused onto dead Talaxian skin, his teeth were rotted, but still far to jagged and pointed and his mouth was a gaping sore, and out of this broken face was his faintly glowing red eyes. And his body reeked of Leeola Root.

Tuvok emptied his pistol into him...

Two shells slammed into Neelix's chest, knocking the Deputy into the far wall, another hit him in the shoulder, Tuvok could hear the crunch of his shattered shoulder blade, spinning him around, causing him to miss with his next shot, but his next got the Talaxian in the thoat and the last hit him between the eyes, emptying out some kind of black goo all over the wall.

Neelix was slumped against the wall. He was making a strange gurgling noise and as he tried to breath, Tuvok gagged as the stench of Leeola Root grew even worse.

"Gaaaaaaahhhh", a pause, "Grrrraaaaaghhh", a wheeze, while Tuvok reloaded and headed for the door.

Clang. Tuvok saw that Neelix had spit out the bullet lodged in his throat. And with almost blinding speed, the Talaxian threw a knife at the Marshal impaling him on the door. Tuvok screamed as his Deputy approached him.

"Yeah, I know, my face, it's even worse then before", the Talaxian slapped him, "But you don't have to scream about it!". "Look at the mess you made of me!", the Neelix thing wailed digging a clawed finger into his head wound. "I need more skin, and yours will do just nicely Mr. Vulcan!".

"Ain't life a real b*tch?", Neelix asked Tuvok almost cheerfully as the long nights work began.


Kes's scream woke the Gunslinger as the cold morning arrived.

This will be continued as soon as i get some work out of the lazy Canadian! ;-)

VC: "Night of the Living Neelix!" Continuation
Jason — 22 Dec 1999, 2:52 PM

Kathryn had left Marshal Tuvok's office hours ago and yet she had made little progress toward the ranch. It was her own fault for choosing on this particular occasion to ride her steed Braga into town. Somehow Braga always managed to lead Miss Kathryn in a wayward direction, and no matter how many times the two of them had made the journey from town to the ranch together, Braga always managed to find away to forget the route. Miss Kathryn couldn't be sure, but it was like Braga was either too absent-minded or too self-involved to stick to the routine. It was like every time they rode together was a separate ride independent of all others they had taken together: and as such Braga was often unwilling to re-travel on familiar ground. Unfortunately for Braga this preference was not condusive to the consistency that Miss Kathryn deeply valued in her daily life. There was certainly time for "punching through" obstacles on occasion, but Miss Kathryn preferred to stick to her standard travelling protocol.

But now, Miss Kathryn had the definite feeling that she was lost. Given the recent, mysterious disappearances of some of Voyager City's citizens, a bad omen indeed. She eased Braga and they travelled very slowly and cautiously. She could hear crackling around her. Rationally, she convinced herself that it was probably the the twigs caught in the brisk autumn wind. Nonetheless she couldn't shake the feeling that someone was nearby and closing in. Miss Kate did what she so often did when she was feeling threatened, and holstered trusty Betsy and continued on her way. As she and Braga went forward quietly, she swore that she could hear faint hoof prints in the distance. Someone was definitely trailing her in the the woods. Swiftly and stealthily, she dismounted Braga and prodded him to continue walking forward without her. Obediently he did so, and Miss Kathryn propped herself behind a nearby tree, waiting for whoever was following them to catch up.

As Braga ventured off, the second set of hoof sounds came closer. Kathryn steeled herself, gripping her rifle tightly and preparing to use it. On the other side of the tree, she saw the shadow of the second steed and its horseman cast toward her. Suddenly, she gripped her weapon and turned herself around the trunk, directly in the path of the second horse, the barrel of the gun was holstered directly toward them.

The rider of the horse let out a gasp. Standing before Miss Kathryn and the barrel of her weapon was Kes.

"Kes!" Kathryn called. "My goodness, you had me terrified me!"

That was easy for the person carrying the rifle to say. "What are you doing here?" Kathryn asked.

"Looking for you," Kes replied. "When you didn't come home on time we got concerned." she elaborated urgently. "You have to come with me right away. Get on my horse."

"But Braga's just ahead. I'll go get him." Kathryn replied.

Given the circumstances, Kes didn't really have the time to wait for Kathryn to go find Braga, whom she never really liked anyway. "This is an emergency." Kes stated. "Something terrible has happened!"

Not much later, Kes, Tom, Kathryn and Gunslinger Eric were riding into Voyager City.

"How do you know something terrible has happened, Kes?" Kathryn asked.

Kes turned back to Kathryn, "I had another vision-- a terrible, terrible vision... it was about Marshal Tuvok." she said dismounting the horse.

"That's ridiculous, Kes," Kathryn said. "I was just with Marshal Tuvok. He's fine."

A moment later, they had entered his office. They found it empty and quiet, in itself unusual considering that Tuvok, competent law enforcement officer that he was, would never leave his offices unlocked if he were not there. The four observed the office carefully... everything was perfectly in place. Nothing had been disturbed.

Kes strode slowly and warily through the office. She hadn't been looking at the floor, so when she went to take a step she was caught off guard to find that the heel of her boot had become stuck in something wet and sticky which prevented her from doing so as easily as she might. Looking down, her expression changed: her calm had dissolved into terror as she let out a blood boiling scream "MOTHER!"

Miss Kathryn came over quickly to see what Kes had found. Looking at the ground, Kes' foot was planted firmly in a pool of blood.

"What happened here?!" Kathryn whispered.

Despite the blood, there was no sign of a body. And aside from the small pool of blood Kes' foot was planted in, there was no sign in the office that anything had occured, save for the four letters on the floor that the victim had managed to scrawl in their own blood before being stopped.


VC: More "Night of the Living Neelix!"
Jason — 22 Dec 1999, 6:58 PM

"Neelix," Kes gasped quietly.

Kathryn observed the startled, shaken reactions from Kes, Tom and Eric. She didn't know what was going on, but judging from the solemn reactions from the other three, she could surmise that it was very serious.

"Neelix?" Kathryn asked incredulously, as if needing to remind them that Neelix was long dead, cold in his grave.

"He never had a grave," Kes pointed out to Kathryn, seemingly out-of-the-blue, having read Kathryn's mind as Kes was uncannily apt to do on occasion. "That's the point. Neelix was never buried."

Kathryn had a moment to take this in and she paced the room, trying to sort it out. "You're telling me that this has to do with Deputy Neelix-- who's been dead for months-- your ex-boyfriend-- and that he is somehow behind all this?"

"Ugh! Do you HAVE to remind me of that image?" Eric asked.

"Well," Kathryn returned... "I'm not quite attracted to the thought of the corpse of Neelix strolling around, either, but if you're suggesting that there's a connection between it and what's going on, it's only fair to raise it..."

"No, not THAT," Eric shook his head disgusted. "The image of Kes and Neelix together as a COUPLE. Bleahh!"

Kes rolled her eyes hopelessly.

At that moment, the door to the office burst open and in rush of excitement and enthusiasm, the Voyager City Chronicle's cub-reporter Jason Canuck burst in, notebook in hand. "Marshal Tuvok!" he exclaimed, before taking note of the four morose figures in the dimly lit room. They were like a group of mourners: their attention was diverted by his sudden arrival, but they expressed little emotion about it.

"Uh," Jason started, embarrassed by his display of exuberance. "Is... Marshal Tuvok around?" he asked.

None of them were quick to answer, but attentive reporter that he was, he drew his own conclusions from the pool of blood that Kes was STILL standing in. "Has there been another murder?" Jason asked innocently, at once both in awe and fear. He had never been a witness to this kind of event before, and as a journalist had never been so close to the story when it happened.

"We're not certain," Kathryn replied matter-of-factly.

Jason Canuck drew in closer, observing and taking note of the letters scrawled on the floor. "N-E-E-L. An acronym?" he asked.

They quickly considered the irony of this suggestion, given their knowledge of Neelix's involvement from beyond the grave (which, as Kes accurately noted, Neelix never had in the first place).

"What brought you here?" Kes asked Jason Canuck curiously.

"I came to see Marshal Tuvok for an interview on the rash of murders and violent assaults that have been plaguing Voyager City." Canuck replied.

"An interview on a case he was still investigating?" Tom asked. "That doesn't sound like Marshal Tuvok."

"Well, ah, not an interview *exactly*." Jason elaborated. "Well, I guess I'd better come clean. Marshal Tuvok has been leaking information to me for a few days to me."

"Leaking?!" Kathryn asked, as if this allegation were an assault on the honor of her friend.

"Yes." Jason stated flatly. "He was doing it in hopes that the leak of information regarding the crimes would discourage whoever was committing them." It was a moment of realization as the significance sank in... "And now my source has gone missing, too... but why would he have written those letters? What are their significance?" he wondered aloud.

"How much do you know about the case?" Kathryn inquired.

"I've been investigating it for the past few days," he said, motioning to his notebook, which was full of notes.

"Well then," Kathryn said. "I think its time that we start figuring this out."

Tom agreed, but added "I think we should go back to the ranch. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but this place is really starting to creep me out."

Finding themselves in agreement, they all headed out of Marshal Tuvok's office. Kathryn, the last to leave, took a moment to look back and the room, and felt the sorrow of its emptiness in the face of the knowledge that her friend might not be coming back. Silently, she looked at the "OPEN" sign on Tuvok's door, and flipped it around, propping it up to say "CLOSED". With that, she pulled the door shut behind her and headed to the horses.

As the door closed on the office, the deep red fluid on the floor that had drained from Tuvok's veins started to bubble. The blood, long left to go cold, began to warm itself spontaneously until it erupted in a full boil. A few inches away, the letters N E E L, which had gone unaffected, burst into flames.


VC: More "Night of the Living Neelix!" (Part 2)
Jason — 22 Dec 1999, 6:59 PM

Back at the DeltaQ, Miss Kathryn, Tom, Kes, Eric and Jason came into the ranch house. Chakotay was in his seat, looking toward the door, as if he had been waiting for them motionlessly the entire time they had been gone.

"Chakotay is STILL asleep?" Tom asked, shaking his head, disapprovingly.

"Will someone PLEASE go wake him up?" Kathryn asked impatiently.

There were no volunteers.

"Don't look at me," Jason, who was aware of Chakotay's sleeping habits (the legends of his deep sleeps had spread far and wide) said, feigning innocence of his disorder. "I'm the guest."

"Guess it's my turn," Tom said. Tom eased toward Chakotay, snapping his fingers loudly as if to lull him out of the sleep. Before Tom got close enough to shake him out of it, Chakotay fell forward out of his chair and flat on to the table. As he doubled over, his back exposed the handle of a knife sticking out his back.

"Oh no!" Kes exclaimed.

"All this time, we thought he was sleeping!" Kathryn cried. "Tom! How long has he been like that?!"

"Three days at least!" Tom panted. Kes ran up to Chakotay, taking his pulse.

"No," Kes replied: "He still has a pulse, but its very weak!"

"Phew!" Tom breathed. All of them felt a little better secure in the knowledge that Chakotay really WAS sleeping for at least two of the past three days and that the stabbing was only very recently and that he was still alive. The sense of relief blinded them for more than a few moments before it sank in that Chakotay was the latest victim and that alive or not it probably would be a good idea to get him some medical attention.

As Kes and Kathryn dragged Chakotay toward the door, the three men exchanged worried glances.

"Neelix... Tuvok... Chakotay..." Tom mused... "You know what this means, don't you?"

Jason nodded with realization. "One of us is next!"

And an instant later, Tom and Jason exchanged knowing glances, coming to the same realization at the same instant. Together, they turned their glances toward Gunslinger Eric, both personally feeling somewhat secure in knowing all too well, that as the current boyfriend of rotted corpse's ex-girlfriend, that the gunslinger was at the greatest risk.

"Hey, guys. What are you looking at?" Eric asked in an innocent obliviousness.

T and E; A Lethal Combination pt 1
Leonie — 17 Sep 1998, 7:15 AM

The Women

"Kes, Lee-Marie, Sevenita.....GO"

Lee-Marie needed no further prodding, she was on JTM and off before Miss Kathryn could finish issuing the order. The sound of Chakotay's groaning was enough to spur her on. She looked behind her and saw that the others were gaining. Kes was on Boston-Rick and Sevenita on the newly acquired stallion, Cunning-Joe. He was a good buy according to B'Elanna Torres and Miss Torres knew her stallions. Sevenita found that he was indeed more than adequate to be her mount.

They galloped away.

Bad Girls


It had seemed like an eternity before she saw her lover being hit by a bullet wound (again) and rolling around on the floor of town in agony (again.) She hadn't taken it too seriously. Lee-Marie knew her lover had 26 more one-hour lives left since Cowgirl Vicki had shown up with all of her no-named ranch extras who preferred red-shirts. It was only when Doc Holliday looked startled instead of bored as he normally does when he was treating Chakotay, that she began to be worried.

"That bullet is nickle laced and it causes a serious infection. There is only one known ointment that can cure it, Leeola Root oil. Unfortunately, Deputy Marshal Neelix cooked with my last bottle of ointment and I normally get it from Defiant City. The delivery is scheduled for next week, but if he doesn't get it within three days he will die."

"I'll ride and get it Doc." Lee-Marie was already making tracks to where she had left JTM.

"Hold, on the last time I looked, I was in charge here." Miss Kathryn said. There was no expression on her face and Lee-Marie wondered if secretly she didn't enjoy reprimanding her. Right then she didn't care. Her man was in pain and needing medicine and she aimed to be the one who got it, with or without Miss Kathryn's permission.

Lee-Marie glared. It actually matched the "Death Stare" of Miss Kathryn and she faltered for a second. But only for a second. Still she got the message.

"We'll go with her," Tom and B'Elanna made a move to go with Lee-Marie.

"No, I need you here."

It was then that she issued the order.


Kes was still in her blue jump suit and sensible shoes with her short pixie hair, Riding fast trying to keep up with Lee-Marie. She was concerned about Mr. Chakotay, but curiously her mind was on other things. She was thinking about Leather. Her mind was on her gunslinger, Eric. From the time that she had put on the leather suit and understood who she was, she began to feel a power growing within her. It was dark and it called to her. She began to have weird dreams, of what she wanted to do, to be. They normally involved whips, chains and positions that she didn't even know existed until the gunslinger had walked into her life. He had taught her and she had tamed him. She knew it and she could feel it. He had been wild, unable to be touched by any other woman, except her. He invaded her being and she enveloped his.

She knew what the others thought, but she didn't care. She was his Mistress and he, her Warlord. All was as it was meant to be.

With this thought in her mind, Kes reached down into her being and communed with Boston-Rick's power that was faltering. Soon, they once again joined Cunning-Joe, who was just gaining on JTM.

T and E pt 2
Leonie — 17 Sep 1998, 7:18 AM


'Why in the, [I believe the expression appropriate here is ] Cotton picking world did I let Miss Jenny talk me into wearing this dress I don't know. She insisted that I should show off my 'God given assets' in order to attract 'Gentlemen Callers'. What gentlemen callers?. There are no 'gentlemen' in Voyager city, everyone shoots everyone and they don't call one another, they shout. The only person who can possibly be called a gentleman is Deputy Marshal Neelix, but he's more strange than gentle.

This corset is unacceptable. If I don't loosen it soon, my insides are going to be squeezed out. There is very little fabric above the corset to 'catch' anything if it falls and the skirt is so short. But the fabric is the most unacceptable part of this ensemble. It is too hot for summer, and at the pace that we are riding, these long sleeves are stifling. When we stop I will have to do something about this.


The Ambush

They rode on for about 5 hours until mid afternoon.

Lee-Marie spotted a stream, she pulled the reigns slightly, JTM knew what he had to do. He stopped and she turned around to watch the other riders as they came through the clearing.

Lee-Marie observed Sevenita. 'Amazing. They don't move, they just stand out there!!'

When they caught up to her, she said aloud

"We should stop, the horses are thirsty"

"Agreed." Kes replied.

"I am also thirsty, this ....dress is keeping me too hot." Sevenita stopped and began to drink out of the stream. Lee-Marie and Kes followed suit. Suddenly without warning, Sevenita began to tear the sleeves of the dress off and attacked the flimsy material that was covering her chest. She exposed her corset.

'So that's why they stand at attention all the time!!!! I haven't seen so much string in my life!!' Lee-Marie mused.

Kes gave Sevenita a knowing smile and said, "Well if that's what it takes to make you comfortable."

"It is"

"Alrighty then," Lee-Marie said with an amused grin on her face. "Let's get going, we still have a ways to go before we reach Defiant City and I'm aiming to reach it by dark!!!"

Off they went.

They rode for another hour before they saw it. It was a covered wagon all alone in a clearing. They circled it. Suddenly without warning, they heard gunshots. The women drew their guns and dismounted. The clearing provided no adequate cover for them and they knew that the gunmen weren't after the horses, they were after them.

They used the wagon as cover and began to shoot at the men coming at them. The women began to pick them off one by one. The men acted in surprise. They were ten of them to three women so they figured that they had easy targets. They never figured on the women's shooting abilities.





Down they all went, leveled by the six shooters wielded by a woman in pants, a woman in a spandex jumpsuit and a woman in a corset, whom they were all trying to get at.

A Silence ensued.

Kes, Lee-Marie and Sevenita came out of the cover of the wagon and went back to their horses who stood waiting for them. The horses were serene, not spooked. They had seen their mistresses in gun fights before, they knew who would win.

"Well, I believe that we should be on our way" Sevenita said.

T and E part 3
Leonie — 17 Sep 1998, 7:20 AM

"Something's still not right......" Lee-Marie started and then heard the sound of a twig breaking behind her.

Without warning, the women were overpowered by men coming out of inside the covered wagon.

Sevenita's captor came at her from the front and held her hands behind her back in a strong grip. But that was not what he really wanted to get his hands on.

Kes' attacker leveled a gun at her face and Lee-Marie's grabbed her from behind.

When this was over a voice was heard saying..."That's enough boys"

A man stepped into the clearing.


Women Warriors on the Plain.

"Bobbit Nyrian!!!!" Lee-Marie exclaimed.

"I'm glad that you remember me. I certainly remember you, you killed my eldest son."

"He tried to make an improper move on me and wouldn't stop even when I told him to. Ole Joe took care of him."

"Yes I know, John see if 'Joe" is still on Lee here" John looked for Joe in his customary hiding place in her gun belt. He didn't find it.

"That's Leonie-Marie to the likes of you." She spat out.

"I'll call you what I want, Uppity Missy. Killing my boy like that. It's time that you pay and your friends will pay too. Although I must say that I feel a mite bit sorry for that one." He gestured at Sevenita.

Kes stared at her captor and everyone one in the Nyrian Posse felt it. They felt her, had an image of her in her Shaolin Leather Justice Suit, in their minds as she began to purge the evil that was present in their thoughts. It distracted them momentarily. It was all Sevenita and Lee-Marie needed.

Sevenita brought her arms forward swiftly and hit her captors armpits with such a force that they went flying upwards. He tried to grab her again, but she swiftly lifted him above her head and threw him. Unfortunately his hand hooked on her skirt as she did so. She was so intent on turning around that she did not hear the loud "rip" of fabric tearing. She saw her opening and took it, kicking him in the b*!!s with all her might in her 5" Stiletto heels, which her father had given to her for Christmas assuring her that it "combined aesthetics and functionality" She found out later that her father was drunk out of his mind when he told her that. The Nyrian groaned and stumbled to the floor. Sevenita finished the job with his own six-shooter and looked at Kes to see how she was doing with her captor.


Kes had Doomed Nyrian in her gaze and was not letting him go. In his mind he saw himself worshipping at the foot of a throne with Kes on it. She wore this incredible Leather outfit and there was this outlaw sitting on the throne watching as she whipped Doomed over and over again, who was sobbing for mercy. Kes stopped and approached him. She touched his bleeding face gently and said with more malice than he had ever been able to muster up in his life.

"Such a puny little mind."

Lightening struck and he was rendered unconscious. Sevenita watched Kes in wonder. She had never seen the gentle little thing do anything more than defend herself, now she seemed to be enjoying it was that she was doing to him.

T and E part 4
Leonie — 17 Sep 1998, 7:21 AM

Gentlemen cross your........

Lee-Marie struggled, grateful for the moment of distraction, reached behind her, with all of her might using her left hand. 'Just a little further, that's it, that' it." Her grip was enough to make her assailant gasp and loosen his grip on her right hand. With one swift movement, she uncovered 'Ole Joe' from the new secret compartment that she had made for him and with another, she brought it down between her left hand and his body, guessing at where the correct spot would be.

She guessed correctly.

"All in Heaven help me!!!!!." he pleaded

Lee-Marie was panting as she turned to face him and said

"Divine Intervention is unlikely"

Something was in her hand. She looked down and then tossed it to the Nyrian thug.

"I believe this is yours."

He died moments later. She looked around to her companions.


When Kes and Sevenita realized that Lee-Marie was holding her own, they both went after Bobby Nyrian. Kes had him in her mental images, and Sevenita took the opportunity to bound him by holding his arms behind his back. Lee-Marie had finished incapacitating her thug and looked at the others holding Bobby Nyrian.

Hatred burned within her. She had never forgotten what Spud Nyrian had wanted to do to her. What he almost cost her. She hated Bobby Nyrian for even suggesting that his death was her fault for not giving in to him and servicing him. Now he had almost taken the lives of Kes and Sevenita.

Cold Fury descended on Lee-Marie. She drew 'The Woman' from her holster where she had replaced it after the shoot-out.

"You really believed that I should have given in to Spuds advances don't you. You made my life so miserable by your lies that I had to leave home because of you, and now you are going to pay."

"With what? What are you going to do Missy?"

He taunted her and jeered at her, it was more than she could stand.

"Bobby Nyrian, you were a B*st*rd"


"Aiee....Big Dingaling..."

"Now you are a "B*tch, either way, you're not worth my time anymore."

Sevenita let Bobby Nyrian go and he slumped to the ground groaning.

"Kes, Sevenita, we have to get moving if we are to reach Defiant City by nightfall."

Just then they heard the sound of a man falling and a muttering of sorts. All three drew their guns,

'Now what' thought Lee-Marie.

T and E part 5
Leonie — 17 Sep 1998, 7:23 AM

Divine Intervention

They looked over at the shrubs where the noise had come from. They heard the litany again:

"Lord, now let your servant go in peace
Your will has been fulfilled,
Mine own eyes have seen the salvation,
Which you have promised to all men......"

Reverend Wildes was laying on the ground, his hands in a steeple praying.

'What has come over him?" Sevenita asked perplexed.

Kes and Lee-Marie took one look at Sevenita and realized that she was practically naked, her skirt having been ripped off , and she having overcome the confines of her corset during the scuffle.

'Well, I guess gravity is relevant. However I doubt that any man would really mind.' Lee-Marie hid her chuckle

Sevenita followed their gaze, looked down and attempted to right herself. Her other two companions grinned.

"Sevenita, I think you should put on the extra pair of lycra pants that I have in my pack and borrow Lee-Marie's coat when we get into town, you are a sight." Kes said as she looked down at Reverend Wildes.
"I think that he believes that you are the Beatific Vision."

"What does that mean?"

"When he gets up, you can ask him to explain it to you. Kes, take his horse and take him to Voyager City, Sevenita and I will be all right going to Defiant City."

"Yes, that is as it should be. I feel the Gunslinger calling to me."

They mounted their respective horses. Their horses in turn, understanding the stamina and force of their mistresses, reared and neighed showing their pride before the women rode off into the sunset.

Favored Son--The Beginning
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 2:05 PM

This takes place before the Cattle Drive and after Testosterone & Estrogen

"Hey B'Elanna! You going to town?"

B'Elanna whipped around and jumped a little inside, for more reasons than one. First was that she still wasn't used to seeing him. Over four months had passed since his half-brother had brought Harry to the old Provencal, the day of the race, the fire, she and Tom claimed each other...."Yeah, Sourdough, I am. Need anything?"

"Actually," Harry said, "I, uh...Can I come with?" He begged a little with his eyes, an old trick that had somehow lost it potency during his years missing.

Reason number two for B'Elanna's jumping at his call was that, aside from Tom, who was busy on the range, she didn't need--want--company, from anyone. However, she couldn't help but sigh a little at his reaction to her glare. She knew nothing there was his fault.

She jerked her head towards the stable. "Get Libby saddled up and be quick about it." And she couldn't help but grin at Harry's happy smile. Like a kid at Christmas who'd expected coal and onions in his stocking. And then, Hurry up, hurry up...I gotta be back by supper--if not before...

Thankfully for her, the excited Harry had Libby, his favorite pony, all saddled up within mere minutes, and soon was riding by B'Elanna side at a steady pace towards town. He was grinning and he knew it, but it turned down a bit when he looked to B'Elanna only to see her profile, her dark eyes set straight ahead, looking either distracted or angry--he couldn't tell which.

He swallowed before speaking. "So, Magpie," he said, trying to be light and failing, "what are you going to town for?"

"Does everybody have to know my personal business?" she snapped, darting a stare at him. "First Pa, then Kes, now you. Can't I go to town anymore without someone thinking something about it?"

Harry pulled back. "Sorry I asked. I was...just trying to talk."

B'Elanna growled, more to herself, and shook her head. "No, Harry, I'm the one who's sorry. Really. I'm just not going to be very good company today. I'm feeling a bit...touchy." She saw him nod, and directed her eyes ahead again. "I just have to pick up a coat I had tailored."

"A new coat, huh? Where'd you buy it?"

"Annie gave it to me, but it needed some work, so I took it to Mister Carey."

"Oh." And suddenly, the conversation died as quickly as it started. B'Elanna just wasn't in the mood for small talk--as if she ever had been one for it.

It'd been hard for Harry since he'd gotten back. His brother and the foreman's daughter, both his best friends, were obviously pleased and happy to have him home again, but they didn't seem to have time for him like they did before.

It was easier way back when, when Tom was in trouble and B'Elanna...well, when B'Elanna simply was trouble. He had played the councellor to them both, spent lots of time with them. But they'd grown up a lot since he'd gone away, and though they had both made time for him in their spare time, Harry of late felt more like a pest.

Well he admitted to himself, I have been a pest, following them around when I'm working with them and walking in on their dinners together when they're just trying to get away for a while. Tom's really trying not to hit me with the door, though he seemed pretty irked last week--but that dinner just smelled so good, I had to ask...And then there was the time I followed them into the stable at just the wrong time--Lucky B'Elanna didn't kill me. That saber she threw came pretty close.

Needless to say, Harry felt out of place, and wondered what he could do to correct that. What I need is my own life, he knew. Playing clarinet at the opera house just isn't doing it...If only I were more like Tom, or Mister Torres. They certainly have a lot more fun than I do.

RE: Favored Son--The Beginning, part 2
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 2:11 PM

B'Elanna pointed only her eyes Harry's way when the younger man sighed, and she took a slow breath. She didn't want to hurt his feelings, but she really didn't want to talk to him, either. She knew Tom had effectively clammed up, too. Harry had a way of drilling out information once he got a sniff of blood, and couldn't keep a secret to save his life.

Since she and Tom had agreed for her plan's sake that Annie was going to be their only confidant for as long as they could manage that, B'Elanna knew she'd have to stay careful with Tom's little brother for a while longer.

So, for that reason alone, B'Elanna held her tongue, cursing herself for feeling guilty about it all the way into town. However, when they did cross through the mainway, dismounted Liberty and gave her a pat, she did manage a smile for Harry's benefit.

"You want to come in, Soudough? Or are you going to wait?"

Harry, seemingly refreshed by her effort, nodded. "Yeah, sure. I'll come with."

B'Elanna kept her smile frozen in place. That was not the answer she'd expected--or wanted. "Well, c'mon, then."

Harry followed her into the shop, grinning politely as Mister Carey fetched the tailored coat, which, once presented, drew a strange look to his face. A pleasing enough shade, like burnished gold, with black trim, prodigious pockets and pleats in the back, it was yet...huge.

"Gee, B'Elanna," he said, clearing his throat, "it almost looks like a smock."

She whipped a stare around to him. "So what if it does? I happen to like it."

Harry gulped. "I never said it was ugly it's just...uh..."

"Just what, Soudough?" Her use of his nickname was not pleasant that time.


Her glare turned to a squint. "I'll have you know that lots of ladies back east are wearing their coats like this right now," she said bluntly. "Annie says so, and so does Mister Carey. Ain't that right, Mister Carey?"

The tailor turned a little grin and nod to Harry. "I'm afraid she's right, Mister Janeway. I read it in the Daystrom Horselady's Journal. A-cut is in this winter."

Thank the mercies he's such a twerp, B'Elanna thought, rolling her eyes.

"Please, Miss Torres, try the fit...What do you think?"

B'Elanna looked in the mirror as she hooked up the front, turning in the view. Her eyes roamed up and down, she turned again, then met Carey's again. "Perfect. How much do I owe you?"

"Four bits."

Harry slumped and waited outside the door while B'Elanna got out her money. Sighing, he let his eyes drift across the street and in them he found the Provencal. A thought passed through his head, and stuck there once B'Elanna came out, wearing her new...coat, adjusting the belt hooks as she approached.

RE: Favored Son--The Beginning, part 3
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 2:14 PM

"Ready, Sourdough?" she asked, somewhat cheerier now that her errand was done with. He didn't answer at first, and after hooking her mek'leth on her belt loop, she tapped his arm. "Yoo-hoo? You ready to go home?"

"Why don't you go ahead?" Harry said. "I think I'm going to visit Qwai-chang for a while." He caught her reaction and added, "It's been a time since we've been able to visit, too long really, and--"

"Harry," B'Elanna grinned, "you're going there to look at the girlies."

"I am not! I wanna visit my brother!"

His indignation didn't faze her smile, even as she stepped down from the walkway and mounted Liberty again. "If you say so, Sourdough. But if you're not back by suppertime, I'm telling your mama on you."

Seeing his mama's "death glare" in the recesses of his memory, Harry shot a desperate look up at B'Elanna. But she was still amused, and he finally understood she was joking. He let out his breath, laughing a little. "I'll be good," he said. "I promise."

She looked down at him, a knowing look in her eyes. She and Tom had discussed that very thing the other night after supper, when they witnessed Harry all but laying prostrate before Miss Kathryn when he spilt his cordial on her dinner dress. Or regressing into stutters when he suggested to her father a pretty decent idea about regrouping the herd. She could think of a half a dozen other examples, too. Though cute sometimes, it was also annoying, if not pitiful. As Tom had put it, he had a sign on him that said, 'have gun, shoot me with it.'

She moved Liberty, up closer so she could look down at him. "Maybe being so good's your problem, Harry," she said and turned off to the path they'd come in on.

Once he was sure she was gone, Harry steeled a breath and crossed the road. He had to stop a couple times to tip his hat to a few ladies, then to pick up a rutabaga Widow Wildman had dropped, kindly greeting her as he did.

In those few exchanges, Harry's lip had found its way between his teeth, and thinking about Madame Maxine--always at the door and not too keen on him--he finally decided to go in the back way.

There, he found his brother, faithfully enough. The man had chosen to stay in Voyager City, working for the Provencal until all his debts were paid. Harry had told him he would pay the rest, but Qwai-chang politely refused. For his honor and responsibility to his younger brother, he would accept no money.

Qwai-chang was taking a break, meditating in the back court just outside the kitchen. His arms and legs were crossed into pretzels, and Harry had to wonder how Qwai-chang stayed balanced on his head for all that time without it really hurting, but shrugged it off. "Hey, Grasshopper."

Qwai-chang opened his eyes as a flicker of a grin crossed his mouth. Lowering himself from the headstand, he moved to his feet to regard his brother. "Gadfly. You are, troubled."

Harry shrugged. "Nah, I'm doing just fine. I just came by to visit, see how you're doing." Qwai-chang only nodded. "Max treating you okay?"

"Max is a, good man." He moved to sit on the ground and motioned for Harry to join him. "Tell me, brother, how things are at the, Delta Q."

Harry shrugged again. "They're great. Couldn't be better."

"Then why are you here?"

RE: Favored Son--The Beginning, part 4
D'Alaire — 5 Oct 1998, 2:16 PM

Harry opened his mouth to protest, but catching Qwai-chang's wise little look, he finally sighed. "I guess I don't know what I can do there anymore. I mean, Mama's busy with the money and running the place, Tom's got B'Elanna and who knows where they are most the time when they're not working with the herd or the horses, Mister Chakotay's got the herd and a woman, too...." Again he sighed. "I mean, I'm happy they're happy, but..."

Qwai-nodded. "They have built a life without you. They love you, are happy for you, being home. But they are, independent."

Harry nodded. "I guess I don't feel like I fit in anymore. I guess I need to find something to do with myself."

"You must find your own path," Qwai-chang agreed. He stared at his little brother a full minute, watching Harry squirm a little at the examination. Finally, he took a breath. "It has been a long time, Gadfly. But I would like to, teach you again, some of the ways you have forgotten."

Harry seemed to brighten a bit at the idea. "Really? I'd like that, Qwai-chang." He swallowed, trying to lower his voice so he'd sound more sure of himself. "I mean, I would be honored."

Qwai-chang smiled. "Then we shall start, brother. Come." He moved to his feet with a grace that proved his training, and went back into the kitchen. He went to the sink and picked up a dish from the pile sitting in the water. "Remove your coat and hat," he ordered with quiet certainty, and when the young man had obeyed, he placed the dish in his hands. "Wash them."

Harry furrowed his brow. "Huh?"

"Wash the dishes," Qwai-chang repeated, and moved his brother to stand before the sink. With his quietly guiding hands, he gave Harry the dishrag and guided his hand over the fine, French china. "Soap on, soap off....Soap on, soap off."

Harry reeled a little at that. "Uh, Grasshopper, I don't--"

"Gadfly, I am sensai now. Trust. Soap on, soap off. Three times, each side, twenty dishes, then switch hands."

Harry sighed and went to work, repeating his washing strokes aloud and a little grudgingly. Pleased, Qwai-chang returned to the court and resumed his meditation, concentrating again on the sound of migrating birds.