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VC Compleat: The Cattle Drive

My idea for the action-packed next phase of Voyager City
Terry — 15 Sep 1998, 11:39 PM

This would be set at least a few months after any of the stories already written or being written. Don't let me interfere with what you're doing now. This is just an idea for a sequel of sorts.

"Chakotay, I don't have to tell you about the financials straits that the Delta Q has navigated in the last five years. First, Mark is killed in that stampede in Array Gulch which cost us a third of our herd and hands. You and your people from the Maquis Ranch brought us back up to full strength. But if it isn't sinkholes threatening to swallow the ranchhouse, or twisters nearly killing Tom, or the range war between the Ogla and Nistrim, or raids by hostile Borgs or by the Krenim Gang, ...."

"I get the picture, Miss Kate."

"I don't think that you do. I never told you how I came up with the money to rebuild after each disaster."

"How did you?"

"I had to morgage the ranch to the Vidiian Organ Bank in Deadwood. You've heard of those bloodsuckers; they charge what amounts to an arm and a leg in interest. But even that hasn't been sufficient. We're behind on all of our bills. And we nearly lost that piece of choice grazing land at Juniper Springs. We bought it on credit from the Property Transaction Brokers (PTB) and they sent a man out from their Nevada office to repossess the property last year."

"What happened?"

"That was just after we rescued Sevenita from the Borg. The finance man was so bedazzled by her two charms that we had time to appeal the Juniper lien to a higher court. (The poor man then took up holy orders. Said something about seeing the face of God.)"

"But we've been able to build up the herd this year larger than ever. The proceeds of its sale at the Federation stockyards should be enough to make good all of the outstanding debts, shouldn't it?"

"If we can get them to Federation City. And only if we get a good price."

"We'll be done with the roundup within the week. That's at six weeks ahead of the other spreads. Two days by rail on the Delta Flyer and we'll be the first cattle sellers this season at Fed City. We'll be able to command top dollar for the beeves."

"Remember our unpaid debts? We haven't paid the Alpha and Delta Railroad for transporting last year's herd. I'm afraid that they won't advance us any more credit. ... If we don't get the herd to market, I'll lose the Delta Q!"

"I know the way you operate, Kate. You aren't asking for suggestions. You must have already figured out a way out of this mess. What are you planning?"

"We can't get the herd to Fed City by rail. So we'll do it the old-fashioned way. A cattle-drive!"

Excerpts from possible future stories
Terry — 15 Sep 1998, 11:47 PM

Excerpts from Possible Future Stories

"We'll drive the herd due northwest through the Collective badlands to Fed City. By travelling in a straight line, we'll cut the distance in half and beat the others to market."

"The Collective Badlands? But that's plumb down the middle of Borg territory!"


"Mark taught me that driving a herd is a delicate procedure. But I've come to learn that sometimes ... you just have to punch your cows through."


"Someone more nasty than the Borgs?"


"Mis Kate, we've been able to decipher some of the Borg smokesignals. They refer to this new enemy as Tribe 8472."


"What if I made a Bargain with Beelzebub?


"You can't be serious, Ma. Selling rifles to the Borg injuns?"


"I guess that I am alone."


"Chakotay. You have to make this bargain work. Get my herd to Fed City!


"Miss Kate! There was no call for that! Just because Lee-Marie stepped in a gopher hole and broke her leg, ..."

"They shoot horses, don't they? ... She should have known better than to accept my hospitality at the Delta Q and then steal the affection of my one true love."

"Can I keep her horse to remember her by?"

"No way! Dismissed, Mister. Come here, JTM, come to mama. How's about a nice, looong gallop followed by a nice, slooow rubdown. That nassy Lee-Marie can't treat you like I can."


Remember, Leonie, these are only potential excerpts. Hey, put that down! Look! There's more!

"Chakotay! Lee-Marie just moved. I think she's still alive!"

"Quick! Get the Doctor!"

Filler pt 1
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:37 AM

"She's going to do what?" Lee-Marie turned and looked at Chakotay.

The two of them were sitting on incline on the plain of the North pasture just before dawn. Lee-Marie was in front of Chakotay, sitting in between his legs. His arms and body encircled her, keeping her warm. The mornings were always a mite bit chilly

Chakotay was the one who suggested that they watch the sunrise at least once a week, if they were able to. It was one of the activities which they both enjoyed a lot, and used to do separately when they were not courting. Now that they were, it only made sense to do it together.

Sometimes during the week, there was no time to be together. At the end of the day, they were just too exhausted to be with each other. They just climbed into bed and promptly fell asleep. They would go out once on the weekend, but by and large, it seemed at times that they were two horses passing each other in the day. This was their time, when they could talk about all the going ons in the Ranch and in the City, and more importantly, the going ons between themselves.

Lee-Marie treasured it for another reason. Miss Kathryn was no where in the vicinity and would not interrupt things. Recently, she was beginning to get "concerned" about the closeness of her employer and her beau.

"You heard me, a cattle drive. Sex weeks of driving the herd through the Northwest Passage to Federation City to sell them."

Lee turned again and Chakotay held her tightly again. His voice rumbled in his chest as he spoke. She always liked the way that it sounded and it felt when she was in his arms. Very comforting.

"Why doesn't she just use the rail?"

"Lee, the Ranch is in serious financial straights"

Lee was silent for while. "I suspected as much. I'm sure the fire did not help matters."

"We can't afford it." The term we was not lost on Lee, she ignored it though.

"When do we leave?"

"In a couple of days, a week maybe."

"I guess we have a lot of work to then." Inwardly Lee-Marie groaned. She was just getting accustomed to the relative quiet of the Delta Q in the past month after Sevenita's trial. Now this.

"The first thing I want to do is hire a Trailboss. I was thinking of Miss Mary Whippen from Hollywood California."

Lee whipped around "Mary Whippen!?! THE BOSS, and Miss Kathryn!?! she asked incredulously. "Chakotay, you see these clouds." He could barely make out where she was pointing. "That's a message from the Angels Tribe. They're saying that even they are afraid thread to Federation City with Miss Kathryn and Miss Whippen.

They shared a chuckle. "She is a bit ornery."

"Ornery!?!" Lee-Marie exclaimed, "Sweetie, even I wouldn't cross her!!!!" She turned around quickly.

Chakotay sighed. "If Miss Kathryn agrees to this we'll have sex weeks of the two of them butting heads together."

Lee-Marie sounded puzzled as she said " Sex weeks!?! That can't be what was printed in the Voyager City guide Almanac"

Chakotay smiled as he pulled her down on the blanket and held her close

"It said sex weeks."

"Who am I to argue with the smart a$$ who wrote the guide" Lee said softly as her lips found his.

The sun rose without them.

I'm finally entering the Voyager City fray...
Jason — 18 Sep 1998, 6:55 PM

Be gentle, this is my first time. I hope this doesn't screw too many things up. (If it does scren things up, feel free to expunge it from Voyager City canon.)

BTW, to whoever created the large file of stories-- Thank you! I found it difficult to follow the stories (and impossible to write for the Story Tag) until that was made.

"Miss Kathryn's Blast From the Past, Part One"

This is a subplot (?) set after Terry's "Crisis in the Delta Quadrant, Part One", but before Kathryn undertakes the cattle drive to save the ranch.

Miss Kathryn looked out the window of her ranch at a beautiful day. She was alone in the house, and while she was facing many problems in her life-- not the least of which was the fact her ranch was in debt-- and she was facing a long cattle drive through Borg Injun territory to raise capital, but that was several weeks off yet. But she wasn't going to let this spoil the pure joy of having her home to herself and enjoying her home and the view.

Then, a knock came at the door. Kathryn opened it, where standing there was a young, ruggedly handsome young man in a blue uniform and cap.

"Telegram for Kathryn Janeway from the AQ, ma'am", he said.

This was indeed unexpected. She looked at the young man's name tag. Above the name "DORADO", which she assumed was his name were the letters "LMH".

A message from the AQ from the LMH? What did that mean?

"LMH?", Kathryn inquired.

Dorado said "LHM-- Long Haul Messengers. Our Telegram Company provides service across this entire continent. The best delivery service around, ma'am."

"I see", smiled Kathryn, taking the telegram and reading the address label to make sure there was no mistake. It was indeed for a Miss Kathryn Janeway, and it was from the AQ.

The AQ?

Miss Kathryn was sure she didn't know anyone from those parts-- at least, not anymore. Not since she started the Delta Ranch here with Mark those many years ago, leaving everyone and everything that she knew there behind.

Hands trembling with anticipation, she opened the telegram. She shook as she read the words. While the words themselves did not seem as such, Miss Kathryn sensed a menacing tone to what was written on the paper: "I WILL BE SEEING YOU SOON".

That was all. No more, no less. Not even the name of the sender. Miss Kathryn quickly wheeled back to the messenger boy and asked "Do you know who sent this?"

"No, ma'am. I'm just the messenger from the Voyager City Office. If there's a mistake, I'm sure it's just the fault of the AQ office."

With that, he left to continue his errands, leaving Kathryn alone. But she knew she would not be alone for long-- and for some reason she knew that she would be greeting an unwelcome visitor. Who was it? Why were they coming to see her? Was it someone from her past? Should she be anticipating some sort of vengeance for wrongs conducted in the AQ, in what seemed like another life? Miss Kathryn was suddenly chilled by the thought of... "What if this person is *already* here?"


Miss Kathryn jumped at the unexpected knock at the door. She eased her way toward it, slowly opening it. Greeting her at the door was another young LMH Messenger who, despite her best efforts, could not hide the fact that she was looking a little blue. Otherwise, she seemed like a nice girl despite the long scar running down the middle of her face. Her name tag said "GOLWAT". It was an unusual name to be sure, thought Miss Kathryn, but it wasn't her greatest concern at this point.

Miss Kathryn's Blast from the Past, continued
Jason — 18 Sep 1998, 7:04 PM

Miss Kathryn jumped at the unexpected knock at the door. She eased her way toward it, slowly opening it. Greeting her at the door was another young LMH Messenger who, despite her best efforts, could not hide the fact that she was looking a little blue. Otherwise, she seemed like a nice girl despite the long scar running down the middle of her face. Her name tag said "GOLWAT". It was an unusual name to be sure, thought Miss Kathryn, but it wasn't her greatest concern at this point.

"You have a message, ma'am." Said Golwat.

"Two telegrams in one day?" responded Miss Kathryn.

"I just deliver them, not send them." said Golwat, handing her the message and continuing on her way. Janeway walked back in to her kitchen, and with even more anxiety than before, she opened the telegram, expecting some threat on her life. Her eyes fell over the latest menacing words she recieved:


Like the last message, this one ended as mysteriously as it began.

Kathryn promised herself that she would face this person head on-- not take the risk by letting the person coming to meet her find Kathryn on their terms.

True to her word, the next day, Tuesday Kathryn rode in to town, heavily armed with her son, Tom to meet this guest.

The caravan pulled in to the market square shortly after their arrival. The driver opened the door, allowing a prim, cold looking dark haired woman out of the car. Acting gentlemenly, Tom went forward and collected her baggage. As Kathryn caught a look at the woman's face, her face froze with terror.

As he collected her bags, Tom introduced himself to the woman.

She replied firmly: "I am the Lady Templeton."

Tom hadn't heard his mother mention her name before-- in fact, he'd never been aware that his mother had even ever been in the AQ before, but admitted to himself that this could be due to his life-long self-involvement more than any inclination of his mother not to tell him about having lived there or even how she met even his father.

"Never heard of ya," Tom said to Lady Templeton.

"Really?" she replied. "I'm quite surprised. Your mother and I worked together at the Burleigh Estate. I'm surprised she wouldn't have mentioned me, certainly she couldn't have forgotten." Templeton said.

Without any further interaction with Tom, she stormed off towards Kathryn.

"Greetings, Miss Janeway." Templeton said, condescendingly. She didn't bother to show any affection, and kept her (undoubtedly frigid) hands to herself, not offering them in a handshake as was the Voyager City custom. "Of course, last time I saw you, you were still Miss Davenport. Is that what you would prefer?"

Kathryn was as adamant as Templeton: "Janeway will do."

"I'm sorry to hear about the death of your husband." Lady Templeton said.

Janeway mustered her strength to shake off the heebie-jeebies that Templeton's presence gave her. "Thank you. I'm sure you've met my son Tom. Welcome to Voyager City, the folks here are friendly and I'm sure they'll do their best to accomodate you. Now what the hell are you doing here?"

Templeton was bemused: "I should have expected. You haven't changed much in all these years." Unshaken by Kathryn's forcefullness, she continued: "Aren't you going to take me to your ranch?"

Miss Kathryn's Blast from the Past, still continued
Jason — 18 Sep 1998, 7:07 PM

Kathryn chuckled: "You're welcome in this town as long as the people will have you, but there's no way in hell that you are ever going to set foot on the Delta Ranch as long as it is my property."

Templeton gave a restrained smile, which quickly reverted back to the flat, cold, lifeless poker face she had always had as long as Janeway had known her. "From what I understand, that may not be for very much longer. So, I'm sure I'll be seeing you, soon. Kathryn."

Just as coldly as she had heard this, Miss Kathryn replied: "Oh, I'm certain of it. Good day, Miss Templeton."

With that, she turned and headed back for her horse, Tom scrambling to catch up with her.

"Who was that?"

"Someone from my past. Someone I'd rather have forgotten." Miss Kathryn said.

"You worked with her?" her son asked. "Where? Doing what?"

"All of that can wait for now. We've got bigger concerns." she said, then adding, sombrely: "Something tells me we've got trouble brewing on the homefront."

She knew she probably should have shot Templeton on first sight, but she had to know why she had come all of this way to Voyager City to see her. She hoped like hell that her act of discretion in the town square would not cost her her homestead, but nonetheless she had a deep, unplacable feeling inside that she had just come a lot closer to losing her ranch.


Who is Miss Templeton?
How does Janeway know her?
What happened at the Burleigh Estate?
Is Templeton any good in a knife fight?

All of these questions yet to be answered...

THE CONTINUATION: "Where There's a Will, There's a Way"
Jason — 19 Sep 1998, 7:33 PM

TIMELINE: A continuation of "Miss Kathryn's Blast From the Past".

Young Tom rushed in to house as fast as he could, clutching a piece of paper tightly in his fist that he'd brought in from outside as he entered the Delta Q ranch's kitchen, where his mother, Ranch hand Chakotay and Kes sat.

"Ma, this letter was outside the door." Tom said, breathlessly. He handed it with urgency to his mother and Kathryn read over it with great intensity.

"It's from the 'Lady' Templeton. She wants to meet with me." Miss Kate said firmly.

Her daughter, Kes, who'd just arrived from town to speak with her mother sensed her mother's concern. "Are you going to go?" she asked.

Miss Kate thought, before responding: "She's not going to leave these parts until we put this to rest. I reckon I'll have to go in to town to talk to her."

Kes shook her head, "Mother, I came in to warn you that I heard in town that Templeton was trying to enlist some mercenaries."

"Was she successful?" Chakotay inquired.

"I don't know. That's all I've heard. I came to tell you."

Chakotay looked to Miss Kate and said "You can bet that if the Krenim Gang caught wind of what Templeton is up to, they've already signed up. If Mrs. Templeton is paying them enough, there's no telling how far she could go."

Tom shook his head. "We've got more allies we can count on in town than Templeton. If she thinks that she can barge on to our homefront and push us around, she's got another think coming."

Kes shook her head. "I'm not so sure about that. I saw Templeton in town and she had a murderous mood about her. I heard that Undertaker Suder was trying to ask her out on a date. She's dangerous."

At Kes' warning, Miss Kate stood from the table and silently walked to the kitchen window, looking out at her land, her stables... all that she had managed to built for herself at the Delta Q ranch after leaving the Burleigh Estate. Despite all the adversity Miss Kate had met in her life she'd always triumphed and overcome it, with her family and ranch to show for her hard work. Kes was right-- Templeton *was* dangerous, and it shook Miss Kate deeply.

Her family looked at her with concern.

"Ma," Tom said, breaking the deep silence. "How exactly do you know Lady Templeton?"

Miss Kate turned and faced her family. "I know Templeton alright, but when I met her, she was no Lady."

"Impressive." Said Chakotay. "Not even Doc Holliday can perform that type of surgery."

Miss Kate shook her head. "No. She was a woman alright, but had no claim to thinking herself anymore than a servant. Certainly she wasn't a woman of independent means."

Tom was still confused. "So what happened?"

Miss Kate sat down, sipping at the tea she'd started before Tom came in and continued her story. "You know already that I worked at the Burleigh Estate. So did she. The Burleighs were a wonderful family. The Lord Burleigh was a recently widowed father of two children. A very lonely, but kind-hearted man. Mrs. Templeton was his housekeeper, and I was the governess to Lord Burleigh's two children, Beatrice and another boy whose name I frankly don't remember."

"That's nice, ma." Tom retorted.

"Mrs. Templeton was adamantly opposed to my addition to the household. She was opposed to the way I raised the children. She wasn't ready for my liberal style of child rearing. Matters only got worse when the Lord expressed feelings for me."

"Where There's a Will, There's a Way", continued
Jason — 19 Sep 1998, 7:38 PM

"You were involved in a relationship with him and you still called him 'Lord'?" Chakotay asked.

"Naturally. And I'd expect that if there were anyone under my employ with whom I would be having a relationship with to call me ma'am, as well." replied Miss Kate.

Chakotay quickly behaved himself, and did not question Kathryn for the rest of her story.

"If it's going to get more explicit, may I be excused?" inquired Tom, trying hard to sound good natured about it. "Hearing about my mother's sex life-- it's not my idea of a casual family chat around the dinner table."

"You'd probably rather hear about it somewhere else." said Kes.

Brushing off that awkward moment, Miss Kate continued on with her tale: "In any case, as I came closer to the Burleigh family, the Lord told me that he was going to change the provisions in his will to include me. If anything happened to him, I would split the money in the Burleigh Estate with his two children. In the event that the children met an untimeley fate along with their father, I'd be rewarded nearly 90% of all of the Burleigh's assets."

"Sounds like Lady Templeton wasn't as much a valued employee." Chakotay noted at her evident exclusion.

"She'd get the other 10%. In fact, until he planned to change his will, it was Mrs. Templeton that would be awarded the bulk Burleigh Estate in the event of his death. The Lord valued her work and loyalty-- but wanted to share his wealth with those close to him-- in a more personal sense."

Kes was listening intently to her mother's story: "I can see the conflict between you. But why did you leave the Burleigh's Manor?"

"Well, the next day after the Lord promised to include me in his will, both he and his children disappeared-- never to be heard from again. The only ones that were left in the house were Mrs. Templeton and I. We never knew what happened to the Burleighs."

Miss Kate reconsidered her wording-- "At least, *I* never knew what happened to the Burleighs. After they disappeared, Mrs. Templeton inherited nearly all of the Burleigh Estate. The existing will specified that 10% be awarded to other employees, and I used that money to start a new life. Shortly thereafter, I met your father and came to Voyager City to start over, never to return to the Alpha Q and never to find out what happened to the Burleighs. But you can see why Mrs. Templeton's arrival here means trouble."

Chakotay was utterly intrigued. "So, you think that Templeton did away with the Burleighs to get their money?"

"Templeton has the entire assets of the Burleigh Estate behind her. Who knows how far she is willing to go to support her vendetta?" Kathryn said. She re-read the letter again, but she knew what she was going to do. "Saddle up, boys..." she said authoritavely, "Momma's goin' to town."

VC: "Devil's Dance"
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 6:52 PM

The continuation of the Templeton Saga...

Clop, clop, clop!

The horses of Miss Kate, Chakotay and Tom pulled in to the Voyager City Town Square. As Kathryn dismounted her trusty steed, Marshal Tuvok pulled up beside her-- as if trying to intercept her.

"Miss Kathryn, a word?" Marshal Tuvok requested.

"Now's not a good time, Marshal." Miss Kate replied, firmly, without looking at him.

Nonetheless, she could sense that Marshall Tuvok's demeanor was sterner than was his typical nature, but so was her's. And in her current mood, the two men behind her realized that if it came to a clash of wills between the Marshall and Miss Kathryn-- Marshall Tuvok had no chance.

Tuvok was undoubtedly aware of this himself. He had never met a woman as strong willed as Miss Kathryn. Of course, 'strong willed' was a quality that was found in abundance in the women of Voyager City-- to be sure. But no other woman in the town made it seem as-- utterly beautiful-- in Tuvok's mind. The other women in Voyager City-- sure, they were tough. But circumstances around them regarding life and love made them stronger. This was not the case with Miss Kathryn- he could sense that her strength was a part of her innate nature, and that appealed to Tuvok on many levels. In every thing she did, her natural strength and grace under pressure was evident. Tuvok had never seen a woman like her. Even his beloved late wife, for all of her own internal strength never carried it quite as well as Miss Kate did.

Tuvok was certain that he did not want to see any harm come to Kathryn-- in a futile attempt to draw her complete attention to him, he grabbed her arm, stopping her from heading on her way. "If you are planning to make the rendezvous with Templeton, I would highly advise against it." Tuvok sternly, yet desperately cautioned.

Janeway stopped, touched by his concern. "I appreciate the sentiment, Marshal. But I'm a big girl and I know how to defend myself."

Tuvok would not yet acquiese, however. "I have every faith in your skills of defence. However, if there is to be a fight, I am the one to be held accountable to the ramifications. Frankly, Undertaker Suder has already expressed the sentiment that the recent body count in Voyager City is becoming more than he can handle. I would hate to see him further overburdened by any outleashing of your temper while in there."

Miss Kate smiled. Did Marshall Tuvok make a joke?

In the moment of silence that ensued while Miss Kathryn considered Tuvok's words, Chakotay stepped forward to offer hos own, calm minded advice to Kathryn: "Perhaps all of this business with Templeton would be easier if you just stopped in at Clare Darrow's office to contest the Burleigh will."

Miss Kathryn shook her head. "No. It's too late for me to contest the will. The law won't help me get what Lord Burleigh intended me to have. Lady Templeton is on my turf now, so the way I see it, I reckon that it's my turn to lay down the law." She paused. "This has to be resolved woman to woman and it has to be resolved now. "

Kate looked and saw that all of her male counterparts had yielded themselves to her determination. Seeing no further challenges to her authority, Kate set out on finding Templeton.

"Where do you think she is?" Chakotay inquired.

"She sure seems like a vintage woman." Tom said. "And vintage women can be found at Sandrine's."

With that assetion, Miss Kathryn broke her arm free of Tuvok and stormed in to the Saloon.

Devil's Dance continued
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 6:56 PM

Kate barged her way through the doors and saw Mrs. Templeton, sitting primly at a table, sipping tea and munching on crisply cut cucumber sandwiches.

"You wanted to see me?" Kate said, sitting down at the table.

"Why Miss Davenport. It's nice to see you again." Templeton said nonchalantly, sipping at her tea as if Miss Kate's arrival did not invoke any reaction, positive or negative-- within her at all. "Should I order something for you?"

Miss Kate was in no eating mood. "I've come to ask you only one question," Miss Kathryn said. "Why have you come to Voyager City?"

Templeton, for all her composure seemed taken aback, if only momentarily by Janeway's straightforwardness. She should have known, but for some reason did not expect that Janeway would take the 'bull by the horns', as it were and attempt to take control of the meeting so quickly. Templeton had hoped to be in complete control of this luncheon, and internally scolded herself for thinking that she could have intimidated Janeway so easily by the mere impact of her presence. Miss Janeway was obviously a lot stronger than the young woman she'd worked with at the Burleigh Estate.

Instantly attempting to take back control without losing her trademark cool, she cut to the chase.

"I understand your ranch is in dire straights. You are close to losing it. As you may be aware, I came in to quite a lot of money from the Burleigh Estate when our the Lord.... well, I think that we are both aware that his fate is still unresolved." Templeton took a sip of her tea. "The point is that I may be in a position to help you."

"You expect me to believe that you travelled all this way... to *help me*?"

"Why should it be so hard to believe?" Templeton returned in a somewhat good natured tone.

"Whatever you may have in mind," Janeway returned, "Allow me to pre-empt you be saying that I appreciate the offer, but I have everything under control."

Templeton finished a sip of her tea. "Do you? All that wealth that the Lord intended you to have... snatched away from you only by a few... insignificant days. It's a tragedy, really. You know, if only you had inherited that money, you probably would not have be having this problem now."

Kate was beginning to catch Templeton's drift, but was puzzled by her sudden utilitarianess.

"What are you trying to suggest?"

"Simply that perhaps that I could lend you the money." the Lady said.

Miss Kathryn smiled at her wording. "Lend?"

It was Templeton's turn to smile-- she did it so rarely, and only when she was pleased with herself-- rarely others. Not even the Burleigh children could amuse Templeton on any level, Kate had observed. Templeton was almost completely without passion, without any joy for life. She'd always wondered why this was. There was no one as bitter as Templeton. But bitter at what? Kate couldn't accept that this was a part of her nature. Her train of thought was quickly brought back to the here-and-now as Templeton elaborated:

"Devil's Dance" continued again
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 6:59 PM

"Of course. You've always been a bit of a bad risk, financially, I'm afraid. Isn't it true that you often spent some of your own salary on the children under your ward? Of course, I'm sure they appreciated what you did for them, but with what they were going to recieve out of the family fortune-- I doubt it would have really amounted to much in their mind. So all you were left with was less earnings to show for your trouble. But on the other hand, of course, you did manage to ingratiate yourself with the Lord-- how, I'm not certain, of course. In all the years I worked for him, I'd always thought that he had better taste, really."

Kate burned inside with anger. If she could pull out her gun and shoot Templeton right now without any ramifications, she would have loved nothing better. Of course, she realized that the bullets would probably have deflected off her hard and cold as ice body. Damn her! Worst of all was that Templeton was still talking...

"...Yes, I'm afraid that if you want this money, you'll have to do something for me."

Kate shook her head. She was certain that her cheeks were probably flushed-- showing the rage she was feeling. What *was that* Tuvok was saying about unleashing her temper? It all seemed like a far too distant memory... a dream, of a happier time whose imprint was eroded by time. But of course, it had only been minutes ago.

Kate couldn't hold it anymore: "That's why you've come to Voyager City. You wouldn't have come here only to help me. There's something-- something here that you want." She shot out. More collectedly, thanks to the more calm-mindedness of her defiant nature she firmly told Templeton: "Well I'm afraid I'm going to have to reject your offer."

"You know, I'm really not asking for much." Templeton replied, still emotionless. But inside she knew that she had really gotten to Janeway. Now it was time to deliver the striking blow. Templeton looked Miss Kathryn straight in the eyes to deliver her ultimatum.

"I've come offering to help, however I am also in a good position to, perhaps purchase the ranch myself. All those acres? Those horses? I could certainly make a good life for myself there."

"I assure you that you will not have the chance." Miss Kate replied.

"You'd better hope not." Templeton said, noticing that she had long exhausted the contents within her tea cup.

"I think we're done here," Janeway said, leaving the table and storming out of the room.

She arrived back where Tom and Chakotay had been waiting by the horses.

"How'd it go?" Chakotay asked delicately, sensing Miss Kate's anxiety.

Kate was shaken by her meeting, but still resolved to keep her self cool and determined. After a pause, she looked to Chakotay. Her expression was still strong, but Chakotay saw a hopelessness in her eyes. "We'll have to continue with our plans for the cattle drive. As soon as we return to the ranch, we'll start to make preparations to leave immediately."

Chakotay nodded, and Tom looked on, feeling sympathy for not only his mother-- but the true impact that his own home-- his childhood was really, truly at dire risk. He'd never let it sink in before-- but felt it intensely now.

"Devil's Dance" continued once again
Jason — 21 Sep 1998, 7:08 PM

(With apologies to the writers of "Prime Factors")

Before any of them could let any of it sink in for too long, they reeled back, attention drawn by a loud, piercing noise behind them. What had happened? Behind them, they observed that Templeton had come out of the Saloon. Beside her, there was a noticable hole in the wall beside her, still sending off smoke. It didn't take them long to realize that someone had shot as Mrs. Templeton. Whoever had done it had barely missed, but the act itself stunned Janeway and her men. Mrs. Templeton still didn't lose her composure-- she looked out at the street. From within her dress, Templeton pulled out a long thin object. It reflected the intense sunlight that beamed against it, and it did not take long for Janeway to realize that Templeton was now brandishing a knife. Templeton raised it above her head, then flung it outward at great speed. It darted undisturbed in the air until it his it's intended target-- Marshall Tuvok-- in the shoulder. Aghast, Kate and Chakotay ran across the Market Square to tend to Tuvok. Still in his hands was the warm gun he'd used to shoot at Templeton with. Janeway's jaw was open-- she couldn't believe Tuvok had done this.

"Why?" she asked.

"You... could not act.... So I acted for you." Tuvok said.

"Marshall... you're my counsel. You're the one I go to when I need MY moral compass checked!" Janeway said.

"Mrs. Templeton had violated four clauses of the Voyager City Traffic Code, Miss Kate. I was perfectly within my rights as Marshal to shoot." Tuvok explained.

It was not long until Doc Holliday, summoned by the noise of the gun shot which had rang out throughout town had reached his office. Oddly enough, it also summoned Undertaker Suder and Clare Darrow who promptly distributed her business card to all present on the scene. ("Stretcher Chaser!" thought Tom.)

Doc Holliday looked over Tuvok. "It's nothing critical. I expect him to make a full recovery."

"I can help with the insurance forms!" chimed Clare Darrow, who helped the Doc carry Tuvok off in the stretcher.

Templeton was again looming over Kate. "I could get to like it here, Miss Davenport." Templeton said. "There is something about the level of lawlessness here that appeals to me."

Chakotay wanted to shield Miss Kate so engaged Templeton in conversation himself. "That's some mighty fine knife skills."

Templeton seemed bemused.

"In fact, I haven't seen anything approaching that kind of skill with a knife this side of Borg Indian territory."

Then if hit Miss Kate with all the power and insight of an epiphany. It all fit in to place.

"So, that's it.... the Borg Indian Tribe. You're one of them!

Templeton shook her head. "What? That's ridicoulous."

"Is it? That knife skill? You've always been good with knives as long as I've known you. That pale, cold skin of yours? It can't be a coincidence." Janeway said.

"I have no idea what you're talking about!" Templeton defended herself.

But now Kate felt empowered, not intimidated. "I spent the last twenty years wondering what happened to the Burleighs, but know I know. You didn't kill them. You sent them. Sent them to the Borg for assimilation in to their tribe!"

Now Mrs Templeton was the one who was spurned. "You're mad! Your delusions have finally caught up with you, Davenport! I assure you, that this is not over between us!"

Templeton turned curtly and stormed off back to the Saloon.

But even her latest threat could not deter Miss Kate She finally had some of the answers to the questions she left behind in the AQ....

The Knowledge
Leonie — 28 Sep 1998, 4:20 PM

"Special Delivery"

"Thank you" Kathryn took the letter from the messenger and looked at its origin. It was from Federation City. She knew that it couldn't be from Lady Templeton again because she was there in Voyager City being treated for her injuries. She felt her spirit rise. It was indeed from a friend of hers in the Federation whom she contacted shortly after the fire that threatened to destroy her herds and Ranch.

She made herself comfortable and began reading. She read it again, caught up in the story that was unfolding with each line of the carefully typed report. When she finished, she committed some of the details to memory and threw the report in the fire in the living room. She walked over to the bay window lost in thought.

Kathryn allowed herself a small smile. She knew that something was different about Lee-Marie from the time she saw her dressed for the Ball. She recognized her breeding. Lee-Marie wasn't all that she appeared to be and now she had confirmation of this fact. She would use it when she needed to, but not yet. She needed every able person during the cattle drive and Lee-Marie could ride a horse and herd very well. She would be stupid to let her go now. Still with every thing that she had just found out, there was a part of her that was pleased, that Lee-Marie would be around just a while longer.

Who did Miss Leonie-Marie think she was coming in here and taking her Foreman's attentions away from her?

Kathryn sighed. Part of it was her fault she knew. If she had wanted Chakotay, all she had to do was say 'yes' and she would have had him. She just never got around to it and now someone else had. But she could fix that if she wanted to. Did she want to? Lee-Marie was a woman, like she was. A woman who was falling in love and in one move, Kathryn could destroy her life and drive her out of Voyager City forever. And she would do that to get Chakotay. Was he worth it? It would be one of the coldest acts that she could perform.

A lot of people said that she was as cold as Sevenita that's why they were always arguing with each other. She had heard the names that they called her behind her back "Bun of Steel" Old "Iron Dress" and much worse. She didn't care. What did they know? She had done what she needed to do, when she needed to, to protect her Ranch, her livelihood; her family. And that's what Delta Q was to her, her family. She had sworn on Mark's grave that she would keep their Ranch going no matter what the cost and she had done just that.

Sometimes, she did wonder if the cost was too high. If she shouldn't give up the Ranch and start over again somewhere else. But in her heart of hearts, she couldn't. She had made a promise and Kathryn Janeway kept her promises no matter what. It was a high cost. She had no time for herself as she fought to keep the Delta Q going, keep Chakotay and Tom from killing each other. Keep her eye on Kes and Sevenita. Worry about B'Elanna and the other Ranch hands. She was always the head of the Delta Q Ranch.

She and Mark had been so happy in the beginning. She remembered laughing as he showed her the land that he had brought for them, the plans that he had made for the Ranch and the building of their hopes and dreams. She remembered the carefree woman who was someone's wife, friend and confidant. She was lost to that woman now....

"Miss Kathryn?" Chakotay said softly

The Truth
Leonie — 28 Sep 1998, 4:22 PM

The wind was racing against her. It was constant and then ever changing. One moment, it hit her as a in her face and made her eyes water and her lids shut. The next moment it was like her lover's caress, soft and gentle. It whipped through her hair. She gave a small smile. A lot of people hated the fact that she wore her hair that short, but it was functional and being functional was part of her job. Short hair was easier to handle and it certainly made it easier to ride. The sun was just beginning to rise. It had been a long time since she had looked at a sunrise. There was always something that called to her attention at Delta Q, and she just didn't have time. She smiled as she recalled just what one of those distractions were. In fact he was the main distraction.

She felt the movement beneath her. Her mount was keeping a good steady pace, despite the little obstacles which were part of this trail. He should have been, they had ridden this trail a lot. It was the shortest path from the Delta Q, through the Nekred expanse to a little ridge called 'Fraiser's Head'. The name brought back unpleasant memories for her, but it was the best place for the meeting. It was far enough from the Delta Q and Voyager City so that no prying eyes would just happen to see who she was meeting. Discretion was of the utmost importance in this meeting.

JTM prepared to give a small jump to cross a meter and a half drop in the plain. Lee-Marie shifted her weight just a little, reading for his move. It had been a long while since she took JTM for an extended ride. With all the going ons, she had no time to do such and to make it even worst, since Chakotay had begun to officially "call" on her, he insisted on riding JTM more often in order to get more 'comfortable' riding him. What was it about men, that they feel like they have to take over everything in your life because they were 'calling' on you? With all the prayers that she had been offering up every time her lover mounted her horse, she was eligible to join the Convent. Well that was if Mother superior did not know about Chakotay. And if the Convent was near Voyager city, she couldn't help but know about it.

Lee-Marie was happy. Or at least she thought she was. It was a feeling that she had long given up on. There were times when she was with Chakotay that she remembered what it was like before Mickie-C died. And then there were other times. Lee-Marie sighed as the feeling of comfort that she was experiencing riding left her. Her stomach began to turn. There were snags in her relationship. They would happen every once in a while and they were interrupt her happiness and make her realize that she had taken the right course of action. She caught the looks, the ones that Miss Kathryn gave Chakotay and the ones that he returned. The looks of jealousy that were in his eyes when he observed the Marshal and Miss Kate together. When she was with him, he was completely with her, but when she was not........

The Truth pt 2
Leonie — 28 Sep 1998, 4:25 PM

Lee-Marie had her doubts as to what really occurred when she was not with him. She knew that he hadn't slept with Miss Kathryn while he was courting her. He wouldn't do that to her. He may be pigheaded and stubborn, but he was honorable. Sometimes Lee-Marie felt as if that were enough. Other times she felt as if it wasn't. She shifted uncomfortably in her saddle. She could feel the change in her mount. He seemed uncertain of what to do, of what this new change her body language would mean. He hadn't realized that it wasn't issued as a command. She saw that she had approached Fraiser's Point and gently pulled on the reigns as she saw her old friend waiting for her. He was off his horse and standing on the edge of the Point. JTM stopped and Lee-Marie dismounted.

Thomas Magnum smiled at her.

"Miss Lee"

She smiled back, "How did you know?"

"It seems that you and Mr. Chakotay are the constant topics of conversation. It is the way he addresses you isn't it?"


"I hope that you don't mind that I have used it."

"No, I don't"

Lee-Marie looked up at him with trepidation. He was making small talk. There would be no good news.

"You have something for me?"

"Lee, sit down" Lee-Marie made herself comfortable on the ground and he joined her. Mr. Magnum took her hand.

"Are you sure that you want to know this?"

There was no hesitation in her answer, "Yes"

He gave her the sheets of typed paper and she began to read. Tom Magnum released his hold on her hand but placed it instead on her arm. He knew that she would need something solid to connect to as she read his report.

Lee-Marie did. Oh how she did!!! It seemed that everything that she ever knew or thought she knew about Delta Q was wrong. As she read the report over and over, one thought kept crossing her mind.

'Who are these people?'

It certainly wasn't the people who she had spent the last month with. What was written in that report seemed to be about strangers who she had never met. How did they live like this with all the secrets? She chided herself for that thought. She had a lot of secrets of her own.

Tom Magnum looked this woman whom he had watch grow up. His heart ached for her. It was all written on her face what she felt. The shock , the confusion and the anger. The hurt came later when she read about her lover. That was the final part of the report. It was the part that he was most afraid for her to read.

She read it through twice and then gave the papers back to Tom. He saw the blank look cross her face as she did so. He knew that she wasn't taking it well.

"Burn them"

"Will you remember everything that's in here."


"OK" He withdrew his lighter and lit the pages. They watched as the papers burned itself into a charred mass. Tom put his arms around Lee-Marie. She didn't move, she refused to allow him to comfort her.

"Thank you Tom. You've been a great help. At least now I know what I am up against."

He gave her a quick hug and tipped his hat after he mounted his horse. He knew her well enough to know that she wanted to be alone.

"Take care of yourself Lee-Marie"

"I will" She stared right past him as he galloped off into the distance. Lee-Marie buried her head in her arms. What in the name of common sense was she going to do about this?

She didn't know how long she sat there, but she did until she felt something pushing against her arms. JTM was gently nudging her . She jumped and looked up swiftly. She had forgotten about her mount. Pulling out her watch from her waist coat she looked at the time. Lee-Marie shook her head as if trying to clear it of her thoughts. She'd better hurry, they were going to be leaving for the cattle drive in two days and she still had a ton of things to do.

The Promise
Leonie — 28 Sep 1998, 4:28 PM

The Promise: Leonie

Kathryn jumped. "Oh goodness Chakotay you scared me"

"You look deep in thought"

"Did you want something Chakotay?"

"I wanted to give you the latest on the preparations."

He joined her at the window and they went over every one of the details that they had been mapping out for the last four days. When she was satisfied that everything was going according to plan, Chakotay walked away from her towards the front door in order to leave the room. Kathryn turned to the window but continued talking. They were good friends and when he wasn't arguing with her and chest butting with Tom. He would recognize her need to talk.

"Ah knew that this day would come and now where here."

He turned towards her.

"Are you having second thoughts about the drive?" He crossed the room and stood between her and the window.

"No, but I know what we are up against, what we're going to face. Lady luck better be on our side."

"She is."

"I've been asking myself at what point does the cost of saving the Delta Q become too great. At what point do I just pack up and start over again."

"Ah reckon that if we ever get to that point, you and I can make that decision together. Miss Kathryn, I know that you and I have not always seen eye to eye in the past four years, but you've known that though everything I've been at your side as your friend. This time will be no different."

"Four years ago, I didn't even know your name and now I can't imagine a day without you."

Kathryn reached out and touched his chest and liked what she felt and what she saw. He was solid and he was there for her. She felt the undercurrent of something more, but decided to ignore it. This was a moment of friendship and she was not going to spoil it by thinking of things that could have been.

"Am I interrupting something?"

Kathryn and Chakotay turned quickly to see Lee-Marie standing in the door way, her face set like flint.

tbc in 'The confrontation'

The best thing about a good catfight......
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:37 AM

The best thing about a good catfight......: Leonie

Lee-Marie made good time back to the Ranch after her meeting with Tom. She led JTM to the stables and gave him a good rub down. He needed it after the long ride that he had been on. Then she headed back to the house. She heard the rumblings of Chakotay's voice in the front room and smiled. No matter what happened, he was worth fighting for. She only hoped that what she had discovered about him, she would be able to keep buried. She didn't want to think about how it would affect their relationship and his relationship with others if he found out that she knew.

She walked quietly to the front room and pushed the door open, meaning to surprise him. In the end it was her who got a rude shock and a rude awakening. Kathryn and Chakotay were standing against the windows and she observed the way that Kathryn had her hand on Chakotay's chest. It was one of the most intimate gestures she had ever seen. The look that was shared between Chakotay and Kathryn spoke volumes.

Lee-Marie's anger exploded.

"Am I interrupting something?"

"Not at all. What can I do for you?" Kathryn slowly removed her hand from Chakotay's chest and walked over to stand behind her desk.

*The first d@mn thing you can do is tell me what the F**k you think you're doing?*

Chakotay ignored Kathryn and his face held a look of alarm.

"Lee!!! This isn't what you think!" He walked over towards her. Lee-Marie did not even acknowledge him, her eyes blazed at Kathryn who returned her look.

"Oh but I think it is" Her voice was low and quiet. Way too quiet. Chakotay realized that Lee-Marie was barely containing her rage. "I think it is a Ranch Matriarch who has been toying with her Foreman's affections for years, and is now so mad that he has found another that she is throwing herself at him."

"Don't come in here speaking to me like that. I am still the owner of this Ranch and your employer, Miss Leonie-Marie, or should I say Lady Jadzia." Kathryn was so infuriated by Lee-Marie's inaccurate reading of the situation that what she had learned that day just slipped out. She studied Lee-Marie's face for any sign of distress over her knowledge, she found none.

Lee-Marie did not care. She had stopped caring 30 sec ago when she entered the front room.

"Huh?!, Lee what's all this about?"

"You can call me anything you want, but perhaps I should ask Mr. Tuvix what to call you, that is if he was still alive." Lee-Marie slammed her hands on the desk in front of her and leveled her gaze towards Kathryn.

Kathryn fought to retain her composure. She slipped just a little but managed it. Lee-Marie did not give any coy smiles of victory this time. The stakes were too high, and she knew, that in the very act of engaging in this battle, they had both already lost it.

"Would the two of you mind telling me what is going on?" Chakotay looked from one woman to the other, confused.

"Leave Chakotay!" Miss Kathryn's voice was low and hollow

"No, ah'm not leaving 'till I get answers" Chakotay stood his ground.

"LEAVE!!!! Lee-Marie bellowed.

He knew better than to stay.

is that it can be resolved.....
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:41 AM that it can be resolved......: Leonie

The two women faced off. A long silence ensued as the two women's thoughts raged. It was reflected in the air around the House. Nothing moved. It was as if the whole Delta Q had been evacuated of all life and the land waited in fear and trepidation for the results of this battle. There were no crowing of roosters. Neomi the dog was no where to be found. Her usual scraping noises on the wood floors of the Ranch house were noticeably absent. The grandfather clock in the hall way did not chime, it seemed not to tick after a time. All that was, held its breadth.

Miss Kathryn spoke first, her voice low and even.

"What do you want?"

"I want nothing that you have, but I want to keep what I have. My job and my man."

Miss Kathryn sat in her chair behind the desk. She didn't lean into it, her back was ram-rod straight.

"Quite frankly, I'm glad. I'm not going to lie. I need you to be on this cattle drive. I know that you can ride and herd with the best of them and I'm going to need every good man I've got out there."

Lee-Marie ignored the dig.

"What happens after will be up to you. I'm going to play it by ear. As for Chakotay, there's nothing there that warrants this kind of animosity."

What was it that made these grown people lie to themselves like that? Lee-Marie knew what she had seen. There was a lot there, and it stirred up every doubt she had about her own relationship and raised her hackles.

without the messing up of one's hair.
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:43 AM

................without the messing up of one's hair: Leonie

Kathryn continued. "Are you going to tell him what you know?"

"No, not unless I have to. Kathryn," Kathryn raised her eyebrow at the use of her name without her title
"Lie to yourself if you want, but don't lie to me. I know that there is interest between the two of you and what I saw confirms this. Whatever happens, it is his choice to make. I don't want my past to influence his decision in any direction."

"Fair enough, does that also apply to my past?"

Lee-Marie stood up and let her shoulders go slack. All of a sudden she was just very tired of it all. She wondered again, if Chakotay was worth all of this. She let the look of tiredness cross her face before she wiped all traces of it. She looked at Kathryn, but Kathryn could sense that she wasn't really seeing her, but seeing past her.

She spoke very quietly.

"We both know that if I have to use your past to get him to stay with me, or if you use my past to get him to stay with you, then it would be useless. In the end, we will both lose him"

Kathryn watched her intently.

"That is true" Kathryn hesitated for only one second before she continued. "Lady Jadzia, did you kill Mr. Riley"

Lee-Marie thought long and hard before answering.

"Yes" Lee-Marie gave a curt nod.

"If you'll excuse me Miss Kathryn, I still have a lot to do before the Drive."

Kathryn nodded again. Lady Jadzia had resumed her role as Lee-Marie her assistant foreman with the use of her title and her courtesy. She was letting Kathryn know that she was going to keep her promise starting now.

It was only when Lee-Marie left that she slumped into her chair and let her mind wonder to something that she never wanted to remember ever again.

Mr. Tuvix.

Mr Tuvix pt 1
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:46 AM

Front Page of the Voyager Chronicle


The Town of Voyager City is in mourning as the news of the murder of Dr. Fitzgerald greeted the residences yesterday morning as they went about their daily routine. The body of Dr. Fizgerald was found in his home just outside of the city limits this morning by Miss Kaplan, who was the deceased's housekeeper. He was shot once through the head. After recovering from the shock of her discovery, Miss Kaplan rode into town and informed Marshal Tuvok and Deputy Neelix of the murder.

It is well known to the citizens of Voyager City that Dr. Fitzgerald was a gentle and kind doctor who enjoyed an occasional night out with the elder gentlemen of the town. He mostly kept to himself and when he wasn't treating the townspeople of their illness, he could be found doing odd jobs for the widows of Voyager City. It would seem that he would not have an enemy in the world.

But he did have one. Most citizens of Voyager City knew of his property dispute with Mr. Tuvix who had just brought the property next to his. Dr. Fitzgerald claimed that one-quarter Mr. Tuvix's property was on his and the deed that Mr. Tuvix had produced to prove his claim, was a fraud. He made repeated promises to have a lawyer investigate the deed properly.

A Voyager City resident, who requested to remain anonymous, said that she had overheard Mr. Tuvix threaten Dr. Fitzgerald if he didn't drop the property claim. This source said that Dr. Fitzgerald refused to be intimidated by Mr. Tuvix and retorted for more than one person to hear, that he would most certainly continue his fight.

When asked for a comment, Marshal Tuvok informed this reporter that the law would investigate all leads and that they had no definite suspects yet. However my source has informed me that knowing the Marshal, the logical place that the investigation would begin would be at Mr. Tuvix's Ranch.

Mr Tuvix pt 2
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:48 AM

Kathryn Janeway gave a sigh of thanksgiving as she came through the Ice-Box Cannon. She was nearing home. She and Mark had traveled to Defiant City to finish some business and she was returning home in order to ensure that things were going smoothly at the Ranch. She had just hired a new Foreman, Arterus, a month and a half ago and she didn't feel comfortable leaving him alone running the ranch for an extended period of time as of yet. They was only supposed to be away for a week, but their meetings had promised to take longer, so in the end she left Mark in Defiant city to complete their transactions.

She spotted a group of riders coming towards her quickly. She pulled on the reigns JTM stopped. Cowgirl Vickie was the first horse(wo)man that she recognized.

"Morning Miss Kathryn"

"Morning Cowgirl Vickie, What's going on?"

"Marshal and Deputy are missing. We are going to search for them."


"You've been away, so you don't know!!" Cowgirl Vickie just remembered what Miss Julie had told her. She continued quickly.

"Dr. Fitzgerald has been murdered. He was shot as his Ranch. The Marshal and Deputy Neelix went to talk to Mr. Tuvix, yesterday and Miss Jenny just sounded the alarm this morning, they haven't been back."

"Have you gone to Mr. Tuvix's Ranch"

Cowgirl Vickie nodded. "Just came from there and we found no one. It looks like Mr. Tuvix was reading to leave. His clothes are gone and the house is clean and shut up tight. Miss Megan said that he gave her three days off from her house cleaning for him, but she thought that he was planning to stay in town . You're welcome to join us on the search, I know that you're concerned seeing the Marshal is an old friend of yours."

"Thanks, but I think that I will go back to the cottage and see if I can find any clues as to what Mr. Tuvix was up to and perhaps that would lead us to where he would have taken Tuvok and Neelix.." Kathryn spurred JTM and was off.

Cowgirl Vickie watched her go for a second before turning around to face her team.

"Let's go boys."

That was Cowgirl Vickie, always leading the charge. The men followed, as they always did.

Mr Tuvix pt 3
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:50 AM

Cowgirl Vickie was correct. There was nothing in the Ranch to tell of Mr. Tuvix's whereabouts or his recent activities. Everything was neat and orderly. Not one piece of paper or book was out of place. When she went through his library and his desk she found nothing. Kathryn sighed. She needed to find something!!! She needed to do something. Tuvok was missing, something terrible must have happened to him and she had to find him and Neelix too. She had know Marshal since she was a little girl, they had grown up together. Deputy Neelix was new to Voyager City, but Kathryn had grown fond of him in the short time that he had been there. He had this ability of procuring things, and making useful things out of junk. She would not be able to live with herself if they were in trouble and she was not able to find them in time.

Kathryn walked outside of the Tuvix Ranch in order to get some air to clear her head. The wind had a slight chill and it did wonders for her muddled thoughts. She looked up at the sky at the sun for a bit and then closed her eyes. The light burned her eyelids and the image of white points against black were registering on her brain.

"Almost like stars" she mused. She lowered her head with her eyes still closed and then opened them suddenly. Her eyes focused on JTM who was tied to a staff on the fence in front of her. He neighed softly and moved about. Kathryn saw two different set of hoof prints made out of red dirt. When, JTM moved she recognized one as his, but the other was of some other mounts. Kathryn bent down and examined the earth. She rolled it around in her hand and then smelled it. A small smile came across her face. There was only one place where it could have come from.

The top of the Mounts of Venus.

Mr Tuvix pt 4
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:51 AM

Kathryn was glad that she had taken JTM as her horse to return to the Delta Q. He was a powerful mount and was able to get her there in record time. She acknowledged that she could have been engaging on a wild goose chase. A thousand horses must have come and gone to this site since the Murder and any one of them could have left that hoof print. Still it was all she had to go on. That and the woman's wisdom that this was the right lead to follow. She slowed as she got to the top of the hills. There was a cottage and smoke was coming out of its chimney.

'Odd,' she thought as she dismounted, 'I didn't know that there was a cottage up here.'

She walked around to one of the dirty windows and used her palm to wipe it clean so that she could see inside. What she saw, made her heart stop cold. Marshal Tuvok and Deputy Neelix were tied up on a bed. They were not moving.

Blinding pain overtook Kathryn and with her last moment of consciousness, she realized that someone had snuck up behind her and hit her over the head.


At first, it was a small point of light. It brought with it a tingling sensation in her head. Kathryn made herself open her eyelids to the light even though all she wanted to do was shut her eyes and ward it off. The pain grew as the light got brighter and brighter. She fought with all of her strength the regain consciousness.

"Kol, I don't like this..., why...... pec...."

"....... just a coward, ...... your brother......

"I just plum it, you have the Marshal....

"Who is SHE?......."

"......for Damar, key......"

The words swam in her head. She had no idea how long she struggled, but finally her eyes opened and she spied two men, arguing heatedly in a corner next to Neelix and Tuvok. She couldn't help herself, she gave a low moan.

"Go, if you don't hear from me in three days, just disappear. It would mean that the deal has gone bad. Got it!!!" Mr. Tuvix said these words to the man next to him.

"Yes Pa" The second man was gone. Kathryn never saw him alive again.

"Well now, look who's awake. Are you thirsty? I have something for you. Tuvix yanked open her mouth and poured something form a bottle in. Kathryn tried to spit it out, but her head was in agony. She must have swallowed some of it because when the darkness came calling again, she let her eyes close.

Mr Tuvix pt 5
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:53 AM

When she awoke the next time it was with a start. Tuvok and Neelix were still out so she guessed that they must have been tricked into drinking a large quantity of the tonic, which Mr. Tuvix had tried to give her. There was one side effect that she was sure that Mr. Tuvix had not considered. Her head had stopped hurting her. Apparently the drug must have been some sort of strong pain killer. She was bound to the chair by her hands only, but the bonds were somewhat loose. Kathryn guessed that Mr. Tuvix thought that the drug would have kept her out long enough and just didn't take enough time to tie the bonds tighter in order to compensate for her small hands. Kathryn began to work on them.

She had finished one hand and had almost freed herself of the next when she heard footsteps coming up the stairs to the cottage and she saw Mr. Tuvix standing in the doorway.

"You're awake? But that's impossible. I thought you swallowed enough for........ You'll just have to take some more." He went to the desk and took the bottle.

"In a little while it wouldn't matter, this little cottage is going to be burnt to the ground and all of us would just conveniently disappear, only in this case I'll be the only one to re-appear." He approached her.

Kathryn saw her chance.

She knocked the bottle out of his hand with her free hand and it splashed on Tuvix's face. He jerked back in surprise and muttered "B!t@h". Kathryn worked frantically. She was trying to untie the last of her bonds while he was disoriented. She almost succeeded. Almost.

With a roar, Tuvix came at her and their weight toppled the chair. Kathryn felt no pain. She had a fleeting thought that if she survived this, that she would feel plenty of pain, later. She took her free hand and using her nails, scratched his face.

"Aieee" He screamed and then lashed out at Kathryn. She took the brunt of his fist on her face. She was disoriented for a second, but again she felt no pain. The force of his blow, combined with the weight of the two of them on the chair, broke it at the correct position. Kathryn shook her hands free. Extending her hand over her head and clasping her hands into steeples, she brought her arms down on his shoulder.
He screamed in pain and scampered off of her. Kathryn stood up hastily. She felt powerful, larger than life, and ready to make Mr. Tuvix pay for what he was doing.

He was gasping hard, but with an extra effort he lunged towards her. Kathryn side stepped him, turned and elbowed him in the back. Somehow he remained standing. He swung his arm at her and succeeded in knocking her three feet across the room. She merely shook it off and stood up again

'That's gonna leave a mark' she mused wryly.

With a scream of pure hatred, as he realized that this woman was putting up a better fight than he would have in her position, he came at her. Something in Kathryn snapped. She grabbed his outstretched arm and twisted it and brought her knees up to his groin.

He went down and this time, he stayed down.

Mr Tuvix pt 6
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:55 AM

She didn't understand why, and she never knew at that moment how one small loss of judgment could have brought such consequences afterwards. Later she would tell her self that she was drugged. That she wasn't thinking clearly. But some small part of her remembered the hate, the feeling of knowing exactly what she was going to do and not giving a damn. Kathryn calmly picked up the remainder of the chair that she had been tied to, and brought it down on his head. It smashed his face in, and with the loud crack that ensued, confirmed that it also broke his neck.

A period of long silence occurred as Kathryn watched the corpse of the man she had just murdered with detachment. A sudden movement caught her eyes. In the dark, she was able to make out a shadowed figure at the window. A moment later, she heard hoof beats leaving the cottage. It jarred her somewhat.

She moved slowly over to the bed and examined Neelix and Tuvok. They were both alive, but they needed medical attention. She stumbled outside of the cottage. Now that her fight was over, the adrenaline started to leave her body and so did the drug. Kathryn began to feel pain, a lot of pain and she knew that it would get worse. But she couldn't afford to collapse now, she needed to get help out here quickly. She barely was able to mount JTM and as he trotted off slowly, she prayed that she could at least stay conscious until she got to the Ranch, or that JTM would know where he was going.


Cowgirl Vickie saw them first. She and two other riders had returned from scouring part of the search area all day and had not seen anything. The area in which the Mounts of Venus was located was to be the first place where their team would look in the morning, when it got lighter. As she was about to cross the Neckrit Expanse to get to Circle V, she heard the sound of hoof beats and as it got nearer she heard a woman moan. Her other two companions stopped while she spurred Mesquite on towards the horse. When she saw who it was she called out,

"Jason, Big Jimbo over here". They came riding up, Jason on Nana-Probe and Big Jimbo in his buggy.

"Neel....Mar.....Mounds of Venus.....On top Mounds of Venus. Need help quickly." Kathryn managed to get out before she collapsed on JTM. Cowgirl Vickie caught her before she slid off her stallion.

Cowgirl Vickie understood the situation. "The two of you get up there and bring the Marshal and Neelix back into town, I'll meet you there with Mrs. Janeway.

Mr Tuvix pt 7
Leonie — 2 Oct 1998, 9:57 AM

"Kathryn, I want you to meet someone. This is Chakotay Torres. I've talked him into coming and working for us here at the Delta Q as our new foreman." Mark introduced the tall dark man with an elaborate mark on his forehead.

"It is a pleasure Mr. Torres. I've heard good things about you."

"Thank you Ma'am"

Kathryn was always a curious person and this was had always been her downfall.

"If you don't mind me asking, where did you get that mark."

"Before I was at Damar Key Ranch, My father, my younger brother and I used to live in Federation City. I took the mark there to honor B'Elanna's mother's tribe when I fell in love with her. It was the place where we meet"

Kathryn paled........'Damar Key....'The Marquis'..... It was the way that he said it that jarred Kathryn's memory.

Mark was looking at Mr. Torres so he missed his wife's reaction. "I didn't know that your father was still alive?"

"I don't know if he's still alive I haven't seen him in two years. He and Johnny left the city, looking for gold at the same time that I went to work for the Marquis Ranch. He and I didn't see eye to eye before I left."

It was then he turned to Kathryn and saw her face. "Miss Kathryn?" he questioned. Mark finally turned towards his wife.

'Kathryn are you all right?" he looked at her concerned.

Kathryn controlled her trembling lip. The time frame fit. And there were always rumors about gold being found on at the base of the Mountains of Venus. She didn't want to ask the next question, but she knew she had to know.

"What was your father's name?" It came out as a whisper.

"Kolopec Ma'am. Sometimes he was called Kol, or Pec for short. Have you heard of him."

Mr. Tuvix.

Not only had she heard of him. She had killed him.

"No, never have." She cast her eyes downwards and then swiftly turned to her husband, as if gathering her strength.

"If you would excuse me, I think I need to lie down now. It was nice to meet you Mr. Chakotay. I will see you bright and early in the morning." She touched Mark on his cheek as she left the front room.

On her way up the stairs, she stopped mid-way and clutched the banister. Her face fell as she slumped on the step. There was a look of horror on her face as she realized what she had done. Quickly she straightened up as she heard little Freddie Bristow come in to get the dishes of the dinning room table. She must not let anyone see her like this.

No-one else knew. And no one else would know.

She had completely forgotten about the face in the window.

The Aftermath
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:39 AM

Lee-Marie had worked until it was absolutely impossible for her to do so any longer. It was three hours after sundown and everyone else had either retired for the night or gone into town. Lee-Marie believed that she was the only one left at the Ranch. B'Elanna, Tom, Kathryn and the Marshal had gone into town that night to see the new play being performed at the Opera House. She and Chakotay had tickets to go also, but after she and Kathryn had ordered him out of the front room and had their discussion, she had gone out of her way to avoid him. He seemed to know this, and had avoided her too. Lee had purposely avoided leaving the work shed until an hour after the show started just to make sure that she would be tricked into going. She had no energy left to 'fix her face' and smile through an evening after a day like this.

All she wanted to do was draw a bath and fall asleep in the arms of........

She couldn't even do that anymore. She sighed and fought the tears which were threatening to escape her eyes again. She didn't know if Chakotay had gone to the play anyway. She told herself that she didn't care. But deep down inside, she knew that she did.

She made her way to the House from the barn. Once she light a candle in her room, a voice called out.


Lee-Marie whipped around and say Chakotay standing in the middle of her room, all dressed up. She put her hand to her chest and exclaimed.

"You scared me Mr. Chakotay. What are you doing here?" She looked a little more closely at him

"You're all dressed up, you should have gone to the play with the others"

*Thank God you didn't* She thought.

*Right, woman!!!. I would have never heard the end of it if I had done that.* He thought. He knew her much better than to try that particular stunt.

"I decided to wait here and see if you changed your mind about going. When I realized that you weren't going to come, I decided not to go, and wait here for you. We have to talk about this."

Lee sat herself on the bed and said neutrally

"All right"

Chakotay made no move to get closer to her even though, with every fiber of his being he wanted to. When she and Miss Kathryn had ordered him out of the front room, he was p!$$ed. The two of them had treated him like a little boy, and he was a man d@mn it!. He had marched out to the Barn to give Lee a piece of his mind. She didn't see him as she was so intent at cleaning Boston-Rick's stall, but he saw her from a secluded spot. When she stopped to take a breather , he saw the look of pain that crossed her face and saw one or two tears escape her eyes before she hurriedly brushed them away. He stood in shock for a minute. He had never seen Miss Lee-Marie cry in the entire time that he had known her. He left the barn silently, without saying a word to her.

The Aftermath pt 2
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:41 AM

That image haunted him for the rest of the afternoon and he made and effort to give Lee some space. It also gave him some time to think. He had forgotten about the tickets until Miss Kathryn had asked him if he and Lee were going to the play. He was amazed that she could ask that after the fight that the two of them had that afternoon. Apparently, Miss Kathryn had won, because she was in better spirits than Lee-Marie, although she did look a bit peaked. He told Miss Kathryn that he would see them there if Lee decided to go. He knew that it would not be wise to go see the play without her although he had been looking forward to seeing it all week.

So he had gotten dressed and waited for Lee-Marie in her room. He waited for an hour before he realized that she didn't intend to go to the play with him. He decided to wait for her to come in, instead of going out to meet her.

Looking at her now, he saw the way her face was set. It wasn't as harsh as it had been the time when she entered the front room, but still, it revealed nothing. That was something else which told him about the impact of what had happened that afternoon had on Lee. Whatever Lee-Marie felt around him, it was written plainly on her face. Joy, frustration, anger, amusement; everything was right there. Now there was nothing. He took a deep breath and began.

"Lee, when Mark Janeway died, Miss Kathryn took it very hard. She was all alone and she had the added burden of keeping this ranch going after his death. It was their dream, something that they built together with their own two hands and both of them wanted it to be a legacy to their children. It has been difficult for her doing it all by her self. A lot of people think that nothing scares her, that she's as tough as rawhide. But that's not true. I swore on his grave, that I would stand by her side and do whatever I could to make her burden lighter. From that moment onwards her needs would come first. This afternoon, she was in need. She was wondering whether or not just to close the Ranch instead of trying to save it. I was there, as I swore I would be. She needed me then as support and I was glad to be there for her."

The Aftermath pt3
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:42 AM

Chakotay paused and looked at Lee. The tears were falling freely on her face now. She got up and took a step towards him and then stopped as if she had done something without thinking.

"What if she needs you for something other than friendship." Lee asked softly.

"She doesn't need me in that way Lee." Chakotay said earnestly. "Mark has been dead for four years and both of us have had other "companions" during that time. We are just friends that's all"

Lies, Lies, lies sweet little lies, in the manner that you want to hear them. And what makes it worse is that he believes them. Her head was screaming out that message

It has to be his decision. She remembered the words that she had spoken to Kathryn that very afternoon. She said nothing for the moment.

"Lee, I love you don't you believe me." This time he crossed the space between them and put his hand on her shoulders. She looked up at his face as she chased the thoughts from her head and listened to her heart instead.

Was this it, was this his decision?

"I Love you too and I do believe you." He aided her in answering her thoughts by kissing her fiercely and leading her to bed.


"Who was Mr. Tuvix?" Lee-Marie was half asleep in Chakotay's arms when he asked that question.

"A gold prospector who brought up the land on the Mountains of Venus two years ago. He was reportedly responsible for the death of Dr. Fitzgerald and he kidnapped Marshal and Deputy Neelix when they went to investigate him for it. He was killed in the rescue of the Marshal and Deputy Neelix. I've heard that there's another man who brought up the property. He's expected in town anyday now" Lee tried to change the subject.

Chakotay caught on and asked pointedly

"What did Mr Tuvix have to do with Miss Kathryn?"

"Miss Kathryn knew him, and there are rumors, but I don't think I want to repeat them. I was just so upset with what I saw, I was willing to say anything."

As he held her tighter in his arms, Lee-Marie thought to herself.

*I've kept my end of the Bargain, Kathryn and I see, so have you.*

She did wonder how long both of them would be able to continue to do just that.

Just before this story: (a conclusion to my storyline)
Jason — 25 Sep 1998, 3:32 PM

I just wanted to rip off one more Janeway/Tuvok sentimental moment before I ended my part of the story:

This is after "Devil's Dance" but could be both before and after "Trailboss", depending on how it fits in.

Miss Kathryn sat at her kitchen table early the next morning after her latest encounter with Templeton. Although it was early, she and Chakotay had already spent hours throughout the day before, in the late night and even in to the early morning planning their trip to Federation City. There was no doubt about it-- the cattle drive was a go. The ranch depended on it's success. She drank her morning coffee (technically morning, but in truth she'd already had more coffee before 8AM that day than she'd typically have all day long on any others) and casually worked away at the Voyager Chronicle Sunday Crossword puzzle which first arrived weeks back, when Sevenita was on trial. She was sure that the article, finely researched and crafted by Jason Canuck was an excellent piece of journalism, however she found it more soothing to work at the puzzle than re-read the lurid details of that ordeal.

Chakotay, who'd left Miss Kate alone a half hour ago to give her some time to be alone, re-entered the kitchen tentatively.

"Miss Kathryn?" he asked, drawing her attention away from her paper. "There's someone here to see you."

From behind Chakotay emerged Marshall Tuvok. His arm was in a sling and his shoulder was heavily patched by cloth. Miss Kate was so happy to see him. She jumped to her feet, smiling.

"Marshal," she said, openly grinning. "How are you?"

Tuvok nodded. "The Doctor said that the injuries I sustained are not serious. I should be back to normal in a few days."

Miss Kathryn grinned. "And even if you're not, that was never your best shooting arm anyways." Making light of his injury was perhaps the only way she could comfort him. She knew that he wouldn't find the humor in her joke- but after his devastating *miss* of Templeton, she couldn't deny that that statement was based in fact anyways.

"Perhaps." Was Tuvok's reply.

"Well," initiated Miss Kate, "It's good to see you again. I..." Kate started looking at the table where maps and papers were strewn about. "We-- were just making plans to go to Federation City."

"Then you are still planning to go ahead with the cattle drive."

"I have to."

"Miss Kate," said Tuvok. "Have you ever considered relocating to Voyager City? This ranch does not have to be your life. There are many things you could do in town and many people who would benefit from your presence. I, for one am still in need of a new deputy."

"It's an interesting offer, Tuvok... but, I could never leave this ranch. I couldn't give it up. And leave behind all the memories. All I've built for myself here. That life in Voyager City... it isn't for me." Kate responded sensitively.

Tuvok shook his head. "Given the treachery of the route that you must undertake, the likelihood that you will be able to get your cattle through Borg territory and to Federation City is marginal."

Kathryn smiled. "Oh, I know the odds." she said. "But I have to do this. This ranch has done too much for us."

Marshall Tuvok expected this reaction. "I have never understood the compulsion to bond with inaninmate objects. This ranch has done nothing. It is an assemblage of wood, nails and glass. Nothing more."

Miss Kate shook her head. "Oh, you're wrong. It's much more than that. This ranch has been our home. Its kept us together. It has been a part of our family. I feel as close to the Delta Q ranch as I do to any other member of my admittedly extended family. It has carried us, Tuvok. Even nurtured us. And right now it needs one of us."

Part Two
Jason — 25 Sep 1998, 3:38 PM

Tuvok knew, just as he did when he tried to convince Miss Kate not to meet with Templeton that his efforts to bring Kathryn to his way of thinking would be a fruitless endeavour. "I respect your decision", he conceded. "Live long and prosper." he said, extending his hand toward her and spreading his fingers in to a "V"-- signalling the Voyager City salute, a popular fad with Voyager City's citizens from thirty years ago that had long fallen in to disuse. Nonetheless it was touching to see Marshall Tuvok keep the custom alive, as Miss Kate noted that most fads from her generation were catching on with the youth of Voyager City again and that this could only be next. (After all, if the chief law enforcement official was doing it, it had to be cool!)

Kathryn was overwhelmed with emotion. She hugged Tuvok deeply. To her surprise, he returned the hug. Chakotay felt a little jealous, but could not deny the platonic emotion between the two. The hug eventually broke, and wordlessly Tuvok departed. Miss Kathryn stood silently, looking over her home. Slowly, silently she made her way to the window where she saw Tuvok ride away, gradually becoming smaller and smaller on the horizon until he was so far away that he was indistinguishable with the rest of the landscape of the Delta Q ranch.

The Trailboss (Part 1)
Terry — 24 Sep 1998, 6:37 PM

Miss Kate paced up and down the parlor like a caged cat, slapping her thigh with her riding crop and glaring out the picture window on every pass. "Where is that man? What can keeping him?" At last, her pacing stopped. She had spotted a figure riding up to the ranchhouse. As the rider and mount smashed into the front hitching post, she nodded in satisfaction.

Kate quickly composed herself and seated herself in the master's chair. It was a large throne-like chair at the parlor's center. She faced the fireplace as if studying the large portrait of Mark Janeway above the mantelpiece. In an attempt to appear calm and collected, she casually picked up her lucky cup and slowly sipped the coffee. *Damn! It's gotten cold!*

She heard the sound of the front door opening followed by the voice of Ayala greeting the returning foreman. A moment later, Chakotay entered the parlor and strode over to where she sat in state. "Miss Kate."

Finally, she turned to gaze at him. "Mister Torres. Report!"

"The roundup of the herd is 'bout done. We bought enuff beans, flour, bacon, and coffee fer fifty men for six weeks. The supplies are packed on the new wagons 'long with the spare gear and the water barrels. An' the draft horses and spare mounts are ready too. We can move out at first light."

"Excellent. But why rations for fifty hands? I told you that we were leaving Dalby and twenty men to keep the lid on things. We can't afford to leave the Delta Q unguarded with the Kazon on the warpath and Lady Templeton still lurking about."

"Well, Miss Kate, it be like this. You know I kin ride and rope and shoot with the best of 'em." Miss Kate quickly smothered a laugh and nodded in solemn agreement. "And I got the respeck of all the men here. But driving a herd takes special skills and s'perience that me and none of the men got."

"Are you suggesting that we call the drive off? Because if you are ...."

"No, no, Miss Kate. As I were 'bout to tell you, it's just that I reckon thar's someone a mite better to boss the drive. Someone who I just found with a heap more experience than me."

"And who might that be?"

The Trailboss (Part 2)
Terry — 24 Sep 1998, 8:01 PM

(BTW, The Trailboss follows Crisis at the Delta Q)

Miss Kate and her foreman walked through the ornate entrance of Quark's Saloon. Kate disdainfully took in the sights and smells of the gaudy casino and bar with its assortment of saloon girls, saddle tramps, tinhorns, local floozies, and town drunks. But Chakotay drew her over to the far wall where Quark supplied rooms for those with need for privacy (and enough money to pay for it).

Chakotay lead Miss Kate to the second room and swept back the curtain. Barely visible through the thick haze of cigar smoke were three rough-looking cowhands, two women and a man. They were playing poker around the small room's table and apparently doing some serious drinking. None of the three even looked up but the man growled, "Get lost. This is a private game." Chakotay stepped forward and spoke to the intense woman seated on the far side of the table, "Mary, I think that we might have a job for you and your crew."

Their game and whiskey suddenly forgotten, the players stared intently at Chakotay and his companion. The second woman eagerly inquired, "What kind of job? Where --" She abruptly fell silent at a sharp look from the first woman.

Miss Kate took advantage of this lull to examine the three closely. The man was slim and friendly-looking, not much different from any other cowboy. Maybe more intelligent than most. Opposite him sat the woman just silenced. She was an attractive woman dressed all in black: black Stetson hat, black cotton shirt, black belt, black jeans, even black boots. Only a fine tracery of silver on her boots and belt lightened her dark outfit. But the woman in the center soon drew and held Kate's full attention. The one Chakotay had called 'Mary'.

Mary was a very thin woman of medium height. Her wavy brown hair was long and loose. She wore the common working clothes of a simple cowhand and a pair of wire-framed glasses. But there was nothing common about the woman's brown eyes; they burned with great intensity from behind those spectacles. Miss Kate immediately knew that Chakotay's friend was a woman to be reckoned with. Just as Miss Kate decided to take charge of the situation, Mary finally spoke.

"Sit down, Chakotay and tell us all about it. And your friend, too."

"Miss Kate, this is Mary Whippen from Hollywood, California. Mary, this here is Miss Kate Janeway, owner of the Delta Q ranch."

"Miss Kate, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. Of course, I've heard about you and your ranch." Miss Kate and Miss Mary shook hands. Kate and Chakotay then took seats opposite Mary at the table. "These two are friends of mine." Placing her right hand on the man's sleeve, "Stark." And nodding towards the woman on her left, "And Griff."

The Trailboss (Part 3)
Terry — 24 Sep 1998, 8:23 PM

"Miss Mary. Let's get right down to business. Mr. Torres has informed me that you and your friends are looking for work. It so happens that I am willing to hire some experienced cowhands. With the right kind of experience."

"We're no ordinary cowhands. I'm the best trailboss in the West and my crew are all top hands. We are not interested in any low-paying work riding line and mending wire."

"Come now, Miss Mary. I happen to know that you are desperate for work. You have run your bill up so high that every merchant in town has refused you any more credit." Kate deliberately brought her gaze down to the poker pot consisting of only nickels and dimes. Mary flushed with anger at this comment. But before she could retort, Miss Kate continued, "But there is no need for disagreement. The work that I offer is driving cattle. All the way to Federation City, in fact. In six weeks or less."

Mary paused to absorb the surprising offer. But only for a moment before asking, "A rush job to Federation City? My asking price for such a dangerous task as that could be no less than $5000 for me and $500 for each of my hands. Half in advance, half on delivery in Federation City."

"But -- that's an outrageous price! No one .... Miss Mary, we both know that the era of the cattle drive is nearly over. This will be the only drive in the entire territory this year. With railroad lines sprouting up like weeds, drives are fast becoming obsolete. ... 10% of the net profits for you and 1% for each of your hands. All upon delivery."

"And yet I see that you are not using the railroad, Miss Kate. Perhaps your credit rating is no better than my own?" replied Mary venomously. She then stated, "And I'm from Hollywood, the home of creative accounting. .... 10% of the gross on delivery. And 1% apiece for my crew."

Chakotay looked on in horror at the two women. He must be imagining things. He closed his eyes, counted to ten, and slowly opened them. Nothing had changed. Spouts of flames still jetted from Mary's eyes and billows of smoke still poured from Kate's ears. Offer and counter-offer flew furiously back and forth across the table.

He glanced over at Stark and then Griff. He could read the fear in their eyes. With an unspoken agreement, the three simultaneously edged their chairs back away from the conflagration centered at the table. Chakotay briefly considered leaping up and running screaming from the room. *No, no! Mustn't draw attention to myself. Must wait for a better chance to sneak out.*

Miss Kate struggled to regain her composure. Finally, she grit her teeth and barked, "8% of the gross on delivery. You pay your people out of your share. That is my final offer."

Mary smirked and replied, "Then I must accept, mustn't I? I knew that we could come to a satisfactory settlement, Miss Kate. We'll meet you in Fed City in six weeks. And now about the details of the drive --"

"You seem to misunderstand the job, Miss Mary. I'll be traveling with you and the others on the drive. You'll be trailboss but I'm the owner of the herd and the boss of the Delta Q hands," interrupted Kate haughtily.

Mary seemed to burst into flames. In a low but angry tone, she said, "There can be only one boss on the drive. And that's the trailboss. And you ..."

Chakotay listened to the two women arguing for several more minutes and then slowly shook his head. *Six weeks of pure hell. How did I ever get the idea that putting these two mule-headed woman together would be a GOOD idea?*

Culture Arrives in Voyager City, pt. 1
Ruth — 28 Sep 1998, 4:26 PM

[This takes place immediately after Terry's 'The Trailboss,' part 3]

Kathryn stomped out of Quark's, slapping her gloves against her thighs, a gesture Chakotay recognized as reflective of her agitation. When she was in this kind of mood, the best thing was just stand back and stay out of her way.

"And I'm getting ready to face six weeks of confrontations between her and Whippen," he grimaced to himself for about the hundredth time in the last half hour.

"Can you believe that woman had the nerve to want to bring that chef of hers to man the mess on MY cattle drive, Chakotay!" Kathryn raged. Chakotay wisely decided this was a rhetorical question and remained silent.

"Vegan McCartney is a wonderful cook, Mrs. Janeway," Kathryn mimicked the other woman perfectly, right down to the slight accent that gave Mary Whippen a slightly European air. "He's known for his tofu burgers, and I don't think a cowboy in the world could resist his soy shakes." Changing back into her regular voice, Kathryn said, "what does she think we're going to be delivering to Federation City? Soy beans and sea weed? It's a *cattle drive* for gosh sakes! We'll go with the cook we already hired, and eat what cowboys have eaten from time immemorial -- beef, beans, bacon and flour! Its a perfectly good diet." She turned around quickly and got in Chakotay's face, "I mean, have you ever seen an unhealthy cowboy?"

Chakotay stuttered, "Well, now I guess not. Although I've seen a few with dysentery. And when Ayala got back from that last drive, the Doc told him he hadn't been getting enough vitamin B in his diet ..."

He trailed off as he noticed a big commotion over by the courthouse. A group of people, talking eagerly, were gathered around the large board where area folk posted announcements for others to read when they came to town. Births, deaths, foreclosures, social events -- all were placed there as a way for folks to keep up in between editions of the Voyager City Chronicle.

Seeing a chance to change the subject, Chakotay spoke eagerly, "Kathryn -- look over there. I wonder what is going on?"

The two hurried over to the courthouse and pushed there way through the crowd to the board.

Miss Julie was fanning herself as she read something and going, "Oh my, oh my, oh my!"

Lee-Marie was saying, "Hot damn!"

Miss Ruthie was giggling nervously, and saying "well, I never!"

B'Elanna leaned over to Tom and whispered nastily, "well that figures." He shushed her. B'Elanna had never particularly liked Miss Ruthie. She'd been mighty suspicious back in school about the way the school teacher was always keeping Tom after class to discuss his progress in third grade social studies. He'd been 25 at the time.

Peggy Lou and Barty piped up, "we've already got our front row seats!"

And Clare Darrow was waiving a twenty dollar bill around and asking if anyone had twenty one dollar bills they could exchange with her.

"What the heck is going on," Kathryn asked curiously.

"Oh, this Ma," Tom said in a sarcastic voice. "There's a big show coming special to the Opera House tonight, and the women are acting like it is the first show that ever came to Voyager City."

Kathryn leaned forward and read out loud, "Attention Ladies of Voyager City! Due to a mixup in train schedules, the fabulous CHAPS-ENDALE DANCERS will appear for one night and one night only at the Voyager City Opera House. Known the world over for their rhythmic stylings, the CHAPS-ENDALES will delight and entertain! Come see lead dancer Antonio Swayze and the rest of the troupe TONIGHT at 8:00 p.m. Make Your Fantasies Come Alive!"

Culture Arrives in Voyager City, pt. 2 (& correction)
Ruth — 28 Sep 1998, 4:31 PM (& 28 Sep 1998, 7:30 PM)

"The Chaps-endales," Kathryn asked. "I've never heard of them. Do they do ballroom dancing or square dancing?"

Max piped up, "Razzen frazzen, sheezen foo foo foo."

"What did he say," Kathryn asked.

Madame Maxine translated, "Sorry. He got into the sarsaparilla a little early this morning, if you know what I mean. He said, 'Ballroom dancing, harumph! Close but no cigar."

"Ewwwwh, cigars," the crowd went for no apparent reason.

"No, Miss Kathryn," Miss Ruthie said excitedly, "it is an all male dance team, and they take off, well not that I would know anything about this sort of thing, well, I've heard my students say, well, I mean, I've read about ..."

Peggy Lou interrupted, knowing this could go on all day, "they are male strippers, Miss Kathryn. I hear they dress up like the figures in women's fantasies and then undress until they still look like a woman's fantasy, but with less on."

Miss Racine spoke up, "I saw them once in Federation City! One dressed up like Prince Charming, one dressed up like a swash buckling swordsman, and one dressed up like a Repoman!"

"What is a Repoman?," Chakotay asked, and then shook his head. "It doesn't matter. None of you ladies from the Delta Q can attend such foolishness anyhow. We're leaving at sunup for a cattle drive. You need your sleep."

"But, Pa," B'Elanna wailed.

"For once, I agree with your Pa, B'Elanna," Tom said, a little smugly in her opinion. "This is going to be a rough drive, and anyhow," he whispered in her ear, "why would you want to go to pay for something like this. You can look at my body all you want for free."

B'Elanna rolled her eyes, and said, "not if you keep on getting the Grand Slam specials over at Tom R's and Shelly's Diner."

Tom looked hurt, "but I thought you said you liked me a little heavy. You said there was more of me to love."

In the meantime, Reverend Windes was calling out in a serious tone, "Sistren, no one should go to this show! It is of the devil. I suggest you go home tonight and tend to the needs of your husbands, as is right and proper!"

"Besides," the Reverend whispered to the strange looking man standing next to him. No one could ever remember seeing the stranger. He was wearing sunglasses, and his bright orange curly hair didn't look quite .... real. He had a miner's pick in one hand and a ceramic goose in the other. The Reverend continued, "because of this stupid Chaps-Endales show, the management of the Opera House canceled tonight's magic lantern show, 'Beach Blanket Borg Bikini Bingo.' I'm missing a tremendous opportunity to minister to the kind of sinful man who would attend such an exploitative display. I planned to watch the show and see the kind of temptation they face, and then speak to my fellow brothers the minute that show was over!"

In the meantime, Kes, Sevenita, and B'Elanna were all talking at once to Miss Kathryn. "Please, Ma!" "While I do not quite grasp this concept of a 'male stripper,' I believe the knowledge I would gain at such an event would be useful." "You're not going to let Pa tell you what to do, are you Miss Kathryn?"

Kathryn held up her hand to silence the young women. She looked at the poster again, and then turned to her foreman. She looked deep into his eyes. "Could I borrow ten one dollar bills from you?"

REWRITE: Leave Your Hat On!!!!
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:18 AM

"You're going?" Chakotay stood in Lee-Marie's room, watching her dashing about getting dressed.

"I told you that I would." Lee-Marie stopped for a moment and watched her lover standing in front of her with a frown on his face. He had a rumpled look about him having just gotten up from sleep.

She had been with Ayala and Dalby all afternoon working to get the supplies ready for the drive after coming in from town. Chakotay had stayed with Miss Kate in town negotiating for supplies and hadn't come back until later. He had gone straight to Lee-Marie's room, meaning to wait for her there, and as was his custom had taken his shirt and shoes off and fell asleep on her bed.

When Lee had come in, she was surprised to see Chakotay on her bed. Things were a little strained between them because of the things that had gone on a couple of days earlier. But he seemed to be as good as he promised. When she saw he and Miss Kate together, she could tell that they just had a working relationship. He limited the time he spent together with her and increased spending time with Lee. Somehow, she was gratified to see that, but still her doubts plagued her. She also feeling a lot cooped up. For the past two weeks, everything was the "Drive" and it was driving her crazy. A night out with the girls was just what she needed.

She tip toed around and got ready, but he woke up as she was putting on her jewelry. He was surprised because she was wearing a skirt without being under duress. She knew that he didn't want her to go. In fact he had all but forbidden her to go. He knew that if he even attempted that, it would drive another blow in their relationship, so she knew he was trying every other method to keep Lee-Marie from seeing the Chip-Endales dancers.

As if it would work.

"I really am only going to get out of this ranch and to spend a night out with the girls, before we leave in the morning. It just happens that the only thing that's playing in town tonight is a bunch of silly old men who like to take their clothes off."

*The lead dancer is Antonio Swayze. I've only been waiting to see him strip for five years. Like h&!!, I'm going to miss this!!!*

"I still don't see why you have to go. What could you possibly see there that would compare with what you have home?" He put his hands on his hips and seemed to puff up his chest just a little.

Lee-Marie stifled a laugh. She walked up to him and kissed him on the mouth and put her arms around his waist

"Nothing. I know the prize stallion that I have in my stable is better than any stallion running loose in the corral, so you have nothing to worry about. Right?" Lee-Marie looked coyly up at him

"Right" He said slowly.

*I'll take it* thought Lee-Marie

"Don't wait up." She kissed him again and was gone.

Chakotay looked at himself in her mirror for a while, and flexed his muscles. Lee was right, he was a prized stallion whom a number of women had fallen over their feet to try and get in their stables. She knew exactly what she had waiting for her at home.




As Lee Marie saddled JTM and prepared to ride into town, she couldn't help but think with a smile.

*Is there anything more woefully over inflated as the male ego?*

Leave Your Hat On!!!!pt 2
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:19 AM

Baby take off your shoes
um, um, um,

Tom had been in the Ranch for a long time, steaming that B'Elanna had actually gone to see the Chip-Endales. After all what could they possibly have that he didn't have. He was a real cowboy, he herded cattle, rode horses, sweated, and spit. He was a real man!!! Did B'Elanna think that these men could actually be any better than he could? He found himself saddling Intrepid. He just wanted to take a quick peak just to prove his point to himself and so that he would be better to argue his point with B'Elanna when she got home from squandering her time and her money.

When he got to the Opera House he was surprised at the two congregations of men who were standing outside the windows on either sides of the main door. Both groups were trying to look nonchalantly in the Opera House. Tom was surprised to see Chakotay in one group and went up to him.

"What you're doing here Chakotay."

"Ummm, I want to make sure that one of those hairy fairy dancers did not make a move on my B'Elanna, she is my daughter and ah aim to protect her from bad elements."

Chakotay was lying though his teeth. He wanted to know what it was about a picture of a man wearing cowboy boots, skin black jeans, no shirt and a cowboy hat could make the three women who he loved more in the world actually ask him for the money to see this show? Especially Lee-Marie. She had just told him how much of a prized stallion he was, and he knew that she meant it. She was always going on about his firm butt, his Tattoo and then there was the way that she seemed to be having a spiritual experience every time she saw him mounting JTM. And Kathryn, after all these years, you'd think that you know a woman and they do something to completely surprise you. Kathryn was not a woman who fawned over the sight of a stranger, even if the stranger was d@mn good looking. After all, he had been shirtless around her all the time and she never acted like that, and he knew that he had one of the best bodies around.

"Right Chakotay, so am I" Tom actually said the sentence without any malice in his voice. *Who does he think that he's trying to fool?*

"Boston Kid?" Tom looked at the gunslinger

"I am to keep my eyes on Kes also. With that leather catsuit, who knows what can happen." He wasn't particularly worried. Kes had gotten a good taste of him. Why would she go crazy over anyone else.

"But I must say I am surprised to see Timmy the Eunuch, here. Shouldn't you be ironing for Madame D'Alaireux?"

Leave Your Hat On!!!!pt 3
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:21 AM

"Nope TB 1. Ever since I've had my Ponn Farr Vision there's been no more Ironing for this Eunuch"

"What has there been instead TB 2, Cooking?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?"

The two seemed to be squaring off and suddenly Timmy pulled out a Bath'leth. The gunslinger paled. He certainly didn't want to go the way of Tim, Tim of the Jungle. He put his hand on his six shooter, ready and waiting.

Chakotay headed them off. He walked up to Timmy and asked softly. "Who is that?" He pointed to the strange man incredibly handsome man who seemed to possess instinctive class, natural grace and quiet dignity even though he held a ceramic goose in one hand. Timmy put away the Bath'leth, which was collapsible, in his gun belt.

He whispered, "They call him Mad Man Terry Miles, gold prospector. He just got into town. Schoolmarm Miss Ruth apparently knows him pretty well. Madame talked about him once after she came from her Housewives club meeting. She said Ruth kept going on and on about his hands." Timmy gave a knowing smirk.

Tom had overheard their conversation. He knew that Schoolmarm Ruth was talking about Terry Miles' ability to tatter. She had told him about his amazing hands, every time she saw him. She talked about it quite enthusiastically. He knew that she had always told him that you had to have good hands in order to be able to tatter, so he guessed that that's what Terry Miles liked to do. After all that was the type of thing that Schoolmarms got excited about.

"Just what do they talk about at this Housewives club anyway? I know that Cowgirl Vickie formed it right after we decided to stop calling on one another?" Timmy wisely kept silent. The last thing he needed right now was for that Indian to get pigheaded.

"Evening Boys"

"Evening Big Jimbo. What are you doing here?"

"The Marshal sent me over to keep and eye on things. He wanted to make sure that if a 'fire' if you will was ignited here, my boys and I would be on hand to 'cool' things down."

The Marshal had done no such thing. Big Jimbo had made it his life work to try and understand women. He felt that it was necessary to do so in order to ensure that none of the women whom he was courting would ever leave him. If necessary, he wanted to be the one who would terminate relations. That way the rumors of the unbelievable satisfaction that he was able to give to women would always be true. What he didn't know that there was only one person believed those rumors which he had started. His last three girlfriends had left him because they were tired of him charging that they were 'whiny' when they were feeling 'a bit under the weather', which happened at least once every month. Quite frankly, he thought that it was good riddance to a bad lot, but was a touched concerned that no other women besides Aylannna Lang had shown interest since then. He just wanted to make sure that he knew exactly what it was that women wanted by way of 'entertainment' so that he could increase his repertoire and guarantee her satisfaction with his performance.

"Oh Lord, I have looked and mine own eyes have seen the near occasion of sin that this event has created. Watch over the women here, make them go back to their husbands, as innocent and as pure as they were before, especially the innocent Sevenita, who knows nothing of what is going on here, of what it might mean for her......"

Leave Your Hat On!!!! pt 4
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:22 AM

Reverend Windes was praying hard. And every time he made an invocation, he looked through the window and kept his eye on Sevenita and the Chip-Endales.

A ROAR went up from the crowd.

Baby take off your shirt,
Come on, just take it off

The men outside scrambled to see what had happened.

"Quit shoving, I can't see." Tom pushed Timmy out of the way in order to get closer to the window of the Opera House.

The sight that greeted their eyes caused them to fall silent immediately. The dance troupe men were taking off their shirt and moving their hips in such a motion that should only be done in the privacy of one's own room, with one's own woman. The Voyager City women were going crazy. The frequency of Miss Julie's fan increased exponentially with every passing minute. Her mouth seem be forming the same words over and over again. To the observant, it would have been noted that her lips were forming the same words as they were before

Oh my, oh my, oh my


"Oh my, oh my, oh my" Miss Julie kept fanning to herself as a blue-gray gentleman who had a worn a redshirt with one silver pip on his color, (it was now on the floor) and an especially tight form fitting pair of black jeans, approached her. She looked around swiftly and when she saw no-one was watching her, (They were all focused and Mr. Swayze), she put a five dollar bill in his trousers and gave him a swift pat on the bum. He smiled sweetly at her and then rejoined the others. She continued to fan herself and repeat her mantra, however there was a smile on her face that wasn't there before.

She was satisfied that the others didn't see her because their attention was focused on Miss Peggy-Lou, Miss Barty, and Miss Racine, who were in the middle of trying to put their money in the trousers of a certain Mr. Swayze. They gave him so much that he did something that was not part of their normal routine; he allowed them to dance on the stage with him. Their hands were all over the man, getting their money's worth. They were, after all enterprising women and they knew as well as Quark that this opportunity would not be afforded them again, so they decided to take full advantage of it. It was a full five minutes before Mr. Swayze was able to persuade them to return to their seats.

Meanwhile, a rather handsome young man with blond hair, a roguish look about him, and incredible gray eyes saw a woman with maroon gloves crook her finger towards him, with a fistful of dollar bills clutched in her other hand. He walked up to her and she put the bills very discretely in his pants.

"Much obliged Ma'am. May I tell you that you have the most increadible brown eyes that I have ever seen."

"You may." She answered with a touch of modesty. He continued.

"I trust that you have seen a little of your fantasy on this stage tonight?"

"Actually I haven't."

"Well now, we can't have any one of the Misses here going home without being satisfied. What would you like to see?"

Leave Your Hat On!!!!pt 5
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:24 AM

She leaned over and whispered something in his ear. The dancer turned a bright red, and he was immediately grateful that the heat of the House could explain it away. He walked away with a glazed look on his face and rejoined the troupe. He was visibly shaken and this was the reason why he missed the next three steps of his routine. The Woman in Maroon gave a small smile.

Later, he slipped a piece of paper on her table. She pretended to be caught up in what the other dancers and the Women of Voyager City were doing.

In the middle of the dance, Mr. Swayze approached Kes, and crooked his finger at her to follow him. She stood up swiftly and sauntered out to join him.


Eric the gunslinger paled. Kes was wearing the Shoalin Leather suite of Justice.

"Well now, it seems that your six-shooter is not enough to keep young Miss Janeway satisfied" Timmy began to snicker, but stopped when he saw Madame D'Alaireux join Kes. He looked at her closely and he began to look worried. He recognized her sway. She must have done an Expresso Java Vision during the show and once she did that, it meant that she would be........

"And it's not only my six shooter that seems not be performing these days. Have you been having a problem with blanks lately?" Eric the gunslinger shot back.

"I may be a Eunuch, but thanks to the Ponn Farr Vision, I can assure you that I can shoot with the best of them and that includes you."

"Oh yeah, PROVE IT!!!" Eric the gunslinger charged.

"I JUST WILL" Both moved their arms to the belts of their pants. (gun belts that is)

"WILL THE TWO OF YOU JUST STOP IT!!!!!" The rest of the men in the window shouted. "WE DON'T WANT TO SEE ANY OF IT."

"And that's assuming that there's any of it worth seeing" Tom muttered to Chakotay under his breath. Chakotay gave him a quick look. "I've heard that the gunslinger is not really that good a shooter." , Tom explained.

"Who told you that, Ole Mike D?" Tom let that slide.

Luckily the two men didn't hear him.

"Oh saints preserve us!!!!" Reverend Windes exclaimed. The men turned their attention to the window again. Sevenita had joined the crowd dancing with Mr. Swayze. The women in Voyager City made such a din to see what was going on that the men's ears were ringing.

The Reverend was praying hard. He only stopped when the three women were persuaded to return to their seats. Timmy of the Jungle gave a sigh of relief. Madame was so strong willed sometimes that he was never sure what she was capable of doing or not doing. Sometimes he didn't mind. But tonight, he did.

Leave Your Hat On!!!! pt 6
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:26 AM

Lee-Marie was sure that she was going to pass out with all the hooting and hollering and all that women's vapors in the room. Especially at the sight of Mr. Swayze. She was sitting at the table with Miss Kathryn, Miss B'Elanna, Cowgirl Vickie and a woman named Diane Artemis Gordon who was a colleague of Mr. Thomas Magnum. Suddenly, Mr. Swayze held up his hands as part of the dance routine and sauntered over to the table where Miss Ruthie was sitting with Miss Peggy-Lou, Miss Barty and Miss Racine. She had stayed behind at the table while her three other companions had 'danced' with Mr. Swayze.

"Go on, look at them" Miss Peggy-Lou shouted above the din. Miss Ruthie shyly took his hands and looked them over.

"Oh yes," She said. "These would be excellent. Thank you for coming over here Mr. Swayze." She said though giggles. She put a couple of dollar bills in his hands.

"No not there," Miss Racine said wickedly, taking the money from his hands.

"Here" and she put it in his trousers.

Miss Ruthie could not stop giggling.

No one heard the loud crash outside.


Mad Man Terry Miles had dropped his goose and was examining his own hands with a bewildered look on his face. The Reverend gave a small smile.

"What?" Chakotay asked. Timmy grinned but it was Tom who answered.

"Miss Ruthie must think that Mr. Swayze has better hands for tattering than Terry Miles." Tom said by way of explanation.

"Oh" *What a strange pup pansy dignified gentleman!!!* Chakotay thought.

He didn't have time to think of anything else.


Baby take off your pants,
Yes, Yes, yes

The dance troupe bent down and removed their pants. There was barely the sound of Velcro and Lycra ripping because of the roar of the crowd, and they stood for a moment proudly in their underwear.

You can leave your hat on,
You can leave your hat on,
You can LEAVE your HAT ON

Leave Your Hat On!!!!pt 7
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:31 AM

The men outside were extremely quiet.

*That's just not possible. They can't all be that big? After seeing that, would our women still want us?* It was the thought on every man's mind at the same time.

The rationalization process began swiftly afterwards which was as usual for men their age.

*Nah, they must have put something in there to make it look so, socks maybe?*

*I thought I saw an advertisement in my private 'reading materials' for something called "The Bulge" that must be what they are using.*

It brought them a little comfort, if only for a short time


You give me reason to live,
You give me reason to live,
You give me reason to live,
YOU give me reason to LIVE

You can leave your hat on.

Kathryn had been trying to pretend that all of the going ons were just a group of women all together just going crazy the women were likely to do when they were together. But it was far from the truth. She had to consciously wipe the drool from her mouth, from time to time and she wished that she could just throw caution to the wind and act as crazy as the other women tonight. But she was Kathryn Janeway and she couldn't. She repeated it over and over until the pants came off.

Kathryn Janeway then lost it. She leaned over to Cowgirl Vickie and asked, "Can I borrow your lasso." Cowgirl Vickie kept a lasso with her gun belt at all times. You never know when it would come in handy, she reasoned. She handed it over to Kathryn who then gave a loud hoot.


She swung and caught Mr. Swayze and pulled him towards her. He seemed not to mind. When he was close enough, she bent him over her knee and kissed him on the lips; long and hard. The crowd near went crazy. When she released him, she gave him a crooked smile and then removed her lasso from him. He bent towards her and whispered something in her ear, and then sauntered away from her.

Cowgirl Vickie was the first woman around her table to recover from the shock of what Miss Kathryn Janeway had done She raised on arm in the air and bent it repeatedly at the elbow.

"Woof, woof, woof!!!!"

The other women had no idea what it meant, but it looked right somehow, they followed.

Cowgirl Vickie then propelled herself on the stage and began to ahem.....well.... "Dance" with Mr. Swayze. She was not alone. Artemis likewise joined Cowgirl Vickie and began to also "dance" with him. Lee-Marie likewise launched herself at the man, and standing behind the women so that no-one else could see her, she planted her hands on firmly on his butt for a long time. *Hey!!!* She reasoned. *If Miss Kate could cop a feel to my man 800 years in the future, I can do it now to a stranger*

She sighed. It was just a mite bit firmer than Chakotay's but for other reasons she preferred Chakotay's to Mr. Swayze. Any moment now those reasons would come to her...

Any moment now.........

Any moment.........

Lee-Marie gave up and joined the "dance". B'Elanna and Diane had also joined the dance session. The women on stage had covered every inch of Mr. Swayze so well, that the only thing you could see was his little hat, bopping up and down.

Leave Your Hat On!!!!pt 8
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:32 AM

Outside all Chakotay and Tom could do was stare in dumbfoundment. B'Elanna looked so intent on what she was doing and Lee-Marie looked like Reverend Windes whenever he saw Sevenita!!! The other men wanted to mock them for the way that their women were acting but they didn't have a chance because something happened and the hooting, hollering and all out bedlam which occurred not only prevented them from hearing anything, but the steam and the action of the Women of Voyager City prevented them from seeing anything.


Jason Canuck and Mr. Magnum were walking down the main way towards the Opera House.

"Did anyone tell you what the show was about tonight." Mr. Magnum asked Jason.

"No, but when there's an all woman show in this town which has caused such havok, it is the job of a reporter to find out how it went."

"Cowgirl Vickie didn't tell me what it was about either, but she assured me that as the founder of the Housewives club, she had to perform her duty and attend this performance of modern dance for women only, even though we had plans for tonight."

"So it's modern dance then. Well I'm glad that this is for women only. All those men running around in women's tights is obscene. I certainly wouldn't want to see it." Jason answered.

They stopped when they saw the group of men standing outside the opera house, peering in the window in silence.

"What's going on here?" Mr. Magnum asked.

The men parted like the Red Sea and Mr. Magnum and Jason made their way over to the window and peered in. After five full minutes of staring, Mr. Magnum turned to Jason and said.

"I don't see any tights, Jason."

Marshal Tuvok approached.

"I shall endeavor to reclaim the peace and quiet that Voyager City has been accustomed to." He walked into the bedlam.

The men looked at each other.

*What peace and Quiet of Voyager City?*

The Marshal was inside for a good fifteen minutes when slowly the bedlam died down and then he emerged from the House. The men breathed a sigh of relief until they saw him. He looked visibly shaken and seemed disheveled. It was later found out that overcome by vapors several women thought he was part of the act and had tried to jump him. Privately, he didn't think that was true of Miss Racine, he had seen that look in her eye way too many times.

Leave Your Hat On!!!!pt 9
Leonie — 5 Oct 1998, 7:34 AM

Suspicious minds are talking
They're trying to tear us apart
They don't believe in this love of mine

The women came out of the House.

"Did you see the one......."

"And did you see the cute little mole on his........."

"And what about the third one from the rear, did you check out his rear. I tell you......"

"What I absolutely loved was the way..........."

"I wish Howard could dance like that, it would make things go "smoother" between us."

The chatter was loud and incessant, until they caught sight of the men near the window looking sheepish.

They don't know what love is,
They don't know what love is
They don't know what love is

I KNOW what love is

The women took a long hard look at their men. Some were a mite bit arrogant, pigheaded, stubborn and quick to fight. Others were a little slow in the step, a little bit thick in the middle and a little balding on top. Some were just strange pups; enjoying strange things; exotic animal handling, leather and spandex, really tight corsets and ceramic geese.

Their looks intensified. As they looked at the men who were their gentlemen callers, their lovers, their husbands, and the fathers of their children, they began to see them in a brand new light. Each one of the women knew that the bodies of these men could nowhere match the near perfection they had seen just five minutes ago, but they were at loss to say how this group of men who they interacted with day in and day out, could look so sexy to them as they did at that moment.

The women changed their looks. Everyone understood what it meant. Without a word, they paired off and made their way back home.

You can leeeeeave your hat on,


If any of the men at the windows were asked later if they minded that their women had been to a strip show, they replied with cocky grins.

"Gosh no. It's OK, if they look. But they know the prize stallions that they have waiting at home for them and they are better than any fly by night dance troupe that would come into town. Right honey?"

The women would roll their eyes and say with a straight face. "Of course sweetheart" and the men would be appeased. But they knew better. It had been an unforgettable night and one that would fuel the Housewives Club for years to come.

The Long Goodbye, part 1
Ruth — 1 Oct 1998, 2:47 PM

[This takes place the morning after Leonie's "You Can Leave Your Hat On." I don't think anyone has dibs on opening the drive.]

The next morning, the men and women and the Delta Q got ready on the big drive. The women were a little bleary eyed - but they all wore the same secret smile. Some of the men even thought they heard B'Elanna give an occasional giggle for no apparent reason, but none of them could believe it.

Mary had made the duty assignments already. B'Elanna would ride right point; the Kiteman was riding left. Chakotay was intrigued by Kiteman, whom Mary called "Kite" with some affection. At least four model kites were hanging from his saddle. Mary had explained to Chakotay that in his spare time, Kite cared for nothing more than building or flying his kites. "It turns out that Reverend Windes is also interested in kites," Mary mused. "The two of them have struck up quite a friendship. I overheard the good reverend talking to Kite last night. I heard him say that he loves their shape, and the way they bounce up and down. He said 'big or small, pointy or round, in pairs or in groups, I love them all!'"

Chakotay rode his horse around slowly, quietly checking to make sure that everything looked well. He and Tom were going to act as scouts, going out ahead of the main group to find the best route, and, of course, to keep an ever vigilant eye out for the hostile Borg.

He patted his horse, and said softly, "There's a good girl, we've got a long way to go, and I know you'll see me through it."

"What did you name this one, Chakotay?" He turned around and saw Kathryn riding toward him on her own horse, Old Mike. Kathryn had long been a friend of the crusty gunsmith. She'd named this horse after him after remarking that as a young colt the equine Old Mike was "stubborn as a d@mn mule," just like her dear friend.

"This is Shuttle 2, Kathryn," he said proudly. Chakotay always named his horses "Shuttle." It was an old joke. When he was 15 he had accidently crashed his horse, William Tell, into a patch of prickly cacti. When the horse bucked, and Chakotay fell he had yelled out 'Sh!t Tell!!!" From that point on he and his friends called the horse, "sh!ttle," then cleaned it up a little for the ladies, by changing it to "Shuttle."

Of course, the original Shuttle only lived a couple of more days anyhow, so he never got to appreciate the change.

"You've started to reuse the numbers again, then, I see. Did you bring along any spares in case we need them?"

He pointed to a string of spirited horses lightly tied together near the remuda. "There are Shuttles 3 through 9. Just in case there's still a problem, B'Elanna estimates Shuttle 10 will be in heat in two weeks, and Lee-Marie is bringing along JTM in case we need to make any replacements on the trail."

Kathryn nodded in approval, "good thinking, Chakotay." As she rode off, she was singing a little tune, and Chakotay could have sworn he heard her say something about a hat.

The Long Goodbye, part 2
Ruth — 2 Oct 1998, 1:53 PM

After Kathryn rode off, Chakotay continued his rounds. He knew that Mary Whippen was trail boss on this drive, but most of the trail hands were his people, and this was his herd. Most importantly, he knew how vitally important this mission was to Kathryn. On the day Mark Janeway died, Chakotay had pledged to take care of Kathryn and to place her needs above his own. He had yet to go back on that pledge, and he did not mean to do so now.

He smirked a little as he saw the Reverend Windes off to the side, "counseling" Sevenita. There were actually tears in his eyes at the thought of being apart from her for six weeks. Chakotay had learned from Marie that the Reverend had given Kiteman a bunch of self addressed stamped envelopes so that Kite could send the reverend pictures of his beloved on the trail from time to time.

Chakotay rode Shuttle 2 over toward the chuck wagon. He could hear the Delta Q's cook, Hop-Sing-Neelix banging pots and pans around as he prepared to leave. One of Mary's men was leaning up against a horse near the wagon, and he looked a little green around the gills. "Excuse me son, I'm sorry I can't remember your name, but are you alright?"

The man grimaced. "Name's Stark, sir. James Tecumseh Stark. Yeah, I'm fine. But I asked cookie here for a cup of joe, but he said with money being a little tight, he was trying to ration it. Offered me his 'better than coffee substitute.' No offense sir, but I've had better drinks at a Hirogen hoe down."

Chakotay grimaced reassuringly to the young man. "I'll speak to Miss Kathryn. She surely loves her coffee. Maybe she can ask Hop-Sing to cut corners somewhere else." He started to turn, and then said, "Tecumseh. Any Shawnee blood?"

"Yes, sir. In fact, my grandfather was with Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames, and my Dad and I were named after the great leader. But my friends just call me Stark or James T., to distinguish me from my father."

"Well, glad to have you along on the drive, James T. Stark."

The Long Goodbye, part 3
Ruth — 3 Oct 1998, 1:58 PM

As Chakotay rode away, Stark shrugged. When the older man had called him "James T. Stark," he had sounded eerily like Stark's uncle, Khan Noonien Stark. Well, his adopted Uncle. When the unusually intelligent Khan had been orphaned as a child, Stark's grandfather had taken the orphaned child, a member of the Eugenics tribe, into his home.

Actually, Stark realized, this was the third or fourth time he'd thought of his uncle since signing up on this drive. "It must be because this is close to where it all happened," he thought.

Years ago, his uncle, tired of government leaders and their broken promises towards his people, and angry over the increasing encroachment of white settlers, had attempted to rally the best and brightest of the local native American population into engaging in a full scale war against the United States. In order to finance this war, Khan had planned to steal a shipment of gold that was being transported from the US Treasury back east to a bank in California. Through clever maneuvering, he actually had managed to gain control of the train, the Enterprise Express, but his dreams of gold and power had been destroyed by the Starfleet Calvary. Led by Captain Kirk Custer, a brash young officer who was already a becoming a legend in his own time, a unit from Fort Saratoga had stopped Khan.

He had been tried in the territorial court, and most believed Khan would be executed for his crimes. But according to Stark's father, who attended the trial in Federation City, the judge's own daughter had begged for leniency for Khan, pointing out the injustices he and his people had faced over the years. Judge Davenport had relented, and instead sent Khan and his followers to an isolated reservation called Ceti Alpha 5. The group had included Khan's beautiful wife, a former history teacher named Marla.

"I wonder why history teachers are always so purty?" Stark mused.

Then suddenly it hit him; the Ceti Alpha 5 reservation was smack dab in the middle of Borg territory. Stark might have an opportunity to stop by and see his uncle. "Pa would like that," he thought. Then Stark figured he'd better quit lollygagging before Miz Whippen saw him and decided to tear a strip off his hide. He went back to work.

The Long Goodbye, part whatever
Ruth — 6 Oct 1998, 8:03 PM

[I should finish this introduciton to the drive tomorrow, and they'll be ready to start the drive, I want to write a bit about Harry, and I have an idea for a new character who will interact with Sevenita and drive Rev. Windes mad with jealous envy.]

Chakotay rode to the other side of the mess wagon, and he saw two of Mary's hands standing under a small scrub tree engaged in a serious discussion. One was Kiteman, and the other was an attractive young woman dressed completely in black. Chakotay recalled seeing her in Quark's when he first introduced Kathryn to Mary.

The young woman was saying, "I want ten horses."

Kite replied, "Griff, I done told ya, there just ain't no horse numbers left under 5. If you want ten you can track down that Ayala fella and maybe he'll be willing to split it with you."

Just then the two hands looked up and saw Chakotay staring at them. They both looked a little uncomfortable. Chakotay smiled and said, "no please don't let me interrupt, I just wanted to introduce myself to the lady."

"Heck, sir, I ain't no lady. I'm a lawyer," the woman said in a friendly tone.

"A lawyer?" Chakotay said quizzically. "What are you doing on a cattle drive?"

"Well, Miz Whippen let me work for her part time all the way through my studies at the law school at The Inter-Collegiate Terran-Ocompan College of Technology," the woman said.

Chakotay nodded wisely, "ah yes, TIC TOC Tech. A good school. And a damn fine football team."

"Anyhow, sir, when I finish this drive, I will have enough money to pay off my student loans and stake my own practice."

"Here in Voyager City?"

"Nooooo, way! I've met Clare Darrow. I wouldn't want to face her in court. No, I'm heading to San Francisco. The way I here it there are five men for every one woman out there. I'm going open up a practice specializing in sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the work force. My name is Griff, by the way."

Chakotay leaned down and shook Griff's hand. He then asked, "what were you two talking about? It sounded like some kind of bet."

Kite shifted around uncomfortably, then said, "well sir, those of us who've been with Miz Whippen for a while sometimes start a pool at the beginning of a drive. It helps pass the time, and the winner usually treats the losers to beers at the end of the haul."

"Sounds like fun," Chakotay mused. "Can I join in?"

The Long Goodbye, part whatever, deux
Ruth — 6 Oct 1998, 8:09 PM

Kite and Griff looked at each other, and then Kite said, "Well, okaaaay. The first bet is, "How many times will Miss Kathryn change her hairstyle during this trip?"

Chakotay thought, and then said, "Three." Kite wrote this down on his tally sheet.

"How many times will Tom Janeway complain about Hop-Sing Neelix's cooking?"


"Despite this, how many pounds will Tom gain during the drive?"

"Again, I'll go with ten. He will, after all be spending quite a long part of the day on a horse, and he'll be traveling *away* from Shelly and Tom R's diner, and all of its temptations. He can't gain all that much weight. Although," Chakotay mused, "B'Ela's been gaining weight lately, and he seems to be eating in sympathy with her. I was really wrong about that boy; he sure does take care of my little girl and tend to her needs. But, I'll stick with ten."

"How many times will Sevenita tell Miss Kathryn that her course of action is incorrect?"


"How many times will Miz Whippen and Miss Kathryn come to diametrically opposed conclusions about the proper course of action."

"Let's see. The drive is supposed to last six weeks, six times seven is 42, add a couple of days for rain delays, plus one or two extras. 47," Chakotay said at last.

"How many times will strangers approach our group, ask for access to our maps, horses, and wagons, be granted such access, and then turn out to be marauding bandits eager to trap us in a secluded canyon and steal our women and rape our cows? I mean rape our women and steal our cows?"

"I'd say once every other week. Three times."

Okay, how often will the members of this cattle drive have sexual intercourse as defined by the Paula Jones lawsuit?"

"Zip, zero, nada, none. We've got too many responsibilities on this drive to engage in carnal relations," Chakotay boomed in his most pompous voice.

"Wha, wha, wha!!," Kite sputtered. "But my fee-ancy, Mizz Monica is thinkin she might join us about half way, and lordy how my gal loves to canoodle!"

"Sorry," said Chakotay. "I'll stick with zero."

"Okay, finally," Kite said reading, still clearly a little flustered, "how many months will it be before Mr. Torres figures out B'El, oomph!" Kite quit reading when Griff elbowed him in the ribs. "Uh, I mean, how many months will it take before Mr. Torres figures out, uh, everyone's name."

"What an odd question. The drive is only going to last six weeks, and I know close to every one's name now." Chakotay turned to leave, and then he said, "when I rode up, didn't I hear you say something about ten horses?"

Griff said, "why, I don't think so sir."

Chakotay rode off, and the two hands watched as he very nearly ran Shuttle 2 into Hop-Sing Neelix's camp fire. Griff turned to Kite and said, "I gotta go find Ayala. Mr. Torres is definitely going to crash ten horses this drive!"

The Long Goodbye, part 47a
Ruth — 7 Oct 1998, 1:17 PM

Chakotay saw Kathryn, and smiling, hurried Shuttle 2 towards his favorite red head. Luckily Lee-Marie was no where around. However, as he got closer, he realized that Kathryn was standing next to Mary Whippen, and that they were engaged in a heated discussion with Harry. He started to turn around, when the two women saw him and motioned him forward. He rode up, dismounted and asked with some trepidation, "May I help you?"

Oddly enough, Chakotay soon realized that Whippen and Janeway were on the same side in this argument. It was Harry who was upset with the two women.

"Mr. Torres, they're making me ride drag. Again. Every time we have a cattle drive, all I ever get to do is ride drag."

"And your point would be...?" asked Chakotay, not understanding where Harry was going with this.

"Well, I'm tired of it! I want a promotion! I'm not the same old Harry, the same green kid that came to the Delta Q all those years ago!" Harry stated forcefully.

Chakotay couldn't help it. He burst out laughing, as did Miss Kathryn and Mary. They stopped when they saw how hurt Harry looked.

"Sorry, Harry. I was just, uh, thinking about something Miss Ruthie said last week. She sure is funny. Now, as to your new "grown up" status, what kind of promotion were you wanting?"

"Well, I thought I could help Sevenita with the astrometrics wagon."

"The astrometrics wagon?" Chakotay asked.

Mary Whippen answered him. "I am instituting a new efficiency measure on this drive. Some of the finest scientist and engineers ever to graduate from TIC TOC Tech have created a state of the art wagon equipped with the finest in maps, compasses, and charts of the stars. It should allow us to travel in relative safety at night when we need to. Mrs. Janeway has assured me that Sevenita is the perfect person to be in charge of this wagon."

"Mary said that she wanted somebody who is reliable, dependable, efficient, and who will disagree with me on a regular basis. Who else could I suggest but our Sevenita?" Miss Kathryn queried.

Just then Sevenita and Reverend Windes walked up to the group. Sevenita had insisted on wearing pants on the drive, saying that dresses were inefficient. Her father had taken her to Garak's and bought her an elegant creation, a shimmering blue and, of course skin tight. The only real problem she had was that the four inch heels on her cowboy boots made it difficult to get on a horse, and when she did manage to get on, her too tight corset tended to make her fall right off. Thus, driving a wagon would, indeed, be perfect for the former Borg.

"Am I the subject of this discussion," Sevenita inquired.

Well, yes and no," said Chakotay. "Harry here was asking for a promotion." Sevenita and Reverend Windes both snickered. "He wants to share the astrometrics wagon with you, Sevenita." The snickering abruptly stopped.

"It does have an airlock," murmured Sevenita.

"No, no, no!" cried the good reverend. "It would be most unseemly for a young unmarried woman to share a wagon with this young ruffian! Why think of the damage this could do to Miss Sevenita's reputation. She is the sweetest, most gentle, and most lovely young lady of my acquaintance. Her beautiful face and body sometime blind others to the gentleness and perfection of her inner beauty. She is not only lovely but talented. She was a National Merit Scholar and she hopes someday, in the immediate aftermath of the second world war, to join the Peace Corps!"

The others just stared at the minister, knowing there was no use in interrupting him until he wound down. Then Mary spoke, "actually, I already have an assistant picked out for Sevenita. My young nephew." She turned around and yelled, "K.C.! Come over here for a minute."

The Long Goodbye, part 47b
Ruth — 7 Oct 1998, 1:24 PM

A nice looking young man of about 13 or 14 came over. He had a winning smile, and he was carrying some kind of pouch that was jammed full of papers of some sort.

Mary beamed. "Miss Kathryn, everyone, this is my nephew Kevin Clearasil Whippen. We're very proud of him. K.C.'s only 13 and he's already been accepted into TIC TOC Tech in the fall! He's very excited about working with you in astrometrics, Sevenita."

"You bet, Miss Sevenita!," the young man said excitedly. He opened up his pouch, pulling out an organized series of newspaper clippings, drawings, and photographs. "I think I must have every scrap of information that has ever been written about you! Here's a drawing of you when you won the Miss Voyager City pageant. And here are your notices from when you had the title role in your high school play, *King Lear* --- gosh, you can do anything!"

The others watched in amazement as Sevenita actually blushed and giggled, "Well, I must say the critics were awfully kind."

Reverend Windes protested, "Hey, I said you were good in that play! I went every night and sat on the front row!," but Sevenita wasn't paying any attention to him.

K.C. went on, "And you probably don't remember, but you agreed to have your picture taken with me at the Leola Root Ball. Dr. Peter Morf was taking photos." He showed them all a picture of the two of them standing in front of a haystack, with K.C. sporting a wide grin.

"Of course I remember," Sevenita said. "I was so touched that you wanted to have your picture made with little ole me."

"I wanted to have my picture made with you, remember?" whined the reverend. "But I spilled some punch on my dress shirt before we could get in line for the photographer."

"And here is the article from where you spoke out about the injustice of today's credit industry and its unfair lending policies. Here, let me quote you, 'I believe that repossessing wagons that poor people need to get to badly needed jobs is as unconscionable as stealing candy from a baby. How a grown man could be willing to make such a living is beyond me.' Gee, I love women with a social conscience."

The reverend just winced. Some of his best friends were repomen.

Mary smiled benevolently at her nephew and Sevenita. "Well, I can see you too will get along famously. Sevenita why don't you show K.C. his duty station, and the rest of us will get ready to move along."

Sevenita and K.C. moved along. She suddenly remembered Reverend Windes, and turned around and said, "oh, farewell, Reverend. I hope to see you when we return."

The others turned to leave, but then Harry piped up, "But what about my promotion!"

Miss Kathryn said, "sorry Harry. You remain in drag. I mean on drag. Let's get ready to set our course and move em out!"

There's No Business Like Show Business
Terry — 2 Oct 1998, 6:52 PM

Time: The morning after the departure of the cattle drive from Voyager City.

Part 1: Breakfast at Epiphany's

Clare Darrow sat at her usual table in the Nemesis Restaurant, breakfasting lightly on a T-bone steak and grits smothered in ketchup. She read the Saturday edition of the Voyager City Chronicle as she daintily sipped her tea and wolfed down the scones.

*Let's check out that crossword puzzle again. Maybe I'll have more luck today.* 3-Across: Females addicted to dimples and facial tattoos. (11 letters) *No idea!* 7-Across: Dimwitted Asian youngster with no redeeming qualities. (3 letters) *Another blank!* 4-Down: Females addicted to boyish grins, *Hmmm* tousled blonde hair, *Yes!* long strong hands, *I know this one!* and sexy blue eyes. (10 letters) *Damn! Who writes this puzzles anyway! They're impossible!*

Clare laid the paper down on the table and called to the waiter, "Namon. More tea, please."

"Yes, ma'am. Leola root tea again?"

"Of course."

As Clare waited for a fresh cup of the excellent local brew, she turned to examine herself in the restaurant's mirror, which covered the entire far wall of the Nemesis. What Clare saw in her reflection gave her much satisfaction. This being the weekend, she had chosen a casual look more in keeping with the locals' Western attire. But Clare believed that even informal garb could and should exhibit good taste and yet still express one's individuality. Her current clothes clearly did both.

She had completed a successful shopping foray to Garak just yesterday to obtain this outfit. Once again, she admired her new hip-hugging maroon jeans and maroon Stetson hat in the mirror. The snakeskin boots and belt really set off her dark brown eyes. And the pièce de résistance, the distinctive maroon and green checked flannel shirt. *So tasteful,* she thought, *and yet so uniquely me!*

And finally, Clare examined her face and hair in the mirror. She had just returned an hour before from a full makeover at Madame Emony's Beauty Salon. Clare tossed her head to the right and then to the left as she admired her new power-pony tail, which had been so highly recommended by Emony herself. *It is me.* But Clare blushed as she spotted her new beauty mark on her face.

Or rather, beauty marks. Two thick bands of dark spots started at Clare's temples, ran down her face, along her neck, hugged her body all the way down to -- *I can't believe that I let that Caroline woman talk me into the full body treatment.* But she looked at her beauty marks again and smiled wickedly. *But she did promise me that these drive the cowboys absolutely wild!*

Namon returned with a fresh pot of tea and broke her introspective mood. Clare returned her attention to her newspaper and her plans for today.

There's No Business Like Show Business, Part 2
Terry — 2 Oct 1998, 11:19 PM

Note: The beautician, Caroline, mentioned in Part 1 was not intended to be Carol's Mary Sue. I apologize for any confusion.

Part 2: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lies

Clare Darrow left an ample tip for Namon and exited the Nemesis Restaurant. She walked the length of the elegant lounge of the Ritz-Kradin Hotel to the front desk. Brone was ready with her personal messages and informed her that her buggy was waiting out front. She briskly walked to the front door held open by young Rafin and exited the establishment.

*Another beautiful day,* she thought as she looked out at the warm, sunny morning. *Hard to believe that it is already autumn.* She briefly took in the hustle and bustle of the busy town. The merchants, craftsmen, and townswomen were out and about, performing their usual day's work. *They really do rise with the sun out here.*

Clare turned to the street where Mr. Larson was waiting with her buggy. He was holding the side door open and stood ready to help her into the buggy. He asked, "Where to, ma'am? To the office? Or perhaps Madame Sandine's?" Clare stopped a few feet away from the buggy. "I do have some paperwork at the office, Anson. But I plan to visit the opera house just across the street first." Larson extended his arm and said, "You had better let me convey you across the street anyway, ma'am. The mud is eight inches thick in the middle." With a nod, Clare agreed and accepted Larson's aid in stepping aboard. Larson had soon turned the buggy around and was helping Clare out in front of the opera house.

Clare was about to enter the opera house when some interesting photographs in the store next door caught her eye. She walked over to the front window of a shop. Its sign read "Dr. Peter Morf, PhD (Doctor of Photography), No Effects Too Special" A sticker on the window loudly proclaimed, "Fulfill Your Favorite Fantasy for only $4.99. Visit any locale, perform any act, pal around with any celebrity!" But what had caught her eye was the unusual photographs in the window.

The largest showed President U.S. Grant apparently sunbathing nude with Claudia Schiffer. Next to that photo were one of Miss Kate surfing the pipeline at Waikiki in a bikini, one of Neelix winning the Mr. Universe bodybuilding contest, one of Kes in full armor leading a French army against the English, and one with Chakotay, Tom, Tuvok, Harry, and the Doctor performing "Y-M-C-A!". But the last was the most unlikely of them all: the Boston Kid staring deeply into Sevenita's eyes while she is wearing nothing but a red teddy and a smile. Shaking her head in wonder, Clare slowly back to the opera house.

There's No Business Like Show Business, Part 3
Terry — 3 Oct 1998, 7:23 PM

Part 3: Filing Her Legal Briefs

The opera house was an impressive wooden building that dwarfed the other buildings in town. In the midst of ornate carvings on the front facade was a large sign. It read Voyager City Opera House & Theatre in large bold letters with J.M. & N.E. Rockefeller, Proprietors in smaller print beneath.

Clare entered the silent and apparently empty opera house. She turned to the right away from the entrance to the main auditorium and walked past the staircase leading to the balcony and the private boxes. She stopped at a door labeled Manager's Office and gently rapped on it.

"Come on in. The door's open." Clare opened the door and glanced around at the neatly organized but empty office. There was a series of loud thumps and metal-on-metal screeches which sounded like large objects being moved or dropped in the rooms down the corridor from the office. A cheerful female voice called out, "I'll be with you in a minute."

A little while later, the noises halted and an energetic blonde woman entered the office. This woman apologetically explained, "I was just helping the cleaning crew with the mess from Thursday night's big performance." After wiping her hands clean, she stepped forward with a wide smile and shook Clare's hand. "But where are my manners? Mrs. Jeanette Rockefeller. But I hate using long formal names. Just call me Rocksie, everyone does."

"Clare Darrow. Clare."

Rocksie gestured for Clare to sit. As the lawyer took a chair, the friendly woman seated herself behind the desk. "Ah yes, the new lawyer in town. What can I do for you, Clare? No one is bringing suit against me or the opera house, I hope?"

"Nothing like that, ... Rocksie. No, as you may have heard, I have to decided to move my practice to Voyager City and make this my home. ...."

"On behalf of Voyager City, I welcome you to town, Clare."

"Thank you. Now to the purpose of my visit. First off, I wanted to congratulate you on the fine entertainment that I attended last Thursday."

"I thought that I recognized you. Wait a sec, I may have something here of yours. I found these yesterday when cleaning up on the stage." Rocksie turned her chair around and rummaged in a box by the wall. The box was labeled "Lost & Found." Finally she turned around and held up a pair of woman's maroon bikini briefs. "Do these happen to belong to you?"

Clare shifted uncomfortably in her seat and slowly turned a vivid shade of purple. "Of course not," Clare squeaked. Then in her more usual husky voice, "They certainly are not mine, Mrs. Rockefeller. You have clearly confused me with someone else."

Apparently amused, Rocksie gave Clare a knowing look. "I don't know what I was thinking, dear. Obviously, these aren't even your style." She placed the embarrassing article back in the box. "I'll just put these back. If you happen to run into anyone who did lose anything that night, tell them to come by and pick it up." She got up and placed the box just outside the office door.

There's No Business Like Show Business, Part 4
Terry — 4 Oct 1998, 4:44 PM

Part 4: Patronizing the Arts

Rocksie seated herself again behind her desk. "But I'm sure that you didn't drop by just to talk about the Chap-Endale dancers. Still, they were an smashing success, weren't they?"

Having by this time regained her composure, Clare was able to comment, "I must admit that I was surprised to find such an famous theatrical troupe in a small town like Voyager City."

"Well, there's quite an interesting story about how they were booked here. I sent my husband, Nelson, --but we all call him by his middle name, Eddie-- to arrange a booking for the world-famous Metropolitan Opera Company at Federation City. He encountered some difficulties in signing the Fed-Met to a tour here. So he contacted the theatrical booking office in Fed City and they recommended a troupe of ecdysiasts touring the West. A group of classical Greek dancers sounded better than nothing, so he agreed. But Antonio Swayze and his dancers showed up instead."

Clare decided against informing Mrs. Rockefeller just what the word "ecdysiast" really meant. Instead, she decided to bring the conversation back to a safer topic. "Rocksie, the main purpose of my visit concerns the future of the arts here in Voyager City. I was a prominent patroness back in my native Tennessee. I served on the board of the Grand Ole Opry and even knew Minnie Pearl, herself."

"Oh my! I am impressed."

"I was wondering if I could form a committee of prominent local citizens to establish a program to foster the arts here in Voyager City. Of course, the opera house and its manager would have to be key elements in any such program."

"Well, Clare, I would welcome any help in bringing a little culture to this town. I must admit that I am having some difficulty in turning a profit with my business. Most of recent productions have been box-office successes and yet have failed to attract the big money sponsors in town like Quark, Sandrine, or Maxine."

"What seems to be the problem? Perhaps I can help."

"I am still interested in booking the Fed-Met for this season. But there are other shows that I have been working on using only local resources. It so happens that I am also an songwriter and playwright. Last season, I put on a production of my original musical, Seven Brides for Four Brothers. It used a cast of all locals. The four brothers were Chakotay Torres, Tom Janeway, Marshall Tuvok, and my very own hubby, Eddie. The Housewives Club practically bought all the tickets themselves."

"So why weren't any sponsors interested?"

"Well, it seems that we failed miserably in attracting the essential YAM demographic. Perhaps it was my decision to cast the seven Vidiian sisters in the lead roles. Who knows what interests these little walking hormones anyway?"

As Clare nodded in agreement, Rocksie continued, "Anyway, I have a new play in preproduction. It's a musical comedy about miscommunication between the sexes. I call it Buffalo Gals Are From Risa, Cowboys Are From Q'Nos."

There's No Business Like Show Business, Final Part
Terry — 4 Oct 1998, 4:55 PM

Part 5: I'm Singing and Dancing on the Range

Clare and Rocksie were standing on the stage after completing a tour of the opera house. "These are some of my songs that I've written for Buffalo Gals Are From Risa, Cowboys Are From Q'Nos." Rocksie passed several pages over for Clare's examination. "I haven't yet decided which ones to use."

Clare flipped through the sheets, looking at the song titles. Delta Q Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight, Oh My Darling Seventine, As I Walk the Streets of Fed City, Red Coffee River Valley, Chromedome on the Range (A tribute to the Doc), Old Mike Donald Had a Gun (e-i-e-i-o), Jason Canuck Corn (and I don't care), and others. Finally, she came across a few that she really thought quite good: Deep in the Heart of Thomas, The Eyes of Thomas (are upon you) (clap-clap-clap), The Yellow Rose of Thomas (A tribute to Barty), and I Dream of Ginny with the Dark Brown Hair (*I like this one!*).

"These look quite interesting. Before I go, there was something else that ..." The two ladies walked off the stage back towards the manager's office.

After the two women left, three men came out of their hiding spot in the orchestra pit where they had been crouching behind the stacked clarinets and phallic cymbals. As they waited for the women to pass beyond earshot, they passed an nearly empty bottle of Merlot from one to another.

Eddie: "Boy, that was close! The missus told me she'd tan my hide iffen she ever caught me hanging out with you two again."

Max: "Speakin' of tannin' yer hide, that's 'xactly what we otten to do."

Mike: "Yeah! You promised us a load of newdie girls!"

Max: "With big bazongers!"

Mike: "Yeah! An' what do we get instead? A bunch of padded himbos!"

Max: "Disgusting! We shudda run them sissy-boys out of town on a rail!"

Mike: "Yeah! Elaine still has this foolish-lookin' grin on her face."

Max: "And Maxine is trying to hire a couple of the dancers. Keeps talking 'bout 'spanding the Provencal's cust'mer base or sump'in."

Eddie: "I thought the sign said 'Antonia Swayze', fellers. I'll make it up to you guys; I swear! The missus is heading for Fed City for a couple of weeks. While she's out of town, I got a mind to put on the new revue that I've been planning for months now. This show adds the concept of personal customer service to public entertainment. It's a new kind of audience participation dancing that I've invented."

Max: "Audience participation. Like square dancin'?"

Eddie: "Sort of. I call it 'lap-dancing'. I have already signed on the Delaney sisters for key roles of my first play, Saloongirls. And I am currently in negotiations with a Boston agent to cast Sevenita in the lead role. It will be directed by that Dutch guy who did Robosheriff and Troopship Strippers."

Max: "Hot damn! We'll show our wimminfolk what culture really is!"

Mike: "Yeah! Newdie girls!"

VC: A Night on the Drive
D'Alaire — 2 Oct 1998, 1:44 PM

A Night on the Drive -- mainly a little setting up for later stuff, and takes place early in the drive -- and sorry ahead of time if I don't know much about cattle driving. I've tried to be non-descript.

The joe was good, as was the fire. Chakotay leaned back on his bedroll, not yet set out, but a suitable enough chairback. The drive was going well so far, even with Miss Whippen's...enthusiastic direction. Tense as it could be, he had to grin to himself that he'd never seen Kate so rigid. Looked like if a shard of hay hit the woman, she'd crack like a china cup. Of course, he also knew how important this drive was--life or death, really.

Chakotay looked around at the hands as they took their supper and talked amongst themselves. Yes, the break was well-deserved. He tried to think of some kind of reward for them once they got to Federation City. Maybe a night at the playhouse. Nothing like good music and chorus girls to relax a man. And he thought he wouldn't mind seeing a show, either. It'd been a long time.

As his dark eyes perused the camp they'd made, he saw in the moonlight his daughter and Tom making their rounds on the horses--again. Do those two ever stop fiddling around? he wondered. A full day's riding and they were still buzzing about the horses, finally settling their attentions on their favorites.

B'Elanna had insisted on bringing Kona. She didn't trust anyone else to her prize mare, and knew the horse wasn't far enough along that a trek like this would be bad for her. In his turn, Tom had brought Frisco, but didn't ride him much. Instead, he took Intrepid when he and the foreman went scouting. And strangely enough Tom Janeway had become right...bearable on those runs. If he wasn't so happy about that, Chakotay would have thought something wrong with it.

Watching the two, the foreman noted again how bearable they'd both become. Ever since B'Elanna's experience with the Cardassian tribe--a fast-known legend in Voyager City--she'd become right introspective, as much as Tom was quietly knowing. Whatever'd exactly happened out there, it'd made a difference. Since they'd started on, both had settled a bit, and maybe they'd put a little meat on their bones.

The strangeness didn't bother the foreman as much as he thought it might, though. He had to admit, he'd never had so little trouble from either of them.

RE: VC: A Night on the Drive, part 2
D'Alaire — 2 Oct 1998, 1:51 PM

For that matter, Tom and B'Elanna worked fine together, especially then, and well after all but the night watch had retired to supper and coffee and a warm fire.

Each they stopped the herd and got the hands in order, Tom would set off to help her make rounds with the horses, and they did so with reckonable ease--leaving nothing for want. They'd even kept Shuttle...whatever, in good shape. At that point, that was more important than anything else at that point, keeping the herd and the horses in line and healthy.

So, Chakotay didn't fuss about them taking off together once he and Tom had returned from their scouting, nor about the two's putting their bedrolls next to each other, especially as the nights had grown cold and long. He figured he'd might as well let them be. There was enough tension in the camp without asking for more.

They seemed to be getting done with their prides and joys when a cold breeze whipped down into the pass. B'Elanna, never one for the cold, shivered hard, only to get an arm around her shoulder. Tom pulled her to his side, and she put her arms around him, under his coat, letting him walk her to the nearest campfire to sit.

When they did, Tom asked one the hands to throw him a blanket, which, upon catching it, he draped around her shoulders. She gladly accepted it, then went to work repairing a bridle she'd brought back with her, pulling a miter driver from her pocket. Meanwhile, Tom got them some vittles.

Good thing she's been wearing that extra coat, Chakotay thought, in spite of the fact that he'd wondered about it. B'Elanna had taken to wearing the cloak since Autumn set in, and though it'd proved handy (she could keep all her tools with her in those copious pockets, a handy thing on the drive), the foreman couldn't help but notice she wore it even during the warmer days.

I don't suspect I'll ever keep up with these fashions, he decided, and leaned up to get himself another cup of coffee. "Hey, Mister Ayala , why don't you pull out that harmonica and give us all something to listen to?"

Soon, the pleasing hum of the mouth organ floated through the camp, and gradually, everyone settled down to listen to it. Even Chakotay allowed himself a grin, closing his eyes as he leaned back on his bedroll, holding the hot cup in his cold hands.

Nearly asleep, the foreman didn't notice the look the two shared over their supper plates, nor their grins when B'Elanna, under the pretense of wiping a piece of food from the corner of Tom lips, ran her finger over the small scar on his cheek. And nobody noticed when, after finishing their supper, they wandered off to their horses again.