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Last Day At The Ranch

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.