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Night Of The Living Neelix!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 of Jason's prologue...

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

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

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

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

*Do you think I'm sexy now?*

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

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

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

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

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

Kes stirred. A mental flash hit her.

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

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

Part 3 of Jason's prologue...

Cardassion brave.

*He listened in on what they were saying.*

She listened to him listening.

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

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

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

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

And then all hell broke loose quite literally. *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 1, written by yours truly :-)

Chapter One :

Neelix makes a Deal

Even though he was dead, he dreamed.

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


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

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


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

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

She pulled the trigger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neelix stammered, "What do you mean?".

The Seska Wraith began to talk...


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

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

And then Neelix's notebook began to drip blood.


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

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

And Neelix died.



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



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

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

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


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

Toward Voyager City. A Leeola blossom flowered behind him.


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

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

Tuvok read the inscription on the medal :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is it?", asked Tom.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

You made it! The last part...

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuvok emptied his pistol into him...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What happened here?!" Kathryn whispered.

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


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

"Neelix," Kes gasped quietly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kes rolled her eyes hopelessly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

There were no volunteers.

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

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

"Oh no!" Kes exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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