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The Long Goodbye

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!"