Chapter 1: Obstacle course
Anonymous prompt: Voyager, Janeway/Chakotay, barriers
"'There were some barriers we never crossed?'" Janeway quoted in disbelief. " Good lord, Chakotay, do you even listen to yourself when you talk? Do you have any idea how that sounds? Was anyone else around to hear?" she demanded in quick succession.
"For spirits' sake, Kathryn, it was another timeline! It never happened. " He tugged his earlobe. "For the record, I thought it sounded chivalrous."
Janeway's sly smile took them both by surprise. "It sounded lascivious, Commander. Maybe you'll understand in the morning."
Chapter 2: Blunt instrument
Anonymous prompt: Voyager, B'Elanna and Seven, building a bridge
"The Doctor is my friend," Seven stated with uncharacteristic vehemence, and then hesitated — which in itself was unusual enough that B'Elanna set her datapad down to appraise the other woman.
“He's my friend too," B'Elanna countered, "but I'm not hiding from him because he had malfunctioning daydreams about me," and even as she heard the words coming out of her mouth she wondered why she bothered, the ex-Borg would never accept such a clumsily offered olive branch on such a sensitive subject — much less accept advice, especially from her.
But then Seven straightened and looked her in the eye as she answered: "You are correct, Lieutenant, he was malfunctioning; that makes his 'daydreams' irrelevant, and I will no longer let them negatively affect our friendship," and as Seven spun on her heel and left Engineering, presumably for Sickbay, B'Elanna marveled to herself that — for once — her blunt words had solved a problem instead of causing one.
Chapter 3: But the fire is so delightful
Prompt from Iawenbemerry: Voyager, Tom/B'Elanna, warmth
"Winter is all about warmth!" protested Tom. "Hot cocoa after skiing, cozy scarves, warm fireplaces, blankets and sweaters and—"
"— and they all require getting cold before you can get warm," interrupted B'Elanna, "and that's why I want to visit Ayala in Mexico for Christmas, and not Seven in Sweden."
"I guess it's another year of holographic snow," sighed Tom, thinking how much easier it had been back on Voyager where the destinations were decidedly more limited, and where the environmental controls worked... most of the time.
Chapter 4: Delta Quadrant Pickers
Prompt from spyrograph: Star Trek, any, a race of hoarders discovers replicator technology
“But do you really need sixteen boridium emitters?” Janeway asked in disbelief.
“Yes yes yes, you never know when they’ll come in handy!” The furry little alien bobbed his middle head like a bird, while the first and third heads kept watchful eyes on Janeway and the emitters, respectively.
“What about that broken one?” Neelix asked, pointing at a charred and dented hunk of boridium in the corner. Janeway’s eyebrows rose, but she didn’t need Neelix’s wink to know what he was doing — trying to break the ice, establish trust, prove their willingness to buy.
“No no no, I might need that for parts.” All three heads shook like a dog shedding water.
“Pirkit Prime does not sell!” the dominant head barked, and Janeway didn’t know whether that was the alien’s name, title or species.
“Pirkit Major only buys,” explained the middle head; the third head was a breath behind in adding “Pirkit Minor bargains or trades, but but but very rarely, it is hard to say goodbye to a thing knowing you might need it again!”
Janeway and Neelix exchanged a look, and she tried to deliver the death glare that meant we do not trade our technology , but she too had a hard time resisting the insidious thought: what would Pirkit give for a replicator?
She couldn’t, of course, not against the Prime Directive and not in good conscience: whether Pirkit was an eccentric individual (or triad?) or representative of its species, it would be the height of irresponsibility to expose it (them?) to a means of endlessly duplicating junk they already had.
Pirkit’s noses quivered, and the submissive head whined even as shrewd middle Major licked its lips and the dominant Prime head focused on Janeway with all the intensity of a hound on the scent.
“What do you have to offer?” it barked, and heaven help her, but Janeway had never been able to resist puppy dog eyes.
Chapter 5: Truth or dare
Prompt from spyrograph: Voyager, Harry Kim, secret hobby
“You create holo-novels like Lieutenant Paris,” guessed Seven, “with yourself cast as the hero,” and Harry didn’t even blush, because who hadn’t done that?
“Take a drink,” he said with a grin, and waited; Tom’s guess was predictable (“You dress up in women’s clothing”), and Harry had a rejoinder prepared (“Don’t project your fantasies on me, Paris”), and B’Elanna’s was, er, imaginative, but Harry had never even contemplated using the sonic shower like that; the Delaney sisters both struck out but left Harry blushing, which he supposed was a point to them, and Ayala cheerfully took a shot as he surrendered his guess (something anatomically incorrect combined with a clarinet, and the very thought of all the keys made Harry shudder).
“He knits,” said Janeway from the lamentably open door, and as Harry nearly fell off his chair she added, “but I promised not to tell what he does with the needles.”
Chapter 6: Captain’s assistant
Prompt from Reeby10: Voyager, Naomi Wildman, one day she grows up to captain her own ship
“Do you have an assistant?” Admiral Janeway asked gravely.
“Icheb is my First Officer, of course — and I’m glad he’ll be there, although I still think he should take that promotion and a ship of his own — but he says I don’t get a say, and that I need his moderating influence,” Naomi finished with a grin.
“Never underestimate the value of an even-tempered, long-suffering XO,” advised Janeway, “but I was talking about a different post — or have you forgotten your time as Captain’s Assistant?” and she had the satisfaction of seeing the newly minted Captain Wildman blush like an ensign.
Chapter 7: Turn that frown upside-down!
Prompt from last_haven: This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore
“Will we be old when we get to Earth?” Naomi wondered aloud.
The setting struck Icheb as incongruous — the Flotter holoprogram was filled with Curly-Wurly tree branches (like the one Naomi was hanging from, upside-down) and bright skies and brighter flowers and fuzzy little creatures that did not correspond to typical Terran mammalian physiology — and while Icheb really only tolerated Flotter and his Friends for Naomi’s sake, he felt... disturbed... by the intrusion of death in this bright, whimsical place.
“We will be older than we are now,” said Icheb carefully, “that much is a biological certainty, and anything more is mere speculation,” but Naomi’s answering frown looked nothing like a smile, even though it was upside-down (Icheb decided he must have misunderstood Neelix’s perplexing vernacular exhortation), so he felt compelled to add something his friend might find reassuring: “But no matter how old we are, I am certain that Voyager — and Captain Janeway — will get us home safely,” and that seemed to “do the trick” as Neelix would say, for Naomi jumped down from the tree, tumbled laughing through the Tickly-Prickly Grass and did not pursue further troublesome questions to which Icheb had no answers.
Chapter 8: A brief study in feline companionship
Prompt from Lacerta: Star Trek TNG, Spot, the warmest place to sleep
As efficient as Data’s positronic brain was, and despite the thermal dissipation matrix built into his scalp, it still generated heat — not unlike a human head. Data knew this was why Spot chose to sit on his shoulder, drape across his back or even perch atop Data’s head, when the android permitted it — and he knew this was likely a function of warmth, and not necessarily affection.
But he also wondered: if cats treated their human owners the same way, how did living, breathing people not suffocate in the night with a lazy cat smothering their faces?
Chapter 9: The laws of physics
Prompt from Lizzie_marie_23: Star Trek, Spock, time enough for a colorful metaphor
"I'm telling you, Mr. Spock, there isna enough time to fix it all — we can either run for it or spit in their thrice-damned eyes, but we cannae do both."
Spock regarded the engineer with a raised eyebrow and wondered aloud, "Thrice-damned eyes... I assume that is another of your colorful metaphors?"
"Aye," Scotty shook his head, "and I can give you a few more where that came from, but it's about all we'll have time to load in the torpedo tubes once the shooting starts again."