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#fictober18 - Thirty - "Do we really have to do this again?"

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She grinned at Chakotay as the excited voice of their chief engineer rambled on and on over the open comlink.

“I get it, Lieutenant. Meet Ensign Kim at the beam-out coordinates and report to my Ready Room as soon as you’re back on board. Janeway out.”

“That sounded positive.” Chakotay leaned towards her over the middle console.

“I’m sure the analysis will keep us busy for weeks.” Her eyes gleamed and he didn’t try to hide his grin.

“If you get bored with your science, you could come over for dinner every once in a while.” He was sure with scientific data to analyse for weeks on end Kathryn would be positively glowing and exuberant. She was always happier if she had some interesting science project to get her hands on rather than be bored with diplomatic functions and skirmishes with not so friendly species. She deserved a break and he was glad B’Elanna and Harry had found one.

He leaned back in his chair, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw her cross her legs impatiently, her foot swinging up and down with excited tension. He smiled to himself. Yes, the next weeks were going to be fun.

“Transporter Room One to the Bridge.” The hail broke the quiet atmosphere of the command center.

“Janeway here.”

“Captain, you are needed in down here.”

“I’ll be right there.” Kathryn rolled her eyes in mock annoyance. She was fully expecting B’Elanna to have brought back some sample that hadn’t passed Tuvok’s new transporter security protocols.

When she stepped through the doors of the transporter room she stopped abruptly. On the platform where she expected to see the two members of her senior staff was only one person.

Black wavy hair. Forehead ridges under pale skin. Shoulders of the uniform a weird shade of olive green. A startled expression on the face that was probably mirroring her own. She was unable to stop herself from cursing under her breath.

“Do we really have to do this again?”