DISCLAIMER: I own not Star Trek. I own not Exlax 5.
Underneath that placid exterior lay the heart of a lion. The cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz, but a lion nonetheless. For Hubert Jasper Chakotay was a man of many facets; leader, lover, fighter and spirit guide. He might not have been good at any of them, but he tried, in a lacklustre kind of way, and that's what brought him to the attention of the higher beings of Exlax 5.
"He is an interesting specimen," commented Prettystupidbutsoninlawofthechief. "I think we should study him further."
Forty-three beady eyes turned in his direction, each belonging to the assistant chief of operations, Toobossytobepromotionmaterial. "Are you mad? The thing is a parasite!"
"Don't be too hard on the boy," a voice interrupted, "he might have a point." Both aliens looked up into the pallid figure of their chief, their antennae quivering at the sight of the giant of an Exlaxian. Despite his calm sounding words the two technicians knew better than to question him further. His opinion had been given and on Exlax 5, Bob's, opinion was law.
"Yes, sir." Toobossytobepromotionmaterial swivelled in her gravity harness and pressed the button to refocus the sensors on their latest subject, Commander H J Chakotay.
The back wall of the observatory shimmered and with a delicacy of aeons the space before them became filled with the images and thoughts of their subject. To the right they saw a man, half asleep, trying to look attentive during a staff meeting. On the left was the same man, more alert and shirtless, staring down at the cowering figure of his auburn haired superior, a vicious grin on his face. The centre had turned into a kaleidoscope of images; Chakotay as friend, enemy, lover and a disproportionate number as wooden statue.
"This is the live footage we are receiving from the puny vessel, Voyager." Prettystupidbutsoninlawofthechief pointed towards the right. "These are the subject's thought patterns," seven tentacles pointed towards the left, "and in the middle we have the collective image of the subject, taken from others within the vessel."
Dismissing the images to the left and right, Bob began examining the central collage. "Why so many wooden statues?" he questioned.
Eighty-six eyes and fourteen antennae began to shake from side to side at his two subordinates shrugged. "Perhaps it is an image pertinent to their culture," Toobossytobepromotionmaterial ventured, "or even a sign of virility." The image on the right side of the screen appeared to be drooling, his actions being strenuously ignored by most of the other people visible in the shot, with the exception of a colourful little man who was carefully placing a bib around the big man's shoulders. "Or maybe not."
Bob turned his attention to the left hand screen, where the auburn haired woman had begun to lick the sweat and grime from their specimen's feet. It was a mildly nauseating sight, but he'd lived through the battle of Yfronts and wouldn't allow his subordinates to see him cower before the sordid image from some subspecies' dreams. "This woman," he pointed to Kathryn, "show me her thoughts on the subject."
The central image again shimmered but when if finally coalesced there was before him an almost identical replica of the real events unfolding aboard Voyager. The discrepancies came with an empty chair, that should have housed Chakotay, and a tall, blonde and, the aliens supposed, attractive woman nibbling on the Captain's ear.
"Interesting." Bob bypassed his overeager son-in-law and pressed a few more buttons, bringing up several related thought processes. "Very interesting." The blonde female's thoughts seem to centre around the dark haired woman directly opposite her, although in her imagination they were far closer in proximity and wearing only the memory of clothing. Turning to the dark haired woman's thoughts, they saw a similar scene, only the blonde was tied to a bed with silk scarves of the deepest red. "Very, very interesting."
Extrapolating from his original search parameters, Bob began to focus in on the other member of the senior staff. The first thing that struck him was that the sandy-haired man was having almost an identical dream as the blonde woman - he wondered for a moment if human dreams were directed by hair colour, but dismissed the thought after examining the young dark-haired male. His thoughts were decidedly different from the woman of a similar hair colour and for once, centred around their initial subject.
"What...what is he doing?" Stammered Prettystupidbutsoninlawofthechief.
"I believe it's called a rain dance," Bob explained. Having spent the last millennia cataloguing the native rituals of over six billion star systems, he was more than aware of the ancient but dignified ritual. What he saw before him now bore only a scant resemblance to that dance, but was still unmistakable. "Although this is the first time I've witness one where a wooden effigy is placed in the centre of the circle and set on fire." He cocked four antennae to one side and considered the image more closely. "But I'll say this for him, the Commander does burn well."
The others nodded before the image once again changed.
The colourful little man's thoughts appeared to centre on the two younger women at the table, although not in a sexual manner. "What are they doing?" Prettystupidbutsoninlawofthechief asked.
"I believe it's called a wedding ceremony." Toobossytobepromotionmaterial looked to her superior for conformation and on receiving his pleased nod, she turned a deeper shade of purple and contemplated changing her name to Shewhoiswillingtosleepwiththebossforapromotion.
Bob found the fluffy little coloured man's thoughts interesting and quite complex. Not only did they show the two young women enjoying a beautiful ceremony, it also included the rapturous applause of almost the entire crew. There was one exception, as the sandy-haired man lay prostrate on the floor, having been trodden on countless times by the wedding guests during the happy occasion. "I like this one," Bob murmured, bringing up a separate screen which listed some of the new specimens statistics, "I've not studied a Talaxian for years."
"Sir, I think you might find this interesting."
Bob turned to the final image, this one belonging to the dark skinned man, and was once again met with the figure of the Talaxian. It was strange, he'd never known the furry creatures were that adept at ballet, but the little man did look rather fetching in his pink frilly tutu.
"I think," began Bob, "that there might be a paper in this group. Possibly even the beginnings of a lecture tour."
"Really?" Prettystupidbutsoninlawofthechief couldn't believe his luck. As the being to first identify Commander Chakotay as a viable subject he would be assured a handsome reward and possibly even an evening or two in the antennae fluffing rooms on Cyrgrillia.
"Yes." Bob looked to Toobossytobepromotionmaterial. "But you're right, the Commander has to go, he's a parasite."
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