DISCLAIMER: These characters are not mine, they belong to Paramount/Viacom. No
money earned, which is a shame, since I'm broke!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a bit of nonesense I just had to write after... well, you'll see why. This is set after Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway refused the Admiral thing and stayed on as Captain of Voyager, after a holiday. The rest of the crew remaining also.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Captain? There's a transmission coming through from Starfleet Command."
"In my Ready Room, Mr Tuvok," ordered the Captain, grateful for the possibility of a little Starship action at last. It had been largely routine stuff since their return to the Alpha Quadrant six months earlier and Voyager's Captain was, frankly, bored. "Let's see if we can get a little action around here," she muttered as she strode across the Bridge to hear the message in private.
"Admiral Paris," Janeway acknowledged as she viewed her helmsman's father. Her mouth curled in a smile as she added, "I hope you have something good for us. You see... we don't get out much anymore." She sat waiting.
"I have a strange mission, Kathryn - here, on Earth. There's a woman who's just about at the end of her tether and, in desperation, she e- mailed Paramount Studios to reach us."
"She's bright. Most would have tried to contact Starfleet Command and drawn a blank. Not many people know we only operate through Paramount."
"Yes, I know. That's what made me want to help her. And, Kathryn?"
"This mission - it may bring about a little light relief."
Janeway studied the give-away smile touching the corner of the Admiral's lips. "Go on. I'm listening," she replied, intrigued, matching his smile with one of her own.
"I guess you already know this is no ordinary mission." Janeway nodded in reply. "This woman says that only the best will do. And she can't think of anyone finer than the crew of the USS Voyager."
"Never hurts to get a little praise. What's the mission?"
The Admiral was a courageous man. Many times he had stood his moral ground and fought brilliantly but he was suddenly uncertain as to how the great Captain Janeway would take his news. It was enough, he supposed, to be grateful for the distance between the two of them right now. He cleared his throat. "You're to proceed to Earth; assume a low orbit and then connect with the address we'll provide, and..." he faltered.
"She has this rabbit, Taff. Only had him four days, pure white and cute as a button, but she and her neighbour have been racing around the back yard for the past hour and a half, trying to capture it and put it back in the hutch for the night. So far it has evaded all attempts at capture."
Janeway's eyes narrowed as she tilted her head back a little and studied the Admiral's face, without comment. Was he lying? Was he paying her back for that prank she'd played on him during their second month home? She hoped he'd forgotten that by now, but then he had looked pretty silly wearing that kilt, out of necessity, as his own clothes had been `mysteriously' spirited away. She didn't think he was the type to bear a grudge.
"Oh, I know what you're thinking," he smiled ruefully, "and I don't blame you, but this is on the level, Kathryn. I swear."
"Like you swore you'd retire at 60?" she countered.
"I meant to, until I got there." He held her gaze and gave her his best `I'm not lying' face. "She's waiting for you."
"Then you'd better tell me all about it, hadn't you?" Janeway sighed and then frowned as a thought crossed her mind. "Why can't she just leave the thing out for the night?"
The Captain, leaning with one arm on the console at Astrometrics, turned around to look up at Seven of Nine. "What? None at all?"
"None." Seven viewed her superior with a slight smile and a twinkle at the absurdity of the question. "There were no rabbits assimilated by the Borg. They were considered too short to adequately stand in the regeneration alcoves."
Rolling her eyes, the Captain tried a different tack. "You have a bunny once? When you were little?"
"I did. I called him Speedy because he was difficult to catch."
"Ha! Then you were the right person to approach! I knew it."
"What exactly do you require my `help' with, Captain?" Seven eyed her superior suspiciously, wondering what she could possibly ask of her.
"There's a woman, on Earth. Can't catch her bunny and called us in." Janeway watched as Seven's Borg implant raised to impossible heights over her left eyebrow. "The plan is," continued the Captain, "that we're supposed to beam the damned thing into its hutch for her, but that doesn't help her tomorrow, does it? Or the day after. Dammit, we can't go back every night to beam it to bed."
"Are we expected to read it a bedtime story, too?"
Janeway smiled, deciding to ignore the question. "So I thought, if I could find someone on board with bunny experience, perhaps that person could teach this woman how to catch her bunny herself."
"And you wish to attempt a traditional capture before you resort to beaming the creature?"
"I'd rather not resort to bunny-beaming at all, so that's the general idea, yes. Can I count on you?"
Seven studied the expression on the older woman's face – a mixture of pleading and humour. "I will do as you ask, Captain."
"Thank you, Seven. I'll contact you when it's time."
"Have you heard?" B'Elanna asked excitedly, looking across the table at Harry Kim, who had just joined her for lunch.
"What, the Bunny Mission?"
B'Elanna laughed, halting the progress of the fork that was carrying Neelix's latest concoction to her mouth. "Is that what they're calling it?" To Harry's nod she continued. "We'll be the laughing stock of Starfleet if this gets out."
"Oh, it's already out," informed Chakotay, joining them and placing his tray on the table. "It's all over, so you don't have to worry about becoming the laughing stock. We already are. There's a poster that was hurriedly put out by some of the students at the Academy - the seven main command crew on horseback, wearing Earth Wild West gear; with lassoes, and a little white bunny up ahead, evading capture," he chuckled.
"What!?" B'Elanna's voice had been a little louder than she'd intended and she looked around the Mess Hall to see if she had attracted unwanted attention. No one was looking; everyone apparently quite used to her frequent outbursts over the years. "Oh, great. Just great," she muttered. "When do you get there, anyway?"
"'Bout 30 minutes," supplied Harry, grinning heavily as he sat there thinking of the command staff on horseback with lassoes. This poster he had to see.
"Well you don't have to look so damned pleased about it!" she grumbled, finishing her meal.
"Take us lower, Mr Paris."
"Captain?" offered the Vulcan among them. "I must point out the folly of attempting to locate one small white rabbit in such a wide area."
"Thank for your concern, Tuvok, but his owner is sending up a flare."
"Curious. Ah yes, Captain, I see the flare."
"Mr Kim, trace the flare's trajectory, follow it back to its origin and scan the area. Do you have a bunny?"
"Yes, Captain, one small white rabbit in a back yard, together with accompanying humans, two of them."
Janeway tapped her combadge. "Janeway to Away Mission, meet me in Transporter Room 2, now." Nodding to her First Officer, she conveyed that he had the Bridge during her absence, as she strode towards the elevator, intent on catching herself a wabbit.
Janeway's executive decision, in choosing her Away Team, had included the considerations that Tom, being not too far off being a dumb animal himself, might connect with this bunny and therefore help the proceedings. Seven was along on the trip purely because she seemed to be the only one of the senior staff with previous bunny experience, and B'Elanna was, Janeway thought, clearly the pushiest person aboard Voyager. The half-Klingon would come in handy if pointed towards an errant rabbit, she was sure. She called out her order to the transporter operator, "Energise."
The four members of the Away Mission materialised in a back yard in Derbyshire. It was quite a decent sized back yard; a back yard filled with endless streaks of white, together with the fuzzy flash- past of two humans at top speed. Neither of the humans seemed to notice their arrival. Irritated, the Captain put out a hand and was about to speak when one of the speeding humans collided with her outstretched arm and crashed to a halt. "Are you Wendy?" asked Janeway of the dishevelled woman.
"It's about time you showed up. I thought your ship was faster?" The woman leaned a hand against the fence and panted, slightly bent over with the exertion of trying to catch a bunny that clearly had other ideas.
"I'm sorry; we came as fast as we could," counteracted the Captain, slightly sarcastically. This mission was not turning out to be her favourite; she didn't think she'd be pasting pictures of it in her memory book any time soon.
The second whoosh of humanity suddenly became aware of the visitors and stopped, also panting. A man in his early 70's looked towards the one who was obviously in charge. "Aye oop, dook. Ath'tha rate?" he called out jovially, smiling.
"I do not understand," said Seven, advancing on the man with a tricorder and a frown. "What is he saying, Captain?"
Janeway stared at the man, who was clearly friendly and displayed no hostile intentions. "I have absolutely no idea. Anyone else know?" The others frowned and shook their heads. "I didn't think we'd need the universal translators in England!"
The woman explained, "He said, `Hello, friend. How are you?' It's Derbyshire talk."
"Well why the hell didn't he just say so?" grumbled B'Elanna, who clearly thought this mission should end right now. In fact she thought it should have ended about two minutes after Admiral Paris' original outrageous summons. Tom shot B'Elanna a `cool it' look and she backed off, looking around for the reason they were all here.
Janeway turned to the slightly red-faced and clearly out of breath gentleman. "I am quite well, thank you. I'm sorry I didn't understand your greeting... perhaps we could confine the conversation to English from now on?"
"You called the Captain, who is clearly a human being, a duck," stated Seven in her best aloof voice. "Explain."
The woman known as Wendy decided that the hour was late and she was tired, having had quite enough of racing around after a white streak of rabbit. She decided to intervene. "It's like an expression of endearment, Miss Nine. He knows she's not a duck." She looked around at the others, "Now, please, can we get this little person in his hutch?"
As the Captain opened her mouth to speak, the woman suddenly frowned as she realised it wasn't necessary for these people to be here in person to simply beam the rabbit from one place to another; they could have done that from the ship. "I don't understand why you've come down," she said to Janeway, knowing that the Captain would get the inference.
"I want to use beaming as a last resort," Janeway began to explain. "First I think we should..."
"It IS a last resort!" the woman argued with some volume. "D'you think I go around calling on Starships every day? Do you? I've been out here for well over two hours now, and I can't take much more of it. Neither of us can. So are you going to help us or not?"
Seven stood forward and studied the woman, whom she considered to be reasonable, if a little flustered. "I am under orders to teach you how to catch this rabbit...?"
"Taff. And, having taught you, you can then deal with him on your own. I will demonstrate his capture now."
The woman smiled knowingly. "Be my guest."
Five people stood to one side as Seven located the puffing fluffball, momentarily still, in a corner of the yard. Taff sensed he was being advanced upon and stiffened, readying his small body for another bolt as Seven approached, leaning down with one hand outstretched. "Do not be alarmed, small creature," she said softly as the small creature in question held still until the second before contact might have occurred. Then he took off at top speed across the yard, with B'Elanna yelling, "There he goes! Get him!"
Unsure quite what was in the fluffy person's mind, Janeway dived to the left and Tom to the right. Moments later, B'Elanna and Seven swooped on Taff at the same time from different directions and collided as the rabbit made his getaway; they stood glaring at each other while Sid and Wendy tried, yet again, to head the bunny off at the pass. The latest intervention had the bunny heading back towards the Captain, who made a dive and ended up on her back in the yard, a bundle of arms and legs. "Damn," she said.
B'Elanna, rubbing her arm from her collision with Seven, saw the bunny heading her way again. She dashed forward to try to be the heroine of the hour, but missed, sending the white streak on a different course that took him directly up onto the Captain's stomach.
"Looks like you've got him," grinned Tom as they all looked down at the sight of their Captain, flat on her back with a white rabbit sitting on her stomach, washing his nose with his paws.
"He's beautiful," marvelled B'Elanna, looking at the little thing sitting there - one ear up and one down, with long strands of his Lion Head breed's hair parting over his eyes. Clearly pooped, Taff lay down abruptly, pushing out his back and front legs to lie out in a straight line.
The Captain's mistake was in seeing the absurdity of the situation. She looked from one to the other of the faces and then back at Taff, whose nose wasn't too far from the end of her chin, and she laughed. It wasn't a situation Taff could handle; his newfound harbour began jiggling around and he felt there was only one thing for it. Tired as he was, he took off again.
The Captain was helped to her feet by Sid and Seven and soon all six adults and one rabbit were `enjoying' stalk and capture exercises once again, with one small exception... that no one could actually capture the prey.
"You know?" panted Janeway as she stopped running, clearly worn out, and stood bending forward with her hands on her hips. "There's only one way this rabbit's going in its hutch tonight, and that's to beam him in after all." She looked around at the grateful faces. "All agreed?" There was a sea of nods as she approached Wendy, hand outstretched. "I'm sorry we couldn't have been of more help."
The woman accepted the handshake. "Tha tried tha best, dook," commiserated Sid in words the Voyager crew understood, as Seven looked around to find where Taff had put himself during this lull. She was humoured to see the small creature relieving himself over the top of Tom's right foot and, for some reason, she decided not to inform him about it.
Oblivious to Taff's relief, Tom was eyeing the woman. "What are you doing later?" he asked, smiling in his little-boy way. His Captain grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back towards the others and then shrugged apologetically and smiled at those she had tried to help. Reaching out her hand, she gave a combadge to the woman.
"I am authorised to leave this with you for one week. Call us again if you need us, OK?" The woman nodded as Janeway tapped her combadge. "Four to beam up," she ordered and Sid and Wendy watched as they disappeared from view in an impressive mass of sparkles.
Wendy looked down to find Taff who was licking and nibbling one paw pad, cleaning it thoroughly, oblivious to the fact that his freedom was about to end.
"Lock on and transport into nearby hutch."
"Yes, Captain. Transport complete."
"Well done. Our mission's over here, for now at least. Let's go."
"Yes, Mr Kim?"
"I'm picking up a distress call. It's feint."
"I don't know how it happened but it seems we transported the bunny AND it's owner into the hutch. It's a little cramped down there."
"Alright people. Let's stay calm."
"I've isolated her life-signs, Captain."
"Lock on and energise."
There was a pause. "Uh, Captain?" came a male voice from Engineering.
"We're a little busy here, Mr Carey. Can it wait?"
"I don't think so, Captain. I have a Wendy Todd here? She arrived all cramped up, babbling something about having come from a rabbit hutch? I think you should get down here right away."
Janeway's eyes rolled to the roof as the rest of the Bridge crew began to laugh. Chakotay, grinning widely, looked at her. "I think perhaps I should belay that order about leaving the area?"
"Any time soon, anyway," agreed the Captain. "If this keeps up, I'm going to miss those old Star Trek repeats later tonight. You'll notice they never had that fictional Kirk character racing around, trying to catch rabbits!"
Almost absent-mindedly, Tom commented, "Hmm, maybe they'll immortalise us one day... I can see it now," he stretched out his hand before him for effect. "Episode 10: Voyager and the Bunny."
"Captain?" came Mr Carey's voice again over the comlink.
"On my way, Lieutenant," laughed Janeway as she left the command crew mulling over the absolute absurdity of becoming immortalised, by Paramount, in a `space-soap' opera one day! Although, briefly, she allowed herself to wonder who they might get to play her!
Taff didn't know about space. He didn't know about starships. He no longer knew about freedom, for tonight anyway. He just settled in his hutch, tucked up and warm, waiting for the sun of a new day. Soon he was lightly twitching in his sleep, dreaming of catching dogs and Starship personnel.
B'Elanna Torres stared out of the airlock in her quarters, remembering Taff fondly; putting almost Klingon values to the small thing as she recalled his stubbornness and his brilliant evasive tactics. She felt a hand on her shoulder after a while. "Are you alright?"
She looked up and smiled at her lover. "I'm fine, Seven. Just dreaming about getting a rabbit one day soon. I'm sure the Captain would allow us to keep one in here. Would you like that?"
"I believe I would. He was... cute, wasn't he?"
B'Elanna returned her gaze to the window. "Ship's Rabbit" she said, proudly. "Voyager's Bunny... VB... Phoebe! Good name?"
"As good as any," agreed her mate.
B'Elanna smiled. She would put it to the Captain in the morning.
"But that's my sister's name!" protested the Captain loudly in the Ready Room. She looked at Seven and then settled her gaze on the half-Klingon. "Have you thought this through, Lieutenant? I mean, really? Can you see it? `Phoebe' getting free and running throughout the length and breadth of Voyager, with half the crew in pursuit throughout the night?"
"We could put Tuvok in charge of the re-capture," giggled the Chief Engineer.
"I'm not sure that's funny, Lieutenant," rebuked Janeway, her lip curling into a slight smile, made worse by looking at Seven, who was grinning widely.
"Aw, c'mon. You'd pay to watch!" As they all looked at each other, the mind pictures played out for the three officers and soon they were laughing heartily as B'Elanna continued, "Well, you said you'd been bored of late. Surely, this would be...?"
"It would, at that, B'Elanna," laughed the Captain. "It would, at that. OK. Go catch yourselves a wabbit! Leave Tuvok to me, huh?" she said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I'll break it to him gently that his duties as Security Officer will soon include the occasional apprehending of a li'l wabbit!"
"Can I watch?"
"Get out of here!"
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