MORE OR LESS

By Shayenne

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything but I doubt they want this.

Rated PG-13

A story for VAMB's Spring Fling. The request was: "What I would like to receive: Story Preferred Rating: PG-13 or under (nothing naughty... I have sensitive eyes) Pairing: Any Voyager pairing, as long as it's not slash or C/7 Story Scenario: Something humorous would be nice, maybe a romantic comedy... or something zany, if you dare. What I don't want to receive: a Vid."

Tom's sharp eyes surreptitiously watched the command team over the rim of his mug. They had walked into the crowded messhall a respectable distance apart, Chakotay bent solicitously to hear something the captain said. She'd touched his arm lightly, but turned around so quickly that she must have missed seeing the flash of pleasure that crossed his face. Collecting their trays of food, both of them sat down and produced PADDs.

Tom sighed so hard that the foam blew off his cappuccino, landing in the middle of Harry's mung bean salad.

Harry glared, and pointedly scooped it onto Tom's plate where it puddled on his toasted cheese sandwich.

"We have to do something," announced Tom, ignoring Harry's mutterings. "Look at them."

Next to him, B'Elanna barely glanced up from her PADD. "Not again. Give it over, Tom. Even a Klingon knows a lost cause when their nose is mashed against it."

"The big guy's still in love with her." Tom ignored B'Elanna's growl and Harry's rolling eyes. "And she sees him as a piece of functional ship's equipment, something that needs routine maintenance to keep it ticking over. Scrub the plasma conduits, reprogram the Doc's latest personality subroutines, water the airponics bay, pat the first officer's arm. Look at Chakotay!" Tom's expansive gesture neatly swiped the poppadom from Mortimer Harren's curry, who was unlucky enough to be passing at that moment. The poppadom landed on B'Elanna's plate who took a huge bite without looking up from her PADD. "And look at the captain. She's forgotten he's a man: an attractive, gorgeous hunk of a man. She needs reminding of that fact."

B'Elanna and Harry both looked up at that. "You got a thing for Chakotay?" Harry asked curiously. "You've never talked about him like that before."

Tom blushed. "I'm talking from the captain's perspective."

"Right," said B'Elanna, lips twitching. "Of course."

"We need a plan to help remind her Chakotay's a man."

Harry groaned and thunked his head down onto the table, causing his salad plate to jump. "No! Not again! You come up with at least one 'perfect plan' every six months, and so far none of them have worked."

"They might have!" Tom's wounded look appeared genuine.

B'Elanna thumbed off the PADD and glared at Tom. "They were all doomed from the start. Sending them out in a shuttle programmed with the wrong return coordinates, so that they drifted cold and alone for two days? You got a reprimand for careless work and needlessly endangering personnel. Programming the holodeck not to reveal the arch so that they were trapped in Fairhaven overnight, coincidentally when the transporters were offline for a diagnostic? That resulted in a bar fight between Chakotay and that prissy Michael, who evicted Chakotay from his pub leaving him to spend the night in the barn with Maggie's cows while the captain cozied it up with Michael in the bar."

"Okay, okay. So they weren't the greatest plans."

"Let's not forget the great Shipwide Turbolift Malfunction," said Harry, picking a mung bean out of his hair. "You managed to trap all the bridge crew in the lifts, except the command team."

"And using an ingenuous Naomi Wildman to get them to take her to the zoo on the holodeck? Naomi was having a bad day and the captain was so incensed by her whining she nearly fed her to the lions. There's absolutely no romance in a date with a whiny child along."

Tom thumped his mug down. "But this plan will work! It has to! I mean, look at them. Did you ever see such a study in unrequited love?"

Three pairs of eyes turned to the command team. Sure enough, the captain was absently forking food from Chakotay's plate as she scrolled through a report. Chakotay was watching her, with a slightly pained expression on his face.

"Look at him!" said Tom. "That's an expression of unrequited love if ever I saw one!"

"Looks like indigestion to me," muttered Harry.

"She's forgotten he's a man. We just need to remind her of that fact, and she'll be falling into his manly arms, just like one of those Klingon romances you read, B'Elanna."

B'Elanna flushed and tucked the PADD she was reading underneath her napkin.

Tom leaned into the center of the table. "I was talking to Neelix yesterday, and he said that on his last away mission, he learned of a planet that is amenable to trade, and it's near our current course. There's just one problem.... but in this case, it's to our advantage...."

~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~

"I am notwearing this!"

Kathryn Janeway threw the replicated clothing down on the ready room desk and placed her hands on her hips. "Gentlemen, cultural customs are all very well, but there is the dignity of the crew to consider. There must be a way around this."

"I'm sorry, Captain." Talaxians usually didn't look pale, but Neelix appeared whiter than a chunk of moon rock. "I knew that the Boshams requested traditional dress, and I knew it was a little scantier than our own uniforms, but I didn't realize it was like this!"

Janeway glared at him. "I could turn captaincy of Voyager over to you and make you go instead. Wearing this." She poked the offending garment distastefully.

Neelix swallowed nervously. "It wouldn't fit me, Captain. I'm bigger around the middle than you."

"That could be fixed by brig time on half rations. It was your idea, I believe, to approach the Boshams to trade."

"Well, I wouldn't say that," Neelix seized the opportunity to get back into the captain's good books. "I was going to recommend we pass them by when Lieuten- Ow!"

"Sorry," said Tom, a sincere look on his face. "That must have hurt. The PADD slipped out of my hand. I hope that hard edge didn't land anywhere tender."

"No harm done, Lieutenant," said Neelix, rubbing his groin.

"You were saying, Mr. Neelix?" prompted Janeway.

"The Boshams have extensive dilithium mines on the northern continent," said Neelix, shooting Tom a baleful glance. "They've agreed to let us mine as much as we want, but in exchange we have to participate in their formal trade ceremony. Hence the traditional dress."

"I have no objection to local customs," Janeway shot back, "it's simply the lack of cloth in their traditional 'dress'."

"Traditional undress," muttered Tom quietly.

"It's often been my experience that societies who expect their females to dress in this manner place little value on their contribution. And that can be hard going on any trade negotiations."

"You needn't worry about that," said Neelix brightly. Too brightly. "You'll have Commander Chakotay to accompany you. Our sensors can't pentrate the atmosphere but I'm told that Bosha is a very warm world. You won't feel cold. Talking of Chakotay, he is probably changed and ready to go. I sent his traditional dress up to his-"

"Neelix! Is this your idea of a joke? Because I doubt the captain will be amused. We depart in ten minutes." Chakotay stomped into the room looking distinctly annoyed. He was wearing a long, flowing caftan which covered him from neck to the floor where his bare toes peeped out.

"Uh, no, Commander," squeaked Neelix, "I replicated the traditional male costume for you."

"That doesn't look so bad," observed Janeway. "Many desert societies on Earth wear similar clothing. The loose fitting garments are actually quite cool."

Chakotay opened his mouth. "Actually, Captain-"

Tuvok to Janeway. The Boshams are requesting that you depart in the shuttle in the next five minutes. Their flight plan is extremely precise.

"Understood. We're on our way." She turned to the bridge team. "Well, we have to go along with it now. We need that dilithium. Commander, after you."

"Aren't you going to change, Captain?" Tom's blue eyes looked innocently at his commanding officer.

"No time. I'll change on the shuttle." Janeway swept out of the room, the bundle of fabric in her hand.

Inside the shuttle, Chakotay carefully arranged his caftan so that the flowing sleeves didn't catch on the controls and turned to Janeway. "Just how badly do we need dilithium?"

Janeway sighed. "Badly. B'Elanna swore that we had a good supply but, strangely, the last inventory shows only a quarter of that amount." She eyed Chakotay's dress. "You're not so badly off in that caftan. I think I'll have to get the Doc to wipe your memory after you've seen the female clothing."

The tips of his ears flushing pink, Chakotay turned from the controls. "Actually, Kathryn, it might be the other- Oh!"

Kathryn held up a tiny bundle of a gauzy material, turning it this way and that. It appeared as if it would fit Naomi Wildman and it also appeared nearly translucent.

Chakotay swallowed hard and turned back to the controls. "Delta Flyer to the bridge. Requesting clearance to depart." His voice sounded as if he had a leola root sitting on his vocal cords.

"All clear, Commander."

Eyes firmly fixed on the viewscreen, Chakotay took the Delta Flyer out into space, banking her in a wide swoop around Voyager--a swoop with an unexpected nosedive as the loose sleeve of his caftan caught on the altitude control.

"I hope it really is warm on Bosha." Kathryn's voice was muffled as she pulled her turtleneck over her head. "Otherwise, I'm going to freeze. Can you turn up the environmental controls, Commander?"

Chakotay wiped his face where the beads of sweat were inching their way down into the neck of the caftan. Just the thought of Kathryn standing behind him, clad only in that skimpy, scanty tissue of nothing was sending his temperature higher than the deserts of Vulcan. But he'd be fine as long as he kept his eyes on the viewscreen…. As long as he kept his eyes on the viewscreen… As long as he kept his eyes on the-

When he turned around, Kathryn was tugging ineffectually at the hem of the garment which clung like Seven's catsuit to her body. Kathryn was glowing; a becoming pink flush stained her cheeks, but Chakotay suspected it was due more to embarrassment than to the swift rise in the shuttle's temperature. The garment was sheer and almost completely see-through. And Kathryn was not wearing any underwear. Her nipples appeared as rosy as her cheeks, and between her thighs.... Chakotay swallowed hard and the Delta Flyer lurched in sympathy. Spirits! She was beautiful. There and then, Chakotay decided that if she did try and make Doc wipe his memory of this, he'd bribe the Doc with every minute of holodeck time he earned between here and the Alpha Quadrant to say the job was done when it wasn't.

"Paris to the Delta Flyer."

"Audio only," hissed Kathryn.

Reluctantly, Chakotay faced front again to answer the hail. "Chakotay here."

"Is there a problem with communications?" Paris' voice sounded disgustingly cheerful. And amused. "I'm receiving you audio only."

"No problem, Lieutenant." Kathryn had come up behind him, and spirits, her hand was on his shoulder and Chakotay knew exactly how little material was between their bodies.

"Okay." Paris' voice took on the veneer of professionalism that characterized all of his communications when he knew he'd squeaked the line between "casual" and "overfamiliarity" once more. "You're entering Bosha's atmosphere in five minutes. May I remind you that you need to be wearing the traditional dress by then."

"Thank you, Lieutenant. Delta Flyer out." She eyed Chakotay. "I still think you got the best of this in the costume department."

Chakotay closed his eyes briefly. The mother of all memory wipes would be needed in the next couple of minutes. "Actually, Captain, if you could take the controls for a moment, I need to, uh, make the final adjustments to my outfit."

"No problem."

Kathryn sashayed behind the controls as he vacated them, surprisingly at ease for a woman who was nearly naked with her best friend, who was also about to be....

Chakotay took a deep breath and stripped off the caftan. "I'm ready," he said, and braced himself for her amusement.

No laughter. No suppressed chuckles. No indrawn gasp of horror. Instead, her eyes raked him from top to toe, scorching along his shoulders, down his arms, down his chest to where his nipples tightened under her avid gaze. And lower, lower. Her eyes lingered, and suddenly Chakotay wished he had left the Flyer's environmental controls alone. It was way, way too hot in here, and the way her eyes were caressing him would be enough to send a Vulcan into Pon Farr.

The silence stretched and still Kathryn's eyes didn't waver. "Nobody told me," she said quietly, "that the male dress was like this."

Chakotay fought the urge to adjust the front pouch that was all he wore. Suddenly it was way too small.

Checking to see that the Flyer was on autopilot, Kathryn stood from the con and walked over to him. Slowly, she ran a finger from his throat, down, down over his chest, scorching heat where she touched him. Her fingers lingered on his belly button and dropped lower still, stopping scant centimeters from where he twitched and strained, barely contained by the leather pouch he wore.

She stepped closer to him, and bemusedly, he saw that her pupils were black and dilated, and her fingers trembled slightly on his belly. "Chakotay, I-"

"Bosha Government to alien shuttle. You have entered our boundaries. Please maintain a standard descent to touchdown in eight minutes. You are reminded that you must comply with our traditions and dress if you wish to trade with us."

The moment shattered, and she became all brisk and business like again. Wheeling around, she bent over the controls, giving Chakotay a fine view of curved peachy buttocks through the sheer material. "Acknowledged, Bosha government," she said briskly. "We will await you on our shuttle."

Chakotay released his pent up breath slowly. He knew, as surely as he was hard and aching, that in that moment Kathryn wanted him too. What would she have said if they hadn't been interrupted?

"Take the con, Commander," she said briskly, "bring us in."

She stood to one side, and Chakotay stepped forward to take the con. His naked buttocks glowed warmly, and he knew, oh, he knew, that her gaze was sliding hotly over their curves.

It was amazing that the Flyer made it down in one piece; not only because Chakotay's hands were shaking on the con, but also because of the jagged chunks of ice and lashings of sleet that whipped the viewscreen, buffeting the Flyer as it came in to land.

As the Delta Flyer skidded to a halt on the ice sheet, Kathryn turned to Chakotay with a puzzled expression.

"I thought this planet was a desert world? Hence our garments."

"So Neelix told us."

A knock on the hatch precluded further conversation. The hatch opened, bringing in a gust of icy wind and the Bosham' delegation, warmly dressed in furs and padded suits that left only their eyes and beaks exposed.

"Citizens of the Federation. Welcome to Bosha." The taller of the two extended a gloved hand to both of the command team. "However, I see that you are unfamiliar with our seasons. You are wearing our traditional costume for the Heat, which will start approximately two months from now. Now is the Cold."

"Thank you, Governor," Kathryn replied. "And you are correct; we were misinformed about your climate. Perhaps you would be so good as to wait while we obtain some more suitable clothing?"

The Governor bowed slightly. "I will have some clothing in your sizes sent to your shuttle. We will return shortly." And he left, taking his delegation and the blast of frigid air with him.

As soon as the hatch closed behind him, Kathryn turned to Chakotay. "It seems Neelix didn't check into this world as thoroughly as normal." She picked up his caftan and tossed it to him. "At least you can wear this while we wait for our Cold season clothing to arrive."

He wasn't imagining it. Her eyes were mapping his body, part by part, as if she were committing him to memory. It emboldened him. Taking a small step toward her, he let his eyes drift in a similar fashion over her body, revealed to him through the gauzy fabric. Spirits, she was beautiful! Slim and strong. Muscular and firm, but long, lean muscles, still feminine in shape.

Kathryn raised her chin and let him look, a small smile crooked on her face. An invitation? He closed the space between them, so that the heat of her body warmed his flesh. "Do you like what you see, Kathryn? Because if you do, I think that caftan can stay over there."

"I've always liked what I've seen," she replied. "I've just never seen so much of it." A finger reached out and traced a wavering line from where the pulse beat madly in his throat, down to his belly.

His stomach muscles clenched. Whatever her intent, playful or serious, she must surely see what he was feeling, dressed only in this ridiculous codpiece. If she moved a centimeter lower.... He should step back, put some distance between them. He should make a joke, turn away, before he embarrassed himself, before he embarrassed her.

His hands settled on her shoulders, thumbs moving softly over her warm skin. His fingers sought her chin, and he tilted it up. "You can see as much of it, as often as you want." And without further thought, he bent his head and claimed her lips.

She wasn't pushing him away, was his first conscious thought, after the pounding in his head eased sufficiently for him to think. Instead, she was kissing him back, her mouth demanding more, her tongue tangling with his and her hands gripping his shoulders so tightly that he'd have the marks of her fingers for days.

The pounding in his head increased so that it nearly matched the fluttering of his heart. And then Kathryn was wrenching herself out of his arms. He stared at her in confusion before the banging in his head transmuted into the banging on the Flyer's hatch.

"That must be our clothes," she said.

His eyes must have reflected his regret at the passing of the moment, for she touched his cheek, briefly, gently. "We'll have this again, Chakotay," she whispered. "Very soon." And then she was striding over to the hatch, opening it enough to receive the padded garments, and returning.

"Here," she laid his clothing down on the seat. "Let's get this over with and go back to our ship."

*

At Voyager's con, Tom drummed his fingers on the controls. Standard orbit was always dull; nothing to do, nothing to look at. He thought back to the command team's last transmission. Audio only. He snorted quietly. Now that would have given him something to look at. Both of them, in those ridiculously skimpy costumes. He'd have given a month's rations to see that.

Surely, one look at Chakotay in the tiny little g-string that comprised the male costume would have the captain salivating and unable to keep her hands off him. He just hoped she hadn't gone all prissy on him and refused to let Chakotay see her in the female dress. He doubted it; thanks to some judicious tampering with Voyager's inventory, it appeared as if they needed dilithium very, very badly. And the captain would put the needs of her ship over her modesty.

Maybe he could conspire to be in the shuttlebay when they arrived back.

"Janeway to Voyager."

"Voyager here," replied Tuvok.

"We are returning to Voyager. We have secured permission to mine as much dilithium as we require on the northern continent. In the meantime, we are bringing the Bosham ambassador to the ship for a visit. It will require some adjustment to the environmental controls to make him comfortable. Please have someone meet us in the shuttlebay to escort the ambassador to the bridge while the commander and myself change back into uniform."

Tom's ears pricked up. Perfect!

"I volunteer, sir," he said, trying not to look too eager.

Tuvok nodded. "Mr. Paris will meet you in the shuttle bay," he said into the communicator.

"Very well. We'll be back in twenty minutes."

Perfect, thought Tom. "Permission to be relieved," he said to Tuvok. With a bit of luck he could swing past Engineering and let B'Elanna know. Maybe she could be in the shuttle bay as well.

"Granted." Tuvok didn't flicker an eyelash. "Take Mr. Kim with you."

Harry's expressive face wavered between glee and horror. Tom wasn't sure if he was more worried about seeing the captain or seeing the commander nearly naked. He stood, and let Baytart take the con.

As they hurried to the shuttlebay, Tom couldn't resist crowing. "This is it, Harry, it has to be! I bet the captain couldn't keep her hands off him. That tiny little dress she had to wear---and did you know the Boshams don't wear undergarments? And Chakotay.... he'd have looked like a prize bullock in that little pouch thing he had to wear. I bet they couldn't keep their hands off each other!"

"I hope so," Harry muttered. "But just in case they've somehow sprung you, then it was nice knowing you and I promise I'll swing by the brig to say hello once every six months or so."

"If I get brig time, so do you." Tom clapped him on the shoulder. "I used your authorization code to replicate their clothing. And I only altered the specs a small amount."

Harry stopped dead. "Small amount?!" he squeaked. "There was only a 'small amount' to begin with."

"Well, it's smaller now," replied Tom, cheerfully. "I hope it was big enough to uh... contain the commander. He's a big man all over.... or so I've heard," he added hastily.

Ignoring Harry's moan of anguish--at the thought of Chakotay busting out all over or at the thought of the brig time he might get, Tom couldn't be sure--Tom peered into the shuttle bay, seeing the Delta Flyer powering down her engines. Perfect timing!

Swiftly, he entered the bay and ordered the computer to raise the ambient temperature by ten degrees. Couldn't have the command team freezing their assets off before they had a chance to use them. He moved to stand by the hatch, awaiting the Bosham ambassador and the command team.

After what seemed like an age, the hatch swung open. Chakotay stood there, and Tom's jaw dropped.

"Tom! Didn't you get the message about the environmental controls?" hissed Chakotay. "Turn them down, man! The ambassador will melt." Walking awkwardly in the thickly padded suit and fur jacket, Chakotay exited the Flyer and stood to one side.

The captain emerged next. There wasn't a skimpy piece of gauze in sight or an uncovered inch of flesh. Like Chakotay, and the Bosham governor who appeared at her side, she was dressed in enough padding to make her appear twice her usual size.

What had happened? Tom groaned inwardly. Obviously Bosha's climate wasn't what they were led to believe. Quite apart from any scheming, it appeared that he would be in the shit for inadequate research and possibly jeopardizing the negotiations by sending the command team down in patently inadequate clothing.

And the chances of the captain falling for Chakotay in that marshmallow outfit were slim to none.

"Mr. Kim," the Captain said briskly, "please escort our guest to the messhall for some refreshment, and ensure that the environmental controls are set to a suitable level."

"Yes, Ma'am."

It appeared that Harry thought it was crunch time.

"Mr. Paris, please shut down the Flyer and then meet us there."

Her tone of voice suggested that she was in dire need of a caffeine fix. It wasn't the voice of a woman who couldn't wait to take her first officer to her quarters to ravish him. Indeed, the plan had obviously backfired.

Tom groaned inwardly, wondering if he could contact B'Elanna and have her miraculously find the "missing" dilithium before supper time. Something miraculous would be needed to restore the captain's good humor after this. He figured he'd covered his tracks well on the rest of the scheme, but you could never be too sure.

He moved over to the Flyer and watched surreptitiously as the command team left the shuttle bay. In the doorway, the captain paused. A swift glance left and right, and then she seized Chakotay by the ears and pulled his face down to hers.

"I haven't forgotten," she said. Before Tom's astonished eyes, she pushed her bulky padded body up against Chakotay's and sliding her hands around the back of his neck, pulled him down to her, kissing him hard and fierce.

Tom's mouth fell open. Who'd have thought that the captain needed to see less of Chakotay to remember he was a man!

Feedback? Please. Shayenne

Back to Shayenne's J/C Fiction

© Shayenne, April 2007 Please email me to post/distribute elsewhere.