"What in the world made you say THAT?"
"A little bird told me." B'Elanna was having a hard time controlling her laughter as she watched Chakotay turn a bright shade of red. "Or maybe it's the Voyager scuttlebutt. We haven't lost that ability to pass on news faster than light speed. So spill, who is she? You're always in such a hurry to leave when you come over for a visit; I'm beginning to think it's my company.
"B'E" Chakotay groaned, as he looked around frantically for a way to escape this line of questioning.
"Oh, I know, it must be that blonde who has been following you around campus."
"Who? Dawn? She's a student in my Cultures of the Delta Quadrant class. I wouldn't date a student."
"Student, right! She looks older than Seven and you had no problem dating her."
Chakotay glared. "Seven wasn't my student! And is it my fault that Dawn is very interested in the subject? Besides she's VERY good at what she does."
At B'Elanna's fit of helpless giggling, he threw his hands up. "I give up. I'm leaving, and for the last time, I'm not shacking up with some blonde!"
Leaving B'Elanna, still shaking with laughter, he stomped out the door. As soon as he had turned the corner, B'Elanna pressed her combadge.
"Mike, he's left our place and is headed east towards the Wharf"
"Gotcha" Ayala responded, ducking behind some bushes as Chakotay looked back.
"I think he's headed to the market. Oh, now this looks promising, he's buying some flowers."
"I think we've got him this time." B'Elanna rubbed her hands together in satisfaction.
"Hmmm, this is getting hard, ducking behind all these vegetable stalls, it looks like he's planning on making a big dinner. Eggplant, zucchini...."
"Mike you really don't need to list everything. Just don't lose him."
"Oh, right. Okay, it looks like he's done. He's headed out.... No belay that, he's stopped again. Now he's in a shop buying some coffee beans."
"COFFEE BEANS!" B'Elanna shouted, turning to look at Tom as he entered the room holding Miral.
"Mike, stop following Chakotay and meet us at these coordinates, we'll be there in a flash."
A few short moments later, B'Elanna and Tom stood, baby in arms, outside a cottage overlooking the bay, fully expecting Chakotay to appear around the corner. Ayala had begged off muttering something about ‘discretion being the better part of valor.'
Instead of Chakotay, they were greeted by a very familiar husky voice announcing "Well now, if it isn't my erstwhile Helmsman and Chief Engineer? And they've brought my favorite goddaughter for a visit. What a nice surprise. Why don't you'll come on in and have some coffee?"
They spun around to see Janeway leaning against the doorway, smirking at their looks of consternation. Miral laughed and held out her chubby arms.
"Are you going to come in? You did bring Miral over for a visit?"
"Er... no, I mean yes." stammered B'Elanna, as she and Tom followed Janeway inside.
"Have a seat. I'll be right back."
B'Elanna nudged Tom "Now what?" she whispered.
"He's bound to turn up any minute. We'll stick around and surprise him."
While Janeway kept up a steady patter of baby talk with Miral, Tom glanced surreptiously around the room, trying to identify any signs of male habitation. After a while, with Miral showing signs of being tired and still no sign of Chakotay, they were forced to leave.
"Damn! We still don't know who this mystery coffee drinking lady is."
"Give it up B'Elanna, we may as well admit defeat"
As soon as they left, the back door to the cottage opened.
"You're back and bearing flowers and food. Great I'm starving." Janeway grabbed the bags and set to emptying them.
"I was delayed by our enterprising crew."
Janeway grinned "I figured. They stopped by here a little while ago. You should have seen the look on their faces, poor dears. They thought they were going to surprise you and instead, I surprised them." She looked up confused. "Hey, what's this? Another sack of coffee beans? We must have at least a dozen here."
"Not coffee beans, Kathryn. Maquis covert tactics. I saw that they had Ayala shadowing me, so I stopped and bought the beans. Knowing that they would assume it was you and rush over here, I then took a nice walk down by the Bay. It gave them plenty of time to realize I wasn't coming, which forced them to admit defeat, and leave."
"You clever man, I knew there was a reason I made you my first officer." Janeway said, smiling. "Now tell me again why we haven't told the crew?"
"Oh, we'll let them know soon enough. Right now though, I'm enjoying watching Tom and B'E squirm with curiosity. It's payback time for all those betting pools. Besides, this way I get to be alone with you."
"Alone, with me? Hmmm, that's something I can relate to." She leered up at him. "Now about those Maquis tactics, did you learn anything we could...? Oh my, that is a good tactic..."