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Summary: Everything is not what you see.

 

Transmission

"Tuvok to Captain Janeway."

Kathryn slapped her comm badge. "Go ahead."

"We have an incoming transmission from Commander Chakotay."

"Patch it through to my Ready Room." She immediately punched the key to access her monitor. Chakotay's handsome face appeared supporting a full-dimpled grin. Kathryn couldn't resist a smile.

"It's good to see you, Captain," he said as he continued to press various keys on the control panel of the Delta Flyer.

"Same here, Commander," she answered with a slight hesitation. "I take it the mission has been a success."

"Absolutely. Neelix is in the back analyzing the samples of vegetation we collected this morning. So far, it seems we will be able to gather enough to relieve the strain on the use of our emergency rations...perhaps for several weeks. Plus, he thinks he may be able to transplant some of the plants to the Hydroponics Bay."

"That's wonderful news. Maybe now we can enjoy something other than leftover Leola Root...that stuff is in endless supply!" Kathryn said, chuckling along with her first officer. "How soon before you will return to Voyager?"

Chakotay pulled up his itinerary. "Neelix wants to go on one more exploration this afternoon. I estimate about 32 hours, if all goes well." His face melted into a soft smile. "I miss you, Kathryn."

Kathryn clenched her fist. She had desperately hoped that the conversation would remain professional. It had been proven in the past that people had been known to eavesdrop on conversations. She and Chakotay had discussed this matter before, wanting to keep their personal relationship a secret for as long as possible. But in the same token, it made her heart leap with joy and love to hear those words coming from the man gazing back at her.

"I...miss you, too. Come back to us safely," she responded quietly, resisting the urge to reach out and touch his face on the monitor. Maybe this time, their secret would go unnoticed.

"Aye Captain. Chakotay out."

The Federation insignia replace his image on her monitor. Kathryn tapped it off and slowly laced her fingers together on her desk. She lifted her gaze to the two senior officers seated across from her. They were both biting their lips to prevent themselves from bursting out in laughter.

They had noticed.

"Sounds like good news," B'Elanna finally stated, her voice cracking with amusement.

Kathryn squinted her eyes. "I presume you're referring to the vegetation they've located."

"Oh...of course. The vegetation...great news." Tom was snickering uncontrollably now, and B'Elanna was staring at the floor, shoulders shaking.

Kathryn mentally kicked herself. So much for the little secret.

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